Saturday, March 31, 2007

Widening the Gap Between Chemists and Counters

From "Some strange new letters in baseball's numbers game" by Bill Shaikin at the L.A. Times:

Baseball statistics can resemble alphabet soup these days. In books, websites and research papers, analysts present such acronyms as VORP and BABIP.

Major league teams generally conduct their statistical research through consultants or in-house analysts, sometimes covering similar ground with proprietary labels, but even baseball executives can have a hard time keeping up with the expanding universe of statistics. So we asked four general managers if they could identify VORP and BABIP, two statistics developed several years ago.

Ned Colletti, Dodgers
VORP: "I can't remember what the exact definition is."
BABIP: "What's that?"

Bill Stoneman, Angels
VORP: "No."
BABIP: "No."

Kevin Towers, Padres
VORP: "Yes."
BABIP: "You'd have to ask the number crunchers on that one. I couldn't tell you."

Billy Beane, Athletics
VORP: "Value over replacement player."
BABIP: "Which one is that? I don't even know what that one is."

Is it further proof of the deification of Billy Beane that I believe the other GMs, yet I think Beane was being disingenuous by saying he doesn't know BABIP?