SaberSphere 4/9: Carlos Marmol, Jose Molina, and the Royals' Bullpen

David Banks

Jose Molina is still the boss of pitch framing, but when did it start and how did he get so good? Also, Carlos Marmol is out as the Cubs closer, and do MLB teams enjoy as big a home field advantage as they should? All that and more in Tuesday's SaberSphere.

The SaberSphere moves from Monday to Tuesday, losing no steam. Catchers and prospects are two topics that highlight a number of pieces ranging from Jose Molina and Hector Sanchez to Carlos Marmol and Hyun-Jin Ryu. A few interesting thoughts not mentioned below include Will Middlebrooks' three bombs against the Blue Jays and Jose Fernandez's dazzling Major League debut.

Previously on Beyond the Box Score

James does it again. Using his wily saber-oriented brain, James combines Jose Molina's ability to pitch-frame with his recent work on the "rise of the called-strike" (CLDSTR+) to look at just how valuable Molina becomes to pitchers he catches.

The Giants have some dynamic pitchers, including Tim Lincecum. Like many MLB pitchers, Lincecum prefers to have one specific catcher play when his turn comes up in the rotation. That catcher is Hector Sanchez, and he's had some recent difficulties performing his duties behind the plate. Ryan Potter looks to see just how difficult it's been for Sanchez.

Can't let a Tuesday SaberSphere go by without a nod to the young guys, or in this case, the former highly touted prospect that need to take steps forward soon in order to achieve their once thought high ceiling potential. Chris outlines his piece nicely, mentioning a couple fun names like Matt LaPorta, Travis Snider, and Francisco Liriano.

Around the Sabersphere

Not sure if you saw, but despite taking two out of the three from the Phillies this past weekend, the Royals learned something important. Closer Greg Holland has some issues, issues that an average offense like the Phillies took advantage of once, and if not for Kelvin Herrera, would have done so twice. The Royals are stocked with hard throwers in their pen, and Matt takes a look at who should be filling which roles, and why.

Continuing the prospect chatter, the Baseball Prospectus prospect staff has put together a short list of 10 prospects they are dying to watch play as soon as possible. This is a list filled with some talented high-ceiling prospects including Addison Russell, Gregory Polanco, and Roman Quinn.

If the title of this piece hasn't already enticed you to open it up, you must be insane. Seriously though, numerous Asian players have come across the Pacific Ocean to strut their talent in the U.S. and Michael Street has something to say about it. Street specifically discusses the risks and rewards involved in the signing of the newly migrated Asian players including Hyun-Jin Ryu and Hiroyuki Nakajima.

Around SB Nation

The theatrics of Cubs reliever Carlos Marmol have come center stage with the aforementioned righty blowing a few games for the Cubs with his shaky command and affinity for leaving the ball over the middle of the plate. He's lost his closer's job, but should he have ever been put in that position to start? Stephen Goldman takes a closer look.

As a fan of the Mariners, Patrick has a vested interest in how much of an advantage there is from playing at home. He looks at the often spoken about, but not always understood home field advantage. Does the advantage of playing at home in baseball compare to other sports?

Outside the Sabersphere

Taking a break from baseball for a second, one of my favorite shows, Mad Men, began its sixth season last night on AMC. I get cranky when I don't get my weekly viewing of middle-aged men drinking way too much and smoking way too much. Mad Men is back, and that means Grantland's awesome postgame analysis.

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