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March 27, 2006 12:00 am

Fantasy Focus: NL Spring Job Battles


Peter Schoenke

The RotoWire beat writers return with a look at National League position battles that fantasy players should be aware of.

Arizona Diamondbacks

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January 14, 2004 12:00 am

The Class of 2004


Jay Jaffe

The Baseball Writers of America's standards on what constitute a Hall of Fame pitcher are in a curious spot now, both when it comes to starters and relievers. Spoiled by a group of contemporaries who won 300 games from the mid-'60s to the mid-'80s (Tom Seaver, Steve Carlton, Gaylord Perry, Don Sutton, Nolan Ryan, Phil Niekro), the writers haven't elected a non-300-winning starter since Fergie Jenkins in 1991. That Perry, Sutton and Niekro took a combined 13 ballots to reach the Hall while Ryan waltzed in on his first ballot with the all-time highest percentage of votes is even more puzzling. Apparently what impresses the BBWAA can be summarized as "Just Wins, Baby"--which is bad news for every active pitcher this side of Roger Clemens and Greg Maddux. Of the 59 enshrined pitchers with major-league experience, only two of them--Hoyt Wilhelm and Rollie Fingers--are in Cooperstown for what they accomplished as relievers. While the standards for starters are somewhat easy to discern (if lately a bit unrealistic), the growing number of quality relievers on the ballot, the continuous evolution of the relief role, and the paucity of standards to measure them by present some interesting challenges to voters. If there's an area in which performance analysis has struggled mightily against mainstream baseball thought, it's in hammering home the concept that the pitcher doesn't have as much control over the outcome of ballgames--as reflected in his Won-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. Once again, the Davenport system rides to the rescue.

[Note: The research for this piece, and much of the writing, was done prior to the Hall of Fame voting results being announced.]


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August 1, 2003 12:00 am

Transaction Analysis: July 30-31


Christina Kahrl

Transactions galore: the Yankees practice running in place; the Red Sox beef up their bullpen; the Giants aquire a starter for the postseason; the A's add a little power to their outfield; and the Reds throw up the white flag, but get some pretty good arms in return. All this and much more news from around the league in your post-Trading Deadline edition of Transaction Analysis.

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March 25, 2003 12:00 am

Aim For The Head: Opening Day Starters


Keith Woolner

First, I want to apologize for the long absence of AFTH from the web site. In addition to the usual off-season book-writing duties, I spent the winter relocating to the east coast from California as well as welcoming a new baby to the family. But I'm getting settled now, and hope to be writing AFTH and doing other research again in between feedings and diaper changes.

Onto the question. If we assume that the "best" pitcher is the one with the highest VORP, we can look at the Opening Day starter's eventual full-season VORP to see if it led the team.

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August 25, 2000 12:00 am

Olympic Prospectus


Derek Zumsteg

Today: a rundown on the pitching side of things, but first a followup on yesterday's column discussing the hitters:

Outfielder Brad Wilkerson was a fine pick, and I was wrong to say he didn't hit doubles. I didn't locate any Double-A statistics for him for this year, but as several astute and polite readers pointed out, he's been hitting all kinds of doubles, 33 before his promotion.

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