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07-17

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5

Western Front: First Win the Division, Then Puppet Show
by
Geoff Young

11-18

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15

Baseball ProGUESTus: Why Having a Quick Hook Helps
by
Mitchel Lichtman

03-11

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38

Prospectus Hit and Run: A Quality Stat, Better than Wins
by
Jay Jaffe

01-25

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63

Prospectus Roundtable: Analyzing RoboPitcher
by
Baseball Prospectus

08-03

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46

Ahead in the Count: Runs Per Inning, and Why I Love the Long Ball
by
Matt Swartz

04-25

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0

Prospectus Hit List: Millstones and Milestones
by
Jay Jaffe

07-27

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0

Lies, Damned Lies: Fixing It
by
Nate Silver

05-02

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0

The Big Picture: Run Optimum
by
David Pinto

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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0

Prospectus Today: LCS, Day Four
by
Joe Sheehan

10-14

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0

Playoff Prospectus: The Best and Worst of Mets and Cardinals Postseason Pitching
by
Jim Baker

10-13

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0

Prospectus Today: LCS, Day Three
by
Joe Sheehan

10-12

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0

Prospectus Today: The Games Go On
by
Joe Sheehan

10-12

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0

Player Profile
by
Marc Normandin

10-11

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0

Remembering Buck O'Neil
by
Alex Belth

10-11

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0

Prospectus Today: LCS, Day One
by
Joe Sheehan

10-09

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0

Completely Random Statistical Trivia
by
Keith Woolner

10-09

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0

Prospectus Today: Division Series, Day Six
by
Joe Sheehan

10-07

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0

Prospectus Today: Division Series, Day Four
by
Joe Sheehan

10-06

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0

Prospectus Today: Division Series, Day Three
by
Joe Sheehan

10-06

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0

Prospectus Matchups: October Musings
by
Jim Baker

10-05

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0

Prospectus Today: Division Series, Day Two
by
Joe Sheehan

10-12

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0

Call It In The Air!
by
Dave Pease

03-04

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0

Analytic Model Creation Contest
by
Keith Woolner

06-30

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1

Revisiting the Pythagorean Theorem
by
Clay Davenport and Keith Woolner

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July 17, 2012 5:00 am

Western Front: First Win the Division, Then Puppet Show

5

Geoff Young

The Dodgers have spiraled out of control since late May, and with seemingly no plan for offense, it's a three-team race in the wild West.

Do you realize how bad the National League West has been since May 27? This is an arbitrary date reflecting my desire to cast the division in its worst possible light, so probably not. But consider what the standings looked like at the start of that day:

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You might not know it from watching the World Series, but it often makes sense for a manager to pinch hit for his starter before the late innings.

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.

Mitchel Lichtman, or MGL, has been doing sabermetric research and writing for over 20 years. He is one of the authors of The Book: Playing the Percentages in Baseball, and co-hosts The Book blog, www.insidethebook.com. He consulted for the St. Louis Cardinals from 2004 to 2006, as well as other major-league teams. He holds a B.A. from Cornell University and a J.D. from the University of Nevada Boyd School of Law. Most of the time these days you can find him on the golf course.


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Quality starts have value, despite the cavils of retrograde thinkers.

Murray Chass is at it again, or perhaps he never stopped. I'm not sure, as I'll admit an aversion to reading the blog of a writer who years ago declared his loathing for the form and its practitioners, but now dwells in that very ghetto himself since being laid off by the New York Times. Chass has made noise twice in recent weeks via missives bemoaning the diminishing primacy of pitcher wins and assailing the so-called "new-age thinking" of anyone who would introduce more modern measures, be they VORP, WAR(P), or quality starts. Even the latter, which was introduced by Philadelphia Inquirer columnist John Lowe back in 1985, is too newfangled for Chass' tastes.

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An exercise in thinking theoretically about player value.

The following is an edited transcript of an in-house discussion among the Baseball Prospectus team about a hypothetical pitcher capable of delivering a guaranteed performance.

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Have some of us been overlooking the obvious when it comes to scoring runs?

If you have ever tried to explain the concept of Pythagorean Record to a baseball novice, you probably have had to answer the following criticism: "That counts the extra runs at the end of a blowout as much as other runs, even though it does not matter whether you win 10-0 or 15-0." The answer that we give to that criticism is that teams that can take advantage of blowouts have better offenses and those type of teams will be more likely to win close games in the future. That is the reason that we have thousand-run estimators that try to approximate how many runs a team will score on average, and why we evaluate players with statistics like VORP-measured in runs over replacement player. Runs are the building blocks of wins, and you win by scoring more runs than your opponent. We cringe when we hear offenses evaluated by batting average because we know that the goal of offenses is to score runs, not get hits.

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April 25, 2008 12:00 am

Prospectus Hit List: Millstones and Milestones

0

Jay Jaffe

Moves around the league and up and down the list are overshadowed by some historic feats and remarkable defeats

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July 27, 2007 12:00 am

Lies, Damned Lies: Fixing It

0

Nate Silver

Could a Donaghy scenario happen in baseball?

Baseball must be toasting this week's sports pages over glasses of vodka and schadenfreude. Last Friday, NBA referee Tim Donaghy was implicated in a betting scandal. On Wednesday, Tour de France leader Michael Rasmussen, under heavy suspicion of doping, was kicked out of the race by his own team. And on Thursday, Michael Vick was scrambling away from reporters in a federal courthouse, rather than opposing linebackers on the field.

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May 2, 2007 12:00 am

The Big Picture: Run Optimum

0

David Pinto

Uncovering the game's optimum figure for run-scoring, and maintaining the precious balance between pitcher and hitter, is crucial for the game's health.

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October 16, 2006 12:00 am

Future Shock: Monday Morning Ten-Pack

0

Kevin Goldstein

Kevin checks out the newsmakers in the winter leagues.

\nMathematically, leverage is based on the win expectancy work done by Keith Woolner in BP 2005, and is defined as the change in the probability of winning the game from scoring (or allowing) one additional run in the current game situation divided by the change in probability from scoring\n(or allowing) one run at the start of the game.'; xxxpxxxxx1160988517_18 = 'Adjusted Pitcher Wins. Thorn and Palmers method for calculating a starters value in wins. Included for comparison with SNVA. APW values here calculated using runs instead of earned runs.'; xxxpxxxxx1160988517_19 = 'Support Neutral Lineup-adjusted Value Added (SNVA adjusted for the MLVr of batters faced) per game pitched.'; xxxpxxxxx1160988517_20 = 'The number of double play opportunities (defined as less than two outs with runner(s) on first, first and second, or first second and third).'; xxxpxxxxx1160988517_21 = 'The percentage of double play opportunities turned into actual double plays by a pitcher or hitter.'; xxxpxxxxx1160988517_22 = 'Winning percentage. For teams, Win% is determined by dividing wins by games played. For pitchers, Win% is determined by dividing wins by total decisions. '; xxxpxxxxx1160988517_23 = 'Expected winning percentage for the pitcher, based on how often\na pitcher with the same innings pitched and runs allowed in each individual\ngame earned a win or loss historically in the modern era (1972-present).'; xxxpxxxxx1160988517_24 = 'Attrition Rate is the percent chance that a hitters plate appearances or a pitchers opposing batters faced will decrease by at least 50% relative to his Baseline playing time forecast. Although it is generally a good indicator of the risk of injury, Attrition Rate will also capture seasons in which his playing time decreases due to poor performance or managerial decisions. '; xxxpxxxxx1160988517_25 = 'Batting average (hitters) or batting average allowed (pitchers).'; xxxpxxxxx1160988517_26 = 'Average number of pitches per start.'; xxxpxxxxx1160988517_27 = 'Average Pitcher Abuse Points per game started.'; xxxpxxxxx1160988517_28 = 'Singles or singles allowed.'; xxxpxxxxx1160988517_29 = 'Batting average; hits divided by at-bats.'; xxxpxxxxx1160988517_30 = 'Percentage of pitches thrown for balls.'; xxxpxxxxx1160988517_31 = 'The Baseline forecast, although it does not appear here, is a crucial intermediate step in creating a players forecast. The Baseline developed based on the players previous three seasons of performance. Both major league and (translated) minor league performances are considered.

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October 16, 2006 12:00 am

Prospectus Today: LCS, Day Six

0

Joe Sheehan

Our servers, like the Cardinals bullpen and the A's, crashed. Only two of those get to come back.

\nMathematically, leverage is based on the win expectancy work done by Keith Woolner in BP 2005, and is defined as the change in the probability of winning the game from scoring (or allowing) one additional run in the current game situation divided by the change in probability from scoring\n(or allowing) one run at the start of the game.'; xxxpxxxxx1161098296_18 = 'Adjusted Pitcher Wins. Thorn and Palmers method for calculating a starters value in wins. Included for comparison with SNVA. APW values here calculated using runs instead of earned runs.'; xxxpxxxxx1161098296_19 = 'Support Neutral Lineup-adjusted Value Added (SNVA adjusted for the MLVr of batters faced) per game pitched.'; xxxpxxxxx1161098296_20 = 'The number of double play opportunities (defined as less than two outs with runner(s) on first, first and second, or first second and third).'; xxxpxxxxx1161098296_21 = 'The percentage of double play opportunities turned into actual double plays by a pitcher or hitter.'; xxxpxxxxx1161098296_22 = 'Winning percentage. For teams, Win% is determined by dividing wins by games played. For pitchers, Win% is determined by dividing wins by total decisions. '; xxxpxxxxx1161098296_23 = 'Expected winning percentage for the pitcher, based on how often\na pitcher with the same innings pitched and runs allowed in each individual\ngame earned a win or loss historically in the modern era (1972-present).'; xxxpxxxxx1161098296_24 = 'Attrition Rate is the percent chance that a hitters plate appearances or a pitchers opposing batters faced will decrease by at least 50% relative to his Baseline playing time forecast. Although it is generally a good indicator of the risk of injury, Attrition Rate will also capture seasons in which his playing time decreases due to poor performance or managerial decisions. '; xxxpxxxxx1161098296_25 = 'Batting average (hitters) or batting average allowed (pitchers).'; xxxpxxxxx1161098296_26 = 'Average number of pitches per start.'; xxxpxxxxx1161098296_27 = 'Average Pitcher Abuse Points per game started.'; xxxpxxxxx1161098296_28 = 'Singles or singles allowed.'; xxxpxxxxx1161098296_29 = 'Batting average; hits divided by at-bats.'; xxxpxxxxx1161098296_30 = 'Percentage of pitches thrown for balls.'; xxxpxxxxx1161098296_31 = 'The Baseline forecast, although it does not appear here, is a crucial intermediate step in creating a players forecast. The Baseline developed based on the players previous three seasons of performance. Both major league and (translated) minor league performances are considered.

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October 14, 2006 12:00 am

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

0

Kevin Goldstein

Even Alexis Gomez came from somewhere (Kansas City). Kevin tells us how the Tigers and A's acquired the rest of their postseason difference-makers.

\nMathematically, leverage is based on the win expectancy work done by Keith Woolner in BP 2005, and is defined as the change in the probability of winning the game from scoring (or allowing) one additional run in the current game situation divided by the change in probability from scoring\n(or allowing) one run at the start of the game.'; xxxpxxxxx1160846402_18 = 'Adjusted Pitcher Wins. Thorn and Palmers method for calculating a starters value in wins. Included for comparison with SNVA. APW values here calculated using runs instead of earned runs.'; xxxpxxxxx1160846402_19 = 'Support Neutral Lineup-adjusted Value Added (SNVA adjusted for the MLVr of batters faced) per game pitched.'; xxxpxxxxx1160846402_20 = 'The number of double play opportunities (defined as less than two outs with runner(s) on first, first and second, or first second and third).'; xxxpxxxxx1160846402_21 = 'The percentage of double play opportunities turned into actual double plays by a pitcher or hitter.'; xxxpxxxxx1160846402_22 = 'Winning percentage. For teams, Win% is determined by dividing wins by games played. For pitchers, Win% is determined by dividing wins by total decisions. '; xxxpxxxxx1160846402_23 = 'Expected winning percentage for the pitcher, based on how often\na pitcher with the same innings pitched and runs allowed in each individual\ngame earned a win or loss historically in the modern era (1972-present).'; xxxpxxxxx1160846402_24 = 'Attrition Rate is the percent chance that a hitters plate appearances or a pitchers opposing batters faced will decrease by at least 50% relative to his Baseline playing time forecast. Although it is generally a good indicator of the risk of injury, Attrition Rate will also capture seasons in which his playing time decreases due to poor performance or managerial decisions. '; xxxpxxxxx1160846402_25 = 'Batting average (hitters) or batting average allowed (pitchers).'; xxxpxxxxx1160846402_26 = 'Average number of pitches per start.'; xxxpxxxxx1160846402_27 = 'Average Pitcher Abuse Points per game started.'; xxxpxxxxx1160846402_28 = 'Singles or singles allowed.'; xxxpxxxxx1160846402_29 = 'Batting average; hits divided by at-bats.'; xxxpxxxxx1160846402_30 = 'Percentage of pitches thrown for balls.'; xxxpxxxxx1160846402_31 = 'The Baseline forecast, although it does not appear here, is a crucial intermediate step in creating a players forecast. The Baseline developed based on the players previous three seasons of performance. Both major league and (translated) minor league performances are considered.

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October 14, 2006 12:00 am

Prospectus Today: LCS, Day Four

0

Joe Sheehan

The NLCS becomes a battle just as the ALCS is edging towards an end.

\nMathematically, leverage is based on the win expectancy work done by Keith Woolner in BP 2005, and is defined as the change in the probability of winning the game from scoring (or allowing) one additional run in the current game situation divided by the change in probability from scoring\n(or allowing) one run at the start of the game.'; xxxpxxxxx1160835748_18 = 'Adjusted Pitcher Wins. Thorn and Palmers method for calculating a starters value in wins. Included for comparison with SNVA. APW values here calculated using runs instead of earned runs.'; xxxpxxxxx1160835748_19 = 'Support Neutral Lineup-adjusted Value Added (SNVA adjusted for the MLVr of batters faced) per game pitched.'; xxxpxxxxx1160835748_20 = 'The number of double play opportunities (defined as less than two outs with runner(s) on first, first and second, or first second and third).'; xxxpxxxxx1160835748_21 = 'The percentage of double play opportunities turned into actual double plays by a pitcher or hitter.'; xxxpxxxxx1160835748_22 = 'Winning percentage. For teams, Win% is determined by dividing wins by games played. For pitchers, Win% is determined by dividing wins by total decisions. '; xxxpxxxxx1160835748_23 = 'Expected winning percentage for the pitcher, based on how often\na pitcher with the same innings pitched and runs allowed in each individual\ngame earned a win or loss historically in the modern era (1972-present).'; xxxpxxxxx1160835748_24 = 'Attrition Rate is the percent chance that a hitters plate appearances or a pitchers opposing batters faced will decrease by at least 50% relative to his Baseline playing time forecast. Although it is generally a good indicator of the risk of injury, Attrition Rate will also capture seasons in which his playing time decreases due to poor performance or managerial decisions. '; xxxpxxxxx1160835748_25 = 'Batting average (hitters) or batting average allowed (pitchers).'; xxxpxxxxx1160835748_26 = 'Average number of pitches per start.'; xxxpxxxxx1160835748_27 = 'Average Pitcher Abuse Points per game started.'; xxxpxxxxx1160835748_28 = 'Singles or singles allowed.'; xxxpxxxxx1160835748_29 = 'Batting average; hits divided by at-bats.'; xxxpxxxxx1160835748_30 = 'Percentage of pitches thrown for balls.'; xxxpxxxxx1160835748_31 = 'The Baseline forecast, although it does not appear here, is a crucial intermediate step in creating a players forecast. The Baseline developed based on the players previous three seasons of performance. Both major league and (translated) minor league performances are considered.

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