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January 12, 2006 12:00 am

Crooked Numbers: More Hilbert Questions

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James Click

Spinning off of Keith Woolner's work, James Click proffers more questions for analysts to answer in 2006.

Whenever I hit that wall, I pick up my copy of Baseball Prospectus 2000. In that edition of BP (and reproduced here in 2004), Keith Woolner outlined some of the key questions left unanswered with regards to baseball research. Some are questions of amazing complexity, such as #13: Assessing the "coachability" of players and #19: Optimizing the competitive ecology of the game. Others have been researched since the article's original publication: catcher defense, the relationship between wins and dollars, the value of draft picks, and game-theoretic frameworks. But there are still many great questions left unanswered.

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January 20, 2005 12:00 am

Breaking Balls: There Is No Divide

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Derek Zumsteg

Real-world examples show us that we use scouting and performance analysis together all the time.

This is all so silly. We all use both schools even if we don't know or acknowledge it. All that remains is to realize it and learn the other side. Even if we don't speak the language, we know the meaning.

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May 23, 2002 11:08 am

Prospectus Feature: Jose Canseco and the Keltner List

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Ryan Wilkins

When Jose Canseco finally announced his retirement last week, I thought little of his case for Cooperstown, citing him as a one-dimensional player, with too much of his value wrapped up in a five-year span. However, after reading Joe Sheehan's Tuesday edition of the Daily Prospectus, I slowly began to rethink my position.

When it comes to baseball-related discussion, there are few topics that pique my interest more than ones involving the Hall of Fame. It's just the seriousness of it all, I suppose. What is the definition of a Hall of Famer? Does anyone really know? If Kirby Puckett is now enshrined in Cooperstown, does that mean Al Oliver should be too? How much preference do you give to peak value? What's really so special about 3,000 hits? Don't you just hate Pete Rose?

Nevertheless, when it comes to arguing my favorite cases, the one system I have found to be the most consistent and fair in its analysis is not something that is based on a formula, per se, or a series of benchmarks like 500 home runs or 300 wins. Rather, the method I have found to be most logical in its evaluation is a Bill James tool called the "Ken Keltner List."

The Keltner List is a set of 15 questions that are used to evaluate the merits of a potential Hall of Famer, not necessarily to replace statistical analysis, but to complement its weaknesses with a dose of common sense. As described by James, in his book The Politics of Glory:

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Nevertheless, when it comes to arguing my favorite cases, the one system I have found to be the most consistent and fair in its analysis is not something that is based on a formula, per se, or a series of benchmarks like 500 home runs or 300 wins. Rather, the method I have found to be most logical in its evaluation is a Bill James tool called the "Ken Keltner List."

The Keltner List is a set of 15 questions that are used to evaluate the merits of a potential Hall of Famer, not necessarily to replace statistical analysis, but to complement its weaknesses with a dose of common sense. As described by James, in his book The Politics of Glory:

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