FanPost

Why Teahen Should Have Pulled: Fact vs. Fancy (Part 3)

[Part 3 and the last of a series]

I find this fairly amusing, so I am going to take out my whip and keep on beating this dead horse. 

There is an old saying that you can "have your own opinions, but you can't have your own facts."   For those familiar with Charles Dickens' novella Hard Times, the reverse proposition is equally important:  mere "facts" do not ultimately matter, and are not ends in themselves.    In fact, in Hard Times, Dickens might be considered an early and prescient critic of sabermetrics, sort of a way ahead-of-his-time Dayton Moore, if you will:    " The spurious usage of statistics is a subject about which Dickens expresses great anger. It is worth noting that, in his lifetime, Dickens did not decry the wholesale usage of statistics, per se, such as for reformative and sanitary purposes, but Dickens demonstrates how this information can be subjected to perversion and abuse, for purposes of subjugation and creating statistics that are class-biased."  

Hard Times explores, at the end of the day, the tension between mere "facts" and the imagination, or "fancy".  

How does relate to Teahen?   I will be brief.   On average, statistically speaking, a team will score 15% more runs by eschewing "small ball", per the lessons of our previous discussion.  These appear to be the facts, not accounting for Pudge's footspeed, and disregarding the horrendous night the Royals have been having at the tables lately.

So, the "facts" arguably call for a batter to swing away in our late inning situation.     But here is the question:  do they call for Mark Teahen to swing away in that situation?     And here I end where I started--the answer is no.   Why? 

Because, simply stated, Mark Teahen is not a clutch hitter.     Period.  Plain and simple.  Exhibit A in support of this proposition is his actual at-bat on the evening in question.    Exhibit B is that his average with runners in scoring position is a whopping .233.  As important, no mere statistics will ever tell me Mark Teahen is a clutch hitter.   I have been listening to and watching the Royals too long.    But, if you must, take a look at the following "statistics" under the column "clutch" in this graph:  -5.8 ain't too good, from what I can tell.     The Royals in fact have no clutch hitters worth talking about, which is why some of Old Schoolers wish they would play Small Ball.  

The irony here is that those who relying upon "the statistics" to say Teahen should swing away are engaged in an obvious Dickensian flight of fancy:    they believe, against the evidence, that Mark Teahen actually hits in the clutch.

This FanPost was written by a member of the Royals Review community. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the editors and writers of this site.

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