From WaPo’s Thomas Boswell:
If the Nats can extend Dunn for three years for close to $40 million, they should do it — and fast. His defense may improve. If it doesn’t, he’s still a bargain because the stat lovers have probably overshot in their zeal for quantifying. It’s the way of things. They themselves may be the new inefficiency in the market. Dunn’s defense should slash his price, but not slaughter it.
Boswell’s got a good point about things and the way they are, doesn’t he? Math nerds continue to get more precise in their quest to better measure performance, but as anyone with an understanding of things can tell you, that’s where the nerds go wrong. When it comes to stats, especially baseball stats, there’s a tipping point where more data equals less understanding. At least, that was always my experience in high school algebra.
More kudos to Boswell for pointing out what most analysts overlooked: Dunn’s defense could improve. Frankly, I can’t think of a single reason why Dunn’s defense won’t improve. He’s 30, and that’s the age most players get better at defense. In 2010, I predict his reflexes will sharpen and his 40-yard-dash time will be cut in half.
It takes guts to make bold assertions in the face of lots of contradictory statistical evidence, especially when those assertions are based on vague theories like “it’s the way of things.” But somebody’s got to speak truth to nerdiness, right Tom? So what if your colleagues don’t understand you. They’re just caught up in their zeal for quantifying. They’ll come to their senses.