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  1. #1
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    Q&A: Ian Levin, Mets manager of baseball analytics


    Q&A: Ian Levin, Mets manager of baseball analytics
    by David Laurila - August 9, 2013

    Like most teams, the New York Mets are into the numbers. They may not be at the forefront of analytics, but they are by no means stuck in the stone age when it comes to using data. Ian Levin is part of the organization’s saber-savvy brain trust.

    Formerly the coordinator of amateur scouting, Levin currently serves as the team’s manager of baseball analytics. Last week he was part of the scouting panel at SABR 43. Afterwards, he discussed the Mets data-evaluation process.

    ——

    Ian Levin on the Mets and analytics: “I’m not sure everyone recognizes the kind of analysis we do on players. We were always an information-driven organization, and we continue to be an information-driven organization. We value scouting reports — and our scouts — and we value statistical information. We take in all information and use it the best we can to make decisions. We’re very much involved with statistical analysis and information processes.

    “There is probably more of a public perception now about what we do because of Sandy Alderson and his history — his penchant for using statistics. But we’ve always done the analysis; it was just a little more under the radar before Sandy became our general manager.

    “We have four people, in-house, working directly with analytics. Along with myself, there are Adam Fisher, TJ Barra and Joe Lefkowitz. Above us, Paul DePodesta is obviously involved. Everyone in the organization is understanding of metrics and uses them to different degrees. We all have different roles within the structure and work together to make decisions that help inform Sandy. As manager of baseball analytics, I oversee some of our decision-making processes and player analysis.”

    On the decision-making process: “We’re very much invested in gathering information during the decision-making process, because your decisions are dictated by the information you have. We always look back at our previous decisions and determine if they worked in our favor or not — but not to question if it was a good decision based on the result. Rather, was it a good decision based on the information we had at the time? We’re always looking to learn and get better. It’s hard to make a decision with incomplete information, so we’re all about process and information-gathering.

    “There is always going to be missing information, especially when you’re dealing with a player not in your own organization. Even players in our own organization have missing pieces of information. You just do the best job you can, using your resources appropriately. Scouts get you certain information and your analysis gets you other information. You’re going to have history on players who came through the draft, and you’ll have it on international players as well. We’re always looking to find different resources to gather information we find valuable in projecting a player’s future.”

    On proprietary information: “It’s important to know your own organization as well as you possibly can; you need to know your guys better than anyone else knows them. We put a lot of time and effort into scouting and evaluating our own players. It helps us know how we stack up with everybody else, as well as project our players.

    “We run all of our processes on our own players. We go out to see them play. We try to know their makeup, and we have performance metrics. Like I said, we know them better than players in other organizations. In-house, we have proprietary information on them.

    “To a large degree, proprietary information is knowing subjective things. A lot of it is makeup-related, or knowing how players react in certain situations. It is information not generally captured through traditional data-capture, things like basic stats. There are also advance metrics we track on our own players. Other organizations do the same thing. Things we know about our players — and don’t share — other organizations know about their players, and don’t share.”

    On video and defensive metrics: “We use video a lot. We have video on all of our players, including our minor leaguers, as well as players throughout baseball. Video goes into every decision. If we’re looking to make a trade, we’re going to watch to see why someone is doing the things he’s doing. We combine that with our scouting reports to get a better picture of the player.

    “Trying to better quantify defense is something teams are working on, and some of that information isn’t necessarily in the public domain. To find a way to value defense appropriately — within the environment of how we value it with offense and pitching — would be extremely valuable. That’s where some players get a lot of their value, and ideally you can quantify just what that value is. That’s easier said than done.

    “While we’re very good at quantifying offensive performance, I think there are variables that can’t be completely measured. There are still things that aren’t quantifiable in terms of projecting how players are going to develop and perform in future situations. Fielding is the same way, but with fewer clearly measurable variables. First, we’ll need to be confident in our explaining past defensive performance properly through objective metrics. If we can do that, we might be able to get to where we want to be. Some of the information that can help is available at the major-league level but isn’t available at the minor-league level and probably isn’t going to be anytime soon. I think there is always going to be a strong need for the scouting perspective. I think scouting is the most important component of defensive metrics, and it may continue to be.”
    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/qa-ia...all-analytics/


    ďNinety percent Iíll spend on good times, women, and Irish whiskey. The other ten percent Iíll probably waste.Ē
    - Tug McGraw, on his plans for his $75,000 salary

  2. #2
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    Isn't he the guy that wrote Rosemary's Baby?

  3. #3
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    That's a good cure for insomnia.

  4. #4
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    I like the sHRS metric best.

    see ball. Hit ball. Run. Score.
    "The 90 wins is about challenge. It's about changing the conversation. It's about framing questions for ourselves as to how we get there. So I stand by the notion that we need to get better, and in doing so we need to set concrete goals for ourselves so that we have sort of specific conversations among ourselves about how we're going to get there." -- Mr. Alderson

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    [IMG][/IMG]


    Mets Dieharder Since '63
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    Los Angeles Kings 2012 and 2014 Stanley Cup Champions -
    Denver Rockets/Nuggets Dieharder Since '73

    ua you're gone, but never forgotten, R.I.P.

  6. #6
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    It was an insightful article.
    "The 90 wins is about challenge. It's about changing the conversation. It's about framing questions for ourselves as to how we get there. So I stand by the notion that we need to get better, and in doing so we need to set concrete goals for ourselves so that we have sort of specific conversations among ourselves about how we're going to get there." -- Mr. Alderson

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    He just sounds like one of those guys that I get stuck behind at a red light. The light turns green and he sits there on his stupid smart phone checking on the staff FIP of the Brooklyn Cyclones.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jomota View Post
    He just sounds like one of those guys that I get stuck behind at a red light. The light turns green and he sits there on his stupid smart phone checking on the staff FIP of the Brooklyn Cyclones.

    A self-perpetuating industry of useless stats.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marty Mcfly View Post
    A self-perpetuating industry of useless stats.
    What do you consider to be the fatal flaw of FIP?
    "The 90 wins is about challenge. It's about changing the conversation. It's about framing questions for ourselves as to how we get there. So I stand by the notion that we need to get better, and in doing so we need to set concrete goals for ourselves so that we have sort of specific conversations among ourselves about how we're going to get there." -- Mr. Alderson

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    FIP measures complete pitcher skill. Nothing useless about that.

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    Q&A: Ian Levin, Mets manager of baseball analytics

    There are some guys who just are unwilling to acknowledge new stats, I given up on trying to show them that they are just if not more valuable than old stats.

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    Quote Originally Posted by YoungStuna View Post
    FIP measures complete pitcher skill. Nothing useless about that.
    I doubt you can even explain FIP w/o looking it up. Explain how it is calculated and how it can fail when comparing two pitchers on different teams. I'm no saber-dude, but I think it is missing one important piece of data in the calculation.

    To be clear, I did not claim it was useless. That was McFly.
    Last edited by Dugmet; 08-10-2013 at 08:13 PM.
    "The 90 wins is about challenge. It's about changing the conversation. It's about framing questions for ourselves as to how we get there. So I stand by the notion that we need to get better, and in doing so we need to set concrete goals for ourselves so that we have sort of specific conversations among ourselves about how we're going to get there." -- Mr. Alderson

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dugmet View Post
    I doubt you can even explain FIP w/o looking it up. Explain how it is calculated and how it can fail when comparing two pitchers on different teams. I'm no saber-dude, but I think it is missing one important piece of data in the calculation.

    To be clear, I did not claim it was useless. That was McFly.
    I wasn't directing my post to you.

    Bascially FIP calculates everything pitchers can control(strikeouts, walks, hit-by-pitch, homers allowed) and excludes balls in play. xFIP includes flyballs and league average HR/FB rate so ground ball pitchers will usually have better xFIP. Both are much more useful than ERA in determining pitcher skill.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sick Of It All View Post
    There are some guys who just are unwilling to acknowledge new stats, I given up on trying to show them that they are just if not more valuable than old stats.
    It's very much the old school traditionalists that refuse to acknowledge advanced stats. I don't get it myself. It gives you a very clearer picture of how talented a player/pitcher is. It also correlates to actual win total among teams during a season.

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    I used to be very anti new stats when I first joined this site until I took the time to study them and learn their value. Even now am not a total saberhead, I balance both old school and new school stats to try and evaluate the value of a player.

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