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The Twins don't use advanced metrics

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#1 Monkeypaws

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 04:52 PM

I see this again and again on the forums. Would someone please post where they read that the entire Twins organization ignores this information?

I'd be satisfied with just a Terry Ryan Ron Gardenhire expose.

Thanks.

#2 Mr. Brooks

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 04:54 PM

I wouldn't go as far as to say they don't use them.
But, certainly by their own admission they don't use them very much.

Twins thrive without sabermetrics - SweetSpot Blog - ESPN

#3 Ozziedavisfan

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 04:59 PM

which is a good thing.

#4 Monkeypaws

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 05:02 PM

Thanks for the post - like Neyer. It is from 2010 though.

That the Twins were thriving was a tip-off :D

#5 old nurse

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 05:20 PM

Thanks for the post - like Neyer. It is from 2010 though.

That the Twins were thriving was a tip-off :D


A little more recent article.
It still won't convince the negative people.

Minnesota Twins join 'Moneyball' era behind mystery man - TwinCities.com

#6 Mr. Brooks

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 05:28 PM

which is a good thing.


I guess the success that the more advanced metric friendly organizations are enjoying must be just luck, eh?
And the Twins sudden lack of success must just be bad luck?

Embracing statistics changed the entire history of the Boston Red Sox, gave them their first taste of a WS championship in 100 years.
It also has allowed the Rays, a true small market team (not a mid market team like us), to thrive in a division with 2 of the biggest payrolls in the sport.

Advanced metrics is not voodoo. Its not witchcraft. IMO it's not even at odds with the "eye test". In many ways it's a template for putting what shows up in the "eye test" into data that can be used to compare multiple players. When you use advanced metrics to look back historically, it generally matches up pretty well with who people using the "eye test" considered to be the best.
In many cases, certain advanced metrics have been shown to be very accurate predictors of future performances.

I really don't get where all the hate for advanced metrics comes from. They are not "made up" numbers. They measure something just like any other metric does. It's up to each person to determine how they wan't to use those numbers.

It's one thing to take in as much information you can, and decide what you think is worth using, and what is worth throwing out. But to completely close your mind to it, and not even take any of in, to not even bother to consider any of it, well I just can't understand it. And the teams that choose to operate are, and will continue to fall further and further behind.

It will be fun to watch the Twins rebuild versus the Cubs rebuild.
Both teams hired their current GM at about the same time, but went in completely different directions.
One team hired a more metrics minded, aggressive, young GM, while the other went with the old school, scouting minded, more passive GM. Will be fun to see which one has more success a few years from now.

#7 Mr. Brooks

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 05:29 PM

A little more recent article.
It still won't convince the negative people.

Minnesota Twins join 'Moneyball' era behind mystery man - TwinCities.com


They hired 1 guy. What is this supposed to convince me of?
I said in my first post that they use it, just not as much as most teams.
A team like the Rays or the Red Sox have dozens of stat guys.

#8 old nurse

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 05:30 PM

I guess the success that the more advanced metric friendly organizations are enjoying must be just luck, eh?
And the Twins sudden lack of success must just be bad luck?

Embracing statistics changed the entire history of the Boston Red Sox, gave them their first taste of a WS championship in 100 years.
It also has allowed the Rays, a true small market team (not a mid market team like us), to thrive in a division with 2 of the biggest payrolls in the sport.

Advanced metrics is not voodoo. Its not witchcraft. IMO it's not even at odds with the "eye test". In many ways it's a template for putting what shows up in the "eye test" into data that can be used to compare multiple players. When you use advanced metrics to look back historically, it generally matches up pretty well with who people using the "eye test" considered to be the best.
In many cases, certain advanced metrics have been shown to be very accurate predictors of future performances.

I really don't get where all the hate for advanced metrics comes from. They are not "made up" numbers. They measure something just like any other metric does. It's up to each person to determine how they wan't to use those numbers.

It's one thing to take in as much information you can, and decide what you think is worth using, and what is worth throwing out. But to completely close your mind to it, and not even take any of in, to not even bother to consider any of it, well I just can't understand it. And the teams that choose to operate are, and will continue to fall further and further behind.

It will be fun to watch the Twins rebuild versus the Cubs rebuild.
Both teams hired their current GM at about the same time, but went in completely different directions.
One team hired a more metrics minded, aggressive, young GM, while the other went with the old school, scouting minded, more passive GM. Will be fun to see which one has more success a few years from now.


Yep Jack Goins does diddly for his job with the Twins.

#9 Mr. Brooks

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 05:39 PM

Yep Jack Goins does diddly for his job with the Twins.


Again, it's one guy. That puts them way behind the 8 ball compared to other teams.

An excavation firm with 1 backhoe cannot move as much earth as an excavation firm with 10 backhoe's.

Did you not see where I explicitly said that they use advanced metrics, but not as much as other teams, or did you just choose to ignore it? And that is by their own admission, so I really don't see why we are debating that.

Edited by Mr. Brooks, 22 August 2013 - 05:54 PM.


#10 Mr. Brooks

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 05:50 PM

Rob Neyer sums up the one guy we hired pretty well:

[COLOR=#333333][FONT=verdana]I don't see any way around this ... the Twins are way, way behind most of the other good teams in this area. Hiring "a guy," however talented, isn't going to change this. I can tell you stories about other sabermetric-unfriendly teams that have hired guys -- smart guys, all of them -- and then ignored 95 percent of their advice. You wonder why they even bothered. I think sometimes the general managers sincerely believed the information was valuable but just didn't have any idea how to use it; sometimes they were just doing what they thought they were supposed to do ("Hire nerd to play around with numbers: check.") [/FONT][/COLOR]

#11 TheLeviathan

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 06:00 PM

Rob Neyer sums up the one guy we hired pretty well:

[COLOR=#333333][FONT=verdana]I don't see any way around this ... the Twins are way, way behind most of the other good teams in this area. Hiring "a guy," however talented, isn't going to change this. I can tell you stories about other sabermetric-unfriendly teams that have hired guys -- smart guys, all of them -- and then ignored 95 percent of their advice. You wonder why they even bothered. I think sometimes the general managers sincerely believed the information was valuable but just didn't have any idea how to use it; sometimes they were just doing what they thought they were supposed to do ("Hire nerd to play around with numbers: check.") [/FONT][/COLOR]


Neyer clearly hates the Twins and always has. At least, that's what I'm sure we will hear. I like that the Twins use old fashion methods too, but there is clearly room to expand in advanced metrics. THis is, and should be, a fair point of criticism.

#12 Twins Twerp

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 06:05 PM

San Francisco giants DO NOT use advanced metrics. They have been ok last 3 years

I guess the success that the more advanced metric friendly organizations

are enjoying must be just luck, eh?
And the Twins sudden lack of success must just be bad luck?

Embracing statistics changed the entire history of the Boston Red Sox, gave them their first taste of a WS championship in 100 years.
It also has allowed the Rays, a true small market team (not a mid market team like us), to thrive in a division with 2 of the biggest payrolls in the sport.

Advanced metrics is not voodoo. Its not witchcraft. IMO it's not even at odds with the "eye test". In many ways it's a template for putting what shows up in the "eye test" into data that can be used to compare multiple players. When you use advanced metrics to look back historically, it generally matches up pretty well with who people using the "eye test" considered to be the best.
In many cases, certain advanced metrics have been shown to be very accurate predictors of future performances.

I really don't get where all the hate for advanced metrics comes from. They are not "made up" numbers. They measure something just like any other metric does. It's up to each person to determine how they wan't to use those numbers.

It's one thing to take in as much information you can, and decide what you think is worth using, and what is worth throwing out. But to completely close your mind to it, and not even take any of in, to not even bother to consider any of it, well I just can't understand it. And the teams that choose to operate are, and will continue to fall further and further behind.

It will be fun to watch the Twins rebuild versus the Cubs rebuild.
Both teams hired their current GM at about the same time, but went in completely different directions.
One team hired a more metrics minded, aggressive, young GM, while the other went with the old school, scouting minded, more passive GM. Will be fun to see which one has more success a few years from now.


#13 Guest_USAFChief_*

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 06:16 PM

I'm pretty skeptical of much "advanced metrics," at least much of the defensive stuff, and the attempts to arrive at definitive "worths," and/or "wins" from data.

But even I think the Twins as an organization could benefit from an infusion of new thinking. Or at the least I wish I felt confident they had thoroughly investigated everything themselves and arrived at informed conclusions, but I don't. I feel like they intentionally ignore stuff almost out of spiteful arrogance.

#14 Mr. Brooks

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 06:27 PM

San Francisco giants DO NOT use advanced metrics. They have been ok last 3 years


That is not true at all.
Yeshaya Goldfarb is one of the most well respected "stats guy" in all of baseball, and he's been with the Giants for 12 years.

#15 old nurse

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 07:09 PM

Again, it's one guy. That puts them way behind the 8 ball compared to other teams.

An excavation firm with 1 backhoe cannot move as much earth as an excavation firm with 10 backhoe's.

Did you not see where I explicitly said that they use advanced metrics, but not as much as other teams, or did you just choose to ignore it? And that is by their own admission, so I really don't see why we are debating that.


And you know there is no one else working with him?
Assessing numbers once the database is in place is not an overwhelming job. Assessing numbers punched through a computer does not take a lot of time. Hell, Puck can find out stuff in a matter of seconds because he knows where to look. Give people credit for learning what to look at and how to look at it.
Number crunching versus a backhoe? If you move dirt with a backhoe it will take a lot of time, a D-8 works much better.

#16 old nurse

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 07:11 PM

I feel like they intentionally ignore stuff almost out of spiteful arrogance.


That is a lot of people in this world

#17 Ozziedavisfan

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 08:02 PM

hate to bring this up but the Boston red sox's won the ws probably because they had many rameriez ,david oritz, and curt schilling. and you didn't saber metrics to figure that out.

#18 Teflon

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 09:12 PM

I've been working on my own advanced metric to measure specific blown save situations called Times In Trouble In Ninth With Run Issued - Not Game Ending Reliever. (TITINWRINGER.) Ron Davis had a very high TITINWRINGER value.

I'm also working on one to calculate Wins Incremental to Mike Pelfrey's or WIMP.

#19 drjim

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 09:19 PM

I don't think anyone here really knows how much or how little the Twins use certain metrics.

I am quite confident they are not cutting edge when it comes to metrics, but I imagine they are more middle of the pack than we give them credit for. I am not saying this is a good thing, but I also don't think it is the disaster it is often made out to be.
Papers...business papers.

#20 Oxtung

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 09:22 PM

And you know there is no one else working with him?
Assessing numbers once the database is in place is not an overwhelming job. Assessing numbers punched through a computer does not take a lot of time. Hell, Puck can find out stuff in a matter of seconds because he knows where to look. Give people credit for learning what to look at and how to look at it.
Number crunching versus a backhoe? If you move dirt with a backhoe it will take a lot of time, a D-8 works much better.


What database? Do you think that the Astro's decision sciences division just spend all day on Fangraphs? Teams that are pushing the envelope are hiring professors from Ivy League schools. You don't do that to just look at stuff publicly available. Teams, like the Astros, are trying to create their own metrics and databases that they can then use as an advantage versus teams, like the Twins, that don't have the desire or ability to push the envelope.

My best friend is a professor of statistics at a very highly regarded school. I asked him once what he thought about statistics in baseball, his response was, "What statistics in baseball?" He thought that what was publicly available, and he has attended lectures and seminars on baseball statistics, was so elementary that it should hardly be considered statistics.

Teams looking for a competitive edge are going to be pushing this field creating their own, much more sophisticated models, and we will not see them for quite a while. Don't let that fool you into thinking that what you and I have available is the pinnacle of Sabrmetrics.

#21 drjim

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 09:39 PM

One other thing to consider is that advanced metrics do not automatically mean better. It is foolish to ignore information but there are other aspects of developing an organization. I personally would still trust the judgement of a consistent, developed and experienced scouting staff as much as anything in baseball. It is critical to take new information and processes and meld them into this developed and mature infrastructure.

Houston no doubt has great and brilliant people working for the organization, they are strategic, they implement the most advanced information, they are a model. And then they passed on Buxton.
Papers...business papers.

#22 Thegrin

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 09:42 PM

Using stats to discover prospects or minor league gems is one thing. Using stats and fangraph-like information to help a player improve, is something entirely different. I'd like to know how Bruno and Andy use stats.

#23 TheLeviathan

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 10:02 PM

And then they passed on Buxton.


We're a long ways from telling whether this was a mistake at all, much less how much of one. And even if it is a colossal mistake, it in no way undermines the fact that they are seeking out advantages for their team.

I completely agree that an experience, well developed scouting staff is the meat and potatos of a good baseball team. But that doesn't mean you can't be looking for some ways to spice it up. The Twins appear to scoff at anything that isn't salt.

#24 old nurse

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 10:03 PM

What database? Do you think that the Astro's decision sciences division just spend all day on Fangraphs? Teams that are pushing the envelope are hiring professors from Ivy League schools. You don't do that to just look at stuff publicly available. Teams, like the Astros, are trying to create their own metrics and databases that they can then use as an advantage versus teams, like the Twins, that don't have the desire or ability to push the envelope.

My best friend is a professor of statistics at a very highly regarded school. I asked him once what he thought about statistics in baseball, his response was, "What statistics in baseball?" He thought that what was publicly available, and he has attended lectures and seminars on baseball statistics, was so elementary that it should hardly be considered statistics.

Teams looking for a competitive edge are going to be pushing this field creating their own, much more sophisticated models, and we will not see them for quite a while. Don't let that fool you into thinking that what you and I have available is the pinnacle of Sabrmetrics.


The sophistication should be there with pitch fx to know on a major league level what pitch every pitcher threw, the outcome and what every batter did on what pitch. Pitch fx is working its way into the minor league parks. With real time results being fed worldwide on many leagues a whiz bang programmer should be able to give you whatever stat you can dream up. You can track trends in individual players.
The Twins are real tight lipped about what they do. Building models to project draft, good luck.
BTW, the only Ivy league school in the top 20 for statistics is Harvard.

#25 BHtwins

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 10:39 PM

Those who dont think Bill James and Theo were not using advanced metrics to build the teams that win those championships really are blind are fooling themselves.

Baseball clubs are loaded with as much intellectual talent as some wall street firms and think tanks. Some of the freelance guys you say are pulling stats off pitch fx in their mommas basement are really trading 9 figure derivatives on Wall Street and doing this on the side. Hell, the most famous numbers guy in the country now is Nate Silver and he freaking wrote at Baseball Prospectus BEFORE going to work for the NY Times.

Some clubs are throwing all this intellectual weight to find a few runs here and save a few runs there. The margins (like derivatives) are miniscule but matter in a 162 game season.

The reason advanced metrics "work" is because baseball is largely a fixed repeatable process with a large enough sample to help filter the noise and drill down to what really matters. Unlike any other sport. 4 balls is a walk, 3 strikes is an out, you get 3 outs an inning and 27 outs in a standard game....162 times a year. No clock, no turnovers....you get 3 little measly outs in your half an inning to make something happen and 27 outs in a game.\

All the pushback is largely based on the romantic notion of baseball (which btw is another cool thing about the sport). However, its gets so overblown that it gets to be largely BS and becomes a life raft for those unwilling to budge on that notion to desperately cling too. You hear it all the time. Baseball is test of will, and character, an fortitude and blather blather blather....like ballplayers are some kind of knight in shining armor. We win in Minnesota because gosh darn it we try harder and battle our tail off and play small ball....blech

#26 clutterheart

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 10:44 PM

l. And then they passed on Buxton.


And they got Correa who looks to be damn good and they were able to use that money to also get McCullers
I don't think they are complaining too much in Houston about passing on Buxton.
Houston had a pretty good '12 draft.

#27 LaBombo

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 11:20 PM

A little more recent article.
It still won't convince the negative people.

Minnesota Twins join 'Moneyball' era behind mystery man - TwinCities.com


Your snide, dismissive, wrong comment aside, what are the really compelling moments in the article that made it clear that the Twins are relying on every cutting-edge resource available?

Is it the first few paragraphs, where 'stat guy' is an apparent organizational outsider who gets laughed out of the room by the 'baseball guys'? In front of media?

Is it the resume of Goin, where we find that he's a business degree guy who started in the call center and whose admin jobs had nothing to do with player evaluation until two years ago?

Is it the refusal of Goin to be interviewed due to "competitive advantage", which sounds almost as silly as the Top Gun "I could tell you, but then I'd have to kill you" thing?

Is it the profound non-effect Goin has had on organizational culture that still has Gardenhire chuckling over and over at his own dumb joke about "cybermetrics".

Or is it Ryan coming off as a pleasant, well-meaning, but slightly addled grandpa at the end of the article, where he tried to talk about specifics of statistical analysis, and... well, 'struggled' is the most generous interpretation that come to mind?

On the other hand, if you're on board with the Twins' blueprint going forward mostly because you and Goin are both Packer fans, well, you're a better man than I am, Gunga Din.

#28 Alex

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 11:45 PM

If the Twins are using advanced metrics more than other organizations there's little evidence of it or their ability to keep a lid on it is impressive because I've heard other teams refer to them and even admit they know what they are.

In Spring Training when we played the Rays, I remember listening to Joe Maddon's interview and comparing it to Gardy's and the difference in analysis was astounding. Maddon talk about why they were batting Longoria 4th instead of 3rd (where teams traditionally place their best hitter) due to their research regarding the fact that they found the batting him in the #4 spot might net the team more runs due to in-house research.

In an interview on MLB radio with the Pirates GM just before the trade deadline, he referred to their own metrics in evaluating players for trades and talked a lot about their defensive shifts, which have been highly successful and are based off of their own research.

I don't hear the Twins talking much about their own research and evaluation other than "scouts say..."

Meanwhile, we have Rick Anderson, after last season saying that "WAR" was a new one to him. This, after it would have been difficult for anyone to read an article about last year's MVP battle without running across the term.

I also remember Parker's article that he wrote about Jack Goin and left with the impression that again, it was less than other teams were doing.

In John Bonnes's interview with Terry Ryan a season or two back, Terry Ryan was either playing coy or was ignorant regarding some of the advanced statistics John asked him about.

These are just some examples off the top of my head but there is little that leads me to to think the Twins are not using all the tools at their disposal to be effective in evaluation. I obviously can't say for certain that they aren't using it, but the OPs question was what evidence there was that they weren't using them. My answer is that I regularly see evidence that other teams (though certainly not all) ARE using them than the Twins.

#29 Oxtung

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 11:49 PM

The sophistication should be there with pitch fx to know on a major league level what pitch every pitcher threw, the outcome and what every batter did on what pitch. Pitch fx is working its way into the minor league parks. With real time results being fed worldwide on many leagues a whiz bang programmer should be able to give you whatever stat you can dream up. You can track trends in individual players.
The Twins are real tight lipped about what they do. Building models to project draft, good luck.
BTW, the only Ivy league school in the top 20 for statistics is Harvard.


I think you're misunderstanding what top level statisticians do. My friend would look at a problem where there is no direct data available, if there is direct data available then you don't need him, and he would create a model to predict a solution to that problem. For instance, there is real no data on arm injuries. He would create a model that would allow teams to predict the probabilities of how a particular player's delivery will impact his career 5, 10 years after being drafted.

It's "easy" to take known data to make a prediction. Highly accomplished statisticians will make a prediction where no or limited data is available.

#30 jsimssd72

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Posted 23 August 2013 - 12:19 AM

And then they passed on Buxton.


Ok so Houston took Correa the #8 prospect in basball and signed him for 4.8 million the Twins took Buxton and spent 6 million. Allowing houston to overspend on future picks over slot and get better pick at those spots. And look up the stats.. Buxton and Correa are close and by houston taking Correa and signing him under slot they got better players later. Would I trade those picks.. Hell no!!!! But houston has been smart and how they played Boras and Appel by skipping him as #1 two years ago and then getting him with less leverage after going back for to school was great.