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05-17

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12

Raising Aces: Stuffing the Ballot, First Quarter
by
Doug Thorburn

04-12

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24

Pebble Hunting: The Best Pitches Thrown This Week
by
Sam Miller

04-06

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7

BP Unfiltered: Jose Bautista's One-Way War with Umpires
by
Ben Lindbergh

08-31

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5

Wezen-Ball: Do You See Every Pitch of Every Game?
by
Larry Granillo

08-31

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5

Pebble Hunting: The Best Pitches Thrown This Week (Yu Darvish Edition)
by
Sam Miller

08-04

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2

BP Unfiltered: Efficient Felix
by
Ben Lindbergh

07-20

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4

Pebble Hunting: The Best Pitches Thrown This Week
by
Sam Miller

02-10

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14

The Stats Go Marching In: What Are the Rays Expecting from Jose Molina?
by
Max Marchi

01-31

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9

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

10-19

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23

World Series Prospectus: The Midwest Showdown
by
Baseball Prospectus

09-30

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21

Baseball ProGUESTus: A New Take on Plate Discipline--Redefining the Zone
by
Matt Lentzner

09-24

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71

Spinning Yarn: Removing the Mask Encore Presentation
by
Mike Fast

08-17

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11

Spinning Yarn: Why are Batters Hit by Pitches?
by
Mike Fast

07-20

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14

Spinning Yarn: A Zone of Their Own
by
Mike Fast

04-08

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8

Baseball ProGUESTus: The Rookie Effect
by
Brian Mills

03-18

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23

Baseball ProGUESTus: Looking at Pitches Through the Batter's Eyes
by
Matt Lentzner

02-16

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59

Spinning Yarn: The Real Strike Zone
by
Mike Fast

10-26

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8

Spinning Yarn: Interpreting Pitch Classifications
by
Mike Fast

10-14

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8

Manufactured Runs: Just a Bit Outside
by
Colin Wyers

09-24

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12

Ahead in the Count: Predicting Strikeouts with Whiff and Swing Rates
by
Matt Swartz

07-20

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13

Prospectus Q&A: C.J. Wilson
by
David Laurila

06-30

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15

Checking the Numbers: A No-No
by
Eric Seidman

11-12

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12

Checking the Numbers: Extending the Discipline Detection
by
Eric Seidman

11-06

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11

Checking the Numbers: Detecting Discipline
by
Eric Seidman

10-22

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9

Checking the Numbers: Crossing Over
by
Eric Seidman

10-21

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30

Ahead in the Count: What Happened to Cole Hamels?
by
Matt Swartz

10-05

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9

Checking the Numbers: Location and Perception
by
Eric Seidman

05-06

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11

Zumaya's Zooming
by
Ben Lindbergh

04-23

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31

Checking the Numbers: Inside Pitch-f/x
by
Eric Seidman

02-19

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18

Attack of the Finesse Pitchers
by
Eric Seidman

12-12

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4

Player Profile: Ervin Santana
by
Marc Normandin and Eric Seidman

07-25

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0

Prospectus Today: Manageable Workloads
by
Joe Sheehan

06-09

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0

Ballad of the Fatigued
by
Eric Seidman

05-13

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0

Furcal En Fuego
by
Eric Seidman

04-10

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0

Schrodinger's Bat: Defense and Pitch Classification
by
Dan Fox

10-11

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0

Schrodinger's Bat: On Atmosphere, Probability, and Prediction
by
Dan Fox

09-13

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0

Schrodinger's Bat: The Return of the Fish Eye
by
Dan Fox

08-23

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0

Schrodinger's Bat: Visualizing Pitches
by
Dan Fox

07-05

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0

Schrodinger's Bat: Searching for the Gyroball
by
Dan Fox

06-28

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0

Schrodinger's Bat: Playing Favorites
by
Dan Fox

06-21

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0

Schrodinger's Bat: Gameday Meets the Knuckleball
by
Dan Fox

06-14

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0

Schrodinger's Bat: The Science and Art of Building a Better Pitcher Profile
by
Dan Fox

06-07

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0

Schrodinger's Bat: Gameday Triple Play
by
Dan Fox

05-31

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0

Schrodinger's Bat: Physics on Display
by
Dan Fox

05-24

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0

Schrodinger's Bat: Batter Versus Pitcher, Gameday Style
by
Dan Fox

05-10

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0

Schrodinger's Bat: Phil Hughes, Pitch by Pitch
by
Dan Fox

10-16

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0

Future Shock: Monday Morning Ten-Pack
by
Kevin Goldstein

10-16

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0

Prospectus Today: LCS, Day Six
by
Joe Sheehan

10-14

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0

Future Shock: Where Did the Tigers and the Athletics Come From?
by
Kevin Goldstein

10-14

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Prospectus Today: LCS, Day Four
by
Joe Sheehan

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What factors determine how often hitters take one for the team?

Every season major league pitchers throw tens of thousands of pitches inside off the plate, yet they hit batters “only” about 1500-1800 times in a season. Why do some inside pitches hit the batter, while others do not?

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As Jose Bautista can attest, the percentage of pitches a batter sees in the strike zone tells us a good deal about his capabilities.

The pitcher begins each confrontation with a batter with the initiative. He alone controls when the baseball is thrown, how it moves, and where it is located. Thus, the batter is by nature placed in a reactive position. However, the batter, too, has a measure of control over how the plate appearance proceeds. He stands at the plate with a club, and it is within his discretion to swing his weapon or not.

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Do early-season phenoms fade once the rest of the league learns to stop giving them pitches to hit?

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.

Read the full article...

Our latest guest contributor makes the case for changing the frame of reference in PITCHf/x analysis to reflect the way pitches actually appear to the batter.

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. 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.

Read the full article...

Examining umpire calling and catcher framing leads to thought-provoking questions about the amorphous nature of the strike zone.

Ever since the PITCHf/x system debuted in the 2006 playoffs, people have been interested in what it says about the strike zone that the umpires call.

Read the full article...

A closer look at what the various pitch types mean and how to approach pitch classification.

Several of the leading pitchers in this year’s postseason make their living with a cut fastball, most notably Roy Halladay and Mariano Rivera. The list of playoff pitchers who have the cutter as an important pitch in their arsenal, though, is long. It includes Cliff Lee, C.J. Wilson, and Tommy Hunter on the Rangers; Andy Pettitte and Phil Hughes on the Yankees; and Cole Hamels on the Phillies.

Read the full article...

Another look at calling balls and strikes from home.

Prompted by some of the complaints about umpiring, last week I investigated why watching on television may not give an accurate picture of where the ball is actually going. The short version—the position of the camera has a distorting effect on the image, and when the brain reconstructs a three-dimensional view, it is fooled by those distortions. Some people were skeptical of my claims.

Now, as it happens, we have a ready source of data we can use to evaluate the question of observer positioning bias in scoring balls and strikes off of video cameras—the plate discipline stats published by Fangraphs. Those figures are calculated using data provided by Baseball Info Solutions, which uses “video scouts” to collect data off baseball broadcasts (the same telecasts that we see as fans). These video scouts have a representation of the batter, the plate, and the strike zone, and they map the perceived location of the pitch on that image. That data is then aggregated.

Read the full article...

Pitch data shows that the amount of swinging strikes is not predictive of strikeout rates.

When I wrote about pitchers with major divides between their ERAs and SIERAs two weeks ago, a reader inquired why Clay Buchholz had such a pedestrian strikeout rate while having an above average swinging-strike rate. Buchholz has mustered just 6.2 K/9, nearly a full strikeout below the 7.1 league average, but has induced batters to swing and miss on 9.5 percent of his pitches according to FanGraphs, a full percentage point above the 8.5 percent league average. The question was apparent: Do pitchers who get a lot of whiffs increase their strikeout rates over time?

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The Rangers' starter discusses incorporating statistics, mechanics, and video into his pitching preparations.

C.J. Wilson has a unique approach to pitching. The Rangers’ southpaw is both “a math guy” and a student of biomechanics, and the melding of the two helps create a thought process that is as esoteric as it is analytical. There is certainly a method behind the madness, as the 29-year-old Loyola Marymount product has held opponents to a .206 BAA and a .306 SLG in his first season as a member of the Texas rotation. No American League starter has been better against left-handed hitters, who have gone just 9 for 97 against his slants. One negative is walks allowed, as his 60 free passes are the most in the league. Overall, Wilson is 8-5, with a 3.23 ERA in 19 starts.


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June 30, 2010 8:00 am

Checking the Numbers: A No-No

15

Eric Seidman

Diamondbacks manager A.J. Hinch made the wrong decision in allowing Edwin Jackson to throw 149 pitches during his no-hitter last week.

Evaluating managers from a quantitative standpoint is no small feat. There have certainly been attempts and discussions in the past, but no such framework has ever taken hold of the analytical community and forced its way into our vernacular. It can be easy to suggest that the job consists of little more than penciling names onto a card to hand the umpires or lift tired starting pitchers to insert more effective relievers. These are areas that could potentially be quantified, but they're not the sole responsibilities of a skipper. Even so, sometimes the second of those two aspects of managing can become tricky and less clear-cut.

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November 12, 2009 1:06 pm

Checking the Numbers: Extending the Discipline Detection

12

Eric Seidman

Continuing to look at plate discipline with a discussion of contact rate and swing frequency.

Last Friday, I discussed plate discipline at length, noting that the commonly cited facet of performance extends beyond its synonym of patience and into the realm of making fewer responsive mistakes in a given trip to the dish. I introduced signal detection theory as a means of more accurately measuring which hitters produce the correct responses most often, since having good plate discipline must also cover the optimization of in zone pitches and not merely how often a hitter chases.

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November 6, 2009 12:30 pm

Checking the Numbers: Detecting Discipline

11

Eric Seidman

Taking a look at a hitter's discipline and pitch sensitivities; the numbers on who's more inclined to do so may surprise you.

Ever since Billy Beane wrote Moneyball (right, Mr. Morgan?) in order to prove that the true path to success involved only seeking the services of high-OBP employees, analysts of several varieties have worked diligently to discover market inefficiencies worth exploiting. One of the areas that has risen to prominence recently, likely due to the increased availability of the data, focuses on plate discipline on both sides of the spectrum-for hitters, or induced by pitchers.

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