Smart Baseball by Keith Law

I remember years ago hearing about “Moneyball,” that somehow computers could put together a more perfect team. It seemed like hogwash and I dismissed it immediately. How can numbers predict who would hit the game winning homer? How can a spreadsheet determine the intangibles of a team leader?

Fast forward a few years and now I am a believer. Now I ask more advanced questions. Who still believes in the concept of a clutch hitter? Who cares how many wins a pitcher has? Why did the Yankees spend so much on Derek Jeter?

Smart Baseball is the best introduction I have ever read for baseball and data. First, Keith Law simply reveals the inconsistencies and outright flaws in popular stats: batting average, earned run average, clutch hitting, etc. Then, he introduces new stats that show a better (yet incomplete) picture of the game.

Anyone who doubts the authenticity of sabermetrics should read this book. If they are still not convinced, then there is clearly something wrong in the logical reasoning abilities.

Now, saying all that, there are definitely limitations to everything. There are human variables that will throw off everything. Numbers cannot do everything, but we can obviously do better with smart baseball.

This is a must read.