Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo

News

All News | Prime News

Old-School Newsstand


Contributors

Jim Furtado
Founder & Publisher
Repoz
Editor - Baseball Primer

Syndicate

Deadspin Newsbeat

Monday, March 02, 2015

Deadspin: “Sports Analytics” Is Bullshit Now

To that end, yes, of course, some teams invest more in analytical personnel, and some do a better job of integrating that into strategy, tactics, and method on the field or court. But try naming some and why, specifically, they’re successful. You’ll get as far as an accommodating owner or infrastructure, like the Mavericks or Rockets enjoy, or the efficiency of scale the Red Sox or New York Yankees can sometimes employ in turning small-market tactics loose with big-market ruthlessness (and margin for error), but not much further. There’s a reason for that: the actual work of transcoding data to usable intelligence involves the most closely-kept industry secrets in sports, to the point that, as I heard it from some of the private analytics crowd, multiple NBA teams were furious last year when Kirk Goldsberry and the Harvard group made public their models for parsing SportVU data in a useful way. As a rule, no one shows their work; no one shows proofs or models or submits to peer review that extends beyond the trade deadline. Yes, it’s probable that the Rockets really do have some great quants working in-house—who, like the best quants at your local Evil Finance Operation, are likely kept chained in a dark room being fed graphing paper so competitors never learn their names—but that probability rests in the team’s proven record of turning observation into philosophy into decisions into on-court success. The irony is that for all the complications added to sports organizations over the last several years, because of those complications and their secrecy, simple old wins are just about the only honest metric available to the public by which to judge whether or not a team’s analytics department has done a good job.

That doesn’t mean no one tries to prove otherwise. In the absence of any way to check everyone’s homework for bullshit, it’s very easy to just praise the teams who seem most vociferous about abiding by the maxims of analytics as good-faith practitioners. Draft picks and youth are valuable; roster flexibility is key; defense is cheap, and maybe the new (or now just recent) inefficiency—all the little truisms distilled and disseminated in that ESPN analytics package are basically just talking points when coming from teams that promise they’ve done the math even if you can’t see it working yet.

As such, the analytics story right now isn’t just about a standard-issue business division being imparted divine powers by the media and the people who benefit from such coverage; it’s about right-minded and unverifiable claims being attached to all manner of disasters as a way of reassuring fans that they shouldn’t worry, that there is a plan, and that the plan is based on smart-people things.

But seriously, the Mariners are still working on that state-of-the-art weight room.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 02, 2015 at 10:15 PM | 31 comment(s)
  Beats: 76ers, astros, deadspin, nba, sports analytics

 

 

BBTF Partner

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
1k5v3L
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogThis is Vin Scully’s 66th season broadcasting Dodgers games. Really.
(15 - 11:30pm, Jun 29)
Last: ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick

NewsblogDylan Bundy Shut Down Indefinitely - MLB Trade Rumors
(5 - 11:26pm, Jun 29)
Last: Coot Veal and Cot Deal taste like Old Bay

NewsblogMLB and the Grateful Dead - JOIN US FOR THE FINAL 5 SHOWS EVER!
(110 - 11:20pm, Jun 29)
Last: Alex meets the threshold for granular review

NewsblogOT: Monthly NBA Thread - June 2015
(2809 - 11:18pm, Jun 29)
Last: jmurph

NewsblogOT: Politics - June 2015. Settlement clears way for Kokomo baseball home opener
(5541 - 11:09pm, Jun 29)
Last: tshipman

NewsblogCole Hamels 'open-minded' to all potential trade destinations | Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia
(23 - 11:06pm, Jun 29)
Last: Walt Davis

NewsblogOMNICHATTER 6-29-15
(15 - 11:02pm, Jun 29)
Last: The Yankee Clapper

NewsblogRookie League manager leaves bullpen off lineup card, has to use position players in relief
(22 - 10:46pm, Jun 29)
Last: Walt Davis

NewsblogHow Royals fans have turned MLB's All-Star voting into anarchy - Yahoo Sports
(27 - 10:39pm, Jun 29)
Last: cardsfanboy

NewsblogTests on Red Sox Hanley Ramirez’s bruised hand negative - Sports - The Boston Globe
(1 - 10:36pm, Jun 29)
Last: Walt Davis

NewsblogPrimer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-29-2015
(18 - 9:40pm, Jun 29)
Last: vortex of dissipation

NewsblogHR Derby to feature brackets, timed rounds
(14 - 9:18pm, Jun 29)
Last: boteman asks Where's My Ring?

NewsblogPerez crushes key homer for 500th career hit | royals.com
(17 - 8:44pm, Jun 29)
Last: Davo's Favorite Tacos Are Moose Tacos

NewsblogMeet the Matz: Historic debut for Mets lefty | MLB.com
(18 - 8:18pm, Jun 29)
Last: Batman

NewsblogMattingly challenges Puig to adjust to pitchers
(15 - 8:14pm, Jun 29)
Last: Bruce Markusen

Page rendered in 1.0735 seconds
47 querie(s) executed