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07-27

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2

Fantasy Freestyle: Getting Ready for the Trade Deadline
by
Mike Gianella

06-16

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4

Fantasy Freestyle: Fighting The Last War
by
Scooter Hotz

06-15

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2

Fantasy Freestyle: The Pitching Landscape Has Changed
by
Mike Gianella

06-12

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1

Skewed Left: The Wisdom of Pinch-Hitting with Pitchers
by
Zachary Levine

10-09

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26

The Lineup Card: 8 Memorable Manager Decisions in the Playoffs
by
Baseball Prospectus

10-08

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27

Baseball Therapy: What My Four-Year-Old Taught Me About Bunting
by
Russell A. Carleton

01-21

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6

Baseball Therapy: Pitchouts and My Underage Gambling Problem
by
Russell A. Carleton

01-14

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17

Pebble Hunting: The Probably Pointless Pitchout
by
Sam Miller

10-17

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0

BP Daily Podcast: Effectively Wild Episode 64: Should Joe Girardi Have Pinch-Hit in Game Three?
by
Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller

09-07

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7

The Stats Go Marching In: Four Questions for the Stretch Run
by
Max Marchi

05-26

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20

Baseball ProGUESTus: Answers from a Sabermetrician, Part 2
by
Tom Tango

03-08

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27

Fantasy Beat: The Art of Auction
by
Jason Collette

10-14

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17

Playoff Prospectus: ALCS Preview: Rangers vs. Yankees
by
Jay Jaffe

10-05

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19

Playoff Prospectus: ALDS Preview: Twins vs. Yankees
by
Jay Jaffe

09-08

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2

Prospectus Perspective: Not Dead Yet
by
Christina Kahrl

08-16

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5

Prospectus Perspective: The Last of The Czars
by
Steven Goldman

10-28

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25

World Series Prospectus: Yankees versus Phillies Preview
by
Jay Jaffe

10-07

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46

Prospectus Today: Closing Out and Waiting Around
by
Joe Sheehan

10-01

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20

Playoff Prospectus: Phillies versus Brewers
by
Jay Jaffe

05-14

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0

Prospectus Hit and Run: The Life and Times of Buzzie Bavasi, Part Two
by
Jay Jaffe

10-10

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0

Playoff Prospectus: ALCS Preview
by
Christina Kahrl

06-05

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0

Doctoring The Numbers: The Draft, Part 12
by
Rany Jazayerli

05-01

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0

You Could Look It Up: Why Baseball Is Obligated to Throw the Book at Delmon Young
by
Steven Goldman

11-29

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0

Smartball and Moneyball
by
Jeff Angus

04-25

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0

From The Mailbag: The Flat Earth Society, Win Expectancies, Running Wild, and Baseball Rhymin'
by
Baseball Prospectus

04-16

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0

Prospectus Today: Status Qua
by
Joe Sheehan

10-14

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0

Prospectus Today: The Politics of Glory
by
Joe Sheehan

05-23

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0

6-4-3: Looking for Advantages on the Ground
by
Gary Huckabay and Nate Silver

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July 27, 2017 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Getting Ready for the Trade Deadline

2

Mike Gianella

A few simple but important steps you can make, regardless of overall strategy, as we hit the stretch run.

In one of the first fantasy leagues I ever joined, for years the trade deadline was Aug. 1. This is an AL-only league, so the Aug. 1 date gave fantasy managers 24 hours to try and fill any holes created by trades to the National League. This gives away how old the league is. -Only leagues are becoming a thing of the past, and the ones that do exist have mostly switched to permitting players traded to the “other” league to remain on a team’s roster until the end of the regular season.

Most of the leagues I play in now have a trade deadline in late August or early September. In a typical keeper league, nearly everyone already has decided if they are in or out for 2017. But unless your season is going perfectly, you probably are going to need to make some free-agent pickups or trades down the stretch in order to win. This advice is not limited to teams in contention. If you have already given up on your season the last thing you want to do is let your team lie fallow and miss potential keepers for 2018 and beyond.

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June 16, 2017 8:29 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Fighting The Last War

4

Scooter Hotz

In a new season, don't be haunted by old ghosts. Try fresh tactics.

There’s an old saying that “generals always fight the last war.” The origin of the saying is unclear, but the idea behind it is not. During their current engagements, people tend to do the things that has worked well and avoid the things that didn’t work well during their previous engagement, rather than choose their course of action based on the current circumstances. And it’s not limited to war—a variation on the statement insists that “economists always fight the last depression.”

In my deep AL-only league keeper league, I’ve had the same issue the past few times I’ve had a contending team. I didn’t trade away my prospects and/or cheep keepers to the teams that dumped early because I didn’t like the prices I was paying. Each time, I felt like the contenders who made those deals overpaid and that I would overtake them when I made subsequent deals at better exchange rates. Each time, I was wrong.

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June 15, 2017 1:53 pm

Fantasy Freestyle: The Pitching Landscape Has Changed

2

Mike Gianella

Middle relievers with big strikeout totals are gaining in value, which has fundamental implications for how fantasy baseball should be played.

A large portion of the conversation in fantasy circles has revolved around how the spike in home runs has altered the landscape—and with good reason. Home runs have increased from 4,186 in 2014 to 4,909 in 2015 to 5,610 in 2016. Entering action Wednesday, major-league hitters were on pace to hit 6,133 home runs in 2017. It is with good reason this has been analyzed ad infinitum. But since this fertile soil has been properly tilled, we can look at a different trend that is slipping under the radar somewhat.

Table 1: Major League Baseball Starting Pitchers, 2013-2017

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June 12, 2014 6:00 am

Skewed Left: The Wisdom of Pinch-Hitting with Pitchers

1

Zachary Levine

An underused tactic that requires some courage.

You could say that the most Sergio Romo save of Sergio Romo’s 2014 season was his 17th, a wobbly six-batter adventure against the Cardinals in which he entered with a two-run lead and held on for a one-run victory in this sequence.

RHB Jhonny Peralta: Strikeout swinging (slider, slider, sinker, slider)
LHB Jon Jay: Infield single
RHB Peter Bourjos: Infield popup (slider, slider)
LHB Daniel Descalso: Walk
LHB Matt Carpenter: RBI single

RHB Shane Robinson Infield popup (slider, slider, slider, slider, slider)






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The staff recounts moves made by postseason skippers that stand out for the right or wrong reasons.

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Why bunting isn't as bad as you think.

My daughter completely schooled me this week. In the 2013 Baseball Prospectus Annual, I talked about how she, at the tender age of three, was a better sabermetrician than I, because she’s much more experimental about life than I am. She turned four a few months ago, so she’s not really young for her level any more, but she’s still better at this than I am. Last week, my wife and I were in the kitchen and my daughter was busily drawing a picture of… something. My wife mentioned that one of her friends had made a bunting (the kind that a baby wears) for her infant daughter. My daughter asked what a bunting was and my wife explained. As an afterthought, I tacked on, “and it’s a bad strategic play in baseball.” My daughter stopped drawing, looked over at me, and asked her favorite question, “Why?”

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If it doesn't make sense to call for pitchouts, why do major-league managers keep doing it?

Last week, my colleague Sam Miller ran a few numbers on the pointless, yet poignant play that is the pitchout (a billion points to whomever catches that reference) and concluded that pitchouts are actually a net loser: they cost the defense/pitching team more in runs than they gain. Sure, individual pitchouts sometimes nab a would-be base stealer (and that's a good thing), but overall, managers guessed wrong so often that the expected payoff wasn't high enough to justify the strategy. Rule number one of strategic thinking is that just because you got lucky on a stupid bet, it doesn't negate the fact that it was a stupid bet.

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Most pitchouts aren't very effective. Maybe managers should stop calling for them.

On Sept. 23, 2012, the Washington Nationals pitched out. “I could count the times on one hand that the Nats have pitched out this year,” said MASN broadcaster F.P. Santangelo. Hmmm.

I think I stopped paying much attention to pitchouts around 1987. I know they happen; if you’d asked me to guess, I’d have guessed there was one every two games, enough that I know they happen but don't really notice them. I know they work sometimes; if you’d asked me to guess, I’d have guessed the pitchout was timed correctly about half the time, and if you’d asked me to guess, I’d have guessed that in such cases the baserunner was out around three times out of four. If my guesses were correct, it would make the pitchout a tremendously valuable strategy, but one that, for obvious reasons, could be deployed only occasionally.

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Ben and Sam discuss Joe Girardi's decision(s) not to pinch-hit for any of his left-handed hitters late in Game Three of the ALCS.

Ben and Sam discuss Joe Girardi's decision(s) not to pinch-hit for any of his left-handed hitters late in Game Three of the ALCS.

Episode 64: "Should Joe Girardi Have Pinch-Hit in Game Three?"

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September 7, 2012 5:00 am

The Stats Go Marching In: Four Questions for the Stretch Run

7

Max Marchi

Some strategic questions have different answers in September than they do during the rest of the regular season.

During the first four or five months of the season, I don’t care which teams are playing, as long as there is at least one day game I can watch from my location six time zones ahead of the East Coast. But when September arrives, I often find myself looking at the schedule in disgust when I learn that the only game played at 1 PM features two teams already out of contention.

September also brings a different kind of baseball, as rosters expand and teams pull out all the stops to make the playoffs. Given the altered nature of the game in the final month of the regular season, the men in charge of pushing the buttons should know the answers to a few questions that either do not arise or are not really relevant earlier in the season. Let’s have a look at a few of them.

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Tom Tango returns to address your second and final batch of questions from last week.

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.

You asked, he answered. Below is the second and final batch of responses to the questions BP readers submitted for sabermetrician Tom Tango. All questions are presented in their original form.

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March 8, 2011 9:00 am

Fantasy Beat: The Art of Auction

27

Jason Collette

Auction keeper advice from Jason, with a little help from an ancient Chinese strategist.

Ever since I started playing fantasy baseball I have been involved in keeper leagues. My first league began in 1987 when I was a sophomore in high school: my friends and I started simulated leagues using Earl Weaver Baseball to play out our games. I maintain that Earl Weaver Baseball was light years ahead of its time, as you could input your own stats and customize your own ballparks. Rather than pick from the standard player pools as we all do these days, we picked our players from the Topps baseball cards that we had purchased that year. The only flaw in the game was its inability to handle extremely small sample sizes. For example, Carlos Garcia went 2-for-4 as a member of the 1990 Pittsburgh Pirates but I turned him into a pinch hitter extraordinaire as he safely got a hit fifty percent of the time I used him. The league flourished in my Computer Programming class during my sophomore year in 1988—despite the 5.25” floppy disk's confiscation one January following a Kent Hrbek homer around the Pesky Pole, an event that set off celebratory music  celebratory music in the lab.  

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