Ben Lindbergh and Jeff Sullivan banter about Shohei Ohtani’s platoon splits and pitchers’ league-wide avoidance of the strike zone this season, then answer listener emails about the power and prestige of managers compared to coaches, when to trust in-season results over projections, choosing between Ohtani and Mike Trout, whether Albert Pujols or Adrian Beltre will end up with the higher career WAR, the staying power of the phrase “Andrew Miller-type role,” the Marlins’ current shortstops vs. a 43-year-old Derek Jeter, a hypothetical involving consecutive walk-off wins, the Mario Mendoza of wRC+, Ohtani’s ceiling and odds of winning awards, the value of being a big leaguer, and an MLB equivalent of Scott Foster, the NHL’s accountant emergency goalie, plus a Stat Blast about reliever use, game length/pace, and the most homers without a walk-off shot.
- Will hitting and pitching coach get more power?
- How many games until season projections can be looked at as wrong
- Trout v Ohtani for the rest of their career, who would you watch?
- Albert Pujols v Adrian Beltre, who has higher WAR at the end?
- “Andrew Miller role”
- Derek Jeter Marlins SS
- Walk off celebrations
- wRC+ Mendoza line
- Shohei Ohtani awards projections
- How much more value does a big league player have over a AAA guy?
- MLB equivalent to Scott Foster
- Walks and strikeouts are up and home runs are down so far.
- Shohei Ohtani platoon splits
- Dennis: Given that (A) the field manager is more and more subservient to the front office and their numbers and is increasingly a mere button-pusher and (B) there seems to be more and more science (and success) to reinventing hitters by changing their swings and "fixing" pitchers by tweaking mechanics and prescribing pitch usage, how far away are we from the hitting coach and pitching coach becoming the more prestigious positions than the manager? Higher paid? Are we not on the beginning of a track toward teams becoming more readily identifiable by their coaches than by their manager?
- Sean: I know the running joke (although it’s actually probably a pretty good system) is that the season has stabilized when Mike Trout is atop the WAR leaderboards, but in your minds what is a large enough sample for you to believe that the projections were wildly wrong about a player or a team? For example, the Pirates are currently 6-1, at what point would you be willing to believe that the projections were just wrong about them? Certainly 6-1 is too early, but what about if they were 12-2? 24-4? And would your answer change if it was a team like the Marlins or Tigers instead of a team like the Pirates?
- Jeff: It seems that Shohei Otani is rivaling Mike trout as the player most talked about on the podcast. I have a silly question for both of you. If you could only watch one of those players for his career, which one would it be? Assume that watching Ohtani means that you can't watch Trout at all, and vice versa. Also assume that you can only resume watching that other player once the one you've chosen had stopped playing. I know this is highly unrealistic, especially because they currently play on the same team. How is tour answer affected as someone who makes a living covering baseball. If your boss said you can write only about Otani or Trout for the rest of their respective careers, which one would you choose?
- Thomas: How much staying power in the phrase “Andrew Miller-type role”? Will there eventual become an impersonal term for the role like there is for closer (and were the first closers referred to as having “Bruce Sutter-type roles”?)?Does the protean nature of the Andrew Miller role make it more difficult for an appropriate term that captures its essence? Does “fireman” just not sound as clever? Will we still be saying “Andrew Miller type role” in five years?
- Anthony: I see that, with JT Riddle injured, the Marlins are running a combination of Miguel Rojas and Yadiel Rivera (who Steamer projects for a 36?! wRC+) at shortstop. What are the odds that Derek Jeter, had he decided in November that he had the urge to play again (so full offseason/ST), would be a better option than Rojas or Rivera for the Marlins at SS this year?
- Louis: After how many consecutive walkoffs would a team stop celebrating? (Assume an infinite string of home games to allow this to happen)
- Sam: What is the Mendoza line for wRC+? That is, the wRC+ below which it is impossible for a full time player to be an above-replacement level major league player. Basically, how bad of an offensive player can a player be and still provide sufficient positive value to make them playable? I'm not sure exactly the best way to answer this question, but I did find that, in 2017 Billy Hamilton had the lowest wRC+ of any qualified batter who finished above 1 WAR. (He had 1.2 war with a wRC+ of 66). Additionally, in 2014, Zach Cozart somewhat amazingly finished with 1.2 WAR and a wRC+ of 56. Maybe the Hamilton line or Cozart line? The Cincinnati Special?
- Emilio: If you had to use Shohei Ohtani's first few starts and his numbers at the plate so far to oversample a season's worth of stats, how much WAR could he be worth, and could he be a candidate for the rookie of the year, MVP and Cy Young or any combination of the three?
- Louis in Pittsburgh: I don't know how big your e-mail pile Is but my belovedly wayward Seattle Mariners seem to have 3 AAA+ proven 1B options (Ryon Healy, Mike Ford and Dan Vogelbach). If we discount the fact that Ford is a rule 5 pick and take the somewhat dehumanizing view of these people as assets it seems that (Ford and Vogelbach) could become more valuable assets if the Mariners could somehow play 3 first baseman and give Ford and Vogelbach the opportunity to prove that they could translate there AAA success into 500 MLB at bats. This brings me to my question, Firstly, how much more valuable is a player who has proven their ability in a full season in the MLB then a player that has proven their ability at AAA? Secondly, how valuable is game time? If a player proven at the MLB is more valuable then a player proven only in AAA then the opportunity to play in the MLB (game time) must be an asset to MLB teams as it can increase the value of their assets. I guess in evaluating the value of game time I guess one should also consider the risk of proving a given player is incapable at MLB level. So how does one evaluate the value of a game time int dollars or WAR?
- Ami: I’m sure you’ve seen this: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2018/03/30/nhl-stunner-a-36-year-old-accountant-whos-never-played-pro-stars-in-blackhawks-win/ So what would be the MLB equivalent of this feat? Obviously the emergency catcher is already a professional player, so I guess my question/potential Stat Blast idea is who would be the equivalent to Scott Foster’s achievement in the sense of least time played at catcher, longest time since playing catcher, lol-iest idea of being catcher, and potential to be put in game as catcher and be part of the winning battery.
- The Phillies lead the league in relievers used on 0 days rest, the Mariners have used 0 relievers on zero days rest.
- Average game length so far is up to 3:10, time per 9 innings in 3 hrs.
- Pace is down a half second.
- Walk off home runs Jim Thome, David Ortiz, and Mickey Mantle have most career with 13, Roy Face has allowed most with 16.
- Norm Cash has the most career home runs without a walk off, Jose Batista is 2nd.
- Pitches in the zone are down about 9% from 2017
- Ben thinks the pitching coach and hitting coach power will fall as the manager power falls.
- It takes a while to say predictions can be trusted.
- Jeff would pick Shohei Ohtani because he can do both, Ben picks Mike Trout because he's an all time great.
- Ben and Jeff both picked Adrian Beltre.
- They talk about the average person's time spent outside.
- Yadiel Rivera in AAA has a ,585 OPS, and 48 52 53 wRC+ in last 3 years, but had a good spring training.
- The Houston Astros had 5 consecutive walk off wins in July of 1986.
- Hal Lineer had the lowest wRC+ in 3 consecutive seasons in late 60’s, ‘68 - 38 wRC+, ‘67 - 42 wRC+, and ‘69 - 43 wRC+.
- Shohei Ohtani is on pace for a combined WAR of 13.5.
- The Chicago Blackhawks had a goalie replacement that came in and made saves and was on ice when game was won.
- The Seattle Mariners have tried converting a guy to catcher multiple times.