Originally written on Fangraphs  |  Last updated 10/28/14
Dallas-mavericks-san
The SABR Analytics Conference has stolen some of its luster, but the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference remains an important event for the sabermetrics community. The seventh annual took place this past weekend, in Boston, and featured a plethora of thought-leaders. The Baseball Analytics panel included Ben Jedlovic, Jonah Keri, Voros McCracken, Joe Posnanski and Farhan Zaidi. Other speakers included Mark Cuban, Michael Lewis, Sig Mejdal, Dan Rosenheck and Nate Silver. Several of them took the time to answer questions between presentations. This installment includes conversations with Cuban, Jedlovic and McCracken. Later in the week we’ll hear from Mejdal, Rosenheck and Zaidi. —— Mark Cuban [owner, Dallas Mavericks]: “Coaches and GMs evaluate talent differently. Coaches try to win possessions and games. That takes a different thought process than balancing short term versus long term. As [Houston Rockets GM] Daryl Morey was saying, coaches have a very limited window they’re trying to succeed within, whereas general managers and owners have to look at a longer time frame. You’ll see it with the Mavs, the way we approached building our team post-CBA versus pre-CBA. The variables change. “We take input from everybody, but in the end, the GM and owner have to make the final decisions. A lot of it is how you evaluate players organizationally. It’s not about any one individual, it’s what the organization is thinking. “A lot of GMs measure their own mortality relative to their job. If they feel they’re at risk, they’ll make different decisions than if they feel safe. That’s typical in any job. People want to keep their jobs. Man loves hierarchy. GMs want to feel safe and have longevity, and hopefully they also want to win championships. If he feels there is a risk of losing his job, he’ll behave differently than if there’s no chance he’ll lose his job.” Voros McCracken [creator of DIPS]: “Just because everyone knows OBP is important doesn’t mean OBP isn’t important. Just because we learned something a long time ago doesn’t mean we should unlearn it. We should keep it and add to it. There are a lot of people who are itching to do the next new thing. That’s great, it’s just that mindset can cause you to forget some of the basics. “Not to pint fingers at any team, but to a certain extent the Mariners did that. They got so wrapped up in talking advantage of fielding statistics that they forgot they should have a first baseman with an on-base percentage over .280. Maybe that’s unfair. If they were here, they may interrupt me and say no, that’s not the way it happened. But my perception is that sometimes you can forget about the basics when you’re pursuing something new. “You might say to yourself, ‘I want a stat that can measure this.’ Then video technology comes out and gives you the stat you wanted to measure. There is a tendency to think, “Ooh, I’ve been waiting for this, and now I’ve got it, and it’s the greatest stat in the world.” But you haven’t even looked at it yet. You haven’t looked at what it actually says — what its weaknesses are. There’s a hazard there. You want to know more things than your competition. What you don’t want is to know something your competition doesn’t, and it’s wrong. If everybody is wrong about something it doesn’t hurt you too bad, but if you’re the only one, you have 29 teams taking advantage of your mistake. “Scouting is still an important a smell test. If scouts all say someone is a terrible defender, and a stat says he’s the best defender in the world, the truth is probably somewhere in between. Scouts say things for a reason, and you shouldn’t dismiss that. “If you come up with a new number, and somebody says they don’t like it, I don’t think it’s helpful to just keep pointing at it, over and over again. ‘Well, that’s the number.’ Every number a guy like me comes up with it, you have be skeptical of. You have to be extremely skeptical. That’s the quickest way to knowledge. If you don’t believe something, figure out if it’s true or not. It’s a basic scientific approach, to a certain extent. Falsifiable hypotheses, that sort of thing.” Ben Jedlovic [Baseball Info Solutions]: “At Baseball Info Solutions, we’ve continued our tradition of collecting and analyzing innovative baseball data. For example, we have collected batted ball timer data for ground balls and fly balls, and we built this information into our Defensive Runs Saved system. Upon close investigation, the improvement is remarkable. We’re now taking that same data and turning it around on hitters and pitchers. My presentation at the SABR Analytics Conference on March 8 [in Phoenix] will include an in-depth look at batted ball trajectories for individual hitters, covering a few of the patterns and trends that emerged. “Looking at batted ball information is an improvement over the results-oriented evaluations we currently rely on. We can now understand that the particular batted ball falls for a hit X percent of the time and is worth an average of Y runs, independent of the outcome of the play. Furthermore, batted ball characteristics are more reliable than outcome statistics in small samples, so this information has tremendous predictive potential.”
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Adrian Peterson goes on social media rant regarding contract

Report: John Wall, friends kicked off plane in Las Vegas

Broncos OT Ryan Clady suffers torn ACL in practice

Report: Buffalo Sabres to hire Dan Bylsma as head coach

Marc Trestman will make Joe Flacco a Pro Bowler

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Could Tyrod Taylor be the Buffalo Bills’ savior?

Chicago Bulls fire Tom Thibodeau after five seasons

LeSean McCoy refuses to return Chip Kelly's calls

Brandon Marshall and Geno Smith are living together

Ex-Blue Devil tweeted Durham police pulled gun on him

Nick Saban gives Jim McElwain a ringing endorsement

Seattle Mariners: Back to .500

JJ Watt doesn't care for chance to be on 'Hard Knocks'

McElwain compliments Muschamp culture at UF, previous staff 'snakebit'

Montreal mayor to meet Manfred in hopes of getting a franchise back

Five things we'd like to see on 'Hard Knocks' with the Texans

Chipper Jones challenged military veteran to fight

President Obama answers NBA questions on Twitter

'Entourage' creator rips Eli Manning for ditching movie

TUF weekly recap by NOS® Energy Drink

Ronda Rousey upset with Bethe Correia for suicide comments

The Cleveland Cavaliers are top (under)dogs

Bryce Harper on his breakout

NBA 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

JJ Watt doesn't care for chance to be on 'Hard Knocks'

Ryan Clady suffers torn ACL

'Entourage' creator rips Eli Manning

TUF weekly recap by NOS® Energy Drink

Brandon Marshall, Geno Smith are roommates

The Cavaliers are top (under)dogs

Bryce Harper on his breakout

WATCH: Jon Lester sets MLB hitless record

Six moves that made the Warriors NBA title contenders

USA Soccer, CONCACAF losers in FIFA’s ‘World Cup of fraud’

The 3-point shot has become a divisive metaphor in the NBA

Corey Crawford is the weakest link for the Blackhawks

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.