It’s the 2015 SABR Analytics Conference Research Awards!

The end of every year is thick with best of lists, awards, and the like. In certain cases, a work of art will get nominated for an award even if no one has even seen it/consumed it yet. In other cases, a work of art that debuted so long ago that you might have forgotten […]

It’s When the Sparrow Sings!

You’ve been reading it all year. Now, with the post that just went live a few minutes ago, we’ve published the final chapter of Jason Linden’s When the Sparrow Sings. It’s been an incredible ride for Zack Hiatt and his team. But, since it’s admittedly hard to wrap your arms around 11 different internet posts, […]

Update to the Spray Chart Tool (now with Strike Zone plot)

If anyone was lurking on my interactive spray chart tool, they might have seen a new tab: Spray and Strike Zone Plot. This is a brand new feature officially rolling out today. It takes a spray chart for a given player and places it side-by-side with a plot of the strike zone so that you can […]

The Physics of the Bunt

Bill James’ explanation was straight and to the point during his NPR interview on September 26, 2011.  “Bunting is usually a waste of time…The home team applauds because they get an out, and the other team applauds because they get a base. So what does that tell you?”  The pages of FanGraphs and The Hardball […]

The Physics of a Foul Down the Line

It hasn’t been a well-played game, but it has been fun to watch. The lead has gone back and forth, but now in the bottom of the ninth your boys are down by a couple of runs. In keeping with the theme of this contest, they have managed to load the bases with two out. […]

Just How Rare Is a 14-Pitch Plate Appearance?

Yesterday, Xander Bogaerts had a 14-pitch battle with Phil Hughes. Hughes eventually won, as Bogaerts hit a weak fly ball to center field. But it got me wondering just how rare of an event this was. The venerable Jeff Zimmerman was kind enough to help me find out this very thing: Number of Pitches Per […]

Spring’s Eternal, You Might Hope

Baseball fandom is a many-splintered thing. As the season moves into a complex of motivations, biases and burdens, you just might wish for simplicity again.

The True Origins of Baseball (Scientifically Speaking)

We all know the outlines of the tall tale … baseball was invented by Abner Doubleday in Cooperstown, New York in 1839. To this day, people argue over the true origins of the game. Some trace its roots to the late 1700s in New England, while others claim it is a variation of the British […]

Declining the Penalty

Sunday’s getaway-day game between the San Francisco Giants and the host Atlanta Braves featured a play we don’t see too often, and a choice we see even less often. Buster Posey was awarded first base on catcher’s interference by Braves backstop Evan Gattis, but manager Bruce Bochy waved off the award. If Posey had gotten […]

Return of the WPA Inquirer

We used to have this really cool thing on the old Hardball Times website.  It was called the WPA Inquirer and it allowed you to look up the Win Expectancy and Leverage Index of any situation, compare it to another and then calculate the difference between the two.  We call that last thing Win Probability […]

The Physics of the Cutoff

The runner at second has a modest lead as the batter strokes a single through the right side.  The hard-charging outfielder scoops up the ball and unleashes a cannon shot.  The runner has turned third and is digging for home.  A smile comes to the face of the batter as he rounds first to see […]

When to Have a Broken Heart

Everyone thinks Anna Karenina ends with the title character throwing herself under a train, finally destroyed by a passionate but ill-advised love affair. Sometime in the middle of spring training, I was talking with a friend and he mentioned how the Reds were about to break his heart for six months (we are both Reds fans). Nearly […]

Clayton Kershaw’s early struggles – real or imagined?

It’s not news to anyone that Clayton Kershaw’s spring has been disastrous - it’s on ESPN, SportsCenter, blogs, news sites, and everything in-between. Those who remember 2013 will also recall that Kershaw had a poor spring then, but it was nothing like it was in 2014 – his ERA is more than twice what it was last […]

Card Corner: 1974 Topps: John Curtis

The name “John Curtis” has entered my consciousness on two occasions. One of them dates back to the old television show, The Waltons. Do you remember when Mary Ellen Walton, the eldest daughter to John and Oliva Walton, gave birth to a boy? He was given the name of John-Curtis Walton. The name of John […]

Dick Green at the Hall

I’ll admit it; there are perks that come with working at the Hall of Fame. One of those benefits involves the occasional visit from a retired major leaguer. We had one just last week, when former Kansas City and Oakland A’s second baseman Dick Green came to Cooperstown. Accompanied by his wife, Lia, Green got […]

The Physics of the Curveball – A Short History

The charm of the National Pastime is in part due to the myths it inspires, from the creation story of Abner Doubleday, to the beginnings of the curveball and William Cummings. “Candy” Cummings claimed to have invented the curve in 1863 after noticing thrown clam shells bobbed and dipped in flight. What a delightful story! […]