Sunday, September 04, 2011

The Plexiglass Principle bites the Giants

If you're looking for someone to blame, I'd start with Scott Cousins and Brian Sabean.

Andres Torres has just struck out to end a thoroughly horrific 4-1 loss at Mays Field. It's somehow quite appropriate that it would be Torres the one to end this awful homestand -- as he's symbolic of the front office's willingness to succumb to the Plexiglass Principle by deluding itself that it could rely on last season's heroes to supply an acceptable offense.

In Torres' case, he never really got it back after being struck by appendicitis late last season. And we have to accept the fact that gambling on guy who are in their 30s is a risky risky risky strategy. It also happened with Aubrey Huff, Pat the Bat Burrell and, to a lesser extent, Cody Ross.

The Plexiglass Principle was first enunciated by Bill James -- it essentially asserts that MLB teams will regress towards the mean, partly because teams that do significantly better or worse than the predictive stats will probably be less lucky in the subsequent season; additionally, the front offices of those teams will react very differently to the performances. In other words, teams that do well will tend overlook their deficiencies and teams that do poorly will be more rigorous about addressing their problems.

Anyone who's followed the Giants over the past decade knows that Brian Sabean has screwed up over and over again by relying far too heavily -- especially on offense -- on fading veterans. He got away with it last year, thanks largely to a steller performance by Jonathan Sanchez in Game 162.

While the Giants' current state is discouraging as all get out, it shouldn't be surprising. Still, the guys have 22 games left and with the kind of pitching the team has, they still have a shot.

LET'S GO GIANTS!!!!!!!!!!!


Blogger davef said...

if James were correct, we'd never see back to back winners, including the San Jose Giants. Have to go with Tony LaRussa on this one. Managing people isn't the same as managing numbers.

4:22 PM  
Blogger Big D said...

Thanks for writing davef, but I think you're misinterpreting what Bill James wrote. He never asserted that there could not be back-to-back winners -- only that it was unlikely for several very good reasons. And I'm not sure what "go with LaRussa" means except that it implies automatic hostility to sabermetrics.

5:19 PM  

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