The Angels Add Up

One of the myths peddled by some stathead zealots who treat Moneyball like a holy book is that the Angels ignore statistical analysis, that they’re "old school," that Bill Stoneman and Mike Scioscia haven’t the first clue how to use a computer, ad nauseam.

I’ve written many times over the years, most recently in my October 18 entry, that the Angels do statistical analysis, the only difference is that no one wrote a book about it. The Angels have employed for several years an outside statistical service, and two years ago created a full-time statistical analyst on staff. But the zealots have ignored all this, continuing to insist that the Angels are statistical ostriches, sticking their heads in the sand, refusing to accept sabermetric orthodoxy.

Baseball Hall of Fame sportswriter Ross Newhan of the Los Angeles Times told the truth in today’s article about the stress on today’s baseball management. Newhan wrote:

The Cardinals are interviewing candidates to replace [departed general manager Walt] Jocketty, but he will be younger, more new-school than old-school, a concession to baseball’s new world of metric models and computer analysis, underscoring the ongoing "Moneyball" debate over statistics versus scouting.

Much of that is overblown, however.

Almost all clubs employ metrics and computers to differing degrees and most pursue a balance between these newer tools and their experienced scouts.

The Angels, for example, have remained scouting-based while putting increased significance under older-school Stoneman on the contributions of 29-year-old computer analyst Tory Hernandez, whom they promoted last week from player performance analyst to manager of baseball operations.

"If our scouts are irreplaceable, Tory has been invaluable," Stoneman said. "Nothing will ever replace the human mind, but I don’t know how we would operate without the computer."

Goodness.

"Almost all clubs employ metrics and computers"?!

Say it ain’t so!

As I’ve written over and over, the A’s are not doing anything particularly unique — other than getting a lot of hype out of a semi-fictional book.

I don’t expect the zealots to finally admit their wrong, because zealots can’t admit their ideology might not be the one true word. But for those who want the truth, the truth is in Newhan’s column.

3 Comments

Um…what?

Who are these sabermetric fascists you speak of? Can you give examples by name (and not Billy Beane, etc.)?

I guess I’m confused. You understand that everyone is increasingly using computer models to enhance their scouting and even tout some understanding of the obvious balance – even comparing the A’s approach as nothing particularly unique – but then demand some apology for a mythical wrong. What wrong has been committed? I don’t get it.

It’s just such a defensive posture over this. Listen, I’m no sabermetric geek, but some of the surface tools utilized by sabermetric have definitive value. I guess I acknowledge it because it makes oodles of sense.

Given that sabermetrics has gone from a non-entity w/r/t MLB clubs’ usage to ‘Almost all clubs employ metrics and computers’, one would think no wrong should be admitted. Seems to be making a whole lotta sense to a whole lotta baseball people to me.

Love the site. Cheers.

Ha,Ha! Good post. But I missed the part about the fascists. Oh, and I can’t find the part about the demand for an apology, either.

I have to agree with you…maybe you are confused.

(Or maybe the shoe fits, huh?)

When there is asking for admittance of some wrong, that would be akin to apology.

If the shoe fits? What?!

Nice comeback, Potsie.

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