Fire Jim Tracy

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

If You Start At The End, You'll Get There Eventually

Tim Brown presents another piece for his Angel job portfolio! My mom always told me that if I wanted something bad enough, I shouldn't hesitate -- I should just do it.

While Brown's piece, compared to the absurdities of the Plaschkers, appears to be facially interesting, even a casual reading reveals that, as usual, it's just another pointless piece using selective information. The Angels have an OBP of .308? Sounds low, until you consider the A's OBP of .299. You say the Mariners have an OBP of .315? The Angels slug .412; the Mariners slug .358 (and Oakland -- yikes -- .338). And Texas? The Angels team ERA is 3.83; the Rangers 5.22.

In other words, we have here one or two pieces of information, selected only because they support the author's already formed prejudices. Even that information given is woefully incomplete -- just because the Angels took third on more singles means nothing without an analysis of how many of those extra bases turned into runs. If Billy Beane is right, and that extra base is meaningless (or at least not worth the risk of taking it), then it follows that one can go from first to third 1,000 times, or 1,000,000 times, and it would make no difference. Brown presents the numbers, then asks us to accept, seemingly by faith, that going from first to third 60 times over the course of the season was worth something. Again, the lesson of Moneyball was not that one play the game a certain way; it was measuring what things are worth and creating an efficient market for the services different players provide. Brown's raw data is certainly measurable, but he doesn't do it.

Nor, of course, is it ever considered that the Angels might be better than 11-8 if Mike Scioscia didn't do retarded things like hit-and-run with Bengie Molina on 3-0 counts.


  • Whenever I think your just being funny about Tim Brown being a PR guy for the halos, he writes something to bolster your case. Today was such a day, IMHO.

    By Blogger Mr. Landon, at 4/26/2005 01:56:00 PM  

  • No serious objective analyst could ever write that Alex Cora is "break even" with Jeff Kent. Ever. I mean, Brown changed his mind? So what? He said it in the first place. Like it was true in February, and Kent had to hit .400 in April to disprove it? Nonsense. Your belief regarding that situation is a window to your baseball soul.

    There are honest disagreements, logical positions to be taken that ultimately fail. Heaven knows, I've taken many of those on this blog and in many more in my private life. But no "honest broker" could ever come to the conclusion that Jeff Kent is "break even" with Alex Cora. None. It can't happen. So you start looking to the alternative. I don't think Brown is knee-jerk anti-Moneyball like Joe Morgan, even given his Scioscia piece today. So what's the other explanation? That which weakens a friend's enemy strengthens a friend.

    By Blogger Steve, at 4/26/2005 02:22:00 PM  

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