This is not the first time I've written that. And I'm sure it won't be the last. But a recent column by Fox Sports' village idiot hit close enough to home for me to write it again. Dayn Perry is a moron. Feels good, doesn't it? One more time, Dayn Perry is a moron. Ah, I feel better already.
I feel good enough to put down the put downs and pick up some reasoning. So here goes. Perry uses a clever combination of talent evaluation and stats to demonstrate that the Twins have been extraordinarily lucky this year. Let's start with talent evaluation. The Twins won 79 games last year with largely the same talent, except that team had Torii Hunter in center field and both Johan Santana and Carlos Silva in the rotation. He says, truthfully, that the only one of those three to return anything in trade was Santana, and that that return was widely panned. He also points out that Francisco Liriano was returned to the minors after three disastrous starts. And he notices truthfully that Pat Neshek is lost for the season with an elbow injury. So it is almost beyond belief that the team is on a pace to win 90 games, 12 more than it won with its now-departed best player and best pitcher.
So how is it that everything he says is true, yet the Twins appear to be more talented than they were last year? As usual for Perry, he only presents the side of the argument that supports his opinion. He doesn't say anything about the talent the Twins added since last year. He says nothing about Nick Blackburn, Kevin Slowey, Glen Perkins, Carlos Gomez, Alexi Casilla, Delmon Young, Brian Buscher, Brendan Harris or any of the other additions to the team.
When you only present facts that support your side of the argument and you don't even consider facts that run contrary to it, you run the risk of making yourself look like a fool. Perry surely did that with his talent evaluation.
Just as he only presents one side of the argument in his talent evaluation, he also ignores crucial facts when delving into a numerical analysis. His main argument seems to be that the Twins' record is three games below their Pythagorean. Therefore, the Twins are due for a regression. It is true that teams statistically tend towards their Pythagorean.
But any evaluation of the team's Pythagorean must take into account trends, not mere year-long averages. Since the team added Alexi Casilla, it has been playing at or above its Pythagorean, and that trend is accelerating as the team adds other pieces such as Buscher and as both Gomez and Young develop at the major league level. In short, arguing that a team will regress to its Pythagorean only works with stable rosters and teams that have not shown significant improvement month to month in the ratio of its record to its Pythagorean. But this team is outscoring its opponents well above its record, particularly during this streak. There is no statistical reason to think that the trend will not continue.
The upshot is, you guessed it, Dayn Perry is a moron. But not from lack of trying and not from writing anything false. His fallacy is to stack the deck in the favor of his arguments without any consideration for facts that dispute his argument. A more reasonable position is to consider all the facts before jumping to conclusions. It's just too much work for some of these writers to actually do the research and find out why a team appears to be playing above its head. It's far easier just to spout the same old tired facts you gathered in the off season, toss in a collection of stats and call it a day. That's a recipe for making yourself into a moron.