04 May 2005

Today's Baseball Lesson from a Statistics Grad Student

It's odd to think that despite all the hullabaloo made over Moneyball and sabermetrics that baseball writers (and managers evidently) still just don't get it. Globe reporter Chris Snow had the following to say about Big Papi being rested for last night's game against the Tigers:

David Ortiz, who'd started all 25 games, was rested against Maroth, who owns Ortiz (1 for 10 lifetime).

David Ortiz has a .278 lifetime average. This means that if you pulled 10 random at-bats from his career, there's a 19% chance that he'd have either 0 or 1 hits. This means that the fact that he's 1 for 10 against Maroth is statistically completely meaningless. Of course, since Mirabelli (filling in for Ortiz as DH) hit a grand slam, it looks like Francona's a genius.

Bah, somebody buy these guys a copy of the binomial distribution.

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