Re: Royals’ Bannister unafraid to do the math
It's interesting to see that, and I like the guy's comments, but I wouldn't necessarily think that saber-minded players can always actually put stuff into practice. Put another way, self-awareness and thinking about numbers might be a distraction.
Joe Morgan was one of the greatest obp guys in the mid 70's, and now he says obp is overrated.
Doug Glanville is an admitted strat-o-matic fiend, and knows the value of the walk. But as a player, he was a hacker and couldn't take enough of them for a low-power guy.
Lenny Dykstra, Rickey Henderson, and John McGraw did all the things that the stat heads value more than the average fan, but none of these guys were bright enough to tie their own shoes, let alone comprehend the math involved.
On the other hand, we know from "The Science of Hitting" that Ted Williams had a pretty acute mathematical awareness of what he had to do at the plate to be effective (i.e. breaking down the zones by batting average).
Nonetheless, I'll root for Bannister because I like the thinking-type players. A less heralded guy, similar to Bannister, was former Rockies/Mets reliever Jerry DiPoto. It was clear in his playing days that he understood and enjoyed baseball at a different intellectual level than his peers, and I'm not surprised that he's been swooped up into talented front offices (Red Sox, Diamondbacks) after retirement.
How, then, are those people of the future—who are taking steroids every day—going to look back on baseball players who used steroids? They're going to look back on them as pioneers. They're going to look back at it and say "So what?" - Bill James, Cooperstown and the 'Roids