White: Stats count, but MLB teams also find value in chemistry

From Paul White at USA Today on April 8, 2013:

Jason Giambi has been paid more than $20 million a season to hit baseballs and help teams win championships. Now, he’s making $750,000 as a 42-year-old part-time player and full-time mentor for a team trying to figure out how to win.

If the Cleveland Indians are right — in fact, if a growing number of teams have calculated correctly something impossible to measure — this could be the most cost-effective use of Giambi in his 19-year career.


Players do believe in it. Even if they can’t measure it.

Pitcher Brandon McCarthy is new to the Diamondbacks this season after being part of the Athletics’ surprising run to last year’s postseason. He’s also part of a new breed of players who embrace the increasingly precise statistical breakdowns of their game.

So, it was a jolt to the numbers community when McCarthy chose an appearance at this spring’s Society for American Baseball Research’s Analytics Conference  to say that if you took Jonny Gomes and Brandon Inge away from the 2012 Athletics, they would have gone from 94 wins to 70-something wins on the basis of “what happens behind closed doors.”

Gomes played in 99 games for the A’s and hit .262. Inge batted just .226 in 74 games.

Read the full article here: http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/mlb/2013/04/08/jason-giambi-chemistry-advanced-metrics/2064977/

Related link: For more coverage of the 2013 SABR Analytics Conference, visit SABR.org/analytics

Originally published: April 9, 2013. Last Updated: April 9, 2013.