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The best of Beyond the Box Score in 2019

Looking back at the best posts of the past year.

World Series 2019 Game 5 - Houston Astros at Washington Nationals Photo by Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post via Getty Images

We’ve had a fantastic year at BTBS, so with that comes a ton of thought-provoking articles ranging from legal analysis, to baseball commentary, all the way to in-depth legal analysis of all of the scandals that broke late in the season. I’m really proud of the work we did, so considering this is a slow week for the holiday I figured this would be an excellent time to showcase what I considered to be the best blogs of 2019.

Most prescient articles

Predictions are not our forte, nor would I expect not to find some bad takes sprinkled throughout the past couple of years about players and teams we totally whiffed on. But we also hit the nose on the head for a couple of things, so maybe we don’t know nothing! For one, Daniel R. Epstein predicted that because of DRC+, DJ LeMahieu would be well worth the value as a Yankee considering his Coors effect was overstated. What’ll-you-know, he was one of the most valuable players of the year. Kenny Kelly said that the Mets had figured out Zack Wheeler, finally, and once again, he had a fantastic season and signed a hefty deal with the Phillies.

Most scientific article

It’s genuinely awesome that we have a chemist on staff, courtesy of Luis Torres’ writing. Torres does a fantastic job of breaking down anything related to PED suspensions, especially when they deal with diuretics or substances the lay public is not familiar with. When Michael Pineda was suspended, he broke down hydrochlorothiazide, which is actually a diet pill that certainly requires a little discussion regarding its ethical status in the PED world.

Best analytical article

Our dearly departed Patrick Brennan was our best analytical mind, no question, and he engaged in quite a few analytical studies that made me think. His best one dealt with the predictability of hitters and found that the best way to ward off the shift and its ding against BABIP is to spray the ball as much as possible, which unsurprisingly correlates directly with BABIP.

Most emotive articles

Sure, we’re an analytical site, but we also talk in emotions, which in our minds are just as real as any actual crack of the bat. No writing is often more emotive than Sheryl Ring’s, whose writing on sexual assault, the law, and baseball’s policies are hit out of the park every single time. While slightly tangential, her Hall of Fame piece on Roger Clemens, and his grooming of Mindy McCready, makes you think even more than any chart or graph because it makes you question why we root and celebrate the athletes we do, and whether our praise of them is actively complicit in the immoral activities these people engage in.

Best article

I would also be remiss to mention Daniel R. Epstein’s last piece at BTBS, “Don’t let MLB insult you.” It was the most widely shared article on social media of anything we posted this year, and I have never seen such an outpouring of positive support and solidarity. It made me incredibly proud of the work we do here, which I (hope and) believe matters. Our words have the power to bring out the best in people, and when they’re cutting enough, allow us the mental space to imagine a future world that’s more dignified and humane than our current one.