Dropping catches

In Moneyball Michael Lewis describes how baseball manager Billy Beane – following the work of sabermetrician Bill James – used statistics to upturn perceptions about a group of undervalued players.

These players often ‘just missed’ – they didn’t quite make base, didn’t quite make the catch, or just fumbled it – and were labelled unathletic or clumsy by coaches and fans alike.

In a lot of cases, though, it turned out that they were faster and made more catches than most of their peers, and this was exactly why they had a lot of near misses: they got close to making runs or catches that other players missed by so much, it didn’t even look like they’d missed.

If someone never seems to drop any balls, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re great at catching. And if someone seems to be miss a lot, it might be for a good reason.

For most of us, missing more is a step on the way to more catches.

*sabermetrics: the mathematical and statistical analysis of baseball records

Baseball

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