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Sabersphere 1/31: Freddy Garcia, Alternate Universes, Mitchell Report

Today's Sabersphere tells you not that you should vote for Lewie Pollis and Glenn DuPaul in the SABR Research Awards, but that you must. We also look at broken starters, alternate universes, 8 tools, the Mitchell Report, and reminiscing about that time when Jeff Franceour was bad.

Mike Stobe

Since I'm the resident philosopher here at BtB, I'm going to throw down a little logical argument for you.

  1. You are reading Beyond the Box Score.
  2. If you are reading Beyond the Box Score, you are a smart (and good-looking) person.
  3. When presented with decisions in their lives, smart (and good-looking) people make the correct choice.
  4. In the SABR Analytics Research Awards, the correct choice is to vote for Lewie Pollis and Glenn DuPaul.
  5. Therefore, you will vote for Lewie Pollis and Glenn DuPaul when you vote in the SABR Analytics Research Awards.

There you have it, dear readers. You have no choice in the matter. The decision is made. Simply follow your destined path, and everything will continue normally. Do not do so, and I will be forced to reconsider the assumption that you are all smart and good-looking.

On to the links:

Dave Cameron of FanGraphs considers a potentially undervalued type of player in the free agent market: Freddy Garcia and the Value of Broken Starters

You can’t build a winning team around 25 Freddy Garcias, nor should anyone try. But, for a fifth starter, Garcia’s actually pretty decent, and a lot of teams are going to go into spring training with a worse pitcher penciled into their starting rotation. Garcia will probably outpitch most of them. Garcia will probably land on the DL at some point. And then Garcia will be a free agent next winter, and likely sign another minor league contract with an invite to spring training.

Maybe it's just my Yankee fan bias, but I found Shane Toutellotte's piece - on how the Yankees and baseball would have been different had Lou Gehrig not died young - to be incredibly fascinating, thorough, and engaging. A must-read from The Hardball Times: Alternate baseball: chapter three

It is, thankfully, a rare few baseball players who are defined as much by how they died as by how they lived. Ed Delahanty; Ray Chapman; Willard Hershberger; Roberto Clemente; Thurman Munson; Lyman Bostock. A few others, surely, but the litany already feels too long. Atop that list, probably for all time, is Lou Gehrig, lost to a rare disease that not only took his life but claimed his name as a trophy.

Have you ever wondered which minor league prospects have 8 (the highest rating in scouting) tools? Well you're in luck, because Mark Anderson of Baseball Prospectus tells us: Youth Movement: Respect the 8

Even as baseball fans and those within the industry gain a deeper understanding of statistics, one number remains largely misinterpreted and misunderstood. The elite post atop the traditional 2-8 (or 20-80) scouting scale, the 8 represents the territory so far to the right on the scouting bell curve that few scouts dare to tread there. It represents only the most elite of tools and should always be respected.

Craig Calcaterra of Hardball Talk gives a fantastic commentary on PEDs and the Mitchell Report: George Mitchell speaks. And in doing so, illuminates how useless The Mitchell Report really was.

We study crimes like the ones Mitchell mentions in order to figure out why they happen and how best to combat them. Those studies do much to inform our law enforcement strategies. They go together. But George Mitchell and Major League Baseball — by treating the players like criminals rather than resources at the time of the Mitchell Report — blew their best chance to truly get a handle on the problem of performance enhancing drugs. Baseball has been playing catch-up ever since.

If you would like to submit an article for a future Sabersphere, please email Spencer at

In today'ss edition of BtB Retro, because I thought this was funny, Peter Bendix shows us that Francoeur was bad even back in 2008: Jeff Francoeur's Awful Season

Jeff Francoeur had some good seasons in his first three years in the majors, hitting 62 homers over two-and-a-half seasons. However, this power was accompanied by nearly unparalleled hacky-ness, as Francoeur managed only 62 unintentional walks during this span, good for one walk in every 26.7 plate appearances. For comparison’s sake, noted free-swinger Vladimir Guerrero averaged one unintentional walk in every 18 plate appearances during the same time period.