Former fringe major leaguer Eric Knott dishes on his difficult decisions about PED use during his time as a professional player.
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.
Ben and Sam discuss whether the latest PED revelations really revealed anything worrisome before previewing the Rays' season with Adam Sobsey. Then Pete talks to Tampa Bay Tribune Rays reporter Roger Mooney (at 25:30).
If the BBWAA doesn't select Ryan Braun as NL MVP, should we blame PED payback?
A few years back, Jay Jaffe introduced an MVP Predictor formula called JUMP on Baseball Prospectus. It was, if his descriptions of his spreadsheets are any indication, a spectacularly messy equation, befitting the complex and irregular methods voters use to choose their MVPs. As Jay wrote at the time,
Was the Giants' decision not to bring back Melky for the NLCS justified on a pure performance level?
“It’s not like he can play anywhere, or face some good competition on a rehab. That’s what you have to look at. When you bring somebody that’s been on the DL for an extended period of time, it takes time to be ready. It’s not that easy a game. That’s what we have to look at. What’s gonna be valuable to us? Someone who hasn’t been playing or the guys who have been here?”—Bruce Bochy on Melky Cabrera
How much did Melky Cabrera's suspension affect San Francisco's odds of appearing in October?
When news of Melky Cabrera’s 50-game suspension for taking testosterone broke this afternoon, the Giants had 45 games remaining, were tied with the Dodgers atop the NL West, and were half a game worse than the Braves and Pirates, the two teams tentatively holding the two NL Wild Cards. Shortly after that, they lost to the Nationals, 6-4, but let’s pretend that never happened. (Who knows, maybe with Melky they would have won.) This morning, with Melky, the Giants had a 60.5 percent chance of making the playoffs: 53.2 percent from winning the division, and 7.3 percent from winning a Wild Card. How much did losing Melky for the rest of the regular season affect their odds?
Exploring the origins of baseball's unique moral burden, with an assist from Diderot and Jacques Barzun.
Poor baseball. These two words keep running through my mind lately, the way a line from a song gets stuck in your head. Poor baseball. Poor baseball. Oh, pity poor baseball.
It is our beast of burden. We ask the sport to do so much work for us, and when it fails, we beat it mercilessly, often until we are beating ourselves. That is because the work we ask baseball to do is moral, and the punishment for doing it poorly or not at all is severe.
The new JAWS runs up against players from the Steroid Era to determine their Hall worthiness.
As with comedy, timing is everything in baseball. "Hitting is timing," Hall of Famer Warren Spahn said famously, finishing the thought with the complementary observation, "Pitching is upsetting timing." A good chunk of both the game's traditional and advanced statistics, the ones that we spurn and those that we celebrate, owe plenty to being the right man in the right place at the right time—wins, saves, and RBI from the former camp, leverage, run expectancy, and win expectancy from the latter. ERA owes everything to the sequence of events. For better or worse, MVP votes are won and lost on the timing of a player's productivity, or at least the perception of it that comes with being labeled "clutch." Timing is a major part of how we measure the game, so it should matter when we look over the course of a player's career in evaluating his fitness for the Hall of Fame.
One of the greatest hitters of a generation belatedly hangs up his spikes.
Gary Sheffield officially announced his retirement on Thursday, not that it was a huge surprise. The 42-year-old slugger did not play in 2010, though he probably still had something to offer, coming off a .276/.372/.451 season in a part-time role with the Mets in 2009. In the same breath with which he made the announcement, Sheffield made his case for Cooperstown. "I am sure it will be mentioned and debated, but from my standpoint I know who is in the Hall of Fame," he said. "A lot of them don't belong in the Hall of Fame. If someone wants to debate me, check the stats."