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When Do 10 Runs Not Equal a Win? Baseball Databank Data Dump 2.2

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It's standard in baseball analysis to say that 10 marginal runs typically converts to one win. But that hasn't always been the case, and given the drop in scoring in 2010, is it still?

Custom wOBA and Linear Weights Through 2010: Baseball Databank Data Dump 2.1

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In response to overwhelming demand (ahem), here are are customized weights from 1871-2010 for calculating hitter value with linear weights.

Baseball Databank Data Dump, I: FIP Constants and Runs Per Win

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Do you want quick access to FIP customized to each season? Or Runs to Wins conversion, or even a way to calculate these yourself? Check it out.

Curveball Named World's Best Illusion

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Sort of. I'll let the article do the talking for me: The three best visual illusions in the world were chosen at a gathering last weekend of neuroscientists and psychologists at the Naples Philharmonic Center for the Arts in Florida. The winning entry, from a Bucknell University professor, may help explain why curve balls in baseball are so tricky to hit. A properly thrown curve ball spins in a way that makes the air on one side move faster than on the other. This causes the ball to move along a gradual curve. From the point of view of a batter standing on home plate, though, curve balls seem to "break," or move suddenly in a new direction. This year's winning illusion, created by Arthur Shapiro of Bucknell University in Pennsylvania, may explain this phenomena. His animation shows a spinning ball that, when watched directly, moves in a straight line. When seen out of the corner of the eye, however, the spin of the ball fools the brain into thinking that the ball is curving. So as a baseball flies towards home plate, the moment when it passes from central to peripheral vision could exaggerate the movement of the ball, causing its gradual curve to be seen as a sudden jerk. The illusion itself can be seen in the link, and I must say, it's pretty nifty. Tango provides a link to the original article, which also has a couple other cool (but not baseball-related) illusions.

New Run Estimator?

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Tom Tango links to a massive paper detailing a new run estimator designed by a reader of his. I've only skimmed it, and it's probably over my head, but he's looking for peer reviews, so if anyone out there is down to look it over and post comments (here and there), there's your link. Tango says he has one huge reservation he'll talk about tomorrow.

Bullpen Chaining and Reliever WAR

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Closers are overvalued and BtB explains another reason why, called bullpen chaining.

[Brian] Cashman also said home runs are traveling about eight feet farther so far this year...

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[Brian] Cashman also said home runs are traveling about eight feet farther so far this year compared to last season. 'It's possible that the ballpark is a home run-type park,' Cashman said in an interview before his talk. 'We'll see. The ball is going farther in every park, not just ours.'

ESPN There's some discussion about this at a few places. Baltimore Birds Nest crunches some HitTracker numbers and concludes there is little reason to have confidence in Cashman's statement. From there, a discussion at Tango's Blog talks about how accurate the various systems are for tracking home run distance, and whether or not BIS or STATS can be trusted. It is concluded BIS and STATS are "garbage" by MGL. Also, Cashman's statement may have been based on information that is at least a week old it appears. This is the kind of discussion I have to either spend a while compounding or what for someone to come over in the comments and summarize well.

Wall Street Journal: Major League Baseball's Worst Ideas

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Tom Tango, who I got this link from, feels title would be better substituting "dubious" for "worst." In any case, it's an interesting look at a set of established ideas. Tall Catchers Pulling Your Best Hitter for a Pinch Runner Pitcher's Batting Ninth Calling in the Closer with a Three Run Lead Managers in Uniforms The catcher one was the most brow-raising to me, because it concerns internet baseball's current favorite meme: Matt Wieters. It suggests he would be the tallest catcher to have an exceptional career if he doesn't end up busting. I hadn't considered that as an actual concern, and I don't know if there's necessarily enough data to support it as a real correllation, but it might make Wieters being the best catcher ever a little less of a sure thing. As far as pitchers batting 9th, Tango had a pretty good response to that: "For the pitcher-batting-ninth, I’d flip that to "reactions to pitcher batting 8th". The dubious aspect is not that the pitcher bats 9th. It’s justifiable. It’s not that pitcher bats 8th. That’s justifiable too. It’s the reaction of people who think it’s a bad idea for the pitcher to bat 8th. It’s that reaction that is bad." Reliever usage continues to be one of the most baffling aspects of baseball management to me. I just cannot understand the logic. Is it all just about a weird fascination with a meaningless stat? Most bad baseball ideas I can understand the logic even if I disagree with it. I can't say that for bullpen use.

What Leverage Index Do Relievers Deserve?

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Introducing deLI. No, it has nothing to do with luncheon meats. It's a way to quantify the leverage that a reliever deserves based on his skills.

BtB Jeff Luhnow Interview

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Interview with Jeff Luhnow of the St. Louis Cardinals

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