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27IsNext
02-14-06, 11:55 PM
For all of you saber experts out there, what sabermetrics and stats should I really pay attention to, and why? I know things like OBP, SLG (OPS) and UZR are important in evaluating a player, but what are some other things that are out there?

PaulieIsAwesome
02-15-06, 10:19 AM
For all of you saber experts out there, what sabermetrics and stats should I really pay attention to, and why? I know things like OBP, SLG (OPS) and UZR are important in evaluating a player, but what are some other things that are out there?

Well, there are a lot of other statistics out there. My two favorite websites are Hardball Times and Baseball Prospectus.

Hardball Times' glossary: http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/statpages/glossary/

BPro's:
http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php

The key to being really interested in sabermetrics is a keen willingness to question anything, and to answer those questions with data collection and analysis.

yankeebot
02-15-06, 10:23 AM
I really enjoy reading stats and understanding the meaning but when I actually try to apply any knowledge I may have acquired, I feel like my head is going to explode. It just gets so overwhelming.

DontHateOnNumber2
02-16-06, 10:19 AM
I was thinking about really delving into sabermetrics but felt it would be too time consuming and would take out the fun of just enjoying the game of baseball. I'll stick with averages, home run totals, and on base percentages though.

Snatch Catch
02-16-06, 10:39 AM
I was thinking about really delving into sabermetrics but felt it would be too time consuming and would take out the fun of just enjoying the game of baseball. I'll stick with averages, home run totals, and on base percentages though.

You should start readin up on it. It doesn't take any of the fun out of enjoying the game. In fact, it actually enhances one's enjoyment because you aren't be shepparded by archaic theory and philosophy.

Not only can it help you enjoy the game much more, but it can resolve questions that you have in your mind about who had a "better" season and who stands to improve, decline, or stand pat.

I'm not advocating delving into sbermetrics to the point of creating your own formulas and stuff (although that is certainly interesting), but instead embracing it so that you can understand and appreciate the telling analysis that others do in the field.

Hitman23
02-16-06, 11:21 AM
You should start readin up on it. It doesn't take any of the fun out of enjoying the game. In fact, it actually enhances one's enjoyment because you aren't be shepparded by archaic theory and philosophy. It certainly does take alot of fun out of the game. For those of us who don't live by, dedicate, memorize, and have a masters degree in it are unable to talk to those who are obsessed with it. And made to believe our opinions about a player that we watch every day be viewed as complete sh*t.

It's like a cult. And I'm waiting for you to come knocking at my door like a Jahova's Witness to convert me.

hardrain
02-16-06, 12:05 PM
Pick up a book by Alan Scwarz: The Numbers Game

It's an extremely fascinating and a good read about those who are obssesed with baseball numbers.

yankeebot
02-16-06, 12:30 PM
Pick up a book by Alan Scwarz: The Numbers Game

It's an extremely fascinating and a good read about those who are obssesed with baseball numbers.
That is the book that got me interested. I picked it up in an airport on a long delay and, one chapter later, I was hooked. Fascinating stuff.

Dooley Womack
02-16-06, 01:03 PM
It certainly does take alot of fun out of the game. For those of us who don't live by, dedicate, memorize, and have a masters degree in it are unable to talk to those who are obsessed with it. And made to believe our opinions about a player that we watch every day be viewed as complete sh*t.

It's like a cult. And I'm waiting for you to come knocking at my door like a Jahova's Witness to convert me.

I have to agree with you to a large extent. I'd rather go to a game with someone like you than sit through a game feeling like I'm in a calculus class. But to each his own. I can't say one is wrong or right.

I think it was Willie Mays who, when asked about what scientific approach he takes to his game and with each of his at bats, said, "I see the ball, I hit the ball."

Snatch Catch
02-16-06, 06:25 PM
It certainly does take alot of fun out of the game. For those of us who don't live by, dedicate, memorize, and have a masters degree in it are unable to talk to those who are obsessed with it. And made to believe our opinions about a player that we watch every day be viewed as complete sh*t.

It's like a cult. And I'm waiting for you to come knocking at my door like a Jahova's Witness to convert me.

If, like you said, you don't understand it, how can you knock it?

It has nothing to do with obsession or memorization, but moreso comprehension.

Those that are willing to take the time to understand what the numbers mean will be shown another level of baseball knowledge.

And the reason some people get so up in arms about the statistics, is that people who don't understand them will immediately dismiss and/or ridicule numbers as being "stupid" or the product of"stat-geeks." In the meanwhile, the numbers show definitively, without any room for argument, that the point they are arguing is wrong.

yankeebot
02-16-06, 07:11 PM
I have to agree with you to a large extent. I'd rather go to a game with someone like you than sit through a game feeling like I'm in a calculus class. But to each his own. I can't say one is wrong or right.

I think it was Willie Mays who, when asked about what scientific approach he takes to his game and with each of his at bats, said, "I see the ball, I hit the ball."Do you have any stat-geek friends that you have been to games with or are you just speculating as to what it would be like? I have just become interested in this end of the game recently but it by no means interferes with that actually watching of a game. As a matter of fact, it never even comes up. When I am watching a game, Jeter is the best SS ever. Bernie still may get a clutch hit. Moose is still going to get a perfecto. You know what I mean.

I like stats before and after the game. Not during. Evaluate prospects and acquisitions. Predict performance. Suggest outcomes. I do not know a single stat-geek that makes a game seem like a calculus class. In all honesty, I don't even think stats play a part in the game as it is being played. They are simply a tool.

Maybe you are a little jaded because of how so many of the arguments here seem to go and I agree. It gets tedious and a bit boring to have the same numbers thrown around again and again. No offense intended to the stat-geeks but a lot of them do come off as know-it-alls and that gets very old, very fast. Sometimes it is nice to just enjoy what you see with your eyes without thinking about what Bill James would say. Anyway, sorry for rambling. I just think there can be a pleasant mix of both sides. A nice, refreshing baseball cocktail. :)

JeffWeaverFan
02-16-06, 09:21 PM
GPA is a great stat (it's comparable to OPS) for hitters. IMO, when judging pitchers, the key stats to look up are K/9, K/BB, and G/F. I also like looking at dERA or DIPS when seeing if a pitcher was lucky or unlucky in a season.

JeffWeaverFan
02-16-06, 09:23 PM
Do you have any stat-geek friends that you have been to games with or are you just speculating as to what it would be like? I have just become interested in this end of the game recently but it by no means interferes with that actually watching of a game. As a matter of fact, it never even comes up. When I am watching a game, Jeter is the best SS ever. Bernie still may get a clutch hit. Moose is still going to get a perfecto. You know what I mean.

I like stats before and after the game. Not during. Evaluate prospects and acquisitions. Predict performance. Suggest outcomes. I do not know a single stat-geek that makes a game seem like a calculus class. In all honesty, I don't even think stats play a part in the game as it is being played. They are simply a tool.

Maybe you are a little jaded because of how so many of the arguments here seem to go and I agree. It gets tedious and a bit boring to have the same numbers thrown around again and again. No offense intended to the stat-geeks but a lot of them do come off as know-it-alls and that gets very old, very fast. Sometimes it is nice to just enjoy what you see with your eyes without thinking about what Bill James would say. Anyway, sorry for rambling. I just think there can be a pleasant mix of both sides. A nice, refreshing baseball cocktail. :)
I agree with everything you just said 100%.

Speaking of enjoyment of the game, I think that I have lost some enjoyment because of my dislike for Torre's managing. It infuriates me when I think he is making a wrong move. I started thinking about that after watching Rangers games this season and seeing the difference. Either way, I'm going to do my best to not worry about Joe's decisions. At least not during the game.

Dooley Womack
02-16-06, 09:59 PM
I like stats before and after the game. Not during. Evaluate prospects and acquisitions. Predict performance. Suggest outcomes. I do not know a single stat-geek that makes a game seem like a calculus class. In all honesty, I don't even think stats play a part in the game as it is being played. They are simply a tool.


Perfect. You just described how I enjoy the game. During the game I just want to have fun without worrying about how the next at bat will affect the players OBP., GPA, VORP, etc. Before and after I am interested in their stats. Stats are especially interesting during the off-season with all the moves and rumors swirling. So I'm with you.

I DO have one friend who is a stat geek but the good thing is that after 2 beers he's already tipsy so I make sure he's had them before the game starts. ;)

You do make some very good and valid points throughout your post (which I truncated a bit). :)

CTSoxFan
02-16-06, 11:43 PM
Perfect. You just described how I enjoy the game. During the game I just want to have fun without worrying about how the next at bat will affect the players OBP., GPA, VORP, etc. Before and after I am interested in their stats. Stats are especially interesting during the off-season with all the moves and rumors swirling. So I'm with you.

I DO have one friend who is a stat geek but the good thing is that after 2 beers he's already tipsy so I make sure he's had them before the game starts. ;)

You do make some very good and valid points throughout your post (which I truncated a bit). :)

Hey Dooley...if you still have my e-mail knocking around somewhere, drop me a note.

Dooley Womack
02-17-06, 12:39 AM
Hey Dooley...if you still have my e-mail knocking around somewhere, drop me a note.

I don't have it available. I believe it's saved in one of my PM's. A lot of good that does us. :lol:

I guess it's safe to say you don't have mine on hand either....

CTSoxFan
02-17-06, 12:45 AM
I don't have it available. I believe it's saved in one of my PM's. A lot of good that does us. :lol:

I guess it's safe to say you don't have mine on hand either....

You could always post yours here. :D

Dooley Womack
02-17-06, 01:49 AM
You could always post yours here. :D

Fat chance, Kemosabe. ;)

Hitman23
02-17-06, 09:28 AM
If, like you said, you don't understand it, how can you knock it?

It has nothing to do with obsession or memorization, but moreso comprehension.

Those that are willing to take the time to understand what the numbers mean will be shown another level of baseball knowledge.

And the reason some people get so up in arms about the statistics, is that people who don't understand them will immediately dismiss and/or ridicule numbers as being "stupid" or the product of"stat-geeks." In the meanwhile, the numbers show definitively, without any room for argument, that the point they are arguing is wrong.I'm not knocking the belief that saber is the way to go. But it's also a choice, not a fact, and to say that someone is downright wrong because they look at something another way is, well, wrong. It works the same as a religious belief or a political party you may belong to. There are other views and while you are entitiled to your you do not have the right to tell someone else they are downright wrong. Of course in the few cases where you are being told you are downright wrong then I can see how you want to prove your point by citing your statistics and making them understand your point of view. But that's where it should end.

I don't dismiss saber as a way to view the game. And I'm sure those who have the motivation to learn all the sats are enjoying themselves. But I don't feel the need to break everything that goes on in baseball down that way. When I look at Jeter bash his face into a chair because he just gave his body up for 1 out and a beautiful catch, I wanna think to myself "He is the f*cking man", not "yeah that was cool but his UZR sucks".

Hitman23
02-17-06, 09:30 AM
Do you have any stat-geek friends that you have been to games with or are you just speculating as to what it would be like? I have just become interested in this end of the game recently but it by no means interferes with that actually watching of a game. As a matter of fact, it never even comes up. When I am watching a game, Jeter is the best SS ever. Bernie still may get a clutch hit. Moose is still going to get a perfecto. You know what I mean.

I like stats before and after the game. Not during. Evaluate prospects and acquisitions. Predict performance. Suggest outcomes. I do not know a single stat-geek that makes a game seem like a calculus class. In all honesty, I don't even think stats play a part in the game as it is being played. They are simply a tool.

Maybe you are a little jaded because of how so many of the arguments here seem to go and I agree. It gets tedious and a bit boring to have the same numbers thrown around again and again. No offense intended to the stat-geeks but a lot of them do come off as know-it-alls and that gets very old, very fast. Sometimes it is nice to just enjoy what you see with your eyes without thinking about what Bill James would say. Anyway, sorry for rambling. I just think there can be a pleasant mix of both sides. A nice, refreshing baseball cocktail. :)great post bro. I wish that were the view of all saber people. :gulp:

Snatch Catch
02-17-06, 10:54 AM
I'm not knocking the belief that saber is the way to go. But it's also a choice, not a fact, and to say that someone is downright wrong because they look at something another way is, well, wrong. It works the same as a religious belief or a political party you may belong to. There are other views and while you are entitiled to your you do not have the right to tell someone else they are downright wrong. Of course in the few cases where you are being told you are downright wrong then I can see how you want to prove your point by citing your statistics and making them understand your point of view. But that's where it should end.

I don't dismiss saber as a way to view the game. And I'm sure those who have the motivation to learn all the sats are enjoying themselves. But I don't feel the need to break everything that goes on in baseball down that way. When I look at Jeter bash his face into a chair because he just gave his body up for 1 out and a beautiful catch, I wanna think to myself "He is the f*cking man", not "yeah that was cool but his UZR sucks".

I completely understand what you're saying, Steve, and I agree. Although, I don't know any Yankee fan who saw Jeter make his leap into the stands and immediately said "yeah that was cool, but his UZR sucks."

The thing that is so interesting about in depth statisitics with baseball is that they CAN tell the vast majority of a player's worth. They CAN settle definitively an argument about who is better, or who had the better year. Baseball is a game that is not governed by time, so a player's contributions can be stacked up against one another and evaluated on a relatively level playing field. However, there are still inconsistancies in the comparisons- things like thin air or deep outfield fences playrolls in the numbers, too. One of the major goals of sabermetrics is to level those irregularities so as to determine true worth.

Saying that Dante Bichette was better than Paul O'Neill in 1996 is a classic example.

If we were to take the typical numbers that the general public uses, the comparison looks like this:


AVG HR RBI R SB

Dante .313 31 141 114 31

Paulie .302 19 91 89 0


Now, Bichette should lose right off the bat simply because his name is Dante, but in the interest of fairness, we'll actually let the numbers talk. When using the above numbers, it looks like Bichette in a walk.

It's not though.

In fact, it's quite the opposite.

Here are some numbers that use a more detailed statistical analysis of the data; numbers that seek to compensate for the venues in which the numbers were produced, the value of defense, etc.

WARP = Wins Above Replacement Player, or how many more wins is player X worth than a guy who is probably going to be among the worst in the league. This includes some defensive evaluation.

OPS+ = Adjusted OBP + SLG. OPS+ weights the player's OPS against the rest of the league he plays in, as well as compensates for the ballparks in which the numbers were produced.

RC/27 = How many runs a player with the numbers (OBP, SLG, AVG, SB, CS, etc.) would produce over the course of a full game (27 outs) if he were allowed to bat over and over. This is not weighted or anything- it just goes by the raw numbers.

EQA = Equivalent average. This is similar to batting average, but factors in walks and a few other things, so as to get a more accurate picture of how valuable a player is. It is crafted to be on the same scale as BA, so .270ish is about average, and .300 is good.


WARP OPS+ RC/27 EQA

Dante 4.4 108 6.82 .271

Paulie 7.4 122 7.03 .309


Paulie smokes Bichette, and it really isn't even that close. However, looking at the simple numbers that year, it looks like he isn't as good, and probably by a decent margin.

It is this kind of analysis that makes the game more interesting to fans of statistics. It doesn't take a lot to understand them, just a willingness to actually do so.

It is also this kind of analysis that will cause people to get really fired up when others argue that Bichette was clearly better because he had a higher BA, more HR, tons more RBI, more runs, and a 31-0 edge in SB. The fact of the matter is, though, that it just is simply not true. Paulie was a better player that year, and by a pretty substantial margin, too.

Hitman23
02-17-06, 12:24 PM
That is an interesting comparision. And I'm quite happy O'Neill comes up looking huge in it.

There's just too many in depth numbers to look at and baseball is just a hobby of mine. I like watching the Yanks and I like playing on FBL leagues. If I were a GM I suppose those numbers would mean a great deal to me, but I'm not and I don't have the time or motivation to learn them all. Just be a little understanding towards those of us who don't do what you do. And I think that was my and Dooley's point.

27IsNext
02-17-06, 12:25 PM
Dooley and CTSoxFan:
:-offtopic

THEBOSS84
02-17-06, 01:13 PM
Snatch, can you get us the difference in WARP, OPS+, RC/27 and EQA between A-Rod and Ortiz from this past season?

Curious to know how that told the story in the MVP race.

Snatch Catch
02-17-06, 02:42 PM
Snatch, can you get us the difference in WARP, OPS+, RC/27 and EQA between A-Rod and Ortiz from this past season?

Curious to know how that told the story in the MVP race.



WARP OPS+ RC/27 EQA

A-Rod 10.2 167 9.53 .337

Ortiz 8.0 161 8.90 .323


This is also without much positional factoring (WARP does it, but it's the only one of the stats listed that does.) A-Rod KILLS Ortiz in numbers like VORP (Measure of strictly OFFENSE in comparison to others that play the same position (Ortiz is compared to other DHs)) and Positional OPS+ (OPS+, but again, factoring in the position that he plays.)

Additionally, I posted the wrong EqA numbers for Paulie O and Bichette earlier: The proper ones are .295 and .273 respectively.

WebsterMulligan
02-17-06, 07:10 PM
Very interesting analysis between O'Neill and Bichette, Snatch.

Can I assume that Bichette's defense was far less superior to O'Neill's and was the primary factor in determining Paulie's WARP advantage? How exactly is WARP determined?

DontHateOnNumber2
02-18-06, 01:31 AM
You should start readin up on it. It doesn't take any of the fun out of enjoying the game. In fact, it actually enhances one's enjoyment because you aren't be shepparded by archaic theory and philosophy.

Not only can it help you enjoy the game much more, but it can resolve questions that you have in your mind about who had a "better" season and who stands to improve, decline, or stand pat.
I'm not advocating delving into sbermetrics to the point of creating your own formulas and stuff (although that is certainly interesting), but instead embracing it so that you can understand and appreciate the telling analysis that others do in the field.

I don't know it's hard enough trying to translate baseball terms for my girlfriend and if I try explaining this she'll just give up. As far as guessing a player's performance I don't think number's can do that. Aaron Small is proof positive, and that's why I'm optimistic about Andy Phillips.

OneRedSeat
02-18-06, 10:04 AM
A-Rod KILLS Ortiz in numbers like VORP (Measure of strictly OFFENSE in comparison to others that play the same position (Ortiz is compared to other DHs)) and Positional OPS+ (OPS+, but again, factoring in the position that he plays.)


VORP, like all BP offensive metrics, neglects RBI production, and it is for good reason. RBI Opportunities is something that is beyond the player's control. However, those two had remarkably similar RBI Opp. last year, so including RBI production in an offensive comparison between the two is warranted.


PA R1 R2 R3 TBR BI rate

ARod 715 252 180 84 516 82 0.1589

Ortiz 713 262 175 69 506 101 0.1996

PA - plate appearances, R1 - runners on 1st, R2 - runners on 2nd, R3 - runners on 3rd, TBR - total base runners, BI - RBI minus HR, rate - BI/TBR

ARod's ~14 (99.7 to 85.8) runs higer VORP due to a lower positional average is negated by Ortiz's19 more BI. I think the two had offensive years that are next to impossible to distinguish a clearcut winner.

On topic, if one thinks sabermetric stats are a waste of time and it would ruin their enjoyment of the game, then they shouldn't choose to investigate what they reveal. However, they should refrain from ridiculing the validity of said stats due to their ignorance.

Cuban Connection
02-25-06, 03:32 PM
On topic, if one thinks sabermetric stats are a waste of time and it would ruin their enjoyment of the game, then they shouldn't choose to investigate what they reveal. However, they should refrain from ridiculing the validity of said stats due to their ignorance.
I don't buy into sabermetrics because the writers who support them the most are very arrogant and are just filled with excuses when it comes to task to explain why they are so wrong. (Joe Sheehan and Dayn Perry to name a few.)

To me, it is absolutely ridiculous to try and discount or take away a player's or team's success because the data didn't fit the model. I can't possible imagine what would happen if I handed in a lab report to one of my professors concluding that because some of the data didn't fit my model, that data is a fluke and can't possibly be reproduced.

Why is when the results are non what the models predicts, it's the data that is wrong? Shouldn't be the other way around?

Snatch Catch
02-25-06, 04:46 PM
I think the two had offensive years that are next to impossible to distinguish a clearcut winner.

That's because you interpreted the evidence you presented yourself incorrectly.

OneRedSeat
02-25-06, 05:02 PM
How so? I'll admit, I'm a novice, but from what I've read all the runs metrics don't include situation. Please tell me where I've gone wrong.

Snatch Catch
02-25-06, 05:15 PM
How so? I'll admit, I'm a novice, but from what I've read all the runs metrics don't include situation. Please tell me where I've gone wrong.

1 RBI does not equal one point of VORP.

An RBI could occur on a sac fly or a single. Those events are minimal.

OneRedSeat
02-25-06, 05:25 PM
VORP is a runs-based metric, meaning it's expression is in the form of runs. RBIs are runs. How are runs not equal to runs?

Snatch Catch
02-25-06, 05:36 PM
VORP is a runs-based metric, meaning it's expression is in the form of runs. RBIs are runs. How are runs not equal to runs?

Statistics like RC and VORP have nothing to do with RBI or Runs; those are contextual statistics. RC and VORP seek to analyze a player's contributions in a context neutral environment. They are based on OBP and total bases primarily. If Ortiz drives in a run with a sac fly, it is going to be almost meaningless to a stat like VORP or RC. Similarly, a 2-RBI single is meaningless outside of it ever so slightly increasing his OBP and adding one total base to his seasonal total.

OneRedSeat
02-25-06, 05:51 PM
Statistics like RC and VORP have nothing to do with RBI or Runs; those are contextual statistics. RC and VORP seek to analyze a player's contributions in a context neutral environment. They are based on OBP and total bases primarily. If Ortiz drives in a run with a sac fly, it is going to be almost meaningless to a stat like VORP or RC. Similarly, a 2-RBI single is meaningless outside of it ever so slightly increasing his OBP and adding one total base to his seasonal total.
I understand all of that, and I don't think looking at raw RBI is fair for those reasons. That said, when two players have very similar opportunities in terms of total base runners, runners on 1st, runners on 2nd, and runners on 3rd, then the contextual runs represented as RBI (specifically RBI minus HR) can enter the conversation IMO. If their opportunities were completely dissimilar, I'd agree with you, but that is not the case. Perhaps that is convenient for me since it supports my case, but I don't think my logic there is flawed.

Snatch Catch
02-25-06, 06:06 PM
I understand all of that, and I don't think looking at raw RBI is fair for those reasons. That said, when two players have very similar opportunities in terms of total base runners, runners on 1st, runners on 2nd, and runners on 3rd, then the contextual runs represented as RBI (specifically RBI minus HR) can enter the conversation IMO. If their opportunities were completely dissimilar, I'd agree with you, but that is not the case. Perhaps that is convenient for me since it supports my case, but I don't think my logic there is flawed.


I understand the point you are trying to make, but I think your logic is flawed because you are trying to incorporate two wholly dissimilar statistics.

RBI's cannot enter the VORP converstation in any shape or form.

Ortiz having a better RBI rate than Rodriguez certainly can, but it needs to be considered on it's own, and weighted appropriately. Almost everything else is in favor of Rodriguez, and a difference in RBI rate does not swing things in Ortiz's favor, nor does it make the two's 2005 seasons comparable.

OneRedSeat
02-25-06, 06:40 PM
For what it's worth, I'm not incorporating RBI production into VORP. VORP is clearly advantage Rodriguez, as is RARP (a redundancy), and WARP (defense included). VORP is all-inclusive with the exception of RBI, so "everything else is in favor of Rodriquez" isn't true because there is nothing else. I'm saying Rodriquez is 14 (22 RARP) runs better by what he did at the plate. Ortiz is 19 runs better in contextual runs. Since the context was very similar for both, I see no reason to disregard what VORP ignores. The total offensive contribution, VORP (or RARP) and RBI production with similar contextual environment, is either 5 runs advantage Ortiz, by VORP, or 3 runs advantage Rodriguez, by RARP. Which is either ~1/5 a win or ~1/3 a win. I'd say that's comparable.

PaulieIsAwesome
02-25-06, 06:53 PM
I don't buy into sabermetrics because the writers who support them the most are very arrogant and are just filled with excuses when it comes to task to explain why they are so wrong. (Joe Sheehan and Dayn Perry to name a few.)

To me, it is absolutely ridiculous to try and discount or take away a player's or team's success because the data didn't fit the model. I can't possible imagine what would happen if I handed in a lab report to one of my professors concluding that because some of the data didn't fit my model, that data is a fluke and can't possibly be reproduced.

Why is when the results are non what the models predicts, it's the data that is wrong? Shouldn't be the other way around?

I'm sorry, you refuse to "buy into sabermetrics" because some of the writers are arrogant? Besides that being a stupid reason to not believe something, you don't think that Joe Morgan, Buster Olney, Tracey Ringolsby are also quite arrogant, when they write about the geeks at their keyboards, or how only people who've played can understand baseball? Gammons, before he became at all statistically savvy, called sabermetrics "stats nazis." You don't believe that's the height of arrogance.

Also, most writers who are good sabermetricians, I think, take the fluky data and try to perfect their metrics and models. Writers who fail to do that, clearly, are doing a disservice.

Cuban Connection
02-26-06, 01:34 AM
I'm sorry, you refuse to "buy into sabermetrics" because some of the writers are arrogant? Besides that being a stupid reason to not believe something, you don't think that Joe Morgan, Buster Olney, Tracey Ringolsby are also quite arrogant, when they write about the geeks at their keyboards, or how only people who've played can understand baseball? Gammons, before he became at all statistically savvy, called sabermetrics "stats nazis." You don't believe that's the height of arrogance.

Also, most writers who are good sabermetricians, I think, take the fluky data and try to perfect their metrics and models. Writers who fail to do that, clearly, are doing a disservice.
I make an opinion on sabermetrics based on how it is presented to me. When a stathead writers says "team A was lucky because they out performed their phytagorean record," it drives me nuts and makes me lose respect for that writer.

Clutch hitting doesn't exsist, batters and pitchers can be determined how "lucky" they are based on BABIP. Stupid. The PECOTA projects also make me laugh with the wide range of projections, and the end result isn't all that impressive. I'm willing to bet a casual baseball fan could put together better projections based on three year splits than some of these systems.

I'm also not a big fan of OPS+ or ERA+ because they are calculated from total stats.
One example I saw Dayn Perry present was a comparison between Roger and Andy. We all know how Minute Maid Park is a great place to hit, but ERA+ does not factor in how it favors right handed hitters more than left hitters because of the short porch in LF. Andy's ERA+ should be higher to account for this. Last year Jacob's Field was considered to be a pitcher's park because Cleveland had such great pitching, and played in a division with 3 other weaker offensive teams. (CHI, KC, MIN.) Who wants to bet if the Rockies had a staff of Clemens, Pedro, Halladay, Felix Hernandez, and Jake Peavy along with a lineup like the 2005 Royals could make Coors Field look like a pitchers park?

Sabermetrics has not been presented well to me, and I see a lot of redunancy in the stats. (WARP, VORP, and is pretty much OPS comparison by position. High BABIP pitchers means the pitchers are "unlikely." Higher K/9 pitchers tend to have higher BABIP because of less chances, so it's not fair to say that Pedro is much better than his numbers indicate because of a high BABIP.)

PaulieIsAwesome
02-26-06, 06:08 AM
I make an opinion on sabermetrics based on how it is presented to me. When a stathead writers says "team A was lucky because they out performed their phytagorean record," it drives me nuts and makes me lose respect for that writer.

Clutch hitting doesn't exsist, batters and pitchers can be determined how "lucky" they are based on BABIP. Stupid. The PECOTA projects also make me laugh with the wide range of projections, and the end result isn't all that impressive. I'm willing to bet a casual baseball fan could put together better projections based on three year splits than some of these systems.

I'm also not a big fan of OPS+ or ERA+ because they are calculated from total stats.
One example I saw Dayn Perry present was a comparison between Roger and Andy. We all know how Minute Maid Park is a great place to hit, but ERA+ does not factor in how it favors right handed hitters more than left hitters because of the short porch in LF. Andy's ERA+ should be higher to account for this. Last year Jacob's Field was considered to be a pitcher's park because Cleveland had such great pitching, and played in a division with 3 other weaker offensive teams. (CHI, KC, MIN.) Who wants to bet if the Rockies had a staff of Clemens, Pedro, Halladay, Felix Hernandez, and Jake Peavy along with a lineup like the 2005 Royals could make Coors Field look like a pitchers park?

Sabermetrics has not been presented well to me, and I see a lot of redunancy in the stats. (WARP, VORP, and is pretty much OPS comparison by position. High BABIP pitchers means the pitchers are "unlikely." Higher K/9 pitchers tend to have higher BABIP because of less chances, so it's not fair to say that Pedro is much better than his numbers indicate because of a high BABIP.)

First, I don't really know how anyone can look at a team like the 2004 Yankees and say, yeah, they probably won more games than they should, more games than the average team that scored the same runs and and allowed the same would have. Some of that was Mo, clearly, and saber writers tried to figure out how a great back of bullpen affected winning percentage. However, when you run thousands and thousands of teams (because pythagorean win % can pretty easily be run for every team, ever) and you see that the 2004 Yankees or 2005 White Sox win more games than the average team usually wins, yeah, I think it's fair to say that they are unlikely to repeat that.

Second, you make a claim that it is on its face stupid to argue that clutch hitting does not exist, or that BABIP is a generally unrepeatable skill. Prove it. All you have is a heuristic or at worst not supported claim.

Third, you're probably right that PECOTA has some flaws. Since you've already agreed that all sabermetricians need to agree with everything that anyone else who calls themselves a sabermetrician has ever said, I guess that may be surprising to you. BP created it, and sell it on their website. Like every other company, they market it like crazy. Despite its problems, I think PECOTA does an ok job at projections. Someone, Nate Silver I think, once said that a straight up weighting system gets you about 65% accuracy for projection. Doing other things with the numbers can get you at most another 5%. PECOTA simply tries to get to that 70% mark. Also, if you say that fans could build a better projection system, why don't you do it? I think your post at the very least demonstrates that sabermetrics certainly favors challenging the status quo (DIPS, clutch hitting) and I know your projection scheme would get read. Use the Lahman database, and a program like MySql, Excel, or Access.

I don't know what this means: "I'm also not a big fan of OPS+ or ERA+ because they are calculated from total stats." What other stats do you want them to be calculated from? If it is split stats, that was exactly what Dayn Perry was trying to do in his article, add something to our view of Andy Pettitte because of how difficult it can be to succeed at Minute Maid.

Park factors can be a little screwy, and teams can build rosters that specifically maximize the effectiveness of their park, changing their park factor (a Red Sox team of only Kevin Millars will probably have a higher home park factor, since Millar is a dead pull hitter who took advantage of the monster nearly constantly, than a team of Neifi Perez's.) That's why we use three years PFs, to try to reduce some of that noise. Still, OPS+, ERA+, are simply very rough metrics of effectiveness.

There is some redundancy in statistics, and yes, OPS by position and VORP, along with RARP are all pretty similar. However, some of them are more effective at telling you different things. Yes, WARP is definitely different from VORP, since WARP looks at the quality of a player's defense.

Finally, you make the claim that: Higher K/9 pitchers tend to have higher BABIP because of less chances. Here's the best part of sabermetrics. We don't need to just make claims, or argue that pitchers "tend" to do something. We can test it.

In the last 10 years, among pitchers with more than 20 innings pitched, the correlation factor between K/9 and BABIP is -.01876. That means that there is no relationship. To go in more detail, the worse K/9 pitchers struck out about 2.65 batters/9IP, and had a BABIP Against of .290. The best K/9 pitchers struck out 12.9 batters/9IP, and had a BABIP of, wait for it, .291.

Let's restrict the data set more: 100 IP. There is a little of a selection bias problem, because pitchers who are terrible at K/9 don't usually pitch that many innings. Still, it will tell us how regular starting pitchers fare at BABIP given K rates. Answer: no effect, again: -.02768. Worst 50 K pitchers (out of a sample of 1407): 3.45 K/9, .294 BABIP. Top 50 K pitchers: 10.88 K/9, .290 BABIP. I think it's fair to say that your assumption is false.

The same exact argument of yours needs to be made against some of the claims of the traditionalists. For a while, people argued that pitch counts didn't matter, or that toolsy, speedy players were better to draft than well established, polished college hitters, or that bunting was a great strategy that should be used nearly constantly. Rational, careful analysis proved these strategies wrong. And when data arises to suggest that some of the tenets that were held by the SABR community were wrong, they are usually pretty good at admitting they were wrong:

Here's an article at Hardball Times which argues that there may in fact be an advantage for some teams playing small ball, though it still probably decreases offensive strength.

http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/ten-things-i-didnt-know-last-week11/

I think you have a flawed view on the matter, and have not constructed any sort of argument opposing the analysis of baseball using statistics.

WHIP
02-26-06, 03:27 PM
Very good post, Paulie.

Jasbro
02-26-06, 10:50 PM
The more one knows about actual "statistics", the more one should know that they more often than not merely represent a "snapshot" of performance more than a "video". And that the interpretation of that snapshot is very largely dependent on the context in which it was taken (which is often more subjective than objective).

I am very, very wary of anyone who claims that any definitive conclusion can be reached simply based on the on misconception that "numbers don't lie".

That is not to say that sabermetrics do not provide insights that have not existed before -- many sabre-stats do. But the infallibility that many ascribe to sabremetrics and the condescending manner in which that infallibility is proclaimed too often smacks of misguided arrogance IMHO.

Cuban Connection
02-27-06, 12:53 AM
First, I don't really know how anyone can look at a team like the 2004 Yankees and say, yeah, they probably won more games than they should, more games than the average team that scored the same runs and and allowed the same would have. Some of that was Mo, clearly, and saber writers tried to figure out how a great back of bullpen affected winning percentage. However, when you run thousands and thousands of teams (because pythagorean win % can pretty easily be run for every team, ever) and you see that the 2004 Yankees or 2005 White Sox win more games than the average team usually wins, yeah, I think it's fair to say that they are unlikely to repeat that.
I just don't buy that. There are too many intangibles in the game of baseball to have a team do the exact same thing on a game by game bases. Rob Neyer admits that teams that bunt and manufacture runs tend to do better in 1 run games than average teams or teams that are built around base clogging and waiting for the big hit. What difference does it make if a team wins by 1 run or 10 runs? In the real world it doesn't matter, yet it greatly effects the phytagorean record.


Second, you make a claim that it is on its face stupid to argue that clutch hitting does not exist, or that BABIP is a generally unrepeatable skill. Prove it. All you have is a heuristic or at worst not supported claim.
There are hitters who for some reason or another, become more focused when the game is on the line and need to bring in a run. Joe Crede is a guy who I would say is "clutch." His September numbers are always better than any month, and I have seen him come up with huge hits in the later innings while going 0-4 earlier in the game. Look at his postseason numbers. He is just one example of why you can't say "clutch hitting doesn't exsist." My main beef with BABIP is that IMO, it's a useless stat. It's supposed to tell me how "lucky" a player or pitcher is, but I have seen too many sabermetric writers throw around the "L" word when the results don't match their model.


Also, if you say that fans could build a better projection system, why don't you do it? I think your post at the very least demonstrates that sabermetrics certainly favors challenging the status quo (DIPS, clutch hitting) and I know your projection scheme would get read. Use the Lahman database, and a program like MySql, Excel, or Access.
If it was my job or task to come up with something to make a projection system, I would get to work on it. Believe me, I love baseball, I love looking at players' stats, but it's not something I do for a living.


I don't know what this means: "I'm also not a big fan of OPS+ or ERA+ because they are calculated from total stats."
ERA+ and OPS+ are determined by the league average ERA and OPS of each player in the MLB. It is completely stupid to try and come up with one big number to compare each player. What is the point in comparing David Ortiz to Ichiro or Scott Podsednik? They are different types of players based on their physical size, role in the lineup (you don't build a lineup expecting everyone to have a .370 OBP and hit 25+ homers,) and it drives me insane to see someone write about Ichiro's 109 OPS+ saying he's not that much better than the average AL hitter. Why not compare OPS by batting orders (leadoff hitters do not need a high OPS, just a high OBP) or compare by physical size?



There is some redundancy in statistics, and yes, OPS by position and VORP, along with RARP are all pretty similar. However, some of them are more effective at telling you different things. Yes, WARP is definitely different from VORP, since WARP looks at the quality of a player's defense.
So what use for VORP? Isn't defense important to a player's profile?




Let's restrict the data set more: 100 IP. There is a little of a selection bias problem, because pitchers who are terrible at K/9 don't usually pitch that many innings. Still, it will tell us how regular starting pitchers fare at BABIP given K rates. Answer: no effect, again: -.02768. Worst 50 K pitchers (out of a sample of 1407): 3.45 K/9, .294 BABIP. Top 50 K pitchers: 10.88 K/9, .290 BABIP. I think it's fair to say that your assumption is false.
Really? I tend to think that quality relievers who generally have the highest K/9 in the majors don't pitch 100 innings in a year. BABIP is mostly defensive dependent, so using the actual data doesn't do much good because the field defense is not even, it's another variable. I would like to see the BABIP-K/9 relationship between different pitchers on the same team.


I think you have a flawed view on the matter, and have not constructed any sort of argument opposing the analysis of baseball using statistics.
I'm not against statistics at all. I like looking at the raw data, but I hate looking at statistics that are not derived, (ISOP) or some kind of numeric ratio comparison to a league average because it includes all the players numbers including the crappy guys, September call-ups, or the waste of at-bat from a pitcher. My main complaint is more with the writers who present this, coming across as very arrogant, charging for material they completely made up and misleading others to think these are the stone cold facts, and making excuses when a team or player plays a style of ball that goes against their theory of how baseball should be played calling it a "fluke," lucky," and selecting pointless stats like BABIP, VORP, or the even more ridiculous expected runs matrix to try and prove his/her point.

I'm not a Mark Twain guy in thinking "there are lies, damned lies, and statistics." As someone with a strong background in math and science, I take it pretty personally when some guy charging for his site is trying to discount or cheapen my team's success and then claim he is using some scientific model to prove his point.

PaulieIsAwesome
02-27-06, 02:40 AM
I just don't buy that. There are too many intangibles in the game of baseball to have a team do the exact same thing on a game by game bases. Rob Neyer admits that teams that bunt and manufacture runs tend to do better in 1 run games than average teams or teams that are built around base clogging and waiting for the big hit. What difference does it make if a team wins by 1 run or 10 runs? In the real world it doesn't matter, yet it greatly effects the phytagorean record.


Well, the real point in Pythagorean win percentage is determining the luck factor, which looks at replicability. If you saw that a team won 5 more games than most other teams given the same runs scored and runs allowed, wouldn't you say that it's pretty unlikely that they will do the same the next year? Especially if you see data that points to the reliability of pythagorean expectation over baseball history?


There are hitters who for some reason or another, become more focused when the game is on the line and need to bring in a run. Joe Crede is a guy who I would say is "clutch." His September numbers are always better than any month, and I have seen him come up with huge hits in the later innings while going 0-4 earlier in the game. Look at his postseason numbers. He is just one example of why you can't say "clutch hitting doesn't exsist." My main beef with BABIP is that IMO, it's a useless stat. It's supposed to tell me how "lucky" a player or pitcher is, but I have seen too many sabermetric writers throw around the "L" word when the results don't match their model.


Here is my main problem with your post. You discuss how some hitters hit better when the game is on the line, and then bring up a heuristic claim.

Some data on Joe Crede (from ESPN):
2002: Total OPS (in 200 AB)= .826, Sept. OPS (in 99 AB) = .912, and it was his best month
2003: Total OPS (in 536 AB) = .741, Sept. OPS (in 93 AB) = .761, and he had two months better than that, one being far better
2004: Total OPS (in 490 AB) = .717, Sept. OPS (in 80 AB) = .833, and he had one month that was far better
2005: Total OPS (in 432 AB) = .757, Sept. OPS (in 58 AB) = 1.178, clearly his best month

So what do we have? Certainly, it's false that "His September numbers are always better than any month." He seems like he's a better hitter than usual in September. He also had a great postseason last year (his only so far, by the way, so his postseason stats are a little bare.) His close and late numbers last year weren't particularly great: .778 OPS. When we pore over data and find that very, very, few players have any sort of repeatability in these statistics, what seems like the more likely causal model: Joe Crede is a unique clutch hitter, or that some of the random noise in baseball seasons has infiltrated his stat line?

You seem very angry that sabermetrics uses the term luck a lot. Traditionalists use it all the time too, they just don't recognize the logical result of that. I heard the phrase "baseball is a game of inches" at the age of 10, 9 years before I had heard of Moneyball, OPS, VORP, or Bill James. A line drive down the line just barely goes foul, instead of being a double. A player ate too much for breakfast, and just barely misses a groundball. An umpire calls a ball when it should have been a strike, and the next pitch goes out of the yard.

Traditionalists don't really respond to what this means. Sabermetricians accept that the role of luck in baseball sometimes means that some results can obscure underlying talent levels, and find metrics to quantify the role of luck, like BABIP.



If it was my job or task to come up with something to make a projection system, I would get to work on it. Believe me, I love baseball, I love looking at players' stats, but it's not something I do for a living.


Umm, direct quote right here: "I'm willing to bet a casual baseball fan could put together better projections based on three year splits than some of these systems." That's what you said, two posts up. Now you're saying that only people who get paid to do it can do it? Really, have at it, it's easy to use, and with 2 or 3 hours of work, I made my own rough projection scheme based on 3 year splits.


ERA+ and OPS+ are determined by the league average ERA and OPS of each player in the MLB. It is completely stupid to try and come up with one big number to compare each player. What is the point in comparing David Ortiz to Ichiro or Scott Podsednik? They are different types of players based on their physical size, role in the lineup (you don't build a lineup expecting everyone to have a .370 OBP and hit 25+ homers,) and it drives me insane to see someone write about Ichiro's 109 OPS+ saying he's not that much better than the average AL hitter. Why not compare OPS by batting orders (leadoff hitters do not need a high OPS, just a high OBP) or compare by physical size?

We compare players to each other, because more than any role managers might assign, the purpose of baseball players offensively is to create runs. Ichiro needs to do that, just like Scott Podsednik, or David Ortiz.

You're right that it isn't quite fair to say that Ichiro's 109 OPS+ last year means he was just 9% better than the average AL hitter. You're also right that OBP is the most important thing when finding a leadoff hitter. So, let's look at how Ichiro stacks up against American League leadoff hitters:

Non-park adjusted OBP = 7th
Non-park adjusted OPS = 8th
Park adjusted OBP = 8th
OPS+ = 8th

Well, since average is 7th or 8th, I'd say that Ichiro is pretty much at or a little above average as a leadoff hitter, without taking stolen bases into account. So, what's our conclusion? OPS+ just got lucky on this one?



So what use for VORP? Isn't defense important to a player's profile?


Umm, because there is still huge debate about defense? VORP lets us effectively capture a player's offense above replacement, and use whatever defensive metric we want (rather than Baseball Prospectus' very rough statistics.)



Really? I tend to think that quality relievers who generally have the highest K/9 in the majors don't pitch 100 innings in a year.


Did you just ignore the part where I did it for pitchers with greater than 20 IP?


BABIP is mostly defensive dependent, so using the actual data doesn't do much good because the field defense is not even, it's another variable. I would like to see the BABIP-K/9 relationship between different pitchers on the same team.

I'm not quite sure what you're asking for, but if you tell me, I'll gladly crunch the numbers.



I'm not against statistics at all. I like looking at the raw data, but I hate looking at statistics that are not derived, (ISOP) or some kind of numeric ratio comparison to a league average because it includes all the players numbers including the crappy guys, September call-ups, or the waste of at-bat from a pitcher.


Most statistics like this (OPS+, EqA, VORP,...) remove hitting pitchers from the sample. If you wanted to, it would be really easy to remove the crappy guys and September call-ups, and look at that.


My main complaint is more with the writers who present this, coming across as very arrogant, charging for material they completely made up and misleading others to think these are the stone cold facts, and making excuses when a team or player plays a style of ball that goes against their theory of how baseball should be played calling it a "fluke," lucky," and selecting pointless stats like BABIP, VORP, or the even more ridiculous expected runs matrix to try and prove his/her point.

Jeez. Yeah, they charge for material they completely made up. If people didn't like it, they wouldn't make money off it, and would go out of business real fast. Such is capitalism. People do like it, and shell out the 5 bucks a month or 40 a year for BP. Maybe I have some faith, but most people I read know what they are getting into when they buy Baseball Prospectus. And also, my absolute favorite sabr site on the web, Hardball Times, is free. I mean, they published a book (which rocked, by the way) and I bought it, but since finding the site in June or so of 2004, I've gotten nearly two years of pleasure from reading their free site.

I don't think they sit around being mean toward styles of play they hate (I'm going to assume you're talking about the White Sox.) Yeah, they hated it for awhile, but even at BPro, filled with guys who pretty much only write sarcastically, I think they've gained grudging respect for Ozzie's cool use of bullpens, and Kenny Williams' great rotation. And if you'd read the link I put in my last post, from Hardball Times, you'd see that they were on the ball even earlier, saying that rather than the White Sox being fluky (though they thought they were a little) they argued that the White Sox had possibly found a way to control the variance of team runs scored, which is very positive for a team with great run prevention skills.


I'm not a Mark Twain guy in thinking "there are lies, damned lies, and statistics." As someone with a strong background in math and science, I take it pretty personally when some guy charging for his site is trying to discount or cheapen my team's success and then claim he is using some scientific model to prove his point.

I really, really, don't think the writers of BP ever said "Hey, we hate the White Sox, let's invent statistics that show why they actually suck." They had established metrics, and the Sox fit some of those and didn't fit others. The most hardcore stat guy admitted long ago that there's more than one way to crack the egg, and the parade of different styles that have won championships since 2000 demonstrate that.

Also, you didn't respond to my most important point. Your main argument against sabermetrics has consistently been the underlying arrogance of sabermetricians. Do you or do you not deny that traditionalists are just as, and sometimes more, arrogant than saber guys? Can't someone use the exact same reasoning that you have to reject the old school and accept statistical analysis?

And I apologize for the length of this post.

PaulieIsAwesome
02-27-06, 03:28 AM
So, I'm going to sort of assume I know what you're talking about with the K/9 by BABIP by team, and compare the top K/9 pitcher with greater than 20 IP on each team with the worst, and then sum it up. I'm also going to use 2004 data, since it's a little easier, but with more time I'll perfect the method.

For example: In 2004, K-Rod's 13.2 K/9 led the Angels. He had a .278 BABIP. The worst on the Angels was Aaron Sele's 3.5. He had a .313 BABIP. Do that for every team.

Results:
The pitcher with the highest Ks had a higher BABIP than that of the lowest Ks for 8 of the teams.

Another way:
Correlation factor for each team, of K/9 with BABIP for pitchers with >20 IP:
ANA: .119
BAL: -.176
BOS: .204
CHW: .066
CLE: -.091
DET: .550
KCR: .036
MIN: .340
NYY: .614
OAK: -.337
SEA: .050
TBD: -.202
TEX: .217
TOR: .021

I only see 1 number in there to really suggest a relationship, and 1 other which might. So unless your argument is "For the Tigers and Yankees, strikeout pitchers mean less groundballs in plays means more balls in play going for hits because the fielders aren't ready for it, but for every other team, strikeouts and BABIP are nearly random, with some teams having a negative relationship," I don't buy your claim that "Higher K/9 pitchers tend to have higher BABIP because of less chances."

NewEraYanks2527
02-27-06, 02:05 PM
This is all very interesting, so is that book "The Numbers Game" a good start in learning about this stuff?

PaulieIsAwesome
02-27-06, 03:39 PM
And one final point, that was just revealed today.

BP, the home of all those arrogant sabermetrics writers, just hired Kevin Goldstein away from Baseball America, to help with prospect lists:
http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=4800

They now have beer and tacos, mixing scouting and performance analysis:
http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=2250 (this one is subsription only)

keg411
02-28-06, 12:28 AM
I haven't read a whole lot on stats and sabremetrics primarily because numbers make my head spin and complex math has always pained me, but I'm reading "Moneyball" right now and I kind of like it. It sort of gives the numbers and the history of the numbers in a way that tells a story rather than just complex language that is very difficult to understand. The chapter on Bill James is a little dry, but most of the other things are definitely interesting (if not kind of funny) in retrospect in what's happened with some of the players featured since the book was written.

I don't know if I'll ever be able to read the really "hard stuff" (someone posted something really complex back at the end of last season -- I think it was Snatch) that made my eyes bleed, though I struggled through it, but I'm liking at least the storytelling in "Moneyball" -- so I'm liking it as an introduction for me personally because it gives me an idea and a history of the use of stats and sabremetrics in an amusing way.

BTW, I have no clue if it's any good in actually presenting real facts or anything. I just like it as a story on the subject and I could be completely wrong and it's outdated already. But it's enjoyable as a book if nothing else.

PaulieIsAwesome
02-28-06, 12:48 AM
I haven't read a whole lot on stats and sabremetrics primarily because numbers make my head spin and complex math has always pained me, but I'm reading "Moneyball" right now and I kind of like it. It sort of gives the numbers and the history of the numbers in a way that tells a story rather than just complex language that is very difficult to understand. The chapter on Bill James is a little dry, but most of the other things are definitely interesting (if not kind of funny) in retrospect in what's happened with some of the players featured since the book was written.

I don't know if I'll ever be able to read the really "hard stuff" (someone posted something really complex back at the end of last season -- I think it was Snatch) that made my eyes bleed, though I struggled through it, but I'm liking at least the storytelling in "Moneyball" -- so I'm liking it as an introduction for me personally because it gives me an idea and a history of the use of stats and sabremetrics in an amusing way.

BTW, I have no clue if it's any good in actually presenting real facts or anything. I just like it as a story on the subject and I could be completely wrong and it's outdated already. But it's enjoyable as a book if nothing else.

Definitely. Lewis is an awesome writer: the first half of Liar's Poker is one of the funniest things I've ever read, and he did a great expose on the Texas Tech football coach for the NYT magazine a few months back.

Philip Hughes Fan
02-28-06, 10:09 AM
I'm reading Pete Palmer's and John Thorn's "The Hidden Game of Baseball" right now and I strongly suggest that to anybody looking to learn more about sabermetrics. Actually, if I were to suggest any book it would be this one. It has math in it, but it's not that complex and provides more of a history of the game and its statistics as well.

"Moneyball" is a great read, but honestly Lewis doesn't seem to know much about sabermetrics and is way too condescending for someone who makes a lot of false assumptions.

Jesse Reyes
03-06-06, 04:19 PM
If it's any help at all, especially for someone wanting to get into sabermetrics but isn't hardcore yet, a friend of mine runs a "not purely sabermetric" but saber-friendly Yankees blog:

http://bronxbanter.baseballtoaster.com

Hope you find this uesful, especially as it has a Yankees orientation, thereby making the pursuit more enjoyable for a Yankee fan. :)

Jesse Reyes
03-06-06, 04:38 PM
By the way, said friend of http://bronxbanter.baseballtoaster.com has a couple of suggestions for saber-beginners (some of which echoes what's been posted on this thread already):

Buy BP's new book Baseball Beyond the Numbers (Basic) and The Book by Litchman and Tango (which I think is self published).

Also subscribe to BP's web site and start reading or check out the Hardball Times. Picking up old Bill James abstracts in used book stores and reading the BP annual wouldn't hurt either.

KissTheRings
03-07-06, 12:08 AM
Maybe someone can help me? Didn't Tippett do a study showing that elite pitchers like randy johnson and pedro martinez did in fact exhibit results indicating they had some influence over babip when looking at their entire careers?

I am pretty sure a major point to his argument was that whoever did the original study on babip only looked at an average of 3 seasons as a sample size while tippet studied babip over a longer period (10+ seasons I think).

If anyone knows of this article I would appreciate a pm with the link. I have been trying to find it.

PaulieIsAwesome
03-07-06, 12:38 AM
Maybe someone can help me? Didn't Tippett do a study showing that elite pitchers like randy johnson and pedro martinez did in fact exhibit results indicating they had some influence over babip when looking at their entire careers?

I am pretty sure a major point to his argument was that whoever did the original study on babip only looked at an average of 3 seasons as a sample size while tippet studied babip over a longer period (10+ seasons I think).

If anyone knows of this article I would appreciate a pm with the link. I have been trying to find it.

JC Bradbury does a pretty good roundup of the research:

http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/another-look-at-dips1/

He includes a link to Tippett's study:

http://www.diamond-mind.com/articles/ipavg2.htm

Bradbury's conclusion:

In summary, DIPS is right. Knowing DIPS can tell you more about a pitcher's future performance than his previous ERA. While pitchers may have some ability to prevent hits on balls in play, the effect is small. And any effect a pitcher does have is reflected within DIPS metrics.

KissTheRings
03-09-06, 10:24 PM
JC Bradbury does a pretty good roundup of the research:

http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/another-look-at-dips1/

He includes a link to Tippett's study:

http://www.diamond-mind.com/articles/ipavg2.htm

Bradbury's conclusion:

In summary, DIPS is right. Knowing DIPS can tell you more about a pitcher's future performance than his previous ERA. While pitchers may have some ability to prevent hits on balls in play, the effect is small. And any effect a pitcher does have is reflected within DIPS metrics.

That first link was a good read and the second was the study I read a while ago. Thanks for posting them.

SeanM
04-05-06, 10:16 AM
The "sabrmetric" revolution is what got me back into baseball as a rabid fan, back in the early 90's. "The Hidden Game of Baseball" changed alot of what i believed, and began watching more intently to see if it made sense, on a day to day level. Tom Tango's "The Book: Playing the Percentages in Baseball" is absolutely fantastic (http://www.insidethebook.com/), "The Fielding Bible" is decent, to me it seems like the best measure of the elusive defensive statistic that nobody seems to be able to figure out.

If you're just getting started, "The Mind of Bill James: How a Complete Outsider Changed Baseball" is a biography of Bill, but also reviews and re-introduces his original ideas and how he went about studying. Fantastic read, also.

ButSeriouslyFolks
04-07-06, 12:47 AM
You should start readin up on it. It doesn't take any of the fun out of enjoying the game. In fact, it actually enhances one's enjoyment because you aren't be shepparded by archaic theory and philosophy.

Not only can it help you enjoy the game much more, but it can resolve questions that you have in your mind about who had a "better" season and who stands to improve, decline, or stand pat.

I'm not advocating delving into sbermetrics to the point of creating your own formulas and stuff (although that is certainly interesting), but instead embracing it so that you can understand and appreciate the telling analysis that others do in the field.

Agreed. Its so much nicer to know what is and isn't important in a baseball game.