Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
May 3, 2005
BASEBALL: What We Don't Know

I meant to link to this a while ago - via David Pinto, you can now access Bill James' pot-stirring SABR article criticizing the common sabermetric methodology - used many times by James himself - of comparing season-to-season results to determine whether things like clutch hitting and platoon differentials are persistent skills rather than transient statistical flukes caused by luck. James' main point: several of the items he lists are just unknowable by this method because the year-to-year sample sizes are so small they can't be useful for any study.

Of course, in some cases, like the Voros McCracken hypothesis about balls in play, there are alternative ways to attack the problem by looking at the extent to which performance over time tends to level off. It's not that the questions James revisits can't be answered, but he's probably right (as usual) that the answers we have so far are unsatisfactory to the extent that they are based on this methodology.

(Of course, for selfish reasons I'm glad to see a movement away from a type of study that was always beyond my computational skills; I don't do regression analyses).

Posted by Baseball Crank at 7:12 AM | Baseball 2005 | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Just wanted to note that today is the 6th anniversary of one of the rarest feats in baseball. The immortal Creighton Gubanich (Red Sox) hit a grand slam in his first major league at bat. Only 3 other players have ever done that. It was Gubanich's only career HR.

Posted by: jim at May 3, 2005 3:36 PM
Site Meter 250wde_2004WeblogAwards_BestSports.jpg