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Bill James Newsbeat

Sunday, November 19, 2017

More on WAR – Joe Blogs – Medium

Bill is off base here. Bill seems to want to use WAR to answer questions that WAR is not really suited to answer. He’s not alone, of course. Other people use WAR to answer the MVP question all the time. The reason it’s done is, there really isn’t a tool out there designed to specifically answer the MVP question. Bill tried to do it with Win Shares. Unfortunately the adjustment methods he chose were too broad in nature.

In any event we don’t have to throw out WAR. It’s really useful for answering a lot of questions. I heartily agree with a Tangotiger suggestion:

I have always thought the best way to design a WAR would be to break it down into separate elements, which we later combine in the most appropriate way to best answer specific questions. The breakdown, IMO, should be: 1) offense, 2) defense (further broken down into components), 3) baserunning, 4) positional adjustment, and 5) context adjustment. (They should all also be presented with the related rate stat to help people answer other specific questions.)

Anyway, by introducing a timing/context adjustment as Tangotiger suggested, the value of the current WAR systems would increase. Our current data sets are much better than they were twenty years ago. We can now provide individual contexts, and need not rely on team ratios as Win Shares did. We should do it.

Unfortunately, though, the additions will generate more confusion as many people will still want to use one number to answer all questions.

“But because that is true, I ASSUMED that these were complex, nuanced, sophisticated systems. I never really looked; I just assumed that the details were out of my depth. But sometime in the last year I was doing some research that relied on these WAR systems, so I took a look at them, and … they’re not very impressive. They’re not well thought through; they haven’t made a convincing effort to address many of the inherent difficulties that the undertaking presents. They tend to get so far into the data, throw up their arms and make a wild guess. I don’t know if I’m going to get the time to do better of it, or if it will be left to others, but … we’re not at anything like an end point here. I assumed that these systems were a lot better than they actually are.”

Jim Furtado Posted: November 19, 2017 at 07:28 AM | 208 comment(s)
  Beats: bill james, sabermetrics, war

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

The Jonah Keri Podcast: Bill James - CBSSports.com

Haven’t had time to listen to this yet. With the pairing, I’m sure it’s interesting.

Jim Furtado Posted: September 06, 2017 at 01:18 PM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: bill james, interviews, podcast

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Bill James: Career Won-Lost Record

The purpose of this research is to try to get a clear answer to this question:  Over the course of a substantial career, does a pitcher’s won-lost record become a reasonably reliable measurement of how good he really was?  In other words, we know that in a single season, a pitcher can pitch extremely well and be stuck with a won-lost record of 12-15, just because his team doesn’t score runs for him, while another pitcher—a teammate even—might pitch not as well, but might wind up with a record of 18-7 because he wins a lot of games 7-5 and 11 to 8.  But over the course of a career, do those things “even out”, or do they not?...

Let’s start with the assumption that there are three positions:

          1)  The traditional position is that a pitcher’s Won-Lost record, over the course of his career, is a reliable indication of how good a pitcher he was,

          2)  The Brian Kenny position is that Won-Lost records are useless and should be ignored, and

          3)  The compromise position is that Won-Lost records are generally accurate, but are not reliable in all cases. 

          Having studied this as thoroughly as I can study it, my conclusion is that the best answer is either (2) or (3), but that it isn’t (1).  It seems to me clear that, even over the course of a career, won-lost records are not so reliable that one can site them without concern for the possibility that they may be seriously misleading.

he doesn’t really show his methodology for determining luck/bad luck

 

Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: August 02, 2017 at 01:54 PM | 54 comment(s)
  Beats: bill james, kill-the-win

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

How the wonks won baseball coverage

“It’s a ball now. It’s my favorite period in the business — by far,” says Tom Boswell of The Washington Post, a great baseball writer who straddles sharply different eras.

“I wish it had always been like this. You have all the old approaches to coverage still available — profiles, human interest, humor, etc. But so much more, too. For people who love to analyze (me), there’s nothing as good as real data, plus tons of unmined data where you can discover patterns that others haven’t spotted. FanGraphs, MLB.com/Statcast and baseball-reference are just an addictive gold mine. You have to restrain yourself.”...

It wasn’t long ago that baseball statisticians like Bill James were a curiosity, with the rise of the species even spotlighted in a Hollywood movie, “Moneyball,” about the Oakland A’s and based on the Michael Lewis book that chronicled Billy Beane, its idiosyncratic general manager.

Now, metrics rule baseball. As put by Keith Law, a baseball expert at ESPN who once worked for the Toronto Blue Jays, the revolution is over. People aren’t slaves to data but it plays a central role, with many basic assumptions of the past undermined. Thus, even the casual fan may view a player’s on-base percentage as more important than his batting average.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 21, 2017 at 04:05 PM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: bill james, reporters, sabermetrics

 

 

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