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Sabersphere 2/8: Felix Hernandez, Another possible dominant knuckleballer, and pitchers not batting last


We are now three days away until pitchers and catchers report to spring training, and to be honest I can not wait. Football and basketball are nice, but there's something special about the sound of the bat connecting with the ball. This off-season has been an exciting one, we've seen top prospect Wil Myers change teams, and Alex Rodriguez get connected (again) to PEDs. It's building up to be quite the season.

Previously on Beyond the Box Score

James Gentile continues the Saberizing a Mac series, and in this edition he shows the public how to put Wins Above Replacement (WAR) into their very own database. During the past couple of weeks I have gotten much more interested in SQL, and his articles have been excellent resources. Be sure to look at the other ones that were written before James continued the series: Saberizing a Mac #8: Creating a WAR database | Beyond the Box Score

You don't need to be world-class data programmer to provide yourself with this awesome, mind-blowing sense of power, either. All it takes is a little moxie and a little help from the Beyond the Box Score Community.

Jon Roegele presents a fascinating piece on PitchF/X and park effects. He looks at everything from vertical and horizontal movement to release points. It is truly a fascinating read: Basic Pitch F/X Park Effects - Beyond the Box Score

Pitch F/X reports velocity, movement and release point information for every pitch thrown in a major league game. If the same pitch is thrown in Tampa Bay and Seattle, will the recorded pitch metrics be the same? We take a look at basic park effects.

Around the Sabersphere

It was reported today that Felix Hernandez is receiving a 7 year-$175 million dollar contract with the Seattle Mariners, which would keep him with the club until he's 33 years old. That would give him the largest contract ever for a starting pitcher. Over at FanGraphs Jeff Sullivan gives his thoughts: Felix Hernandez Reportedly Getting Blockbuster Contract | FanGraphs Baseball

While the numbers might change a bit, it seems this should get finalized, and Hernandez should end up with a five-year contract extension, plus raises in 2013 and 2014. What we’re looking at is a seven-year commitment to a pitcher with a $25 million average annual value.

R.A. Dickey is by far the best knuckleballer in the game, and is one of the newest players on the Toronto Blue Jays. Has another AL East team found a potential knuckballer? Rob Neyer of Baseball Nation takes a look: Do Red Sox have the next great knuckleballer? - Baseball Nation

Last season, the Red Sox traded for Steven Wright, who has become a knuckleball pitcher even though he throws his fastball in the low 90s when he wants to. And Wright finished last summer with Triple-A Pawtucket, posting a 3.15 ERA in four starts.

Allan Wood of The Hardball Times looks at the times when the Boston Red Sox did not bat their pitchers in the ninth spot. This article was a fun one, and was done very well: When the Red Sox pitchers didn’t bat ninth

In 1952 and 1953, Red Sox manager Lou Boudreau experimented in a handful of games by moving his pitcher out of the ninth spot in the Boston batting order. In 14 of 18 games, the Red Sox pitcher batted sixth

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