Thursday, May 20, 2010


Six days into the Ned Yost era, and I’m convinced that he is the managerial equivalent of a Rorschach Blot. What you see in him says less about him than it does about you. So I’ll do my best to break down his track record as dispassionately as possible.

The Case For Ned

Ned Yost was hired by the Milwaukee Brewers after the 2002 season. The Brewers went 56-106 in 2002, the worst of 10 consecutive losing seasons. (By comparison, the Royals went 59-109 in the last 168 games of Trey Hillman’s career, and last year was their 14th losing season in the last 15 years.)

The Brewers lost 94 games in each of his first two seasons – then reached .500 in 2005. By 2007, they were over .500 again at 83-79. They would win 90 games in his final season, and went to the playoffs for the first time in 26 years.

Yost won 83 games twice in his career before he was hired by the Royals. Not one manager the Royals have employed since Dick Howser – Mike Ferraro, Billy Gardner, John Wathan, Hal McRae, Bob Boone, Tony Muser, Tony Pena, Buddy Bell, and Trey Hillman (phew!) – had ever won 83 games as a manager even once prior to joining the Royals.

The Case Against Ned

While the Brewers won 90 games in his final season, Yost wasn’t their manager in the playoffs. At the end of August, the Brewers were 80-56, which was the second-best record in the National League; they had a 5.5 game lead on the wild card. They then lost 11 of their next 14 games, a streak which was punctuated by a four-game sweep by the Phillies. They went into that series with a 4-game lead on Philly, and came out of it tied. Yost was fired the next day. It was an almost unprecedented move in baseball history: a manager being fired, in September, with his team in the midst of a pennant race.

This was the second straight year that the Brewers had faded from the pennant race down the stretch. In 2007, the Brewers went into the All-Star Break 49-39, leading the NL Central by 4.5 games. As late as September 18th, they were tied with the Cubs for first place. But they stumbled over the final two weeks, finishing 5-7 and losing the division by two games.

Yost was replaced by his third-base coach, Dale Sveum. After losing four of his first five games, Sveum skippered Milwaukee to five straight wins. After losing the penultimate game of the season, the Brewers found themselves tied with the Mets with one game to go. The Brewers turned to their ace, C.C. Sabathia, who on three days’ rest threw a complete game and won, 3-1. The Mets lost at home to Florida, 4-2, and Milwaukee was in the playoffs. But without Sabathia available to start twice in the NLDS, they were dispatched by the Phillies in four games.

The Case For Ned

As manager of the Brewers, Yost presided over an impressive resurgence of the team’s farm system – a farm system directed by Jack Zduriencik, now the GM of the Seattle Mariners – and to his credit, Yost was quite successful at turning young hitting prospects into good major-league hitters. They include:

- Scott Podsednik, who was picked up off waivers from the Mariners after the 2002 season. Pods, at that point, was a Triple-A journeyman who had all of 26 major-league at-bats and had hit just .279/.347/.425 in Triple-A, at the age of 26. Yost broke him in slowly in 2003, using him off the bench for the first month of the season before installing him at the top of the lineup in mid-May. Podsednik would hit .314/.379/.443 and score 100 runs, finishing second in Rookie of the Year voting. The following year he hit just .244, but smacked 12 homers and led the league with 70 steals. He was traded after the season to the White Sox, and was the leadoff hitter for the World Champions.

- Rickie Weeks, the #2 overall pick in the 2003 draft, came up as a 22-year-old rookie in 2005. Weeks, like another college hitter drafted #2 overall, has yet to reach the promise of his draft position; he developed considerable patience to go along with good power for a second baseman, but his defense has never been stellar and he has battled injuries and a chronically-low batting average. He’s still a good player.

- Bill Hall, who was a minor league player of little note when Yost arrived – in 2002, Hall hit .228 with 4 homers in Triple-A, and in 2003 he improved to .282 but still with only 5 homers. He came up late in 2003 and hit 5 more homers in just 52 games, batting .261/.298/.458 overall. As a utility infielder in 2004, he hit .238/.276/.374 with 9 homers; in 2005, he continued to play all over the infield, and hit .291/.342/.495 with 17 homers.

In 2006, Yost installed Hall as his everyday shortstop, and Hall hit .270/.345/.553 with 35 home runs. He fell off quickly after that; by 2008, Yost’s last season in Milwaukee, Hall hit .225/.293/.396. But for two seasons he was one of the best-hitting middle infielders in the National League, not bad for a guy who projected as a bench guy at best.

- Despite his terrific 2006 season as a shortstop, Hall was moved to center field for the 2007 season to make way for J.J. Hardy, who unlike Hall was considered a top prospect in the minors. Hardy actually hit .246/.319/.388 in 159 games for the Brewers in 2005-06, but was lost for the season with an injury on May 16th, when Hall took over. Healthy in 2007, at age 24 Hardy hit .277/.323/.463 with 26 homers, and hit .283/.343/.478 with 24 homers in 2008, with excellent defense both years.

Coincidentally or not, after Yost was fired Hardy struggled. Battling injuries last season, he hit just .229/.302/.357, and he was traded to Minnesota after the season for Carlos Gomez.

- Corey Hart was a well-regarded minor-leaguer but not a top prospect; he cracked the bottom of Baseball America’s Top 100 Prospect list at #91 before the 2003 season. That year he hit .302/.340/.467 as a 21-year-old in Double-A, and fell off the list the next year. He spent all of 2004 and 2005 in Triple-A, hitting .281/.342/.485 and .308/.377/.536. In 2006 he hit .320/.391/.560 in 26 games in Nashville, finally earning a call up. He hit .283/.328/.468 in 87 games as a rookie.

In 2007, he became a full-time starter and hit .295/.353/.539; in 2008 he regressed to .268/.300/.459, but made his first All-Star team. He was a 20-20 player both seasons.

- Prince Fielder, selected #7 overall in the 2002 draft (one pick after Zack Greinke; rumor has it the Royals were deliberating between both players), was a monster in the minor leagues – he ranked among Baseball America’s #15 prospects three straight seasons. In 2005, he hit .291/.388/.569 in Triple-A at age 21, hitting 28 homers in just 103 games.

Like another big left-handed hitting first baseman, Fielder languished on the bench for much of that season, getting just 59 at-bats despite sending the better part of two months on the major-league roster. The next season he was installed as the Brewers’ everyday first baseman, and hit .271/.347/.483 with 28 homers. It was a stacked year for rookies, and he got just two third-place votes in Rookie of the Year voting. But as a sophomore he was even better, leading the NL with a Brewers-record 50 homers. He’s been one of the best hitters in baseball ever since.

- Fielder, though, isn’t even the best hitter on his team, because of Ryan Braun, the #5 pick in the 2005 draft (two picks after Alex Gordon). Braun crushed the ball in the minors, hitting .313/.375/.572 in 199 minor league games, and was called up to the majors on May 25th, 2007, less than 2 years after he was drafted (and just six weeks after Gordon debuted).

Braun doubled in his first game, homered in his second, and he was off: he hit .324/.370/.634 as a rookie, won Rookie of the Year honors despite playing in just 113 games, and led the league in slugging, which is even more remarkable when you consider he fell slightly short of the 502 plate appearances required to be eligible. Braun was a miserable defensive third baseman, though, so – sound familiar? – he was moved to left field the next season, where his glove is still bad but not nearly as costly. He hit .288/.335/.553 in a solid sophomore season, and has been even better since.

That’s an impressive group of talent. In 2008, Yost’s final year with the team, six of his eight lineup spots were filled with home-grown players that he had personally developed – the guys above minus Podsednik, who had been traded for Carlos Lee. The only veterans in the lineup that year were Jason Kendall (surprise!) and shrewd free-agent signing Mike Cameron.

Yost proved he could work with different kinds of hitters; the pure take-and-rake approach of Fielder, the rake-and-rake-some-more stylings of Braun and Hart; the waterbug leadoff hitter approach of Podsednik. The only player of the seven that you could argue didn’t reach his potential with Yost was Weeks, who continues to tantalize and frustrate the Brewers long after Yost left. Meanwhile, there doesn’t appear to be any outright failures among Brewers prospects to develop. The biggest miss was Nelson Cruz, who got all of five at-bats with Milwaukee before he was packaged with Carlos Lee to Texas in 2005, where three years later he blossomed into one of the game’s most underrated hitters.

But that’s hard to pin on Yost. He was asked to turn seven players – six prospects from the farm system and one minor league veteran – into major leaguers, and he succeeded seven times.

Yost also turned Keith Ginter, who had been acquired in a deadline dump for Mark Loretta in 2002, into a useful player for two seasons. Ginter was then traded to Oakland for Nelson Cruz, and 51 games later was out of the majors. After Yost’s first season, the Brewers traded Richie Sexson to Arizona for a package of talent, including his successor, Lyle Overbay, who had played just 87 games as a rookie. Yost made him his everyday first baseman and Overbay hit .301, leading the league with 53 doubles. Overbay was traded to Toronto two years later to make room for Prince Fielder; the hitter acquired in the deal, Gabe Gross, had the best year of his career for Yost in 2006.

Really, about the only blemish I can find on Yost’s record with developing hitters is that he had Russ Branyan on his team – twice! – and like every other manager before him, didn’t see fit to give him an everyday job. On the other hand, with Overbay playing first base in Branyan’s first go-round with the team, and Prince Fielder entrenched there the second time, it’s not clear where Branyan could have played every day.

Yost’s track record for developing hitters is truly impressive, and much better than I thought it would be when I started this analysis. For a team that is down to its last chance with Alex Gordon, a team that is just starting to realize that Kila Ka’aihue is one of the four best hitters in the organization right now, a team that has Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer and Derrick Robinson coming down the pike between now and the end of next season – as a Royals fan, I don’t have the slightest hesitation in trusting Yost with the future of our offense.

The Case Against Ned

That’s great that he developed all those hitters, but how much credit does he really deserve? He was the beneficiary of a ridiculous amount of hitting talent that the Brewers drafted and developed – it’s no surprise that the guy who was really responsible for landing all those guys got hired as the GM of the Seattle Mariners.

And if you didn’t see any pitchers on the list above, that’s not an oversight. Under Yost, the Brewers produced almost no starting pitchers of any note. Ben Sheets had already established himself in the rotation before Yost got there.

In Yost’s six seasons as manager of the Brewers, the only starting pitcher developed by the franchise to last even a full season in a rotation is Yovani Gallardo.

The Case For Ned

You can’t wave away all the hitters that Yost developed as a product of the farm system, and then blame him for all the pitchers that the farm system didn’t develop. During his time with the Brewers, the top pitching prospects on the farm were Mike Jones and Mark Rogers, who both blew their arms out before they ever touched foot on a major-league mound. Former top prospect Nick Neugebauer, who was one of the hardest throwers in baseball and who made 12 starts for the Brewers in 2002 at the age of 21, had already blown out his arm before Yost arrived and was never heard from again. Other top prospects like Jose Capellan profiled best as relievers.

Meanwhile, Yost did the best he could with the players he was given. Doug Davis was a 27-year-old southpaw who had washed out of the Rangers and Blue Jays organizations when the Brewers claimed him off waivers in 2003. He made 118 starts with Milwaukee over the next three-plus years, with an impressive 107 ERA+. A year later, the Brewers promoted Chris Capuano, a Grade B prospect who had been obtained in the Richie Sexson deal. Capuano gave the Brewers three-plus seasons of league-average pitching before his arm gave out. Yost also got two decent seasons as a starter out of Victor Santos, when no other team could get even one.

The only top starting prospect to reach the majors under Yost who didn’t pan out was Jorge de la Rosa, who only made 8 starts with Milwaukee before he was traded to the Royals for Tony Graffanino – and it took de la Rosa 3 more years and another organization before he finally started to fulfill his promise last season with the Rockies.

It’s true that the Brewers under Yost didn’t develop very many starting pitchers. But 1) that’s a reflection of the farm system more than the manager, and 2) Yost had enough success with recycled pitchers from other teams to win anyway.

The Case Against Ned

If there’s one complaint that both Yost’s critics and defenders agree upon, it’s that he did a terrible job of running a bullpen. He was very by-the-numbers with his relievers, assigning specific roles to his pitchers and then not deviating from those roles even when the need called for it. In particular, he used his closers seemingly to generate saves more than to win games.

In his first season, his closer went 2 innings for a save twice; Mike DeJean did it on July 29th, and Danny Kolb did it on July 19th. But as you can see, the Brewers were sort of transitioning between closers at the time, so neither one of them was the undisputed #1 guy at the time. In the five years after that, not once did Yost allow his closer to pitch 2 full innings for a save, and only nine times did his closer get a save of more than 3 outs.

His inability to work matchups is most brilliantly – and painfully – illustrated in Joe Sheehan’s column here. In the midst of the Brewers’ September collapse that got Yost fired, in the middle of being swept by the Phillies, the Brewers found themselves in a 3-3 tie in the 8th inning. Jayson Werth led off with a single, and Yost replaced Guillermo Mota with lefty specialist Brian Shouse to face Chase Utley and Ryan Howard. Utley sacrificed Werth to second…whereupon Yost ordered Shouse to intentionally walk Ryan Howard. To face Pat Burrell. And left Shouse in.

Royals fans fondly remember the time John Gibbons, then the manager of the Blue Jays, intentionally walked Tony Pena Jr. There really is nothing more to say, except that once Gibbons was hired as the Royals’ bench coach, fans were immediately worried that he would one day take over as manager when Trey Hillman was fired.

Yost’s decision to intentionally walk Ryan Howard, who has one of the most pronounced platoon splits in baseball, in order to pitch to Pat Burrell, who crushes lefties, WITH A LEFTY SPECIALIST ON THE MOUND, is orders of magnitude dumber than walking Pena to set up a double play. This was in September, in a pennant race, in the 8th inning of a tie game. Burrell hit a tie-breaking single, Shane Victoring hit a game-breaking single, the Brewers were swept in a doubleheader, and Yost was fired the next day.

The Case For Ned

One decision – admittedly, one horrible, indefensible decision – should not undo all the good work that Yost did in six years as the Brewers’ manager. Besides, at least in one regard Yost was a revolutionary thinker when it came to his bullpen. I am speaking of The Brooks Kieschnick Experiment, which Yost presided over.

Kieschnick, a star two-way player in college who had stuck to hitting – with meager success – as a pro, took up pitching again as a way to help his team on both sides of the game. Kieschnick actually resumed his pitching career with the White Sox in 2002, at the age of 30, but then joined the Brewers organization in 2003, Yost’s first season. He quickly earned the 25th spot on the roster, and over two seasons, he performed with admirable mediocrity as both a pitcher and a hitter. In 96 innings, he posted a 4.59 ERA; in 133 at-bats, he hit .286/.340/.496. In 2003, he played the outfield 3 times and DH’ed 4 more times, but in 2004 he didn’t play the field at all. But he was used as a pinch-hitter 71 times over those two seasons.

He was released the following spring, and never appeared in the majors again. But for two seasons, Kieschnick was the most perfect 25th roster man I’ve ever seen. The man who gave him that opportunity was Ned Yost.

The Case Against Ned

He was aloof and standoffish with the media in his time with Milwaukee, and his reaction to the Brewers’ second-half fades in 2007 and 2008 were so hyperanimated that within the clubhouse he earned the moniker “Nervous Ned”.

The Case For Ned

It’s possible – perhaps even probable – that Yost learned from his mistakes in Milwaukee. Many years ago, in his Guide to Baseball Managers, Bill James studied the performance record of managers based on whether it was their first job as a manager, second, third, etc. If I recall correctly, what James found was that there was a small but real trend towards managers doing their best in their second and third jobs. This makes sense – a first-time manager has a lot to learn, while a fourth-time manager is either old enough that he’s starting to slip, or was never that good in the first place, otherwise he wouldn’t have been fired three times.

This is Yost’s second job as a manager. He’s only 55. If he continues the good things he did in Milwaukee, and shows a willingness to learn from the mistakes that he made, he could be very successful in Kansas City.

The Case Against Ned

Since he was hired by the Royals, he has already made it clear that the one truly bold idea that Hillman had – to use Joakim Soria for more than three outs – is going to be put back on the shelf.

“I don’t think I would hesitate to use Soria in a four-out situation,” Yost said, “but I don’t generally like to do it. I think a closer is at his best when he comes in, gets his work done and goes into the locker room. I don’t like to see a closer come in, have to get an out, go sit down and then have to go back out and get three more outs.”

And later: “I like my closers to get every save that they can get.” Like I said: save-generating machines.

The Case For Ned

Whereas his predecessor had fallen so deeply under the spell of Little Ball that he was sacrifice bunting in the first inning, Yost seems to have a more enlightened view. In his first game, the Royals were mounting a rally with two singles to start the seventh inning, bringing Jose Guillen to the plate.

“We had first and second with nobody out and I thought about bunting for about half a second and I thought, ‘You know we’ve been struggling to score runs, let’s try to put a big one on the board,’ ” Yost said. “And we did.”

And later:

“I don’t like to play for one run,” he said, “unless it means we’re going to win the game. So early in the game, very seldom will you see me playing for one run.

“It doesn’t mean we’re going to bomb home runs to win ballgames, (but) we can drive the gaps and hit little bloop singles and put a big number on the board.”

The Case Against Ned

Yost managed Jason Kendall in 2008, when Kendall started a ridiculous 149 games behind the plate – no catcher has started more games in a season since Gary Carter in 1982.

Judging from his comments that Brayan Pena might get a start “every two weeks or so”, we’re in for more of the same.

The Case For Ned

He didn’t even wait 24 hours before he fired Dave Owen as his third-base coach. Some managers might have decided to evaluate things with their own eyes before making any big moves. Yost, this one time, understood that this was not the time for patience.

The Case Against Ned

On Tuesday, after Blake Wood had coughed up a win for Zack Greinke as he is contractually obligated to do, the Royals went into extra innings. In the bottom of the tenth, in a tie game, rather than reach for Soria to pitch an inning in the hopes of getting the game into the 11th, or any of the other options in his bullpen that were not making their season debut, Yost called on Brian Bullington.

Brian Bullington had just been called up from the minors. Bullington had all of 39 major league innings (and a 5.08 ERA) to his ledger. A single, a walk, a missed-first-base-error, and a drive over a drawn-in outfield later, the game was over.

The Case For Ned

In Gil Meche’s first start with Yost, Meche had thrown exactly 100 pitches after six innings. Coming back to the dugout, Meche held up one finger to his manager across the dugout, asking for one more inning. Yost simply shook his head, and that was that. The days of Meche actually being able to convince his manager to stay in the game even when it’s counterproductive seem to be over.

The Case Against Ned

Yesterday, Meche had grinded through 109 pitches in just 5 innings, yet Yost inexplicably let him start the sixth with a one-run lead. Two batters and two baserunners later, Meche was out having thrown 122 pitches, and the Indians were able to tie the game.

The Case For Ned

Yost’s comments after Ka’aihue was sent down were probably the biggest vote of confidence I’ve ever seen from the Royals regarding Kila.

“It just kills me to see Kila sitting on the bench and not playing,” said Yost, who replaced Trey Hillman as Royals manager following Thursday’s win against Cleveland. “I think he’s a huge part of our future, and for me I’d much rather have him down there right now, getting his at-bats, playing first base and if something happened he could come back here.”

“(Kila) is getting close to not having to go through this anymore, you know the up-and-down swing where you (get called) up and you (get sent) down,” Yost said. “He’s getting real close to becoming a major-league fixture.”

From an organization that went out of its way to pretend that Ka’aihue didn’t even exist last season, this is a welcome sign.

The Case Against Ned

He let Kila Ka’aihue get sent down. Words are good; actions are better.

The Case For Ned

He seems to understand, in a way that his general manager sometimes doesn’t, that the Royals aren’t really playing for 2010, and that sometimes you have to make decisions which may cause short-term pain for long-term gain. In Luke Hochevar’s first outing under Yost, he blew a 4-1 lead in the seventh inning, and Yost left him out there even as Hochevar gave up five hits and a walk to the first seven batters. Hochevar’s pitch count wasn’t high, but the Royals lost the game by a run, and a quicker hook might well have saved the game. Afterwards, Yost said:

“I told him, `Look, in those types of situations,’” Yost said, “`I’m going to let you pitch yourself out of trouble. You need to learn how. When you get yourself into those situations when you’re rolling, you need to learn how to get yourself out of those situations.’”

A pitcher like Hochevar, who has been underperforming to his talents for years now, needs some tough love, but he also needs the confidence of his manager. With one quote, Yost gave him both.

(If I ever stop writing this blog, it might be because the Royals finally suck away my will to go on. Or, it might be because of columns like this from Joe Posnanski. Sometimes I wonder why I even bother. In one column, Poz sums up everything I’ve spent the better part of 15 years trying to get teams like the Royals to do.)


I tried to present the case for and against Ned as impartially as possible. But in the end, I have to say: the case for Ned Yost is a lot stronger than I thought, and the case against him isn’t.

The biggest problem I had with his hiring was that it was so predictable. I don’t mean predictable in the sense that he was hired as an adviser to the GM this off-season, and that as a former major-league manager he would make a perfect interim manager choice if and when Hillman was fired. I mean predictable in that some Royals fans successfully predicted that Yost would be our next manager the day he was fired by the Brewers, almost two years ago.

Yost, of course, was a coach for the Braves for over a decade before he was hired by the Brewers, and we know how much Dayton like his ex-Braves. So in that sense, the hiring was disappointing, because it seems to me that Yost was hired not for what he’s done, but simply for who he’s worked for in the past.

But maybe it’s both, because the deeper I looked into Yost’s time with the Brewers, the more I was impressed. His .477 winning percentage with the Brewers isn’t anything to write home about, until you remember that in the decade before he was hired, they had a .444 winning percentage. He took a team that had just lost 106 games to .500 in three years, and to the brink of the playoffs three years after that. The man who ultimately replaced him, Ken Macha, is already on the hot seat barely more than a season into his tenure.

As fans we focus so much on a manager’s tactical moves, simply because those are the decisions he makes that are most accessible to us. But there are thousands of smaller decisions that are made on a daily basis – do I give a pep talk to this struggling young player here, do I show confidence in this young pitcher by letting him work through this jam, how do I light a fire under this young player who’s not getting the most out of his talents. And we’re simply not privy to these conversations. All we can see are the results, which play out not in a game, or in a week or a month or even a season, but over multiple seasons.

Yost’s tactical mistakes are easy to see. His strategic victories are not. But it’s those victories – the ability to develop Fielder and Braun and Hardy and Weeks and Hart and Hall into quality ballplayers with relatively few bumps along the road – that made Yost’s tenure in Milwaukee the most successful of any manager since arguably Harvey Kuenn.

And that, in the end, is why he’s been hired by the Royals. Not because of his adeptness with his bullpen, but because the Royals can still salvage Alex Gordon and Ka’aihue, and Mike Moustakas is almost ready, and Derrick Robinson and Eric Hosmer and Johnny Giavotella are on their way. And while Yost wasn’t nearly as successful with his starting pitchers, that really seems to be more a reflection of the talent he had to work with. What works for young hitters may work for young pitchers as well, in which case Yost is the right man to bring along Mike Montgomery and Aaron Crow and John Lamb and half a dozen other promising arms.

I found this remarkably prescient piece written by a Brewers fan immediately after Yost was fired. Money quote: "I do think Yost deserves another chance at manager. He has many positive qualities as a patient developer of talent and preserver of starting arms. A team like Kansas City with an established closer and a lot of young talent that needs patience and structure could do a lot worse than hiring Yost if they get tired of Trey Hillman. Moving over to the AL would probably cover up a lot of his tactical and bench construction weaknesses as well. That's the type of situation where Yost is likely to maximize his value to a franchise at present."

Yost still needs to work to eliminate the “interim” label off his title, but at this point I think the job is his to lose, not his to win. We can only hope that along the way he learns to manage his bullpen a little better. I whined on Twitter after Yost brought in Bullington to pitch the tenth the other day. Joe Sheehan replied, Just wait for 2013, when Yost is doing that with a potential postseason team.”

Well you know what? If the Royals are a potential postseason team under Yost in 2013, he’ll be the first manager since Dick Howser who could make that claim. I certainly hope that one day I’m not writing 5000-word screeds about how Yost’s bullpen shenanigans cost the Royals a game with a playoff spot on the line. But it sure beats the alternative. I know – I’ve been living the alternative for the last 25 years.


Joe Sheehan has been my colleague at Baseball Prospectus since we started in 1996, and my friend since 1993. Watching as the words that were sent to me by email in the early 90s became sharper, and more incisive, and just plain better over the years until he had become one of the very best baseball writers on the planet, is one of the great fringe benefits of my writing career.

Joe left Baseball Prospectus this winter to strike out on his own. While his work appears in a variety of places, from to Rotowire, he hasn't had a forum to write the long, unfiltered columns that he became famous for at BP. Now, though, he's announced his new project here. It's no exaggeration for me to say that after Bill James, I've learned more about baseball, and more about baseball writing, from Joe Sheehan than from anyone else.

So if you can spare the $20, I can't recommend his newsletter highly enough.