I admit that I am not the most avid baseball follower ever. However, I have recently started getting into it. I have done a few throwdowns about baseball recently and there have been a plethora of MLB-related topics around here because it is getting to be baseball season.
As we all know, there has been a recent obsession with stats in baseball. These stats give us a much more accurate look at how good an individual player is. FIP, BAbip, WAR and VORP are all example of these stats, called sabermetrics.
Sabermetrics is a statistical analysis, calculated mathematically, or baseball players. The development of these complicated statistics can be attributed to Bill James (who called sabermetrics "the search for objective knowledge about baseball"), Pete Palmer, Voros McCraken, Earnshaw Cook (he wrote a book in 1964 called Percentage Baseball that is often seen as the beginning of sabermetrics research) and many more. I don't know how they do it, but there is always some crazy-smart, pencil-pushing, mathematical genius who loves baseball enough to find new and improved stats.
When everyone thinks of baseball, what comes to mind? Batting average, home runs, stolen bases, earned run average, the basic stats. However, these stats can be misleading. Regular hitting and pitching statistics are skewed due to the ballpark they are playing in or their teammates. Sabermetrics tries to eliminate the factors that a player can't control and give a more definite statistical analysis of their talent.
There are a number of traditional baseball fans who are against these new stats. They love old, traditional baseball. They remember the days when batting average and home runs were the final word on how good a player is. It was simple. However, complicating things is not always a bad thing. Sabermetrics may be complicated to calculate, but most of them are actually pretty easy to understand. And there is another group of people who believe they are too much work and don't want to take the time to figure them out.
I am writing this series of blogs for those two groups of people. My goal is to explain, in a way everyone can understand, how to calculate the specific stat, explain its origin and give a straightforward explanation of what the stat tells us. I will try to put them up as often as possible. Let me know what stats you would most like to see.