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David Cone: Stathead

May 27, 2011, 10:30 AM EST

David Cone

Maybe that’s putting it too strongly, but David Cone is big into advanced metrics, citing Fangraphs as his favorite site. Not bad!  What say you about sabermetics, David?

You know, it’s something I got into more when I stopped playing. I’m a little jealous that I didn’t have this sort of data when I was playing. We just kind of relied on written scouting reports through the eighties and even the early nineties. I’ve really been amazed by some of the data that’s out there, especially with regards to tendencies of hitters, and certainly tendencies of pitchers as well. I would have loved to have gotten that data when I played.

Amazing. A retired player doesn’t brag about his ignorance of statistical analysis. What a brave new world in which we live.

Oh, and he also talks about riding motorcycles with David Wells. Not sure how they got those bikes in Cone’s mom’s basement, but good for them.

  1. halladaysbicepts - May 27, 2011 at 10:41 AM

    So, from this I can only assume that he is in to fantasy league baseball, as sabremetrics aka moneyshot ball is all they are good for. Maybe David Wells and Cone play Dungeons and Dragons in his mom’s basement too.

    • mrfloydpink - May 27, 2011 at 10:48 AM

      Wow. This comment is so many kinds of stupid, I hardly know where to start. How about:

      1. Sabremetric analysis is useful for many purposes. If you had read the story carefully, you would see that. I mean, Cone did play the game professionally for over a decade, so he just MIGHT have some insight.

      2. However, the one obvious thing they are not useful for is fantasy baseball, where 99.9% of leagues are based on traditional stats like RBI and BA.

      • Paul Zummo - May 27, 2011 at 10:53 AM

        Good point. In fact one of the aggravating things about fantasy baseball is that most leagues are based on stats that the sabermetric crowd dislikes: BA, RBI, wins, and Saves.

      • halladaysbicepts - May 27, 2011 at 10:58 AM

        Another Sabremetrics graduate, I see.

        Well, recently I have been delving into the little nuances of what Sabremetrics is (with all of the equations, calculations, formulas, etc.) applied to individual and team performance projections and have come to the conclusion that it’s the biggest scheme ever come up with to justify jobs in baseball to the NERD (sabre formula for those who do not know) community.

        Yeah, look at all those powerhouse teams that the Oakland A’s are fielding these days using Sabremetrics. Billy Beane looks like a wizard at this stuff, doesn’t he.

        The funny thing is that growing up I use to respect Bill James for his insight into the game of baseball. But, when he started shoving the Sabremetric ideal down the baeball fan’s throat, I lost all respect for the guy.

        David Cone, you have been deceived.

      • bigxrob - May 27, 2011 at 11:00 AM

        I don’t think this would crack Mr. Bicepts top five of stupid comments.

      • halladaysbicepts - May 27, 2011 at 11:04 AM

        The other thing that I read the other day is that there is a poet (I forget his name) that is considered one of the fathers of a certain sabremetric stat. He came up with the formulas while writing poetry or something.

        What a joke. A poet? And you guys take Sabremetrics seriously?

      • Paul Zummo - May 27, 2011 at 11:06 AM

        Another Sabremetrics graduate, I see.

        Wow, is there a school now? That would be so cool.

        Well, recently I have been delving into the little nuances of what Sabremetrics is (with all of the equations, calculations, formulas, etc.) applied to individual and team performance projections and have come to the conclusion that it’s the biggest scheme ever come up with to justify jobs in baseball to the NERD (sabre formula for those who do not know) community.

        Really? Care to share the results of what was no doubt an extensive and rigorous evaluation? Did you measure the individual and team projections against actual performance, or did you really do none of this and instead are just howling ignorantly on a website?

        Yeah, look at all those powerhouse teams that the Oakland A’s are fielding these days using Sabremetrics. Billy Beane looks like a wizard at this stuff, doesn’t he.

        Do you think that part of the problem is that many other organizations with deeper pockets have caught up with Beane? By the way, the Tampa Bay Rays are an organization that also extensively used advanced stats. They seem to be doing pretty well.

        The funny thing is that growing up I use to respect Bill James for his insight into the game of baseball. But, when he started shoving the Sabremetric ideal down the baeball fan’s throat, I lost all respect for the guy.

        This is akin to saying that you used to read and respect Stephen King until he got into all that horror crap. James has always promoted the advanced statistical analysis. The only thing that’s changed is that now more people are warming up to his way of thinking.

      • rebarratige - May 27, 2011 at 11:13 AM

        It’s “sabermetrics,” not “sabremetrics.” Since the “Saber” is actually derived from SABR (Society for American Baseball Research), this mistake is understandable. Nevertheless, it’s saber. Not sabre.

        The rest of your posts make it apparent that no amount of proselytizing is going to bring you over into the cult (and be assured, we are actually a cult, with membership dues and secret tattoos and all that), so it’s not worth the argument. You enjoy baseball the way you want to enjoy it. I’ll enjoy it the way I want to enjoy it. As long as you’re willing to admit that my enjoyment is just as real as yours, I see no reason to demand that you embrace my (or any other) way of looking at the diamond.

      • ditto65 - May 27, 2011 at 11:13 AM

        Let’s ask the “bicept” about credentials:

        How many major league wins do you have?
        How many seasons in the bigs?
        World Series rings?
        Perfect games?

        Becasue Cone has 194, 17, 5, and 1, respectively. David Cone just might be more qualified to comment on sabermetrics than “bicept”.

      • nixonotis - May 27, 2011 at 11:13 AM

        Right, someone with no grasp on grammar or syntax has “been delving into the little nuances” of Sabermetrics and we’re supposed to take you seriously? Don’t you think it’s time to change your name? Not only did you misspell a 6th grade level vocabulary word, I think you could use a fresh start.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - May 27, 2011 at 11:27 AM

        What a joke. A poet? And you guys take Sabremetrics seriously

        Time to break this out, I knew it would come in handy. Bicepts guide to evaluating players:

        There are only 5 stats that anyone needs to look at to see what type of ballplayer you have:

        Batting average
        Walks
        Homeruns
        Errors
        Your eyes, watching the player day in and day out

        Yeah, we’ll listen to you
        /sarcasm

      • seanmk - May 27, 2011 at 12:07 PM

        the poet you are thinking of is carson cistulli i think. pretty smart guy. the stat i’m guessing you are refering to is NERD, which is really just a “stat” he uses daily matchups. pNERD is based on things like Pitcher Ability (xFIP), Strikeouts (SwStrk%), Strike Throwing (Strike% of Total Pitches Thrown), Luck (ERA-xFIP). for teams its even more complicated but basically a 10 is good a 1 is bad.

    • ILoveBaseball - May 27, 2011 at 10:57 AM

      There’s no such word as “bicept”.

      • halladaysbicepts - May 27, 2011 at 11:00 AM

        Is that all you have for the conversation. You must be proud.

        “Bicept” has more truth to it than any sabremetric stat.

      • spindervish - May 27, 2011 at 11:04 AM

        You realize you’re essentially the baseball equivalent of a birther, right?

      • bigxrob - May 27, 2011 at 11:09 AM

        I think those “birther” wackos may have converted to “deathers”, you know, because Bin Laden isn’t really dead.

      • spudchukar - May 27, 2011 at 2:42 PM

        I didn’t thing it was possible to insult a birther, but you’ve proved me wrong.

      • spudchukar - May 27, 2011 at 2:43 PM

        Bicept- the ability to have two thoughts at once.

    • ILoveBaseball - May 27, 2011 at 11:11 AM

      “It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.” – Mark Twain

      • cur68 - May 27, 2011 at 11:34 AM

        Ah get off ‘bicepts about his name already. Low hanging fruit and its been beat to death as it is. The most lucid comment here IMO is ‘you enjoy it your way & I’ll enjoy it my way’ (that’s what she said).

        I love a good stat. I love a good play involving a guy who, statistically, shouldn’t be able to do what he just did. I love some peanuts, some crackerjacks, good looking women in too few clothes and just enough beer that the whole world is my friend (FTR that’s 5 of them, if you’re buying).

    • jwbiii - May 27, 2011 at 7:16 PM

      If all he’s looking at are the player projections, then yes that could be the case. However, Cone said that he likes reading Dave Cameron, who doesn’t do that sort of thing.

  2. Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - May 27, 2011 at 11:07 AM

    Biceptual curious, I’m glad your beating your old drum again. Good to see your still stubbornly clinging to your poorly thought out opinions. Baseball birther. I like that.

  3. halladaysbicepts - May 27, 2011 at 11:12 AM

    Paul Zummo,

    I have a theory. I think that the reason the offense across MLB is so woefull is because all the teams are using sabremetrics against each other. Right?

    Tampa Bay and Oakland being successful with sabremetrics? Yeah, I see that working out well for them. Where are their rings to show for this great insight they gleened from it?

    • rebarratige - May 27, 2011 at 11:16 AM

      People who argue that “Moneyball” is bunk because the A’s didn’t win a World Series are the people who stopped reading “Moneyball” halfway through the book and never bothered to finish it.

    • nixonotis - May 27, 2011 at 11:19 AM

      You don’t seem to understand the concept of statistical analysis. Sabermetrics can’t hit a baseball, what the hell does it have to do with the decline of offense? In fact, I can’t shake the feeling that you are just flame-baiting and don’t actually mean what you say.

      As far as sabermetrics resulting in a WS ring? Yeah, the Red Sox might have something to say about that.

      • halladaysbicepts - May 27, 2011 at 11:29 AM

        Flame baiting? No. I really do mean what I say.

        You are just equal to a religious nut when it comes to this crap.

    • Amsterdamned - May 27, 2011 at 11:20 AM

      You do realize that only one team a year gets a ring, right? That more than one team each year can be considered “successful”. Tampa Bay and Oakland were successful for teams with very small payrolls. While teams like Kansas City and Pittsburgh are perpetually losers largely in part due to their payrolls (and bad team management)Tampa and Oakland are teams that have able to be successful (IE- winning seasons, post-season appearances) for a number of years. Of course Oakland has fallen on hard times of the recent few years, but last I looked Tampa Bay was still competitive in the hardest division in baseball despite losing arguably their best position player, closer, and others. So yeah, that’s successful.

    • Ace - May 27, 2011 at 11:23 AM

      Well, if you insist on making it about rings: Theo Epstein is also a huge proponent of Sabermetrics, and even hired Bill James as a senior advisor for the Red Sox. They’ve got a couple of rings.

      • halladaysbicepts - May 27, 2011 at 11:35 AM

        No. They Red Sox have been really good because they have good scouts of talent and spend good money to aquire free agents that can play baseball.

        They do all of this inspite of the employment of the great Bill James.

    • spindervish - May 27, 2011 at 11:27 AM

      My god you are dumb.

      But just to humor you and your silly little thread of “logic,” what team is it that employs Bill James and makes extensive use of his advanced statistical analysis methods? Right, the Red Sox. What team has the most World Series championships this century? Well, that would be the Red Sox. Gee…

      Of course, this in itself means nothing. But then, neither did your last comment.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - May 27, 2011 at 11:33 AM

      Tampa Bay and Oakland being successful with sabremetrics? Yeah, I see that working out well for them. Where are their rings to show for this great insight they gleened from it

      While they didn’t say it, the Yankees teams of the late 90s followed many of the early sabremetric leanings with high walk patience hitters who hit their share of HRs, and high strike out low walk pitchers. They won 4 WS in 5 years, which is more than all but 7 teams have won in the entirety of baseball history.

      So if you are going by rings = insight, guess you are wrong then…

  4. halladaysbicepts - May 27, 2011 at 11:14 AM

    Calling me an equivelent of a baseball birther because I don’t believe in sabremetrics? Man, you guys are really reaching….

    Well, sabremetrics is the equivelent of the Protestant reformation during the years of the great schism of the Catholic church.

    • nixonotis - May 27, 2011 at 11:20 AM

      What do you mean “believe?” They are statistics. Facts. Concrete. Believe?

      • halladaysbicepts - May 27, 2011 at 11:33 AM

        You say they are statistics…why, because someone takes unrelated data (pitching, hitting, and defense), puts it into an equation, obtain a number from that equation, and calls that a stat.

        Well, they are not concrete stats.

        Batting average is a concrete stat. It tells the percentage of how many hits to at bats a player achieves.

        This is a real stat.

      • Amsterdamned - May 27, 2011 at 11:38 AM

        So tell me how taking the batting average of only balls put into play isn’t a real stat.

        Tell me how OPS isn’t a real stat?

        If fact, why don’t you show proof of how these other things aren’t “concrete” stats. Oh wait, that’s because you can’t.

        News flash! Just because you don’t understand something doesn’t make it not true.

      • nixonotis - May 27, 2011 at 11:40 AM

        Excellent.

      • halladaysbicepts - May 27, 2011 at 11:40 AM

        I was looking up their so called NERD stat involving pitching. They actually have, within the equation, a variable called LUCK.

        I can’t make this stuff up. Lol.

      • paperlions - May 27, 2011 at 11:48 AM

        Actually, that isn’t what batting average is at all; you have to remove arbitrary occurrences, sacrifice bunts and fly balls don’t count (if the “sacrifice” is successful, they do count if it is not), it also ignores walks and HBP as at bats.

        A statistic is just a estimate of a parameter based on a sample. All statitics are “real” in the sense that they estimate what they estimate, but some are more useful than others because what they estimate is more relevant to the goal. If the goal is to determine individual player contribution to offensive performance, BA and RBI are not particularly useful because they ignore many aspects of hitting (power, walks) or are contextual and give all credit to one player for an event that was a team achievement.

      • paperlions - May 27, 2011 at 11:52 AM

        Of course luck is important. A pitcher has little control over where a ball is hit, ground balls that result in hits reflect the same aspect of pitcher performance as ground balls that result in outs, by chance a certain percentage of such ground balls will be outs/hits…if a pitcher is lucky, then fewer are hits…if he is unlucky then fewer will be outs.

        If you watch baseball and don’t think that luck plays a large roll in the outcome of every game, then there really isn’t any hope in advancing your understanding. Just enjoy the game and stop talking about things you don’t understand.

      • seanmk - May 27, 2011 at 12:26 PM

        the reason groundballs are important is mainly that they can not be home runs that leave the ball park. A home run is the worst result by a pitcher and come on fly balls, thus the more groundballs the better.

  5. halladaysbicepts - May 27, 2011 at 11:20 AM

    OK SABERmetrics, god forbid I misspell such a holy word…

    Even the various organizations (i.i. Fangraphs, Baseball Perspectus, etc.) that use these stats have different formulas for the same stats and acknowledge that they do. If there is not even any uniformity between themselves, how is anyone to take this goofy philosophy seriously?

    • Amsterdamned - May 27, 2011 at 11:23 AM

      I know this may shock you, but some people can differentiate between “standard” stats and “advanced” stats and use each as a compliment of each other rather than only using one way of statistical analysis as a definitive be-all, end-all. Amazing, I know. But keep working at it, and you may grasp the concept eventually, sport.

  6. paperlions - May 27, 2011 at 11:41 AM

    When people are proud of their ignorance, it is better to just let them be.

    • Amsterdamned - May 27, 2011 at 11:56 AM

      I’ve heard it been called “invincible ignorance”. Much like Superman’s chest those type of people are able to deflect almost anything that is thrown at them. Instead of bullets, though, they deflect things like logic, and fact.

      Normally I would agree, but this is a fine way to pass the time on a mundane Friday evening whilst waiting to go out.

      • halladaysbicepts - May 27, 2011 at 1:05 PM

        Superman knows bs when he sees it. Lex Luthor to Superman is like sabermetrics to rational baseball fan.

    • ta192 - May 27, 2011 at 12:00 PM

      Hit the “Thumbs up” for you, but that’s a SAD thing, isn’t it…

      • paperlions - May 27, 2011 at 12:05 PM

        Yeah. Obviously, I’m also ignoring my own advice.

  7. halladaysbicepts - May 27, 2011 at 11:46 AM

    To calculate NERD (pitching):

    (xFIPz * 2) + (SwStrk%z / 2) + (Strike%z / 2) + Luck + 4.69.

    Man, that LUCK stat is as concrete a stat as I have ever saw.

    • Amsterdamned - May 27, 2011 at 11:53 AM

      What? Didn’t feel you got your point across well enough when you posted that comment earlier.

      Wow. So you can find one statistic that is still being developed and not being used by anyone in real statistical analysis other than maybe as an small aspect of a greater evaluation (if that, I’ve never seen it been used by any sabermetric friendly sportswriter), and that proves your point? C’mon, you can do better than that.

      • Paul Zummo - May 27, 2011 at 11:55 AM

        C’mon, you can do better than that.

        Sadly, I don’t think that’s true in this case.

    • Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - May 27, 2011 at 12:02 PM

      Formula for being Biceptual Curious:

      [((Phillies Phan + intelligent design) * (taste for poop)) – (decency + humility + arithmetic skills)] / (douchenozzle) + 4.69

      • paperlions - May 27, 2011 at 12:04 PM

        Why add 4.69? Are you scaling it to a particular benchmark?

      • halladaysbicepts - May 27, 2011 at 12:04 PM

        Wow, it must have taken all morning for you to come up with that. Did you take a break from your daily session of Dungeons & Dragons?

      • Amsterdamned - May 27, 2011 at 12:11 PM

        Ah, and there are the insults. You know when the insults come in an argument or debate that the person offering them up just had their last leg to stand on taken off at the knee.

        Well, thanks bicepts, it’s nice to know you can admit when you’re wrong.

      • halladaysbicepts - May 27, 2011 at 12:16 PM

        “Ah, and there are the insults.”

        Really, Amsterdamned? When Mrs. El Bravo responded to me, that wasn’t an insult? Your joking, right?

      • Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - May 27, 2011 at 1:16 PM

        I dish it and I can take it. I’m particularly fond of trying to piss off people who say dumb things repeatedly.

        Sincerely,
        halladaybicepts’ mom

    • seanmk - May 27, 2011 at 12:23 PM

      Luck (ERA-xFIP) is explained in the place you copied it from. not hard to understand so here goes. basically saying that if your ERA > xFIP you are underperforming your expected results. If ERA < xFIP you are overachieving.

      The better question is why are you attacking NERD in the first place, all it's saying is with a 10 a matchup is interesting with a 1 it's not. that's it

      • halladaysbicepts - May 27, 2011 at 12:33 PM

        Here’s my bottom line on this. If Sabermetrics tell the whole story on a player, then why do teams invest millions of dollars on their advanced and farm system scouts to look at a player actually play the game? When looking to improve your club via trade, why pay the scout to see the player in advance for several games before deciding? Why not just rely on Sabermetrics? They could save alot of money on personnel.

        The reason is that these made up “Stats” do not come close to telling how a player plays the game.

        I can get a better read on a players true value by simply looking at what his “normal” stats are and watching him play then having someone tell me that his WAR is 5.5. Wins above replacement might be the most meaningless number I have ever seen.

        And I do understand the concept of WAR. But, I’m not buying into this number at all.

      • seanmk - May 27, 2011 at 12:36 PM

        where has it EVER been said any stats tell the whole story of a player? that’s a complete strawman. sabr stats just give a better picture, and that’s all they do.

      • brianmoline - May 27, 2011 at 12:45 PM

        Nobody is saying that any stat gives you the “entire” picture on a player. Scouting is still an important part of the game, particularly with young prospects who have little/no statistical data on which to base any decisions. But statistical analysis has made it more possible for small market teams to compete with the larger market teams. Especially before some of those franchises (the Red Sox the best example) started using those tools themselves.

      • jwbiii - May 27, 2011 at 2:24 PM

        “then having someone tell me that his WAR is 5.5. Wins above replacement might be the most meaningless number I have ever seen.”

        People who don’t read find road signs meaningless.

  8. paperlions - May 27, 2011 at 12:51 PM

    That’s the thing. Scouting and stats have ALWAYS been important parts of baseball and still are….the difference is that better quantitative tools for evaluation have been developed and understanding about what contributes to winning and losing baseball games has been improved. It is the same system it has been for 60 years, it just uses better analytical approaches.

  9. Jonny 5 - May 27, 2011 at 1:46 PM

    I was wondering how a thread about Cone enjoying metrics was getting so damn many comments….

    Wow. It’s a rumble. I’m going to leave right now… But before i leave. Bicepts, read some “Crashburn alley” once in awhile, it will put some metric value into phillies terms, so it may interest you more so. http://crashburnalley.com/

    • The Dangerous Mabry - May 27, 2011 at 2:58 PM

      Jonny, why would you do that? Crashburn Alley is a great site, with an intelligent group of commenters. Why invite a guy who’s clearly no more than a troll trying to rile people up with his antics?

      • Jonny 5 - May 27, 2011 at 2:59 PM

        Good point. I’m an idiot.

      • halladaysbicepts - May 27, 2011 at 3:04 PM

        Mabry,

        I’m already well aware of Crashburn Alley. Their really a bunch of Sabermetric geeks, compared to about roughly 40% of this site. I have no interest in soiling my PC’s cache with Crashburn Alley.

        Rest assured. I will never go there.

        Troll? Really. Why, because you don’t agree with me, I’m a troll.

        Get a life instead of worrying about me, jackass.

  10. motherscratcher23 - May 27, 2011 at 2:13 PM

    sigh

    I miss Craig’s old site.

    • halladaysbicepts - May 27, 2011 at 3:06 PM

      Well, look at the bright side, you still have your mother to scratch, motherscratcher23.

      • motherscratcher23 - May 27, 2011 at 3:08 PM

        I see what you did there. You’re very clever.

  11. Brian Murphy - May 27, 2011 at 10:17 PM

    After reading this and knowing Cone was broadcasting the Yankees-Mariners game in Seattle tonight, I thought about how long it would take before he mentioned that Michael Pineda’s average fastball is the game’s fastest according to FanGraphs.

    It came before the first batter saw a pitch.

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