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06-15

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2

The Stats Go Marching In: Reaching Back for a Little Extra, Part Two
by
Max Marchi

06-04

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5

BP Unfiltered: What Control (and Lack of Control) Looks Like
by
Ben Lindbergh

04-18

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7

The Lineup Card: 10 Favorite Player/Executive Attributes
by
Baseball Prospectus

04-11

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12

Sobsequy: Finding the Zone
by
Adam Sobsey

11-22

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30

Spinning Yarn: How Does Quality of Contact Relate to BABIP?
by
Mike Fast

11-16

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41

Spinning Yarn: Who Controls How Hard the Ball is Hit?
by
Mike Fast

08-04

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1

The Asian Equation: Finding Relief from NPB
by
Michael Street

07-29

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2

Value Picks: Starting Pitchers for 7/29/11
by
Bill Baer

07-07

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14

The Asian Equation: The Decline of NPB Pitching Imports
by
Michael Street

06-23

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17

Spitballing: Checks and Balances
by
Jeremy Greenhouse

05-24

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5

Baseball ProGUESTus: Answers from a Sabermetrician, Part 1
by
Tom Tango

05-09

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5

On the Beat: Scherzer's WARP Drive
by
John Perrotto

02-22

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38

Future Shock: Tampa Bay Rays Top 11 Prospects
by
Kevin Goldstein

01-25

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36

Future Shock: Chicago White Sox Top 11 Prospects
by
Kevin Goldstein

01-06

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38

Future Shock: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Top 11 Prospects
by
Kevin Goldstein

12-16

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15

Ahead in the Count: Home Runs, Fly Balls, and Popups
by
Matt Swartz

12-03

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38

Future Shock: Chicago Cubs Top 11 Prospects
by
Kevin Goldstein

11-30

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41

Future Shock: Cleveland Indians Top 11 Prospects
by
Kevin Goldstein

11-08

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5

So You Need: Relief Pitchers
by
Marc Normandin

07-30

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4

Fantasy Beat: Rotation Promotions
by
Bill Baer

04-08

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13

Under The Knife: Sneaky Recoveries
by
Will Carroll

03-17

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12

Ahead in the Count: Why SIERA Doesn't Throw BABIP Out with the Bath Water
by
Matt Swartz

02-25

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46

Ahead in the Count: DIPS, BABIP and Common Sense
by
Matt Swartz

05-24

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63

Prospectus Idol Entry: Paper Covers Rock: Why Pitchers Don't Control Batting Average on Balls in Play
by
Matt Swartz

05-06

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11

Zumaya's Zooming
by
Ben Lindbergh

11-17

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23

Future Shock: Rockies Top 11 Prospects
by
Kevin Goldstein

11-03

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18

Future Shock: Diamondbacks Top 11 Prospects
by
Kevin Goldstein

10-05

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1

Prospectus Q&A: Paul Byrd
by
David Laurila

06-22

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0

Ballad of the Fatigued
by
Eric Seidman

02-24

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0

Prospectus Q&A: Doug Thorburn
by
David Laurila

07-04

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0

Fantasy Focus: The RotoWire ROI 100
by
Erik Siegrist

01-04

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0

Breakout Prospects
by
Bryan Smith

09-22

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0

Teams: A Critical Guide: Rare Dick Weik Mention Edition
by
Steven Goldman

12-23

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0

Can Of Corn: The Rule 5 Draft
by
Dayn Perry

09-17

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0

Can Of Corn: Game Scores, v2.0
by
Dayn Perry

07-03

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0

Touring the Minors
by
Keith Scherer

06-22

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0

Touring the Minors
by
Keith Scherer

04-12

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0

Touring the Minors
by
Keith Scherer

08-25

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0

Olympic Prospectus
by
Derek Zumsteg

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Max continues his investigation into how starters and relievers and hard throwers and soft tossers alter their velocity depending on the situation and opponent.

In my previous installment, I explored pitch speeds in several situations and discovered that pitchers can add some gas to their offerings in certain spots. Both here at Baseball Prospectus and at The Book Blog, readers made insightful comments on the subject, suggesting possible biases and ways to expand on the analysis.

This time, I’ll go over some of those points.

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On Sunday, Joe Blanton and Daniel Bard continued to test the extremes of missing and finding the strike zone, respectively.

Daniel Bard has the second-highest walk rate in the American League. Joe Blanton has the fourth-lowest walk rate in the National League. Both of them pitched yesterday, and both of them found the strike zone about as often as expected. Here's what that looked like, courtesy of Brooks Baseball's pitch plots:

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Which individual player tools are favorites of the BP staff?



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How can we distinguish between a pitcher's "command" and "control"? And what does that have to do with good writing?

In his sparkling debut for Baseball Prospectus last week, Doug Thorburn wrote perceptively and with iconoclastic intelligence about pitching mechanics.

“The ominous world of pitching is full of theoretical sand traps,” Thorburn wrote, “and modern research has uncovered the evidence to challenge some deep-rooted beliefs.” His article does just that. (And let me also put in a plug for “Raising Aces: Da Pitching Code,” which he published about a year ago on the Baseball Daily Digest web site and which provided some of the seeds of thought for last week’s BP article.)

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Mike continues his investigation of HITf/x data to glean more insights into whether pitchers can prevent hits on balls in play.

In the first part of this study, I used detailed batted ball speed information from HITf/x to examine the degree of skill that batters and pitchers had in quality of contact made or allowed. Here, I will look deeper into the question of why some batted balls fall for hits and others do not.

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When a batter and pitch face off, which has a greater effect on how hard the ball is hit, and what can that tell us about pitcher BABIP?

The last decade has seen much discussion and evolution in sabermetric thought around the relative abilities of batters, pitchers, fielders, and Lady Luck to control the outcome of batted balls. Data collected by Sportvision and MLBAM sheds new light on this question, but before we tackle that data, let’s review some of the history of how we came to our current state of knowledge.

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August 4, 2011 12:17 am

The Asian Equation: Finding Relief from NPB

1

Michael Street

In his fifth Asian Equation column, Michael looks at the relievers who have enjoyed modest success--and failure--making the move from Japan to America.

The last group in my analysis of the player’s who have migrated to MLB from Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) are the relievers, the least appreciated members of a successful baseball team. Yet, of all NPB imports, they have been the most numerous (explaining the length of this article, for which I apologize in advance) and the cheapest. Diminished quality is the most obvious reason for these extremes, since starters who don’t meet MLB standards get shifted to the bullpen, and lesser talents also keep salaries down. Additionally, the typical NPB pitcher’s arsenal matches well with an MLB reliever’s skillset.

As I discussed in my last Asian Equation article, NPB is a breaking ball league, which translates better to relief than starting. A good breaking ball might fool major league hitters the first or second time they see it in a game, but it probably won’t the third or fourth time. As an illustration, here’s how batter OPS rises against two of the biggest NPB starting-pitcher busts as compared with three current MLB pitchers: the best, the most mediocre, and an old junkballer. While MLB batters’ performance improves against each pitcher the more times they see him in a game, the change is far more dramatic with Matsuzaka and Kawakami.

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July 29, 2011 1:32 am

Value Picks: Starting Pitchers for 7/29/11

2

Bill Baer

Bill welcomes a pair of former prospects to VP and wonders whether Chris Capuano is fatigued or injured.

Newcomers
David Huff, Cleveland Indians (2% Yahoo!, 2% ESPN, 4% CBS)
Huff has looked quite good in his first two MLB starts of the year. His solid performance in his last start was overshadowed by the incompetence of his team's offense and defense, at least on that particular day. The Indians' defense committed five errors behind him while Ervin Santana tossed baseball's third no-hitter of the season.



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July 7, 2011 9:00 am

The Asian Equation: The Decline of NPB Pitching Imports

14

Michael Street

In his fourth column in the Asian Equation series, Michael looks at the starting pitchers who have crossed the Pacific, in which many failures are punctuated with a few very notable successes.

In the flood of players coming from Japan, the majority (34 of 43) have been pitchers. Unlike the pursuit of the next Ichiro I described in my previous column, this has less to do with the success of Hideo Nomo than it does with the pitching market–pitching is a difficult commodity to find in any league. What has doomed many NPB starters in MLB, however, has been both talent and adjustment to a different pitching philosophy. To understand and explain the differences between the two, I’ve drawn not only on my own expertise, but relied on Japanese pitching expert Patrick Newman at NPB Tracker for additional insight.

Pitching differences reflect a deeper philosophical difference between Japanese and American baseball. As I discussed in my first Asian Equation column, Japanese culture appreciates baseball’s emphasis on discipline, sacrifice, and the dramatic showdown between pitcher and batter. Instead of putting a batter away quickly, NPB pitchers build tension by indiscriminately filling counts before a perfectly placed strike three resolves the battle. These aren’t seen as “wasted” pitches, instead reflecting the samurai-like virtues of endurance and dramatic battles.

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Enlisting a new type of analysis to reveal who's winning the eternal battle between batters and pitchers, and why.

Background: You’ve got to admit they’re getting better

“When the 100-meter freestyle is held today in high school girls’ regional swimming meets, it is generally won by a girl who swims the distance in just under 60 seconds. That time would have won the men’s Olympic competition in 1920, or any year before it.”—Baseball Between The Numbers

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Tom Tango returns to answer your first batch of questions from last week.

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.

You asked, he answered. Below are the first batch of responses to the questions BP readers submitted for sabermetrician Tom Tango. All questions are presented in their original form.

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May 9, 2011 5:35 am

On the Beat: Scherzer's WARP Drive

5

John Perrotto

The up-and-coming Tigers hurler credits advanced metrics with helping make him a better pitcher.

The question caught Max Scherzer completely off guard. The Tigers right-hander was in the Comerica Park clubhouse last Wednesday night, talking to reporters about his dominant performance against the Yankees. He explained how he was able to shut down the highest-scoring team in the major leagues by being aggressive and continually getting ahead in the count.

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