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BP is looking for a few good interns.

Baseball Prospectus is looking for interns for 2012, specifically for the spring and summer academic quarters (or immediately, if available now). Before applying, please ensure that you can devote at least 10 hours per week to tasks including, but not limited to, interesting and rewarding baseball stuff. Internships are unpaid aside from the famous free Baseball Prospectus Premium subscription for life, and you must receive college credit for your internship. Please be sure your application email mentions the period during which you wish to work.

Baseball Prospectus interns have the opportunity to do great things. Editorial interns will immediately contribute to the operations of a site that publishes dozens of articles per week. Technical interns can lead lasting, important projects, as former BP super-intern Ben Murphy did with the Player Forecast Manager. Many interns have contributed bylined content during their internships, and others have worked extensively on Baseball Prospectus book projects. One former intern was just named Managing Editor. Basically, become an intern, and before long, you could have my job. (Come to think of it, I probably shouldn't even be posting this.) Baseball Prospectus interns have also gone on to work part- or full-time elsewhere in the baseball industry, and there are many former Baseball Prospectus interns in front offices around the major leagues.

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The hit-and-run is much maligned as a small-ball tactic, but it's a surprisingly successful strategy.

In this game you never know enough.”—Dale Mitchell

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In a return look at Russell Carleton's original study, Derek tries to find at what point stats stabilize and can be trusted.

Four years ago, former BPer Russell Carleton (then monikered “Pizza Cutter”) ran a study at the now-defunct MVN’s StatSpeak blog that examined how long it takes for different stats to “stabilize.” Since then, it has become perhaps the most-referenced study in our little corner of the internet.

It has been a while since the initial study was run, and since there are a few little pieces of the methodology that I believe could be improved, I decided to run a similar study myself.

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What does the future hold for Derek Jeter, and how can we tell?

Before we can talk about Derek Jeter (and yes, I think there’s still something to say about Derek Jeter that you haven’t already heard this season), we should probably clarify which Derek Jeter we’re talking about. There really are two Derek Jeters—the one who exists in fact, and the one who exists in myth.

The actual Derek Jeter is interesting enough as a player that one wonders why the myth was necessary—always an exceptional hitter, Jeter has always been a player who could’ve had a job on any team in the league. He will go into the Hall of Fame on the first ballot, and nobody will bat an eye. Then there’s the Captain—the athlete whom ad agencies consider akin to Tiger Woods and Roger Federer. The player so exceptional that he can displace a generational talent like Alex Rodriguez from his natural position.

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Reliving some of history's most unusual comebacks through the lens of win expectancy.

Had there been an unlikely comeback on yesterday’s slate of games, it would have served as the subject of my lead-in. Since no teams were kind enough to supply one, let’s forgo a lead-in and dive right into the wacky world of win expectancy. Baseball Prospectus houses win expectancy tables for all years over the Retrosheet Era (1954-2010), and The Hardball Times provides a Win Probability Inquirer that uses a theoretical model. I sifted through Retrosheet data to dig up some tidbits on historical win probability, focusing on some of history’s most improbable comebacks.

There have been 4,000 instances since 1954 in which a team has trailed by four runs with nobody on and two outs in the top of the ninth inning. Not once has a team come back from that deficit. According to theoretical win expectancy, that should have happened several times by now. Another 5,000 attempts have been made down by 5 or 6 runs, but the away team still has yet to come through. On a more exciting note, let’s look at some long-shot teams that did rise to the occasion.

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August 12, 2010 8:00 am

Overthinking It: Show Me Your Moves


Ben Lindbergh

A graphical look at player moves shows that transactions season never really ends.

In baseball, transactions can be many things. Some border on the banal. Others are more momentous: a fading star declares retirement, a blockbuster trade becomes official, a high-priced free agent or draft pick signs with his new team. When one of the latter deals goes down, baseball writers spring into action, devoting ink and pixels alike to analyses of its principal players and ramifications. In a very real sense, transactions make the baseball world go ’round, ebbing and flowing like a circulatory system of athletic talent.

Rather than focus on any one signing or swap, let’s pull back our perspective and take a look at the sum of the sport’s transactions. Retrosheet, the baseball analysis gift that never stops giving, publishes an annually updated downloadable database of player movements from 1873 onwards, broken down by transaction type. With a little coaxing in Excel, we can use this data to construct a visual record of each and every move made over the course of a season. I may be stretching a metaphor that wasn’t the strongest to begin with, but if transactions are baseball’s circulatory system, this is its EKG:

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July 28, 2009 12:48 pm

Prospectus Hit and Run: Return of the Rickeys


Jay Jaffe

The Rickey conversation takes new turns, answering who's least like the speedster among active players, and most like him historically.

Rickey Henderson's much-anticipated Hall of Fame induction speech may have disappointed those who yearned for a proclamation of all-time greatness, perhaps accompanied by a bronze plaque hoisted high overhead. Instead, Henderson took his place among the game's greats with a performance on Sunday that balanced humor and humility, with nary a third-person reference to be heard.

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December 16, 2004 12:00 am

The Class of 2005


Jay Jaffe

There are 16 position players on the Hall of Fame ballot. Jay Jaffe thinks three of them belong in Cooperstown.

These new metrics enable us to identify candidates who are as good or better than the average Hall of Famer at their position. By promoting those players for election, we can avoid further diluting the quality of the Hall's membership. Clay Davenport's Translations make an ideal tool for this endeavor because they normalize all performance records in major-league history to the same scoring environment, adjusting for park effects, quality of competition and length of schedule. All pitchers, hitters and fielders are thus rated above or below one consistent replacement level, making cross-era comparisons a breeze. Though non-statistical considerations--awards, championships, postseason performance--shouldn't be left by the wayside in weighing a player's Hall of Fame case, they're not the focus here.

Since election to the Hall of Fame requires a player to perform both at a very high level and for a long time, it's inappropriate to rely simply on career Wins Above Replacement (WARP, which for this exercise refers exclusively to the adjusted-for-all-time version. WARP3). For this process I also identified each player's peak value as determined by the player's WARP in his best five consecutive seasons (with allowances made for seasons lost to war or injury). That choice is an admittedly arbitrary one; I simply selected a peak vaue that was relatively easy to calculate and that, at five years, represented a minimum of half the career of a Hall of Famer.

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January 6, 2004 12:00 am

The Class of 2004


Jay Jaffe

With the 2004 STATLG-L Hall of Fame balloting now in the books, and the results of the BBWAA voting slated to be released this afternoon, there are few topics more prominent in baseball fans' minds than "Which players will make it to Cooperstown in 2004?" And rightfully so. Enshrinement in the Baseball Hall of Fame is the highest honor a former-player can receive, and most fans are protective of that: a fact that has spurned countless heated debates over the years--rational, objective, and otherwise. With that being said, I thought it would interesting to see what some of Baseball Prospectus' newly updated measures of player evaluation had to say on the topic. For the uninitiated, BP's Davenport Translated Player Cards measure a player's value above replacement level for offense, defense, and pitching while adjusting for context--park effects, level of offense, era, length of season, and in Clay's own words, "the distortions caused by not having to face your own team's defense." The Davenport Cards offer the most sophisticated statistical summaries available; if you can adjust for it, it's in there. The basic currencies of the Davenport system, whether it's offense, defense, or pitching, are runs and wins, more specifically, runs above replacement level and wins above replacement level.

With the 2004 STATLG-L Hall of Fame balloting now in the books, and the results of the BBWAA voting slated to be released this afternoon, few topics are more prominent in baseball fans' minds than "Which players will make it to Cooperstown in 2004?"

And rightfully so. Enshrinement in the Baseball Hall of Fame is the highest honor a former-player can receive, and most fans are protective of that: a fact that has spurned countless heated debates over the years--rational, objective, and otherwise.

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April 24, 2003 12:00 am

The Jack Morris Project


Joe Sheehan

Joe Sheehan looks back at Morris to see if he really could pitch to the score.

[Note: The following article was originally published as Issues 41 and 42 of The Joe Sheehan Newsletter. Given the attention recently paid to Jack Morris in a recent Sports Illustrated piece, we are reprinting this article, with Joe's permission, to address some of the questions pertaining to Morris' career and his Hall of Fame worthiness.]

This whole thing started at the winter meetings. I ran into a newsletter reader who wanted to talk to me about Jack Morris. See, I'd written this in my evaluation of Hall of Fame candidates:

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Flash back to January 1987. Walk Like an Egyptian is at the top of the pop charts. The Dow Jones Industrial Average has coasted past 2,000. John Elway has broken Cleveland's heart for the very first time. And in baseball, the free agents are getting utterly and completely shafted.

In an article that appeared on Baseball Prospectus recently, I concluded that, in spite of an across-the-board decrease in player salaries, the winter's market has done a very efficient job of equating free agent salaries with performance. Players are being paid less, but more so than in the recent past, they're being paid in proportion to what they're worth. I went on to suggest that this constitutes compelling evidence that ownership is not colluding to restrict the market:

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Special thanks to Retrosheet

Injuries to pitchers are not a new phenomenon. They date as far back as the rule change that allowed pitchers to throw overhand, and so do the attempts to restrict the workload of pitchers to a safe level.

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