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Wednesday's Saber-Links

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Here's Wednesday's edition of Saber-Links:

Sam Miller of Baseball Prospectus takes an interesting look at Ryan Howard's BABIP with runners on base: Baseball Prospectus | Pebble Hunting: Ryan Howard Laughs Last

Nobody on base (shift): .310

BABIP Runners on base (shift): .324

BABIP Runners on base (no shift): .342 BABIP

So if these numbers mean anything, or if they suggest anything, without concluding anything, then they suggest that Howard benefits from "clutch" situations when the defense can't shift. But that, even when there is no shift, he gets more hits with runners on. Fascinating! Or just one of those things!

The BP team also gives us a fun list of prospects who didn't reach their high ceilings: Baseball Prospectus | The Lineup Card: Six Toolsy Players Who Haven't Put It Together

J.P. Breen of FanGraphs makes a case for the Padres contending next season: Padres Could Contend In 2013 | FanGraphs Baseball

As a whole, the San Diego Padres are perched on the precipice of contention. Their young, cost-controlled core of position players have shown signs this second half of collectively putting it together. The starting rotation and the bullpen have been decimated by injuries this year, but the organization has the resources — both in payroll space and prospects — to upgrade the pitching staff to be more competitive and compliment the promise of its offense.

Brian Borawski of the Hardball Times gives a brief update into the business of baseball, including a shout-out to my hometown Lehigh Valley IronPigs:BOB: Minor league wrap-up--THT

The Lehigh Valley IronPigs led the minors in attendance in the United States. They sold 622,421 tickets in the second straight year they led in total attendance and their 9,153 per game average was the best for a third year in a row.

Jay Jaffe of Sports Illustrated takes a look into the Houston Astros' future: Wait ’til next year: Houston Astros | Hit and Run

With a franchise-worst record a likelihood — last year’s team lost 106 games, so this team would have to go at least 9-6 to avoid that — there’s nowhere for the Astros go to but up, and it’s going to take them a few years to get there. This isn’t a team that’s going to contend anytime soon, and it will be awhile before they reap the dividends from their strong draft. Fortunately, the groundwork laid by the Astros this season should make the coming years easier, and Luhnow’s outside-the-box thinking has offered hope that the team’s path forward will be one worth watching.