Archive for the 'Lies damned lies and statistics' Category

WWEWD (What Would Ed Wade Do?)?

Friday, January 23rd, 2009

step right up folks, read all about it: Ed Wade is going to show his vast baseball knowledge to us via explaining waivers.

my favorite part?

Wade has director of research and analysis Charlie Norton scouring the electronic waiver bulletin on a daily basis. If he sees a player who might help the Astros, the legwork begins.

wow – so part of his Charlie Norton’s job description is to log onto the MLB waiver board and check the postings?  guess that is what a BA in Psychology from Southern Illinois University gets you.

so the Astros are on the forefront of sabermetrics, right?

“We drill it into our pro scouts to pay attention to what they’re seeing in the field,” Wade said. “The process we follow primarily is when a bulletin arrives we check the names against our pro scouting reports and if it looks like one or more of our scouts has a definite interest in the player then we call the scout directly and ask him … what he thinks of the player.

oh well, that wouldn’t have been useful either.

go 2009 Astros!

halfway through, hard part to come

Tuesday, July 1st, 2008

let’s recap:

March/April: W13 L16

May: W17 L11

June: W10 L16

what is it that we want from our teams? is it daily excellence or just the World Series? do intangibles like hustle and spirit matter, or is it all that we remember, the wins and loses?

i don’t have a pat answer for that. ultimately, we want champions, i think. we aren’t ready to sell our soul to get one, but nonetheless, we would trade our current position to be in the running for October.

it’s the same for the guys playing; after a few seasons in the sun, they all want a ring – it’s all that matters. and once you have one, you want more, till you are playing for one for the thumb.

so 12 more games till All-Star break. we’ve played 83 games and sit at 40 wins and 43 loses; about what you would expect if you routinely followed the Astros. are we out of contention? by most metrics, no. is it pretty to be where we are? uh, no again.

while pondering our less than stellar record for 2008, it made we wonder: what is the Astros all time win/loss percentage? i had no clue. so i grabbed the data and figured it out!

since 1965 we are 3456 for 6840 games, or more useful, .505. if you had asked me prior to doing that i would have guessed over 50% but below 53%. well, there you have it. we’re almost flat out average.

but we have no point of reference for this metric. how do other teams rank? big market vs small market. oldies vs the kids. let’s take a look:

Yankees = .550

Cubs = .481

LA Dodgers = .533

Minn Twins = .499

Atlanta Braves = .531

those are win/loss percentages from 1965 forward. funny, huh? i would have expected a greater spread. anyway, here is a link to the Excel spreadsheet if anyone wants it.

so, does this prove that even the best teams are barely above a coin flip over time? does it mean anything? can teams only be managed for micro trends in a macro world?

marginal cost vs. marginal utility: the Astros parable

Thursday, June 19th, 2008

let’s look at some stats:

Games: 71 vs. 65

AB: 268 vs. 203

Runs: 34 vs. 31

Hits: 73 vs. 57

2B+3B: 18 vs. 14

HR: 15 vs. 12

RBI: 53 vs. 27

BB: 18 vs. 24

SO: 31 vs. 45

OPS: .824 vs. .891

lastly, one guy gets $12.5m/year and the other gets $430K.  oh yeah, the one with the big salary has a six year contract with a no-trade clause.  the other has a one year shot.

that’s Carlos Lee versus Luke Scott, folks.

i’m not going to sit here and try and say Lee is less valuable than Scott; he’s not.  i won’t even try to argue that at the end of the 2008 season Lee won’t have better overall statistics; he will.  but i will argue that the marginal value of Lee versus Scott does not equal the outlandish pay disparity.

“We think Luke is one of the undervalued assets.”  — Baltimore Orioles club president Andy MacPhail

part of the problem the Astros have right now is pitching staff – it might be the worst in the league.  the chances of making it better are pretty tough we you have locked yourself into a major deal with position players.  Lee is the fourth highest paid Astro and he’s got four more years on his contract.  he is that high priced, gas guzzling SUV that we now regret buying.

any moron could have looked at the Middle East five years ago and predicted that our little foray into unsettling the area would push oil prices up.  it was also pretty well known that China was going to be consuming oil like fat Americans suck down pork fried rice.  so buying an Ford Excursion in 2007 would be a pretty fucking dumb move.

one of my greatest aggravations with the Astros is how they run the organization.  i expect, considering our owner is a billionaire and supposed business genius, that they would make intelligent decisions based on highly analytical thinking.  business decisions.  instead, we seem to get a lot of bluster and hype, which is usually used to puff up what turn out to be pretty poor decisions.  the signing of Lee (and Tejeda for that matter) are both of this ilk.

so who was controlling the Astros when we signed Lee (and Tejeda) and pushed out the tripe that Jennings and Woody Williams were going to offset things for the bullpen?  the same guy who is pulling their strings now.

a large part of this quagmire we are now in was created by the clamoring for a more potent offense in 2007.  fans wanted home run kings.  more hits make for exciting games.  woo hoo!

yet, who among us wouldn’t trade our entire roster to have a winning record and be bored to death as a well-stocked rotation belts out dry inning after dry inning?  yeah, no-hitters are pretty boring, but i assure you, you only need one run when you hold your opponent to none.  see the last couple of losses for how that one run rule works.

“I don’t think they believed in me. That’s what I got from it all.” — Luke Scott

i hear ya, Luke.  i hear ya.