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Sunday, September 14, 2014

Kapler: Baseball’s next big competitive edge

Really terrific piece. No snark.

However, we are now more than a decade past the publication of Moneyball, and, to put it bluntly, the days of simply adding an analytical genius to the front office and expecting him to tip the scales are over. There’s simply too much information-sharing in today’s world for any club to gain a lasting structural informational edge over their competitors. Proprietary information is becoming harder and harder to come by. While there are certainly frontiers of data not yet fully explored, I believe the next real advantage will come not from which team can acquire the most information, but from which team can best put that information into practice. How efficiently and successfully information is shared with managers, coaches and players will equal wins now and going forward.

Herein lies one of the great challenges of implementing winning, but unconventional, techniques. Players are resistant to change; managers are disinclined to upset habits. Think about the eye-rolls whenever a team says, “We’re going closer by committee.”

A slightly more extreme example came up in conversation last night. Former first-round pick and MLB veteran C.J. Nitkowski alerted me to a piece written by our FanGraphs colleague, Eno Sarris. I had not yet read the article and asked C.J. for an overview.

“Essentially, Eno thinks we should be moving guys around in the outfield during the game based on defensive strength. Crazy! Can you imagine how the weaker outfielder would feel?”

C.J.’s half right. I can think of two dozen major-league outfielders who might have bruised egos, but I can also think of a dozen who’d be cool with it. The difference isn’t (just) player makeup, its institutional buy-in.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 14, 2014 at 11:28 AM | 83 comment(s)
  Beats: gabe kapler, just a bit outside, sabermetrics

 

 

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