You probably know Morgan Ensberg from his days as an All-Star third baseman for the Astros. However, you should start knowing him better by reading his new baseball website, Morgan Ensberg’s Baseball IQ, which gives an in-depth look to how a former major leaguer goes about the game. Ensberg, who has begun broadcasting college games for ESPNU, was generous enough to answer a few questions via email.
We know a lot about your analytical background, but did you ever discuss advanced stats with teammates or managers? If so, was there a general consensus, or any players who thought how you did?
I never heard a player say one word about advanced stats.
Does sabermetrics undervalue the psychological aspects of the game (i.e., is there a human element we’re missing)?
Yes. You are dealing with human beings and you are not taking into consideration anything other that [sic] black and white production. You don’t know if a guy is going through personal problems, hurt, or thousands of other variables that could contribute to a player’s production.
In 2004 your walk rate dropped significantly from the year before and was much lower than your career rate, though you bounced back in a big way in 2005. Any idea why?
I would need more info to answer that.
Do you believe in clutch hitting (i.e. do some players have a talent for hitting better in clutch situations than others)?
I do believe in clutch hitting. Clutch hitters are able to calm their nerves down. I don’t care if the guy gets a hit though. I care if he consistently has good at bats in those situations.
With your thought process, talking about hitting must’ve been a treat. Who did you love talking hitting to?
Adam Everett. I only told Adam my real views on the game.
What do you plan on providing to ESPNU’s in-game commentary?
I think that commentary for the most part is completely missing an opportunity to teach. It is the norm today to just talk non-stop. I am watching a game right now and they are talking about “snuggies.” Most fans have been completely tricked into thinking that this is normal and if you asked them, they could probably tell you what the announcers were going to say. My goal is to actually teach the viewers the game of baseball like we were sitting on the bench.
And there you have it. Much thanks to Mr. Ensberg for answering these questions.