Which Baseball Statistics Are The Most Telling?

From Ben Bolch at the Los Angeles Times on August 21, with mention of SABR members Alan Schwarz, Bill James, Pete Palmer and Rob Neyer:

Baseball stats — and the debates they spark — originated with the advent of the game, courtesy of early observers who attempted to quantify its nuances.

“There were stat-heads dating back to the Civil War,” said Alan Schwarz, author of “The Numbers Game: Baseball’s Lifelong Fascination with Statistics.”

The first box scores tallied players’ exploits in two columns: “hands lost” — or outs made — and runs scored.

Modern box scores are vastly more detailed. In addition to hits, runs and batting averages, they include pitch counts and the tally of how many inherited runners score for each reliever.

Such minutiae are devoured by those who use sabermetrics, a term coined in 1980 by Bill James to describe the mathematical and statistical analysis of baseball records to determine the relative value of players and teams. This is where relatively conventional statistics such as H_IP (hits per inning pitched) are used in more intricate computations, including PVORP (pitcher’s value over replacement player) and BABIP (batting average on balls in play).

Read the full article here: http://www.latimes.com/sports/la-sp-0821-baseball-stats-20110821,0,3987284.story

Originally published: August 22, 2011. Last Updated: August 22, 2011.