Mannis: Inside the SABR Analytics Conference, part 4

From SABR member Max Mannis, 11, at SI For Kids on June 28, 2013:

When it comes to baseball statistics, which can we trust more: traditional stats or [sabermetrics]? This question has been debated ever since Bill James coined [sabermetrics]. WAR (wins above replacement) or homers? BABIP (batting average on balls in play) or RBIs? LIPS (late-inning pressure situations) or saves?

Traditional stats can have gaps in them. Take Yankees pitcher Phil Hughes’ 2010 season, for example. Despite having a rather high ERA of 4.19, Hughes “earned” 18 wins. This contradiction probably happened because his offense gave him and the rest of the starting rotation tons of offensive support that year, which led the Yankees to an ALCS appearance against the Texas Rangers.

But those stats can work together with sabermetrics information to present a more complete picture of a player. “I’ve always believed the best way to assess talent is through sabermetrics, traditional stats and scouting,” Vince Gennaro, the president of SABR, told me. “They all contribute to giving us a complete picture of the true talent of a player. Sabermetrics tend to dig a bit deeper by uncovering what’s behind a player’s performance. Traditional stats tend to tell you ‘what’ a player did, while sabermetrics tend to tell you ‘why’.”

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Originally published: June 29, 2013. Last Updated: June 29, 2013.