Smart Baseball by Keith Law
The Story Behind the Old Stats That Are Ruining the Game, the New Ones That Are Running It, and the Right Way to Think About Baseball

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“Smart Baseball” is unapologetically nerdy, with Law taking obvious delight in his stathead geekery. But it isn’t condescending or overly obtuse; there’s a density to the book that rarely gets too heavy...By prioritizing innovation over tradition, “Smart Baseball” offers the reader an intelligent, engaging and likely eye-opening experience.
-The Maine Edge

Synopsis

Predictably Irrational meets Moneyball in ESPN veteran writer and statistical analyst Keith Law’s iconoclastic look at the numbers game of baseball, proving why some of the most trusted stats are surprisingly wrong, explaining what numbers actually work, and exploring what the rise of Big Data means for the future of the sport.

For decades, statistics such as batting average, saves recorded, and pitching won-lost records have been used to measure individual players’ and teams’ potential and success. But in the past fifteen years, a revolutionary new standard of measurement—sabermetrics—has been embraced by front offices in Major League Baseball and among fantasy baseball enthusiasts. But while sabermetrics is recognized as being smarter and more accurate, traditionalists, including journalists, fans, and managers, stubbornly believe that the "old" way—a combination of outdated numbers and "gut" instinct—is still the best way. Baseball, they argue, should be run by people, not by numbers.?

In this informative and provocative book, teh renowned ESPN analyst and senior baseball writer demolishes a century’s worth of accepted wisdom, making the definitive case against the long-established view. Armed with concrete examples from different eras of baseball history, logic, a little math, and lively commentary, he shows how the allegiance to these numbers—dating back to the beginning of the professional game—is firmly rooted not in accuracy or success, but in baseball’s irrational adherence to tradition.

While Law gores sacred cows, from clutch performers to RBIs to the infamous save rule, he also demystifies sabermetrics, explaining what these "new" numbers really are and why they’re vital. He also considers the game’s future, examining how teams are using Data—from PhDs to sophisticated statistical databases—to build future rosters; changes that will transform baseball and all of professional sports.

 

About Keith Law

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Keith Law is a senior baseball writer for ESPN Insider and an analyst for ESPN’s Baseball Tonight, Prior to joining ESPN in 2006, Law was a Special Assistant to the General Manager for the Toronto Blue Jays, and wrote for Baseball Prospectus. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University, and holds an MBA from the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon, where he earned Beta Gamma Sigma honors. Law lives in Delaware.
 
Published April 25, 2017 by William Morrow. 304 pages
Genres: Sports & Outdoors. Non-fiction
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The Maine Edge

Excellent
Reviewed by Allen Adams on Apr 26 2017

“Smart Baseball” is unapologetically nerdy, with Law taking obvious delight in his stathead geekery. But it isn’t condescending or overly obtuse; there’s a density to the book that rarely gets too heavy...By prioritizing innovation over tradition, “Smart Baseball” offers the reader an intelligent, engaging and likely eye-opening experience.

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