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February 15, 2013 5:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Mike Trout and Regression Obsession

18

Mike Gianella

No matter how hard you try to discredit Trout, he stacks up as an elite fantasy option in 2013.

Like many fantasy players, I spend little if any time during the season worrying about what a player will earn the following year. Even in keeper formats, I don’t invest a significant amount of time trying to figure out future earnings.

While I didn’t have an exact dollar value assigned to Mike Trout for 2013 back in October, I assumed that I’d have him ranked first or second in AL-only formats and first, second, or third in mixed formats. Besides Ryan Braun and Miguel Cabrera, there were few players who seemed capable of putting up big enough fantasy numbers to come close to Trout.

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Ben and Sam discuss whether the second wild card has made the stretch run more exciting, then talk about why papers publish columns that criticize advanced stats without making an effort to understand them.

Ben and Sam discuss whether the second wild card has made the stretch run more exciting, then talk about why papers publish columns that criticize advanced stats without making an effort to understand them.

Episode 53: "Is the Second Wild Card Working?/Explaining Mainstream Screeds Against Advanced Stats"

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March 9, 2012 3:00 am

Everyone's Perfect: The Relativity of Value

7

Eriq Gardner

A look at why there's no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach to valuing a player

In the game of baseball, environment often plays a role in determining a player’s worth. For example, a pitcher who is skilled at inducing groundballs may be more valuable than his flyball-prone counterpart in a home-run-happy ballpark like Coors Field. This same pitcher will be less valuable, though, if he plays on a team like the Detroit Tigers that has a porous infield defense. Or consider a position player who is gifted with the bat but has a poor glove. This player isn’t much of a problem in the American League because of the DH rule, but in the National League, a player with fielding deficiencies often has nowhere to play (just look at Jim Thome this year).

In other words, value is often about context. The same holds true in fantasy baseball, although it’s a factor that’s considered less frequently. Often, we pretend we’re all playing the same game. We’re not.

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September 29, 2009 1:28 pm

Changing Speeds: Situational Pitching, Part 3

1

Ken Funck

How do pitchers adapt to situations with runners on second or third, where a ball in play equals danger on the scoreboard?

In the first two installments of this series, we dug into the mystery of whether pitchers are able to beneficially change their approach in double-play situations. By digging through pitching data from 2005-09, we were able to make a few general statements:

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September 7, 2009 4:23 pm

Checking the Numbers: Pujols and the Simulation Gauntlet

9

Eric Seidman

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 Pujols a 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.

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Since you're reading this article at Baseball Prospectus, there's a good chance I know a little bit about you. You're passionate about baseball, to the point that some of your friends who don't share your enthusiasm may actually find it a little annoying (but enjoy your company nevertheless). You've invested a lot of time and energy learning more about the game and how it actually works, as opposed to how others seem to think it works, and consider that time well-spent. Thus you cringe whenever you're listening to a ballgame and the genial ex-player doing color commentary, who may have been a childhood idol of yours, describes some 8-year veteran with a career 726 OPS as a "professional hitter", or your favorite team's manager complains about his players clogging up the bases by taking too many walks. I've been there. Everyone here understands.

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January 22, 2009 12:19 pm

Fantasy Beat: Picking Your Opportunities

5

Marc Normandin

When looking for tools to evaluate players with otherwise hidden value, here's one you might not have considered.

One of the categories in fantasy baseball that doesn't get much love here at Baseball Prospectus is the RBI. The reasons for that are obvious, regardless of how much some of the mainstream media admire them, as RBI do very little to explain how productive or unproductive a player really is-look no further than the induction of Jim Rice into the Hall of Fame this year for your evidence. They are, generally speaking, a detriment to the analysis of a player's value, and do little to add to the conversation that we continue to push forward on a daily basis.

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February 9, 2007 12:00 am

Prospectus Matchups: The Column Reversers

0

Jim Baker

Jim pays tribute to those players who don't slug much, yet still manage to get on base.

For instance, last year just three of the 147 players with 502 or more plate appearances were column reversers. Leading the way was Jason Kendall at .367/.342, followed by David Eckstein at .350/.344 and Brad Ausmus at .308/.285. For Kendall, it marked the third consecutive season he's made the list after never having done it in the first eight years of his career. In 2005, he was joined by just one other player out of a possible 144, that being then-Marlin second sacker Luis Castillo; 2006 is only the second time in Castillo's 11-year career he has not reversed columns. His current career totals stand at .369 OBP and .358 SLG.

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In the beginning, there were no rotations. There were no relievers. There was only one pitcher, and the term "everyday player" had no meaning. In 1876, George Bradley started all 64 games for the St. Louis Brown Stockings, completing 63 of them; his teammates combined to throw four innings all year. Of course, in the early days of the National League, the task performed by the pitcher bore little resemblance to what we call "pitching" today. At various times in the first two decades of professional baseball, the distance from the pitcher to home plate was less than 50 feet; a walk required nine balls; bunts that landed in fair territory before skidding to the backstop were considered fair balls; hitters could call for a "high" or "low" pitch; pitchers could throw the ball from a running start; and curveballs and overhand pitches were illegal. The game changed quickly, and it quickly became impossible for a team to rely on a single pitcher for its entire season. And once that point was reached, the question of how best to maximize each pitcher's usage was born.

Of course, in the early days of the National League, the task performed by the pitcher bore little resemblance to what we call "pitching" today. At various times in the first two decades of professional baseball, the distance from the pitcher to home plate was less than 50 feet; a walk required nine balls; bunts that landed in fair territory before skidding to the backstop were considered fair balls; hitters could call for a "high" or "low" pitch; pitchers could throw the ball from a running start; and curveballs and overhand pitches were illegal.

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