Author Archive

Effectively Wild Episode 1295: The 120-Percent Podcast

EWFI
Ben Lindbergh and Jeff Sullivan banter about Jose Altuve and other players claiming to give (much) more than 100 percent and Joe Mauer’s retirement and Hall of Fame case, then answer listener emails about Shohei Ohtani’s future role, whether Mike Trout could go contact-for-contact with Willians Astudillo, a baseball romance novel, winning a World Series MVP award without hitting, whether improved pitcher hitting could correct the so-called strikeout scourge, a 60-WAR season vs. 60 one-WAR seasons (and the theoretical single-season WAR maximum), the effects of bigger bases, and teams with no “qualifying” pitchers, plus a Stat Blast about Mallex Smith and the hitters who’ve sprinted their way to extra offensive value.

Audio intro: Ken Ashcorp, "20 Percent Cooler"
Audio outro: Manny, "210 Percent"

Link to Jay’s Mauer post
Link to story on the 1957 A’s
Link to Sam on the ERA title innings minimum

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Effectively Wild Episode 1294: Signs Language

EWFI
Ben Lindbergh and Jeff Sullivan banter about a Carter Capps-like cricket bowler, another Scott Boras nautical analogy, the latest Mariners-Rays trade (this time involving Mike Zunino, Guillermo Heredia, and Mallex Smith), how fans felt about the 2018 season, and a Twitter kerfuffle caused by comments made by Bill James, then (31:19) bring on former major leaguer F.P. Santangelo to discuss the ins and outs of sign-stealing and pitch-tipping, peeking at the catcher, headsets on the field, playing with Barry Bonds, his memories of the Expos and thoughts on Montreal as a baseball city, playing several positions, getting hit by a high number of pitches, career longevity, and more.

Audio intro: The Avett Brothers, "Signs"
Audio interstitial: The Thrills, "Don’t Steal Our Sun"
Audio outro: Dave Clark & Friends, "Signs"

Link to cricket delivery
Link to Jeff’s post on the Mariners-Rays trade
Link to Jeff’s post about fan sentiment

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Effectively Wild Episode 1293: Offseason Draft Day

EWFI
Ben Lindbergh and Jeff Sullivan banter about the possibility of the Mariners selling and what a Jerry Dipoto-led rebuild would look like, the Yankees’ CC Sabathia signing and GM Brian Cashman’s comments about the luxury tax, scenes from the GM meetings, the Giants hiring Farhan Zaidi from the Dodgers, and Lance McCullers presumably pitching hurt and having Tommy John surgery, then conduct their annual free agent contracts over/under draft and World Series odds movers draft.

Audio intro: Blondie, "Will Anything Happen"
Audio outro: Big Thief, "Vegas"

Link to EW competitions and drafts sheet
Link to MLBTR’s FA contract predictions
Link to October Bovada World Series odds

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Effectively Wild Episode 1292: Strat and Tats

EWFI
Ben Lindbergh and Jeff Sullivan banter about Willians Astudillo’s 2019 Steamer projections and turnover in the Astros front office and field staff, then (13:17) bring on Arnie Pollinger and Robin Perlow, husband and wife administrators of the 40-year-old SOMBILLA Strat-O-Matic league, to talk about the origins of the league, playing Strat on their first date, league rivalries, how they’ve kept the group together for so long, keeping track of past performance, how Strat has enhance their appreciation of baseball, pace of play, and the beginning of the league’s latest season. Then (41:16) they bring on EW listener and A’s fan Chris Rankin to ask him many probing questions about why he recently elected to get Khris Davis’s .247 batting averages and Matt Chapman’s 2018 Defensive Runs Saved total tattooed on his wrists, and the possible ramifications of that decision. Lastly, Ben brings on Baseball Prospectus co-founder, Ringer colleague, and dermatologist Rany Jazayerli (1:04:29) to put a bow on both preceding segments by explaining whether Chris could conceivably remove his tattoos and how Strat taught him how to analyze baseball, followed by updates on Roger Angell and the minor-league free agent draft.

Audio intro: Clem Snide, "Weird"
Audio interstitial: The Rolling Stones, "Tumbling Dice"
Audio interstitial 2: Simon Love, "(Why’d You Get That) Tattoo Girl?"
Audio interstitial 3: Golden Earring, "Save Your Skin"
Audio outro: Dawes, "A Little Bit of Everything"

Link to 2019 Steamer projections
Link to SOMBILLA website
Link to photo of Chris’s tattoos
Link to Rany’s Strat-O-Matic article
Link to Roger Angell article
Link to .247 shirt

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Effectively Wild Episode 1291: Power Ball to the People

EWFI
Ben Lindbergh, Jeff Sullivan, and ESPN’s Sam Miller recap the results of their 2018 minor league free agent draft and the surprising season of Wade LeBlanc, banter about Willians Astudillo and Delmon Young, discuss the defining memory of the 2018 season (and other seasons), and react to Clayton Kershaw’s contract extension. Then (28:54) they bring on Rob Neyer, author of the new book Power Ball: Anatomy of a Modern Baseball Game, to discuss how he picked a game and topics to write about, whether baseball is changing in worrisome ways, knowing when and how to cite stats and talk to players, an unintended consequence of a powerful MLB Players Association, the pace of baseball’s evolution, Rob Manfred’s performance so far, and much more.

Audio intro: The Whigs, "Say Hello"
Audio interstitial: Rockpile, "When I Write the Book"
Audio outro: Joanna Newsom, "The Book of Right-On"

Link to minor league FA draft episode
Link to EW competitions/draft spreadsheet
Link to Sam’s article on each season’s defining memory
Link to Sam’s article on 2017’s defining memory
Link to Sam’s Delmon transaction tree article
Link to Jeff’s Kershaw contract post

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Effectively Wild Episode 1290: Circling the Wagenen

EWFI
Ben Lindbergh and Jeff Sullivan banter about Boston’s outfield rotation during the World Series, the significance of declining World Series ratings, the Orioles and the difficulty of classifying “tanking” teams, Manny Machado’s public persona and whether his reputation will hurt his free-agent appeal, and the Mets’ hiring of agent Brodie Van Wagenen as their new GM. They also answer two listener emails about the Astros and do a Stat Blast about the differences between postseason and regular-season baseball.

Audio intro: Dinosaur Jr., "The Wagon"
Audio outro: Lou Reed, "Wagon Wheel"

Link to Craig Edwards on World Series TV ratings
Link to Jeff’s post on the Orioles
Link to Ben on quantifying hustle
Link to Sheryl Ring on hiring agents as GMs
Link to Jeff on postseason stats

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Effectively Wild Episode 1289: Postseason Finale

EWFI
Ben Lindbergh and Jeff Sullivan recap the last three games of the World Series, including a wild and interminable Game 3, Game 4’s divisive managerial decisions, Game 5’s matchup of diverging starter narratives, how this World Series and postseason stacked up historically, the futures of the Red Sox and Dodgers, how great the Red Sox were, the weird ways they won, playoff unpredictability, the transition to the offseason, and more.

Audio intro: Frank Sinatra, "It’s Over, it’s Over, it’s Over"
Audio outro: Doug Martsch, "Stay"

Link to Ben’s article about second-guessing
Link to Jeff’s post about the Red Sox in historical context
Link to Ben’s Price post

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Effectively Wild Episode 1288: The More You Don’t Know

EWFI
Ben Lindbergh and Jeff Sullivan banter about how teams project the outcomes of matchups between batters and pitchers, the perils of second-guessing well-informed managerial decisions, and why teams still make mistakes, then answer listener emails about start-to-start strikeout variance, limiting the number of pitchers used per game, a potential problem with pitcher-catcher headsets, the four Wander Francos, the MLB players with the most-ever teammates, and the legality of getting a running start when tagging up, plus a Stat Blast about a new way to think about how often the best batters fail.

Audio intro: The Posies, "I Guess You’re Right"
Audio outro: The Beths, "Not Running"

Link to Ben’s article about second-guessing
Link to Ben’s article about Kratz and catcher sounds
Link to list of players with most teammates

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Effectively Wild Episode 1287: Contact High

EWFI
Ben Lindbergh and Jeff Sullivan banter about a home-run robbery by 40-year-old Endy Chavez and some managerial news, then discuss the first two games of the World Series, focusing on the Red Sox strikeout narrative, the disappointment of Clayton Kershaw vs. Chris Sale and Sale’s playoff vulnerability, David Price’s second consecutive strong postseason start, a Fenway Park attendance mystery, mid-inning commercials on the Fox broadcast, Nathan Eovaldi’s free agency, Cody Bellinger’s deceptive fly balls, the decisions of Dave Roberts (including Pedro Baez vs. Alex Wood and not starting Max Muncy), and more.

Audio intro: Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever, "Talking Straight"
Audio outro: Oasis, "Hung in a Bad Place"

Link to Endy play
Link to Ben’s research on the contact advantage
Link to Jeff’s research on the contact advantage
Link to Jeff’s Bellinger post

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Effectively Wild Episode 1286: World Serious

EWFI
Ben Lindbergh and Jeff Sullivan banter about Willians Astudillo, how long it takes to fall asleep, and international signings, then review the end of the NLCS, discuss the worst way to lose, forecast the legacy and future of the Brewers, and preview the Red Sox-Dodgers World Series matchup, including why the series is closer than it looks, the Mookie Betts conundrum, Clayton Kershaw vs. David Price, the status of Craig Kimbrel, the potential for bad blood, the Dodgers’ flexibility, the correlation between payroll and success, what makes an exciting World Series pairing, and much more.

Audio intro: The Roches, "You’re the Two"
Audio outro: Elliott Smith, "Coast to Coast"

Link to Kimbrel pitch-tipping article
Link to Ben’s Dodgers flexibility article

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Effectively Wild Episode 1285: October Gets in Gear

EWFI
Ben Lindbergh and Jeff Sullivan banter about a wild week of playoff baseball, including all the action from Games 3 and 4 of the ALCS and Games 4 and 5 of the NLCS, Joe West’s infamous fan-interference call against the Astros, Andrew Benintendi’s game-saving catch, Craig Counsell’s Curly Ogden gambit with Wade Miley, Clayton Kershaw’s bounceback start, spygate and sign-stealing, Manny Machado’s literal heel turn, Counsell’s fateful decision to pitch to Cody Bellinger, why playoff baseball would be boring if not for the suspense, and more, plus an addendum about the Red Sox winning the pennant and the whereabouts of Willians Astudillo.

Audio intro: The Dead Weather, "Hustle and Cuss"
Audio outro: The Band, "The High Price of Love"

Link to Jeff’s post about Joe West’s call
Link to Jeff’s post about sign-stealing
Link to Zach Kram’s post about Counsell’s strategy
Link to Ben’s post about how playoff baseball is different.

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Effectively Wild Episode 1284: The Ghosts of Game Seven

EWFI
Ben Lindbergh and Jeff Sullivan banter about Game 3 of the NLCS, the apparent breakouts of Orlando Arcia and Brock Holt, Josh Hader as Poochie, why Yasmani Grandal and other playoff catchers can’t catch, whether a “cruising” pitcher is actually likely to keep cruising, and the 15th anniversary of Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS. Then (26:12) they bring on former Red Sox senior baseball analyst and Diamond Mind developer Tom Tippett to talk about how he started working for Boston, simulating the 2003 ALDS for Theo Epstein, simulating ALCS Game 7 for NESN, why Grady Little’s decision not to pull Pedro Martinez may not have been quite as bad as it seemed, how Boston’s subsequent success affects our perception of Game 7, the value of managers, how teams prepare for the playoffs, whether working in baseball is satisfying forever, and more.

Audio intro: Fionna Apple, "A Mistake"
Audio interstitial: Vitamin C, "Unhappy Anniversary"
Audio outro: Uncle Tupelo, "Fifteen Keys"

Link to post about catchers not catching
Link to Russell’s research about cruising pitchers
Link to MGL’s research about cruising pitchers
Link to MGL’s research about quick hooks
Link to Pedro’s recent comments on Game 7
Link to Tom’s Game 7 simulation article
Link to full Game 7 telecast
Link to Ben’s Game 7 retrospective

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Effectively Wild Episode 1283: Hey, Look, a Playoff Episode

EWFI
Ben Lindbergh and Jeff Sullivan banter about the lack of non-playoff banter and discuss the first two games of each championship series, touching on Clayton Kershaw bias, Matt Barnes curveballs, the finer points of pitcher-batter matchup stats, Josh Hader as a starter vs. as a reliever, the upcoming games, and much more (including a Brandon Woodruff-filled snippet of last week’s Patreon-only broadcast).

Audio intro: The Black Keys, "Just Couldn’t Tie Me Down"
Audio outro: Fleet Foxes, "Ragged Wood"

Link to Jeff’s Barnes post

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Effectively Wild Episode 1282: Play-By-Playoffs

EWFI
Ben Lindbergh and Jeff Sullivan banter about the response to their writing about the demise of the starting pitcher, the sources of their unease about baseball’s bullpen takeover, and the difficulty of previewing playoff rounds, then set up and break down the Astros-Red Sox ALCS and the Dodgers-Brewers NLCS and revisit the dullness of the division series round. After the break (37:50), they bring on Britni de la Cretaz to discuss her feature for The Ringer about why women broadcasters are still severely underrepresented in play-by-play roles.

Audio intro: Miniature Tigers, "Like or Like Like"
Audio interstitial: Land of Talk, "Got a Call"
Audio outro: Shy Boys, "Champion"

Link to Ben’s bullpenning opinion piece
Link to Jeff’s bullpenning poll
Link to Ben’s 2017 Keuchel article
Link to Stripling pitch-tipping piece
Link to Britni’s broadcasting article
Link to Jenny Cavnar’s call
Link to Christina Kahrl interview

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Effectively Wild Episode 1281: The Scary Sac Fly

EWFI
Ben Lindbergh and Jeff Sullivan banter about an engaging Game 4 of the ALDS and sum up the Red Sox-Yankees series, the end of Astros-Indians, and the ALDS as a whole. Then they answer listener emails about working the count and avoiding the bullpen, why broadcasts don’t give screen time to streakers, and the best type of playoff rent-a-player, plus a Stat Blast about shifts and line drives.

Audio intro: The Avett Brothers, "All My Mistakes"
Audio outro: Tame Impala, "New Person, Same Old Mistakes"

Link to Sanchez sac fly
Link to the Jon Bois “Field Stormers” series
Link to Jeff’s post about Cleveland vs. Houston
Link to Ben’s Yanks-Sox story
Link to Ben’s bullpenning opinion piece

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Effectively Wild Episode 1280: The 1.8 Percent Strike

EWFI
Ben Lindbergh and Jeff Sullivan banter about Scott Oberg and the difference between good and bad balk calls, the Brewers sweeping the Rockies and the state of playoff bullpenning, the Astros juggernaut, Dodgers vs. Braves, Ronald Acuna’s grand slam, and the new Clayton Kershaw, the anomalous playoff performances of Kershaw and David Price, the Yankees’ sluggers and the appeal of balls knocked out of the ballpark, and more.

Audio intro: Built to Spill, "Gone"
Audio outro: Joel Plaskett, "Gone, Gone, Gone"

Link to Oberg balk
Link to Sam on balks
Link to Acuna grand slam
Link to Gary Sanchez homers
Link to Glenallen Hill homer
Link to Mark McGwire homer
Link to the .247 shirt

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Effectively Wild Episode 1279: October, Continued

EWFI
Ben Lindbergh and Jeff Sullivan banter about the difficulties of postseason scheduling, both opening games of the NLDS, a better bullpen game by the Brewers, the Rockies’ decision to pitch to Mike Moustakas, what Christian Yelich is doing differently, the composition of the Braves and the depth of the Dodgers and Astros, and Chis Sale’s history of fading down the stretch, then answer listener emails about what would happen to a manager who consistently lost in the World Series, why teams haven’t shuffled their lineups in response to the opener, Madison Bumgarner (and every other hitting pitcher) vs. Chris Davis, how quickly stats could distinguish between Chris Davis and Khris Davis, and awarding fans for throwing balls at baserunners, plus a Stat Blast about 100-loss teams beating 100-win teams.

Audio intro: The New Pornographers, "Three or Four"
Audio outro: Pink Floyd, "Free Four"

Link to Jeff’s Yelich post
Link to Ben’s Sale article
Link to the .247 shirt

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Effectively Wild Episode 1278: The Postseason Swing of Things

EWFI
Ben Lindbergh and Jeff Sullivan review the saber-savvy ESPN broadcast of the NL wild card game, relive the highs, lows, and pivotal/memorable moments of both wild card games, defend the bullpen game from an analytical standpoint (and criticize it from an aesthetic standpoint), and ruminate about every division series matchup. For the first time in ages, they do not discuss Willians Astudillo, although he’s always in their hearts.

Audio intro: Broken Bells, "October"
Audio outro: Amy Winehouse, "October Song"

Link to Hechavarria catch
Link to Baez-Arenado hug
Link to Jeff’s Ottavino post
Link to Jeff’s Betances post
Link to Ben’s Sale article
Link to research on the “times through the order” penalty
Link to the .247 shirt

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Effectively Wild Episode 1277: The Best Baseball is Back

EWFI
Ben Lindbergh and Jeff Sullivan banter about a wild end to the regular season, including the season’s final Willians Astudillo update (maybe), endings for Joe Mauer, David Wright, and Mike Scioscia, Khris Davis batting .247 again, the Orioles’ final ignominy, surgery for Shohei Ohtani, final regular-season stats about strikeouts, hits, homers, and fastball velocity, Jeff Wilpon’s incredible comments, an unprecedented two-tiebreaker day, the upcoming wild card games, and more. Then they bring on White Sox and ESPN broadcaster Jason Benetti to discuss ESPN 2’s alternative, stat-slanted broadcast of the NL wild card game, the future of sabermetric broadcasts, and playoff storylines and commentating cliches, and Ben talks to baseball-book author and math and statistics professor Jim Albert about the odds of Davis finishing with the same batting average in an unprecedented four consecutive seasons.

Audio intro: The Replacements, "When it Began"
Audio interstitial 1: T. Rex, "Jason B. Sad"
Audio interstitial 2: The Neighborhood, "24/7"
Audio outro: The Postal Service, "Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)"

Link to Mauer catching video
Link to Wilpon comments
Link to Jim Albert’s homepage
Link to new edition of Analyzing Baseball Data with R

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Effectively Wild Episode 1276: Reviewing the Regular Season

EWFI
Ben Lindbergh and Jeff Sullivan banter about the MVP races, the definition of value, Jacob deGrom, and Christian Yelich, plus an investigation into teams’ international practices, CC Sabathia’s costly hit by pitch, whether steroids were really responsible for steroid-era home run rates, and (don’t worry) Willians Astudillo. Then they review the 2018 regular season, including their favorite moments, the biggest ways baseball changed, what they learned about Mike Trout, how preseason narratives held up, teams that raised or lowered their stock the most, and the articles they most regret writing.

Audio intro: Super Furry Animals, "It’s Not the End of the World?"
Audio outro: Guided By Voices, "When We All Hold Hands at the End of the World"

Link to Sabathia HBP video
Link to Jeff Passan’s report
Link to Ben’s steroid era article
Link to Melisa Reidy-Russell comments

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