Old School Vs New School

In recent years a method of statistical analysis pioneered by Bill James has come into prominence. This school of thinking goes by many names: sabermetrics (after SABR: the Society of American Baseball Research), Moneyball (after a 2003 book that brought many of the ideas into the mainstream), "new school", stats (vs scouts) or just plain geekery. This line of thinking is much more commonly found online than in other baseball outlets.

Proponents of this line of thinking disagree with many ideas that have long been conventional wisdom among baseball men and fans. Among the claims of the new school:

  • Strikeouts Strikeouts, for the most part, are no more damaging than other types of outs and they result from certain positive player traits.
  • Clutch Hitting Clutch hitters don't exist, or they do to such an insignificant degree. Given a large enough sample size hitters will perform to the level of their ability in most situations. A mantra is "clutch hitting exists; clutch hitters do not.
  • Smallball Giving up outs by sacrifice bunting does not improve a team's scoring chances. Teams score more often with a man on first and no outs than with a man on second and one out.
  • Adam Dunn Many of his strengths, such as OBP, are underappreciated while his weaknesses, such as BA and strikeouts are overvalued. Old school types feel the opposite so Dunn is a lightning rod for these debates. Statheads follow the mantra to focus on what a player can do, rather than what they can't.
  • Defense New schoolers look to a variety of complicated defensive stats rather than trusting their perceptions.
  • Stats Team dependent stats such as Wins and RBI are not a good method of measuring individual players. Weird sounding stats like VORP and UZR are prized.

If you find yourself frustrated, surrounded on RR by socially maladjusted statheads, try to remember that among the population at large you are in the clear majority.

Red Reporters who will commonly preach the new philosophy:
Red Menace

It's much harder to develop a list of Red Reporters who are "old school" as nearly everyone holds to some belief from baseball conventional wisdom. Some think Dunn should strike out less, some trust their eyes more than stats, and others believe in clutch hitting.

see also:
A thread in which the debate became somewhat contentious.
Adam Dunn

Red Reporter will one day unite the old school and new school with a unified theory of baseball.

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