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Thread: John Dewan: Reds don't use our stuff

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    Stat Wanker Hodiernus RedsManRick's Avatar
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    John Dewan: Reds don't use our stuff

    I attended a presentation by John Dewan (founder of Stats Inc and Baseball Information Systems, inventor of numerous defensive stats, and author of The Fielding Bible) at Northwestern last night. They work in some capacity with 15 teams, including year-end team analysis, detailed player analysis, etc. Apparently teams rely heavily on 3rd parties for advanced scouting data.

    The biggest takeaway data-wise was that shifts are grossly underutilized in both the OF and IF and that superior positioning can provide big time gains. Chase Utley in particular set the plus/minus record based on the extreme nature of his position relative to the handedness of the batter. It's interesting stuff.

    Anyways, I asked him afterward if he had done any work with/for the Reds. He said that he's only worked with the White Sox and that their president, Steve Moyer, manages the relationships with other clubs. They have not done any business with the Reds and said something like "Jocketty and that crew are pretty well set in their ways."

    I'm not looking to start a flame war on the Reds FO. For what it's worth, John came across as quite defensive of the plus/minus system, particularly when I asked about the value of hit f/x data and automated electronic measurement systems generally. So I could see him being a bit dismissive of the effort of people using other products.

    But anyways, thought I'd share...
    Last edited by RedsManRick; 05-21-2009 at 07:19 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.

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    breath westofyou's Avatar
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    Re: John Dewan: Reds don't use our stuff

    "Jocketty and that crew are pretty well set in their ways."
    Which could also mean they compile and obtain data from our competition.

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    Re: John Dewan: Reds don't use our stuff

    Pretty impolitic response from a guy who's shilling stuff.

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    Stat Wanker Hodiernus RedsManRick's Avatar
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    Re: John Dewan: Reds don't use our stuff

    Quote Originally Posted by westofyou View Post
    Which could also mean they compile and obtain data from our competition.
    Exactly -- I didn't take his assessment as an unbiased observation.
    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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    Waitin til next year bucksfan2's Avatar
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    Re: John Dewan: Reds don't use our stuff

    RMR aren't there some teams that don't shift? I can't remember correctly but I had always thought that Bobby Cox hated the extreme shifts, especially in the infield. As a Red fan, the past decade you got used to seeing all kinds of different defenses because of Jr and Dunn in the lineup.

    I would like to see what kind of information Jocketty and his staff use. Jocketty worked with LaRussa for years in St Louis and LaRussa is known to have binders full of split information at his disposal during every game. Every organization uses a different interpretation method of the information they receive. I can see where Dewan would pimp his method while also be a little negative towards clubs who scorn his methods.

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    Five Tool Fool jojo's Avatar
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    Re: John Dewan: Reds don't use our stuff

    Great stuff RMR.

    While Dewan really wouldn't know exactly what the Reds do, his comment probably isn't out of whack in the grand scheme of things. We know from statements that the Reds use stats in some fashion probably most likely as an aid in advanced scouting at the major league level. That said, it's pretty difficult to believe that the Reds have completely embraced sabermetrics when it comes to planning/personnel decisions/strategy. My guess is, the Reds use sabermetrics in a "ducks in a row" fashion-its a final check or validation on that level (but not necessarily a reason not to do what they want to do).

    In other words, the Reds organization still very much falls on the conservative end of the spectrum where the "eyes" have it.
    Last edited by jojo; 05-22-2009 at 09:03 AM.
    "This isnít stats vs scouts - this is stats and scouts working together, building an organization that blends the best of both worlds. This is the blueprint for how a baseball organization should be run. And, whether the baseball men of the 20th century like it or not, this is where baseball is going."---Dave Cameron, U.S.S. Mariner

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    Re: John Dewan: Reds don't use our stuff

    In other words, the Reds organization still very much falls on the conservative end of the spectrum where the "eyes" have it.
    Meanwhile, Krall, who is in the front office, indicates that Jocketty considers all points of view and everyone is encouraged to weigh in on decisions. Yet, you conclude that the eyes generally hold sway over the numbers, despite this first hand account. I guess some biases are not to be broken.
    "Baseball is a very, very complex business. It's more of a people business than most businesses." - Bob Castellini

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    Re: John Dewan: Reds don't use our stuff

    Quote Originally Posted by lollipopcurve View Post
    Meanwhile, Krall, who is in the front office, indicates that Jocketty considers all points of view and everyone is encouraged to weigh in on decisions. Yet, you conclude that the eyes generally hold sway over the numbers, despite this first hand account. I guess some biases are not to be broken.
    Jocketty was essentially run out St Louis because he couldn't work with the stats guys on the level that ownership envisioned.

    This isn't a bias. This is an opinion that tries to embrace everything we know.

    Do the Reds use stats? Yes-every FO does. The issue is to what extent.

    There is a huge difference between listening to all opinions and how each is weighted.

    It's extremely difficult to envision Jocketty leading with sabermetrics. I'm sorry, it just is and that's not borne from a bias.
    "This isnít stats vs scouts - this is stats and scouts working together, building an organization that blends the best of both worlds. This is the blueprint for how a baseball organization should be run. And, whether the baseball men of the 20th century like it or not, this is where baseball is going."---Dave Cameron, U.S.S. Mariner

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    Waitin til next year bucksfan2's Avatar
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    Re: John Dewan: Reds don't use our stuff

    Quote Originally Posted by jojo View Post
    Great stuff RMR.

    While Dewan really wouldn't know exactly what the Reds do, his comment probably isn't out of whack in the grand scheme of things. We know from comments that the Reds use stats in some fashion probably most likely as an aid in advanced scouting at the major league level. That said, it's pretty difficult to believe that the Reds have completely embraced sabermetrics when it comes to planning/personnel decisions/strategy. My guess is, the Reds use sabermetrics in a "ducks in a row" fashion-its a final check or validation on that level (but not necessarily a reason not to do what they want to do).

    In other words, the Reds organization still very much falls on the conservative end of the spectrum where the "eyes" have it.
    Why?

    I think we would all be surprised to the extend that the Reds have embraced statistics. I don't necessarily think they are gung ho sabermetrics, no do I want them to be gung ho sabermetrics. Any team that goes to one extreme or another is likely to fail. Its the teams that develop the best balance of both worlds that are successful. It also doesn't help to have a limitless pocket book.

    I have said this before, but I would love to see what stats the Reds value. What numbers they use and what they discard. There are only so many data points you can take from a given game. Once they are taken you can create any type of statistic you want. It is the interpretation, and which stats an organization values that would be interesting.

    IMO Jocketty gets a bad knock because of the perception that he is anti-saber. I think the reality is that he isn't Billy Beane, but he also isn't a tobacco chewing traditionalist that values his eyes over anything else.

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    High five! nate's Avatar
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    Re: John Dewan: Reds don't use our stuff

    Quote Originally Posted by lollipopcurve View Post
    Meanwhile, Krall, who is in the front office, indicates that Jocketty considers all points of view and everyone is encouraged to weigh in on decisions. Yet, you conclude that the eyes generally hold sway over the numbers, despite this first hand account.
    I don't see how Jojo's "guess" (his word) is contradictory to the article from the other day. Nor is it a put-down or dismissive. It's simply an evaluation of "how they roll."

    I guess some biases are not to be broken.
    So it seems.
    "Bring on Rod Stupid!"

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    Re: John Dewan: Reds don't use our stuff

    Quote Originally Posted by bucksfan2 View Post
    I think the reality is that he isn't Billy Beane, but he also isn't a tobacco chewing traditionalist that values his eyes over anything else.
    I haven't framed the issue as "either/or"....
    "This isnít stats vs scouts - this is stats and scouts working together, building an organization that blends the best of both worlds. This is the blueprint for how a baseball organization should be run. And, whether the baseball men of the 20th century like it or not, this is where baseball is going."---Dave Cameron, U.S.S. Mariner

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    Unsolicited Opinions traderumor's Avatar
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    Re: John Dewan: Reds don't use our stuff

    I'm sure there are some folks who lean on the "stats" side that chew tobacco, and even spit.

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    Re: John Dewan: Reds don't use our stuff

    Quote Originally Posted by jojo View Post
    Jocketty was essentially run out St Louis because he couldn't work with the stats guys on the level that ownership envisioned.

    This isn't a bias. This is an opinion that tries to embrace everything we know.

    Do the Reds use stats? Yes-every FO does. The issue is to what extent.

    There is a huge difference between listening to all opinions and how each is weighted.

    It's extremely difficult to envision Jocketty leading with sabermetrics. I'm sorry, it just is and that's not borne from a bias.
    In my experience some stat guys are royal pains in the keister. Of course so are some scouts. Maybe he couldn't "get along" with the guy because the stats guy was a little know it all. Or maybe because he is.

    The fact that he was run out because he couldn't get along with one stats guy points to our favorite three words. "SMALL SAMPLE SIZE"

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    Re: John Dewan: Reds don't use our stuff

    Walt Jocketty is one of the more intellectually-curious and non-doctrinaire GMs in existence. Just because he hasn't gone "all-in" on any particular philosophy is no criticism of him.

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    Five Tool Fool jojo's Avatar
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    Re: John Dewan: Reds don't use our stuff

    Quote Originally Posted by Hoosier Red View Post
    In my experience some stat guys are royal pains in the keister. Of course so are some scouts. Maybe he couldn't "get along" with the guy because the stats guy was a little know it all. Or maybe because he is.

    The fact that he was run out because he couldn't get along with one stats guy points to our favorite three words. "SMALL SAMPLE SIZE"
    St Louis doesn't have just one stats guy though.

    The situation in St Louis was a power struggle between Jocketty (baseball man) and Luhnow (business degree type with no baseball pedigree). Jocketty is not a dimwit. I repeat he's not and no one is painting him that light. This is the point though-Jocketty's trust lies in LaRussa and Duncan. Luhnow's trust lies in guys he brought in such as stat-head on steroids, Mitchel Lichtman and Ron Schandler etc. Luhnow very aggressively refashioned the Cards scouting and player development with an emphasis on the "new" approach.

    The situation in St Louis was precipitated by a clear difference in philosophies. If Jocketty was inclined to lead with stats, there wouldn't have been such a fracture or battle for ownership's ear.

    Jocketty is a smart guy and it should be assumed he listens to all opinions. That said, it's a difficult leap for me to make to accept that he came to Cincinnati and completely changed his core beliefs.

    Luhnow is Vice President of Amateur Scouting & Player Development in St Louis. Guess who Jocketty brought in as the Reds VP of Scouting, Player Dev. and International Ops? Bill Bavasi.
    "This isnít stats vs scouts - this is stats and scouts working together, building an organization that blends the best of both worlds. This is the blueprint for how a baseball organization should be run. And, whether the baseball men of the 20th century like it or not, this is where baseball is going."---Dave Cameron, U.S.S. Mariner


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