The Sabermetric Revolution
Assessing the Growth of Analytics in Baseball
Benjamin Baumer and Andrew Zimbalist
240 pages | 6 x 9 | 14 illus.
Cloth Feb 2014 | ISBN 978-0-8122-4572-1 | $26.50t | £17.50 | Add to cart
Ebook 2014 | ISBN 978-0-8122-0912-9 | $26.50t | £17.50 | About | Add to cart
View table of contents and excerpt
"The Sabermetric Revolution is an excellent and well-written look at where sabermetric knowledge stands today. This is a very useful book."—Tyler Cowen, Marginal Revolution
"The Sabermetric Revolution truly is an engaging and succinct illumination of where the field is and how it got here. The book is ideal for a reader who wishes to tie together the importance of everything they have digested from sites like Fangraphs, Baseball Prospectus, Hardball Times, Beyond the Box Score, and, even, yes, Camden Depot. . . . Well worth the read."—Jon Shepherd, Camden Depot
"Leo Durocher once said that 'Baseball is like church; many attend, few understand.' The Sabermetric Revolution is a must-read for those in the baseball congregation seeking understanding of how objective analytics can be used to determine intrinsic value, identify undervalued and overvalued assets and dynamics, and create competitive advantage."—Tom Garfinkel, former president and CEO of the San Diego Padres
"Moneyball was a good read by Michael Lewis and a good part for Brad Pitt, but as Ben Baumer and Andrew Zimbalist show, it was primarily a good fairy tale. The Sabermetric Revolution doesn't just debunk, but has a high slugging average with all sorts of valuable new insights and baseball numbers. But, be on guard, stats freaks: it isn't doctrinaire."—Frank Deford, commentator for NPR and HBO Real Sports
"Moneyball played an important role in highlighting to mass culture the evolution of decision making in Major League Baseball front offices—but this was only a momentary reflection of a broader movement within the game. In The Sabermetric Revolution, Baumer and Zimbalist provide a much more accurate understanding of the exceptional work of the A's to overcome their expected outcomes and how other front offices continue to advance objective analysis and its role in player personnel decisions. A must read for anyone who wants a deeper understanding of why and how baseball continues to lead the way in the use of analytics."—Mark Shapiro, president of the Cleveland Indians
"Sabermetricians have developed new and important ways of measuring player performance. Baumer and Zimbalist turn the table on the sabermetricians and evaluate their performance. The result is an interesting and balanced portrayal of what the authors believe works and what doesn't, and of the challenges that lie ahead."—Bob Costas, broadcaster for NBC and MLBTV
"The Sabermetric Revolution is like the story behind the story. Michael Lewis's classic tugs at our heartstrings and opens our eyes, but Baumer and Zimbalist help us look behind the curtain. If you've ever wanted to understand what happens in the other offices around the general manager, this is a brilliant book."—Will Carroll, lead writer for sports medicine in Bleacher Report
"Andrew Zimbalist and Benjamin Baumer do the best job yet of evaluating the benefits and the myths of the ever-growing world of baseball analytics. This is a must-read for anyone interested in where sports metrics have been as well as where they're going."—Stan Kasten, CEO of the Los Angeles Dodgers
From the front office to the family room, sabermetrics has dramatically changed the way baseball players are assessed and valued by fans and managers alike. Rocketed to popularity by the 2003 bestseller Moneyball and the film of the same name, the use of sabermetrics to analyze player performance has appeared to be a David to the Goliath of systemically advantaged richer teams that could be toppled only by creative statistical analysis. The story has been so compelling that, over the past decade, team after team has integrated statistical analysis into its front office. But how accurately can crunching numbers quantify a player's ability? Do sabermetrics truly level the playing field for financially disadvantaged teams? How much of the baseball analytic trend is fad and how much fact?
The Sabermetric Revolution sets the record straight on the role of analytics in baseball. Former Mets sabermetrician Benjamin Baumer and leading sports economist Andrew Zimbalist correct common misinterpretations and develop new methods to assess the effectiveness of sabermetrics on team performance. Tracing the growth of front office dependence on sabermetrics and the breadth of its use today, they explore how major league baseball and the field of sports analytics have changed in the decade since the 2002 season. Their conclusion is optimistic, but the authors also caution that sabermetric insights will be more difficult to come by in the future. The Sabermetric Revolution offers more than a fascinating case study of the use of statistics by general managers and front office executives: for fans and fantasy leagues, this book will provide an accessible primer on the real math behind moneyball as well as new insight into the changing business of baseball.
Benjamin Baumer teaches statistics and mathematics at Smith College. He was formerly the statistical analyst for the baseball operations department of the New York Mets.
Andrew Zimbalist is Robert A. Woods Professor of Economics at Smith College, a frequent sports industry consultant and media commentator, and author of many books, including In the Best Interests of Baseball? Governing the National Pastime.