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15 Things That Bill James Knows ...

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Postby thedude » Wed Apr 12, 2006 11:24 pm

giants! wrote:I dont agree completely with number 14. It really depends on the talent involved and other factors such as how many 1 run games, strength of schedule.

It is because of #14, that a lot of people think the CHiSox will decline.
"I do not think baseball of today is any better than it was 30 years ago... I still think Radbourne is the greatest of the pitchers." John Sullivan 1914-Old athletes never change.
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Postby warrick95 » Thu Apr 13, 2006 12:10 am

1 and 5 are beyond horrific.
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Postby suppasonic » Thu Apr 13, 2006 12:20 am

warrick95 wrote:1 and 5 are beyond horrific.

Horrific they may be, but they are completely true.
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Postby bigh0rt » Thu Apr 13, 2006 12:35 am

Thanks for the links GTWMA. Good reads. ;-D ;-D
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Postby RynMan » Thu Apr 13, 2006 2:15 am

Nice read. ;-D
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Postby GotowarMissAgnes » Thu Apr 13, 2006 3:43 am

suppasonic wrote:
warrick95 wrote:1 and 5 are beyond horrific.

Horrific they may be, but they are completely true.

While 1 has been proven beyond any reasonable doubt, I'd argue that James would say 5, which may have been true when he wrote it, may be less true or not true today. Most of the data I've seen recently on the draft suggests that HS draftees do at least as well as college draftees.

This article shows the clear advantage for college players, but also shows that the gap has narrowed in the 1990s.
http://www.baseballprospectus.com/artic ... cleid=4064

BP has followed up this year with a look at college and HS draftees by position:
http://www.baseballprospectus.com/artic ... cleid=4864

A few other interesting draft studies I've seen:

http://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/fil ... 3-07-16_0/

Baseball America has a study, too, but I can't seem to find that one.
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Re: 15 Things That Bill James Knows ...

Postby wrveres » Thu Apr 13, 2006 4:51 am

this is a joke right?

"15 things that Bill James KNOWS"

I couldn't help but read this thing and come away thinking, that maybe this was attached to his Job Aplication.

Serioussly ..
I kinda thought it was a Joke at first.


so I decided to give him an Interview. ;-7

Bill James wrote:
"What I wanted to write about... is a very basic question. Of all the studies I have done over the last 12 years, what have I learned? What is the relevance of sabermetric knowledge to the decision making process of a team? If I were employed by a major-league team, what are the basic things that I know from the research I have done which would be of use to me in helping that team?"

1. Minor league batting statistics will predict major league batting performance with essentially the same reliability as previous major league statistics. This is 'Commandment' #1? This is not even groundbreaking information here Billy.
Even by 1988 standards!
12 years of research?

2. Talent in baseball is not normally distributed. It is a pyramid. For every player who is 10 percent above the average player, there are probably twenty players who are 10 pecent below average. A 'Pyramid'? Ok I gotcha.
Um excuse me Billy, but isn't LIFE itself like that?
I mean not everybody has a steady enough hand to be a Brain Surgeon. Its a talent.
It has been that way since the dawn of man-kind Billy. For every Indian that excelled at 'Catching the Buffalo', I imagine there were 20 that werent very good a it, so they got stuck at home with with the women ;-7 Hey Pimping takes Talent too ...

All Talent could be fit into your 'Pyramid' Billy. Not just Baseball. I am glad you thought this up.

3. What a player hits in one ballpark may be radically different from what he would hit in another.
8-o 8-o Umm, Ya think? Maybe we should ask the Ballplayers at the old Polo grounds what they thought of hitting there, Billy.
Again, not groundbreaking here. We are at 'Commandement' # 3 and you haven't told us anything we didn't allready KNOW, and all we got is this 'Pyramid' of talent.

4. Ballplayers, as a group, reach their peak value much earlier and decline much more rapidly than people believe.
:-? What?
No seriouslly ... What?
What do People Believe? People as in fans? People as in Scouts? People as in GM's with 50 years of baseball experience?
You might as well have said, "Men as a group get foot fungus more often than people believe" What are you trying to say Billy? Spit it out ..

5. Players taken in the June draft coming out of college (or with at least two years of college) perform dramatically better than players drafted out of high school. Couple of names for you .. Alex Rodriguez, Ken Griffey Jr, Miguel Cabrera, Manny Ramirez, Johan Santana, Pedro Martinez, David Wright, all never attended a college. This is just a few names sure, but they are arguably the best players of the this Generation. Albert Pujols spent 1 year at a Community College. Heck 50 % or more of the league is Dominacan, Venenzulan or of some South American decent. 50% Billy... How can you say that?
Now it might have been different in 1988 when the 'Man' was in power, but looking at the makeup of the modern team, you are wrong. Now college kids may get to the MLB club quicker, cus they are older, but I am not buying that they are better.
Maybe you should read your 'Commandment' # 2 again Billy, you wrote it.

6. The chance of getting a good player with a high draft pick is substantial enough that it is clearly a disastrous strategy to give up a first round draft choice to sign a mediocre free agent. (see note #1)
Something that we do agree on Billy. Its called common sense. Smart business principles. The O'Malley's had been practicing this for decades till Rupert got a hold of them.
We are at 'Commandment' # 6, and I still have seen anything ground-breaking. I got this 'Pyramid of Talent' 'Not all Ballparaks are the same', and Men with foot fungus.
what do you KNOW Billy, what do you know.?

7. A power pitcher has a dramatically higher expectation for future wins than does a finesse pitcher of the same age and ability.

Well that makes perfect sense don't ya think, Billy.
A pitcher that does not rely on others to make outs for him, will probably be fare better.
Question for ya Billy?
Did you think up 'Commandment' # 7 all by your self, or was that part of the 12 years of research ?
Branch Rickey must be rolling in his grave ..

8. Single season won-lost records have almost no value as an indicator of a pitcher's contribution to a team.
Agreed. But again Billy this is nothing new.
Certainly not by 1988 standards.
But I am glad that you KNOW this.

So do I

9. The largest variable determining how many runs a team will score is how many times they get their leadoff man on base.
This 'Commandment' could be the dumbest one yet Billy, it is just plain silly.
Hmmm, I wonder why GM's from back in the 1800's came up with the term, "LEADOFF hitter, eh Billy ;-7
Pop Quiz Billy, why don't the let the pitcher leadoff .. ?
Cus he is generally not very good at getting on base Billy.

10. A great deal of what is perceived as being pitching is in fact defense. We are going to dicuss that in a minute here Billy, but it sure flys in the face of your 'Commandment' # 7

11. True shortage of talent almost never occurs at the left end of the defensive spectrum. (see note #2) Oh look he made a 'Spectrum'. What was wrong with the 'Pyramid'

12. Rightward shifts along the defensive spectrum almost never work. (see note #2) oooohhh I see note number two .. the 'Spectrum' got it. We got a 'Pyramid of Talent' and a 'Defensive Spectrum', 'Don't sign Free Agents till December' and 'Don't draft High School kids' and a 'Foot Fungus'

13. Our idea of what makes a team good on artificial turf is not supported by any research. What is YOUR idea? Nice of you to group me into YOUR idea. I am guessing this has something to do with the spead of the ball on the turf, and the 'Spectrum'? :-? ? :-? ? and people have called me 'Vague' :*)

14. When a team improves sharply one season they will almost always decline in the next.

15. The platoon differential is real and virtually universal :-? :-? :-?


1. Major league teams still must surrender choices in the amateur draft in exchange for signing free agents.
2. The defensive spectrum looks like this:
this cracks me up ... I am sorry it just does .. ohh look Billy drew a "Spectrum" .oooohhhh .. Its the "Spectrum". The Spectrum says ...

[ - - 1B - LF - RF - 3B - CF - 2B - SS - C - - ]
with the basic premise being that positions at the right end of
the spectrum are more difficult than the positions at the left
end of the spectrum. Players can generally move from right
to left along the specturm successfully during their careers.

Well duh Billy, defense up the middle, I know you have heard it before. General Managers, Managers, Scouts all have been practicing this basic principle for decades, silly Billy. O:-)

Here let me help you out Book Boy, lets put your 'Spectrum' on an actual baseball 'Diamond'


Pretend for a minute you know nothing about baseball, and I tell you that the whole field here is in play.
Where do you think you should put the best defenders?

Here is a hint.


How about in an area where they can cover the most ground, Billy

'A Spectrum', 'A Pyamid' and a 'Foot Fungus' ... :-t

xtracted from The Bill James Baseball Abstract 1988
Ballantine Books, New York
Copyright 1988 by Bill James

I am sending him a 'Decline' notice ...

where is my Scotch

Last edited by wrveres on Thu Apr 13, 2006 6:29 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby wrveres » Thu Apr 13, 2006 4:54 am

warrick95 wrote:1 and 5 are beyond horrific.

thank you ..

I spent an hour trying to read that thing ...
I still don't know what he is trying to say. I cannot understand why people are so wowed by him.
I just can't :-o
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Postby GotowarMissAgnes » Thu Apr 13, 2006 5:59 am

Snakes Gould wrote:someone not a bill james fan? :-?

As well as completely ignorant of what baseball "knowledge" was prior to 1988. Take #9, for example. Most teams prior to the 1990s constructed their lineup not with a top OBP man in the #1 slot, but with a high average, fast player. They over-emphasized BA and speed over the most important factor.

Or #4. Conventional wisdom in the 70s and 80s was that players peaked in their early 30s, with 30-33 believed to be peak performance. James and later studies have clearly showed that this was wrong, with the peak centered on 27, not 31-32.

I have a lot of respect for wrveres, but he clearly shows a lot of ignorance in these posts about what people beleived in the 1970s and 1980s and what James showed to be true.
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