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Monday, March 10, 2014

MASN: Talking shifts with new Nats defensive coordinator Mark Weidemaier

So why has baseball been so slow to adapt in that area?

“(Laughs) Baseball’s been kind of slow to adapt to a lot of things, huh? It’s a very traditional game. If you ever read the book, ‘Men at Work,’ by George Will, the polycracy involved for years in professional baseball, as opposed to democracy or meritocracy, he called it. It was ruling by old friends. Slow to change! There’s no question about it. And don’t get me wrong, we have (an analytics) group here, Sam Mondry-Cohen and the guys that do the (advanced metrics) stuff that are tremendous. I’m not wired along those lines. Now, I will take that information, because you’d be foolish not to. But I still think you watch the game, like Tony LaRussa told me one time - purposeful watching. You watch for a reason.

“And also, what I know in (my head) is not just a gut instinct or an educated guess, it’s years of experience and seeing the players and having 18 years of an advance database. I’ve seen more baseball than most people ever would in three lifetimes. So you work it hand-in-hand. So we’re going to use some spray charts, try to adapt that, actually, and devise one of our own in-house along with some of the outside sources that provide spray charts.”

So you’re making your own spray chart?

“Yeah, I gave it to (advance scouting coordinator Erick) Dalton and Rosie (advance scouting assistant Christopher Rosenbaum). Because really, what pitchers want, I found this out the hard way with Kevin Brown and the Dodgers, he said, ‘Everything you’re giving me is what the league does in general against what you’re seeing. But I want to see where the ball’s going when they’re hit off of me.’ So the only way to do that is to be at the game when your man’s pitching. Well, it does make a lot of sense to specify it, if you do have a general spray chart and then devise one that’s specific for your individual pitcher, it’s got to give you some tendencies, right? That along with percentages of where a ball’s hit.”

We’ve all heard of the phrase “paralysis by analysis”. Are you worried about some players feeling like they have too much information kicking around in their heads during a game?

“I don’t worry about it, I just recognize who those people are so you don’t overload them. Some people, like in anything, one of the worst terms we have in baseball is instinct. Human beings aren’t born with an instinct to run the bases or catch a ground ball. My Labrador retrievers are born with an instinct to retrieve and swim in the water with webbed paws. You learn to play this game, you’re taught to play this game. The difference being some people have better powers of observation, more aptitude, better listeners, better watchers, purposeful watching. Better aptitude. If there are certain individuals who are not geared towards (it), if their makeup isn’t geared towards taking a lot of this data, we won’t give them a lot of it. But the ones that would like to have it, it will be there for them.”

Thanks to Ed.

Repoz Posted: March 10, 2014 at 10:24 AM | 2 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: nats, sabermetrics

Reader Comments and Retorts

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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. valuearbitrageur Posted: March 10, 2014 at 12:06 PM (#4669001)
My retriever still has not explained her webbed laws adequately to me. I suspect she's a mole for the inevitable alien invasion.
   2. Hang down your head, Tom Foley Posted: March 10, 2014 at 12:32 PM (#4669020)
Webbed laws are the new congressional inefficiency.

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