On this episode of the Sports Info Solutions Baseball Podcast, Mark Simon (@MarkASimonSays) is joined by Yankees minor league hitting coach Rachel Balkovec (@_rachelbalkovec), who is currently 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
On this episode of the Sports Info Solutions Baseball Podcast, Mark Simon (@MarkASimonSays) is joined by Minnesota Twins centerfielder Byron Buxton (@OfficialBuck103) to talk about everything from his defensive approach, how he changed his swing by watching video, and much more (0:45). Mark also welcomes a group of guests to break down the Fielding Bible award winners from both the KBO and NPB. Jeeho Yoo (@Jeeho_1) of the Yonhap News and Ted Baarda of SIS join first to discuss the winners from the KBO (24:19), and John Gibson (@JBWPodcast) of JapaneseBaseball.com and the Japan Baseball Weekly Podcast finishes the show with a look at the winners from the NPB (48:24). You can read more about the Fielding Bible award winners at actasports.com/statoftheweek. Don't forget to rate and review, happy holidays, and stay safe.
Dec 17, 2020
1 hr 1 min
On this episode of the Sports Info Solutions Baseball Podcast, we begin by discussing the historic hiring of Kim Ng as the Marlins GM with Josh Rawitch (@joshrawitch), the Diamondbacks senior VP of content and communications. Josh and Kim worked together when both were with the Dodgers, and Kim gave Josh a shout-out at her press conference. Josh shares stories about working with her and describes the traits that he thinks will make her a great general manager, including her knowledge base and demeanor (1:47). We’ll be talking more about Kim and women in baseball in greater depth later this offseason. We are also joined by Jomboy Media baseball analyst, Trevor Plouffe (@trevorplouffe), who played third base for nine MLB seasons (2010 to 2018) (9:59). Trevor helps us preview the free agent market. He gives insights on what it’s like to hit against Trevor Bauer and offers a thought on why Bauer’s success could have staying power (14:31). He also evaluates George Springer, J.T. Realmuto, DJ LeMahieu, and Marcell Ozuna (17:59), along with the crowded market for No. 3 starting pitchers and closers (32:51). Along the way, he discusses things to keep in mind, like which hitters bring value for their long at-bats and which teammates work with players to make them better. Lastly, we ask Trevor about what it’s like to be a first-round pick and about the challenges that come with being in that spot (36:09). Thank you for listening. Please rate and review us if you can. Stay safe and stay well.
Nov 19, 2020
On this episode of the Sports Info Solutions Baseball podcast, Mark Simon (@MarkASimonSays) is joined by the godfather of baseball sabermetrics, Bill James (@billjamesonline) to discuss The 2021 Bill James Handbook. Bill talks about the articles he wrote and the studies he did, including: Game Score for Batters, a companion stat to Bill’s popular Game Score for pitchers that is available on ESPN.com and Baseball-Reference (4:39); A look at Hall-of-Famers by team – which teams are most overrepresented in the Hall of Fame and which are most underrepresented (7:40); the Hall of Fame Monitor, which evaluates the likelihood of a player getting in the Hall of Fame (11:31), and Career Targets (also known as The Favorite Toy) which establishes the percentage chance a player has of reaching a milestone (13:44). Bill also talks about an article he wrote for Bill James Online on the quality of MVP classes (15:53), shares a stat that he wished caught on more (19:36), and speaks about the all-around excellence of Mookie Betts (24:53). Mark closes the show with an announcement of the winners of the 2020 Fielding Bible Awards (26:57). Thank you for listening. Please rate and review us if you can. Stay safe and stay well.
Oct 29, 2020
On this episode of the Sports Info Solutions Baseball Podcast, Mark Simon (@MarkASimonSays) talks to Doug Glanville (@dougglanville) of ESPN and his baseball-writing colleague at The Athletic, Eno Sarris (@enosarris). Doug breaks down what goes into making the catches that were made during the postseason, whether it was the home run robberies by Mookie Betts and Cody Bellinger, or the tumbling catch by Manuel Margot (3:39). He explains how Mookie Betts is getting better (6:51) and discusses differences in outfield play from when he played to now (13:19). And for fun, we close the segment by talking analytics with Doug – the analytics of great French toast (16:51). Eno gives us the state of the Rays and Dodgers heading into the World Series (22:23), talks strikeout percentages and high fastballs (24:24), and picks which player most impressed him (29:27). He also predicts who will win the World Series and how long it will take – both in games and in hours (31:05). For more on defensive play in this year’s World Series, check out our preview article at the SIS Blog. Thank you for listening. Please rate and review us if you can. Stay safe and stay well.
Oct 20, 2020
On this episode of the Sports Info Solutions Baseball Podcast, Mark Simon (@MarkASimonSays) is joined by ESPN analyst Tim Kurkjian (@Kurkjian_ESPN) to talk about what he’s seen this postseason in pitching (1:13), hitting (5:46), baserunning (11:31), and fielding (16:56) – both for good and for bad. Tim also picks the player who he’s watched this postseason for whom he now has a greater appreciation (22:09). Then, Mark talks with his SIS colleagues, Brian Reiff (@BrianSReiff) and Alex Vigderman (@VigManOnCampus), about their favorite sections in the new 2021 Bill James Handbook, which is available November 1 at ActaSports.com (24:32). Thanks for listening. Please rate and review us if you can. Stay safe and stay well.
Oct 14, 2020
On this episode of the Sports Info Solutions Baseball Podcast, Mark Simon is joined by Ethan Bryan (@Ethan_Bryan), the author of A Year of Playing Catch – What A Simple Daily Experiment Taught Me About Life. Ethan, a lifelong Royals fan from Springfield, Missouri, talks about where the idea of playing catch every day originated and what the experience was like (1:08) and shares the stories of the prominent people with whom he played catch, including a longtime major leaguer who was in his 80s at the time (11:22). They also discuss notable games of catch in MLB history (23:05) and what a game of catch does for the body and the mind (26:04). Ethan’s book is published by Zondervan Books and is available at EthanBryan.com and wherever books are sold. Thank you for listening. Don’t forget to rate and review us. Stay safe and stay well.
Oct 7, 2020
On a special playoff-preview edition of the Sports Info Solutions Baseball Podcast, we dig deep on the top-seeded Rays and Dodgers as we welcome former MLB pitcher Brian Anderson and current Dodgers/FOX broadcaster Joe Davis (@Joe_Davis) to the podcast. Brian, in his 10th season as a TV broadcaster with the Rays, gives us an in-depth look at the team’s pitching staff, with what makes the group so good collectively and what makes Blake Snell, Tyler Glasnow and Charlie Morton a dangerous playoff pitching rotation (2:36). He also explains the unusual success of pitchers like Nick Anderson (9:29) and how the catchers, defense and coaching staff have been integral to the team’s success (11:13). He also tells us how the Rays can win in the postseason without having big stars on the roster (15:59). Joe tells us the story of the Dodgers season, using statistics to back up his key points. He picks a surprise player’s rise as the player whose stats were his favorite in 2020 (24:26). He also explains the success of Mookie Betts and Corey Seager and the decline of Cody Bellinger (25:16). Joe also gives us insight on the Dodgers pitching staff, including a couple of lesser-known names that could play key roles (30:33). Lastly, Joe explains his storytelling with statistics broadcast approach (36:38) and gives a tip to those who went to small colleges who aspire to get into broadcasting, as he did (40:21). Thanks for listening. We’ll be back in our regular slot next week. Stay safe and stay well.
Sep 28, 2020
On this episode of the Sports Info Solutions Baseball podcast, Mark Simon (@MarkASimonSays) is joined by baseball writer Joe Sheehan (@joe_sheehan) and Mets broadcaster Wayne Randazzo (@WayneRandazzo). Joe explains what we’ll be talking about if the Rays and Athletics win the World Series (1:00), then talks about what impresses him about the Cubs, White Sox, and Padres (5:27). We also flip the script and chat about what would cause the Yankees or Dodgers to get knocked out early (10:37) and look at the chances for the Braves and Twins (12:26). Joe and Mark then give their thoughts on rule changes (16:43) and Joe shares some highlights from his baseball newsletter, as he and Mark each discuss their favorite defensive play (19:27) and marvel at how the heck the Giants are still in the race in the final week (23:52). Wayne, one of MLBs more stat-savvy radio broadcasters, gives his thoughts on the NL Cy Young through the lens of Jacob deGrom’s candidacy (29:51), and explains potential causes for Pete Alonso’s sophomore slump (35:23). They also discuss the NL East in-depth and what impresses Wayne in watching the Rays, Yankees, and Blue Jays (37:18). Lastly, they close with Wayne explaining how he uses stats in broadcasts and how he overcomes the hurdle of trying to convey new-school information to old-school baseball fans (41:04). Please rate and review us if you can. Thank you for tuning in. Stay safe and stay well.
Sep 24, 2020
On this episode of the Sports Info Solutions Baseball Podcast, Mark Simon (@MarkASimonSays) is joined by New York Times senior baseball writer Tyler Kepner (@TylerKepner) to discuss the biggest surprises of the 2020 season. Among the topics they cover: Jose Abreu’s defense (0:59), the unlikely rise of the Giants offense (4:36), Shane Bieber’s electric stuff (16:24), the defense of Clint Frazier and Mike Trout (26:08), and much more. Thanks for listening. Stay safe and stay well!
Sep 17, 2020