athxu wrote:I dare to disagree. He is basically saying, "Stolen bases changes pitchers, resulting in more errors, hittable pitches, etc." Whether it is tangible is something we can decide after looking at the data.
I understand what he is saying but there is no evidence to suggest that this is true. You can prove that a pitcher becomes more hittable with a man on base. Neyer did a little study about this awile back, taking into account the difference when the man on base was a base-stealing threat. There was no difference. Does that prove that these intangibles don't exist? No but I think it's enough evidence for me to believe that they don't.
athxu wrote:You might say who cares about small effects, but wait til the post-season and it's a tie game in the late innings. In fact, you would think that any nervousness effects would be heightened in a high stakes situation.
This is a similar argument to the one made by people who believe in clutch hitters. I can't disprove your opinion but in my opinion MLB players are the creme of the crop. I do not believe a base-stealing threat in the late innings of a playoff game would have any more effect than in any other game.
athxu wrote:I think the mistake a lot of people make, including Joe Morgan, is that intuition is necessarily distinct from data. Asking creative questions is half the chore in any scientific endeavor.
What is intuition but perceptive insight?
I don't think intuition is useless but in terms of baseball I will always favor the statistical evidence. Intuition led James and others to create some truly groundbreaking studies that denied many of the common perceptions at the time. Morgan has perceptions that are off the wall. If someone shows me some evidence to back what he's saying I'll buy into it. Until then I'll continue to think he's crazy.