I don't believe it's Black and White. Very little in life is simply black and white. Grey area has to be considered.
The Scouting department is not made of robots... They are not all eyes and gut. I don't believe that they steadfastly refuse to consider any metric analysis and simply toss aside the potential tools. I'm sure they do some of their own stats work to compliment what they do. It doesn't have to come from Goin and the intern.
They will want to use every tool they can to make the right calls and recommendations. Eventually they will be replaced if the guys they recommend keep failing.
I guess... I don't believe any organization should be all eyes and gut... nor should any organization be all Metric analysis.
With that said... The department seems too small based on my impression from the article. Tons of Baseball being played... Tons of players and Tons of data to collect and sift through.
I agree with many that think we should be pursuing more pitchers with higher strikeout numbers. But... It seems to me that Ks can be overrated. Walks, in my opinion are a very bad thing for a pitcher. I think we all agree that OBP and OPS are better metrics by which to judge a hitter. Well how about judging pitchers by their opp OBP or OPS? I think that this is happening much more than we think. For pitcher with more than 120IP Correia is number 106 in K/BB ratio, 70 in OBP and 75 in OPS. Which is a better metric by which to judge a pitcher? How often he lets men on base (to potentially score) and how hard is he hit? Or, a ratio that is affected by HOW an out occurred not THAT it occurred. I don't like the Correia signing or letting Baker walk. I don't like the Pelfrey and Harden signings with nothing else but hope. I don't like that we didn't pursue more quality. But, maybe Correia is actually not as disastrous as we think.
This was supposed to be good-natured ribbing, but the internet filters tone (a big problem for me, apparently).
But it was supposed to be ribbing nonetheless. After all, it's ironic that you assume that Terry Ryan has his mind made up on things before he consults the evidence. Since you have no evidence for this assumption, it seems as though you have your mind made up on it before consulting the evidence.
If it makes you feel better, I think a willingness to admit when one is wrong is a hugely important trait.
Does anyone listen to the ESPN Baseball Today Podcast and hear the interview with Keith Law and Nate Silver this week? I thought they made some really interesting points about some of the potential new uses of statistical analysis.
Basically Silver suggested using regression analysis to cross check scouts using similar analysis that he used to evaluate polling. Keep a database to find out how scouts consistently rate players (ie are they tough graders or more optimistic) and then use that to better hone in on a true analysis of a player.
This is an example of a way that I would like to see the Twins be more progressive with statistical analysis. I still think a lot of the criticism of Twins being behind in using statistical analysis to analyze players is vastly overrated but there are more cutting edge ways to incorporate analysis that is not being used by the Twins (and probably 25 other teams). If I ever find the time I may expand these thoughts on a blog post.
That would seem to describe the fatal flaw with scout-heavy analysis. You never get a true analysis. Just cut straight to the data and analyze that. I don't know how the figures line up, but at some point it would seem more cost effective to just carpet bomb baseball fields around the world with pitchf/x and fieldf/x cameras, and then sit back, collect and analyze the data remotely, rather than paying all these staff people for travel and whatnot to run around and make biased and subjective judgments.
I think there is room for intuition with scouting and that could very well be the separator. There is great value in experience and seeing things over multiple decades. I would suggest that this is one of the hidden strengths that Terry Ryan brings to the Twins - that he is extremely talented at gathering large amounts of data from scouts and more objective statistical measures and making evaluations on talent, especially on the minor league level.
To me, any system that relies on grades for the guys who grade the players, in order to account for their biases, strikes me as inefficient and probably not very accurate. But maybe I'm just not understanding Silver's idea.
I would think that after the initial install, you can then get by with a fraction of the scouting staff on hand to go out and look at guys who have triggered themselves onto your radar. Let the players pay for their own travel into and out of ballparks with the cameras setup, let the blogosphere do the analysis. Heck you wouldn't even need to keep statisticians on staff, only need to pay the electricity bill.