The 1986 Elias Baseball Analyst: a review

Far better than the first edition. The text portion of this book consists entirely of team essays, most of which are surprisingly playful investigations of issues raised by the team’s season or the team’s players. They are also more open about their methods in this volume. The best of these are quite fine.

For instance: The Orioles essay discusses whether Cal Ripken’s consecutive-innings streak is good for the team. The Braves essay has excellent data about ground/fly splits, and offers the opinion that it would be a useful method for making a platoon. The Yanks essay considers the wisdom of moving Righetti to the bullpen. The authors are quite hard on Pete Rose’s Manager of the Year award.

A couple essays mention Pete Palmer favorably, and use his methods to establish a baseline for comparing expected and actual performance. No essays are poorly-disguised attacks on Bill James.

Much of the book is numbers–more numbers than anyone probably needs, but certainly this book contains the answer for any question you’re likely to raise about the 1985 season.

All in all, a good book. There are things I could quibble about, but that’s the normal course of things.


This review was originally published on LibraryThing.