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Ryan Vogelsong "really wasn't comfortable with what was going on" with Astros before returning to Giants.

http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2015/01/24/ryan-vogelsong-really-wasnt-comfortable-with-what-was-going-on-with-astros-before-returning-to-giants/

"I made a visit to Houston and met with A.J. Hinch the manager and the staff, the training staff, and I took a physical - just as the process went along here, really wasn't comfortable with what was going on. Ultimately, made a decision to come back with the Giants and I'm really just really happy to be back and glad things worked out the way they have.

Some other places have dysfunction. They may be toxic without a poaching.

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The 2015 Braves have ?gravitas? and ?veteran leadership? and will have dirty uniforms. Just kill me now.

http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2015/01/23/the-2015-braves-have-gravitas-and-veteran-leadership-just-kill-me-now/

I think Nick is a loss for us and a gain for the Braves, and that Braves fans will quickly come to appreciate that Nick's a good, steady player who sets a good example for teammates. That said, I'd rather have Jason Heyward.

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I think Nick is a loss for us and a gain for the Braves, and that Braves fans will quickly come to appreciate that Nick's a good, steady player who sets a good example for teammates. That said, I'd rather have Jason Heyward.

And unfortunately for Nick, Heyward is who he will be compared to by the fans.

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I think Nick is a loss for us and a gain for the Braves, and that Braves fans will quickly come to appreciate that Nick's a good, steady player who sets a good example for teammates. That said, I'd rather have Jason Heyward.

Unsurprisingly I feel the opposite. Nick won't perform well and the fans won't warm to him but will view him as the reason Heyward is gone.

I don't think he finishes out the contract there.

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Pinch hitting for non-pitchers rarely pays off. All players show a comparable decline in effectiveness if pinch hitting. A pinch hitter has to be significantly better than the player he is replacing to be an offensive upgrade

Culled from a book.

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Nate Silver in Between The Numbers (p. 29), using a method popularized by Keith Woolner: for each player, compare the gap in performances in clutch and non-clutch situations, and total it based on odd years and even years. The idea is that the average gap in the odd years should be roughly the same as the average gap in the even years, for each player. This method does a nice job of removing the age and aging bias. The result is a correlation of r=0.33. The number of PA required in the sample was a minimum of 2500 for each set of even and odd years. We can estimate that the average size of each set to be PA = 3500. In order to get a correlation of r=0.33, with trials=3500, we can produce this equation:

r=PA/(PA+7000)

This equation means that if you had 7000 PA in each sample, you would get a sample-to-sample correlation of r=.50. If you had PA=3500, then the correlation would be r=.33. For purposes of ballplayers, we usually just focus on a few years. After all, it doesn’t help us to know if Bobby Abreu is a clutch hitter at age 35. We want to know this early on. Realistically, you would want to compare a two-year sample to another two-year sample. That would mean each sample would have some 1000 or 1200 PA. And using our equation above, this would mean we’d get an r=.15.

From another book.

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So, much like Ginger, my hitters have a sizeable advantage. You might think this is not fair, but in each and every case, the Fans preferred their choice to mine. It’s their bed, people. Except that, the Fans’ picks have some intangible quality, like Mary-Ann possesses. And the Fans believe that this intangible quality, this clutch factor, is enough to propel their picks to be at least equal to, if not better than, my picks when the game is on the line.

Same guy, not in a book.

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“Basically, we translate every piece of available information into runs. We have data from scouts, doctors, trainers, quantitative analysts, specialists in pitching mechanics – they all provide an expert opinion on a player. We bake all those opinions together and apply discount rates to enable us to compare players apple to apples in today’s dollars. We basically end up with a present value for every player on our board.

“We try to keep it as scientific and data-driven as possible, but our metrics aren’t our end-all-be-all. Our scouts know that. Any time you’re dealing with amateur baseball players, it’s highly variable. If we didn’t allow some wiggle room — quite a bit of wiggle room in some cases – from the influence of our scouts’ voices, we’d be off.”

From a scouting director.

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In discussing strategies of intentional walks, we tend to focus on the “yes/no” question: should the pitcher walk the hitter, or pitch normally to him? In reality, there are intermediate answers as well, as a pitcher need not throw pitches down the middle of the strike zone, or for that matter within the strike zone at all. In other words, the pitcher can pitch in such a way that the odds of a non-intentional walk are higher, while the odds of a well-hit ball (should the batter not be walked) are lower. While we’d love to be able to conduct a thorough analysis of this, the available data do not include accurate pitch locations.

Instead, we will have to use certain situations as a proxy for what we think a pitcher is likely to do in a given situation. In other words, if the situation allows for an intentional walk (good hitter at the plate, poor hitter on deck, one or two outs, batting team leading or tied, and first base is open) but the pitcher opts to pitch, then we would guess that the pitcher is probably at least being a bit more careful than he would otherwise be. On the other hand, if the situation were identical but a good hitter was on deck, we assume the pitcher is pitching normally. If our theory were correct, in the first situation we would see more walks and fewer well-hit balls; in the latter we would see the reverse. Is this what we actually find?

Some of this is a book, by a guy, who lives in New Jersey, but does not want you to know who he is.

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And unfortunately for Nick, Heyward is who he will be compared to by the fans.

By the fans at first, maybe, but Braves GM said the other day," we know we are not getting a 30-30 guy in Nick, but we are getting an everyday ball player who plays the game the way it was meant to be played every day".

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Yeah, the difference between Jason Heyward running down balls in RF and Nick Markakis doing the same will be a jaw dropping experience for the Brave's fans. Of course, Jon Hart think's he's replacing a gold glove RF with another gold glove RF.

I'm quite sure John Hart is capable of reading BB-ref and fangraphs. I'm sure he knows he has downgraded defensively.

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http://www.amazon.com/Rookie-Southpaw-Burgess-Leonard/dp/B0007E66R0

This is the sort of book I used to read avidly as a kid. I have a collection of such books and I take them out every so often and reread them. Yeah, they probably bear little resemblance to the game as played today, but still, it's nice to sometimes go back in time....

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