Sunday, March 30, 2008

King James

Click tables to ENLARGE.

Bill James' interview starts soon on '60 Minutes'. We don't know exactly what James does, he is the Red Sox equivalent of the Patriots' Ernie Adams.

What we know is the lanky Kansan's ability to sort baseball's wheat from its chaff among the myriad baseball statistics we cherish. The Red Sox adopted not only the Moneyball strategy, but employ its chief architect.

We know that the Red Sox have been among the leaders in OPS (on base percentage plus slugging) that translates into run production and know that strikeout to walk ratios predict future E.R.A. better than E.R.A. itself.

Bill James' innovative creations (e.g. Win Shares) has produced results and championships for the Sox. In a bottom line business, James could easily, dollar for dollar be one of the Red Sox best investments.

With threshold for 'All-Star' type seasons at 20 and MVP at 30, the Red Sox statistics translate into victories.
Red Sox 2007 win shares (from can see 5 players with at least 10 win shares, and 15 with at least 10. Pedroia win shares came at a cost of about 20,000 dollars apiece.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------By comparison, the Yankess had only ten members with at least ten win shares. Clemens had 5...for an astonishing 3.6 million dollars per win share, over a 100 times as expensive as Pedroia's.
The disastrous 2006 season had only ten Sox with at least ten win shares.
______________________________________________________The 2004 Championship season showed 12 Sox with double-digit win shares and five gretaer than twenty.
I believe that the Red Sox like to use the statistics as adjuncts to 'trend' performance. You can see how they've dropped off for certain players.
Pedro Martinez earned only 25 over the past three seasons for the Mets, with injury limiting his effectiveness. Those win shares come at over a million bucks apiece.
Kevin Millar on the other hand, has averaged 13 a year for four years. He is what he is.
____________________________________________________Will Jason Varitek's Win Shares help determine his future with the Sox?
____________________________________________________We like Mike? The Red Sox had to find Lowell's trending compelling.
So we await the CBS spin on the James contribution to the team of the 21st Century. Well, so far anyway. I expect James to be fairly self-effacing, emphasizing that statistics tell just a part of the story, and that variation and even luck plays a role as well. We'll soon see.

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