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The Stat Blast segment (formerly known as the Play Index) is a recurring feature of the podcast revolving around a statistical question put forth by the segment host or a listener.

Play Index era[]

The Play Index was originally started by Sam, as part of listener email episodes, though it was not a Baseball Reference-sponsored segment until Episode 391, and dealt with the drop in triples in the American League since the 1970s.

Stat Blast era[]

Around the time of the show's transition to FanGraphs, the Play Index sponsorship was ended and the segment was continued by Jeff but without an official name.

On Episode 1146 in December 2017, Jeff had decided on "Stat Blast" as the name of the segment. An intro theme performed by Ben's wife Jessie Barbour was later added to the segment in Episode 1152.

Hosting of the Stat Blast segment transitioned back to Sam when Jeff left the podcast, and was then inherited by Ben after Sam's second departure.

During the baseball shutdown of 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, Ben used performances of the Stat Blast theme contributed by listeners. See Facebook group: 2020 Season for details.

Starting in Episode 1834, the Stat Blast has been sponsored by Stathead, part of the Baseball Reference family of sports statistics sites.

Stat Blast Theme Lyrics[]

They'll take a data set sorted by something like
ERA- or OPS+
And then they'll tease out some interesting tidbit,
Discuss it at length, and analyze it for us
In amazing ways
Here's today's
Stat Blast!

List of Stat Blasts[]

  • (Note: This list is incomplete and currently being compiled.)

Some of the topics listed below were not formally considered Stat Blasts, but they nevertheless fit the mold. We try to remember to mark those entries with asterisks.

2019[]

Episode Subject
1354 Longest streak of one team ahead of another in final standings
1356 Longest season start of perfect 5.000 OPS
1356 Most MLB games in one day
1356 Longest gap before a battery reunites
1356 Most pitches to start a game without a ball in play
1358 Most season-starting outings by a pitcher without getting an out
1358 Investigating true wins
1361 Sending the runners with the bases loaded
1364 Where have all the older pitchers gone?
1368 Winning percentage of teams who bat the DH 7th or later
1370 Batters drawing walks after being behind 0–2
1370 Trends in leverage index for pitcher plate appearances
1373 Which is more impressive, a no-hitter or a true win?
1376 Are there more hustle doubles this season?
1379 Seasons with the fewest games with more walks than strikeouts
1382 StatCast no-hitters (no batted ball with over 50% chance of being a hit)
1385 Age profile of top 20 players by WAR over time
1389 Roy Smalley's 1979 season
1389 Cody Bellinger's worst- and best-case scenarios for the second half of the season
1391 Players named Ryne
1391 Teams whose records were close to .500 for long stretches
1391 Pitchers with most bases-loaded no outs without giving up a run
1394 Changes in platoon advantage based on the ball/strike count
1399 Charlie Blackmon's extreme home/road batting splits
1401 What would Ohtani's stats be if he faced only himself?
1405 Pitchers who have thrown both immaculate and minimum innings
1410 Sending the runners on 3-2 counts
1410 Who has played in the most stadiums?
1414 Correlation between number of walk-off wins and team quality
1414 GIDP rates for pitchers batting with bases loaded and one out
1418 Mike Trout's performance against pitchers he faced exactly once
1418 Teams whose winning percentage at home were best and on the road were worst in MLB
1420 Receiving Rookie of the Year award votes in a 1-season career
1423 Most common career stolen base total
1423 Most career plate appearances without a stolen base
1423 Players with exactly one career stolen base
1426 Teams with highest career cumulative WAR
1429 HBP and BABIP trends on 3-0 counts
1435 Overall rise in home runs among qualified hitters
1438 Teams with the highest share of WAR generated by foreign-born players
1443 The rate of increase of reliever usage in the postseason
1456 The closest combined AL/NL MVP races by WAR
1462 The Mariners' lack of intentional walks in 2019
1462 Batters with more HBP than BB in a season
1465 The worst innings for team pitching staffs, as measured by tOPS+
1470 The most statistically similar players

2020[]

Episode Subject
1484 The positional patterns of multi-position players
1488 Striking out every hitter on an opposing team in a game at least once
1490 Quickest/slowest franchises to have an alum in the Hall of Fame
1493 Intentional leadoff walks
1493 Plate appearances by Hall of Famers by franchise
1493 Do managers call for replay review more often on good teams?
1502 Instances of walk-off catcher's interference
1516 The history of teammates with the same name
1519 The worst player to debut in their teens and retire in their 40's
1523 The longest opening day streaks for players in a position
1525 The most lopsided WAR league leaders
1528 Franchises with head-to-head tie records
1528 Can a star pitching rotation carry a replacement-level team to the playoffs?
1532 Would-be Major Leaguers we'll never see play because of the pandemic
1534 The highest Championship Leverage Index
1538 Is there a home/away bias in official scoring?
1541 Defensive indifference leaders
1541 Winning pitchers giving up more earned runs than the losing pitcher
1541 Perfect batting averages in both a debut and final game
1544 How much could you expand foul territory to offset shorter home run distances
1544 The least valuable World Series MVP's
1547 The lowest scoring games despite "double cycle" offense
1547 Hitless career batter vs. pitcher matchups
1550 The most repeatedly drafted players
1552 Mark Buehrle facing the minimum 27 batters a record three times
1552 Players with the least service time compared to their career length
1553 Players on the most World Series winning teams without playing in a WS game
1556 The value of Billy Hamilton as an extra-inning runner
1571 The variety of Mike Trout's black ink categories
1574 Quasi-walkoffs immediately before rain delay that led to called games
1575 The longest hitless innings
1577 How many more HR players would have hit had they batted earlier in the lineup
1579 Longest team vs. team losing streaks in the regular season and postseason
1580 The Mariners' 4 best pitchers in team history having identical ERA
1580 The most pitches thrown in a 1-2-3 inning
1580 Games with "half no-hitters" thrown by both teams
1584 Facts surrounding the most prolific trading teams
1584 Most identical final scores on the same day
1584 Hitters who have struck out 4 times on 12 pitches in one game
1586 Players responsible for the most balls out of play due to foul balls or homers
1586 The most times a player has been traded away by the same team
1586 Records for number of consecutive pitches thrown of each type
1587 Teams with the most 1-run games in a season
1587 Players who hit in the same lineup spot for an entire season
1591 Teammates with the same first name who both had 5+ bWAR
1591 Are pitchers more likely to go 7.0IP in a 7-inning doubleheader game?
1594 Did pickoff attempts increase with no fans in the stands?
1600 The biggest height mismatches between starting pitchers in a game
1603 Trends in % of runs scored on non-homers
1609 Ranking teams that lost the World Series
1612 Players who have hit a HR from every spot in the lineup
1615 Fake player names used as examples in the MLB rules
1616 What pair of infielders have collaborated for the most putouts?
1618 Who was the first ever LOOGY?
1623 The longest span of time of two playing careers that overlap
1623 Do doubles and triples have different Statcast profiles?
1631 Follow up from 1101: The ultimate journeyman players
1633 Low OBP hitters who still were league-average or better hitters

2021[]

Episode Subject
1642 Did demand for baseball increase after the 1919 pandemic?
1645 Players with the longest gaps between World Series hits
1649 Most prolific pitcher-catcher battery mates
1651 Leroy Stanton's consistent career splits
1654 Least productive positions for a franchise over the last 5 years
1659 Teams with every player on the roster over 30 years old
1659 Players responsible for the majority of a team's WAR at one position
1666 Teams that scored the highest percentage of their runs in one game
1681 Hitter-runner combos with the most runs scored
1683 Most common and uncommon defensive position and lineup spot combinations
1685 Players with high black ink/grey ink but low WAR and vice-versa
1686 The AL West spelling "ASSHAT" and most common division ordering
1687 Most successful pitchers with a runner on 2nd and no outs
1687 Pitchers with 'stupid wins' (win after blowing a save)
1689 Most consecutive pitches taken
1689 Pitcher appearances where no balls ended up in play
1691 Most lopsided trades of all time based on post-trade WAR
1696 Players who have participated in the most no-hitters
1698 Players with extreme home/road splits
1701 Players who have contributed highest % of team's runs
1709 Ship of Theseus: Quickest starting lineup turnover
1717 Fewest pitches before a grand slam in a game/inning
1720 Notable instances of under/overperforming a run differential
1723 Homestand perfect record droughts
1725 Team streaks where all wins were started by a single pitcher
1733 Most times a player has been called up/sent down in a single season
1733 Streaks of games where two teams matched wins and losses
1737 Are managers more likely to make an outgoing or incoming pitcher commit an intentional walk
1737 Players who hit a walk-off for their only career home run
1740 Most runs scored in a game without an earned run
1740 Longest streak of consecutive pinch hitters
1740 Most outs made with runners in scoring position
1743 Longest path to 162 career games played
1743 Worst best player for a division winner
1748 Are all relievers "failed starters", or have some always been a reliever?
1748 The Pirates' record futility at securing a sweep
1752 Longest innings streak of a team not holding a lead
1752 MVPs of both leagues not making the playoffs
1757 How many player debuts has Royals announcer Denny Matthews seen in his career?
1771 Ship of Theseus: Highest postseason usage of players who recently joined the team
1771 The most common batter/pitcher matchups
1773 Going to a game in every Major/Minor league ballpark in one year
1780 Most times a team has acquired/re-signed the same player
1790 How long it typically takes for every player from a given game to leave MLB for good

2022[]

Episode Subject
1801 Biggest intra-season player performance gaps between Triple-A and MLB
1804 Times when the best players in each league played in the same city
1807 The longest "home run trees"
1807 The modern equivalent of “Three-and-Two Jack” Graney
1807 Whether MLB player performances adheres to the Pareto Principle
1809 Players who batted toward the bottom of the order after hitting 300 career homers
1819 Minor league affiliates with the longest streaks of sending an alum to the World Series
1825 "Ghost players" with the longest streaks of not fielding the ball or putting it in play
1829 "Ghost catchers" who went the longest without touching the ball
1831 Largest age difference between older player and younger manager
1834 Players who were most overpaid, underpaid, or appropriately paid
1835 Relievers who blew the most no-hitters
1835 Batters who broke up the most no-hitters
1835 Starters who lost the most no-hitters in late innings
1838 Batters with highest and lowest "expected no-hitters subtracted"
1839* Players who opened their career with consecutive "reached base on error"
1839* Lowest WAR of a multiple-time All Star
1839 Shrinking velocity gap between max-effort fastballs and average-effort fastballs
1840 Are higher pitch counts the primary reason for longer games?
1840 Teams who have cornered the market on players with a specific first name
1840 Team games with no outfield putouts
1840 Most unassisted putouts by a player in a game
1841 Most lopsided shutout
1841 Best run differential despite losing series
1841 Players whose team winning percentage changed the most when they played
1842 Players whose team winning percentage changed the most when they started
1845 Pitchers with ERA+ higher than batters faced
1845 The best offensive performance by a player whose team got no-hit
1845 Players who failed to "hit their weight"
1845 Home run distribution by day of week
1846* Teams with highest/lowest player speed variability
1847 Highest total single-game WPA
1847 Largest distance between release points of consecutive pitchers

Links[]

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