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  • BP's Baseball Between The Numbers

    Have you guys read this book? I am half way through it and it is pretty fascinating. The book is made up of chapters where they prove or disprove a popular belief through stats and research in their typical BP mehod. Some of their conclusion is pretty amazing; for instance, BP concludes that Rickey Henderson added only 1.6 runs in 1982 with his 130 steals in 172 attempts! And just when I thought I knew every possible way that Coors field help hitters, BP introduced me to another. Some of the other chapters explain...

    Why a team should use its closer in the 6th inning...

    Why a catcher's ability to handle a pitching staff is not important...

    Why a four man pitching rotation is better than five...

    Why batting order doesn't matter...

    Why some players age faster than others...

    Why your city shouldn't have built that new ballpark...

    They also have a chapter comparing Ruth to Bonds, and another chapter where they attempt to solve the steroids mystery through statistics.

    If you like baseball stats, this should be a very interesting read.

  • #2
    Haven't read it yet, but it's on my list! Would love it if you'd post your thoughts once you finish it.
    Visit my card site at Mike D's Baseball Card Page.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Mike D.
      Haven't read it yet, but it's on my list! Would love it if you'd post your thoughts once you finish it.
      Yes I will post it once I'm done. The book is definitely not for the casual baseball fan though....which probably is good for most statheads on this board.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Joltin' Joe
        Yes I will post it once I'm done. The book is definitely not for the casual baseball fan though....which probably is good for most statheads on this board.
        Look forward to your thoughts. I read "Mind Game", the book about the 2004 Red Sox, by the Baseball Prospectus folks, and found it a good read.

        If you can stand a little Red Sox glorifying and Yankee bashing, I highly recommend it.
        Visit my card site at Mike D's Baseball Card Page.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Mike D.
          Look forward to your thoughts. I read "Mind Game", the book about the 2004 Red Sox, by the Baseball Prospectus folks, and found it a good read.

          If you can stand a little Red Sox glorifying and Yankee bashing, I highly recommend it.
          I bought Mind Games along with the BP book. I will read it next.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Joltin' Joe
            I bought Mind Games along with the BP book. I will read it next.
            Cool...interested in your thoughts on that one, too!

            Right now, I'm about to start "The Wrong Stuff" by Bill Lee.
            Visit my card site at Mike D's Baseball Card Page.

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            • #7
              I love stats as much as anyone, but I find it insulting that some books like this think their way is the only way to look at things.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Donnybrook @ Second base
                I love stats as much as anyone, but I find it insulting that some books like this think their way is the only way to look at things.
                Actually the book doesn't say that...

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                • #9
                  OK I finally finished the book. In a nutshell, a good read and worth the $15 or the $16 they charge for it. It's not a can't put down ala Sidney Sheldon thriller but definitely kept my interest for the 400+ pages.

                  The book is definitely not for the casual fan. It is definitely written for the statheads. They do explain things however so that a novice fan can somewhat understand what is going on. However the book is a collection of mini essays so the brief explanation of EqA in just about every chapter got a little old. That being said, some chapters were very interesting(What's the Matter with the RBI) and some went into too much tedious detail for me(Is Alex Rodriguez overpaid). I can however see how the A-Rod chapter could be very interesting to another reader. A good analogy would be that the book is a very good cafeteria. You will want most of the food but maybe not all of it. And another person may want something that you did not want. And of course there will be someone that will want it all.

                  Here are my quick 2 cents on some of the chapters.

                  "Whats the matter with the RBI"
                  This chapter attempts to prove how misleading RBIs are. Very interesting and eyeopening on how bad Joe Carter's 1997(102 RBI), and Tony Batistat's 2004(103 RBI) seasons were. Carter had -2.4 VORP and Batista -1.1 VORP.

                  "Why are Pitcher so unpredictable"
                  This chapter attempts the same with ERA and how misleading it is. Discusses DIPS and BABIP, two stats I have always liked.

                  "Five starter or Four"
                  Statistically demonstrates why the four day rest is better. The killer is pitch count not the lack of rest between starts.

                  "Did Derek Jeter deserve the gold glove"
                  Explains FRAR & FRAA, and of course why Jeter did not deserve the GG.

                  "Is David Ortiz a clutch hitter"
                  Yes he is...

                  "What if Rickey Henderson had Pet Incaviglia Legs"
                  How Caught stealing is much costlier than originally anticipated

                  "Is Alex Rodriguez overpaid"
                  Goes into full detail of how they came up with the MORP formula

                  "What do statistics tell about Steroids"
                  They convincingly argue that relatively few players use steroids, and the players that are using it are the ones that are hitting between 10-30 homeruns a year.

                  "Why doesn't Billy Beane's sh!t work in the playoffs"
                  Convincingly argues that Closer WXRL, Pitcher K rate, and FRAA are extremely important in the Playoff. And OBP and Homeruns are not. Another eye opening chapter.

                  In the closing chapter, BP does humbly argue that a team needs both advance stats & the human element(Scouts) to build a winning team. Teams that only employ one or the other are doomed to fail.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Joltin' Joe
                    Actually the book doesn't say that...
                    No it only says in huge letters on the cover:

                    WHY EVERYTHING YOU KNOW ABOUT THE GAME IS WRONG

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                    • #11
                      It is very important to remember that the BP boys 1) are not above torturing the numbers until they tell them what they want to hear, and 2) blindly support each other's work as if it is gospel.
                      Buck O'Neil: The Monarch of Baseball

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                      • #12
                        Hey gang...

                        Jonah Keri here, I'm the editor of Baseball Between the Numbers. Glad to see some of you have enjoyed the book. To address a couple of concerns:

                        There's no number-torturing going on here. In fact some of the conclusions drawn from the analysis directly fly in the face of stathead wisdom. "Why Doesn't Billy Beane's S*** Work In The Playoffs" chapter is one such example.

                        The subtitle was chosen by the publisher--it's meant to be a bit of an exaggeration, and obviously it refers to the royal "you" more than anything.

                        The book is actually quite accessible to people with a little less statistical knowledge, I think...certainly many of the individual chapters are.

                        Anyway, to find out more of the book, feel free to check out these tidbits:

                        http://www.baseballprospectus.com/ar...articleid=4704
                        http://www.baseballprospectus.com/ar...articleid=4845

                        Hope you all enjoy it!

                        Cheers,
                        JK

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Donnybrook @ Second base
                          No it only says in huge letters on the cover:

                          WHY EVERYTHING YOU KNOW ABOUT THE GAME IS WRONG
                          That's marketing your product. It does grab your attention doesn't it?

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                          • #14
                            I've said this in a few places, so I'll say it here as well:

                            BP's BBTN is very good, and a worthy addition to any sabermetric library. Well-written, without being number-obsessed.
                            Author of THE BOOK -- Playing The Percentages In Baseball

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                            • #15
                              Though I frequently criticize BP for their failings they are one of the few sites I pay to belong to.
                              Buck O'Neil: The Monarch of Baseball

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