With Opening Day just three (!) days away, today marks our last spring training edition of SaberSphere for 2013. Luckily for you we are rolling into the season on a high note, so sit back and enjoy all the best saber links from Thursday.
Previously on Beyond the Box Score
- The next next next Jose Bautista by Lewie Pollis │ Beyond the Box Score
Using the same foolproof methodology that predicted Michael Morse's 2011 breakout, Lewie names his breakout power hitter for 2013.
- Is Game Theory the next Moneyball? by Lance Rinker │ Beyond the Box Score
Lance's wonderful interview with Matt Swartz about his Game Theory presentation at this year's SABR Analytics Conference.
- PITCHf/x Profile: Ryan Vogelsong by Alex Kienholz │ Beyond the Box Score
A PITCHf/x look into Ryan Vogelsong's long and fascinating journey from Japan back the Majors.
- 2013 Team Preview: Pittsburgh Pirates by Blake Murphy │ Beyond the Box Score
Pittsburgh fans rejoice as Blake previews the Pirates team that he says will be the first to crack .500 since 1992.
- 2013 Team Preview: Chicago White Sox by Nathaniel Stoltz │ Beyond the Box Score
The ChiSox contended for much of 2012, falling a bit short of the playoffs. Can they overtake the Tigers in the AL Central this season?
- Distribution of Runs and Ranges of Expected Wins by Stephen Loftus │ Beyond the Box Score
Stephen takes a look at the range of win totals for every major league club. If you are a Marlins fan (and I'm sorry if you are), you'll be happy to know Stephen says there is a chance they'll be over .500 this season.
Around the Sabersphere
- Unifying Replacement Level by Dave Cameron │ Fangraphs
The biggest news of the day in the Saber community was the announcement that Fangraphs and Baseball Reference have agreed to use a common replacement level going forward. We will have more on this topic later on today, but I couldn't agree with this sentiment more:
The higher baseline brings our scale down slightly, but we think that change is worth making, as a unified replacement level will allow for comparisons of our apples versus their apples, and will eliminate needless confusion based around an area that didn’t need to cause confusion. These changes weren’t made lightly, and we know that there is always some resistance to any sort of change, but we hope that you see the unification of replacement level between the two sites as a positive overall.
- Why do we need Replacement Level? by Dave Cameron │ Fangraphs
While we're on the subject of replacement level, Dave Cameron also wrote an article explaining why we use replacement level in the first place.
- 20 ways to improve baseball right now by Jay Jaffe │ Sports Illustrated
20 practical and dead-on ways to improve the game we love. My three favorites? Stop the war on advanced statistics, enhance the stats on every scoreboard and broadcast, and let Vin Scully call the World Series.
- Save the Date: The 2014 SABR Analytics Conference will be March 13-15, 2014 by SABR
No thoughts, I just want to make sure everyone gets this on his or her calendar.
Around SB Nation
- When Rich Aurillia was the Reds' most valuable player by Rob Neyer │ Baseball Nation
Didn't know that Aurillia was once named Team MVP of the Reds? Neither did I. Here Rob Neyer examines the world of Team MVPs.
- Last minute shopping in the 'Out of Options' Aisle by Rob Castellano │ Amazin' Avenue
Castellano points out that all good GM's are paying attention to which players can't be sent down by their respective clubs. At least three interesting outfielders, Gorkys Hernandez, Julio Borbon, and Casper Wells, could be available in the coming days.
- Jackie Bradley is apparently a gladiator but also a president by Marc Normandin │ Over the Monster
Marc Normandin's take on a recent Jackie Bradley scouting report. *Spoiler: Article contains a great picture.
Outside the Sabersphere
- FX has decided to add a new network, FXX, targeting me specifically. Well really I guess they're targeting the entire 18-34 demographic, but I am excited either way. The new station will take It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia and The League and should feature a steady stream of