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Around the SaberSphere 11/13: Jose Molina, a free agent expansion team, pop-ups and BABIP

Tuesday's edition of Beyond the Box Score's sabermetric linkage includes Jose Molina's true value, an expansion team made up entirely of free agents, pop-ups and BABIP and more...


I decided to double on everything today. I did this mainly, because the three top sites I link to (FanGraphs, Baseball Prospectus and the Hardball Times) all had two really good pieces.

Baseball Prospectus:

Ben Lindbergh looks at Jose Molina's value when you factor in his ability to frame pitches: Baseball Prospectus | Overthinking It: The 50-Run Receiver

Molina was worth 0.2 WARP. The defensive systems agree that Molina’s good throwing added roughly as many runs as his poor blocking subtracted, so let’s call those a wash. Add 50 runs, or five wins, to his tally, and his total rises to 5.2, which would make him the most valuable Ray and tie him with Adam Jones and Giancarlo Stanton at 12th overall.

Matthew Kory does his best to create an expansion team out of just this year's free agent class: Baseball Prospectus | Out of Left Field: What $205 Million Buys on the Free Agent Market

If an expansion team with a Yankees budget wanted to build a team out of this year's free agents, what would it look like?


Jeff Zimmerman discusses what traits lead to hitters popping out more often: Batter Traits That Cause Infield Fly Balls | FanGraphs Baseball

I sorted out some of the conditions that lead to a high number of IFFBs for a hitter. The first bit of useful information is pretty obvious. A hitter is more likely to induce a fly ball on a pitch that doesn’t break downward.

Jack Moore writes about the importance of Andrelton Simmons's glove for 2013: Andrelton Simmons Changed Everything | FanGraphs Baseball

But as much as Simmons’s benefits were felt in 2012, the confidence the Braves can have in his glove will be a tremendous asset as they build their 2013 club. There was little guarantee the Braves would find a short term solution at shortstop in 2012 — Pastornicky’s issues were exposed at the major league level and Simmons began the season at Double-A, ostensibly still a year (or even two) from the majors.

The Hardball Times

Dave Studeman gives us a list of all the best games to watch from the 2012 season: Must-see MLB.TV--THT

The excitability score was derived by combining the average swing in Win Expectancy per inning (times nine innings) plus the average leverage index of each play. By combining action (swings in WPA) with intensity (average leverage index), we were able to identify the games that are most likely to keep you on the edge of your seat this offseason.

Doug Wacther discusses the importance of analytics in the draft, as well as, which colleges produce the most major leaguers: From big men on campus to the big leagues--THT

While analysts shouldn’t be making draft-day decisions based simply on the output of a spreadsheet, analytics can help us frame the opinions of scouts. If a team’s scouts bring in five players they believe the team should consider for its first pick, I think it’s completely reasonable to consider the long-term outcomes of a sample of similar players to decide whether to, say, pass on the high school shortstop and instead take the center fielder from a top-tier college.