Thad Levine talked deadline deals, Tinder, analytics, and lots more at Baseball Prospectus Night in Minnesota.
As part of Baseball Prospectus Night at Target Field on August 5, Minnesota Twins general manager Thad Levine joined us for an interview and audience Q&A. The following is a transcript of his interview with me, which has been edited for clarity and brevity, as the entire session lasted more than an hour and was over 10,000 words when transcribed. You can listen to the unedited, hour-plus Levine audio, including the audience Q&A, on the "Gleeman and The Geek" podcast.
The Rays manager is still the youngest in baseball as he concludes his second season in charge in Tampa Bay.
At just 38 years old, Kevin Cash is younger than 18 different people who have played in the majors this season. In his second season at the helm of the Tampa Bay Rays, Cash is the youngest manager in the bigs. He's also one of an even 10 current skippers who were primarily catchers during their major-league careers—a group that's accounted for five of the past seven championships.
Baseball's most prepared first-base coach talks about the details that can change a scouting report, and ignoring the sheet of paper that comes from upstairs.
Few men embody the ethos of the defending champion Kansas City Royals better than first-base coach Rusty Kuntz. The long-time coach is the maestro behind Kansas City's running game and its outfield defense—previously overlooked qualities that have helped propel the Royals to consecutive pennants and a World Series title.
The Mariners' play-by-play broadcaster talks about his 'post-grad degree,' Steve Carlton's death glare, and what has changed in his 25 years.
Few people in sports media have as diverse a résumé as Dave Sims. Currently the play-by-play broadcaster for the Seattle Mariners, Sims has worked as a newspaper beat reporter, talk-radio host, sports anchor and broadcaster on both television and radio. He's covered baseball, basketball and football dating back to the 1970s.
The longtime Cape Cod League coach has a relationship with future stars that's different than any they'll have with their many other coaches. Here, he remembers young Matt Harvey, young Evan Longoria, young Rich Hill, and more.
If you recognize the name John Schiffner, chances are you're either part of the college baseball scene or a big fan of the 2001 romantic comedy, Summer Catch. The long-time coach of Chatham in the Cape Cod League, Schiffner is played by Brian Dennehy in the film, and he considers it one of the highlights of his baseball career — though he wouldn't have minded the role going to Tom Selleck or Kevin Costner, he admitted.
This year's J.G. Taylor Spink Award honoree talks about Earl Weaver's pre-game post-game quotes, how young writers can get his attention, his many clubhouse confrontations and more.
Few voices in baseball coverage are as recognizable—and yes, as polarizing—as that of Dan Shaughnessy. Since starting as a beat reporter for the Baltimore Evening Sun in 1977 through his quarter-century as a columnist with the Boston Globe, Shaughnessy has become one of the most distinctive and distinguished sportswriters in America.
'I always chuckle when I hear someone say, 'We're on a five-year plan.' Look out. Somebody's just trying to cover their ass. We're on today.'
Buck Showalter was 28 years old when he got his first managerial gig in professional baseball, with the short-season Oneonta Yankees of the New York-Penn League in 1985. It took him just seven years to take over at the major-league level in New York, and he's now managed parts of 18 big-league seasons.
On the most interesting success story in baseball.
Rich Hill's latest major-league opportunity relied upon a batting practice flyball striking Steven Wright in the head along the warning track at Marlins Park last August. Two days later, the Red Sox signed Hill off the roster of the Atlantic League's Long Island Ducks, and a day after that, he made his first (non-rehab) start in affiliated ball in six years.
'What's innovative is not to chase the shiniest thing and worship it.'
Recently, the prospect team here at Baseball Prospectus ranked the Dodgers the top farm system in baseball on the strength of the league's finest combination of high-end talent at the top and depth throughout. In my 2016 team preview a few weeks back, I talked at some length about the front office and scouting department overhauls—and the funding structure behind them—that paved the way for this transformation. Current Director of Player Development Gabe Kapler was part of the wave of front office hires by the organization in 2014, and I sat down to talk with him about how he views his role and how the organization is going to go about turning its giant minor-league collection of tools into big-league talent that will help the club win games.
The Astros pitching coach talks about tutoring in Europe, translating Ground Control printouts to the dugout, and why he believes objective is better than subjective.
The story of how Brent Strom came to be the pitching coach for the Houston Astros begins with a cartoonist for the New Yorker named Mike Witte. Witte had played high school ball with some of the St. Louis Cardinals owners, and as an adult studied the pitching motion until he was qualified to serve as a consultant to major-league teams on pitching deliveries. During Jeff Luhnow’s first year as farm director in St. Louis, Witte told Luhnow that of all the pitching coaches he had observed, Brent Strom had the best feel for the principles Witte was discovering in his research.