Mark Reynolds is off to a hot start which may actually be for real. Roy Halladay has hit the disabled list for the second time in two years with an injured right shoulder and some may wonder if this is truly the end for the workhorse ace. On the bright side, leadoff hitters are performing better than they ever have. All this and more packed into today's SaberSphere.
Previously on Beyond the Box Score
Home Run Depth Perception by Chris St. John | Beyond the Box Score
These two posts kind of coincide. Chris, as always, did great research in quantifying how we perceive home runs. If you haven't read it yet, you really should.
Mark Reynolds' Hot Start Looks To Be Legitimate by Mike Mulvenna | Beyond the Box Score
Meanwhile, Mark Reynolds is smashing dingers at a pretty impressive pace while maintaining a great batting average, which is pretty surprising. Looking into his plate discipline and batted ball tendencies, his early season success may be somewhat sustainable.
Around the Sabersphere
Doc Halladay's A-Game Rides Off Into the Sunset by Jonah Keri | Grantland
Roy Halladay is a pitcher that any baseball fan can root for. I don't think there's been a player in baseball that I've enjoyed watching more than Doc over the past couple years. Seeing an exhausted and possibly hurt shell of one of the best truly is sad but Jonah Keri puts together an excellent synopsis of Halladay's career and makes some comparisons to Kevin Brown.
We're in a golden age for leadoff hitters by David Schoenfield | ESPN Sweetspot
Leadoff hitters are posting the highest OPS of all time so far in 2013 and 5.1% higher than the MLB average. Led by Shin-Soo Choo and his 1.052 OPS, there aren't as many stolen bases coming from the top spot but collectively they're averaging 92 runs per 650 PA.
Maybe It’s Time We Stop Underrating Pitchers From Asian Countries by Dave Cameron | FanGraphs Baseball
With Yu Darvish, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Hisashi Iwakuma already accumulating over 1 fWAR on the young season, maybe it's time to start giving credit to these pitchers from Asian countries. Dave takes a look at how well pitchers from Asia are faring in the MLB and concludes that they are making imported failures such as Dice-K and Kei Igawa look like a distant memory.
Around SB Nation
Who's got a better shot at comeback, Angels or Blue Jays? by Rob Neyer | Baseball Nation
Both the Angels and the Blue Jays were generally expected to wind up in the postseason after serious off-season revampings. But both have struggled terrible so far this spring. Which club's got a better chance of turning things around?
B.J. Upton's bad, bad start by Steven Goldman | SBNation.com
Michael Bourn left Atlanta and in came B.J. Upton. So far, his .229 wOBA and 38 wRC+ are dead last in the MLB amongst batters with at least 120 PA. The next closest? Josh Hamilton with a miserable .238 wOBA and 47 wRC+. Steven points out studies have shown that players that reach free agency and change teams decline faster than those are resigned. But I'd say that most of Upton's putrid start can be blamed by a super unlucky .209 BABIP. His inflated strikeout rate of 32.8% could even be pointed to the fact that he's likely pressing to break out of the slump. Patience Braves fans.
Justin Verlander throwing more pitches, getting more strikeouts in 2013 by Rob Rogacki | Bless You Boys
Justin Verlander is getting into more 0-2 counts than ever before which is leading to a jump in his strikeout rate. But at the same time, he's throwing more pitches than ever before. Could this be a trend throughout the year or just a notable pattern that exists only in his opening month?
Outside the Sabersphere
Blur hint at possible new album by Dan Martin | The Guardian
At Coachella last month, I was lucky enough to see Blur in one of their first shows in North America in what feels like a decade. They were instantly one of my favorite acts of the weekend just because I never really expected to see them unless I travelled over to Europe and caught one of their life-changing Hyde Park shows. Now, at a show in Hong Kong, Damon Albarn hinted that the band will be going into the studio to record some new music, again.