Thursday, June 13, 2013

Fun with Rob Neyer

There's going to be a a change here at Sabermetrics Suck.

Since I created this site, updates have been sporadic.  That is mostly because I try to make thoughtful arguments and not resort to the usual taunts of "Sabermetrics are stupid because...Grandma's basement!"  Unfortunately, thoughtful arguments require time and energy which I don't often have.

Fortunately, I have found a muse that will allow me to post more regularly.  I had a lot of fun making fun of Rob Neyer in my last post.  So I asked myself, "Why don't I do that more often?"

Neyer makes an ideal target because he is prolific and comes off as unbearably smug.  The mockery practically writes itself!  And because Neyer shows no reluctance to mock others, I don't even feel any guilt.  It's a win-win situation!

Nice shades (Photo source: Gawker)

Let's take a look at this recent piece where he questions some of the decisions made by Dodgers manager Don Mattingly:

If you've read much of Neyer's work, it becomes obvious that he thinks is smarter than most Major League managers.

Neyer begins by praising Mattingly for using the team's best reliever (Kenley Jansen) instead of the team's closer (Brandon League) in a key situation.  In typical Neyer fashion, the compliment is served in a backhanded manner: 
Hey, that's great! Mattingly figured Jansen's his best reliever and used him against the Diamondbacks' best hitters! Bravo!
But wouldn't it still make sense to use a good pitcher in the ninth?
Neyer takes issue with Mattingly's use of League in the ninth inning since League hasn't proven to be effective in that role.  The criticism is confusing because Neyer goes on to admit that none of the Dodgers' relievers are especially good. 

So what's the problem?  So far Neyer has praised one of Mattingly's moves and defended another.  Shouldn't this article be titled "Don Mattingly: Doing a Swell Job?"

The problem comes when Mattingly gives part of the reasoning behind his moves: League had better career numbers against the scheduled hitters than Jansen did.

I think that Mattingly's rationale was solid.  While the sample size wasn't large, it wasn't like he had many good options.  Why not go with the guy who has had success against those hitters?

Naturally, Neyer disagrees:
... and you really have to wonder about your manager's marbles, since 0 for 5 and five for 10 are utterly meaningless in this context. If tiny batter-versus-pitcher samples are your rationale for bullpen decisions, you're doing it wrong.
But then again, when you're bullpen's got 15 losses, you're probably doing something wrong. Or you're making a lot of solid decisions that just didn't work. That's possible, I guess.

So even though he already admitted that the Dodgers don't have good relievers, the team's problems are obviously the fault of Mattingly because he uses such ridiculous logic.

I'm impressed that Neyer was able to restrain himself.  Here's what he probably wanted to write:

That foolish manager!  The ignoramus actually uses batter-versus-pitcher samples?  Sabermetrics has declared that such things are not definitive therefore they must not be considered in any decisions!

Those 15 losses are clearly all his fault.  If I were the manager, I would have found a way for the team to have won all of those games.  For I am Rob Neyer, Baseball Genius!

Thank you for holding back, Rob.  And thank you for the inspiration!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Saberdouchery: Rob Neyer and Dustin Ackley

In my last post, I mentioned that my goal was to find examples of saberdouchery on the web.  Instead, I found an article by Keith Law that made me reconsider my whole anti-sabermetrics stance.

I started to wonder: Have I been too hard on saberfans?  Are they really not as bad as I have made them out to be?  Is this whole site completely misguided?  (That sound you hear is the saberfans who stumble across the site nodding vigorously)

Fortunately, Rob Neyer restored my faith by providing this excellent example of saberdouchery:

The article has everything: Snark!  Mockery of announcers!  An irrational defense of sabermetrics! Instant dismissal of a person who criticizes sabermetrics!  More snark!

Let's take a look at all the douchey goodness.

The article begins with Neyer taking issue with Braves announcer Joe Simpson.  Simpson suggested that there is a mental aspect to pitching and that it might be tougher for some pitchers to succeed in late game situations.

According to Neyer, this is absolute nonsense.  He probably would have been gracious enough to allow this comment to pass, but then Simpson had the nerve to suggest that sabermetrics (gasp!) might have been wrong about something. 

That obviously crossed a line, and Neyer wasn't going to let Simpson to get away with it.  He dismissed Simpson a Luddite who "wasn't interested in facts" and only sought to impress his fellow non-believers.

Next, Neyer takes a shot at Mariners' manager Eric Wedge.  Wedge tried to explain the struggles of young hitter Justin Ackley, and implied that sabermetrics might be partially to blame.

Uh oh.  Neyer's not gonna like that one bit.

Wedge notes that some people in the Mariners' organization are encouraging a more sabermetric friendly approach while at bat.  As a result, Ackley has been too concerned with taking pitches and trying to draw walks rather than relying on his natural instincts.

I'm not going to deny that patience and a high on-base percentage are good qualities for a hitter to possess.  But it is foolish to think that all hitters will succeed with a patient approach.  There are some hitters whose success is based on a more aggressive approach at the plate

Ackley could be such a hitter.  If he is indeed trying to be more patient in order to please some organizational figures who are stressing high OBP, then it seems entirely possible that the change could be affecting him negatively.

Neyer dismisses this possibility, and there seems to be no real point to the dismissal except for the fact that Wedge criticized sabermetrics. 

Apparently, in Rob Neyer's world, Sabermetrics are perfect and never to be criticized.  It's slightly frightening how obsessed he seems.  He comes off like a top lieutenant in a cult. 

"What do you mean The Leader is not perfect?  How dare you spread such blasphemy!  We must silence the non-believer!  Burn him!"

"Bill James - I mean, The Leader - is all knowing and all seeing!"
Thank you, Rob Neyer.  I feel much better about everything now.