Originally posted on Fangraphs  |  Last updated 6/14/13
I’m stealing this link from Tom Tango, who pointed out Phil Birnbaum’s latest post over at his own blog. However, despite being a recycle for the folks who read both FanGraphs and TangoTiger.com, this one is worth putting here too, since I know there’s a decent amount of you who will read this and wouldn’t have seen it otherwise. For those who aren’t familiar with Phil Birnbaum, he’s the editor of “By the Numbers”, the newsletter put out by SABR’s Statistical Analysis Committee. He writes about sabermetric stuff at his own blog and has a lot of interesting things to say. Including in his latest post, which is what we’re linking to here. A sample: Why is this, that you can lose on purpose, but you can’t win on purpose? In this case, it’s deliberate, human-caused. When we invent games of skill, we keep the ones that have an interesting struggle to win. We don’t care whether there’s a struggle to lose, because, who cares? The object is to win. Or, you can look at it this way. When there’s competition for a goal, it’s hard to win, because you have to beat your opponent, who’s trying just as hard as you. When there’s no competition for a goal — like losing — it’s easy, because nobody is trying to prevent you. If everyone is trying for X, it’s hard to be the most X. But it’s easy to be the most “not X”. … It’s hard to win by intention, fluke, or skill — but it’s easy to lose by intention, fluke, or (lack of) skill. I think Phil is exactly right here. The kinds of suggestions that we can make with publicly available data are unlikely to create a huge advantage for a team. Our community’s advice basically boils down to “hit the ball hard and try not to let your opponent hit the ball hard”, which, well, yeah. We can go a bit deeper than that, but at the end of the day, the best things sabermetrics have come up with are reasons to not do things. Our forecasts aren’t so great that we can tell you exactly which free agent you should spend a lot of money on; our forecasts are good enough that we can tell you that Brandon League is not that free agent. Hitting Joey Votto second might be the statistically right thing for the Reds to do, but it matters less that Dusty Baker should hit Joey Votto second and matters a lot more than he shouldn’t hit Zack Cozart there. We can show, with a lot of evidence, that not hitting Cozart second would help the Reds a lot. Hitting Votto there, instead of some other non-Cozart hitter, would only help them a little bit more. The value of conclusions that have come from statistical analysis seem to lie much more on the side of warnings rather than suggestions. Anyway, read the whole thing, it’s worth it.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER:
Is Madison Bumgarner a bully?
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Marlins’ Dee Gordon emotional after lead-off HR

Patrice Bergeron’s worries go away with Brad Marchand’s contract signed

Report: Gabbert in danger of losing starting job to Kaepernick

John Fox won't commit to Cutler as starter when healthy

Report: Austin Sefarian-Jenkins claimed by Jets off waivers

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Dez Bryant to undergo MRI after suffering knee injury

Report: Adrian Peterson determined to play again in 2016

Report: McDaniels plans to leave Pats, pursue head-coaching job

Report: Cam Newton feels good, ankle not a problem

Palmer's death brings heartfelt statements from Woods, Obama

Paul Pierce announces he will retire after upcoming season

Kevin Garnett's unique career proves anything is possible

Jose Fernandez joins tragic list of premature departures

15 greatest calls of Vin Scully's career

Week 4 in college football as explained by Queen

The good, bad, and ugly from Week 3 in the NFL season

Chris Bosh deserved more than our jokes and underappreciation

LeBron supports Kaepernick but will stand for national anthem

Ben McAdoo: Odell Beckham needs to control his emotions more

Saban rips LSU for firing Miles in middle of season

Box Score: 9/26 - Ratings, Cosell, kitties and stadium names

Ten biggest winners and losers from NFL Week 3

WATCH: What are the best WR-CB rivalries of all-time?

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Kevin Garnett's unique NBA career proves anything is possible

Jose Fernandez joins tragic list of premature departures

Week 4 in college football as explained by Queen

The good, bad, and ugly from Week 3 in the NFL season

Where does Landon Donovan's return rank?

WATCH: What are the best WR-CB rivalries of all-time?

Bill Belichick may be forced to get hilariously creative to fill his quarterback slot

Five sports stadiums that should be renamed

WNBA playoffs head into second round after single eliminations

CFB Crash Course: Week 4 - No ranking is safe

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker