So I went to the game last night, and a funny thing happened — a fight broke out in my section. No, seriously. First time I’ve ever seen that at an M’s game, but there it was. I missed the first punch (this all happened about 20 rows ahead of me), but saw the usher go tearing down the aisle and attempt to keep the two guys apart. Unfortunately the usher wasn’t very big, and they managed to get back together. At this point everyone in our section — and on each side — is standing, trying to see what’s going on. Based on the cheers and which guy got dragged out (the other guy was simply escorted), it appears one guy was being a jerk and the other guy finally couldn’t take it anymore. Come to think of it, our entire section (115) was pretty rowdy last night. Apparently this is what I’ve been missing by sitting in the 300 level all these years.
In other news, Jeff Bagwell tagged up on Randy Winn, moving from second to third on a not-so-deep flyball. I know it’s popular to rag on Winn’s arm, but I wonder how much of it is technique — last night, when Bagwell was tagging, Winn didn’t set up the way you’re supposed to. Instead of being in that “ready to throw” position when he caught the ball, he was still drifting back, meaning he made the throw without really being able to step into it and subsequently didn’t get anything on it. In any event, poor technique + weak arm = bad throw.
Yeah, about that PTP.. it’s almost as if one of the authors here wrote it and cribbed off the site and Dave’s stuff in particular… not that any of us are Prospectus authors and particularly familiar with the site, or anything.
Um, I have to go now.
I’ve talked about this before, but I started reading Rob Neyer on ESPNet Sportszone when his column was called Chin Music. Rob and Rany on the Royals was the thing that caused me to send Derek and Jason a line and suggest that we do something like that for the M’s (this was before anyone knew what a blog was). Neyer was my introduction to sabermetrics, for the most part, and like an old friend, he’ll always have a spot in my memories. So, with that caveat out of the way…
This column is a steaming pile of horse crap, and the attitude expressed in it is one of the reasons why statheads have little respect outside of their own community. The scouting reports on MLB.com came from the Major League Scouting Bureau, which was responsible for drafting exactly 0 players. The purpose of the MLSB is to provide a supplemental resource to teams and give them a snapshot of players they can’t scout personally. The MLSB exists to help teams not have to have an area scout in North Dakota, because on the rare occurrance that a draftable player shows up there, the scouting bureau will file a report, which will be seen by all 30 teams, who will then dispatch their own scouts to go work up a profile for their respective team.
The MLSB reports are a service that the major league teams value, and they perform their service perfectly. They aren’t intended as in depth evaluations and no team drafts players based on a scouting bureau writeup. The team’s individual scouting reports are extensive in depth, covering a players skills and abilities as well as his physical attributes. The snippets Rob pulls for this column are essentially introductions, which he then hammers for not being novels. Rob writes introductory paragraphs to his columns all the time, but no one selectively removes those from the whole and rips him for the content of that singular paragraph. Ridiculing a scout for describing a players physical proportions is just stupid; they spend 3 hours watching the kids play, and have plenty of time to write “lean body” on their cards without having it effect their time allotted to evaluating the more important aspects of his talents. Gathering information is good, and criticizing them for taking note of every little thing is short sighted and ignorant.
Put simply, Rob Neyer-and to be honest, almost everyone in the statistical community- completely misunderstands the roles and usefulness of scouting. Every time Rob Neyer writes about scouting, he sets statheads back. Every time someone at Primer or Prospectus write about scouting, I cringe. Its not always bad (Dayn Perry, for one, is good at writing to both sides), but more often than not, its uninformed drivel parroted from what someone else told them. Nobody drafts a player because he has “the good face” or a “high rear”. It’s just one piece of information on a sheet filled with insight that can’t be achieved in other methods, but most of the people beating the sabermetric drum are so eager to look for flaws in the old guard, that they’ll pounce on whatever they can get their hands on.
So, please, Rob, stop writing about scouting. You’re not doing us any good, and you’re not doing yourself any good. Alienating those who can do subjective analysis well doesn’t do anyone any good. The sabermetric revolution may be in full swing, but the condescension that most statheads write with makes me want to join the resistance.
You know, I almost never read Jayson Stark, but for some reason, I clicked on his piece today, and found him calling us brilliant. Well, kinda:
New Yorkers also don’t seem to be noticing the top-of-the-line defense of Mike Cameron in center field. But it’s time to pay closer attention.
The brilliant number-crunchers at Baseball Prospectus just broke down the rate of extra-base hits that are falling in Seattle, since Cameron departed, and in Queens, since Cameron arrived. And this can’t be a coincidence: Projected doubles and triples against the Mets this year: 267 — or 81 fewer than last year. Projected doubles and triples against the Mariners this year: 390 — up 156 from last year.
When informed of those numbers by the Newark Star Ledger’s David Waldstein, Cameron (last seen hitting .196) laughed: “At least I’m doing something right.”
But as hard as it is to quantify the effect Cameron has had on the drop in the Mets’ ERA, teammate Joe McEwing looks at it this way:
“It’s amazing to see how much he’s transformed our team. A year or two ago, if it’s first and second and a guy hits a gapper, we’re down, 2-0, and there’s a man on second, nobody out. This year, a lot of times, that same ball is an out. So now it’s first and second, one out, and a ground ball gets us out of an inning. That’s a potential three-run swing.”
Jason may have seen it in the latest Prospectus Triple Play, but for those who have been reading USSM for a while, you’ve seen us tracking these numbers for months. Nice to see someone letting Cameron know just how much of an impact he’s made out there, however.