Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
October 11, 2002
BASEBALL: Prospectus Forward-Looking Statements

Derek Zumsteg is backpedaling furiously from Baseball Prospectus predictions that got all four Division Serieses wrong. Personally, I think BP should do the principled thing and refuse to issue postseason predictions at all. Why?

(1) For better or worse, BP, Neyer and the Baseball Primer are the public voice of sabermetrics (except when Bill James is speaking, that is).

(2) The credibility of sabermetrics will always be subject to challenge when predictions go bad.

(3) The usual defense, as in Zumsteg's piece, is "how can you predict a short series"?

(4) If you are going to take the position that your credibility wasn't even slightly on the line because you were predicting something that your predictive tools aren't equipped to predict . . . well, you've basically admitted that your predictions should never have been associated with your brand name in the first place. It's like having Nobel Prize-winning economists predict which way the stock market is going tomorrow. They've got a 50/50 shot of being wrong, and wind up leading people to ask what economists know anyway.

It's one thing to have the occasional BP author talk about what his gut says will happen as a result of a particular matchup; after all, the site is also about just plain talkin' baseball, and we all enjoy that. But to even imply that a rational analysis of the teams' relative strengths is a good predictor of individual serieses is, it seems to me, to squander the reputation that BP is justly proud of in projecting and analyzing regular season performance.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 09:23 PM | Baseball 2002-03 | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
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