Favorite Four: Play Ball on the 2012 Baseball Season

Posted by Carter Dotson on April 6th, 2012

After a long winter, especially for Texas Rangers fans (though Texas weather can rarely be described as wintry), the new baseball season is finally here! Well, technically it started a week or so ago in Japan, and then there were still spring training and exhibition games, but finally, real baseball is here, and all 30 teams are going at it, trying to win the World Series. As a fan, there are several must-have apps to keep up with all the action, even if sometimes baseball can hardly be described as "action-packed."

MLB At Bat 2012: While this official MLB app does provide live scores, news, and video highlights, same as past years, the fun of it is still in its subscription content. $14.99 unlocks live audio, box scores, and video highlights. However, the app just got sweeter for MLB.TV Premium subscribers. By logging in to the service that offers live game broadcasts from anywhere (and supports AirPlay, though the Apple TV also has the MLB.TV app built in), now the mobile At Bat service comes free, thanks to the app moving to a freemium model. As a bonus, it's now universal, instead of the iPhone/iPad split in past years.

Baseball Trade Rumors: This app for the website coveirng all the latest transactions in Major League Baseball takes the old New York Times slogan "all the news that's fit to print" and reshapes it into "print all the news!" The site reports on news regarding relatively unknown minor league players and free agents. The site is also picking up on their original reporting, as they broke a story on Joey Votto of the Cincinatti Reds negotiating a huge value long-term extension. The app itself provides news filters and push notifications to get the latest news on favorite teams and players as they happen.

Fangraphs: This app provides live scores in a different way. It offers play-by-play win expectancy calculations, showing that based on past game results, which team is most likely to win given the current situation. It also provides the information in an easy-to-view graph, which provides an interesting visual way ot follow the story of a game, and its ups and downs, to see where victory was clinched, or an amazing comeback happened. As well, each player's WPA (win probability added, which can go negative) is displayed, showing that based on expected outcomes, how much their performance in the game actually impacted the final result. As well, the database of players and advanced stats is easily serachable from within the app.

ESPN Fantasy Baseball 2012: Of course, a big part of the fun of baseball season starting up is that it's also fantasy baseball season. While the game requires more commitment then the ever-popular fantasy football due to the about ten times the amount of games in a baseball season, it's easier to check up on a team thanks to smartphones. This app in particular makes it easy to update ESPN fantasy league teams' rosters, check matchups, and catch up on the latest ESPN headlines and tweets from their army of analysts.