You may have heard of “Carmine,” the computer program the Boston Red Sox use to evaluate players and stats and who knows what else.
In a recent interview, the team’s principal owner, John Henry, mentioned something he apparently found quite insightful. The program produced “clear statistical studies” that signing older free agents is “counterproductive” because their careers have already peaked.
Wow. That’s cutting edge. Only every guy who played in the fantasy league at my office in 1990 could have told you that. And I think they got it by reading stuff Bill James wrote in about 1985. (Doesn’t James work for the Red Sox?)
I’m all for using data to help make in-game decisions and to evaluate players instead of relying mostly on feel or wisdom that a manager passed along 20 years ago that came from his manager 20 years before that. But everything worth knowing, even data, doesn’t need to be in spreadsheet form or spit out by a graphing program.
Even though he never had a laptop computer, John McGraw figured out the advantages of platooning.