It's always worth reading things that Joe Posnanski and Jonah Keri put together - they're two of the best literary sportswriters around - and these two articles are especially worthwhile. If you've ever had any questions or doubts about WAR (Wins Above Replacement) or want to hear it discussed about alongside poker, Joe Posnanski has got you covered:
But I like WAR. I like it because while it is complicated - complicated enough that Baseball Reference and Fangraphs come up with different, often very different, results - it is also extremely simple and entirely sensible. And it attempts to answer the poker question of value and the Babe Ruth question of how much difference a player can make.
And Jonah has a fantastic article about the Texas Rangers and pitch counts. Considering that the Rays have eschewed the mainstream this season in regards to pitch counts, letting their starters work deep into games even early in the season, it's a relevant piece and gives us a reason to feel okay about our starters going forward:
The Rangers do have the right idea about pushing pitchers as far as their bodies will allow, Fleisig said. If a pitcher doesn't work hard enough, he said, "You can't develop. You won't get hurt, but you won't get stronger or better either." Zito, who visited ASMI early in his career with Peterson, Hudson and Mulder to help further the lab's biomechanics research, agreed. "Teams are under the false belief that you have a finite number of throws in your shoulder before it blows out, that it has nothing to do with how you condition your shoulder over the years," he said. "They feel like you're destined to blow your arm out no matter what you do. I believe you can condition it and prevent injury, by making it stronger."
I can't recommend both these writers enough. If you don't read them, you're doing yourself an injustice.