Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback



All News | Prime News

Old-School Newsstand


Jim Furtado
Founder & Publisher


Bill James Newsbeat

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Bill James: Why We Need Runs Saved Against Zero

        Absolute values, measured from zero up, create structure to our thought.  Absolute values make analysis possible.  Without reference points, it is very, very difficult to create a map, because every little error magnifies itself over space, creating an uncertain relationship between distant points.  “Surveying” is a matter of accurate measurement, yes, but it is also a system of creating multiple reference points.  Every map starts with a zero point; you don’t know what it is, but the guy who created the map does.  (For Google Earth, by the way, the zero point is in Lawrence, Kansas.  Really.)

        I understand, of course, why fielding is difficult to measure in absolute terms.  It is difficult to measure in all sports.  Offense is measured from the ground up.  Defense is measured from the sky down.  How tall is Charlie, measuring down from the sky?  It’s a hard problem.

        But the lack of a zero point, in measuring fielding, creates chaos in our ability to analyze fielding.  It creates just as much confusion in measuring fielding as it would in measuring income, or in creating a map.  And, because we have been measuring fielding in this odd way, there are lots and lots and lots of things about fielding that we SHOULD know, but we just have no way of knowing.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 23, 2020 at 01:00 PM | 202 comment(s)
  Beats: bill james



BBTF Partner

Dynasty League Baseball

Support BBTF


Thanks to
for his generous support.

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogFinal Weekend OMNICHATTER, for Sept. 26-27, 2020
(14 - 12:02am, Sep 27)
Last: Walt Davis

NewsblogOT - NBA Bubble Thread
(3064 - 11:53pm, Sep 26)
Last: Moses Taylor, glorified meat shield

NewsblogEmpty Stadium Sports Will Be Really Weird
(9745 - 11:37pm, Sep 26)
Last: AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale

NewsblogYadier Molina collects career hit number 2,000 Thursday night
(33 - 11:21pm, Sep 26)
Last: cardsfanboy

NewsblogThom Brennaman resigns as Reds broadcaster
(42 - 9:41pm, Sep 26)
Last: Howie Menckel

NewsblogWaPo: If baseball keeps these grotesque expanded playoffs, it will have lost its soul
(28 - 9:10pm, Sep 26)
Last: Doug Jones threw harder than me

NewsblogOT - August/September 2020 College Football thread
(75 - 7:55pm, Sep 26)
Last: Lance Reddick! Lance him!

NewsblogTrevor Bauer Should Just Admit It
(17 - 6:21pm, Sep 26)
Last: ReggieThomasLives

Sox TherapyParty Like It's 1975
(15 - 5:25pm, Sep 26)
Last: Biff, highly-regarded young guy

Hall of MeritMost Meritorious Player: 1931 Ballot
(3 - 5:12pm, Sep 26)
Last: Yardape

NewsblogOT - Soccer Thread - Brave New World
(190 - 3:37pm, Sep 26)
Last: Jose Needs an Absurd Ukulele Concert

NewsblogDodgers' Mookie Betts unseats Yankees' Aaron Judge for MLB's top jersey
(11 - 1:35pm, Sep 26)
Last: John Northey

NewsblogSteve Cohen hiring Sandy Alderson as Mets team president
(12 - 1:31pm, Sep 26)
Last: Adam Starblind

NewsblogNationals To Extend Dave Martinez
(1 - 12:28pm, Sep 26)
Last: John Northey

NewsblogLongtime Royals star Alex Gordon to retire
(28 - 11:53am, Sep 26)
Last: Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama

Page rendered in 1.0449 seconds
46 querie(s) executed