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Sabersphere 2/7: Ryan Braun and PEDs, Joe Maddon, ERA Estimators, and Shin-Soo Choo

Jesse Johnson-US PRESSWIRE

Oh boy. Another day, another PED scandal. Look, I don't know about you, but I really just don't care anymore. I just want to watch people playing baseball, not read about people that may have possibly been connected to someone that might supply substances that could slightly improve how well people play baseball...maybe. Luckily, things are looking up on the watching baseball front. Football is over. Players are slowly making their way to Arizona and Florida. And most importantly, I just booked tickets to the SABR Analytics Conference! March could not come soon enough.

On to the links...

Previously on Beyond the Box Score

Lee Trocinski makes his debut at BtB with a great read on the varying levels of run support pitchers on the same team can receive: Variability of a Pitcher's Run Environment Within a Team | Beyond the Box Score

Most of you reading this site know that ERA's cannot be compared equally across the league. Factors like league, role, ballpark, etc., influence a pitcher's run environment, creating a different baseline for each team. However, an overlooked part of this process is the variability within each team.

Blake Murphy, cat gif enthusiast and resident Canadian, presents some fun and interesting numbers that may or may not answer the question, "Which AL managers are the most hands-on?": Joe Maddon: The AL's Most Active Manager | Beyond the Box Score

We all know that Joe Maddon is the master of all things baseball. He is a profit, a psychic and a mastermind.

Read this sweet Fanpost by Matt Garrioch on projecting career averages of prospects: My New Projection System at Work | Beyond the Box Score

I'm working on a projection system for hitters to project their big league career averages. Not season data or how they will progress through their career yet, just career averages based on similar players.

Around the Sabersphere

Even though I really am tired of hearing about PEDs and Ryan Braun, you should probably definitely read Wendy Thurm's fantastic take on the topic, in which she utilizes her expertise as a former lawyer to explain that, well, "Braun’s Explanation on Biogenesis Is Entirely Plausible | FanGraphs Baseball".

The law treats behind-the-scenes experts quite differently from testifying experts. The work of behind-the-scenes experts, or consultants, is considered confidential and within the ambit of the attorney-client privilege and attorney work-product privilege.

BtB's own Glenn DuPaul reflects on the effectiveness and purpose of ERA estimators, including his own pFIP: Standard deviation and ERA estimators | The Hardball Times

My main issue with the true talent level idea for ERA estimators is how difficult it actually is to calculate that number. An ERA estimator that reflected a pitcher's skill should be able to account for all of the possible factors within the pitcher's control and weed out all of the other factors around the pitcher correctly.

Shane Tourtellotte writes a fantastic essay about pride and the limits of sabermetrics. Seriously, I love stuff like this. Stats and numbers and research are great and all, but good writing paired with a little self-reflection are my thing. Hopefully they're yours too. It’s hard to be humble ... | The Hardball Times

But sabermetrics is not the perfect machine, and I believe it never can be. We need to accept the limitations of our wonderful toolbox, if for no other reason than to keep us from becoming as insufferable as those know-it-alls who refuse to know things about baseball by the same method that we know them.

I'm loving this mock arbitration series at Baseball Prospectus. Yesterday, the team made the case for and against Shin-Soo Choo (subscription required): Arbitration Showdown: Mock Hearing: Shin-Soo Choo | Baseball Prospectus

Only 10 players in the American League struck out more times than Choo, who continued a career-long trend by striking out in more than 21 percent of his plate appearances.

Ok, in the future, I'll add a third section with random tidbits from around the web, but it's late and I'm a few beers in, so I'm going to call it a night. Hopefully you enjoyed this new (and maybe improved) version of Sabersphere. Good night (well, if you're reading this (which you necessarily are), probably good morning!).