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Monday, November 12, 2012

Cafardo: Sunday Baseball Notes

WARNING! Possible exposure Cafardose.

It’s interesting to devour — and be amused by — sabermetric stats like WAR, VORP, PECOTA, WHIP, and UZR, but I always believed that traditional methods of scouting and evaluation trumped statistical data.

However, the presidential election gave more credence to such metrics when you consider how dead-on sabermetrician Nate Silver was in his projections the past two years. Silver, a former Baseball Prospectus contributor, made his mark in baseball, but his political career is probably taking off as a result of nailing the election.

As one new-wave general manager sarcastically said, “So data really is important, huh?”

Yes it is. And there’s no doubt that the Obama campaign used a lot of data and metrics to win the election by pinpointing swing-vote districts to concentrate on.

Yet, the two teams that made it to the World Series, the Tigers and Giants, were the least sabermetric organizations in baseball. And the Giants, who are so true to their scouting and old-fashioned baseball methods, have won two championships in the last three years.

...10. I’ve studied and re-studied the numbers, and the AL East opponents he faced throughout his career, and I’m convinced now I will vote for Mike Mussina for the Hall of Fame.

11. Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, and Mike Piazza will all get my Hall of Fame vote.

Repoz Posted: November 12, 2012 at 06:44 AM | 17 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: sabermetrics

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   1. kcgard2 Posted: November 12, 2012 at 09:46 AM (#4300463)
the two teams that made it to the World Series, the Tigers and Giants, were the least sabermetric organizations in baseball.


It's easiest to just make up claims that reinforce your personal ideas, regardless of their validity.
   2. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: November 12, 2012 at 09:54 AM (#4300467)
Personally, I think that the Giants winning two of the last three WS is evidence that the extra rounds of the playoffs have effectively turned MLB's postseason into a tournament, where the goal is less about being the best team all season, and more about being good enough to make the playoffs, healthy and playing well.

The Cardinals are proof of this. The NY Giants in football are an example of this. To some extent, I think this is encouraged by the outrageous popularity of the NCAA tournament, where sports fan love the idea of brackets, of the mentality of "survive and advance".

Consider the SF Giants - there is absolutely no reason to think they were the best team in baseball this year. On a park adjusted-basis, their hitting was pretty good, but their pitching was below-average for the league. Their second-best hitter, Cabrera, was out of the lineup for the entire end of the season and post-season. The number one reason the Giants were able to survive Cabrera's loss was that Marco Scutaro (!) basically hit like Cabrera for a couple of months. Cabrera's last game was August 14th. From August 14th to the end of the season, Scutaro hit .383/.398/.497 (!). In the NLCS, he was the MVP, hitting .500 (14 for 28). If he doesn't do that, the Giants don't make it to the WS. Period.

None of this is to say the Giants are worthy WS champs - they certainly are. But Billy Beane has said for years that he feels his job is to get the A's to the post-season, and then luck plays a pretty big role in whether or not you win the WS. You need Posey and Cain to be good enough to make the playoffs...but once you are in the playoffs, it's who gets hot, and who benefits from good luck.
   3. villageidiom Posted: November 12, 2012 at 10:14 AM (#4300478)
The number one reason the Giants were able to survive Cabrera's loss was that Marco Scutaro (!) basically hit like Cabrera for a couple of months.
And we know sabermetric teams like Oakland, Toronto, and Boston would never consider bringing in a player like Scutaro.
   4. Dan Posted: November 12, 2012 at 10:26 AM (#4300484)
Barry Zito pitching like it was 2002 again during the playoffs is a better example of everything breaking right for the Giants.
   5. Darren Posted: November 12, 2012 at 10:49 AM (#4300491)
Scutaro would have been a nice 2b/3b backup for Boston this year. In fact, they would have been better off trading Youkilis for some tiny amount of value last off season and plugging him in at 3B.
   6. Nasty Nate Posted: November 12, 2012 at 11:02 AM (#4300495)
Consider the SF Giants - there is absolutely no reason to think they were the best team in baseball this year.


Including the postseason, they were within a few percentage points of having the best winning percentage in major league baseball. Isn't that a reason?
   7. trtaylor6886 Posted: November 12, 2012 at 11:03 AM (#4300496)
I think the "survive and advance" system is more appropriate for NCAA BB where you have 200 or so D-1 teams and they only play about 30 games each.
   8. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: November 12, 2012 at 11:12 AM (#4300501)
The Giants won 94 games last year, and pretty much every single member of their starting rotation underperformed expectations in the regular season. I probably wouldn't have picked them as the #1 best team in baseball, but a good case could easily be made for top two or three.
   9. donlock Posted: November 12, 2012 at 11:39 AM (#4300508)
From the main story:
But there is no question that the Sox can’t go wrong with (Torii)Hunter. If ever a team needed his type of influence in a clubhouse, it’s this one. Ortiz told me that he feels he could deliver Hunter if the Sox offered him a competitive deal.

Hunter already has made a lot of money, and he wants to win. Would he be willing to go through a potentially awkward transitional stage? Could he be convinced that the Sox will hit on everything and will be a team capable of winning a World Series again?


Why again is there no question? (an awkwardly phrased double negative) Hunter is 37 and would probably want at lest a 3 year deal. He had a good year last year but only played 140 games. He made $18 million last year, Would you pay him 3/$60? Are there any players in baseball who haven't made a lot of money and want to win?

There are some questions.
   10. Dale Sams Posted: November 12, 2012 at 11:43 AM (#4300513)
Why would Hunter want to come to Boston if he wants to win?
   11. Darren Posted: November 12, 2012 at 12:36 PM (#4300560)
Remember who the writer is and all of this stuff makes more sense.
   12. Scott Ross Posted: November 12, 2012 at 01:38 PM (#4300618)
Hunter had a nice season in 2012, but look at his SO, BB and HR rates, and his BABIP, and you see a man poised to fall off the cliff.
   13. The Yankee Clapper Posted: November 12, 2012 at 02:22 PM (#4300651)
Hunter already has made a lot of money, and he wants to win.

Wouldn't making more money in 2013 and beyond be "winning"?

At 37, Hunter wouldn't seem to have sufficient shelf life to contribute much by the time the rebuilding process is completed.
   14. Repoz Posted: November 12, 2012 at 04:56 PM (#4300784)
Interesting tweet by BBWAA...

New feature this year: After you watch the award announcements on @MLBNetwork, go to http://BBWAA.com to see ballot-by-ballot voting.

Wonder if they'll do that for the HOF ballots also.
   15. JJ1986 Posted: November 12, 2012 at 05:14 PM (#4300810)
I'm annoyed that these awards aren't announced in the afternoon anymore.
   16. Cooper Nielson Posted: November 13, 2012 at 12:55 AM (#4301105)
the two teams that made it to the World Series, the Tigers and Giants, were the least sabermetric organizations in baseball.

It's easiest to just make up claims that reinforce your personal ideas, regardless of their validity.


Indeed. In many ways, the 2012 Tigers were VERY stereotypically "sabermetric," if you wanted to make that argument: high OBP (second in AL), good hitters shoehorned into defensive positions they might not be qualified for, few stolen base attempts, high-K pitchers, acquired most of their key players through draft/international signing or trade, spent big money on elite stars but (mostly) avoided wasting money on mid-level players, lots of contributions from low-salary players (Jackson, Fister, Avila and Dirks all made less than $600,000). A lot of that is straight out of Baseball Prospectus, circa 2001.

2. Rich Gedman and Matt Stairs would be two good choices for Boston’s assistant hitting coach.

How in the world could anyone even have an opinion about something like this? Who cares? What would be the difference in results between the worst "assistant hitting coach" in baseball, and the best? I'm guessing 0.13 runs per season.
   17. Dirty Tom Rackham Posted: November 13, 2012 at 12:06 PM (#4301306)
sabermetric stats like WAR, VORP, PECOTA, WHIP, and UZR


I love how articles like these think that WHIP is a sabermetric stat. It's a silly fantasy stat that's been around for 25+ years.

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