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Morning Mound Visit: sabermetrics news - 10/12/18

The decline of the starter; using barrels instead of speed+angle; why OPS works, mathematically

MLB: ALDS-Houston Astros at Cleveland Indians Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

FanGraphs | Jeff Sullivan: People talk and talk about the decline of the starter and the rise of super bullpens, but... how do you feel about it? It’s never discussed from the angle of, “What do we think of this, aesthetically?” and more so “This is a fact of life; embrace it.” The one thing that is missing is that the “protagonist” of the game is lost; if most games are decided by the bullpen, then there’s no reason to follow these narratives. On the other hand, a lot of Rays fans found their use of the Opener inspiring and exciting considering they were such underdogs.

Tangotiger Blog | Tom Tango: An interesting revelation is introduced here: if you don’t have access to batted ball speed and launch angle, like in the minors, then batted ball distance (or barrels) are a good estimator for future batted ball performance. For example, if a 380 foot fly ball has a 50/50 chance of being a home run and that is worth 2.000 wOBA, then it makes sense the value is ~.950.

Banished to the Pen | Chris Jillings: Why does OPS work, really? It seems so counter-intuitive because it’s not a linear-weights system and it deals with addition of fractions with different denominators, but if you were to convert the formula to linear weights, then you would get weights that are perfectly reasonable and actually intuitive. For accuracy OPS+ or wRC+ is always going to be better but there is no better stat to use for laypeople than OPS.