Simple stats to evaluate teams, players

Most Major League Baseball teams have their own statistical systems that blend complex formulas, algorithms, sabermetrics and old-school statistics. Several clubs are also in the process of inventing complex GPS-driven fielding statistics that will eventually measure first-step quickness, angles and range at levels never accomplished before, and they will bring together defensive metrics, statistical analysis and scouting.

The Boston Red Sox have a proprietary statistical system that GM Theo Epstein named “Carmine.” "Carmine" is occasionally used as a nickname for the Red Sox and is a specific shade of red. The details of this system have never been divulged publicly, but with Bill James working for them, and the Red Sox collective intellectual brain trust, it would be fair to assume that "Carmine" iss cutting edge. Many teams have their own systems, while some clubs subscribe to outside services, others use online websites available to the public, and a few still fight the concept of technology and new-wave statistical analysis.

Most teams hire graduates from Ivy League schools, Stanford, MIT or other top-notch colleges to make sure they have the latest and most brilliant young minds to always look for better ways to analyze, scout and assess talent. Clubs can’t hire enough creative and innovative minds.

Due to confidentiality agreements and proprietary rights, I can’t share my experiences with advanced statistical systems during my years as a general manager. However, as much as the public is aware of and embraces statistics like Wins Above Replacement (WAR), WHIP, and OPS, many clubs have algorithms that are much more complicated and helpful.

Baseball also has a simple to side to it. I get asked all the time which two or three common statistics I would pick to evaluate a team or players. My quick answer would be the following:

1. For a team: Run differential

2. For a hitter: OPS + RBIs, or OPSBIs

3. For a pitcher: ERA, WHIP, SO

Let’s take a look at the leaders in baseball for these categories: