For the full High Heat Stats experience:

The Tampa Bay Rays: Offensive Juggernaut?

The start of the 2013 season marked the 16th year of professional baseball in Tampa Bay, Florida, and in that short amount of time the franchise has been many different things. Back in 1998, the Devil Rays were a cause for excitement even with the losses piling up. In the 5 years that followed the Devil Rays became something worse, something almost sad, finishing dead last in the AL East year after year. Lou Piniella came to Tampa and was able to end the streak, finally finishing in 4th in 2004, but the Rays were still a pitching-starved, meager hitting, lousy fielding team content to win 70 games.

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The Alternate Inaugural Hall of Fame Class

For some inexplicable reason, I’m just now reading Bill James’ The Politics of Glory : How Baseball’s Hall of Fame Really Works for the first time. Early in the book, James claims the original Hall of Fame class of 1936 was supposed to include five stars of the 19th century, in addition to the five “modern” greats who were so honored: Ty Cobb, Walter Johnson, Christy Mathewson, Babe Ruth and Honus Wagner. In fact, James goes on to say that, according to the Spalding Official Base Ball Guide 1936, the 19th-century greats were intended to be the Hall’s first five inductees. Read the rest of this entry

Introducing the High Heat Stats podcast – Episode #1

I’ve finally gone and done it, and created a baseball podcast! With the participation of Dalton, Bryan, and Adam, we’ve recorded the pilot podcast for High Heat Stats.

This first one is a little long at nearly an hour and three quarters–we’ll try to make future ones a bit shorter.

The podcast is not yet in iTunes, but it should be within about a week. You can still subscribe to the podcast in iTunes by choosing “File > Subscribe to Podcast” from the menu bar and entering the feed URL: “http://www.highheatstats.com/podcast/hhs.xml”.

Podcast Feed | Download Episode #1 (MP3)

I’m proud to say that the podcast is sponsored by the Baseball-Reference.com Play Index. Listen to the podcast for details on how to save money on a new subscription to the PI (not available to existing subscribers, but you can always get a subscription for someone else–maybe for dad for Father’s Day?)

Thanks very much to the folks who helped, particularly to Adam for a bunch of extra technical assistance!

The Best Problem in Baseball to Have

There’s an old well-known adage around the game of baseball that goes a little something like this: you can never, under any circumstance, have too much pitching. You’re only one pitch away from an injury and the most historically successful teams have been able to overcome that little issue by having superior depth, particularly in the rotation.

But, as the Atlanta Braves are about to find out, the limits of the modern-day 5-man rotation can create an interesting dilemma. Through 60+ games the Braves rotation has been among the best in baseball, posting a 3.25 ERA as a group, which ranks 3rd in baseball behind St. Louis and Cincinnati. Mike Minor and Kris Medlen have matured into front of the rotation forces while fellow youngster Julio Teheran has started to blossom into his own. The staff’s pair of veterans, Tim Hudson and Paul Maholm have been more than serviceable, going 11-9 with a sub-4.00 ERA combined, giving the Braves both quality and depth.

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Top Batting Months by Position: Part 2 – Infielders

This is the second installment of a series looking at the best OPS months by position. Today’s post looks at each of the infield positions, with selected observations on the players involved.

As with Part 1 on outfielders, the method is to look at monthly OPS for players with 80+ PA in a month (50+ PA for April) and who played a majority of games in that month at one position.

More on the best months by infielders, after the jump.

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Sunday Game Smorgasbord

An extra full slate, and let’s get right to it!

@Tigers 4, Indians 1: Howdy, Jose Alvarez! The first Tigers debut since 2002 with 6+ IP and 1 run or less, and a surprise power source, helped Detroit complete a sweep of the slumping Indians.

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A very long day’s journey, indeed.

@Blue Jays 4, Rangers 3 (18): Just eighteen innings? Bunch o’ pikers!

Rajai Davis ended the longest game in Rogers Centre history with a 2-out single, after Emilio Bonifacio had gone 1st-to-3rd on a pickoff error by Ross Wolf, in his 7th inning of work. Davis entered for defense in the 8th, when the Jays had a lead, and wound up with 2 hits in 5 ABs, and his 4th game-ending RBI. Brad Lincoln, a former starter, went 4 scoreless innings (14th-17th) in his best relief effort. Aaron Loup, who’s been lights-out for almost a month, earned the win by working around a leadoff double in the 18th.

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Circle of Greats 1951 Balloting

This post is for voting and discussion in the twenty-first round of balloting for the Circle of Greats.  This round adds those players born in 1951.  Rules and lists are after the jump. Read the rest of this entry

Circle of Greats Round 20 Results: Unsinkable Molly

Paul Molitor (Molly) very nearly won the 14th round of the Circle of Greats voting but a late trend in the balloting left him second by a single vote.   He’s had solid support each round since then but not quite enough to win induction.   Until now, that is, as he becomes our 20th inductee into the High Heat Stats Circle of Greats.   His manner of election seems to echo his profile in the sport: never the dominant superstar, but consistently successful for a long, long time and multi-talented at a very high level, with a history of rising to the special occasion of the post-season.  More on Paul and the voting after the jump. Read the rest of this entry

Friday game notes: Rain plays havoc in the East

So, I’m forcing myself to use MLB’s play-by-play, even though I’ve never liked their look, plus their pitch-by-pitch requires individual clicks. But that’s where the videos are, so maybe I can get used to it.*

Pirates 2, @Cubs 0: Chicago left 2 aboard in the 2nd, 4th and 5th (5 of the 6 men via walk). So in the 6th, Russell Martin’s 2-out double on a Travis Wood hanger brought the game’s first run, and Darwin Barney’s tardy arrival at 2nd in the 9th spoiled a sure DP and let another run in. Despite the walks, Francisco Liriano went 7 scoreless for the 2nd time this year; he had no such games for 2 full years after his no-hitter on 2011-05-03, a span of 56 starts. Melancon/Grilli allowed 3 hits between them, but fanned 5, recording their 19th hold and 23rd save, respectively.

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