What “Moneyball” really means

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We’ve talked the “Moneyball” movie up to death. It’s a movie. It will bear some tangential resemblance to real events, but it’s there to entertain. Or not. It means very little to baseball other than for gossip purposes.

But we still talk about the concept of “Moneyball” all the time.  And the thing is, most of us talk about it pretty ignorantly. As if there’s still some debate out there about whether to approach the game from a stats perspective or a scouting perspective. That debate is long since over. And it actually was never really a debate inside the game.  It’s just about information and how to apply it, and no one inside the game seriously said “No! We don’t want this new information! Damn you and your infernal numbers!”  They all were into it, just at different times. And they may have chosen to apply the concepts in different ways. The “debate,” such as it was, was really a phenomenon within a certain segment of fandom and the media.

Ken Rosenthal has a fabulous article about all of that today. He talks to people all over the game who pretty much say the same thing: “what debate?”  Everyone talks about how stats vs. scouts is a false dichotomy. About how everyone was and is hungry for new information to help their teams win. To the extent there has been disagreement it has been in the details.

It’s a fabulous read that tells us just how divorced from reality the typical “Moneyball” debate as they’ve come to be had in comments sections and newspaper columns is a fantasy.

 

Former Mets pitcher Anthony Young dies at 51

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Former Mets pitcher Anthony Young died on Tuesday at the age of 51, the team said. Young was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor in February.

Young, 51, pitched parts of six seasons in the majors from 1991-96. He began his big league career with the Mets in 1991 and stayed with the team through ’93. He famously failed to win a game between April 24, 1992 and July 24, 1993. During that span of time, he went 0-27. It was a great example, even back then, of the uselessness of won-lost records. Young posted a respectable 4.17 ERA in ’92 and 3.77 in ’93.

Former pitcher Turk Wendell, who was Young’s teammate with the Cubs in 1994-95, called Young “a true gentleman.”

Blue Jays designate Jason Grilli for assignment

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The Blue Jays announced on Tuesday that the club designated reliever Jason Grilli for assignment as part of a handful of roster moves. Outfielder Dwight Smith was optioned to Triple-A Buffalo, outfielder Ezequiel Carrera was activated from the 10-day disabled list, and pitcher Chris Smith was recalled from Buffalo as well.

Grilli, 40, struggled to a 6.97 ERA with a 23/9 K/BB ratio in 20 2/3 innings of work this season in Toronto. The right-hander similarly struggled in the first half last year with the Braves before being acquired by the Jays but Grilli’s role had diminished and most of the rest of the bullpen has been pulling its weight.

Grilli should draw some interest — perhaps from the Nationals — as his peripheral stats suggest he’s not nearly as bad as his ERA suggests.