A simple lesson about baseball statistics

This article is an interesting piece of research, one that concludes that catchers’ game-calling skills improve as they get older, and team ERA drops. But the problem this researcher does not address, a serious problem at that, is that veteran catchers are highly valued in the major leagues, and generally, teams with a chance to win something don’t go with young catchers. Thus, young catchers are generally brought up on bad teams, while veteran catchers generally play on better teams. More so, because bad teams generally improve, even if catchers, once they become veterans, did not move, they would still end up with a better team ERA, simply by staying. If you asked me, I’d give you good odds that this is the real reason that Hanrahan got such a result, and it’s a question he doesn’t even address.

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3 Responses to A simple lesson about baseball statistics

  1. Chris says:

    Well, that research is six years old so maybe he’s addressed your point in later work. But you’re probably right – older catchers seem more likely to catch good pitching staffs and there are a number of ways future studies could get around this tendency (solely focusing on very young catchers is one possibility

  2. Peter Jensen says:

    Hanrahan published a new study on catchers in last November’s “By The Numbers” that addressed some of your concerns.

  3. David Gassko says:

    I’ll have to check it out.

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