March 24, 2002

The Stat-Head Revolution.: Geeks infiltrate baseball's front offices; conventional wisdom flees.

posted by jacknose to baseball at 07:14 AM - 8 comments

Speaking as a Rangers fan, that Carlos Pena trade still hurts. It's like Brad Corbett gifting Bill Madlock to the Cubs after his rookie year.

posted by rcade at 08:39 AM on March 24, 2002

The biggest event in the 'stat-head revolution' was when Peter Gammons mentioned OPS on Baseball Tonight. As I understand it Keith Law is mainly involved in talent evaluation of minor-leaguers which is needed because baseball does a relatively good job of scouting talent to bring into their minor leagues, and a pretty bad job of developing that talent overall. See, the real problem is that this whole revolution all comes from the A's and it essentially boils down to "Take a bad pitch rather than swing at it" That's great and it gives them a big advantage over 'aggressive' philosophies like say the Brewers (1st time ever more strikeouts than hits). Drawing walks is very effective, but wouldn't you rather watch the players hit the ball? If you ask me, we can solve everything by calling the actual strike zone as described in the rule book, the umpires did it in the last game of the season a couple of years ago, warning the players about it first. The game came in under 2 hours and the hitters were forced to put the ball into play. Doesn't that sound better than watching 10 slow trots to first base?

posted by pastepotpete at 10:04 AM on March 24, 2002

rcade, I'm glad to see there's another Rangers fan around. I think Ryan Ludwick is going to end up a very good player for the Rangers, and Ramos can probably potentially help us this year more than Pena, just by making a couple of spot starts. Really, we got about as much for Pena as you get for anybody who isn't Randy Johnson or Ken Griffey Jr. It's not like we're running out of hitters:)

posted by pastepotpete at 10:15 AM on March 24, 2002

paste: i'll be honest; i'd rather see doubles and home runs from my team than i would see dinky singles hit off of bad or borderline pitches. that's what patience helps you get; hard-hit balls dropping in for extra bases or dropping outside of the field of play on the fair side for homers.

posted by moz at 09:36 PM on March 24, 2002

pastepotpete: I think you've got it all backwards. The fact that the hitters are taking more "bad pitches" means that pitchers are going to have to put more pitches over the plate. More pitches like that mean a better chance to hit a good one, which leads to more excitement. And I subrscribe to the idea that a 2-1 pitching masterpiece by men like Maddux, Martinez and Mussina is much more exciting than a 11-9 slugfest where everyone is beating the ball around the park. I'm more impressed with no-hitter than a player hitting for the cycle.

posted by grum@work at 10:01 PM on March 24, 2002

i'm all about the 9-0 pitching masterpieces.

posted by moz at 12:16 AM on March 25, 2002

This is actually a very interesting topic. While I agree that there's something to the billy beane / rob neyer approach to baseball, it's a little bit bittersweet for me. Sweet in that I'm a bit of a stathead myself, bitter because it smells a little bit like Frederick Taylor style scientific management applied to baseball. And just like scientific management, it overlooks all factors that are not readily quantifiable. And baseball, like life, is not deterministic. It just seems to me that this approach to baseball takes some of the 'game' out of the game.

posted by jnthnjng at 05:22 PM on March 25, 2002

Last year I was listening to WEEI, Boston's sports talk station, and was utterly shocked when a caller brought up Sabremetrics and the host (Bob Neumeier, I believe), said 'Sabrewhatrics?' I'm not even close to a stat freak, but I'm at least familiar with the term. If 'serious' stats are indeed becoming a bigger part of team building and so on, boneheads like Neumeier are going to have to get on the stick to make sure they keep one step ahead of their listeners.

posted by oscillator72 at 11:23 PM on March 25, 2002

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