We will play smart defense, limiting miscues. The time between innings, in some cases, is a cause of longer game times. Some pitchers throw with a lot of velocity. Now "Moreyball" -- an up-tempo system that eschews midrange shots in favor of fast breaks and 3s -- is the NBA standard. And I think Pat Tabler got a few hits with the bases loaded and he started to gain that kind of wonderful confidence.
Report: Yankees to sign All-Star Zach Britton
Most important, analytics have a voice in Huntington's decision making. Shortly after "Moneyball" was published in , the Cardinals became early adopters of analytics, with new executive Jeff Luhnow assembling a team of consultants.
Initial success was mixed -- manager Tony La Russa reportedly did not appreciate some of the analysts' suggestions -- but the sabermetic efforts solidified when NASA engineer Sig Mejdal was hired in Mejdal and Dan Kantrovitz helped the Cardinals restock their big league club through the draft, and the team has a slew of playoff appearances and the World Series championship trophy to show for it.
Correa works with analysts Dane Sorensen and Matt Bayer and a developer to further the Cards' sabermetric efforts. The Cardinals were cited often by our sources as being especially adept at blending data and traditional sources of baseball info. One industry insider told ESPN. Our sabermetric intensity metric, which summarizes how well teams use analytics, shows exactly how the Rays did it on the field.
During the five-year period from to , Tampa Bay ranked second-to-last in sabermetric intensity. The Rays went from a historically poor defensive efficiency rating in to the league's best in The dramatic improvement propelled the Rays -- whose offense actually scored eight fewer runs than the previous season -- all the way to the World Series.
In the five-year period ending in , the Rays had baseball's highest sabermetric intensity rating. Chaim Bloom is the first former Baseball Prospectus writer to become vice president at a major league club. James Click -- who like Bloom graduated from Yale and came to the Rays from BP -- oversees a staff of no less than eight full-time staffers in the baseball research and development department.
Click's group develops the Rays' baseball information system and keeps up with cutting-edge research. This offseason saw Friedman and manager Joe Maddon leave for the Dodgers and Cubs, respectively, but with the Rays' first-class infrastructure remaining intact and a continued top-down commitment to analytics, they should stay near the front of the sabermetric pack.
Baltimore has a long history with respect to analytics. That tradition lives on with GM Dan Duquette for the time being , manager Buck Showalter and pitching coordinator Rick Peterson, all of whom are respected for their analytical thinking. Behind the scenes, Duquette is advised on player moves by consultant Stephen J. Walters, a sports economist at nearby Loyola University Maryland.
A longtime confidante of Duquette, Walters has written several papers on baseball, including an analysis of the rate of return on draft picks. Clearly, Duquette believes that Walters' proprietary sabermetric methods give him a leg up on other GMs.
In the office, Sarah Gelles -- like Duquette a part of the strong Amherst College pipeline -- oversees the O's analytics department, which reaches into both pro scouting and video advance scouting. Gelles built the Orioles' database from scratch, and the team has added Kevin Tenenbaum -- a math-econ major who wrote research papers with Dave Allen at Middlebury College -- and Pat DiGregory in the past year. While the Orioles have the analytics talent and mindset to qualify as believers, they need a more coherent, holistic approach and a stronger investment to compete with division rivals Tampa Bay, Boston and New York.
When Dayton Moore left Atlanta to become K. As the losing continued, the daggers came out. Not helping was manager Ned Yost, whose managerial style flies in the face of analytical orthodoxy and inspires some of the Internet's finest vitriol.
A funny thing happened on the way to the dustbin of history -- Moore quietly assembled one of the most talented analytics departments in baseball, and the Royals nearly won the World Series in Moore's men might be the best-educated young crew in baseball: Analyst Guy Stevens co-authored a paper on player forecasting that appeared in the "Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports" while he was still pitching for Pomona.
The machine learning techniques used in Stevens' paper are beyond what most club analysts are familiar with. But not Mack, as his Ph. Mack gives the Royals' outfit rigor that most other teams simply don't have, and together they have carved out space to work on weighty long-term projects. In this fast-paced, competitive industry, that kind of commitment by an organization takes foresight.
The Royals have shown marked improvement on the field, becoming leaders in formerly tough-to-quantify areas. Over the past two years, they've led all of baseball in both runs gained via baserunning and defensive runs saved, according to FanGraphs, and they've been among the most frequent deployers of defensive shifts.
Skepticism about Moore and Yost might persist, but meanwhile the Royals are moving toward the head of the class. At the moment, the Dodgers are the most difficult team to assess. The Dodgers also lured Farhan Zaidi from the A's to be general manager. But under the current five-headed ownership group and CEO Stan Kasten, the Dodgers have not been a strong analytics organization.
Over the past few years, the Dodgers were nearly a bottom-tier team despite canyon-deep pockets. And Dodgers fans have seen this play out badly before, when a previous ownership regime hired "Moneyball" legend Paul DePodesta as GM, then fired him after two seasons.
Friedman and Zaidi have started hiring, but the group of analysts they've inherited is nowhere near the cutting edge. That said, this rating reflects our expectations that the Dodgers' expensive new front office hires send the signal that the Dodgers are now believers and are ready to continue investing, with the potential to move up into the upper echelon quickly.
Few executives are more universally respected than Sandy Alderson, both in the analytics world and in baseball at large. Originally a lawyer, he introduced sabermetrics to the Oakland front office in the s, mentored Billy Beane in the '90s and later served as an executive in the league office.
Now he runs the Mets. With no scouting background, Alderson's greatest strength as a GM is his objectivity, and with him at the helm, analytical information is as likely to be put into practice in Flushing as it is anywhere in the game. Both have been hyped as analysts because of "Moneyball," but they're underrated as scouts.
With DePodesta overseeing amateur scouting, and analytically minded executives Adam Fisher and Ian Levin directing baseball operations and player development, respectively, the Mets have a tightly integrated group that shares ideas freely -- both within the front office and with the field staff. Manning the keyboards of a mature baseball information system are T. Barra and developer Joe Lefkowitz. Though the Mets are a big-market club, they have a mid-market payroll and just haven't made the investment in highly trained personnel that teams like the Royals and Cubs have made in recent years.
With respect to analytics, the Padres have been the class of the NL West for 10 years. Chris Long, a data scientist with an advanced degree in math, started building San Diego's baseball information system in The Padres' upper management has been largely receptive to analytics over the years. All three men left in , with three-year terms following from Jed Hoyer and Josh Byrnes, both of whom had been integral members of Theo Epstein's Red Sox front office.
New GM and Cornell graduate A. Preller is a wild card who has made a big splash with a number of transactions in his first offseason with the club. Preller has a scouting background and is coming from the Rangers, whose relationship with analytics is murky.
But the early indications are that Preller will be willing to listen to what the numbers say. Long credits assistant GM Josh Stein for buying into analytics, particularly on the concept of catcher framing, one of the newer sabermetric discoveries. Rivera was in turn a piece of the trade that landed Wil Myers in San Diego -- one of many bold moves this offseason aimed at turning around an offense that was historically unproductive in But Ricciardi -- who is revered for his scouting acumen -- never embraced sabermetrics to the extent that Beane did.
These days the team's analytical operation is run by Joe Sheehan, who also has experience in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization. Last year, the Jays lost assistant GM Jay Sartori -- who had overseen Sheehan's development of the Jays' baseball information system -- to Apple, but solidified their development team by plucking Jason Pare from the Indians. While the Sheehan-Pare pair make a formidable combo and current GM Alex Anthopoulos has indicated interest in expanding even further, the promise of a mid-market, Canadian version of the "Moneyball" A's has never been fully realized.
Nationals GM Mike Rizzo is a former scout who respects analytics and listens to input from his staff. Cromie came through the UMass sports management pipeline, holds a law degree from Georgetown and has worked as a video scout at Baseball Info Solutions.
Hired by the Nats in , he taught himself how to code and began building databases. Mondry-Cohen came from Penn, where he studied with the creators of S. We know these lessons sunk in because the Nationals maintain their own defensive metrics and WAR. Mondry-Cohen's group, which includes two more analysts, scours the public domain for ideas and builds its own predictive models.
As the Nats have begun showing love to analytics, the numbers are loving them back. The Nationals led the NL in wins last season, and going into the season, Washington has the best odds to win the World Series, at One team that seems to revel in its reputation as stat-agnostic is the Chicago White Sox. That stems in part from the style of Sox executive VP Kenny Williams, who served as general manager from to and has expressed his preference for old-school ways over sabermetrics. On the other hand, Rick Hahn, promoted to GM in , takes a friendlier view of analytics.
The man at the center of the White Sox's analytics operation is Dan Fabian, who describes himself as a "stathead " and is well-respected within the industry but just pretty good at baseball trivia. He has overseen the development of the White Sox Scouting Portal and has recently brought on Dan Strittmatter, a former math major at Notre Dame, to coordinate baseball information. But in contrast to the Cubs across town, led by Theo Epstein and new manager Joe Maddon, the White Sox are stuck in neutral, with no signs they're doing anything innovative.
I think he is going to grow into one of the top GMs in the game because he gets the full picture. Unfortunately, the Angels had no significant analytical infrastructure in place when Dipoto took the job three years ago.
Justin Hollander, now director of baseball operations, was there, but other key contributors have joined the front office only recently. Hollander oversees a group of four analysts including Jonathan Strangio, formerly with the Mets. Dipoto calls Strangio, who played ball at Harvard, " one of the smartest people I've ever worked with. As coordinator of advance scouting, Jeremy Zoll furthers the MLB trend toward relying on advance scouts who integrate video and statistical information and communicate directly with the field staff.
While the Angels need time to deepen their application of analytics, they are off to a strong start with their current staff and the data support they get from a partnership with Bloomberg Sports.
The real concerns now are in the owner's suite and the manager's office. Both owner Arte Moreno and longtime manager Mike Scioscia are traditionalists, and that limits how well the Angels integrate analytics, making them a classic "one foot in" team. Despite GM Doug Melvin's background in scouting and old-school reputation, the Brewers are definitely not in the dark on analytics.
Melvin calls himself " a big believer in ballpark effects ," challenges his analytics staffers to bring him useful information, and cites their work when they've helped him make a move. The evidence shows up between the lines, too. The Brewers have been aggressive adopters of defensive shifts, and they signed catcher Jonathan Lucroy and outfielder Carlos Gomez to team-friendly long-term deals before each had a breakout year.
Lucroy, in particular, is an interesting case, as he has proved to be a master at pitch framing. According to breakthrough research at Baseball Prospectus , the effects of this skill are much larger than previously believed, and the Brewers were early to realize Lucroy's value -- which some estimates place at nearly the same level as Mike Trout's.
All of this does not mean the Brewers live on the cutting edge. Melvin and manager Ron Roenicke could hardly be described as true believers. While the Brewers have a relatively large analytics staff, including two analysts and three programmers, the overall approach in Milwaukee appears to be less sophisticated than that of the top sabermetric teams. GM Brian Sabean and manager Bruce Bochy have reputations for being old-school baseball types, but it's not accurate to call them anti-"Moneyball.
San Francisco has a small, stable front office that doesn't talk much about analytics; that's to avoid taking credit from the players, CEO Larry Baer told the New York Times. But Sabean and others insist the Giants have always incorporated statistical information and resultant strategies. For instance, Bochy utilized the stolen base and sacrifice bunt less than any other NL manager in , saying, "I believe in going for the bigger inning.
OK, the Giants aren't exactly the baseball embodiment of Google, but with three World Series titles in five years, who cares? When GM Jack Zduriencik and special assistant Tony Blengino blew into Seattle after the season, there were great expectations surrounding the team and their use of analytics. With Blengino supplying "Trader Jack" with sabermetrics, the Mariners traded for Franklin Gutierrez, who gobbled up fly balls in record numbers, and the team posted a winning record despite being outscored hint: But the Mariners dived in the standings, suffering through four straight losing seasons, and in , things got ugly.
Blengino and manager Eric Wedge were dismissed, and a Seattle Times article portrayed a front office in disarray. Statistical analysis was foreign to him.
But he knew he needed it to get in the door. Now baseball operations analyst Wesley Battle and quantitative analyst Jesse Smith are running the numbers, and Zduriencik is supportive of their work.
But among the analytics community, Zduriencik's reputation remains tarnished. Preller to form an exceptionally young front office.
Daniels and Preller were fraternity brothers at Cornell, and Levine played baseball at Haverford. But being young and being sophisticated with stats are not the same thing. Contrary to some of the hype suggesting the Rangers were an analytics-oriented team, Daniels himself has refuted that the Rangers are heavily into sabermetrics. This offseason, he said the Rangers are in the bottom third of baseball in resources dedicated to analytics.
That said, the team is making strides. One big step was replacing manager Ron Washington -- who was much admired but very traditional -- with Jeff Banister, who comes fully invested in the analytical approach to advance scouting he embraced while with the Pirates.
And Todd Slavinsky has stepped in as analytics director after developing the Rangers' baseball information system for three years. The Rangers have the beginnings of a stable infrastructure, but they need to expand further -- especially toward statistical modeling -- in order to keep up with their division rivals.
In , Tony La Russa became the Diamondbacks' chief baseball officer. It stops before the first pitch is thrown. It's not that we devalue it. We value it when it's used appropriately. We do not value its intrusion into the game. Stewart followed suit, admitting he didn't know much about analytics and adding, "We're not going to be an organization that's going to [run on] 70 percent metrics.
That's not going to happen. These statements and others seemed to put Arizona in the "nonbelievers" camp, and that might prove to be an accurate description. But taking La Russa at face value, there are clues that he and the Diamondbacks won't entirely ignore analytics. La Russa hired a longtime friend, Ed Lewis, as analytics director for Arizona. The retired veterinarian hardly fits the stereotype of the analytics wizard, but he has played a role over the decades, as far back as , in deepening La Russa's appreciation of sabermetrics.
While La Russa subsequently earned a reputation as a critical, creative thinker, and is already in the Hall of Fame for his managerial success, his vision of baseball doesn't appear to have a place for a robust, analytically minded front office. That makes him a skeptic in our book. Likewise, the fictional film "Trouble with the Curve" used the Braves' front office as the setting for an old-time scout played by Clint Eastwood to show the number-crunchers how it's done.
Skip ahead to fall , when the Braves fired general manager Frank Wren and replaced him with a two-headed monster of John Hart as president and John Coppolella, Hart's successor in waiting, as assistant GM.
Coppolella has earned praise from people on both sides of the scouting vs. Matt Grabowski, a Princeton operations research grad, was promoted to assistant director of scouting and analytics by Hart. With Grabowski managing the team's baseball information system along with just an intern and a database administrator, the Braves' outfit is small but making progress.
Grabowski, whose work now extends into all facets of baseball operations, told ESPN. No longer do the Braves fit the bill as the anti-Moneyball organization. It remains to be seen how quickly and eagerly the Braves will make up for lost time. The Reds have made a relatively small investment in analytics. Their operation is run by Sam Grossman , a former math major at Northwestern with a background in actuarial work who was recently promoted to senior director of analytics.
Grossman oversees development of the Reds' baseball information system, builds databases for use in the amateur draft and generally infuses the Reds' front office with analytically minded concepts -- that is, thinking about players in terms of runs, wins and dollars. Grossman's promotion and the hiring of a new developer are a start, but overall the Reds remain a front office with a traditional composition. That's because of Walt Jocketty. After losing a power struggle in St. Louis with Jeff Luhnow, now the mastermind of the Houston Astros' massive foray into analytics, Jocketty brought his more old-school approach to Cincinnati, becoming GM in While Jocketty, whose background is in scouting and player development, is not entirely antagonistic towards analytics, his vision for the constitution of a baseball front office is fundamentally different from Luhnow's.
O'Dowd favored traditional baseball methods, stating his views in a interview: Hard to measure it because there's no statistical formula for that, but really understanding what's inside a guy is actually more important than what comes out of a guy.
Geivett, on the other hand, revealed in that the Rockies were computing their own version of WAR. Rosenthal has overseen the development of the Rockies' baseball information system since joining the team in , and he's now assisted by Matt Obernauer, Trevor Patch and new hire DomenicDi Ricco. The technical contributions here come from Patch, who is working toward a master's degree in Predictive Analytics at Northwestern. The Rockies haven't made a name for themselves in analytics yet, and their new approach is a work in progress, but the signs are promising.
That attitude changed, at least from the dugout, when Dartmouth grad and recently retired catcher of 18 MLB seasons Brad Ausmus became the manager after the season. One of Ausmus' initial hires was Matt Martin , the team's defensive coordinator. Martin isn't a "stat guy" -- he's a former minor league manager and coach -- but he and Ausmus are using the statistical information curated by statistical analysis coordinator and former Swarthmore right-hander Sam Menzin, info that Leyland's staff simply ignored.
Otherwise, the Tigers' investment remains very small and focused mainly on the advance scouting side. The front office decision-makers are consumers of information who, lacking the personnel to develop their own system in-house, have signed a long-term contract with TruMedia to provide them with a cloud-based analytics platform. While these recent changes get the Tigers in the game, Detroit isn't keeping pace.
When "Moneyball" author Michael Lewis turned his attention to baseball, looking for a small-market team on which to focus, he approached the Minnesota Twins before deciding to write about Billy Beane and the Oakland A's. Imagine how that would have worked out with GM Terry Ryan: I believe in people. I have a hard time believing all that stuff.
Ryan is conversant on sabermetric talking points like batting average on balls in play BABIP , and now says he never makes a move without consulting with Jack Goin, his manager of baseball research who earned an MBA from the local University of St. While the Twins are widely regarded as one of the least sabermetrically inclined teams, Goin says the team is more middle of the road.
Between the lines, the signals are mixed at best: The Twins employed defensive shifts more than the average team in , increasing their usage fivefold. But their pitching staff has the lowest strikeout percentage over the past four seasons -- and the highest ERA outside of Colorado -- showing an overemphasis on "pitching to contact.
New manager Paul Molitor will bring more openness to analytical discussions, but with Ryan keeping sabermetrics at arm's length, this crew has a long way to go to catch its division rivals in Cleveland and Kansas City. The Marlins have a small, tight-knit baseball operations department in South Florida that has shown very little interest in analytics. Team president Michael Hill was a two-sport athlete at Harvard, but like GM Dan Jennings, is a former player with a background in player development and scouting.
The job of keeping the Marlins aware of analytics trends falls to director of baseball operations Dan Noffsinger, a longtime staffer who majored in applied math and economics at Harvard. Noffsinger has a good reputation but a broader, less technical skill set than the leading sabermetricians being hired by other organizations.
In a sign that the Marlins might be ready to change their ways, they are looking to hire their first analytics interns this year to get their program off the ground. No team was singled out more often by our sources as stubborn nonbelievers in analytics. Thanks to Bill James and generations of sabermetricians, baseball is further down the analytics road than the other major sports -- which means the Phillies are further behind than any other team in sports.
We're not a statistics-driven organization by any means. Howard was coming off of his fourth straight monster season according to traditional Triple Crown stats, but he didn't rate nearly as well in advanced metrics such as WAR in large part because of his liability as a defender. Giving that much money that far in the future to a large, immobile, power hitter at that age left the sabermetrically inclined scratching their heads.
Howard's production and the Phillies' fortunes have suffered in the years since, and his onerous contract now has the team in a bind. In , the Phillies hired Scott Freedman as manager of baseball analytics, but Amaro downplayed Freedman's importance, saying , "I don't know if it's going to change the way we do business, necessarily.
Freedman's ability to pull the Phillies into the 21st century will require more support from upper management than it appears willing to provide. He is the coauthor of " The Sabermetric Revolution: Assessing the Growth of Analytics in Baseball. He can be reached at BaumerBen. In , upon buying the team, Cuban reached out to his former Indiana University professor Wayne Winston, who along with sports statistician Jeff Sagarin created the first version of adjusted plus-minus.
Later, Cuban brought in 82games. After that victory, former ESPN Insider John Hollinger highlighted Rick Carlisle as "unquestionably the most cerebral and stat-friendly of the league's 30 head coaches. Barea and use Brian Cardinal as a backup to Dirk Nowitzki. Cuban has usually been the loudest analytics voice on the player personnel side, and the results speak for themselves.
The Mavericks have averaged 54 wins a season under Cuban, even if critics say his bold moves -- including the recent acquisition of Rajon Rondo -- aren't always supported by the numbers. Beech, who has been promoted to vice president of basketball strategy, continues to play an important role and now oversees three new analysts -- a ramped-up investment that became a talking point in the feud between Cuban and Houston general manager Daryl Morey, who suggested the Mavs were imitating the Rockets.
Cuban's belief in the value of the physical-performance data tracked by Catapult Sports is so strong, he invested several million in the company last year , and Dallas has been a pioneer in investing in technology and new ideas on the health side, with Don Kalkstein serving as their full-time "psychology coach. We have strived to introduce new and exclusive sources of data so that we can improve performance of our players. No single event has played a more important role in the NBA's analytics evolution than when Rockets owner Leslie Alexander brought in Daryl Morey to run basketball operations.
It was a bold move. Morey had been a little-known VP with the Boston Celtics, where he did analytics work on the business and basketball sides, when Houston hired him in April No team had previously turned over its operations to someone such as Morey.
Only one other team has since hired a general manager who made his reputation in analytics. Morey's now regarded as the NBA's leading proponent of analytics, but the GM gives credit to Alexander, calling him "the pioneer in bringing analytics to the NBA as the first team to fully commit to using it as a primary tool in all decision-making.
Morey and the Rockets employed a staff of data experts well before most other teams had made a single hire. Despite seeing some of their top people move on, "the Rockets continue to increase investment in analytics people and systems to maintain a differentiation in this area," Morey told ESPN. Earlier in February, TNT analyst Charles Barkley called Morey "one of those idiots who believe in analytics" and questioned whether advanced stats had truly played a part in the acquisition of James Harden.
In fact, the trade for Harden was the signature analytics-driven move of Morey's tenure, as Houston spent years accumulating assets via "arbitrage" moves and then grabbed Harden from Oklahoma City when the Thunder hesitated to offer their sixth man a max contract. Based on Harden's per-minute stats, Morey recognized his potential to become a superstar in a larger role. While the influence of analytics on the personnel side has long been obvious, it's only in the past three seasons that the Rockets have played the game on the court so differently from everyone else.
More than any other team, with the blessing of coach Kevin McHale, they've emphasized high-value shots at the rim and beyond the 3-point line. Philadelphia went all-in on analytics in May , when a new ownership group led by Josh Harris and David Blitzer, who come from a background in private equity, hired Sam Hinkie as GM and president of basketball operations.
While assistant GM with the Houston Rockets, Hinkie worked hand in hand with GM Daryl Morey to utilize cutting-edge statistical analysis and exhaust every avenue for building a competitive team. The same way you do," Hinkie explained when he was introduced to the media. All you're using is lots and lots of data, and it's helping you make an informed decision about whether you should bring an umbrella or not. That's the way I think about it. In some ways, the 76ers are closer than the Rockets to a pure experiment in team-building driven by analytics.
While the Rockets rebuilt without falling out of contention, the Sixers' ownership group signed off on a complete teardown that resulted in a record-tying game losing streak in After acquiring two first-round picks before last week's trade deadline, Philadelphia could have as many as four in this year's draft to go with recent lottery picks Joel Embiid, Nerlens Noel and Dario Saric.
And the 76ers have stockpiled 15 second-round picks over the next six drafts by renting out their cap space to use in trades while hunting for steals. Hinkie has surrounded himself with executives with analytics-heavy backgrounds. Because the Sixers are still early in the rebuilding process, it's tough to see the influence of analytics on the court.
But under Hinkie's hand-picked coach, former San Antonio Spurs assistant Brett Brown, Philadelphia is playing a fast pace and getting good shots. The answer, Barkley might be surprised to learn, is plenty.
Quietly, the Spurs have been leaders in applying and integrating analytics for years. The Spurs' famously fluid style of play comes in large part from the wisdom provided by the numbers. The Spurs get into their offense quickly and relentlessly seek out open shots from the 3-point line and at the basket.
No team has attempted more corner 3s than the Spurs over the past decade, and under Gregg Popovich they've also excelled at taking away 3-pointers and shots at the rim, forcing opponents to the midrange. He started asking different questions. The Spurs relied on consultants for years, and one, Gabe Farkas, was eventually made director of basketball analytics. The Spurs have one other full-time analyst and are known to utilize a number of outside experts and data services.
The Spurs were early to recognize the value in SportVU player tracking, as one of the four original teams to install cameras in their arena and have used the data extensively. They also have been leaders in health, often resting players by cutting minutes and recording exertion in practice using Catapult Sports' GPS tracking technology.
As an illustration of the depth of the Spurs' process, Buford explained how the team adjusted to the data and improved their defense after slipping to 11th in defensive rating in We learned from the Celtics on defensive rebounding. While they were really high in defensive efficiency, they weren't very high in defensive rebounding. It made us question, 'Is that really where we should be paying attention? Some great discussions came from that that then led us to re-evaluate what's important for us.
The Hawks' rise to the top of the Eastern Conference has been informed and fueled by statistical analysis. General manager Danny Ferry, currently on administrative leave because of the comments he read about Luol Deng on a conference call last summer, brought adjusted plus-minus pioneer Dan Rosenbaum to Atlanta in after employing him for several years in Cleveland when Ferry was GM there.
It's a lean staff. Rosenbaum's work played a large role in the crucial acquisitions of newly minted All-Stars Kyle Korver and Paul Millsap, and the Hawks have continued to make savvy decisions about whom to go get and whom to let go. Like Ferry, coach Mike Budenholzer came from a San Antonio Spurs culture that makes statistical analysis part of the decision-making process.
Budenholzer's staff gets high marks for their openness to input and for enhancing the on-court value of the roster, and likewise the front office listens to "Coach Bud" -- in fact, he's a lead decision-maker in Ferry's absence. The Hawks are now considered Spurs East, and the DNA they share includes a healthy respect for what the numbers say about how to build a team and how to play.
Boston is a leader in analytics investment. Zarren was a leading candidate for the Philadelphia 76ers' GM job that eventually went to Sam Hinkie. Stevens is one of the coaches most interested in advanced stats, even as he tries to avoid the stathead label. The biggest question about Boston is how much president of basketball operations Danny Ainge ultimately believes in statistical analysis. Ainge's scouting instincts guide his decisions, and he tends to rely on his son Austin, the team's director of player personnel, more than the analytics department.
On the other hand, Ainge's dogged pursuit of star talent and the high value he places on draft picks -- Boston will have as many as 10 first-round picks over the next four years -- follow from the numbers, indicating he has been willing to listen to Morey and Zarren.
Jake Bauers went 3-for-4 with a clutch home run and four RBI to lead his team over the Athletics by a score of on Saturday. The game was tied when he stepped to the plate with two men on base in the bottom of the eighth inning. He ripped a Jeurys Familia pitch over the wall in right field to break the game open and send his team to a win.
He drove in another run with a sacrifice fly earlier in the contest. The year-old rookie has struggled in terms of batting average but has been solid in all other facets of the hitting game.
He has a lowly. That's not bad for a youngster getting his first taste of major league pitching. He posted good batting averages in the minors and can also steal some bases to add an extra fantasy dimension. He should be a solid regular in future seasons. Sat, Sep 15, More Jake Bauers Player News.
Highest Searched Players over the last 7 days. Harper WAS 2 T. Tulowitzki NYY 3 Y. Kikuchi SEA 4 Z. Britton NYY 5 D. These tactics have long been an accepted part of cricket.
In the modern game, batsmen usually wear helmets and heavy padding, so that being struck by the ball only rarely results in significant injury—though it is nevertheless often painful, sometimes causing concussion or fractures although it can also have fatal consequences: Catchers typically wear a helmet with a cage or protective bars. An equivalent ball to striking the batter in baseball would be a beamer , where the ball hits the batter's upper body area without bouncing first.
These are rare and usually caused by the ball slipping out of the top of the bowler's hand. The even rarer intentional beamer provokes strong reaction from batter and crowd alike. The umpire is authorised to take disciplinary action in such instances.
The bowler is generally given a first warning, and is dismissed from the game if the offence is repeated. A notable such case was between Waqar Younis and Andrew Symonds: Younis was banned from bowling by umpire David Shepherd for delivering a beamer to Symonds in a match between Pakistan and Australia at the World Cup ; it was the first of only two times it's ever happened during an international match.
There is a major difference in the way in which different bowlers or pitchers contribute to a single game. In baseball, a single pitcher starts the game, and makes every pitch until the manager replaces the tiring pitcher with a relief pitcher.
Replaced pitchers cannot return to pitch again in the same game unless they are shuttled to another position in the field and thus stay in the line-up, a move rarely seen in the major leagues , and a succession of pitchers may come into the game in sequence until it ends. In cricket, two bowlers begin the game, with those not actively bowling spending time as fielders.
Every player in the team, including the wicket-keeper but excluding the 12th man, is available to be used as a bowler. Bowlers alternate bowling overs of six balls each. A bowler will usually bowl for a 'spell' of several alternate overs, and will generally bowl the entire spell from the same end of the pitch.
A second bowler will bowl the overs missed by the first, from the other end of the pitch, for his own spell. After a bowler is taken off, he may be, and often is, asked to bowl another spell later in the same innings. Although moving a pitcher to a fielding position and returning him to pitch later in the game is legal in baseball, it is a rarely used and potentially risky strategy, as the pitcher may be unprepared to play another position.
The terms "bowling" and "pitching", as words, both denote underarm deliveries, as were once required in both games. The rules for delivery were also initially very similar. Once overhand deliveries were permitted in the respective sports, and pitchers were compelled to toe the pitching rubber instead of throwing from anywhere within the "pitcher's box", the actions of bowling and pitching diverged significantly.
The " wide " in cricket and the " ball " in baseball both derive from the concept of a "fair" delivery, i. While there is no sharply defined "strike zone" in cricket as there is in baseball but there are lines known as the return creases perpendicular to the other crease lines which the umpires can use as a guide, and in limited overs cricket specific wide lines are painted on the pitch 17 inches Both the "wide" and the "ball" result in a "penalty".
In cricket, like a no-ball, a single run is awarded to the battling team and it does not count as a legal delivery. In baseball, a ball is called, and if a pitcher gives up four balls the batter is awarded first base, which is called a "base on balls" or a "walk".
A walk will only score a run directly if the bases are already loaded, forcing the runner at third base to advance to home known as "walking in a run" ; otherwise the threat is merely of another runner reaching base instead of making an out. However, since runs are scored so much more frequently in cricket, the occasional wide, scoring a run directly, is not taken too seriously, although the extra delivery can be of vital significance toward the end of a match.
In both games, a wide or a ball can be the decisive factor in winning a match or a game. Running plays a much larger role in baseball because of the low scoring; also, players on the batting team must run much further to score a run, because runners may remain in play that is, on the bases without scoring, and because baserunners can advance to the next base before the ball is hit again steal the base as soon as the ball is live. Base stealing often requires sliding , in which the runner throws himself to the ground to avoid being tagged or over-running the base.
The runner may also deliberately slide into the fielder at the base he is trying to steal to keep him from catching the ball or to disrupt a double play. At home plate the runner often will simply, and legally, run into a catcher who is blocking the baseline but who does not have the ball a defensive player may not impede the runner unless he has the ball or is in the process of catching it. The equivalent in cricket is almost impossible because the bowler is next to the non-striker, and in fact was once able to mankad him if he strayed out of his crease.
Tactical running in cricket rarely strays beyond the consideration of "can I make it to the other end before the ball does". One exception of this is towards the end of a closely fought limited overs game, where a batsman normally a tail-ender would sacrifice his wicket to allow the better batsman to remain on strike, usually in the last few balls.
While in baseball, steals, sacrificial running, forces, double plays, intimidation, and physical contact enter into the equation. Making contact with a fielder, as baserunners often do, would be unsportsmanlike in cricket, and unnecessary, as play stops when a single wicket is taken.
Occasionally a cricket runner will dive over the crease, but in baseball this is a regular occurrence, as players are frequently forced to run even when their chances are slim. Since a team almost always scores fewer runs in a baseball game than its number of outs, a baserunner will frequently take risks attempting to advance an extra base or to score a run, resulting in close plays at a base. In cricket, since the number of runs scored is much greater than the number of wickets taken in a match, a batsman would be very foolish to risk getting run out in an attempt to score an extra run without a very high expected chance of success.
In baseball, runners are often out not of their own accord — they are simply forced out. A direct comparison is difficult since cricket is predominantly played in three different formats: Of these, the Twenty20 format takes much the same time as a baseball game: Baseball games are generally much shorter than Test and One Day cricket games. Most Major League Baseball games last between two-and-a-half and four-and-a-half hours.
Because the Major League playing season is 6 months long days, between April and October with spring training in February and March , with 81 games played at home and 81 away in all, not counting the postseason or the All-Star Game , baseball teams often find themselves playing double-headers and series games.
A doubleheader entails two games, played back to back, in one day. This usually occurs when a game needed to be rescheduled, and is a common occurrence at the beginning of the Major League season, which coincides with the rainy spring season. Although they were once common, double-headers are rarely scheduled any more by teams, but are part of the culture of baseball, with Ernie Banks ' "Let's play two" a famous refrain.
A series occurs when two teams play on several consecutive days. This is a part of the regular schedule in baseball because of the number of games required in a season, and because there are large distances between stadiums in the US and Canada, thus conserving time and resources by allowing the teams to spend several days in a single location.
In Major League Baseball there is a maximum of 20 days consecutively played before a break in games must be observed. In cricket, test matches and certain domestic first class matches can last up to five days, with scheduled breaks each day for lunch and tea, giving three sessions of play each day.
Full length games, for example between English counties or between Australian states, have a similar format to Test matches, but either three or four days are allowed.
The limited overs versions of the sport usually last up to 7 hours. Twenty20 has innings of twenty overs per team and generally takes around 3 hours. One Day Internationals and Twenty20 cricket, with their inherent limit on the number of fair deliveries, do not have an exact equivalent in baseball. The closest comparison would be games that have a pre-set number of innings shorter than the standard 9 as with the second game of a doubleheader at some levels or a pre-set time limit of some kind, such as a curfew restriction, or in the case of one of baseball's cousins, recreational softball, a pre-set length of the game, such as one hour.
In winter ball Caribbean leagues doubleheaders are commonly pre-set to last 7 innings instead of 9, except if they are necessary as tiebreakers.
A wide array of factors affect both games from composition of the pitch or field soil to weather conditions, wind, and moisture and numerous strategies in both games can be employed to exploit these factors. Other than the bowler, cricket places very few restrictions on fielding placement , even for the wicket-keeper, and its variety of bowling styles, degrees of open field, wide bowling area target zone , and so on give scope for strategic play.
Notable exceptions include the limit of two fielders in the leg side quadrant, introduced to prevent the use of Bodyline tactics, and limiting outfield players in the early stages of limited overs matches and the subsequent introduction of powerplays. In baseball, there are very specific rules about the positions of the pitcher and the catcher at the start of each play.
The positioning of the other seven fielders is as flexible as cricket, except that each one must start the play positioned in fair territory. The fielders are otherwise free to position themselves anywhere on the playing field, based on the game situation.
A major element of strategy in these sports is the condition of the ball. Since bowling in cricket has more variations such as bounce, swing, seam movement, off-spin, leg-spin and so on , the condition of the ball also affects play to a great degree. In Test cricket, the same ball must be used for at least 80 overs unless it is lost, damaged or illegally modified at which point it must be replaced with a used ball in a similar condition.
After the 80 overs, obtaining a new ball is at the discretion of the fielding captain — who will often ask for a new ball immediately, since a new ball is harder, smoother, bounces higher and has an intact seam, which produces greater conventional swing.
But when a captain feels that a spin bowling attack is more likely to be successful, he will persist with the old ball, which is rougher and better grips the surface as well the bowler's fingers. In baseball the ball is replaced numerous times during a game to ensure it is in optimum condition. The aerodynamics of swing in cricket are different from baseball.
Moreover, the raised seam also causes movement off the pitch in cricket, which is a very important part of medium pace bowling. Once a particular hemisphere of the cricket ball is more rough or scratched than the other, the fielding team meticulously works to preserve the shine on the other half by rubbing it on their clothes or by applying saliva no "external" substances can be applied to alter the condition of the ball. Bowlers very carefully regulate their wrist position at the point of release to ensure the shine is preserved only on one half of the ball, since it will swing towards the rough side.
The old ball in cricket also tends to generate greater amounts of reverse swing, which is swing towards the polished side. Especially on pitches in the Indian sub-continent, which tend to have abrasive surfaces, bowlers might resort to bowling across the seam as early as the tenth over, so as to quickly scruff up the ball and generate reverse swing early on. Strategies that rely on early reverse swing also need the backup of effective spin bowlers to be able to exploit the roughed up ball.
Due to these factors, a batsman in cricket needs to watch very carefully how the bowler grips the ball even during his run-up, as well as the type of revolutions on the ball [ clarification needed ] as it approaches. Master spin bowlers like Shane Warne and Muttiah Muralitharan, who were able to dramatically vary the trajectory, direction and extent of spin, frequently bowled deliveries with a scrambled seam to disguise the type of ball actually bowled.
In cricket, since the strategies are greatly influenced by factors such as soil characteristics of the pitch, condition of the ball, time of the day, weather and atmospheric conditions, the decision to bat first or last is of great tactical importance. The team that wins the coin toss has the choice of batting first or last. This choice can be crucial to success; particularly in Test cricket. As the pitch is used for up to five consecutive days with little maintenance, the deterioration of the pitch with wear can have a major influence on the result of the match e.
It is usual for some amount of grass to be left on the pitch on the first day of a Test, since it helps bind the surface. The presence of grass on the pitch is conducive for pace bowling, so a grassy pitch may also tempt a captain to field first.
Sometimes, weather conditions also influence the decision, since a cloud especially overcast cloud cover has been found to assist swing bowling. Aggressive captains such as Allan Border of Australia have been known to bat first in Test cricket regardless of the conditions. In One Day International cricket, the time of day is also a crucial factor in determining the captain's decision at the toss.
In some parts of the world, dew on the ground can be significant. In a day-night game, grounds in some countries like India or South Africa become wet due to dew, which makes it difficult for a spinner to grip the ball. The captain must balance this against a consideration for bowling becoming more effective under lights, since the ball might skid off any dew on the pitch or get assistance in swing from the cooler night-time air.
Even for a day game, the captain might be inclined to exploit early morning dew on the pitch. In baseball, on the other hand, the "home" team always bats last. This was not originally the case.
In the early years, the winner of a coin toss could decide whether to bat first or last. The more offence-oriented aspect of the early game might influence a team's decision to bat first and hope to get a quick lead. This led to the occasional unfortunate situation where the home town crowd would have to watch their team lose a game in the last of the ninth inning, in "sudden victory" fashion by the visiting team.
By the late s, the rule was changed to compel the home team to bat last. At a "neutral" site, such as the College World Series , the "home" team may be decided by coin toss, but that "home" team must bat last. In cricket, since the batsmen can hit the ball with greater variation and different objectives, the field placements are more important and varied. Modern-day coaches and captains have intricate knowledge of the strengths of opposition batsmen, so they try to plug the dominant scoring areas for each batsman.
Moreover, since the bowling attack has greater variety in cricket, the field placements required for each type and line of attack also vary greatly. Depending on the scoring strengths of the batsman off-side, leg-side, straight, square, front foot, back foot, power hitter, "finds the gap", "clears the field" and so on , the captain must make adjustments to the field each time the batting pair score a run and change ends, which can possibly happen after every ball in an over.
To meet the demands of a speedy over-rate typically, about 15 overs an hour , the captain must arrange the fielders in a way that they can swiftly interchange positions for the two batsmen. This is especially important if one batsman is right-handed, while the other is left-handed. Fielders in cricket can field in all positions, but modern players have specialised field positions. In particular, slip positions require special skills since the slip fielder is placed behind the batsman and the ball comes directly off the edge of the bat.
Close catching positions such as forward short leg and silly point, as well as positions for the cut shot such as gully and point, require very fast reflexes and canny anticipation, so they are also specialist positions.
Conversely outfielders also can be specialist positions due to the need for a strong throwing arm. In baseball, although only the positions of pitcher and catcher are prescribed by the rules, fielders' positions are dictated closely by custom, and shifts in fielders' positions according to circumstance are less dramatic; the strike zone and smaller angle of fair territory limit the usefulness of some strategies which cricket makes available to batsmen.
The chief occasion on which fielding placement differs markedly from the usual is the presence of a pull , or dead-pull , hitter at bat such hitters almost never, except on the rare occasion of a fluke or mishit, hit the ball in any direction except towards the same side of the field as they stand at the plate, i. In such case the fielders will move so far in the direction of the pull that one half of the field is almost completely unprotected.
This is called an infield shift or overshift. A six-man infield has also been used when circumstances warrant. For the great majority of batters, however, the traditional fielding arrangement is used, with minor changes in position to accommodate the batter's power or bat-handling ability, the location of runners, or the number of outs.
For example, with a base runner on third with less than two out, the importance of fielders being able to throw quickly to home plate on a bunt is increased, and the infielders will play closer to home plate.
However, baseball has no equivalent of cricket's close-in fielders, because it is impractical to have fielders so close to the bat as they would have virtually no chance of latching onto a ball travelling so fast.
It is possible to place a close-in fielder to catch a bunt, but this practice is almost never followed except in specialised circumstances such as a pitcher being forced to bat late in a game, with less than two outs and the opportunity to drive in a run.
The team's best chance to score in such a situation may be to sacrifice bunt and may warrant the first or third baseman playing halfway up the line to cut off the run at home.
In cricket, coaches cannot intervene or direct gameplay; the captain must make all the calls once the players are out on the field. However, the coach may convey messages to the captain or the players at any time, since there is no restriction on signalling or speaking to players on the field.
In dynamic situations, like a run chase with an imminent possibility of rain, it is quite common for coaches to update tactics using signals. Hansie Cronje, the former cricket captain of South Africa, once took the field with a wireless link to the coach, Bob Woolmer.
Subsequently, the use of gadgets to transmit messages was banned by the International Cricket Council. Regardless, the coach is merely an adviser; it is almost always the case that the cricket captain has complete authority over the team once play starts. In baseball, by contrast, managers and coaches will often direct the players through hand signals to carry out a play such as a stolen base or hit and run , or to field at a particular depth.
In fact, "stealing signs" can play an important part in baseball strategy when a player on an opposing team tries to interpret hand signals between pitcher and catcher or between runner and base coach, and possibly then relay this information to another player without being themselves detected. In both sports, strategy varies with the game situation. In baseball, pitcher, batter, and fielders all play far differently in the late innings of a close game e. The number, speed, and position of baserunners, which have no equivalent in cricket, all dramatically change the strategies used by pitcher and batter.
A runner on first base must decide how large a lead to take off the base—the larger the lead, the greater the chance of advancing on a stolen base or batted ball, but also the greater the risk of being picked off by the pitcher. In leagues which do not allow designated hitters, strategic thinking also enters into substitutions. For example, in the double switch , the substitution of a relief pitcher is combined with the substitution of a pinch hitter who takes the pitcher's spot in the batting order so that the new pitcher will come to bat later as almost all pitchers are poor hitters much like most specialist bowlers are poor batsmen.
Since players may not return to the game after being substituted for, a manager cannot take lightly the decision when and if to substitute a better-fielding but worse-hitting player if his team is ahead. Another difference between baseball and cricket strategy is the importance of sacrifice plays in baseball. These are plays in which a batter deliberately hits in a particular way or in a particular direction to advance runner at the expense of himself getting out.
For example, a poor batter may deliberately bunt hit a low slow ball a ball towards first base so that he will be easily put out, to ensure that a runner on second base will end up safe on third. A stronger batter may deliberately hit a long "sacrifice fly" that he knows will be caught resulting in an out so that a runner can make it home to score a run.
This strategy results from the relative cheapness of individual outs in baseball and the relative importance of individual runs in baseball compared to cricket, where such a strategy would be foolish as runs cannot be scored when a wicket has fallen except in the case of a run-out although if a batsman is caught and if he and the non-striker attempt a run and cross each other the new batsman must assume the non-striker's position.
The essential action in baseball is either for the offence to advance runners around the bases or for the defence to halt that advance. As simple as this is in principle, in practice it generates a remarkably large range of strategies.
Any given situation—the number of runners on base, the bases they occupy, their skills as runners or base-stealers, the count on the hitter, the number of outs, the specialties of the pitcher and the batter, the catcher's skill at throwing out runners, the positioning of fielders, which inning is being played, and so on—allows for a considerable variety of possible plays, on either side of the ball.
At any moment, one manager may be calculating how to advance his runners whether to call for the steal, the hit-and-run, sacrifice bunt, sacrifice fly, a double steal, the squeeze, and so on while the opposing manager is calculating how best to thwart his opponent not only through the pitching approach and positioning of fielders, but by, say, calling for a pitch-out when a steal is anticipated, and so on.
Since the variables that determine which strategies are possible or advisable change from pitch to pitch, and according to all the varieties of play situation that may come about in any game, the game played between the two managers is the most intricate aspect of the game, and for many followers of the sport [ who? First-class cricket also has a number of strategic elements not found in baseball, simply because the maximum time duration of the game is fixed which can be up to five days for Test cricket and a match not completed by the end of the time duration results in a draw regardless of the relative score Although, in domestic competitions a 1st innings lead is beneficial a team's final standings.
By contrast, baseball games are played to completion regardless of the time duration and there is no possibility for a tie or draw with the exception of certain exhibition games such as the MLB All-Star Game , or in the case of Japan, where games are declared ties after 12 innings  . There are no equivalents in baseball of, for example, deciding when to declare or whether or not to make your opponent follow on. The condition of the playing strip the pitch in cricket is of vital significance as, unlike baseball, the ball more often than not is deliberately bounced on the pitch before reaching the batsman.
While in baseball, playing conditions between different stadia are much the same except for perhaps small differences in the dimensions of the field, whether the outfield is fast or slow, and if the field is grass or artificial turf , the physical characteristics of the cricket pitch can vary over the course of the game, or from one field to another, or from one country to another. On the Indian subcontinent, for instance, pitches tend to be dry, dusty and soft.
These pitches offer less assistance to fast bowlers because the ball tends to bounce slower and lower, where most fast bowlers rely on bounce and speed to defeat the batsman. On the other hand, spin bowlers prefer this surface because it gives greater traction to the ball and will result in the ball breaking or turning more when it hits the surface.
When such a delivery is bowled, the ball is said to have "turned". Conversely, pitches in places such as Australia, England, South Africa and the West Indies tend to be hard, true surfaces, called "batting wickets" or "roads" because the ball bounces uniformly and thus batsman find it easier to score runs, although these wickets suit fast bowlers more than spinners. Accordingly, teams are generally much harder to beat in their own country, where both their batsmen and bowlers are presumably suited to the types of pitches encountered there.
On any given pitch, however, conditions will become more suitable for spinners as time progresses as the pitch becomes softer and worn through use, making the spin bowler something of a cricketing "closer". The pitch can be cleaned of debris and rolled between innings, and should be mowed before each day's play at the discretion of the umpires.
But the pitch cannot be watered once the match has started unless it rains which can happen at a time when nobody can cover the pitch. Baseball parks are also not completely uniform, however many of the variations in playing conditions in baseball also arise in cricket.