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May 15, 2012 3:00 am

Value Picks: First, Third, and DH for 5/15/12


Michael Street

The majority of Michael's VP list turns over this week, but he's got plenty of replacements lined up, including three who picked up their first home run of the year last week.

Statistically speaking, a single home run (like a single hit) is fairly meaningless. It’s the ultimate small sample, showing how one batter did against one pitcher (and one pitch) under one specific set of conditions. But psychologically speaking, when it’s the first home run of the season, it can mean so much more. The hitter feels confident in his swing or relieved at having gotten his first longball of the season out of the way, and it could mean a turnaround is coming. Look at Albert Pujols: in 27 plate appearances since his first jack of the season, he’s picked up 5 RBI—as many as he picked up in the 114 plate appearances before he finally went yard.

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May 2, 2012 3:00 am

Transaction Analysis: Rhymes With Longoria


R.J. Anderson

Mike Trout and Bryce Harper arrive as Evan Longoria falls away.

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There are a lot of differences between the two parks in Chicago, especially for those trying to cover games.

CHICAGO -- In order to pick up a few extra bucks, I cover games for outlets like MLB.com and the Associated Press, in addition to representing Baseball Prospectus at the ballpark. Sunday was one of those days, and when I'm doubled up, I'll have to post my ITP entry before postgame access begins. If you want to read my words on the actual game, just pull up the write-up from ESPN or a billion other places. That's me, even if stringers don't get bylines.

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Which players riding the pine might have a significant say in their teams' win totals?

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Mike Ferrin speaks with Ken Funck in this edition of Baseball Prospectus Radio. Click to download the mp3.

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A year removed from one of the most disappointing seasons since, well, pick your least-favorite SNL cast, the Detroit Tigers are back on top in the AL Central. With a middle-of-the-pack offense, the Tigers have been doing it with improved pitching and, just as importantly, stellar defense. Flashing the leather is the latest little black dress of team construction - just take a peak at these defensive rankings for the current front-runners in the AL Central and AL West (all 2009 statistics through June 10th):

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