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Sabersphere 2/5: WAR, Cardinals and Sabermetrics, Brandon Webb, and Chase Headley

In today's edition of Sabersphere, we consider the uses of WAR, learn about the Cardinals' use of sabermetrics, reminisce about the best 2012 moments, appreciate Brandon Webb, talk about Chase Headley's arbitration, and analyze the best Mets pitches.

Norm Hall

Dave Cameron responds to Jim Caple's article on WAR: What WAR Is Good For | FanGraphs Baseball

We care about stats that answer questions that we care about. And there is perhaps no question in baseball that is asked more frequently than "how good is that player?" Whether it’s at the bar talking with your neighbor or discussing a blockbuster trade at the winter meetings, the question of a player’s overall worth is everywhere. And, at its heart, this is the question that WAR seeks to answer.

Anna McDonald talks to Cardinals GM John Mozeliak about sabermetrics: How the Cardinals use sabermetrics - SweetSpot Blog - ESPN

On the bookshelves in John Mozeliak's office, several books with a dark background and bright red letters on the spine stand out. The shelves hold many items, some pictures and many baseball books, but it is the red letters the eye gravitates toward. They read, "Bill James Handbook."

Chris Jaffe looks back on some of the most memorable moments of last season: Memories of 2012, from the odd to the end (Part 1) | The Hardball Times

Well, we’re still stuck in the long months of the offseason. Baseball is still months away—and even spring training is weeks off. In times like this, it’s nice to have some pleasant baseball memories. So let’s look back at some pleasant memories of the 2012 season. Oh, it would be pointless to go over the biggest and best of them. Those are the memories that are still so fresh and so widely known that recounting them would be pointless. Instead, let’s go through some of the out-of-the-way ones, the little juicy nuggets you might’ve missed during the season that were part of what makes baseball interesting.

Rob Neyer analyzes the career of one of the greatest sinkerballers in the modern era: How good was Brandon Webb? | Baseball Nation

How good was Brandon Webb? Over those six seasons, he ranks second in Wins Above Replacement ('s version, or rWins+) in the majors. Only Johan Santana fares better. He's third in innings, and third in ERA+. You can make an excellent case that he was third-best pitcher in the majors over that span, behind only Santana and Roy Halladay.

Sam Miller, Jason Wojciechowski and Ben Lindbergh discuss Chase Headley: Arbitration Showdown: Mock Hearing: Chase Headley | Baseball Prospectus

Trying to lead the league in an offensive category at Petco is like giving everybody else a one-month head start. Last season, though, Chase Headley did what no Padre had. He led the National League in runs batted in, while also leading all NL third basemen in home runs, runs scored, and games played. That he did it in the offense-strangling environment of Petco puts his performance among the best by a third baseman in the past decade.

Rob Castellano looks at some of the best pitches by Mets pitchers (with GIFs!): The Top Five Mets Pitches of 2012 | Amazin' Avenue

A couple weeks ago we looked at the five longest Mets home runs in 2012. Today, we'll look at the other side of the coin and review the five pitches that most affected the Mets 2012 campaign.

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In today's edition of Sabersphere, Josh Weinstock looks at some factors that could impact whiffs on breaking balls: Inducing Whiffs: Breaking Balls | Beyond the Box Score

What makes a breaking ball nasty? As a knowledgeable baseball fan, you would probably answer that a combination of movement, location, and velocity all contribute to making a breaking ball nasty. Today I will examine how accurately we can predict nastiness using these three variables, where nastiness is defined as whiffs per swing.