Monday, June 11, 2007

John Hollinger is infecting the entire organization

Fresh off a season in which statistician John Hollinger created new NBA stat after new NBA stat at the alter of all things sports, some ESPN baseball guy named Jeff Bennett decided he would not be left out.

Bennett explains his rationale for A nother baseball stat this way:

At the start of 2006, I was challenged to come up with a formula that ranks all major league players. After bouncing ideas off the Elias Sports Bureau, MIT and others over the last year, I eventually wrote the formulas that produced the ESPN Player Ratings. What's unique about the ESPN Player Ratings is that they put all types of players' performances (batters, starting pitchers, relievers) into the context of where they rank in the major leagues. The ratings do not discriminate or favor a certain type of player. Sluggers, top-of-the-order hitters, starters, closers and set up men all earn points that contribute to their rating based on where they rank against their peers.

First, who are the "others" you mention after MIT and the Elias Sports Bureau? Your dog? Stu Scott? Linda Cohn? Your mom?

So, let me get this straight. ESPN effectively said to Bennett, "Hey, J-Dog. We don't have a stat to tell us how effective Ramon Ortiz is vs. David Ortiz. I mean, we think we know, but we're not sure. You see, the problem is that Ramon is a pitcher... whilst David is a hitter! But who is better?! Here's the deal, we need you to make up a new stat so we can glorify ourselves some more. Sound good?"

My question to Mr. Bennett is... IT TOOK YOU 18 FRIGGIN' MONTHS TO PUT THIS TOGETHER?! This must be the most complex and wholly unnecessary logarithm ever created for a sport.
Because it is based on major league rankings in several categories, there could be significant movement in the ratings each day.
Super. So, not only are they unnecessary, but they are also unreliable? If there are significant changes each day, isn't that about as reliable of a predictor as, say, I dunno, watching the fucking players and deciding for yourself who's hot and who's not?

Here's my favorite part...
The ratings also function as an awards predictor about as well as any statistical formula created.
Bennett would go on to say, "I'm a better statistician than God. Seriously, these numbers will tell you when Vernon Wells needs to take a dump."

Ridunculous. If you are even the slightest bit curious about whom Bennett's stats site as the top players in baseball (careful, there could be significant change tomorrow!), here's the link...

The 21st best player in the game... today... but maybe not tomorrow. Thank God ESPN provides us with such vital information.

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