Proud fans of a 128-year old tradition

It is currently Fri Oct 24, 2014 10:30 am

All times are UTC - 4 hours [ DST ]




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 6 posts ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: My soapbox . . . sorry in advance . . . long rant
PostPosted: Fri May 17, 2013 11:43 am 
Offline
User avatar
 Profile

Joined: Sun Apr 27, 2008 2:11 pm
Posts: 5816
Location: 120 miles west of Iowa City
I read this posting by David Manel yesterday at Bucs Dugout: http://www.bucsdugout.com/2013/5/16/433 ... atchups-in

In his post, Manel cites an article written by Dave Cameron at FanGraphs: http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/the-absu ... p-numbers/

In light of the discussions involving why I (along with others) have grown to dislike Kovacevic's writings and attitude, I thought that I'd point out an example of another situation which I personally despise. Specfically, in ridiculing Eric Wedge's decision to play Raul Ibanez agaisnt CC Sabathia, Cameron writes in his post "this is the kind of move that shows how far major league managers are removed from the advances that front offices have made. MLB teams have gotten a lot smarter, but even with a flood of smart people working for big league clubs, stuff like this still happens. In 5, 10, 20 years, whenever it is that MLB starts hiring managers who understand a junk stat when they see one, we’ll look back at some of these decisions and wonder what took so long. For now, we can wonder how long it will take before a billion dollar industry stops letting people make obviously nonsensical decisions."

Cameron laments that MLB front office’s have smart people working for them and stupid people are undermining their efforts. It is precisely this “I’m soooooooo smart and you are sooooooo dumb” attitude which turns me off to Cameron and his writings. For all practical purposes, it is no different than the dismissive, how-dare-you-question-me “pitch framing and unicorns” comment offered by Kovacevic or smarmy comments made by the likes of narcissistic know-it-alls like Colin Cowherd and Skip Bayless.

A certain member here once shared with me that he some knowledge of the proprietary statistical developed (and closely guarded) by the Cleveland Indians. An article written by Russell Carleton at BP, after he worked in-house for the Indians identified “In my reflections (and uh, Gregorian number-crunching) I came to some rather interesting conclusions. I can’t get into specifics (so please don't ask) but I will say this: there are things that are generally publicly held as sabermetric doctrine—in some cases, crucial underlying assumptions—that are demonstrably false. Statistical models are wonderful things, but they are only as good as the data that power them and the understanding of the programmer who defines them. When I wrote for BP, and before that for Statistically Speaking, in my rush to get something ready, I often went with a very simple statistical model of whatever topic I was studying. There's something to be said for one of my favorite lines, "direction before precision," but ultimately, a simple model assumes a simple reality, and baseball, as I found, is not a simple game.” http://www.baseballprospectus.com/artic ... leid=17603

The Bucs Dugout article quotes Hurdle as identifying that the Pirates “have a system analysis that is so unique that what we do is, we have player batting averages, swing and miss rates, on base percentage, OPS, it is all laid out for that pitcher and 15 comparables. So truth be told, at times you can get a player that is 10-for-20 off a guy in real time and he doesn't rank maybe in the top of your batting order if you were constructing one sabermetrically over the long haul. But also you can get a pretty good feel on what that kind of guy can do against those kinds of pitchers. It's tool. It's a useful tool. I'll say that.” http://www.bucsdugout.com/2013/5/16/433 ... n#comments

I truly believe that one of the biggest downsides of Moneyball involves the notion that anyone with a statistical background and a computer can outstrategize MLB managers – unless the manager is named Joe Madden. The bottom line is that the Pirates possess far more data than anyone at BP or FanGraphs. They employ people who have forgotten more about the intracasies of the game than we will likely ever know. So . . . while people fume about Tabata getting a start against a right handed pitcher and that Hurdle is a moron for relying upon SSSs . . . the reality is that decision-making is far deeper than that. It should cause some pause to those with the quick trigger to realize that the Bucs aren’t just looking at “Snider v. Gallardo” or “Tabata v. Gallardo,” they are looking at “Snider v. Gallardo and 15 pitcher with Gallardo’s arm slot and pitch repertoire,” “Tabata v. Gallardo and 15 pitcher with Gallardo’s arm slot and pitch repertoire” “Gallardo v. Tabata and 15 others with Tabata’s skill set” and “Gallardo v. Snider and 15 others with Snider’s skill set” as part of the analysis for whom to play on a particular night.

As Carleton wrote “baseball is not a simple game.” Not even close.

So . . . when I read guys like Cameron rant about how stupid managers are f—king up games by refusing to listen to “smart” guys, I roll my eyes and shut my ears. And, then, when Ibanez goes 2-3 off of Sabathia including a 2 run HR . . I laugh. Hard. I enjoy seeing smug know-it-alls get it wrong.

_________________
Reflexively, obsessively and tastelessly submitted,
No. 9
Obsessive proponent of situational bunting and 2 strike hitting approaches, reflexively pro-catchers calling good games and tasteless proponent of the value of a RBI.


Top
 
 Post subject: Re: My soapbox . . . sorry in advance . . . long rant
PostPosted: Fri May 17, 2013 12:24 pm 
Offline
User avatar
 Profile

Joined: Mon Apr 06, 2009 5:46 pm
Posts: 5096
Location: Washington, DC
Of course the Pirates (and, presumably, other major league teams) have access to more information than we do. The people at the PBC who do this research, who construct the statistical models, and who provide input to the general manager and manager are all paid to gather that information and process it to the best of their ability. But No. 9, they aren't competing against us fans or the people at Baseball Prospectus; they are competing against 29 other major league baseball teams. So their work is only useful if it gives the Pirates an edge over other teams.

Indeed, the beauty of baseball is that, you know, they keep score. So we get to judge the Pirates and their people by results. If the Pirates end up demonstrating better results over a long period, then we'll know that they managed to out-strategize the teams with which they are competing. The Rays appear to be a good example of that.


Last edited by J_C_Steel on Fri May 17, 2013 1:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Top
 
 Post subject: Re: My soapbox . . . sorry in advance . . . long rant
PostPosted: Fri May 17, 2013 1:37 pm 
Offline
User avatar
 Profile

Joined: Sat Apr 26, 2008 6:18 pm
Posts: 5060
Location: Scotch Plains, NJ
Image

Sorry, I've been waiting to use this GIF for a long time.

_________________
"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong."
~H. L. Mencken


Top
 
 Post subject: Re: My soapbox . . . sorry in advance . . . long rant
PostPosted: Fri May 17, 2013 2:23 pm 
Offline
User avatar
 Profile

Joined: Sat Apr 26, 2008 6:44 pm
Posts: 10721
Interesting point, No. 9. Specifically, and correct me if I'm wrong, but you posit that commentators who criticize managerial decisions, such as batter-vs.-pitcher, on SSS have no basis for the criticism, since they don't actually know what information was used by the manager and the team in making a decision.

I accept that, particularly in light of the heretofore unknown (at least to me) comment that batter-vs.-pitcher data for the Pirates are supplemented with batter-vs.-pitcher-vs.-similar-pitchers data.


Top
 
 Post subject: Re: My soapbox . . . sorry in advance . . . long rant
PostPosted: Fri May 17, 2013 2:48 pm 
Offline
User avatar
 Profile

Joined: Sun Apr 27, 2008 2:11 pm
Posts: 5816
Location: 120 miles west of Iowa City
Bucfan wrote:
Interesting point, No. 9. Specifically, and correct me if I'm wrong, but you posit that commentators who criticize managerial decisions, such as batter-vs.-pitcher, on SSS have no basis for the criticism, since they don't actually know what information was used by the manager and the team in making a decision.

I accept that, particularly in light of the heretofore unknown (at least to me) comment that batter-vs.-pitcher data for the Pirates are supplemented with batter-vs.-pitcher-vs.-similar-pitchers data.


My point is that, unless and until you've been let behind the curtain (as Carleton's admits), there is a lot more underlying the decisions being made than what is often assumed by those on the outside. Why did Pedro sit on Wednesday and Inge start with a right handed hitter on the mound? Easy to look at one variable (handedness) and label Hurdle as an idiot. However, there are far more variables that can be examined which may underlie the decision. Specific strengths/weaknesses, recent performance, need for rest, etc. which will be examined at the various managerial levels before the ultimate decision is made. I'm willing to bet some serious money that Dan Fox has a boatload of data that was considered on the issue of whether it is better - given the composition of the team - to keep John McDonald or Jordy Mercer. And, unless and until I can issue a subpoena to Hurdle, Searage, Bell and Fox and can issue requests for documents and data, I'm not likely well suited to call anyone a f--king idiot. That being written, that's not to say that I won't second guess or that management should be immune from second guessing. That's part of the fun. Its just important to realize that they have a far greater depth of information upon which they are making decisions.

_________________
Reflexively, obsessively and tastelessly submitted,
No. 9
Obsessive proponent of situational bunting and 2 strike hitting approaches, reflexively pro-catchers calling good games and tasteless proponent of the value of a RBI.


Top
 
 Post subject: Re: My soapbox . . . sorry in advance . . . long rant
PostPosted: Fri May 17, 2013 2:53 pm 
Offline
User avatar
 Profile

Joined: Mon Apr 06, 2009 5:46 pm
Posts: 5096
Location: Washington, DC
All that said, these guys are very capable of being wrong (even colossally wrong). I wonder what kind of advanced metrics led to the acquisitions of guys like Iwamura, Vazquez, Diaz, etc.

Oh, and sitting Pedro against anyone makes sense on a lot of levels these days.


Top
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 6 posts ] 

All times are UTC - 4 hours [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot], Google [Bot] and 3 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
cron
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group  
Design By Poker Bandits