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  1. #1
    Registered User ForceFive's Avatar
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    Good article on Old School vs New School stats

    Cool analysis here. Its goal is to make it easy for those resistant to change to easily understand/accept newer, (coughbettercough) stats...

    "Yes, we know. When you talk about statistics, you can't find one more important than team wins.

    But when you get right down to it, wins are the destination. The trick is knowing what statistical roads lead to them most directly. That's where it gets interesting."


    http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/column...lan&id=1713520

  2. #2
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    Interesting article, but Mr. Schwarz needs to be a bit careful in his explanations. For as much as people want to believe it, statistics cannot predict future performance, only analyze past performance. Other than that, a good read.

  3. #3
    Yankee Stadium: 1923-2008 DiMaggio5CF's Avatar
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    Originally posted by rencid
    Interesting article, but Mr. Schwarz needs to be a bit careful in his explanations. For as much as people want to believe it, statistics cannot predict future performance, only analyze past performance. Other than that, a good read.
    But the best predictor of future performance is past performance.

    For me, I reject the "new" stats because they don't tell me anything that I can't tell from traditional stats.

    And for me, they often muddle statistics to the point where they can actually be a detriment to me.

    I can think of a perfect example off the top of my head.

    I prefer a team build on pitching, defense, and a contact/speed offense.

    So to me, in building that team, Ichiro Suzuki would be a dream player. However, his 2003 OBP, Slugging Percentage, and OPS -- all three of the important individual offensive categories listed in the article -- are all significantly lower than Richie Sexson's.

    But if you're going to stand there and argue with me that Sexson -- who clubbed 45 homeruns, but hit only .272 and struck out 152 times -- is better than Ichiro -- who hit .312 in an off-year, had over 200 hits, stole 34 bags (to Sexson's 2) and struck out only 69 times in 679 at-bats -- you will lose that argument.

    And this is not a skewing of numbers based on 2003. In their careers, Sexson leads Ichiro in two out of the three categories; Ichiro has the edge in only OBP.

    But you can't seriously believe that Sexson, a career .273 hitter is better than Ichiro, who is a career .328 hitter, no matter what the statistics say. Hell, Ichiro has only six more strikeouts in his career (184) than Sexson had in the 2000 season (178).

    The statistics have changed over the years, but the basics of baseball say the same. The object of the game is to score runs. And the best way to do that is still to get base hits.

    The walks are nice, but the way to get base hits is to put the ball in play. Who cares if a guy walks almost every time up to the plate and has a .400 on-base-percentage if every out he makes is by strikeout?

    Give me a guy who gets the base hits, puts the ball in play, and advances runners when he has to, and I'll be happy.

    A lot of the problem with these new stats is that they give you the same old information, but in a less-clear way. Who cares about WHIP? I can just look at a pitcher's hit totals, walk totals, and innings pitched and get the same information -- but my way I can draw my own conclusions on what would be best for my team, instead of having it force-fed to me.

    I might be want a guy who never walks a batter, even if he does give up more than a hit per inning. But on the other hand, I might hate a guy who walks a batter every inning, even if he pitches a three-hitter every time out. WHIP lumps those guys together in the same statistical category. But by ignoring WHIP, I can look a the hard stats and choose the guy who fits in the best with my ball club.

    And in five years, we'll all be paying attention to some other brand new stat that has found a new way to show us the same old thing.

  4. #4
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    Awesome post, DiMag. Sums up my belief with regard to stats as well, perfectly.

  5. #5
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    I'm in complete agreement with you DiMaggio5CF.

    Give me a player who puts the ball in play and I'm happy. I think people put way to much emphasis on walks in present day baseball. Walks don't unnerve the pitcher or force the defense to react in any way. If you put the ball in play consistently, good things happen. Like you I'd take Ichiro over Sexson anyday, obp be damned . That was my major pet peeve regarding NJ. So what if he walked like he was in a telethon. Many times he came up with RISP and either walked or struck out, and while the stats may make him appear to be a obp god, I'd rather a simple hit under those circumstances. While walking with RISP creates further scoring opportunities it also seems like passing the buck to me.

  6. #6
    Originally posted by DiMaggio5CF


    But the best predictor of future performance is past performance.

    For me, I reject the "new" stats because they don't tell me anything that I can't tell from traditional stats.

    And for me, they often muddle statistics to the point where they can actually be a detriment to me.

    I can think of a perfect example off the top of my head.

    I prefer a team build on pitching, defense, and a contact/speed offense.

    So to me, in building that team, Ichiro Suzuki would be a dream player. However, his 2003 OBP, Slugging Percentage, and OPS -- all three of the important individual offensive categories listed in the article -- are all significantly lower than Richie Sexson's.

    But if you're going to stand there and argue with me that Sexson -- who clubbed 45 homeruns, but hit only .272 and struck out 152 times -- is better than Ichiro -- who hit .312 in an off-year, had over 200 hits, stole 34 bags (to Sexson's 2) and struck out only 69 times in 679 at-bats -- you will lose that argument.

    And this is not a skewing of numbers based on 2003. In their careers, Sexson leads Ichiro in two out of the three categories; Ichiro has the edge in only OBP.

    But you can't seriously believe that Sexson, a career .273 hitter is better than Ichiro, who is a career .328 hitter, no matter what the statistics say. Hell, Ichiro has only six more strikeouts in his career (184) than Sexson had in the 2000 season (178).

    The statistics have changed over the years, but the basics of baseball say the same. The object of the game is to score runs. And the best way to do that is still to get base hits.

    The walks are nice, but the way to get base hits is to put the ball in play. Who cares if a guy walks almost every time up to the plate and has a .400 on-base-percentage if every out he makes is by strikeout?

    Give me a guy who gets the base hits, puts the ball in play, and advances runners when he has to, and I'll be happy.

    A lot of the problem with these new stats is that they give you the same old information, but in a less-clear way. Who cares about WHIP? I can just look at a pitcher's hit totals, walk totals, and innings pitched and get the same information -- but my way I can draw my own conclusions on what would be best for my team, instead of having it force-fed to me.

    I might be want a guy who never walks a batter, even if he does give up more than a hit per inning. But on the other hand, I might hate a guy who walks a batter every inning, even if he pitches a three-hitter every time out. WHIP lumps those guys together in the same statistical category. But by ignoring WHIP, I can look a the hard stats and choose the guy who fits in the best with my ball club.

    And in five years, we'll all be paying attention to some other brand new stat that has found a new way to show us the same old thing.

    Your arguement is flawed because you are assuming that those who rely on "new" stats choose to look at only one of them at a time (like OPS or WHIP)..

    Of course, anyone who takes the time to look at WHIP or OPS is probably going to take the next step to see where the number came from. Re: whip, for instance, you'd look at K/9ip, BB/9ip, H/9Ip, etc..

    Also, you're simplying the "new" stats by leaving WinShares, VORP, etc.. out of the discussion. These states take all offensive and defensive categories into consideration (even park effects).

    None of this replaces traditional scouting or the use of traditonal stas completely... But, you'd be a fool to completely dismiss all of these new stats because when used properly they will tell you MUCH more than the traditional stats (HR, AVG, RBI ... W/L, ERA)

  7. #7

    Re: I'm in complete agreement with you DiMaggio5CF.

    Originally posted by SINCE77 2
    Walks don't unnerve the pitcher or force the defense to react in any way.
    Really? Some pitchers seem to become quite unnerved when the give up a walk.

    Having someone on 1st doesn't open up the right side of the infield?

    Come on ...

  8. #8
    Registered User ForceFive's Avatar
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    Originally posted by DiMaggio5CF

    So to me, in building that team, Ichiro Suzuki would be a dream player. However, his 2003 OBP, Slugging Percentage, and OPS -- all three of the important individual offensive categories listed in the article -- are all significantly lower than Richie Sexson's.

    But if you're going to stand there and argue with me that Sexson -- who clubbed 45 homeruns, but hit only .272 and struck out 152 times -- is better than Ichiro -- who hit .312 in an off-year, had over 200 hits, stole 34 bags (to Sexson's 2) and struck out only 69 times in 679 at-bats -- you will lose that argument
    Sorry, last year Sexson WAS more productive than Ichiro...and by a considerable margin.

    Sexson may have hit only .272...and Ichiro may have gotten 200+ hits... but Sexson STILL reached base more times and made fewer outs (which many would argue is Ichiro's primary job - to reach base as leadoff hitter). So essentially, Sexson did Ichiro's job better than Ichiro.

    Not only that, but Sexson was also more productive when he hit the ball. So not only did he get on base more often, but he moved runners around more effectively (just look at SLG% to see that).

    If you want a guy who swings at everything, wastes more outs and has next to no power, and steals about 5-6 bases a month, Ichiro is your man. If you want a guy who gets on base more often, makes fewer precious outs, moves runners around by accumulating total bases and hits home runs, Sexson is your man.

    I'll take the guy who is clearly more productive: Sexson.

  9. #9
    Originally posted by ForceFive


    Sorry, last year Sexson WAS more productive than Ichiro...and by a considerable margin.

    Sexson may have hit only .272...and Ichiro may have gotten 200+ hits... but Sexson STILL reached base more times and made fewer outs (which many would argue is Ichiro's primary job - to reach base as leadoff hitter). So essentially, Sexson did Ichiro's job better than Ichiro.

    Not only that, but Sexson was also more productive when he hit the ball. So not only did he get on base more often, but he moved runners around more effectively (just look at SLG% to see that).

    If you want a guy who swings at everything, wastes more outs and has next to no power, and steals about 5-6 bases a month, Ichiro is your man. If you want a guy who gets on base more often, makes fewer precious outs, moves runners around by accumulating total bases and hits home runs, Sexson is your man.

    I'll take the guy who is clearly more productive: Sexson.
    excellent point.... its all about the outs.

  10. #10
    God Bless the Scooter NYYFAN's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Sultans of Swing
    Awesome post, DiMag. Sums up my belief with regard to stats as well, perfectly.
    My thoughts as well too...

  11. #11
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    Originally posted by DiMaggio5CF


    But the best predictor of future performance is past performance.
    Perhaps. Of course, this is assuming that: 1) there is enough "past performance" to draw a definitive conclusion, 2) A stable and noticeable trend exists in past performance, and 3) The player has not let external factors (age or injury, for example) affect his skill level. Otherwise, past performance isn't a very reliable way to predict future performance.

  12. #12
    B-B.com Bench Coach patrick.o's Avatar
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    Re: Good article on Old School vs New School stats

    Originally posted by ForceFive
    Cool analysis here.
    Excellent article, FF, thanks for the link.
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  13. #13
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    SABERMETRICS, SCHMABERMETRICS...

    Seriously, though, they have their place, but they're not gospel, IMO. Mr. Beane, I hope you're reading this.
    "We understand that John Henry must be embarrassed, frustrated and disappointed by his failure in this transaction. Unlike the Yankees, he chose not to go the extra distance for his fans in Boston. It is understandable, but wrong that he would try to deflect the accountability for his mistakes on to others and to a system for which he voted in favor. It is time to get on with life and forget the sour grapes."

  14. #14
    Registered User ForceFive's Avatar
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    Originally posted by koko
    SABERMETRICS, SCHMABERMETRICS...

    Seriously, though, they have their place, but they're not gospel, IMO. Mr. Beane, I hope you're reading this.
    Although Mr. Beane annually has a team with a $30-$40 mil payroll in contention.

    There is something to all this stuff.

  15. #15
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    captainintangibles

    Having a guy on first like NJ or Giambi is like having a statue there. If the runner on first is Jeter, then he must be watched, thereby opening a hole otherwise its nothing more than a DP opportunity for the opposition.

  16. #16
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    Originally posted by ForceFive


    Although Mr. Beane annually has a team with a $30-$40 mil payroll in contention.

    There is something to all this stuff.

    Mr. Beane has his team in contention for one reason:

    Pitching

    If he had to rely on his on-base percentage based offense the A's would never make the playoffs.

    All these stats are great however:

    Good Pitching will beat Good hitting

    This has been the case ever since baseball was invented.

  17. #17
    Registered User ForceFive's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Yanknut023



    Mr. Beane has his team in contention for one reason:

    Pitching

    If he had to rely on his on-base percentage based offense the A's would never make the playoffs.

    All these stats are great however:

    Good Pitching will beat Good hitting

    This has been the case ever since baseball was invented.
    Sabermetrics has as much to do with pitching as it does with hitting.

    Just as getting as many men on base as possible is the key to the offense, to put as FEW men on base as possible is the idea for pitching. Not just not allowing base hits, but not allowing BASERUNNERS. This isn't just sabermetrics, it's common sense. "Sabermetrics" is just a way to be able to sift through the garbage to see what is truly important; the reasons WHY runs are scored and WHY they are not allowed to score.

  18. #18
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    Originally posted by ForceFive


    Sabermetrics has as much to do with pitching as it does with hitting.

    Just as getting as many men on base as possible is the key to the offense, to put as FEW men on base as possible is the idea for pitching. Not just not allowing base hits, but not allowing BASERUNNERS. This isn't just sabermetrics, it's common sense. "Sabermetrics" is just a way to be able to sift through the garbage to see what is truly important; the reasons WHY runs are scored and WHY they are not allowed to score.
    As a kid I played little league. One of my coach's favorite terms was:

    A Walk is a good as a hit

    Billy Beane and all the other Stat geeks (bill James included) did not invent this. It is common knowledge.

  19. #19
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    It's not true, though. A walk isn't as good as a hit (or, if it is, its advantages are different). Admittedly, telling yourself that it is might be good psychological ploy. But a single is better than a walk, unless you're worried about pitch counts.

    As much as people try to disparage the "stat geeks", it strikes me that they have a high level of success, and are at least trying to examine the world through interesting and innovative tools. Isn't that a good thing, rather than retreating obstinately into "traditional knowledge"? In other words, if all new knowledge is inferior to old knowledge, doesn't that mean that we'll never learn anything?

    I'd point out that the 1996-2000 Yankee dynasty was founded on OBP and low-WHIP pitching. They were the single most CONSISTENTLY successful team in the last few decades. Doesn't mean that James and his cohorts of geeks invented the tools, just means that they're trying to figure out better ways to use them. Park effects. Pitch counts. These ideas aren't new, but the tools to measure them are still being perfected. I refuse to see that as a bad thing.

    Be seeing you,

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  20. #20
    Registered User ForceFive's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Yanknut023


    As a kid I played little league. One of my coach's favorite terms was:

    A Walk is a good as a hit

    Billy Beane and all the other Stat geeks (bill James included) did not invent this. It is common knowledge.
    That's exactly the point.

    However, it's not quite as common knowledge as you'd think.

    The thing is, many people still look at batting average and other relatively unimportant stats like they are the best tools in measuring effectiveness and quality of a player. The Stat Geeks are simply trying to find the most accurate ways of measuring true performance.

  21. #21
    B-B.com Bench Coach patrick.o's Avatar
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    Bravo, Sax.
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  22. #22
    Registered User ForceFive's Avatar
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    Also, the stat geeks don't say "a walk is as good as a hit."

    It's the method by which you walk which is most important: taking pitches, working the count.

    Walking is just a bi-product of that; it's an indication that a player makes the pitcher work and possibly forces them to 1. Make a mistake pitch, or 2. Throw a better pitch to hit BECAUSE they don't want to issue a walk. It's reasonable to assume that the more pitches a hitter sees per plate appearance means the greater possibility a mistake pitch or more "hittable" pitch may be thrown.

    It also means the pitcher tires more quickly, meaning more mistake pitches as the game goes on and the probability that an inferior middle-reliever will enter the game.

    The Yanks of 96-2000 in particular excelled in that; getting the starter out of the game by taking pitches, then exploiting the weak underbelly of most teams: middle relief.

  23. #23
    great article... sadly it will be ignored by some as new fangled math...

  24. #24
    Originally posted by Yanknut023


    As a kid I played little league. One of my coach's favorite terms was:

    A Walk is a good as a hit

    Billy Beane and all the other Stat geeks (bill James included) did not invent this. It is common knowledge.

    If it is so common, then why did "out making machine" that is Alphonso Soriano lead of for the yankees for the past 2 years?

    It may be common knowledge .. but it is only common practice on a few teams. Imagine how productive the yankee lineup could have been last year if the batting order were constructed with a more Sabermetric approach!

  25. #25
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    Originally posted by captainintangibles



    If it is so common, then why did "out making machine" that is Alphonso Soriano lead of for the yankees for the past 2 years?

    It may be common knowledge .. but it is only common practice on a few teams. Imagine how productive the yankee lineup could have been last year if the batting order were constructed with a more Sabermetric approach!
    I think there is an f in Soriano.
    And it is not the same f that Red sux fans use to describe Bucky Dent or Aaron Boone.

    Besides that, the Yankees had no one better to leadoff. I have a feeling the Yankees recoginzed this problem and Soriano will not be leading off for the:

    2004 New York Yankees!

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