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The Brewers’ first-half success is welcomed by those of us who have not become wild-eyed fans of analytics. Melvin doesn’t disdain new-fangled statistics, but he keeps them in perspective.
“I use certain numbers,” he said without identifying them. “We use them internally. We don’t advertise them. Some are useful, some aren’t.”
Melvin said he doesn’t use them for minor leaguers. “The minor leagues are for development,” he said. “You can’t analyze players in the minor leagues. You develop players and until they get through the teaching process it’s hard to analyze the numbers. The minor league numbers don’t always relate to major league success.”
One of the reasons minor leaguers can’t be judged on the new statistics, Melvin said, is the intangibles. “Who are the players willing to take instruction,” he asked, citing one intangible that can’t be determined by a sabermetric formula. Á lot of players have early success but don’t develop,” he said.
Melvin also said new statistics can be costly to teams that live by them. He cited the Boston Red Sox signing of Carl Crawford as an example. The Red Sox gave Crawford $142 million “because he had a 6 ½ WAR number,” then couldn’t wait to trade him.
“There’s a spot for analytics,” he said. “You can put a certain percentage of weight on them. But some of the analytics have a high cost.”
Putting my view in perspective, Melvin said, “A scout once said ‘I may not be educated but my eyes are.’”
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