The MVP Machine by Ben Lindbergh and Travis Sawchik is a book about what teams will do to gain an edge in the post-Moneyball era. The time of noticing things that other teams don’t or better evaluating past performance is over. Developing players and making the most out of untapped potential is the new way teams get ahead in Major League Baseball.
Lindbergh and Sawchik do some great behind-the-scenes reporting for this book and tell the development stories of some of the best players in the game today. From how an undersized player like Jose Altuve managed to become a big time slugger to how analytical tools have overturned hitting and pitching techniques throughout MLB systems.
The MVP Machine is an interesting look at the tools that are now available to players that never were before. Pitchers can now throw a pitch and seconds later look at images that show: how it came out of their hand and the break of the ball. Players can then make adjustments like moving their finger 1/1000th of an inch, and try again to see the difference.
The story of World Series champions no longer starts without out-drafting or out-trading their rivals, but with out-developing them. Teams are gaining a greater edge by perfecting their prospects and changing the approach of older players to get extra runs out of them. Coaching and scouting have been turned upside down and younger players are better than ever because of it.
Ben Lindbergh Baseball Books
Travis Sawchik Baseball Books
About the Authors
Ben Lindbergh is a staff writer for The Ringer where he writes about baseball, video games, and television. He is a co-host of the Effectively Wild podcast and a regular contributor to The Ringer MLB Show.
Travis Sawchik covers Major League Baseball for FiveThirtyEight after previously working for Fangraphs, The Athletic, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and the Charleston (S.C.) Post and Courier. He has won national Associated Press Sports Editor awards for enterprise writing and numerous state-level awards.
Other Books You May Like
The Only Rule Is It Has to Work: Our Wild Experiment Building a New Kind of Baseball Team by Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller: After hosting the Effectively Wild podcast for a number of year, Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller take some of their big ideas about baseball and try to apply them to a minor league baseball team.
Big Data Baseball: Math, Miracles, and the End of a 20-Year Losing Streak by Travis Sawchick: This book covers the Pirates rise back to contention after twenty consecutive losing seasons and the analytical mindset that got them there. Sawchik gets in-depth with the team as they use data to take advantage of everything from pitch framing to infield shifts.
The MVP Machine Podcasts
Effectively Wild: Ben Lindbergh has been hosting the Effectively Wild podcast for 1500+ episodes with no sign of stopping. The podcasts covers baseball from a sabermetric slant and airs 2-3 times per week. A must-listen for anyone who really, really loves baseball.
Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Bullseye is a celebration of the best of arts and culture in public radio form with host Jesse Thorn. As part of their “sports week”, they interviewed Ben and Travis about the book.