Saturday, May 09, 2015
You are transported back in time to, say, 1960. You have none of your money or possessions. Assume you luck your way in to an assistant GM position in an MLB front office as a way of making a living. There is no Baseball-Reference. There is no Fangraphs. There is no Excel. How do you go about using your present knowledge of advanced baseball statistics to your advantage? How do you go about getting the GM to heed your advice?
Jeff Sullivan: Well, let’s see. Shifts would be easy enough. Very simple concept to convey
Jeff Sullivan: I might be able to get across the core components of DIPS theory, and I’d talk about the run value of getting on base, no matter how it’s done
Jeff Sullivan: And then we’d eyeball-test the starting pitchers, and we’d talk about fatigue and times through the order. The team would end up being aggressive with its bullpen
Friday, March 06, 2015
As they say: Statistics are used much like a drunk uses a Dennis Lamp post…or something.
Paul Erdős was one of the greatest mathematicians of the last century (famous enough to originate Erdős Numbers), along with being one of its most eccentric. He loved beautiful, simple proofs and talked about God having a book of proofs with all of the best and most direct proofs.
I left math nine years ago, so I probably wouldn’t understand any proofs in THE BOOK, but I would love to see God’s Baseball Encyclopedia™. Close observers of our sites have probably noticed through the years that numbers, even as fundamental as strikeouts, runs batted in and hits, can change from time to time. As fans, reporters or pros, we want the stats to be THE STATS, but even if you exclude uncertainty related to scoring decisions and the like, historical statistics are just estimates (usually very, very good estimates) of what happened on the field.
...So what do we do with these issues. We receive our MLB data from Pete Palmer and Gary Gillette and their view, which I agree with, is to make changes as credible research has been done to verify a necessary change. This then leads to an ongoing trickle of changes and adjustments. Elias, MLB’s official statistician, which doesn’t publish an encyclopedia and is therefore something of a black box with regards to the details of a player’s career, prefers a more absolutist view where changes need to be found and reconciled for all players in a league before correcting individual players. This is a defensible, if in my opinion somewhat extreme, approach to making changes.
No matter which policy you ascribe to, you should never attach absolute permanence to any baseball statistic, because so long as there are baseball researchers there will be changes to baseball’s statistical canon.
Posted: March 06, 2015 at 02:15 PM | 20 comment(s)
Wednesday, February 25, 2015
After seven seasons in professional television, NBC sitcom “Parks and Recreation” has retired. Boasting a career average that would make even Ted Williams envious, the show’s final outing aired on Tuesday night. MLB fans everywhere should be a little sorry to see it go, because no sitcom on television was as big a baseball fan as “Parks and Rec.”
Farewell to the law firm of Fwar, Dips, Winshares, Gritt, Nelsson, Woba, Fraplus, Zswing, Range-Factor, Heart, Babip, Pecota, Vorp & Eckstein, LLC.
Posted: February 25, 2015 at 09:14 AM | 61 comment(s)
Monday, February 23, 2015
And this is coming from a guy whose name contains over two dozen sabermetric acronyms.
The topic Sunday morning was whether Sox pitching coach Don Cooper’s methods were old school in this day and age of Sabermetrics.
“Sabermetrics, nyeh. Sounds like a lot of hot air,’’ Samardzija said, smiling. “I think there are definitely positive aspects to it. I think there is some information you can take from it that’s important. But ultimately from a player’s point of view, you want a coach that can relate to you. Can help you with adjustments mid-game.
“I think preparation with numbers and stats and all that’s great, but when the bullets are flying, you need a guy that knows your personality, can relate to you and get you to change or fix what’s going wrong. If you don’t respect the guy that’s telling you that information, you’re not going to listen to him.’’
...“So much of the game happens so fast that you’ve got to trust yourself and your instincts and trust what you remember before from facing guys,’’ he said. “You go off that. I think a lot of money is wasted in Sabermetrics, in producing information and hiring people to produce information. If it’s not being taken from the paper and processed by the player, it might as well just be a waste.
“I think you need to know the player and what they like and what they don’t like. If they like numbers and they like to see those percentages, then you feed it to them. If not, then you go about it a different way.’’
...“Listen, I can get (hitters) out without even throwing a pitch,’’ he said. “If I can intimidate them or maybe I’ve had success against them in the past, then sometimes these guys are out before they even get to the plate. Or they’ve had success against you, and it causes you to four-pitch walk them. There are a lot of numbers that don’t get written down or can’t be kept. A lot of internal things that take place with guys, confidence and rhythm and things like that that aren’t on paper.
“(Metrics enable) a lot of people to have jobs in baseball, I think. But is it necessary? Yes and no.’’
Posted: February 23, 2015 at 08:08 AM | 24 comment(s)
Sunday, February 15, 2015
Good thing Daniel Okrent never dined at the Le Bretôn Française restaurant.
With the newsstand costs rising to $7.99, of course, most of the preseason periodicals truly are no longer worth the paper they were printed on. Yet, their popularity persists, because with the rise of fantasy baseball has come a surge of championing preseason projections, the fair-haired child of the game’s shotgun analytics marriage.
Spare me the emails. I enjoy baseball’s new math, and even agree with most of it.
But the projection algorithms are where I get off the sabermetric bus. If they were such good predicting tools, why didn’t you win your fantasy league last season?
Better still, why aren’t all the projection algorithm dudes raking in the cash in Las Vegas?
Because — to quote Billy Beane/Brad Pitt in Moneyball — you don’t know. The future doesn’t always repeat the past. Ask the local TV weathermen if you don’t believe that.
...The other variable that the projection equations appear to only be guessing on is what happens when a team’s youngsters suddenly grow up? Rougned Odor just turned 21. Elvis Andrus is still only 26. Leonys Martin is a young 26 in American baseball years.
Yes, the Rangers are laden with question marks. But there are a lot more could-be’s than probably-nots.
A good Einstein would see that.
Posted: February 15, 2015 at 08:10 AM | 14 comment(s)
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