I did not make up that headline. I believe it, but other people have said it before me. Stats can tell you some things, scouting a player can tell you others. Some people take either extreme, but I think that for the most part we understand that both are necessary components of the game. Keith Law demonstrated this today. He revealed his Cy Young ballot and presented his rationale for picking Tim Lincecum.
Lincecum led the NL in FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching) and WAR (Wins Above Replacement), both of which normalize a pitcher’s stats to account for the help he received from his defense, and he led both categories by wide margins. He also led the NL in VORP, which adjusts for park but not for defense, by a narrow margin.
Law was trained as a scout during his tenure in Toronto, and continues to act in that capacity today for Scouts, Inc./ESPN. Yet he uses advanced metrics in justifying his ballot. He understands the value of both, because he’s familiar with the benefits of both. I wish there were more writers like that.