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Articles Tagged Role Model 

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If you're fed up with overpaid and overprivileged athletes, the story of Jim Eisenreich might remind you why major leaguers matter.

In my story about Anthony Rizzo last week, I alluded to a personal rough patch that I've been going through. I got a lot of nice messages from readers, colleagues, and friends. Believe me, it was much appreciated.

The downturn largely kept me from the ballpark during June. Part of the reason for that was an incident just as I was falling into my funk, after a White Sox game in which Phil Humber was hammered and appeared to be in danger of losing his rotation spot. (He subsequently ended up on the disabled list.) After the game, the media hovered around Humber's locker waiting to grill him about his struggles.

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Quantifying the most elusive of catcher skills: game-calling.

While evaluating Jose Molina’s defensive skills a couple weeks ago, we were able to assign a run value to four aspects of catcher defense: blocking errant pitches, preventing the opposing team from stealing bases, fielding short batted balls, and inducing the home plate umpire to call a few extra borderline pitches.

However, we acknowledged that something had been left out. We often hear about how some catchers can improve their pitching staffs. Think about the praise Ivan Rodriguez received for handling a young crop of Marlins arms back in 2003, and how he was subsequently considered the perfect batterymate for Stephen Strasburg as the highly-regarded rookie first took to a major-league mound.

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January 14, 2011 11:25 am

Prospectus Q&A: J.T. Snow

3

David Laurila

The former first baseman talks about his days in the big leagues, the Hall of Fame, and most importantly his commitment to Wolfram Syndrome.

To many fans, J.T. Snow is remembered as the slick-fielding San Francisco Giants first baseman who had to scoop up three-year-old batboy Darren Baker from harm’s way in the 2002 World Series. Eight years later, the now-retired six-time Gold Glove winner is committed to a far more important cause: helping children suffering from a rare disease called Wolfram Syndrome. Snow, who hit .268/.357/.427, with 189 home runs over 15 big-league seasons, shared his thoughts on a variety of subjects, including the importance of defense, steroids and the Hall of Fame, and athletes as role models. His foundation, The Snowman Fund, is named for himself and his late father, former Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Jack Snow.


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November 30, 2010 9:00 am

Prospectus Q&A: Tony Sipp

3

David Laurila

The Indians' left-handed reliever discusses his baseball beginnings, growing up in Mississippi, and setting an example.

Tony Sipp wants to be more than just a role model. The Indians’ southpaw is already a rag-to-riches story, having established himself in the big leagues after being taken in the 45th round of the 2004 draft as an undersized college pitcher with questionable mechanics. In two seasons with the Tribe, the 27-year-old Sipp has appeared in 116 games, all out of the bullpen, with a 4-2 record, 3.67 ERA, and a .209 BAA.

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May 21, 2010 8:22 am

Prospectus Q&A: Vernon Wells

2

David Laurila

The Blue Jays center fielder talks about playing in Canada, his charitable foundation, and his resurgence in 2010.

Midway through a seven-year, $126-million contract that he has largely failed to live up to, Vernon Wells has become a whipping boy for disgruntled Blue Jays fans, but he is also an icon. The 31-year-old outfielder is nearing several franchise records, as he currently ranks second in total bases, hits, doubles, and RBI, and third in runs scored and home runs. Now in his 12th season in Toronto, the personable and socially-conscious Wells is doing everything he can to turn the catcalls into curtain calls, as he is hitting a resurgent .301/.359/.596 with 11 home runs.

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Breaking down the basics of estimating runs and why it is so important.

We spend a lot of time analyzing baseball, studying it, trying to learn about it, and simply enjoying it. But what if I were to tell you that there was a secret to understanding baseball, a shortcut to knowing (almost) everything you would ever need to know?

Well, there is. And it’s hiding in plain sight–it’s the second line of the official rules of baseball: “The objective of each team is to win by scoring more runs than the opponent.”

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September 28, 2008 12:09 pm

Prospectus Q&A: Fernando Perez

0

David Laurila

Talking with the Rays' leadoff prospect about baseball, existentialism, handedness, and a whole lot more besides.

Fernando Perez is not your run-of-the-mill professional athlete. A speedy outfielder who made his big-league debut in early September, the 25-year-old New Yorker is not only a big part of the Rays future, he also holds a degree in American Studies and Creative Writing from Columbia University. Perez went into the last weekend of the season hitting .273/.344/.473 with three home runs and five stolen bases in 55 at-bats. He sat down with David in mid-September to talk about his views on both baseball and life.

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February 23, 2007 12:00 am

Fantasy Focus: Pick a Closer, Any Closer

0

Alex Carnevale

More now than ever, fantasy players face a difficult hunt for bargain-basement stoppers. Baseball Prospectus' exclusive reliever statistics facilitate the search.

With front offices more and more cognizant that closers are made, not born, it's getting harder than ever to handicap a competition for that crucial roto-league role. It would be one thing if we could identify the best reliever on a given staff and point in that direction, but these days, smart franchises like the Tigers and Cardinals have increasingly resisted casting their best relievers in that role, and the Astros and Braves seem to following that model as well. I mean, the guy wrote a book about what a genius he is, so we can only hope he knows Bob Wickman's 1.04 ERA as a Brave was a fluke. (Also: he publishes said book hailing himself, and the Braves lose their first NL East title in 12 years. A-Rod, you have been warned.)

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July 7, 2006 12:00 am

Schrodinger's Bat: Thinking and Rethinking: Part 2

0

Dan Fox

Dan concludes his recap of the SABR convention, and corrects some issues from last week's column.

In Part 1 of this two-part column we looked at three interesting research presentations given at the 36th annual SABR convention. In review, those included a study evaluating managers by Chris Jaffe, a look at the performance of players in the "walk year" of their contract by Phil Birnbaum, and Sean Forman's quantitative look at a catcher's ability to stop wild pitches and passed balls.

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December 20, 2004 12:00 am

The Class of 2005

0

Jay Jaffe

Along with the three hitters he named last week, Jay Jaffe sees three qualified pitchers among the 11 on the Hall of Fame ballot.

The 2004 election saw the writers tab just the third reliever for induction, as Dennis Eckersley joined Hoyt Wilhelm and Rollie Fingers among the bronzed legends. While Eckersley's dominance and his usage pattern ("Just the Saves, Ma'am") contributed mightily to his election, his decade as a starter and the stats he garnered in that role mean that his ascension offers us little insight on the writers' view of what makes a Hallworthy reliever. The standards for starters may be somewhat easy to discern, if lately a bit unrealistic, but with a growing number of quality relievers on the ballot, the continuous evolution of the closer role, and the paucity of standards to measure them by, sorting out the bullpen elite poses a hefty challenge to voters.

One of the great lessons of the sabermetric revolution is the idea that the pitcher doesn't have as much control over the outcome of ballgames (as reflected in his win and loss totals) or even individual at-bats (hits on balls in play) as he's generally given credit for. Good run support and good defense can make big winners of mediocre pitchers on good teams, and .500 pitchers of good hurlers on mediocre teams. As such, it's important to examine the things over which a pitcher has control and account for those he does not.

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June 29, 2004 12:00 am

You Get What You Pay For

0

Ben Murphy and Jared Weiss

Inherent in the desire to develop better baseball statistics--and as a result, improve baseball analysis--is the belief that this information is not only available but also not being used by the men and women who run baseball. As Moneyball and the resulting reaction has showed, some General Managers seem to be using the same methods for performance evaluation that were used 20 or 40 years ago. It therefore stands to reason that GMs are paying players not for actual performance, but rather for perceived performance as viewed through the rusty and decrepit glasses of decades-old beliefs about the statistics of the game. For this study we wanted to find out if General Managers were, in fact, paying players along the lines of their objective "value" (as defined by VORP), or if there were something else in play.

Inherent in the desire to develop better baseball statistics--and as a result, improve baseball analysis--is the belief that this information is not only available but also not being used by the men and women who run baseball. As Moneyball and the resulting reaction has showed, some General Managers seem to be using the same methods for performance evaluation that were used 20 or 40 years ago.

It therefore stands to reason that GMs are paying players not for actual performance, but rather for perceived performance as viewed through the rusty glasses of decades-old beliefs about the statistics of the game. For this study we wanted to find out if General Managers were, in fact, paying players along the lines of their objective "value" (as defined by VORP), or if there was something else in play.

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In Baseball Prospectus 2004, our authors ranked Devil Rays farmhand B.J. Upton as the No. 8 prospect in the game, while Baseball America on pegged him at No. 2 on their preseason list. Since then Upton's done nothing to make those rankings look foolish, and at the tender age of 19, has already found himself playing shortstop every day at Triple-A Durham, where he's currently hitting .315/.422/.565. Since being taken second overall in the 2002 amateur draft, Upton has been covered by John Sickels at ESPN.com and by David Cameron here at BP. Baseball Prospectus caught up with Upton before a recent home game against the Syracuse Skychiefs, where we discussed tough pitchers, being a role model, and what it takes to improve defensive performance.

Baseball Prospectus caught up with Upton before a recent home game against the Syracuse Skychiefs, where we discussed tough pitchers, being a role model, and what it takes to improve defensive performance.

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