Episode 94: The Carbecast

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Oh golly. A wild barbecast appeared! No, we’re not playing Pokemon Go, but we did manage to scrounge up a podcast for you fine folks.

For those of you that don’t know we’ve been on the road writing for MLB.com for the last 3 weeks or so. Our trip is nearing its conclusion we thought that we’d kill some time driving thru Kansas (holy crap Kansas is enormous and flat) reminiscing about the best moments of the trip thus far. We each drafted five of our favorite moments from our time on the road, but we discussed some other stuff beyond that as well. Some of what we talked about has been posted/tweeted about, while some of the other draft picks can definitely be classified as #EXCLUSIVECONTENT.

Hear us talk about…

-Interviewing Dansby Swanson

-The Ty Cobb Museum

-Getting dunked on by Jeff Hoffman

-Yoan Moncada in a virtual reality headset

-AND MUCH MUCH MORE!!

You can find all of our trip entries on Cut4 right here: http://m.mlb.com/cutfour/2016/06/24/185916752/the-cut4-minor-league-road-trip-your-day-to-day-guide

The B-Ref Battle (which we actually didn’t do this time) is brought to you by Baseball-Reference. Use the coupon code “bbq” for $6 off a one-year subscription to the Play Index, the essential tool for statistical baseball research. Click here to order your Play Index now!

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

IMPORTANT LINKS:

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

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CFBBQ Free Agent Tracker

For an introduction and explanation for what this stupid thing is, click here.

10:00 AM EST – November 9th, 2015: What is Dave Dombrowski Running From?!?

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So we were totally planning on making all these rumors up, but it looks like the first piece of news on the Free Agent Tracker is actually real?!? As first reported by Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, Dave Dombrowski, Boston’s new President of Baseball Ops, went for a run this morning. The distance, pace, and incline of Mr. Dombrowski’s  jog have not yet been confirmed. Also yet to be confirmed are the contents of Dombrowski’s so-called “Running Jamz” playlist.

We’ll update you on this situation as we hear more, but it’s good to know that an aging roster, bloated contracts, and a frustrated owner aren’t the only things Dombrowski is running from.

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The CFBBQ Free Agent Tracker: An Introduction

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Free agency is upon us, which means it’s time to get out your frying pan, take off your clothes, and throw those ramen noodles in the trash because the Hot Stove is heating up.

Many of the internet’s top baseball websites have put together some type of “Free Agent Tracker.” The ones over at ESPN, MLB Trade Rumors, and CBS Sports are all pretty good, but we think they’re missing something.

We’re taking the concept of a Free Agent Tracker to the next level. Think of it as a combination of your traditional Free Agent Tracker, that Canadian show Mantracker, and George Orwell’s 1984. Even though we’re in Europe right now, we’re gonna let you know what it is baseball’s top free agents are up to.

If Daniel Murphy goes to the supermarket, if Darren O’Day stubs his toe, or if Jason Heyward makes a Spotify account, you’ll find that information right here. If you’re looking for rumors about where David Price might sign, sorry! We can’t help you! But if you want to know about Antonio Bastardo’s new cat, you’ve come to the right place.

Please send any and all relevant rumors to cespedesfb@gmail.com or tweet us @CespedesBBQ

Happy Tracking!

(Note: All news reported on our Free Agent Tracker is entirely false. Do not believe any of it. We are not following any of these guys around. Except for maybe Yoenis.)

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)