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Mariners Moose Tracks, 1/9/20: Infield OAA, Some Signings, and a Lost Chain

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Some links to make you think this Thursday morning

Javy Báez was the 2019 league leader in Statcast’s new infielder OAA metric.
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Hello everyone, and welcome to the second Thursday of 2020. Approximately 50 to go. We’ve got some links to keep you going through to the end of the week — keep at it!

In Mariners news...

  • An ex-Mariners farmhand returns to the organization.
  • Greg Johns goes over some of the top free agent pitchers that the Mariners could be looking to sign this offseason. After Jimmy Nelson signed with the Dodgers yesterday, Johns notes that the Mariners are still interested in a reunion with Taijuan Walker. He also notes five other starting pitchers that would seem to fit with the team’s plans.

Around baseball...

  • This was discussed somewhat in the comments of yesterday’s links, but it’s big news. Baseball Savant has added infielders to their defensive Outs Above Average metric. If you’re comfortable with analytics, you can read more about exactly what goes into this Statcast metric here. Otherwise, there is a nice introduction here. The Mariners saw exactly three qualifying infielders hit positive OAA marks last year: Kyle Seager (2), J.P. Crawford (2), and Austin Nola (1). For context, Javier Báez led the league with 19. On the other side of the spectrum, Tim Beckham put up a putrid -9 OAA. Yikes.
  • Sticking with the analytics for now, Craig Edwards at Fangraphs took a look at what a win costs in free agency in 2020. Spoiler: it’s not quite as expensive as it was in 2018, but it’s much more expensive than last year’s slow market was.
  • Finally, Ben Clemens at Fangraphs examines how the batting count impacts batter performance. Turns out it’s a lot.
  • There were three great Short Relief pieces at Baseball Prospectus yesterday, but I particularly enjoyed Sara Sanchez’s thoughts on the cheating scandal. It asks an epistemological question we might all be wondering: in light of the juiced ball and the cheating scandal, how do we “know” what’s real in baseball?
  • Though Bartolo Colón may have trouble finding a Major League team, he reportedly isn’t ready to retire yet.
  • This Dominican Winter League game ended with excitement — and confusion.
  • Brewers manager Craig Counsell has been rewarded for the team having had three successful seasons in a row.

Zach’s picks...

  • In my opinion, one of the most exciting areas of rapidly developing research is in cancer research. Recent massive strides have paid dividends: death rates saw their most massive drop ever between 2016 and 2017. The full report can be read for free here, if you’re interested.