I am a Baseball Hybrid
- Updated: January 29, 2008
Before I go on, I thought it would be best to give the Wikipedia™ definition of a hybrid. So here it is:
A hybrid is the combination of two or more different things, aimed at achieving a particular objective or goal.
In my case, a Baseball Hybrid is where “Old School” Baseball meets “Sabermetrics”. In more simpler terms, I still hold to some old school methodologies about baseball while understanding the necessity and the usefulness of statistical analysis, also known as Sabermetrics.
Sabermetrics were made known by people like Bill James, ESPN’s Rob Neyer (click HERE to view his blog on ESPN) and Baseball Musings’ David Pinto; as well as in books like Moneyball (To purchase this book click on the following link Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game) which looks into the success of the Oakland Athletics (A’s).
I don’t buy into the 100% use of Sabermetrics, nor do I think that 100% old school baseball is the way to go either. It is my strong opinion that both methods have to be fused together in this modern age of baseball. Something has to be said of managers like Joe Torre and Bobby Cox, Jim Leyland, Sparky Anderson and the like, but you also can not omit the usefulness of statistical analysis (it can give you an edge). Old school baseball has you using your eyes to see if a pitcher is tiring rather than pitch counts. Not every pitcher is built the same. Some are versatile and resilient, while others are fragile. Statistical analysis have helped pitchers and catchers alike in their game planning and strategy. Players like Boston’s Jason Varitek and Curt Schilling come to mind as do the Padres’ Mike Maddux.
Beware! Straying too deep into either camp could contribute to your missing something really special! Statistical analysis could not have predicted how Schilling would pitch in the 2004 ALCS or the World Series with the whole bloody sock scenario. Nor could it predict Roger Clemens pitching as well as he has into his 40’s. There are heart and personal drive intangibles that analysis just can not formulate and this is where the old school methodology comes into play in the modern game. Baseball is a game where anything can and usually will happen and that fact will frustrate the strict analyst beyond belief.
In conclusion, Sabermetrics, in my opinion, doesn’t go out on a limb and play a gut feeling, nor does it take a chance. Sabermetrics might go out and back a carefully calculated formula that a sabermetrician might come to the conclusion that putting it into practice will give your chances of success a greater possibility. Remember, statistical analysis is based upon probability which can not always account for the weather, how a player is feeling (he may be coming off of the flue or an injury) or even the playing surface, but it can enhance your decision making and it can give you a greater probability to make solid decisions. The trick here is that it has to be used intellectually and not apart from a solid understanding of the game inside and out! Using one without the other will not sink you, but using them both in conjunction with each other to bolster probability and enhance your chances of making well informed decisions will make you a better player, coach, manager or administrator (in baseball operations).
Let the comments fly!!