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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

MLB: Astros telecasts catching on to advanced metrics

Meanwhile back in the media capital of the world…derisive “analyst” Paul O’Neill says: “Frank Thomas was a one dimensional player.”

The idea was bandied about last year by CSN Houston senior producer Carl Patterson, who discussed with his staff how to realistically work some of this into the telecasts. Because the Astros’ front office relies so much on advanced metrics, introducing some of it, independently, into the telecasts seemed like a logical next step. The question was, how to do it?

“Normally, the standard thing is RBIs, batting average, home runs,” Patterson said. “Last year, we talked about doing a whole game where we just talked about sabermetrics stuff. But we kind of realized that none of us understood it well enough to talk about it intelligently. So I spent the offseason just thinking about how to do it.”

...This is something Astros TV analyst Alan Ashby—who admittedly is not a huge sabermetrics fan—feels comfortable with, and often expounds on it when a WAR stat pops up on screen.

“One of the reasons that I bring it up is some part of it is subjective on the defensive side,” Ashby said. “You’ve got Mike Trout from a couple of years ago that has so much WAR positive created on his defensive side. That’s the kind of stuff that makes it intriguing to me.”

Patterson limits the metrics-speak to five main concepts: WAR, BABIP (Batting Average on Balls In Play), wRC (Weighted Runs Created), FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching) and Z-Contact% (Inside-the-zone contact percentage).

“I feel like five is enough,” Patterson said. “Pick five that make sense to our guys, then talk about it fluently and passionately.”

Repoz Posted: July 22, 2014 at 09:15 AM | 12 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: astros, media, sabermetrics

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   1. adenzeno Posted: July 22, 2014 at 10:02 AM (#4755633)
I didn't realize that the Astros HAD telecasts...we don't get them in Austin, sadly...and they are blacked out on Extra Innings
   2. Der-K convinces people that Hot Pockets are pies. Posted: July 22, 2014 at 10:08 AM (#4755638)
Only statheads watch the Astros now anyway; they're catering to their market.
   3. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: July 22, 2014 at 10:29 AM (#4755648)
I never thought of 0.0 as an advanced metric before.

   4. bobm Posted: July 22, 2014 at 10:39 AM (#4755651)
MLB: Astros telecasts catching on to advanced metrics [...] Astros TV analyst Alan Ashby


I see what they did there.
   5. Perry Posted: July 22, 2014 at 10:46 AM (#4755653)
Whatever happened to Larry Dierker? He was into advanced stats on Astros broadcasts 20+ years ago. I don't think WAR existed then, but I remember thinking this was clearly someone who had read Bill James and understood him. He was miles ahead of most announcers on sabermetrics.
   6. Pat Rapper's Delight Posted: July 22, 2014 at 11:47 AM (#4755680)
If an Astros broadcaster makes a sabermetric comment but no one hears it, did they still make a sound?
   7. Chone Mueller Posted: July 22, 2014 at 12:24 PM (#4755700)
Other than the my home team, the Astros are the team I watch most on TV. I enjoy Ashby's commentary and watching this team develop.
   8. Walt Davis Posted: July 22, 2014 at 07:04 PM (#4755960)
On Thomas ... well, how many dimensions are there? If we take it as three dimensions -- hitting, defense, baserunning -- then Thomas was indeed about as one dimensional of a player as you'll find. If you take hitting itself to have three dimensions -- power, average, discipline -- he certainly had all three of those in his prime and two throughout his career.
   9. JEe (Jason) Posted: July 22, 2014 at 07:26 PM (#4755967)
Patterson limits the metrics-speak to five main concepts: WAR, BABIP (Batting Average on Balls In Play), wRC (Weighted Runs Created), FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching) and Z-Contact% (Inside-the-zone contact percentage).

I recall a thread from last year when CFB seemed to dismiss the idea that a broadcast team would mention WAR in the same breath as HRs, RBIs, and BA.
   10. Astroenteritis Posted: July 22, 2014 at 09:02 PM (#4756010)
Whatever happened to Larry Dierker?


Well, he managed the team for a bit. But seriously, he was the best analyst I've ever listened to. His ability to communicate the finer points of pitching, in particular, was outstanding.

Also live in Austin, so can't watch the games, but it sounds like I have something to look forward to when a deal is finally reached.
   11. McCoy Posted: July 22, 2014 at 09:54 PM (#4756031)
Steve Stone back in the 80's and early 90's was pretty darn good as well and there was always rumors that he might become the manager of the Cubs either that or GM. I forget which.
   12. jwb Posted: July 23, 2014 at 12:24 AM (#4756103)
From our esteemed editor

Wabbit hole. Paul O'Neill to Michael Kay: "Can you explain "advanced metrics" to me?"
— Darren Viola (@RRepoz)

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