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Cub Tracks shortens up

statistics, free agency, and other bullets

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Cubs Insider’s Jeff Burdick has started the conversation about new stats. The issue I have is that stats are not predictive: nothing is. They measure past production okay, and allow for a certain degree of extrapolation... but clearly not much, or enough, because people and circumstance are so chimerical and capricious.

But still... new stats. Contrary to common belief, I am stat-conversant. I’ve followed Bill James since pre-1984. I miss The National, a stats-dependent publication if I ever read one, and read Baseball Weekly on a weekly basis until they bundled it with auto racing, which I loathe.

The issue is that modern statistical analysis is math-dependent, and the average fan doesn’t have the math. Plus, as Keith Law notes, tradition. “It’s always been this way”, the meatball says. “Why should it change?”

“Well, because it’s wrong, and says nothing,” says the stat-nerd. “You’re dumb.”

I like to try to explain things with words, and I implicitly trust my eye-test, honed over 50-some-very-odd years of watching the game, participating in several levels of the organized game, and so on, but I’d be interested in seeing which stats you think best effect predictive analysis and extrapolation. Will pick up on this here and there in future columns. There’s not a lot of new writing today — we might as well entertain ourselves.

You got stat-cumen? Inventive? Tell us about it.

Those AFL kids looked GOOOOD, especially Trent Giambrone. That was fun. No food for thought today — short and sweet, like Danny DeVito. As always * means autoplay on, or annoying ads, or both (directions to remove for Firefox and Chrome).

Cubs News and Notes:

Current 40-man roster, updated daily. Bryce Harper and Manny Machado are conspicuously absent.

MLB free agents list.