Even in the absence of baseball, there are plenty of interesting things being written about the game. Here are a few recent favorites …
- Defensive metrics are now widely circulated, but we lack broad-based understanding of how to value them. At Baseball Prospectus, Jonathan Judge and Sean O’Rourke provide an interesting examination of the relative strengths and weaknesses of varying systems. The BPro FRAA measure turns out quite well in measuring outfielders, while Statcast’s OAA metric performs best in the infield. It’s not for the statistical faint of heart, but you’ll want to read the whole article (or at least its full conclusion section!) to gather up the necessary nuance.
- MLB.com’s Anthony Castrovince provided a fascinating oral history of the 2015 trade deadline swap that would’ve sent Carlos Gomez from the Brewers to the Mets for Zack Wheeler and Wilmer Flores — an agreed-upon trade that fell apart in controversial and very public fashion. It’s essential reading for any hot stove aficionado, featuring a trove of recollections of many of the key actors. By happenstance, we recently did our own examination of the butterfly effects of that non-trade.
- The MLB draft will go forward in 2020, albeit in a modified form. It remains to be seen just how many rounds will be held, but there are sure to be less players chosen than usual. And with amateur spring sports cut short, teams haven’t had recent looks at many prospects. That makes prior scouting assessments all the more important to teams looking to navigate a one-off amateur intake situation. Baseball America has released its updated top-400 ranking of draft prospects, featuring all the names that have moved onto and up the board most recently.
- We don’t yet know whether we’ll have a season or what one would even look like, but there’s no question the 2020 campaign will be shortened if it’s held at all. At Fangraphs, Craig Edwards examines the volatility of relief pitchers and how that could play into a ~half-season campaign. While it’d be tougher than ever to predict performance, Edwards notes that it may actually be even more important to carry a slate of highly capable relievers in a short-season format, particularly if the postseason tournament is expanded as part of the (sure-to-be) unusual schedule that is ultimately arranged.