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Thread: 10 minutes with Bill James

  1. #16
    On the brink wolfboy's Avatar
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    Re: 10 minutes with Bill James

    Quote Originally Posted by RFS62 View Post
    That makes you executive material in my world
    How do we know he's not Mel Torme?

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  3. #17
    Haunted by walks
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    Re: 10 minutes with Bill James

    Quote Originally Posted by RFS62 View Post
    That makes you executive material in my world
    It's your world, we just live in it.

    I think there's a macro and micro side to this. SABR data is good for the macro, helping GMs figure out how a player is going to perform over the next five years, say. The micro helps managers determine how a player is going to perform over the next five games, at bats or pitches.

    Considering how inefficient baseball is at finding and developing major leaguers, anything SABR can do to improve the measuring of performance is golden. And considering what a mental game it is, any given play might come down to unmeasurable factors.

  4. #18
    Hey Cubs Fans RFS62's Avatar
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    Re: 10 minutes with Bill James

    Quote Originally Posted by BCubb2003 View Post
    It's your world, we just live in it.

    I think there's a macro and micro side to this. SABR data is good for the macro, helping GMs figure out how a player is going to perform over the next five years, say. The micro helps managers determine how a player is going to perform over the next five games, at bats or pitches.

    Considering how inefficient baseball is at finding and developing major leaguers, anything SABR can do to improve the measuring of performance is golden. And considering what a mental game it is, any given play might come down to unmeasurable factors.


    Well said, Cubbmeister.

    Especially that first thing.

    "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
    ~ Mark Twain

  5. #19
    Pre-tty, pre-tty good!! MWM's Avatar
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    Re: 10 minutes with Bill James

    Seems like Bill James spent about 20 years snubbing his nose at the baseball establishment, and he's going to spend the next 20 making amends trying to become one of them. Color me skeptical that he didn't know much of the stuff he claims now to not have known. Some of the things he talks about is fairly common sense that just about any educated baseball fan would understand.
    Grape works as a soda. Sort of as a gum. I wonder why it doesn't work as a pie. Grape pie? There's no grape pie. - Larry David

  6. #20
    Hey Cubs Fans RFS62's Avatar
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    Re: 10 minutes with Bill James

    Quote Originally Posted by MWM View Post
    Seems like Bill James spent about 20 years snubbing his nose at the baseball establishment, and he's going to spend the next 20 making amends trying to become one of them. Color me skeptical that he didn't know much of the stuff he claims now to not have known. Some of the things he talks about is fairly common sense that just about any educated baseball fan would understand.


    You have to be kidding.
    "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
    ~ Mark Twain

  7. #21
    Pre-tty, pre-tty good!! MWM's Avatar
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    Re: 10 minutes with Bill James

    Quote Originally Posted by RFS62 View Post
    You have to be kidding.
    Not really! I mean, are you telling me you didn't know that pitchers throw change-ups way more often to opposite handed batters? I find that hard to believe. That's just common sense. For the RH pitcher, the change-up breaks back in towards RH hitter and away from a lefty, and vice versa for the LH pitcher. It's the exact same reason why lefties throw breaking balls to lefties me often than righties, and the same for RH pitchers vs RH hitters. This isn't earth shattering stuff. Of course they're not going to throw change-ups to hitters of the same side.

    All anyone had to do was watch Tom Glavine get right handers out for 15 years with the exact same pitch understand this concept. It's pitching 101. If you're a lefty, you throw change-ups to RH and breaking ball to LH. It's generally better to have a pitch break away from a hitter than back in towards them. It's the same reason why a pitcher can really get burned trying to bust an opposite handed hitter inside with a fastball. It's coming in towards them, so if you miss your spot, or he's able to catch up to it, it's going a long way. No one is going to have trouble catching up to a change-up so having a slower pitch from a RH pitcher coming back in towards the hitter is disaster waiting to happen. If it's a slower pitch, it sure as hell better be headed away from the hitter instead of back over the hitting zone.

    It's just an overall observation from watching James post-Moneyball. He seems to want to distance himself from the very movement he created and is now wanting to cozy up with the very people he built his career lambasting. It's not a judgment, just an observation. I may be way wrong.

    And just to be absolutely certain, nothing in my comments are meant to devalue the scouts and the value they bring to the table. It's about James and these things he says he never knew. Heck, if James genuinely didn't know this about pitchers, I may have to agree with the idea that he didn't spend enough time paying attention to what was going on in the game.
    Last edited by MWM; 03-27-2010 at 08:54 PM.
    Grape works as a soda. Sort of as a gum. I wonder why it doesn't work as a pie. Grape pie? There's no grape pie. - Larry David

  8. #22
    breath westofyou's Avatar
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    Re: 10 minutes with Bill James

    It's just an overall observation from watching James post-Moneyball. He seems to want to distance himself from the very movement he created
    Actually it's been 22 years since he drew the line in his last abstract, a line that he felt he had to draw.


    I've also got to say, guys, that having done this, I've now done all I can do. I can't help you any more. . .I leave the field to whoever is playing in it. Because four months a year of cyclical depression has gotten too much for me. Because I am no longer certain that the effects of my doing this kind of research are in the best interests of the average baseball fan. Because I wonder if anything I found now could have any real impact on the game. Because I have been repaid for my years of doing this book in anonymity, and no longer have any claim to go on drawing paychecks from it. Because while I have enjoyed doing this book, I have only one lifetime and many dreams. Because I have confidence that I will make a living one way or another. Because I feel that I am on a collision course with my own audience. Because I suspect that my leaving the field may be in the interests of sabermetrics.


    Because it is time to go, friends. I'm breakin' the wand, exit stage right. I hereby release any and all of my formulas, theories, and other systems of analysis to any other analyst who wishes to use them and to call them by name (runs created, value approximation method, etc.) either for private or economic use, even by Elias should they so desire. I'll be doing other things, writing other books. I won't be hard to find. I hope that some of you will enjoy those other books. I know that some of you won't, and that's all right, too. It's been good.

    Bill James
    Sabermetrician, Retired
    February 1988

  9. #23
    Hey Cubs Fans RFS62's Avatar
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    Re: 10 minutes with Bill James

    Quote Originally Posted by MWM View Post
    Not really! I mean, are you telling me you didn't know that pitchers throw change-ups way more often to opposite handed batters?


    Am "I" telling you that? Of course not. He did though.
    "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
    ~ Mark Twain

  10. #24
    Viva la Rolen kaldaniels's Avatar
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    Re: 10 minutes with Bill James

    My first impression reading James remark was that he was unaware of the 5x part...not so much the fact that the changeup is thrown more to one type of handed-hitter.

  11. #25
    Pre-tty, pre-tty good!! MWM's Avatar
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    Re: 10 minutes with Bill James

    Quote Originally Posted by RFS62 View Post
    Am "I" telling you that? Of course not. He did though.
    That's kinda my point. If I knew that and you knew that, and it's a pretty obvious thing to observe, how can a guy who spent his entire life in love with baseball and writing about it be completely oblivious to it? That's why it's difficult for me to take at face value.
    Grape works as a soda. Sort of as a gum. I wonder why it doesn't work as a pie. Grape pie? There's no grape pie. - Larry David

  12. #26
    Pre-tty, pre-tty good!! MWM's Avatar
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    Re: 10 minutes with Bill James

    Quote Originally Posted by kaldaniels View Post
    My first impression reading James remark was that he was unaware of the 5x part...not so much the fact that the changeup is thrown more to one type of handed-hitter.
    Well, if that's really the number, then THAT is in fact a stat that comes from data and not observation. [/takes cover].
    Grape works as a soda. Sort of as a gum. I wonder why it doesn't work as a pie. Grape pie? There's no grape pie. - Larry David

  13. #27
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    Re: 10 minutes with Bill James

    Quote Originally Posted by MWM View Post
    Well, if that's really the number, then THAT is in fact a stat that comes from data and not observation. [/takes cover].
    Well, if the "data" came from a scout with a pitch chart created by "observation," we can call it whichever one makes us feel better, I guess.
    Not all who wander are lost

  14. #28
    Pre-tty, pre-tty good!! MWM's Avatar
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    Re: 10 minutes with Bill James

    Quote Originally Posted by IslandRed View Post
    Well, if the "data" came from a scout with a pitch chart created by "observation," we can call it whichever one makes us feel better, I guess.
    Exactly!
    Grape works as a soda. Sort of as a gum. I wonder why it doesn't work as a pie. Grape pie? There's no grape pie. - Larry David

  15. #29
    Hey Cubs Fans RFS62's Avatar
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    Re: 10 minutes with Bill James

    Quote Originally Posted by MWM View Post
    That's kinda my point. If I knew that and you knew that, and it's a pretty obvious thing to observe, how can a guy who spent his entire life in love with baseball and writing about it be completely oblivious to it? That's why it's difficult for me to take at face value.


    As much as many stat oriented fans hate to hear it, I believe it really is the difference between having played the game and having only observed it, no matter how smart or intuitive the observer may be.

    Just because it's taken as an insult to say things like "you never played the game", there is some truth to it in many instances, and I think this is exactly the case here.
    "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
    ~ Mark Twain


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