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Articles Tagged Preston Wilson 

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October 27, 2006 12:00 am

World Series Prospectus: Game Four Diary

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Christina Kahrl

Thursday night was Christina's turn at the keyboard, as the series of Series diaries continues.

8:00 PM: It's the pre-game show, and... do we have a game or no? Me, I wonder if all this Taco Bell talk didn't inspire my decision to cook buffalo-meat tacos-as a former Taco Bell employee, you won't catch me dead in one of the thousands of Casa de Greasepits you'll find hawking its loathsome refried wares on a streetcorner near you.

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October 27, 2006 12:00 am

Prospectus Today: Game Four

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Joe Sheehan

The big story of Game Four depends on your point of view.

If you're a Cardinals fan, there's the way your team came through in the clutch, the big hits by Scott Rolen, David Eckstein, and Preston Wilson. There's Jeff Suppan gutting his way through six innings, and a bullpen that bent but didn't break. There's a three-week ride from, "my god, we're going to be the biggest chokers ever" to "we need one win to be champs."

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Could a woman ever reach the major leagues? Will a Tiger ever take a walk? Does anyone win a free taco? Kevin sorts out the highs and lows of Game Three in St. Louis.

7:05 pm: That's right, my time zone is the World Series time zone--none of that East Coast/West Coast bias here, even if I am a little late after making dinner and watching Jeopardy! For the record, it was the 137th straight episode in which I proclaimed to the room that I would have won had I been there playing. The room consists of my girlfriend Margaret, a dog, and two cats. None of them buy it, even if I went a perfect 10 for 10 in Classic Rock Lyrics and Saudi Arabia.

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October 23, 2006 12:00 am

World Series Prospectus: The I [Heart] New York Matchup

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Jay Jaffe

Jay suffers the exquisite torture of a Jeff Weaver-Kenny Rogers duel in Game Two of the World Series. Go along for a sometimes rocky but always informative ride.

From the second inning through the eighth, Anthony Reyes faced just one hitter over the minimum (a seventh-inning single by Carlos Guillen), retiring 17 batters in order and finishing the frame in 10 pitches or less five times. Ten of those 22 plate appearances ran just one or two pitches, and overall, Tiger hitters saw just 3.14 pitches per plate appearance against him. That's not a recipe for a productive approach at the plate. A simple matter of rust, or a reversion to the team's hacktastic regular-season approach? Tonight should provide us with more insight into that. It also, of course, provides us with an even more compelling storyline, what this Yankee fan will call the I [Heart] NY matchup between two Bronx busts, Kenny Rogers and Jeff Weaver.

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A rematch of the World Champs and the NL pennant winners is what Derek's clicker dials up this time around.

It's been a busy week for both ballclubs. The Astros had the season debut of seven-time Cy Young Award winner Roger Clemens on Thursday, making the decision to have Clemens go against the Minnesota Twins at home, rather than pitch against the White Sox in Chicago. Clemens was hardly dominant in a game where young phenom Francisco Liriano emerged victorious.

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The Cubs take a big jump, while the Marlins fall off a ledge. Plus, how do you silence Fenway fans? That and more in this week's Prospectus Hit List.

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Jonah checks up on his old favorite team, seeing two recently jettisoned pitchers square off in Milwaukee.

1B Brad Wilkerson 2B Jose Vidro RF Jose Guillen CF Preston Wilson LF Ryan Church 3B Vinny Castilla C Brian Schneider SS Cristian Guzman P Ryan Drese Other than Cristian Guzman, that's not an awful lineup. The deeper problem lies in the lack of star power, and the unlikely pace set by a few of the Nats' hitters. Jose Guillen leads the Nationals in VORP, yet he ranks just fourth among National League right fielders, let alone the league's overall elite. Meanwhile Vinny Castilla's .336 OBP may not last, given it would be his highest figure since a Coors Field-assisted .362 in 1998; Nick Johnson, the team's best hitter when healthy, isn't; and Ryan Church is a poor bet to keep going at a .316/.372/.532 clip.

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July 15, 2005 12:00 am

Transaction Analysis: July 8-14

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Christina Kahrl

Chris runs down the roster movement of the last week, as teams start to deal players before the deadline.

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In an article that appeared last week on ESPN.com, Peter Gammons provided a list of 20 players whom respondants to an informal straw poll described as candidates for a breakout season. The list, derived from a survey of major league executives, included a mix of pitchers and hitters, five-tool talents and makeup guys, united only in their ability to tease hibernating fantasy leaguers into dreams of greener days ahead. If one needs any reminder that lists like these are little more than a grownup's version of pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey, it's worth reviewing a similar list that Gammons produced last year.

In an article that appeared last week on ESPN.com, Peter Gammons provided a list of 20 players whom respondants to an informal straw poll described as candidates for a breakout season. The list, derived from a survey of major league executives, included a mix of pitchers and hitters, five-tool talents and makeup guys, united only in their ability to tease hibernating fantasy leaguers into dreams of greener days ahead.

If one needs any reminder that lists like these are little more than a grownup's version of pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey, it's worth reviewing a similar list that Gammons produced last year. That list includes roughly equal representation of the good (Alfonso Soriano and Derek Lowe), the bad (J.D. Drew), and the ugly (Juan Uribe), as well as four players whose performances were so impressive that they made repeat appearances on this year's list.

Now, none of this is meant to be a knock on Gammons, or the lists he has compiled. Everybody likes to talk about breakout candidates this time of year, ourselves included (Eddie Yarnall, anyone?). Having formerly moonlighted as a daily team correspondent for another baseball website, I can attest to the fact that virtually every player provides at least some excuse each winter for gushing commentary, delusions of grandeur, or other forms of irrational exuberance.

As it happens, however, we're unrolling a new forecasting system at BP this year--one that is also preoccupied with the question of breakout candidates. The PECOTA system--short for Player Empirical Comparison and Optimization Test Algorithm--seeks to identify potential breakouts by comparing a player against a database of his historical peers. In so doing, it comes up with an objective estimate of the probability that a player will display marked improvement in the upcoming season (defined as an increase of at least 20% in his Equivalent Runs per plate appearance, or a decrease of at least 20% in his PERA, relative to a weighted average of his previous three years of performance). We refer to this estimate as a player's Breakout score. Readers interested in a more extensive treatment of the PECOTA system will find it in this year's book, and in the PECOTA glossary provided here.

One brief caveat: the PECOTA system is new technology. That doesn't mean that we stole it from the Raelians, or that we haven’t tested it thoroughly. But sometimes PECOTA provides us with definitive and unexpected answers, and we need to work backwards to try and explain why they came about. That's a bastardization of the scientific method, and I'll ask that you'll excuse me as I run through the hitters on Gammons' list.

Rank on Gammons List, Player, PECOTA Breakout Score

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The 17th installment of Joe Sheehan's excellent newsletter appeared in my inbox last night, and it featured analysis of the big, weird Rockies-Marlins-Braves deal that was hinted at last week and finally agreed upon--pending approval from the commissioner's office--this weekend. In analyzing the deal, Joe puts the Rockies in the winner's column and gives the Marlins a goose egg.

The 17th installment of Joe Sheehan's excellent newsletter appeared in my inbox last night (drop Joe some email if you're interested in subscribing), and it featured analysis of the big, weird Rockies-Marlins-Braves deal that was hinted at last week and finally agreed upon--pending approval from the commissioner's office--this weekend. In analyzing the deal, Joe puts the Rockies in the winner's column and gives the Marlins a goose egg. Here's an excerpt from the Marlins section:

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June 3, 1998 12:00 am

Prospect Focus

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Rany Jazayerli

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