Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Baseball Newsstand > Baseball Primer Newsblog > Discussion
Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Anft: The New Balance For MLB Executives, Fans

As Triandos of Clap said…“The WAR ain’t ovah!”

Among front-office types, it’s not just the numbers, but also how you balance them that is important. If, for example, Orioles third baseman Manny Machado has a high RF (range factor: a formula that is nine times a player’s putouts and assists divided by innings played) and UZR (ultimate zone rating), showing that he saves runs with his defense, how important is it to watch him play? Do those numbers make him more valuable than, say, former Orioles third baseman Brooks Robinson?

“It’s important to remember that these numbers are just another tool scouts can use,” said a longtime big league scout, who requested to remain anonymous. “When you size up a player, you have to look beyond the obvious athletics. Brooks was slower than the typical player, but he had a great first step and terrific hands. You need more than numbers to see that, particularly early on in his career.”

But the old scouts-versus-numbers dichotomy no longer applies, the scout said.

“Ninety percent of the time, the analytics support a scout’s report,” he said. “When I started, we had no radar guns or computers, yet we could still zero in on the right players. There are no absolutes in baseball. You can’t make a definitive statement about much of anything. You’re dealing with human beings.”

Sabermetrics is hardly a hard and fast measuring tool, he said. A player is a moving target.

“Guys change from month to month,” he said. “Eighty percent might be the same player at any given time, but 10 percent are on the way up, and 10 percent are on the way down. You have to know which is which.”

Joe Klein, formerly a front-office executive for four major league teams and now the executive director of the independent Atlantic League, said statistics alone weren’t enough to evaluate a player.

“You can’t equate 200 at bats to an answer to a question,” Klein said. “How a guy is going to perform—if you use nothing but numbers, you’re going to get beat. I’d rather trust [Orioles manager] Buck Showalter’s instincts than rely purely on numbers.”

But if the stats and formulae support a scout’s judgment, Klein said, they might help him find the right players and put his role players in a better position to win.

Repoz Posted: May 25, 2014 at 09:20 AM | 2 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: orioles, sabermetrics

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. Walt Davis Posted: May 25, 2014 at 05:46 PM (#4713198)
I don't know what he looked like in the minors nor what fielding numbers you get in the minors but ...

Brooks got cups of coffee from 18 to 20 and it's true that in those 400 innings he graded out as average by Rfield.

At 21, in his first full season, the numbers put him at +6.

At 22, in just a bit over a half-season, the numbers put him at +13.

I guessing you coulda told how good he was just by the numbers.

Wow, we have some minors fielding numbers on Brooks so maybe this is what the scout is referring to ... at age 19, he did commit 26 errors (957 FP%).

By the way, that was almost 60 years ago now ... just how old is this guy that he was scouting Brooks then?
   2. Bhaakon Posted: May 25, 2014 at 05:47 PM (#4713199)
Brooks was slower than the typical player, but he had a great first step and terrific hands. You need more than numbers to see that, particularly early on in his career.


The issue of early-career sample size aside, isn't that EXACTLY what the defensive numbers are supposed to show you? Guys who play better or worse than their arm strength and time in the 40.

To answer my own rhetorical question, yes. Yes they are. Just not range factor, which is garbage.

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

News

All News | Prime News

Old-School Newsstand


BBTF Partner

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
Chicago Joe
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogOT: NBA 2016-17 Preseason Thread
(1141 - 3:23pm, Dec 04)
Last: MHS

NewsblogOTP: 28 November 2016: Bud Selig reminisces about 1999 MLB trip to Cuba, meeting Fidel Castro
(1761 - 3:22pm, Dec 04)
Last: BDC

NewsblogOT - November* 2016 College Football thread
(572 - 3:20pm, Dec 04)
Last: cmd600

NewsblogThe Unluckiest Pitching Staff Ever Assembled
(4 - 3:15pm, Dec 04)
Last: Betts, Bogaerts, and D Price(GGC)

NewsblogCarlos Beltran agrees to one-year, $16M deal with Astros
(16 - 3:08pm, Dec 04)
Last: shoewizard

NewsblogMLBPA boss Tony Clark breaks down the CBA | FOX Sports
(1 - 3:03pm, Dec 04)
Last: shoewizard

NewsblogSunday Notes: Vizquel, Lindor, Shipley, Ryan, Mussina, more | FanGraphs Baseball
(4 - 2:46pm, Dec 04)
Last: PreservedFish

Hall of Merit2017 Hall of Merit Ballot Discussion
(163 - 1:20pm, Dec 04)
Last: bjhanke

NewsblogPittsburgh Pirates prospects Josh Bell and Tyler Glasnow rise to the top of team's Organization All-Stars | MiLB.com News | The Official Site of Minor League Baseball
(2 - 1:13pm, Dec 04)
Last: PASTE does not get put on waivers in August

NewsblogBraves Acquire Jaime Garcia
(26 - 12:09pm, Dec 04)
Last: snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster)

NewsblogOT: October-November 2016 Soccer Thread
(368 - 11:39am, Dec 04)
Last: OPS+

NewsblogA’s, Yonder Alonso agree on new deal
(20 - 11:16am, Dec 04)
Last: A triple short of the cycle

NewsblogWill Cubs stay quiet or pull off surprise at winter meetings? | Chicago Sun-Times
(1 - 10:19am, Dec 04)
Last: Dan The Mediocre is one of "the rest"

NewsblogHall of Fame: Bud Selig lock for election on Today's Game ballot | SI.com
(19 - 9:41am, Dec 04)
Last: Rennie's Tenet

NewsblogMinor Leaguers Continue Efforts In Wage Lawsuit | BaseballAmerica.com
(1 - 9:25am, Dec 04)
Last: RMc is Fairly Irrefutable

Page rendered in 0.1352 seconds
47 querie(s) executed