27 December 2017

Good Links of (a Not-Insignificant Portion of) 2017

It's the end of the year, and that means it's time for end-of-the-year review posts. Here are my favorite baseball-related links from 2017. Okay, technically these are my favorite links since June when I started keeping track.

Tom Verducci explored how the Houston Astros' analytical approach (as evidenced by their hiring of prominent Baseball Prospectus alumni) led them to their Justin Verlander acquisition and to the ALCS (and later to a World Series championship).

Katie Baker followed Alex Rodriguez from heel to, well, not quite a hero, but an incredibly comfortable and insightful analyst on MLB on FOX.

Emma Baccellieri noted that MLB's new trajectory (e.g. Statcast and related products) threatens the current sabermetric revolution that grew out of Baseball's open-access attitude towards fine-grained statistical data.

Jay Caspian Kang wondered why some sabermetric concepts catch on easily, some revolutionize clubhouses and some fade into oblivion.

Maury Brown wrote about how China is big and MLB wants a piece of the People's Republic, partnering to build 20 new facilities on the Mainland.

Ballpark, Fort Reno Park, Washington DC by Me

Maury Brown also wrote about how the Cubs gave Steve Bartman a 2016 World Series ring, granting the undeserving target of early-millennium infamy the opportunity to decry scapegoating (and reclaim the dignity he had been wrongfully denied).

Jeff Sullivan reminded us that Giancarlo Stanton is more than just Aaron Judge 1.0.

Micah Hauser uncovered how stingy and disingenuous the Yankees and the Steinbrenners have been in living up to the promises they made after the city built them their new stadium.

Ben Lindbergh and Mitchel Lichtman were the first to break through this year with a study indicating that the construction of the ball is at least in part responsible for the home run surge. Rob Arthur provided additional support by examining Statcast data, and baseball physicist Alan Nathan used first principles to show the same.

Ashley MacLennan critiqued the culture of toxic masculinity in baseball and in so doing argued that there isn't just one right way to play.

Ballpark, Fort Reno Park, Washington DC by Me

Jack Moore questioned whether we need an amateur draft or caps on international free agent signings and concluded that we in fact do not.

Travis Sawchik proposed a solution for making the wild card round even more exciting and challenging for the lower seed, borrowing an idea from the Republic of Korea.

Jen Mac Ramos demanded that Major League Baseball do more to address, punish and prevent off-the-field sexual violence by MLB athletes.

Mary Craig demonstrated how, like everything else, the language of baseball is inherently and inescapably political.

Paul Lucas provided us with the facts about the most polarizing design in the history of baseball: the Houston Astros' Tequila Sunrise uniforms. He then followed up with an excellent, previously untold history of the design process.

Sam Miller astonished a fictional time traveler with how much baseball has changed since 1987.

Finally, Matt Swartz nailed it this year. In his residency at FanGraphs this past July, Dr. Swartz produced not just one, two or even three fantastic articles, but nine posts about the economics of labor and the cost of a win in baseball. Your baseball aedification for 2017 is not complete without perusing each of the articles below:

Thanks for reading and have a fulfilling and prosperous 2018!

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