Sabersphere 2/4: Defense and Weight, Hall of Peak Value, and First Pitch Swings

Jesse Johnson-US PRESSWIRE

Today's edition of Sabersphere examines the relationship between weight and defense, considers the Hall of Fame if it only measured peak performance, and analyzes the benefit of swinging at the first pitch of an at-bat.

Jeff Sullivan of Fangraphs wonders if a player's weight loss (or gain) affects his defensive abilities: Jhonny Peralta, Defense, and Weight

Peralta wants to get better at defense, so he says he lost weight. A pretty significant amount of weight, for that matter, and he says he lost it in a healthy way. It’s intuitive how weight loss and better conditioning could make a defender improve. But I was curious whether we could find anything in the numbers if we looked at previous examples. So I pulled up some previous examples.

Bryan O'Connor of High Heat Stats takes a look at a hypothetical Hall of Fame that focused primarily on peak over longevity: The Hall of Peak Value

What if the Hall of Fame didn’t care about longevity? Janis Joplin was dead at 27, but is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on the strength of one great solo album and a few prior efforts with different bands. Bob Beamon is in the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame for one very long jump- he never won another medal. Baseball is somewhat rare in its refusal to immortalize players who were the best in the world for a short time.

Beyond the Box Score's own James Gentile makes his debut at The Hardball Times and examines the benefit that hitters get from swinging at first pitch strikes: Swinging at first pitch and game theory

I've been looking at some of the changing trends involving the first pitch of the batter-pitcher match-up for Beyond the Box Score over the past few weeks, with far more enthusiasm than I probably should. It's a part of the game that I find fascinating, and the more I look into it the more oddities seem to be revealed.

If you would like to submit something for Sabersphere, email Spencer at SpencerSchneier22@gmail.com.

Today's BtB Retro comes from exactly two years ago, when Satchel Price asks if the Blue Jays could be good. They weren't, but there's a good chance that they will be this year: Could the 2011 Blue Jays be Good?

As Cameron said, 2010 may not be the prettiest year in Toronto, but things are really looking up. Toronto could very well be a spender next offseason if Lind, Hill and Romero show that their 2009 performances weren't completely flukes, and they can get some breakout performances from guys like Snider, Wallace, Morrow, Cecil and Roenicke. Toronto is probably still in the worst position of any team in the AL East, but under Anthopolous it appears that their future looks brighter than it has in at least a year.

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