If you’re a reader of this blog this kind of thing is not news to you, but it’s interesting all the same:
“Computer simulations work pretty well in baseball for two reasons,” said Carl Morris, a professor of statistics at Harvard University who has written several papers that commingled baseball and formal statistical theory. “In general, they allow you to study fairly complicated processes that you can’t really get at with pure mathematics. But also, sports are great for simulations — you can play 10,000 seasons overnight.”
No one can afford to wait less than major league teams, which crave every extra run or victory they can wring from their $100 million rosters. John Abbamondi, the assistant general manager for the St. Louis Cardinals, says his team and about 10 others use simulations to evaluate potential trades and how they might affect the pennant race.
“It’s all part of the statistical analysis that complements the more traditional scouting we do,” he said.
Not that they can’t be misleading. For example, back in 1988 I loaded up my Lance Hafner Baseball team (for Commodore 64) with guys like Pedro Guerrero’s 1978 season (.625/.625/.875 in 8 PAs) and Cesar Cedeno’s 1985 (.434/.463/.750 in 82 PAa). The results were fantastic — I went 162-0 vs. the 1987 Major League Season, just edging the Blue Jays by 63 games — but I can’t help but think that they my strategic skills were developed all that much. Especially considering that I went in and zeroed out everyone’s errors before the season. Everyone on my team anyway.