On Thursday night I was pleasantly surprised to receive an email from Jacob Pomrenke of the Society for American Baseball Research, informing me that one of my articles — “The Case of the Disappearing Slugger: Where Did MLB’s Power Go?”, published last September 3 — has been selected as a finalist in the Contemporary Analysis category of the 2015 SABR Analytics Conference Research Awards. The full slate of nominees, five articles apiece in the categories of Contemporary Analysis, Contemporary Commentary, and Historical Analysis/Commentary, was announced on Friday.
Written on the occasion of Giancarlo Stanton’s 35th home run, my piece examined the possibility that the majors would fail to produce a single 40-homer slugger for the first time since 1982, situating the declining numbers of such players — Nelson Cruz wound up being the only one to make it there, with Stanton stopped at 37 due to a horrific beaning — against the larger backdrop of falling home run and scoring rates as well as the reasons they’re on the wane. Like so:
It truly is just an honor to join the rest of the slate:
- Russell Carleton, “N=1,” Baseball Prospectus 2014: The Essential Guide to the 2014 Season, January 2014.
- Harry Pavlidis and Dan Brooks, “Framing and Blocking Pitches: A Regressed, Probabilistic Model,” Baseball Prospectus, March 3, 2014.
- Jon Roegele, “The Effects of Pitch Sequencing,” The Hardball Times, November 24, 2014.
- Jeff Sullivan, “Alex Gordon Barely Had a Chance,” FanGraphs, October 30, 2014.
- Grant Brisbee, “Rumors, Rumors, Every Where, Nor Any Drop to Drink,” SB Nation, December 15, 2014.
- Dave Cameron, “If Someone Has A Good Way To Evaluate Managers, Let Us Know,”FoxSports.com, September 5, 2014.
- Lewie Pollis, “If You Build It: Rethinking the Market for Major League Baseball Front Office Personnel,” Brown University, senior honors thesis, Spring 2014.
- Eno Sarris, “Learning the Language of the Clubhouse,” The Hardball Times, March 13, 2014.
- Jason Turbow, “The Essence of Velocity: The Pitching Theory That Could Revolutionize Baseball, If Only The Sport Would Embrace It,” SB Nation, June 18, 2014.
- Frank Jackson, “Shots Fired But Not Heard ‘Round the World,” The Hardball Times, October 7, 2014.
- Erik Malinowski, “Swing Away: The Untold Story of the First Home Run Derby,”FoxSports.com, July 10, 2014.
- Sam Miller, “Baseball’s Seven Wonders: Kerry Wood’s 20-K Game,” Baseball Prospectus, March 18, 2014.
- Bryan Soderholm-Difatte, “The 1914 Stallings Platoon: Assessing Execution, Impact, and Strategic Philosophy,” SABR Baseball Research Journal, Fall 2014.
- Steve Treder, “The Strikeout Ascendant (and What Should Be Done About It),” The Hardball Times Baseball Annual 2014.
The winner in each category will be determined by online voting at SABR.org, BaseballProspectus.com, FanGraphs.com, HardballTimes.com, and BeyondtheBoxScore.com, starting next week, with the results at each site weighted equally at 20, and the announcement of the winner during the conference in Phoenix, from March 12-14 (alas, I’m unlikely to be attending this year). As the only writer within my category not currently affiliated with one of the last four sites — and one of the few from a mainstream site, where the whir of the propeller hats can’t overwhelm the conversation, and where there’s no resident voting bloc — I don’t expect to win. Nor should I, at least as far as I can see. Pavlidas and Brooks’ pitch-framing piece laid the groundwork for numbers that I use every week, and the others were no less impressive or sophisticated. Not that I’d turn my nose up at anyone who wants to vote for me, but it’s a gas to be in the aforementioned company, regardless of the outcome, and I’m grateful to those who consider my work on that level.