Thursday, May 24, 2012
Baseball goes to the NERDs
There was a time when a baseball player's value was determined in relatively simple terms - batting average, home runs and runs batted in for hitters, and earned run average, innings pitched and wins for pitchers. If you wanted to get more exotic in your analysis, you could delve into numbers like slugging and on-base percentages, opponents' batting average and strikeouts-to-walks ratio.
However, since sabermetrics entered the baseball maintream some 35 years ago, the defining measure of a player's value has shifted towards statistics like on-base plus slugging, or OPS, and walks and hits per innings pitched, or WHIP. Fair enough, but the baseball geeks were on a roll, and we now routinely hear and read about stats like Batting Average on Balls in Play (BABIP), Defense Independant Pitching Statistics (DIPS) and Late Inning Pressure Situations (LIPS). So we have BABIP and DIPS and LIPS to go with OPS and WHIP and FRIP and FRAP, and since we're so enamored with these statistics, I'd like to suggest a few more: Nominally Equivalent Rain Delay, Doubles Off Righthanded Knuckleballers, Duration Under Maximum Batspeed, Bat Arc Rotation Factor, Pitcher to Umpire Tangibility Zone - or, for short, NERD, DORK, DUMB, BARF and PUTZ. I think they'd fit right in with the existing overanalysis.