Terrific short and sweet post by JC showing how pitch counts hvae changed over the past 20 years. The answer? They haven't...at least the average hasn't. What has changed is the variation around the average has changed dramatically--we see far fewer of the high pitch count appearances now than we did in the past.
FanGraphs' new addition this week is the inclusion of some catcher fielding information in their WAR calculations. Finally! As it is, this is only based on stolen base information, but it's better than nothing. I'd prefer they also include information about errors, wild pitches, and passed balls. But this is better than nothing.
Dan Turkenkopf takes a look at park factors for strike zones. Strike zones...you know, those things that are supposed to be constant by-the-book squares starting at the player's knees and ending at his letters? The things that, if anything, should vary only from umpire to umpire and thus not vary systematically around the league's stadiums? He finds significant year to year correlations in how often pitches in particular locations are called strikes in some stadiums but not others. Why? One possibility is systematic bias in the data stream coming through gameday, perhaps as a result of camera position.
Nice piece by Pizza Cutter about the sleep hygiene and the potential it has to shape athlete performance. As much as I spend my time apparently avoiding sleep, this has the potential to be a real issue for athletes. I would expect that athletes and teams are aware of this, but maybe not...
Adam looks at the best reliever seasons in baseball history. Ted Abernathy's 1967 season for the Reds came in 6th overall with 5.8 WAR. Abernathy pitched in 70 games, threw 106.3 innings, and finished 61 games for the Reds that year with a 1.29 ERA. His k/bb was a modest 88/41, but he apparently kept the ball on the ground very well: he allowed just **one** home run that season. Now look, I know it was the second deadball era and all. But one? Wow.
Fascinating, short look at Tim Lincecum. Lincecum has shown a substantial drop in fastball velocity over the past three years. Somehow, at least despite my realizing it, he's transformed himself from being a fireball-thrower to someone that uses control to get guys out. The astonishing thing, as Dave Cameron notes, is that he's continue to be just as dominant as a "junkballer' as he was as a flamethrower.
Absolutely awesome new project started by Larry Granillio, the guy who brought us Charlie Brown's stats. He's timing how long it takes guys to circle the bases during a home run. The best part is his Quickest Trot leader board. First place is Stephen Drew, who took 15.84 sec to get an inside the park home run. Aubrey Huff's inside the park home run is in third place. Who is #2? Adam Rosales...who took just 15.86 seconds to round the bases after hitting a ball OVER the wall on April 11th.