Sunday, November 15, 2009
Sabermetrics 101 at TuftsPosted by Pat Andriola
Since the beginning of September, Professor Andy Andres has been teaching the 2009 version of Sabermetrics 101 at Tufts University. The class, which is available through Tufts' Experimental College (which specializes in offering classes in somewhat esoteric areas) is described as follows:
This course will teach the fundamentals of the emerging science of Sabermetrics, the objective analysis of baseball. We will discuss baseball, not through conventional wisdom and consensus, but by searching for real knowledge concerning the game of baseball. Hitting, pitching, fielding performance, along with other areas of sabermetrics, will be analyzed and better understood with the current and historical baseball data. Students will design and implement their own sabermetric research study , learning the important concepts in statistics and statistical analysis needed to perform this research.
Being a student at Tufts, I've been privileged enough to take the class, and thus far it has been a blast. Some notes that readers may find interesting:
-The syllabus consists of reading such essentials as Moneyball and Baseball Between the Numbers, but we have also branched out into reading less mainstream works, such as Understanding Sabermetrics and readings from FC Lane.
-There are almost weekly written assignments, including students choosing and defending their choices for MVP, Cy Young, and a Gold Glove (I went Mauer, Greinke, and Brendan Ryan, respectively).
-Class discussions are great. I sometimes find myself stereotypically attacking traditional views and defending more post-modern saber thought, but that's definitely part of the fun.
-There's one Yankees fan in the entire class. This is a rarity for any class at Tufts, albeit one centered around baseball.
-As of now, it looks like guest lecturers coming up will include Steve Moyer and Joe Sheehan.
-Final projects are offered as a binary: you can contribute to a group project in which many students put together a lengthy piece on historical and analytical aspects of sabermetrics, or you can conduct (and eventually present) your own research project. As of now, it looks like my partner and I will be focusing on and researching linear weights for batted ball data.
Overall the class has been wonderful, and I genuinely look forward to it each week (although what college student doesn't look forward to class). I hope other colleges begin to explore opening up interesting classes such as these, and I want to thank Andy for a great job thus far.