Like many, I started blogging as a hobby. My first blog was called The Outfield Grass and contains some less than stellar writing. I didn’t know what I was doing. I started another called Hardball West where I started to really hone in on a smaller portion of baseball in covering West Coast teams. I was teaching high school in the Seattle area after graduating from college and was less than full time. I had some extra time to kill and I had summers off, so blogging seemed like a good thing to do. A move to Arizona, where I had some connections to the D-backs, led me to the FanSided network and I did some decent things there for a little while, but decided it wasn’t my jam.
Then I met Ryan through Twitter. He’d started a website called Inside the ‘Zona and I had no idea who he was. He was publishing long posts about the very kinds of stats I was interested in and thought I should check in with him. After some back and forth, he took me on. We emailed for a year. We spoke on the phone once or twice. Hell, I think I knew him from online for almost two years before we ever met in person. Our friendship is going on five years now and he’s one of my favorite people in the world. You don’t see him here much anymore, but I still pester him all the time. I’m happy to report that he’s in good health and good spirits and I plan to beat him at fantasy baseball again this year.
This website is very important to me. I wrote a whole semi-going-away thing this fall and took myself a much needed break. I’ve published 447 posts here. We recorded something like 120-hours of podcast audio. It’s been a lot of work, but it’s been a lot of fun, too. It’s led to some cool opportunities, like writing for the D-backs’ gameday program, being published at Baseball Prospectus and in the Baseball Prospectus Annual, being published at ESPN, writing and editing at Beyond the Box Score, doing some radio features, and meeting some fantastic people.
That work has also led to a new opportunity.
Starting today, I will be contributing to The Athletic, doing Diamondbacks features on analytics. I’ll be working with my friends Zach Buchanan and Eno Sarris with the plan of publishing once a week. My first post is up now and discusses an old favorite topic here: Chase Field’s humidor. I’m happy to say that we have some new data to work with and the aforementioned humidor is definitely going to have an impact on D-backs offense. To see how much of an impact, you’ll have to read the story. Yes, The Athletic requires a subscription, but it’s a very low-cost one and you’ll get access to Eno and Zach, plus Ken Rosenthal and an enormous host of others who are fantastic at what they do. I have been subscribing for a while now and it’s been well-worth the ~$3.60/month~ commitment. There are no ads, no pop-ups, and you get clean, fresh, good writing in all major sports, plus focused content on the D-backs. I’m not trying to tell you how to spend your money, but I think it’s a pretty sound investment and a clear upgrade from surfing ESPN for your wide-ranging news. But hey, that’s just one guy’s opinion, so take it for what it’s worth.
In other good news, I don’t plan on retiring from this space. While the bulk of my analytics work will go to The Athletic, there are some things I want to write about that will fit better here. Trades, transactions, prospects, and editorial-type stuff — that’s still slated for Inside the ‘Zona. It’s nice to be recognized and recruited for my analytics work (though I’m hardly forging new ground — I leave that to the experts), but I think about other baseball stuff, too. I can’t say just how often that’ll roll out at Inside the ‘Zona, but I can say that I don’t plan, at this time anyways, to walk away from here. You’ve all been fantastic, supportive, and fun to write for! My readers mean a lot to me.
So, go get yourself signed up for The Athletic. You can start a free trial at theathletic.com and get all the sports coverage you desire. You can also get my words, too, and I hope it’s all worth a very little bit of money. If you don’t feel like it is, that’s okay, too. I’ll see you there and I’ll see you here. As always, thanks for reading!
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FanGraphs Stats Glossary
Nick Piecoro Author Page
Cot's Baseball Contracts
BP Base Running Stats
Previously on The Pool Shot, the guys explained some of their favorite advanced stats. Hitting, including wRC+, HHAV and batted ball; pitching (38:00), including FIP, xFIP and SIERA; and baserunning and defense, including UBR, UZR and DRS (58:00).