If you're still holding onto the value of batting average, RBI, saves, and pitcher's wins, read Smart Baseball to see how misleading those statistics are. If you've already been convinced fielding percentage is an extremely flawed stat and want to know more about FIP, WAR, and UZR in easy-to-understand terms, read Smart Baseball. Keith Law breaks down the old numbers and sheds light on the new ones in an addicting read for any baseball fan. This book opened my mind to new ways of thinking about baseball, and I am now convinced Lou Whitaker should be in the Hall of Fame. Find out why! Recommended By Jeffrey J., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
Predictably Irrational meets Moneyball in ESPN veteran writer and statistical analyst Keith Law's iconoclastic look at the numbers game of baseball, proving why some of the most trusted stats are surprisingly wrong, explaining what numbers actually work, and exploring what the rise of Big Data means for the future of the sport.
For decades, statistics such as batting average, saves recorded, and pitching won-lost records have been used to measure individual players' and teams' potential and success. But in the past fifteen years, a revolutionary new standard of measurement—sabermetrics—has been embraced by front offices in Major League Baseball and among fantasy baseball enthusiasts. But while sabermetrics is recognized as being smarter and more accurate, traditionalists, including journalists, fans, and managers, stubbornly believe that the "old" way—a combination of outdated numbers and "gut" instinct—is still the best way. Baseball, they argue, should be run by people, not by numbers.?
In this informative and provocative book, the renowned ESPN analyst and senior baseball writer demolishes a century's worth of accepted wisdom, making the definitive case against the long-established view. Armed with concrete examples from different eras of baseball history, logic, a little math, and lively commentary, he shows how the allegiance to these numbers—dating back to the beginning of the professional game—is firmly rooted not in accuracy or success, but in baseball's irrational adherence to tradition.
While Law gores sacred cows, from clutch performers to RBIs to the infamous save rule, he also demystifies sabermetrics, explaining what these "new" numbers really are and why they're vital. He also considers the game's future, examining how teams are using Data—from PhDs to sophisticated statistical databases—to build future rosters; changes that will transform baseball and all of professional sports.
Keith Law is a senior baseball writer for ESPN Insider and an analyst for ESPN’s Baseball Tonight, focusing on all types of baseball analysis. Prior to joining ESPN, Law spent four and a half years working as a Special Assistant to the General Manager for the Toronto Blue Jays, handling all statistical analysis, and was also a writer for Baseball Prospectus. Law lives in Delaware.
“Smart Baseball is an engaging account of the evolution of baseball metrics...His experience and insight make him uniquely qualified to answer the driving question in MLB today: how best to account for everything that happens on the field. This look is a must-read for the serious fan.” Billy Beane, Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations, Oakland A's
“Mr. Law’s book will increase any fan’s enjoyment of the sport.” Wall Street Journal
"Baseball is full of truisms based on statistics, and Law sets out to debunk as many of them as he can. ESPN senior baseball writer Law brilliantly dismantles some of the game’s most sacred and most misleading statistics—including pitcher wins and saves, RBIs, and stolen bases—with a style in which smart trumps snarky. In fact, his book’s title is perfect. Law writes for the seasoned and savvy baseball fan, arguing that W stats such as WOBA (weighted on-base average), WRC (weighted runs created), WPA (win probability added), and WAR (wins above replacement) help teams and analysts place a more precise value on any given player’s production. Law boldly second-guesses real-game decisions made by managers and makes his case with examples that range from the sport’s early days through the 2016 postseason. As a new baseball season begins, Law challenges longtime fans to think differently about a game that he says has been hindered by inefficient traditions for far too long. (Apr.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."