Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
April 30, 2004
BASEBALL: More Olney Baloney

Buster Olney is back with another ode to "productive outs," yet again taking a simple notion - that there can be a benefit at times to sacrificing an out to improve your chances of scoring one run - and blowing it out of proportion as if it's the main reason for certain teams' successes and failures. Bizarrely, Olney's Exhibit A this time in support of his "Smallball vs. Moneyball" rant (ESPN's title, not mine) is a Yankees-Red Sox game last week in which the Red Sox won 2-0, with the only runs scoring on this sequence in the Boston fourth:

-Top of the 4th inning -M Bellhorn walked. -D Ortiz struck out looking. -M Ramirez homered to left, M Bellhorn scored. -K Millar lined out to shortstop. -J Varitek flied out to center.

Yup, the game turned on a walk (by Mark Bellhorn, the main target of Olney's scorn) and a home run, with the only intervening out being the least productive kind, with David Ortiz' strikeout being rendered moot by Manny's home run. Productive outs, indeed. See here for more on Olney's misguided attempt to pass off his pet theory as if it were a meaningful form of statistical analysis, notably the fact that his theory completely ignores the fact that teams that move a lot of baserunners are better than teams that don't because teams that have a lot of baserunners in the first place are better than teams that don't.

UPDATE: Well, this one certainly brought out the long knives. Check out Derek Zumsteg, David Pinto, and the Primates on Olney's folly. By the way, I also enjoyed how Olney quoted Paul O'Neill saying, in essence, how the Yankees were better when they had Paul O'Neill.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 7:10 AM | Baseball 2004 | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
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