September 11, 2002

Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Curt Schilling has won 45 games in 2001 and 2002, the highest two-year total for a pitcher in a quarter century. Can any of his success be attributed to his unusual use of technology?

posted by rcade to baseball at 09:25 AM - 8 comments

The real question is: Should Schilling be in the Hall of Fame? He's been dominate for a few years, but is that enough to make up for a less-than amazing over-all stats?

posted by Bag Man at 11:28 AM on September 11, 2002

Curt Schilling checks his email 10 times a day? I wish I had his email address; I'd beg him to come back here and play for the Phillies again.

posted by iconomy at 12:46 PM on September 11, 2002

Schilling has a score of 29 on this HOF candidate list. The lowest pitcher in the HOF is Jesse Haines, who has a 27. Hoyt Wilhelm in in with a 30. I'd say his chances are very slim with his current stats; if he can get in two more good years I think he will increase his chances significantly. Among current or not-yet-eligible pitchers, Clemens, Maddox, Randy Johnson appear to be locks, while Pedro Martinez, and Glavine are in pretty good shape.

posted by mbd1 at 12:59 PM on September 11, 2002

The next time Curt and the Diamondbacks come to town, I'm definitely starting a "Scythehands Voxslayer" chant. After re-reading that, I changed my mind. Guess I didn't give that a whole lot of thought.

posted by Samsonov14 at 01:24 PM on September 11, 2002

Schilling's a big-time geek. Doug Glanville claimed a while back that he hit two home runs off Schilling as revenge for the death of his character when the two were playing EverQuest together. Schilling also is part owner of Multi-Man Publishing, a company that licensed Advanced Squad Leader and other wargames from Hasbro's Avalon Hill division.

posted by rcade at 08:33 PM on September 11, 2002

For the data, the software, and the computer, Schilling pays about $15,000 a year to Hertz Consulting, a political polling firm in Petaluma, Calif., with a sideline in sports. (Richard Hertz, the president, is a catcher in an over-30 league.) All season, Hertz collects videotape from the Diamondbacks, digitizes the relevant data, and ships updates to Schilling. "I'll pitch a game on Monday against the Padres," Schilling says, "and I have to pitch against them on Friday, and [Hertz will] have my video burned to a CD and back to me on Wednesday." Hertz has a few other baseball clients, but they're all hitters, and none is as committed to the technology as Schilling is. Good lord! I knew athletes were stupid, but come ON! $15g is drop in the bucket for even the poorest established MLB player; if you've got a contract or any job security, you're basically guaranteed $300,000/yr, of which that $15k investment would seem a pittance if it bumps your slugging percentage enough to get you a phat-ass 7 or 8 figure deal!!! The only players who shouldn't already be using this are baby-faced rookies who don't even know if they'll be in the bigs more than 15-days... I'd often wondered when we'd see pitchers, hitters, or even whole teams adopt hard core computerized data mining strategies for essentially the cost of one league-minimum player (and no luxury tax on data mining!). A scouting edge like that, over a whole season, has got to be worth 4 or 5 games, easy. If you were the Mariners or Red Sox right now, wouldn't you love 4 or 5 more wins? But to find that only a handful of players are doing this... unbelievable morons! Sure, Schilling's geekiness (the Glanville- Schilling Everquest rivalry was a big story at the ESPN site last year) predisposes him to studious analysis, but how many players who are just hanging on, or are struggling to make that last leap from good to great, would benefit immensely from this? They don't have to be technical, just willing to put some effort into watching condensed and cross-referenced footage of all their at-bats. Imagine if the almost- great Mike Cameron finally put it all together and became a perennial 30/40 gold glove centerfielder; how close is he now? Wouldn't this datamining of every pitcher begin to give him a slight edge, maybe 1 at-bat a week where he anticipates the slider and sends a line drive double to the wall instead of a weak popout to mid-right field. And yet... and yet... I'll bet a virtual dollar that the Oakland A's already have a person who does something like this; that would be just like them, getting bang for their buck and playing smarter than everyone else. Bastards... Ah, I'm still waiting for the day when we'll see managers grasping their WiFi handhelds, looking at pivot charts of every batter-pitcher matchup, or of stolen base percentage vs. what count a pitcher/catcher battery most frequently throws a pitchout... it's not unlike the kid in Roth's "The Great American Novel". *sigh* A guy can dream... :)

posted by hincandenza at 11:17 PM on September 11, 2002

You would win that bet. Billy Beane is one of the new, wired sabremetrician GMs, according to a Village Voice article.

posted by rcade at 07:59 AM on September 12, 2002

Pop sabermetrician Rob Neyer has wet dreams about Billy Beane. And if there is an owner who can understand the value of digital scouting and analysis, it might be the new Red Sox owner, John Henry - who quotes Bill James.

posted by mbd1 at 09:38 AM on September 12, 2002

You're not logged in. Please log in or register.