Skip to content

Great moments in False Dichotomies: the Twins stats guy

Apr 25, 2013, 9:42 AM EST

Twins logo

The only instance I’ve ever heard of a sabermetric-oriented front office actually believing that scouting was for suckers came about 11 years ago when — rumor had it anyway — J.P. Ricciardi of the Blue Jays was actually peddling that stuff. And even then it was likely just big talk from a guy who was in over his head as a general manager.

In every other instance, the teams which have most famously embraced advanced baseball analysis — the A’s, the Rays, the Red Sox, etc. — have made the smart and, in reality, obvious and pragmatic decision to utilize and value the insight and data gathered by scouts as well as whatever they’ve gotten from their research people. There is literally no baseball team which has some dudes in rooms with laptops upon whose data they exclusively rely.

Yet we still read things like this from Mike Bernadino of the Pioneer Press, describing how the Twins actually do, contrary to popular opinion, have a stats guy on staff:

While major league front offices increasingly lean toward youthful Ivy League types weaned on the writings of Bill James and, more recently, publications such as Baseball Prospectus, the Twins seemingly have held the line on such supposedly outdated concepts as “makeup” and the “2-through-8 scouting.”

All of that is the basis for introduction of Jack Goin, the Twins’ Manager of Major League Administration and Baseball Research. Yes, the Twins stat dude.

I don’t know why Bernadino, like so many other writers, feels it necessary to set this up as some shocking reveal or major dichotomy, but that approach to this is the sort of thing which just perpetuates the dumb stats vs. scouts culture war in which many in baseball’s chattering classes engage. All teams have stats guys. All teams have scouts. Some may rely more heavily on the input of its scouts, some more on the input of its analysts, but everyone is gathering as much information as they can.

This should not be a shock, but it’s so often presented as though it should be. I find that baffling.

Latest Posts
  1. Report: Josh Hamilton could get a suspension of “at least 25 games”

    Feb 27, 2015, 8:30 AM EST

    Josh Hamilton Josh Hamilton

    But Major League Baseball is also trying to be “compassionate,” and is thus still not close to a decision.

  2. Wanna hear Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig attempt a comedy routine?

    Feb 27, 2015, 7:41 AM EST

    Ruth Gehrig

    Gehrig on going to Columbia: “I was seven years in the Freshman class!”

  3. Mets don’t intend to talk extension with Daniel Murphy

    Feb 26, 2015, 11:02 PM EST

    Daniel Murphy AP AP

    While Daniel Murphy would like to discuss a contract extension with the Mets, it looks like a foregone conclusion that he will test free agency after the 2015 season.

  4. Nick Markakis apologizes for his comments regarding contract talks with the Orioles

    Feb 26, 2015, 9:49 PM EST

    Nick Markakis AP AP

    Braves outfielder Nick Markakis recently expressed frustration about how contract talks with the Orioles broke down over the winter.

  5. Shane Victorino is ready to go back to switch-hitting

    Feb 26, 2015, 8:40 PM EST

    Shane Victorino Getty Getty Images

    Victorino gave up hitting from the left side late in 2013, but he’s ready to give it another shot.

  6. Matt Harvey tentatively scheduled to make spring debut on March 6

    Feb 26, 2015, 7:15 PM EST

    Matt Harvey AP AP

    It will be Harvey’s first game action since he underwent Tommy John surgery 16 months ago.

  7. Blue Jays sign Johan Santana

    Feb 26, 2015, 6:06 PM EST

    Johan Santana Getty Getty Images

    Santana hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2012 due to injury.

  8. Barry Zito on his one-year retirement: “You want to be back in that game so bad”

    Feb 26, 2015, 5:17 PM EST

    Barry Zito Getty Images

    “I think hanging it up is going to be harder for guys than they realize, after being out of it for a year.”

  9. What’s driving the A-Rod media circus? The media, of course.

    Feb 26, 2015, 2:06 PM EST

    Alex Rodriguez AP AP

    Shame on A-Rod for making the reporters obsess about him.

  10. Ike Davis is still mad at the Mets for saying that he partied too hard

    Feb 26, 2015, 12:30 PM EST

    ike davis getty Getty Images

    It’s been two and a half years, but it still leaves a “dirty taste” in his mouth.

  11. Wily Mo Pena is staying in Japan

    Feb 26, 2015, 11:47 AM EST

    wily mo pena headshot ap AP

    Pena once looked like a potential star for the Reds and Red Sox, but then washed out by age 26.

  12. Max Scherzer has added a cutter to his arsenal

    Feb 26, 2015, 11:32 AM EST

    Max Scherzer AP

    He also (a) wants to emulate Greg Maddux; and (b) asked Sandy Koufax about his curveball.

  13. The Phillies slowly enter the era of analytics

    Feb 26, 2015, 11:00 AM EST

    phillies logo

    Welcome to 2002, Ruben Amaro!

  14. Francisco Rodriguez re-signs with the Brewers

    Feb 26, 2015, 10:23 AM EST

    Francisco Rodriguez AP

    Two weeks ago Francisco Rodriguez was said to be holding out for a two-year contract.

Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. J. Hamilton (4261)
  2. Y. Moncada (4131)
  3. Z. Greinke (3699)
  4. F. Rodriguez (3618)
  5. M. Harvey (3613)
  1. E. Cabrera (2867)
  2. B. Beachy (2581)
  3. A. Gordon (2484)
  4. B. Moss (2433)
  5. A. Beltre (2375)