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Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Indians go behind the numbers with analytic department, looking for an edge

Woolner, Andrecheck, please.

Woolner’s claim to fame before joining the Indians was developing the runs-based statistic VORP (an acronym that stands for Value Over Replacement Player), which is widely recognized by the sabermetrics community as a key component in the analysis of a baseball player’s performance and market value. Woolner’s VORP is a cousin to the current en vogue sabermetric term WAR (Wins Above Replacement).

“They’ve extended VORP in some ways,” Woolner said. “They have some different ideas about certain aspects, but in the end, we’re all trying to get to the same place: not measuring versus an average player. Because an average player is a very valuable commodity in baseball. If you have an average player at every position, you have an 81-win team and there’s a lot of teams that look up at 81 wins every season.”

Nerd by name only

Nerds. Techies. Stat geeks.

Regardless of how these sports number crunchers like Woolner were once viewed, there’s no doubt they’ve made an increasing impact.

As Woolner’s workload increased, so did the need for the Tribe’s analytic department to grow. In addition to part-time assistant Jason Pare, a young up-and-coming sabermetrician named Sky Andrecheck joined the Indians as a senior analyst.

“I used to love to play fantasy baseball,” Andrecheck said. “But it’s kind of frowned upon when you work in baseball. But that’s OK. What I do for a living is like real-life fantasy baseball.”

...“For us, it’s been a continual evolution,” Indians General Manager Chris Antonetti said. “We’ve always looked at the analytical side of the game and tried to use that information by factoring it into our decision making. There have been members of our staff in baseball operations that even pre-dated me doing some of our analytical work. We felt we could take advantage of some data that was out there to help us augment our decision making.”

Repoz Posted: February 04, 2014 at 07:19 AM | 6 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: indians, sabermetrics

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   1. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 04, 2014 at 09:54 AM (#4651310)
I hope they learned their lesson after Peter Brand pulled a fast one by getting stud pitcher Ricardo Rincon from them.
   2. I Am Not a Number Posted: February 04, 2014 at 10:20 AM (#4651331)
Nerds. Techies. Stat geeks.

This far along in the information age, I think it's long past due time to jettison these anachronistic epithets. They're just more genteel versions of wedgies aimed at the guys who happen to be good at math, and almost always issued by guys who aren't.
   3. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: February 04, 2014 at 12:00 PM (#4651421)
I hope they learned their lesson after Peter Brand pulled a fast one by getting stud pitcher Ricardo Rincon from them.


See, what I got from that chapter is how Beane was able to lower the price for a spare part they needed by making side deals that eliminated the interest from his competition, not that he scammed the Indians out of a stud player. Same thing with Bradford -- rather than explicitly ask for the guy he wanted, which would naturally drive up the price, he instead offered someone he *didn't* want anymore, and "settled" for the guy he wanted (and knew the White Sox didn't want).

It's economics.
   4. valuearbitrageur Posted: February 04, 2014 at 03:51 PM (#4651590)
They frown on fantasy baseball?
   5. eddieot Posted: February 04, 2014 at 07:23 PM (#4651752)
They frown on fantasy baseball?

For years I have bugged my couple friends in the Players' Association to let me in on their fantasy league, to which everyone to a person denied existed. I just can't believe that is the case. Perhaps I saw too many Arli$$ episodes...
   6. Olaf Posted: February 04, 2014 at 10:08 PM (#4651828)
From TFA:

All 30 major-league teams have at least one employee whose job is to focus solely on baseball analytics, with many clubs now operating a multi-person department. The Indians can’t afford to put the kind of resources into the growing trend that say, the Red Sox do, but they have been among the leaders in recognizing and accepting how significant analytic work can be.

Just curious, does anyone happen to have a master list of who those guys are?

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