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  • ed hardiman
    replied
    Originally posted by SteelSD
    ...All you're saying is that you're going to think what you like regardless of what the facts say. Yeah, I kinda already knew that so you didn't need to type it again.You're right though- a baseball forum isn't just a "math club". But it shouldn't be a faith-based ongoing religion seminar where things like actual facts are devalued or ignored because they don't jibe with someone's subjective belief system.
    All you've done is regurgitate numbers.
    Which is best summed up by Truman Capote's quote:
    "That's not writing it's typing."
    My opinion is apparently extremely obvious to those of us who watch Abreu play on a regular basis and just as obviously not understood by those of you who don't.
    Last edited by ed hardiman; 11-17-2005, 04:06 AM.

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  • SteelSD
    replied
    Originally posted by philliesnation.com
    You overestimate the Italians. They still love the infrastructure that Mussolini brought to the country and only second comes the fact that he was an incompetent facist dictator. The only point ed was trying to make is the one seen in evaluating Carl Everett or T.O.
    Thanks for the info about the Italians. That's mind-boggling to me but then, every nut has a good idea once in a grand while I guess.

    Anyway...

    I actually agree about the potential pratfalls of overlooking a player's "character". I think I cited Milton Bradley in that respect (a guy who's simply uncontrollable). Terrell Owens is a turd in the same mold. But then, the "uncontrollable" guys are quite different from those who might just be your normal kind of jerk from time to time.

    You should see the White Sox fans. They're convinced that Kenny Williams signed Carl Everett because of his GOOD character while he's been outed by other organizations as being a punk. Ditto for A.J. Pierzynski (sp?). He got a nasty rep in his last season with the Giants.

    And that's the thing. One teams punk might be another team's good guy. In fact, new Dodger's GM Ned Colletti (former Asst. GM with San Fran) recounted a story about when the Giants acquired Jeff Kent:

    Colletti: When we had Matt (Williams) and Barry (Bonds), they made up something like 30% of the payroll, so we knew we had to trade one of them, and it had to be Matt. Cleveland came forward, and we were looking at (Jeff) Kent. People would tell us he's a selfish player, a loner, not a glowing report at all. So we went back to the Mets organization--where he'd played before--and we asked them what we could expect. They said he'd play hard every day.

    Now look at that. You've got two different organizations (Cleveland, NYM) and each had a different take on Jeff Kent. Both reports on Kent came from folks who should know what they're talking about. In fact, it had taken only 39 games with the Indians for Kent to cultivate a perception that he was a bad seed. Yet, both organizations thought differently of Jeff Kent.

    Too often it comes down to who you believe more. And frankly, it often doesn't matter who's right or wrong if at least one of your sources is able to say something (anything) good about a guy another organization tells you is a big fat jerk. Why is that? It's because the team looking to acquire the player knows that his performance will- almost without exception- trump a perceived character flaw.

    And now that Kent has been away from Cleveland for nine seasons and been a part of four playoff teams (including one WS team), how do we perceive Kent now? He's perceived by many to still be a jerk. But this jerk has also helped his team to the postseason in nearly half the seasons since Cleveland labeled him a jerk. The Dodgers made the playoffs in 2004 WITH Milton Bradley on the squad. But the 2005 Dodgers got wracked by injuries and before you know it, Bradley and Kent are at each other's throats.

    Look, 30 teams leave spring training every season. 30 managers tell us that their team has great "chemistry" regardless of whether or not Jeff Kent or Carl Everett is on the squad. Yet only eight teams perform well enough to make the playoffs. Only two teams peform well enough to get to the World Series. And most times one or both of those teams have a player or two on it only their mothers would love. Interesting how that all works.

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  • philliesnation
    replied
    Originally posted by SteelSD
    And if the totality of running a country was getting trains to their stations on time, you'd have a point. But instead, you don't.
    You overestimate the Italians. They still love the infrastructure that Mussolini brought to the country and only second comes the fact that he was an incompetent facist dictator. The only point ed was trying to make is the one seen in evaluating Carl Everett or T.O.

    Leave a comment:


  • SteelSD
    replied
    Originally posted by ed hardiman
    This dissection of Abreu's numbers reminds me of something I once heard about Mussolini that he made the trains run on time.
    His numbers were good but he wasn't.
    And if the totality of running a country was getting trains to their stations on time, you'd have a point. But instead, you don't.

    Numbers alone do not make the player.
    No one ever said they did. Milton Bradley puts up good numbers consistently. Don't want him anywhere near my club. But then, allowing your perception of "intangibles" proficiency to drive your idea of a player's value doesn't work either because you end up with guys like Eric Milton on a team because he's a "proven winner". And you end up with a "leader" who "plays the game the right way" like Rich Aurilia- who did nothing but whine about playing time in 2005.

    I don't need to know the equation for cracking oil to figure out I got a batch of bad gas in my car.
    Unless you have the ability to run a diagnostic, you don't know what's wrong with your car. Even worse, if your car consistently breaks down and you simply blame it on the same thing because you don't know any better, you'll never actually get it fixed.

    And that's what you're doing. Bobby Abreu is not what's "wrong" with the Phillies. He's not what's preventing the Phillies from taking the next step.

    The Phillies have a fairly mediocre pitching stafff (finished 10th in the NL in pitching in 2005). They won almost exactly as many games as any team would have given their Run differential (Runs Scored versus Runs Allowed). So did Atlanta.

    To fix it, the Phillies either need to improve their offense while the pitching holds steady or improve the pitching while scoring the same number of Runs next season. Or, if Atlanta takes a tumble (and they might without Mazzone) and no one else in the NL East improves, the division is the Phillies' to lose. But I'd rather focus on actually improving the club's performance rather than count on everyone else crashing and burning.

    Nothing I've read here changes the fact Abreu is best traded now because of his age, contract, peak value and he doesn't bring the intangibles needed to get a team to the World Series.
    Actually, Thome or Howard is the guy who needs to go. They're redundant pieces. The Phils have no one who can reasonably replace Abreu's performance in RF. Jason Michaels is a nice little player (love the guy's OBP) but he's no Abreu with the stick.

    Common sense tells us that Thome is the guy (age, contract, etc.) who needs to be moved of the two, but Howard's value may never be higher coming off his ROY award.

    Now, I know all the dreck about trading within one's own division, but I would think that either Thome or Howard would be attractive to a team like Atlanta. If Gillick can remember how to trade, targetting Atlanta isn't a bad idea. They've got guys like Chuck James just waiting to help out someone's rotation and you never know about the availability of a guy like Marcus Giles (who could be moved if the Braves clamp down Furcal with a big money deal).

    Seriously, if the Phillies were able to get a return of something like Giles and James for Thome or Howard, that would be a coup. It would allow them to plop Giles in at 2B, move Utley back to 3B (significantly upgrading offensively versus Bell), and slot James in the rotation (or allow him to stretch out in the pen before doing so).

    The above scenario (or something similar) would be able to improve team performance as a certainty because they'd simply be moving a redundant piece for upgrades elsewhere. Abreu's "intangibles" aren't going to keep the Phils out of the playoff for gosh sakes. Removing Abreu is NOT "addition by subtraction" in that regard, nor does trading him necessarily get the team any better because it's doubtful that any players he'd bring in would make up the offensive loss moving him would represent.

    All the abstracted numbers in the world aren't ever going to change that reality they're nice to know but this is a baseball forum not the math club...
    All you're saying is that you're going to think what you like regardless of what the facts say. Yeah, I kinda already knew that so you didn't need to type it again.

    You're right though- a baseball forum isn't just a "math club". But it shouldn't be a faith-based ongoing religion seminar where things like actual facts are devalued or ignored because they don't jibe with someone's subjective belief system.

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  • ed hardiman
    replied
    This dissection of Abreu's numbers reminds me of something I once heard about Mussolini that he made the trains run on time.
    His numbers were good but he wasn't.
    Numbers alone do not make the player.
    I don't need to know the equation for cracking oil to figure out I got a batch of bad gas in my car.
    Nothing I've read here changes the fact Abreu is best traded now because of his age, contract, peak value and he doesn't bring the intangibles needed to get a team to the World Series.
    All the abstracted numbers in the world aren't ever going to change that reality they're nice to know but this is a baseball forum not the math club...

    Leave a comment:


  • SteelSD
    replied
    Originally posted by johncap
    First I digress....no one says an at bat in the second inning means less than one in the ninth with regard to the outcome of the game, HOWEVER, there is substantially different stress placed on the player in those two differing scenarios.
    Using that logic, PA's with Runners On would be "more stressful" than PA's with none on. Plate Appearances with Runners In Scoring position would escalate that stress level as would the same situation with two Outs. Close-and-Late game scenarios would further increase the stress level on a hitter.

    And Bobby Abreu, over the past four seasons, has raised his performance level in every one of those "more stressful" situations.

    Some players rise to the pressure situations and outperform their averages under pressure, and others wilt under pressure producing far lower numbers under stress than when not under stress.
    People have been trying to find those players for years and haven't been able to. Just wanted to let you know that.

    It's easy to select parameters for what is and isn't stressfull. 7th inning or later within 3 runs, as far as I'm concerned for the purpose of this discussion. That doesn't mean a bases loaded sitation in the ninth down four doesn't qualify but you have to draw the line somewhere or it'd go in incessantly.
    Close and Late: Results in the 7th inning or later with the batting team either ahead by one run, tied or with the potential tying run at least on deck.

    The current Close and Late definition approximates what you're talking about.

    The "Close and Late" parameters are as follows:

    If Ahead: One-Run gap Maximum
    If Tied: Zero-Run gap

    If Behind:
    *None On= Two-Run gap maximum
    *One On= Three-Run gap max
    *Two On= Four-Run gap max
    *Three On= Five-Run gap max

    And BTW, the Utley PA donzblock noted would actually fall under the "Close and Late" umbrella because he walked to the plate with the tying Run on deck.

    Peformance in the situations listed above is what the current "Close and Late" metric tracks. In fact, it's exactly what donzblock was talking about- situations in which the player had an opportunity to give his team an opportunity to win the game or, at minimum, put the game within reach.

    Again, here's Abreu with the opportunity to win or to put the game within reach:

    None On 2002-04: .264 BA/.382 OBP/.450 SLG
    Close and Late: 2002-04: .288 BA/.431 OBP/.464 SLG

    None On 2005: .267 BA/.383 OBP/.446 SLG
    Close and Late 2005: .298 BA/.422 OBP/.571 SLG

    Now, there's no way to just wash that performance away by claiming that Abreu produced in "meaningless" Close and Late game scenarios because, by your own (and donzblock's) definition there ARE no "meaningless" Close and Late game scenarios. And look at that peformance. Not only did Abreu raise his BA in CaL situations, but he made fewer outs and acquired more bases as well. His 2005 performance escalation is even more severe than his prior three seasons.

    Now, I'm not one to believe in "clutch". But from 2002 to 2005, when the Phillies needed someone to help create an insurance Run, break a tie, or help pull them back to win a winnable game from the 7th Inning on, Bobby Abreu has been the guy to do it.

    Leave a comment:


  • SteelSD
    replied
    Originally posted by donzblock
    In my experience, bad calls never even out. What goes around never comes around. O. J. Simpsons get away with murder. They even get away with double murders and then spend the rest of their lives on golf courses. Angels of Death like Josef Mengele commit abominable crimes and then escape to South American countries and die wealthy and old. And every mistake by an umpire has consequences that alter the continuum, and nothing will ever be the same again, and human events essentially remain unpredictable, unless you are talking about the Phillies, in which case you can safely predict that they will not win it all.
    We're not talking about Josef Mengele, O.J. Simpson, or even Don Denkinger. We're talking about an umpire calling a ball a strike and that's as common an occurrance for every hitter as it is for any hitter.

    That is exactly what I would like to do: evaluate the in-the-clutch plate appearances of Abreu during the season. Reconstructing the situation would produce material that is far more substantial than the stuff in an anecdote.
    Go for it. But before you do, make sure you define what you're using for "clutch" because your Utley scenario below really don't fall within the normal "clutch" parameters.

    No, Utley was certainly not stat padding when he hit that homer. Nobody in that situation would have been stat padding. In that situation, it was the 9th inning. It was a game the Phillies had to win. With two men on and none out, Utley at the plate with one swing of the bat had a chance to put the Phillies back in the game. He had to feel the tension of that moment. I felt it as I watched him. Every aspect of that situation screamed out "Clutch!" That at bat would have to be defined as clutch, and magnificent Chase came through under pressure.
    Ok. I assume you'll be using every late-game scenario in which Abreu walked to the plate with his team down by four Runs as well then?

    It is easier to define "clutch" if the situation occurs at the end of the game. If the stats are to be meaningful, we obviously have to come up with a comprehensive definition of "clutch"; or we could evaluate each individual at bat and determine if the situation merits being described as "clutch."
    Actually, it's only easier to perceive "clutch" in late-game scenarios.

    And you might want to note that, over time, pretty much all players' situational numbers end up migrating to their norm. You'll see short-term transient yearly fluctuations, but hitters do end up being the same hitters in every situation over time.

    In a World Series, Stengel once pinch hit for Clete Boyer in the first or second inning. Boyer couldn't believe it, and he did not have an official at bat that game even though he was a starter. Stengel's move seemed foolish and hasty, but he would have agreed with you that innings 1-6 really matter. Of course, they do.
    Then why use only part of the picture to define a player's value?

    We disagree on when those numbers are put up. Abreu's numbers are consistently good each year, but we feel he is soft when it really matters.
    See, I think it "really matters" all the time. It's Major League Baseball after all.

    I agree.
    One down, one thousand to go.

    I don't have the time, either, but I will make the attempt. Now will Gillick trade Abreu and lower himself in Steel's eyes but raise himself in ours? Or will Gillick realize that Steel's arguments so far have been more substantial than ours and keep the bum? Now that the Eagles are dead, we can pay full attention to the Phillies.
    If Gillick trades Abreu, he's going to be judged on what he gets rather than what he gives up. I'll trade anyone. But Gillick better get more for Abreu than the Phils got for Scott Rolen.

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  • johncap
    replied
    Originally posted by donzblock
    Now that the Eagles are dead, we can pay full attention to the Phillies.
    First I digress....no one says an at bat in the second inning means less than one in the ninth with regard to the outcome of the game, HOWEVER, there is substantially different stress placed on the player in those two differing scenarios. Some players rise to the pressure situations and outperform their averages under pressure, and others wilt under pressure producing far lower numbers under stress than when not under stress. It's easy to select parameters for what is and isn't stressfull. 7th inning or later within 3 runs, as far as I'm concerned for the purpose of this discussion. That doesn't mean a bases loaded sitation in the ninth down four doesn't qualify but you have to draw the line somewhere or it'd go in incessantly.

    Now, as for the quote.... What is the statistical breakdown of going to the so-called prevent defense like last night? As Vaughan Hebron said, it's the "porevent yourself from winning defense". We won't even talk about the idiotic play calling by Reid and horrendous decision from McNabb.

    Thank God I walked away at 20-7 to do something else and din't endure that.

    Leave a comment:


  • Androctus
    replied
    It's doable, but I'm not gonna be the guy to do it because A) I've already got what I need (i.e. Abreu's performance numbers) and B) It would be exceptionally time consuming.

    All the game logs (including PBP information about every pitch) for the 2005 season are available at espn.com if someone would like to isolate each PA like that.
    "I have a proposal for you. Have your statistician cross this forum, present himself before our Academy, put his head between his legs, and kiss his own arse."

    Leave a comment:


  • donzblock
    replied
    Originally posted by SteelSD
    Bad calls happen occassionally, but they don't happen constantly. The actual impact they have in a macro sense is minimal and it's going to even out across all the players because, generally speaking, they see the same quality of umpires throughout the season.
    In my experience, bad calls never even out. What goes around never comes around. O. J. Simpsons get away with murder. They even get away with double murders and then spend the rest of their lives on golf courses. Angels of Death like Josef Mengele commit abominable crimes and then escape to South American countries and die wealthy and old. And every mistake by an umpire has consequences that alter the continuum, and nothing will ever be the same again, and human events essentially remain unpredictable, unless you are talking about the Phillies, in which case you can safely predict that they will not win it all.

    Anecdotal evidence can help supplement the historical records we have, but that kind of stuff is only good if we're evaluating isolated Plate Appearances.
    That is exactly what I would like to do: evaluate the in-the-clutch plate appearances of Abreu during the season. Reconstructing the situation would produce material that is far more substantial than the stuff in an anecdote.



    And let's remember that the impact of that Home Run was only possible because of Utley's earlier longball hit while down 4 Runs. If Abreu had done the same thing when down by four Runs (which is one Run away from qualifying as "blowout" status) and had the Phillies lost the game, I dare say we'd see some folks talking about how Abreu was just "stat padding".

    Was Utley "stat padding" when he hit that HR?
    No, Utley was certainly not stat padding when he hit that homer. Nobody in that situation would have been stat padding. In that situation, it was the 9th inning. It was a game the Phillies had to win. With two men on and none out, Utley at the plate with one swing of the bat had a chance to put the Phillies back in the game. He had to feel the tension of that moment. I felt it as I watched him. Every aspect of that situation screamed out "Clutch!" That at bat would have to be defined as clutch, and magnificent Chase came through under pressure.

    And that's the problem with definitions of "clutch" or "choke". Everything that happens early in a game affects the game state at the end. We know that intuitively, but because we tend to focus more on the late-game we tend to wash away real "clutch" performances well before Inning nine rolls around. In some cases, the most IMPORTANT Run may not be the last. It may be a first Inning HR in a 0-0 game. Maybe a 6th Run scored in the fifth will end up being the winning margain.
    It is easier to define "clutch" if the situation occurs at the end of the game. If the stats are to be meaningful, we obviously have to come up with a comprehensive definition of "clutch"; or we could evaluate each individual at bat and determine if the situation merits being described as "clutch."

    Maybe it's just me, but I fail to see the need to ignore what happens in the first two thirds of each baseball game because Innings 1-6 really really matter too.
    In a World Series, Stengel once pinch hit for Clete Boyer in the first or second inning. Boyer couldn't believe it, and he did not have an official at bat that game even though he was a starter. Stengel's move seemed foolish and hasty, but he would have agreed with you that innings 1-6 really matter. Of course, they do.


    See, it just doesn't matter to me that in a single PA the hitter reached on a blooper instead of a hard line drive. I know that baseball's a random game like that and that everyone is going to get a hit that looks like a line drive in the box score. But, in the end, the best performers are generally going to continue to be the best performers because of the numbers they put up. The big deal about that is one has to know what the "right" numbers are otherwise they'll end up paying big bucks for guys who have shiny reputations but who don't have the performance needed to justify the expense.
    We disagree on when those numbers are put up. Abreu's numbers are consistently good each year, but we feel he is soft when it really matters.

    The point isn't that subjective analysis should be EXCLUDED. The point is that there needs to be some sort of balance between the subjective or objective. Otherwise, you'll end up with a team that underperforms signficantly. And what you'll also find is that when the losing starts, the "chemistry" stops.
    I agree.



    It's doable, but I'm not gonna be the guy to do it because A) I've already got what I need (i.e. Abreu's performance numbers) and B) It would be exceptionally time consuming.

    All the game logs (including PBP information about every pitch) for the 2005 season are available at espn.com if someone would like to isolate each PA like that.
    I don't have the time, either, but I will make the attempt. Now will Gillick trade Abreu and lower himself in Steel's eyes but raise himself in ours? Or will Gillick realize that Steel's arguments so far have been more substantial than ours and keep the bum? Now that the Eagles are dead, we can pay full attention to the Phillies.

    Leave a comment:


  • ed hardiman
    replied
    Originally posted by Androctus
    Hey here's some more useless figures for the statmongers:

    Bobby Abreu is now the subject matter for 2 of the top three "replied to" threads of all time here in Baseball Fever's Phillies Forum. This one, now over 120 replies and still going, and Donzblock's infamous "Trade Abreu" thread weighs in at #3, which, by the way, also includes another lively debate regarding the validity of certain statistics... hoo rah
    I have gone verb for verb with an "on adjective percentage" of .983...

    Leave a comment:


  • Androctus
    replied
    Hey here's some more useless figures for the statmongers:

    Bobby Abreu is now the subject matter for 2 of the top three "replied to" threads of all time here in Baseball Fever's Phillies Forum. This one, now over 120 replies and still going, and Donzblock's infamous "Trade Abreu" thread weighs in at #3, which, by the way, also includes another lively debate regarding the validity of certain statistics... hoo rah

    Leave a comment:


  • Androctus
    replied
    I want to thank everyone for the last 45 minutes I did not spend working because I was trying to catch up on everything that went on over the weekend.

    Leave a comment:


  • SteelSD
    replied
    Originally posted by johncap
    When Kent Bottenfield-like decisions are no longer made I'll buy into this.
    Kent Bottenfield-like decisions will always be made because you'll never see every team hire a GM smart enough to not trade Jim Edmonds for Kent Bottenfield. And Bottenfield is a great example of how teams pay for players who don't deserve it.

    The "bigger fool" (speaking of GMs of course) has always been out there and will continue to be out there. And I can guarantee that more teams than ever will figure out who that bigger fool is.

    In the meantime temper the "great moves" like David Ortiz (which was as much accident as stroke of genius) with a some of the bad ones.
    Some of the "bad ones" include Beane's signing of a guy like Jermaine Dye to a huge contract with little reason. Paul DePodesta acquired Milton Bradley while underestimating exactly what a huge uncontrollable jerk he actually was.

    But David Ortiz was no accident. If you take a look at the 2003 transactions (including the 2002 offseason) you'll see a pattern. See, Epstein wasn't exactly blessed by the high payroll left behind even though naysayers often chalk up the 2004 Red Sox team to high payroll moreso than Epstein's ability to spin gold from flax.

    Ortiz put up .272 BA/.339 OBP/.500 SLG numbers for the Twins in 2002 at age 26. He was coming into his "age-prime" seasons (generally age 27 to age 29) and had put up big time numbers in the minors while playing against players his own age (a big deal because many players can put up big numbers against younger competition). That was a calculated move. Even though Epstein knew that Ortiz couldn't play defense, he got Ortiz because of his offensive projections and got him for an incredibly low 1.25M.

    During that same pre-2004 period, Epstein also got Mike Timlin for less than 2M. He signed Bill Mueller for almost 1.5M less (2.1M) than the Cubs gave him the season before. Epstein picked up a rotation piece (Bronson Arroyo) off waivers from the Pirates for nothing. He stole Todd Walker from the Reds for a couple of chumps. He got Kevin Millar from the Marlins for virtually nothing (the Marlins wanted to sell him to the Japanese league). Ditto Gabe Kapler from the Rockies. Epstein swiped Scott Williamson from the Reds in exchange for a couple A-Ball arms.

    Then after the 2003 season, Epstein got Mark Bellhorn from the Rockies for pretty much nothing. He tossed Casey Fossum and suspects to the D'Backs to get Curt Schilling. He spent real money on Keith Foulke and got an incredible season from him. Epstein grabbed Curt Leskanic for nothing after KC (of all teams) gave up on him even though he had a history of solid performance. He wanted to improve the defense (and get a SS who could actually stay off the DL) to supplement the team and moved Nomar and a minor leaguer (Murton) and got a great defensive 1B (Mientkiewicz) and SS (Cabrera) for the stretch run. Epstein had to take some chances with the pen (due to injuries and inconsistency) and got Mike Myers off waivers from Seattle late in the season and he put up solid numbers.

    During the 2003 season, the combination of Ortiz, Mueller, Millar, and Walker (almost half the offense) cost the Red Sox only 8 million dollars. In 2004, we can replace Walker with Bellhorn and those four roster slots combined for a salary of about 10 million bucks.

    One thing that's lost of most fans is that even though the Red Sox have traditionally (recently at least) spent a lot of money, Theo Epstein didn't have a lot of money to spend because the majority of it was tied up in extreme contracts negotiated before he joined the club. If Epstein didn't have the ability to put together nearly half of a great offense on the cheap (and let's face it- a combo of Ortiz, Mueller, Millar, and Walker/Bellhorn for 10M bucks or less IS cheap), he wouldn't have been able to sign Foulke or trade for Schilling because he wouldn't have been able to absorb the 15+ million just those two players represented in 2004.

    Basically, Epstein knew a few things coming into 2003. First, he knew that high OBP offense was particularly undervalued. Second, he knew that he would have to spend real money for pitching. Third, he realized that the only way he could afford the pitching he needed was to save money by getting real values on the offensive side.

    David Ortiz and Co. wasn't an "accident'. Those signings were the result of a specific design.

    When Bill James was hired I throught it was a good move if the stats were deployed and scrutinized in a sensical manner, but I have to tell you I think the heads are growing at an alarming rate and the inmates think they've taken over the asylum. The is an old boys club that won't give it up that easily.
    And I haven't seen anything from the Red Sox that tell me they don't know what they've been doing during the Epstein/James/McCracken era. But I agree with you about the "old boys club". The irony, IMHO, is that the same "OBN" (Old Boys Network) has been trying to get their scouts to use more objective methodology when evaluating players (radar guns, standardized report language, etc.). And frankly, there's simply no objective rating system for scouts in most organizations. If you miss 99 times and then find Sammy Sosa, the OBN will remember you for being the guy to find Sammy Sosa. Heck, we've seen guys who's careers have been made by "hitting" on a single player while we never hear about the other 99% of players they've suggested who've never done a thing. We've also heard about guys who listened to said scout 100 out of 100 times without ever seeing the player but who are credited with "having a hand" in signing a player they would have never known about had the scout not recommended him.

    If I were that scout, I'd be scared too when some new-age guy took over my club because I might just assume that he'd actually (finally) be evaluating my ability- on an objective level- based on the percentage of players I've suggested that actually make a MLB contribution. If I were that executive, I'd be similarly worried that I'm going to be exposed. But at the same time, if I were good enough at finding those guys I wouldn't have to be worried about a thing. And that's really what it boils down to.

    If you're the best of the best at finding talent I'm not going to care about your methodology. But baseball has 30 General Managers and 30 Asst. General Managers and 30 Managers and 30 Directors of Scouting and innumerable scouts. Without the ability to analyze data, those GM's are completely reliant on how good their scouts are with subjective data because there's no way they can process, remember, and recall enough events from enough games to have anything resemling a clue as to what really happened.

    You and I both know that's a dangerous thing as a scout who lucks into a top guy (regardless of how many "misses" he has) is elevated to tenure status. How can you fire the guy who's credited with finding Sammy Sosa- regardless of how much garbage he told you to sign before or after? That's the question too many organizations answer with "We can't!" But all they're really doing is rolling dice. All they're doing is hoping that Omar Minaya has some kind of real skill other than throwing darts at a board while blindfolded. All they're doing is relying on Ed Wade's ability to hire the right people without knowing if Ed Wade has the ability to hire the right people.

    And we know that the OBN will surround themselves with guys they've worked with before regardless of how good they are. This is painfully obvious when you're a Reds' fan. Dan O'Brien used to work for Texas and so did Jerry Narron (who's now the manager) and Jerry Narron knows Bucky Dent really well so Dent is now the Bench Coach.

    And so it goes...
    Last edited by SteelSD; 11-13-2005, 11:53 PM.

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  • johncap
    replied
    Originally posted by SteelSD
    Unfortunately, the more traditional-minded folks are ill-equipped to enter into that sort of debate because they tend to lack an understanding of the stats and whatever methodology they're attempting to denigrate. In many cases, they won't even make an effort to understand statistical analysis because, after all, math is hard and change is difficult.
    When Kent Bottenfield-like decisions are no longer made I'll buy into this. In the meantime temper the "great moves" like David Ortiz (which was as much accident as stroke of genius) with a some of the bad ones. When Bill James was hired I throught it was a good move if the stats were deployed and scrutinized in a sensical manner, but I have to tell you I think the heads are growing at an alarming rate and the inmates think they've taken over the asylum. The is an old boys club that won't give it up that easily.

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