Worth Reading: God and .500

I found Tangotiger’s most recent post on what if every player in the majors leagues was exactly the same as something anyone who has the slightest interest in baseball analysis should read.

Suppose that God herself came to you and told you that she was going to do something devious: for the 2011 baseball season, every team would have 25 players of identical talent, with all 30 teams being equals.

We hoped you liked reading Worth Reading: God and .500 by David Appelman!

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David Appelman is the creator of FanGraphs.

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MikeS
Guest
MikeS

That was informative and fun. It’s really easy to forget what a big roll chance plays. Imagine what these numbers look like for a 16 game football season! As an interesting exercise for the math whizzes, how many games would each team have to play to get luck out of the equation and evaluate only talent. Wait, that’s impossible. There will always be some luck, even if it is just 1% of the outcome. So instead, can anybody post some numbers for how the standard deviation changes as the season gets longer? Maybe we should just play the WS every ten years to make sure that we are truly rewarding the only the best teams.

Jason
Guest
Jason

Which is what drives me nuts about almost all of football “analysis.” The writers and talking heads are willing to compeltely change their opinion of a team based on the results of a close game against another good team.

James
Guest
James

I agree. It’s maddening.

Padman Jones
Member

It is indeed maddening, and if James didn’t mean the ‘madden’ pun, then, unintentionally nice work. But when you’re dealing with 16 game seasons…you kind of *have* to change your opinion every week. I think this is why football is doing so well in today’s culture: they play once a week, and when they do play, the games are especially meaningful because they get so few chances to take the field. People get to form hyperbolic opinions and spout them off at top volume, and it somehow makes sense in the context of the game.

To be honest, I’m surprised Football Outsiders is getting the traction that they do; it seems like football is so poorly suited to advanced analysis, and yet they’re doing a remarkable job of it and getting recognized for it.

Jeremiah
Member
Jeremiah

The standard deviation for a binomial distribution is sqrt(n*p*(1-p)), where n is the number of trials (games) and p is the probability of a certain outcome (the “true talent” level). So, the standard deviation is proportional to the square root of games played.