Archive for Effectively Wild

Effectively Wild Episode 1226: Straight from the Fireman’s Mouth

EWFI
Ben Lindbergh and Jeff Sullivan banter about the improving defense of Mike Trout and Matt Kemp, two minor observations prompted by amateur draft coverage, and a confusing quirk in the standings, then time travel back to a dramatically different era in bullpen usage by bringing in the most valuable reliever of the 1970s: Detroit Tigers great, groundbreaking “fireman,” and Canadian Baseball Hall of Famer John Hiller (19:21), who discusses his conversion from hockey to baseball, surviving multiple mid-career heart attacks, training and conditioning (or the lack thereof) among players of his era, learning new pitches, his phenomenal, record-setting 1973 season, the fireman mindset, starting vs. relieving, the evolution of reliever usage, the 1968 World Series, his memories of Lou Whitaker, Alan Trammell, and Jack Morris, and more.

Audio intro: You Am I, "Billy"
Audio interstitial: Frankie Cosmos, "Fireman"
Audio outro: The Fireman, "Sing the Changes"

Link to Ben’s article about Mike Trout
Link to Jeff’s article about Matt Kemp
Link to Joe Posnanski’s article about John Hiller
Link to Ben’s article about Josh Hader
Link to list of most valuable 1970s relievers
Link to EW interview with left-handed catcher

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Effectively Wild Episode 1225: Such is This Game, and Such is John Jaso

EWFI
Ben Lindbergh and Jeff Sullivan banter about Clayton Kershaw’s latest back injury, the “opener” strategy spreading to L.A., and the unexpected sources of production that have helped keep the Dodgers in the race, as well as Kole Calhoun’s historically slow offensive start to the season, Jaime Barria and record-setting pitch counts within innings, Indians rookie Shane Bieber as the successor to Josh Tomlin, baseball analogs to the J.R. Smith debacle in the NBA Finals, and two upcoming baseball events. Then (26:21) they talk to former major leaguer and EW folk hero John Jaso about his attempt to talk his way past an usher at Tropicana Field last week, his affinity for sailing, his laid-back, “Such is Life” philosophy, why he didn’t always fit in well within baseball clubhouses, the difficulty of being oneself within a hierarchical, regimented sport, his memories of catching Felix Hernandez’s perfect game and coming up with the 2008 Rays, his recovery from concussions, his opinion of hitting for the cycle, and more.

Audio intro: Oddisee, "Such is Life"
Audio interstitial: Neil Young, "John Oaks"
Audio outro: Montero, "Clear Sailing"

Link to Saber Seminar event page
Link to Beyond the Baselines: Celebrating Women in Baseball
Link to video of John Jaso Tropicana Field usher encounter
Link to “Such is Life” tweet
Link to Jaso’s retirement announcement

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Effectively Wild Episode 1224: Two Hands Are Worse Than One

EWFI
Ben Lindbergh and Jeff Sullivan banter about Jeff’s moderately close encounter with a volcano, various events that took place in baseball while he was away, Rob Manfred’s recent comments about changes to the game, MLB attendance issues, Ben’s Angels brunch, the early-season success of some supposedly tanking teams, stats about Dellin Betances, Patrick Corbin, and Kole Calhoun, and more. Then they answer listener emails about Gleyber Torres’ power and the Yankees’ pursuit of the all-time team home-run record, errors and official scoring, the decline of Felix Hernandez, a two-handed pitcher, how the game would be different if MLB changed the ball every year, Josh Tomlin’s strange distinction, Hanley Ramirez and vesting options, and how to get into advanced stats, plus Stat Blasts about leaguewide launch angle, the teams with the most players ever to play each position in a single season, and the worst-hitting 2018 team positions.

Audio intro: Dawes, "From a Window Seat"
Audio outro: King Crimson, "Two Hands"

Link to photo of Ben’s Angels brunch
Link to Ken Rosenthal’s Rob Manfred Q&A
Link to story about David Hesslink and the Mariners’ trade
Link to EW interview with David Hesslink

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Effectively Wild Episode 1223: Expansion Strategies and a Defense of Casey

EWFI
On the day the Stanley Cup finals start, Ben Lindbergh and Jeff Sullivan talk to Baseball Prospectus writer Zach Crizer about how future MLB expansion clubs could construct baseball’s equivalent of the Las Vegas Golden Knights, the NHL’s sensational expansion team. Then (29:51) Ben and Effectively Wild listener Dom Guido reexamine the legendary 1888 poem “Casey at the Bat,” using advanced stats, historical context, and clues from the text to make the case that the mighty Casey has gotten a bad rap.

Audio intro: Albert Hammond Jr., "Holiday"
Audio interstitial 1: Joe Rathburn, "The Ballad of Casey at the Bat"
Audio outro: The Olivia Tremor Control, "Holiday Surprise 1, 2, 3"

Link to Zach’s expansion article
Link to “Casey at the Bat”
Link to Dom’s “Casey at the Bat” thread

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Effectively Wild Episode 1222: Testing the Balls and Beating the Bookies

EWFI
Ben Lindbergh and Jeff Sullivan banter about the Red Sox designating Hanley Ramirez for assignment, what Mookie Betts and Barry Bonds have in common, Shohei Ohtani’s “workload management,” Bartolo Colon’s 45th birthday, a John Jaso appearance at the Trop, a listener’s real-world use of tOPS+, and two more examples of players intentionally performing typically detrimental activities. Then Ben briefly brings on FanGraphs’ Meg Rowley (16:05) to discuss the latest Jerry Dipoto and Wilmer Font trades, work-related nightmares, and business words. After that, Ben talks to writer Rob Arthur (28:20) about the questions raised and the questions answered by MLB’s report on the ball being behind the game’s rising home-run rate, and Ben and Jeff get the skinny from sabermetrician Mitchel Lichtman (1:00:49) about his decades-long history of betting on baseball, how he built a model that beat the sportsbooks and made millions, and how and why his advantage evaporated.

Audio intro: The Rural Alberta Advantage, "45/33"
Audio interstitial 1: The Minus 5, "Smoke on, Jerry"
Audio interstitial 2: Dr. Dog, "The Truth"
Audio interstitial 3: Earlimart, "Burning the Cow"
Audio outro: Drive-By Truckers, "Checkout Time in Vegas"

Link to Jeff’s Mookie Betts post
Link to John Jaso sighting
Link to intentional HBP video
Link to Rob’s article about MLB’s report
Link to MLB executive report
Link to full MLB report
Link to Bloomberg Bill Benter story

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Effectively Wild Episode 1221: Stay Strong, Ron

EWFI
Ben Lindbergh and Jeff Sullivan banter about the banged-up Mariners, Tyler Chatwood’s wildness, the Astros’ record-setting run prevention, a Mike Trout milestone, Chris Davis and looking strikeouts, Ron Gardenhire’s ringtone, Michael Taylor’s walk-off face, settling a game with rock-paper scissors, bad closers, Nick Markakis, and more, then answer listener emails about strike sounds, “three up, three down,” Kyle Schwarber’s defense, Shohei Ohtani’s home-run rates, starters as openers, famous players, bunting practice for prospects, Jordan Hicks and HBP danger, the “fair-foul hit,” intentional balks, and sunk costs, plus a Stat Blast about Colin Moran and a high-pitch homer.

Audio intro: Bahamas, "Stronger Than That"
Audio outro: Coldplay, "Bigger Stronger"

Link to Jay Jaffe’s Mike Trout post
Link to Ron Gardenhire video
Link to Michael Taylor face
Link to rock-paper-scissors story
Link to intentional-balk story
Link to ESPN’s world-fame list
Link to Jeff’s Colin Moran post

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Effectively Wild Episode 1220: Brockmire and Upon Further Review

EWFI

In a bonus EW episode, Ben Lindbergh brings on The Ringer’s Michael Baumann to talk to actor Hank Azaria about the second season of IFC’s Brockmire, real broadcasters’ affection for the show, proving his baseball bona fides, and throwing out first pitches. Then Ben brings on Slate’s Mike Pesca (35:16) to talk about his new book (which includes a chapter by Ben), Upon Further Review: The Greatest What-Ifs in Sports History, how baseball’s what-ifs rank among the major sports’, and what does and doesn’t make for a fascinating hypothetical.

Audio intro: The Baseball Project, "Extra Inning of Love"
Audio interstitial: Snoop Dogg (Feat. Suga Free), "What If"
Audio outro: Waylon Jennings, "Are You Sure Hank Done it This Way"

Link to Brockmire’s official site
Link to Upon Further Review

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Effectively Wild Episode 1219: The Opener Arrives

EWFI

Ben Lindbergh and Jeff Sullivan banter about baffling flamethrower Jordan Hicks, Rich Hill’s latest blister problem, the Orioles’ unlikely 13-hit, zero-run game, Albert Pujols’ prospects, Ryan Zimmerman’s slow spring training and slower start, and more. Then they bring on writer Joe Sheehan (23:23) to discuss the Rays’ “starting Sergio Romo” strategy, whether it will catch on with other teams, the evolution of in-game management, the optimization of bunting, batting orders, and bullpens, why analysis is no longer the province of small-market teams, whether smarter baseball is more boring baseball (and if so, who’s to blame), and how the evolution of baseball has changed baseball writing.

Audio intro: Smash Mouth, "105"
Audio interstitial: Teenage Fanclub, "The First Sight"
Audio outro: Superchunk, "Smarter Hearts"

Link to Jeff’s Jordan Hicks post
Link to Bryan Grosnick’s “Opener” post
Link to DRaysBay “Opener” analysis
Link to Joe Sheehan newsletter

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Effectively Wild Episode 1218: Commission and Omission

EWFI

Ben Lindbergh and Jeff Sullivan banter about the dominant Justin Verlander and the Astros’ historic pitching pace, the still-struggling Dodgers, and the prospects of Blue Jays prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr., then talk to author Rob Neyer (16:28) about becoming the commissioner of the West Coast League, the future of baseball in Portland, and writing his forthcoming book, Power Ball. Later, they bring on ESPN MLB senior editor Christina Kahrl (32:03) to discuss when an MLB team will hire the league’s first female GM, the progress the game has and hasn’t made in embracing gender diversity, and her own experience being accepted by the baseball community.

Audio intro: The Mountain Goats, "The Legend of Chavo Guerrero"
Audio interstitial 1: The Rolling Stones, "The Under Assistant West Coast Promotion Man"
Audio interstitial 2: Electric Light Orchestra, "Wild West Hero"
Audio outro: Mac DeMarco, "For the First Time"

Link to research about prospect promotion age
Link to West Coast League website
Link to the preorder page for Power Ball
Link to Christina’s espnW article
Link to Ben’s Sherri Nichols article

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Effectively Wild Episode 1217: The Sound of Strikes

EWFI

Ben Lindbergh and Jeff Sullivan banter about the fallout from Robinson Cano’s 80-game suspension, the league’s latest adjustment to Shohei Ohtani, Jason Castro’s injury and Willians Astudillo’s opportunity, and the resurgent Jordan Lyles, then answer listener emails about the topsy-turvy National League, the evolution of orthodoxy about bullpens, the impact of Willson Contreras on Cubs pitchers, preemptive PRP treatments, a Yankees and Padres roster-swap, streakers helping pitchers warm up, detecting called strikes by sound, expected prospect value and Mike Sirotka vs. Michael Soroka, the correlation between double plays and team success, Mike Trout and Mookie Betts, a pitcher who watches the wave, a player who always makes outs on the bases, sabermetric bar debates and advanced milestone stats, and judging players by their eras’ standards, plus a Stat Blast about bunting success.

Audio intro: Joel Plaskett, "Deny, Deny, Deny"
Audio outro: Koufax, "Let Us Know"

Link to Ben’s post about Shohei Ohtani
Link to Jeff’s post about bullpen inconsistency
Link to prospect-value research

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Effectively Wild Episode 1216: Let it Ride and Peacock Pride

EWFI

Ben Lindbergh and Jeff Sullivan banter about Freddy Peralta’s unique Coors Field debut, Takuya Nakashima’s improbable grand slam, Shohei Ohtani’s ongoing pitching evolution, Javier Baez’s perplexing slash line, Jameson Taillon’s creative solution to a finger injury, their disinclination toward gambling, and the hapless (but no longer winless) Saint Peter’s Peacocks of NCAA Division I. Then they talk to attorney and FanGraphs writer Sheryl Ring (32:12) about the Supreme Court paving a path toward the legalization of gambling, MLB’s attempts to take a cut of the action, and the implications for baseball betting and coverage. Lastly, they bring on Saint Peter’s ace Willie Krajnik (57:00) to discuss the senior’s successful snapping of the team’s two-year losing streak.

Audio intro: Destroyer, "Trembling Peacock"
Audio interstitial: The Who, "A Legal Matter"
Audio intro: The Mountain Goats, "Peacocks"
Audio outro: Alasdair Roberts & James Green, "Peacock Strut"

Link to Jeff’s Peralta post
Link to video of Nakashima’s grand slam
Link to Link to Sheryl’s gambling post
Link to the Peacocks’ 2018 results
Link to Willie Krajnik’s Peacocks page

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Effectively Wild Episode 1215: The Giant-Catcher Club

EWFI

Ben Lindbergh and Jeff Sullivan banter about a new newsletter about baseball debuts, Shohei Ohtani’s latest exploits, the pitiful state of the AL Central, the even more pitiful performance of Orioles starter Chris Tillman, pitchers’ perplexing lack of respect for the Braves’ Ronald Acuña, Ichiro’s debut as a bench coach and future in baseball, and the ongoing battle between the Yankees and Red Sox. Then (29:58) they bring on the three tallest catchers in MLB history—current Tigers catcher Grayson Greiner, former Brewers and Phillies catcher Pete Koegel, and former Red Sox catcher Don Gile—to discuss the perils of playing a smaller person’s position despite standing 6’6″, the skeptics they proved wrong, how their size affected their framing, blocking, throwing, and health, the evolution in the treatment and prevention of brain injuries, Koegel’s memories of Steve Carlton’s incredible 1972 season, and Gile’s memories of his teammate Ted Williams.

Audio intro: Passion Pit, "Let Your Love Grow Tall"
Audio interstitial: Harry Nilsson, "Jesus Christ You’re Tall"
Audio outro: Neil Young + Promise of the Real, "Stand Tall"

Link to This Week in Baseball Debuts newsletter
Link to Jeff’s post about the weak AL Central
Link to article about the Angels’ team name

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Effectively Wild Episode 1214: The Three-Time Tommy John

EWFI

Ben Lindbergh and Jeff Sullivan banter (and answer listener emails) about podcast personas, Dylan Bundy’s bad day, players’ favorite stats and a Joc Pederson conundrum, James Paxton and the recent rash of near-no-hitters, how scoring has bounced back from its slow start, the Reds’ and Mets’ Matt Harvey trade, the Robinson Cano contract so far, and things about baseball that are harder than they look, plus a Stat Blast about switch hitters. Then they talk to 33-year-old Rays reliever Jonny Venters (46:10) about his incredible comeback from repeated Tommy John surgeries, how the game changed while he was rehabbing, his heavy workloads, his record groundball rate, the mental toll of trying to return, why he stuck with Tampa Bay, and more.

Audio intro: The Band, "Knockin’ Lost John"
Audio interstitial: John Lennon, "Dear John"
Audio outro: Men at Work, "Be Good Johnny"

Link to Anthony Castrovince’s stats article
Link to Tim Lincecum glove video
Link to Ben’s near-no-hitters article
Link to Jeff’s Shohei Ohtani pitching post
Link to Jay Jaffe’s post on the three-time Tommy John club

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Effectively Wild Episode 1213: The No-Strikeout Streaker

EWFI

Ben Lindbergh and Jeff Sullivan follow up on HBP rules and two of the three radical ideas they discussed last week and banter about Ichiro’s quasi-retirement, the Braves’ talented-but-overperforming offense, how Nick Markakis’s hot streak jeopardizes a career distinction, the eruption of Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano, Gerrit Cole’s latest exploits, Collin McHugh, Archie Bradley, and the Diamondbacks’ bullpen cart, combined no-hitters, another Bryan Mitchell update, the injuries to Clayton Kershaw and Yadier Molina, instances of umpires and players losing track of the count, and a pitching record set by Daniel Descalso. Then they bring on Pirates pitcher/podcaster Steven Brault (44:26) to talk about his historic streak of not striking out, the DH and pitcher hitting, being a two-way player and the only big leaguer from a school, showing interests off the field, tailoring his pitching to the Pirates’ philosophies, John Jaso, and more.

Audio intro: Death Cab for Cutie, "Monday Morning"
Audio interstitial: Alice Cooper, "Steven"
Audio outro: Glen Hansard, "Winning Streak"

Link to 1944 three-way game
Link to Ben’s post on umps and players losing track of the count
Link to Daniel Descalso pitching post
Link to Jeff’s post on Steven Brault
Link to IMHO podcast

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Effectively Wild Episode 1212: Three Radical Ideas

EWFI

Ben Lindbergh, Jeff Sullivan, and ESPN’s Sam Miller banter about James Paxton’s 16-strikeout start and the elusive 21-strikeout game, why no-hitters are becoming more common but are also endangered, how to familiarize oneself with newly minted major-league relievers, and Albert Pujols’s evaporating walk rate, then discuss Sam’s radical proposals to change baseball’s playoff format, playoff structure, and schedule.

Audio intro: The Flaming Lips, "Free Radicals"
Audio outro: The Bees, "Change Can Happen"

Link to Sam’s playoffs proposal
Link to Sam’s after-the-fact-payment proposal
Link to Sam’s bidding-for-home-games proposal

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Effectively Wild Episode 1211: The 21-Loss Salute

EWFI

Ben Lindbergh, Jeff Sullivan, and SB Nation’s Grant Brisbee banter about Trevor Bauer, sticky substances, and spin rate, Ken Giles’s self-harming home-run reaction, the best baseball clips to rewatch, the unwritten rules of not avoiding hit by pitches, and party-hard Matt Harvey. Then they discuss Grant’s story about the record-setting 1988 Orioles, who went 0-21 to start the season, and they bring on ESPN’s Tim Kurkjian to tell stories about covering that team’s historic losing streak as a beat writer for The Baltimore Sun. (Keep listening after the outro for bonus end-of-episode banter.)

Audio intro: Ringo Starr, "Hopeless"
Audio interstitial: Ocean Colour Scene, "Beautiful Losers"
Audio outro: Superchunk, "Break the Glass"

Link to Grant’s 1988 Orioles story
Link to Little League slow-motion-run story that outdrew Grant’s 1988 Orioles story

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Effectively Wild Episode 1210: You Stay Classy, Salvy (and San Diego)

EWFI

Ben Lindbergh and Jeff Sullivan banter about Steven Brault’s non-strikeout streak, the failing Wilmer Font and Kazuhisa Makita, the excellent Ozzie Albies, scouting Pablo Sandoval’s pitching, a silly Salvador Perez-Tim Anderson dust-up, the AL Central’s weakness so far, the streaking Diamondbacks, Adrian Gonzalez getting booed in San Diego, and a dead man rounding the bases, then talk to Baseball Prospectus’s Rob Mains about why ticket prices won’t go down, why player salaries have little to do with the cost of attending games, when free admission might make sense, and how baseball in 2018 does and doesn’t resemble baseball in 1968.

Audio intro 1: Mother McRee’s Uptown Jug Band Champions, "Boo Breaks"
Audio intro 2: Lord Huron, "Dead Man’s Hand"
Audio interstitial: Superchunk, "Saving My Ticket"
Audio outro: The New Pornographers, "High Ticket Attractions"

Link to Jeff’s Shohei Ohtani post
Link to Pages From Baseball’s Past newsletter
Link to Rob’s article about ticket prices
Link to Rob’s article about baseball in 1968

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Effectively Wild Episode 1209: Stop, Pop, and Roll

EWFI

Ben Lindbergh and Jeff Sullivan follow up on previous talk of triples, popups, and foul balls, then discuss Ronald Acuña’s big second game, the intriguing Oakland A’s, the new and maybe-improved Joey Gallo, the transformations of Didi Gregorius and Andrelton Simmons, the post-injury return of Jonny Venters, Clayton Kershaw vs. Trevor Richards and the biggest baseball upsets, Jarrod Dyson’s bases-loaded bunt, the Diamondbacks’ season-starting series winning streak, the Yankees’ ongoing dominance of the Twins, and more.

Audio intro: The Decemberists, "Make You Better"
Audio outro: Spoon, "The Underdog"

Link to thread with research about triples and homers
Link to Ben’s article on Didi and Andrelton
Link to Jeff’s Gallo post
Link to Jeff’s post about Dyson’s bunt

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Effectively Wild Episode 1208: The Acuña Cometh

EWFI

Ben Lindbergh and Jeff Sullivan banter about Ronald Acuña’s debut and the Braves’ pivot to position players, the history of Peter Bourjos losing his job, Eric Lauer’s less heralded/distinguished debut, Kazuhisa Makita, the Angels maxing out their mound visits, and the state of Shohei Ohtani hype, follow up on outfield bobbling and baserunner blocking, and then answer listener emails about teams forfeiting, when homers caught up to triples for good, the Aroldis Chapman-Gleyber Torres trade, the value of long plate appearances, adding an extra plate umpire, a consistently inconsistent umpire, bad pitchers with good K:BB ratios, a visiting-team hypothetical, and the deceptive Rockies offense, plus Stat Blasts on two-strike hitting, foul outs, and performance vs. relievers.

Audio intro: Joe Walsh, "Welcome to the Club"
Audio outro: Everclear, "One Hit Wonder"

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Effectively Wild Episode 1207: The 21-Topic Podcast

EWFI

In an unwitting tribute to Brandon Belt’s 21-pitch plate appearance, Ben Lindbergh and Jeff Sullivan banter about approximately 21 topics, including the Mariners’ awkward, self-imposed Ichiro situation, Dee Gordon’s outfield conversion, Franchy Cordero, the ineptitude of the Reds, Mike Trout leveling up (again), Sean Manaea’s no-hitter and the increasing frequency of near no-hitters, two more unwritten rules flareups, Josh Hader’s multi-inning dominance, a bad fun fact, the regression of last year’s breakout first basemen, Aaron Judge’s continued hot hitting, and more.

Audio intro: The Eagles, "Twenty-One"
Audio outro: Franz Ferdinand, "Michael"

Link to video of Brandon Belt’s 21-pitch PA
Link to video of Bartolo Colon racing Dee Gordon
Link to video of Baez blocking Lemahieu

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