Originally Posted by princeton
if you can figure out a tip, then you can figure out the stats part -- does your batter get on base more than 40 percent of the time against good pitching? Does he K less than a quarter of the time? Does your pitcher K a batter an inning, walk less than three a game against good competition?
And yet, if you went out player hunting with your eyes, a tip chart, and the criteria you listed above, you'd be ruling out many significant viable candidates for your team. You might not realize why that's true, but it is.
It's unfortunate that much of the current debate degenerates into the kind of drivel spouted by "Baseball Executive". It's also disappointing to see a continued thrust into the realm of "statistical analysis is easy". It's not, but we continue to see that contention in print while your local "Baseball Executive" grabs a Tony Womack for "Win-Efficient" negative Run Scoring. Oh, and the KC Royals still exist.
And yet, we continue to hear that statistical analysis is easy. All that's telling us is that there are a TON of folks drawing scouting and front office MLB paychecks who are too dumb to figure out that which you think you learned in half an hour. But then, it appears that you'd eliminate batters from consideration if they K more than once every four AB, so your half hour was less productive than it could have been. No mention of the importance of OBP composition. No identification that ground ball rates don't necessarily equate with HR propensity. Sorry, princeton. Those kind of mistakes are all too typical of the "stats are easy" crowd.
"Baseball Executive's" opinion divergence comment was another example of common rhetoric you'll hear from folks who have no understanding of appropriate statistical modeling and application. Just another attempt to debase that which they don't understand while, at the same time, trying to tell us that they're able to- as a group- do the same thing the "statheads" can do. It's a "well, duh" commentary that don't make sense.
I'd love to have the following conversation:
Baseball Executive: "The stathead crowd does not have opinion divergence."
Me: "Depends on what you mean. Let's face it- at some point facts are facts and if you get a bunch of smart people in a room, they'll generally agree on the facts."
Baseball Executive: "Well, duh! Of course you all like high OBP power hitters who stay healthy. We all do too. That ain't hard!"
Me: "So, if you like all the same players we do, wouldn't that mean you have your own opinion divergence problem? And if we all agree on good player versus bad player, why are you arguing?"
Baseball Executive: "Well, the reality is that there's never been that much difference between the guys that the scouts like, and the guys that the statheads like. It's really just a question of degree."
Me: "Oh, sure. I completely understand. It's why you guys pay crappy players millions of dollars to play baseball when we wouldn't."
<End conversation as Steel dodges a fist>
But that's the nuts and bolts of it. The more rhetoric tossed out there by the "Baseball Executive", the more warped and ridiculous the words get. Illogical tripe backed by nothing but an incessant need to feel that the traditional scouting community has some kind of secret code that cannot be unlocked by those who have a much better understanding of how past performance (i.e. "retrospective") directly relates to future performance.
And the "no competitive advantage" stuff is just plain garbage. Anyone here who doesn't think that Oakland or Cleveland have a competitive advantage over KC or Cinci (particularly during the O'Brien regime) or Washington is just plain nuts. That advantage is centered around the kind of R&D gonelong mentioned plus the respective teams' ability to understand and utilize objective data.
Not too difficult, I think, to figure out that both scouts and analysis are necessary tools. Both have their respective difficulties and I'm not going to get into a debate about the perceived difficulty level of each. But, man, am I getting tired of being told over and over again how something that's very hard is so very easy to people who fail to truly understand it.