A Peak Into The Astros’ Secret Sauce for Pitching

The Franklin Institute is a science and research museum located in Philadelphia, PA. Among its many draws are a giant heart you can walk through, the SportsZone where you can sprint the 40-yard dash and compare your time to professional athletes, and a Changing Earth exhibit made entirely of sustainable materials that focuses on the ways the planet has transformed over time. Through all of that, plus rotating feature exhibits, it’s easy to lose sight of a tried and true experiment: The Ruler Drop Test. If you never performed the experiment in middle school, the Ruler Drop Test is exactly…

When Conventional Wisdom Holds A Player Back: A Thought Experiment

We’ve made it this far. Sometimes, that’s misleading. It’s easy to give ourselves credit, but it’s also a fact that can lock us into a certain mindset: “We’ve been having success with this approach, so let’s keep using this approach.” These are the kinds of thoughts that breed conventional wisdom, ones that seem to make so much sense that we don’t need to think twice about them, so we don’t. Intentional or not, baseball is the same way sometimes. Say the speedy guy is up to bat. He slaps it to the opposite field and generates some offense with his…

Fast, For A Catcher: Analyzing a Quickly Moving Backstop Market

Have you ever had a baseball game on in the background in the dead of summer as you quietly go about your day, and then catch an absolute gem from a broadcaster that stops and makes you laugh? “He got down the line in a hurry…he’s pretty fast, for a catcher.” It’s possibly the game’s greatest backhanded compliment; an ode of sorts to the frequently lumbering yeoman who not only endure the dog days of August but who do so, willingly, wearing additional gear and sitting in an awkward squat for hours. A single sentence about their baserunning abilities —…

The Unique Strengths and Shortcomings of The Padres Pitching Development

Imagine, if you can, being a top-10 performer in your field. And not only are you top-10 now, or in the last year. You’ve been top-10 for a decade. High five! Now, imagine that another member of your team is not. Imagine that they’re not even above average or just average. Imagine that they’re almost the absolute worst in your field. And not just recently…but have been for as long as you’ve been good. What we really just contemplated was the dichotomy of the San Diego Padres pitching staff from 2009 through 2018. The team’s relief corps has been the…

Luke Voit And When To Believe In A Hot Streak

Baseball is speckled with flashes in the pan. Plenty of players have teased our attention with exceptional play for a month or half-season or even a whole season, only to fade into the background as an afterthought. Chris Shelton, Dom Brown, Josh Rutledge…I’m sure you have your own names that come to mind. These are the kinds of faces our brains drudge up when we think about sample sizes; why we’re reticent to buy into what our eyes see on the field through the summer and why we crave data to support it. So if you’re reluctant to buy into…

Matt Strahm’s Next Step Hinges On His Slider

Nearly 800 pitchers registered an out in MLB last season. If you happened to pick out one who threw 60+ innings in relief, and had more than a strikeout an inning, you’d probably say that pitcher had a pretty good year. His team would have been happy to have him provide those innings. That was Matt Strahm last year for the Padres. After acquiring him from the Royals in July of 2017, he provided San Diego with a lefty arm out of the bullpen who could bring a mid 90s fastball, an elite slider, a surprising changeup, and a show-me…

Scott Boras Definitely Has A New Plan

Scott Boras is looking for the Applyers this offseason. It might sound like the next superhero movie that will bomb, but it’s really the next step in how baseball is evolving. In an October 26 radio interview with The Michael Kay Show, which is available to listen to in full here, the typically cagey Boras gave a candid response when asked if the rise of analytics has changed what constitutes a great player. He went on to do as Boras often publicly does with resolve, providing an in-depth response that almost becomes easy to tune out because of how thorough…