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Morning Mound Visit: sabermetrics news - 3/26/19

A Rick Ankiel comeback; if the Yankees spent like it was 2003; how the Opener is changing WAR

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at Tampa Bay Rays Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

FanGraphs | Audrey Stark: Hey, we know her! Audrey writes about Rick Ankiel, who is trying to come back once again, this time as a reliever at age 39. He underwent primary repair of his UCL, which is a new method of avoiding Tommy John surgery. Seth Maness attempted this as well, yet it resulted in inconsistency and a trajectory to the Atlantic League. I would imagine Ankiel’s fate could be the same.

Baseball Prospectus | Ginny Searle ($): The Yankees spend less of their revenue on payroll than they once, and if they spent like they did in 2003, for example, when their payroll was near to 75% of revenue, they could have signed both Bryce Harper and Manny Machado without batting an eye, or they could have dealt a myriad of shorter-term deals without any consequences, like for a Josh Donaldson or Garrett Richards, as an example.

The Ringer | Ben Lindbergh: Ryan Yarbrough is a “bulk guy” after the Opener, and you can bet he’s going to be hurt by arbitration due to not having any starts. It’s also breaking WAR, where reliever WAR is calculated using a different replacement level than starters, which has been corrected in one version. It shows how fungible WAR really is as a statistic, causing saberemetricians question whether pitchers should be put in buckets of “starter” and “reliever” or on a continuum from starter to opener.