Move over, Moneyball a cutting-edge look at major league baseball's next revolution: the high-tech quest to build better players.
As bestselling authors Ben Lindbergh and Travis Sawchik reveal in The MVP Machine, the Moneyball era is over. Fifteen years after Michael Lewis brought the Oakland Athletics' groundbreaking team-building strategies to light, every front office takes a data-driven approach to evaluating players, and the league's smarter teams no longer have a huge advantage in valuing past performance.
Lindbergh and Sawchik's behind-the-scenes reporting reveals:
- How the 2017 Astros and 2018 Red Sox used cutting-edge technology to win the World Series
- How undersized afterthoughts José Altuve and Mookie Betts became big sluggers and MVPs
- How polarizing pitcher Trevor Bauer made himself a Cy Young contender
- How new analytical tools have overturned traditional pitching and hitting techniques
- How a wave of young talent is making MLB both better than ever and arguably worse to watch
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About the Author
Ben Lindbergh is a staff writer for The Ringer. He also hosts the Effectively Wild podcast for FanGraphs and regularly appears on MLB Network. He is a former staff writer for FiveThirtyEight and Grantland, a former editor-in-chief of Baseball Prospectus, and the New York Times bestselling co-author of The Only Rule Is It Has to Work: Our Wild Experiment Building a New Kind of Baseball Team. He lives in New York City.
Travis Sawchik is a staff writer for FiveThirtyEight and regularly contributes to The Athletic Cleveland. He previously covered the Pirates for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Travis is the author of the New York Times bestseller Big Data Baseball: Math, Miracles, and the End of a 20-Year Losing Streak. Sawchik has won national Associated Press Sports Editor awards, and his work been featured or referenced on ESPN, Grantland, and MLB Network. Sawchik lives in Bay Village, OH.
Table of Contents
Prologue: Powering Up 1
1 Saviormetrics 5
2 A Natural Maniac, an Unnatural Athlete 20
3 Making Mules into Racehorses 40
4 First Principles 63
5 A Bottom-Up Revolution 87
6 The 10,000-Pitch Rule 104
7 The Conduit 121
8 Perfect Pitch 148
9 We're All Astronauts 163
10 SpinGate 199
11 Amateur Ball 208
12 The All-Star Player-Coach 237
13 Performance-Enhancing Data 253
14 Just Be Better 263
15 Soft Factors 286
16 If You Build Them, They Will Come 302
17 No Ceiling 317
Epilogue: The Residue of Design 335