Erik Drost’s Photo of Trevor Bauer Throwing A Pitch for the Cleveland Indians.
Erik Drost’s Photo of Trevor Bauer Throwing A Pitch for the Cleveland Indians.

Building an MVP Machine

Trevor Bauer. Photo Credit: Erik Drost [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)]
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Erik Drost’s Photo of Trevor Bauer Throwing A Pitch for the Cleveland Indians.

About This Episode

Baseball is a game that’s always changing. Is the “Moneyball” approach outdated? It seems so. What’s next? What are the avenues that will provide the crucial advantage for teams trying to win the pennant? On this episode of Playing with Science, we investigate the new wave of technology, ideologies, and influencers that are shaping the modern game. 

Our hosts Chuck Nice and Gary O’Reilly are joined by authors Ben Lindbergh and Travis Sawchik to discuss their new book, The MVP Machine: How Baseball’s Nonconformists Are Using Data To Build Better Players. The book dives into the current wave of utilizing technology and data to make players better than they’ve ever been. Get the scoop on how The MVP Machine came to be, and why there were almost two books of the same ilk. Discover why baseball is the perfect sport for implementing statistical data and next-generation technology. 

Find out how players who should be at the end of their career are using techniques to reverse their age arc and become better as they get older. We discuss how certain players, like Cincinnati Reds pitcher Trevor Bauer, are using data and science to create new pitches. You’ll learn if the information being used is new information or if it has been here all along. We explore the use of high-tech cameras, like TrackMan, and their influence on harvesting player data during games and practices. You’ll also hear how the Red Sox implemented some of these strategies on their way to winning the 2018 World Series. 

Investigate more of the changing landscape in baseball: how there has been an overall talent increase, the more frequent use of mindfulness and meditation by teams across the league, and whether biodata is the next frontier for teams looking to gain an edge. Lastly, Meredith Wills, PhD, an astrophysicist and our favorite baseball sleuth, stops by the show to break down the changes to the 2019 baseball. She also explains why safety always comes first when debating whether to put nets along the entire infields of professional stadiums. All that, plus, you’ll learn if this new wave of thinking has ever led to any failures on the field.

NOTE: StarTalk+ Patrons and All-Access subscribers can watch or listen to this entire episode commercial-free.

In This Episode

  • Host

    Gary O'Reilly

    Gary O'Reilly
    Broadcaster, Sport Analyst, former Professional Footballer
  • Host

    Chuck Nice

    Chuck Nice
    Comedian
  • Guest

    Ben Lindbergh

    Ben Lindbergh
    Co-Author, The MVP Machine: How Baseball’s Nonconformists Are Using Data To Build Better Players
  • Guest

    Travis Sawchik

    Travis Sawchik
    Co-Author, The MVP Machine: How Baseball’s Nonconformists Are Using Data To Build Better Players
  • Guest

    Meredith Wills

    Meredith Wills, PhD
    Baseball Data Scientist and Astrophysicist

Episode Topics

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