Wednesday, February 25, 2009

High Comedy from the MLB Network

The first two minutes are an informative look at Baseball Prospectus’s PECOTA projection system. The rest descends into standard former-player-turned-analyst idiocy. If this was an SNL skit, it would be genius. (via BtB)

The money quotes:
Harold Reynolds - “Stats are ridiculous!”
Barry Larkin – “You might be hitting .215, but there’s a quality .215 that does not get translated into the stats” – what?


AndrewDeJo said...

I wanted to stop watching this when I got to the three minute mark but I forced myself to go on. Each passing second was more painful than the last. This is what we're competing against; Harold Reynolds and an old man with a stogie, gray hair, and a straw hat.

The old man, you know, can tell you why. The stats guy... he can't tell you why.

I don't want to say too much because I think I'm going to steal this for my blog but don't these guys realize that PECOTA is normally right or very close to right? How can they argue with it??

Mike Newman said...

Two Things:

First: They REALLY cherry picked PECOTA projections. I love the projections, but they do seems to err on the side of caution which can make them look questionable in a bubble.

Second: Harold Reynolds would be washing cars at the local car wash had saber been so heavily used in the mid 80's and not on MLBTV. I've never cared for Reynolds, but his comments are over the top.

However, I strongly believe you need both the old man and math geek sitting at the table when doing player analysis.

When I hear somebody say sabermetrics is the only thing that matters, I have just as much of a problem with that as I do with Harold Reynolds saying stats don't matter at all.

Mets Tailgate said...

It's always best to "err on the side of caution" for projecting stats. Conservatism is the best route.

I never said sabermetrics are all that matter. Scouting is important, but stats are more important. Like, if you gave me access only to stats, and you gave an old man with a hat access to only what he sees on the field (and no stats at all), I guarantee I could put together a better team than he could. Call it 80%/20% for statistics.

It's funny - all the things the old man can supposedly provide - radar gun readings, pitch movement, throwing arm, double play turning, baserunning, "clutch" hitting etc., are all now quantified. We have great stats for all of these supposed intangibles at our fingertips. I was really hoping the MLB Network would take a more progressive route with its analysts, but they've instead gone the "Baseball Tonight" route and put former players/morons on air screaming about leadership and bunting. Disappointing.

AndrewDeJo said...

I agree with your 80/20 ratio. Things like "clubhouse environment" do have some affect but it's so minimal it's almost not even worth talking about. David Ortiz hit tons of HR's for the red sox even though Manny Ramirez was supposedly a "cancer". Harold Reynolds might answer this by saying " Yes but imagine how many HR's he would of hit if Manny WASN'T on the team!"

signals3_t5 said...

It's funny - all the things the old man can supposedly provide - radar gun readings
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