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Glen Perkins likes math

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#21 drivlikejehu

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Posted 04 August 2014 - 02:56 PM

Baseball players make adjustments to their game all the time. Accurate self-evaluation is absolutely critical... coaches certainly play a role, but these are professionals that have ultimate responsibility for their careers.

 

For instance, Perkins understands that having a high BABIP allowed probably doesn't mean something is wrong. He discussed that very issue early this season. Another pitcher might try to make a change that isn't necessary and might be counter-productive.

 

MLB is full of players with talent. The challenge is to get the most out of it.

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#22 Hosken Bombo Disco

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Posted 04 August 2014 - 03:04 PM

I'd be really surprised if Perkins doesn't sift out helpful data on opposing batters and then brainstorm with Suzuki and the other guys. Maybe that's what he brings to the mound with him. The article didn't get into that -- and doesn't need to. :)

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#23 adjacent

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Posted 04 August 2014 - 03:05 PM

See my previous response. I am a little concerned that it is not more in house, makes me a little concerned about the actual scouting reports that are prepared for upcoming opponents.

 

In the first part - the goal is get outs and not allow runs, and the process is by limited walks and home runs, while maximizing ks and ground balls (to an extent). Again, I think it makes tangible what is intuitive, so it is definitely interesting and important for analyzing players for contracts, roster spots, etc., but I'm still curious what it actually means for specific players.

I guess walks, home runs are part of the results too. The process would be subtle changes in the delivery, location, release point,etc. Of course Perkins is not going to talk specifically about those, because he does not want to give everything away, but when you compare those changes with a quantification of the results, that gives you a better idea of what it works, than just wether "it feels good".


#24 drjim

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Posted 04 August 2014 - 03:07 PM

Oh, talent is a much bigger input to success than process control. I bet I could do SPC better than perkins (or about the same), but I have no chance to pitch.

 

Having been in communications and organizational change management and strategic management at various times, it is clear from my experience that employees benefit from having this kind of knowledge. We repeatedly find that letting employees know how their success is judged, how we measured their process performance, how the overall company's success was measured, greatly increased the quality, speed, and (decreased) the cost of outcomes produced.

 

For a baseball player, they have often looked at RBI or BA to judge how they were doing (in the old days, and still today). Pitchers (just ask jack morris) looked at wins. 

 

Perkins, he's looking at other outcome measures.

 

But, your overall point remains. Talent>process.

 

But, as Tony Gwynn reminded us, process is very important also.

 

But do these stats actually help a player with process?

 

When I think of pitching, I would say:

Desired Outcomes = maximize outs, minimize runs

Desired Goals = maximize strikeouts, ground balls, minimize walks, home runs

Process = Preparation to pitch (work outs, bullpens, etc), scouting of opponent/game plan (scouting reports, pitch f/x data, understanding of location, game situations, etc), proper utilization (pitching roles)

 

I'm just thinking of how this specific knowledge fits in. I can see for confidence reasons and I suppose that specific personality types would eat it up more than others, but I hardly see it as necessary for most players.

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#25 drjim

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Posted 04 August 2014 - 03:10 PM

I guess walks, home runs are part of the results too. The process would be subtle changes in the delivery, location, release point,etc. Of course Perkins is not going to talk specifically about those, because he does not want to give everything away, but when you compare those changes with a quantification of the results, that gives you a better idea of what it works, than just wether "it feels good".

 

I certainly don't dispute this, and like you said, he doesn't talk about it so it is impossible for us to know exactly what is happening in pre game preparation.

 

My question from this article is still - does a player having knowledge of advanced stats result in him performing better? I'm still skeptical.

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#26 Monkeypaws

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Posted 04 August 2014 - 03:39 PM

I sense a future pitching coach in the Twins' organization....

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#27 Oxtung

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Posted 04 August 2014 - 06:02 PM

I think that statistics should be used as a guide to what's wrong, or right, in what you're doing.Once you've identified the problem you can use other tools, like video analysis or pitch f/x, to determine what specifically you need to change.However the statistics are the smoking gun that something needs to change; or doesn't depending on what they say.

 

I actually think Perkins shows you how he uses it in this article.First, look at FIP.His is at 1.82 which is significantly below his ERA.So why is that?Is that just random fluctuation, is it his defense, is it something he needs to change?Dive deeper, we see his babip is at .330.Why is that elevated?Look at his batted ball profile and we see that his LD% is slightly raised from career norms.He's getting squared up more often than he has in the past.Now he can look at more specific stats to determine when exactly that is happening.What count are batters teeing off on?Now you can go look at the pitch data from that specific count to determine which pitches are getting hammered.Now you know specifically which pitch is struggling.Now you can go to the video analysis, combined with the pitch f/x data, to determine what exactly you need to tweak to improve. 

 

I think that the statistics are the smoking gun that show something needs to change, or not.After that they lead to what needs to be fixed.They can't actually do the fixing themselves but they can tell you after the fact if your adjustments were successful.


#28 Parker Hageman

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Posted 04 August 2014 - 06:18 PM

I was able to chat with Perkins about his thoughts on stats prior to the home opener last year. He has lots of interesting stuff to say and questions about them as well. He also provided what facilitated his dive into the numbers:

 

“I didn’t get into any advanced stats until 2010 when I was in Triple-A and struggling,” said Perkins. “It was a combination of [Ryan] Vogelsong and when Brandon McCarthy came back and I started to hear about those guys who were injured or unsuccessful and then they adjusted their pitch selections and focused doing different things. That got me thinking, maybe it’s something I should do.”

 

 

You can read the rest here.

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#29 TheLeviathan

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Posted 04 August 2014 - 06:27 PM

I certainly don't dispute this, and like you said, he doesn't talk about it so it is impossible for us to know exactly what is happening in pre game preparation.

 

My question from this article is still - does a player having knowledge of advanced stats result in him performing better? I'm still skeptical.

 

I'm sorry, but are you really leaving anyone the ability to answer this question or is this just an exercise in stubborn skepticism?


#30 JB_Iowa

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Posted 04 August 2014 - 06:33 PM

I was able to chat with Perkins about his thoughts on stats prior to the home opener last year. He has lots of interesting stuff to say and questions about them as well. He also provided what facilitated his dive into the numbers:

 

 

You can read the rest here.

 

Thank you Parker.  For anyone who hasn't read it, Parker wrote a great piece.

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#31 drjim

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Posted 04 August 2014 - 06:46 PM

I'm sorry, but are you really leaving anyone the ability to answer this question or is this just an exercise in stubborn skepticism?

 

I'm a stubborn skeptic on this, but I try to respond to answers and dig more.

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#32 drjim

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Posted 04 August 2014 - 06:47 PM

I think that statistics should be used as a guide to what's wrong, or right, in what you're doing.Once you've identified the problem you can use other tools, like video analysis or pitch f/x, to determine what specifically you need to change.However the statistics are the smoking gun that something needs to change; or doesn't depending on what they say.

 

I actually think Perkins shows you how he uses it in this article.First, look at FIP.His is at 1.82 which is significantly below his ERA.So why is that?Is that just random fluctuation, is it his defense, is it something he needs to change?Dive deeper, we see his babip is at .330.Why is that elevated?Look at his batted ball profile and we see that his LD% is slightly raised from career norms.He's getting squared up more often than he has in the past.Now he can look at more specific stats to determine when exactly that is happening.What count are batters teeing off on?Now you can go look at the pitch data from that specific count to determine which pitches are getting hammered.Now you know specifically which pitch is struggling.Now you can go to the video analysis, combined with the pitch f/x data, to determine what exactly you need to tweak to improve. 

 

I think that the statistics are the smoking gun that show something needs to change, or not.After that they lead to what needs to be fixed.They can't actually do the fixing themselves but they can tell you after the fact if your adjustments were successful.

 

Great post. I appreciate these thoughts, this makes sense.

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#33 Parker Hageman

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Posted 04 August 2014 - 06:54 PM

Another interesting note -- This year opponents are 39-for-130 (.300) vs his fastball. Last year they were 27-for-153 (.176). Small sample or something more?  In 2013, Perkins threw 211 fastballs 96 mph or above and this year he's thrown just 4. 

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"You spend a good piece of your life gripping a baseball and in the end it turns out that it was the other way around all the time." -- Jim Bouton, "Ball Four"


#34 Mike Sixel

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Posted 05 August 2014 - 07:32 AM

that was depressing, Parker.....and why a bad team should probably not sign a "proven closer" or any RP for millions of dollars......

I don't know, it is a site to discuss sports, not airline safety.....maybe we should take it less seriously?


#35 Oxtung

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Posted 05 August 2014 - 07:53 AM

that was depressing, Parker.....and why a bad team should probably not sign a "proven closer" or any RP for millions of dollars......

It also reminds me of that fangraphs article from last year about "proven closers" and how long their "elite" status lasts.Let's hope he is the exception not the rule.


#36 LaBombo

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Posted 07 August 2014 - 06:50 PM

It also reminds me of that fangraphs article from last year about "proven closers" and how long their "elite" status lasts.Let's hope he is the exception not the rule.

Or better yet, hope the Twins aren't determined to ride a popular but aging veteran's contract to the bitter end, rather than explore other optio...

 

Yeah, you know what, Ox?Let's just go with your hope.

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