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The Other Side is a Good Story Too

I read The Big Lead on a daily basis and I found this pretty laughable. First the list put they put forth was created by David Pinto, who does absolutely great work, but was focusing more on sabermetric connections than actual sabermetric front offices. I asked a scout (which is a sin for saber guys) to give me a list of teams he knew were saber. He responded with these teams: Arizona, Boston, Cleveland, Oakland, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, San Diego, Tampa Bay, Texas, and Toronto.


Putting that into perspective we have two division leaders and a wild card leader amongst the group along with St. Louis who are in the playoff race. We also have two last place teams in Pittsburgh and San Diego, and a handful of middle of the pack teams with Cleveland, Oakland, Texas, and Toronto.

Putting that together we have an average winning percentage of .501, I did the same with all of the traditionally ran teams -- which are apparently not having a down year -- and their combined winning percentage was .4998, or if you choose to round up .500.

Those silly saber teams are actually winning more often this season than their counterparts. As I've stated before the best ran organizations are the ones that mix quantitative analysis with scouting ability; look at Boston with Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer, and Ben Cherrington, or Tampa with Andrew Friedman, James Click, and R.J. Harrison (whom by the way have been in place since late 2005, to place the blame for prior seasons on them is laughable.)

That took about ten minutes to figure out, but let's remember this part of that post: "It'll be interesting to see if statistical baseball analysis doesn't really work what this crash will look like." If it doesn't really work out? You mean like how Cleveland traded their ace and is only three games below .500? Or how Tampa went from never winning more than 70 to being on the verge of 81 before September? Or how three sabermetric teams could potentially wind up in the top three of the American League East despite the Yankees financial advantages?

Most teams are saber as a way of being cost efficient. On average those 10 saber teams rank 18th in payroll, which seems to suggest they're at a disadvantage in at least one resource. Here are the team by team rankings:

Team Rank
Arizona 23
Boston 4
Cleveland 16
Oakland 28
Pittsburgh 17
San Diego 19
St. Louis 11
Tampa Bay 29
Texas 21
Toronto 12

Of course making jokes about how "their math is wrong" is cute and all, but what's the traditional equivalent for Seattle, Baltimore, or Washington? That's not to say I don't agree that their math is silly, at best, I mean last year Boston, Cleveland, Arizona, and San Diego (lost in the one game playoff) qualified for the playoffs.

When your population is only a handful of teams who are usually at a disadvantage in financial resources and you're still taking 50% of the playoff positions, I'd say your shit works.