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More Sunday notes

So, while I was working on the Wainwright piece, writing queries to figure out the exact increase on his slider percentage in pitcher's counts, and other fun stuff like that, the fan in my laptop went into overdrive and the computer became very hot.  Given that I am "un hombre", if you catch my drift, that was a very painful sensation for me, so I immediately got up and threw my laptop into the wall.  My loins were unharmed, thank you for asking, but I was unfortunately not able to finish my piece.  And if you don't buy that then my dog ate it.  

Anyway, if you're tuning in for insightful sabermetric analysis and cool graphs, you are going to be disappointed.  Instead, today's post is a romp around the internets, searching for some cool studies and news of this past week with a vivaelpujols commentary added on.  Bullet points!

  • The Royals are amazing.  And by that I mean they are terrible.  So bad, in fact, that dedicated Royals fans are walking around and a pile of their own Ankiel induced misery longing for the days of Emil Brown.  Fortunately for us, in that misery comes some truly exception writing.  Take Rany's 5,000 word screed back in September, or this much recced piece by Will McDonald a month later.  You can just taste the misery!  Anyway, this most recent nugget by Will doesn't have the passion of some of his other ones, but it is just depressingly beautiful.
  • I guess I should say a few words about the Lopez deal.  I love it.  Despite being around replacement level for two years in Washington, a ~.380 wOBA and + defense at third makes it exceedingly likely that he is in fact a good player.  CHONE projects for 2.3 WAR, while the fans on FanGraphs project for 2.4 WAR.  Assumign those projections are within reason, we've got a league average player on our hands.  Given that we are signing him for somewhere between 1 and 2.2 million, I'm going to go ahead and call this one a fantastic deal - and kudos for Mo for taking advantage of the F.A.T. market. 
  • In some revolutionary BPro news, EqA is officially changed to TAv (for True Average).  The stat is exactly the same, but they changed the name.  Folks, this is marketing at it's best.
  • Dave Allen at Baseball Analysts has a post up on pitch sequencing with the slider and the fastball.  Basically, when looking at RHP vs. RHH matchups, he finds that doubling up on the pitch (fastball then fastball or slider than slider) is more effective than mixing it up.  Most interesting to me is how much worse a slider is when it follows a fastball compared to another slider.  On average, it's .5 runs per 100 pitches worse, which is a pretty huge effect.  You'd expect that a slider is more effective when set up with a fastball, but that doesn't appear to be the case.  I look forward to part 2 of his analysis, looking at location and movement.
  • Finally, some interesting developments on how Front Offices may view online fielding stats.  First, Theo Epstein, in an excellent interview with Full Count, mentions that, in relation to Jacoby Ellsbury's fielding performance last year, a "certain number that people use online" was undervaluing his defense and their own system has him above average.  One can only assume that he is referring to UZR; however, as Tango shows, ALL of the fielding metrics have Jacoby having a bad defensive year in 09.  My position is that UZR and +/- are basically as good as it gets when it comes to evaluating defense with the current batted ball data available.  Therefore, if the Red Sox do have a system that is better than the public ones, it must be using a better source of batted ball data or include stuff like fielding positioning and whatnot.  At any rate, you should really read the interview (or PodCast it in the link above), as there are a whole host of nuggest of information on how the Red Sox value players.

So, I hope you enjoy some of these links, and I apologize for the light post this week.