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05-09

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5

Cold Takes: The Best of All Possible Jeffrey Leonards
by
Patrick Dubuque

04-04

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2

Daily League Strategy: Week 1
by
Tim Finnegan

09-14

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1

BP Announcements: Strength Of Schedule
by
Rob McQuown

06-09

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10

Rubbing Mud: Winning Hearts and Minds
by
Matthew Trueblood

04-18

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8

Baseball Prospectus News: New Stat Reports and Site Upgrades
by
Rob McQuown

12-19

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16

Baseball Prospectus News: A New Direction for Stats at BP
by
Harry Pavlidis

08-06

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15

Baseball ProGUESTus: The Foundation of the Front Office
by
Gabe Kapler

06-11

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4

Painting the Black: Swinging With Starlin
by
R.J. Anderson

04-25

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1

The BP Wayback Machine: There is No Divide
by
Derek Zumsteg

08-24

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17

The Stats Go Marching In: Do Pitchers Forget How to Hit in the Minors?
by
Max Marchi

08-21

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6

Baseball ProGUESTus: Baseball and Base 3
by
Zachary Levine

08-17

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1

The BP Wayback Machine: Setting the Stage for 2005: Steroids
by
Nate Silver

07-17

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45

Overthinking It: PECOTA's First-Half Hits and Misses
by
Ben Lindbergh

03-30

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22

Pebble Hunting: Moneyball: The Prequel
by
Sam Miller

01-27

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15

The BP Wayback Machine: Money Poorly Spent, Now and Then
by
John Perrotto

09-22

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2

Resident Fantasy Genius: What Sabermetrics Means to Me
by
Derek Carty

09-19

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17

BP Feature: Reviewing "Behind the Seams: The Stat Story"
by
Derek Carty

05-05

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21

Baseball ProGUESTus: A Statistician Rereads Bill James
by
Andrew Gelman

11-01

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2

Prospectus Q&A: Sam Fuld
by
David Laurila

08-17

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48

Changing Speeds: Behind the Screen at Fox
by
Ken Funck

04-17

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2

Wait 'Til Next Year: The SEC Ascendant
by
Bryan Smith

02-22

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0

Transaction Analysis: Odds and Ends
by
Christina Kahrl

02-17

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0

Transaction Analysis: Camp-Opening Roundup
by
Christina Kahrl

02-04

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0

Transaction Analysis: Philly Non-Fixes and the Seattle Predicate
by
Christina Kahrl

01-25

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0

Transaction Analysis: Scanning Shields, and Nailing Down Rocks
by
Christina Kahrl

01-21

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Transaction Analysis: Dodging the Arbitrator
by
Christina Kahrl

01-13

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0

Transaction Analysis: Moves from the Week that Was
by
Christina Kahrl

01-08

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0

Transaction Analysis: Breaking in the New Year
by
Christina Kahrl

12-31

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0

Transaction Analysis: December Roundup
by
Christina Kahrl

12-09

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0

Transaction Analysis: Big Moves in the NL
by
Christina Kahrl

11-13

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0

Transaction Analysis: NL Pickups and Discards
by
Christina Kahrl

11-07

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0

Transaction Analysis: AL Pick-me-ups and Discards
by
Christina Kahrl

10-24

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0

The Ledger Domain: The Impact of the Fantasy Stats Ruling
by
Maury Brown

08-26

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0

Transaction Analysis: All-Around Catch-Up Edition
by
Christina Kahrl

08-19

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0

Transaction Analysis: National League Roundup
by
Christina Kahrl

08-08

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0

Transaction Analysis: AL Roundup
by
Christina Kahrl

08-01

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0

Transaction Analysis: Deadline Day
by
Christina Kahrl

07-30

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0

Transaction Analysis: Weekend Wheeling and Dealing
by
Christina Kahrl

07-28

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0

Transaction Analysis: Swaps and Moves
by
Christina Kahrl

07-26

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0

Transaction Analysis: American League Roundup
by
Christina Kahrl

07-16

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Transaction Analysis: National League Roundup
by
Christina Kahrl

06-12

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0

Transaction Analysis: National League Moves
by
Christina Kahrl

06-06

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0

Transaction of the Day: American League Roundup
by
Christina Kahrl

05-31

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0

Transaction of the Day: Senior Circuit Switches
by
Christina Kahrl

05-29

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0

Transaction Analysis: AL-brand Catsup
by
Christina Kahrl

05-24

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0

Transaction Analysis: NL-Brand Ketchup
by
Christina Kahrl

05-15

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Transaction Analysis: May 10-14, 2007
by
Christina Kahrl

05-10

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Transaction Analysis: May 6-9, 2007
by
Christina Kahrl

05-07

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Transaction Analysis: April 29-May 6, 2007
by
Christina Kahrl

04-30

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Transaction Analysis: April 21-28, 2007
by
Christina Kahrl

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Rain (and other things) washes away a lot more of baseball history than we probably think.

Consider all the things you know about former All-Star and Rookie of the Year runner-up Jeffrey Leonard. Conjure his heavy-lidded frown into your mind. Remember his pejorative, self-accepted nicknames, HacMan and Penitentiary Face; summon the mental GIF of him loping around the bases on a solo home run, one flap down. Remember a man who spent 14 years in the major leagues and battled it to a draw.

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April 4, 2017 6:00 am

Daily League Strategy: Week 1

2

Tim Finnegan

Find the best batters by researching certain statistics of the opposing pitcher. And don't forget to do the splits!

Throughout the winter, we dabbled in some daily league analysis in our Welcome to Splitsville series. Now that the season has started, it's time to dive in a little deeper. Daily leagues are a different animal than seasonal leagues. In seasonal leagues, fantasy owners draft whichever players they think will have the best numbers at the end of the season. In daily leagues, we want to focus on players who will be most productive on a given day in particular. Hitters who are off the seasonal-league radar sometimes can be productive plays for daily league owners in select situations.

In picking batters to use in a daily league, the first thing I look at is opposing-pitcher quality. Fantasy owners want to target batters who have a good chance to be in a high-run-scoring environment. This often means finding opposing pitchers who are prone to getting whacked around with extra-base hits, or prone to putting runners on base. I look at stats like opposing-pitcher triple slash (AVG/OBP/SLG) against and Fielding Independent Pitching, and split it up between batter handedness. The triple slash tells us the outcomes that happened, and the FIP gives us a predictive peripheral statistic to help support the triple slash. Looking at strikeout rate (K%) and walk rate (BB%) also is helpful. A low strikeout rate means more balls are put into play, which means more things can happen to support run scoring.

The introduction of Welcome to Splitsville talked about a few different splits that fantasy owners can use in daily leagues. The most important split is left/right, or platoon splits. Opposite-sided batters usually have an advantage against pitchers over same-sided batters. Tying splits into opposing pitcher quality is important. Sometimes, pitchers can be average on the whole, but be much less effective against opposite sided hitters than same-sided hitters. For example, some right-handed pitchers have a nasty fastball/breaking ball combo that eats up righties, but they lack a good arm-side pitch, like a change up or splitter, to get lefties off their fastball. Using a left-handed batter who hits right-handed pitchers well in this matchup is a good way to use splits to find production.

Park effects are important for run scoring, too. A cold April day in a pitcher's park is not the most-ideal situation for scoring runs. The ball travels better in warmer air. Looking for ineffective pitchers, in hitters parks, in warm weather (or indoors), is a good start for picking hitters in daily leagues in April. Chase Field in Arizona is often a gold mine for hitters in April.

I also focus heavily on statistics, and try to avoid narratives, when trying to select hitters. A narrative is something along the lines of, “This hitter was traded by the team he’s facing today, so he’s going to have extra motivation to focus and play better today.” Avoid that type of rationale, and instead focus on what the statistics say about the opposing-pitcher quality and quality of the hitter himself.

Every Tuesday this season, I’ll be looking at certain players in daily leagues—hitters and pitchers—who have decent matchups based on the numbers, and I’ll be writing about them here. When picking batters in daily leagues, I like to target opposing pitchers who have an average or below-average OPS against the handedness of the batter I’m thinking of using. The higher the OPS of that pitcher against that batter handedness, the more priority I have in finding a hitter to use against that pitcher. Of course, the skill level of the hitter is important, too. For example, LHP Patrick Corbin is listed as the probable starting pitcher for the Diamondbacks on Tuesday night. Last year, right-handed batters hit .293/.365/.485 off Corbin, good for an .850 OPS against, about 100 points higher than the league average. Corbin's poor 5.07 FIP vs RHB gives us more evidence to support the ineffectiveness. He struck out only 15.5 percent of righties he faced last year, compared to 29.1 percent of left-handed batters, where league average K% is around 21 percent. That means that right-handed batters put the ball in play at an above-average level against Corbin. Chase Field also is one of the best hitting environments in baseball. This pitching environment, based on the pitcher quality and ballpark, looks good for run scoring for right-handed batters in this matchup.

Buster Posey ($3,300 FD) is one play that stands out. Posey has a significantly above-catcher-average wRC+ of 141 vs LHP over the past two seasons, where league average wRC+ for catchers in that time is about 86. Posey’s high skill level against LHP, combined with Corbin’s below-average skill level vs RHB, and the upgraded park environment from San Francisco to Arizona for hitters, make Posey an outstanding choice for hitter tonight, more so than what Posey normally would be. This is the type of process I generally use on a nightly basis when choosing hitters in daily leagues, and it usually works well for me.

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Strength Of Schedule for all 30 MLB teams for the remainder of the season.

Hi all -

Based on a suggestion from former Editor-in-Chief Ben Lindbergh (now with The Ringer), it's now possible to see "Strength of Schedule". And it's the time of the season when these values are going to vary a lot, so check back daily to see the latest changes.

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The emphasis is on the "and"

On Sunday afternoon, a column appeared on the Cincinnati Enquirer's website. It was written by Paul Daugherty, their long-time sports columnist, who's not a monstrous person. He's often guilty of tiresome provocation (see his column from a year ago, suggesting that Joey Votto should have forced his way back into the lineup despite lingering injuries), but he's also an advocate for people with disabilities. I'm telling you this because, although we're about to have a complicated and uncomplimentary conversation about what Daugherty wrote this weekend, it's important that the whole thing not devolve into an exchange of personal jabs. (I've had that version of the same conversation recently enough; it's not productive.)

No, I bring up the Daugherty column because I think we should discuss, in a bit more depth than is typical of these things, what exactly causes friction between those of us who use statistics to analyze baseball and those who decry them. To do that, let's start by establishing what, exactly, Daugherty was saying. The article's thesis statement:

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PECOTA appears at MLB.com, and BP publishes new stat reports and updates to PITCHf/x products and player cards.

Often, the content on the Baseball Prospectus website is driven by data collected during the research leading to an article. And readers can now benefit from some recent research on a daily basis, as six new reports have been added to the sortable statistics page, all of which will be updated daily throughout the season.

Player Pace Reports

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A new philosophy, and some new faces, for the stats team at Baseball Prospectus.

Two things about Baseball Prospectus that seem to remain true:

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What baseball's highest-paid personnel can learn from its lowest.

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.

Gabe Kapler spent parts of 12 years in the major leagues from 1998-2010, playing for the Tigers (1998-99), Rangers (2000-02), Rockies (2002-03), Red Sox (2003-06 – with a brief interlude in Japan), Brewers (2008) and Rays (2009-10). He also spent a year managing the Red Sox’ Single-A affiliate in Greenville. Follow him on Twitter @gabekapler, and listen to his recent discussion of advanced stats on Effectively Wild with Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller here.

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Starlin Castro doesn't seem to fit the Cubs' new patient philosophy. But is that too simple an explanation?

Last week, Cubs General Manager Jed Hoyer appeared on Buster Olney's podcast. The pair discussed a variety of Cubs-related topics, spending a chunk of time on the organization's new emphasis on plate discipline. Historically the Cubs have operated without great concern for discipline or walks, Hoyer explained, and as a result some of the inherited players are struggling to adjust to the new definition of a quality at-bat, which puts their jobs at risk. Olney smartly followed up with a question about Starlin Castro—an inherited player with a substandard walk rate—to which Hoyer replied with a vote of confidence by saying, "He does need to improve his plate discipline over time. I think he will." Hoyer added, "He'll figure out the on-base thing."

Whether Castro, or any player, can figure out the on-base thing is an endless debate without an apparent answer. In Castro's case there's cause for skepticism. This is his fourth season in the majors, after all, and he's still in search of his first season in which he walks in more than 6 percent of his plate appearances. In fact, his career-high walk rate came in his rookie season, as a 20-year-old. Thus far this year Castro is walking and striking out at what would be career-worst rates, although that isn't too surprising considering many of his rate stats are in the same boat. So there's absolutely reason to think Castro is not figuring out the on-base thing anytime soon.

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Real-world examples show us that we use scouting and performance analysis in tandem all the time.

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 audience, send us your suggestion.

Derek drew a parallel between job interviews and baseball teams' talent evaluations in the piece reprinted below, which was originally published as a "Breaking Balls" column on January 20, 2005.
 


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Do pitchers get worse at the plate the more time they spend in the minor leagues?

One of the most-used arguments in favor of extending the DH rule to the National League is that the sight of a pitcher flailing about with a bat in his hands every two or three innings isn’t anyone’s idea of competition at the highest levels. This argument can be countered in several ways.

One could be the following: pitchers aren’t much worse at hitting than some oversized sluggers are at circling the bases (notice how I avoided using the word “running”). So why not make baseball a bit more like football? You could have a defensive unit and an offensive one, plus the special teams (the runners). That way, we would always see the best performers in each aspect of the game.

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We think about almost everything but baseball in base 10, but the national pastime stubbornly insists on a base 3 system. It doesn't have to be this way.

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.

Zachary Levine, who somehow tricked an accredited university into giving him a mathematics degree, is in his third season covering the Astros for the Houston Chronicle. This is his second endeavor for Baseball Prospectus, the first being a conversation with Kevin and the Professor about shooting guns in Texas on Episode 49 of the Up and In podcast.

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Can statistics help us see the effects of steroid use?

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 audience, send us your suggestion.

Can we detect the use of steroids statistically? Nate attempted one approach in the piece reprinted below, which was originally published on March 30, 2005.
 


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