I dont agree with the blanker “they dont matter” statement; contextually there are certain things I believe that can be informative – I like to see how often guys are striking out, if expected speedsters are swiping bags, and to some degree homeruns. Would never base a draft decision solely on the data, but for example, I’m encouraged to see jennings has swiped 6 bags in the spring. doesnt change my projection or anything but gives me some degree of comfort
Can we please end this pointless debate? No data are meaningless.
Even if ST stats lack inferential value, which hasn’t been sufficiently explored, there there are still qualitative takeaways and contextual factors to consider.
ST stats are a quantitative reflection of how a player is performing. If a pitcher has 30 BB and 0 K in 30 IP do you really need to have watched every pitch to understand that the pitcher is struggling with command? Context then becomes important. Is he changing his mechanics? Trying a new pitch? Recovering from injury? Or is this a continuation of an issue from the year prior? These additional pieces of information help put the stats into context. We may not always not know the context but we often have a good idea.
ST stats are information. The more information you have, the better. To simply espouse a blanket “ST stats are meaningless” statement is ignorant and frankly annoying. If you don’t find value in ST statistics then ignore them.
While you’re having fun with your straw man I’d point to the moments of nuance in my piece. I was providing context and nowhere did I say that spring stats were meaningless. I even cited some from the box score.
I found the curveball thing the most interesting. That would be hard to quantify statistically and it’s noise in whatever you want to take away from spring numbers.
You probably responded before my qualifying reply. My comment wasn’t at all in response to your piece or directed at you. It was some annoyance carried over from another forum.
But I think you reinforced my point that context is important. The box score won’t tell you that Parker was working on his curveball but if you watched the game or follow the team closely you might have that additional information. Context gives ST stats more meaning at the individual level, especially at the individual game level, but if you start to look at the data as a whole it can be misleading and far too noisy to derive any meaning.
If it doesn’t change your projection then it does not matter. Statistically, we could care less if your are “comforted”.
Most of the cases pointed too by the believers smack of confirmation bias.
Comment by Pirates Hurdles — March 26, 2013 @ 4:44 pm
This is off course nonsense, since Jaker points out all the caveat variables that come along with these statistics. Show me any evidence of anything predictive on a large scale and then you can rant. Heck, show me something predictive on a small scale that holds up. Something like, the top 30 ST pitchers with highest walk rate and look at what happens.
Comment by Pirates Hurdles — March 26, 2013 @ 4:47 pm
“Context gives ST stats more meaning at the individual level, especially at the individual game level”
Prove it. We are all well aware of player X making adjustment Y leading to better ST number Z then when it counts nothing holds up. The opposite also often happens where player X is working on some thing Y and the results are poor in ST and it predicts nothing useful come April.
Comment by Pirates Hurdles — March 26, 2013 @ 4:51 pm
Its funny, this argument won’t even matter by the first week of April! The fantasy baseball season is 5+ months long!!!!
Comment by MLB Rainmaker — March 26, 2013 @ 5:10 pm
I think you’re missing the point of what I’m saying.
At an aggregate level, there’s too much noise in ST stats to take any meaning from them.
At the individual level, given context, we can better understand their ST stats. So as Eno points out, if a pitcher like Parker is only throwing curve balls despite getting lit up, we understand not to read too much into that start. If a pitcher however struggled with command for the last 3 months of last season and walks almost a batter per inning in every one of his ST starts (e.g., Ricky Romero) it tells us that command might be a real issue.
That’s all I’m saying.
And unfortunately that’s not something you can quantitatively prove. It’s proven qualitatively all the time by bubble players who have poor springs getting relegated to the minors for example.
Has anyone looked at The Baltimore Orioles Spring Stats. They have five outfielders Lew Ford, Steve Pearce, Chris Dickerson, Jason Pridie and Trayvon Robinson who have 41 to 44 plate appearances. All of them are non roster invitees and absolutely raking. All of them are hitting 300 or better and have an OPS of 889 to 1340. Meanwhile Adam Jones, Nick Markakis, Nate McLouth and Xavier Avery are really struggling. Spring stats absolutely don’t matter, never have.
The “all spring training stats are meaningless” references are ignorant. They ignore that they matter to the players trying to make a club, to FOs and fans and are to some degree informative as to expectations. They are not solid predictors of seasonal performances, which most people would agree with but to insist they are meaningless is simply hyperbole.