Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Inside the mind of a statistically-inclined baseball aficionado.

I love baseball. I'm never happier than when I'm around a baseball field. I've played organized baseball since I was 5 and probably was introduced to the game much earlier than that. I've never been the most talented player on any team I've played on, but I've never let that deter my interest for the game. I currently play for the University of Wisconsin Club Baseball B team, and I play first base and right field.

I follow Major League Baseball intensely, and I am a big fan of the Milwaukee Brewers, but even when they're not playing, I always find something in the game to hold my interest. I now enjoy playing Fantasy Baseball, as well as watching any MLB game that happens to be on the TV. When I first got into Fantasy Baseball, 5 years ago, I was introduced to such crazy stats as "OPS" and "WHIP." At first, I was skeptical. I first thought that these stats were de-humanizing the game and that the game was random enough and based enough on things like "heart" that those stats couldn't possibly mean any more than your typical stats like batting average, and that the most valuable player was simply the one who hit the most home runs or had the highest batting average.

However, after aging a bit and learning much much more about statistics and mathematics, I've come to understand and love these statistics. If you're a skeptic like I used to be, I have two publications that I heartily recommend. First, check out the following website: - this website has projections for every player and also a very cool scoreboard feature which shows the win probability of each team based on run expectancies and other crazy things. To learn more about that, check out my second suggested reading: The Book. To get a sneak peek before you invest, check out - this book uses intense mathematical and statistical analysis to show what strategies and outcomes are better and simply shows the best way for a GM or manager to optimize his team.

Expect a lot of posts here talking about either my own personal baseball experiences, both as a coach and a player, as well as about the MLB and the MLB media. I can't wait to tear the people offering the MVP award to Ryan Howard a new one.

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