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Smart Baseball: The Story Behind the Old Stats That Are Ruining the Game, the New Ones That Are Running It, and the Right Way to Think About Baseball

Predictably Irrational meets Moneyball in ESPN veteran writer and statistical analyst Keith Law’s iconoclastic look at the numbers game of baseball, proving why some of the most trusted stats are surprisingly wrong, explaining what numbers actually work, and exploring what the rise of Big Data means for the future of the sport. For decades, statistics

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(as of January 23, 2018 10:09 pm GMT - Details)

Predictably Irrational meets Moneyball in ESPN veteran writer and statistical analyst Keith Law’s iconoclastic look at the numbers game of baseball, proving why some of the most trusted stats are surprisingly wrong, explaining what numbers actually work, and exploring what the rise of Big Data means for the future of the sport.

For decades, statistics such as batting average, saves recorded, and pitching won-lost records have been used to measure individual players’ and teams’ potential and success. But in the past fifteen years, a revolutionary new standard of measurement—sabermetrics—has been embraced by front offices in Major League Baseball and among fantasy baseball enthusiasts. But while sabermetrics is recognized as being smarter and more accurate, traditionalists, including journalists, fans, and managers, stubbornly believe that the “old” way—a combination of outdated numbers and “gut” instinct—is still the best way. Baseball, they argue, should be run by people, not by numbers.

In this informative and provocative book, the renowned ESPN analyst and senior baseball writer demolishes a century’s worth of accepted wisdom, making the definitive case against the long-established view. Armed with concrete examples from different eras of baseball history, logic, a little math, and lively commentary, he shows how the allegiance to these numbers—dating back to the beginning of the professional game—is firmly rooted not in accuracy or success, but in baseball’s irrational adherence to tradition.

While Law gores sacred cows, from clutch performers to RBIs to the infamous save rule, he also demystifies sabermetrics, explaining what these “new” numbers really are and why they’re vital. He also considers the game’s future, examining how teams are using Data—from PhDs to sophisticated statistical databases—to build future rosters; changes that will transform baseball and all of professional sports.

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  • Smart Baseball The Story Behind the Old Stats That Are Ruining the Game the New Ones That Are Running It and the Right Way to Think About Baseball

Comments

Christopher W. Kash says:

Keith Law gets it. I’ve been following Keith Law since he wrote for Baseball Prospectus. I pay for ESPN Insider mostly to read Keith’s current work. This book does not disappoint. Keith has always had a nice, clean way of presenting often complex information and it comes to the fore in Smart Baseball. His experience as a scout, analyst and writer makes him the top baseball pundit currently working and this book is excellent reading for someone interested in how baseball has changed and how a layman can understand…

Dr.Cathy Leogrande says:

Great for newbies & Fans Alike I am a college professor who teaches teachers. I am also an avid baseball fan with no more than a B average when it comes to sabermetrics. I try to get teachers to integrate baseball concepts into classrooms as a vehicle to teach their required curricula. This book is now required reading for its broad appeal regarding math, economics, problem-solving, logic and of course, snarky writing. The two sections are easy enough for newbies but still good refreshers for people like me who read books &…

Gordy B says:

and this is a great overview of the changes I’m only a casual baseball fan, but I found this book fascinating. The use and understanding of statistics in baseball has increased dramatically since the “Moneyball” days, and this is a great overview of the changes, and also a good introduction to understanding modern baseball strategies, as well as the limitations of some traditional strategies such as sacrifice bunts and saving the best reliever for official save opportunities.

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