Detailing some of the major panels at the first SABR Analytics Conference and soaking in some spring training action.
I can't do full justice to my trip to Arizona to participate in the inaugural SABR Analytics Conference, which took place from March 15-17 in Mesa, Arizona. Five days in all, part work, part working vacation—and rarely just vacation—the trip was pure sensory overload, a full immersion in a corner of the baseball universe with which I am quite familiar, but one whose size and scope have grown larger than I ever imagined. I couldn't possibly absorb it all, but what follows here and in the second installment is my best attempt to capture some of what I experienced.
A's prospect Michael Choice is having quite the AFL season, but what can his success tell us about how stats should be presented?
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.
Matt Lentzner has carved out a (very) small niche in the baseball analysis world by examining the intersection of physics and biomechanics. He has presented at the PITCHf/x conference in each of the last two years and has written articles for The Hardball Times, as well as a previousarticles for Baseball Prospectus. When he’s not writing, Matt works on his physics-based baseball simulator, which is so awesome and all-encompassing that it will likely never actually be finished, though it does provide the inspiration for most of his articles and presentations. In real life, he’s an IT Director at a small financial consulting company in the Silicon Valley and also runs a physical training gym in his backyard on the weekends.
As a new season dawns, Geoff looks at how baseball went west in the first place.
As Yogi Berra might say, we'll have all year to discuss the season. This week takes us in a different direction. Come, step into my TARDIS, as we examine the origins of professional baseball in each of the NL West cities.
MESA, Arizona__Getting to Phoenix to take in Cactus League action might be seen as one form of heaven or another. After all, there's an almost unlimited amound of baseball on tap in easy driving distance, every day, for weeks on end. Add in tacos, hiking, and warm weather, and there are few better balms to break from Chicago's winter doldrums. Even a two-hour delay on the flight out couldn't really be a buzzkill--I'm going to be out here for two weeks, flitting around to a few different camps to check in as many of the teams as possible, and writing about what I see and whatever develops. Add in the chance to stay with friends old and new--family friends in Mesa one week, and a former fraternity brother and his family in Scottsdale in another, and it pretty much dovetails with my idea of perfection.
Agreed to terms with LF-RConor Jackson on a one-year, $3.1 million contract, avoiding arbitration. [1/14]
Signed 1B-LAdam LaRoche to a one-year, $4.5 million contract, with a $7.5 millon mutual option for 2011 ($1.5 million club buyout); designated OF-REric Byrnes for assignment. [1/15]
The Pirates are one of baseball's most inept franchises. Does the small market excuse carry any weight?
Of course, Pittsburgh is a small market club. The real question is how small relative to the other markets. Here's a revised and updated version of the population section of the "Take to Your Beds!" table: