The Best of FanGraphs: November 20-December 1, 2017

Each week, we publish in the neighborhood of 75 articles across our various blogs. With this post, we hope to highlight 10 to 15 of them. You can read more on it here. The links below are color coded — green for FanGraphs, brown for RotoGraphs, dark red for The Hardball Times and blue for Community Research.

Since we were off at the end of last week, we’ll combine the two weeks here, though it’s more like a week and a half since, again, we were off last Thursday and Friday.

MONDAY, 11/20
Putting WAR in Context: A Response to Bill James, by Dave Cameron
Dave’s response, as it often is in situations like this, is measured and well-reasoned. More recently, Dave spoke on the topic of WAR on the Stolen Signs podcast over at Baseball Prospectus.

When Plate Discipline Sticks, by Jeff Zimmerman
A question about a certain free-agent shortstop leads to a longer, more global exploration.

TUESDAY, 11/21
The 2018 Free-Agent Bargains, by Dave Cameron
As always, the free-agent landmines article has more comments. In this case, double the comments. I wish people were more optimistic about things.

The Braves’ Punishment Is In and It’s Harsh, by Eric Longenhagen
It feels like we should be talking about this more than we have been, which I guess means that MLB PR did a good job of announcing this just before a major holiday. If you need to catch up, start with Eric’s piece.

Rethinking the Win Curve, by Max Gruber
This was one of my favorite presentations at the 2016 Saberseminar, and we were finally able to get it online.

Which Teams Most Need the Next Win?, by Eno Sarris
Eno took Max’s piece and applied it to each team as it relates to 2018.

Ottoneu Surplus Calculator: Early 2018, by Justin Vibber
Justin made some updates to this very fun and useful tool.

MONDAY, 11/27
The Rangers Are Adding a Possible Steal, by Jeff Sullivan
If Jeff is right, the Red Sox will have missed out on retaining a second quality veteran starting pitcher for cheap, which is not the sort of trend a front office wants to be known for.

A Minor Review of 2017: Chicago White Sox, by Marc Hulet
Marc doesn’t necessarily like the same players that others like in the White Sox system, but the system has so many quality players that there’s still plenty to like about it.

TUESDAY, 11/28
2018 ZiPS Projections – Cincinnati Reds, by Carson Cistulli
Carson made his annual pilgrimage deep into the heart of the ZiPS Cave, and emerged victorious with the 2018 ZiPS projections. Bravo, Carson!

Note: Person pictured not actually Carson Cistulli … or is it???

The Most Important Ohtani Survey Question Teams Must Answer, by Travis Sawchick
Surprisingly, it isn’t “What’s your favorite color?”

What Is Marwin Gonzalez Doing?, by Jeff Sullivan
This piece evokes fond memories of Jeff’s classic piece, “What Have New Pace Rules Meant for Troy Tulowitzki?”

Post-Hype Prospects, Part 2, by Paul Sporer
If you’re in a deep league, pay heed to Paul’s list here.

There is No Juiced Ball, No Steroid Era, by Bradley Woodrum
Bradley does what he has done so well in the past, which is to turn an unthinkable argument on its head.

Don’t Trade Jackie Bradley for Jose Abreu, by Dave Cameron
It would be a pretty bad trade for the Red Sox.

The Other Major Second-Half Turnaround, by Jeff Sullivan
A young Tampa Bay Rays pitcher may be close to greatness…or at least very-goodness.

My NFBC Team from AFL, by Paul Sporer
The format of this draft always makes for some interesting strategic decisions.

Top 22 Prospects: Chicago Cubs, by Eric Longenhagen
Suddenly, this system isn’t so top-heavy, but there is more to like beneath the surface.

Alex Cobb Will Be One of the Gems of This Free Agent Class by Matthew Mocarsky
When you consider the way the game is changing, the 6-foot-3 righty might be more valuable than previously thought.

FRIDAY, 12/1
MLB Players Ought to Fight for a Payroll Floor, by Travis Sawchick
Teams are getting smarter about how they spend their money. That’s not good news for the players or the MLBPA.

Michael Taylor Gives the Nationals Multiple Options, by Stephen Loftus
It’s always nice to see a prospect who has struggled finally find his groove. The Nationals outfielder did just that in 2017, and it should give Washington some much-needed flexibility.

Paul Swydan used to be the managing editor of The Hardball Times, a writer and editor for FanGraphs and a writer for and The Boston Globe. Now, he owns The Silver Unicorn Bookstore, an independent bookstore in Acton, Mass. Follow him on Twitter @Swydan. Follow the store @SilUnicornActon.

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