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Friday, August 30, 2019

Nick Castellanos gets last laugh as he exposes the flaws of analytics in Cubs’ deadline coup

,blockquote>“The movie Moneyball, that was the start of introducing this idea of analytics to fans,’’ Castellanos said. “Obviously, the movie was entertaining with Jonah Hill and Brad Pitt. But the way I look at it, what good did it do the A’s? They still haven’t won the World Series.’’...

Now, he’s getting the last laugh, proving that despite the benefits clubs may derive from analytics, there are no algorithms to measure a player’s heart, fortitude and competitiveness.

Besides, if analytics were the end-all, be-all, then how come every contender blew the chance to grab him. Castellanos has his own spray charts showing those balls he was hitting into right-center-field would have been homers if his home games weren’t played at Comerica Park with the center-field 420 feet away.

And where are the analytics that show how being thrust into a playoff race—instead of being stuck on a team that has been outscored by 257 runs—can dramatically change your performance?

“They have these analytics that come out of nowhere that are supposed to predict how players are going to do and what they are going to do before they do it,’’ Castellanos said. “They have WAR, but when I talk to people on the MLB Network and other places, and ask how they come up with it, they have no idea.’’

Haha, those anti-analytic Chicago Cubs found a steal!

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 30, 2019 at 02:13 PM | 17 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: nick castellanos

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   1. PreservedFish Posted: August 30, 2019 at 02:26 PM (#5875669)
Surprised that these articles are still being written.
   2. bfan Posted: August 30, 2019 at 02:36 PM (#5875671)
Surprised that these articles are still being written.

I am not, because no matter how much one can convince oneself that (i) players who are talented and driven enough to play at this level will be giving their 100% at all times, independent of all other circumstances; and (ii) the financial incentives of excellent play (and the financial risks of poor play) are such that players are always sufficiently motivated to give their 100% at all times, that it must just royally suck to be a veteran and to play on a team such as the 2019 Tigers; Orioles; Royals; or Marlins (out of it from minute one of the season and subject to drubbings at all times).

I get players at the beginning of their career having the zeal and excitement of new MLB experiences pushing them forward and motivating them. However, for someone who is vested in the pension system and has quitting money (not generational wealth, fanning 20 dollar bills at strippers money, but quitting money), it has to be hard as heck to get up for games at this stage of the season.
   3. PreservedFish Posted: August 30, 2019 at 02:43 PM (#5875674)
I get that. I meant more the emphasis on anti-analytics. Making that the thrust of the piece. It's stupid.
   4. Itchy Row Posted: August 30, 2019 at 02:56 PM (#5875678)
Whatever the formula, Castellanos says, he knows it can’t possibly factor in clubhouse leadership.

“The biggest mistake the Tigers made was not signing Torii Hunter back,’’ said Castellanos, whose former teammate left for the Minnesota Twins after the 2014 season. The Tigers, after four consecutive division titles, have never reached the playoffs again.
Those eggheads haven't found the analytics that would tell us how many World Series the Tigers would have won if Torii Hunter was still playing for them.
   5. SoSH U at work Posted: August 30, 2019 at 03:03 PM (#5875681)
To summarize:

Analytics suck, except those that show how Nick Castellanos would have been much more productive with a different home park.

And, Nick Castellanos wasn't trying very hard in Detroit.

   6. QLE Posted: August 30, 2019 at 03:06 PM (#5875684)
I get that. I meant more the emphasis on anti-analytics. Making that the thrust of the piece. It's stupid.

That's easy to explain, in my mind: a lot of the people who write pieces like this now are the ones who were doing so back then (Nightengale, for instance, has been in the profession for over twenty years at this point), as they tend both not to be the sort who learn anything and to stick around in the field as long as they possibly can.
   7. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 30, 2019 at 03:11 PM (#5875688)
To summarize:
   8. Howie Menckel Posted: August 30, 2019 at 03:15 PM (#5875690)
Hey nerds,

Castellanos is 2-for-2 today with a HR and 4 RBI - after 2 innings!
   9. pikepredator Posted: August 30, 2019 at 03:18 PM (#5875691)
"these analytics that came out of nowhere"

Nowhere = years and years of gradually refined research by hundreds of people, many building on each other's discoveries, many doing it for fun, others doing it for relatively meager $$ . . .

dunning-kruger strikes again.
   10. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: August 30, 2019 at 03:39 PM (#5875703)
HA!!! ANALYTICS couldn't tell you that Castellanos would post a 1071 OPS with the Cubs.

But Theo met with Nick. He looked deep into Nick's luscious brown eyes, and could see, no, feel, how much the game of baseball meant to him.

Analytics can't tell you that Nick views every day as opening day. Analytics may tell you that Toriiiii has been out of baseball for 5 years, but Nick knows the truth.

Nick now has 6.8 career WAR.
   11. Itchy Row Posted: August 30, 2019 at 03:40 PM (#5875706)
Hey nerds,

Castellanos is 2-for-2 today with a HR and 4 RBI - after 2 innings!
So he can hit in the early innings of a blowout? That's no measure of his heart.
   12. . Posted: August 30, 2019 at 04:48 PM (#5875735)
He's in a better hitters' park, is mentally rejeuvenated by the trade and the pennant race, and is on a nice hot streak. Just like players occasionally were in 2000, 1990, 1980, and 1970. Not exactly sure what there is here to "analyze."
   13. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 30, 2019 at 05:28 PM (#5875759)
Wrigley isn't a hitters park and hasn't been for some time. Though the overall point stands. He's been better than any analytic or old school scout would have predicted.

But please, keep linking to this dinosaur's windmill columns.
   14. The Honorable Ardo Posted: August 30, 2019 at 09:08 PM (#5875795)
Wrigley isn't a hitters park and hasn't been for some time.
True, and I think climate change may play a role. The field faces northeast. In the old days, warm southerly winds blew out. Nowadays, there are many night games (of course, there were none back then) and the Lake Michigan water is warmer, so we see westerly winds blowing in.

I'm sure someone could write a paper on it; this is just anecdotal evidence.
   15. Walt Davis Posted: August 30, 2019 at 09:21 PM (#5875798)
This might be the silliest bit: The biggest mistake the Tigers made was not signing Torii Hunter back

He was turning 39. He put up a 91 OPS+ for the Twins then retired. The Twins did improve by 13 wins but the offense fell from 5th to 8th in the AL and the OPS+ from 100 to 92 bit the pitching did a lot better. The Tigers did drop 17 wins and from 2nd to 10th in scoring ... but Hunter's bat was replaced by Cespedes and the main issue was VMart (noted vet) dropping from a 172 OPS+ to 84 and Miggy missing 35 games or so. And the pitching fell apart. Apparently Torii's clubhouse goodness only affected pitchers.

As to Nick, his OPS didn't budge an inch when Hunter left then he broke out the next season. And of course if what the Tigers needed was a clubhouse leader, why didn't Nick become one?

Anyway, he can say whatever he wants as long as he carries a 170 OPS+ with the Cubs. If/when that comes to an end, he should have his children taken away (or at least have somebody else help them with their math).
   16. The Duke Posted: August 30, 2019 at 10:24 PM (#5875820)
Climate change ! Please stop.
   17. Walt Davis Posted: August 31, 2019 at 12:06 AM (#5875843)
The increase in night games is an interesting hypothesis. Wrigley has always been a pitchers park when the wind is blowing in (northerly or off the lake) and a hitters park when blowing out. Evening cooling breezes off the lake are common -- generally not very strong but certainly not aiding any flyballs.

I don't think you can do sub-splits within ballpark at PI (they do have handedness on the team splits page) so actual data will be left to somebody else.

Climate change ! Please stop.

From a bucn of commies:

Since 1980, Chicago’s average temperature has increased approximately 2.6 degrees.

That seems like rather a lot to me. (Enough I am suspicious of that claim.) Further digging into this report suggests to me that most of the warming is in winter so possibly not such a big effect on baseball.

This report has some historical data including a short discussion on wind. Alas it's a bit of a muddle:

Unfortunately, the lack of long-term wind speed records, combined with several other
data issues, make it difficult to assess the presence or absence of temporal trends in historical
wind data in this region. ... A study by Pryor and Ledolter (2010)51 found that in general, there was no evidence of
significant changes in the tendency of wind speed over the 1979-2006 time period. Researchers
at Iowa State University found that across the country and particularly in the Great Lakes, wind
speeds are decreasing

FYI the first study covers the continental US, the second study has regional breakdowns. But the second study also says winds were decreasing across the US in that same period -- possibly they used a wider array of data.

Anyway, lower wind speeds at Wrigley would reduce scoring if those lower speeds were mostly on winds out of the S/SW (the usual direction in summer, especially during the day).

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