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Sabersphere 2/12: Michael Bourn, ERA+, PECOTA

Bob Levey

It's Tuesday! Do you know what that means? Me neither. But we have a lot of baseball news to go over, both hot stove-related and sabermetrics-related. But first, a brand spanking new feature for Sabersphere, trivia!

Saber-question of the day:

In James Gentile's piece on defensive adjustments for ERA yesterday, he came up with a list of the pitchers since 2000 with the worst defenses behind them. Marlins pitchers made up much of that list. Who was the top (as in, worst defense behind him) pitcher on that list who played primarily in the National League but didn't play for the Marlins, and what team(s) did he play for?

Previously on Beyond the Box Score:

First off, we have James' previously mentioned piece on the problem with ERA+, and an attempt to fix said problem: Adding Defensive Adjustments to ERA+ | Beyond the Box Score

I think that we sometimes assume that variations in the quality of a pitcher's defense behind him will 'cancel out' over the course of a long career like Reuschel's or even Greinke's, but that is obviously not always the case.

Finally, if you enjoy playing fantasy baseball, or you've never played and would like an easy, fun, and free way to start, consider joining the official Beyond the Box Score Yahoo Fantasy league! If nothing else, I'm in the league, which is an instant cred booster because I'm kind of a big deal: Beyond the Box Score fantasy baseball! | Beyond the Box Score

Around the Sabersphere

In case you haven't heard, in a surprising move, Michael Bourn signed a contract with the Cleveland Indians last night. The Indians now have two of this year's top free agent outfielders in Bourn and Nick Swisher, and may help them compete for the AL Central for years to come. Grant Brisbee gives his perspective on the effect of the signing for Cleveland: Michael Bourn makes the Indians an over-the-radar team | Baseball Nation

It's probably not going to happen. But at least one team will be this year's Orioles, and the Indians are just as good a pick as any.

Also in case you haven't heard, Dave Cameron doesn't like the new CBA. I agree. He explained one reason why he doesn't like the new CBA yesterday: New Signing Limits Put Free Spending Rays in Their Place | FanGraphs Baseball

Because win-loss record is used as the baseline for the pool allotments, the low-revenue Rays were classified as a team that needed to have their international spending constrained.

Exciting news in the saber-verse today: the Baseball Prospectus team has finally released their PECOTA projections! This is really a fantastic resource, and is worth a BP subscription on it's own. Colin Wyers and Rob McQuown introduce the PECOTA rollout: Now Arriving: PECOTA, Depth Charts, and the PFM | Baseball Prospectus

As always, we’ll remind you that we’re weathermen, not soothsayers—we provide probabilities and best guesses, not tea leaves and the throwing of bones.

Speaking of projections, Bojan Koprivica writes a great piece on the theory behind projections and applying them to platoons: Platooning: the value for a player (part 3) | The Hardball Times

If you are going against a projection, you base your expectations either on ignoring the information you have no use for or by having additional information.

If you'd like to submit something to Sabersphere, simply email

Outside the Sabersphere:

The Pope resigned! However you feel about this, you should enjoy the following relevant baseball-related video:

Finally, the GIF of the day, this time in the theme of Astrolololos: