Customer Reviews: The Sabermetric Revolution: Assessing the Growth of Analytics in Baseball
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on January 30, 2014
This could be a very long review because this very important book contains much to comment on. I will, however, let you read this book to fully grasp what it says. You will have a complete review of baseball statistical analysis from the creation of the box score, through the Dodgers early efforts in the 1950's, to early regression analysis and then the full blown Sabermetrics efforts of today. This book also does a great service in pointing out the errors Michael Lewis added to "Money Ball" the book and errors in the movie, that have bothered me since I first saw the movie. In fact, Lewis violated Bob Uecker's first rule of resumes, "Don't lie about your batting average, they'll look that up." by "altering fact."

Zimbalist and Baumer provide a guide for the reader who want to know what analytics is and what it does, and they go further by stating the limits as well. You will find, contrary to stats geeks, that scouting is in the ascendancy, as it should be.

What I found most enlightening is explanation of the distinction between statistical analysis and data analysis. This is because I think there is too much data out there and data science, through big data management, is the way to go and is the way the secrets locked in the data will be revealed. This is good news for Sabermetricians as their tools will be enhanced.

Simply stated, if you are a baseball person at whatever level, from fan to GM, this is the book for you. I think its impact will be significant and the game will be better understood because of it.
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on February 21, 2014
First, make sure you have either read the book or seen the movie 'Moneyball,' because much of the early parts of this book relates directly to it, especially what is not considered a factual portrayal in the movie or the book of what actually happened concerning the 'saber' revolution in Oakland. Next, be prepared to learn why sabermetricians typically have a very strong academic background in statistics, such as degrees in economics. Then be prepared to 1) realize that the geeks are truly geeks and not usually 'inside' baseball people; 2) be ready to accept that sabermetrics is a discipline that is changing the philosophy on how the game is perceived and played and 3) be ready to be overwhelmed by an onslaught of 'foreign' baseball acronyms that can become very difficult to process, such as WAR, fWAR, rWAR, UZR, FIELD/fx, MORP and DER without a handy guide. Its a brave new baseball world.
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on May 11, 2014
What the book does well is explain the concepts of sabermetrics in common language that anybody can follow. I wish the book did more of this.

However, much of the first half of the book is a critique on the other book "Moneyball". It often feels like an extended blog post of someone just being bitter about the book "Moneyball". If Baumer doesn't agree with the author of Moneyball, then he should spend his time just writing on his perspective of sabermetrics and not waste time criticizing other people's work in a published book. Save that for your website.
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on February 25, 2014
This is a must-read for anyone interested in analyzing sports. After an entertaining first chapter deconstructing the various errors and omissions in Moneyball, to which the authors attribute the surge of interest in analytics both inside and outside the sports industry, the book proceeds to a very accessible summary of what is and isn't known about the subject. It clarifies the baseball GM's basic analytical problem--that the performance indicators of individual players that are most closely associated with team wins experience very little consistency from one year to the next, so that it is easy to explain a team's performance in a particular season but very difficult to make a reliable prediction of how it will do the next season. It then summarizes the much more rudimentary state of analytics in other sports and explains why this is the case. The book concludes with a path-breaking quantitative analysis of the success of baseball analytics in improving team performance. Highly recommended for serious sports fans.
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on August 5, 2014
This is a fun book. You really need a statistics background to get the discussion. It does let me quantify why I think the Red Sox management is mostly a bunch of boobs. I could give them first class advice, but they never call.
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on February 28, 2014
I have just finished The Sabermetric Revolution and can't stop recommending it to friends. If you enjoyed Moneyball you owe it to yourself to see how the authors critique that book and demonstrate, with very understandable statistics, how things have changed in the decade since that book was published. It contains wonderful graphs, tables and other statistical guides to present things that will amaze (and possibly shock) any fan who thought he had the game figured out. The authors open your eyes to a new way of thinking that (1) will open your eyes and (2) never have you think the same way about baseball again. They conclude with where baseball is headed thanks to Sabermetrics and how we, the fans, can take these statistical analyses and use them to allow us to appreciate the game even more.
My wife, who is no big fan of baseball keeps asking me questions about the game as she now reads this book. A quick and enjoyable yourself a favor and get a copy.
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on February 4, 2014
The world of baseball analytics continues to expand in amazing ways, with the advent of increasingly sophisticated data providing the potential for better decisionmaking (and more wins). In this readable review, Baumer and Zimbalist describe ways that the increasing focus on sabermetrics have been effective, and places where it has not (and why). This is a must-read for those who wanted a balanced appraisal of this growing area in baseball and other sports.
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on December 29, 2014
Good introduction on sabermetrics and getting to know the basics. I thought too much was spent on tearing down Moneyball, but it helps to understand the real world of SBM outside of a movie.
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on June 7, 2014
This book is for the serious baseball fan with some background of saber metrics. However, the author has a hard time explaining the quantification of baseball to us pastoral baseball fans. Sometimes in a fit of enthusiasm the authors stray off into the use of metrics in other sports. I spent some time skipping over the drier parts of the book because of an over analysis of the methods and read the conclusions instead.
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on September 7, 2014
The message that I took from _Moneyball_ was a very cheering and optimistic one, namely: by using reason, in the form of careful statistical modeling, we now have the hope of performing complicated tasks far better than we could do them the old way, with judgments made on intuitive or even sentimental grounds. The example at hand was of course baseball, but one might imagine that all sorts of other things, more important to society than baseball, might also be done better with statistics. So the conclusion is potentially a very important one.

Curiously enough, it appears from this book that _Moneyball_ itself is shot through with sentimentality and misguided intuition. This book is an excellent antidote. Baumer and Zimbalist come across here as straight shooters, giving a balanced and careful overview and assessment (suitably skeptical where appropriate) of the application of statistical methods to baseball. They show that there are no miracles, but that in many cases hard work can pay off. A particular virtue of the book is that the authors do not entirely gloss over the math; they do their best to give an intelligible, reasonably concrete view of what is going on in this area.

As another reviewer pointed out, the weakest chapter is the opening one, the review of _Moneyball_, which reads (probably unintentionally) as if it were motivated by envy or bitterness. I recommend skimming this chapter; the good stuff starts right after.
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