Thursday, February 21, 2008

Great Moments in Statistical Analysis

Derek Jeter, asked about the University of Pennsylvania study that labeled him the worst shortstop in baseball:
"Maybe it was a computer glitch," the three-time Gold Glove winner said of the report. But Jeter just didn't laugh this one off. He defended himself, saying, "Every [shortstop] doesn't stay in the same spot, everyone doesn't have the same pitching. Everyone doesn't have the same hitters running, it's impossible to do that."

Jeter, 33, pointed out you can get the exact same ground ball off the exact same pitcher and there could be an average runner or there could be Ichiro running. "How can you compute that?" he asked.

In the space of five of six words, Jeter (a) acknowledges the existence of averages, which implies that he's aware of the concept of multiple data points; and (b) dismisses the results of a study based on a single data point. Neat!


Jason said...

what you omitted from the article was Stick Michael's comments, which were truly priceless, even as I'm a Yankee fan.

First he puts down the whole notion of statistical defensive analysis.

Then calls Jeter 'clutch' as a defense.

Lastly, he admits Jeter's D is slipping.

(bangs head into desk corner)

Hope you're feeling better, CC.

Shyster said...

Yeah, the Michael stuff was priceless too. Query: do Jeter and Michael criticize the methodology of the study if it concluded that Jeter was an above-average defensive SS?

I somehow doubt it.

Osmodious said...

Well, I doubt Jeter would have made any real comment about the study if he 'scored' well. He just doesn't really care about that stuff that much. I'm guessing the only reason he even knew about it was because someone in the press asked him about it.

And that, in an obscure way, brings up the bigger thing about Jeter...he's just a winner. You can produce statistics to 'prove' or 'disprove' ANYthing (witness the recent ridiculousness re: Clemens), to really KNOW a player's worth you need to watch them play every day. Jeter wants to win, period. If that means hitting a bad pitch just to advance the runner (what I call the voluntary/involuntary sacrifice...or the "hey, if I get a hit, great...if not, I moved the runner!"), he'll do it. Eh, I could wax lyrical about his play for pages, but I won't.

I will point out that he won the Gold Glove in the AL in '06, so he can't be declining THAT much (oh, yeah, he won it in '05 and '04, also).

Diesel said...

... that last comment left me speechless.

Man, I love the internet.

Alan said...

Seriously. Osmodious -- if you're being sarcastic, then that was absolutely perfect. But if not... if you're serious... dude, I think you're reading the wrong blog. Or rather, you're reading the right blog, but not exactly *getting it*...

Jason said...

Rafi Palmiero won the GG one year while playing just 25 or so games at 1B, taking it away from rightful winner Tino Martinez.

Reputations carry the vote, not logic.

And I'm a Jeter fan.

Jake said...


wow... just wow...


Jake said...

I can't wait for the FJM article on this one...