Sabermetrics: Statistics And Statistics In The Game Of Baseball

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Was Mark Twain right when he said, “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics”?1 Statistics are certainly useful but can be manipulated, especially when out of context. The problem is, people do not pay attention to the context, just the numbers. For example, a commercial for Five Hour Energy states that 4 out of 5 doctors wish for their patients who use energy supplements to use low-calorie energy supplements. If you think about it, they specify patients who already use energy supplements, meaning that they didn’t count any doctors who recommend that their patients not use energy supplements at all. In baseball, statistics have always been important. With the introduction of sabermetrics, it makes you wonder if this new mathematical approach is actually advancing the game of baseball. Or is it simply a way to bring the statistics out of context in a way the average fan cannot see? In order to explore this topic more thoroughly, it is important to define a keyword: sabermetrics. Sabermetrics uses statistical analysis to analyze baseball records and make determinations about player performance. As originally defined by Bill James in 1980, sabermetrics is "the search for objective knowledge about baseball.”2 James had developed the phrase in part to honor the Society for American Baseball Research, or SABR. Statistical analysis has long been around the game of baseball. Before Bill James had introduced his revolutionary new ideas, statistics was still a factor. In the mid-19th century, Henry Chadwick had developed the box score, and his list of hits, home runs, and total bases led to the formation of metrics such as batting average and slugging percentage, both still being used in statistic books today. The a... ... middle of paper ... ...nes such as Jose Altuve, the second baseman for the Houston Astros. But the fact is that its only satisfactory importance is to determine one’s success at home plate, not on the rest of the diamond. As for Moneyball, a lot of credit can be placed on Billy Beane and Paul DePodesta for changing the norms and putting a focus on statistical analysis to bring a money-deficient team into first place, but a lot of the credit should also be given to the stellar starting rotation on the pitching mound. That is the crazy part about the whole Moneyball situation. After seeing the movie myself, I had never known great pitchers such as Tim Hudson and Barry Zito, both having Hall of Fame credentials, were even on that team. I guess Mark Twain was right, statistics are generally manipulated to show only the good side of things, what people want to see, rather than the full truth.

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