Tag Archives: colin wyers

Scott Sabol Gets Laughed off the Internet

Scott Sabol finished off his brief, yet stunningly naive, post at Beyond the Boxscore with:

The bottom line: Pitching overall is getting better. Batters are getting fooled more than they did just 5 years ago.

I’m trying to go easy on a guy who’d say that with such conviction based off arbitrary numbers chosen from the Pitch Type, Batted Ball, and Plate Discpline tabs on FanGraphs’ season leaderboard. But that doesn’t mean anything to Colin Wyers, Official Hater of Subjective Statistics:

There’s someone getting fooled here, but it isn’t batters.

Nine minutes later, he added:

You have to go out to three significant digits to see a change in walk rates at all. You see a .016 rise in strikeout rates.

If your data suggests to you that there’s been a 500% increase in swinging at pitches in the strike zone over this time period, then may I suggest to you that what you’ve found isn’t “interesting,” it’s bad analysis caused by bad data.

Justin Bopp (likely the idiot who chose to run this article) is there to rebuild Sabol’s fragile ego:

Lots of good feedback here, Scott.

Keep at it!

It’s obvious that Sabol is a defenseless swimmer in shark-infested waters when matched against Colin Wyers. Anyone with half a brain could see this article made no sense. So, why did Beyond the Boxscore run it anyway? Allow me to give you some advice. FanGraphs may be kicking your ass in page views and popularity, that doesn’t mean you have to rip off their content.

Baseball Prospectus Disowns the Idiot with the Stats Software Package

No doubt inspired by my comments on Matt Swartz’s harebrained relaunch of SIERA, Colin Wyers officially called out Swartz for his shoddy work and ignorance of statistics. It’s awesome, really. I’m not being ironic when I say it’s exactly what sabermetrics should be. And he managed to do it in 3,000 words, instead of the millions Swartz has written so far about his idiotic stat. I’ll link it again for everyone; please go read Wyers’s article.

MGL Engages in Severe Avoidance of Sound Sabermetric Principles

To bring you up to speed, Colin Wyers tried to set the record straight on parallax as it relates to the strike zone and TV broadcasts. He made the fair point that camera angles and zoom are deceiving; the most reliable arbiter of ball/strike calls might just be the home plate umpire. Though I, for one, welcome our new PITCHf/x overlords. Anyway, a controversial call to Lance Berkman in Game 2 of the ALDS might have been a fair one after all.

But MGL was having none of that.

I say poppycock! I claim I can call most pitches almost as well as the pitch f/x graphics you see on TV. How can I do that even with all those camera problems that Colin talks about? Well, when you watch thousand [sic] of games and you get feedback from umpires, batters, pitchers, AND, most importantly, the “pitchtrax” graphics on TV over the last 5 or 10 years, you somehow mentally can make all the necessary adjustments, the same way that a batter can figure out whether a pitch is going to be a ball or strike (Jeff Francouer and Pablo Sandoval excepted of course) in less than 1/2 a second. In other words, for every pitch you see, you have seen that same pitch in the same visual location hundreds of times, and you have also seen what the umpire calls it, the reaction of the players, and many times, the exact location according to the TV strike zone graphic. You can reach into your memory bank, and call the pitch pretty much as well as the average umpire, the average player, the pitchtrax graphic, etc.

Bully for poppycock, but MGL was basically saying, “Screw your science and computers. I know what I’m doing.” This argument by experience–without a whiff of evidence–just reeks of the mythical old-school Baseball Man.

Fortunately, Mike Fast was there to call out MGL.

MGL and Dave [Smyth], it’s easy for you guys to claim that when you don’t have to offer any proof.  I’m extremely skeptical of your claims.

Later…

Put another way, what percentage of pitches do you call correctly, and how did you determine that?

And after some MGL flimflammery,

This thread is is [sic] pointless. It’s just like all of MGL’s favorite announcers and managers.

Kind of a non-sequitur, but still, that’s got to sting. And it did, as MGL replied,

Thanks Mike. That is a real nice thing to say…

If you can’t take the heat, don’t make a summary judgment in a thread on The The Book–Playing the Percentages in Baseball Blog.