Sports Info Solutions Baseball Podcast
Sports Info Solutions Baseball Podcast
Sports Info Solutions
The R&D team at Sports Info Solutions is joined by special guests to discuss notable topics related to baseball analytics and defensive excellence. Hosted by Mark Simon.
Defense is Fun with Brett Phillips; Plus Ryan Spilborghs & Bobby Scales Dig Deep on 2022 MLB
This episode has a little bit of everything! We talk to our April Defensive Player of the Month Brett Phillips (@Brett_Phillips8) of the Rays about everything that makes playing defense fun - and what makes him so good at it. He walked us through plays (both good and bad), talked about his glove, and gave the answer to what he'd tell a kid who wanted to play defense (and dance) like he does. (0:36) We then went around the majors with Ryan Spilborghs (@spillygoat19) of Root Sports Colorado and MLB Network radio. Ryan talked about the challenge of trying to hit in 2022, players and teams that intrigued him the most through a month and picked a "smartest player in baseball." (25:54). And then we dug a little deeper with SIS VP of Baseball Bobby Scales (@bobby_scales), discussing how infield shifts change how you coach baserunning, what we might see in a post-shifting world, and why Jason Krizan and Chris Coste are some of his favorite baseball stories. (41:52) Thank you for listening as always. Feel free to share your thoughts on the show by e-mailing mark@sportsinfosolutions.com.
May 5
52 min
Explaining Different Front Office Jobs with SIS VP of Baseball Bobby Scales
On this episode, Mark Simon is joined by new SIS VP of Baseball Bobby Scales. If the name sounds familiar, it should. Bobby played 2 seasons with the Cubs and worked in the front offices of the Pirates and the Angels. Bobby reminisces about his long pro career, which included 10 years in Triple-A and 2 years in Japan, telling stories of memorable moments and people (he thought he was being pranked after hitting his first home run … but a surprise awaited) (2:37). He also breaks down the duties and skills needed in the different front office jobs in which he worked – which include Director of Player Development, Special Assistant to the General Manager, and Field Coordinator (15:15). And he talks about something he’s passionate about – getting more Black men and women working in baseball front offices (30:45). Thank you for listening. Please send any feedback on the podcast to Mark@SportsInfoSolutions.com
Apr 21
38 min
Previewing The Season with Ken Rosenthal and Braves Coach Eric Young Sr.
On our 2022 MLB season debut we welcome Ken Rosenthal from FOX Sports and The Athletic and Braves 1B coach Eric Young Sr. Mark poses 10 questions to Ken, ranging from which team has the greatest potential variance in performance, sleeper Cy Young and MVP picks (people who never got a vote for that award) to the best defensive teams, to how rule changes are going to impact the game, and much more (0:48). Eric Young explains what goes into coaching the Braves outfield and baserunners, how he uses data in his job, and the most important thing to know about being a first base coach is (14:34). Thank you for listening. Please rate and review and send any feedback to Mark@sportsinfosolutions.com
Apr 7
30 min
Spotlight on Women & Baseball: Veronica Alvarez, Tess Taruskin, Sarah Thompson
In our second annual Women & Baseball episode, Mark Simon is joined by A’s minor league catching coach Veronica Alvarez (@veronicaoalvarez), FanGraphs prospects writer Tess Taruskin (@tesstass), and SIS research analyst Sarah Thompson (@sarah_stats). Veronica talks about her work with the A’s and as head coach for Team USA in women’s baseball. She explains how she works with prospects and what she values when it comes to different areas of catching. She also speaks to the rise of women coaches in MLB and the minor leagues (0:35). Tess Taruskin talks prospects – from Bobby Witt and Julio Rodriguez to the many catchers whom FanGraphs rates highly. She also talks about the challenges of projecting a player’s defensive performance and offers advice on breaking into prospect writing (16:10). Sarah discusses her recent presentation at the SABR Analytics coaches, a study of third base coach aggressiveness and effectiveness. She cites specific examples of teams and players who stood out in those regards (35:01). March is Women’s History Month and we’re happy to put a spotlight on women doing good work in the sport. Thank you for listening as always.
Mar 24
43 min
Working in Baseball: Josh Ruffin & Jasmine Dunston
It’s Black History Month and for this episode, we talked to two people positively shaping the future of Black History in baseball: Twins manager of player development research Josh Ruffin and White Sox director of minor league operations, Jasmine Dunston. Josh is an SIS alum now working in baseball analytics. He talks about his career path, what he did for the Twins as an advance scouting analyst, and his new role analyzing the skills of the Twins minor league players (0:28). Jasmine talks about her new position with the White Sox, explains what a director of minor league operations does, and her career and educational background. She also talks about the influence of both her mom and her dad (former MLB shortstop and coach Shawon Dunston) on her career (23:29). Both Josh and Jasmine also speak about the lack of Black men and women in their fields and offered guidance to anyone looking to pursue a baseball operations career. -- MLB is seeking qualified candidates from underrepresented backgrounds interested in careers in baseball operations to participate in the SABR Analytics conference March 17-20 with MLB covering the conference costs. Undergrads, grads, and recent grads are eligible. For more information and to apply, click this link and if you’re interested in working for SIS (like Josh), check out our careers page.
Feb 17
40 min
Communicating Analytics with Jake Stone; Explaining Hockey Analytics with Alison Lukan
On this episode, Mark Simon is joined by Jake Stone of Penn State University and the Simply Sabermetrics YouTube channel and NHL writer/tv analyst Alison Lukan to talk about baseball and hockey analytics education, respectively.Mark and Jake talk about Jake’s work with baseball analytics at Penn State and what he’s trying to do with his YouTube channel and a program created by SABR to give people access to an educational certification in the field. They walk through one video Jake did on Adam Wainwright and the process by which he goes about analyzing players (1:08).Mark and Alison talk about her work integrating analytics into writing and tv coverage of the Columbus Blue Jackets and now the Seattle Kraken for NHL.com and Root Sports Northwest (here’s a recent example of her work). She explains what advanced statistics are available publicly, what’s on everyone’s wish list, how expected goal models work, and what makes quantifying defensive performance so challenging (15:11).Thank you for listening as always.
Jan 27
33 min
ENCORE- Conversations about Coaching with Yankees minor league manager Rachel Balkovec
This is an encore edition of an interview we did last January. On Monday, the Yankees named Rachel Balkovec as the manager of the Class-A Tampa Tarpons minor league baseball team. She is the first woman to manage a minor league baseball team. On this episode of the Sports Info Solutions Baseball Podcast from January 2021, Mark Simon (@MarkASimonSays) was joined by Rachel (@_rachelbalkovec), who was in Australia working as a coach with the Sydney Blue Sox. Rachel talks about how she came to be coaching in Australia (1:46). She then addresses the progress that women have made in baseball and other sports and the challenges women face in light of the Mets firing of their GM (5:24). Rachel also talks about the way she connects with players (11:21), the hardest thing to coach athletes on (13:36), and what she studied when she worked with Driveline (14:51). She also speaks about her favorite mentoring story (20:43) and provides perspective on how she viewed 2020 (25:12). Thank you for listening. Please rate and review the podcast if you can. You can also find Rachel at RachelBalkovec.com or on Instagram at @Rachel.Balkovec
Jan 10
28 min
The Best of 2021
On this episode, you’ll hear the “best-of” our interviews from the 2021 baseball year. Those you’ll hear from are Tony Kemp (0:46), Joey Wendle (3:10), Rachel Balkovec (5:03), Melanie Newman (6:57), Michael A. Taylor (9:03), Cedric Mullins (9:55), Tommy Edman (12:30), Ryan McMahon (13:41), Matt Chapman (14:30), Luis Guillorme (17:08), Antoan Richardson (18:12), Max Stassi (19:33), Larry Walker (22:12), Hunter Renfroe (23:19), Chas McCormick (24:17), Adam Duvall (25:18), and Michael Harris (27:14). Thank you for listening this season. Please rate and review us if you get the chance. Happy holidays and we look forward to talking to you in 2022.
Dec 16, 2021
28 min
Joe Sheehan Reviews and Previews: 2021, Awards Season, The HOF Ballot, Free Agency
On this episode, baseball writer Joe Sheehan joins Mark Simon to recap the 2021 MLB season and look ahead to 2022. After announcing the 2021 Fielding Bible Award winners (0:19), Mark and Joe talk about: - The most impressive thing about defense in MLB (4:56) - Byron Buxton’s future (7:50) - 2021 MLB Awards (10:08) - Reward Robbie Ray? (15:00) - The promise of Eduardo Rodriguez (21:56) - Teams to watch this offseason (Giants, Tigers & more) (24:30) - Buster Posey/Paul Goldschmidt and the Hall of Fame (28:36) - Veterans Committee candidates (35:09) - Bring on the pitch clock! (36:52) - The Baseball Revolution (38:46) Thank you as always for listening. Stay safe and stay well.
Nov 11, 2021
42 min
Matt Amodio Talking Baseball, His 38 Jeopardy! Wins
On this episode, Mark Simon (@markasimonsays) is joined by 38-time Jeopardy champion and baseball aficionado Matt Amodio (@AmodioMatt) for a lengthy, fun conversation. First they talk about Matt’s baseball origins, covering everything from his best defensive play to his favorite players and ballparks (0:50). The discussion then moves to Jeopardy! where Matt explains every aspect of his in-game strategy, including the mechanism he developed for timing when to buzz in. They also delve into specific moments in games and how they played out. Lots of baseball comparisons here too! (7:17) Then comes talk about statistics, with Jeopardy in-game win probability serving as a springboard into talk about pitch tunneling and defensive metrics (24:50). Matt then explains his field of study as he pursues his doctorate at Yale (35:01). The show closes with some fun – an explanation of how he kept his wins (and loss) a secret, and a Uni-Watch style investigation into Matt’s “uniform” choices (h/t @oneeclecticmom) (37:00). Special thanks as well to Andy Saunders at TheJeopardyFan.com and J-Archive for research assistance. Hope you enjoy this episode. It’s a little different from our normal fare! Please rate and review us if you can.
Oct 21, 2021
45 min
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