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Morning Mound Visit: sabermetrics news - 9/7/18

Ohtani as a success; position-specific replacement levels; The Opener in the postseason; removing a fielder from play

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MLB: Los Angeles Angels at Texas Rangers Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

FanGraphs | Jeff Sullivan: Even with Shohei Ohtani undergoing Tommy John surgery, you can’t say his debut wasn’t a success. There hasn’t been a two-way player this good on both sides of the ball—period—since Babe Ruth. Even if it was only a half-season of at-bats and a sprinkle of pitching, the results still confirm that he has accomplished a phenomenal feat that is already written in baseball lore.

Baseball Prospectus | Russell A. Carleton ($): WAR assumes that there is some universal replacement level, and that really doesn’t apply to fielders, who can’t just be subbed into positions they have never played and get adjusted based on an arbitrary run value. You need position-specific replacement baselines, where a shortstop, say, is only as good as he is better than the replacement level shortstop who would be subbed in for him.

The Athletic | Cliff Corcoran ($): The Opener has seen a ton of success with the Rays this season, so will we see it in the postseason? If the Athletics somehow get to the division series, we might see it employed with the likes Liam Hendriks and Daniel Mengden, who have already been used in that capacity this month.

Tangotiger Blog | Tom Tango: If you remove an outfielder from the field of play, you’re sacrificing something like 1.4 runs a game, and probably close to that for an infielder, and that only goes up exponentially for every fielder afterward you remove.