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Saturday, August 22, 2009

Scrappy, Why That's Swell, But I Prefer Productive Players

Wow, this really is god-awful.

Even if you don't believe in more advanced statistical analysis, the proper stats should be as close to worshipped as you can get because they're objective. Hell, for those who hate sabermetrics, even things like Wins, Losses, ERA, and RBIs are stats too (albeit very superficial stats that should not be used when judging a player's contributions and skills).

Telling me a player is scrappy, has a great personality, is great in the clubhouse, or really talks to your "human spirit" is not telling me how productive a player they are. Those are all subjective, opinion-based statements about a player as a person. And really, the only players who get the "scrappy" label attached to them are your David Ecksteins, and Eckstein is not a good player using any statistical measurement. Nice guy, sure. Gives a lot of effort, hell yes. But effort and niceness don't translate to productive at-bats and strikeouts and scoreless innings and wins. It would be awesome if they did, because I would have a place on a professional baseball team. But they don't, so let's stop pretending that stats and sabermetrics are nerdy, only for fantasy baseball, and don't mean anything in comparison to the grizzled old scout who drives to every game in a beat-up old car and knows a guy who plays "the right way" when he sees one.

You get a bunch of "scrappy" players together, a bunch of "gamers", a team of David Ecksteins if you will, and give them the best coaches to ever coach a game, and guess what you'll have - a crappy team with numbers like these (Oh God, numbers, run away and hide, save the women and children first!).

Give me a bunch of non-gamers*, guys who aren't scrappy, every day of the week. Because we'll win. Because those guys will produce numbers that help us win.

A novel idea really.

*Non-gamers must be in the prime of their career, but I'll give you the gamers/scrappy guys in the prime of their careers too, just so things are on the up-and-up and everything is as fair as something that's really, completely fair.*

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