My Interviews, In One Place

I’ve been asked for this, so I thought I’d do it. My in-depth interviews from a stats background, going backwards in time. I’ll try to update this more than I have been. Thanks for reading!!

Josh Fields and the Value of Faith and Positive Thinking 9/18/2015

What the Baltimore Bullpen Can Teach Us About Arm Action (grips) 9/17/2015

The Catcher is Watching You 9/16/2015

Erasmo Ramirez and Strike-Stealing Pitches (grips) 9/11/2015

Hitters, Quit Chopping Wood, Don’t Go For Backspin 9/9/2015

Two Tweaks That Got Sean Doolittle Back 9/8/2015

Jaime Garcia: Improved by Injury? 9/4/2015

Three At-Bat With Brandon Moss 9/2/2015

Where Stephen Piscotty Got His Power 8/31/2015

What Makes Bruce Bochy and Joe Maddon Great 8/26/2015

Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz on the Six-Man Rotation Pitching Schedule 8/21/15

Sam Fuld on Scouting the Umpire 8/20/15

Brandon Crawford on his latest adjustment 8/20/15

Trevor Bauer on how to increase spin rate (grips) 8/14/15

Three Things Carlos Correa Does Daily to Get Better 8/13/15

Michael Brantley on power breakout and aggression early in count 8/12/15

Noah Syndergaard on the evolution of his curveball and slider (grips) 8/11/15

Ryan Braun Changed — Or Did He? 8/7/15

Chris Tillman on combining a riseball with a sinker 8/6/15

Asking Corey Kluber to define his breaking ball (grips) 8/5/15

Josh Donaldson on hitting (and shoulders) 8/4/15

Did Drew Hutchison change his slider or not? 7/29/15

Charlie Blackmon on beating the shift 7/22/15

All of the Mets pitching staff (almost) on the Dan Warthen Slider 7/9/15

Billy Burns on switch-hitting and how the A’s asked him to stop 7/8/15

Ender Inciarte on how to bust platoon splits 7/6/15

Javier Lopez and others on the submarine riseball 7/2/15

Josh Reddick on spitting on the outside pitch 6/30/15

Tyson Ross on his walk rate 6/26/15

Gregory Polanco Struggling With League’s Adjustment to Him 6/25/15

Will Venable and Justin Upton on AT&T Park’s secret home field advantage 6/24/15

Players View: Is Baseball Ready for an Openly Gay Player? 6/18/15

Chris Heston, Now With More Chris Heston 6/12/15

Joey Gallo on (his) strikeouts 6/11/15

J.D. Martinez explains his power breakout 6/10/15

Brian McCann on how he stopped popping up 6/8/15

Mike Trout, Bryce Harper and Joc Pederson on the top hand 6/3/15

Bryce Harper explains his power breakout (I was always this good) 5/28/15

How Framing Changed Andrew Cashner 5/21/15

Mat Latos throws a pitch that nobody else does (grips) 5/18/15

How Marlon Byrd taught Justin Turner to hit for power 5/13/15

James Shields on how he’s changed to stay afloat (grips) 5/8/15

Wil Myers on finally being healthy (!) 5/6/15

Asking Stephen Vogt if we should believe in him 5/5/15

On George Springer’s over-effort, with his hitting coach 5/4/15

Brett Lawrie on seeing ten straight breaking balls twice 4/30/15

Jose Altuve on the tweaks that made him great 4/30/15

Chris Iannetta on how he improved his framing 4/29/15

Jesse Hahn on his changeup again 4/28/15

Brad Miller on putting on weight 4/24/15

Adam Ottavino and the healthy cutter grip (grips) 4/21/15

James Paxton on James Paxton 4/21/15

Nolan Arenado on hitting 4/15/15

Shin-Soo Choo on injuries 4/9/15

Sean Doolittle on rehabbing a shoulder 4/8/15

Marcus Semien on improving his shortstop D (!) 3/31/15

Anthony DeSclafani on his changeup 3/30/15

Jake Arrieta on his mechanics 3/20/15

Jake Arrieta’s single-grip multi-use slider (grips) 3/18/15

Kris Bryant on his swing 3/13/15

Kris Bryant on tall strike zones 3/12/15

Joey Votto and Jay Bruce on the back leg 3/11/15

Rubby de la Rosa, Chase Anderson, Allen Webster on improving (grips) 3/9/15

Odrisamer Despaigne on his repertoire and strange knuckle eephus 3/3/15

Casey McGehee and Ryan Vogelsong on learning from Japan 2/17/15

Dave Righetti and Hunter Strickland on Deception 2/13/15

Casey McGehee and Ryan Vogelsong on if Japan’s league’s are unfair 2/10/15

Nick Ennis, Padres Director of Baseball Ops 12/17/14

David Forst, Athletics Assistant General Manager 12/11/14

Andrew Cashner on pairing the high fastball with the curve  12/1/14

Kole Calhoun on Kole Calhoun 11/24/14

Brad Ziegler on the submarine changeup 11/17/14

Are foul balls a skill? Asks Sam Fuld 11/10/14

Andrew Susac on Yusmeiro Petit’s Invisiball 10/27/14

Mike Morse on his game-tying home run and pinch-hitting 10/17/14

Alex Gordon on being sent down and getting better 10/13/14

Doug Fister’s mid-game command adjustment 10/6/14

Madison Bumgarner breaks down his game 9/30/14

Jimmy Rollins on yoga 9/25/14

Brandon Moss on the anatomy of a slump 9/24/14

Sam Fuld on longer games and injures 9/22/14

Derek Holland is all about the slider 9/17/14

Chase Anderson on his two changeups 9/16/14

All of Jake Peavy’s many pitches (grips) 9/11/14

Sam Fuld on in-game corner-outfield shifting 9/8/14

Joe Panik on making contact 9/4/14

John Jaso on his concussion and recovery 9/3/14

Nolan Arenado on his defensive improvements 9/2/14

Danny Farquhar on his many arm slots 9/1/14

Jonathan Lucroy, Hank Conger and Jon Lucroy on framing vs blocking 8/25/14

Jacob DeGrom on why he’s better than we thought he’d be (grips) 8/21/14

Adam Dunn on all the failed tweaks he’s made to his process 8/18/14

Tim Lincecum on how he’s trying to cope with decline (grips) 8/14/14

Phil Hughes finally found the right breaking balls (grips) 8/12/14

Sam Fuld on rising fastballs 8/11/14

Jake Odorizzi and Alex Cobb on their shared splitter (grips) 8/7/14

Dallas Keuchel on the slider that saved his career (grips) 7/28/14

Brett Anderson on his slurve (grips) 7/25/14

Todd Frazier on hitting with Billy Hamilton on base 7/21/14

All-Stars on playing a game they won’t prepare for 7/15/14

All-Stars on who they were looking forward to playing most 7/15/14

Top pitching prospects on throwing a pitch that isn’t competitive yet  7/14/14

Brandon Belt on his hitting adjustments (grips) 7/10/14

Jesse Hahn on making two pitches work (grips) 7/7/14

Jay Bruce on hitting and hitting through a slump 7/2/14

Devin Mesoraco on why catchers take longer to break out 6/30/14

Tanner Roark on the importance of strike one (grips) 6/26/14

Hunter Pence, Michael Morse and others about the on-deck circle 6/26/14

Jesse Chavez on going to the cutter as his fastball (grips) 6/25/14

Justin Morneau on how Coors Field makes him a better hitter 6/23/14

Chris Dickerson and Corey Blackmon on their early success 6/20/14

Adam LaRoche on how thinking about hitting is different than thinking about pitching 6/16/14

Tim Hudson on how his arsenal has changed over time (grips) 6/12/14

Mets former hitting coach Dave Hudgens on the role of a hitting coach 6/9/14

Rick Porcello, Sean Doolittle, Brandon McCarthy and Brian Bannister on changeups 6/4/14

Austin Jackson on finding a swing that works 6/2/14

Chris Young tells me to go do new research 5/29/14

Trevor Plouffe on the dangers of good results early on 5/28/14

Michael Morse on his approach 5/22/14

Ervin Santana and Gavin Floyd on their new changeups (grips) 5/19/14

Alex Rios on taking pitches 5/12/14

Andrew Cashner on changing his approach due to injury (grips) 5/5/14

Dan Haren on throwing the feared pitches: the splitter and the cutter 5/1/14

Prince Fielder on changing his approach due to his home park 4/28/14

Zack Greinke on curves 4/23/14

Zack Greinke on the slider and the cutter and throwing both 4/21/14

Brandon McCarthy on bulking up to avoid the in-season slide 4/17/14

Tony Cingrani on throwing one pitch 4/14/14

Mark Trumbo on his new home park 4/10/14

Corey Kluber on ditching a bad four-seamer 4/3/14

Danny Salazar on not returning from surgery too soon 4/2/14

Joey Votto on picking his battles and improving where he can 3/25/14

Brian Wilson on the importance of confidence 3/14/14

Eric Hosmer heckling me 3/13/14

Stephen Vogt on the importance of familiarity wrt framing 3/3/14

Beat writers on the difficulties of their job 1/31/14

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What’s The Future Base Ball

It’s no accident that BeerGraphs launched and then I disappeared from these pages for three weeks. I just don’t have the time to maintain three sites.

So, in case I vanish again, I just wanted to give you easy links to my writing.

Mostly interviews with stats at FanGraphs

Fantasy stuff at FanGraphs

Silly stuff at FanGraphs

Fantasy stuff at RotoWorld

Fantasy stuff at Getting Blanked

Beer stuff at BeerGraphs

That covers most of your regularly scheduled programming.

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BeerGraphs Is Here Base Ball

After precious little sleep Thursday night, co-founder Matt Dennewitz and I pressed go on BeerGraphs Friday. Hoping to use big data to say big things about beer, we’re set to go on a statistical journey into the heart of suds. I feel like numbers don’t ruin our favorite adult sodas, they help us understand ourselves better. With leaderboards, a statistical, scientific and policy blog called BeerGraphs and a more writerly and celebratory blog called BarelyBeer, I’ll be plenty busy.

But I’ll also be writing about baseball, of course.

I took a long look at Matt Cain. With help from him and plenty of people around the park, I tried out each theory until I found a mechanical issue and a statistical issue that might be the cause of his struggles. I wouldn’t know how to fix it, but I think I can help spot it.

To celebrate BeerGraphs’ launch, I put beers to baseball players. Barry Bonds is *not* Pliny the Younger! Oh, and my pronunciation series continued….

I also broke down Nick Franklin, Yasiel Puig and Yovani Gallardo for the fantasy side. Like Franklin, want to see Puig’s contact rate, and am worried about Gallardo using his two-seamer so much.

And for Getting Blanked, I looked at ground ball rate changes, which just became stable. Not good news for Eric Hosmer.

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Any Day Now Beer Base Ball

The next time I write one of these things, I’ll have a new site to link to. BeerGraphs should be up next week — it has to be. We have a launch party next week — happy hour at The Public House in San Francisco (it’s a Giants away game) — and so we have to be up. No choice in the matter. BeerGraphs will have leaderboards with beer stats, reviews, and also analysis based on our numbers. Should be a lot of nerdery, all based on adult sodas.

In the meantime, I’m out there talking to players still. First up was Austin Wilson, a great player at Stanford that hasn’t quite lived up to his tools. Still, he’ll be a first rounder in the draft, and it was great to hear him talk about how he sat in on bullpens when he was hurt, just to see the spin on the ball. I went on a podcast to talk about it, and just talking about him unearthed some really interesting facets of scouting.

I also talked to Matt Cain, but that’ll publish next week. This week, I wrote about John Jaso and how he’s taken things that he learned from catching and used them on the basepaths and at the plate. As with Wilson’s standing in on bullpens, I loved hearing Jaso talk about running on pitches that he thought would be in the dirt before they even hit the dirt. He’s a smart guy.

I saw Tyler Skaggs a while back and was not impressed. 88-89 on the fastball, great curveball, nothing changeup. Thought he was a back-of-the-rotation guy. I saw him this week, and, well, the changeup looked better. And then I put him up against Kevin Gausman and still liked Gausman. And then Gausman threw two stinkers. Now I don’t know what to think.

Getting Blanked this week was checking in on some players that were injured last year and could have outproduced their projections this year.

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Long Weekend Base Ball

Enjoy your long weekend! I’ve got a beer case packed: Dupont’s Foret Organic Saison, Boulevard’s Tank 7 Farmhouse, Port Brewing Wipeout IPA, Lucky Hand Black Lager, Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA, and Knee Deep’s Tanilla. That’s two great saisons, two classic IPAs, and a couple dark beers for the end of the night. I also got Flying Dog’s Wildeman Farmhouse IPA and Goose Island Matilda, but I’m not sure those will make it into the car tomorrow. The wife claims she doesn’t like my fancy pants beers but soiffed all the Matilda pretty fast. I don’t love the Flying Dog Farmhouse IPA — tastes pretty much like a saison, with not enough sweet to make it an IPA — but I’ve been drinking it to keep my weekend case intact.

Over the past week, I’ve had some fun with balls in play.

The Royals talked to me about the ideal ground ball rate for hitters. Each hitter had a different idea about it — Alex Gordon made a tweak to hit more ground balls because of his home stadium and some iffy early-career results, Billy Butler just takes what the pitchers give him (mostly low balls and therefore ground balls), and Eric Hosmer seems more intuitive — and for good reason. Fly balls are conducive to power, but ground balls help you get on base. That’s why there’s no ideal ground ball rate for every hitter, but there might be fore *each* hitter.

Then I talked to Marco Scutaro about putting balls in play. He’s about the best in the business at making contact, but he had a couple negative things to say about his elite tool. So I tested out what he said. He should be more proud, I think.

Pretty sure Jason Marquis is shaking his catcher off as he’s pitching here.

My mother would not be proud — all those years of language education, and I’m bad at pronouncing names. I try! I promise I try. But I’m no good. So Carson Cistulli started a series of me trying to pronounce names for the upcoming draft: Here‘s Eric Jagielo. And here’s Trey Michalczewski. I hope not to offend. My name has been mispronounced a million different ways, so I know it’s not great. But it is kind of funny how bad this dude — who learned German, French, Jamaican and Japanese and writes for a living — can struggle with the English language.

And over at Getting Blanked, I tried to predict some in-season injuries to pitchers. Tried.

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Beer is Coming Base Ball

BeerGraphs is coming. Hopefully, we’re only two weeks away. We’re collecting content right now, and setting up the leaderboards. We’re ready to destroy another fun thing — beer — with nerdy numbers. I’m setting up meetups and editing, and trying to figure out nuts and bolts, but I’m still writing about baseball.

Dodgers Catcher A.J. Ellis let me into his brain. He talked to me about how supportive his wife has been over the years, while also getting into some of the nuts and bolts about how he’s become one of the most patient hitters in baseball. I took a look at his words and his stats, and added some pictures to boot. He finished with a memorable simile, which had him shouting a pitcher’s name in the Dodger’s clubhouse. Great guy.

Then I talked to Andrelton Simmons, mostly about defense. He combines research with a great sense of his strengths in order to get the most out of his athletic tools. Hearing him talk about where he positions himself was very interesting to me. One of his comments spawned a funny jokes piece ha ha. (I’m bad at those.)

With R.A. Dickey struggling, I took a look at his velocity. Turns out he might be a little bit more like a conventional pitcher than we thought.

Jason Marquis did something I’d never seen before in baseball.

It’s rankings week at RotoGraphs. I hate rankings week.

I did some research on old dudes that hit the DL with shoulder problemsRoy Halladay fits the bill. I found that after the season in which those 35+ year old pitchers hit the DL, they averaged another 59 innings the rest of their career. More than half were done done, as in never pitched again. ESPN picked it up a couple times and ran with it, with Jayson Stark giving me a couple paragraphs of credit, which was really nice of him. That was part of a three-day ESPN blitz for me, as I called that Junichi Tazawa was going to close for the Red Sox (most thought it would be Koji Uehara, but managers prefer velocity) and the Fantasy Focus guys were kind enough to give me credit. And my piece on Clay Buchholz and his spitball made the front page for a day. I love ESPN.

I don’t love Adrian Gonzalez, not in fantasy. The power is not coming back.

Over at Getting Blanked, I had a couple pieces. The first was about the rise of the strikeout and the home run and what that meant for fantasy baseball. The second was about a friend of mine failing to come up with an equation for expected walk rate for pitchers, and yet still providing interesting analysis for fantasy players looking for values.

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Irregular Regular Base Ball

I interrupt your regularly scheduled non-programming because I realized that I haven’t told y’all about my regularly scheduled programming. On Tuesdays and Thursdays I do my radio show with Mike Podhorzer, which you can find here. On Wednesdays, I have a closer article on RotoWorld that you can find here. And on Thursdays, I chat, you just have to find me on FanGraphs at noon ET!

Back to nothingness.

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Affordability Base Ball

I’m trying to save up a bit to get to Chicago in July for PitchFork Fest (and some BeerGraphs/FanGraphs events), so I haven’t been buying beer as expensive as I’m used to. Thank god for Red Chair NWPA from Deschutes. I’ve written about the beer before, but it was $7.99 for a six pack at Safeway, and I thought that made it deserving of another shoutout. It’s helping save my pocketbook while also quenching my thirst!

We just updated four days ago, but I wanted to check in anyway.

I talked to Mark Trumbo about getting the most out of his skillset. He doesn’t walk much and he isn’t a great defender, but he works on both, and it looks like diligently. He impressed me enough that I went and traded for him in a dynasty league, even though it was an OBP league.

I made that trade using Josh Hamilton, who is swinging and missing way too much, and Jed Lowrie, who was coincidentally the subject of my second interview/profile of the week. Lowrie has been unfortunate with injuries, but talking to him about his statistical profile was also interesting.

If you get a little mad this week, don’t do this.

Even with velocities down in April, these pitchers are worse off. Weird thing is, it’s a pretty good list of pitchers, as in the pitchers on the list are excellent. But lower velocity in April does increase chances of injury and further velocity loss.

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Beer Made Me Angry Base Ball

I had a beer this past weekend that made me angry. Just for a second — after all it was my son’s first birthday party, the weather was perfect, friends everywhere and babies splashing in the baby pool — but it made me angry. Hop Shortage from Knee Deep Brewing in Sacramento. I like Knee Deep’s Hoptoligist, and their Tanilla sweet porter. But the Hop Shortage was just too much hops. And I love hops. But this was too much. I called it a “jump the shark” moment. It also made me wonder — since I love certain beers that others consider too hoppy — if ‘hop balance’ exists. Perhaps spreading the hops around to different kinds makes for better beer. Some of the worst beers I’ve had were the ‘single hops’ series from Hermitage. One note better be fantastic if you’re going to try and make a song out of it. And Hop Shortage was like my baby boy, bashing that gong over and over again. I mean seriously, who buys a gong for a baby.

Last week, I was in San Diego. Love that city, if mostly for the beer variety you can get at your average Vons. Didn’t make it to a brewery, but I did get to interview a few Padres. I made some mistakes — I mistook Dale Thayer for Cory Luebke because he was sitting at his locker (with audio!), and I sat in Carlos Quentin‘s chair until I leaped about a foot in the air when he came back to it — but also had some success. Chase Headley talked to me about hitting for power in PetCo (dicey) and also his relationship to numbers. Numbers can screw you up, is part of the story, but it’s also interesting to see how his swing has changed over the years. And then I talked to Luke Gregerson about how he avoids platoon splits with just one secondary pitch — the slider — when he told me he has a few sliders. Three or seven to be exact.

For fantasy, I worked up Anthony Rendon (with some Nolan Arenado) and Justin Masterson. Masterson is Jamaican, so I want to love him, but he only has two pitches, and they’re both pitches with platoon issues. After projecting Billy Hamilton last week, I took a look at which guys were making more contact this year, since that’s one of the first stats to become reliable. And, as always, Wednesdays is Saves and Steals day at RotoWorld.

Trying to make it out to Chicago this summer, but need to pay some bills. I could fit another piece into my schedule, if you know someone that’s looking!

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Clubhouse Comfort Base Ball

Trying to get comfortable in the clubhouse isn’t easy. I’m obviously the low guy on the totem pole, and approaching the stars hasn’t been fruitful yet. Since I’m splitting time between the Giants and A’s clubhouses, I’m going to be low man for a long time. So I’ll get comfortable. There’s a lot of really interesting conversations to have with players that aren’t the head honchos, anyway.

Like this week, when Athletics starter Jarrod Parker told me that his trainers kept him from throwing sliders after he had Tommy John surgery, I was so interested I practically invaded his personal space. Then I tested his assertion by checking post-TJ surgery pitchers and their slider usage. That was really fun for this nerd.

Earlier in the week, I wrote a post about Jason Castro‘s butt. Okay, it was about catcher framing. But his butt was in there. With GIFs!

A trio of fun pictures for you: Modern dance at a baseball game, huge things in little baseball player’s hands, and boobz (sort of).

For roto purposes, I broke down the on-fire former Giant Nate Schierholtz, and then went nerdy on Billy Hamilton‘s speed.

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