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02-15

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10

Pitcher Profile: Milwaukee's Rotation Brew
by
Harry Pavlidis

02-12

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6

Wezen-Ball: The Night Pete Rose Broke the Record
by
Larry Granillo

11-13

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37

Bizball: Ranking 10 MLB Relocation and Expansion Markets Shows Why Either is Difficult
by
Maury Brown

07-16

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19

Bizball: Playing the MLB All-Star Game Television Ratings Game
by
Maury Brown

03-08

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3

Painting the Black: The Show Review
by
R.J. Anderson

02-07

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12

Future Shock: Atlanta Braves Top 11 Prospects
by
Kevin Goldstein

01-31

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9

Baseball ProGUESTus: The Knuckleball Mystique: Using PITCHf/x to Distinguish Perception from Reality
by
Alan M. Nathan

12-12

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107

Prospectus Hit and Run: Braun Banned for PEDs [Version 9]
by
Jay Jaffe

11-17

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48

The Lineup Card: 11 Ballplayers Who Suffered Unusual Demises
by
Baseball Prospectus

11-07

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1

Resident Fantasy Genius: Q&A with Brian Kenny
by
Derek Carty

10-14

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21

Baseball ProGUESTus: When 100 Tiles Meets 27 Outs
by
Diane Firstman

09-23

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16

Kiss'Em Goodbye: Los Angeles Dodgers
by
Steven Goldman, Kevin Goldstein and ESPN Insider

09-20

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13

The Asian Equation: The Future of the NPB Import Market
by
Michael Street

09-14

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41

The BP Broadside: In Which the Commish is Eviscerated
by
Steven Goldman

08-04

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1

The Asian Equation: Finding Relief from NPB
by
Michael Street

08-01

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0

Value Picks: First, Third, and DH for 8/1/11
by
Michael Street

07-07

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14

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

06-10

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11

Baseball ProGUESTus: Interviews with an Indelible Owner
by
Tim Marchman

05-11

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28

The Asian Equation
by
Michael Street

04-19

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26

The Payoff Pitch: Plenty of Good Seats Still Available
by
Neil deMause

04-05

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9

The Payoff Pitch: Probing the Forbes Figures
by
Neil deMause

04-01

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0

Baseball ProGUESTus: Answer Me These Questions Three
by
Mike Ferrin

02-16

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11

Prospectus Hit and Run: Check, Call, Reyes, Fold?
by
Jay Jaffe

02-07

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21

Future Shock: Cincinnati Reds Top 11 Prospects
by
Kevin Goldstein

01-25

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36

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

01-10

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6

The Week in Quotes: January 3-9
by
Alex Carnevale

12-24

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19

Future Shock: Florida Marlins Top 11 Prospects
by
Kevin Goldstein

10-15

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8

Overthinking It: The Magic Touch?
by
Ben Lindbergh

08-30

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7

On the Beat: No Problem with the Pirates
by
John Perrotto

08-29

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2

Between The Numbers: The PITCHf/x Summit Quasi-Liveblog
by
Ben Lindbergh

07-19

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0

The Week in Quotes: July 12-18
by
Alex Carnevale

07-13

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14

Prospectus Q&A: Jeff Ma
by
Will Carroll

06-23

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11

Under The Knife: Beltran's Clock Ready to Tick
by
Will Carroll

04-21

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27

UTK Special: The Volquez Suspension
by
Will Carroll

03-12

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6

MLB 10
by
Marc Normandin

03-12

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22

MLB 10
by
Marc Normandin

03-07

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3

Prospectus Q&A: Chaz Scoggins
by
David Laurila

03-01

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5

The Week in Quotes: February 22-28
by
Alex Carnevale

02-26

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40

Future Shock: Giants Top 11 Prospects
by
Kevin Goldstein

02-18

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25

Squawking Baseball: Non-traditional viewing
by
Shawn Hoffman

02-08

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40

Future Shock: Dodgers Top 11 Prospects
by
Kevin Goldstein

02-03

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18

Transaction Action: The 10,000 Arms of Dr. T.
by
Christina Kahrl

01-11

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15

Ahead in the Count: Part 2 of Service-time Contracts and Wins
by
Matt Swartz

12-28

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3

The Week in Quotes: December 21-27
by
Alex Carnevale

10-12

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2

The Week in Quotes: October 5-11
by
Alex Carnevale

09-14

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14

The Week in Quotes: September 7-13
by
Alex Carnevale

07-29

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16

The Biz Beat: Seeing Everything?
by
Shawn Hoffman

06-24

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12

The Biz Beat: Live Streaming on the iPhone
by
Shawn Hoffman

05-31

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47

Prospectus Idol Entry: Breakouts, Breakdowns, or Just Outliers?
by
Brian Cartwright

05-17

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52

Prospectus Idol Entry: Brian Cartwright's Initial Entry
by
Brian Cartwright

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September 20, 2011 10:41 pm

The Asian Equation: The Future of the NPB Import Market

13

Michael Street

Michael ends his look at Japanese imports with some conclusions and a look at the future of the transpacific player market.

In the Asian Equation series, I’ve traced the history of the current posting system that imports players from NPB (Nippon Professional Baseball, the Japanese major leagues) and how the success of Ichiro Suzuki has affected it, from the position players who arrived in his wake to the pricey disappointments among starting pitchers and the marginally successful relievers. In this final column, I’ll take a look back to draw conclusions from this history and see what we can expect from the NPB market in the future. As with my previous columns, Patrick Newman’s advice and ideas were very helpful, as is his website, NPB Tracker.

The simplest, broadest conclusion concerns the players themselves, where we must draw an important distinction between talent and skills. As Craig Brown wrote in the comments section of his article on Tsuyoshi Nishioka, “. . . comparing two middle infielders just because they come from Japan is like comparing two middle infielders just because they come from Delaware.” Just because they’re from Japan doesn’t mean we can draw specific conclusions about individual ballplayers, their talents, or their ability to succeed in Major League Baseball. This goes double for Ichiro, whose skills are idiosyncratic on either side of the Pacific. Throwing money at Japanese players expecting them to be slap hitters with weird batting stances and an uncanny ability to find defensive holes is as foolish as thinking every Venezuelan shortstop will field (and endure) like Omar Vizquel. We can’t expect specific players to have certain inherent talents just because they were born in Japan.

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Taking MLB to task for their petty stance on 9/11-related hatwear.(Warning: some politics.)

Note: I’m going to get political here. As Kevin says in his podcast posts, don’t say you weren’t warned.

I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised by an ineffectual tantrum from the Commissioner after his pathetic, money-grubbing minions were called out by the Mets after they were banned from wearing caps honoring first-responders on the ten-year anniversary of 9/11.

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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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August 1, 2011 12:09 am

Value Picks: First, Third, and DH for 8/1/11

0

Michael Street

Deadline deals mean Michael drops one Value Pick and adds another one, while a third VP changes teams.

In fantasy baseball as in life, timing is everything. Sometimes we make fantasy moves a bit too soon, and sometimes we make them a bit too late. This week, I’ll look at both kinds of mistakes, although if either player means everything to your fantasy team, you may be beyond the help of even our crack Value Picks staff.
 


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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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A treasure trove of archived video fosters appreciation for the wit and wisdom of the late, great Bill Veeck.

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.

Tim Marchman writes about sports and can be reached at tlmarchman@gmail.com.

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May 11, 2011 9:00 am

The Asian Equation

28

Michael Street

At the dawn of the posting system, the arrival of the unique Ichiro Suzuki would forever change the player market between the U.S. and Japan.

Last month, I traced the early history of Japanese-American player traffic, from the Pirates’ sly attempt to sign Eiji Sawamura in the 1930s to the loophole-leaping of players like Hideo Nomo and Alfonso Soriano in the 1990s. To close that voluntary-retirement loophole and to prevent trading players like Hideki Irabu without their permission, Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) and Major League Baseball (MLB) agreed on the current posting system in 1998. The system was designed to allow MLB teams to sign NPB stars without turning the NPB into another minor league, by forcing MLB teams to pay twice for NPB players, with about half of the total fee typically going to that player’s club.

During the leagues’ offseason, NPB teams can choose to post players who want to test the MLB waters. Once a player is posted, any MLB team has four days to submit a bid to the MLB commissioner for the right to negotiate with him. The highest bidding team then has thirty days to sign a contract. If they succeed, the team pays the posting fee to the player’s NPB club, but if they can’t come to an agreement, no fee is paid. The winning club thus pays for a player twice, with a portion going to the team as a non-negotiable sealed bid. This kind of blind bidding can easily lead to overpaying, benefitting the NPB club, but not the player.

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April 19, 2011 10:00 am

The Payoff Pitch: Plenty of Good Seats Still Available

26

Neil deMause

Are April's record-low attendance marks a sign that the ticket bubble has burst?

The young baseball season is already shaping up to be lots of things—the Year of the Great Red Sox Collapse, maybe, or the Year of the Exploding Appendices—but one theme that might actually survive small-sample goofiness to have some legs is the Year the Fans Went Away. MLB attendance has been gradually sliding ever since its peak in 2007, but the early signs this year have been pretty alarming:

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April 5, 2011 6:20 am

The Payoff Pitch: Probing the Forbes Figures

9

Neil deMause

What the magazine's annual team financial estimates can tell us about the value of a World Series appearance, and the fate of the Dodgers and Mets.

For sports economics geeks, it's a rite of spring right up there with unpopular politicians throwing out first pitches: the annual release of Forbes magazine's baseball team value numbers. The tradition goes back to 1990, when Michael Ozanian first published estimates of MLB teams' finances for Financial World magazine; when Financial World disappeared in a puff of mismanagement in 1998, Ozanian took his spreadsheets to Forbes, where they've appeared ever since.

For years, sports economists treated the Forbes numbers as kind of a business-side equivalent to fielding stats: probably not all that accurate, but worth looking at because, hey, they're all we've got. All of that changed, though, after last summer's Leakgate, in which internal MLB documents leaked to Deadspin revealed the financial details for several MLB teams—and the income numbers matched the Forbes figures almost exactly. All those team execs who'd been complaining that the Forbes figures didn't reflect their actual losses—like the Florida Marlins' David Samson, who griped in 2007 that, "They look at revenue sharing numbers and the team's payroll and take the difference and see profit without looking at our expenses"—were, it turned out, blowing smoke.

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Radio man Mike Ferrin takes the mic to identify three players and coaches to watch based on his conversations with players and executives this spring.

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.

Mike Ferrin is the host of MLB Roundtrip on Sirius-XM MLB Network Radio, airing at midnight on weeknights and after the games on weekends on channels XM 175 and Sirius 210. He also makes killer country-style ribs in his smoker.

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What can the Mets do with their starting shortstop, and what should they do?

On Sunday night here in New York City, I had the pleasure of showing off a shiny new copy of Baseball Prospectus 2011 on the Fox Sports Extra Show with Duke Castiglione (clip here). Over the course of our rapid-fire four-minute exchange, Castiglione—who had me on twice last season for similar discussions—quizzed me about what BP's PECOTA projections say about the likelihood of various key Yankees and Mets rebounding from subpar 2010 showings, among them Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, and A.J. Burnett on the Yankees' side, and Jose Reyes and Jason Bay on the Mets.

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Taking it from the top, it's a system with plenty of star power up front, but depth falls away quickly.

Previous Rankings: 2010 | 2009 | 2008

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