Analytics and politics

Pete Rose never hit 20 homers and only stole 20 bases once. His lifetime average was .303 w/ a lifetime .784 OPS. Not a HOF'er anyway. — Ben (@Ben_Duronio) December 16, 2015 Anyone else notice how our political divide mirrors the split between baseball’s old school and the analytics crowd? Ideological purity matters above all,…

Stat geeks can be just as stubborn as Stewart

Diamondbacks GM Dave Stewart was justly ridiculed this week when he expressed hope free agent James Shields would take less money to play in Arizona for “a true baseball team vs. some of the other teams out here that are geared more toward analytics and those type of things.” But old schoolers like Stewart aren’t…

Most stat geeks clueless when it comes to drugs

Let me start by saying I’m not close-minded to the importance of advanced metrics in evaluating talent. I’m neither old school or new school — I just hate math. Unfortunately, many of the number crunchers seem driven by a conviction that they are more evolved than those who have better things to do with their…

Tweet du jour

You laugh at Vin Scully? MT @MrBrianKenny When I hear a PXP give the W-L record I do laugh. Why bother with such ridiculous information? — CJ Nitkowski (@CJNitkowski) September 13, 2013

Good thing Keith Law doesn’t work for the Braves

Keith Law is to stat geeks what Gene Roddenberry was to Trekkies, but when it comes to evaluating young Braves he’s been anything but (wait for it) logical. Not that he’ll admit it when he’s off. For instance, he continues to insist Evan Gattis is nothing more than Corky Miller with pop. From his Thursday ESPN.com…

Advanced metrics should sue for slander

Jerry Crasknick’s chat on ESPN.com today featured an increasingly common meme (sorry, I hate that word too) concerning Fan Uggla: According to advanced metrics Dan Uggla has been an above average offensive 2B since he has been with the Braves. He is overpaid, but he still needs to start every day. Crasnick responded appropriately: CJ,…

Spring stats not totally irrelevant

And irrelevant RT @jaysonst: Awesome spring RT@ajcbraves: #Braves pitcher Teheran continues torrid spring with 6 hitless IP (10 K’s) vs Hou — Consigliari51 (@consigliari51) March 23, 2013 Would you rather him give up four homers in an outing, like Teheran did last spring against Detroit? Nothing wrong with a young pitcher gaining confidence, is there?

PED apologists violate their own liturgy

Familiar language from ESPN’s Christina Kahrl, who claims the HOF is already compromised by PEDs. I mean, c’mon, no Mike Schmidt or Hank Aaron in the Hall of Fame? By their own admission they broke the same baseball rule on the books that Bonds did, and they did so for the same reason — to enhance their…

Tonight’s reading assignment

Terrific column by ESPN.com’s Howard Bryant — so good he almost makes up for Rick Reilly — on this year’s Hall of Fame balloting. Much to recommend here, particularly this excerpt: [B]ecause of the steroid era, the baseball writers are going to guess who deserves enshrinement based on who had big muscles or who had…

The insufferability of stat geeks

The condescension doesn’t help, nor does the fact many (not all) take themselves so very seriously. Witness this sampling of Keith Law tweets culled from the past 24 hours: The Triple Crown doesn’t make a hitter the MVP any more than a perfect game makes a pitcher the Cy Young winner. — keithlaw (@keithlaw) September…

Bill James determined to become a pariah

The godfather of sabermetrics appears to be the last person not named Paterno defending the late Penn State coach (excerpted from an interview with ESPN Radio’s Doug Gottlieb): James: [Paterno] knew less about [Sandusky] than everyone else there … [the thought that] everything revolves around [Paterno at Penn State] is total nonsense. He had very few…

Typical

From Keith Law’s weekly ESPN chat: Cody (Atlanta, GA) Do you still see Jason Heyward as a future All-Star? How impressed have you been with Simmons? Klaw (1:15 PM) Yes, I do. Not at all.

So much for being magnaminous

The most annoying thing about the stat geeks is their arrogance, their firm belief that they’re right and everyone else is a hapless Neanderthal. Exhibit Infinity  If you think Venters is pretty much the same pitcher he was last year, minus luck, then be my guest. If you want to postulate that Derek Lowe was…

Tommy Hanson proves the strikeout is overrated

Today was vintage Tommy Hanson, and that’s not altogether positive. He struck out 9, bringing his K/9 ratio to nearly a strikeout an inning, roughly equal to his career mark. Yet he only pitched 5 innings. He’s reached the 7th inning only twice this year and last season, in 22 starts, he made it into…

Baseball takes time, in more ways than one

This is in no way a slam against our sabermetric-inclined friends. I just had to chuckle after reading this paragraph recently on Capitol Avenue Club. The post is insightful, and I completely agree with it. But it just reminded me anew that it takes some work, work I have neither the time nor the inclination…

A question for stat enthusiasts

And I mean this sincerely — why the reliance on BABIP? How is it so much better than ERA? Some pitchers, like Greg Maddux, pitched to contact with great effectiveness. All balls batted in play are not equal. BABIP assumes that everything is a line drive and it’s partly luck as to where they land….

Stop telling me Derek Lowe didn’t suck

It’s hard for me to take advanced statistical measurements seriously when sabermetricians keep insisting Derek Lowe wasn’t all that bad. Obviously, Lowe didn’t pitch anywhere nearly well enough to earn his $15 million dollar salary. But….he wasn’t nearly as awful as you might think. Sure, his ERA was 5.05, but his FIP was 3.70, and…

Whitlock: Stat geeks ‘ruining sports’

Amen Brother Whitlock, one of the better sports columnists out there. There’s a stat for nearly every action in baseball. Little is left to the imagination. Sports were never intended to be a computer program, stripped to cold, hard, indisputable, statistical facts. Sports — particularly for fans — are not science. Sports, like art, are…