Sean Doolittle explains sabermetrics to you

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Athletics reliever Sean Doolittle provides a nice service today. In filling in for Buster Olney at ESPN.com, he provides a nice primer to sabermetric concepts. Both educating uninitiated readers and putting lie to the notion that players themselves have no use for advanced metrics.

He even goes further, providing an inside view of some of the more esoteric, proprietary stats used by the Oakland A’s. For example:

BABIP: That’s batting average on balls in play, right? Wrong. It’s baseball averages compared to Bip Roberts. According to Baseball-Reference.com, over 12 seasons, Bip Roberts held a .294 batting average and a .358 on-base percentage and had a 162-game average of 36 stolen bases per year. Roberts played his final season for the A’s in 1998, but sabermetricians still use his stats when evaluating players.

Hmm. I’m starting to think only half of the column is to be taken seriously. Though, to be fair, his version of BABIP is more useful than some of the stats others use with a straight face.

Oakland Athletics reverse course, will continue to pay minor leaguers

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Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Oakland Athletics owner John Fisher has reversed course and will continue to pay minor leaguers. Fisher tells Slusser, “I concluded I made a mistake.” He said he is also setting up an assistance fund for furloughed employees.

The A’s decided in late May to stop paying paying minor leaguers as of June 1, which was the earliest date on which any club could do so after an MLB-wide agreement to pay minor leaguers through May 31 expired. In the event, the A’s were the only team to stop paying the $400/week stipends to players before the end of June. Some teams, notable the Royals and Twins, promised to keep the payments up through August 31, which is when the minor league season would’ve ended. The Washington Nationals decided to lop off $100 of the stipends last week but, after a day’s worth of blowback from the media and fans, reversed course themselves.