FIRE JOE MORGAN: Ned Colletti: What?


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Wednesday, April 05, 2006


Ned Colletti: What?

It's time for Ned Colletti, Quipmeister General:

''Do I use VORP?" Colletti said, referring to one such sabermetric tool, Value Over Replacement Player. ''I may be using it and not even know it, and if I am, it's nobody's business. There are a lot of different criteria in judging players. I think I use, um, esoteric qualitative mathematical review times five. That's one of them."

You would think if you were a baseball general manager, and you hadn't bothered to learn anything about baseball statistical evaluation, you might just keep your mouth shut. Or at least, be 1% respectful of what might be a useful tool in your line of business. Instead, Colletti sounds like an old codger mistrustful of the newfangled ideas in this day and age. If Ned Colletti were alive in Islamic Spain in the 11th century, he would be saying, "Astrolabe? I don't be needin' no damn astrolabe! I gauge where the sun and stars are gonna be usin' my gut and my peepers and my pointin' fingers!"

Also, I think he means quantitative, not qualitative. Numbers are quantitative. Math is quantitative. An old guy sitting in the stands judging the symmetry of a prospect's face is qualitative.

That was Colletti's way of saying he still does it the old-fashioned way. ''I like scouts with 20, 30, 40 years experience who can tell if a player knows how to play the game, who read how a guy's body works, who knows how he responds in big situations, who knows how to examine a medical history, who can take the measure of a guy's desire to be great."

Knows how to play the game.
Empty cliche.

How a guy's body works.
Vague. Probably impossible to judge.

How he responds in big situations.
How often will a scout see a guy in a "big situation"? 3 times? 5? 15 if he's lucky? Good luck judging a dude's hypothetical clutch factor with that sample size.

How to examine a medical history.
Yes, people should do this. Doctors, mainly.

The measure of a guy's desire to be great.
Well, yes, if a guy is obviously a lazy slob, he probably won't be that good for your team. But let me ask you, could you tell me which of these guys has more desire to be great (DTBG)?

Michael Young or Derek Jeter
Alex Gonzalez or Alex S. Gonzalez
Josh Willingham or Jarrod Saltalamacchia
Ken Griffey, Jr. or Gary Matthews, Jr.

I bet there are differences in their VORPs, though.

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posted by Junior  # 3:07 PM
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