My Thoughts on Advanced Stats

Over the last few years, there has been a movement in certain baseball circles to focus on more advanced statistics. Baseball minds have concluded that statistics that were heavily relied upon in the past may not be as significant as once thought, and have developed newer, more comprehensive statistics that show more of the picture.

There are also still plenty of “old school” baseball minds that believe the best information is gathered with the eyes rather than a calculator. These two schools of thought are sometimes at odds with each other. The movie “Moneyball” brought this conflict, although an incredibly simplified version, to the masses. What I’d like to talk about, though, is how this all influences my enjoyment of the game. A few of the other Shutdown Inning guys have already given their takes on the issue, and I’d like to throw mine out there now.

I’m a fan of baseball. I’m not a scout, general manager, or anyone that has any influence over how a team is put together. That leads me to mostly ignore the advanced statistics that float around. Please don’t take that to mean that I’m attempting to discredit them, because that is far from the truth. Stats like VORP, FIP, ERA+, BABIP, and a million other acronyms certainly give a more complete picture of a player’s effectiveness in certain situations than the classic stats such as batting average, ERA, and a pitcher’s win-loss record. If you’re looking to thoroughly and accurately evaluate talent, using the newer, more advanced statistics is a must.

I’m not looking to do that, though. I want to watch baseball games and be entertained. I like my opinions of players being influenced by factors I can see more than by something I have to calculate. That may sometimes give me a distorted view of the truth, but I’m okay with that. Sure, I sometimes visit websites like Baseball Prospectus and FanGraphs out of curiosity, but I try not to let it influence who I cheer for.

The only real issue I have with advanced statistics is that sometimes they tell me things I’d rather not know. They point out that I like players like David Murphy, Mitch Moreland, and Rusty Greer more than
I should. I don’t like that. I like to determine who my favorites are. Maybe I just can’t handle the truth, but I find bliss in a certain level of ignorance.


Chris Kautz is a Senior Staff Writer for ShutDowninning. He can be reached at Chris.Kautz@ShutDowninning.com or on Twitter @SDIChris.
Chris Kautz

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