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January 2, 2013

BP Unfiltered

The Twins and Sabermetrics

by R.J. Anderson

The Twins use sabermetrics. That is the takeaway from Parker Hageman’s interesting Twins Daily piece on Minnesota’s quantitative analysis. Hageman quotes Jack Goin, Minnesota’s Manager of Major League Administration and Baseball Research (and ostensibly the club’s lead quant), throughout the article. Here are some highlights:

The truth is, Goin says, they view themselves as a middle-of-the-road team when it comes to using statistical analysis. There are the overachievers, there are a few on the bottom and the rest, like the Twins, reside somewhere in between.

One way in which they have progressed in just a few shorts years is that Goin has turned to MLBAM’s Pitch F/X system – a relative unknown to the staff as recently has 2010 – when attempting to analyze potential free agent pitchers.


“We try to find not a hidden guy but a lesser known guy – someone not on all the prospect lists, maybe not on the scout’s radar for whatever reason it might be,” says Goin. “You try to find another guy we might at least talk about because when you are trying to make a trade, it’s not the easiest thing in the world to do. You get turned down a bunch before someone says ‘yes.’ You have to come up with multiple names.”

Not one of Goin’s comments is groundbreaking, and that’s the point. The only staggering admission involves Minnesota’s recent ignorance of PITCHf/x data. Otherwise, Goin admits the Twins use a publicly available data source; one advanced enough to wow the casual fan and few others.  In all likelihood, Minnesota is using more and better data than PITCHf/x. Goin admits to being okay with the perception that the Twins are analytical laggards—and why wouldn’t he be? He has no reason to tip his hand further because there is no comparative advantage gained with a 100 percent forthcoming nature. If you come away thinking the beliefs about the Twins are correct then consider this: What if they're intentionally misleading us? It's not like> we'd know the difference.
Worth noting: Goin appears to have a Twitter account where he tweets out Baseball Prospectus material amongst other things.

R.J. Anderson is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see R.J.'s other articles. You can contact R.J. by clicking here

Related Content:  Minnesota Twins,  Sabermetrics,  PITCHf/x

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Pebble Hunting: How to... (12/28)
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BP Unfiltered: The Yea... (01/02)
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