Originally Posted by SI1020
I can't say what I want without opening up a giant can of worms. I'll just say that many businesses have lost both the arts of commons sense and evaluation. Particularly evaluation. You can never take a bloodless look at numbers no matter what your business is. It is so shorsighted and unproductive. As for Hawk, kittle will probably be right. Hawk could get steamrolled badly. It wouldn't make him wrong though.
Yeah, the premise that numbers don't lie is wildly false not just because peopel surrender professional judgment but because people are commonly looking at the wrong numbers. That's obviously true in business and in areas that are too political to get into. Sabermetrics isn't just about numbers, but it is about certain numbers being better than other numbers.
It started with metalurgy engineer Earnshaw Cook trying to show statisticlly what he believed, that Ty Cobb was better than Babe Ruth, writing a book that changed the way many look at baseball and gaining disciples that led to many believing they can rely on numbers to judge talent, not just in arguments over who had the better season or career, but who will have the better game, season or career. (By the way, getting back to a discussion a few weeks ago, has anyone looked at Jason Heyward's numbers lately?) The problem is, there is a lot of chaos theory that applies in baseball. There are adjustments on both offense and defense. There are hamstrings and hamate bones. There are short porches and triples alleys.
I read Cook a long time ago and understood what he was saying, and it influenced my belief that if I were the Astros in Game 4 in the 2005 World Series, I wouldn't have bunted the runner over in the ninth. But I would have bunted with Gillaspie in the ninth yesterday, and I was surprised Ventura didn't. The only thing I can figure is he knew more about the situation than I did. If I were Ventura, oreany other manager, I would know, at least hope to know a lot more than the isolated percentages of a situation before I make a decision. If I were a general manager, I would hope to know a lot more that a player's OPS before signing him to a contract, and I'm not talking about his WAR.
This isn't simply because once you get past organic statistics, simple raw numbers and averages, your numbers are getting more abstract. In some cases the sabermetrics people are ignoring organic stats because htey have decided they are unimportant. But how can you ignore Adam Dunn's batting average be unimportant? He is supposed to be an RBI man. He is supposed to be a run producer. You want him to hit with runners in scoring position. You put him in a spot in the order where he can drive in runs. You give him protection in the lineup so pitchers will pitch to him with runners in scoring position. Last year, he was the least likely to get a hit with a runner in scoring posiiton among players with more than a few opportunies on the White Sox, AND he led the White Sox in coming up with runners in scoring position. This year, no one on the White Sox has come up more times with runners in scoring position than Adam Dunn, and he is sub-.100 RISP man. Last year he came up with moe than 30 runners on third and less than two outs -- a deep fly or a ground ball into the shift will do -- and drove in fewer than 10, although Dewayne Wise robbed him in one such situation by being thrown out at third on what otherwise woudl have been a sacriice fly. Such facts should be statistically significant.
Don't tell me about his home runs if he's averaging less than two a week and he isn't doing anything else. Don't tell me about his OPS compared to someone eles's OPS. If you're watching the game, you can see Dunn has been a dismal failure in what he was signed to do, and that is ignoring his season before he was named the AL Comeback Player of the Year.
There was one early stats book, I don't think it was Cook's, that proposed the best batting order would place hitters in descending order based on their on-base percentages. Of course, that ignores that on-base percentages have a lot to do with where hitters hit in the order, who is hitting behind them and even who is on base in fronto of them. Here'w an idea. Let's lead off Swisher because he walks so much and watch him fail. Baseball is a game of role-players. It's a team sport where different players have diferent jobs. Winning is about execution. There are a lot of people who believe that sabermetrics misses the point becuase in their statistical analysis and what they choose to look at they limit what they see in the game.
I have found sabermetrics more popular among people who didn't play the game, although there are a few notable exceptions. In the end, debate on the topic is not going to change any minds. I'm not a Ken Harrelson fan, but I just hope he doesn't embarrass himself.