Zduriencik's Data Mining Operation
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We've been debating the orientation, or not, of the M's saber inclinations.  (Not that kind of orientation!)  Jeff Sullivan has an article up in which he, ever-so-gently, advises the lynch mob that it might want to get some facts before it tosses its torches onto the thatch roof.  

He links us to this Colin O'Keefe interview of Jesse Smith.  The blog-o-sphere has debated whether Eric Wedge, let alone Jack Zduriencik, were oblivious to all the state-of-the-art data that is as free as water to threm.  O'Keefe's sparkling interview will put "PAID" to the issue.  Not the existence of the interview itself, but the specific content of it.  Read the article!


In the abstract, a lynch mob's response might be, "But how do we know Zduriencik uses his analysts?"

Read the article!


What are they talking about, "Hit F/X data"?  This is the kind of stuff that measures MPH off a hitter's bat, angle of spray, and so forth.   Internally, they'll have data measuring quickness of swing launch.  The M's data is vastly better than ours, and they use it.  They have, for many years.

All 30 MLB teams have this data, and all 20 million public fans (including myself, Sullivan, Cameron, Churchill, Spectator, etc) do not.

Think about it for a moment.  You and I are trying to gauge a pitcher's "true" effectiveness off line drive rate.  MLB teams get to go to the next generation of stats; they've got the MPH off the enemy hitters' bats, averaged, all year long.  And that's just the start of it.  Off this data, you would suddenly know if a batter is rolling over on every offspeed pitch, and how badly.

They know what the MPH is, second half of 2013, off Jason Vargas' key changeup pitch.  And that knowledge might easily be the key to his evaluation going forward.

You'll notice that since SABRMatt got inside with the Yankees, most of his comments obliquely reflect his new access to Hit F/X data.  (As we recall, he got excited about Justin Smoak right about then...)  I'm not much for appeals to the expert.  But SABRMatt's info edge is prohibitive at this point.  :: shrug :: That's simply the reality. 

We're firing bows and arrows, and they've got full-auto machine guns in there.  That's including the Mariners, gentlemen.


That does not mean you don't get to have an opinion.  You do!  But only a fool would not be aware of his information deficit.  You can criticize President Obama over Afghanistan, but you must stay aware of your information deficit.  Do you know what he knows, about the effects of de-stabilization in the region?

When you criticize past an information deficit like that, you're saying "Whatever the classified information says, WHATEVER it says, the President is wrong."  Be advised that this is a tough standard to hit.  Suppose the Hit F/X data says that Nelson Cruz' bat speed is UP?  And that he's now getting to the cut fastball in a way he never did before?  (Cruz' pitch type values actually do suggest that.)

When we rip the M's on that one, we're essentially squaring our chests to say, "Even if the M's data says that, Cruz is wrong, and here's why."

SSI has no qualms about doing that.

After thinking it through, hopefully.  When we call it gutless to ask James Paxton to spend another year in AAA, that accounts for the idea of "Maybe the data says his footstrike is varying too much."  No, my statement stands.  Lefties walk guys for two years, man.

One thing to sign up for a debate with an opponent you give due respect to.  Another thing to sign up for a debate, assuming that your opponent is brainless.  There have been a few Presidential elections thrown away because of that mistake...


SSI's default position has always been:  If the Mariners like Raul Ibanez, at age 41, at $3M per, then their data probably says his bat is quick and the MPH off his bat is great.  Too often, other places' default position has been, if the Mariners like Raul Ibanez, that's probably because they do not know what BB/K ratio is.

Jeffy's readers take him to task for his increasing uncertainty.  The thing is, humility is step one towards learning anything.


O'Keefe also quotes Smith thusly:

And for those of us out here wishing we could influence this organization to do things differently, you might be surprised to know that you can.

Smith and the rest of the team read analysis from third parties, from fans and more established writers every day, including Looking Landing and other blogs. Most of them got into baseball because they were reading that stuff and they consider it part of their jobs to say up-to-date.

"If people post original ideas, it’ll get forwarded around if it’s good," Smith said. "It gets read."

So if you want to make a difference, if you see something you want changed—research it and write it up. You never know whose ears it might reach.

Sure, they hear ya.

That is another admission that, 10 years ago, would have been unthinkable.  Inside Pitch told us, ten years ago, to be careful what we write because the GM's are all reading the locals.  But nowadays they are not sheepish about doing so.  And they shouldn't be.  In the geopolitical world of 2013, analysts have a horribly intimidating job just culling through the mountain of information on the internet.  "Hey, look at this one off Website X" no longer carries the stigma it did just a few years ago.

So, yeah.  You found something interesting on Peralta, something that is easily overlooked, don't be shy.  Possible you could get somebody's wheels turning and do us all a favor.  ;- )


Dr D




...I was excited about Smoak before the season started...his off-season training approach is what got me excited about him. And you didn't need proprietray information to see that Smoak was hitting the ball a LOT harder in 2013 than he did in 2012.


I thought I might be misquoting you a tad.  Thanks for the correction.

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