Critical Review: Which World Series Team Has Winning Traits?

Chris Carpenter of the St. Louis Cardinals pitches during Game One of the MLB World Series against the Texas Rangers at Busch Stadium on October 19, 2011 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Carlton Chin and Jay Granat recently wrote an article for the New York Times, using analysis to try to predict the outcome of the 2011 World Series. Presented herein are reviews of the piece from a selection of peers.

In advance of the 2011 World Series between the Texas Rangers and the St. Louis Cardinals, a countless number of articles were written that attempted to break down the matchup and identify a probable winner. Which is exactly what one would expect, given that, other than all the Theo Epstein drama, the World Series is the only story in baseball at the moment.

It's impossible to read all of the material. It's impossible to read most of the material. And it's very difficult for any individual piece to stand out from the crowd. However, one such piece, titled Which World Series Team Has Winning Traits?, appeared in the New York Times baseball blog section Wednesday afternoon.

The piece can be read here. It was written by Carlton Chin - a fund manager - and Jay Granat - a psychotherapist. Each has some kind of background talking about sports, and they were granted this space because their formula predicted that the San Francisco Giants would beat the Rangers in the 2010 World Series. Their formula? A complex analysis founded upon pitcher wins, batting average, fielding percentage, and experience.

The piece was instantly memorable, and it was reviewed by a number of peers in the business. A selection of those reviews is presented below.


Between Chin and Granat, I'm not sure who took the lead, but whoever came up with this idea should be prevented from ever writing about baseball again, and he should probably also be relieved of his day job as well, because anybody who would willingly publish such nonsense about one thing probably knows little about all things. --Boston Herald

All things considered, this is pretty impressive work for a pair of six-year-olds. I'm assuming the authors are a pair of six-year-olds. --Rocky Mountain News

I'll start from the beginning. Here's the thing about pitcher wins - if ever wins made sense, they made sense earlier in the last century, when pitchers often completed the games they started. I wouldn't go so far as to say pitcher wins made *actual* sense back then, but they made more sense than they do today, when pitchers come out after five or six or seven innings. There's just so much...I mean, wins are so reliant on run support. Take this year's NLDS. Chris Carpenter got a win because he threw a complete-game shutout against the Phillies. But Roy Halladay didn't get a win for allowing one run in eight innings. He didn't even get a no-decision. He got a loss! Halladay's decision in no way reflects how well he pitched. And that's just one of the problems. What if the defense behind a pitcher falls apart? What if an umpire makes a terrible call? What if a pitcher leaves a mess and then the bullpen takes care of the trouble? Pitcher wins in this day and age are so impossibly flawed that I cannot understand why anybody would look to them as part of what I can only assume was intended to be a serious analysis. Better metrics exist. A ton of better metrics exist. And wait, why are we only looking at each team's top two pitchers anyway? And why is Kyle Lohse one of the Cardinals' top two pitchers? What is going on with this analysis! I can't - there's too much! There's too much bad! If I attempt to address all of the troubling points then I will most certainly go hungry and die. --Atlanta Journal-Constitution

I'm not going to say that my dog could perform a better analysis of the World Series, but that's only because my dog died two days ago. But even the gas escaping from his cold dead body knows that fielding percentage is a bullshit statistic. --San Francisco Chronicle

The thing about investing is that you want to get in when the tide is rising and you want to get out when the tide is dropping. You should also invest exclusively in American entities so as to keep the money in the country, rather than letting it slip out to an international market. Now I have done for Chin's field what Chin and Granat have done for baseball. --Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

I really enjoyed Chin and Granat's thought-provoking analysis of the 2011 World Series. I'm also really looking forward to the launch of Adam Sandler's Jack and Jill and I can't conceive of a better poet than Taio Cruz. This is really terrible sarcasm because I don't know how to think like a stupid person. --Denver Post

Hopefully among the greatest works of satire of its time. --Baltimore Sun

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