Friday, June 19, 2009

Baseball is A Numbers Game

In Sport one (1) fact remains a constant. It is that Baseball was, is, and continues to be all about the numbers. In no other sport can numbers, and moreover SPLITS teach you about player's aptitute or ineptitude in ANY GIVEN SITUATION.
Check out Baseball Reference for any, and all information on stats.

Let's take a look a former Marlins Catcher, and current Twins backup Mike Redmond. He is a career .291 hitter with only 13 homers in 2140 at-bats, BUT off Tom Glavine a .438 with 2 homers in 48 at-bats. Redmond is also a lifetime .327 hitter versus left-handed pitching, while a pedestrian .272 against a right-hander. Now, remember that Glavine is a Hall-of-Fame pitcher who for his career has a .256 BAA right handers.

Glavine v. Redmond is a mysterious instance in which a hitter dominates a certain pitcher for god-knows why.

Here is a list of just some of the infinite amount of spilts that are available...
2 outs, RISP (runner in scoring position) - A "clutch" split
Day Game/Night Game
By Count
As starter/substitute
vs. Team or Pitcher
...And many, many, many, more.

The fact remains baseball is a number game, but at what point does a manager decide to look at the player and not the splits, or scouting report. Sometimes too often in my opinion, managers make decisions on what paper says, and they lose that player-manager trust which instills confidence in the player.

As a Marlins fan I can remember a plethora of decisions Fredi Gonzalez has made that purely were paper-based. Sometimes they work, but sometimes they don't, and that is why Managing baseball HAS to be more than just based on statistics.

Tony La Russa revolutionized baseball with his use of the bullpen, and he is doing it again by batting his pitcher 8th. Now this is a man who isn't afraid to go against what the stats predicate.


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