Author Archive

FanGraphs Audio: Jonathan Perrin Pushes for Change

Episode 933

In anticipation of the trade deadline, FanGraphs Audio arrives early this week, featuring some transaction predictions as well as a conversation with a former player looking to help make things better for the next generation.

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FanGraphs Audio: Ben Nicholson-Smith on the Buying Blue Jays

Episode 932

On this week’s show, we dive deep on Canada’s team before a chat about the Trade Value series and more.

  • At the top of the program, David Laurila is joined by Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet to weigh in on the Toronto Blue Jays, who are contending for a playoff spot in the competitive AL East. David and Ben discuss the big contributions the team has gotten from players like Robbie Ray, Alek Manoah, and Marcus Semien, and how Toronto is still waiting to see more from free agent signing George Springer. Ben feels good about the Blue Jays being buyers at the deadline, in large part thanks to the undeniable Vladimir Guerrero Jr., who continues to lead the club with his meteoric rise. [2:36]
  • After that, Ben Clemens and Eric Longenhagen have an extended chat to catch up on what they’ve been working on. Eric is on the East Coast after having just been in Denver for the Futures Game, while Ben has been working hard with Kevin Goldstein to attempt to rank the best players in baseball by their trade value. Ben and Eric discuss this challenge and the nuances involved in compiling the list, including different philosophies for how to approach and consider the rankings. The duo talk about specific players who were ranked as part of the exercise, including Jack Flaherty, Mookie Betts, and Freddy Peralta, before getting into the upcoming trade deadline and what impact 40-man roster crunch could have on the deals made. Finally, the pair reflect on the awkward new timing of the draft and the effects it could have. [27:00]

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FanGraphs Audio: Emily Messina and Emma Tiedemann Call From Double-A

Episode 931

On this edition of FanGraphs Audio, we are joined by a pair of broadcasters from the Double-A Northeast league before a discussion about this week’s All-Star festivities.

  • To start things off, David Laurila welcomes Emily Messina, broadcast and media manager for the Reading Fightin’ Phils, and Emma Tiedemann, director of broadcasting and voice of the Portland Sea Dogs. The duo share the stories of their respective backgrounds and roads to calling games at the minor league level, as well as what a day in the life looks like for their positions now. Emily and Emma also get a chance to talk about some of the most impressive prospects on their squads, including Triston Casas, Ethan Lindow, and Grant Williams, as well as some of their favorite major league stars. [2:35]
  • In the second segment, Jay Jaffe and Dan Szymborski get together to chat about the Home Run Derby and the All-Star Game. Jay recently wrote about the derby, and he and Dan are encouraged by some of the format changes that have turned it into a more entertaining event. The pair also discuss Joey Gallo, who Jay also wrote about recently, and how he could have a big second half ahead of him — as well as a possible trade. [26:51]

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FanGraphs Audio: Bruce Miles and Mark Gonzales Talk Chicago Baseball

Episode 930

This week on FanGraphs Audio, we talk to a pair of scribes about the Chicago baseball scene before digging into the upcoming draft.

  • At the top of the show, David Laurila welcomes Bruce Miles and Mark Gonzales to discuss their many years of covering the Cubs, White Sox, and Chicago sports more generally. The trio discuss the reputations surrounding the fans of the two teams, as well as their differences in managers and owners. Bruce and Mark also share stories of covering particularly memorable managers like Lou Piniella, Ozzie Guillen, and Joe Maddon. They also talk about the great on-air talent covering the Cubs and White Sox right now, as well as what it’s like to be confronted by players who you wrote about critically. [2:36]
  • After that, Ben Clemens is joined by Kevin Goldstein to discuss the amateur draft, which begins Sunday. Kevin recently wrote about what goes on in draft rooms and shares his insight into the all-hands-on-deck chaos teams experience this time of year. Ben and Kevin also discuss courtesy picks, the importance of the defensive spectrum for a player’s future, and how a baseball draft is about both talent and value. The duo also touch on this week’s episode of Chin Music, which features plenty of additional draft content and experts. [35:09]

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FanGraphs Audio: Janson Junk and Clayton Richard Talk Pitch Science

Episode 929

On this week’s show, David Laurila has a pair of interviews with pitchers eager to discuss the nitty gritty of their craft.

  • In the first half, David welcomes Janson Junk, a 22nd-rounder in the Yankees system who is currently dominating Double-A. The pair talk about his hot stretch and what got him there, including being an early adopter of Driveline research. Junk details each of his pitches and the design work he’s done on them, such as improvements to his consistency, pitch shapes, and strategy. They also discuss Junk’s college teammate Tarik Skubal, who is now in the Tigers rotation. [2:32]
  • After that, David is joined by former major leaguer Clayton Richard to talk about the many things about pitching he wishes he knew when he debuted. The left-hander is currently focused on his children and youth coaching, but he has done a lot of pitching research in recent years. David and Richard also discuss pitching with conviction, how Mark Buehrle would have felt about modern pitching analytics, and Richard’s possible path as a quarterback. [18:09]

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FanGraphs Audio: Eric Longenhagen and Dan Szymborski Do Frisk Assessment

Episode 928

This week on the podcast, Eric Longenhagen and Dan Szymborski go the distance to discuss the wild state of affairs in baseball.

The pair begin by touching on the latest sticky substance drama, including some frisky business now that on-field checks have begun. Max Scherzer and Sergio Romo were most visibly unhappy, and Eric and Dan agree that the way things have been handled has resulted in a not-great look for baseball.

Following that, they dive into the wonderful world of Wander Franco’s long-anticipated debut. The game’s top prospect likely has a solid career ahead of him, but where does he compare to other former No. 1s who have recently debuted? Eric and Dan also go into how Willy Adames is doing just fine in Milwaukee while Keston Hiura is not.

Finally, the duo talks about continuing issues across the minor leagues before considering some doomsday scenarios for the Mets.

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FanGraphs Audio: Zack Bayrouty and Alex Cohen Share Road Stories

Episode 927

On this week’s show, we get to hear true tales from the minor league experience. But first, we must address the sticky elephant in the room.

  • We begin with Eric Longenhagen and Ben Clemens catching up on baseball happenings and with each other. What should the struggling Twins and D-backs do with the rest of their seasons, and why are balks still a complete mystery? Eric also provides an update on prospect lists and the draft before he and Ben get into the nuances of the foreign substances controversy and how we cover it. [3:03]
  • After that, David Laurila is joined by Zack Bayrouty, broadcaster for the Reno Aces, and Alex Cohen, voice of the Iowa Cubs, to check in on minor league life. Zack shares the story of the 21-16 game he recently survived calling, while Alex tells us about the time he was on House Hunters. The trio also discusses the lineage of broadcasters that goes through Pawtucket before diving into gritty stories from the road, including sketchy hotels, bus breakdowns, and a bath gone very awry. [44:20]

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FanGraphs Audio: Book Club With Tim Neverett and Dan Epstein

Episode 926

On this edition of FanGraphs Audio, David Laurila is joined by a pair of authors from different parts of the baseball world to talk about their work and the game.

  • First, David welcomes Dodgers broadcaster Tim Neverett to the program. Tim recently wrote COVID Curveball, a book about the Dodgers’ strange 2020 championship season. David asks him about the challenges of the unique experience and Tim shares tales about players like Justin Turner, Kenley Jansen, and David Price, as well as what it was like to work in the Boston and Pittsburgh organizations before ending up with Los Angeles. Finally, Tim breaks the first rule of Joe Kelly Fight Club. [2:09]
  • In the second half, David talks to writer Dan Epstein about his latest book, The Captain & Me: On and Off the Field with Thurman Munson, which he co-wrote with Munson’s teammate, Ron Blomberg. David and Dan talk about the career, life, and legacy of the Yankee captain, what it was like to write the book with Blomberg, and some of Dan’s previous works. David and Dan also dive into the long relationship between baseball and music, how ballplayers always seem to want to be musicians (and vice versa), and give a shoutout to The Baseball Project. [21:01]

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FanGraphs Audio: Dan Szymborski and Ben Clemens Analyze “Some Baseball”

Episode 925

On this week’s show, Dan Szymborski and Ben Clemens have an extended chat about baseball happenings before eventually going a little off-topic.

The pair discuss what is going on with the surprising San Francisco Giants, as the club exceeds expectations and tries to make the postseason in a very competitive NL West. Dan and Ben look into what is fueling the Giants’ success and whether they should go all in this summer.

They also contemplate a revitalized Kris Bryant and Javier Báez leading the first-place Cubs, whether Tyler O’Neill can keep it up, and the truly incredible Jacob deGrom, who is trying to make history. Ben and Dan also consider intentionally walking the bases loaded and how early you could pinch-hit for your starting pitcher.

Finally, we hear about the legends of Jerry Wombat and Johan Santa before Dan educates Ben on the official drinks that go along with the most famous horse races.

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FanGraphs Audio: Kris Atteberry and Jared Sandler Issue Grades

Episode 924

This week on FanGraphs Audio, we ask a pair of broadcasters to evaluate the performance of their clubs before welcoming a new contributor to the pod.

  • To start things off, David Laurila welcomes Kris Atteberry, broadcaster for the Minnesota Twins, and Jared Sandler, broadcaster for the Texas Rangers. David asks Kris and Jared to judge their teams based on how they’ve done this year, keeping in mind that preseason expectations certainly affect the grading curve. They talk about Franmil Reyes’s batting line vs. Kenta Maeda, Adolis García’s wrestling career in Cuba, and Isiah Kiner-Falefa playing with motivation — and backing it up. They also discuss how easy it is to root for Kyle Gibson before considering the problems created by Willians Astudillo’s incredible contact skills and if it is possible to not strike out enough as a batter. [2:39]
  • In the second segment, Ben Clemens is joined by Justin Choi to discuss some of their recent articles at FanGraphs. Ben keeps researching sliders in The Shadow Zone, while Justin has taken a closer look at Bryan Shaw‘s pitch mix. Also, what is fueling Adrian Houser’s success? And what is Hyun Jin Ryu doing differently this year? Finally, Ben and Justin consider the merits of a pitcher having a velocity differential versus a variety of velocities. [36:28]

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