Malcolm on Bill James and PAP…and I don’t mean Pickton And Panzram.
Now it’s true that Bill (James) did reference a few key elements that were prominent in the Woolner construct—particularly the “square of pitches thrown,” an arbitrary construct to measure “stress” that could be replaced by several other approaches; and the notion that the most stressful pitches occur when a pitcher is tired, a notion that is mere common sense.
But he also suggested another fanciful concept (not as fanciful as the type of stuff we are known to traffic in, of course, but you can’t have everything). Namely: that starters should pitch every third game with pitch counts (80-90 per start) well below the levels championed by the original Prospectus chimps.
Bottom line: this proposal by Bill is so different from what was being bandied about in those early years of hysteria that it’s odd folks are trying to put it into that continuum.
Frankly, we love Bill’s idea and really wish that he could convince the Red Sox management to try it. It couldn’t be any worse than what’s befallen their starting staff over the past two seasons. Bold, even reckless experimentation was once the hallmark of baseball: that spirit seems to have become as scarce as…well, as scarce as the triple.
So, at best, this “mini-flap” about PAP is about as “mini” as it can get. It’s just part of the muddle that has befallen the field as its involvement in insider baseball reaches its troubled teenage years. If the man who put advanced analysis on the map can’t get any of his pet ideas implemented, what chance is there for anyone else to do so? Perhaps the old Chinese curse about living in interesting times is really in need of being dusted off…