Ben and Sam answer listener emails about Mike Trout (as usual), clubhouse etiquette, the worst teams in baseball, catcher framing and unwritten rules, and more.
- Mike Trout negative WAR seasons
- Clubhouse reporter etiquette
- Worst teams improvement timeline
- High strike percentages
- Catcher framing and unwritten rules
- Episode 406 follow-up: MLBAM tracking technology
Sam is upset that there are no day games on the second day of the season.
- Kyle (Kalamazoo, MI): "If Mike Trout wound up putting up -1 WAR every year for the rest of his career, how long would teams still be giving him a chance to play? Seeing Lincecum struggle and still getting a huge contract makes me wonder that Trout would have 10 years of negative WAR before teams gave up on him. People like Delmon Young still get signed, which made me wonder about this."
- Greg (London, Ontario): "I've always been interested in the day to day work of a beat reporter but I haven't read much on what happens when they start on a beat. When Sam was with the Orange County Register and he first started on the Angels' beat did he introduce himself to players, coaches, management on his first few days like you would any other job? Or did he just try to blend in and have people slowly recognize who he was? With baseball players, coaches, and managers being so busy is it actually possible to get a few minutes alone to introduce yourself. Also, in Ben's case and now Sam's when you talked to players for Baseball Prospectus how do you introduce yourself now? Since you're not in a clubhouse every day like a beat reporter and they're not used to seeing you is there a certain way you introduce yourself or do they even care since it's just another writer asking them questions?"
- Matt: "Simple question: put these six worst teams in baseball in order according to when they will field a true talent 90 win team, from earliest to latest. They are the Cubs, White Sox, Rockies, Astros, Marlins, and Twins."
- Coleman (South Hampton, UK): "Catcher framing is now mainstream enough that even old school broadcasters refer to it during games at times. I'm surprised it isn't seen in a more negative light. Essentially, a catcher who excels at framing, let's say Jose Molina, tries to deceive the umpire in order to disadvantage opposing hitters/gain an advantage for his team. This is no different from, for example, diving in soccer. Divers are referred to as cheaters by old school media types yet framers are exempt from similar disdain. Why doesn't Molina lead the league in hit by pitches? Players who are caught stealing signs or peaking to see where the catcher is setting up are punished in this way. Why do you think framing doesn't violate the unwritten rules and do you think this might change as players become even more aware of it?"
- Darius (Norwich, UK): "During the conversation last week about how you would react if the new MLBAM player tracking technology produced results that suggested Andrelton Simmons was a bad defender, and while I also found it hard to imagine why Simmons could be rated badly by any system it got me thinking about which players might and what and what the technology might like and not like. The specific example that came to mind was Dustin Pedroia and the little hop he does before diving for a ground ball. Pedroia has consistently graded out as an above average defender by most metrics, do you think that the new technology would conclude that Pedroia was in fact wasting time that he could be spending getting to the ball when he did that hop and give a lower efficiency rating because of that? Are there any other player defensive idiosyncrasies that you think will actually start to draw criticism because video tracking suggests that they are doing things poorly? In a more general sense, will the technology actually start identifying fundamental problems with a players style like a first step or the way that they catch? If so do you think that teams will start trying to iron out such movements or concentrate on certain ways of doing things at a much earlier stage or do teams already do this to such an extent that it won't change anything."
- Inspired by Jose Fernandez throwing 77% strikes in his opening day start, Sam wants to know what the is highest percentage of strikes throw by a pitcher in a start.
- There have been about 8,400 starts where the starter threw 70% strikes.
- There have been 88 starts where pitchers threw 80% strikes.
- There have been 17 starts where the starter threw 85% strikes. The longest of these was
- John Tudor threw the most pitches in a start (10) without throwing a ball.
- Sam thinks that after six years of -1 WAR seasons Mike Trout will still get at least 300 plate appearances.
- When interviewing players it is good to lead with a handshake and use first names. Ben prefers to start with direct and clear questions, while Sam thinks this makes players suspicious and less likely to open up.
- Ben's worst team improvement order: Cubs, Astros, Twins, White Sox, Marlins, Rockies.
- Sam: Cubs, Astros, Marlins, Rockies, White Sox, Twins.
- Matt Albers finished a game but did not earn the save.
- Effectively Wild Episode 419: The Return of the Mid-Week Email Show
- John Tudor by Rory Costello