Thursday Links: Cold Stove Edition


The warmth of the Hot Stove League has dissipated and baseball fans are left in the fray for the next five weeks before Spring Training begins.  The Twins haven’t made any moves in the past week, but there has been plenty of baseball chatter on the interwebs, including the announcement that Barry Larkin, and only Barry Larkin, was elected to the Hall of Fame.  Jeff Bagwell remains on the outside looking in at the exclusive club of HOFers, maybe 2013 will be his year.  K-Bro weighs in on HOF voting, and I couldn’t agree with her more.

We’ll start the week off with the great Rob Neyer, arguing that Chris Volstad, who the Cubs acquired in the Carlos Zambrano trade, might be even better than Gio Gonzalez.  Neyer’s key argument?  The Sabermetrically friendly xFIP.

There is interesting analysis happening over at FanGraphs thanks to Josh Weinstock.  In a recent article he digs into the idea that baseball is essentially made up of small, relatively benign moments, and that the run expectancy (RE) of most pitches thrown is fairly low, with the exception of pitches hit for home runs.  From there, Weinstock unravels the disconnect between Command and the strike zone, when most home runs are hit off of pitches that are in the strike zone.  I may have just confused you, so click through, Weinstock is less confusing than me, I promise.

Tight race this week for the Video of the Week.  This collection of GIFs probably could have been the Video of the Week, but it wasn’t, so enjoy it now, and wait for something even more awesome to come.

Over at Getting Blanked, Matt Klaassen looks at the state of the Rockies franchise, and wonders what, if anything, they’re really doing this winter.  Are they rebuilding, reloading, or are they just making a bunch of moves independent of one another?  Clearly, Klaassen is Lost in the Rockies.

When I think of team building, I think of boring corporate training exercises where rich executives pretend to care about the people doing the grunt work in their office.  Parker Hageman, on the other hand, applies team building to a real team, the Minnesota Twins, and examines the way their new offseason acquisitions will perform at Target Field. 

To say that Edward Thoma had a great week would be an understatement.  He was churning out great content at the Baseball Outside almost every day.  He wrote about the influence of Tsuyoshi Nishioka on the Japanese free agent market, continued to unravel the Bill Smith era,  and reviewed the recent edition of Baseball America that was full of Twins prospects.  Oh, and when the TwinsGeek, John Bonnes, was wondering who the 25th man on the 1987 Minnesota Twins playoff roster was, Thoma was there the drop some knowledge.  Great week, great writer.

Even if Nishioka has turned baseball executives off of Japanese imports, he hasn’t turned Eno Sarris off of Japanes Baseball and Japanese Beers.  NotGraphs has all the coverage.

FanGraphs attempts to determine if Pitching Projections can predict more accurately future pitching performances than ERA Estimators, such as SIERA.  I would not count myself among the most sabermetrically inclined individuals, but I still found plenty of nuggets of baseball information to take away from this article.

If you, too, struggle with sabermetrics, including how to pronounce the stats, should you want to discuss them over a couple beers at your local watering hole, Jason Brannon has you covered with this ProGS – Pronunciation Guide for Sabermetricians (Is it Pro-Gee-ess? Progs? Pro-gs?  If you can get past the title, the rest is very handy).

To compliment Nate Gilmore’s coverage of the Twins’ non-roster invitees right here at Puckett’s Pond, Brandon Warne looks at the NRIs and estimates their chances at making the big league roster.  I like the idea and the commentary, but Warne’s estimates are a little high.  He looks into just 9 of the NRIs, but their combined chance of making the team are 215%.

Nick Nelson wonders if Nick Blackburn is Undervalued?  At first blush my response was, “Ummm what?  No.  Never.”  Nelson argues that if Blackburn is healthy, something he hasn’t been since 2009, he would still be a value, even at $4.75 million.

The North Dakota Twins Fan took a look at Justin Morneau this week, examining three different likely scenarios for Morneau going forward: Ideal Results, Switching to DH, and Pushing for Retirement.  Recent chatter would lead me to believe that the Twins and Morneau are all preparing for him to play 1B in 2012, but as we saw in 2011, good intentions can get lost in a hurry.

Using the average age of Minor League players at various levels, FanGraphs examines a new way to look at Minor League Leaderboards, and includes a handy table for keeping tabs on just how good a prospect’s numbers are, and what level they are at, compared to their birthdate peers.

The Platoon Advantage has been jettisoned from ESPN and Bill and the Common Man are once again slumming it as an unaffiliated blog.  ESPN or not, TPA is one my favorite baseball blogs, and the Common Man has tons of Klout on Moms, so add them to your list of daily reads.  Seriously.  Do it.

As a Twins fan, seeing Mark Buehrle leave the South Side of Chicago was a welcome sight this offseason.  MauerFan’s analysis of the White Sox’s Gavin Floyd, wasn’t.  MauerFan writes that Floyd compares favorably to two of the top remaining pitching free agents, Hiroki Kuroda and Roy Oswalt, and he’s still under contract on Chicago’s south side.

$44 million > $8.5 million.  Don’t believe me?  Ask Ryan Madson.

No doubt about it, $250 million dollars is a lot of money.  But just what does that money look like, in terms of Net Present Value, or NPV?

Everyday that passes moves us one day closer to the 2012 MLB Draft.  DJSkillz has the updated draft order for the first two rounds, including supplemental and compensatory picks.

If Ron Swanson told The Common Man to do something, he’d do it, including putting Jack Morris into the Hall of Fame.

Oh yeah, there is also another episode of the Gleeman & The Geek podcast out, in which they field questions from the Mailbag!

In non-Baseball news: the NHLPA blocked the NHL’s recent realignment plan.  Jon Marthaler, for one, was devastated.  If the NFL is the No Fun League, then the NHL is gunning for a similar billing as the No Happiness League.

No doubt about it.  This is the Video of the Week.  This video features Ozzie Guillen, but not really.  They’re going to have a lot of fun in Miami this year, that’s for sure.

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Tags: Carlos Zambrano Chris Volstad Gavin Floyd Gio Gonzalez Hiroki Kuroda Justin Morneau Mark Buehrle Nick Blackburn Roy Oswalt Ryan Madson Tsuyoshi Nishioka