First, I reccomend reading the book...or atleast skimming the book. If you have a copy and dont want to read the whole thing, I can tell you which chapters are most important.

Generally:
Sabermetricians argue that a college baseball player's chance of MLB success is far and away higher than a traditional high school draft pick. Additionally, sabermetricians maintain that high draft picks spent on high school prospects, regardless of talent or physical potential as evaluated by traditional scouting, are as good as wasted.

Also, sabermetric practicioners like Billy Beane or J.P. Riccardi give much less credence to body-type, general athleticism etc. etc.

Offense:
- On Base % is more important than Batting Average
- Steals generally are useless because the risk outweighs the reward.

Pitching:
I can exactly remember the exact principle, but I'll re-post after I re-read it. Whatever it is, Chad Bradford the reliever is the poster-boy for it..I remember that.

Myth:
That sabermetrics is the end-all and be-all...and there is only one way to do it.
quote:
Originally posted by Estone28:

Offense:
- On Base % is more important than Batting Average
- Steals generally are useless because the risk outweighs the reward.

Myth:
That sabermetrics is the end-all and be-all...and there is only one way to do it.


I have read it front to back a few times.

Interesting stuff - but if you steal over 95% of the bases attempted - they might want to re-evaluate the risk thing.

It can turn a nothing inning - into a something inning.

IMO.
A couple of other points:

The sac bunt is considered a waste because it gives away an out. Outs are considered precious due to the finite number.

Hitting is a lot more important the fielding. Take the average fielder with the high OBP and OPS over the slick fielder with average OBP and OPS.
Sabermetrics is the study of large numbers over time. The trends are real. They're based on real events. It's why you see MLB managers with charts in the dugout. This doesn't mean the short odds event won't take place from time to time.

High school sports don't have large enough numbers combined with the ever changing physical development of players to take advantage of long term statistical trends.
quote:
Originally posted by itsinthegame:
Charts probably wont help you when the guy gets a hit - steals second - steals third - smiles at you.

And then scores on a weak grounder to the second baseman.

Wink
The chart would provide the trend it's what they do in those situations.
Because everyone is using the same numbers. Is it working out for the Royals? Is it working out for the O's?

The managers that take their personel and game plan according their team strengths will be successfull. Not by going by numbers on a chart.

If I have speed Im going to use that speed. Im going to bunt alot , steal alot and play to MY teams strengths. Im not going to look at a chart that everyone else is going by. Im going to game plan according to what my team strengths are.
I still recall Reggie Jackson when asked about all his K's---his answer was very simple--"It's better than hitting into a double play"


By the way, as ITS knows all too well--I think the stolen base is an offensive weapon as well as being as a great exciting play---hate to tell how many times the runner stealing second ended up on third base when the throw to second went sailing into the outfield


The new thinkers are making the game too difficult--it ain't that difficult folks
It's wrong to assume that everybody goes by the same chart. There are many different philosphies and many different means of determining it. I think there's only a few teams that actually use sabermetrics in their decision making processes, whether that be for players or game situations.

I don't know if the Royals use the sabermetrics system, or your system. Even if they used your system and lost, that wouldn't be a condemnation of your total system, it would be a single example. I would counter that the A's, Toronto, and the BoSox use sabermetrics and have shown positive results.
When I look out on the field in a high school game I'm coaching (or youth) I don't see too many major league fielders that will have to field that bunt and make a good throw.... that's why at the amatuer level all the Sabermetrics are just interesting reading and in no way good strategy.
If I recall correctly, I think Moneyball said that base stealers had to be 70% or more successful in order to make it worth the risk of the out.

As far as fielding goes - it didn't really say fielding is less important than hitting, it said that the market was mispricing fielding ability vs, hitting ability when looked at in terms of net run production.
To me the key point of Moneyball was not was not any of the individual stats but rather the use of the stats to look for things that are undervalued in the marketplace - essentially applying the concept of arbitrage to baseball.

For example, at the time of Moneyball's writing (e.g. before publication) the A's were focused on the notion that On Base Percentage was undervalued by the baseball teams in general and that by focusing on getting players with high OBP you could get better value than by focusing on players with high slugging percentages.

Since Moneyball's publication, MLB teams (along with the media) are now all talking about OBP and, I would assume, the value is no longer there - players are now properly priced for OBP.

The interesting question to me is have teams moved on in search of other stats that reveal undervalued players where you can get a "cheap" player who is worth more to the team than his price. I am really encouraged to see Billy Beane backing up the bus and reloading his team - and am curious to try and figure out what is his new key stat. I am thinking, based upon hints dropped in various articles, that he is now focusing on defensive stats - an area that is still a largely unexplored area of Sabermetrics.

08
quote:
Originally posted by 08Dad:
I am thinking, based upon hints dropped in various articles, that he is now focusing on defensive stats - an area that is still a largely unexplored area of Sabermetrics.

08


But in the book, they talked about defining each players range and the percentage of balls within that range that players were able to make successful plays on. Since we are now 5 or 6 years down the road, I suppose you may be right, he could have refined those and found a way to anylize them.
----------------------------------------------------
To be more specific regarding the question of Sabermetrics. See below.

Probably the best web site for this is:

http://baseballanalysts.com/

---------------------------------------------------

Sabermetrics is the analysis of baseball through objective evidence, especially baseball statistics. The term is derived from the acronym SABR, which stands for the Society for American Baseball Research. It was coined by Bill James, who was among its first proponents and has long been its most prominent advocate known to the general public.

From David Grabiner's Sabermetric Manifesto:

Bill James defined sabermetrics as "the search for objective knowledge about baseball." Thus, sabermetrics attempts to answer objective questions about baseball, such as "which player on the Red Sox contributed the most to the team's offense?" or "How many home runs will Ken Griffey, Jr. hit next year?" It cannot deal with the subjective judgments which are also important to the game, such as "Who is your favorite player?"
It may, however, attempt to settle questions such as "Was Willie Mays faster than Mickey Mantle?" by establishing several possible parameters for examining speed in objective studies (how many triples each man hit, how many bases each man stole, how many times was he caught stealing) and then reaching a tentative conclusion on the basis of these individual studies.

Sabermetricians frequently call into question traditional measures of baseball skill. For instance, batting average is generally considered by them to be a statistic of limited usefulness because it turns out to be a poor predictor of a team's ability to score runs. [1] A more typical sabermetric reasoning would say that runs win ballgames, and that therefore a good measure of a player's worth is his ability to help his team score more runs than the opposing team.
WOW!!!! Some great stuff going on here. Perhaps I can add a bit.

First of all, reading or even re-reading the book "Moneyball" will help a lot in understanding the way Billy Beane of the Oakland A's used sabermatrics to find what was undervalued in the MLB marketplace both as to free agents available and their cost *Scott Hataberg(sp)] and draft choices [Nick Swisher & Chad Bradford]. By the way, the story on Chad Bradford is that Beane's Harvard Economics graduate Paul Depodesta(sp) found Bradford's statistics [era, whip, etc] more impressive than another pitcher the A's scouts were all over [6 feet plus, throws 95 MPH, etc] at the same college. Depodesta asked the scouts to check Bradford out and they did not but drafted Bradford in the low rounds sight unseen. He was called "the creature" by some of the scouts when someone finally saw him pitch in rookie ball. He is still pitching relief in the majors as I understand it.

I don't thnk that "steals generally are useless" is an accurate description of Billy Beane's approach to free agents and the draft. It would be more accurate to say he believed at the time Moneyball was written that "speed" as a tool was overvalued by most MLB teams and that on base % and slugging % [now combined as OPS] were undervalued. Thus, he did not seek in the free agent market those outfielders with low OPS and lots of steals but instead used players like Mark Kotsay to play centerfield for the A's. If you don't go after speed, it is hard to have a speed game.

But if you really want to read something that gets at the heart of the whole sabermetrics revloution read The Mind of Bill James. He was the baseball genuis that started it all. He even developed a formula that takes Team OBP, SLG, steal attempts and caught stealing and some other stuff and will tell you how many total runs that team will likely score in a 162 game season. And that figure when juxtaposed with your pitching stats will tell you how many games you will likely win that season. And the magic number being somewhere above 90 games won, that number will tell you whether you have got a team that will make it to the playoffs or not. Billy Beane has done that math and knows that the team he had in 2007 will not make the playoffs in 2008 and so he is breaking it down and starting over. Apparently he is after pitching this time if teh Nick Swisher trade is any indication.

RJM is right on about bunts and fielding as far as Billy Beane was concerned according to the Moneyball book. However, fielding is making a comeback in sabermetric circles but only because there are new ways to more accurately measure fielding abilities besides errors, chances and assists. As Flintoide suggests, I touted John Dewan and others who are developing a way of evaluating fielders based on what balls in play the average fielder at a specific position can get to and successfully complete a play and what they don't get to. Then everyone who plays that position [in the MLB] is then ranked according to where they fall on that scale [half above average and half below average]. The results from 2006 were somewhat surprising. Troy Toliwitski(sp) was ranked first [best] and Derek Jeter was ranked next to last [beaten out by Hanley Rameriz(sp).

I usally don't disagree with Coach May but here I think you might be misinformed. I believe there is a lot that any coach at any level can learn from reading The Mind of Bill James and other sabermetric books and articles. You and I have conversed on other topics about patience at the plate, discipline both in and out of the strike zone based on the hitters strengths and weaknesses. These team stratigies are very consistent with where sabermetrics is comming from. It is true, as has been infered earlier in this post, that the Boston Red Sox are not really a Moneyball team. With the payroll they have, they can afford the very best players of any type they want to buy. They have chosen OPS as the watchword for their offense and have paid the money necessary to get the best pitchers available for the defense. Now, they no longer need to retool bvia free agency and are in the enviable position where they can draft the five tool player *Jacob Elsberry(sp)] who also has exhibited the plate discipline that is the hallmark of their team offensive strategy. The fact that he can steal bases with the best of the was an added plus. And any Manager that would not use speed when he has it is a fool.

My point is that sabermetrics/statistics, etc. are not studied for in game strategy per se. One studies it at the Major League level so that decisions regarding how good will this person be at the next level are easier to confirm than just a scouting report about the "potential" of a certain prospect. But the factors that result in on field success are hard to argue with. OPS is the major defining statistic that measures offensive success. It is an undeniable correlation. That being the case, do I play the speed guy in high school that strikes out a lot and has an OBP just barely greater than his batting average so he can steal second base maybe once a game or do I play the guy that rarely strikes out, puts the ball in play with two strikes and gets on base 60% of the times he bats and use the speed guy as a pinch runner. You tell me.

Excellent post BOF. Past performance is a relevant predictor of future performance. This adage is the conerstone of sabermetrics. If a player is a patient hitter in high school, he will be a patient hitter in college [baring a coach attempting to change him]. Likewise, if a player strikes out a lot in college, he will strike out a lot at the professional level [unless a coach can change him]. Either way, study the statistics and you will know what you are getting. The real question any coach must answer is, what do you want?

TW344
There was another intresting thing in the book Money ball that had to do with the Pitchers ERA and the # of hits allowed.

I seem to remember that the book said there was no corelation between the 2 stats.
Of course I was reading the book late at night and might have been dreaming.
quote:
Originally posted by CPLZ:
I thought Bradford came in a trade from the White Sox...or am I thinking of someone else?


Yes, surreptitiously...

Billy Beane had his eye on Bradford, but knew if he asked for him directly, it would increase what he had to give up in return. So, when he called the White Sox, he feigned interest in another player. He then asked the Sox if they had any pitchers they'd be willing to throw in--once they mentioned Bradford, he said, "I suppose he'll do." I don't remember if the trade existed on its own or if it was piggybacked onto the "fake trade" that Beane initiated.

ETA: And I just realized I responded to an ancient post.
Cball,

The “moneyball” approach was proved to be successful statistically when viewed over a large sample of games, ie the whole season. Bunting a player to get him into scoring position (and giving up an out) is statistically a improper play when viewed over a large sample, however when trying to manage within a short series or a single game it has been proven that the moneyball approach may not be the best approach. That was one of the lessons learned from the A’s, that you can build a team for a whole season but that team may not be the best one to win a short series.
one thing I would like to see is statiscally are you better off taking a 1st pitch fastball for a strike or swinging.

Surely someone has crunched the numbers on the end results of both scenarios.

A good hitter will be out 70% of the time he puts the ball in play but that includes all pitches not just fastball strikes. But then again once ahead in the count the pitcher may start to nibble and fall behind and the hitter will see more pitches in that at bat

I have always told my son that the first pitch get me over fastball may be the best pitch to hit he sees in that at bat and have ecouraged him to jump on it. But I'm not positive it the correct approach.
quote:
I have always told my son that the first pitch get me over fastball may be the best pitch to hit he sees in that at bat and have ecouraged him to jump on it. But I'm not positive it the correct approach.


I agree on a first pitch fastball. That approach isn't as straight forward in College and Pro ball because that first, let's just get ahead in the count pitch, becomes anything BUT a fastball since hitting fastballs is what got them there. This is especially true for the middle of the order and power guys. More often they get a "get it over for a strike,"change-up, slider or curve.

MLB stats show hitters averaging 100 points higher when ahead in the count versus behind. At my sons Fall wrap up with his Head Coach, his fall game stats revealed he hit over .400 when ahead but well below that when behind. Their advice; "hit ANY pitch, early in the count, that you can drive." Too often HITTERS take early "hit me" off speed stuff waiting for that fastball that often does not come.

Hitting early in the count philosophy has always been one I favor for guys that drive the baseball. Slap hitters, , well like pitchers, they are a little different. No offense meant!
Another great resource on this kind of stuff is Perry Husband. His book series "filthy pitching" goes into all of this statistically speaking. Hittingisaguess.com is his website. He has analyzed over 3M pitches in the MLB and breaks it down.
quote:
Originally posted by cball:
one thing I would like to see is statiscally are you better off taking a 1st pitch fastball for a strike or swinging.

Surely someone has crunched the numbers on the end results of both scenarios.

A good hitter will be out 70% of the time he puts the ball in play but that includes all pitches not just fastball strikes. But then again once ahead in the count the pitcher may start to nibble and fall behind and the hitter will see more pitches in that at bat

I have always told my son that the first pitch get me over fastball may be the best pitch to hit he sees in that at bat and have ecouraged him to jump on it. But I'm not positive it the correct approach.


That’s a discussion that’s really difficult to put a finger on because there are so many perspectives. I know I’ve looked at it what seems like a million ways from Sunday, and I still don’t have a “global” answer.

The problem is, what is meant by are you better off, and is that what everyone else means too? Chances are a lot of different people won’t agree, so it means in order to get the best answer for you, you have to define what “better off” means.

When you make that definition, you must include what level you’re talking about too. FI, I have scads of data for HSV, but its limited to in season play for large schools in NorCal. If you want to know about LL, college, MLB, or even summer or fall play for HSV, the results would be different. Give a definition a try, and I’ll try to get you an answer.

I can make an educated guess though. A lot of what happens depends on the hitter’s ability to recognize a pitch he can handle, how quickly he can do that, and how well he can get the bat in position to hit the ball once the 1st two things are done. A pitch doesn’t have to be a strike or a FB, but it does have to be one the hitter can hit solidly more often than not. I’ve shown over and over again that there are some players who do extremely well hitting early in the count, and others that do very well hitting later in the count. And like I said, a lot of it has to do with the hitters skills.

Of course the pitcher’s skills have a lot to do with it as well, and never forget for a second that the person calling the pitches has a lot to do with it too. The situation also has an effect on it, but its very difficult to put percentages on every factor.

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