Archive for the tag 'baseball analyst'

The Baseball Analyst Issue 8, edited by Jim Baker: a review

The eighth Baseball Analyst, dated October 1983, is quite strong. It featured six analytical pieces and a delightful “letter to the editor” by Dallas Adams commenting on Issue 7 (more favorably than I did, by the way). And this is the issue that Bill James launched Project Scoresheet, which eventually wrought a revolution in baseball analysis. All in all, it’s a difficult issue to fault.

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The Baseball Analyst Issue 7: a review

The seventh Baseball Analyst, dated August, 1983, has to be called a disappointment. Not only was there no outstanding piece of research in this edition, what did appear can mostly be characterized as either uninteresting or as rehashes of issues already discussed in earlier editions. It happens that the seventh issue was the first edited by Jim Baker, but it’s certainly not his fault that the submissions were so weak. This issue, as do many, begins with a plea for more material. Young Jim was perhaps too polite to ask for better material.

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The Baseball Analyst Issue 6: a review

Pete Palmer extends the Jim Reuter essay, on park factor calculations, from the previous issue of the Analyst. Palmer’s first extension demonstrates that Reuter’s method works better if the calculations are based on innings rather than games, and shows how to make the necessary adjustments. He also suggests a further, individual-player, version of the factor which he doesn’t fully describe. The second extension begins with the observation that a team’s offensive “park effect” is partly the product of not facing the local pitching staff; he adds adjustments to allow for that. James’ editorial comment takes issue with some of Palmer’s assumptions, pointing out that James and Palmer differ on the implicit meaning of context as applied to calculating park effects.

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The Baseball Analyst Issue 5: a review

O’Brien’s contribution is a quick-n-dirty examination of the relative importance of hitting and pitching when a team’s record improves or regresses by .031 (5 games). He concludes that teams whose records improve might show improvement at either offense or defense (or both). While collapsing teams have generally similar numbers, it appears more likely that the cause is a decline in offensive production. He goes on to examine ballpark effects. (O’Brien’s getting better at writing up his studies, which is good.)

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The Baseball Analyst Issue 4: a review

Mark Lazarus takes a look at the defensive support received by major league pitchers, as measured by error rates. He’s aware of, and discusses, the weaknesses in this analytical method. Nonetheless, this study turned out to be far more interesting than I expected. The anomalies reported in the data are especially interesting. This topic deserves more study. Not sure that I’ve seen such a work.

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The Baseball Analyst Issue 3: a review

Bill James’ introductory note takes delight in the fact that two of these are followups on articles in earlier editions. Sabermetrics was a new field, back then, and the practitioners needed to cross-pollinate; Bill’s Analyst was a way to make that happen.

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The Baseball Analyst Issue 2: a review

Once again, these offerings demonstrate an enormous amount of data collection and number crunching, long before Retrosheet and Baseball Reference. (Bill James comments on that in the introduction.) All in all, a useful outing, but flawed.

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The Baseball Analyst Issue 1: a review

Bill James published 40 quarterly issues of a newsletter called The Baseball Analyst beginning in June of 1982. His idea was to “provide a place where people who have research they want to do can find a place to print it.” The first edition contained five articles, and was apparently edited by James:

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