How Much Do the Pittsburgh Pirates Like Numbers?

Peter TumbasCorrespondent INovember 12, 2008

Billy Beane uses sabermetric principles to run the Oakland Athletics in a cost-efficient manner.

What are sabermetrics?

Sabermetrics are defined by Bill James, one of the first proponents of the concept, as "the search for objective knowledge about baseball."

The Wikipedia definition is the analysis of baseball through objective evidence, especially baseball statistics. 

Analyzing stats thus producing objective knowledge thus allowing us to make intelligent predictions about the future performance of a particular player.

Do you mean to tell me there is a way of predicting the future output of a batter or pitcher? And it's in expensive? Just how inexpensive you ask?

Well I went to the public library for free, went on-line for free, looked at some statistics such as stolen base percentage, stolen base attempts as a percentage of opportunities, triples, double plays grounded into as a percentage of opportunities, and runs scored as a percentage of times on base to determine the top 10 fastest players in this off season's crop of free agents for free.

Guess who isn't a paid member of any major league baseball team's front office?


Guess who still managed to determine the the top 10 fastest players in this offseason's crop of free agents for free.


Sabermetrics are not the fountain of youth or a get out of jail free card for small market teams that don't have or refuse to spend money. Because there is no limit on who is allowed to use the strategy.

Give the Yankees $250 million to spend this offseason and the top five at each position according to a sabermetric output based on their team's needs and they are going to sign the right people.

Small market teams don't have the luxury of signing the top free agent in each class. This were something like sabermetrics can greatly benefit a team like the Pirates. They need an ace pitcher or at least someone who is going to win more than nine games.

Paul Malhom lead the staff in wins with nine. Not good enough.

I don't think they are in the running for Big CC. Maybe trying to sneak in the top 10.

So if they ranked all available pitchers by the sabermetric stat of WHIP which is walks plus hits per inning pitched, suddenly all available free agent pitchers have been quantitatively ranked by a stat that mirrors a hitter's on base percentage. 

Now the Pirates realize pitcher A was 15-6 but he had a high WHIP meaning his offense got him out of potential jams. On the other hand, pitcher B was 13-8 but had a considerably lower WHIP.

If both pitchers were relatively the same age and were asking for relatively the same amount of money that the Pirates were willing to pay. Who is the better option?

The Pirates don't have a proven offensive system. Currently, it's simply theoretical potential. On paper they aren't capable of coming back from 2-0, 3-0, 4-0 deficits every time pitcher A was on the hill.

We need to sign pitcher B for the following reasons.

He won 13 games last year which is four more than the ace of our staff won last year.

He won 13 games playing for a poor offense. If our young offense takes flight this year or next year or at any point while pitcher B is under contract all of a sudden those 13 wins with a low WHIP could turn into 15 or 16 or 17.

If the Pirates have a pitcher going to deeper into games, the bullpen doesn't become over exposed. Capps gets more save opportunities, on and on. All from making one correct signing.

The A's play in a garbage pit stadium. They spend no money and yet somehow they are in play off contention seemingly every year. Last year they finished 23 games out of first in their division. This offseason they are first to make news by pulling a deal for Matt Holliday. 

Billy Beane is not fearless or reckless. He just makes the right decisions for his baseball team.

The Pirates need to sign an assistant who has worked under Beane. This will ensure that we have a chance to move in the right direction every year. This will ensure that at the trade deadline we are holding the cards not asking for hand outs. This will ensure that the Pirates begin to crawl out of the gutter.