Here's Tuesday's edition of Saber-Links:
Bill Chuck of the Baseball Analytics blog discusses the very different Jose Valverde we've seen this season, with heat maps: The less than perfect Jose Valverde - Baseball Analytics Blog - MLB Baseball Analytics
One area where we can see the difference in Valverde is in his lack of dominance against left-handed batters, particularly on pitches down in the hitting zone.
Dave Schoenfield of ESPN's SweetSpot looks back at "miracle" teams and compares them to the Athletics and Orioles of this season: The A's, Orioles and miracle teams - SweetSpot Blog - ESPN
In comparing the A's and Orioles to these teams, the A's are the more conventional miracle team -- a group of young players that suddenly comes together, although they're somewhat unique in that many of the rookies and young players were acquired via trade. The Orioles are more difficult to define, since their improvement stems almost entirely from their all-time best record in one-run games. So give credit to the bullpen, plus some credit to the additions of starters Jason Hammel (trade) and Wei-Yin Chen (free agent from Japan).
Jeff Sullivan of FanGraphs discusses the adjustments that Cameron Maybin has made in the second half of this season: Cameron Maybin Figuring It Out a Second Time | FanGraphs Baseball
Maybin says he’s seeing the ball better now, and the statistical evidence backs him up. It’s nothing short of astonishing that he’s been able to fold this in and stick with it day to day. It helps that he’s been getting more positive results, which serve as encouragement.
In a guest post for Baseball Prospectus, Nick Piecoro gives us one of the best articles of this year. I'm not going to describe it -- anyone reading this post should just take the time to read it -- but I quoted the last few paragraphs, below. Mainly, because they're incredible: Baseball Prospectus | Baseball ProGUESTus: The Agony of Rational Rooting
I certainly don’t think I know it all. And I don’t mind being surprised. I love that in our sport, we get a leading projection model in PECOTA that is far from perfect and yet, the system’s creator, Nate Silver, can go on to accurately predict 49 of 50 states’ presidential voting results.
Maybe it’s the Greek in me that wants order out of chaos. Or maybe it’s the fact that I’ve gotten to know smart, hard-working scouts and executives who have dedicated their lives to figuring this game out. People whose jobs can disappear if things don’t go their way.
I just want to see the best teams win. I want to see the best decisions—good process—pay off in the end. I want to believe, despite all the things in the world that tell us otherwise, that good work is rewarded in the end.
Too often, that doesn’t seem to happen in baseball. But I guess if it did, we wouldn’t have anything left to debate. And what fun would that be?