Archive for Site News

Joining the Fray

Journalism is necessarily a job in which many need to act as mercenaries, but as mercenaries go, I make a rather poor one. Going back to 2001, there are only two places for which I’ve primarily written: ESPN.com and Baseball Think Factory née Baseball Primer. I joined both of these places not just because they were interested in my work or, in the case of the former, also wanted to give me money, but because I believed in their mission statement.

Starting today, I’ve taken a new role in another project I believe in, joining the FanGraphs team as a full-time, senior writer.

I’ve always been a fan of FanGraphs and, even more importantly, the group of people that David Appelman has assembled over the last decade. (Even Carson, at least until I find the rest of his horcruxes.) I haven’t had the opportunity yet to meet everyone involved — baseball analytics is a much larger world than when I first became involved 20 years ago — but I consider many of the FanGraphs writers personal friends and all of them valued colleagues.

What cemented FanGraphs for me in my mind as a great place to work was at Sabermetrics Day for the Staten Island Yankees in 2016. For those who weren’t around or just don’t remember, the Staten Island Yankees had a special theme day in June of that year, inviting Carson, Dave Cameron, Jonah Keri, Ben Lindbergh, Meg Rowley, Emma Span, and myself for a panel and a barbecue. Apples brought the whole crew along, so while I was familiar with FanGraphs writers, many of whom I had known for a very long time (20 years in the case of D-Cam), I had never seen FanGraphs work together as a unit.

One thing I noticed was how much this group of writers enjoyed working with each other, respected each other, and even if they don’t all come to the party with the same point-of-view, have this incredibly collaborative vibe. My traveling companion, who is not at all into baseball and has never quite figured out what it is I do — a full story for another time, but she was once under the mistaken impression that I was part of a composite of characters that Jonah Hill played in Moneyball — came into that weekend feeling a bit of an outsider. Despite this, the FanGraphs crew made a real effort to make her feel included in the festivities, completely unasked, something which has always touched me.

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Auction Calculator In-Season Updates!

The FanGraphs Auction Calculator now calculates in-season values and values off Rest of Season projections.

Some Notes:

  • Rest of Season auction value calculations are available for Steamer, Depth Charts, ZiPS, and THE BAT projection systems.
  • Dollar values for Rest of Season projections are pro-rated for how many days are remaining in the season.
  • In-season auction value calculations are pro-rated for the number of days into the season.
  • Positional eligibility for in-season calculations is determined via positions played in 2018. Please adjust your position qualifications accordingly.

Our Playoff Odds Have Win Distributions Now

Much like the update last month, nothing in how we calculate our playoff odds has changed, but we’ve added a new feature to the page. We are now reporting the distribution of wins from the Monte Carlo simulation.

Specifically:

  • The 25th percentile;
  • The 75th percentile; and
  • A histogram of projected wins.*

*The average is already reported as expected wins.

You can find this if you select the new display option in the dropdown of the same name.

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Updated Combined WAR Leaderboard

Within our Leaders menu there sits a Combined WAR Leaderboard under the WAR Tools sub-header. It has pitchers and position players on one leaderboard to compare their WAR. We’ve made an update, so the leaderboard now displays “Total WAR”, and not just WAR from their primary role. This was necessary because a certain two-way player started playing in the league this season.

We retained the old WAR values from the previous version and labeled that “Primary WAR”, so a traditional NL pitcher will only have his pitching WAR in the “Primary WAR” column. The “Total WAR” column will display his batting (position player) WAR + pitching WAR. This is particularly interesting for pitchers like Madison Bumgarner.

The primary role is determined by looking at all the appearance the player has made, it works well with players in the traditional roles. Shohei Ohtani’s primary role is displaying as a position player. The primary role only affects the which WAR is reported to the “Primary WAR”. “Total WAR” is unaffected by roles. (As of 4/21/2018, you’ll find Shohei Ohtani on the second page of the leaderboard.)

This leaderboard is a candidate for additional overhaul and expansion, so let us know if there are additional features that would be useful for a combined WAR leaderboard.


Introducing THE BOARD

Eric and I have been working hard the last few months to rank everything that we can, including produce at the grocery store and our friends and family. As far as the rankings that appear on FanGraphs, we’ve had Prospect Week, headlined by the annual top-100 prospects list and complemented by nine other associated pieces, including preseason draft rankings that were updated yesterday to account for what’s happened in the last 10 weeks.

In that spirit of ranking and constantly updating, along with the desire to show our work and give readers tools to make decisions, today we are introducing THE BOARD.

This represents just the first pass at a feature that is likely to be modified and improved upon. Feel free to submit any suggestions in the comments. (I, personally, have a list of about a dozen additions for the coming months.) While we could have continued to develop this before releasing it, we felt this was something from which readers could benefit ASAP. It also serves as a bit of an apology for the team prospect lists taking so long. We’ll still be releasing an article for each team as planned over the next couple weeks. In the meantime, though, every organization is included in THE BOARD, updated with full tool grades. Readers, for example, can check out some of those to-be-published audits, like the record-breaking Padres’ list featuring 43 prospects.

A big hat tip is in order to dark overlord David Appelman for making our crazy ideas a reality.

Click here to see THE BOARD.

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Our Playoff Odds Have a New Look

The Playoff Odds page looks different! The playoff-odds data and simulation method remains the same; however, we have revamped our reporting page to make it easier to understand and more powerful.

The most noticeable changes are the table layout and the mobile layout. We’ve tried to make it easier to understand what the columns mean for users who are new to the site. The goal of the mobile layout is to allow users to reach the most important information more quickly. Every column on the desktop page is viewable on the mobile layout by clicking the “Full” button.

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2018 UZR and UZR Update!

Ultimate Zone Ratings (UZR), provided by Mitchel Lichtman, are now available for the 2018 season! These will update weekly as usual.

In addition to the the new 2018 data, the 2012 through 2017 data has been updated. You might recall that in 2017, there were some changes to the UZR methodology that were to be backported to 2012 – 2016. This has now happened. Here is a brief refresher on what those changes were.

– UZR now uses hit timer data (hang time) rather than hit type designations, which is an improvement on the methodology and thus the results.

– The methodology has changed a little that allows UZR to account for some of the noise associated with imperfect data. The net result of this change is that extreme UZR’s, which were likely caused by, to some extent at least, noise in the data, rather than extreme performance, will be slightly ‘dampened.’ We think that these new values, while very close to the old ones in most cases, more accurately reflect the actual performance of the players in question.

Below you will find the changes of 5 or more runs in each season:

2012

2012 UZR Changes
Season Name Position Team Old Range New Range Change
2012 Curtis Granderson CF Yankees -18.0 -5.4 12.6
2012 Brandon Inge 3B Tigers -0.2 10.1 10.3
2012 Shin-Soo Choo RF Indians -15.5 -7.2 8.3
2012 Miguel Cabrera 3B Tigers -10.9 -3.0 7.8
2012 Michael Morse LF Nationals -9.0 -1.3 7.6
2012 Hunter Pence RF Phillies -7.7 -0.5 7.2
2012 J.D. Martinez LF Astros -7.6 -0.6 7.0
2012 Brennan Boesch RF Tigers -11.5 -4.7 6.9
2012 Dexter Fowler CF Rockies -12.0 -5.2 6.8
2012 Matt Kemp CF Dodgers -12.3 -5.8 6.5
2012 Dayan Viciedo LF White Sox -5.6 0.9 6.5
2012 Rickie Weeks Jr. 2B Brewers -14.2 -8.0 6.2
2012 Carlos Gonzalez LF Rockies -5.4 0.7 6.2
2012 Yoenis Cespedes LF Athletics -9.6 -3.5 6.1
2012 Derek Jeter SS Yankees -13.2 -7.1 6.1
2012 Rajai Davis LF Blue Jays -10.8 -4.9 5.9
2012 Jose Altuve 2B Astros -11.4 -5.6 5.9
2012 Ryan Theriot 2B Giants -8.2 -2.4 5.8
2012 Andrew McCutchen CF Pirates -6.3 -0.7 5.6
2012 Alex Gordon LF Royals 6.4 1.3 -5.1
2012 Ben Revere RF Twins 13.5 8.5 -5.1
2012 Chase Utley 2B Phillies 7.6 2.4 -5.2
2012 Trayvon Robinson LF Mariners 5.3 -0.1 -5.4
2012 Adrian Gonzalez 1B Red Sox 14.3 8.7 -5.5
2012 David Murphy LF Rangers 10.6 5.0 -5.6
2012 Danny Espinosa 2B Nationals 6.5 0.6 -5.9
2012 Alex Presley LF Pirates 8.2 2.1 -6.1
2012 Jon Jay CF Cardinals 5.6 -0.5 -6.2
2012 Chris Young CF Diamondbacks 7.5 1.3 -6.3
2012 David Wright 3B Mets 15.8 9.0 -6.7
2012 Starling Marte LF Pirates 7.6 0.4 -7.2
2012 Peter Bourjos CF Angels 13.6 6.1 -7.5
2012 Michael Bourn CF Braves 21.3 13.8 -7.5
2012 Josh Reddick RF Athletics 13.9 5.9 -8.0
2012 Jason Heyward RF Braves 23.2 11.7 -11.5
2012 Brandon Inge 3B Athletics 8.1 -4.3 -12.4

2013

2013 UZR Changes
Season Name Position Team Old Range New Range Change
2013 Matt Kemp CF Dodgers -18.0 -5.2 12.8
2013 Miguel Cabrera 3B Tigers -17.6 -7.5 10.1
2013 Aaron Hicks CF Twins -10.4 -0.6 9.7
2013 Shin-Soo Choo CF Reds -16.5 -7.3 9.2
2013 Asdrubal Cabrera SS Indians -12.5 -3.8 8.6
2013 Alexi Amarista CF Padres -10.5 -2.3 8.2
2013 Adam Jones CF Orioles -12.8 -5.4 7.4
2013 David Freese 3B Cardinals -17.0 -9.6 7.3
2013 Nick Markakis RF Orioles -9.2 -1.9 7.3
2013 Eduardo Nunez SS Yankees -20.3 -13.0 7.3
2013 Adeiny Hechavarria SS Marlins -9.9 -2.8 7.1
2013 Placido Polanco 3B Marlins -2.4 4.7 7.1
2013 Alex Gordon LF Royals -1.0 5.6 6.7
2013 Carlos Beltran RF Cardinals -10.8 -4.2 6.6
2013 Nori Aoki RF Brewers -4.3 1.8 6.0
2013 Raul Ibanez LF Mariners -11.7 -6.0 5.7
2013 Nick Franklin 2B Mariners -7.1 -1.5 5.6
2013 Charlie Blackmon CF Rockies -7.8 -2.2 5.6
2013 Melky Cabrera LF Blue Jays -6.3 -0.8 5.5
2013 Dayan Viciedo LF White Sox -9.5 -4.1 5.4
2013 Brendan Ryan SS Mariners -0.5 4.8 5.3
2013 Derek Dietrich 2B Marlins -6.2 -0.9 5.3
2013 Domonic Brown LF Phillies -14.6 -9.4 5.1
2013 Chris Johnson 3B Braves -6.1 -1.0 5.1
2013 Adrian Gonzalez 1B Dodgers 6.1 1.0 -5.1
2013 Yunel Escobar SS Rays 10.8 5.7 -5.1
2013 Nolan Arenado 3B Rockies 20.5 15.3 -5.2
2013 David Murphy LF Rangers 7.1 1.9 -5.2
2013 Yoenis Cespedes LF Athletics 6.6 1.3 -5.3
2013 Will Venable CF Padres 7.3 2.0 -5.3
2013 Chris Denorfia RF Padres 6.5 1.2 -5.3
2013 Starling Marte LF Pirates 10.7 5.1 -5.6
2013 Mark Ellis 2B Dodgers 5.7 0.1 -5.6
2013 Mark Trumbo 1B Angels 8.0 2.3 -5.7
2013 Carl Crawford LF Dodgers 8.2 2.2 -5.9
2013 Juan Lagares CF Mets 9.2 3.2 -6.0
2013 Mike Moustakas 3B Royals 6.9 0.3 -6.6
2013 Andy Dirks LF Tigers 10.2 3.3 -6.9
2013 Ben Zobrist 2B Rays 11.3 4.1 -7.2
2013 Carlos Gomez CF Brewers 19.1 11.3 -7.8
2013 Hunter Pence RF Giants 8.3 -0.4 -8.7
2013 Evan Longoria 3B Rays 15.3 6.3 -8.9
2013 Gerardo Parra RF Diamondbacks 17.5 8.5 -9.0
2013 Clint Barmes SS Pirates 8.8 -0.2 -9.0
2013 Jacoby Ellsbury CF Red Sox 14.1 5.1 -9.1
2013 Jarrod Dyson CF Royals 10.1 0.4 -9.7
2013 Manny Machado 3B Orioles 30.3 20.1 -10.2
2013 Juan Uribe 3B Dodgers 25.3 14.8 -10.5
2013 Andrelton Simmons SS Braves 22.8 11.7 -11.1
2013 Colby Rasmus CF Blue Jays 14.1 2.9 -11.1
2013 Shane Victorino RF Red Sox 23.3 12.0 -11.3
2013 A.J. Pollock CF Diamondbacks 16.2 3.8 -12.5

2014

2014 UZR Changes
Season Name Position Team Old Range New Range Change
2014 Torii Hunter RF Tigers -18.7 -8.4 10.4
2014 Nick Castellanos 3B Tigers -16.9 -9.3 7.6
2014 Michael Brantley LF Indians -8.5 -1.0 7.5
2014 Rajai Davis LF Tigers -6.9 0.5 7.4
2014 Matt Kemp LF Dodgers -10.1 -3.6 6.5
2014 Adam Eaton CF White Sox -2.1 4.2 6.3
2014 Dexter Fowler CF Astros -16.0 -9.9 6.2
2014 Colby Rasmus CF Blue Jays -7.8 -1.7 6.0
2014 Matt Dominguez 3B Astros -9.0 -3.1 5.9
2014 Gerardo Parra RF Diamondbacks -3.6 1.9 5.5
2014 Elvis Andrus SS Rangers -5.2 0.3 5.5
2014 Andrew McCutchen CF Pirates -4.6 0.5 5.1
2014 Yunel Escobar SS Rays -15.4 -10.3 5.1
2014 Martin Prado 3B Diamondbacks 2.3 -3.1 -5.4
2014 Ian Kinsler 2B Tigers 14.0 8.4 -5.5
2014 David Lough LF Orioles 7.7 2.3 -5.5
2014 Christian Yelich LF Marlins 14.7 9.1 -5.6
2014 Jarrod Dyson CF Royals 15.3 9.7 -5.6
2014 Jon Jay CF Cardinals 5.8 0.1 -5.7
2014 Jhonny Peralta SS Cardinals 9.5 3.6 -5.9
2014 Jose Ramirez SS Indians 7.2 0.8 -6.5
2014 Dustin Ackley LF Mariners 7.4 0.5 -7.0
2014 Adam Jones CF Orioles 1.7 -5.4 -7.1
2014 Ender Inciarte CF Diamondbacks 11.8 4.1 -7.7
2014 Josh Donaldson 3B Athletics 14.4 6.2 -8.2
2014 Alex Gordon LF Royals 18.1 9.8 -8.3
2014 Chase Utley 2B Phillies 11.5 3.2 -8.4
2014 Billy Hamilton CF Reds 14.7 5.9 -8.8
2014 Kevin Kiermaier RF Rays 15.6 6.5 -9.1
2014 Juan Lagares CF Mets 15.2 5.2 -10.0

2015

2015 UZR Changes
Season Name Position Team Old Range New Range Change
2015 Juan Uribe 3B Dodgers -1.3 6.7 8.0
2015 Jose Bautista RF Blue Jays -7.4 -0.3 7.1
2015 Robinson Cano 2B Mariners -8.9 -2.6 6.3
2015 Pablo Sandoval 3B Red Sox -16.5 -10.3 6.1
2015 Angel Pagan CF Giants -8.9 -2.9 6.0
2015 Marlon Byrd LF Reds -4.8 1.1 5.9
2015 Gerardo Parra CF Brewers -8.5 -2.6 5.9
2015 Avisail Garcia RF White Sox -11.4 -5.7 5.8
2015 Byron Buxton CF Twins -4.0 1.8 5.8
2015 Michael Bourn CF Indians -5.3 0.4 5.7
2015 Matt Kemp RF Padres -13.2 -7.6 5.6
2015 Ben Zobrist 2B Athletics -4.9 0.4 5.3
2015 Johnny Giavotella 2B Angels -6.6 -1.4 5.2
2015 Juan Uribe 3B Braves 2.0 -3.7 -5.7
2015 Nick Ahmed SS Diamondbacks 10.6 4.5 -6.0
2015 Yoenis Cespedes LF Tigers 8.2 1.6 -6.6
2015 Michael Taylor CF Nationals 6.3 -0.3 -6.7
2015 Kevin Pillar CF Blue Jays 15.3 8.1 -7.2
2015 Billy Hamilton CF Reds 12.3 5.1 -7.2
2015 Kevin Kiermaier CF Rays 23.2 11.8 -11.4

2016

2016 UZR Changes
Season Name Position Team Old Range New Range Change
2016 Yoenis Cespedes CF Mets -12.1 -4.0 8.2
2016 Alexei Ramirez SS Padres -15.5 -8.8 6.7
2016 Charlie Blackmon CF Rockies -4.7 1.8 6.5
2016 Rougned Odor 2B Rangers -15.6 -9.4 6.2
2016 Carlos Gonzalez RF Rockies -3.3 2.7 6.1
2016 Justin Upton LF Tigers 0.6 6.0 5.4
2016 Asdrubal Cabrera SS Mets -4.7 0.6 5.3
2016 Nick Ahmed SS Diamondbacks 7.6 2.4 -5.2
2016 Justin Turner 3B Dodgers 15.1 9.8 -5.3
2016 Carlos Gomez CF Astros -2.4 -7.7 -5.4
2016 Addison Russell SS Cubs 16.4 10.8 -5.7
2016 Travis Jankowski CF Padres 12.7 6.2 -6.5
2016 Francisco Lindor SS Indians 21.5 14.3 -7.2
2016 Alex Gordon LF Royals 9.2 1.8 -7.4
2016 Stephen Piscotty RF Cardinals 10.5 3.1 -7.4
2016 Angel Pagan LF Giants 5.5 -2.0 -7.5
2016 Kevin Pillar CF Blue Jays 21.5 12.3 -9.2

2017

None.


FanGraphs: The Game 2018!

Good news everyone! You can now make your picks in FanGraphs: The Game for the 2018 season!

For those of you who played in previous years, you will be able to change the team of any of your players up until you first spend money. So, if you want your players to be on different teams, I advise doing it before you make any picks. You can do this on the settings page.

In addition, your player will keep all of his stats from all previous seasons and continue on to the next year of their career.

Lastly, if you had autopick set last year, it has now been unset. If you want to keep playing with autopick on, you will need to make your autopick selections again.

And for those of you who are rookies to FanGraphs: The Game…

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A Word About KATOH

Last week, I published KATOH’s 2018 top-100 list. It was the fourth such preseason list to appear at FanGraphs. Unfortunately, it will also be the last.

I am embarking on a new opportunity in the baseball industry that prohibits me from working in the public sphere, which means no more KATOH. As much as I’d love to brag about how awesome this opportunity is, unfortunately that is all I can say about it.

Writing for FanGraphs was something I aspired to do since I stumbled upon the site as a teenager nearly a decade ago. I’ll be forever grateful to Dave Cameron and David Appelman, who hired me based on what was little more than an idea and stuck with me as I continually worked out the kinks. I also owe a debt of gratitude to Paul Swydan, who first brought me into the fold at the Hardball Times despite my undeveloped writing skills.

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SABR Analytics Awards: Voting Now Open!

Here’s your chance to vote for the 2018 SABR Analytics Conference Research Award winners.

The SABR Analytics Conference Research Awards will recognize baseball researchers who have completed the best work of original analysis or commentary during the preceding calendar year. Nominations were solicited by representatives from SABR, Baseball Prospectus, FanGraphs, The Hardball Times, and Beyond the Box Score.

To read any of the finalists, click on the link below. Scroll down to cast your vote.

Contemporary Baseball Analysis

Contemporary Baseball Commentary

Historical Analysis/Commentary

Voting will be open through 11:59 p.m. MST on Monday, February 12, 2018. Details and criteria for each category can be found here. Only one work per author was considered as a finalist.

Create your own user feedback survey

Mobile or Safari users, click here to access the survey

Results will be announced and presented at the seventh annual SABR Analytics Conference, March 9-11, 2018, at the Hyatt Regency Phoenix in Phoenix, Arizona. Learn more or register for the conference at SABR.org/analytics.


Thanks for Reading

January 21st, 2011. That’s the day I got a phone call from David Appelman that changed my life.

I’d moved to California and was trying to make a full-time go of writing about fantasy baseball for a living, but my wife — as amazingly supportive as she’s been — had been wondering when I might be able to contribute more to the household. David’s call was a lifeline, a rope to a sinking writer, and I’ll never forget it. A job. Writing about baseball. Amazing.

Other than giving me a chance to do this for a living, David also gave me a chance to connect with you readers here at FanGraphs, readers I count as probably the best of the internet, and sometimes I feel like I’ve written for all of the internet. Maybe I have some authority on the matter. You guys are awesome, believe me.

This will be my last post for FanGraphs for now, post number 2,202 when you add them all up. Details to come, but I’m excited for this new chapter, and I will still see you around, but not on these pages.

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The 2018 Hardball Times Annual Is Here!

This morning, we’re launching The Hardball Times Baseball Annual 2018!

This year’s Annual returns with a great line up of contributors from The Hardball Times and FanGraphs — folks like Jeff Sullivan, Eric Longenhagen, Kate Preusser, Adam Dorhauer, Jack Moore, Britni de la Cretaz, Carson Cistulli, Sarah Wexler, Chris Mitchell, Neil Weinberg, and Travis Sawchik, among others — plus a few special guests.

It’s our first online edition, which we hope will make the smart, incisive work in it more accessible and easier to share. And in an effort to bring you as many different kinds of baseball stories as possible, we’re pleased to feature another first — a fiction section.

We’re really proud of the work this team has done to bring you insight across Commentary, Analysis, History, and Fiction, and we hope the Annual helps you pass this slow offseason with a bit more ease. Thank you for reading!


Update: FanGraphs Is Hiring! Seeking a Full-Time Writer

Over the past two weeks, the response to our call for a full-time writer has been incredible. As a result, it’s taking us some additional time to give all the applications the attention they deserve.

If you have not yet applied and had any desire to do so, we will be accepting applications until Tuesday, January 23rd at 12:00 AM.

To apply, please follow the instructions in the original job posting.


2018 FAN Projections!

The 2018 FAN Projection ballots are now open!

Before you can project any players, you’ll have to select the team you follow most closely towards the top of the screen. If you really don’t follow a team, just pick one. You’ll only have to do this once.

After you’ve selected a team, you can begin projecting players. There are nine categories of interest for pitchers and 10 categories for position players. Pick the values in the drop-down boxes closest to what you think the player will do in 2018. Hit the submit button and you’re done! If you made a mistake, you can always go back and change your selection at any time.

Please note that everything is a rate stat. You’re projecting 2B+3B, HR, SB, and Fielding as a measure of 150 games (basically a full season). The player’s previous stats are shown per 150 games in the projection ballot, too. This will make changing playing-time projections much easier, as you’ll only have to change the games played portion.

That’s really all there is to it. You can filter players by team or, if you go to the player pages, you can project players individually. If you want to see all the players you’ve projected, you can click on the “My Rankings” button, which will show you only what you specifically projected a player to do.

FAN Projections will show up on a player’s page after five ballots have been submitted for him.

If you do notice any issues, please let us know.


The One I Never Thought I Would Write

I wrote my first post for FanGraphs on April 14th, 2008. It was about Gabe Kapler’s return from managing to be a productive big leaguer. It referenced WPA/LI as our version of a modern statistic and talked unironically about how Kapler was keeping up with Casey Kotchman. It wasn’t great.

Since then, I’ve published 3,501 other posts (or chats). Hopefully, most of them were better than that first one. In these last 10 years, the site has changed a lot. In 2010, I went from a freelancer to the company’s first full-time employee, then was joined by a host of absurdly talented coworkers, many of whom now also get to do this for a living. FanGraphs went from a niche site into the mainstream, and along the way, I’ve seen our little corner of the baseball world help change the language of baseball fans.

It’s been a remarkable run. But for me, it comes to an end today. This will be my last post at FanGraphs.

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Getting to Know You

Meeting new people is always a bit awkward, so it’s best to just jump in. My name is Meg Rowley, and I’m the new managing editor of The Hardball Times and a new writer for FanGraphs. After a stint at Lookout Landing, I’ve spent the last three years as a writer at Baseball Prospectus, where I wrote about topics ranging from diversity in front office hiring, to Adam Lind (maybe) farting, to the problems with replay review, to the faces you see when the Twins cause a long delay at Dodger Stadium.

But before I wrote those pieces, I came to baseball, as so many where I’m from do, through my parents and the late-90s Mariners. That team taught me about joy and winning, but also about thrilling disappointment and the small moments that snuff out a season. Smart, tenacious writers here and elsewhere taught me to look at the game through a sabermetric lens. And now, David Appelman has trusted me to supply and shape some of your baseball words. I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity and will strive to prove myself worthy of that trust.

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Farewell for Now

For the past seven years, I’ve had the honor and privilege of writing for FanGraphs and its associated blogs, RotoGraphs, NotGraphs, and The Hardball Times. For the seven years prior to that, I had the honor and privilege of working for the Colorado Rockies Baseball Club. That’s a pretty neat coincidence. Looking back at the beginning of my adult life, I also spent seven years prior to joining the Rockies either in college or working a series of short-term jobs in order to build up a career. Triple sevens.

So, it seems like every seven years — or, as I’m approaching that seventh year — I look for a new challenge. This time around has been no different. Leaving the best job you’ve ever had is certainly not an easy thing to do, but for the second time, I’m about to do so. I am bidding FanGraphs and THT (mostly) farewell, as I take on what will most assuredly be my greatest challenge to date — opening up an independent bookstore.

Around this time last year, word began to spread that the bookstore in my town, Acton, Mass., was going to be closing. That was hard to fathom, since it had been in business for over 20 years. As I spoke with friends and neighbors around town, the feeling was the same: “Where do we buy books now?” And so my wheels started turning.

The result, barring last-minute hiccups, will be The Silver Unicorn Bookstore, which I hope to open at some point in March.

The store’s website is but a humble splash page at the moment. Once it’s set up, though, you will be able to purchase books from it online.

While I’m excited for my new (ad)venture, leaving FanGraphs and THT is going to be incredibly bittersweet. Looking at the Blog Roll recently, I realized I’ve worked with nearly every person on it. The relationships I’ve formed with my colleagues past and present, and with you, the readers, are something I will cherish for the rest of my life.

First and foremost, I have to thank David Appelman, not only for approving my initial hire as a writer, but then also agreeing to let me typeset The Hardball Times Baseball Annual 2013 and, after that, agreeing to let me help lead THT’s transition to its current iteration and take over as managing editor. In between and after, he has trusted me with jobs like planning company trips, designing/ordering t-shirts, and managing interns. These were jobs that I was not always qualified to perform. I will miss working with him very, very much.

I’ll also desperately miss working with the editing team at THT — Joe Distelheim, Jason Linden, Dustin Nosler, and Greg Simons. Each one of them has stood by the site through thick and thin, and each one has bailed me out of plenty of jams.

Though I haven’t worked with her as long, Michelle Jay has become an invaluable person in my work life. Whatever the task at hand, I know that Michelle will get it done quickly, competently, and with a smile.

Of course, there’s all the people who I work with on the FanGraphs side: Carson Cistulli, Sean Dolinar, David Laurila, Eric Longenhagen, Chris Mitchell, Eno Sarris, Travis Sawchick, Jeff Sullivan, and Jeff Zimmerman chief among them. There’s also the people who I work with to produce stuff behind the scenes: Mary Craig, Mina Dunn, Jen Mac Ramos, Sarah Wexler, and intern Bailey Winston. There are countless others who I do and/or have worked with at FanGraphs and THT. I started building a list of a few particular people, but that list started to snowball, so I’ll simply thank Dave Studeman for trusting me to succeed him at THT. I’ve really had the pleasure and privilege of working with a tremendous amount of tremendously talented people.

Finally, there’s Dave Cameron. That Dave hired me in the first place is a bit breathtaking, knowing my credentials at the time and the credentials that would be subsequently required to write for the site. Objectively speaking, Dave never should have hired me. That he didn’t fire me once he did hire me is just as breathtaking. As he has reminded me, when he hired me, I claimed I would write for the site on a daily basis. I never did that. In fact, I think three original pieces per week (not counting chats) was probably my high-water mark, and for most of my tenure it was two or fewer. I owe Dave a great deal for not only hiring me, but for sticking with me as well.

Before this piece gets too sappy, I should note that my successor is a lot better at all this than me, so FanGraphs and THT are definitely not going to feel a pinch from my departure.

I should also note that I’m not leaving completely, hence the “For Now” in the title. I titled it as such because David Appelman has graciously agreed to let me start the FanGraphs Book Club. We won’t begin right away — I need to get the store open first — but hopefully around the start of the regular season, I will be back, with the goal of hosting a chat once every four-to-six weeks, on a particular baseball book that we’ll choose together. The idea is that we’ll pick a new baseball book ahead of time, and that book will be available for purchase through my store — in person and online — at a discounted rate. Hopefully, we can have a lot of fun with it, the same way we always have had in the FanGraphs After Dark chats.

I could keep writing this post forever. FanGraphs will always feel like home to me. But in the interest of (relative) brevity, I’ll stop here. Thanks as always, for reading and interacting with my work — it means everything to me. See you in a few months.


FanGraphs Is Hiring! Seeking a Full-Time Writer.

Update: Please submit your application before Tuesday, January 23rd and 12:00 AM.

FanGraphs has grown tremendously these last few years, and we’re thrilled that you all have helped build this community into one of the best baseball hubs on the internet. And now, we’re growing again, as we’re looking to bring on another full-time writer to join our staff.

We’re looking for someone who is interested in publishing daily, covering the ins and outs of what is happening in Major League Baseball. Familiarity and comfort with the data here on FanGraphs is a requirement, but just as importantly, we’re looking for someone who asks interesting questions and then provides analysis or commentary around those questions.

This is a full-time salaried position with benefits. If you have a passion for writing about baseball and think you’d be a good fit with us, send us an email at wanted@fangraphs.com, and use the subject line “FanGraphs Full-Time Writer Application – 2018”; please ensure that is the subject so that we can keep all of the applications organized, and ensure yours does not slip through the cracks.

In your application, please include samples or links to work you’ve published previously, or some new original content that you feel best emphasizes your writing abilities and interests. You may also include a resume, but it is not required for the initial application.

As FanGraphs is a web-based business, relocation will not be required; this job can be completed from most geographic locations, as long as you have reliable internet access and are willing to work during the hours when people in the United States are awake.

If for some reason your application is unable to go through via the wanted@fangraphs.com e-mail address, please fill out a contact form with the same subject “FanGraphs Full-Time Writer Application – 2018” and you will be provided an alternate e-mail address to submit your application.


New Effectively Wild Heat Map T-Shirts Are Here!

Both the Effectively Wild podcast and community are marvelous. And with the help of that community, we have a new t-shirt for sale.

This is the first two-sided t-shirt in FanGraphs history, and it’s a doozy. As has become a FanGraphs custom, the t-shirt was designed by Aaron Gershman of Creative Sentencing, who you should absolutely hire for your next design project. But the cool part about this shirt is that it was made with input from the EW community. Let’s take a look at the broad strokes:

The back, as you can see, is a heat map. But it’s not just any heat map. It’s a heat map of all the things that are (or are not) discussed on the podcast. The items in the red boxes are discussed frequently, those in the white boxes are discussed rarely, and in the blue are things that are never discussed. Let’s take a closer look at the heat map, shall we?

Things like actual baseball games may never be discussed on the pod, but with plenty of Matt Albers and Ned Garver talk, you really can’t go wrong.

These wonderful t-shirts are now available for sale for $30. We have to charge a little more for these since they are two-sided, but we think it’s still a pretty great value. We hope you will too, and will continue to support Effectively Wild, which has been a great addition to the FanGraphs family!

(In other t-shirt news, the “Do You Go To FanGraphs At All?” t-shirts are also back in stock. Get ’em while they’re hot!)


“Do You Go To FanGraphs At All” T-Shirts Back in Stock

Last month, I wrote about a new t-shirt inspired by Daniel Murphy that we had put up for sale. It looks like this:

Here’s some more info on it, in case you don’t want to click through.

Like our other recent t-shirt creations, this shirt is a Canvas Jersey T-shirt, and as you can see, it comes in black. The black, to me, is notable, as we’ve never made a black t-shirt before. The shirt, also like our other recent t-shirt creations, was designed by Aaron Gershman of Creative Sentencing. You should definitely hire Aaron for your next design project.

In short order, the shirt sold out in several sizes. I am here to tell you that those shirts have been re-stocked, and are available for purchase in sizes from small to 2X. So, go forth and order!

Well, OK, this has been a pretty short post, so let me leave you with this nugget of info. Did you know that of the 139 players who have accumulated at least 500 plate appearances with the Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals franchise, that Murphy is tied for first with Rusty Staub in terms of wRC+? Well, it’s true. They both have a 146 wRC+ in an Expos/Nationals uniform. Now, you know. And knowing is half the battle.

In closing, please buy our t-shirts. Thank you.