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October 11, 2006 12:00 am

 Prospectus Today: LCS, Day One 0

The Tigers take on a completely different personality at the plate, and use it to win.

\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.'; xxxpxxxxx1160590386_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.'; xxxpxxxxx1160590386_19 = 'Support Neutral Lineup-adjusted Value Added (SNVA adjusted for the MLVr of batters faced) per game pitched.'; xxxpxxxxx1160590386_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).'; xxxpxxxxx1160590386_21 = 'The percentage of double play opportunities turned into actual double plays by a pitcher or hitter.'; xxxpxxxxx1160590386_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. '; xxxpxxxxx1160590386_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).'; xxxpxxxxx1160590386_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. '; xxxpxxxxx1160590386_25 = 'Batting average (hitters) or batting average allowed (pitchers).'; xxxpxxxxx1160590386_26 = 'Average number of pitches per start.'; xxxpxxxxx1160590386_27 = 'Average Pitcher Abuse Points per game started.'; xxxpxxxxx1160590386_28 = 'Singles or singles allowed.'; xxxpxxxxx1160590386_29 = 'Batting average; hits divided by at-bats.'; xxxpxxxxx1160590386_30 = 'Percentage of pitches thrown for balls.'; xxxpxxxxx1160590386_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 7, 2006 12:00 am

 Prospectus Today: Division Series, Day Four 0

The A's won a Division Series, and they did it their way. The Tigers are one win away from joining them in an ALCS matchup no one predicted.

\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.'; xxxpxxxxx1160276734_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.'; xxxpxxxxx1160276734_19 = 'Support Neutral Lineup-adjusted Value Added (SNVA adjusted for the MLVr of batters faced) per game pitched.'; xxxpxxxxx1160276734_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).'; xxxpxxxxx1160276734_21 = 'The percentage of double play opportunities turned into actual double plays by a pitcher or hitter.'; xxxpxxxxx1160276734_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. '; xxxpxxxxx1160276734_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).'; xxxpxxxxx1160276734_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. '; xxxpxxxxx1160276734_25 = 'Batting average (hitters) or batting average allowed (pitchers).'; xxxpxxxxx1160276734_26 = 'Average number of pitches per start.'; xxxpxxxxx1160276734_27 = 'Average Pitcher Abuse Points per game started.'; xxxpxxxxx1160276734_28 = 'Singles or singles allowed.'; xxxpxxxxx1160276734_29 = 'Batting average; hits divided by at-bats.'; xxxpxxxxx1160276734_30 = 'Percentage of pitches thrown for balls.'; xxxpxxxxx1160276734_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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August 4, 2006 12:00 am

 Prospectus Matchups: Abreu Walks to New York 0

Jim uses a Bobby Abreu walk to jumpstart a look at how teams do when they draw more than their share of free passes.

Johnny Damon: .5
Derek Jeter: .6
Jason Giambi: .8
Alex Rodriguez: .6
Bobby Abreu: .9
Bernie Williams: .3
Melky Cabrera: .4
Miguel Cairo: .1
Total: 4.7

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July 31, 2006 12:00 am

 Will's Mill: The Mill Closes -- 5:00 P.M. 0

A postscript to a busy day on which the biggest names stayed put.

The Mill closes up with a flurry of deadline deals, but no "big" deals. Alfonso Soriano is still a National, Miguel Tejada is still an Oriole, Brad Lidge and Roy Oswalt are still Astros, and the Angels...well, they'll be praying, I guess.

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June 29, 2006 12:00 am

 Schrodinger's Bat: Variations on a Monetary Theme 0

Does an evenly balanced payroll put you at the front of the pack? Does it have anything to do with postseason success? Dan takes a look.

As this article goes to press, your humble author will be enjoying his first Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) convention being held in Seattle. In next week's column I hope to include a full report on some of the more interesting quantitative research presentations, along with a few general takes on the convention itself. I'll also be blogging from the Emerald City, so you'll be able to get a peek at the goings on.

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March 27, 2006 12:00 am

 Future Shock: How Do Teams Draft? 0

Kevin takes a closer look at major-league draft habits, to see what we can learn about risk and strategy.

"They're Moneyballers."

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July 31, 2005 12:00 am

The hours tick down, the rumors heat up. UPDATED 5:10 p.m. EDT.

Sunday, July 31, 5:10 p.m. ET: It's time to close up the Mill for now. I'd like to thank everyone who wrote in with tips and encouragement. Doing this has really opened my eyes into just how hard guys like Jayson Stark, Ken Rosenthal, Buster Olney and Hall of Famer Peter Gammons work. It's hours on the phone and years of building relationships.

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May 24, 2005 12:00 am

 Prospectus Matchups: To Have and Have Not 0

With interleague weekend now over, Jim wonders about the disparity in run-scoring, W-L records, strikeout-to-walk ratios and wealth.

Since the Grand Reawakening of the Atlanta baseball franchise, they have lost the season series to the Mets just twice: 1997 (5-7) and 1995 (5-8). Heading into 2005, they held a 42-game lead on New York in head-to-head matchups since 1991. They're up on them again this year so far and won't see Pedro Martinez in this series.

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July 23, 2004 12:00 am

 Rogue's Gallery 0

The 2004 Mets are on pace to do something that only eight other major league clubs (that we know of) have ever done: steal bases at an 80 percent clip. I say "that we know of," of course, because for many years, nobody was writing down when men were getting caught. Why not? Because America was a happier, more optimistic place back then. We weren't all about negativity and failure in those days--no sir! Well, that's one theory anyway. The party line on steals in these parts is that they are overrated as an offensive weapon--you all know that. When a team gets up over an 80 percent success rate, though, even the most heart-hardened theft-cynic begins to contemplate granting absolution to the thieves. Hall of Famer Joe Morgan is often cited for his base-stealing acumen. Morgan stole right at about that rate for his career. These clubs are, then, his equivalent on the team level--or something like that.

Why not? Because America was a happier, more optimistic place back then. We weren't all about negativity and failure in those days--no sir! Well, that's one theory anyway.

The party line on steals in these parts is that they are overrated as an offensive weapon--you all know that. When a team gets up over an 80 percent success rate, though, even the most heart-hardened theft-cynic begins to contemplate granting absolution to the thieves. Hall of Famer Joe Morgan is often cited for his base-stealing acumen. Morgan stole right at about that rate for his career. These clubs are, then, his equivalent on the team level--or something like that.

July 13, 2004 12:00 am

 Divisional All-Star Teams 0

Tuesday night, 32 men from each league (selected by 64 separate and distinct methods), will battle it out for supremacy and the right to host the weekend World Series games and, in the process, get more traffic in bars with big screen televisions in the host city because people don't have go get up early the next morning to work the night after Games 1 and 6. What I think would be much more interesting would be a tournament featuring All-Star teams from the six different divisions. Knowing that this is a crazy idea (and having to belay the idea of them wearing uniforms identifying their divisional allegiance a la the Little League World Series), I have instead taken the liberty of selecting these six best-of teams. I've done it primarily using VORP, but with a touch of subjectivity thrown in here and there (but not too much, since analytical types such as we are, we're conditioned to breaking out in rashes whenever we get too subjective).

And yet, can you blame players for not bragging on their division? No, we can't, because we have never proven once and for all which division is the best. Sure, we can do it the obvious way, which is to calculate which division has the best records of all the teams therein against everyone outside the division. Here they are, through the All-Star break:

W L PCT. NLC 137 106 0.564 ALE 141 131 0.518 ALW 123 118 0.510 ALC 128 142 0.474 NLE 122 136 0.473 NLW 119 137 0.465

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April 9, 2003 12:00 am

 Transaction Analysis: March 25-April 6, 2003 0

The Snakes bury John Patterson, the Red Sox sort through a batch of soft tossers, the Marlins vie for a 25-catcher roster, and the Devil Rays solve all their problems by grabbing Al Martin and Damion Easley.

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April 2, 2003 12:00 am

 The Great Leap Forward 0

In a recent article about the 1967 Boston Red Sox, I wrote that the team's 20-win improvement was not particularly unusual. I had spent a few minutes convincing myself that there were a few other teams in neighboring seasons that accomplished the feat, but made no attempt to determine how common it was, or whether the 1960s were particularly unique in this regard. This article delves into the topic quite a bit further, presenting an historical survey of the phenomenon, while contemplating patterns that might help us figure out who is most likely to leap forward this year.

First, we need to explain the methodology. To account for different season lengths, I adjusted all team seasons to 162 games. For illustration, lets look at the largest improvement by a team in baseball history: