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Where to go for News, Analysis, Depth Charts, Team Tracker, Stats, and Scoresheet stuff

Baseball Prospectus has completely overturned their roster of writers over the last few years, but they still cover everything they covered before and then some – perhaps, too much so. Everybody is a baseball fan for a different set of reasons – even us Scoresheet players, so what might not be to my taste could hit the spot with you. The new head of prospect reporting Jason Parks goes off subject sometimes and is usually brilliantly humorous and insightful when he does. The most creative guy there, however, is Sam Miller. He mixes media and looks at baseball from a new angle every week. His humor is such that I have no doubt he could be a writer for The Daily Show, if he wanted to.

BP does cost a little, but has just about everything and is indispensable for the Scoresheet player - just for its Team Tracker alone. You can download an entire Scoresheet team into it. The “Player Cards” give a range of projections depending on the player’s proven ability and ceiling. Even cooler is his complete injury history with important details. Transaction analysis? Got it. Prospect Analysis? They have a team of scouts and reporters replacing Kevin Goldstein who was hired by the Astros. Projection system? Their PECOTA is as good as any and the most unique – surely the one to have if you are using more than one. And, by the way, it was created by the now very famous Nate Silver. Cutting edge statistical and PitchFx baseball analysis? Hmm, they were the leaders, but now are struggling to keep up with FanGraphs, Hardball Times, etc., although, I’m confident that if anything really significant becomes known, they will report it. A recent addition to Baseball Prospectus I was glad about was Jason Martinez, because in doing so, I discovered his Depth Charts site http://www.mlbdepthcharts.com/2012/10/detroit-tigers-2012-13-offseason-team.html, which blows all the others out of the park.

Another cool thing about Baseball Prospectus is that their writers are generally very good about answering your e-mails. Interestingly, one exception is their boss editor Joe Hamrahi – who plays Scoresheet (at least, he never answers my e-mails).

I still use Rotoworld for everyday baseball news. They had a loading issue briefly last year, but that was fixed. I tried MLB.com for awhile – and they’re not bad, but Rotoworld includes more alerts on players who might be struggling or particularly hot – as well as some comments from managers regarding their plans to play whom. You can link to the original source of the news for more details. Rotowire might be even better than Rotoworld in some ways, although those boxes are a little harder to read – and they have too much info about minor leaguers for my time. It does have the best player search index. Rotowire is not free. If the ads on Rotoworld get overly annoying, I will switch to Rotowire. Or, I might just stop trying to keep up on baseball news. Reacting to hot streaks is not usually a good idea.

FanGraphs is growing into a monster. They are taking on Prospectus, Rotoworld and Baseball-Reference in each of the other’s strengths – not that there isn’t room for all four. I still prefer BP’s writers, Roto’s news updates, and am very comfortable with B-R’s historical database, but FG’s new team pages are something that I’m sure I will have a ton of fun with. Their data goes back to each franchise’s Major League beginnings – including the American Association for the Phillies, Cardinals, Dodgers, and Reds. On top of all their efforts to take over the world wide baseball web, they still own their niche of being the best site to compare players for your Scoresheet team. Being the easiest site to find K% is just one of many reasons.

One of the drawbacks to FanGraphs I was having last year was that it took too long to load. They have fixed that! They’ve added an extra popup index based on the names you have entered before you even press the Enter key.

Of course, there are more than just these four baseball sites, but who has time to keep track of them all? Apparently, Tom Tango does. That’s why I’ve become a regular reader of his blog: The Book. Tangotiger brings up interesting stories from all over the internet – politics occasionally, too – and has a forum from which we can share comments. Tango – a sabermetric heavyweight - contributes many articles himself and takes part in the commentaries.

Don’t forget Bill James is still alive – and you can ask him questions directly in the Hey Bill section of Bill James Online. (Your question might not be addressed. And be warned, even if it is, he might shoot it down or just say, “I don’t know – I’d have to do a new study on that” in his folksy but concise words.) The man who popularized sabermetrics (he even invented the word) and inspired the invention of Rotisserie Baseball and the subsequent growth of fantasy leagues in all sports is still very much alive and coming up with interesting and fun articles on his site.  Over the past year, many articles have been published there by that John Carter guy we all love.

Another place you can find me is scoresheet-talk, where Scoresheet players go to ask questions specifically about Scoresheet. I go by “Hoot John Carter” there, “hotstatrat” in the comment section of Bill James online – although, my articles are simply by “John Carter”. I frequently make comments in Baseball Prospectus as “Hoot Stromboli”, but in Tango’s Book, I stick to my boring real name. There are some wonderfully bright and interesting comment makers at each of those sites – mixed in with some not very nice people. I’ve been known to mix it up with the antagonistic folks. Perhaps, sometimes, I am overly sensitive. I’m just trying to keep everything respectful. Be brave and be heard.

For a gem under the Files section of scoresheet-talk you can find Garth Hewitt’s Out of Position tool. It calculates what a player’s Scoresheet range will be if you play him out of position. Using that and knowing that every tenth of a point in range is worth five hundredths of a point in OPS. That is, if play a guy with an expected OPS of .850 instead of .800 at second-base, but he gives you a 4.15 range instead of a 4.25, then you’ve come out even. I think .855 from .800 would be more precisely even.

For a look at almost any other kind of rule question or best use strategies that you can’t find in the Scoresheet website, you will probably find it in this website: Scoresheetwiz. Notice the “Rules” and “Strategies” links on the side bar. By “best use”, it’s really just my notions. Of course, I don’t know the best strategy for everything, but considering my record (averaging almost 100 wins/per year over 22 years), I must be doing many things very well. I’ve learned quite a lot from all of the sites mentioned above and have been a baseball nut about team building for a long long time.

"Baseball" to me now is these websites. I spend vastly more time on them than I do playing or watching baseball combined.

John Carter