WAR in Context: Dave Cameron at Fangraphs has a long post on the context and evaluation of hitters and pitchers based on WAR. wOBA is used for hitters while FIP is used for pitchers when compiling WAR at Fangraphs. Read the entire article and everything will make sense to you.
Panda Goes Deep 3 Times Again: In game 1 of last year's world series Pablo Sandoval went deep three times. Twice against Verlander out of all people. Well Sandoval again hit three home runs in game this time against the San Diego Padres. Oddly Sandoval is the last person to hit 3 home runs in a single game.
Is It Time For Mauer To Move To First: The Twins traded Justin Morneau last week to the Pirates and now have an open spot at first base for next season. Beyond the Boxscore asks if it's time to move Maeur to first base? They believe Mauer would still be a productive player if moved to first and possible the Twins could get more value out of Mauer to a move to first.
A Look At Umpiring School: Beyond the Boxscore also has a detailed look at what people are taught at umpiring school. I do suggest reading this long post for a behind the scenes look at how umpires train for every situation.
Out of the Zone: More and more players are striking out and they're striking out of the zone. I mean completely out of the strike zone. David Price alone has struck out 23 batters out of the strike zone. Take a look at his heat map, it's incredible.
The Best September Call-Ups: It's September and that means teams are calling up top prospects to give them a look in the majors. The Red Sox already called up top prospect Xander Bogaerts. Jim Callis also looks at prospects coming up right now including speedster Billy Hamilton and pitcher Erik Johnson. I'm particularly excited for Johnson because I saw him pitch a Cal a few years ago so I can't wait to see him pitch.
The Astros Effect: At the beginning of the year everyone worried that because of the Houston Astros now playing in the AL West that three teams would make the playoffs out of that division. Well the Angels are nowhere near the playoffs but the Astros have definitely helped the rest of the AL West. As Jeff Sullivan of Fangraphs points out, because of the Astros both the Rangers and A's have had their odds boosted at getting home-field advantage in the playoffs. Because of this I hope to God baseball balances the schedule.
In Praise of Adam Dunn: Adam Dunn recently revealed that he's thinking about retirement. He still has one more year left on his contract so this sounds more like he doesn't want to be stuck in Chicago while the White Sox are rebuilding. Jonah Keri of Grantland sings Dunn's praises for being the True Three Outcomes king. Dunn did three things well in his career: he hit home runs, he walked, and he struck out a lot.
Which Players Will Receive a Qualifying Offer?: For those who don't know, a qualifying offer is a free agent deal. The offer is made to a player by his current team. If the player turns down that deal and signs with someone else his former team receives a draft pick. Get it? Good. Dave Cameron looks at players who will most likely receive a qualifying offer this offseason and I have to say the list is downright dreadful.
Best of the Weekend: The best games and pitching matchups of the weekend.
Friday, Pittsburgh at St. Louis, Burnett vs Kelly: Right now the Pirates have a 1 game lead in the division. Pittsburgh also hasn't played that great in St. Louis this season while playing really well against the Cardinals at home. Burnett will be the best Pirates pitcher pitching this weekend and they'll need a great start from him.
Saturday, Los Angeles at Cincinnati, Greinke vs Latos: OMG the smug factor will be through the roof in this game. Have you ever seen Greinke and Latos smirk? The douche coming off those two could melt the wicked witch of the west.
Sunday, Tampa Bay at Seattle, Moore vs Hernandez: King Felix hasn't had the best starts lately, while Matt Moore has been the Rays best pitcher who's stayed healthy the entire year. I know this game will be completely overshadowed by the NFL, but if you have a chance definitely check in with this game.