So now we've done that: the first issue of Baseball Prospectus since 2012 that was not edited by Ben Lindbergh. Still pretty good, right? We had some great prospects coverage, thick fantasy insight, a penetrating interview with Travis d’Arnaud, a podcast, some laughs. Analysis looking back, analysis looking forward. A slate of articles Ben would be proud of.
And Ben has every right to be proud, though he didn’t edit a word. While everybody knows what a tremendous writer Ben is—he made me care about Neal Cotts, which is right up there with Freaks and Geeks making me care about Kim Kelly—only a few of us appreciate what an incredible, staff-changing leader he was. He worked harder than any of us, his attention to detail bordered on compulsive, and his red pen brought out the best in every submission. Those three traits helped him find, recruit, and cultivate talented writers and analysts over the past two years. Our CEO Joe Hamrahi, our director of prospects and player development Jason Parks, and our director of fantasy Bret Sayre have done likewise. The result is a staff with five-tool talent, elite upside, premium positional value, 80-grade intelligence, double-plus wit, easy plus creativity, good secondary skills, and even a bit of projectability left.
Among the writers who have recently taken on bigger roles, or will:
- Robert Arthur joined us in March and immediately began tackling some of the most challenging questions left for data analysis, like pitch sequencing, the effects of coaching, and pitcher attrition. Using PITCHf/x data, he found evidence that opposing teams might be able to tip us off to a hitter’s breakout season even before the hitter’s stats do. Sadly, we added him just a few weeks too late to claim this piece he wrote about the visual evolution of Star Trek. He’s on Twitter.
- Noah Woodward joined us in May, just in time to apply his Injury Zone model to Jose Fernandez’s final start. Noah has previously written at The Hardball Times, and his first eight articles here have covered a wide and imaginative swath of topics: bat speed, umpire tendencies, the value of a balanced repertoire, and the predictability of pitcher injuries. He’s on Twitter.
- Daron Sutton is a long-time play-by-play man with relationships throughout the game. Since he joined us in June, he has used those relationships to bring us personal reflections from players (and Vin Scully), a close read of Mike Scioscia’s managerial career (courtesy of Mike Scioscia), and a fresh look at the Dodgers’ tradition of pitching.
- J.P. Breen joined our fantasy team in June, a month after coming on Effectively Wild to explain all things Brewers. He is the owner emeritus of the blog Disciples of Uecker and a longtime favorite of many of us on the staff. He’s multi-talented, but especially excels when taking close looks at the trendlines of individual players, as he has done for Billy Butler, Michael Brantley and, today, Howie Kendrick. He’s on Twitter.
- Rocco DeMaro joined us this month. He's best known for building and hosting the Pirates' pregame/postgame radio shows during the tail end of The Dark Years (2007 to 2010). He has worked at GameTrailers.com as an editor and manager of the site's news blog, and is a plus-plus podcaster; both his 'Life of Leisure' and 'Side Mission Briefing' podcasts have topped iTunes charts. His Notes About Baseball column has so far included interviews, oddities, and a lot of Billy Hamilton. He’s on Twitter.
- Dan Brooks and Harry Pavlidis, geniuses both, will begin contributing regularly as writers. Dan previously wrote a wonderful essay in the most recent Baseball Prospectus Annual about the complicated nature of engineering changes in the sport. Harry's series about what makes a good changeup was one of my favorite pieces of baseball analysis anywhere last year. And, of course, their work making PITCHf/x data usable has been valuable beyond estimation. We’re completely excited to read more of their writing. Dan and Harry are both on Twitter.
Besides these guys, our fantasy coverage is more vigorous that it has been at any point in the site’s history. The prospects coverage is ridiculously thick, or girthy, or creamy, or whatever word you think would go well with a hashtag. And, as Ben noted in his farewell, “the statistical wing of BP is as robust as it’s been since I started.”
The point being, mostly, this: Ben left us with a heck of a roster. Surveying the site with editor-in-chief eyes for the first time today, I see an organization that’s running well, that’s focused on growing, and that thrives because every person on staff wants to live up to the standards set by all those who have come and left before us—including, now, our dear departed leader. Am I capable of destroying the site? Yeah, probably capable. But, thanks to Ben, Joe, Jason, Bret, and everybody else working here, it would take a really long time, and almost willful incompetence. In the meantime, any imminent changes will be for the better. The price of a subscription is going to be worthwhile for a really long time.
Thank you for reading
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