Tell Your Statistics To Speak Up

Over the four and a half years that BCB has been in existence, many discussions and debates have taken place here over the value of statistical analysis in baseball.

Despite what you may think, I am not anti-statistics, nor anti-intellectual. I am fully aware of the value of modern advanced metrics, what they are, and how they can be used. However, I believe they are not an end in and of themselves; they need to be used in conjunction with scouting techniques and other forms of analysis of people.

With that said, I realize that many people here do enjoy discussion of advanced metrics and how they apply to baseball situations and in particular, the Cubs. Since I admit that statistical analysis is neither something I am that comfortable in doing myself, nor do I have the time to do detailed studies, I am pleased to announce that as of today, I am adding BCB reader shawndgoldman (whose name, as you likely could guess from his user name, is Shawn Goldman) to the staff to do stat-oriented pieces.

I've given Shawn free rein to write about any topic he chooses. He'll post on an occasional basis during the offseason and likely more often as the 2010 season comes closer and begins next April. Shawn does excellent analysis and, as you saw in his post comparing Milton Bradley to a salesman from a month or so ago, he also writes and explains his methodology well.

Please join me in welcoming Shawn to the BCB front-page staff and I know we'll all learn much from his posts.

Here's something we can also chew on while the long off-season begins. This isn't statistical analysis per se, but I wanted to post some of the Cubs' W-L splits from 2009, because they seem odd to me in several ways, and wondered if any of you have any ideas as to why certain things happened the way they did -- not just for the team, but for some individual players in particular.

The Cubs were 47-32 against the NL Central in 2009. That's the best record for any team in the National League within its own division, slightly better than the Reds and Cardinals, who were 46-34. Why, then, could the Cubs post only a 30-37 mark outside the division? Of the other ten teams, three of them were 90+ loss clubs (Mets, Nationals, Diamondbacks). But the Cubs were only 9-10 against those bad teams, while going 10-4 against the 99-loss Pirates.

The Cubs were also 44-33 in day games, but 39-45 in night games. The 84 night games played (would have been 85 if not for Thursday's rainout) is about 20 fewer than most teams; I assume that sometime soon, new ownership will petition the city to amend the current night game ordinance to allow perhaps 10 more home night games, with permission to schedule maybe 3 or 4 a year on Friday nights after road trips. The Cubs were the only team in baseball with a winning record in 2009 to have a losing record in night games. Why is this? Is it simply a one-year anomaly? (The 2007 Cubs, whose 85-77 record was similar to this year's, were 42-39 in night games and last year's team was 49-35.)

We are all aware of the bizarre day/night splits of Rich Harden (6-4, 2.81 in 14 daylight starts, 3-5, 5.93 in 12 night game outings), as well as his home/road troubles (3-7, 5.99 in 15 home starts, 6-2, 2.00 in 11 road starts). Why did this happen? Ted Lilly had just the reverse problem: 8-2, 1.87 in 13 starts at Wrigley, 4-7, 4.41 in 14 starts on the road. Are these one-year freaks? Or something to look out for next season?

Anyway, those seemed interesting to me; pick 'em apart, and soon Shawn will make his first front-page BCB post. Again, welcome, Shawn!

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