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Nice guy.  Have some blogs.  Do baseball research.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Analytics or Washoe the chimp?

"To be or not to be."  William Shakespeare

Washoe (c. September 1965 – October 30, 2007) was a female common chimpanzee who was the first non-human to learn to communicate using American Sign Language—to a limited degree—as part of a research experiment on animal language acquisition...

Washoe and her mates were able to combine the hundreds of signs that they learned into novel combinations (that they had never been taught, but rather created themselves) with different meanings...  However, whether or not Washoe's combinations constitute genuine inventive language is controversial, as Herbert S. Terrace contended by concluding that seeming sign combinations did not stand for a single item, but rather were three individual signs.

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Billy Beane, field managers should not be former players. Wake the heck up!  Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Terry Francona played in 708 big league games with 1,827 plate appearances over 10 years: 1981-1990. Francona has never been a general manager but has been a field manager for 14 years with Philadelphia, Boston (two championships) and currently Cleveland...

Today on WFAN radio in New York Fat Mike was interviewing Terry Francona.  They discussed the shift.  Francona said that Cleveland has data that shows they are saving runs by shifting against opposing batters.  Francona did not indicate how many runs or anything like that.  More importantly, neither Francona nor the interviewer addressed what should have been the obvious issue of whether Francona's team has achieved a net benefit from shifting against opponents but not having the basic common sense and fortitude to have their own batters combat the shift when it is deployed against Cleveland by hitting the other way or, preferably, bunting the other way.
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MIT SLOAN
SPORTS ANALYTICS CONFERENCE
FEBRUARY 27-28, 2015 BOSTON

Q&A: Travis Sawchik on ‘Big Data Baseball’ and the rise of the Pirates through analytics

The story of how the Pirates turned their whole profile around is about more than just improving the talent on the team and using analytic principles, it’s also about aligning an entire organization around a new approach.

Travis Sawchik covers the Pirates for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and is the author of the book “Big Data Baseball: Math, Miracles and the End of a 20-Year Losing Streak.

They were not an early adopter...

Dan Fox, who was with Baseball Prospectus and had a computer science background.

they tried to accelerate that as much as they could, and they saw the urgency in building that department ...

Mike Fitzgerald, the MIT alum, ... a central character ...

the Pirates’ competitive edge comes in with analytics. This really starts with (manager) Clint Hurdle and Dan Fox and their relationship...  Hurdle was ... still sort of skeptical – Hurdle’s kind of an old-school guy ... data started to trickle onto the field in the second half of 2012 – we saw defensive shifts increase a little bit by the end of that season...

In 2012, Hurdle was meeting with Fox at the start of every series. But by 2013, they were meeting every day and on the road having a conference call...  they started to have Fitzgerald do some traveling, and Fitzgerald made most of the trips in 2014...

The coaches developed more of a confidence in Fox and Fitzgerald and started to want more information from them...

One aspect that Dan Fox liked about Fitzgerald was he was a true outsider that had never played at the professional level or been in a major league baseball front office. He thought there was value in adding a completely different perspective to the analytics staff...

Fitzgerald was free of any baseball bias entering the Pirates’ organization – as basketball had been his primary sport of interest...

there’s been this “scouts vs. stats” debate going on since Moneyball...

the trust level with Fox and Fitzgerald and Hurdle and the coaching staff increase in 2013 ... that explains a lot of their success the last two years...

Even though baseball has tremendous amount of data, it’s still a business that’s about people and personalities
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Analyst or chimp?

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