November 06, 2002

Red Sox ensure dynasty for next 20-30 years.: discuss.

posted by djacobs to baseball at 03:27 PM - 5 comments

I'm happy for Bill James, but we'll see what sort of impact he has. He has no power of any kind, and if he suggests something that isn't "popular" (trading Nomar, letting Pedro go in free agency), it could easily be ignored. I'm not sure if he's good with prospecting young players, but his statistical analysis capabilities are great.

posted by grum@work at 04:09 PM on November 06, 2002

I don't know how much of an impact James will truly have; I'm more excited that my team, the team that traded Babe Ruth and passed on Willie Mays is owned by John Henry, a man who has made billions of dollars by paying close attention to numbers. Whether James finds a bunch of diamonds for the Sox or not, I'm happy that they want to rationally examine palyers' values rather than stick with conventional wisdom.

posted by yerfatma at 06:07 PM on November 06, 2002

I think the impact is not that James will have great power, but that the sabremetric-leaning front office shows they listen to that type of advice already, and will be getting it from the master himself. Plus, I can see how many of the Baseball Prospectus crew will be in communication with James over the course of the time he's there- imagine that combined braintrust working unofficially for the Sox on minor- and major- league analysis! This is great, great news for the Red Sox (and I'm sure Rob Neyer is thrilled!). The Red Sox could be the first team in MLB (since the Ruppert Mondays) to show what the power of really good statistical analysis can be. Look how well teams that embraced the OBP metric before it was fashionable to do so have fared; while now even commentators on TV reference OBP, stuff like Equiv. Avg is still a stathead term- but Boston could benefit from such analysis. If nothing else, James might help dissuade the Sox from one of the typical Boston moves- trading for the high-priced declining slow-footed slugger that ends up being overpaid and useless (Jack Clark, anyone?). In other words, imagine a Billy Beane team with the Red Sox payroll; James may complete a management group that shows they think like Beane but pay like Steinbrenner. In time, that combination may prove very very tough to beat.

posted by hincandenza at 04:32 PM on November 07, 2002

Unless they really are cursed like the walking dead. And hey, Jack Clark had an amazing season with the Sox; he just chose to split it over two years. The Ivan Caulderon debacle was even more enjoyable. ("Play like Mays, run like Hayes.")

posted by yerfatma at 05:46 PM on November 07, 2002

We're seeing a fundamental change in analyzing talent. Beane in Oakland proved that stat crunching can help low budget teams. Now, the Red Sox will see how it works with a bigger budget. This may be the point where baseball moves from an art to a quasi-science.

posted by shackbar at 03:04 AM on November 08, 2002

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