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From Baseball America -- the free part -- here's a brief synopsis of all MLB front offices, according to their player development philosophies. BA has lumped the Texas Rangers in with Oakland, Boston and Toronto as the teams relying most on the statistical model. At the other end of the spectrum, relying on traditional scouting practices, are a couple of successful teams (the Braves and the Dodgers) with deep pockets, and a few disasters.

That's just a sidebar to "The Great Debate" -- a fine look by Mike Bernardino at the infiltration of sabremetrics into baseball management. It's met with great resistance from plenty of skeptics:

"You can talk all you want about this newfangled OPS bull****, but I just sit there and laugh," one old-school personnel man says. "Look at Miguel Tejada and (Alfonso) Soriano and what their OPS is. If thatís the answer, donít talk to me about the exception."

That could have been a former Blue Jays scout talking, and it's scary to think it could be the "logic" of a high-ranking decision maker in any number of organizations. However, it explains why not all of the old-fashioned teams return phone calls from the more enlightened -- I sense a lot of resentment.

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Pepper Moffatt - Saturday, March 22 2003 @ 04:52 PM EST (#48769) #
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I love how these guys think that (a) OPS is complex and (b) OPS is somehow new.

Soriano was first in the AL (by a wide margin) in OPS last year and Tejada was third behind A-Rod and Garciaparra.

What's wrong with those rankings? Is the scout trying to imply that these guys should be higher or lower?
_Gwyn - Saturday, March 22 2003 @ 05:44 PM EST (#48770) #
Mike

I think your memory is playing tricks. Soriano had an .880 OPS last year, good for 14th in the AL. Thome led the way at 1.122 and Ramirez, Giambi and ARod were also over 1.000. Delgado led the Jays as usual at .955 good for 8th in the league.

The Scouts 'point', I imagine, is that Tejada and Soriano are great players who do not post particularly great OPS scores. He probably then started to talk about intangibles.

(figures from espn.com)
Pepper Moffatt - Saturday, March 22 2003 @ 05:46 PM EST (#48771) #
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I meant at his position. That's why both Soriano and ARod could be ranked first. :)
_Mick - Sunday, March 23 2003 @ 03:08 AM EST (#48772) #
That "I unplug my nose in your general direction" scout (It's 2 AM here in Texas; a Monty Python reference seemed right) is, of course, missing the point, forest for the trees, insert cliche here. Tejada and Soriano are great players as exceptions to the rule, but they play for teams that generally favor OPS (or at least on-base percentage over batting average, in the Yankees' case). I firmly believe the reason the Yankees fell off last year (where "falling off" is defined as "not reaching the World Series") is because the team strikeout rate was way up (franchise record) and walk rate was somewhat down, suggesting less plate discipline overall on the team.

Also, this:
BA has lumped the Texas Rangers in with Oakland, Boston and Toronto as the teams relying most on the statistical model.
... really struck me.

Toronto's GM and Texas' AGM both come directly from Oakland. I admit I don't know off the top of my head if Theo Epstein has a history with the A's. But I'm starting to think that in 20 years, Billy Beane will have a "family tree" of baseball executives very much like the one Branch Rickey had. There was a point in the '70's, if I recall correctly, that something like 22 of the then-26 teams' GMs could trace their baseball genealogy back to Rickey.
Pepper Moffatt - Sunday, March 23 2003 @ 09:16 AM EST (#48773) #
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I still don't get this *exception* to the rule business. Soriano was *1st* in OPS at his position (in the AL). Sure in OPS corner outfielders and 1Bs will tend to be higher. But when looking at tools, they'll rank higher in scouts eyes in power hitting. Should we ignore tools then as well?
_Mick - Sunday, March 23 2003 @ 04:33 PM EST (#48774) #
Well, as I noted parenthetically, the Yankee stance has been to focus more on OBA rather than OPS as a metric. Which is why it's bizarre that Soriano is leading off for them. He actually got a standing ovation from home fans when he drew his first walk after a drought of something like 150 PA last year.

I'm not saying Alf isn't the most valuable 2B in the ALm offensively; I'm just saying that (A) he'd be much better suited to hitting sixth rather than first and (B) defensively, he makes the great play routinely and the routine play, uh, sometimes. I aboslutely believe he's going to end up in LF. Pursuant to a previous thread here, he's going to take the Gary Sheffield career arc.

In five years as a cleanup-hitting LF, people will be saying "He used to be a middle infielder? And he used to LEAD OFF? Are you kidding?"

I would compare him to the young Barry Bonds in the latter point, but I have little hope Soriano will ever draw 195 BB over two seasons, much less one.
_Jurgen Maas - Monday, March 24 2003 @ 02:11 AM EST (#48775) #
Some of us still think Bonds should be leading off now.
_Mick - Monday, March 24 2003 @ 09:44 AM EST (#48776) #
Exactly my point. Bonds makes some sense as a leadoff guy. Soriano doesn't.
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