There’s a lot of discussion about defense and defensive statistics coming into vogue, especially with Peter Gammons stating that teams are realizing that the negatives of defense take away from even big positives on offense. Manny Ramirez, he’s looking at you. Adam Dunn? You too.
But while people are crowing about Zone Rating or even Dave Pinto’s Probabilistic Model, they’re missing something. If you think teams don’t read the studies and stats out here, you’re wrong. They’ve done that for years. What most people don’t realize is that while there’s some great minds writing about baseball, there’s some great minds inside the game too. There are the names you know — Eddie Epstein, Ben Baumer, Keith Woolner — and more names that you don’t.
There have been occasions where I’ve been privy to some of that work that’s going on in front offices and it simply blows away things you’d call the state of the art in sabermetrics. Not a little ahead — a lot. Some of it leaks out, some doesn’t. Some is absolutely horrible too, while some is ignored. Just don’t think that teams are using the same things you are. Anyone that thinks that, isn’t thinking.