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Orioles are analytics "believers"

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Interesting article by Ben Baumer ranking the extent to which major league teams rely on analytics. He gave five groups: all in, believers, one foot in, skeptics, and non-believers. The O's fit in the believer category:

Baltimore has a long history with respect to analytics. In 1964, Johns Hopkins engineering professor Earnshaw Cook published the innovative book "Percentage Baseball." In subsequent years, Orioles manager Earl Weaver and front office executive Eddie Epstein were also pioneers in the use of analytics.

That tradition lives on with GM Dan Duquette (for the time being), manager Buck Showalter and pitching coordinator Rick Peterson, all of whom are respected for their analytical thinking.

Behind the scenes, Duquette is advised on player moves by consultant Stephen J.K. Walters, a sports economist at nearby Loyola University Maryland. A longtime confidante of Duquette, Walters has written several papers on baseball, including an analysis of the rate of return on draft picks. Clearly, Duquette believes that Walters' proprietary sabermetric methods give him a leg up on other GMs.

In the office, Sarah Gelles -- like Duquette a part of the strong Amherst College pipeline -- oversees the O's analytics department, which reaches into both pro scouting and video advance scouting. Gelles built the Orioles' database from scratch, and the team has added Kevin Tenenbaum -- a math-econ major who wrote research papers with Dave Allen at Middlebury College -- and Pat DiGregory in the past year.

While the Orioles have the analytics talent and mindset to qualify as believers, they need a more coherent, holistic approach and a stronger investment to compete with division rivals Tampa Bay, Boston and New York.

http://espn.go.com/espn/feature/story/_/id/12331388/the-great-analytics-rankings#mlb-bal

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While the Orioles have the analytics talent and mindset to qualify as believers, they need a more coherent, holistic approach and a stronger investment to compete with division rivals Tampa Bay, Boston and New York.

The MFY strike me as an organization that doesn't much rely on analytics.

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The MFY strike me as an organization that doesn't much rely on analytics.

I don't think he's saying they do, just that for us to compete against them we will have to a more "holistic and coherent approach", whatever that means. But my question to that is how does he know they aren't using one now? I mean they are winning in a heavy spending division when all the experts have them pegged for last place every season. So they are using the numbers to their advantage in some way it just may not be a traditional analytics approach. At least not now anyway.

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I am uncertain that they know the word.

Not true at all. First of all, consider what the article had to say (the Yankees were in the "all in" category):

The Yankees were known for tumult during much of the George Steinbrenner era but have had a remarkably stable front office in recent years, with GM Brian Cashman serving since 1998, analytics director turned assistant GM Michael Fishman since 2005 and manager Joe Girardi since 2008.

Cashman has boasted of having 14 analytics staffers in addition to Fishman, who consults with Girardi before each series. Cashman's public comments -- such as his invocation of Chase Headley's muzzle velocities -- reveal the integration of analytical information into his decision making.

The current staff includes Scott Benecke, who holds a Ph.D. in applied statistics, three other research analysts, four developers and several interns. The Yankees' nearly unlimited ability to spend on players extends to the front office as well.

Whether the Yankees use sabermetrics consistently enough has been questioned, in part because of some huge contracts providing minimal return between the lines. It's a fair critique when a team that spends like the Yankees misses the playoffs in consecutive seasons. At the same time, the Bombers are playing a bit of a different game, chasing both star talent at high marginal cost and World Series titles, and have posted 22 consecutive winning seasons and counting while doing so.

As they move into the future, the Yankees appear poised, with their large, deep staff, to adapt quickly as new tracking data comes to the fore.

I have a friend who is a fairly senior economist at the Federal Reserve, and his son is completing a math/engineering degree jointly administered by Oberlin College and Columbia University. Not exactly a lightweight. He is a huge Yankees fan and interviewed for an internship in their analytics department last summer, but was turned down. They are very selective in who they hire.

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Thanks for posting.

I would think that a team that is "all in" on analytics on would rely significantly on them in making player personnel decisions. It's hard for me to believe that's true of the NYY, even if they have 14 -- or 114 -- analytics staffers. (Are they counting George Costanza?) Maybe the NYY are recent converts, or maybe the "all in" rating is based on Girardi's use of that staff in making lineup and game decisions, rather than on the decisions by which his $210 million-or-so-team was put together.

Like others, I have no clue what it means to say that the Orioles "need a more coherent, holistic approach." In my view, enlightened users of analytics combine the outputs of those analyses with other sources of information and judgments in a variety of ways that may not seem "coherent" precisely because they involve those varying mixtures. As for a "stronger investment," this is an area where the Orioles may justifiably believe they can compete while spending less than their better-heeled rivals, and that at the margin their dollars are better spent on things like scouting and player development.

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I think whatever approach the Orioles have it is working. The Yankees have employed the same strategy for years, big money free agents and salary dump trades, rinse, repeat.

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Interesting article by Ben Baumer ranking the extent to which major league teams rely on analytics. He gave five groups: all in, believers, one foot in, skeptics, and non-believers. The O's fit in the believer category:

http://espn.go.com/espn/feature/story/_/id/12331388/the-great-analytics-rankings#mlb-bal

After three years of winning seasons and a division championship last year, I just can't help but be offended that we still need x or y thing to "be able to compete."

Like, my man, it already happened.

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I just can't help but be offended that we still need x or y thing to "be able to compete."

Like, my man, it already happened.

So 2011.

It's the Yankees and the Red Sox that need to learn our way. We are the top AL team in wins the last the seasons and number 2 in all of baseball.

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After three years of winning seasons and a division championship last year, I just can't help but be offended that we still need x or y thing to "be able to compete."

Like, my man, it already happened.

Like Man, It already Happened. My new location.

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So 2011.

It's the Yankees and the Red Sox that need to learn our way. We are the top AL team in wins the last the seasons and number 2 in all of baseball.

I'm going to be a bit contrarian here. First, I think by and large the Red Sox have been a well run organization over the years, and the fact that they finished last 2 years out of the last three (winning a World Series in the middle) doesn't change that. They have a good farm system and have made their fair share of good moves over the years. As to the Yankees, I can't say they've been that well run in recent years, but considering that they've only missed the playoffs three times in the last 20 years or so, and have had a winning record every single year in that stretch, I'd say they've been run intelligently enough considering the enormous resources they can bring to bear to overcome mistakes.

I'm very happy with how the last three years have gone for us, and I expect us to be very competitive this year too. But I don't think we should have too much hubris about making the playoffs twice in three years. There's going to be a lot of change in the next 2 seasons and I have no idea how things may look for us at the end of 2016. If you'd told me at the end of the 1997 season that we were about to endure 14 straight losing seasons, I would have laughed you out of the room.

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If you'd told me at the end of the 1997 season that we were about to endure 14 straight losing seasons, I would have laughed you out of the room.

Like Man, It already Happened.

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I'm going to be a bit contrarian here. First, I think by and large the Red Sox have been a well run organization over the years, and the fact that they finished last 2 years out of the last three (winning a World Series in the middle) doesn't change that. They have a good farm system and have made their fair share of good moves over the years. As to the Yankees, I can't say they've been that well run in recent years, but considering that they've only missed the playoffs three times in the last 20 years or so, and have had a winning record every single year in that stretch, I'd say they've been run intelligently enough considering the enormous resources they can bring to bear to overcome mistakes.

I'm very happy with how the last three years have gone for us, and I expect us to be very competitive this year too. But I don't think we should have too much hubris about making the playoffs twice in three years. There's going to be a lot of change in the next 2 seasons and I have no idea how things may look for us at the end of 2016. If you'd told me at the end of the 1997 season that we were about to endure 14 straight losing seasons, I would have laughed you out of the room.

I do agree, but my point is not that we are "set" for eternity. My point is the language "to be able." We are able, both recently and for the time being.

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