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Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Knight on BP Radio

If you haven't checked out Baseball Prospectus Radio you should. The July 23rd show very good and included interviews with Ray Knight, Buck O'Niel and Jay Jaffe of The Futility Infielder.

I found Knight's comments interesting since he was asked about Moneyball and how it has or hasn't changed the game. Basically, he said that he thought Moneyball strategies, and by this he meant drafting college players and signing them to long term contracts when they're cheap, are more of a short term than long term approach but that over the long haul an organization needed to rely on good scouting to find good makeup players.

He also said that he used to take the view that only those who had played the game at the major league level could analyze it correctly. He now believes (and how much this was influenced by who he was talking to I don't know) that even those who haven't played can be good analysts because of the passion they have.

I would add that I think the amount of information now available and the technology to analyze it makes all the difference. It's easy to forget that less than 20 years ago there was virtually no information available other than basic AB,H,HR,RBI,AVG type statistics. In the summer of 1983, when I was 15, my family made a trip to Cooperstown and I remember that my brother and I asked for permission to take a look in the library so we could find lefty/righty splits. We had a sense they were important but hadn't yet discovered the Baseball Abstracts (I got my first copy in 1984) and wanted to see how big the differentials were. Although its kind of fuzzy, I don't think we had any luck that day.

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