Dubuque: The natural conclusion of baseball statistics

From Patrick Dubuque at Baseball Prospectus on April 28, 2017:

Since its unveiling at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference three short years ago, Statcast has transformed the nature and scope of baseball data. The sum of the immeasurable now measurable is dizzying; exit speed, launch angle, running speed, leadoff distance, spin rate, transfer speed on catch-and-throws. The secrets of these new veins of research are extracted and refined in 30 different laboratories, and measurement of players has already been altered. It’s no longer batting average, it’s batting velocity.

As with science, this is only the latest step in the natural progression of baseball analytics, a miniaturization of exploitable advantage. Just as secondary average and Win Shares pioneered the ability to accurately measure what a player had accomplished, fielding-independent metrics and BABIP drove us to think about not what happened, but what should have. That there was a talent level separate from production, something that existed on a separate plane. In one sense, such a shift in thought was liberating; finally, every discussion of a player didn’t have to end in “how many rings/All-Star berths/MVPs did the guy get?” But in another way, the complexity and aethereality of modern statistics could portend an unhappy future.

Read the full article here: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=31711

Originally published: April 28, 2017. Last Updated: April 28, 2017.