Baseball is the perfect sport for conversation, and no one can converse about it better than the Baseball Rabbi, one of the world's greatest experts on advanced statistics, sabermetrics, and baseball history. Join Pesach Wolicki and Scott Kahn as they apply advanced metrics to the Major Leagues, reevaluate historical assumptions, and discover new baseball trends and theories that will leave you questioning everything you assumed you knew about the National Pastime.
Max Scherzer struck out victim number 3000 (he's the 19th guy to do it), pitched an immaculate inning, and had a perfect game into the eighth inning... and if you wanted to find out more while this was going on, you needed to scroll down on ESPN's website. Yes, baseball continues to lose popularity, and the Baseball Rabbi identifies the Rays as exemplifying the problem. (The problem, in short, is that their boring brand of baseball works.) Plus: handicapping the NL MVP race (Tatis? Wheeler? Harper?) and quick headlines so you're up to date as the season heads into the homestretch. Join the Baseball Rabbi team as a Patreon subscriber! Go to https://www.patreon.com/baseballrabbipodcast and sign up now for bonus episodes, merch, and more!
The San Francisco Giants have been the surprise of the baseball season; they could lose every game until the end of the season and still end up with a record significantly better than we anticipated back in April. How, exactly, are they doing it? That's where the questions start, but not where they end; there's something weird happening by the Bay, and it could be incredible coaching, some advantage conferred by advanced analytics... or something else? Whatever it is, Pesach and Scott lay out the facts and why those facts are surprising. Plus: the Reds are going to the Wild Card game and the Padres are not, the Yankees look like the best team in baseball, the potential Boston-New York Wild Card game could be a classic, the Mets are booing their own fans, and more on the Field of Dreams game that Pesach trashed last time.
Two months ago, the NL MVP was clearly Jacob deGrom or - if you insisted on voting for a position player - Fernando Tatis, Jr. Well, things change fast in baseball, and the race is both wide open and fascinating. Pesach and Scott offer their insights as to where it's going, and discuss whether Zack Wheeler can be the MVP (after all, he's got the highest bWAR) while boasting only the sixth best ERA in the National League. Also pay attention to what they think about Joey Votto's Hall of Fame chances, and whether he's a shoo-in or an also-ran. As for Pesach's view of the Field of Dreams game between the Yankees and the White Sox? He holds back a little because this is a family podcast, but he. does. not. like. it. Join the Baseball Rabbi team as a Patreon subscriber! Go to https://www.patreon.com/baseballrabbipodcast and sign up now for bonus episodes, merch, and more!
This might have been the most exciting trade deadline in years - or ever?- and MLB deserves kudos for actually doing something right for a change. And while most contenders worked to improve their chances at making the postseason or going on a deep playoff run, that doesn't mean that any given team is necessarily better off today than it was last week. (Howdy, Padres! Take a bow, Bosox!) Pesach and Scott look at some of the major buyers, and analyze whether they're playoff bound or more likely destined to watch the playoffs from their living rooms like the rest of us. Plus: why do older teams have fewer players with terrible WARs, and the Baseball Rabbi basks in vindication regarding offensive rate stats.
The National League Central is so different from the chaotic NL East: each team's actual record is close to where advanced analytics says that the team should be. But the division is full of storylines, and the Baseball Rabbi offers them to you on a silver platter. The Brewers are actually really good, but in ways you might have missed. The Reds are interesting, even as they will likely be "that team" that just misses the playoffs. The Cubs' collapse was predictable because they're not very good; Javier Baez is actually making history, but not in a way that will make the denizens of Chicago smile. The Cardinals are falling apart (equal parts bad pitching and bad hitting), and the Pirates are a mess - but with some entertaining position players with surprising talent for achieving a high BABIP. Plus: the storylines that Pesach and Scott are watching in the second half (how low can the Diamondbacks go?), and what baseball rules are too fundamental to touch. Join the Baseball Rabbi team as a Patreon subscriber! Go to https://www.patreon.com/baseballrabbipodcast and sign up now for bonus episodes, merch, and more!
The Baseball Rabbi made lists of the five most memorable seasons for each position, but listing significant catcher seasons poses a unique challenge. What makes catcher different from every other position? How can we compare modern catchers with catchers from before 2008? (Answer: We can't.) Join Pesach and Scott for a deep dive into catchers, starring Johnny Bench, Roy Campanella, Gary Carter, Buster Posey, Carlton Fisk, Joe Mauer, Yogi Berra, and a bunch of guys who didn't make the cut. Plus: Mike Piazza wasn't a cheater, his 1997 was the greatest season ever for a catcher, and it still isn't on the list. Why?
It's been one hundred years, and finally baseball has a Shohei Ohtani... but his uniqueness transcends his ability to be two different players. Pesach and Scott look at what he's doing, why it matters, and what his future might hold. Elsewhere in the American League West, the Houston Astros have a historically good offense, though their ability to succeed in October is not quite as clear. The Seattle Mariners are the luckiest team in baseball (that's an objective reality, not an attempt to insult the team) though the future looks kinda bright... and Texas has a really good pitcher and some not-as-good other players. And the Oakland A's are great, but it's hard to understand why. All this plus Pesach's success at predicting Chapman's meltdowns make this a Baseball Rabbi you won't want to miss. Join the Baseball Rabbi team as a Patreon subscriber! Go to https://www.patreon.com/baseballrabbipodcast for bonus episodes, Baseball Rabbi merch, and more!
Pesach and Scott had similar lists of their favorite seasons by shortstops, first basemen, and second basemen, but their lists diverge when it comes to third base. Brett or Brooks? Eddie Mathews or Adrian Beltre? One Mike Schmidt season or two (or three or four or five)? It's all about the strange nature of third base, and how it has changed drastically over the years. Plus: is corking bats akin to taking steroids, and how Eddie Mathews might have changed the course of baseball history (Hello, Milwaukee Red Sox!).
As the season passes game 70, Pesach and Scott look carefully at what may be MLB's most fascinating division, the National League East. Jacob deGrom may be having the greatest pitching season in history and can lead a strong starting staff to the Promised Land... if only the team could actually hit. (Although Pesach says that the Mets' terrible hitting is actually a hopeful sign.) The Braves can hit but can't pitch, the Nats have to decide by the trading deadline if they're a young up-and-coming team or an old this-ain't-the-future team, and the Marlins have a great pitching staff and OK hitting but still have no real future. And why does Zack Wheeler of the Phillies have stats that aren't even close to deGrom's numbers but still has almost an identical bWAR? Plus: Tyler "Boo Hoo" Glasnow, another wonderful Target Field experience, and no coffee on Tuesday's train from New York to Philadelphia. If you want breaking news like that, there's no better place to find it than here!
What teams are the most disappointing of all time? Which teams should have been more memorable, or won more rings, than they actually did? Pesach and Scott each provide a list of the top (or bottom) five non-dynasties of all time (with only one team making both lists). After last week's addition of the current Yankees to the list - this time with mathematical evidence - nothing is more appropriate than talking about other great teams that didn't do what they were supposed to do.
Yankee fans often complain about their team's inability to go all the way (2009 was a looong time ago), but that's only part of the story; the bigger issue is that since their last pennant, the Yankees have won more games than any other team, and have watched 13 other teams play in the World Series while they've stayed home. Is it time to change the conventional narrative around the Yankees? Stat guru Moshe Schorr provided some fantastic charts to Pesach and Scott which help analyze this and much more. Plus: the latest in the ongoing attempts of major league pitchers to ruin the game of baseball.
So the Red Sox were basically innocent, right? Not so fast: die hard Sox fan Scott thinks that Manfred's punishment was a joke and that this is a BIG deal and a bit of a cover-up, whereas Pesach isn't so sure that the commissioner got it wrong. And as a sequel to our presentation of great teenage baseball players, the Baseball Rabbi offers the greatest players in their 40s. Who is the greatest ever (and it's not really close)? Listen in to find out.
The American League East is becoming the most interesting division in baseball, not to mention the most talented, and Pesach and Scott are ready to uncover the storylines and narratives you need to be an educated baseball consumer. What flaws do the Yankees (baseball's best team for the past month) need to fix? What is the secret of the Red Sox success? Why are the Blue Jays the opposite of the Rays? And is there hope for the actually interesting Orioles? Plus: why the Chicago Bears need to thank Babe Ruth for their very existence. Join the Baseball Rabbi team as a Patreon subscriber! Go to https://www.patreon.com/baseballrabbipodcast for bonus episodes, Baseball Rabbi merch, and more!
LISTEN TO THIS CLASSIC EPISODE OF THE BASEBALL RABBI PODCAST! Al Kaline's bWAR was close to 93, making him one of the greatest right fielders in history. But when you look at his career stats, it's a little bit difficult to figure out how his WAR got that high. How can we explain his greatness? And in honor of Kaline's great play as a young Tiger (he won the batting title when he was 20), Pesach and Scott list their favorite teenage seasons of all time. Dr. K, Tony C, Bryce Harper, Juan Soto, Mel Ott and more: listen up to see if you agree.
Most people who watch baseball realize that something is wrong, but how can we fix the game in a way that won't ruin what makes it unique? Can traditionalists ever make peace with rule changes? And are the problems even solvable? Join Pesach and Scott as they analyze Theo Epstein's recent appearance on the Bill Simmons Podcast, where he asked a key question which, if understood properly, can make all the difference. The Baseball Rabbi is ready to solve baseball, and all you have to do is listen. (And don't miss our important announcement...) Join the Baseball Rabbi team as a Patreon subscriber! Go to https://www.patreon.com/baseballrabbipodcast for bonus episodes, Baseball Rabbi merch, and more!
When Pesach purchased Bud Selig's memoir, he was ready to spend 336 pages rolling his eyes. Imagine his surprise when he actually (gulp) liked it, thereby completely destroying his own self identity. But that's OK, and he tells Scott that it's actually essential reading for any baseball scholar. They also discuss the increasingly important reality of parity this year, and whether we can expect it to last. And people freaked out over the Baseball Rabbi's making statistical observations last week after just three weeks of baseball. Were they right to be skeptical or were they wrong? Hint: they were wrong. (We'll show you why.) Join the Baseball Rabbi team as a Patreon subscriber! Go to https://www.patreon.com/baseballrabbipodcast for bonus episodes, Baseball Rabbi merch, and more! To purchase Bud Selig's memoir, For the Good of the Game, click here.
With about an eighth of the season behind us, some trends are becoming apparent, like the fact that no one can hit anymore and actually getting on base without hitting a home run is a relic of the past. That may be a small exaggeration, but baseball is changing and the Baseball Rabbi is here to explain what's happening today, and where we may be going tomorrow (goodbye, launch angle, hello small ball!). Are we in a golden age of pitching and defense? Why is the MLB batting average historically low? And what additional metric that almost NO ONE is discussing can explain a lot of what's going on? Plus: why 2020 stats are completely stupid even if we ignore the fact that the season was 60 games long.
Pesach and Scott (with an assist from Moshe Schorr) have a terrific conversation with noted Fangraphs scribe Dan Szymborski about projections (remember, he created ZiPS), the upcoming CBA negotiations, rule changes, narratives for the upcoming season, how he got his job (we know, every listener is probably jealous), the differences between fWAR and bWAR, the place of the Negro Leagues in baseball history, his favorite baseball books, and more. Join the Baseball Rabbi team as a Patreon subscriber! Go to https://www.patreon.com/baseballrabbipodcast for bonus episodes, Baseball Rabbi merch, and more!
Is the American League East the same old story? Contrary to popular belief, there actually is no such thing; the division changes all the time - and the Baseball Rabbi is here to tell you all about it. The Yankees' pitching is great as usual, but there's a consistent flaw that might - might - be related to their inability to win a pennant. The Red Sox actually look pretty good and are rebuilding the team the right way; Toronto already did that, and the time to win is now. The Rays don't look particularly impressive, but we've seen that before and they end up winning anyway. As for Baltimore - they don't look particularly impressive because they are a terrible team. All this plus Aroldis Chapman and his Hall of Fame resume (yup) on this episode of the Baseball Rabbi. Join the Baseball Rabbi team as a Patreon subscriber! Go to https://www.patreon.com/baseballrabbipodcast for bonus episodes, Baseball Rabbi merch, and more!
The National League East looks like baseball's best division; four teams are among baseball's top thirteen, and its worst team may be better than the worst team in any other division. There are plenty of storylines to go around, including a discussion of the stars-and-scrubs Nationals, the pitching-rich Mets (and they can hit, too), the hitting-rich Braves (and they can pitch, too), the surprisingly good looking Phillies (who might be able to take the division), and the not surprisingly terrible Marlins who, as Pesach will tell you, stink. All this and more is inside for lucky Baseball Rabbi consumers, so listen now to become an educated connoisseur of America's national pastime (for now).
(Because of Passover, Pesach and Scott are off this week; they'll be back with the Baseball Rabbi preview of the National League East next week. In the meantime, enjoy this rerelease of the Baseball Rabbi interview with the great Bob Tewksbury.) Bob Tewksbury had a fascinating career, pitching for six teams and becoming the greatest pitcher at preventing walks since the Dead Ball Era. But what he has done since then may be even more fascinating - and Pesach and Scott have lots of questions about his career as a mental skills coordinator for teams like the Red Sox and the Giants. Join the Baseball Rabbi as they discuss Bob's career, his success in helping players like Jon Lester, why David Ortiz was able to play so well in the biggest games, why Joe Torre is his favorite manager ever, and much more. Become a Baseball Rabbi Patreon subscriber, and get bonus episodes, merch, and more! In the latest Patreon bonus episode, you'll hear Bob Tewksbury's stories about Rickey Henderson, Dave Righetti, Ron Guidry, Dave Winfield, Lou Piniella, Whitey Herzog, and more. Go to https://www.patreon.com/baseballrabbipodcast today!
The AL Central is on the rise! The division is becoming one of baseball's most fascinating, and Pesach and Scott are here to tell you exactly what to look for as the 2021 season inches closer and closer. The White Sox might be a notch below the Twins according to projections, but don't be fooled; Chicago is the real team to watch here. Not that the Twins are bad - they're really good - but they have a big problem. The Royals are creeping back toward temporary respectability (emphasis on temporary: this is the opposite of a youth movement), and the Tigers aren't there yet and won't be for a while (theirs is a youth movement - but who said the youths in question are any good?). As for Cleveland? At least the owners will make money. Of course, Pesach has a plan for the Indians and Pirates that would make everyone mad, which probably means that Rob Manfred will try it. Listen, share, and let us know what you think! Join the Baseball Rabbi team as a Patreon subscriber! Go to https://www.patreon.com/baseballrabbipodcast for bonus episodes, Baseball Rabbi merch, and more!
Well, the good news is that someone has to come in first place! When Pesach and Scott look at the National League Central, they see the worst team in baseball, plus four more that would likely come in fourth or fifth place in some of MLB's other divisions. That doesn't mean there aren't storylines and narratives, of course, and the Baseball Rabbi is here to deliver them directly to you door. Nolan Arenado of the Cardinals (Pesach's surprise pick for division winners, by the way) is a total base machine, the Brewers actually have decent pitching (but no hitting), the Cubs actually have potentially decent hitting (but no pitching), the Reds should have been contenders but blew it, and the Pirates shouldn't have been and aren't. And guess what: even if an NL Central team wins 90 games, that won't change the fact that it's probably a mirage. Listen in and let us know if you agree! Join the Baseball Rabbi team as a Patreon subscriber! Go to https://www.patreon.com/baseballrabbipodcast for bonus episodes, Baseball Rabbi merch, and more!
Pesach says that every Major League Baseball season is like a Russian novel, with heroes, villains, storylines, twists, surprises, and the Karamazov brothers (or at least Joe Maddon); and one of the main plotlines will probably take place in the American League West. Will the Angels waste Mike Trout's 30s in the same way they did his 20s, or do they actually have a window open this season? Is Houston still the class of the division? Can the A's continue their annual overachieving ways, or will they fall back to earth? What is the difference between the mediocre Mariners and the middling D-Backs? Is the Rangers' pitching significantly better than their terrible position player core? Answers to all of these quandaries and more are at your fingertips, so press play, sit back, and relax. (And get Scott a band aid, if you have one.) Join the Baseball Rabbi team as a Patreon subscriber! Go to https://www.patreon.com/baseballrabbipodcast for bonus episodes, Baseball Rabbi merch, and more!
After the long offseason break, the Baseball Rabbi is back and grumpier than ever about MLB's strange desire to destroy itself. But before that happens irreversibly, Pesach and Scott joyfully celebrate the National League West and offer storylines and projections - NOT predictions, mind you! - so that you will be an informed baseball consumer. Do the Dodgers have any weaknesses? Can the Padres actually challenge them for division supremacy? Do the Diamondbacks have any exit strategy to prevent them from being stuck in neutral? What are the Giants thinking (an annual question, mind you, that may have no answer)? Can Trevor Story help the Rockies reach surprising heights? (Answer: HAHAHAHAHA no.) And, most pressingly, who will be MLB's Pat Listach in 2021? We know you won't be able to sleep until you get the answer to that one, so listen today and rest easy. Join the Baseball Rabbi team as a Patreon subscriber! Go to https://www.patreon.com/baseballrabbipodcast for bonus episodes, Baseball Rabbi merch, and more!
Join the Baseball Rabbi for a short tribute to the late Henry Aaron. Can anyone really say anything new about Aaron, one of the five greatest players of all time? Is there a way to offer information that is meaningful, yet hasn't been noted among the thousands of words written in the past week? That's a tough assignment, but Pesach and Scott give it their best shot. Get ready to go beyond the home runs, RBIs, and total bases to see Hank Aaron from a perspective that might be even more impressive. Join the Baseball Rabbi team as a Patreon subscriber! Go to https://www.patreon.com/baseballrabbipodcast for bonus episodes, Baseball Rabbi merch, and more!
Bob Tewksbury had a fascinating career, pitching for six teams and becoming the greatest pitcher at preventing walks since the Dead Ball Era. But what he has done since then may be even more fascinating - and Pesach and Scott have lots of questions about his career as a mental skills coordinator for teams like the Red Sox and the Giants. Join the Baseball Rabbi as they discuss Bob's career, his success in helping players like Jon Lester, why David Ortiz was able to play so well in the biggest games, why Joe Torre is his favorite manager ever, and much more. Become a Baseball Rabbi Patreon subscriber, and get bonus episodes, merch, and more! In the latest Patreon bonus episode, you'll hear Bob Tewksbury's stories about Rickey Henderson, Dave Righetti, Ron Guidry, Dave Winfield, Lou Piniella, Whitey Herzog, and more. Go to https://www.patreon.com/baseballrabbipodcast today!
Join Pesach and Scott as they look at the greatness of the late Dick Allen (you won't believe those OPS+ numbers) and discuss why he never got the respect that he deserves - even from Bill James. Join the Baseball Rabbi team as a Patreon subscriber! Go to https://www.patreon.com/baseballrabbipodcast for bonus episodes, Baseball Rabbi merch, and more!
The 1969 Mets - a ninth place team in 1968, and a team which had five 100 loss seasons in the previous seven years - shocked the baseball world and won the World Series. Art Shamsky hit .300 for that team, and is dedicated to keeping the memory of the team and its colorful cast of characters alive. He joins Pesach and Scott for a wide-ranging discussion about his experiences and friendships with Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman, Pete Rose, Tony Perez and others, as well as about the reason for the '69 Mets' enduring appeal. He also talks about his experience as the manager of the short-lived Israel Baseball League Modiin Miracle, and what it taught him about managing. Listen in, you'll love it. Learn more about Art Shamsky, including his experiences with Vada Pinson, Tug McGraw, Reggie Jackson, and Frank Robinson; his experiences in the Deep South in the days of segregation; and his opinion about the '69 Mets' defense and catching. Just go to https://www.patreon.com/baseballrabbipodcast for more.
On November 23rd, Luis Tiant turned 80 years old, and what better way to celebrate than to hear from the man himself in conversation with the Baseball Rabbi! Apart from Tiant's stories and insights, Pesach and Scott discuss his Hall of Fame case, using Catfish Hunter as a fascinating foil; how can two pitchers with almost identical stats have a difference in bWAR of about 25 wins, and a smaller but similar difference on Fangraphs? The answer will provide insight into how WAR actually works. Plus: Pesach demonstrates that the Negro Leagues are, if anything, underrated - and what the various baseball internet sites need to do about it now. (You can watch the full 75 minute interview, where Luis Tiant talks about his unique windup, what it was like to leave the Red Sox and join the hated Yankees, how often he would intentionally hit batters, what should be done to remember the Negro Leagues, which major leaguer never ever cursed - and much more! Just go to https://www.patreon.com/baseballrabbipodcast.)
Everyone knows that Kevin Cash made a terrible mistake by removing Blake Snell in the sixth inning of World Series Game Six... everyone, that is, except for the Baseball Rabbi. Pesach analyzes the decision from two directions: Snell's history of early fatigue, as well as what was happening during the game itself (yes, you'll have to rethink the narrative that he was unhittable through five innings). Meanwhile, stat guru Moshe Schorr joins the podcast to offer a completely different angle which NOBODY else considered, and which raises the question of how much a pitcher's dominance through five innings is predictive of his success during the rest of the game. Join the Baseball Rabbi team as a Patreon subscriber! Go to https://www.patreon.com/baseballrabbipodcast for bonus episodes, Baseball Rabbi merch, and more!
The World Series is taking place at this very moment, and the Baseball Rabbi is back to enlighten you regarding narratives, the broadcast team of Joe Buck and John Smoltz, and everything else you need to be an educated baseball consumer. But the World Series happens (almost) every year; the posting of a new metric on Baseball Reference, cWPA, is a unique occurrence, and it's knocking Scott and Pesach's socks off. Join them as they obsess over what this stat proves, who ends up on the leaderboards, and what tweaks might be necessary in the future. Plus: quantifying where Game Four of the World Series ranks in terms of all-time exciting games. (Is there anything more Baseball Rabbi-ish than quantifying excitement?) Partner with the Baseball Rabbi on Patreon! Go to https://www.patreon.com/baseballrabbipodcast for bonus episodes, merch, and more!
For years Pesach has been expressing his intense dislike of the Miami Marlins; on today's podcast, we find out why. He gives a history of the team, indicating scandal, shell games, and corruption, and shows that the prime losers, of course, are the fans of Miami. But wait, there's more! The Baseball Rabbi offers a preview of Rays-Dodgers (and guesses - no predictions here - that it might be a short series), and shows that the Rays built their team primarily through trades rather than through the draft. And finally: what should the educated baseball fan look for when seeing a batter hit a foul ball? Partner with the Baseball Rabbi on Patreon! Go to https://www.patreon.com/baseballrabbipodcast for bonus episodes, merch, and more!
When Pesach criticized Aaron Boone for his use of Aroldis Chapman in the playoffs against the Rays, he was really using the same theory he developed last year when he criticized A.J. Hinch for his use of relievers like Will Harris in the World Series. Listen to this ten minute flashback and let us know if you agree. Join the Baseball Rabbi team as a Patreon subscriber! Go to https://www.patreon.com/baseballrabbipodcast for bonus episodes, Baseball Rabbi merch, and more!
The late Whitey Ford, who won more games than any other pitcher in Yankee history, is seldom ranked among the very greatest pitchers of all time. Is this fair, or does he deserve more credit? And that famous narrative about manager Stengel's saving Ford for the big games - does that hold water, or is it simply false? Pesach and Scott look at the numbers to uncover the real story. Plus: how Aaron Boone contributed to the Yankees' playoff loss, storylines for the upcoming League Championship Series, and new details in comparing Gibson's best season with those of Pedro and Maddux. Partner with the Baseball Rabbi on Patreon! Go to https://www.patreon.com/baseballrabbipodcast for bonus episodes, merch, and more!
With Bob Gibson's passing last Friday, the world lost one of the greatest - and most interesting - players of all time. In this episode, Scott looks at his amazing career, while Pesach argues that his famous 1968 season with its 1.12 ERA might actually be underrated. They also get into a discussion of Yadier Molina's Hall worthiness, with advanced statistics simultaneously bolstering and harming his chances. Plus: Pesach previews Yankees-Rays, and warns people jumping on the Marlins bandwagon that no matter what happens in the playoffs, the team remains awful. Partner with the Baseball Rabbi on Patreon! Go to https://www.patreon.com/baseballrabbipodcast for bonus episodes, merch, and more!
In this classic offseason wrap-up episode, Pesach Wolicki suggests that World Series winning teams have something in common that belies the common assumption that winning in the playoffs is a roll of the dice. He also gets passionately annoyed about Jacob deGrom's 5th place showing in the MVP race (but not because Christian Yelich was a bad choice), and asks the voters to get their act together. Also, Scott Kahn discusses the Drew Brees of baseball, and an appreciation of Adrian Beltre.
Pesach and Scott continue their entertaining and enlightening conversation with former All Star pitcher Lary Sorensen, which began in episode 87. In this Baseball Rabbi bonus episode, Lary talks about spin rate vs. spin efficiency, rifle spin, and his work as Chief Baseball Officer at F5 sports, the creators of the PitchLogic Ball. (And don't miss his explanation of his title, "Chief Baseball Officer.") Lary also talks about teammates like Rickey Henderson, Robin Yount, Paul Molitor, Sal Bando, Bert Blyleven, Dave Kingman, and more.
Last week Pesach talked about the demise of the Yankees... which aged like month-old milk left in Death Valley. So let's try again: what's the deal with the Yankees? But while Scott and Pesach can laugh at the Yankees, they're extremely irritated at Rob Manfred's plan to maintain this 16-team playoff format into the future. Why will something that is effective in other sports be extraordinarily damaging to baseball? Plus: actual fun in the National League pennant race, and a serious discussion about the relationship between a team's racial attitudes and the city it represents.
The Yankees looked like a team with no weaknesses, a team that might be one of the greatest ever to play. But that was in March; today they look... OK. What went wrong? (No, it's not just injuries.) And what happened to the promise exhibited by Gary Sanchez a few years ago, and what can he do to regain that form? Pesach has a suggestion, so please pass it on when you see Gary. Plus: Scott does a deep dive into the greatest position player season in history, and more on attendance for franchises located in cities without a "baseball tradition." Become a Baseball Rabbi Patron and get bonus episodes, merch, and more! Just go to https://www.patreon.com/baseballrabbipodcast and sign up today!
The trade deadline has come and gone, and the Baseball Rabbi Podcast checks out the difference in strategy between teams like the Padres, the Yankees, and the Blue Jays - and Pesach explains why some seemingly similar teams may be playing for 2020, while others are more concerned about the future. Scott and Pesach also interview former Brewer Lary Sorensen about substance abuse in baseball back in the 1980s, and whether things have changed between then and now. (Don't miss Pesach's gentle questioning of Lary's hitting ability.) Plus: Scott makes a new case for the late Lou Brock.
We have all heard the very sad news that Tom Seaver, one of the greatest pitchers of all time and by all accounts a gentleman and one of the most beloved players in baseball history, passed away yesterday from complications from covid-19 and Lewy Body Dementia at the age of 75. About a year and a half ago, on March 19, 2019, we recorded a segment about Tom Seaver’s career right after we learned that he was no longer making public appearances. In this eight minute clip, The Baseball Rabbi Podcast talks about Seaver’s legacy.
With the baseball season more than halfway finished, it's safe to say that the Pittsburgh Pirates are a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad team - and the tragedy is that this was management's choice. Pesach goes off on a rant about the mismanagement of the Pirates, and how this franchise differs from other currently bad MLB teams. The Baseball Rabbi also looks at the "Extreme Team" American League versus the "Everyone Has a Chance" National League, and more on contextual stolen base value (hello, Bert Campaneris!). Plus: Scott talks about the Mount Rushmore of the NFL and Major League Baseball. What four faces belong? Become a Baseball Rabbi Patreon subscriber by going to https://www.patreon.com/baseballrabbipodcast!
Is there too much disparity between the haves and the have-nots in baseball? And how does MLB compare to other sports in this regard? Listen to this segment from August, 2018, where Scott and Pesach argue about the relative parity in baseball compared to the NBA, NFL, and NHL. (Part two of this discussion will be released next week.)
Stolen bases don't accomplish very much... except when they do. How can we square the mathematical fact that they aren't very valuable, with the historical fact that sometimes they represent the difference between winning and losing? Also: Miguel Cabrera is going to the Hall of Fame, and deservedly so. But we're witnessing his decline, and it's happening fast. Yes, he's old, but what adjustments did he make to compensate, and why aren't they really working? And was his Triple Crown season in 2012 - when Mike Trout was clearly a better player - representative of other Triple Crown seasons, or were other Triple Crown winners in history far and away the best players in the league?
Last week, Pesach demonstrated that almost every pitcher gets worse each time through the batting order, and - now that teams have figured this out - starting pitching may never be the same. But does that mean that the great pitchers' duels are a thing of the past? Does that rule hold true even for the greatest pitchers of all time? Who are the exceptions, and what does that teach us about their greatness? Plus: news and notes about the Dodgers, Mets, Indians, A's, Astros, and Rangers. (Scott provides some notes about the Red Sox, too. The theme: the Baseball Reference World Series projection of 0.5% seems almost impossibly high.)
It's a few weeks into the 60 game season, and certain trends seem to be sticking - not the least that hitters can barely hit (as evidenced by an MLB-wide .231 batting average). Are pitchers that much better, or have managers figured out a better way to use them? Join Pesach and Scott for a deep dive into pitching history, and how we may be seeing the beginning of a new pitching template. Or maybe not; perhaps this is unique to 2020 and won't work with a 25 man roster. Whether you're disturbed, excited, curious, or confused, you don't want to miss this discussion. You may never look at pitching the same way again.
The Marlins are suffering from an outbreak of the coronavirus; Pesach points his finger at Don Mattingly, saying that he should be fired as a result. (And yes, this was discussed on the Baseball Rabbi Discussion Group on Facebook - but Pesach has a lot more information now and thinks it's even more egregious that the media have largely been giving Mattingly a pass.) Meanwhile, a listener asks about Mike Trout's surprising RBI numbers, wondering if this is indicative of any sort of problem in his game. (The answer is interesting even for fans who discount RBIs entirely.) Plus 2020 pitching and hitting trends which indicate the direction baseball is headed.
Baseball is back (today, at least), and a fun opening weekend gave Pesach a list of news and notes that just might be storylines for the upcoming season. But Scott is less excited, and thinks that the players should act like Rembrandt (Pesach naturally thinks that this is a bad analogy - whatever it means - and the players are doing just great). Plus: what the Mookie Betts extention means about free agency, why Betts is the greatest outfielder in baseball by far, and thoughts on the expanded playoffs.
Cole Hamels looked like he was finished in July, 2018. Then he was traded to the Cubs, and he suddenly started pitching like a star. What happened? Who could have possibly predicted this turnaround? Pesach Wolicki, that's who - and you can hear it in this nine minute flashback episode from August, 2018.
The 2020 season is about to begin, and things look a bit different from what we anticipated when we had our season preview episodes back in March. Pesach will help you understand what you need to know about the sixty game season and the unusual schedule that's coming up. Stat Guru Moshe Schorr joins us in order to discuss whether catching foul tips actually is a skill (you will recall that Jason Kendall said definitively that it is not). And for those who were wondering, Jim Thome isn't as bad a home run hitter as Jimmie Foxx. Glad we cleared that up. For more details, you gotta listen.