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Does Anyone Else Here Think Sabermetrics is a Sham?

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  • Does Anyone Else Here Think Sabermetrics is a Sham?

    When you look at the teams that have won it all in recent years, it hasn't been Moneyball kind of baseball or teams with GMs who are big sabermaticians:

    2000 Yankees: Bought themselves the WS.
    2001 D'Backs: Only one above-average offensive player (Luis Gonzalez, 57 HR), but otherwise Tony Womack, Mark Grace, etc.
    2002 Angels: Lowest in walks that year, contact hitting, take the extra base....
    2003 Marlins: Pierre and Castillo running and stealing bases, not a lot of home runs....
    2004 Red Sox: Big money team.
    2005 White Sox: Ozzie-ball. Scott Podsednik for Carlos Lee.....

    Now the Sabermetrics guys will say that each case was a fluke, or that the teams got lucky, or that good pitching stopped good hitting....

    Where's Paul DePodesta's ring? Or Billy Beane's? Or J.P. Riccarddi's?

    And if it's all about pitching, then chalk up the A's success to Hudson, Mulder, and Zito, not Matt Stairs and Jeremy Giambi!

    This is not to say that Sabermetrics is useless. Of course OBP is more important than batting average. But when you go too crazy with the stats, you don't necessarily win.

  • #2
    I can't wait to the response to this one.
    "I think about baseball when I wake up in the morning. I think about it all day and I dream about it at night. The only time I don't think about it is when I'm playing it."
    Carl Yastrzemski

    Comment


    • #3
      It's absolutely astounding that Billy Beane makes the post-season every year given the limitations of his payroll. It's not just about the world series...you have to look at what they've accomplished given the resources they've had.

      And for the record, Houston is a sabermetrically inclined team that just made the WS, Boston has four big name sabermetricians under payroll and won the WS in 2004, and Oakland is the winningest team in the AL since 2000.

      Comment


      • #4
        Sabermetics, in terms of building teams, is simply a tool that used properly can help a team find players with skills that are unervalued. What is wrong with that? Bille Beane has had great success. The Red Sox use sabermetrics a lot. The Red Sox owner is sabermetrically inclined. It's not a guarantee for success, however. Baseball has so many variables to content with.
        Honus Wagner Rules
        xFIP?! I laugh at you!
        Last edited by Honus Wagner Rules; 10-28-2005, 01:25 PM.
        Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

        Comment


        • #5
          there is only one way to win a baseball game and that is scoring more runs than a particular team on a particular day -- sabrmetrics is about studing the numbers and finding overall averages for occurrences of x throughout the entire league, then the judgements go from there about what is significant above and below that mean -- the numbers are positive (a term meaning without any subjectivity) -- it is the evaluators who put normative (term meaning placing judgments on those numbers) values on the figures.

          hence, the process now brings all the elements that humans bring to an argument (opinion, bias, an agenda, skewing of numbers, inaccuracy, lies, individual thought processes, interpretation, misinterpretation, etc.) therein lies the difficulties many have with sabrmetrics plus the fact that all these "numbers guys" come up with an endless array of formulas to rate the best or worst (by the way, best and worst are two extremely subjective terms). these two factors combined with the fact that americans, as a whole, abhor complicated mathematics have kept sabrmetrics out of the mainstream. in the end, people just see it as boring and that it actually creates more arguments than it solves.

          to me this is disappointing because we are in the age of the computer and all the things we can do with them. i am certainly interested in noting whether an individual or team's stats fall above or below the mean in certain areas but from there it gets tougher to determine which factors are more important.

          another problem that i see is the complete arrogance of those who just spit out numbers and think they mean something. what people want is the narrative sprinkled with numbers - not the other way around. this is what makes bill james interestiing he is equally good with the pen as the calculator, others not so.

          Comment


          • #6
            People really need to stop confusing "moneyball" with SABR. Moneyball is a business concept. SABR is a statistical concept. Big-money teams can be SABR-oriented teams. In fact, now that the word is out, SABR-oriented teams are probably going to have to be big money teams in the near future.

            The Twins are, in essence, a moneyball team, even though they drive sabrmetricians nuts. From '01-'04, they won with defense, situational hitting, and great pitching. They played moneyball, focusing on exploiting under-valued skill-sets - fundamentals and bullpen instead of OBP or OPS. While they disappointed this year, they still won 83 games, not bad for a team that lost arguably it's most valuable player from a SABR standpoint (Koskie) and started basically unproven players at all five infield positions.

            I think history clearly shows that once the postseason has been set, there are a lot of ways to win a game. I'm not one of those "SABR is the ONLY way" guys. And it's going to get pretty expensive to play that game if everyone is doing it.

            But SABR principles are certainly not a "sham." You win games by scoring runs and preventing runs. The most efficient way to score runs is to get men on base and minimize outs. The most efficient way to prevent runs is to prevent baserunners. Those are the core principles of SABR.

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            • #7
              Ozzie Ball? What a joke? That was some display of small ball and running rampant on the bases in the playoffs don't you think? They God they had the hit and run and the sac bunt becauase they sure didn't hit a lot of homers in the playoffs. Oh wait. . . .never mind.

              Yeah those Angels and their productive outs and contact hitting. Again thank god they had those tools at their disposal or else they never would have scored runs in the playoffs. Oh wait. . . never mind.

              Comment


              • #8
                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.
                THE REVOLUTION WILL NOT COME WITH A SCORECARD

                In the avy: AZ - Doe or Die

                Comment


                • #9
                  Ozzie was really starting to break down toward the latter half of 2005...they weren't scoring at ALL...in the post-season they got well timed production...read: longballs...from players that aren't normally offensive forces (read: Podsednik)...luck is a beautiful thing...in short series play...it can be a real PITA if it doesn't go your way.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    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.
                    All sabermetic models that I know of start with certain precepts and assumptions. However, "old-school" scouts have their own precepts and assumptions as well.
                    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.
                    I agree. By the way what "classical" theories are you talking about?

                    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.
                    Ouch! I wonder what BBF members your are talking about?

                    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.
                    What do Dave Roberts views have to do with the value of the stolen base? I believe that SABR has shown conclusively that the stolen basen do not contribute a great deal to runs scored. The purpose of SABR is not to "predict" what will happen in any given situation.
                    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.
                    How is this so?

                    The field though has made some very important contributions and I would never deny that.
                    I would agree. It has made some important contributions. SABR is mearly a tool that any team can use to help it acquire players with undervalued skills and it's a great tool for debating here at BBF.

                    As Twinskoop said, people should stop conflating Moneyball with sabermetrics.
                    I agree!!
                    Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Sabermetrics are great for analyzing statistics and how teams won games, but as far as using them to build champions, it's much different. You can use the stats to build a team that should win a lot of games based on the players past statistics, but little things like injuries, flukes, and off years along the way make it rough, but on average statistically driven teams do pretty well.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by YankeeDespiser
                        When you look at the teams that have won it all in recent years, it hasn't been Moneyball kind of baseball or teams with GMs who are big sabermaticians:

                        2000 Yankees: Bought themselves the WS.
                        2001 D'Backs: Only one above-average offensive player (Luis Gonzalez, 57 HR), but otherwise Tony Womack, Mark Grace, etc.
                        2002 Angels: Lowest in walks that year, contact hitting, take the extra base....
                        2003 Marlins: Pierre and Castillo running and stealing bases, not a lot of home runs....
                        2004 Red Sox: Big money team.
                        2005 White Sox: Ozzie-ball. Scott Podsednik for Carlos Lee.....

                        Now the Sabermetrics guys will say that each case was a fluke, or that the teams got lucky, or that good pitching stopped good hitting....

                        Where's Paul DePodesta's ring? Or Billy Beane's? Or J.P. Riccarddi's?

                        And if it's all about pitching, then chalk up the A's success to Hudson, Mulder, and Zito, not Matt Stairs and Jeremy Giambi!

                        This is not to say that Sabermetrics is useless. Of course OBP is more important than batting average. But when you go too crazy with the stats, you don't necessarily win.
                        The Playoffs is all just a crapshoot. Anyone one team can beat another team in a 5/7 game series. Using past WS winners to show that Sabermetrics doesnt work is very inaccurate. Winning the World Series doesnt make you the best team, it just makes you the hottest team at the time. The White Sox were definitely not the best team. Last year the Sox were very good but the Cards were the better team. In 2003 Yanks were much better than the Marlins. Say what you what about pitching and defense or small ball but you cant build a team for the post season. Its impossible. The playoffs are such a small sample that ANYTHING can happen in that short of a time span. Great teams can go into a slumps and bad teams can get very hot. Using an entire season is a much more accurate measurement. You can build a team to make it to the post season but as Beane said, once you get there its all a crapshoot. Sabermetrics has already been proven to work. Oakland is a great example. So are the Red Sox and Yanks.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by DaMook
                          The Playoffs is all just a crapshoot. Anyone one team can beat another team in a 5/7 game series. Using past WS winners to show that Sabermetrics doesnt work is very inaccurate. Winning the World Series doesnt make you the best team, it just makes you the hottest team at the time. The White Sox were definitely not the best team. Last year the Sox were very good but the Cards were the better team. In 2003 Yanks were much better than the Marlins. Say what you what about pitching and defense or small ball but you cant build a team for the post season. Its impossible. The playoffs are such a small sample that ANYTHING can happen in that short of a time span. Great teams can go into a slumps and bad teams can get very hot. Using an entire season is a much more accurate measurement. You can build a team to make it to the post season but as Beane said, once you get there its all a crapshoot. Sabermetrics has already been proven to work. Oakland is a great example. So are the Red Sox and Yanks.
                          i've always thought the best way to view postseason ball is like a tournament which is what it is -- start the tournament over the day after it ends and you probably get different results

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I wouldn't say its entirely a crapshoot (i think if you replayed this postseason over 1,000 times the Padres would only win about once), but it is definitely true that the best team doesn't always win. I also think that even a full season doesn't necessarily give a good assesment of how good a team is. For example, i don't think the 2001 Mariners were as good as the 1998 Yankees, but they won two more games.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by YankeeDespiser
                              When you look at the teams that have won it all in recent years, it hasn't been Moneyball kind of baseball or teams with GMs who are big sabermaticians:

                              2000 Yankees: Bought themselves the WS.
                              2001 D'Backs: Only one above-average offensive player (Luis Gonzalez, 57 HR), but otherwise Tony Womack, Mark Grace, etc.
                              2002 Angels: Lowest in walks that year, contact hitting, take the extra base....
                              2003 Marlins: Pierre and Castillo running and stealing bases, not a lot of home runs....
                              2004 Red Sox: Big money team.
                              2005 White Sox: Ozzie-ball. Scott Podsednik for Carlos Lee.....

                              Now the Sabermetrics guys will say that each case was a fluke, or that the teams got lucky, or that good pitching stopped good hitting....

                              Where's Paul DePodesta's ring? Or Billy Beane's? Or J.P. Riccarddi's?

                              And if it's all about pitching, then chalk up the A's success to Hudson, Mulder, and Zito, not Matt Stairs and Jeremy Giambi!

                              This is not to say that Sabermetrics is useless. Of course OBP is more important than batting average. But when you go too crazy with the stats, you don't necessarily win.



                              I'd rather have statistical evidence than base everything upon intuition. As the Heisenberg Uncertainity Principle says: the separation between the observer and the observed is always more-or-less arbitrary.

                              Comment

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