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
ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogOT: Soccer March/April 2016
(1275 - 5:48pm, May 31)
Last: Textbook Editor

NewsblogMLB has lost its way with replay, Chase Utley Rule
(107 - 5:47pm, May 31)
Last: I'm not Black I'm Orange Julius

NewsblogWaPo: Could Daniel Murphy Hit .400?
(42 - 5:46pm, May 31)
Last: Ziggy: The Platonic Form of Russell Branyan

NewsblogOMNICHATTER 5-31-16
(20 - 5:45pm, May 31)
Last: Bote Man makes baseball fun again

NewsblogA-Rod, Teixeira anchors on Yankees offense with no hope in sight | New York Post
(53 - 5:44pm, May 31)
Last: Cargo Cultist

NewsblogOTP 2016 May 31: Trump campaign eyeing big stadium for acceptance speech
(83 - 5:44pm, May 31)
Last: BDC

NewsblogPrimer Dugout (and link of the day) 5-31-2016
(20 - 5:43pm, May 31)
Last: Eric J can SABER all he wants to

NewsblogHenning: Jose Iglesias’ hitting woes worrisome
(6 - 5:42pm, May 31)
Last: ellsbury my heart at wounded knee

Gonfalon CubsProspect Update
(6 - 5:38pm, May 31)
Last: Moses Taylor, Optimist

NewsblogBallhawks still congregate outside Wrigley Field despite lack of action - Chicago Tribune
(10 - 5:31pm, May 31)
Last: BDC

NewsblogOT: NBA Playoffs Thread 2016
(2983 - 5:25pm, May 31)
Last: jmurph

NewsblogThis is why Mets put up with Matt Harvey | New York Post
(23 - 5:12pm, May 31)
Last: ReggieThomasLives

NewsblogCardinals notes: Punishment for hacking 'unlikely' before this June's draft | St. Louis Cardinals | stltoday.com
(23 - 5:04pm, May 31)
Last: Moses Taylor, Optimist

NewsblogOT: Wrestling Thread November 2014
(1590 - 4:15pm, May 31)
Last: Chokeland Bill

Gonfalon CubsRegression and Perspective
(32 - 4:06pm, May 31)
Last: zonk

Page rendered in 0.3196 seconds
47 querie(s) executed