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Thread: skills, statistics and new age data sets

  1. #1

    skills, statistics and new age data sets

    I was never really impressed with new age data sets, ie, WAR and other numbers that come from slicing and dicing other data and now "normalized" against league averages and so on. Obviously a lot of baseball is played situationally with hitters and pitchers not in control of the trial events, and that tends to leave a poor sample size of comparable at bats with which to judge players against one another.

    But when I got a look at this pic, I became even less enthralled with them, especially when there was some effort to apply the math to old time players and rate them against today's players:

    ERNIEBANKS-slide-ODC1-superJumbo-v2 2.jpg

    If you look at Ernie Banks carefully, you will note his bottom hand is wrong on the bat; he has the bat in his palm, not his fingers. No coach today would teach a kid to hit like that; it is horrible form.

    I kept looking out for stuff like that in old videos, and found it even in MLB Network highlight shows about the 1980's. You'll see good hitters stepping in the bucket and/or being outside the ball; fielders who don't get down enough to prevent batted balls from going through them; pitchers with inconsistent mechanics and being wide open as they complete the pitch. Also, in the absence of lots and lots of hard throwers, you can see hitters sitting on the fastball and being able to adjust much more commonly. It is actually pretty terrible to watch.

    As a slight comparison, evaluating play based on football Moneyball type reporting isn't good at all: there have been a ton of very significant rule changes so trying to compare Joe Namath with Joe Montana with Joe Flacco with something like QB ratings makes no sense.

    I think changing times have affected baseball at least as much. Between the added money that makes baseball players full timers; the addition of weight room and cross fit training to their regimens, the addition of video training, and the evidently much improved techniques that exist across the board and go to kids as early as ten and twelve years old, I think it is time to forget trying to use compiled data to judge who was good and who wasn't across time.

    I just like to watch the games and not worry about WAR.
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  2. #2
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    cool story bro

  3. #3
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    1. Sabermetrics are not the least bit interested in how batter's stand or hold their bat.

    2. It is a massive strawman that people who follow analytics do not actually enjoy watching baseball, esp. the aesthetics of it. This is 100% untrue. Go to a SB Nation team site on a gameday thread and listen to the saberhead's emotions during the ups and downs, etc. It is just as raw and emotional as you would find with 60 year olds at a baseball game. We love baseball too. It is a different way to follow and analyze baseball- not a right or wrong way. Let people enjoy the sport how they choose - lord knows with the sport's dwindling popularity, you will need the young, tech-savvy whipper snappers of the world to keep paying attention to keep the sport on page two of the interweb sites. Driving them away would be quite foolish.

    They aren't worried about WAR in the middle of games either. Now afterwards...
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  4. #4
    regarding the batting style:


    If you look at Analysis of old time Players vs modern Players from end of the load to contact the swing is not that different. the swing of the old timers is often a Little flatter and less upward.

    what is different is that the modern Players have tightened up their load and pre swing movements to adjust for the higher pitch Speeds. mel ott dropped his bat almost parallel to the ground before he loaded upward and babe ruth took a huge stride. generally the modern swings tend to be a Little tighter and shorter.

    old time Players often likely would Need to make a couple adjustments but so do many minor league Players. I think most stars of the past like ruth, cobb and others could make adjustments pretty quickly.

    but yes, Overall the game is now better athletically and mechanically. Players are stronger, throw harder and are better defensively. but of course they also have Training Environments that Players of the past did not have.

    especially in the last 5 years there have been huge strides made in Player developement. swings and pitches of minor league Players are now measured with electronic devices and Training and Research got much more professional, so did Nutrition.

    I listened to an interview with ross stripling who was in the dodgers System since 2010 or so and he said that when he started they would eat Fastfood on road trips and when gabe kapler took over the Players got to eat organic Food (not that I believe that much in organic Food all that much but it is definitely better than taco bell or McDonalds). that is a another small step that improves the Overall Quality of the game another Little bit.
    Last edited by dominik; 12-22-2016 at 01:23 AM.
    I now have my own non commercial blog about training for batspeed and power using my training experience in baseball and track and field.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Bothrops Atrox View Post
    1. Sabermetrics are not the least bit interested in how batter's stand or hold their bat.
    And there it is.

    The guys who are trying to assemble major league teams by number crunching (in light of situational play yielding low sample sizes) it seems to me have nothing on actually being out there with live scouts who can tell who has good form, good attitudes, and good physical attributes.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by rodk View Post
    And there it is.

    The guys who are trying to assemble major league teams by number crunching (in light of situational play yielding low sample sizes) it seems to me have nothing on actually being out there with live scouts who can tell who has good form, good attitudes, and good physical attributes.
    If the guy with a funky stance has a nice sample size of data - they will push to sign and/or develop him. Its traditionalists that think there is a "right way" to hold the bat that will try to fix a problem that doesn't exist.

    By the way - before there IS a large enough sample size, scouts and data people both use attributes and skills to rank and grade people. There is more consensus now than their is differences in scouting approaches. This isn't 2000 anymore.
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    The Top 100 Pitchers In MLB History
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  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Bothrops Atrox View Post
    If the guy with a funky stance has a nice sample size of data - they will push to sign and/or develop him. Its traditionalists that think there is a "right way" to hold the bat that will try to fix a problem that doesn't exist.

    By the way - before there IS a large enough sample size, scouts and data people both use attributes and skills to rank and grade people. There is more consensus now than their is differences in scouting approaches. This isn't 2000 anymore.
    but to be fair sabermetrics now also includes more biomechanical optimization too. there is now more acceptance for funky stances and bigger pre swing movements (there actually is a movement towards bigger moves while 5-10 years ago all the coaches tried to shorten up and quiet down mechanics which robbed some guys of athleticism and power) but for example there are now devices to measure swing path and Teams are working on the "attack angle" (you want a slightly upward swing to match the plane of the pitch - 10 years ago minor and Major league coaches where still teaching to swing downward or Level, I think mattingley still does).

    coaches now tend to devide between styles and absolutes and try to allow a Player his natural style if it is not too extreme and only Focus on the "main Phase" (end of load to contact) while 10 years ago there was a trend to teach anyone a Cookie cutter Minimalist style.

    production has increased in importance of scouting too but still Amateur numbers are taken with a grain of salt due to variance in Level of competition (and SSS).
    sabermetrics is now just not production anymore but also measuring Parameters (batspeed, Exit Speed, swing path, ground reaction Forces and whatever).
    Last edited by dominik; 12-23-2016 at 02:22 AM.
    I now have my own non commercial blog about training for batspeed and power using my training experience in baseball and track and field.

  8. #8
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    As far as photos and video of this player or that player "doing it wrong", whatever that particular IT may be... remember this...

    You are looking at just a handful of samples of just a handful of players. Maybe one to two percent of active major leaguers can be spotted at any given time performing some sort of motion or position that would be considered bad form in need of correction.

    Those same players are also part of another group, one where everyone is doing it wrong whatever that IT may be. They are one to two percent of all players with that particular hang up and the other 98 percent of this group never made the majors.

    So anytime you spot something that seems so unusual that you wonder how he ever made it to the majors, just consider that hardly anyone does. We remember Mel Ott in part because no one else hit like that. And no one else hit like that for a reason. And many other guys who hit like that never made the majors for a reason.

    Part two of my posts piggybacks on what has said before. If there is enough data on a guy to suggest his way is working for him, coaches will leave him alone for the most part. No one told Roberto Clemente to use a smaller bat and not stride so much. There was not a whole lot there that needed fixing. And not everyone who copies Rod Carew will hit like Rod Carew. For every Cecil Cooper who makes the majors, 99 other guys don't and we never take their picture or study video of their swing. If you suggest the average triple A player should not hit like that, you are right.

    Ernie Lombardi used to interlace two of his fingers on the bat when he hit. This isn't common for a reason, and is not taught for a reason, but Lombardi would sometimes slump if he did not hold his bat like some people hold a golf club.

    EL swing.jpg

    What this has to do with WAR has been addressed already.
    Your Second Base Coach
    Garvey, Lopes, Russell, and Cey started 833 times and the Dodgers went 498-335, for a .598 winning percentage. Thatís equal to a team going 97-65 over a season. On those occasions when at least one of them missed his start, the Dodgers were 306-267-1, which is a .534 clip. That works out to a team going 87-75. So having all four of them added 10 wins to the Dodgers per year.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p5hCIvMule0

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by dominik View Post
    but to be fair sabermetrics now also includes more biomechanical optimization too. there is now more acceptance for funky stances and bigger pre swing movements (there actually is a movement towards bigger moves while 5-10 years ago all the coaches tried to shorten up and quiet down mechanics which robbed some guys of athleticism and power) but for example there are now devices to measure swing path and Teams are working on the "attack angle" (you want a slightly upward swing to match the plane of the pitch - 10 years ago minor and Major league coaches where still teaching to swing downward or Level, I think mattingley still does).

    coaches now tend to devide between styles and absolutes and try to allow a Player his natural style if it is not too extreme and only Focus on the "main Phase" (end of load to contact) while 10 years ago there was a trend to teach anyone a Cookie cutter Minimalist style.

    production has increased in importance of scouting too but still Amateur numbers are taken with a grain of salt due to variance in Level of competition (and SSS).
    sabermetrics is now just not production anymore but also measuring Parameters (batspeed, Exit Speed, swing path, ground reaction Forces and whatever).
    All of this is true, and don't think suggested otherwise. These things are brand new. I mean BRAND new. And those things are not necessarily correlated to stance. If those parameters are being met - they won't mess with the stance. And I don't think sabes or traditional scouts would disagree with using these methods. Even the biggest prob and stats 101 flunky would reason that hitting linedrives hard is better than pop-ups not hard and would be favorable of guys who did the things that caused them. That really isn't what I am talking about.

    The trad vs. sabes scouting war really isn't a thing anymore. At least in a practical sense.
    Last edited by Bothrops Atrox; 12-24-2016 at 05:48 AM.
    1885 1886 1926 1931 1934 1942 1944 1946 1964 1967 1982 2006 2011

    1887 1888 1928 1930 1943 1968 1985 1987 2004 2013

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