The most recent of my “Who Was Better” polls on Twitter featured Dale Murphy and Ken Singleton, and while it drew only a modicum of interest — only 95 people cast votes — the results were nonetheless telling. Murphy won in resounding fashion — 76.8% to Singleton’s 23.2% — and it’s unlikely that the percentages would have been markedly different with a more-robust sample size. Murphy is a two-time MVP who made seven All-Star teams and was once on a Hall of Fame trajectory. Singleton made three All-Star teams and received nary a vote in his one year on the ballot.
But was Murphy actually better than the less-ballyhooed Singleton, who broke into the big leagues with the New York Mets before excelling with the Montreal Expos and the Baltimore Orioles? Let’s look at a few of their numbers, keeping in mind that Murphy played in 2,180 games, Singleton in 2.082 games.
Murphy: .265/.346/.469, 2,111 hits, 398 HR, .357 wOBA, 119 wRC+, 44.3 WAR.
Singleton: .282/.388/.436, 2,029 hits, 246 HR,.371 wOBA, 134 wRC+, 44.4 WAR.
Peaks matter, so here is the best eight-year stretch for both: Read the rest of this entry »
Ben Lindbergh, Meg Rowley, and FanGraphs writer Ben Clemens banter about a few details of MLB’s latest labor proposal to the players, the conclusion of and possible confounding factors behind a Bill James study about how switching teams affects a player’s chances of Hall of Fame induction, another historic hire of a woman in baseball, and a prospective “Lab League” logo, then (22:52) extend a cherished podcast tradition by conducting the ninth annual Effectively Wild Minor League Free Agent Draft, in which they select 10 minor league free agents each and compete to see whose roster will accumulate the most combined MLB playing time in 2021.
Audio intro: Ronnie Spector, “Try Some, Buy Some”
Audio outro: The Bens, “Stop!”
Link to CBA proposal details
Link to J.J. Cooper on the prospect proposal
Link to Bill James HoF study
Link to article about Red Sox hiring
Link to Lab League logo
Link to revamped Lab League logo
Link to MLB “duck” logo
Link to list of MiLB free agents
Link to Jeff on Shoemaker
Link to Bannister on Hill
Link to Castellani delivery
Link to Ben on pitcher deception
Link to EW competitions and drafts
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Effectively Wild Wiki
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This week’s Chin Music is a little bit late but it’s for a good reason, as we finally had baseball news on Thursday with Major League Baseball and the MLBPA meeting for the first time since the lockout began six weeks ago. To discuss said news, I’m joined by the inimitable Jeff Passan of ESPN. We begin by spending over an hour discussing what happened yesterday, how we got to this point, and where we go from here. Then it’s your emails on how the union works, teams trading away players they didn’t mean to, and diversity in baseball hiring, followed by some discussion of the HBO mini-series Station Eleven and the exceptionally pleasant video game experience that is Lake. As always, we hope you enjoy, and thank you for listening.
Music by Nervous Curtains.
Have a question you’d like answered on the show? Ask us anything at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can subscribe to the podcast via iTunes/Apple Podcasts or Spotify.
Warning One: While ostensibly a podcast about baseball, these conversations often veer into other subjects.
Warning Two: There is explicit language.
Run Time: 2:07:31.
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“Just platoon it.” Whenever a team has a weak spot in their lineup, that’s the first thing I think of. Limp left field production? Just sprinkle some platoon on it, and you could be living large. Second base got you down? You’re just one platoon away from competence, or even excellence if you play your cards right. Second base and left field are bad? Bam, platoon them both!
It isn’t actually that easy. If you want to deploy a platoon in the majors (as opposed to in theory, my favorite place to deploy platoons), you have to wrangle with reality, which is notoriously unforgiving. In that vein, this is an article I’m writing to remind myself how hard it is to run multiple platoons at once. It’s not necessarily a reason not to platoon. It’s not even a critique of platooning. It’s just that in my head, and potentially in yours, teams are passing up platoon spots left and right. Here are some reasons why that isn’t true.
Read the rest of this entry »
While MLB’s lockout means baseball in the United States has descended to the is-Jon-Lester-a-Hall-of-Famer level of purgatory, the KBO has been going swimmingly. As of this writing, all available free agents have signed, and only one team, the Doosan Bears, is without a third foreign player on its roster. And with the chances of a blockbuster trade extremely slim, I thought now would be a good time to recap what happened in the KBO this winter.
I’m doing this in order of the regular season standings, so Part 1 will discuss 2021’s top five teams, while Part 2 will deal with the remaining five. Without further ado, here’s the latest news on baseball in Korea:
As defending champions, the Wiz only needed to maintain a certain amount of talent on their roster to have another shot at contending – and that’s exactly what they’ve accomplished. William Cuevas 쿠에바스 and Odrisamer Despaigne 데스파이네 both agreed to return on one-year deals, which is great news for the Wiz: Their rotation last season ranked first in ERA and innings pitched by a wide margin. Notably, Despaigne has tossed 396.1 innings since joining the Wiz in 2020, meaning even if he’s a bit rustier in 2022, he’ll still anchor what projects to be a deep staff.
Replacing Jared Hoying 호잉 in the outfield is Henry Ramos, who most recently appeared in 18 games for the Arizona Diamondbacks, hitting for a paltry 48 wRC+ before getting outrighted from the 40-man roster in October. But he absolutely raked in Triple-A (.371/.439/.582), and if there’s anything we’ve learned from his predecessors, it’s that minor league stats can be a reliable predictor of KBO success. Read the rest of this entry »
Elijah Dunham had a promising first professional season in the New York Yankees system. Signed as a non-drafted free agent following 2020’s COVID-shortened five-round draft, the 23-year-old Indiana University product slashed .263/.362/.463 with 13 home runs in 395 plate appearances between Low-A Tampa and High-A Hudson Valley. He proceeded to rake in the Arizona Fall League. In 101 plate appearances with the Surprise Saguaros, the left-handed hitting Dunham went deep twice while slashing a stand-up-and-take-notice .357/.465/.571.
Dunham — an Honorable Mention on our newly-released Yankees Top Prospects list — discussed his disappointing draft-day experience, and the developmental strides he’s made since entering pro ball, late in the Arizona Fall League season.
David Laurila: What were your conversations with teams leading into the draft?
Elijah Dunham: “A handful of [scouts] told me they were probably going to take me in the fourth or the fifth. My agent thought I was probably going to go somewhere in the fifth. But then, when draft day rolled around, he called and said ‘Hey, I think we fell out.’ In my mind, I was like, ‘There’s no way.’ But it happened.”
Laurila: Did your agent get calls on draft day, asking if you’d sign for X amount if you were taken in whatever round?
Dunham: “I didn’t even talk to my agent about it, because I was pretty distraught. But I had one call come straight to me, from the area scout, with their pick coming up. He asked if I’d take so-and-so amount, and I said, ‘Yeah, definitely.’ It just never happened.”
Laurila: Which team was that? Read the rest of this entry »
Below is an analysis of the prospects in the farm system of the New York Yankees. Scouting reports were compiled with information provided by industry sources as well as our own observations. This is the second year we’re delineating between two anticipated relief roles, the abbreviations for which you’ll see in the “position” column below: MIRP for multi-inning relief pitchers, and SIRP for single-inning relief pitchers.
A quick overview of what FV (Future Value) means can be found here. A much deeper overview can be found here.
All of the numbered prospects below also appear on The Board, a resource the site offers featuring sortable scouting information for every organization. It has more details than this article and integrates every team’s list so readers can compare prospects across farm systems. It can be found here. Read the rest of this entry »
This week on the show, David Laurila is joined by Dan Dickerson, radio voice of the Detroit Tigers who last joined us back in episode 892, and Don Gonyea, a long-time political correspondent for National Public Radio and a diehard Tigers fan in his own right.
Dan and Don share stories of their decades-long friendship, as well as the baseball they have followed and covered. They reminisce about Mark Fidrych and “the summer of The Bird,” getting to know the legendary Ernie Harwell, following sports and meeting fans while working around the globe, and the fateful day of Armando Galarraga’s near-perfect game.
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Don’t hesitate to direct pod-related correspondence to @dhhiggins on Twitter.
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Audio after the jump. (Approximate 45 minute play time.)
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Please note, this posting contains three positions.
The Oakland A’s are hiring for a full-time Major League Video Assistant to primarily assist Major League Video Department. This position will also provide support for Advance Scouting and Research & Analytics departments. The ideal candidate will seamlessly integrate into the video process, aiding the coaching and video support staff in pre-game and game responsibilities. This position will be primarily based out of Oakland, CA. Read the rest of this entry »
Ben Lindbergh and Meg Rowley banter about a bargaining meeting between MLB and the MLBPA that reportedly produced little progress toward a deal, the odds of a punctual start to the season, the retirement of Jon Lester and their lasting fascination with his pickoff-throw yips, a familiarity penalty for relievers who face the same team multiple times within a postseason series, what the mysteriously rapid decline of Jimmie Foxx says about the value of injury information that we generally lack, and the Atlantic League mound reverting to 60 feet, six inches, then answer listener emails about an NFL tie scenario and the zombie runner, active players as GMs, how long the podcast (and MLB) could survive a lockout, why the best catchers’ career WARs aren’t higher, whether player-managers could ever make a comeback, Shohei Ohtani’s satisfaction with the state of the sport, and changing the dimensions of a ballpark (like Camden Yards) to favor a certain group of players.
Audio intro: PUP, “Familiar Patterns”
Audio outro: The Posies, “Throwaway”
Link to CBA proposal details
Link to Jeff Sullivan on Lester
Link to August Fagerstrom on Lester
Link to Ben on Lester
Link to Lester’s bounce pass
Link to old Lester episodes
Link to old news Facebook group thread
Link to postseason reliever research
Link to regular-season reliever research
Link to Ben on postseason SP familiarity
Link to Pages from Baseball’s Past
Link to Craig Wright’s first Foxx story
Link to Craig’s second Foxx story
Link to study on injuries and exit velo
Link to Atlantic League press release
Link to story on the almost-tie scenario
Link to Barnwell on the almost-tie
Link to Rob Mahoney on the Lakers
Link to article about LeBron as GM
Link to Jeff on a baseball LeBron
Link to oral history of Verlander trade
Link to Emma on the Players’ League
Link catcher JAWS page
Link to Ben on catcher career standards
Link to Ohtani profile
Link to Ohtani photo thread
Link to Ohtani “10 Essentials” video
Link to story on Orioles fence move
Link to analysis of Orioles fence move
Link to Statcast park factors
Link to story on Veeck moving fences
Link to story on White Sox field move
Link to story on home run robberies
Link to story on ballpark homogenization
Link to “burn the boats” story