Thursday, March 5, 2009

Moving Into The 21st Century

They haven't made it well known previously (and so I didn't think it was the case), but the O's actually do some statistical analysis now. I don't think it's near the level of what, say, the Rays are doing, but it's a good start. From
"You can never do enough due diligence. A year ago, when the Orioles began pondering a contract extension for second baseman Brian Roberts, they relied on number-crunching and statistical analysis of an advanced nature to help set fair expectations for his performance over the life of the deal.

That endeavor largely had to do with how offensive players of his type tend to age, a case study that used seven decades of baseball history as its backdrop and systematically eliminated some ill-suited matches...

In Roberts' case, that meant measuring how fast players with plate discipline and doubles power have tended to mature as they push into their mid-30's. Klentak chose not to elaborate on the specifics of his study, but modern-day analysis has shown that aging manifests itself in a number of common trends.

Generally speaking, home runs tend to drop as a player's power begins to wane, and doubles stay neutral because an aging speed player won't be able to leg out as many triples. Simultaneously, walks tend to go up as a veteran player learns how to better exploit a more seasoned knowledge of the strike zone.

Nobody knows whether Roberts will follow those trends, but looking at similar players helps eliminate guesswork."

I would be really interested in seeing the data the team worked with (it's possibly similar to the PECOTA system that BaseballProspectus uses), but they're obviously not giving out there methods. Given this info., I feel a little bit better about the deal. Andy MacPhail:

"I think [historical trends are] part of the equation," said Andy MacPhail, Baltimore's president of baseball operations. "It's not the major part of the equation, which would be the individual and your knowledge of them and their work habits. But you do try to look at industry experience. When you go through your checklist of things, you try to give yourself the chance to make the best decisions. One of those things is looking at trends and trying to understand if you're really pushing the odds too much to one side, to know if you're really taking a long-shot bet or not."

I wonder how many years it will take to get used to having competent people in charge. It's been almost two now, and it's still refreshing to see that the team has gotten away from a lot of the poor decision making (results and process) that's lead to 11 straight losing seasons.

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