Comments on: First Pitch: Why Advanced Stats Are Better Than Traditional Stats Your best source for news on the Pittsburgh Pirates and their minor league system. Sat, 15 Nov 2014 05:44:00 +0000 hourly 1 By: Y2JGQ2 Tue, 12 Feb 2013 04:51:24 +0000 I work in sales- We have our goals that we are paid on, and then we have “activities” which are predictive towards our goals…..and when we don’t hit our goals we can look towards those numbers to explain why we didn’t succeed and where we can focus on in the future. In the sales world, and in a professional sports world- results ultimately matter, and that’s it. That’s why I don’t like a lot of the advanced metrics, except for maybe UZR, over traditional statistics, especially for pitchers. What is more important, the amount of runs a pitcher actually gives up per 9 innings, or the amount of runs one would expect him to give up based on several things within the game he does or doesn’t do well. Ultimately, NOONE cares about it. ERA is most important, because it measures results. Wins are important because it measures results. Your job is to keep your team in the game, ultimately to win the game, and those two things measure that better than anyone else. Now, when someone’s ERA is high, or he isn’t winning games, that’s when you look into the advanced metrics, as a coach, to figure out WHY, and know what areas the pitcher needs to focus on. You can’t say his LOB% was higher than average, so he was lucky this year and thats why his ERA was lower. That, in itself, is absurb. It doesn’t give the pitcher credit for PITCHING under a high stress environment, for being able to focus greater, maybe even pitching better from the stretch. Tim, I just think its greatly overrated in terms of overall performance. Performance is results.

Basically, if I lead my team in outbound calls, inbound calls, and get great surveys……..then anyone but strong overall performance would indicate poor luck based off some of these measures *BABIP* for example, which is a ridiculous stat, one of the most worthless ones i’ve ever seen. Using that stat to prove anything except a pitcher who has more than a .300 BABIP against is probably a terrible pitcher, is doing injustice to the whole system.

As far as hitting goes. OPS is great, I agree, but its still not direct tangible results. Home Runs, RBI’s, Runs scored, Hits, batting average……are results. People focus on results because they are all that matters. 200 bunt singles are no less valuable than 200 one hop line drives to an outfielder.

By: Ryan Schilpp Mon, 11 Feb 2013 13:35:44 +0000 Specifically regarding the ‘eye test’ vs. advanced metrics. I think the reason people get very aggressive when it comes to this is that the eye test is a judgement call based on a persons ability to read the game and their knowledge of it. When a player they thought for years to be an excellent defensive player, one who has passed the eye test, is being regarded as horrible defensively by the metrics (ala The Captain), it’s akin to a personal attack. As if these people are saying “You’re WRONG. That player is NOT a good fielder. No matter what your ‘eyes’ may be telling you”. I think that’s a big part of why people tend to be very aggressive in dismissing advanced metrics. Perceived personal attacks can make people do and say crazy things.

By: mocasdad Sat, 09 Feb 2013 01:38:59 +0000 I’m not a stat head but I have a lot of respect for those who are. I believe that we should always be striving for improvement in how we do analysis and evaluation.

I have no problem with things like FIP and xFIP as far as they go. The issue I have is that pitchers actually do have fielders behind them and the better ones can maximize or minimize their impact as the situation warrants.

I have a lot of problem with the “luck” concept, except in the smallest of sample sizes. If major league hitters are feasting on you, I don’t buy unlucky. If you want to provide a meaningful stats based argument for, say, the great “was Charlie Morton awful or unlucky” debate of 2010, I’d think line drive rates or, if they exist, speed of batted ball stats would be much more telling.

I’m also off-put by the total dismissal of the value of RBI’s. I understand the opportunity side of the issue. That doesn’t mean it’s. a worthless stat. If you want to convince me, you’ll have to come up with a better argument than one that begins, “assume your lead off guy hits a triple every time he comes to the plate…” — someone on bucs dugout actually tried that. A good RBI total indicates, at least for a given season, that the player produced when opportunities presented themselves.

We all know there are stats outliers (eg. Tommy Herr’s 100 RBI year) but you don’t need to be Keith Law to recognize them. But it’s Uncanny how the baseball card stats quite frequently identify quality performers.

Personally, I rely on ops, whip, K and BB rates in addition to the baseball card stats.

By: Andy Zibuck Fri, 08 Feb 2013 21:01:17 +0000 Tim, this comes off more confrontational and, um, pissy than I intend. I’m just to give my perspective and some of my ideas go beyond your piece.

But, I object to the sweeping generalizations made in your piece and in a larger sense, how Advanced Stat Guy perceives Traditional (and other) Guys. I’m down with just about every advanced stat, and have at least a rudimentary (or better) understanding of how they’re calculated. But what if I’m not sure about one, or don’t like how one is applied? For example, Barmes may be all that with the glove, but suppose I don’t see how even a defensive god could be worth 2 dWAR? Regardless of my reasons, I’m lumped in with the knuckle-draggers touting batting average and wins? To wit:

>You can usually tell who is in the second group.

Of course, “he’s one of THOSE people.”

>there are other advanced stats we often use on this site, and a lot of them get similar reactions to WAR (usually from the same crowd that is against WAR)

Really? You track who makes what comment? This is what I mean, I’ve rarely commented here, but if I criticize dWAR value (not dWAR itself), what, I’m a dunce all the way? It feels like it sometimes. Maybe not from you, but, ahem, people you probably know.

>You don’t focus on whether it’s been Nate McLouth’d — where a simple play turns into a highlight reel play…

As a matter of fact, I do. But if I say I’m an Eye Test guy, I’m just lumped in with the Joe Blows who are just out to the ballpark for a game and a couple cold ones.

There are a subset of people that watch the game differently than either the Advanced Stat Guy or The Traditional Stat Guy. Advanced Stat Guy (seems to) see two circles, one with Advanced Guys, one with Traditional Guys, and the circles don’t touch, or just barely touch each other. I see a Venn Diagram with 3 or maybe 4 circles, with Advanced, Traditional, and Coach and Scout Guys, and the circles overlap.

By: Uyerta36a7x Fri, 08 Feb 2013 20:24:26 +0000 Thanks, Kevin.

By: The Green Weenie Fri, 08 Feb 2013 19:18:29 +0000 That’s what I figured based on your discussion of UZR above, I just wanted to double check. I love the site, btw. Long time lurker (first time caller). Thanks for providing us all with daily respite from the winter cold with updates on our boys of summer. Cheers!

By: Tim Williams Fri, 08 Feb 2013 18:57:33 +0000 I agree on UZR. As I mentioned, I think Field F/X will replace that.

By: Tim Williams Fri, 08 Feb 2013 18:56:50 +0000 Usually it’s fWAR.

By: Green Weenie Fri, 08 Feb 2013 18:47:52 +0000 Tim, out of curiosity, when giving WAR on this site, do you use fWAR of bWAR?

By: MichaelVelaTTU Fri, 08 Feb 2013 18:35:28 +0000 I like situational stats the best