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Does Anyone Else Here Think Sabermetrics is a Sham?

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  • #46
    You keep saying sabermetrics won't replace "tool scouting"...what the heck does that even mean? Sabermetric analysis can't really be used on players who have not yet reached the major leagues, but that's primarily because not enough data is kept on minor league players, teams, and leagues to get a real understanding about how each player achieved his minor league statistics. You're comparing apples to oranges. We can't really "scout" with sabermetrics at this time, but I think you're misattributing the reason why.

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    • #47
      [QUOTE=SABR Matt]diglahhh seems to be of the mindset that in a short series (post-season) setting, sabermetric principles fail and traditional philosophy succeeds, which is of course 100% not true. The paradigm shifts, but you could still use sabermetrics to get an understanding of how to win more post-season games than you lose over a period of several years in the post-season.

      QUOTE]

      No, what I am saying is that in a short series there is no predicting what model will work at any given time. Therefore when it is all on the line, the seeming advantages of SABR evaporate and it is just another theory that may be proven or disproven on one particular roll of the dice. This doesn't negate the findings of course, but it just happens that the outcome of that particular roll of the dice determines the champions of the sport.
      THE REVOLUTION WILL NOT COME WITH A SCORECARD

      In the avy: AZ - Doe or Die

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      • #48
        Originally posted by SABR Matt
        Again...I hope I have not left the impression that I expect everyone to fully understand or make use of my work or any work in sabermetrics...I do however think that for people who really want to know more about how the game works...how to build teams...even how to win more championships if you have enough chances...those folks should be making an effort to learn about probability theory, sabermetrics, etc. It's perfectly fine to just enjoy the game casually...MOST of the time, even I just enjoy the game casually...my sabermetric research does not encroach much on how I watch the games. Team owners/GMs/Managers though would be better served to come to a good understanding about the science of baseball strategy than they would if they continued using the same "old hat" methods they've been using since the 60s.
        Yeah, well for the record, I think I'm brilliant too.
        THE REVOLUTION WILL NOT COME WITH A SCORECARD

        In the avy: AZ - Doe or Die

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        • #49
          I never said I thought I was "brilliant"...there's a difference between intelligence and experience/insight gathered through years of hard work.

          Now I do in fact believe I'm a fairly intelligent person, but so are just about all of the other posters here (you included diglahh...there can be no doubt you are a very bright person)...my confidence in the power and utility of sabermetrics and in my own insight into the game comes from years of study, not some misguided thought that I'm God's gift to baseball.

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          • #50
            Why don't you people understand? You CAN'T build a championship team by strictly looking at the intangibles of a player. I mean I could look at a lot of players and say "yeah I want this guy, he plays with such heart," Or "yeah I want a team of hustle players." While it's ideal to have a roster full of players who bust their butts on the basepaths and in the field, "hustle" and "heart" is something everyone on this planet has. This is where the weeding out must come in, and while the field of Sabermetrics is still a "third world country," it's still an objective and beautiful field. This isn't a philosophy, it's black and white, it's numbers. The numbers don't lie. It's a matter of how you interpret those numbers that put them to use, and while I consider myself a baseball purist I am all in support of this new way of analyzing our past time. Not only will I learn about this field, but I attempt to someday advance the field in someway, and I only hope traditionalists will follow.



            SABR Matt, I've really enjoyed reading your passionate posts ever since I began reading these boards. If by any chance, could you keep me informed on your latest workings in the Sabermetric field? Thanks, I'd appreciate it.

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            • #51
              Matt,

              My sarcasm was just a reaction to the arrogant undertones in your previous post, a post that is not indicative of your general personality (as I have interpretted through your contributions here). Still the subtleties of that post were rather condecending. I was just adding a playful jab. I have much respect for the work you do, and I would like to think that you know that.

              Red October,

              Numbers are never objective. The ancient Greek Pythagoreans and Monists prove that long before baseball was even conceived. To provide a gratuitous example, the Exxon Valdez spills and creates all sorts of destruction. We are forced to commission U.S. clean-up services. That leads to increased GDP. Now, the numbers say drunken captains of oil ships are good for the economy- you do the math.

              I think that Matt, deep down somewhere, realizes that I too, in my own way, want to contribute to the development of sabermetrics. I don't consider myself a traditionalist or a sabermetrician, there is too much conotation infused in either term, by identifying ourselves as such we pigeonhole ourselves, in the process encouraging ourselves to adopt the precepts of the respective groups in the search for an identity. I am a person who attempts to use all the tools I have for the purposes of maximizing my understanding of the subject at hand. In that pursuit, sometimes I find sabermetrics free me from the prison of raw stats and traditional views. Other times, I find sabermetrics serve only to further complicate the issue.

              Above all, I do my best to leave room for dissent. This is why I am willing to engage in these discussions.
              THE REVOLUTION WILL NOT COME WITH A SCORECARD

              In the avy: AZ - Doe or Die

              Comment


              • #52
                Originally posted by redoctober
                Why don't you people understand? You CAN'T build a championship team by strictly looking at the intangibles of a player. I mean I could look at a lot of players and say "yeah I want this guy, he plays with such heart," Or "yeah I want a team of hustle players." While it's ideal to have a roster full of players who bust their butts on the basepaths and in the field, "hustle" and "heart" is something everyone on this planet has. This is where the weeding out must come in, and while the field of Sabermetrics is still a "third world country," it's still an objective and beautiful field. This isn't a philosophy, it's black and white, it's numbers. The numbers don't lie. It's a matter of how you interpret those numbers that put them to use, and while I consider myself a baseball purist I am all in support of this new way of analyzing our past time. Not only will I learn about this field, but I attempt to someday advance the field in someway, and I only hope traditionalists will follow.



                SABR Matt, I've really enjoyed reading your passionate posts ever since I began reading these boards. If by any chance, could you keep me informed on your latest workings in the Sabermetric field? Thanks, I'd appreciate it.
                Hi redoctober...first of all thanks. I care about this stuff entirely too much for my own good...LOL I strongly believe (and this is something that will always be true even when I'm listening to the good arguments against current sabermetric efforts and trying to find ways to address those arguments) that there is far FAR more information available to us than sabermetricians have thus far accessed even in the days before play by play data...You can get at a lot of untapped information about the skill of teams and players just by looking at game linescores, which is NOT something sabermetricians have done yet...TKD and I are just really starting to fully realize how much information there is and make use of it (see our posts on the Fiato/Souders Arithmetic Adjustments for instance...although we're moving away from linear analysis into multivariate nonlinear optimization).

                There seems to be an almost religious attachment to the idea that because current sabermetric methods are strongly limited by the problems that come from averaging data and smoothing and accepting certain large error margins...this means that future methods will never improve enough to become incredibly powerful...

                You guys who think sabermetrics is severely capped by a lack of data...you're missing so much...we have ENORMOUS amounts of data here...it's mind boggling how much of it has been thus far unused.

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                • #53
                  biglahhh...what did I say that you took to be "arrogant"...the point of that post was that people who need to build the teams...and people who want seriously to get as much information about the game as they can need to study sabermetrics to do so. Even you yourself recognize this...you may not agree with some precepts of the theory...but you need to study and understand it. If you don't learn how to make sense of the data...then you have only one tool...your judgment. I didn't say sabermetrics were the only thing you needed to study...I don't just study sabermetrics to understand the game...in fact studying non-sabermetric perspectives has often led to major advancements in my sabermetric pursuits...

                  Not everyone has the desire to learn as much as possible about baseball...in fact few people do. For the crazies out there like you and me...you need more than traditionalist perspective...you need to understand statistics to understand history...it's that simple.

                  Comment


                  • #54
                    Originally posted by SABR Matt
                    You keep saying sabermetrics won't replace "tool scouting"...what the heck does that even mean? Sabermetric analysis can't really be used on players who have not yet reached the major leagues, but that's primarily because not enough data is kept on minor league players, teams, and leagues to get a real understanding about how each player achieved his minor league statistics. You're comparing apples to oranges. We can't really "scout" with sabermetrics at this time, but I think you're misattributing the reason why.
                    I think the term "tool-scouting" is pretty simple - traditional scouting for certain "tools" like power, contact, speed, arm, defensive range. Plate discipline is becoming more important in scouting. But it is more of a developed skill than a natural talent for most hitters. It matters because developed skills are more dependent on the coaching staff than the more natural skills. There is obviously more subjectivity in projecting natural skills, which explains the aversion SABR folk have towards it.

                    Comment


                    • #55
                      The "arrogance" came from the notion, if you want to understand baseball study my work. Yo, that's cool. I should hope than anybody who driven to innovate feels that way. Sometimes, it just comes out in a way that's offputting when you vocalize (or type) it. Without the history of discussion that I had with you, I could have easily interpretted that post as "I'm the greatest thing since sliced bread, if you don't understand MY WORK(not the work in my general field), you will never advanced beyond the doldrum of the casual fan characterized my misconception and ignorance.

                      Look, we come from entirely different perspectives here. About the only thing we share is a desire to understand the game of baseball as best we can. You study meteorology, and obviously advanced math. I earned my Masters Degree is Social Science Research. I break down numbers to find the falsehoods. One of the most important thing a researcher learns is to never trust the numbers at face value, the idea that people, living, complicated, thinking people drive them- in all stages of the research, and in ways that can and can't be controlled.

                      I find the end product of a lot of the SABR to be somewhat reductionalist and neglectful of the human aspect of team building and game playing.

                      I have played on teams where losing our best player has made the team more successful. I don't take this anectdotal evidence as gospel, but it is a phenomenon that occurs- more frequently with middle of the road guys (a team losing a B+ guy for a B- guy and improving.
                      THE REVOLUTION WILL NOT COME WITH A SCORECARD

                      In the avy: AZ - Doe or Die

                      Comment


                      • #56
                        Originally posted by digglahhh

                        I find the end product of a lot of the SABR to be somewhat reductionalist and neglectful of the human aspect of team building and game playing.

                        I have played on teams where losing our best player has made the team more successful. I don't take this anectdotal evidence as gospel, but it is a phenomenon that occurs- more frequently with middle of the road guys (a team losing a B+ guy for a B- guy and improving.

                        This is where I disagree. As I stated in my previous post you cannot build a winning team by strictly looking at the intangibles such as "heart," and/or "hustle." Everyone on this planet has those, and you really can't weed out whats good, and whats bad. As for your second statement that is very untrue. More often than not if a team loses it's best player, the team also goes down.

                        Comment


                        • #57
                          There is sometimes the perception that a team has lost a B+ player for a B- player and gotten better...that's not really what happens though...generally a team will lose a B+ player and get a player that is commonly thought of as a B- player but is actually an A- or B+ player in his own right when given the chance to play everyday...and gets better.

                          In any event, your comments about your interpretation of my post from a bit back...not once did I reference my own work in that post, so if you interpreted that as me saying "study my work or be condemned to stupidity"...that's your own damned problem...I said you had to study sabermetrics to understand the game fully...not study MY sabermetric research.

                          Comment


                          • #58
                            Originally posted by SABR Matt
                            Again...I hope I have not left the impression that I expect everyone to fully understand or make use of my work or any work in sabermetrics...I do however think that for people who really want to know more about how the game works...how to build teams...even how to win more championships if you have enough chances...those folks should be making an effort to learn about probability theory, sabermetrics, etc. It's perfectly fine to just enjoy the game casually...MOST of the time, even I just enjoy the game casually...my sabermetric research does not encroach much on how I watch the games. Team owners/GMs/Managers though would be better served to come to a good understanding about the science of baseball strategy than they would if they continued using the same "old hat" methods they've been using since the 60s.
                            Yeah...let's see...does anyone see where I said anything about people needing to study my work? Cause...wow...I don't!! Reference to my own work was strictly to REFUTE thew idea that I thought you had to study my work to understand the game...I specifically said that I didn't think most people would ever have a need for it and when I talked about what people who want to understand the game should study, I used the words, probability theory, sabermetrics, etc...and that GMs needed to come to an understanding about the science of the game.

                            That's it.

                            But whatever.

                            Comment


                            • #59
                              Originally posted by digglahhh
                              I wouldn't go so far as to say that they are a sham, but many people on this forum certainly overvalue them. Their lure is great. Like religion, anything that presents itself as a panacea is wonderful. Advanced metrics can offer answers to player comparisons, even for players whom the evaluators have never seen, but the conclusions are not set it stone and must be interpretted in context.

                              I have often stated that sabermetrics have no greater predictive value than any other stats because in terms of winning it all you reach the point where you must apply the macro to the micro. SABR focuses on statistical research, correlations that are proven over time. Any 5 or 7 game series can wholly contradict its premises without invalidating the study itself. We must be aware of the limitations of all stats and theories, SABR and classical.

                              One thing I don't like about the advanced metrics is that any yahoo with a Bill James book can look up win shares or some other stat and think that they can add a meaningful contribution to a profound discussion of several players and their relative prowess.

                              SABR, IMO, is better suited to explain how what already happened, happened and not to predict what will happen in any given situation. SABR devalues the stolen base, and sure overall that's probably true, but ask Dave Roberts what he thinks of that. One instance that defies the theory can prove to be more meaningful than a boatload of instances that support it. When taken too far, SABR creates for its own sake and strays from its purpose. Those who further the research must always ask themselves questions, make sure the findings refer back to the game and understand the differences between discovery and invention.

                              The field though has made some very important contributions and I would never deny that.

                              As Twinskoop said, people should stop conflating Moneyball with sabermetrics.
                              Excellent. My sentiments exactly.

                              Comment


                              • #60
                                Matt,

                                I am talking about people I played ball with, make-ups of teams that I played on and how they got better at times without some of our most skilled players. I realize that this is anectdotal evidence, and, as a researche,r I know it proves nothing except the mere existence of the phenomenon, but this did happen.

                                You can't tell me otherwise. You don't have a system to grade the play of my high school teammates and recreational league partners. It has nothing to do with heart/hustle- its just about cohesion. You don't just take your favorite foods and put them in a pot and expect it to taste good because it has "the best" ingredients.
                                THE REVOLUTION WILL NOT COME WITH A SCORECARD

                                In the avy: AZ - Doe or Die

                                Comment

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