Category Archives: MLB

VORS: Value Over Replacement Scribe

With the reporting date for pitchers & catchers only a week away nearly upon us, now is as good a time as any to discuss where we go to read high-quality baseball writing. Since this place first opened in the Old Basement, the abundance & variety of the baseball blogosphere baseball content online has proliferated, to our considerable benefit. No longer must we endure The Poultry Man and his legion of Stribbies.

Here’s a list of who I’m reading these days, based on the sites in my trusty RSS reader & a couple bespoke apps for my pocket-dwelling supercomputer:

The Athletic

This is the new one for me this year. I’ve listed the Twins, Padres, & Rockies as my favorite teams. (I don’t understand why a Big 4 market like Colorado/Denver does not have Athletic presence, yet.) Twins coverage has been...disappointing, even after The Athletic hired a new beat writer. I’m hoping for marked improvement now that Spring Training is here. In addition to following Ken Rosenthal’s national baseball coverage, I’m also subscribed to Eno Sarris’ writing here, but I think Eno’s leaving baseball writing entirely to do the beer thing. (At least, that’s my underinformed impression.)

Michael Baumann & Ben Lindbergh (The Ringer)

Writing for The Ringer means you’ll get columns on more than just baseball from these two guys, but the baseball writing’s pretty good, and occasionally the other stuff interests me, too. Moreover, I find Baumann’s perspective on labor refreshing.

Fangraphs

My primary filter for Fangraphs flags all posts by Jeff Sullivan, who writes at least two posts a day and has a gift for interesting observations and engaging analysis. Beyond that, I flag posts about the Twins, Padres, & Rockies (and filter out those about the Yankmes & Red Sox).

The Hardball Times

I mentioned earlier that it amazes me that The Hardball Times turns fourteen this year. It’s survived longer than the combined existences of Grantland and Sports on Earth. My primary filters these days are for teams (Twins, Padres, & Rockies) and a couple pet topics (ballparks, expansion, & history). I flagged posts for a bunch of authors there at one time (including Dirk Hayhurst, Chris Jaffe, Brad Johnson, Dave Studeman, & Steve Treder), but most of my favorite regulars have moved on. I still miss John Brattain.

Jay Jaffe (Sports Illustrated Fangraphs)

I was never a Sports Illustrated guy until Joe Posnanski. I stuck around after JoePos left, mainly because of Jay Jaffe. Jaffe’s most notable for JAWS and his work on the Hall of Fame, but those are by no means the limits of his baseball writing. In the last year or so there was some pretty substantial turnover at SI, and some of the other writers I found there were laid off or moved on. The new folks haven’t registered much yet, and I have no interest in anything Tom Verducci has to say. Edited to add: And now I may never have a reason to visit SI again, since Jaffe has moved to Fangraphs.

Jonah Keri (CBS Sports)

I hope MLB returns to Montréal someday soon and Keri is there to document it. His love for the Twins’ erstwhile contraction-mates and all-in advocacy for Tim Raines’ Hall of Fame case put him on my radar, but he’s a gifted writer of all things baseball.

MLB Trade Rumors

I installed the MLBTR app on my phone primarily for the push notifications. I’m not a completionist with this site; there’s simply too much to read. So I’ll dip in on players & teams that interest me.

Joe Posnanski (MLB.com)

Stating this purely for the record. Now that JoePos is employed by MLB, I don’t have to filter through columns about scandal-tarnished NCAA football coaches, the Browns, golf, and whatever. He can keep writing about Springsteen, though.

Ed Thoma (Baseball Outsider, his personal blog)

Someone (AMR?) turned me onto Ed Thoma several years ago, and I’ve been reading ever since. Thoma’s based in Mankato and, while a sportswriter, is not a member of the BBWAA. His perspective is a bit more old-school than mine, but I like his features and find his perspective nuanced, even if I don’t agree with it occasionally.

UniWatch

I’ve been reading this since it was still a Village Voice column, and while Paul Lukas’ hobbyhorses get eyeroll-worthy on occasion, the quality of the sartorial anaylsis he & Phil Hecken provide is what keeps me coming back. They’re willing to take deep dives on minutiae that wouldn’t get that treatment anywhere else

Anyone’s bandwidth for writing on a particular subject is limited, which makes the answer to who you enjoy reading all the more meaningful. We only have so much time to keep abreast of the latest analysis, and probably even fewer moments to spend on longform articles. So, who do you consider worthy of that time in your day? What do you value most in the baseball writing you make a point of reading regularly?

Mount Rushmore of MN Sports

Alright, let's do this. Nibs dropped Lindsey Whalen as a suggestion for the MN Sports Mount Rushmore, and I find myself curious what others would come up with.

The rules are simple: you get 4 people (no less, no more). You can only use athletes who played for Minnesota teams (we'll keep out the Sid Hartmans and Bud Grants), but can include non-athletic factors in your decision (Kent Hrbek now advertises for a local company, Alan Page was a MN Supreme Court Justice!). This is not limited to athletes from Minnesota, though I think most people would agree that being from MN probably helps.

I'm gonna kick it off:

Whalen, KG, Dave Winfield, Mauer

(Wow, this was way tougher than I expected.)