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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 SeriesHow undersized afterthoughts José Altuve and Mookie Betts became big sluggers and MVPsHow polarizing pitcher Trevor Bauer made himself a Cy Young contenderHow new analytical tools have overturned traditional pitching and hitting techniquesHow a wave of young talent is making MLB both better than ever and arguably worse to watchInstead of out-drafting, out-signing, and out-trading their rivals, baseball's best minds have turned to out-developing opponents, gaining greater edges than ever by perfecting prospects and eking extra runs out of older athletes who were once written off. Lindbergh and Sawchik take us inside the transformation of former fringe hitters into home-run kings, show how washed-up pitchers have emerged as aces, and document how coaching and scouting are being turned upside down. The MVP Machine charts the future of a sport and offers a lesson that goes beyond baseball: Success stems not from focusing on finished products, but from making the most of untapped potential.Show more
It's the ultimate in fantasy baseball: You get to pick the roster, set the lineup, and decide on strategies-with real players, in a real ballpark, in a real playoff race. That's what baseball analysts Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller got to do when an independent minor-league team in California, the Sonoma Stompers, offered them the chance to run its baseball operations according to the most advanced statistics. We tag along as Lindbergh and Miller apply their number-crunching insights to all aspects of assembling and running a team, following one cardinal rule for judging each innovation they try: it has to work. We meet colorful figures like general manager Theo Fightmaster and boundary-breakers like the first openly gay player in professional baseball. Even Jose Canseco makes a cameo appearance. Will their knowledge of numbers help Lindbergh and Miller bring the Stompers a championship, or will they fall on their faces? Will the team have a competitive advantage or is the sport's folk wisdom true after all? Will the players attract the attention of big-league scouts, or are they on a fast track to oblivion?Show more