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Publisher's Summary

Move over, Moneyball - a cutting-edge look at major league baseball's next revolution: the high-tech quest to build better players. 

As best-selling 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.

Instead 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.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2019 Ben Lindbergh and Travis Sawchik (P)2019 Basic Books

Critic Reviews

"I wish this book spent more time on the Red Sox winning four times as many titles as the Yankees this century, but The MVP Machine is a great and informative deep dive on the challenges of unlocking talent and building winning teams in the age of analytics." (Bill Simmons, founder and CEO, The Ringer)

"This is the book baseball needed, the definitive document on how the best players in the world are using new ideas to become even better. Until now, no one had delivered an authoritative, comprehensive look at the revolution that is transforming the sport and offering lessons that extend even beyond the field. If you want to understand the inner workings of the modern game, you must read The MVP Machine." (Ken Rosenthal, baseball reporter for The Athletic, Fox Sports, and MLB Network)

"A lot of books have claimed to be Moneyball 2.0, but this book actually delivers. It chronicles the changes that are transforming the game of baseball at a fundamental level and shifting power back into the hands of players and coaches." (Mike Fast, special assistant to the general manager, Atlanta Braves and former director of research and development, Houston Astros)

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What listeners say about The MVP Machine

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Just too much cussing!

Just too much cussing it kills the book! Could have been a nice read but come on. Every four letter word and blasphemy you can imagine. Just horrible. I couldn’t finish it.

9 people found this helpful

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A wonderful glimpse into the next level of player development

If you thought MoneyBall changed the game of baseball, the MVP Machine is going to make that look like an afterthought. This is a must listen to if you have not been exposed to Trevor Bauer’s, Kyle Boddy’s and all the new tech breaking through the game. I have been using this kind of development for the last 4+ years with my now 14 year old son. I have been staying on top of the tech and trends and felt compelled to take notes while enjoying the book.

4 people found this helpful

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Spectacular Book, great narration

It’s cliche to say it’s moneyball 2.0, but there it is. Big data, advanced metrics and new media technology applied to kinesiology and human performance. Trevor Bauer is this generation’s Kevin Youklis. The Astros replace the A’s as the first to embrace the new paradigm. A must read for anyone who is interested in baseball and who wants to hear the stories behind sudden leaps in performance and the state of the game today. Why the focus on launch angle? How come everyone seems to have a 95+mph fastball? How did Justin Turner and Daniel Murphy go from mediocre to elite? Why is Rich Hill still winning? Read this book.

5 people found this helpful

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Great Book. Horrible Narrator.

As the title says, this is a great book.

The narrator is horrible. He clearly has no grasp of the content he’s reading. He routinely demonstrates his baseball illiteracy throughout the book.

Sometimes, you have to know a bit about the game and how people communicate game data to be able to read it correctly off the page in a manner consistent with normal conversation.

I don’t know who picks narrators, but I’d say this choice is a “swing and a miss.”

In case the Narrator is reading this, “swing and a miss” is a metaphor referencing the game of baseball, an American sport where strong gentlemen swing sticks at balls.

6 people found this helpful

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Great book for sports junkies

I really enjoyed this book, maybe I’m biased as a Cleveland Indians fan and a great deal of the book being based around Trevor Bauer’s ascent in the org, but if you have interest in stats, sports, athletic development this is a great read. I’d even go as far to say it almost acts as a self help book, because so much of this book is about to improve and maximize your potential.

1 person found this helpful

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Next level baseball

This is the next level of baseball analytics. Very well done. If you haven't read Money Ball or Ahead of the Curve you may struggle to keep pace with the sabermetric acronyms. A must read for any baseball fanatic thirsty for what's going on in today's game. Ironic to see Bauer and Boody hooked up in Cincinnati.

1 person found this helpful

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Good story, bad narrator

Like so many others, I am a huge baseball fan, and deeply fascinated by the analytics, and chess match, that are part of the modern game. Ben Lindbergh did a fantastic job of telling an interesting story that will make baseball fans interested in player development. However, the authors brilliance is curtailed by a very poor reading. Hurley says every word as if its the most interesting thing to ever come out of his mouth. It was so obnoxious that I had to put it on 1.5x speed to take away some of the enthusiasm in which he reads. If you can get over that, really enjoyable.

3 people found this helpful

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Came for the data, got a lot of baseball

This is essentially MoneyBall and Astroball producing an offspring without the movie worthy story. Plenty of good data info, but way more technical baseball info.

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favorite book of quaritine

Trevor Bauer has changed the game forever, so much incredible information in this book. I loved it

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Very good

I love baseball and this is an excellently worded book. I truly fun listen. Really enjoyed.