For as long as he’s been in the booth, FP Santangelo has been a “play the game the right way” commentator. What does that mean? Santangelo has long espoused the value of “gritty” players, your David Eckstein and Steve Lombardozzi types. So, it came as quite a shock when he started talking about advanced metrics during MASN’s first spring broadcast of 2017.
After Dan Kolko interviewed Ryan Zimmerman in the dugout, Santangelo started talking about how Zimmerman crushed the ball in 2016, but he didn’t have much success to show for it. He attributed it to having a launch angle below 10 degrees, which seemed like a direct tie to articles on FanGraphs and quotes from Daniel Murphy, who has been helping Zimmerman with trying to get more air under his well-hit balls.
Santangelo admitted on the broadcast that he spent time beginning to learn advanced metrics over the winter. He said he didn’t want to be the “curmudgeon” who didn’t evolve with the game, which is an interesting and exciting development for people who are into hearing about more than batting average and grit.
It’s also worth noting that during his interview with MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred, Santangelo pressed Manfred on his push for “pace of play” improvements in baseball going forward. Even as the Commissioner tried to artfully dodge questions with cliches, Santangelo continued to press him on how he thinks small changes like automatic intentional walks would actually make enough difference. It was one of the most impressive in-game interviews I’ve heard in some time, and it deserves a lot of credit.
This was the first broadcast since Bob Carpenter and Santangelo signed their extensions this winter to continue working at MASN for at least the next two seasons, so hopefully this is a sign of what’s to come.Tags: fp santangelo, sabermetrics