Orioles manager Buck Showalter was a guest on MLB Network’s new show, MLB Now, which features debate between statistical analyst Brian Kenny and former big leaguer Harold Reynolds. Showalter was asked by Kenny about the Orioles regressing this season based on their run differential in 2012 and the O’s skipper didn’t shy away from sharing his thoughts on advanced stats in baseball.
“It’s about the players. It’s about staying in the moment, staying in the game,” Showalter said. “Let me ask you a question Brian, why do we watch the games? If everything is so perfectly lined up and this is what’s going to happen and that’s what’s going to happen, this stat or this graph says that, then why do we even play the games? It’s human beings, these are the best players in the world and there are so many things that happen every night that are a break from the norm, it would be pretty boring if it wasn’t.”
That’s exactly my thoughts on the use of advanced stats in baseball. I’m fascinated by them and have learned a great deal, but they absolutely don’t tell the whole story. There will always be a human element. Showalter took it one step further in answering the next question.
“You know you got to critique the critiquers and make sure that who’s running the system — we got some people putting stuff in there that don’t know the difference between a slider and a cutter and that’s a big — that’s a hugely different pitch.”
Another great point.