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  1. could you specify which teams are lacking which branches?

    Comment by ussdavidprice — February 9, 2012 @ 11:08 am

  2. I would say outside of the Mets (financial) and Dodgers (financial, statistics), any team missing a branch is missing statistics.

    It would be a very interesting study to see if there are signs of teams neglecting scouting — maybe in Oakland? It is just much harder to analyze, what with me having no scouting chops.

    Comment by Bradley Woodrum — February 9, 2012 @ 11:11 am

  3. The “Business” end of baseball is the part we all tend to be in the dark on, and until you’re in a front office with hands on knowledge of where and why these decisions are being made, it’s incredibly hard to find reasoning. All we can do is look at player acquisitions/moves from a purely value standpoint but often times there are so many influences involved from marketing/PR, to ownership preferences, a million different point of views, and then the GM/scouting side.

    It does show you, however, when an organization like Toronto gets serious about bringing in someone who’s bright and trustworthy like Alex Anthopoulos and they hand him the keys, that a lot of great things can be done in a short period of time. The teams that don’t adapt are merely pissing away dollars whether they be hard dollars in the bank, or equity %’s left on the negotiating table.

    Comment by Bill King — February 9, 2012 @ 11:24 am

  4. So, basically sabermetrics is “everything baseball”. when a term means everything, it essentially means nothing. Now, at least, with this deifnition we cna claim that sabermetrics has taken over the world and every team does use sabermetrics as its guide.

    But, that’s not accurate. Sabermetrics primarily describes situations where teams use data analysis to guide decision-making versus the traditional methods of using scouting, observations, and perceptions. Or to get more nerdy, it’s using data-based performance evaluation over talent-evaluation and performance.

    To me calling everything ‘sabermetrics’ is cheating. I don;t think most consider scouting as being “sabermetrics”, and I would think that many would see them as polar opposites in definition and practice. I think I saw a movie not long ago that illustrated the conflict between scouting and sabermetrics, or data-based evaluation and analysis.

    Rather than look at the 3 branches as being part of sabermetrics, I would view sabermetrics as being a component of the 3 branches. sabermetrics is definitely, IMO, not the umbrella.


    It’s amazing how a few hires can drastically change the “stature” of an organization. Do we know whether HOU’s GM is even going to listen to the sabermetrically-inclined hires. Or is it going to be like many other facets of life where Mike Fast comes in with sound analytical cxonclusion based on mounds of data and research and someone’s going to replay (like a politician) and say “Well, my gut tells me differently.”?

    If we’re talking game strategy, player usage, etc I would move TEX down the list. There couldn’t be a less sabermetrically-inclined manager than Ron washington.

    Really, and I’m not saying this as an insult or anything, but I don;t we really have good ideas on what goes on in each front office, and this is more of an exercise in percepetion.

    Mostly, I wanted to object to naming the umbrella “sabermetrics”, when I consider it to be a gear in the machine, but not the machine itself.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — February 9, 2012 @ 11:43 am

  5. Glad you got the Astros high on there – Luhnow and the new owner have just added some cool positions to their staff that deal with sabermetrics.

    Comment by supershredder — February 9, 2012 @ 11:43 am

  6. It strikes me that the dodgers have been very active on the financial branch, exactly because of their difficulties. They’ve been backloading deals to lure free agents for the past 3 years for one thing. They also back loaded Kemp’s extension. Not sure if that qualifies, but frankly every team, every business makes strategic and analytical decisions with cash flow. I have to agree with just about everything said by circlechange above.

    Comment by Rob — February 9, 2012 @ 11:57 am

  7. agreed, with both parts. And reading your previous post, Bradley, I saw that a lot of the comments suggest that all front offices use quantitative analysis to some degree. For a team to adroitly utilize saber statistics (i.e. not scouting), we know the management hierarchy requires:

    1) A quant team that can proficiently collect and quantify data
    2) A gm and inner circle that can translate this data into player valuations, and apply it to the player market. i.e., make the most out of the resources at their disposal- money, current players and prospects, draft
    3) An on-field manager who efficiently allocates playing time and utilizes in-game strategy

    And we can really only see maybe one and a half of those things- we know what managers on the field do, we think we know based on interviews how competent front offices are. There is a lot that goes on closed doors.

    So my point is this: while I appreciate the article, Bradley, and can definitely appreciate the thought that goes into it, I don’t think it can be underscored enough that this article is 95% personal speculation, not the result of any sort of rigorous analysis, and not to be taken as anything close to fact or gospel. One of the stereotypical, yet somewhat accurate, complaints one hears about sabermetricians is that they are outsiders who focus on their statistical narrative with no real world context.

    It may set the sabermetric movement back fifty years if the community were to prematurely claim that the 56 win Astros are quantitative gurus!

    Comment by ussdavidprice — February 9, 2012 @ 12:05 pm

  8. When I think of sabermetrics I naturally think of Joe Morgan.

    Comment by AL Eastbound — February 9, 2012 @ 12:17 pm

  9. Brilliant. Loved it.

    Comment by WilliaminMaine — February 9, 2012 @ 12:26 pm

  10. In the end, how SABR a team is will come down to how much of what they do the self-described SABR writer agrees with.

    Comment by TK — February 9, 2012 @ 12:26 pm

  11. I would also like some explanation for why you believe Philly is a SABR team? I know you have them on the fence, but between their oldest-school Manager and their financial and personnel decisions (signing Papelbon and Howard; playing Ibanez at all much less over a quality player like Dom Brown), I really want to know. I don’t think you need to subscribe to SIERA or xFIP to think Halladay and Lee are good acquisitions.

    Comment by TK — February 9, 2012 @ 12:32 pm

  12. I had the same reaction. Metrics refer to to things that are measurable (i.e. can be assigned a number). Much of scouting is complementary to the measurable quantities. Defining sabermetrics too broadly renders it redundant. Many aspects of on field performance can be measured, as well as many aspects of business performance can be measured. Putting those two together into baseball value generation would probably be closer to a useful definition. I do applaud the effort to create a standard definition though, it would save a lot of pointless arguments.

    Comment by FFFFan — February 9, 2012 @ 12:32 pm

  13. You’re a linguist?!

    In what sense?

    Comment by mettle — February 9, 2012 @ 12:33 pm

  14. lol

    Comment by John — February 9, 2012 @ 12:34 pm

  15. I agree that the definition of sabermetrics used here is too broad. Sabermetrics has always been, and continue to be, the study of baseball statistics, which are necessarily observable and quantifiable.

    Front-office operations and scouting are neither of these.

    Comment by AdamM — February 9, 2012 @ 12:54 pm

  16. The flaw here, TK, is that you are making value judgments on the Phillies managerial and personnel decisions.

    By the way, could you let me know which quality Domonic Brown you are talking about, because I am clearly not familiar with him. I know a Domonic Brown who seems to excel in the minor leagues, but can’t hit water out of a boat in the major leagues and is sub-par defensively.

    Ibanez, of course, had a difficult to trade contract and was in the third year of a contract in which we knew he would vastly perform in year 3.

    For an article about sabermetrics, this comment seems more about perception than statistic.

    Comment by Toz — February 9, 2012 @ 12:55 pm

  17. Subject verb agreement ftw!

    Comment by Jack Weiland — February 9, 2012 @ 12:55 pm

  18. Yes, this is a very real danger. That is why I have asked for input from broad sources, but still, if someone tells me the Royals are super sabermetric, then I’m likely to disregard their input because I completely disagree.

    Is there a way around this problem? I dunno.

    Comment by Bradley Woodrum — February 9, 2012 @ 12:59 pm

  19. In an amateur sense.

    Comment by Bradley Woodrum — February 9, 2012 @ 1:00 pm

  20. I don’t know why Sabermetrics is complicated. It’s simple:it’s the application of rigorous, evidence-based decision making. That’s it. Sometimes that means stats; often it doesn’t.

    Comment by RMR — February 9, 2012 @ 1:04 pm

  21. I would be interested in learning how teams use sabermetrics to make decisions,

    Granted we have 2 major books, Moneyball and The Extra 2%, that detail how 2 teams use(d) sabermetrics, but how are teams like the Astros going to utilize MIke fast?

    AA and TOR are reputed to be heavily into sabermetrics, by how are they using it? Certainly teams didn;t need sabermetrics to know that Wells was over-paid, nor did they need sabermetrics to know that Bautista could be extended before he became a FA.?

    We know that certain teams used sabermetrics to target high OBP, low/med BA players with the idea that getting on base is under-valued.

    But, how are sabermetrics being used now? A lot of the small market teams are using sabermetrics because they have no choice in regards to big contracts to stars. They never “make that mistake” because it’s not an option.

    If we were to strip away all of the names of the players, teams, GM, etc and just look at talent and contracts, could we tell who is “sabermetric” or not?

    Comment by CircleChange11 — February 9, 2012 @ 1:07 pm

  22. Absolutely brilliant in stating sabermetrics is a work-in-progress; in a weird way it’s like the Constitution: always open to adaptation & interpretation

    Comment by Daniel Stern — February 9, 2012 @ 1:08 pm

  23. According to Bill James it is the search for objective baseball knowledge.

    Other definitions include the computerized measure of baseball statistics, and the analysis of baseball statistics.

    Regardless, we can’t just change the definition to fit whatever purpose.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — February 9, 2012 @ 1:10 pm

  24. Interesting, there doesnt seem to be a correlation of wins to how many branches of sabermetrics

    Comment by TD — February 9, 2012 @ 1:30 pm

  25. We may be in the dark about things on the business end, but we do have the ability to make reasonable assumptions. We can say with 100% accuracy that Vernon Wells does not bring in enough in ticket and merchandise sales to make up for his terrible on field play.

    Comment by Bill — February 9, 2012 @ 1:46 pm

  26. Saber-metrics can only be changed through a deliberately rigorous amendment process? I don’t see that.

    Comment by Bill — February 9, 2012 @ 1:51 pm

  27. I agree with circlechange. The author’s definition of “sabermetrics” is wrong. His definition is perhaps some ideal of what he would like “sabermetrics” to mean, but “sabermetrics” means, basically, “the correct usage of better statistics.”
    When the average ignorant fan raves against sabermetrics, he most certainly does not mean that baseball teams should not scout nor use business judgement.
    When I come to Fangraphs, I do not want to primarily see scouting reports and business discussions, though I do not object to having that mixed in with sabermetric results.

    Comment by Baltar — February 9, 2012 @ 1:51 pm

  28. I agree. At least in part, the use or lack thereof by the manager seems to be neglected in sabermetric ratings.
    I’m not quoting Bochy exactly, but he has in effect said that the Giants supply him with all kinds of numbers which he ignores. He will always play the veteran over the younger, better player, or let a player like Tejada talk him into letting him bat leadoff.

    Comment by Baltar — February 9, 2012 @ 2:04 pm

  29. But the Dodgers also threw a crap-ton of money at aging, mediocre to below-average veterans like Mark Guerrier, Juan Uribe, Dioner Navarro, Mark Ellis, Juan Rivera, Adam Kennedy, Mark Treanor, Aaron Harang, Chris Capuano, Mike MacDougal, and Todd Coffey. Not to mention signing an expensive free-agent pitcher immediately after he lost significant velocity on his fastball AND AFTER his MRI showed he had a partially torn rotator cuff (Jason Schmidt), signing an expensive but punchless outfielder with no arm, no on-base ability, and an average steal percentage (Juan Pierre), and an expensive, fat outfielder who hit .222 the season before (Andruw Jones).

    Comment by The Dude Abides — February 9, 2012 @ 2:19 pm

  30. Holy crap you actually believe there are teams that employ zero statisticians.

    Comment by regfairfield — February 9, 2012 @ 2:23 pm

  31. I’ll agree to support your addition of scouting to the Sabermetric umbrella, but only if you support directing all Fangraphs traffic to my website for a three month period. It’s in section 117.1b, on page 562.

    Comment by sc2gg — February 9, 2012 @ 2:24 pm

  32. “I know a Domonic Brown who seems to excel in the minor leagues, but can’t hit water out of a boat in the major leagues and is sub-par defensively.”

    This is the same Dom Brown who posted a wRC+ of 101 in the season during which he was recovering from a broken hamate injury?

    Comment by Richard — February 9, 2012 @ 2:28 pm

  33. Could I see the Org Chart of each team that you used to make these claims?

    Comment by Xeifrank — February 9, 2012 @ 2:44 pm

  34. No, just teams that employ zero statisticians who pay attention to stats other than AVG, HR, SB, Field%, W-L, IP, K, BB, and ERA.

    Comment by jorgath — February 9, 2012 @ 2:47 pm

  35. Off the top of my head, I would break baseball down into “Quantitative” and “Qualitative.” Both groups would include scouting/player development, team structure, salary structure, business, etc.

    There is qualitative scouting, e.g. “Lefty Five Tools has a quick, compact swing that will produce opposite field power.” There is quantitative scouting, e.g. “Freddy Fastball” has an average fastball velocity of 96 MPH and a swinging strike rate in the minors of 17.6%.”

    There is qualitative major league player evaluation, e.g. “Ken Clubhouse always keeps his teammates happy and focused on baseball.” There is quantitative major league player evaluation, e.g. “Sam Slugger” has a .393 wOBA over the past 3 years.

    There are qualitative business decisions, e.g. “Our marketing campaign needs to focus more on families.” There are quantitative business decisions, e.g. “Our rate of return on the new party deck is 14%.”

    I think sabermetrics applies to all the quantitative information pertaining to baseball operations, which would include scouting, player development, player evaluation, and even quantifiable medical information. I don’t think any of the qualitative information qualifies as sabermetrics. I don’t think any of the non-baseball quantitative information qualifies as sabermetrics either.

    Comment by Mr. Red — February 9, 2012 @ 2:47 pm

  36. Why stop there? The Dodgers’ mistakes are legion (though there are some good moves too that get less notice). What I was trying to say is that the “financial” branch is somewhat meaningless, or at least it’s not well defined in the OP. What organizations make no attempt to maximize revenues and be creative with their cash flows?

    Comment by Rob — February 9, 2012 @ 2:49 pm

  37. And in the last paragraph, I’m referring to scouting, player development, etc. that falls under the quantitative branch of baseball, not all scouting, player development, etc.

    Comment by Mr. Red — February 9, 2012 @ 2:49 pm

  38. No every team employs ridiculously smart people, down to the lowest level. Their scouts are well aware of anything that you can find on this site, let alone any kind of proprietary work their stats department may listen to. A team might not way the opinions of their scouts and their numbers guys equally but to think there’s a team that has no idea what FIP is just goes to show how unqualified anyone on this site is to write this article.

    Comment by regfairfield — February 9, 2012 @ 3:07 pm

  39. I see sabermetrics as the pursuit of baseball knowledge. Much in the way that economics encapsulates elements of finance, moral philosophy, statistics, and even human psychology, sabermetrics enfolds other disciplines into its own.

    Maybe sabermetrics isn’t the right term? Maybe it should be sabernomics?

    But saying what we do here at FanGraphs doesn’t encapsulate all three branches is incorrect. We have scouts, statistical geniuses, business experts, and Wild Cards (that’s me) employed at FanGraphs. Are we not a sabermetrics site?

    Comment by Bradley Woodrum — February 9, 2012 @ 3:19 pm

  40. How’s your evolution of Defense Independent Hitting stats going?

    Comment by channelclemente — February 9, 2012 @ 3:51 pm

  41. What intrigued me was the attempt by teams such as the A’s to reduce important, subjective data/impressions from scouting hand waving, to something numerical that can be analyzed objectively. Not a statistic, but a numerical parameter nonetheless. I know it’s not entirely kosher, but if you use the Rsquared determined in most regression models as an index, those models rarely explain more than 20-40% of the variance in a regressed parameter or collection of parameters. Somehow a model with an R squared of .25 doesn’t seem all that satisfying.

    Comment by channelclemente — February 9, 2012 @ 4:00 pm

  42. Didnt Baltimore just can their entire scouting dept?

    Comment by Peter R — February 9, 2012 @ 4:22 pm

  43. Unless you actually have real hard insight into each of the 30 teams decision-making structure, this is actually more about perception than statistics, in my opinion. That was basically my point.

    Comment by TK — February 9, 2012 @ 4:31 pm

  44. The fact that you do sabermetrics on this site doesn’t mean you exclusively do sabermetrics. Equating what is done at the site with sabermetrics is arbitrary.

    Sabermetrics definition is best focused on efforts to develop measurements, and statistics based on those measurements that explain wins on the field best. R-squared will never be 1, but the pusuit of 1 is central to sabermetrics.

    Comment by FFFFan — February 9, 2012 @ 4:45 pm

  45. Holy crap it was a hypothetical statement. No, I do not believe that — nor have I ever believed that.

    Comment by Bradley Woodrum — February 9, 2012 @ 5:19 pm

  46. I get it: You’re upset because I’m making claims I cannot viscerally prove. I wish I could prove them. Instead, I have built this list according to perceptions and community suggestions.

    I have tried to make it clear that these are based off of my own perceptions, however flawed. I wholeheartedly invite debate on the ordering — or whether there even can be ordering.

    I don’t mean to offend. Sorry.

    Comment by Bradley Woodrum — February 9, 2012 @ 5:26 pm

  47. Peter – I think it was their pro scouting department.

    I think most teams now split out amateur and pro scouting and I guess (?) the Orioles are just doing this with one organization now.

    Comment by Tom — February 9, 2012 @ 5:26 pm

  48. Apply “sabermetrics” to this (and no, I’m not trying to be cute)

    Create a measurable, quantifiable, data driven way of evaluating how teams pursue the various branches you’ve laid out in the article.

    What you seem to be basically doing is the “old school” gut feel approach of evaluating what you think a team is doing in each area… ironically something which sabermetrics is supposed to address.

    Comment by Tom — February 9, 2012 @ 5:43 pm

  49. Didn’t Bill James, the man who coined the term, define it as “the search for objective baseball knowledge” or something to that degree. Wouldn’t that throw out traditional “scouting” out the window.

    Comment by Keystone Heavy — February 9, 2012 @ 5:46 pm

  50. …Are you in a graduate program or something? What subfield?
    -real linguist

    Comment by delv — February 9, 2012 @ 8:52 pm

  51. Dodgers value increased from 430 million in 2004 to up to 2 billion (min 1.5 billion).

    Payroll increased 30% while revenues increased 35% since 2003. They also made the playoffs 4 times in 8 yrs.

    Seems a pretty good record to me.

    Also, the financial problems were manufactured by MLB. They blocked loans and a TV deal to force McCourt to sell (hoping to control the process). McCourt out manuevered them by declaring bankruptcy and getting the courts to enforce a process where the highest bid wins (preventing Bud from arranging a low bid winner).

    Comment by pft — February 9, 2012 @ 10:09 pm

  52. The Twins, up until a year ago, did not employ a statistician. Now they have a whole one. Rob Anthony, their assistant general manager, is on record not having the foggiest idea of what FIP is.

    Comment by I Agree Guy — February 9, 2012 @ 11:13 pm

  53. Manufactured by MLB? According to the most recent tabulation by the LA Times, the Dodgers are over $500 million dollars in debt. That’s really not the fault of the commissioner is it?
    From what I understand, Mr. Selig rejected a below-market TV deal with Fox that turned out to be valued at $1.7 billion rather than the $3 billion claimed by Frank McCourt.

    Otherwise, I thought this was a great article (though it did pain me to see my home team all by its lonesome in the 1 branch category).

    Comment by Fletch — February 10, 2012 @ 2:01 am

  54. You can stop being unsure about the Braves. We have a team President, John Schuerholz, who has publicly made mother’s basement jokes about sabermetrics. While sneering. And being absolutely serious.

    Comment by Snowman — February 10, 2012 @ 2:23 am

  55. KLaw has said on the Baseball Today podcast that Philly is one of the less sabermetric oriented teams actually.

    Comment by JC — February 10, 2012 @ 7:21 am

  56. “That is why I have asked for input from broad sources, but still, if someone tells me the Royals are super sabermetric, then I’m likely to disregard their input because I completely disagree.”

    So then the list is still your opinion, regardless of what input you receive? Or does the source matter (i.e. a highly regarded baseball insider vs. your neighbor)

    Comment by JC — February 10, 2012 @ 8:08 am

  57. Quoting from the piece: “I would like to reiterate (from the last piece) that these are merely my perceptions (coupled with community suggestions).”

    So yeah, a lot of this is my, we can say, opinion.

    Are you going to argue the Royals use statistics? There is a lot of gray area on that list, and I am willing to listen to the debate on that, but a lot of these teams are self-proclaimed stats-unfriendly.

    Comment by Bradley Woodrum — February 10, 2012 @ 9:34 am

  58. Sabernomics conjures up horrible memories of bad Jeff Francouer valuations. Please don’t call it that.

    Comment by azruavatar — February 10, 2012 @ 10:43 am

  59. Ok. I was more asking about this scenario: someone who you trust and respect tells you Team A (it doesn’t have to be the Royals) actually was more sabermetric than you believe. I know you said you weigh insider’s opinions more heavily, but still the possibility would exist that an insider tells yo one thing but you believe another. I was just curious on how you would deal with that given the apparent disconnect that would be there.

    “Are you going to argue the Royals use statistics?”

    I’m not in any position to really make that argument, but I think that all teams have their own versions of WAR or player value. These versions might be much different from FG or BR versions and might not be obvious to the outsiders who try to figure it out.

    To echo what others have said, I do think that this “umbrella” definition of sabermetrics is a bit misleading. I think scouting is probably distinct (at least in some regards) from true sabermetric analysis.

    Comment by JC — February 10, 2012 @ 10:45 am

  60. My background is biology. I could, somewhat accurately say, that Biology is “the quest for knowledge”. That would be correct and incorrect. In biology we do seek more knowledge, but not all quests for knowledge is biology.

    Biology is a gear in the machine of science. Likewise, sabermetrics is a gear in the machine of baseball.

    IMO what you did was rename the machine “sabermetrics”, and that’s not accurate.

    I do think that sabermetrics has an expanding role in all of the branches, but sabermetrics has to be more than jkust the traditional viewing and evaluating using stats and numbers, otherwise there’s no need for sabermetrics.

    Sabermetrics showed the world new ways of examining things by looking at more data, looking at better data, and formulating advanced metrics that were better representations of player performance.

    It Tampa bay’s model of running their team “sabermetrics” or “simply a finance business model applied to baseball?

    My hiccup is that we just cannot rename things “sabermetrics” and them treat them as such, no more than I can rename dolphins as fish and then act like that’s what they are.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — February 10, 2012 @ 10:51 am

  61. It is amazing that the player/person who might personally benefit most from sabermetric player valuation opposes it the most.

    IMHO, Joe Morgan is a great example og why sabermetric-friendly people need to temper what they say and how they say it. Rather than examine the contents of sabermetrics, too many non-saberists get hung up on aspects like sabermetrics saying scouts aren’t important or that computers can do a better job.

    I’m sure if you ask Joe Morgan is walks are important, he’s going to say yes. He used them very well in his career. I’m sure if you asked Joe Morgan if stolen base percentage is important, he’d say yes … with the idea that you have to steal safely a lot of the time or you’re hurting your team.

    But, that’s not what happened. All Joe Morgan heard was that Moneyball said computers were better than scouts and that baseball was full of idiots and the guys that never played anything more than fantasy baseball before now have all the answers.

    We’d sooner take financial advise from the homeless than believe that. non-players and managers know more about baseball that those that excelled at it for decades.

    We need to do a better job at explaining ourselves. When the player that perhaps personifies sabermetric principles better than any other player in history opposes sabermetrics that’s a “we” problem not a “they problem”. If we cannot convince Joe Morgan that so much of what he did is under-valued (walks, defense, SB%, power at 2B position, etc), even as a 2-time MVP, then we are failing at our communication.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — February 10, 2012 @ 11:00 am

  62. It’s like I said at the beginning: I was trying to define the present sabermetrics — not what Bill James called it 30 years ago (and, presumably, still calls it now).

    More specifically, I was trying to give a name to what we do here at Fangraphs. Is it baseball economics? Is it sabermetrics? Is Advanced Baseball Study? Really, I do not care which term we use — Bradleymetrics works fine :) — all I mean to say is that a successful team needs to have all three branches of my proposed definition of “sabermetrics.”

    Personally, I feel like sabermetrics has become the search for truth and knowledge in baseball, not necessarily the mathematics, or the proposed “objective search for truth.”

    To call any part of research objective is to put blinders on. Every researcher without fail brings in their own biases. This modernist attempt to “un-sex” ourselves — as Lady Macbeth would say — is a week excuse to be deceptive. By exposing our biases openly, we can offer better research. [/rant]

    Also… Dolphins are fish, right? Or are you saying they’ve changed that? #notabiologyguy

    Comment by Bradley Woodrum — February 10, 2012 @ 11:11 am

  63. In general, there are really only two teams I would probably not listen fellow peers about: The Cubs and the Rays. And that is only because I follow them so closely, and listen to their executives talk frequently.

    As for insiders, their opinion ALWAYS trumps my own, especially if they are fresh from the organization or currently working there. It’s almost impossible to get a TRUE feel for an organization from the outside. Yeah, it looks like Google is one of the greatest companies out there, but I’ve never talked to anyone who’s actually worked there.

    If Dayton Moore emails me to complain, saying he has a WAR/WARP database and that stats play a major role in Royals decision-making, I will red-faced-ly change his ranking.

    I would not be surprised to hear that every team in the league has some manner of stats databases. And that was something I failed to communicate properly in my previous piece.

    The issue here is whether or not stats play into the decision-making process. In the article above, I referred to this as analytical leverage. It’s a great term, and it makes me look smart, but more importantly, I think it captures the essence of the branches best.

    Comment by Bradley Woodrum — February 10, 2012 @ 11:20 am

  64. By saying “The issue here is whether or not stats play into the decision-making process” is almost the same thing as saying “some teams don’t make decisions based on stats.” I think we’d be pretty naive to think that teams don’t rely on their own stat people when making baseball decisions.

    My other question is: what decision making process are we talking about? Contracts? I see how advanced stats/sabermetrics can help that (even if we all won’t agree on the $/WAR framework it is obviously helpful when talking about contracts and signings).

    Prospect evaluation? I don’t see how sabermetrics impacts scouting to a high degree (obviously this is aside from k/9 etc) particularly at lower levels and high school. Going back to the Royals, despite their lack of sabery WAR based decisions, they still have a top 5 farm system).

    I think it’s just a difference of opinion on how we view everything. Though I don’t necessarily agree with he umbrella view, I think it was (and is) interesting to try to determine the more “far reaching” impacts the stats have.

    Comment by JC — February 10, 2012 @ 12:07 pm

  65. B,

    I agree for the most part and I am discussing far more than I am arguing.

    I do think, however, that sabermetrics is a rather narrow field/definition. I think that field of study is applied to a lot of diverse areas, but the process and definition is still quite narrow. It’s a tool that gets applies to lots of areas, but does not become those areas or encapsulate those areas.

    Almost always sabermetrics involves the application of advanced mathematics to large amounts of data. IMO. We see this instances where we oppose scenarios where the claim or statement isn’t “shown in the numbers”, such as lineup protection, bearing down, pitching to the score. We use sabermetric principles and methods to items to essentially assign a % of confirmation to the conclusion.

    If something isn’t available to be measured or quantified, we don’t mess with it … just as science doesn’t try to prove/disprove the existence of deities or items that cannot currently be identified.

    Sabermetrics, to me, is essentially applying the scientific method to analyzing aspects of baseball. That will include economic issues, player performance/projections, etc.

    I would say, however, due to the limitations of science and sabermetrics that sabermetrics must be limited to items that are quantifiable (nuumber crunching) … otherwise [1] sabermetrics starts branching into baseball philosophy, and [2] trying to address issues that cannot be resolved the way we traditionally view them.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — February 10, 2012 @ 1:06 pm

  66. I believe economics to be a huge part of sports but I don’t know if I would attribute any particular brand of it to professional baseball. Scouting and statistics are definitely melding into a field that would be best described as “baseball analysis” which can still be applied to other sports, although baseball in particular has a name for it and started the trend, famously through SABR. While good organizations like the Rays have strong data analysis that can be described through sabermetrics, they also have strong business analyisis. I just don’t think good business and economic awareness/efficiency is part of baseball analysis.

    Comment by dan — February 10, 2012 @ 2:10 pm

  67. I find it hard to see that you can so easily classify all the “Sabermetric Oriented Teams” as automatic three branch teams. There could be a team, like Oakland which you suggested, which may be a two branch team. So I do not see how you can so easily just call any organization which is statistically oriented to be an automatic three branch team. It is hard to confirm that any team uses all three branches business, scouting, and statistical unless your actually inside the organization. The list would be more objective if the categories were changed to “Scouting Minded” and “Statistically Minded” and “In Between teams”.

    Comment by Bo — February 13, 2012 @ 12:00 am

  68. I find it hard to see that you can so easily classify all the “Sabermetric Oriented Teams” as automatic three branch teams. There could be a team, like Oakland which you suggested, which may be a two branch team. So I do not see how you can so easily just call any organization which is statistically oriented to be an automatic three branch team. It is hard to confirm that any team uses all three branches business, scouting, and statistical unless your actually inside the organization. The list would be more objective if the categories were changed to “Scouting Minded” and “Statistically Minded” and “In Between teams.”

    Comment by Bo — February 13, 2012 @ 12:02 am

  69. Is there no objective value that you can get from scouting? You can determine speed, pitch velocity, and bat speed. Furthermore, you can determine build, height, and even mechanical approaches.

    And if you have in-game situations, you can scout reaction speed to balls in play, pitch recognition, tendencies, etc. The problem is that we have to make sure that scouts don’t get caught up in things that don’t matter, such as “the look in their eyes” and “competitive spirit”. It’s not to say that mental makeup isn’t important, it definitely is, it’s just that it’s hard to judge that from watching some kids play a game. Leave that part to the professionals.

    Comment by Tony M. Fernández — June 28, 2012 @ 8:26 pm

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