Sabermetrics Is Winning

This is a run expectancy matrix from the Cubs broadcast on Sunday. Cubs broadcaster Len Kasper has started a series featuring new advanced stats each Sunday, having already introduced the triple slash and BABIP.

This is the jumbotron at Minute Maid Park (glove slap to the Crawfishies). Pitch F/x mastermind and now Houston Astros employee Mike Fast alerted the universe to that lower left right item — an active run expectancy output.

The Astros now have a Twitter account dedicated to advanced analysis.

In April, the Rays broadcasters became the first broadcast team — according to the collective knowledge of the FanGraphs writers — to both present a WAR leaderboard as well as to define WAR and replacement level:

Sabermetrics is winning. It is beating the old, tired and untested notions of pre-1900 baseball — the bullying faith of fluctuations, of RBI and batting average, of wins, losses, and clutch.

You had a fair run, Old School, and you once meant everything to me and to broadcasters and to stadium scoreboards. So I dedicate this lovingly selected excerpt from John Donne’s “A Valediction Forbidding Mourning” to you, sweet old friend, as I say goodbye, possibly for a final time:

A VALEDICTION FORBIDDING MOURNING.
by John Donne

AS virtuous men pass mildly away,
    And whisper to their souls to go,
Whilst some of their sad friends do say,
    “Now his breath goes,” and some say, “No.”

So let us melt, and make no noise,
    No tear-floods, nor sigh-tempests move ;
‘Twere profanation of our joys
    To tell the laity our love.




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Bradley writes for FanGraphs and The Hardball Times. Follow him on Twitter @BradleyWoodrum.


19 Responses to “Sabermetrics Is Winning”

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  1. Baty says:

    I seem to remember him doing the same with the “triple slash” a while ago too. Len Kasper has done a nice job for a while throwing in “more advanced number” ways of thinking during broadcasts. Like it

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  2. Doug etetectdsaaga says:

    Len Kasper has been talking about WAR for over a year and a half, and the Cubs broadcast showed a leaderboard sometime last year. He gave a very nice explanation of what it tries to do some time last year and again this year. He tries very hard to be saber-friendly to the general baseball population, and it just took him until now to get Bob a little more entirely on board.

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  3. bluejays49 says:

    I seem to remember the Jays broadcast duo of Buck Martinez and Pat Tabler bringing WAR up last year. I don’t think they made a big deal of it, just showed a leaderboard and explained it for about five seconds.

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  4. Bryan says:

    Ok, chalk this up to Monday morning, but I spent way too much time looking for “that lower left item — an active run expectancy output”, which was actually on the lower right.

    Seriously considering becoming a Rays fan.

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  5. Chris K says:

    FWIW, Jon Miller once brought up Ultimate Zone Rating back when he and Morgan were calling SNB. After talking about a shortstop’s UZR, Morgan offered this gem:

    “Well I don’t know anything about zone ratings, but according to the eye test…”

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    • Jack says:

      Despite Joe Morgan’s hatred of stats, I actually sort of miss that pair. Not only was Miller awesome, but Joe Morgan provided the best quotes this side of Tim McCarver. In retrospect, I’d rather have them than the blandness that is Dan Shulman and Orel Hershiser.

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  6. hscer says:

    No, your other left.

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  7. Richy says:

    On a Mariners broadcast last year, Dave Simms tried to define a replacement level player for the non-saber audience – though unfortunately he thought it meant an “average” player.

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  8. Chris says:

    That’s the Stros jumbotron? Wow. Looks like a screen from MLB The Show.

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  9. Tony says:

    If I saw a run expectancy matrix on the Marlins telecast, I would probably pass out. Listening to Rich Waltz and Tommy Hutton is painful.

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  10. Nate says:

    Hooray for better numbers. It seems like when presented as on that JumboTron, even the masses could make sense of that info!

    Now if they would just start trimming the “Batter X is 1 for 8 lifetime against Pitcher Y” stuff. You know the masses are taking that as predictive!

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  11. jim says:

    this makes me happy

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    • Krog says:

      Seconded. I guess this is what makes us geeks, but run matrices, linear weights, pitch f/x charts, etc., are really cool and I’m glad they are being shared with a wider audience. Being able to think critically and use data to support arguments is a skill that more people need. The tools and methods of Sabermetrics have uses far beyond baseball.

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  12. Windu says:

    This just made my day.

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  13. MikeS says:

    Sabermetrics is winning because Sabermetrics is winning.

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  14. gryfyn1 says:

    Stats Sunday on the Cubs broadcast will cover “FIP” today.

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