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Thread: Baseball analysis is dead

  1. #1
    Rally Onion! Chip R's Avatar
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    Baseball analysis is dead

    So says Gary Huckabay, founder of Baseball Prospectus.

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/ar...articleid=6666
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    THAT'S A FACT JACK!! GAC's Avatar
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    Re: Baseball analysis is dead

    I'll have to analyze what he is saying and get back with you.
    "panic" only comes from having real expectations

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    2009: Fail Ltlabner's Avatar
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    Re: Baseball analysis is dead

    . Those companies (and others) are happy to let a self-directed, competent, and uncompensated gaggle of fragrant, bearded unix gurus take time out from watching Mystery Science Theatre 3000 to develop a fantastic piece of software for the masses, then adopt it as their own without having to spend a huge amount of their own resources on the project.
    Maybe folks in the front offices did read Moneyball afterall ?
    a super volcano of ridonkulous suckitude.

    I simply don't have access to a "cares about RBI" place in my psyche. There is a "mildly curious about OBI%" alcove just before the acid filled lake guarded by robot snipers with lasers which leads to the "cares about RBI" antechamber though. - Nate

  5. #4
    Score Early, Score Often gonelong's Avatar
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    Re: Baseball analysis is dead

    Quote Originally Posted by Chip R View Post
    So says Gary Huckabay, founder of Baseball Prospectus.

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/ar...articleid=6666
    Nonsense. One only needs to look at the rate of return for the draft and see there is lots of advantage to be gained.

    There are also plenty of teams (Red Sox & A's come to mind) that have been working diligently on their own defensive ratings.

    I know many thought Kulman was a nut with his brain-typeing, but its regularly accepted that a scout is looking for "it" from a player. Why not brain-typing? Has it been disproven?

    The more data that is available, the more meaningful the research becomes. I think baseball is headed towards more analysis, not less.

    GL

  6. #5
    Stat Wanker Hodiernus RedsManRick's Avatar
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    Re: Baseball analysis is dead

    The article very clearly makes the point that the definition of analysis he's using does not include things like biomechanics. It's about outcome valuation.

    There is more to be gained by effectively communicating the already developed base of knowledge than there is exploring increased efficiency on the margins of the unknown.
    Sure, there's still a cutting edge of research. But the biggest gains, as Gary correctly points out, have already been uncovered.

    Baseball is a fixed system of rules and limited human ability. It's possible that we're reaching a point at which statistical analysis has squeezed 99.5% of the juice from the orange.

    The fact is that the skills and attitudes that allow people to become top level management are different from the skills and attitudes that make one pursue heavy data driven analysis. Analysts need to stop limiting their scope of responsibility to crunching the numbers and include the necessity to communicate their gained knowledge effectively. Sure, somebody has to crunch the numbers. But all the numbers in the world don't matter if they are put in to action. Sure, there will be greater inclusion as time passes and the guys who grow up on Bill James get jobs. However, there will always be a rift between the people who can manage people and the people who can manage numbers. Bridging the gap between them is the third leg of the stool.
    Last edited by RedsManRick; 09-04-2007 at 05:44 PM.
    Games are won on run differential -- scoring more than your opponent. Runs are runs, scored or prevented they all count the same. Worry about scoring more and allowing fewer, not which positions contribute to which side of the equation or how "consistent" you are at your current level of performance.

  7. #6
    So Long Uncle Joe BoydsOfSummer's Avatar
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    Re: Baseball analysis is dead

    My subscription to BP ran out Friday. I didn't renew it. I don't think I'm going to; anyone else of the same mindset?
    0 Value Over Replacement Poster


    "Sit over here next to Johnathan (Bench)...sit right here, he's smart."--Sparky Anderson

  8. #7
    THAT'S A FACT JACK!! GAC's Avatar
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    Re: Baseball analysis is dead

    Quote Originally Posted by BoydsOfSummer View Post
    My subscription to BP ran out Friday. I didn't renew it. I don't think I'm going to; anyone else of the same mindset?
    I quit getting my gas at BP years ago.
    "panic" only comes from having real expectations

  9. #8
    Be the ball Roy Tucker's Avatar
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    Re: Baseball analysis is dead

    I understand what Huckabay is saying, but I can't help but think this is what people said about HRs, RBIs, and batting average. That this is all you need to know, its the true gauge of a player, and its just getting people to understand now.

    I've been to enough rodeos now to know that it's a dangerous thing when I think I know everything and everything worth discovering has been discovered. Innovation always continues and if you don't believe that, you will soon find yourself in the tar pits with the mastodons saying "what happened?".

    Pay attention to the open sky

  10. #9
    Churlish Johnny Footstool's Avatar
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    Re: Baseball analysis is dead

    I get the feeling people have declared baseball analysis "dead" in the past. Yet here we are.
    "I prefer books and movies where the conflict isn't of the extreme cannibal apocalypse variety I guess." Redsfaithful

  11. #10
    Charlie Brown All-Star IslandRed's Avatar
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    Re: Baseball analysis is dead

    I think these are the key sentences in the article:

    When I’m talking about ‘baseball analysis’ here, I’m talking about the rigorous review of player performance data. I’m not talking about the inclusion of pitch velocity and location data that’s now coming available, and I’m not talking about the integration of scouting data with performance data. I’m strictly talking about activities like developing value metrics, forecasting, and all the other stuff we do with the massive yarn-ball of data we’ve all put together over the years.
    This calls to mind the comment DePodesta made in Moneyball about what's-their-names' derivatives system, about how it was more than just "churning conventional statistics in unconventional ways." I think that's kind of Huckabay's point here; slicing and dicing of traditional performance statistics and having it tell us something we didn't kind of already know is reaching the point of diminishing returns. The next big gains in player evaluation will come from systems that work with data coming from outside the box score.

    I like that he mentioned the pitch velocity/location data. A lot of the assumptions we make on pitchers are based on aggregates and averages and a definition of "luck" that presumes that anything outside the normal range evens out over time. Being able to define the quality of the pitch itself is a more granular level of skill evaluation. Teams can evaluate the process and not just the outcome.

    I think the next great frontier is biomechanics and injury "prehab," to steal a phrase from Will Carroll. Teams that can keep their best players on the field more, particularly when it comes to pitchers, will gain a serious advantage.
    Not all who wander are lost

  12. #11
    post hype sleeper cincinnati chili's Avatar
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    Re: Baseball analysis is dead

    Huckabay is the guy at BP who I enjoy the most, and I wish he had time to write more.

    This one was way too general for my taste. It almost makes me wonder if Billy Beane wasn't taking his suggestions while Huckabay was consulting for the A's, and he got pissed off. Or perhaps he's voicing frustration on behalf of one of his former-BP colleagues who got brought in house and then ignored.
    ". . . acquiring J. Blanton from Oakland for, apparently, Bailey/Cueto, Votto and a lesser prospect. I do it in a second . . . The Reds' equation this year is simple: Make Matt Belisle your #3 starter . . . trade for Blanton, win 85 or more, be in the mix all summer." - Paul Daugherty, Feb. 8, 2008

  13. #12
    He has the Evil Eye! flyer85's Avatar
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    Re: Baseball analysis is dead

    The Reds are still a bit tone deaf when it comes to OBP and protecting their starters.
    What are you, people? On dope? - Mr Hand

  14. #13
    Charlie Brown All-Star IslandRed's Avatar
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    Re: Baseball analysis is dead

    In a way, it kind of read like a sequel to his article in the back of BP '06.
    Not all who wander are lost

  15. #14
    Posting in Dynarama M2's Avatar
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    Re: Baseball analysis is dead

    I wasn't aware that OB and pitch counts were settled matters.

    Certainly how to leverage OB in lineup construction seems to be a lingering issue. And it doesn't seem to me much of anything has changed in terms of pitcher injuries/usage. IMO, all that's happened is that hitters have improved to the point where pitchers have seen the number of effective pitches they can throw in a season diminish. Perhaps they could throw a 120 pitches somewhat frequently and work effectively with the associated fatigue if they were facing 1970s hitters.

    Meanwhile you've got defense and pitching development begging for objective discovery.
    Baseball isn't a magic trick ... it doesn't get spoiled if you figure out how it works. - gonelong

    I'm witchcrafting everybody.

  16. #15
    Stat Wanker Hodiernus RedsManRick's Avatar
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    Re: Baseball analysis is dead

    I don't think he's saying that there's nothing yet to learn, but rather that there is nothing "big" left. If you read something like "The BOOK" by Tom Tango, you can see that at best we're gaining tenths of a percent with new knowledge. It's important to distinguish between obtained knowledge and actual practice.

    When he says it's dead, he's talking about the cutting edge. In terms of actually utilizing the knowledge obtained over the last 30 years, there's still a lot of ground to gain.
    Games are won on run differential -- scoring more than your opponent. Runs are runs, scored or prevented they all count the same. Worry about scoring more and allowing fewer, not which positions contribute to which side of the equation or how "consistent" you are at your current level of performance.


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