Monday, April 10, 2006

Pete Palmer Weighs In On the 2004 Season

Pete Palmer Weighs In On the 2004 Minor League Statistics

CarlosI worked with the 2004 minor league stats.  The problem as I saw it was that the Sporting News got data from Sports Ticker, and for some reason, the data ticker sent did not include players no longer with the team for about half the leagues including the PCL.  They were not the official statisticians.  The minors gave the job to Sports Network for some unknown reason, which was clearly a bad decision.  Sports Network posted their stats, which were supposedly official, on the BBA website, but included only players who qualified for the batting or era titles.  The BBA Almanac also used Sports Network data, but left out several categories and did not have pitcher batting.  There were probably 50 players who had fairly big differences between the two sources.  I was never able to figure out which one was correct.  Sports Network is now out of business for minor league stats, and MLBAM did the minors last year and this, and seem to be doing a good job.  At least there is only one set of figures to worry about.I don't believe that the Sporting News knew that they only got about half the players for some leagues.  And probably not many people noticed.  The team media guides for the most part (except Detroit) used the Ticker figures, with the dropped players included, but again, they did not have pitcher batting and omitted most of the minor categories.  One thing I determined was that Ticker fudged their pitcher AB, TBF, SH and SF allowed.  My guess is they did not have a source for that data, so they had to fake it.  It was pretty close to the correct numbers, but off a little.  Ticker had to rely on secondary sources for their data, since they had the official job taken away from them, even though they still had a contract to supply the major league teams with stats.I am not aware of anyone trying to clean up the 2004 minor league stats, but would be interested if anyone is.  It goes beyond just leaving half the players out of the guide.  The main problem is the two sources disagree and there is no way to tell which one was correct.Pete

I wrote Pete that I had heard the same story from reputable sources, but then was told a contradictory story by people just as reputable.  I think the bottom line is: Preserve the raw data— which Rod Nelson has told me is now in the hands of MLB; make it available to the Hall of Fame, where researcher can access it; have an ongoing system of preserving a copy of the raw minor league data on an ongoing basis, so problems of this sort can be sorted out.  

I also told Pete that I have been working behind the scenes on this project, and have asked him to join me if he wishes.


Blogger Len said...

>>The minors gave the job to Sports Network for some unknown reason

I believe what happened was Sports Network sued SportsTicker for pilfering their 2003 data. Don't know what happened with the lawsuit, but Sports Network got the official job in 2004.

SN screwed the pooch, in my opinion, with some of the 2004 MiLB stats. I spent weeks correcting and cross-tabulating, and I still don't claim to have them perfect.

I don't think SN was entirely to blame... I just don't think they analyzed their compilation results thoroughly before releasing them. Garbage in, garbage out.

I have studied the stats from Independent through AA, and the agregious errors were limited to the Eastern, Texas and Florida State Leagues. The Indy and Low-A were near perfect, I seem to recall.

This hints to me that the scoring in those minor leagues may be less accurate. A few friends, at my request, email me cases that they witness at minor league games that probably got scored wrong.

One instance comes to mind of a player pinch hitting for the catcher, but staying in to play second base. In a pre-release copy of the official defensive stats, sure enough he had one game at catcher with a few chances, as did the real catcher at second base.

The official stats were corrected, possibly due to forwarding of my friend's email on the subject, dated the day after the game.

10:34 PM  

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