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Around the SaberSphere 12/18: Coco Crisp, the 2013 Red Sox, Travis D'Arnaud

Tuesday's edition of sabermetric links includes the wonders of Coco Crisp, what the Red Sox plans are for 2013, Travis D'Arnaud/catching prospects and more...

Ezra Shaw

R. J. Anderson of Baseball Prospectus questions whether or not Coco Crisp is a base-stealing genius: Baseball Prospectus | Painting the Black: The Unimaginable Base-Stealing Genius of Coco Crisp

Who should get credit for Crisp’s stolen base genius? It’s unclear whether he’s a good guesser, a good video scout, or a good reader who took advantage of his team’s apparently über -detailed scouting reports. The most likely answer is a mix of all three. Crisp seems to have an advanced feel for reading a pitcher’s movements and identifying the point when the pitcher shifts his attention from preventing a stolen base to throwing his pitch. Whether that skill comes from study or from attention to the front office doesn’t matter.

Marc Normandin of Baseball Nation analyzes the Boston Red Sox plan for 2013: Just what is Boston's plan this off-season? - Baseball Nation

These waves of talent were missing from the last few years, part of the reason Boston went the trade and gigantic-contract route to begin with. They have been given the chance to start over, though, and refocus their efforts on developing from within. That, plus their expansive wallet, is what made them so good to begin with, and it's understandable why they'd want to get back there again.

Eno Sarris of FanGraphs discusses catching prospects, Las Vegas and Travis D'Arnaud: Travis D’Arnaud, Las Vegas, and Catching Prospects | FanGraphs Baseball

Prospects are iffy. Prospects whose best offensive seasons came in hitter-friendly parks might be more so. And (large?) catching prospects might even provide an additional layer of uncertainty. By all accounts, Travis D’Arnaud is an excellent all-around catcher and a great get for the rebuilding Mets. Given all those question marks, though, it’s still good news that there are other interesting names coming back to the Mets in the R.A. Dickey deal.

Matt Swartz of the Hardball Times rolls out the second part of his series on Game Theory and baseball: Game theory and baseball, Part 2: Introduction to pitch selection--THT

If you ever hear a commentator talk about knowing what pitch should be thrown in any given situation, he is probably misinformed. If batters knew what pitches were coming in any given count, they would change their strategies. If it’s easy enough for the commentator to guess, then it’s easy enough for opponents to guess. This is especially true in two-strike counts where you often hear commentators proudly declare that the pitcher should have thrown the ball out of the strike zone to get the batter to chase. If pitchers never threw into the strike zone in two-strike counts, batters would react by simply taking the free ball and improving the count in their favor. Pitchers do sometimes throw strikes in these counts, and that is why hitters swing at balls in the dirt.