Jan
11

Looking at defensive stats

By

The past two years have shown us that the latest market inefficiency in baseball is clearly defense. Actually, that’s incorrect. The last market inefficiency was defense, because now everyone is on to it and soon enough something else will be undervalued. Jack Zduriencik’s Seattle Mariners are the poster child for improving defense (even though Billy Beane beat him to it), as we watched his team improve by 24 wins in 2009 despite scoring 31 fewer runs than 2008. They went from a team that allowed 5.01 runs per game in 2008 to a team that allowed 4.27 runs per game in 2009, improving their run differential by a net of 88 runs.

Evaluating defense has come a long way from the days of fielding percentage and errors, as more advanced statistics can more precisely measure the difficulty of a play based on where and how hard the ball was hit. In a piece for MLB.com, Doug Miller chronicles all of the newfangled defensive stats being used today, speaking to both the developers of various defensive statistics as well as team officials. Allow me to excerpt at length:

One of the pioneers of these stats, “The Fielding Bible” author John Dewan, says it all seems complex, but it isn’t. Dewan’s main stats, the DRS metric and Plus/Minus, are the result of logical data culled from comprehensive, painstaking attention to detail throughout a Major League season.

Simply put, Dewan’s company, Baseball Info Solutions, has upwards of 2,000 “scouts” who pore over video of every game played in the course of a 162-game MLB season and track each batted ball, analyzing how hard the balls are hit, how close or far they are from each fielder deemed to be responsible for making the play, and the result of what said defender does.

Many factors go into the point totals, including adjustments for things like stadium dimensions, wall height and even the occasional bonus points for home-run-saving catches.

Successful plays are awarded with a positive point total, points are subtracted for perceived failures, and the scores are added up and equated to “runs saved” throughout a year. Dewan and most other defensive-stat purveyors tend to agree that 10 runs saved equals one win over the course of a season.

“For Boston last year at third base, for example, Mike Lowell, who was unable to move well because of injury, cost them 20 runs, and now they have Adrian Beltre, and he added about 20 runs,” Dewan explains. “Right there, the Red Sox have added four wins. Plus they’ve added three wins at short with Marco Scutaro and a couple more in the outfield with Mike Cameron. It’s a huge improvement.”

UZR, developed by Mitchel Lichtman, is similar to DRS in its variables such as park adjustment, and to Dewan’s Plus/Minus in the sense that its scores are based on how often each defensive player is better than average on balls hit into their specific “zones” on the field.

Gutierrez, for example, led baseball with a UZR score of 29.1, while Aaron Rowand of the San Francisco Giants was one of the lowest-ranked center fielders in the game with a UZR of 1.3.

“Gutierrez had as much to do with our success as anybody last year,” Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu said. “He made our outfield better, he made our pitching staff better, he made our whole club better.”

For Dewan, Lichtman and David Pinto, who came up with the similar PMR metric, watching the Mariners improve by 24 games gave strong evidence that these stats are legit and the old methods of ranking defense, fielding percentage and range factor, are becoming antiquated.

Of course, defensive stats are far from perfect, just like offensive and pitching stats aren’t perfect either. Moshe Mandel at TYU pointed out the uncertainty of UZR given the naturally small sample sizes of defensive chances (think about how many balls a given fielder actually makes a play on in a game), and suggests a weighted system based on about three years of data. Jeff Zimmerman at Beyond The Box Score used a similar system and four years data to create UZR projections for 2010, which project the Yanks’ to be a below average defensive team next year (disclaimer: this was long before any major moves were made this offseason).

The more information used to make an evaluation, the better. By no means should statistics replace scouts, because there’s far too much information stats can’t measure. A spreadsheet won’t tell you if a hitter is losing bat speed (though they could suggest it), nor will they tell you that the guy throwing 97 is at risk for injury because his mechanics are deeply flawed. However, at the same time a scout’s eye won’t tell you that Nick Swisher‘s down year in 2008 was a function of bad luck more so than declining skills.

The statistics born out of the game of baseball, just like the game itself, continue to evolve. What we have in UZR, +/-, RZR, PMR and the like are the most advanced defensive metrics ever available. They’re not perfect and they suffer from the same sample size issues as do the more traditional stats, but we’d be foolish to ignore them just because the don’t agree with what our eyes tell us. Like the dude from Memento said, “Memory can change the shape of a room; it can change the color of a car. And memories can be distorted. They’re just an interpretation, they’re not a record, and they’re irrelevant if you have the facts.” Statistics are facts.

Frankly, we’ve only seen the tip of the defensive metric iceberg, just wait until HitFX and this monster get fully implemented.

Photo Credit: David J. Phillip, AP

Categories : Analysis, Defense
  • Steve H

    It’s funny, here in Boston all of the Sox fans are pissed off about their offseason, and they expect me to give them crap about it. Then I tell them the Sox have a great offseason due to the huge defensive improvements, and they can’t tell if I’m screwing with them or not. A run saved=A run scored, any day of the week.

    Any thoughts on the next market inefficiency? I’m going grit myself, David Eckstein, for all of his grit and winning isn’t very well paid.

    • http://theyankeeu.com Moshe Mandel

      Health. Teams that get better at predicting and forecasting injuries can extract the most value from their dollars. There are injury databases that are springing up that teams should be using and improving on, to try and establish trends, etc

      • A.D.

        In what way? I’m not familiar with what the databases you’re referring to can do, but something like seeing mechanical flaws that are likely to lead to pitcher injuries?

        • http://theyankeeu.com Moshe Mandel

          Exactly. Also, analyzing whether certain types of injuries are likely to lead to further injury.

          • A.D.

            That makes sense, could be huge on predicting & prevention of shutting kids down. Providing some better basis than the more simple observations/rules such as the Verducci’s for young pitchers.

            • http://theyankeeu.com Moshe Mandel

              Right. I’ve actually spoken to a few people loosely associated with MLB clubs that say that some clubs are sniffing down this path, analyzing injuries to make the right decisions in talent procurement and talent cultivation.

    • Andy in Sunny Daytona

      Any thoughts on the next market inefficiency?

      Astrology.

      http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0079154/plotsummary

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

        Swishhawks.

    • jsbrendog

      ambidextrous pitching

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

      Baserunning!

      • A.D.

        I’d agree, especially since there are already some metrics out there which can evaluate base-running much like UZR & offensive metrics do.

      • http://theyankeeu.com Moshe Mandel

        I dont think there is enough disparity between the best and worse in this area for it to have a major impact.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

          Possibly why Mike included the exclamation point, I’d guess.

          • http://theyankeeu.com Moshe Mandel

            Ah. Well then, let me try.

            Using your best prospects as relief pitchers!!

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

      It’s funny, here in Boston all of the Sox fans are pissed off about their offseason, and they expect me to give them crap about it. Then I tell them the Sox have a great offseason due to the huge defensive improvements, and they can’t tell if I’m screwing with them or not. A run saved=A run scored, any day of the week.

      Maybe you should comfort them with some nice reassurances about Tom Brady and the Pats, who will probably steamroll the Ravens–

      AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAW, TOO SOON???????

      • Steve H

        Never too soon. It was a transition year for the Pats. As soon as Belichick traded Seymour for a pick 2 years out he admitted as much. They were a good but flawed team, not elite. Still have a few rings to fall back on. This Pats team actually reminds me of the 2008 Yankees, went with youth and if things worked out great, if not they get some experience going forward. Of course the Pats won’t load up like the 2009 Yankees, but the 2011 Pats should be a force (you know, if there is football).

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

          Just busting your chops. As I’m sure you’ll bust mine when Sanchez throws a few picks in the forthcoming loss to the Chargers.

          It’ll be close, though, methinks. We can run, they can’t stop the run. They can pass, but we can stop the pass. It won’t be a walkover.

          • Steve H

            Yeah, I think Jets would have had a better chance against the Colts than the Chargers, I’ll be stunned if they pull it out, though win the TO battle and they have a chance. It’s funny this Jets team is from another era, they would have a much better chance of winning it all even just 10 years ago, with #1 defense and #1 running offense. That used to the the absolute formula for success, now we have 51-45 playoff games and if you sneeze on a WR it’s pass interference.

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

              Meh, I like our offense v. the Chargers defense matchup more than I like the Colts matchup.

              • Steve H

                I think a physical team like the Jets can knock Manning off his game. People forget that Manning, other than 1 year (and he actually wasn’t very good the year they won), has been a pretty poor playoff QB, and I think if the Jets knocked him on his ass a few times early they could get to him. Rivers, who I used to hate, is one tough SOB, and their receivers are massive and are less likely to be knocked around.

    • Evilest Empire

      teh 8th inning!!!11!

    • Ed

      Any thoughts on the next market inefficiency?

      Supply and demand curves. Allow more players to reach the open market to reduce the bidding wars for less than ideal players.

      Abreu learned this lesson last year, and Damon is finding it out this year.

      We’re seeing free agent contracts become shorter, and teams are more aggressively non-tendering players. Expect that trend to continue.

      • A.D.

        Definitely have seen a change in contracts lately, more teams buying out early free agent years with their young stars, along with the financial mess giving GMs the excuse/need to push back on salaries for non superstars (Moore & Minaya signings aside).

        Next could be the superstars, Bay and Holliday just signed big deals when neither had a huge market of bidders (at least publicly), thus the teams seemingly out-bid themselves

        • Ed

          Next could be the superstars, Bay and Holliday just signed big deals when neither had a huge market of bidders (at least publicly), thus the teams seemingly out-bid themselves

          I’ve been waiting for that correction for a while. I first started pondering that when the Mets signed Beltran.

          That one came down to the Mets and Astros fighting it out. Back then, if you didn’t sign your own free agents by a certain date, you couldn’t resign them until May 1st. Boras took those negotiations down to the deadline, playing the Astros against the Mets.

          Boras called the Astros about 5 minutes before the deadline to resign Beltran and informed them he would be signing elsewhere. At that time, the Mets were offering significantly more than the Astros, but there was no agreement until a few days later.

          I’m baffled as to why the Mets didn’t reduce their offer the minute the Astros were no longer allowed to resign Beltran.

          • jsbrendog

            because their gm was steve phillips..was it not? or minaya……or duquette….either way there hasnt beena good gm there in decades

            • Ed

              I’m pretty sure that was Minaya.

              Anyway, “It’s the Mets” somewhat explains Beltran and Bay.

              Still leaves us wondering why Holliday got so much. I’m sure we could dig up plenty more examples if we tried.

  • Zack

    It’s appropriate that it’s a picture of Swisher. The guy who gets the most hate for ‘sucking’ in RF because fans remember a handful of bad players.

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

    The more information used to make an evaluation, the better. By no means should statistics replace scouts, because there’s far too much information stats can’t measure.

    And yet, these defensive stats are all merely the accumulation of thousands of individual scouting reports from thousands of individual plays. Defensive metrics aren’t the opposite of visual scouting, they’re more the validation and refinement of visual scouting.

    They take one scout and clone him so that he can see EVERYTHING on every play, and they take his scouting notes and compile them to a concise and simple figure.

    UZR, PMR, Dewan Plus/Minus: all nothing but good scouting

    • pete

      certainly true, but there are people who have a keener eye than others when it comes to evaluating defensive abilities. It’s always good to have an expert to cross-check your compiled reports with.

    • jsbrendog

      so youre saying that these stats are all just ocmpilations of facts that……people…have seen with their own eyes??

      ::head explodes, neck melts, and body reverts into gaseous state::

      • Tampa Yankee

        body reverts into gaseous state

        ::fart joke::

        • jsbrendog

          well played

  • Reggie C.

    Boston may have taken a step backwards in terms of instant offense (Jason Bay’s 36 HRs), but this post is making it pretty clear that Theo’s experimenting with runs prevention in the signings of Beltre, Cameron, and Scutaro. I’m not sure if runs prevention is under-valued as a FA strategy b/c these guys are older vets.

    Of the 3, the Beltre signing has the highest reward, lowest risk attached.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

      It should also be noted that one of these other Moneyballesque statistical revolutions is the greater attention paid to park effects.

      It would behoove Boston, in general, to seek out defensive plus guys who have doubles power but not necessarily homer power, because their friendly bandbox park turns decent hitters into great hitters.

      So, not only do they improve massively defensively by swapping Bay/Lowell for Cameron/Beltre, but Cameron and Beltre probably hit much better for Boston than they did for Milwaukee/Seattle. The perceived offensive dropoff is overstated. Their park dictates that their current strategy is the wisest one, all things considered.

      • Reggie C.

        I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw Beltre have a Lowell-like resurrection at the plate.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

          Short porch in right, close wall in left… hitter’s paradise. Turns the everyman into a superstar.

          Sincerely,
          Jim Rice

          • Steve H

            TCWF

      • radnom


        Their park dictates that their current strategy is the wisest one, all things considered.

        In regards to Beltre and Cameron, this is true. Looking at Elsbury in left compared to Bay, I think people are overating to benefit from the combined (very good) defensive outfield alignment the Sox will field. Considering their park, they would be better off (than other teams) with a masher in left who could not play as well defensively. Again, all relative to the rest of the league, because of their park.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

          Sure, I can see and accept that point.

          Manny and Ted Williams sure as hell worked out well for them.

          • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

            Well, to be fair, they didn’t win squat when they had Ted Williams roaming the outfield, maybe they should have looked for someone else.

            (kidding)

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

              Now that he’s off fighting the Krauts and Japs, the Red Sox will be better off without Teddy Ballgame’s me-first clubhouse selfishness.

              Sincerely,
              Ian O’Connor’s grandfather

              • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                Ha, well-done.

          • radnom

            Definitely.

            So the Sox’s offensive downgrade of Bay -> Cameron is being offset by the defensive upgrade of Ellsbury -> Cameron in CF (substantial) and Bay -> Ellsbury in LF (much less substantial, in part because of the park).

            I think it would be reasonable to say that the team’s outfield is worse in 2010, or at the very least that they did not substantially improve.

            • pete

              you literally just explained why their outfield would be at least as good as it was last year and then said it’s reasonable to say that it is worse in 2010…

              • radnom

                Not exactly.
                I’m saying that the defensive upgrade in left isn’t that great, and I’m not sure that the offensive difference between Bay and Cameron is the same size as the defensive difference between Ellsbury and Cameron. In fact, I don’t think it is.

  • G

    If the stats tells me Swisher is a “slightly below average” RFer but the scouts/humans tell me he is horrid in RF.

    i’m probably going to conclude that Swisher is probably a little worse than “slightly below average” because the computer can’t see the route he takes to the ball, or if he almost drops the ball, etc etc…which is most likely why the humans think he is bad…because of those actions that the stats can’t really grasp.

    • A.D.

      because the computer can’t see the route he takes to the ball, or if he almost drops the ball, etc etc…which is most likely why the humans think he is bad…because of those actions that the stats can’t really grasp.

      Well if he’s taking bad routes then he won’t make some catches that he should make (or peers would make) thus lowering him compared to the avg, so in that sense it is taken into account.

      Otherwise if he looks like he “almost drops the ball” sure their are no style points, but looking good making a play doesn’t make you a better defender, so there really shouldn’t be any points for that.

      • Free Mike Vick

        so know one should pick on Johnny Damon for having happy feet in LF anymore?

        • Free Mike Vick

          no*

        • http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20090810&content_id=6355462&vkey=news_nyy&fext=.jsp&c_id=nyy JobaWockeeZ

          The scouts still says he sucks.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

      because the computer can’t see the route he takes to the ball,

      The “computer” is nothing but a camera, viewed by a person. It sees what route he takes to the ball.

      Frankly, though, it doesn’t matter what route a guy takes to a ball. It only matters if he gets to the ball or not.

    • http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20090810&content_id=6355462&vkey=news_nyy&fext=.jsp&c_id=nyy JobaWockeeZ

      Which scouts says he’s horrid out there?

    • DP

      Also the computer can’t feel.

  • pete

    next market inefficiencies to come into vogue? baserunning? it almost feels like we’re running out

    • radnom

      How can you run out? Certain skills will probably come in/out of fashion as our knowledge of the game increases, just like always.

  • larryf

    Swish does have that 1″ vertical at the fence to snare those balls just over the fence :-) I also like his “wall-climber” move that never results in a catch….Let’s hope Grandy can cheat a bit to right center and worry more about Swish than Gritty in left.

  • Andy in Sunny Daytona

    Simply put, Dewan’s company, Baseball Info Solutions, has upwards of 2,000 “scouts” who pore over video of every game played in the course of a 162-game MLB season and track each batted ball, analyzing how hard the balls are hit, how close or far they are from each fielder deemed to be responsible for making the play, and the result of what said defender does.

    I call bullshit on this one.

    • radnom

      I thought that seemed a little intense. How the fuck can that possibly be profitable?

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

      Maybe Baseball Info Solutions is doing it sweatshop style.

      They pay thousands of Taiwanese pre-teens nine cents a day to watch sixteen hours of baseball games. They also make sneakers.

    • http://theyankeeu.com Moshe Mandel

      A large chunk of those are interns and unpaid volunteers, who think it is a good resume point for getting into baseball.

      • Andy in Sunny Daytona

        Like 1999 of them.

  • LarryM, FL.

    A player is the sum of his abilities which are the five tools. Swisher comes out horrid to the eye but slightly below average in the field. There is one thing about Nick Swisher. He’ll die trying to improve. I’m sure that ST will bring about an awareness and attempterd improvement to his fielding. He worked on his throwing last year after a few missiles to the plate. He apparently has had his session with Kevin Long to improve his hitting contact. So the guy will work at it.

    He gets under my skin at times but I know he tries. Now if we could get Robbie Cano to bust it out of the batter’s box.

    When the Yanks put Melky in LF, Gardner in CF and Swisher in RF. I felt comfortable that the ball would get caught and the players had the ability to hold runners. Damon did not have this ability. This why I don’t have a problem with our outfielf even minus Damon.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

      A player is the sum of his abilities which are the five tools.

      Yeah… no. There’s more than “five tools” that make up a baseball player. The five tools rubric is merely another antiquated baseball truism that’s not really true. It’s a saw of a simpler intellectual time.

      • Andy in Sunny Daytona

        You know who was NOT a 5 tool player? Helen Keller. She was a pretty fast runner though.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

          She always got her uniform dirty. Not really that surprising, if you think about it.

          • jsbrendog

            grit factors off the charts

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

              You should see her faceplant into the wall chasing down a popfly.

              Rowandesque.

        • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

          TSJC would have gotten along really well with Helen, that lefty-pinko moron.

          /SalBoGrantLanny’d

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

            (golfclap)

            I regularly engage in dangerous, immoral sex games with Nancy Pelosi. Her safe word is “conference committee”.

        • Tom Zig

          I’m laughing but I know I shouldn’t.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

            Go ahead, laugh it up… Helen’s not gonna hear you.

            • Steve H

              If you see lightning, please duck.

              • Andy in Sunny Daytona

                She wasn’t even a real person. She was a American propaganda gimmick used to help with the sale of collectable Alabama quarters.

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

                  Just like Bo Jackson.

                • Steve H

                  Bo Jackson KNOWS Helen Keller.

  • Guest

    The new system mentioned in the NY Times article seems fascinating. The comments under the article are intriguing as well. Lots of people complaining about stat-heads “draining all of the fun out of the game” etc., etc., blah, blah…

    I don’t understand how so many people just don’t get it. These new stats aren’t taking any of the magic away from the game at all. No amount of statistical precision will change the beauty of baseballs aesthetics. No matter how many defensive metrics we create, a sweet diving catch is now, and will always remain, a sweet diving catch.

    These statistical advances are there only to help us better understand the game we love and the value of the players who play it. They are adding another layer to the way we watch, analyze, and enjoy the sport without taking anything away from it.

    And if this argument doesn’t work for you, just ignore the stats and enjoy the whole “ignorance bliss” thing. Its a free country. But you better hope that the GM of your favorite team disagrees with you.

    • A.D.

      Yeah I’ve never gotten the stats are “ruining the game” personally I think they make it even more interesting, one is more informed about what they’re actually watching & you’re not reliant on the “analysis” provided by whomever is on the TV

      • jim p

        The only real annoyance with the new stats is that I have to be plugged in somewhere to see what, say, the league-average is in order to derive current changes. You don’t figure these things out on the fly in the middle of the game.

        I can see someone go 2-for-4 today, and if I’ve just looked at his record before the game I can figure out that his average went up 1 point today, or the pitcher’s era went up .5 today.

        So if that solar-storm comes along and knocks out the internet, we’re all just floating out there. Though of course, that’ll be the least of our problems.

    • http://theyankeeu.com Moshe Mandel

      Well said. I’ve been trying to put together something on this point, but you hit it perfectly.

      • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

        Co-sign. Amen, Guest.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

      But you better hope that the GM of your favorite team disagrees with you.

      That’s a great point.

      Many of the shittiest teams from the past few decades were the clubs run by front offices who hadn’t embraces sabermetrics. The holdouts, like the Pirates/Royals/Reds, etc.

      For all the complaining done by media members and fans about stats ruining the game, the teams who have embraced statistical evaluation have reaped the benefits in actual wins and losses. If you hate the modern statistical explosion, I hope you like to watch your team make bad contractual decisions and sit in last place.

    • Andy in Sunny Daytona

      It’s not a “sweet diving catch” if the player is out of position to begin with. From now on, a play can only be called a “sweet diving catch”, if said player is outside his designated UZR zone. Oh yeah, said player must also have the proper jump on the ball.

      /destroying joy’d

      • A.D.

        They only show highlights that are completely fundamentally sound…that is until they get rid of playing the game on the field, and instead you turn on the TV to watch excel calculate who would win the game statistically speaking.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

          It’s gonna be like watching the Matrix.

          • pete

            not the movie, but the actual matrix that dictates what “we” “know” as “the world”. in other words, moving green numbers on an outdated and black computer screen. It’s gonna be SICK

            • A.D.

              In HD, it will be NUTS

              • JGS

                watching from your mother’s basement really enhances the viewing experience

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

                  MA!

                  THE MEATLOAF! WE WANT IT!

                • JMK aka The Overshare’s Garden Apartment Complex

                  She doesn’t cook, I’ll have you know. I’ve been eating Baconators all winter.

      • pete

        moreover, what these new “statistics” hope to accomplish is to rid baseball of any form of diving catch, as players will simply sit where the ball, based on the new algorithms, will land. These statistics are going to affect the game down to singular plays, not merely how front offices evaluate contractual, draft, and trade scenarios based on broad samples of data.

        /not understanding how the game or the stats work’d

        • Andy in Sunny Daytona

          Actually, you could get rid of defensive players altogether. If a batter ball lands in the defensive allignment zone he is out. Scrap the hitters, and pitchers, for that matter.
          The owners will be able to save a shit load of money on not having actual players. It’s all CGI from now on, baby. James Cameron will be the new comissioner. It will be in 3D!!!

          • thurdonpaul

            do we eat fake hot-dogs and drink pretend beer too ?

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

              Soylent Green, I’d imagine.

            • JMK aka The Overshare’s Garden Apartment Complex

              Yeah, but you get to pay with Monopoly money. It’s all good.

              • JMK aka The Overshare’s Garden Apartment Complex

                I’m just receiving word that the last statement is incorrect. You still have to pay with legal US tender, but the concession items are still fake.

                Damn you, Selig!

                • thurdonpaul

                  so fake steaks, blowjobs and pussy tubing then too ?

    • Fan’s Commish

      The NY Times article shows us the future of defense. The answer is right there. Time and distance. how much reaction time did the fielder have, and how far did he need to range. I spoke at the PITCHf/x Summit in San Francisco. The new number for defense is going to be simple to compute. Divide time by distance and you will have the Holy Grail of Defense

  • Januz

    I majored in Finance and Minored in Economics, and my Concentration was in Applied Mathematics (Quantative Analysis, Business Economic Forecasting, Derivitive Applications etc) so I understand this stuff pretty well. The basic problem with stats, is you can manipulate your outcome, just by changing the variables. This is what TSJC tries to do by “Giving wins to Boston without even playing the game”. Are their certain trends you can follow? Yes there are. But I have seen enough sports (Particularly baseball) to know that certain guys fall in places like Boston (Or New York for that matter) due to on and off the field expectation levels, and until Cameron and (Or) Beltre succeed in Boston, I will not claim they will play better than they did in Milwaukee and Seattle.
    As a practical example of how stats can be very dececptive, look at yesterday’s Cardinals/Packers Game: Curt Warner was 29 of 33 for 379 yards and five touchdowns with a QB rating of 154.1 (With 158.3 being perfect (A number that you almost need to be an MIT grad to comprehend the logic of)). If you look at those numbers alone, you would say that game should be a blowout, instead of being a classic game that ended in overtime. In fact, the key play was a penalty that was NOT called on Arizona, that instead of a turnover, and game over, should have been a FIRST DOWN for Green Bay, and perhaps victory for the Packers. The human element, not calling a penalty mattered more in the final outcome more than an almost flawless statistical performance by Warner.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

      I majored in Finance and Minored in Economics, and my Concentration was in Applied Mathematics (Quantative Analysis, Business Economic Forecasting, Derivitive Applications etc) so I understand this stuff pretty well.

      You should have minored in English.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

        Wait, it got worse:

        As a practical example of how stats can be very dececptive, look at yesterday’s Cardinals/Packers Game: Curt Warner was 29 of 33 for 379 yards and five touchdowns with a QB rating of 154.1… If you look at those numbers alone, you would say that game should be a blowout, instead of being a classic game that ended in overtime.

        You should have double-minored in English and in Logic. Kurt Warner (with a K) was only one of two quarterbacks in the game.

        You can’t look at one team’s QB and say “Wow, he had a great day. They must have won big-time.” It doesn’t work that way, Januz. The other team gets to play offense as well.

        • JMK aka The Overshare’s Garden Apartment Complex

          Not the Raiders.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

            Technically speaking, the Raiders do play offense.

            In a related story, the Mets play baseball. Technically.

      • Januz

        I was actually very good in English. I had 2 semesters each of English Comp. and English Lit. (With a “B” in Lit 1 being my lowest grade).
        My point about stats being manipulated and over used is extremely valid, and if no one believes me ask the 2008 New England Patriots. This team dominated games in a way I have never seen in the NFL, but still did not win it all. Who is the eventual champion is what matters, not how they got there.

        • Steve H

          Your argument about the Pats is very flawed. It was a 1 game sample size. Even the most ardent Giants fans would admit, if they played 10 times, the Pats would have won 8. (Just like Pats-Rams in 2002).

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

            Januz, your argument about _________ is very flawed. It was a ______ sample size.

            (Just cut and paste that to your WordPad or sticky note application, so that you can paste it back next time you’ll need it. Saves you a bit of typing. You’ll thank me later.)

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

          What college did you go to?

          Lemme know… so I can be sure to not send my kids there.

    • JGS

      not really–you would look at Warner’s 154.1 and conclude that he had an excellent offensive game and that Arizona probably scored a lot of points, but it tells you nothing about the final score of the game because it says nothing about the other team scoring.

      By that logic, the 4/25 Yankees-Boston game should have been a blowout because Robinson Cano was 3-6 with 2 home runs and 5 RBIs and the Yankees scored 11 runs. As it happens, Boston scored 16 and won.

      • JMK aka The Overshare’s Garden Apartment Complex

        Worst game ever. And in some respects, best game ever.

        • JGS

          they did torch Josh Beckett, which is always fun to do

          fun fact: Sox starters career against the Yankees (ERA, WHIP)

          Lester–3.88, 1.377
          Beckett–5.33, 1.439
          Lackey–4.66, 1.534
          Dice-K–5.49, 1.561
          Buchholz–5.74, 1.723
          Wakefield–5.02, 1.433

          • Steve H

            Damn lies. Josh Beckett owns the Yankees.

            • JGS

              well, this is not including the postseason, where Josh Beckett morphs into an unbeatable pitching deity…except the last two years, when he has been pretty terrible

    • Steve H

      When did Curt Warner unretire, leave the Seahawks, and become a QB?

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

        Otter: Germans?
        Boon: Forget it, he’s rolling.

  • jim p

    ? Seattle’s run differential of 88 leads to 24 more wins? Has that 10 runs/1 win convention been statistically verified.

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