Ben Lindbergh and Jeff Sullivan banter about Jacoby Ellsbury's latest injury, Jayson Werth's anti-analytics rant, Luke Heimlich, and Shohei Ohtani, then answer listener emails about how defensive positioning is affecting positions themselves, throwing strikes to Jorge Alfaro, bringing "the wall" to baseball, why so many pitchers are throwing 100 mph, how the Orioles fit their new minor leaguers into their farm system, Collin McHugh's recent success, Bartolo Colon's Hall of Fame case, Mike Trout without a sense of the strike zone, and the differences between baseball and soccer when it comes to player fraternization, plus Stat Blasts about the most unlikely five-walk performances, baseball Scorigami, and the days with the most one-run games.
- Value for infielders
- Jorge Alfaro
- Velocity jump
- Silly Position
- Most unlikely player to get 5 walks in a game
- Unique final scores
- Most one-run games in one day
- Colin McHugh
- Bartolo Colon
- Mike Trout hypothetical
- Friendliness on the feild
- Jacoby Ellsbury
- Jason Werth
- Luke Heimlich
- Shohei Ohtani
- The Stat Blast song
- T: This is a Rays and Brewers question. Today I was listening to the most recent Statcast episode and there was a discussion floated on 3B being a "rover position" referencing the use of shifting in order to negate the need for a real shortstop (Around 3-5 minutes in). I found this defensive use interesting. The point of the discussion being that Milwaukee seems to have bucked the trend in gathering essentially 3 3rd baseman types (Shaw, Moustakas, and Schoop) to make up for the need of a true SS. I instantly though of the Rays creative use of Romo at 3B. In the Waxahatchee swap, the pitcher always went to the outfield and now the Rays think they should stay in the infield. My point is, it seems that both uses reflect a devaluing of infield defensive value, possibly due to shifts. Are there other reasons that infield defense might be devalued? Do you think it has devalued in the player market? How should we think about these defensive experimentations? In other words: should the Brewers trade for Jose Iglesias?
- Jacob: As of this email, Jorge Alfaro has the third highest O-Swing % and the second lowest O-contact %. Yet he still sees a pretty average 44% of pitches inside the zone. How successful do you think pitchers would be against him if they threw 20% of pitches for strikes? How about literally never throwing him a strike? Would that drastic drop teach him something resembling plate discipline or would he still be up there hacking?
- Shane: Hitting 100 mph used to be a rare occurrence and now there are 20+ different pitchers that have hit the 100mph mark this season. Is this just due to better training? Could some of this be explained by the technology being used? What if there have always been this many pitchers pitching this fast, but the radar guns used in the past just couldn’t track the ball at that level? Have there been any studies to measure the difference in the technology used?
- Alex: In talking shop about defensive alignments in the BIS office the other day, a hypothetical came up that none of us knew how the league or players would handle. What would happen if a team went full soccer-free-kick and put five or six guys right in front of the batter’s box so they could just stand in the way of any batted ball? Obviously this threatens the fatherhood capabilities of the infielders involved, but think about how few balls would get past you! If you had a pitcher with great tunneling and command, you could leave just a small area to throw the pitch through and still have the ability to mix pitches up. I’m not sure if this is legal as-is, but even if it were, how many back-of-the-bench guys would you be willing to sacrifice for a near-zero batting average on non-fly-balls?
- Scott: On your trade deadline episode, you mentioned that the Orioles had replenished their minor-league system through the series of veteran-for-prospect moves the made in the two weeks leading up to July 31. The O's got five prospects for Manny Machado, three for Zach Britton, four from the Braves for Kevin Gausman, and two from the Brewers for Jonathan Schoop. What is more, a few days before the Britton trade, the Orioles signed Sean Gilmartin and Jared Gates to minor-league free agent contracts. Those 16 players had to go somewhere. Setting aside the 40-man roster rules, are there strict limits on minor-league roster sizes? In other words, when the Orioles acquired 16 minor-leaguers in July, did they have to cut 16 players from their existing minor league teams?
- Jeff: Listening to a podcast you have been a guest on in the past (Slate’s Hang Up and Listen), the hosts keep track of NFL scores that have never happened before in the game, and they call it scorigami. Is there an MLB end game score that has never happened before, that is within reason? Say 15 runs or lower by the winning team. If not, what would the most reasonable baseball scorigami remaining be?
- Jacky: I'm Jacky, a baseball fan from Taiwan, long time listener, first time e-mailing you guys. Yesterday, a friend of mine told me that there were as many as 10 games decided by one run on August 5th, one single day. He asked me whether that is a record for most one-run games happening on the same day. I tried to play-index and google it, but both to no avail. I am fascinated by this fact and really think it's really both interesting and quirky that so many one-run games occurring on the same day. I'm also wondering as my friend is: is 10 one-run games a record for most one-run games on a single day? Also think this might be a good material for a part of the future Statblast segment.
- Josh: How has Collin Mchugh been so successful this year? He’s gone from a mid rotation starter to a relief weapon for the Astros.
- Matt: Bartolo Colon is 45 and has 46 career bWAR. If he had the ability to consistently pitch 2 WAR seasons as long as he liked, how long would he have to pitch for until he was HOF worthy? Would an extra 10 years (20 WAR) get him there with a total of 66 WAR and retiring at the age of 55?
- Ryan (Patreon): How much would Mike Trout’s performance be affected if he lost the ability to judge the strike zone? He would still be able to track the ball just the same, and the actual strike zone would be the same, but he wouldn’t have any way to know which pitches would be called balls or strikes if he let them go by. Would he swing a lot more out of an abundance of caution? Would he eventually become very good at hitting pitches out of the zone? Would he be able to compensate for this, or would his performance inevitably suffer?
- Scott: I'm emailing from London England - I've been a regular listener to your podcasts for the past few years since I have gotten more and more into baseball as a second major sport (find me a Brit who doesn't list 'football' as his main recreational pastime/religion and I'll call him a liar..). Something has always bothered me in terms of how the fans see the player to player Interaction we see on base during the course of the game, especially in comparison to soccer. The friendless, smiles, jokes & overall camaraderie on base seems like the complete opposite of what you need during a competitive sports match. If your on third and having a friendly joke before a flare into the outfield bars in a run - or in a worst case scenario, it rolls over the third baseman hand on an error - I would be steaming. As a parallel - if a Chelsea player starts having a friendly laugh and joke walking to the dugout at half-time as they 1-0 down at half-time versus Spurs (Tottenham Hostpur), you would be tearing that player to shreds. Not only would the fans boo them off the pitch and insist they weren't passionate to wear the shirt, the pundits would lay into them during the halftime punditry. I realize these are two totally different sports and the general vibe at an English soccer match is totally different from an American baseball game - however in terms of player to Player Interaction, is there anything that is a complete no-go? Are there concerns about the players' loyalties and commitment on the field in the same way as soccer? What are the absolute baseball taboos in terms of player actions on the field?
Lowest walk rate with 5 walks in a game
- On August 5th, Rougned Odor drew five unintentional walks and hit a home run.
- There have been only 64 games in which a player drew at least 5 unintentional walks.
- Jimmie Foxx drew 6 walks on June 16, 1938.
- Among players with 5 walks in a game, the highest walk rate belongs to Max Bishop (19.96%), who did it twice. Close behind is Ted Williams at 19.94%.
- Ben likes Max Bishop's nickname "Camera Eye" and wonders what the modern version would be. Jeff thinks "GPS-eye" or just "Max-Bot". Ben looks up "LIGO-eye."
- Anyway, Rougned Odor's walk rate is 4.43%, second lowest among all players who drew 5 walks in a game.
- Lowest is Iván Rodriguez, who had a 4.37% walk rate and walked in all 5 plate appearances in a game vs the Mets in 2003.
- Iván Rodriguez only had 5 unintentional walks in his rookie season.
MLB score that has never happened
- All reasonable score combinations have happened before.
- Still available are 25-0, 23-11, 22-12, and 25-9.
- The most recent unique outcome was May 19th, 1999, when the Reds beat the Rockies 24 to 12.
Most one-run games in a single day
- Dan Hirsch tweeted the answer already.
- There have been 15 days with 10 one-run games. Richard Chester tweeted the list.
- The record is 11 one-run games in a day, achieved in 1914, 1918, 2001, and 2010.
- Dan Hirsch also tweeted that the Orioles have set a record for "most games back after 113 games" in the divisional era. They are currently 45½ games back, breaking the previous record of 41½ games back set by the Toronto Blue Jays in 1979.
- The episode opens with a clip from a Twins broadcast of the August 8 game (top of the 5th) in which the announcer talks at length about Willians Astudillo pulling off a hidden ball trick in the minors. (The podcast will discuss this in Episode 1255.) He tells a story about a friend who came to visit, and her sons are both very knowledgeable about Astudillo thanks to Effectively Wild. The kids were more impressed that the announcer knew Ben Lindbergh than they were that he knew Twins manager Paul Molitor.
- Ben is recording from Montana and will be heading to Seattle.
- The CPBL stepped in and did not allow Luke Heimlich into league, because of their zero tolerance rules.
- "The person who got hit by the ball would be out for at least 30 seconds minimum, a life maximum." -Jeff
- "God they suck." - Jeff after hearing an Orioles stat.