Tuesday, May 24, 2016
Log onto any mainstream website or media outlet (certainly any program within the ESPN empire) and 30 seconds cannot pass without extreme statistical analysis, which didn’t exist 20 years ago, hijacking the conversation. But not in “BlackWorld,” where never is heard an advanced analytical word. Not in urban barbershops. Not in text chains during three-hour games. Not around office water coolers. Not even in pressrooms or locker rooms where black folks who make a living in the industry spend all day and half the night talking about the most intimate details of sports.
Let’s take the Golden State Warriors locker room, for example. I thought the complete stiff-arming of the statistical revolution might very well be generational. Old black folks don’t, but younger black folks might.
I asked Draymond Green, the Warriors star whose new-age game is constantly being defined statistically, if he engages in any advanced analytics conversation either professionally or personally. His answer was emphatic.
“No. Neither. Professionally, I play completely off of feel. I hear people discussing my game in terms of all these advanced numbers. I have no part of it,” Green said. “Even paying attention to it, from a playing standpoint, would make me robotic and undermine my game. I’m supposed to step back behind the line in real time to avoid taking a ‘bad two’? That’s thinking way too much. I don’t get the fascination at all.”
Saturday, April 30, 2016
1. What is MLB Plus?
Orchestrated from both MLB.com Studios and correspondents as well as technical resources at the ballpark, MLB Plus is a new way to enjoy baseball.
MLB Plus will place a real-time emphasis on the numbers and metrics used by many of the game’s current decision-makers, from spin rate and outfield positioning to exit velocity and lead distance. In addition, MLB Plus will supplement the action with videos explaining the technology used and in-depth prospect reports.
2. Who will appear on MLB Plus?
MLB Plus will have a rotating cast, each bringing his or her own strengths. From nationally known play-by-play broadcasters to MLB.com stats analysts to former Major League players and general managers to team-specific expertise from MLB.com beat writers, MLB Plus will have every angle covered.
MLB Plus broadcasts will feature a combination of the following voices:
• Fernando Perez (former Rays outfielder, VICE.com Contributor)
• Alyson Footer (MLB.com national correspondent)
• Will Leitch (Sports on Earth senior writer)
• Mike Petriello (MLB.com stats analyst and host of the Statcast™ Podcast)
• Jim Duquette (MLB.com analyst, host of MLB Network Radio’s “Power Alley,” former GM of Mets and Orioles)
• Daron Sutton (Former play-by-play voice of the Angels [radio, 2000-01], Brewers [television, 2002-06] and D-backs [television, 2007-12])
Tuesday, April 26, 2016
Recently, the present author began the process of process of reproducing the broadcaster rankings which appeared on this site roughly four years ago. The purpose of those rankings? To place a “grade” on each of the league’s television and radio broadcast teams — a grade intended to represent not necessarily the objective quality or skill of the relevant announcers, but rather the appeal those announcers might have to the readers of Fangraphs.
I have a feeling I know how CFB will vote on the Cardinals broadcasters. This looks like it could be gravy.
Even though some of the initial rewards had already been realized by 2009, there were still significant gains to be made by semi-early adopters. To measure them, we built a model estimating how good a team was before its front-office hires, using the following factors for each team: its winning percentages over the previous three seasons, its payroll and market size and its Baseball America farm-system ranking. Using these variables, we generated an expected winning percentage for each team over the following three seasons, beginning with the two historical years for which we had analyst counts (2009 and 2012).
The takeaway: It paid to invest in analytics early. Teams with at least one analyst in 2009 outperformed their expected winning percentage4 by 44 percentage points over the 2012-14 period, relative to teams who didn’t — an enormous effect, equivalent to more than seven extra wins per season. That might be overstating things a bit — the precise advantage varies depending on how the analysis is structured — but over most permutations of the model we tried,5 the effect was consistently stronger than two wins per season, particularly for the earliest-adopting teams, which got a head start by implementing analytics before 2009.
Tuesday, April 12, 2016
Older article, going back to the John Henry announcement six weeks ago that the Red Sox would be placing less emphasis on analytics (which was discussed pretty thoroughly at the time). I think the biggest insight here is that organizations can get down in the weeds with the data and lose sight of the context to which the data applies.
But once organizations get zealous about data, such as the Red Sox, they can go too far in the other direction. Rudin calls these organizations “groundhogs” because they are too focused on the data to see the bigger story. In other words, they can’t see the forest through the trees. And a myopic emphasis on data to the exclusion of common sense leads to rather comical, if not tragic, outcomes.
Wednesday, March 09, 2016
David Laurila of FanGraphs caught up with Amaro and asked about the whole analytics thing in Philadelphia.
“You can’t ever deny the numbers. That’s true for every GM and every baseball person, regardless of whether you’re ‘old school’ or ‘new school.’ When a scout walks in, the first thing he does is pick up a stat sheet and look at what the player does and what he’s been doing. The numbers don’t lie.
“I’ve always believed in analytics. I just didn’t make it all public (in Philadelphia). I thought it was more of a competitive advantage for me to keep our thought-process about analytics closer to the vest. We didn’t boast about what we were doing — we didn’t discuss it openly — because I didn’t think it was anybody’s business but our own as to how we evaluated.
“We got a little more aggressive, as far as building our analytics department, probably three-or-so years ago. It did maybe become a little more public then. But that doesn’t mean we weren’t utilizing analytics to some degree earlier than that.”
In an article by Doug Miller for MLB.com back in January 2010, special assistant Charley Kerfeld said, “And since I’ve been here, we don’t have an in-house stats guy and I kind of feel we never will. We’re not a statistics-driven organization by any means.” He added, “I’m not against statistics. Everybody has their own way of doing things. But the Phillies believe in what our scouts see and what our eyes tell us and what our people tell us.”
Friday, January 08, 2016
Brian Costa of the Wall Street Journal reports that ex-Cardinals scouting director Chris Correa will be indicted today on charges arising out of the hacking of the Houston Astros’ database in 2014. Correa is expected to plead guilty to charges related to hacking the Astros.
Costa says between 5-12 charges will be filed. While the charges are yet unknown, the Federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act would cover such activities. The FBI has been investigating for months. There are serious potential penalties under this law.
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