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Morning Mound Visit: sabermetrics news - 7/25/18

The Year of the Pitchers; the evolution of starters in the age of the Opener; why command ages better than stuff; Statcast defensive calculations

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St Louis Cardinals v Chicago Cubs Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images

FanGraphs | Craig Edwards: In the post-1968 era, this may very well look like a Year of the Pitcher. It’s hard to define what that means per se, but based on his criteria of the number of pitchers with a FIP-/ERA- 30% better than average, this year features some of the best pitchers in recent memory. Whether that holds is another question, but I can’t imagine a better pitching group over the last few years than this year’s Chris Sale, Max Scherzer, Jacob deGrom, Luis Severino, and Justin Verlander, for example.

Baseball Prospectus | Russell A. Carleton ($): The concept of the Opener has some interesting analytical implications, and largely that starting pitchers are separating in use and skill level: those that can go three times through the order, and those that can only do two (TUTO). The latter creates a spot for the Opener, only if you know you would use the reliever anyway, otherwise toss out the practical uses of reliever as “tactical assets” that respond to baseball events in real-time.

The Athletic | Eno Sarris ($): Duh, command probably ages better than swinging-strike stuff. Part of that is because slower pitches get more called strikes because umpires see the ball better, and also about the finesse needed to induce weak contact and expand the zone. There are some interesting quotes about how Kyle Hendricks makes this work.

Tangotiger Blog | Tom Tango: This is Actual Sabermetrics news, and it’s Tom Tango using Statcast to determine what is largely successful in the fan scouting reports: determining first step, reaction time, and direct/indirect routes, which should hopefully refine defensive metrics in the future.