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  • Want To Learn, Best Book

    I have followed, played, watched and read baseball for years. I have been in a long running (10+ years) fantasy league and spend countless hours on the Internet during the season (and off season). While I see and 'understand' OPS, SLUG, WHip, VORP, I want to get into it a bit more...

    What I am looking for is an easy way into understanding stats (Old, new, unconventional)...can you point me in the right direction for a good book or site that can serve as an intro point for looking at and understanding baseball stats?

    I would like to bring my son along for the ride so let us start slow....

    Thank you
    Bryan
    Always collecting Yankees...
    Especially: Jeter, Posada, Munson, Melky Cabrera, Mattingly

    Check out:
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    My Baseball Card Site


    Good Traders : Dalkowski110, dmbfan, Freakazoid1014, actually I have had too many good trades to list everyone...

  • #2
    Baseball Prospectus's Baseball Between the Numbers probably fits the bill. It has some limitations (mostly that it's almost entirely BPro-centric, and therefore misses a lot of great work), but it's a good overview of research up to the last few years. Here's my review:
    http://jinaz-reds.blogspot.com/2007/...n-numbers.html

    Tango, MGL, and Dolphin's The Book is also outstanding, but perhaps is less readable (in places) than Between the Numbers. I guess I never wrote a review of it, which I'll have to do at some point here. Their work on sacrifice bunting, clutch skill, splits, etc, is much better than what is in Between the Numbers. And in the case of the sacrifice bunt in particular, basically invalidates the conclusions reported in Between the Numbers. And their bit on game theory near the end is critical to understanding almost every strategic decision on the ballfield, and yet isn't something you see understood by many fans. You can find it via their website.
    -j
    ---
    My blog: On Baseball and the Reds

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    • #3
      I'd probably start here:

      http://www.tangotiger.net/wiki/

      In there, you can immerse yourself in new subjects. Also go to the WEBSITES page, and at the bottom is a listing to other wikis.
      Author of THE BOOK -- Playing The Percentages In Baseball

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      • #4
        Originally posted by jinaz View Post
        Their work on sacrifice bunting, clutch skill, splits, etc, is much better than what is in Between the Numbers. And in the case of the sacrifice bunt in particular, basically invalidates the conclusions reported in Between the Numbers. And their bit on game theory near the end is critical to understanding almost every strategic decision on the ballfield, and yet isn't something you see understood by many fans. You can find it via their website.
        -j
        You've probably read more than I, Jinaz, but the game theory section of "The Book," as it related to the bunt, was, IMO, the best part of the book and apotheosis of exactly what is missing in the vast majority of work in this field. An element of what makes it advantageous to swing away in many bunt situations is the infielders' positioning of themselves in a manner that they would only do if the bunt was credible. You have to bunt enough to keep the threat of the bunt credible, because by removing that threat, you remove a portion of the advantage - namely that more balls will go through fielders when drawn in in anticipation of, or protection against the bunt. How much easier would it be to player poker against an opponent whom you knew would never bluff?...

        When I say too much statistical analysis is backward thinking, that's exactly what I'm talking about. You can't just talk about data sets, you have to talk about specific contexts that produce, or influence the production of data sets. Most statistical research is aggregate data calculated over the course of tens of thousand unique events - the data is only as useful to you as your understanding of the variables is developed. The question is always how to best apply these meta-truisms most beneficially to the current situation. Tango often gets that deep, not many others do.

        Tango's work is a little mathematically dense for my liking, leisurely speaking. Hardball Times is a little past its prime, IMO. But, a couple years ago it was a great synthesis of contextuality, statistical analysis, and readability. It's still a pretty good place to just jump in and start reading if you want to get a feel for some of the better work out there.
        Last edited by digglahhh; 04-16-2008, 11:46 AM.
        THE REVOLUTION WILL NOT COME WITH A SCORECARD

        In the avy: AZ - Doe or Die

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        • #5
          Originally posted by digglahhh View Post
          Hardball Times is a little past its prime, IMO. But, a couple years ago it was a great synthesis of contextuality, statistical analysis, and readability. It's still a pretty good place to just jump in and start reading if you want to get a feel for some of the better work out there.
          I only started reading THT a few years back, so I'm not sure I understand what you mean. But I will say that these two articles at THT this week:
          http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/ar...ilding-blocks/
          http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/ar...ange-the-game/
          ...were really fantastic pieces. Tango says that the future of sabermetrics is the integration of stats and scouts. And a big part of what scouts bring to the table is the ability to understand context. Those two articles lay a foundation and organizational framework for research that will help take baseball analysis to the next level.
          -j
          ---
          My blog: On Baseball and the Reds

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by jinaz View Post
            I only started reading THT a few years back, so I'm not sure I understand what you mean. But I will say that these two articles at THT this week:
            Perhaps it's just a preference thing. Some topics appeal to some more than others. A couple of years ago, it seemed like they had a run during which everything they were throwing up was bordering on must-read status. Of course, I was also greener at the time, so perhaps it was just easier to impress me... I still consider it among the best sites out there.
            THE REVOLUTION WILL NOT COME WITH A SCORECARD

            In the avy: AZ - Doe or Die

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