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The Rays Tank: Debate!

John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Spo

A few days ago, we linked to a Russell Carleton article on why "smart teams" like the Rays and Athletics are suddenly spending money on relievers that opined that while WPA is probably still overrating late-inning relievers, WAR is underrating them. Well, Tom Tango disagrees, pointing out that WAR, as it's calculated now, actually does include a leverage component for relievers, and that from a WAR framework, the A's and Rays signings aren't actually overpays. Be sure to read the comments on Tango's site as well, as MGL joins in, criticizing Carleton for straw men in his argument and a cartoonish characterization of "sabermetric orthodoxy."

Over at FanGraphs, Jeff Sullivan gives his two cents as well, much less confrontationally, but he does have one line that I like rather a lot:

But in this case I think some people might be staring at wallpaper thinking it’s a Magic Eye.

Stuart Wallace finished up his first and worst of each pitch type series, with an episode on splitters and cutters. The Rays have been well-represented in the series so far, and Joel Peralta makes an appearance in this installment for his splitter. For those wondering, the MLBAAM algorithm calls Alex Cobb's "split-change" a changeup, so he wasn't eligible in the starting pitcher category.

Jason Parks revealed ten prospects that just missed the cut ($$) for the 101 top prospects list over at Baseball Prospectus. I'll go ahead and tell you that none of them are Rays, but the opening paragraph made me laugh and it's not behind the pay wall, so you could give that a read anyway.

The Hardball Times has reprinted an article from the 2014 Hardball Times Annual that was nominated for the 2014 SABR Analytics Conference Research Award. It's by Jon Roegele, and it's about how the strikezone has changed during the PITCHf/x era. It's really good, and should probably become our go-to reference when we talk about the strike zone.

Also at THT, Eno Sarris has a profile of the life of a beat reporter, that's a fun read.

Tom Blengino, at FanGraphs, took an in-depth look at the pros and cons of pulling the baseball.


This Sunday, as most of you probably know, is the Super Bowl. I haven't really been up to date on the analytics of the sport for years, but here's where I do know to read:

  • Football Outsiders has been around for a very long time, and is sort of the equivalent of Baseball Prospectus, with a wide range of article types and proprietary metrics.
  • Advanced NFL Stats, run by Brian Burke, is more open source, and is their version of FanGraphs.
  • Chris Brown doesn't post a ton any more, and his site Smart Football, is mostly just a bat signal for when he's written something on Grantland (where Bill Barnwell, a former Football Outsider also now writes), but Chris is amazing at breaking down and explaining football strategy.
  • I'd very much be interested in hearing other good places to read about football strategy and analysis, so drop any other recommendations in the comments.