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

BBTF Partner

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
Francis
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogOTP - July 2014: Republicans Lose To Democrats For Sixth Straight Year In Congressional Baseball Game
(3963 - 7:49pm, Jul 31)
Last: Greg K

NewsblogRuben Amaro Jr., on standing pat at deadline
(5 - 7:43pm, Jul 31)
Last: jdennis

NewsblogOT: Monthly NBA Thread- July 2014
(1058 - 7:41pm, Jul 31)
Last: Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play

NewsblogMinnesota Twins sign Kurt Suzuki to two-year contract extension
(1 - 7:40pm, Jul 31)
Last: Jim (jimmuscomp)

NewsblogYankees land infielders Stephen Drew, Martin Prado at Deadline
(7 - 7:39pm, Jul 31)
Last: bigglou115

NewsblogHardball Talk: Calcaterra: Nationals-Orioles TV Money Dispute about to Explode
(24 - 7:39pm, Jul 31)
Last: The Yankee Clapper

NewsblogOT: The Soccer Thread July, 2014
(549 - 7:32pm, Jul 31)
Last: J. Sosa

NewsblogPrimer Dugout (and link of the day) 7-31-2014
(19 - 7:30pm, Jul 31)
Last: Eric J can SABER all he wants to

NewsblogBrewers acquire outfielder Gerardo Parra from D-backs
(3 - 7:27pm, Jul 31)
Last: Gold Star - just Gold Star

NewsblogTigers To Acquire David Price
(59 - 7:25pm, Jul 31)
Last: PreservedFish

NewsblogMarlins acquire Jarred Cosart from Astros in six-player deal
(1 - 7:13pm, Jul 31)
Last: Joe Kehoskie

NewsblogJim Bowden Caught Stealing From Fake Twitter Account, Deletes Everything
(17 - 7:07pm, Jul 31)
Last: Joe Bivens, Minor Genius

NewsblogCardinals Acquire John Lackey
(89 - 7:03pm, Jul 31)
Last: greenback calls it soccer

NewsblogWhy the Mets Are Right to Save the New York State Pavilion
(16 - 7:03pm, Jul 31)
Last: Srul Itza

NewsblogJULY 31 2014 OMNICHATTER/TRADE DEADLINE CHATTER
(334 - 7:00pm, Jul 31)
Last: Dock Ellis on Acid

Page rendered in 0.1043 seconds
52 querie(s) executed