Matusz’s Zipless Fastball Hurting His Changeup: As Baseball Analytics’ David Golebiewski notes, Brian Matusz’s release velocity is way down this season, and it’s killing the separation he once had between his fastball and changeup.
All-Star Game — Reward or Showcase?: The great debate at Fangraphs? Whether the ASG should be a reward for a great 1st half of the season, or showcase of the expected “true” best players going forward.
Is Terrell Owens a Hall of Famer?: Jason Lisk of The Big Lead uses the concept of “Value over Baseline” to explain why it’s not smart to say we can’t compare modern WRs to ones from earlier, less-pass-happy eras.
Justin Upton’s Contact: Justin Upton’s dramatically increased production in 2011 is in part fueled by a lower rate of strikeouts. As David Pinto points out, he’s not swinging less or differently with 2 strikes, but he’s definitely improved his ability to make contact on the outer half of the plate when facing 2-strike counts.
Jo-Jo Reyes Actually Doesn’t Stink: Bluebird Banter’s Jesse F. can’t believe it, but after working through a league-average ERA expectation for his context, he found that Reyes (while not average) is actually not a sub-replacement-level pitcher.
The Determinants of Foreign Talent: Fangraphs’ Bradley Woodrum searches for the factors that determine why some countries crank out MLB players at a rate disproportionate to their population, while other countries produce fewer players than we’d expect.
Sabermetrics — Hatred of numbers comes to business and politics: Slate’s Josh Levin posts a list of non-sports “quotes” that express the same anti-stats sentiment as we’ve seen from the likes of Jonah Lehrer, Joe Morgan, and Murray Chass. How ridiculous would it sound if people in other fields viewed analytics the same way the saber-bashers in sports do?
The numbers that defined 2010 — 2.08: The significance of 2.08? As CHFF’s Jonathan Comey explains, the 2010 Raiders were the only team since 1978 to improve their point total by a factor of 2.08 vs. the previous season.
Analytic Football’s Lehrer Response & Survey on Future of Sports Analytics: A great response to the Lehrer piece from Ben Alamar of Analytic Football. Alamar also has a survey about the future of analytics in sports.
Hoops Analyst Draft Grades: Ed Weiland of Hoops Analyst hands out his draft grades. Of interest: when the #1 draft pick comes down to a decision between a point guard and a forward, the PG is almost always better. (You can bet the Cavs’ front office, influenced by stathead Dan Rosenbaum, knew this when choosing between Kyrie Irving and Derrick Williams.)
Historical roster trend: At The Book Blog, Tango noticed that the percentage of roster space devoted to pitchers rose to around 50% for the first time starting in 1992 and has been there ever since, a contrast to where it had been (mid-40s) for practically all of the modern era leading up to the 1990s.
Bastardo’s Closer-Worthy Stuff: Baseball Analytics’ David Golebiewski has “chase-rate” heat maps that show just how nasty Antonio Bastardo’s high fastball and slider away have been in terms of fooling hitters into swinging at pitches outside the strike zone.
The Error of the Reached on Error: At Fangraphs, Matt Klaassen leads a discussion about the ROE — how it distorts a player’s PA total in the official record books, and generally shares the same problems as the error statistic on the defensive side.
Cliff Lee Quiets Red Sox: To get an idea of how impressive Cliff Lee was vs. Boston, check out the fastball and curveball heat maps from his outing, courtesy of David Golebiewski and Baseball Analytics.
Vlad Guerrero, FVHOFRCUH: Baltimore picked up Vladi because he was supposedly a “Feared, Veteran, Hall of Fame, Real Clean-Up Hitter”. Daniel Moroz had his doubts about this before the season, and at Camden Crazies he looks at how short Guerrero has fallen compared to preseason expectations.