[New York Yankees second baseman Robinson] Canó, Long said, has dedicated himself to physical fitness and is in “immaculate condition.”Let the good times roll!
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Thirty years ago, I created the statistic Total Average. Now I'm almost ashamed to have been one of the original baseball geeks. Where did we go wrong?
This week, Albert Pujols won the NL MVP Award. Why? Mostly because he had a better OPS and VORP (Value Over Replacement Player) than Ryan Howard. Say what? Meanwhile, back in the real world, the Phils' first baseman had 48 homers and 146 RBI to Pujols' 37 homers and 116 RBI.
Earth to my baseball writing buddies: We all love the new numbers, but lets not worship false idols. When I published my Total Average numbers, I'd always emphasize that while stats were wonderful, common sense was better. When stats WILDLY contradict common sense, always doubts the stats. In the case of the goofy gap between Pujols' VORP of 96.8 and Howard's 35.3, my reaction is "Time to revisit VORP. If it can be this wrong, it's not as good as I tought it was."
When stats WILDLY contradict common sense, always doubts the stats.No. This is very, very, very wrong. I know I've emphasised this over and over and over again, but it bears repeating: the proper way to use statistics is not to break them out when you already agree with them. The proper way to use statistics is to develop a model or a test that describes something useful a priori and then to let the results speak for themselves.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
What I'm not willing to say -- what I'll probably never be willing to say -- is that Joe Mauer deserved to finish behind Justin Morneau in the MVP balloting again. Two years ago, there was virtually no evidence that Morneau was more valuable than Mauer, yet Morneau finished first and Mauer finished sixth. This year, there is virtually no evidence that Morneau was more valuable than Mauer, and yet Morneau finished second and Mauer finished fourth.
Maybe that's a sign of progress. But for as long as I've been doing this, I've been told that I don't see enough games, that I don't know what it really takes to win, that I don't appreciate the little things that don't show up in the box scores.
And for as long as I've been doing this, every time the MVP voters have a choice between the guy with the power stats and the guy who does the little things, they pick the guy with the big numbers.
Monday, November 3, 2008
But the Red Sox, one way or another, will contend next season because they have lots of money, lots of young pitching, lots of resources and a much healthier Josh Beckett.What makes anyone think that Josh Beckett is a good bet to stay healthy over 162 games? I get tired of bringing it up (nb: not really), but Josh Beckett has had exactly one full, healthy, productive year in his entire career. Sure, when he's healthy he's generally effective and sometimes brilliant, but the fact is that he is always battling some ailment or another.