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
Traderdave
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogOTP 2016 June 27: Republican comeback after eight years? Yeah, on the baseball diamond
(614 - 6:22pm, Jun 28)
Last: Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora

NewsblogPrimer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-28-2016
(13 - 6:21pm, Jun 28)
Last: Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com

NewsblogNoah Syndergaard denies reports he has bone spur after short start | Yahoo Sports
(11 - 6:19pm, Jun 28)
Last: The Yankee Clapper

NewsblogReport: Red Sox, Jason Groome Far Apart In Contract Negotiations « CBS Boston
(13 - 6:15pm, Jun 28)
Last: bbmck

NewsblogJose Reyes must demonstrate sincere remorse in return to Mets - NY Daily News
(131 - 6:11pm, Jun 28)
Last: Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora

NewsblogOT: NBA Playoffs Thread 2016
(6174 - 6:07pm, Jun 28)
Last: If on a winter's night a baserunner

NewsblogHow Strat-O-Matic Baseball Changed My Life Forever - Culture – Forward.com
(3 - 5:58pm, Jun 28)
Last: shoewizard

Newsblog2016 New York City Softball Game
(167 - 5:51pm, Jun 28)
Last: villageidiom

Hall of MeritMost Meritorious Player: 1994 Discussion
(11 - 5:50pm, Jun 28)
Last: DL from MN

NewsblogMarcell Ozuna having breakout season for Miami | MLB.com
(5 - 5:42pm, Jun 28)
Last: Walt Davis

NewsblogKris Bryant has historic 3-homer, 2-double win | MLB.com
(43 - 5:38pm, Jun 28)
Last: Andere Richtingen

NewsblogMushnick: New-school thinking has taken all the wonder out of baseball
(31 - 5:31pm, Jun 28)
Last: Renegade JE (((Jason)))

NewsblogMets greats slam Dykstra for Davey Johnson ‘drunk’ accusations | New York Post
(2 - 5:14pm, Jun 28)
Last: Howie Menckel

NewsblogEduardo Rodriguez sent to Triple A after another Red Sox loss | Boston Herald
(27 - 4:05pm, Jun 28)
Last: Betts, Bogaerts, and D Price(GGC)

NewsblogOMNICHATTER 6-28-16
(5 - 3:35pm, Jun 28)
Last: AROM

Page rendered in 0.1317 seconds
47 querie(s) executed