Two Good Reads

Two articles that we suggest reading, especially since it’s Friday morning and you’re not doing anything important at work anyway:

The first is this one, from Bob Brookover on Who Needs Sabermetrics? Next week, we will unveil the annual BlueClaws Alumni Fantasy Baseball Guide, and there will be some Sabermetric tools used in evaluating those players for fantasy purposes. But for the Phillies and their front office? It’s not a big deal.

The man in charge of number-crunching for the Phillies is baseball information analyst Jay McLaughlin, and he is often assisted by baseball operations representative Chris Cashman. All the sabermetric equations are available to Amaro and his assistants, but they are just not that enamored with a player’s WAR, PERA, or BABIP.

“I honestly can’t tell you the last time WAR or VORP or any of those things were brought up in a conversation,” assistant GM Scott Proefrock said. “We’re aware of them, and we understand what they are. It’s just not something we find relevant.”

Proefrock said the Phillies’ primary use for sabermetrics is in determining how other teams may view players.


Amaro agrees that the human element of the game cannot be measured by numbers.

“I believe you can break down and analyze statistics any way you really want, but when it comes to scouting heart and head, you can’t do it with sabermetrics,” the general manager said. “In our current situation, I feel like talent and production is very important, but I want a player who has a championship-caliber outlook on how to go about his business.”

That’s something that can’t be measured by a number. And one more quote from Amaro on the movie Moneyball, a point with which we agree.

“I understand Hollywood is Hollywood, but there were a lot of unrealistic things that occurred in that movie,” he said. “The thing that bothered me most is I think the fact of the matter was that Oakland had so much success because they had three of the best starting pitchers in the game. I don’t know if that was mentioned more than once, if that. A lot of the movie was based around Scott Hatteberg moving to first base, and I don’t think that was the reason why they had so much success.”

Whichever side you fall on, read Bob’s article. Very well done.

The other article we found isn’t from today. It’s from February 21st (it’s March by the way) in the Corpus Christi Times. Corpus Christi is the city in which the Astros have their Double-A team, and the writer, Joel Roza, makes the case that Jonathan Singleton, a former BlueClaw and likely CC Hook this year, is the most important player in the Astros system.

Sure you can contend that, because pitching is always the key ingredient to a consistent winner, that guys like Jarred Cosart, Brett Oberholtzer, Paul Clemens, Mike Foltynewicz or any other young, potential pitching stud in Houston’s farm system are for more important to the future of the team, and you’d have a valid point, but rarely does a team come across a talent like Singleton – a guy who’s coming up and is already hitting for average and power at every level. The scary thing is, he’s only beginning to tap into his power.

While any team is going to need pitching to contend long-term, it’s easy to see why many scouts think Singleton can be a .300-30-100 guy in the big leagues. The one comment we’d have on the article is that it’s a bit pre-mature, and not fair to Singleton, to compare him to Jeff Bagwell, maybe the best player in team history and a guy who should be in the Hall of Fame.

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