In the summer of 2015, FiveThirtyEight's Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller, the editor in chief of Baseball Prospectus, took over the baseball operations department of an independent-league team in California, the Sonoma Stompers, putting their sabermetric beliefs to the test with actual professional players. As spring training approached, they compensated for their lack of connections, tight budget and even tighter time frame by using statistics to scour the country for overlooked talent. "If the [Moneyball] A’s were 'a collection of misfit toys,' as Michael Lewis wrote, then we’ll be building a team out of toys that got recalled because they were choke hazards." [more inside]
The Hall of Fame voters have decided not to enshrine one of the greatest pitchers of all time, despite his stellar on-field performance. No, not Roger Clemens: Rick Reuschel, who, according to High Heat Stats, was one of the 50 greatest pitchers in baseball history. Bonus: Joe Posnanski on why Rich Reuschel was better than Jack Morris.
"The time has passed when the public will any longer swallow the palpable falsehood that a home run is no better than a scratch single." (PDF) Before Brad Pitt; before Michael Lewis, before Billy Beane; before Bill James; and long, long, before the Society for American Baseball Research, there was F.C. Lane. [more inside]
Sabermetrician in Exile. Voros McCracken's radical idea -- that pitchers have very little ability to induce batters to hit into outs, and succeed mostly insofar as they can strike out a lot of hitters and give up few home runs and walks -- has changed the way baseball teams are constructed. (Heard of BABIP? That's him.) Every major league team has employees who rely on McCracken's insights. McCracken, struggling to make his rent in suburban Phoenix, isn't one of them.
Wins-above-replacement, or WAR, is a Sabermetric term of art for baseball player comparison. Fangraphs, one of the go-to sites for baseball nerdlingers, now offers a way to make WAR grids, an amazingly easily comprehended visual display comparing players based on WAR, sortable by team, position and season, with a default topline of player age. [more inside]
"After all, the best part about sitting in an ivory tower is pissing on the people below you." Legendary statistician Bill James, the father of Sabermetrics, is smarter than you.