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Sean Doolittle explains sabermetrics to you

Aug 12, 2014, 12:03 PM EDT

Sean Doolittle Sean Doolittle

Athletics reliever Sean Doolittle provides a nice service today. In filling in for Buster Olney at ESPN.com, he provides a nice primer to sabermetric concepts. Both educating uninitiated readers and putting lie to the notion that players themselves have no use for advanced metrics.

He even goes further, providing an inside view of some of the more esoteric, proprietary stats used by the Oakland A’s. For example:

BABIP: That’s batting average on balls in play, right? Wrong. It’s baseball averages compared to Bip Roberts. According to Baseball-Reference.com, over 12 seasons, Bip Roberts held a .294 batting average and a .358 on-base percentage and had a 162-game average of 36 stolen bases per year. Roberts played his final season for the A’s in 1998, but sabermetricians still use his stats when evaluating players.

Hmm. I’m starting to think only half of the column is to be taken seriously. Though, to be fair, his version of BABIP is more useful than some of the stats others use with a straight face.

  1. infieldhit - Aug 12, 2014 at 12:37 PM

    Ugh, that’s kinda terrible. I’m betting it was ghost-written by a professional sitcom writer.

    • jwbiii - Aug 12, 2014 at 1:19 PM

      No, that’s him. From his twitter feed:

      @joshreddick16: Back in Oakland? Sewage problems in clubhouse!! Yep. We are BACK BABAY!” Commitment To Excrement! Just win baby!— Sean Doolittle (@whatwouldDOOdo) March 29, 2014

    • jwbiii - Aug 12, 2014 at 1:24 PM

      FireJoeMorgan, on the other hand, was the work of professional sitcom writers.

      • infieldhit - Aug 12, 2014 at 3:12 PM

        I probably should’ve specified that I realized it was actually him, it just felt a little forced, like the work of more typical American sitcom fare.

        I give him credit for creativity, but the results are “eh.”

  2. edelmanfanclub - Aug 12, 2014 at 12:40 PM

    BDP was good, the rest were dumb. Still a great year for Dolittle

  3. proudlycanadian - Aug 12, 2014 at 12:59 PM

    Doolittle is further proof, that lefties are wired differently.

  4. tearlw - Aug 12, 2014 at 1:20 PM

    Maybe it’s like the Mendoza line. Bip Roberts is a baseline average. Oh, wait! He’s the embodiment of the mythical “Replacement” in WAR. Ooooo, that’s kinda cool. Players can now be just over/just under a “Bip.”
    “Yeah, he had a good year. He was a +1.4 Bip.”
    “We gotta dump that bum. His last 3 years he’s -2.3 Bip.”

    I like it!

  5. 14thinningstretch - Aug 12, 2014 at 1:21 PM

    This article reminded me that I miss Fire Joe Morgan.

  6. dillongeeescapeplan - Aug 12, 2014 at 1:39 PM

    Just another guy that needs to get out of his mother’s basement and pick up a glove!

  7. 18thstreet - Aug 12, 2014 at 2:13 PM

    I honestly don’t care if the player don’t understand what makes a good player, statistically. But as long as they don’t, I wish that ESPN would stop giving them airtime.

    Fish don’t understand what being wet means. It’s only those of us who live on solid ground who can explain it.

    • clydeserra - Aug 12, 2014 at 2:50 PM

      I think you are misreading.

      He is a smart guy, and he does understand math and what the teams proprietary stats show. He is just making jokes.

      • jwbiii - Aug 12, 2014 at 3:06 PM

        Absolutely. If Baseball Prospectus wishes to “immortalize” Bill “I-29*” Pecota, then he will poke fun at them and do the same with Bip Roberts.

        *That’s Bill “The 29″ Pecota for those of you in Southern California.

      • clydeserra - Aug 12, 2014 at 9:42 PM

        I have live in SoCal, NorCal and seattle.

        its The 29, 29, and I-29 respectively.

      • clemente2 - Aug 12, 2014 at 4:43 PM

        jwb’s last sentence is killer! No one here knows they are doing it, and everyone else is struck dumb when they hear it. Now, I gotta go get on the 101.

  8. pantherpro - Aug 12, 2014 at 3:01 PM

    Doolittle… Nobody cares about you or the A’s in NorCal.
    You and the A’s are the Giants……..!

    • Bryz - Aug 12, 2014 at 3:04 PM

      I didn’t realize he was writing specifically for the fans in northern California.

    • 18thstreet - Aug 12, 2014 at 3:15 PM

      They’re playing the Royals tonight. Quick question: do Royals fans care about the A’s?
      They’re fending off the Angels in the AL West. Quick question: do Angels fans about about the A’s?

      I don’t know why I care about your stupid comment, but I have a hunch why: it’s the same logic that Yankee fans exhibit about why they shouldn’t be required to share their revenue. As if we’d all spend money to watch the Yankees play a bunch of intrasquad games. Every team matters.

      • tearlw - Aug 12, 2014 at 8:05 PM

        Not to poke the bear, but as a Yankee fan I’m curious, why should they be required to share “their” revenue?

      • 18thstreet - Aug 13, 2014 at 6:59 AM

        Because the Yankees (and every other team) need opponents.

      • tearlw - Aug 13, 2014 at 1:29 PM

        Without revenue sharing the last franchise to go under was who exactly? Has a franchise been sold for less than it was bought in 100 years?
        The Yankees need someone to play certainly, but forcing them to split “their” revenue presumes the other teams will fold without it. History shows otherwise. And the competitive balance argument only works if you’re a fan of a team other than the Yankees. I’m perfectly happy with the Yankees making, spending, and winning the most.

    • clydeserra - Aug 12, 2014 at 3:19 PM

      I am currently in Northern California, and have been for a while. I continue to care.

      what are you saying?

      The giants are better currently? (they’re not, look at record, head to head, 2nd, 3rd order wins, however you want to slice it)

      The Giants have more Championships? (they don’t, not total, not just in NorCal)

      They have greater attendance (they do)

      they are the giants’ what?

      • APBA Guy - Aug 12, 2014 at 8:26 PM

        Try not to feed the Giants’ trolls, Clyde, it only makes them sip their wine a little faster.

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