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Among baseball's many commonly used terms are things like "Staff Ace", "Solid #3 starter", and "Back of the rotation guy". But as with many baseball terms, these can mean very different things to different people. As the Blue Jays look ahead to 2005, few would question Roy Halladay as a legitimate Staff Ace. But is Ted Lilly a Solid #3? Josh Towers is certainly not a front of the rotation starter, but is he a liability or an asset at the back?

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In Part 1, we looked at Barry Larkin's defensive efficiency on ground balls. In Part 2, we considered his double play efficiency. Today, it's balls in the air- pop-ups, bloopers and line-drives. And it will be much shorter.
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Let's say that we all agree to watch the same 3 games one weekend. Our job will be to keep track of all BIP, and, by IF/OF, say "was that a routine play or not".

Routine would mean that even putting Manny Ramirez ( or Derek Jeter!!.. just kidding you thin-skinned Jeter lovers... ) at SS or CF would make that play.

Then
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Gitz asked me whether I thought Barry Zito, following his down year in 2004, was a good candidate for the "buy low, sell high" theory of player acquisition.
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This article, the second in a series, results from the joint efforts of Jonny German and Mike Green. It began with Mike's Hall watch series on shortstops and the search for more reliable objective measures of Barry Larkin's defence than were otherwise available. In the first piece, we attempted to evaluate Barry Larkin's efficiency in converting ground balls into outs. This time, we attempt the same thing for the double play ball, again using a play-by-play analysis.
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Any reader of Alternate History fiction will tell you that even the smallest changed detail can result in, say, the Confederacy winning the U.S. Civil War or U.S. President John F. Kennedy's second term ending in a humiliating withdrawal from Vietnam in 1967. Whatever. In fact, we've found the following several paragraphs from the December 6, 1990 Toronto Alternate Planet and want to share it so Bauxites everywhere can fill in the blanks ... what happened in the ensuing 15 years?

Jays Back Out of Blockbuster Deal With Padres
December 5, 1990 (Reuters): Baseball's Annual Winter Meetings almost got a shot of adrenalin last night, but a rumoured deal between the Toronto Blue Jays and the San Diego Padres collapsed at the last minute.

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This article results from the joint efforts of Jonny German and Mike Green. It began with Mike's Hall watch series on shortstops and the search for more reliable objective measures of Barry Larkin's defence than were otherwise available.

Barry Larkin had a reputation as a good but not great defender during his prime. We decided to check whether his reputation was well-earned by doing a play by play analysis of his defence during 1991, his age 27 season. For the piece, we have relied on information contained in the events files at retrosheet.org.This time we are looking at Larkin's ability to turn ground balls into outs.
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I have released the 2005 forecasts for all 1800 players who played MLB last year. They are based on the Marcel the Monkey Forecasting System, which is the most basic forecasting system you should expect.

The 2005 Marcels

I would also hope that other forecasting systems are much better than this one. But, the jury is still out on that one. I've also left in the player ID that you can find on the Lahman database, which should make this much easier for you to link to that database, or to any other forecasting system. (Hint: if someone provides you with forecasts, ask for the playerid being added in. It makes it so much easier to do a quick comparison.)

When frequent Box reader and occasional poster Dan Julien mentioned this paper in the Roundup the other day, I asked him to share it. Part of a research project in his Quantitative Analysis course at Brock University, it considers the effect of a free agentís departure on fan attendance, specifically Carlos Delgado from Toronto.

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Over the U.S. Thanksgiving weekend, the Oakland A's traded pitchers Arthur Rhodes and Mark Redman, and cash, to the Pittsburgh Pirates for catcher Jason Kendall and some other cash. Who got the better deal?

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My 2nd annual survey. I'd love it if you guys would participate.

Check out the project
If you were to believe what you read in Batters Box recently there is no hope for the Blue Jays. The low payroll dooms the team to eternal mediocrity. JP's signing and trading record is poor. There is no-one to replace Delgado. There is no-one to replace Hinske, and on and on. Several posters have suggested they do not see how the Jays can escape last place. Just remember the old saying "you are never as bad as you look when you are down". So what is the blueprint for success on a low payroll? Does JP have a plan? Is the light at the end of the tunnel a train?

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Recently we looked at the questions "What Can We Expect From a 14th Overall Draft Pick?" and "What Can We Expect From a 15th Overall Draft Pick?" Now that we know that the Jays will be picking 6th overall in next year's draft the question on everyone's mind is "What Can We Expect From a 6th Overall Draft Pick?"
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First in a three-part series.

Although my magnum opus -- okay, mildly interesting account -- of the greatest postseason games in baseball history remains a work in progress, I've decided to pen some shorter, more concise articles in the meantime.

After the Santana-Mussina matchup last night, I thought I'd snap up a list of the top ten pitching duels in Division Series history.
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