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.

 

Joe Maddon: “I have a defensive foot fetish.”

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The Cubs’ defense — or lack thereof this year — has been a topic of conversation as it could help explain why the team hasn’t played at the elite level it played at last year.

Manager Joe Maddon tried to go into detail about that but ended up channeling his inner Rex Ryan. Via CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney.

Well then.

The Nationals have scored 62 runs during four Joe Ross starts

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If, in the future, Joe Ross ever complains about a lack of run support, point to his first four starts of the 2017 season.

Ross started on April 19 in Atlanta against the Braves, on April 25 in Colorado against the Rockies, on April 30 at home against the Mets, and on May 23 at home against the Mariners. In those games, the Nats’ offense scored 14, 15, 23, and 10 runs respectively for a total of 62 runs, or an average of 15.5 per start. Ross was the pitcher of record for seven, eight, 10, and 10 runs for a total of 35 runs (8.75 runs per start), which would still make him the major league leader in run support by that restrictive standard.

Among qualified starters — Ross did not qualify — entering Tuesday’s action, the Rockies’ Antonio Senzatela led the way according to ESPN, averaging 7.11 runs of support in nine starts. The Rockies scored double-digit runs in only three of those starts, oddly enough.

Per the Nationals, the 62 runs of support for Ross is a major league record in a pitcher’s first four starts of a season.