Ben's time as a BP author and editor comes to a close.
I know where I was when I got the email: sitting in the Georgetown cafeteria between classes, eating lunch alone. It wasn’t the only time I soloed the delicious cuisine at Leo J. O’Donovan Dining Hall in the middle of the day during my senior year—not because I was bad company, but because I was the only one of my friends who was still paying for a meal plan (food preparation isn’t my strong suit). To pass the time (and to try to look less forlorn), I’d usually bury my face in a book, glancing up only occasionally to stare at the cafeteria worker who went by “Bone” and sometimes stormed around the room with a football helmet held under his arm, looking as if he was dodging invisible linemen. Lately, however, I’d had something besides books and Bone to distract me: a direct pipeline to Baseball Prospectus.
I’d been a BP research assistant the previous summer and had transitioned to intern when I went back to school, at which point I was added to “Chatter”—a now-defunct listserv that pinged everyone at BP, as well as some alumni and outsiders with ties to the staff. In late October of 2008, where our scene is set, I hadn’t been back at school long, and I still hadn’t acclimated to the idea that messages from writers I’d read and admired for years were ending up in my inbox, as if by some behind-the-scenes screw-up at the local NSA surveillance station. This was just before BP became BBWAA-certified, when the staff was still widely regarded as an assortment of “outsiders.” Still, I’d never felt closer to baseball’s beating heart. An email from work was a source of excitement. I willed my phone to flash.
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Ben and Sam discuss their new jobs and the future of the podcast, then talk about how ace starters are defined.
Ben and and Sam discuss Billy Beane's Wall Street Journal op-ed and how Statcast will affect scouting and player evaluation.
Ben and and Sam banter about records they'd like to see broken and answer listener emails about the Yankees' facial hair policy, trying not to hit homers, and more.
Ben and and Sam banter about Bronson Arroyo and Sean Doolittle, then discuss comments by John Lackey and Jose Bautista.
Ben and and Sam talk to Jason Parks about the BP Mid-Season Top 50 Prospects List.
Ben and Russell discuss whether trading David Price (or anyone else) to another team in the same division makes sense.
Ben and Russell talk to Scout.com National Baseball Analyst Kiley McDaniel about the strategic approach to the international free agent market and why the Yankees are spending so much.
The best and worst receptions, with glorious GIFs and graphs.
At the end of April, I brought back my weekly catcher framing series from 2013 in a new, monthly form (and came back for more after May). I mentioned this then, but as a refresher, here's where you can find catcher receiving stats at Baseball Prospectus:
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Ben and Sam answer listener emails about meaningless splits, data leaks, exploiting unwritten rules, and more.
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July 1, 2014 7:45 am
Time heals all wounds, but in Washington's case, it will also inflict them.
You’d think Bryce Harper’s comeback from his latest long-term injury would be cause for unbridled celebration, and in some contexts, it has been (see the standing ovation Harper received from the fans at Nationals Park before his first plate appearance on Monday). However, the 21-year-old outfielder’s return also been cause for consternation. Harper’s presence, coupled with Ryan Zimmerman’s throwing problems from third, have given the Nats more qualified position players than they have open positions, which has made everyone around the team wonder: Where will they put their surplus player(s)?
Most teams suffer from the opposite issue—too few productive players—so the Nationals’ quandary is an example of the proverbial “good problem to have.” Still, it seems as though there’s no easy answer, and so the discussion has staying power. Twice last month, two weeks apart, I appeared on MLB Network’s MLB Now; both times, Washington’s positional logjam was a featured topic, and both times, the panel was split over what manager Matt Williams should do. The discourse in print hasn’t been much more decisive.
Ben and Sam discuss the significance of the Astros' leaked internal trade notes.