Justin Turner ships off the VP list almost as soon as he arrived (but for good reasons), but Michael finds a replacement for him in the mountains.
The Value Picks portfolio is an ever-changing one that has occasional graduations and demotions, with new faces coming in every week. This week, Value Picks graduates two members, one tenured and one fleeting in attendance, and brings in two more names you should be aware of in the upcoming weeks.
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Bill James may claim to study baseball questions, not statistical ones, but what happens when a statistician studies Bill James?
Believe it or not, most of our writers didn't enter the world sporting an @baseballprospectus.com address; with a few exceptions, they started out somewhere else. In an effort to up your reading pleasure while tipping our caps to some of the most illuminating work being done elsewhere on the internet, we'll be yielding the stage once a week to the best and brightest baseball writers, researchers and thinkers from outside of the BP umbrella. If you'd like to nominate a guest contributor (including yourself), please drop us a line.
Andrew Gelman is a professor of statistics and political science at Columbia University. He occasionally blogs on baseball, including here, here, here, and here.
Is the quality of play in baseball better than it's ever been?
While looking toward the future with our comprehensive slate of current content, we'd also like to recognize our rich past by drawing upon our extensive online archive of work dating back to 1997. In an effort to highlight the best of what's gone before, we'll be bringing you a weekly blast from BP's past, introducing or re-introducing you to some of the most informative and entertaining authors who have passed through our virtual halls. If you have fond recollections of a BP piece that you'd like to nominate for re-exposure to a wider audience, send us your suggestion.
Baseball may seem best when you're 10 years old, but before you start building a time machine, take another look at Dan Fox's investigation of baseball's changing talent level over time, which originally ran as a "Schrodinger's Bat" column on January 18, 2007.
A look at the first basemen on this year's Hall of Fame ballot.
Having kicked off this year's JAWS series with the starting pitchers, today we turn our attention to the first basemen, a slate which includes the ballot's best newcomer as well as its most controversial first-timer, and a few holdovers who aren't going anywhere for entirely different reasons.
A new way of adjusting for a player's environment.
One of the fascinating things for baseball fans is the differences between ballparks--the role that the very park itself plays in baseball is probably unique in sports. Different ballparks bring a very different character to the proceedings, and of course, they can even change the course of the events on the field.
It doesn’t help that MLB’s rules on the subject can be remarkably vague on the subject--at one point it states that “[a] distance of 320 feet or more along the foul lines, and 400 feet or more to center field is preferable,” which does little to indicate what might be allowed. This, of course, gives great latitude to ballpark designers, and they’ve taken advantage of that latitude.
It’s probably one of the most storied accomplishments in all of baseball—and to see it happen twice in such a short period of time is startling.
I am not talking about perfect games, but of the Triple Crown—leading the league in batting average, home runs, and runs batted in. Frank Robinson did it in 1966, and Carl Yastrzemski followed in 1967. Nobody has done it since.
Well, they say that those who don’t understand history are doomed to repeat it. So let’s take a brief look at the history of run estimation. You could probably write a book simply on this topic, but for now I think a rather broad overview will suffice.
So, how unlikely is unlikely as far as that bid for the Triple Crown goes, anyway?
While scoping out the season of the one and only Albert Pujolsa couple of weeks ago, I attempted to quantify his chances of attaining the Triple Crown. At the time, Pujols led his league in dingers, stood deadlocked in the RBI race with Prince Fielder, and trailed Hanley Ramirez in batting average by a rather large margin. The methodology implemented in that piece was back-of-the-envelope at best, as the dependency of the inherent variables should have precluded the multiplication of separate probabilities. Since home runs automatically correlate to runs batted in as well as batting average, and because a higher batting average would, in theory, lead to more steaks, the three legs of the race are not independent of one another and therefore cannot be multiplied together to determine the Triple Crown likelihood. Though a more accurate process is unlikely to yield drastically different results than the 0.74 percent I found initially, the perfectionist in me felt it necessary to re-run the numbers through a more complex and accurate simulation in order to determine Pujols' chances.
Is Joe Mauer's quest for another batting title really at risk because of his wearing down from catching?
During this year's All-Star Game, in the first inning as Joe Mauer came up to bat, and Tim McCarver wanted to emphasize to the viewers just how amazing Mauer's batting titles in 2006 and 2008 were, as well as his current production in 2009. McCarver said that one of the reasons that catchers don't win batting titles is because their batting average goes down late in the game with all of the bumps and bruises they get from donning the tools of ignorance. This seemed an interesting little theory from an ex-catcher that begged for some numbers to back it up. This comment also got me thinking about a potentially even larger issue: Does the wear and tear of playing at certain defensive positions on the field lead to reduced offensive production? Does this happens during the course of the game, and/or throughout the season?