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SaberSphere 5/08: Reynolds, Leadoff Hitters and B.J. Upton

In Wednesday's SaberSphere, you'll find reasons to stop underrating pitchers from Asia and a look at what may be causing B.J. Upton's sluggish start. Hey, maybe you'll want to believe in Mark Reynolds' blistering start to the season too!

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Mark Reynolds is off to a hot start which may actually be for real. Roy Halladay has hit the disabled list for the second time in two years with an injured right shoulder and some may wonder if this is truly the end for the workhorse ace. On the bright side, leadoff hitters are performing better than they ever have. All this and more packed into today's SaberSphere.

Previously on Beyond the Box Score

Around the Sabersphere

Around SB Nation

  • Who's got a better shot at comeback, Angels or Blue Jays? by Rob Neyer | Baseball Nation
    Both the Angels and the Blue Jays were generally expected to wind up in the postseason after serious off-season revampings. But both have struggled terrible so far this spring. Which club's got a better chance of turning things around?

  • B.J. Upton's bad, bad start by Steven Goldman |
    Michael Bourn left Atlanta and in came B.J. Upton. So far, his .229 wOBA and 38 wRC+ are dead last in the MLB amongst batters with at least 120 PA. The next closest? Josh Hamilton with a miserable .238 wOBA and 47 wRC+. Steven points out studies have shown that players that reach free agency and change teams decline faster than those are resigned. But I'd say that most of Upton's putrid start can be blamed by a super unlucky .209 BABIP. His inflated strikeout rate of 32.8% could even be pointed to the fact that he's likely pressing to break out of the slump. Patience Braves fans.

  • Justin Verlander throwing more pitches, getting more strikeouts in 2013 by Rob Rogacki | Bless You Boys
    Justin Verlander is getting into more 0-2 counts than ever before which is leading to a jump in his strikeout rate. But at the same time, he's throwing more pitches than ever before. Could this be a trend throughout the year or just a notable pattern that exists only in his opening month?

Outside the Sabersphere

  • Blur hint at possible new album by Dan Martin | The Guardian
    At Coachella last month, I was lucky enough to see Blur in one of their first shows in North America in what feels like a decade. They were instantly one of my favorite acts of the weekend just because I never really expected to see them unless I travelled over to Europe and caught one of their life-changing Hyde Park shows. Now, at a show in Hong Kong, Damon Albarn hinted that the band will be going into the studio to record some new music, again.