Tag Archive: sabermetrics

Sportswriter Gregg Doyel in his recent column, Numbers Don’t Lie: Sabermetrics Should Win AL Cy Young, explains why Felix Hernandez (and sabermetrics itself) should win the American League Cy Young Award. For those who don’t know, Felix Hernandez is a pitcher for the Seattle Mariners, who despite having the best stats in the American League (AL) (2.27 ERA and 232 strikeouts), had an underwhelming record this season of 13-12. Sabermetrics is the study of baseball using baseball statistics and objective evidence. The Cy Young Award is given to the best pitchers in baseball (one from the American League and one from the National League).

Doyel argues that Hernandez will win the AL Cy Young because he is the best pitcher in the league, a fact backed up by the mathematics of sabermetrics. In his opinion, it is not fair for a pitcher to lose the award because of factors beyond their control, such as playing on a team with very little offense (sorry Mariners). A pitcher cannot win a game if his team does not score runs.

I hope that Doyel is right. An award reserved for the best pitcher in baseball should go to the best pitcher in baseball, regardless of the success of their team as a whole. With that being said, go Mariners!


Sports Statistics in Politics

When I think about mathematics, one of the last things on my mind is politics. That’s why I was surprised when I read Statistics-Based Blog Debuts in NY Times. According to the article, 25-year-old statistician Nate Silver, who writes the blog, ‘FiveThirtyEight: Nate Silver’s Political Calculus‘, uses statistics to accurately predict the outcome of elections.

Using his knowledge of Sabermetrics and other baseball statistics, Silver takes polling data (weighting it based on its historical merit as well as sample size and recent polling) and ‘balances’ it against demographic data. The article does not give any specifics of the statistics beyond this, but I’m sure Silver’s methods can be learned about in greater detail elsewhere.

The really interesting part about all of this is that Silver’s predictions were astonishingly accurate. According to the article, “[During the 2008 election] he predicted the presidential winner in 49 states—and the winner of every Senate race.”

Who would have thought that using baseball statistics you could almost completely accurately predict the outcome of an election? I know I wouldn’t have.