Tuesday, October 20, 2009
John Abbamondi, assistant GM of the Cardinals, on quantitative analysis in the front officePosted by Nick Steiner
As a Cardinals fan, and an avid user of Pitch f/x data, I was absolutely thrilled to read this:
If a club is weighing whether to acquire a particular pitcher, for example, one of the first questions is whether he's likely to stay healthy. "Of course we'll lean heavily on medical-staff opinion, but we also want to know what our scouts think of his pitching mechanics," Abbamondi says. "Do they see any red flags that might lead to injury? Meanwhile, the stats guy may look at the track record of other pitchers who have thrown this many innings by this age." The trick is to blend qualitative and quantitative analysis.
"The foundation of all analysis tends to go back to scouting, but that's one guy sitting in a ballpark, and you can't have people at every game," he says. Statistical tools like Pitch F/x, which delivers data on every pitch thrown, can help confirm or refute the more subjective analysis. "Say a scout went to see a prospect and wrote a glowing report," says Abbamondi. "We can check that game data to see if it's consistent with this pitcher's other games. If the data shows us that the pitcher was doing something a little different that day, maybe the scout caught him on a very good day. We might not realize it was an outlier without that data."
The full article is a good read. It's basically an interview with John Abbamondi, in which he detailes his rise to becoming an assistant GM and the way he views the relative importance of scouting and statistics in running a successful ball club. The author mentions that he is one of "a new wave of baseball executives bringing fresh perspective to the game." If that wave brings with it increased usage of stuff like Pitch f/x, that can only be a good thing for teams.
Hat tip, Tango.
Nick is a Cardinals fan living in LA. He also writes for Viva El Birdos. He welcomes questions and comments via email