Skip to content

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.

Latest Posts
  1. Michael Taylor leaves game after crashing into outfield fence

    Aug 27, 2015, 10:00 PM EDT

    WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 24: Michael Taylor #3 of the Washington Nationals looks on before a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves at Nationals Park on June 24, 2015 in Washington, DC. The Nationals won 2-1 in the 11th inning. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images) Getty Images

    After losing Yunel Escobar on a hit-by-pitch, Michael Taylor left tonight’s game against the Padres when he crashed into the outfield fence.

  2. Yunel Escobar exits game after being hit in the hand by a pitch

    Aug 27, 2015, 9:27 PM EDT

    WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 03:  Yunel Escobar #5 of the Washington Nationals reacts after striking out to end the fifth inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Nationals Park on August 3, 2015 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images) Getty Images

    So, that thing about the Nationals’ projected Opening Day lineup finally being in place?

  3. Miguel Sano robbed of home run by catwalk at Tropicana Field

    Aug 27, 2015, 9:01 PM EDT

    Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera, left, and teammate Logan Forsythe look up to see the ring of the dome at Tropicana Field that Minnesota Twins' Miguel Sano, right, hit with his RBI ground-rule double during the third inning of a baseball game Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Mike Carlson) AP

    Twins rookie slugger Miguel Sano hit another mammoth blast tonight against the Rays. The only problem is that the catwalk at Tropicana Field got in the way.

  4. Adam Jones leaves game after colliding with outfield fence; hopes to be in lineup Friday

    Aug 27, 2015, 8:05 PM EDT

    Baltimore Orioles center fielder Adam Jones (10) chases a fly ball hit by Kansas City Royals' Ben Zobrist during the first inning a baseball game at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015. Jones was injured on the play but stayed in the game and Zobrist doubled. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner) AP

    Jones was forced to exit Thursday’s game after colliding with the center field fence.

  5. Cubs acquire Fernando Rodney from the Mariners

    Aug 27, 2015, 7:13 PM EDT

    Fernando Rodney Getty Images

    After being designated for assignment by the Mariners over the weekend, Rodney will be reunited with Joe Maddon in Chicago.

  6. Video: Madison Bumgarner makes a nifty play at first base

    Aug 27, 2015, 7:05 PM EDT

    SAN FRANCISCO, CA - AUGUST 16:  Madison Bumgarner #40 of the San Francisco Giants is high-fived by teammates as he walks back into the dugout before their game against the Washington Nationals at AT&T Park on August 16, 2015 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Bumgarner also had a heck of a day on the mound.

  7. Report: Barry Bonds loses collusion case against MLB

    Aug 27, 2015, 6:25 PM EDT

    SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JULY 10:  Former Major League Baseball player Barry Bonds talks to Brandon Belt #9 of the San Francisco Giants during batting practice before the game against the Philadelphia Phillies at AT&T Park on July 10, 2015 in San Francisco, California.  The San Francisco Giants defeated the Philadelphia Phillies 15-2. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Bonds filed a grievance on the grounds that he was blackballed from the game following the 2007 season.

  8. Video: Enrique Hernandez nearly swings out of his shoes against Aroldis Chapman

    Aug 27, 2015, 6:04 PM EDT

    CINCINNATI, OH - AUGUST 26: Enrique Hernandez #14 of the Los Angeles Dodgers singles to right to drive in a run in the second inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on August 26, 2015 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Dodgers utility man Enrique Hernandez did his best to catch up to the heat from Reds closer Aroldis Chapman this afternoon.

  9. Jose Fernandez could return to Marlins within two weeks after “wow” bullpen session

    Aug 27, 2015, 5:34 PM EDT

    Jose Fernandez AP

    Fernandez missed much of the season recovering from Tommy John elbow surgery.

  10. Jessica Mendoza to sit in for Curt Schilling on Sunday Night Baseball this week

    Aug 27, 2015, 4:22 PM EDT

    Jessica Mendoza Getty Images

    Its not often we have reason to cheer the decisions ESPN makes but today we do.

  11. Must-click link: the actual twins who own the Twins.com domain

    Aug 27, 2015, 3:13 PM EDT

    Screen Shot 2015-08-27 at 3.11.55 PM

    This is a great slice of weird, totally suitable for killing time on a slow afternoon. Bonus: Bon Jovi is tangentially involved.

  12. Alberto Callaspo released by the Dodgers

    Aug 27, 2015, 2:16 PM EDT

    Alberto Callaspo Dodgers Getty Images

    Los Angeles acquired Callaspo from Atlanta in a late-May trade.

  13. Red Sox looking to trade outfielder Alejandro De Aza

    Aug 27, 2015, 1:34 PM EDT

    Alejandro De Aza AP AP

    Last week’s rumored trade with the Dodgers apparently fell through.

  14. Derek Jeter’s mailbag is . . . kinda boring?

    Aug 27, 2015, 12:00 PM EDT

    Jeter hat tip AP

    “Smithers’ I’m beginning to think that Homer Simpson was not the brilliant tactician I thought he was.”

Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. D. Span (1865)
  2. Y. Puig (1863)
  3. G. Springer (1843)
  4. H. Olivera (1822)
  5. C. Sabathia (1794)