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Brandon McCarthy: No “paralysis by analysis”

Apr 20, 2013, 1:23 AM EDT

Brandon McCarthy AP

The Diamondbacks recently wrapped up a series in the Bronx against the Yankees. Starter Brandon McCarthy‘s struggles continued, as he allowed three runs in four innings during his start on Tuesday. The adversity prompted Yankees broadcaster Michael Kay to suggest the right-hander’s struggles are related to his use of statistics as opposed to a small sample size, slight mechanical issues, or anything else significantly more likely an explanation than a brain overload.

Via Nick Piecoro, here was the exchange on the YES broadcast:

Michael Kay: “You mentioned earlier the information that McCarthy has at his disposal and we’ve also heard this saying, which is true in a lot of sports, ‘Paralysis by analysis.’ Does he have too much information out there?”

Al Leiter: “Just for me — I prepared with video and would want to know some stats — but yes. Yes. In the end, you’re throwing a baseball. You know, identify that Lyle Overbay is a good low-ball hitter, whatever you come up with, looking at video, looking at swings. He mentions that he looks at heat maps, the velocity data, the movement data, all sorts of different Fan Graphs.”

Ken Singleton: “Heat maps?”

Leiter: “I didn’t even know there was a heat map.”

Singleton: “Does it have something to do with the weather?”

Leiter: “No, it has to do with pitches and velocities and how they vary …”

Piecoro followed up with McCarthy, who dismissed Kay’s theory:

“Whether or not he’s right or wrong isn’t the issue,” McCarthy said. “It’s that you don’t know if you’re wrong. The heat map part is what’s weird to me. If you don’t know what it is and you can’t speak about it, how can you say anything against it?

“I also laugh at the ‘paralysis by analysis.’ I analyze very, very little. There’s some self-analysis when I need little checks and balances, but I really don’t go in-depth with breaking down teams. There’s resources of information that I know how to get to, that I trust more than other things, but that phrase is never the case.”

McCarthy went on to say he has someone who compiles some stats for him and gives the relevant info to catcher Miguel Montero and pitching coach Charles Nagy, not to McCarthy personally.

It would be nice if more in the media would take the time to learn and understand the stats and various methods of analysis before offering opinions on them. At the very least, they could supplement the soliloquy with a “but I could be wrong” rather than speaking matter-of-factly.

Update: Upon review, it’s worth clarifying that Kay may not have been blaming McCarthy’s struggles solely on statistical analysis and was speaking more generally about how players utilize statistics. The ensuing discussion still deserves criticism, however.

  1. jonrox - Apr 20, 2013 at 1:57 AM

    It’s pretty wild that that people who are paid to talk about the game frequently seem to purposely know the least about it.

  2. baseballisboring - Apr 20, 2013 at 2:22 AM

    And sometimes, broadcasters suffer from “paralysis by being completely unwilling to consider any ideas, regardless of how rooted they are in indisputable fact, if it challenges something they already believe”. A bit wordy but it’s a real condition. It causes them to say stupid things and be totally un-credible.

  3. vallewho - Apr 20, 2013 at 3:53 AM

    I’m a Yankee fan and can report with no issues that a lot of the $shit that comes out of the YES broadcast booth is…well …$shit. Guys like Leiter /Cone / Singleton / Flaherty have opinions, based on their experiences and playing time, so one can never say they are wrong. It’s just their opinion from their baseball career. But M Kay just can talk out of his @ss sometimes. The one thing they all have in common is the Jeter….I call it the Jeter-C@ksokin. Great player, and I have watched most games in his career, but the Jeter stuff from the booth is just sickening.

    • turdfurgerson68 - Apr 20, 2013 at 9:30 AM

      On their worst days they still be better than those morons Jon Sterling and Waldman.

  4. louhudson23 - Apr 20, 2013 at 8:38 AM

    You people are fuckin’ hilarious…..fetishism generally is….

    • paperlions - Apr 20, 2013 at 9:39 AM

      You are just sad. Willful ignorance always is.

    • sabatimus - Apr 20, 2013 at 3:39 PM

      Does anybody moderate this blog?

  5. chacochicken - Apr 20, 2013 at 8:42 AM

    Could he have been struck by a ghoul?

  6. gammagammahey - Apr 20, 2013 at 8:53 AM

    They didn’t follow that up with talking about how attractive his wife is and how that must mean he’s confident?

  7. turdfurgerson68 - Apr 20, 2013 at 9:27 AM

    Michael Kay is an f’ing moron and a terrible broadcaster in addition the being one of the luckiest cats…his wife is smoking hot.

  8. luciddream7 - Apr 20, 2013 at 1:04 PM

    Kay is a horrible broadcaster and an incredibly boring person. I doubt he has any friends other than perhaps any siblings he may have.

  9. scoocha - Apr 20, 2013 at 1:07 PM

    Let’s all read the passage again. Singleton questioned what heat maps were and offered no opinion on the conversation. So criticism of him is unfounded.

    I find it funny that McCarthy has a decent season and a half and know he suddenly knows what he’s doing on the mound. He’s getting crushed so far this year. And in the weak NL, no less. He had over 100 pitches in 4 IP against NYY and luckily only let up 3 runs. If he faced any other team that can actually hit with RISP, he would have been out in the 2nd and the game would have been over early.

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