Smart Baseball
April 3, 2018 7:16 AM - by Keith Law - Subscribe

Predictably irrational meets Moneyball in ESPN veteran writer and statistical analyst Keith Law’s iconoclastic look at the numbers game of baseball, proving why some of the most trusted stats are surprisingly wrong, explaining what numbers actually work, and exploring what the rise of Big Data means for the future of the sport.
posted by DirtyOldTown (4 comments total)
Keith Law is a charming guy and a good writer, but I was not the audience for this book.

If you're vaguely familiar with "moneyball" principles and want a primer/catch-up on the current state of statistical analysis in baseball, this might be a fun beach read as it will breezily explain things like why wins are not a useful stat and why weighted OBA is more useful than batting average.

If you're a regular reader of Fangraphs and you casually drop terms like "spin rate" and "launch angle" into discussions, this is going to seem less like useful information and more like a distillation of what you might sheepishly try and explain to less enlightened friends who still talk about things like "clutch hitting."

So on the one hand, I skipped huge sections of the book and didn't get much from it. On the other, I know people I might buy a copy for as a gift.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:20 AM on April 3, 2018

Agreed, it felt very Modern Baseball Statistical Analysis 101. Which is fine, but if you've read anything in this genre - going all the way back to Palmer and Thorn's The Hidden Game of Baseball - you already know this stuff.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:10 AM on April 3, 2018

Saw this in the store today and thought about it for my fourteen year old baseball-and-math-loving son. There seems to be a few books of this ilk out right now. Would this be a good choice as a primer?
posted by GhostintheMachine at 8:19 PM on April 3, 2018

Sure, that sounds reasonable.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:14 PM on April 3, 2018

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