Thursday's Saber-Links

Here's Thursday's edition of Saber-Links:

Rob Neyer of Baseball Nation writes about major league careers, Randy Wolf and John Axford: A Tale Of Two Brewers - Baseball Nation

Last season, the second of a three-season contract worth roughly $30 million, Wolf went 13-10 with a 3.69 ERA. This season, with some nifty (if unfortunate) bits of symmetry, Wolf was 3-10 with a 5.69 ERA. Of course, even if Wolf were pitching exactly as well this year as last year, the Brewers wouldn't be within hailing distance of first place. But the campaign wouldn't be quite as disappointing, that's for sure. Wednesday, then, the Brewers released the Randy Wolf. Even though he had around $2 million left on his contract, which the Brewers will now eat.*

Jason Wojciechowski is starting to become one of my favorite writers, even though I have to copy and past his name every time I link to one of his articles, because I can't spell his last name. How many letters is that name, anyways? Jason writes, at Baseball Prospectus, about A.J. Pierzynski's quite possibly historic 2012 campaign: Baseball Prospectus | In A Pickle: A.J. Pierzynski and the Last Thing You Expected

Next fact: A.J. Pierzynski is not primarily known as a powerful performer at the plate. Here is his rest-of-season PECOTA projection: .256 TAv. Here was his pre-season weighted mean forecast: .240 TAv. Here was his 90th percentile forecast: .268 TAv. Here is how many years PECOTA thought Pierzynski had left in the tank after 2012: one. (That is, the 10-year forecast has him dropping below replacement level beginning in 2014.) Here is how much outcry there was about how these projections are evidence that PECOTA hates Pierzynski and Colin Wyers is bigoted against descendents of Polish immigrants and Baseball Prospectus is biased toward the Twins: zero.

R.J. Anderson also of BP discusses Ricky Romero's loss of confidence and tough 2012 season: Baseball Prospectus | Painting the Black: Broken Romero

What happened to Romero’s swagger? It’s a good question. Back in spring training, Romero had confidence. In fact, he appeared overconfident. Romero had reason to feel good. In 2011, Romero set a career-high in innings pitched en route to making his first All-Star team and finishing in the top-10 in American League Cy Young award voting. Romero would talk up his team, not himself on that spring day

Bill Petti of FanGraphs makes a great point about why we maybe shouldn't cite pythagorean record so often: Slowly Back Away from the Pythag Expectation | FanGraphs Baseball

For the first few months, Pythagorean winning percentage holds a slight edge over actual winning percentage. In July, the advantage flips to actual winning percentage, but here we are still only talking about a .01 advantage. That changes in August. That’s where winning percentage has about a 3% advantage in terms of explanatory power. It would appear that once a team manages to navigate to August, focusing on a team’s expected winning percentage — with an eye toward predicting September — is less helpful than simply looking at real performance.**

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