The baseball season is officially under way as the Houston Astros earned their first win of the season, as well as the first win of manager Bo Porter's career, by defeating the Texas Rangers 8-2 last night. It was a really good game and I hope the Astros play like that all season long.
Previously on Beyond the Box Score
Buddy up! Players who should be platooned in 2013 - By Max Weinstein - Beyond the Box Score
We often hear people talk about how a player should only hit against right handed pitching, or left, or shouldn't be hitting against anyone at all. Max does some heavy research to give us an idea of the players that actually should be platooned.
Buster Posey A Giant For Nine More Years - By Ben Horrow - Beyond the Box Score
The San Francisco Giants aren't worried about history and instead are looking to solidifying their present and future by signing Buster Posey to a nine year extension. Ben wonders how long it will be before they begin moving him to another position, such as first base, the way the Twins have done with Joe Mauer.
What Got Into Jason Hammel Last Year? - By Lee Trocinski - Beyond the Box Score
Jason Hammel proved to be a vital piece of the Baltimore Orioles rotation and resurgence for much of last season. Was there something that drastically changed with his approach or arsenal or was it simply a matter of getting away from Coors Field?
2013 Power Breakout Candidates - By Blake Murphy - Beyond the Box Score
Even though I've already completed my fantasy drafts, this is some pretty cool stuff that Blake put together. It's something worth following as the season progresses and to look back on once it ends. I also like the fact that he made use of the opponent quality tool offered up by Baseball Reference, which is amazing.
Strike Zone Pitch Quality, Part I: Location - By Jon Roegele - Beyond the Box Score
An interesting topic is broached in this piece by Jon: what makes a pitch within the strike zone successful? While all strikes thrown help the pitcher and the defending team, is a strike right down the middle on a 3-0 count the same as pitches that hit spots in any count within the strike zone?
2013 Team Previews - Beyond the Box Score
While the regular season may have officially kicked off last night with the Rangers taking on the Astros (spoiler alert - the Astros win), we here at Beyond the Box Score have been hard at work providing you with a preview of the teams for the 2013 season. Be sure to give them a good read-through if you haven't already.
Around the Sabersphere
Baseball Prospectus | Pre-Season Predictions
Oh Baseball Prospectus, how I love thee. The BP staff put out their pre-season predictions and not a single one of them chose the Houston Astros to win the American League West. I bet they feel pretty silly now after how the Astros man-handled the Texas Rangers. This was an interesting read though, especially the awards part as many of them think we're going to get another showdown of Mike Trout versus Miguel Cabrera for MVP with Trout narrowly winning it this time. You can't re-write history folks, at least not without a TARDIS.
WAR 1945 - By Tom Tango - Tangotiger Blog
Tom has some interesting thoughts about what to do with the different replacement level numbers for seasons such as 1945 when the replacement level was so much lower due to outside circumstances (WWII for instance) or even the 1914-15 Federal League.
Around SB Nation
Rangers, Andrus nearing 8-year extension by Spencer Schneier | MLB Daily Dish
Ken Rosenthal broke the news late last night that the Rangers are close to extending Elvis Andrus for eight years, a move that obviously will have a huge effect on the future of top prospect Jurickson Profar.
Marlins promote top prospect Jose Fernandez - By Nathan Aderhold - MLB Daily Dish
Some are calling this a surprise move but I can't say I'm surprised by anything the Marlins do at this point. Needless to say, there are a great deal of opinions out there about whether this is the wrong move or the wrong move by the Marlins but I for one don't really care. It's the Marlins and that's just how they roll.
Is this a Golden Age of center fielders? - By Grant Brisbee - Baseball Nation
Michael Bourn thought he had a lot more money lined up once he hit free agency but that's not what happened. Teams just didn't have as much of a need for a good center fielder the way they may have a season or two ago. Grant takes the time to look at how many good center fielders there are and how many teams actually have one. Definitely an interesting read and I'm glad my favorite team has one of the "good" ones.
The Ultimate Replacement Level Baseball Player - By Rob Neyer - Baseball Nation
Rob took the time to give us a few comments about the one player who came in just below replacement level once Baseball Reference and FanGraphs did a little re-imagining of WAR by agreeing on a unified replacement-level winning percentage.
Texas Rangers at Houston Astros, Mar 31, 2013 7:05 PM CDT - The Crawfish Boxes
Gotta give the Houston Astros credit where credit is due. They defeated the Texas Rangers last night, in what was their inaugural game in a new league and a brand new division. Many don't expect the Astros to amount to much this season, but I simply don't agree with that. While anything can happen in baseball, including surprise playoff runs (Orioles and A's for example), I don't think the Astros are going to the playoffs any time soon; however, I also don't think they're going to lose 110 games.
Outside the Sabersphere
- Opening Day crossword puzzle! - By Diane Firstman - SweetSpot Blog - ESPN
This is pretty cool and I think you should all give it a try to see how well you do. One of two things will happen if you try this. You'll either prove to all of your baseball friends that you do, in fact, know more about the history of the game than they do or you'll realize how little you know and give up. Good luck!
- Do you watch Doctor Who? I do and it is an amazing show. This preview is from the season premiere.I won't spoil the episode for any of you who haven't seen it yet and actually want to but this is the show where my TARDIS and time travel references come from.