Sorry guys: you’re gonna have to wait a bit to see Delmon Young play the outfield

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Delmon Young made his 2013 debut last night at DH and the word was that he was going to play the outfield in tonight’s game against the Indians. Sadly, he is at DH again. Why?

I dunno. Given how well he uses that throwing arm while it’s healthy, I don’t know that it’s much of a loss.

OK, I’ve hated enough. As I mentioned on HBT Daily earlier today, I am actually encouraged after seeing the trimmed-down Delmon in last night’s game. The last time he trimmed down was in 2010 and he had a great season.  If he can produce anything close to that and can be anything other than a defensive disaster in right, the Young pickup could prove to be a pretty savvy one.

There. I said something about all of this that is honest and not hateful or snarky or anything. I feel like I should go take a shower or something, but even I have to do difficult things sometimes.

Must-Click Link: Sherri Nichols, Sabermetic Pioneer

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If you are old enough and lame enough as I am, you may have lurked around on sabermetic message boards in the 1990s. If you did, you may have heard of Sherri Nichols, who back in the day, was a significant contributor to the advancement of statistical analysis, particularly defensive analysis.

While it’s probably better that not everyone is as old and nerdy as me, the downside of it is that most people haven’t heard of Nichols and know nothing about her contributions. That changes today with Ben Lindbergh’s excellent analysis of Nichols and her work over at The Ringer, which I recommend that you all read.

The short version: Nichols is the one who planted the seed about on-base percentage being valuable in the mind of Baseball Prospectus Founder Gary Huckabay, back in the late 80s. She’s also the one most responsible for the rise of zone-based defensive metrics in the 1990s, such as Defensive Average, which she created and which served as the basis for other such metrics going forward. She also played a critical role in the development of RetroSheet, which collected almost all extant box score and play-by-play information going back to the turn of the 20th century, thereby making so much of the information available at Baseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs possible. A key contribution there: making the information free and available to everyone, rather than closing the underlying data off as proprietary and either charging for access or keeping it in-house like some recent data collectors have chosen to do. Ahem.

A larger takeaway than all of Nichols’ contributions is just how loathe the baseball community was to listen to a woman back then. I mean, yeah, they’re still loathe to listen to women now, as indicated by the small number of women who hold jobs in baseball operations departments, but back then it was even worse, as evidenced by Lindbergh’s stories and Nichols’ anecdotes.

A great read and a great history lesson.