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Summary[]

Ben and Sam answer listener emails about whether a Yankees fan can learn to like Kevin Youkilis, whether the Diamondbacks got enough back for Trevor Bauer, why teams love left-handed starters, and more.

Topics[]

  • Kevin Youkilis and rooting for former rivals
  • Arizona Diamondbacks and Trevor Bauer
  • Left-handed starters
  • Contract status and performance relationship
  • Contract bonus

Email Questions[]

  • Matt Trueblood: "Hey gust, first of all love the show. Brief though it is, the lack of distraction through which to wade is terrific. Easy baseball listening. What is the virtue of a left-handed starting pitcher? Invariably, when discussing options a given team might have reporters bring up their desire to add a lefty to the rotation. When discussing a specific starter handedness always comes up and being a lefty is treated as a virtue. Ben did it in passing with Brett Anderson during Tuesday's episode. I don't get it. Southpaw starters usually have the platoon advantage in 18-23% of all plate appearances; righty starters enjoy the advantage twice as often, even a bit more. More importantly, starters are usually selected in part for small platoon splits because any starter is naturally vulnerable to the opposing manager's lineup manipulation. I know no one is saying that handedness is a primary concern in evaluating a starter but why is this mentioned so often? Is there some tangible but real advantage to mixing lefties into the rotation so opponents have to carry more right-handed guys and can't line up average lefty swingers to kill your righties, or so as to be ready for a lefty heavy lineups like the recent Braves and Phillies. It seems backwards is all, that left handedness is seen as an asset for a starting pitcher."
  • Brian: "Hey guys, this longtime Yankees fan is struggling with the signing of Kevin Youkilis. I realize the Yankees have a need at third base (a fact I don't think changes when A-Rod returns, by the way), but I've spent so much time and energy disliking Youkilis that I can't imagine rooting for him, let alone keeping a meal down while watching his horrific batting stance. On top of that, I see a guy who can only put up decent offensive numbers and play a below average third base. Was this a case of slim pickings or am I missing something here?"
  • Steve: "How do contract status and salary impact player performance? Is there research on that? Do you have any hunches? Do higher/longer contracts reduce performance? How about performance over the length of the contract? Controlling for the aging curve, do players play better in their walk year? Do they play better or worse than you would otherwise expect in their first year? Does it depend on whether or not the contract is with a new team?"
  • Britney: "Hi Ben & Sam, I find it quite interesting that the trade value for one of the top pitching prospects in all of baseball (third overall pick in 2011) is a defense only shortstop. This seems quite bizarre. What is the overall gameplay for Arizona? Why give up so soon on Bauer?"
  • Tom: "I have a question that, while you guys can probably not answer, may know people that can. I saw that the Greinke deal had a $12 million signing bonus, this made me curious: are teams this year using signing bonuses as incentives for players to sign quickly in the 2012 year as a way of giving players a larger portion of their salary before the tax rates go up in 2013?"

Notes[]

  • Sam agrees with Matt, and isn't sure why the preference for lefties has persisted so long.
  • Sam, on Ben's comment that most guys are 'good guys': "We're all terrible, we're a broken species."
  • Research on the relationship between contract status and player performance has so far been inconclusive.

Links[]

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