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Can rational fans pull for fluky teams, or are we bound to support good process over unpredictability?

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.

Nick Piecoro is in his sixth season as a beat writer covering the Arizona Diamondbacks for ​The Arizona Republic and azcentral.com. Once an all-glove, no-stick Little Leaguer, he grew up playing APBA games in the suburbs of Phoenix. If he’s not writing or talking or watching baseball, he’s probably listening to or watching or falling asleep to music, movies, or television shows. You can follow him on Twitter @nickpiecoro.

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The results of the blind BABIP test are in. How did you do? And what can we learn from your answers?

On Friday, many of you took the blind BABIP test. I gave you 18 GIFs, in nine sets of two, each set comprising two batted balls. One was a hit. The other was an out. You guessed which was which, but you couldn’t see the outcome; the GIFs cut off at the frame just as contact was made, or just before contact was made. This was supposed to tell us something. I’ll get to the big result first: We’re the worst at this!

I tallied 82 full sets of answers, which is 738 individual guesses, of which 387 were correct. That is 52 percent correct. Closing our eyes and pointing would theoretically have earned us 369 correct answers.  All the wisdom of the 82 of you was worth 18 extra correct answers. So that's the big thing first.

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In order to become more right, we have to be wrong. But we also have to acknowledge that we're wrong and attempt to figure out why.

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.

​Graham MacAree is the Lead Soccer Editor at SB Nation. He co-founded Statcorner and invented tRA. He also owns multiple Jeff Clement jerseys.
 


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A look inside Ryan Braun's PED case

Let’s just cut to the chase and say, “We don’t know.” Of course, we’re talking about Ryan Braun’s PED case, which saw his 50-game suspension overturned this past week. There are just too many questions still unanswered, many of which may never be fully known.  What we do know is there are two issues in the Braun case that are in direct conflict with each other: Braun tested positive for elevated levels of testosterone, and the manner in which Braun’s test specimen was handled was deemed to break the chain of custody protocol within baseball’s drug agreement. You can argue that Braun’s comments come into play as well, but at the heart of it, the matter is about a positive PED test and the manner in which the specimen that showed that Braun’s testosterone-to-epitestosterone ratio was over the threshold for a positive test was handled improperly. That’s it.

The following breaks down aspects of the most recently available Joint Drug Agreement (JDA) as it relates directly to the Braun case (a new JDA that is part of the recently reached CBA has not yet been released to the public).

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Talking arbitration with long-time baseball arbitrator, professor, and author Roger Abrams.

While looking toward the future with our comprehensive slate of current content, we'd also like to recognize our rich past by drawing upon our extensive (and mostly free) online archive of work dating back to 1997. In an effort to highlight the best of what's gone before, we'll be bringing you a weekly blast from BP's past, introducing or re-introducing you to some of the most informative and entertaining authors who have passed through our virtual halls. If you have fond recollections of a BP piece that you'd like to nominate for re-exposure to a wider audiencesend us your suggestion.

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National League MVP has tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs and faces a 50-game suspension barring an unprecedented overturning of the result.

This story was initially published around 8:30 PM ET on Saturday night and has since been revised several times as new information has emerged. Please scroll down to see updates.


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The signing deadline for amateur draftees passed last night, but concerns about the system remain.

While looking toward the future with our comprehensive slate of current content, we'd also like to recognize our rich past by drawing upon our extensive (and mostly free) online archive of work dating back to 1997. In an effort to highlight the best of what's gone before, we'll be bringing you a weekly blast from BP's past, introducing or re-introducing you to some of the most informative and entertaining authors who have passed through our virtual halls. If you have fond recollections of a BP piece that you'd like to nominate for re-exposure to a wider audiencesend us your suggestion.

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In the final installment of the series, there's a look at rating the speed tool, a player's makeup, and the misuse of scouting jargon.

This article is a hodgepodge, a collection of sediments left at the bottom of the wine glass (or coffee cup, if you so desire). I’ll jump from the on-the-field identification and evaluation of the speed tool, discuss my definition of makeup and how it influences the developmental process, and I’ll put a bow on the baby with a brief criticism of those that misuse scouting terminology. It’s a pastiche of subordinate thoughts, but I would be remiss to let them float in the ether. Potpourri Prospectus!

The Need for Speed
Speed is the preferred tool of the baseball pest: a player that uses a specific physical attribute to affect the chemistry of the on-field action. Speed can propel a player into professional baseball, and can disguise the overall effectiveness of that player while in the throes of the developmental process. Speed is not required for major-league success, but that isn’t to say speed is detrimental to a skill set; obviously, speed is a tool that is beneficial to possess. But speed is a secondary tool, a catalytic tool, and the evaluation of that tool, while tangible and painless to scout, often clouds the painting of the prospect in question. Speed is a tool with psychotropic properties.


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Just like with pitcher evaluation, hitter evaluation requires a keen eye for a solid player body.

In parts one and two of this series, I exhausted the word allotments per piece, yet barely scratched the surface of the subject at hand. A proper breakdown of what I look for in a pitcher would probably require a six-beer conversation, and that’s rushing it a bit. Talking continuously while maintaining a socially acceptable pace of alcohol consumption, I would need at least three hours on the platform to expatiate my thoughts on the process of pitching evaluation. Have you ever listened to someone talk for three straight hours about pitching? It’s awesome, but it requires passion, patience, and an ever-climbing blood alcohol level. The point is, I wanted to offer more, but articulating my thoughts on this page proved to be more difficult than I imagined. I’m sure it comes as no shock to you that drinking and running my mouth about scouting come naturally, while writing succinct articles with clever narratives proves to be more difficult.

Before taking the stage to deliver my thoughts on the evaluation of hitters, it needs to be stated that like the previous articles, this is going to be a six-beer conversation compressed into a few thousand words. (Actually, it would probably require a 12-beer conversation or two separate six-beer sessions, but let’s not even go there.)  Because of the density involved, I’m sometimes going to paint with a wide brush, but I’ll get precise when a detail needs dissection. As is the case for every article I write (or fail to write), my door [read: my electronic door] is always open to the fine readers of Baseball Prospectus. If you ever have any comments, questions, insults, accolades, or want clarification on a point, or want me to expand on a comment that didn’t receive enough explanation, I’m always willing to start up a conversation or provide a more thorough description. Don’t be shy.

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To set up PECOTA week, here's a look back at how the sausage was made.

Welcome to PECOTA week here at Baseball Prospectus. All week, we'll be running content on the state of our projection system, covering where we're at and where we're going. To kick things off, let's pull back the curtain and have a look at the history of PECOTA production, which should answer a lot of questions readers have asked.

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The Brewers' flamethrowing top pick from 2004 sits down to discuss his rehab,his secondary pitches, and the coaches who helped him get back on the mound.

When a 23-year-old pitcher excels in the Florida State League in his sixth professional season, it usually isn't anything to get excited about. Mark Rogers is an exception. The Brewers right-hander was back on the mound this summer after missing two full seasons due to injury, and he did more than just prove that he was healthy enough to pitch-he once again flashed a fastball that flirted with triple digits. Selected fifth overall in the 2004 draft, out of a Topsham, Maine high school, Rogers once ranked alongside Prince Fielder, Ryan Braun, and Yovani Gallardo as Milwaukee's top prospects, and with his surgically-repaired shoulder seemingly back to 100 percent, he now appears back on track to join them in Miller Park. Rogers talked about his long journey back, and his desire to reward the Brewers for their faith in him, at the conclusion of the Arizona Fall League season.

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February 25, 2009 2:01 pm

The Ledger Domain: Salary Arbitration Beats Free Agency

4

Maury Brown

Big scores were struck for the players through the arbitration process this winter.

"Honestly? What's to like about it?"
-Anonymous MLB executive, on the subject of salary arbitration


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