Thursday, January 3, 2008
How much do you think you really know about the game of baseball? How much do you really WANT to know? If you are the type that needs to break down the game ala Billy Beane and his Jamesion style of quantifying before qualifying prospects, then we have the book for you. The Book...Playing The Percentages In Baseball...This isn't another book review...It's an opinion on why numbers can be important and maybe even timely.
You see, we live in a tweener time in baseball. That is, the time between the juiced era and a yet to be determined era...Well, maybe that future era is the "numbers" era. Instead of gaining an edge with just pure strength and brawn, how about if a player separates himself with the help from a scientific calculator and his brain? Don't stop those work-outs just yet...physical specimens are still needed and we aren't quite yet condoning all of this Geeky approach to baseball...but, it does make for interesting conversation. Just think if baseball just replaced those juiced up cartoon like bodies with sci-fi like intelligence of the game? Could that be the edge that defines the future of baseball?
Written by three esteemed sabermetricians, The Book continues where the legendary Bill James Abstracts and Palmer and Thorn's The Hidden Game of Baseball left off over twenty years ago.
They challenge the perceptions that we all think we know to be true. Is a sacrifice bunt really smart or is it sacrificing the teams chances? What does an intentional walk really prevent? Is anyone ever really fooled by the pitch out? Where should a coach put his best hitters in the lineup? Does platooning work? The information hits the reader with stats that WOW and is very useful for anyone that makes strategic decisions, or for that fan that just likes to dissect the game for what it is. From their web site, we have included some excerpts from their book...
Excerpts from The Book
Batting Order: If nothing else, we will consider this book a true success if all thirty teams were to never put a below-average hitter in the second spot. While the proper strategy will only gain you a few runs, why do something that is otherwise clearly wrong?
The Sacrifice Bunt: If you were to ask almost any manager whether he would rather advance the runner to second in exchange for an out, or have the batter attempt a sacrifice, how do you think he would respond? If you answered, “Take the guaranteed sacrifice,” we think that you would be right. What a poor decision that would be. It's not even close!
Batter/Pitcher Matchups: Luis Gonzalez, against the one guy he owned in the previous eighteen PA, the one guy that he took to the cleaners more often than any other pitcher he's faced, the one pitcher that any hitter has taken advantage of more than any other pitcher in baseball, crumbled in his sight for the next twelve
Good winter book to get those brain synapses firing in anticipation of a great baseball season ahead!!!