One of my most recent books I picked up was a new one called Smart Baseball. I found the look at the “new era” of baseball stats to be very interesting.
Predictably Irrational meets Moneyball in ESPN veteran writer and statistical analyst Keith Law’s iconoclastic look at the numbers game of baseball, proving why some of the most trusted stats are surprisingly wrong, explaining what numbers actually work, and exploring what the rise of Big Data means for the future of the sport.
For decades, statistics such as batting average, saves recorded, and pitching won-lost records have been used to measure individual players’ and teams’ potential and success. But in the past fifteen years, a revolutionary new standard of measurement—sabermetrics—has been embraced by front offices in Major League Baseball and among fantasy baseball enthusiasts. But while sabermetrics is recognized as being smarter and more accurate, traditionalists, including journalists, fans, and managers, stubbornly believe that the “old” way—a combination of outdated numbers and “gut” instinct—is still the best way. Baseball, they argue, should be run bypeople, not by numbers.
I’m a middle of the pack guy when it comes to the new metrics way. I see the value in it, but I also see value in things that can’t be measured. Moneyball brought the new way of thinking into mainstream. Smart Baseball is about bringing it to real life application.