Episode 73: Jays, Jews, and a Grandma

Welcome to Barbecast 73! In the spirit of Yom Kippur, we’re atoning for the sins of the previous 72 Barbecasts with two special guests and an inordinate amount of actual baseball talk. Our first special guest this week (at 19:55) is Cardinals minor league pitcher Kyle Grana. (It’s Gran-uh, not Grahn-uh. alternatively: Kyle Grandma).We talked to Kyle about how he went from being an undrafted D-II starter to a shutdown reliever with two full seasons of an ERA under 1.00 in the minors. Our second special guest (at 58:10) is Andrew Stoeten, Blue Jays ambassador to the United States of America. We talked to Andrew about his beloved Jays as they march towards the postseason for the first time in over 20 years. The Jays are awesome! After our special guests (at 1:33:04), another B-Ref Battle took place and included an instant classic in the Agamemnon Baca category and some prominent religious figures. Tales from Logdog with Lana Berry (at 1:56:30) reached an all-time high in the Ridiculous Recording Conditions category as the 8/9-hour time difference afforded us the ability to keep this god damn segment alive. We concluded with a brief draft of our favorite Yogi Berra quotes and some exciting general BBQ news. Thanks for listening <3

Music: First Place – Taylor Swift

IMPORTANT LINKS:

iTunes link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/cespedes-family-barbecue-cespedes/id683535357

Link to all previous podcasts: http://cespedesfamilybarbecue.com/the-barbecast-cfb-podcast/

Click here for the B-Ref Battle Database of Amazing Names!

Tweeterz: https://twitter.com/CespedesBBQ

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Episode 72: Poo Slinger’s Paradise

animals being dicks animated GIF

Welcome to Barbecast 72! Our special guest this week (at 28:45) is Rangers prospect and Integalactic Defender of Unpopular Opinions, Mike Matuella. Mike was the Rangers’ third round pick in the 2015 Draft out of Duke University just a couple months after getting Tommy John Surgery like all the other cool kids. We talked to Mike about a whole host of topics tangentially related to baseball, including:

  • growing up in the DC area and the kind of pitcher he was in high school
  • choosing Duke over Maryland
  • going from throwing 88 to throwing 98 in two years
  • pitching in the ACC
  • if Mike ever wishes he was a poo slinger like Jake
  • getting Tommy John before getting drafted
  • rehab getting him into the Best Shape of His Life
  • goals for the 2016 season
  • Mike’s vehement defense of Nickelback as Not The Worst Band In the World
  • a strong argument against the cult-like nature of Chipotle
  • …and even more controversial opinions on nonsensical crap that you rarely hear from professional baseball players

Mike was great! Follow him on Twitter @mikematch30 for more scorching hot takes. After Mike (at 1:22:50), another B-Ref Battle commenced which included one of the more incomprehensible names we’ve ever heard as well as an incredible Honus Wagner story. Next (at 1:46:40), Tales from Logdog with Lana Berry asked HOW MANY FINGERS?!?! We concluded (at 1:53:57) with some thoughts on our inaugural baseball experiences here in Europe: Jake watching actual baseball in London, and my inexplicable sighting of a Billy Koch painting at a Copenahagen pub. Thanks for listening <3

Music: Nickelback (Blame Mike)

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IMPORTANT LINKS:

iTunes link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/cespedes-family-barbecue-cespedes/id683535357

Link to all previous podcasts: http://cespedesfamilybarbecue.com/the-barbecast-cfb-podcast/

Tweeterz: https://twitter.com/CespedesBBQ

Click here to join our Facebook group!

Click here for the RSS feed

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Exploring Old Man Pitcher Dingers

tim-hudson-giants-springtraining-throwing-bullpen
(Photo from AP)

Being old is hard. I can’t tell you that from personal experience, I’m only 20 years old, but I’ve heard from people older than myself that being old can suck. You feel tired all the time, your body starts to deteriorate, and your mind must cope with the psychological tsunami of your past mistakes and the emotional hurricane that is your impending death.

It’s also harder to do things when you are old. Driving gets harder, working out gets harder, sex gets harder… or so I’ve heard. Another thing that is hard to do when you are old is hit home runs. It’s even harder to hit home runs if your job is not to hit home runs. Actually, it’s almost impossible to hit home runs in general. Most of history’s greatest figures, legends as Nelson Mandela, Joan of Arc, and Courtney Cox, have never hit home runs.

Last night Tim Hudson overcame barriers of age and ability to become the 37th pitcher over the age of 40 to homer in a MLB game.

Like Joan of Arc, Tim Hudson is not known for his home run hitting ability. Before last night Hudson had hit only one home run since 2003. But in one shining moment that put father time in his place, Hudson took a straight, 92 MPH fastball from Chase Anderson over the left field fence for an over-the-fence-ball.

Here are some fun stats about old pitcher home runs:

  • Hudson became the first pitcher over the age of 40 to dinger since Woody Williams did it in 2007.
  • Hudson also became the second oldest Giants pitcher to homer. The oldest? A 41-year old STEVE CARLTON hit one out in 1986, his only season in San Francisco.
  • Since the addition of the DH in 1973, only eight pitchers over 40 have homered. Only Gaylord Perry did it twice. The rest of the names are your traditional old man hurlers: Woody Williams, Randy Johnson, Steve Carlton, Phil Niekro, Jim Kaat, Nolan Ryan, and Danny Darwin. (full disclosure: I had no idea who Danny Darwin was. Like I mentioned before, I’m 20).

 

Lets Talk About Warren Spahn

The pitcher over 40 with the most homers? That would be Braves legend Warren Spahn. After his 40th birthday Spahn dingered an astonishing nine times over his last four seasons.

Spahns elderly power outburst didn’t come out of nowhere. He finished his career with a total of 35 home runs, more than Ozzie Smith.

Those nine post-40 homers puts Spahn 51st amongst all players for the most homers over 40. That’s the same number as B.J. Surhoff, one more than Dave Parker,nine more than Joan of Arc, and three more than Pete Rose. Pete Rose! Pete Rose played until he was 67!

Huzzah to old baseball players!

Huzzah to the pitcher hitting!

Huzzah to Tim Hudson and Warren Spahn!

Huzzah to Joan of Arc, bad baseball player!

 

(All stats courtesy of the Baseball Reference Play Index)

 

How Low Can Yo Go

Mets_Late_823_t650(Photo via AP)

Yoenis Cespedes is really really good at baseball. If you are reading this post, that’s most likely something you already know. At this point, it’s probably fair to say he’s established himself as a top 10 outfielder in all of baseball. It’s also fair to say that Yoenis is not the best player in baseball. In my opinion, he’s definitely the most entertaining, but he’s almost certainly not “the best.”

It’s really hard to be the best at any one thing. Kevin Durant is unfathomably talented at basketball, yet he is not the best. The dude who always finishes second to Usain Bolt is quite possibly one of the best athletes in the world. And even Avril Lavigne, who to her credit has had an incredibly successful career, still comes up short when compared to the grace and brilliance of Kelly Clarkson.

So while it’s understandable that Yoenis isn’t the best at all of the baseball, it is worth pointing out and consequently celebrating that he is the best at one particular aspect of the game. No, I’m not talking about his insanely strong arm (Aaron Hicks probably has the best arm, like I said it’s hard to be the best), and I’m not talking about his workout abilities (though Yoenis is the best at this as well). This season at least, Yoenis has been the best in all of baseball at hitting the low pitch.

Traditionally, most power hitters like the ball up in the zone. It’s easier to elevate and get loft on a pitch that’s up in the zone. Think Brian Dozier, Albert Pujols, Bryce Harper. These dudes succeed by getting their barrel under pitches and driving the ball out. Not everyone is like this of course, there’s the whole group of power guys who like the ball down. Think Anthony Rizzo, Carlos Gonzalez, and most strikingly, Yoenis.

If you are a proponent of traditional stats (which is fine by me, just don’t expect to ever run a baseball team) you’ll be happy to know that Yoenis leads all hitters in extra base hits on low pitches with 42. He also leads all hitters in total hits on low with 105, ten more than the next guy. Now you know how to explain how Yoenis is good at hitting the low pitch to your grandfather, who is most likely a Mets fan because 90% of all American grandfathers are Mets fans. In his day, they didn’t need stuff wRC+ and VORP, just beer. Just beer and greenies and a cigarette. That’s what the past was like kids…

For those of you with a bit more statistical acumen, get a load of this next bit. Exit velocity is a pretty good way to gage a player’s overall hitting ability. As a general rule, if you hit the ball hard good things will happen. This season Yoenis has hit the ball hard, and good things have happened. If you hit the ball hard, maybe you too can get traded to the Mets one day.

Here’s how good Yoenis has been at crushing the low pitch. The dude leads all players in MLB on balls low pitches with an exit velo over 100 MPH. He’s done that 89 times, 12 more than second place Mike Trout. Here’s a heat map of all of the balls Yoenis has hit with an exit velocity over 100.

Yoenis Cespedes

No that’s not a cat scan, that’s a .883 OPS.

Yoenis’ success at hitting the low ball has translated well to his life off the field as well. Last offseason Yoenis picked up golf for the first time and began to play regularly. He now plays on almost every single off day and recently shot a 74. A 74! Hello PGA Pro-Am. Like I said, the dude likes the ball low.

 

(As usual, all dope statistics found on baseballsavant.com)

 

Episode 71: Minor League Moses

 

Welcome to Barbecast 71! Our special guest this week (at 24:55) is Ben Hill, minor league roadtrip aficianado and writer for MiLB.com. It’s Ben’s job to drive around America and document the ins and outs of minor league teams, from the on-field promotions to the weirdest ballpark food, and everything in between. It’s basically the coolest job in the world (to people like us) so we asked him a bunch of fun experiences about what it’s been like for the past five years gallivanting around the country watching minor league baseball. Ben’s great! After Ben (at 1:05:15), yet another B-Ref Battle took place and included some guys from the 1850’s LOL THAT IS SO RIDICULOUSLY LONG AGO. After B-Ref, we called Lana while she was at the Padres/Dodgers game and interrupted her pleasant afternoon. Tales from Logdog, everybody! We concluded with some updates our life in Europe (including Jake’s internship with Manchester City FC), and a look at the week ahead. Thanks for listening <3

Music: Corey Feldman performing at a State College Spikes game?!?!?!

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IMPORTANT LINKS:

iTunes link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/cespedes-family-barbecue-cespedes/id683535357

Link to all previous podcasts: http://cespedesfamilybarbecue.com/the-barbecast-cfb-podcast/

Tweeterz: https://twitter.com/CespedesBBQ

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Episode 70: Pacey Wingers and The Cool Kind of Girl Scout

Welcome to Barbecast 70! You thought you’d get a break from this podcast with us being in Europe. You thought wrong. All the way from Manchester, England and Copenhagen, Denmark, it’s a brand new Barbecast with two special guests and all the usual fun we squeeze into these longform audio ramblings. Our first special guest this week (at 16:20) is Carson Cistulli, fringe-prospect fanatic and renaissance man over at FanGraphs and The New Enthusiast. Carson also has experience living in a European country during baseball season, so we asked him for advice on how to adjust to being surrounded by people that couldn’t care less about the beisbol. We also talked about two of Carson’s favorite fringe-prospects, Willians Astudillo and Blayne Weller, and even squeezed in some Danish soccer talk as well. Our second special guest this week (at 1:03:30) is a genuine real-life friend of the BBQ and Generally Awesome Person Kinza Baad! Kinza plays softball at the University of Virginia and spent this summer scouting the Cape Cod League for a major league baseball team. We asked about her experience as the incredibly rare female scout and her advice for girls that want to get into that part of the game. We also talked about softball because we also love softball now. After Kinza (at 1:26:25), we participated in yet another B-Ref Battle of baffling baseball names. Next (1:47:00), Tales from Logdog with Lana Berry covered Lana’s somewhat timid excitement for football season (sorry for the shitty audio here — Lana is so damn far away). We concluded (at 1:52:35) with some observations on our time in Europe thus far and what you can expect from us going forward this semester. Thanks for listening <3

Music: The Countries of the World (Europe edition)!

Please rate and review us on iTunes! We’d really appreciate it!

IMPORTANT LINKS:

iTunes link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/cespedes-family-barbecue-cespedes/id683535357

Link to all previous podcasts: http://cespedesfamilybarbecue.com/the-barbecast-cfb-podcast/

Tweeterz: https://twitter.com/CespedesBBQ

Click here to join our Facebook group!

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