Miller: What happens when baseball-stats nerds run a pro team?

From Sam Miller at the New York Times on April 25, 2016, with mention of SABR member Ben Lindbergh:

IN 2015, the Sonoma Stompers, the team with one of the lowest payrolls in the Pacific Association, a professional baseball league near San Francisco, did something desperate: It handed its baseball-operations department to a couple of stat-savvy writers with no baseball-management experience, Ben Lindbergh and me.

We are devotees of the statistical school known as Sabermetrics, a word coined by Bill James and made mainstream by “Moneyball.” In short, number crunching. What we lacked in experience we made up for with a long paper trail of claims about how baseball teams should be run.

Theo Fightmaster, the Stompers general manager, hired us. In spring training, he introduced Ben, a writer for the website FiveThirtyEight, and me as “experts in statistical analysis.” We addressed the players and laid out our goals for the season: to lead the league in the first half, and in the second half, to go undefeated.

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Originally published: April 25, 2016. Last Updated: April 25, 2016.