2013 Reds

Reds Stats Geek

Paul Daugherty wrote a column yesterday entitled, “Most important Red you’ve never heard of”

Just an excerpt:

A few numbers we can understand:

The Reds are third in Baseball in the number of homegrown players on their 40-man roster. That contributes to efficiency in what is often an inefficient marketplace. Ask the Dodgers and Cubs about inefficiency.

The six teams that have won two division titles in the last three years had an average payroll of $143 million. The Reds average was $81 million. They were the third most efficient team in baseball during those years, in terms of dollars spent per win.

The Reds have drafted phenomenally well. They are the only team in the bigs in the last seven years to have every No. 1 draft pick make it to the majors. This isn’t luck or coincidence or because they have scouts named Nostradamus. It has something to do with Sam Grossman, and his database.

“I don’t think we have a system that’s above and beyond the rest,’’ Grossman says. “It just works very well for what we do.’’

What the Reds do very well, judging from the recent results, is find players who fit their small ballpark and their medium budget. They do it by combining Grossman’s data and Walt Jocketty’s scouting staff, most notably scouting director Chris Buckley. Instead of scouts and nerds battling it out over players, the numbers encourage discussion.

Take a look, tell us what you think. I’ll be honest, I’d never heard this guy’s name before yesterday. Wonder if he’d come on RN Radio?

20 thoughts on “Reds Stats Geek

  1. Interesting article. I’ve always thought that the Reds had a solid drafting setup (just from watching the Dayton Dragons while growing up). There was always a lot of talent rolling through there; it just never (until recently) seemed to work out in the bigs.

    Having Grossman or Buckley on RNRadio would be glorious. I think I’d enjoy that more than even interviews with current players… I’d imagine they’d have much more information to offer that would work in terms of Radio.

  2. I would be very interested to hear what he has to say about the extent to which the club has embraces advanced statistics.

  3. Considering how little of the piece was actually about Grossman (we know his alma mater and shirt style), it seems like the Reds are keeping him behind the scenes.

    But it’s a good article. And if you like it, you’ll love my chapter in the Reds Preview.

    http://redlegannual.com/

    • Considering how little of the piece was actually about Grossman (we know his alma mater and shirt style), it seems like the Reds are keeping him behind the scenes.

      Dusty keeps the poor guy chained to the boiler room in the depths of GABP. Daugherty only found out about him by accident, and this is the deal they worked out or he would lose all access to Dusty.

      Actually, it was nice to see this article and realize how much work has gone into sourcing this team. Well done.

  4. It sounds as though the Reds have found a good way to merge sabermetrics and scouting. I believe in stats. While I may not be the stats geek others here may be, I believe they can tell us things scouting cannot. For example, with stats you would never have known Drew Stubbs had the kind of power he had. It was not part of his game in the minors. But I saw him hit a home run in Dayton that not only cleared the fences, it left the park, crossed over a four lane road, and broke a window in the 5th story of a building across the street from left field. I was not surprised when he suddenly displayed power when he came up while those who saw that he only hit a few HRs per year claimed he did not have a power stroke.

    I do not believe stats are a substitute for good scouting, they show a picture of the median. I once heard that Dan O’Brien started the scouting renascence in Cincinnati by building a competent scouting staff, something that eroded during the Marge Schott era. Wayne Krivsky continued that trend and built an excellent scouting team. But when Walt Jocketty came, several premier scouts came with him from St. Louis and other teams. The Reds scouting department became one of the best, if not the best in baseball.

    I like that they use stats to narrow down the players they want to scout, then they use stats to balance (either positively or negatively) what the scouts find. It’s a great system and puts to rest the geeks vs. scouts argument. Both are imperfect and incomplete, but when applied together give the scouts and General Manager an excellent tool to evaluate talent.

    • I like that they use stats to narrow down the players they want to scout, then they use stats to balance (either positively or negatively) what the scouts find. It’s a great system and puts to rest the geeks vs. scouts argument. Both are imperfect and incomplete, but when applied together give the scouts and General Manager an excellent tool to evaluate talent.

      I think the “geeks vs. scouts argument” is largely seen from fan bickering on blogs and message boards. Moneyball seemed to spark a lot of online arguments, but for those who read the book, this blend of statistics and scouting was discussed in the book. Unfortunately, “Moneyball” to too many means “stats only, no scouts.”

    • It’s a great system and puts to rest the geeks vs. scouts argument.Both are imperfect and incomplete, but when applied together give the scouts and General Manager an excellent tool to evaluate talent.

      @TC: I strongly agree with this. It’s a point I’ve said over and over. Statistics on their own don’t tell the whole story, just as traditional scouting doesn’t tell the whole story. It’s why it bugs me so much when people boil everything down to a player’s WAR; or on the opposite end of the spectrum, what their eyeballs tell them, when they evaluate a player.

  5. Best takeaway—Ryan Ludwick is the only true free agent on the team.

    In order to maintain our market efficiency, we gotta stay away from the deep end of the free agent pool. This is why it’s so important to lock up Bailey and Latos now, Mesoraco next offseason (pending a decent showing).

    I’m also incredibly impressed with the Reds ability to evaluate their own talent. Other than Encarnacion (who took a couple seasons to get going after he left), I can’t think of a single guy we’ve traded away who has blossomed elsewhere.

    • Other than Encarnacion (who took a couple seasons to get going after he left), I can’t think of a single guy we’ve traded away who has blossomed elsewhere

      EE was always an asset at the plate. It was his erratic throwing. He was put in the AL and slapped with DH tag. That’s what improved his value.

  6. I frankly don’t know how to interpret this. On the one hand, I like using analytics to help draft. On the other hand, I highly doubt that the Reds have the best analytics in the league. There are 30 teams, after all.

    I really would love to see what they are doing, because using numbers is much more effective in predicting major league performance by major leaguers than projecting HS or college kids. If anyone could do it really well, it’d be worth a fortune.

  7. @Chris Garber:

    Chris, Are there any plans to have the Redleg Annual in a hardcopy printed version?? it would make for a good purchase or gift to those Reds fans that aren’t so digitally inclined. Just wondering. Love the book.

  8. It was good of Daugherty to edit out all the “gollums” that were littered throughout the geek’s quotes.

  9. Having worked in the Actuarial field the past 18 years, I find it interesting that Actuarial work is in Sam’s background. I’ve always thought that this mathematic training and work products would translate very nicely to MLB statistical analysis.

    You might think that crunching numbers is just crunching numbers and as long as you got a guy who can crunch numbers, that’s all you need. But there are good and bad processes, just like there are good and bad analysts. Statistical analysis in the MLB front office is a relatively new job…so, the MLB owners and GM’s may not even know what to look for in a statistical analyst or how to best use a statistical department.

    Going through the entire mathematical analysis process is important. Some folks are good at model building to produce numerical projections without focusing on the source and meaning of the underlying data. If you don’t understand the underlying data, then you risk creating misinformation.

    For example, I wonder how many teams rely heavily on steriod-era data when analyzing whether they should sign a 30+ year-old slugger to a long-term deal. If you include data from an era where 35 year olds (on steriods and HGH) outperformed their age group compared to any other era in baseball, you can set yourself up for unrealistic expectations about what 35 year olds can do going forward this decade.

    Thanks for sharing the article Bill. I don’t live in Cincinnati nor subscribe to the digital version of the paper, so I only have a limited number of articles this month. This one was worth using one of my views.

  10. This article has cost me some cash. After reading it, I texted my Dad and asked him how many and to name all the free agent acquisitions on the Reds roster. He texted back that there were 2 and I immediately doubled the bet. He then responded with Ludwick and Hanahan. He’s right and the article is wrong.

  11. @TC: He’s adequate at 1B as well in the Majors. He could play 1B regularly and his defense wouldn’t be a liability. You are right in that his throwing, and specifically his foot-work, that doomed his defense at 3B.

  12. I’d figure Edwin would probably be pretty decent at first, if he could handle holding runners and the scooping throws. Encarnacion always seemed to have pretty decent range, it just when he would pop up to throw the ball, you never know where it would go. Crazy thing is he would sometimes pull of the really hard play and then chunk a basic play often leading to a rally by the other club.

    Edwin always reminded me a bit of Sheffield at the plate, as they had similar builds and swings, but I can’t say I really miss him though.

    Heck even the Blue Jays gave up on him and let him go through waivers then oddly resigning him back as a free agent.

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