Friday Filberts

Today's links come with a green ribbon wrapped around them because we enjoy a pointless gesture as much as the next guy ...
• Presenting your American League leader in slugging percentage ... Ben Zobrist (!), whose five plate appearances Thursday qualify him for the list. Let that sink in for a moment: Ben Zobrist.

Fun interview with Brian Biegel (audio), who believes that he knows what happened to the ball Bobby Thomson hit to beat the Dodgers in 1951. Biegel's done a documentary and written a book (hint: Father's Day is just around the corner) about his quest for the "miracle ball."

• Another nice interview, this one with Paul DePodesta (and here's DePodesta's latest blog post, with good news for patient Padres fans).

• Last weekend, Luke Hochevar needed only 80 pitches for nine innings. Does that tell us much about his future? Well, as Rany Jazayerli writes, not nearly as much as if he'd struck out 15 batters in one game. Sure, he might become the next Joey Hamilton or Carlos Silva. But he might become the next Bob Wolcott or Mike Grace.

• You've no doubt noticed that Edwin Jackson, at 25, is enjoying an excellent season ... for his third team. Via Dodger Thoughts, BHSportsguy wonders what might have happened if the Dodgers had held on to Jackson.

• When something a little nutty comes up -- for example, Jose Canseco threatens to file a ridiculous lawsuit merely to get his name in the news, yet again -- it's nice to have an actual lawyer for a blogger.

• For those of us who really care about such things, Colin Wyers offers a nice primer on defense-independent pitching metrics. (For those of you who do care, but are too "busy" to read the whole thing, here's the bottom line: the pedigreed component-only metrics all predict ERA significantly better than actual ERA predicts ERA. In other words, use anything but the thing everyone's always used.)