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« Kevin Goldstein - Baseball Prospectus | Main | Molly Sullivan - Sports Reporter »

Matt O'Donnell - Fenway West


1. What is your favorite statistic / metric to use when evaluating the effectiveness of a pitcher?

My favorite metric is Strikeout to Walk Ratio with WHIP coming in a close second. Take Jonathan Papelbon, he is having a great year and when you compare his Strikeout to Walk Ratio compared to last season you can see why. Last season the his K/BB was 2.71, this season it is 10.33! His WHIP last season was 1.26 and this season it is 1.05. If you were to just look at those two stats you can get a real clear picture or what a pitcher is doing.

Now let's compare those numbers to Mariano Rivera's. Mo's K/BB is 4.25 and his WHIP is 1.078. If you were asking which closer was having a better year and were just looking at saves you would choose Rivera with his 13 saves compared to Pap's 10, but by looking at K/BB and WHIP you could clearly see that Pap is having a better season.

2. Is it true that all bloggers live in their Mom's basement and they do their best work in their underwear?

I think the idea of bloggers living in their mom's basement came from a time when you had to be very tech savvy to have a blog. Blogging has become much more accessible to mainstream baseball fans so the number that reside in their mother's basement has likely dropped a great deal. Newspapers were quick to disregard bloggers and their contributions to baseball media until blogs started to impact their bottom line. Now some of the best bloggers are now affiliated with mainstream media outlets and most newspaper beat writers have their own blogs.

Many teams are beginning to give press credentials to bloggers and social media sites like twitter are continuing to change baseball reporting. With the lower cost of powerful technology it is possible to create high end websites and webcasts anywhere, even in a basement. However, most good bloggers have come out of the basement years ago. For the record I live over 3,000 miles from my mother's house and she doesn't have a basement.

3. If you could switch places with any baseball writer who would it be?

I would switch places with Craig Calcaterra of HardballTalk. He has found a way to write about anything he wants in baseball and gets paid enough money to do it full time. He left his job as a lawyer to follow his passion and seems like he is having a good time. I cannot imagine having a quality life with my wife and two great kids and being a beat writer at the same time. Craig seems to have found the perfect solution.

For more from Matt O'Donnell you can follow him on Twitter (@FenwayWest) or visit

Reader Comments (4)

Stats are useful, but do you actually watch the games? Papelbon is a prime example of why you cannot rely on stats alone. He is constantly getting into jams. So far he has had good luck getting out of them, that will run out eventually. He simply lets too many guys get on base. His standard pattern this year is to let the first 1 to 3 batters get on, and then suddenly become lights out. He is always one swing of the bat away from a blown save or lost game. With your access to all the data maybe you can prove me wrong, but I think if you look at # of baserunners allowed, and # of tying runs allowed at least as far as first base, you will see that Rivera is the much better closer. That's coming from a true Red Sox fan / Yankee hater.

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