Why we shouldn't be so quick to assume that statistical principles don't apply to particular players.
When Matt Cain signed his $127.5 million contract extension in April 2012, Colin Wyers memorably tweeted: “If your response to the Matt Cain extension involves xFIP I'll be by later to pour coffee on your keyboard.” As someone who was still relatively new to the field of sabermetrics, seeing that was a watershed moment in that it signaled a substantial retreat from our previous collective understanding that DIPS statistics were unambiguously superior to ERA as measurements of pitching ability.
Why a second (or third) video replay analyst might be the best deal in baseball.
I had the honor of having lunch with Dan Brooks last week, and as we ate our sandwiches the conversation turned to my thesis. I mentioned that if I were running a team, I would strongly consider hiring dozens of new front office employees, because their salaries are so cheap compared to those of players that even if only a few of them ended up making substantive contributions, they would more than earn their collective keep.
The rest of this article is restricted to Baseball Prospectus Subscribers.
Not a subscriber?
Click here for more information on Baseball Prospectus subscriptions or use the buttons to the right to subscribe and get access to the best baseball content on the web.
A couple weeks ago, I made the argument that the cost of a win on the free agent market for a given season does not represent a generally homogeneous league-wide conception of what a win is worth. Rather, the more logical explanation is that it reflects the largest amount any team would be willing to pay for the Nth win available after the first N – 1 wins were hypothetically distributed in accordance with who valued each of them most highly. (Economic theory can sound weird when you apply it to real life.)
This article started with the realization that I had been wrong. Believe it or not, it’s happened before; unlikely as it seems, it may happen again. I think I’ve got it right this time, but in the spirit of intellectual honesty and taking responsibility for my past arguments, I wanted to note that I’ve been down this road before.
Why a dollar might go further in the front office than on the field.
The following is an excerpt from the author’s senior thesis at Brown University. He will be presenting his research at the Society for American Baseball Research Analytics Conference on March 15. The full paper will be made available later this spring.
Would we have another Hall of Famer if the BBWAA had made all of its ballots public?
Lewie Pollis is a senior at Brown University and a former baseball analytics intern for the Cleveland Indians. He also writes for ESPN Insider. Follow him on Twitter @LewsOnFirst.
The year was 2011. I was a green-behind-the-ears aspiring sabermetrician who would pore over every little piece of baseball-related data I could get my hands on in an attempt to better familiarize myself with the numbers. So as I sat on a Greyhound bus with nothing better to do on a dreary January afternoon, I found myself looking over some pre-announcement ballot counters for the newly minted Cooperstown class of 2011.