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Thread: Newbie question about Sabremetrics

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
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    27

    Default Newbie question about Sabremetrics

    All,
    I've been playing ESPN, MLB and similar points leagues, where trades are not possible, for a few years and have followed my home brew methodology. I am doing so-so. Eventually I learned about Sabremetrics and have joined BaseballHQ.com as this is were the knowledgeable hang out. Some questions:

    1- I need some advice. Sabremetrics seems so vast and I'd like some hints as to where to start. Where to get daily stats so that I can do my own analysis? Which software to use (Excel, Access, SQL, etc)? Is there a tried-and-true method of slowly building skills?

    2- Sabremetrics and the discussions on this site seem to center around rotissere-style leagues where auctions, trades, and dollar values are the norm. Has sabremetrics been applied to ESPN, MLB and similar points leagues, where trades are not possible?

    3- I am predicting that fantasy sports will continue to grow world-wide -- particularly in soccer. China, India, Brazil, Japan, etc ... in time there will be a huge pool of players all trying to win large prizes (in excess of $1 million) that will be offered by some of the big websites such as ESPN or a big sponsor like CitiBank. Has sabremetrics been applied to soccer? If so, where is the research located.

    Any info appreciated.

    LC145

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Detroit, MI
    Posts
    26,308

    Default

    Welcome to the forums, LC145!

    1) "Sabermetrics" is a term coined in the late 1970s by baseball writer Bill James. It refers more generally to the analytical study of baseball, not merely to baseball forecasting or other fantasy baseball applications. I would start by NOT doing your own analysis because you almost certainly will spend a substantial amount of time recreating the wheel. I would start by reading about methods used by established baseball forecasters. On this website, there's a forecaster's toolbox that you can peruse. The MarketWatch columns are a good chance to read analysis and slowly grasp when you agree or disagree and become a critical reader. I also would go to other websites that have an established forecasting methodology and read up on them.

    2) The Gaming weekly column on this website focuses on different types of formats. Look at the links at the bottom of the current column and you may find a few past columns that interest you.

    3) Baseball is easier to analyze because the game stops and starts so one can measure whether the probability of a team's winning improved or declined as a result of a particular event. Nonetheless, I'm sure that some of analyzed soccer. Google "sabermetrics" (I suggest my spelling) and "soccer" and go exploring.
    “Advertising bans, plain packaging, bans on smoking in public spaces, deterrent messages on cigarette packages, medical advice, education -- all have had some effect especially in Western countries. But still a billion people in the world are addicted to lighting little bonfires of plant material between their lips." -- Matt Ridley

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    3,565

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by LC145 View Post
    1- I need some advice. Sabremetrics seems so vast and I'd like some hints as to where to start. Where to get daily stats so that I can do my own analysis? Which software to use (Excel, Access, SQL, etc)? Is there a tried-and-true method of slowly building skills?
    Frankly? I'd start by reading Moneyball by Michael Lewis. It is a great book on its own, and it lays out how the Oakland A's were ahead of the curve in terms of employing a more statistical and quantitative approach to building a team. If you finish the book, it all makes sense to you and you're hungry for more, you can quickly move on. In terms of websites, I think Michael is right that reading the MarketWatch columns here is a very good way to start out; it's a manageable amount of material on a daily basis, which will give you a couple of opportunities to look terms up in the HQ glossary that you weren't familiar with before. I'm not the best data cruncher so I'll leave those answers to guys like ajc730 who have forgotten more than I'll ever know about that stuff.

    Quote Originally Posted by LC145 View Post
    2- Sabremetrics and the discussions on this site seem to center around rotissere-style leagues where auctions, trades, and dollar values are the norm. Has sabremetrics been applied to ESPN, MLB and similar points leagues, where trades are not possible?
    Actually, I think the principles here apply much more cleanly to leagues were there are no trades, as you can remove some of the game theory stuff from the analysis. Having to analyze opponents' behavior can get pretty complicated; the more you can remove that from the equation, the more the "simple" math of performance projection can dominate.

    Quote Originally Posted by LC145 View Post
    3- I am predicting that fantasy sports will continue to grow world-wide -- particularly in soccer. China, India, Brazil, Japan, etc ... in time there will be a huge pool of players all trying to win large prizes (in excess of $1 million) that will be offered by some of the big websites such as ESPN or a big sponsor like CitiBank. Has sabremetrics been applied to soccer? If so, where is the research located.
    Michael is exactly right that baseball, because it's so turn-based, lends itself much more easily to statistical analysis than most other sports. The last few years have seen a few advances in quantitive analysis of basketball, but it's orders of magnitude away from what has been (and perhaps, what can be) done in baseball. Fantasy football is king in America, but I'm aware of a relative paucity of useful quantitative football research. Soccer (in my perhaps uneducated opinion) has a very low ratio of individual statistics compared with baseball and basketball, so I think that your luck there is going to be limited. What work has been done probably originates from Europe, where passion for the game eclipses American passion for any sport, so you should think about starting there.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    27

    Default Where to get daily/weekly/monthly stats? Which software?

    Thanks for the replies. Much appreciated.

    Where to get daily MLB stats (in *.csv format) so that I can do my own analysis? This site offers daily stats, but seperates the data into two files - AL/NL - so I have to spend time doing a merge. I'm looking for everything in one file.

    Which software are people using on this site using to do their own analysis? (Excel, Access, SQL, etc)?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Madison, WI
    Posts
    448

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by LC145 View Post
    Where to get daily MLB stats (in *.csv format) so that I can do my own analysis? This site offers daily stats, but seperates the data into two files - AL/NL - so I have to spend time doing a merge. I'm looking for everything in one file.

    Which software are people using on this site using to do their own analysis? (Excel, Access, SQL, etc)?
    If you want daily stats I'd use BHQ. It's not to difficult to merge the files together - but I agree it's a pain for mixed leagues.

    You can also get CSV files from http://www.dougstats.com/. He puts them on his site daily.
    blueboy714

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  6. #6
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    Mar 2006
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    NJ
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    17,548

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    The simplest thing may be looking here at xERA and XBA.

    Those are sort of "real ERAs" and "real AVGs" based on the underlying skill set.
    They are better predictors of future performance than actual ERA and actual AVG.

    That right there puts you ahead of opponents who don't know about it.

    For instance, if a veteran starting pitcher has an ERA of 3.80 in 2007 but an xERA of 4.40, then you know going into 2008 that it is a poor percentage play to draft him hoping for 3.80. Since many of your leaguemates will do just that, you can guess that he won't wind up on your team.....
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