Scouting Team FanGraphs

As a couple guys here have noted already, a significant portion of Team FanGraphs descended (literally, via iron bird) this past weekend upon the waterless dreamland that is Phoenix, Arizona.

The result was a super-good time, as we got to watch a whole bunch of baseball (including the Royals, twice!) and make a bunch of incredibly nerdy jokes that made on-lookers very jealous. If I have one complaint, it’s that my deluxe hotel room looked absolutely nothing like my mother’s basement, a fact I found incredibly disconcerting.

One thing that this past weekend allowed me to do is to get a better sense of the writers here — what greases their respective wheels, what gets their respective goats. It occurs to me that this sort of information might be of interest to our Wide Readership. Thus, I present here the scouting report for Team FanGraphs (or, for that portion of Team FanGraphs that made the trip).

How to evaluate a sabermetric blogger, though? That’s the question I asked myself — and which I think I’ve answered adequately, if not excellently. With deference to our scouting friends, I’ve decided to embrace the Five Tools framework. Here are the tools I believe are essential to the sabermetric blogger:

Number Stuff (NS) – Encompasses a few skills, including: database skills, math skills, player valuation skills, and (duh) nunchuck skills. I call it “stuff,” on account of my own rating in this tool is pretty bad — about a 30 or 35, probably.

Nerd Cred (NC) – Pale skin and glasses are important factors here, as is the possession of an advanced degree or some other nerdy non-baseball specialization.

Baseballing Cred (BC) – A measure of actual baseballing knowledge. A high-ish rating requires not only an encyclopedic knowledge of major leaguers, but also actual knowledge from the various horses’ mouths. For example, if you think Eric Byrnes will get starts against lefties, that’ll net you a 50 rating. If Tony Frigging Blengino tells you that Eric Byrnes will get starts against lefties, that’s closer to a 70 or 75.

Range (RA) – Maybe or maybe not overlapping with Nerd Cred, this measures the blogicator’s comfort in dealing with topics non-baseball. In particular, pop culture references are important here.

Want To (WT) – An assessment of the writer’s industry. Making multiple daily posts — that, or contributing to multiple sources — will help the blogicator’s rating in this category. The WT rating are generally high around here.

For each tool, I use the standard 20-80 scouting scale, a brief explanation of which you can read here via Erik Manning’s Prosect Primer at Future Redbirds:

The 20-80 Scale is a tool that is used to measure various aspects of a given player’s tools. The tools they measure would obviously vary by group. 50 would be considered to be MLB average, while a “plus” tool would be any tool that is graded at 60, and “plus-plus” would be rated 70 or higher.

It’s important to remember that (a) 50 is a good score, as it suggests that the writer in question has league-average skills for the tool in question and that (b) many FG-ers score in the above-average range because, well, they write for FanGraphs.

And with that, I present the much-ballyhooed Team FanGraphs Scouting Report. Mind you, these numbers aren’t set in stone (and Moore’s especially could take a dip if he keeps belittling my math skills), but intended more as a first pass.

Dave Allen, Heat Mapper

NS	NC	BC	RA	WT
75	70	55	70	70

Comments: Allen scores well across the board. His knowledge of film and music (he understood offhand references to both Paul Thomas Anderson and Pavement) gets him good Range numbers, and his frigging PhD in Ecology (with a mathematics focus) helps his Nerd Cred, too.
_____

David Appelman, Dark Overlord
NS	NC	BC	RA	WT
80	80	80	80	80

Comments: Appelman looks more like a Dark Overlord in person than he does on the internet. Also, he paid for a whole bunch of crap. He can have whatever scores he wants.
_____

Dave Cameron, Sworn Enemy
NS	NC	BC	RA	WT
70	65	75	40	80

Comments: Cameron has some pretty lofty numbers — as befits one of the giants of the sabermetric blogosphere — but gets killed in Range for admitting publicly that he doesn’t think Will Ferrell is funny. I mean, what the what is that about? His Nerd Cred is tough to figure. Yeah, he’s got that voice and that face, but the presence of the lovely and talented Mrs. Cameron problematizes things a bunch.
_____

Matthew Carruth, Ace of Database
NS	NC	BC	RA	WT
80	65	55	60	70

Comments: Doesn’t wear his glasses all the time, which really hurts his Nerd Cred. Literally eats SQL for breakfast, though, which drives his Number Stuff rating up. Also, I don’t know how to mark him down for it, but deserves some sort of penalty for making derisive comments about East Coast. I’ll get you, Carruth!
_____

Matt Klaassen, Philosophizer
NS	NC	BC	RA	WT
65	70	55	70	70

Comments: Joins Allen in the PhD crowd, with an even bigger RA factor, owing to the fact that said PhD involves a discipline in the humanities. Numbers Stuff rating is an already strong 65, with the likelihood of improving. Is kinda like the Brian Giles of sabermetric blogging, I’m thinking: got a late start, but has a high ceiling despite that fact.
_____

Brian Joura, Strong and Silent Type
NS	NC	BC	RA	WT
NA	NA	NA	NA	80

Comments: Joura had the huge task of representing for FanGraphs’ Polish triumvirate, as Joe Pawl and David Goleblahblah were unable to make the trip. That’s a big responsibility. Overall, Joura is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside a fantasy writer, which makes me reluctant to offer ratings on most of his tools. The one thing I was able to assess is his Want To: Joura led Team FanGraphs in spring training posts with three.
_____

Jack Moore, Math Snob
NS	NC	BC	RA	WT
75	60	55	65	70

Comments: I actually don’t know what Moore’s databasing skills are, but, apparently, he got a 5 on the AP Calc exam in his age-15 season. Also, while discussing optimal batted ball trajectory, he actually said, “It’s just trig, Carson.” Made a number of other math-related and smack-worthy comments, but made up for it by quoting Louis CK at random. Finally, Nerd Cred is hurt by fact that he plays actual baseball (even if he can’t handle my wiffle slider).
_____

Patrick Newman, NPB Expert
NS	NC	BC	RA	WT
55	60	70	70	70

Comments: Newman is encyclopedic about anything even remotely concerning Japanese baseball (including my dogg, Colby Lewis), which gets him a high BC rating. Plus, his ability to speak Japanese helps the RA rating However, like Cameron, the presence of the Mrs. really hurt his NC.
_____

Bryan Smith, Prospect Maven
NS	NC	BC	RA	WT
50	40	70	NA	70

Comments: Smith’s Nerd Cred is hard to figure. He has so much knowledge in his brain, but doesn’t wear glasses, has something like a tan, and wears his ballcap at an angle far too jaunty for the average nerd. Despite a dearth of math or database skills, gets an average Number Stuff rating for his recent prospect valuation posts.



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Carson Cistulli has just published a book of aphorisms called Spirited Ejaculations of a New Enthusiast.


Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
JD Sussman
Member
6 years 3 months ago

Is it bad to laugh out loud in class?

“I actually don’t know what Moore’s databasing skills are, but, apparently, he got a 5 on the AP Calc exam in his age-15 season.”

Yeah, that one got me.

Clark
Guest
Clark
6 years 3 months ago

How many million nerd points are earned just for thinking of the article topic?

Bradley Woodrum
Member
Member
6 years 3 months ago

I’d hope it earns around 60+.

Bradley Woodrum
Member
Member
6 years 3 months ago

Seriously, Cistulli, you’re paving the way in the burgeoning field of humormetrics research and quite possibly leading the league in :)%.

Bryz
Guest
6 years 3 months ago

More like :D%

syh
Member
syh
6 years 3 months ago

This was fantastic. Very entertaining. Sounds like you all had a good time.

That said, Carson, it’s only fair, the rest of the group needs to give you some grades.

Mike Silver
Guest
6 years 3 months ago

Hilarious stuff Carson.

Bryan Smith
Guest
Bryan Smith
6 years 3 months ago

Carson Cistulli, Poetic Podcaster

NS: 30
NC: 65
BC: 55
RA: 75
WT: 60

Carson might not know how to pronounce SQL or complete Jack Moore’s homework, but let’s be honest, he wrote the description of “Nerd Cred” describing his own appearance. Discounts earned for making those glasses hipster, though. He tries to deprecate his own Baseball Cred by constantly deferring and asking questions, but who else of our group loved Zack MacPhee BEFORE his home run? Who else hangs out with Rob Neyer? His range score is among the best in the group, seamlessly transitioning between dark humor and dark poetry. His Want To lags behind due to joining Twitter late and consuming Kiltlifters whilst blogging (and probably writing this post) on Sunday.

Patrick Newman
Member
6 years 3 months ago

My guys have Cistulli higher on both WT and NC.

jinaz
Guest
6 years 3 months ago

I miss Kiltlifter. Celebrated with one when the D-backs won the 2001 World Series, as well as when I graduated. Four Peaks, baby.
-j

syh
Member
syh
6 years 3 months ago

That’s what I’m talking about! Awesome Bryan (and everyone else below)

Kirkwood
Member
Kirkwood
6 years 3 months ago

As usual, Carson, I actually lol’d multiple times throughout your post. I was also gonna request a scouting report done on you, but Bryan Smith already got there. Great stuff.

DME
Guest
DME
6 years 3 months ago

Haha…where does an Economics degree land you on the NC/NS scale haha

Bradley Woodrum
Member
Member
6 years 3 months ago

Or a Masters in Econ?

LeeTro
Member
Member
LeeTro
6 years 3 months ago

I can confirm Jack’s AP score, since I was the youngest person to pass the AP Calc test at our high school before him. Second, I wouldn’t exactly call him a great athlete, though his effort of playing does hurt his score a bit.

Jack Moore
Guest
6 years 3 months ago

This is actually the best scouting report anybody that’s ever coached baseball at our high school has given me.

Resolution
Member
6 years 3 months ago

I’m having trouble finding where on the website I can enter my projections for the staff..

Brian Joura
Member
Member
6 years 3 months ago

I wrote four posts

Jake in Columbus
Guest
Jake in Columbus
6 years 3 months ago

Four Peaks has some darn good grub @ the brewpub too. I’ve been wanting to take in some spring training but it’s a bit bigger trip from Ohio since the Tribe switched locations. Any thoughts on an organized Fangraphs gathering or is it strictly by invite only?

M's Fan in CO Exile
Guest
M's Fan in CO Exile
6 years 3 months ago

I had the pleasure of sitting around a table with most of these folks (very briefly) during their visit to Phoenix. I can’t comment on the numbers above, but I will say that, in the wee hours of the night, these fine gentleman were working hard to get some content to the masses. Now that’s dedication. To watch the brain trust at work was something to behold. They were gracious hosts to my wife and I, even though most probably wondered what the hell we were doing in their hotel bar.

vivaelpujols
Guest
6 years 3 months ago

How the hell does Carruth have a higher NS than Allen? You don’t know shit Cistulli, this is why we need some stats instead of stupid subjective biases.

RonDom
Guest
RonDom
6 years 3 months ago

Nerds find Will Ferrel funny? I thought I was nerdy….

Reuben
Guest
6 years 3 months ago

Paul Thomas Anderson and Pavement don’t represent a particularly deep knowledge of films or music. When you guys are talking about Jacques Tati and 18th Dye, get back to me.

Otherwise, very enjoyable article.

CedarA
Member
CedarA
6 years 3 months ago

You’re the reason the sabr scene has a bad name

Reuben
Guest
6 years 3 months ago

I don’t have anything to do with the sabr scene. I have something to do with the music and film scene, see above.

Reuben
Guest
6 years 3 months ago

Though I guess I appreciate being the sole reason for anything. I guess my mom was wrong when she told me I was but a speck in a meaningless and entropic universe.

Jeffrey Gross
Member
6 years 3 months ago

Best. Post. Ever.

Gilbert
Guest
Gilbert
6 years 3 months ago

Start this going with other internet writers. See how this team stacks up against websites with multiple contributors.
FanGraphs poll for today:
Dave Studeman
Aaron Gleeman
Rich Lederer
Joe Posnanski
I hear BPro has already stolen this idea and now has NCAB (nerd cred above baseline) and WTORW (want to over replacement writer)

Matt Klaassen
Member
Member
6 years 3 months ago

To be fair, I hear they have internal studies that show that the estimator behind NCAB is more accurate than Carson’s simple NC because NCAB accounts for advanced degrees in a dynamic, rather than linear fashion.

Steve Balboni
Guest
Steve Balboni
6 years 3 months ago

Will Ferrell is not funny, except in ensemble movies when surrounded with talent.

Don’t mess with Poles, you can go to their church in LA for mass and then sit down to Schnitzel and beer.

I would think RA is negatively influenced by the presence of one or mopre girlfriends, NC positively influenced by wearing MLB jerseys (especially Brian Downing, Rafael Bournigal, Dennis Boyd or, dare I say, Steve Balboni), and NS is 80 for teh one guy everyone comes to with MS Excel questions.

joeiq
Guest
joeiq
5 years 10 months ago

I’m positive Eric Byrnes will not be starting against lefties.

C Riddle
Guest
C Riddle
5 years 8 months ago

Ok, this is just funny. Another well done post from a top-of-the-line baseball site.

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