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Hooded Viper

Are Stats for Dorks?

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I am an intelligent person who makes a decent living and basically wonder why baseball fans have become dorks? I mean, I played in college and I read this site and I read all of the theories that are spewed and I respect the passion. What cracks me up are the guys who have never played a sport in their lives but because a certain stat drives a player that they refuse to trust their own eyes? Are we so stat driven that we just forget about instincts? I mean I can basically watch a player and know if they are good. Case in point, Bill Ripkin. Nothing about the man says he could play at the pro level but he did. Not at an allstar level but better than 90% of people in the world. My point is we get way to caught up in stats that we forget, sometimes, to watch the freakin player. Sometimes a guy is just good regardless of the stats. Pete Rose is anothter freak of nature. All I am saying is the stats tell us a lot but they never replace instincts or humanity. Just my 2 Cents.

Know what cracks me up? An O's fan who still can't spell 'Ripken.' I can understand, though, since it's not like the guy played around 2632 games in a row so none of us forgot how to spell the last name. ;)

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I do know this. If you get a hit 3 out of every 10 times you come to the plate, you are a good hitter.

Not necessarily. If your batting average on balls in play is too high, it could be likely that you are a lucky hitter and your batting average could be misleading. Especially if you are a free-swinger who makes a lot of contact but never walks; your average, and therefore your value and perceived ability, will fluctuate.

So if you get a hit three out of every ten times you come to the plate (which you likely mean as "at-bats", completely different from "times you come to the plate", also known as plate appearances), it means...you get a hit three out of every ten times you come to the plate.

;)

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Sportos, motorheads,geeks, sluts, pinheads, dweebies, wonkers, richies, they all adore them.

but you forgot.....

Rand: The knee-jerk bleeding heart liberals, sipping tea and playing patty-cake, those useless hippie potheads, those commie pinko leftists, the bunny-huggers, the pillow-biters...

Droz: Pillow-biters?

Rand: The butt pirates! And those beastly man haters! Tell those chicks to shave their pits and call me!

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I think statistics are easier to learn than scouting. There is certainly more of a how-to, teaching sort of perspective to how stats are applied to baseball than scouting on the internet. I also think it is easier for someone to pretend to understand statistical application than it is to pretend to use a scouting perspective.

In that sense, I think it also brings about a stigma against fans who did not play baseball or hang around the game for a long time. Those that do tend to have a better appreciation for scouting and what benefits it gives.

Anyway, I think often it creates an us vs them perspective, which is rarely useful. Both groups need to work together. Scouts need to verify the stats and to qualitative analyze things that stats seem incapable of addressing. Likewise stats help standardize and reduce bias in scouting.

Lots of good (and absolutely awful) stuff in this thread, but I think this is my favorite post.

From a certain perspective, it appears that a statistical approach to baseball analysis is an elitist circle that alienates outsiders. To me, the fundamentals of statistical analysis are much easier to grasp, teach, and learn than the fundamentals of scouting. I respect traditional scouting so much because it really takes an intuitive feel for the game mixed with lots of experience to do it right. I find it very, very difficult.

This is part of the reason that I tend to gravitate towards statistical analysis before scouting - because I see a clear and drawn out path to the conclusions it presents that should be comprehensible by anyone who wants to carefully think it through. There's room for lots of variance in opinion regarding what type of information or analysis to weigh heavily, but the reasoning for doing so should be logical and objective. I just naturally tend to pursue this type of approach because it makes sense to me.

In my mind, scouting is much more difficult. As I said before, it involves a combination of intuition and experience that I find admirable. I also find traditional scouting to be incredibly valuable (when done by people who are capable of adequately doing so).

So, in my mind, I tend to trust and pursue statistical analysis first because I honestly think it's easier (in that it demands solid logic to arrive at its conclusions). This is why it's easy for the lay person to latch onto statistical analysis.

Scouting, in my opinion, is much more difficult. Sound conclusions from good scouts are incredibly valuable, but much harder to find.

It's funny to me when people think of statistical analysis as being a sort of elitist approach, because I used to think of scouting as an exclusive old boys club. As I've learned some of the subtle nuances of scouting, I've been more discriminatory regarding the scouting sources I trust, but I have come to respect the art so much more. But I personally find it much easier to argue with someone who presents their arguments by basing them on statistics, because, either their logic is sound or it's unsound. I find it much more difficult to argue with someone who relies on their eyes. What can I say in rebuttal if subjective observations trump objective records?

This post is too long-winded. My main point is a safe one and a very political one, but I honestly believe it. There are many ways to gain knowledge and express information about a subject. In baseball, it would be foolish to discount any meaningful information. Baseball rats who understand the game and how to evaluate players provide incredibly valuable information that others can't. The best talent evaluators also look at objective facts and trends to help substantiate their observations and contextualize their assumptions. The best statistical analysts are not your average message board posters with baseball-reference tagged in their favorites, but those who actively attempt to observe and analyze the physical, mechanical aspect of the game in order to further understand their analysis of the recorded facts.

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Stats can be over valued IMO. We seem to defend a player we like with one line of stats and shoot a player down that we do not like with another. Stats only tell part of the story. They do not take injury history into account. There is no stat for a guy playing hurt or a pitcher taking one for the team when he has a bad outing. Charachter doesn't come into play when dealing with stats. There is no steriod stat, but someone should create one. Come up with a formula that deminishes a players production through statistics. That way you can see how Mark McGuire or Sammy Sosa compared to Ken Griffey Jr.

My favorite stat:

So and so is batting .600 with runners on second and third following a throwing error on a sacrifice bunt after the 8th inning while his is trailing by 4 runs or more.

I was watching the Ravens game this afternoon and they displayed a stat that made me laugh. The announcers said the Ravens needed to win the gave because their November opponents had the 4th highest winning percentage at something like .693. We were playing a team that was undeafeted and we needed to worry about teams with a .693 winning percentage? That stat should have mentioned the number of teams to win 9 or fewer games that went on to make it into the playoffs in the AFC over the last 15 years. The Ravens would have been 3-4 had they lost and could only have lost 2 games the rest of the way against Pitt (2), Cincy, Indy, and GB.

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Know what cracks me up? An O's fan who still can't spell 'Ripken.' I can understand, though, since it's not like the guy played around 2632 games in a row so none of us forgot how to spell the last name. ;)

Ouch, that is rediculous. Kind of like this whole thread:)

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The thread title literally made me laugh out loud when I saw this on the front page. Well done, Hooded Viper.

He's flaming?

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I should know the answer to this question but I don't. Has anyone ever done a study (that's been made public, that is) comparing the ability of minor league stats and minor league scouting reports to forecast future major league performance?

I mean, that's what we're really arguing about, isn't it? If you took every major league rookie's performance and ran a multiple regression of it on Clay Davenport's major-league equivalent translations of their minor league stats (or whatever state-of-the-art stat metric you prefer), AND on some numerical variable indicating the strength of scouting reports on the player while he was in the minors, what would you find? Do both have significant forecasting power, or is one much more informative than the other?

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I am an intelligent person who makes a decent living and basically wonder why baseball fans have become dorks? I mean, I played in college and I read this site and I read all of the theories that are spewed and I respect the passion. What cracks me up are the guys who have never played a sport in their lives but because a certain stat drives a player that they refuse to trust their own eyes? Are we so stat driven that we just forget about instincts? I mean I can basically watch a player and know if they are good. Case in point, Bill Ripkin. Nothing about the man says he could play at the pro level but he did. Not at an allstar level but better than 90% of people in the world. My point is we get way to caught up in stats that we forget, sometimes, to watch the freakin player. Sometimes a guy is just good regardless of the stats. Pete Rose is anothter freak of nature. All I am saying is the stats tell us a lot but they never replace instincts or humanity. Just my 2 Cents.

This post reflects my basic stance since I began posting here. Not only do some stats geeks not know what they are seeing on the field, they refuse to accept advice from those who do! Case in point, I used to post over on Sunspot and there was a raging debate at the time as to who should win the starting second base job - Roberts or Hairston. Most of the stats geeks over there favored Hairston and a small minority Roberts and this went on for days. Finally, I posted that not only was Roberts way, way WAY better than Hairston, I stated why this was the case and it was a NO BRAINER. I said just watch the two on the field and forget about the STATS. I said Roberts was a switch hitter who made better contact and played solid defense. Whereas Hairston fancied himself a home run hitter for some bizarre reason and consistently overswung. Furthermore, he was a hot dog on defense in that he tried to make a routine play look spectacular when it wasn't. He used to drive me nuts watching him as well as that stupid thing he did with flicking dust off his bat (he doesn't do any of this stupid stuff anymore but did it routinely as an Oriole).

Anyway, I was ridiculed, mocked, scorned, told that I was clueless, stupid, a moron, a buffoon, a troll, and had absolutely nothing to back up my position on any of this. I was hammered mercilessly and people wanted me banned for merely stating my observations as to who was the better player and should be the starter. Of course we all know how this turned out but some of these stats geeks (not all) are the ones who have no idea what they actually see when the game goes on. In fact, I wonder if they even watch it and if they do understand what skills are noticeable on the field. So your point is well made and taken.:clap3:

Edited by Old#5fan

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This post reflects my basic stance since I began posting here. Not only do some stats geeks not know what they are seeing on the field, they refuse to accept advice from those who do! Case in point, I used to post over on Sunspot and there was a raging debate at the time as to who should win the starting second base job - Roberts or Hairston. Most of the stats geeks over there favored Hairston and a small minority Roberts and this went on for days. Finally, I posted that not only was Roberts way, way WAY better than Hairston, I stated why this was the case and it was a NO BRAINER. I said just watch the two on the field and forget about the STATS. I said Roberts was a switch hitter who made better contact and played solid defense. Whereas Hairston fancied himself a home run hitter for some bizarre reason and consistently overswung. Furthermore, he was a hot dog on defense in that he tried to make a routine play look spectacular when it wasn't. He used to drive me nuts watching him as well as that stupid thing he did with flicking dust off his bat (he doesn't do any of this stupid stuff anymore but did it routinely as an Oriole).

Anyway, I was ridiculed, mocked, scorned, told that I was clueless, stupid, a moron, a buffoon, a troll, and had absolutely nothing to back up my position on any of this. I was hammered mercilessly and people wanted me banned for merely stating my observations as to who was the better player and should be the starter. Of course we all know how this turned out but some of these stats geeks (not all) are the ones who have no idea what they actually see when the game goes on. In fact, I wonder if they even watch it and if they do understand what skills are noticeable on the field. So your point is well made and taken.:clap3:

The problem is that by railing against the hard core stats explain everything sub-group . . . you miss out on when stats actually enhance the understanding of the game. There is a reason why every team employs statisticians.

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The problem is that by railing against the hard core stats explain everything sub-group . . . you miss out on when stats actually enhance the understanding of the game. There is a reason why every team employs statisticians.

I have no problem with stats but I do with those who act like they trump observation every time without fail, or isolating them to prove something when the opposite is the case. An example would be saying Brooks Robinson must have been a good baserunner because he rarely got picked off! :laughlol:

I also find if laughable the way so many of these stats gurus or geeks act in such an arrogant or snobbish manner towards others who are not enamored or overly impressed with stats.

The example of Billy Ripken is excellent in that every stats geek known to man would have predicted he would have zero chance of success at the major league level. Funny stuff - it really is!:laughlol::laughlol:

Also, for all the statistical guru's that post here nary a one picked up on how streaky a hitter Luke Scott is prior to his becoming an Oriole. However, many had him hitting thirty plus homers every year, same as Markakis based on stats. Again, pretty humorous stuff, as none of these predictions have come true.:laughlol: The point is nobody can predict anything accurately when it comes to baseball.

Edited by Old#5fan

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I have no problem with stats but I do with those who act like they trump observation every time without fail, or isolating them to prove something when the opposite is the case. An example would be saying Brooks Robinson must have been a good baserunner because he rarely got picked off! :laughlol:

I also find if laughable the way so many of these stats gurus or geeks act in such an arrogant or snobbish manner towards others who are not enamored or overly impressed with stats.

The example of Billy Ripken is excellent in that every stats geek known to man would have predicted he would have zero chance of success at the major league level. Funny stuff - it really is!:laughlol::laughlol:

Also, for all the statistical guru's that post here nary a one picked up on how streaky a hitter Luke Scott is prior to his becoming an Oriole. However, many had him hitting thirty plus homers every year, same as Markakis based on stats. Again, pretty humorous stuff, as none of these predictions have come true.:laughlol: The point is nobody can predict anything when it comes to baseball.

So....we should never use any type of statistical measure because it may in fact not predict the future.

Good to know.

I'll make sure to rely on you and your "eye." It's CLEARLY the best way to evaluate what's going on...after all you're right like 50% of the time. YES!

>>>>

Like you I also have a problem....mine is with self-centered maroons who've watched probably less than 1% of the baseball players who have ever played but are arrogant enough to think that they can compare a player they saw play a handful of times several decades ago with a modern player they've probably seen even less purely on memory and whimsy.

I like to try and collect as much neutral, unbiased, self-organizing data as possible to help confirm/disafirm my own subjective conclusions...and then react from there.

You like to watch the last inning of an all-star game and claim someone is superclutch based on that performance and a scattering of ABs you've seen, or just make note of their long stride.

To each his own I guess.

Edited by ejf1025
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