Business, Entertainment - Written by Mike Dover on Friday, July 10, 2009 14:49 - 1 Comment
Sabermetrics as Mass Collaborators
Last week, my colleague Naumi Haque posted about basketball stats and featured the amazing Michael Lewis article about Shane Battier. There was another good article today about how technology can improve the enjoyment of baseball.
Because of its nature of individual matchups between the pitcher and the batter, baseball lends itself to the collection of stats. Bill James and his band of sabremetricians help to collect detailed information about each player. As the group would tell you, three of the most “traditional” baseball stats, batting average (treats a single and a grand slam as equals) and wins (can you team hit at all?) are useless. Total Average was the rage in the 1970s (it was updated after base stealers received too much of a premium because hitting a single and getting caught stealing means you did your team no better than if you struck out), fielding percentage (penalizes a shortstop for booting a ball that a fatter guy wouldn’t have reached).
Still, we are just talking about offensive contributions. The Times article describes how technology can enhance statistics even more. From the article:
Which shortstops reach the hard-hit grounders up the middle? Which base runners take the fastest path from first base to third? Which right fielders charge the ball quickest and then throw the ball hardest and most accurately? Although the game will continue to answer to forces like wind, glaring sun and the occasional gnat swarm, a good deal of time-honored guesswork will give way to more definite measurements — continuing the trend of baseball front offices trading some traditional game-watching scouts for video and statistical analysts.
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