Advanced math aims to remake scouting into science
From Chuck Carree at the Wilmington Star-News on June 18, 2012, with quotes from SABR President Vince Gennaro:
Less than three months before the Major League Baseball Draft in June, some of the sport's bosses gathered in Phoenix for the first SABR Analytics Conference. This new meeting of baseball's statistically-driven minds personifies how old-fashioned scouting and modern number-crunching are coming closer together.
The Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) formed in 1971 and quickly grew in popularity with Bill James' Baseball Abstract, first published in 1977. It started as a group "to band together baseball historians, statisticians and researchers," according to its website. It's become a home for the advanced study of baseball, using "sabermetricians" to sift through traditional statistics for a deeper scientific meaning of the numbers.
Its work has spawned numerous websites that interpret and present that information. For example, fangraphs.com, uses 32 resource links – ranging from newspaper game accounts to boxscores – and creates 66 advanced statistics that reveal far more about the game than batting average, home runs, RBI and ERA.
Compare that to traditional scouting, which rates position players on hitting; hitting for power; running; throwing and fielding. Pitchers are evaluated on velocity; movement and spin on breaking balls; change-ups; and arm actions.
Some veteran scouts still seem suspicious of sabermetrics, yet acknowledge weaving standard statistics into player reports for decades.
Related link: Join us for the second SABR Analytics Conference, March 7-9, 2013, in Phoenix, Arizona. Visit SABR.org/analytics for details.
This page was last updated June 18, 2012 at 6:23 pm MST.