When Orioles president Andy MacPhail and manager Buck Showalter met with season ticket holders at Camden Yards on Saturday afternoon, they were asked a few interesting questions.
Among them, one fan asked if the O’s brass uses sabermetrics in sizing up player acquisitions and in their daily preparations.
A simple definition of sabermetrics calls it simply “the statistical analysis of baseball data.”
Another defines sabermetrics as the analysis of baseball through objective, empirical evidence, especially baseball statistics that measure in-game activity rather than industry activity such as attendance. The term is derived from the acronym SABR, which stands for the Society for American Baseball Research. It was coined by Bill James, who was one of its pioneers and is often considered its most prominent advocate and public face.
Here is what MacPhail said in response to that question about the use of sabermetrics:
“In terms of player acquisition and player evaluation, we’ll have standard reports that has basic information, salary information, basic stats and scouting information. But then we devote about a third of it to things that we think fit into that category.
“We are trying to ascertain trends or hidden value or maybe hidden landmines that we have to avoid. There are certain statistics that we look at and evaluate that help us determine and make a judgement, is the trend line moving up or we do have to be concerned that player might be on the precipice of a real fall.”
Showalter said this:
“I think you use all avenues available to you. To say, I’m not ever going to look at that or this - I had a guy a long time ago say to me about scouting that you need to let statistics validate your gut, instead of let your gut be developed by statistics.
“We are dealing with human beings; these aren’t a bunch of robots. There are things I know about in the clubhouse and dugout and things going on in their day-to-day lives that impact their play.
“You still gather all the tendencies and matchups that go on, but it’s still a game played by human beings with emotions. You look for people you can trust.
“You look for guys that, when their finger is on the trigger, there is a not a lot of wobble going on there. There are a lot of guys that will play true to their stats until the pressure is on. So you’ve got to know the human being, too.
“All those things are great and I use them almost to a fault, but when push comes to shove, you better listen to your gut and to your heart. I think it’s all great, but at the end of the day you better know what’s inside your guys’ heart and head and his gut.”
If you missed it from Saturday, I published some other stories on the “State of the Orioles” address.
Click here for a post on international spending.
Click here to see what MacPhail said about his contract status.
Click here for Showalter’s take on the Yankees.