I spent a couple of days last week going back several years and reading what the blogs who focus on baseball sabermetrics predicted about Dodger players, and what I predicted about those same players.
Without getting into a pissing match, what I found was that our batting averages were pretty much the same. I had a lot of “swing and miss” projections and so did they.
The bottom line is that I don’t believe sabermetrics is superior to good old common sense, but nor do I think the sabermetrics should be ignored. I think you need a little of both. I am not saying “Death To Sabermetrics” but just saying that sometimes your gut can tell you more than your brain. SOMETIMES!
Statistics are great for quantifying what a player HAS DONE is certain situations, and the longer the history, the more reliable the statistics become. Humans are creatures of habit and frequently get what they’ve always got because they do what they have always done. However, where sabermetrics are lacking is in predicting what a player will do going forward when they get tired of doing what they’ve always done. Here are the kind of things ststistics cannot predict:
- Whether Johan Santana will regain a few MPH on his fastball after his latest surgery or not?
- That Jose Bautista, a player who had averaged 12-16 HR for 4 years would suddenly have two back-to-back years where he would hit 54 and 53 Home Runs and OPS .995 and 1.056 respectively.
- That Jayson Werth would get healthy and become an impact player and then decline again at age 30.
- That Matt Kemp would stop being a moody, mediocre player and become the real MVP.
- Whether Andre Ethier will stop being a moody, self-absorbed prima donna and realize his true potential again, which he already did in one magical season?
- Whether James Loney can ever realize his power and hitting potential, which he displayed the second half of last season?
- Can Juan Uribe bounce back and have a decent season or is he toast?
- Whether Chad Billingsley can overcome his mental issues and become the pitcher his stuff shows?
That’s the kind of stuff sabermetrics cannot predict and if it could there would be no reason to play the game. I like the stats. I read ‘em, but part of the joy of baseball is seeing a player come “out of nowhere” and excel. I mean, who doesn’t line “Linsanity?”
P.S. Who is in the photo?