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Charlie Thinks We're Stupid

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Charlie from Bucs Dugout saw the accident that Ken Tremendous of Fire Joe Morgan had after seeing this part of a Q & A with the Pirates new GM.

The Pirates upper management has widely ignored OBP (on base percentage) in the past. How important will OBP be in player evaluation under your leadership?
-- Eric S., Pennsboro, W.Va
We are going to utilize several objective measures of player performance to evaluate and develop players. We'll rely on the more traditional objective evaluations: OPS (on base percentage plus slugging percentage) , WHIP (walks and hits per inning pitched), Runs Created, ERC (Component ERA), GB/FB (ground ball to fly ball ratio), K/9 (strikeouts per nine innings), K/BB (strikeouts to walks ratio), BB%, etc., but we'll also look to rely on some of the more recent variations: VORP (value over replacement player), Relative Performance, EqAve (equivalent average), EqOBP (equivalent on base percentage), EqSLG (equivalent slugging percentage), BIP% (balls put into play percentage), wOBA (weighted on base average), Range Factor, PMR (probabilistic model of range) and Zone Rating.

Charlie was not impressed by this, and I can't say that I would be either. Do I want my GM taking these things into account? Of course. Do I want him announcing it publicly? Heck no. I'd like to think that almost every organization has stat guys behind the scenes crunching these things, but what do you gain by announcing things like this in public? It seems a lot like wearing around a letterman's jacket for Academic Decathlon. It's something you should be proud of having, but all you gain from sporting it in public is beatings. I know that the Pirates main beat writer, Dejan Kovacevic, is pretty stat friendly, but it just gives any old school columnists room to make jokes about how Huntington is making decisions based on what his copy of Matlab tells him. When the Pirates inevitably stink for the next few years, which they will, the organization is almost beyond repair, how many columns are we going to get about how Huntington needs to spend less time punching punch cards?

Heck, the first impression that a stat dork like me gets from this is that we can send the guy Delwyn Young and John Lindsey for Andrew McCutchen.  The best thing that a stat friendly GM can do is pretty much just keep his mouth shut, and let his results speak for themselves. Would it be nice if the phrase "probabilistic model of range" didn't have a negative connotation? Of course. But until it doesn't, there's absolutely no reason for this guy to be saying these things in public.

Anyway, the purpose of this wasn't to rip on Neil Huntington, it's to note the rest of Charlie's reaction. Yeah, he's not impressed with Huntington, but at least he's not Ned Colletti. Colletti's famous opinion on VORP is coming back to haunt him like a video of him wielding an automatic weapon labeled "Jihad Tape".

I don't know, I don't like being the ending part of "we many be dumb, but at least we're not..." Then again, at this point, the only names I can fill into the end of that sentence are Wayne Krivski, Jim Bowden, and Bill Bavasi. Sad as it may be, Ned Colletti as already being viewed as a joke by people outside of L.A. When someone who probably doesn't devote that much time to the Dodgers can note "Again, though, Colletti's an extreme case, and anyway his main problem isn't aversion to statistics - it's idiocy. You don't need a statistics degree to notice that, hey, Kemp's batting .342, so it's probably time to tell the manager he needs to be in the lineup every day", you can see that we have a problem.

90% of the things the things that I write comes down to "please Ned, don't do anything stupid". I really, really want Ned to not give me a reason to live in complete fear this offseason.