Rinker: Talking to a sabermagician, Colin Wyers

From SABR member Lance Rinker at Beyond the Box Score on May 31, 2013:

Your title states that you are the Director of Statistical Operations for Baseball Prospectus. What does that mean exactly and what all does it entail?

Well, what it means is that I’m responsible for the statistics that appear on our website. We have a server dedicated to producing our stat updates (both the nightly updates of stuff that appears on the cards, sortables and reports like the Playoff Odds, and the bigger offseason stuff like PECOTA), and I’m responsible for developing and implementing the stuff that goes into all of that. This gets split into doing research on things we could be doing, implementing it and maintaining it. We also do a lot of one-off projects for our authors, and I help out with that from time to time, although the bulk of that is done by Tim Collins and Ryan Lind. I end up writing a lot of SQL code, although we use some other scripting languages as well (primarily shell scripts and Python).

For those that want to become a better analyst, what would your recommendation be for where they should start? For example, perhaps they are very interested in sabermetrics but just aren’t all that up to speed on everything that has been developed or continues to be expounded upon.

What’s the foundation for any good analyst, in your opinion?

The first thing you want to do is get your hands on some data. You can get the Lahman DB, you can go to DougStats and copy pasta it into a spreadsheet, I don’t really care. Just, get yourself some data.

The next thing you want to do is read. Go to Patriot’s old Tripod site, or his blog for that matter. There’s a ton of old stuff at Baseball Prospectus (and the older stuff is all outside of the paywall) and The Hardball Times for you to read. Go find anything on those sites written by Wooler, Click, Silver, Davenport, Fox, Gassko, Studeman… read it. Pick up a copy of Baseball Between The Numbers. Get a copy of The Book, which is back in print.

Read the full article here: http://www.beyondtheboxscore.com/2013/5/31/4382914/talking-to-a-sabermagician-colin-wyers

Originally published: May 31, 2013. Last Updated: May 31, 2013.