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Photo-Realistic Billy

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  1. No one is requiring anyone to understand advanced stats in order to enjoy baseball. In the same way I can enjoy the weather without a meteorology degree, you can certainly enjoy baseball without understanding why the teams shift the infield or bat Castro 4th. However, I don't expect my complaints about the weather to have much merit given I know very little about how clouds move or storms develop. This is a commonly held position, but also a straw man argument. Do you have any examples of the analytics community sharply dividing on the analysis of certain players or strategies? More often than not the opposite happens. Because most baseball analysts are using similar statistics and similar statistical methodologies and best practices, there tends to exist more consensus, bordering on echo chamber risks, than bitter disagreements. I can think of, in the last 15 years, maybe 3 or 4 hotly debated topics within the analytics community (aging curves, wOBA vs tAV, and a few other small ones). More often than not, new statistics created say similar things to the old ones -- xFIP, SIERA, and DRA all agree with FIP and even ERA that Clayton Kershaw is great. This of course is not say that a fella, let's call him Hodd Tollandsworth, can't dig up weird, useless, esoteric stats to build his own narratives. If today he feels like Rojas is clutch sometimes but not all times, he'll dig up Rojas's batting average with runners in scoring position during the last 3 day games. That's a split of a split of a split -- all using a 200-year-old statistic from when the game was VERY different. Hodd's stats? Yeah, those are utterly useless and a stain in the general baseball conversation.
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