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In case anyone is interested, Rob Neyer today will be on Seattle's public radio station, KUOW, at about 5:00 p.m. Toronto time. He'll be discussing his latest book (of course) and the evolution of the Mariners, among other topics.

I'm not 100 percent sure you can listen on-line, but I'm darn close to being 100 percent sure, which is darn more reliable than some darn people have been lately.

Here's the link.
Rob Neyer on the radio | 7 comments | Create New Account
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_Shrike - Tuesday, July 15 2003 @ 06:24 PM EDT (#97582) #
I missed this session, and there's no audio transcript available. Can anyone report on this radio segment?
_StephenT - Tuesday, July 15 2003 @ 06:59 PM EDT (#97583) #
fyi: Neyer was at the SABR (baseball research) convention in Denver last week. He and Bill James described a project in which they are trying to create a catalog of what types of pitches each pitcher in history threw. Neyer recited at least 32 different pitches thrown in major league history.

Good news: I heard that the SABR convention will be in Toronto in 2005, so that will be an easy trip for a lot of us. Speakers at the Denver convention included Rockies GM Dan O'Dowd (on baseball at altitude) and Mariners GM Pat Gillick (who criticized the Moneyball book's lack of respect for scouts).

I also picked up a proper replacement for the old STATS Major League Handbook (now called The Bill James Handbook). Unfortunately, they still aren't selling a proper replacement for the Minor League Handbook.
_Papa Squid - Tuesday, July 15 2003 @ 09:32 PM EDT (#97584) #
_Edward Butcher - Wednesday, July 16 2003 @ 04:07 AM EDT (#97585) #
Stephen, can you give a brief synopsis of what Gillick had to say. Did he make a good case?
_A - Wednesday, July 16 2003 @ 09:56 AM EDT (#97586) #
Has there EVER been an All-Star game before this year without a HR? (or maybe ESPN's boxscore wasn't updated properly)
_StephenT - Thursday, July 17 2003 @ 12:24 AM EDT (#97587) #
Gillick was part of the scouts roundtable with Roland Hemond, Tracy Ringolsby and Bill Clark. They all had a lot to say about Moneyball and a proposal for a worldwide draft. I don't have time to give a lot of details here, but none of them made a very convincing case.

The tone was set by Hemond who said he was very upset by Moneyball, but he still had to read it. He said he knew scouts whose health had been affected by the lifestyle they have to lead to see all the players they do.

Gillick is still defense-oriented. He believes defense is hard to quantify and visual observation is necessary. He trusts the eyes of his scouts; Gillick started as a scout. Gillick doesn't look at stats below double-A. He still believes amateur baseball coaching is poor compared to his organization's coaching.

Gillick said if he had a secret formula for success, he wouldn't give it away.

Ringolsby said a majority of the all-stars (35 of the 66) were drafted out of high school, not college.

When asked about teaching sabermetrics to scouts, e.g. OBP and plate discipline, Gillick said he just asks scouts to evaluate the players visually, e.g. running speed, and to get know the player's mentality and family, and leave the stats part to others.

Clark admitted that stats like K/BB and (BB+H)/IP do influence scouts.

Gillick mentioned that the Mariners have 8 Microsoft officers and very modern computer equipment. But he estimates stats are only a 25% factor in their decision-making.

Personally, I suspect Gillick uses stats more than he lets on, and has for a long time.
_Edward Butcher - Thursday, July 17 2003 @ 02:36 AM EDT (#97588) #
Thanks Stephen. I think you're right about Gillick -- by saying that he wants scouts to assess the players' tools while leaving the stats to the front office (where he, of course, reigns supreme), it sounds like statistics still play a pretty influential role. Presumably he just wants the scouts' analysis in order to have a rounded assessment of each player. Sounds sensible to me. In fact, I doubt it's much different from what the A's or Blue Jays do.
Rob Neyer on the radio | 7 comments | Create New Account
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