There are dozens of things about competitive Wiffle® Ball that throws people for a loop. One of my favorite – because it seems like such a silly thing to get fixated on – is the incredulous reaction people give upon learning that leagues such as MAW maintain statistics. Who knows why, but I have encountered a fair amount of folks for whom that is the final straw. They can accept almost everything else about the game but apparently keeping statistics is one step too far for some.
Well, I would argue that we – collectively as players, teams, and organizations – do not go far enough with statistics! While baseball stats continue to expand and reach previously unexplored statistical and analytical areas, Backyard Baseball statistics remain primitive. There are reasons for that. We often lack the personnel and technology necessary to track advanced statistics. Additionally, many baseball stats appear unlikely to translate to our game for a variety of reasons. This offseason, I want to dive into a wide variety of statistics – using the 2017 MAW regular & post season results – to get a handle on what “advanced” baseball statistics are useful in our game and which aren’t.
We will tackle a stat or two at a time in a general manner. Each post will explore the statistic’s intended purpose, the results for the 2017 MAW regular and post-season, and whether the statistic is useful in evaluating players in the 2017 Mid Atlantic environment. As we go along, the hope is to modify some statistics so that they better fit our game and do statistical tests to find what numbers do and don’t correlate to success.
A few housekeeping items:
· We are using one season worth of stats. That is six tournaments at most and in most cases, far less. Naturally, there are going to be some sample size issues and it is important to keep that in mind throughout this series of articles.
· On a similar note, as is always the case in tournament Wiffle® Ball there were teams and players who accumulated gaudy stats while playing in a single tournament. To adjust for that, we will provide the overall results for each statistic (and use overall results in calculating each statistic) but will also filter by a playing time criteria. For hitters, this will be 50 Plate Appearances and for pitchers, 20 innings pitched.
· Unless otherwise stated, we are only using 2017 MAW statistics. The reason for not including other leagues is that every league has its own talent and performance mix. A truism about a statistic in Mid Atlantic 2017 might not be true about 2017 Palisades, 2017 Wiff is Life League, 2017 Golden Stick, and so on. There might be times where we look at a stat in another league if it makes sense to do so.
Please feel free to leave a comment if you disagree or agree with anything we write or if you wish to suggest an alternate way of looking at the statistic. Like all Wiffle® Ball related stats, these are meant to be fun but also hopefully informative and helpful in evaluating player performance.