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Monday's edition of sabermetric links include an argument against the second Wild Card, Chipper Jones' career, fixing the issue with playoff umpires and more..
Bill Parker of the Platoon Advantage argues against the second Wild Card: Why I (Still) Hate the Second Wildcard | TPA
The Braves were a considerably better team than the Cardinals, and deserved more than a single game to prove it. It's a bit harder to stick up for the Rangers, since they didn't look like they had any interest in doing much of anything over the second half or so, but I still think they were the most talented team in baseball, and having qualified for the playoffs, they deserved more than nine innings to show it. After six months and 162 largely successful games, with one bad day -- and one extremely questionable call, to say the least -- the Braves were done.
Scott Spratt of the Hardball TImes puts Chipper Jones' season/career into a historical perspective: Chipper Jones and age-40 WAR--THT
Of the 23 third basemen who have a career WAR of at least 60.0, eight of them played in their age-40 seasons, Jones included. Jones has the highest combined WAR over 40 years old, delineated by seasons in which the players were 40 or older by May 1.
Al Yellon of Baseball Nation comes up a solution to the postseason umpiring controversy: Postseason umpiring controversy, solved! - Baseball Nation
"Foul-line umpire" isn't a position that is manned by an umpire -- except in the postseason. Umpires must make calls quickly and accurately; a significant part of doing that is knowing where to position yourself depending on the game situation. There's really no logical reason to have an umpire down the foul line, when the base umpires can make these calls more accurately than someone who might literally never have been in that spot before.
Maury Brown of Baseball Prospectus delves into the MLB's 2012 attendance and more: Baseball Prospectus | Bizball: Inside 2012 MLB Attendance, Plus Postseason TV Ratings Update
Of MLB’s 30 clubs, more than half the league (16 teams) experienced attendance decreases; 14 saw attendance increases. Increases ranged as high as 44.16 percent (the Marlins—more on that in a bit), to as low as 2 percent (the Rays, who still ranked last in paid attendance). Decreases ranged from as high as 22.22 percent (the Astros, during their last season in the National League and coming off back-to-back seasons of more than 100 losses), to as low as 0.29 percent (the Giants, who wound up winning the NL West).
Bill Petti of FanGraphs continues his great work with aging curves, this time looking into how a hitter's plate discipline changes over his career: Hitter Aging Curves: Plate Discipline | FanGraphs Baseball
Overall, hitters generally decrease their swing rates during their careers. Younger players almost immediately increase their selectivity. In particular, hitters decrease their number of swings at pitches outside the zone. This aligns with the general idea that hitters become more selective the longer they are in the league. But the selectivity doesn’t increase forever. At about age 33, we begin to see a slight uptick in Swing%. Hitters seem to be swinging more at pitches both in and out of the zone.