Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Quick, Let's Anecdotally Make a Distinction that Doesn't Even Exist

Jon "I'm Terrified of Things that are New" Heyman, re: Phillies GM Pat Gillick-

Gillick's success in Philly is another point in favor of scouts over stats in the debate about the value of the two strategies.

I like the use of "another" in this sentence, as if everyone paying attention to this debate should know full well that those in the "scouts" camp are clearly miles ahead. This is like saying "My friend Angelo's ice cream preference is another point for chocolate over vanilla in the debate about which flavor is better."

Gillick puts a lot of faith in his scouts,

There are dozens, nay, hundreds of MLB teams that put no faith whatsoever in their scouts. There's a joke amongst these teams' general managers that when scouting reports arrive, they are immediately placed in "the special circular file." (The special circular file is actually a trash can!)

employs a stable of experienced scouts

The Cubs, Giants, and Twins have recently folded their scouting programs altogether. The money saved by this measure will be put towards buying more supercomputers that know where to find talented young baseball players.

and relies on their eyes rather than a bunch of numbers anyone can read.

If computers are so great, why can't they tell who's going to be an All-Star based just on how 18 year old kids look when they put on their uniforms? Why can't they find good pitchers based solely on how mean the pitchers look when they stare into the batter's eyes?

Also: saying baseball stats are just a bunch of numbers anyone can read is like saying Tolstoy is just a bunch of words anyone can read.

Also, and most importantly: pretending like any team in baseball today, let alone one capable of winning a pennant and maybe a World Series, is not depending a lot on both scouting and statistical analysis is mind-numbingly retarded.

16 comments:

Tonus said...

You don't say!!!

Larry B said...

Boo, Tonus, boo. Don't make us start ripping on the Angels again.

Chris W said...

The best GM's in baseball seem to be split approximately down the middle re: "scouts" v. "stats"

ANOTHER POINT FOR SCOUTS!

Bengoodfella said...

If it weren't for those wonderful scouts, I bet NO ONE would have ever heard of Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Cole Hamels and Pat Burrell. They would all be working at McDonald's right now.What a bunch of obscure players picked up off the waiver wire.

Another point for scouting!

Chris W said...

Not only that, but Howard and Utley were both picked out of college.

Not exactly the prototypical "old school scout" draft pick.

John Foley said...

"pretending like any team in baseball today, let alone one capable of winning a pennant and maybe a World Series, is not depending a lot on both scouting and statistical analysis is mind-numbingly retarded."

Well, yeah. I mean, it's Jon Heyman saying it. This is the same guy who, when asked for a prediction of the Cubs/Dodgers series, said "I like Lou Piniella in a short series."

Tonus said...

"Boo, Tonus, boo. Don't make us start ripping on the Angels again."

Are you kidding? After game two, people were hyping up the idea of "productive outs" because the Rays scored some runs on ground outs. The Angels may be dead, but our offensive philosophy lives on!

Also, Jon Heyman is a retard.

Fred Trigger said...

I swear, I think Heyman just likes to bait bloggers (FJM. Both of you). Look at every years HOF article. I guarantee it will be the same as last year. The key word will be "compilers" for keeping Bert Blyleven out.

Bengoodfella said...

Fred, you are probably right and I think at this point everyone enjoys being baited by him because it allows a good "what the hell is he talking about" article to be posted.

Pat Gillick did a good job but to get overly excited at his ability to scout players is a bit much. The Rays did a good job of scouting players as well but if you stink for 10 straight years you are bound to get some good draft picks and at least some of them have to pan out, right? Not to take anything away from them since they have tons of great young players, but it is not like they were mostly 34th round draft picks.

Fred Trigger said...

"The Rays did a good job of scouting players as well but if you stink for 10 straight years you are bound to get some good draft picks and at least some of them have to pan out, right?"

Well, that is true but, most of the rays players arent homegrown. In fact, they have about the same amount of homegrown players as the Red Sox do. Think about it. Who are their homegrown players? Off the top of my head, I can think of Price, Baldelli, and Upton. That team is built mostly from free agent signings, and trades (Of course formulated from their prospects, but you know what I'm saying.) Also, you still need to have a decent scouting staff for the draft, otherwise you end up with crap (Bryan Bullington, anyone?)

On a side note. I had someone at my station telling me that he liked how the rays were winning with "smallball", and it took every ounce of my energy not to slap the shit out of him. I calmly informed him that they were in the top 3 in the league in homeruns, and he just kind of looked at me with this "and your point is" looks......I just calmly walked away.

Martin said...

Crawford, Longoria, I know for sure. Shields and Sonnanstein I'm pretty sure. I don't know if Akinori should count or not. Is scouting Japan League players like scouting college? Fernando Perez, but he's a benchie.

So that would be 8 or 9, and bullpens are never homegrown except in rebuilding mode. Might as well toss out 5 of those 6 spots, so roughly half of the roster is homegrown of the part of the roster you could expect to be homegrown. That's a good %, and shows that the Red Sox aren't all about big money, but about supplmenting their roster with big money, or filling it out with capable small money players.

Fred Trigger said...

right but, only 3 of their starters are homegrown, and only 2 people of their starting rotation are as well. I'm not saying their front office doesnt desrve any credit. i'm just saying that, to attribute ALL their success to high draft picks is kind of ridiculous. I'd say its due to a little bit of everything.

Chris W said...

is scouting college hitters really even what people mean by "scouting" as opposed to "stats"?

Bengoodfella said...

Fred, I didn't say most of the Rays are homegrown, I said they were bound to get some good draft picks. Meaning picking number 1-5 in the first round where the only decision is whether you are going to be able to sign the player or not when deciding who to choose.

I was only saying if you get to choose in the top 5 of the draft every year, you are bound to hit on some good players. I was basically saying teams like the Red Sox possibly do a better job of scouting because they are able to find impact players later in the first round.

Not to take anything away from the Rays of course or demean scouting, but I was just trying to make an observation that I would hope you could put together a good team at some point if you are always getting a high pick in the first round.

Tonus said...

Maybe someone can clue in the Pittsburgh Pirates on how to build a winner via the draft. Or even how to build a mediocre team.

Angelo said...

count it! Four fingers.
Also, chocolate is better and that does end the debate.