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The "eyeball" test


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Unless you're a trained scout with hours of free time and access to all sorts of video, this makes it tough to "scout" players for fantasy baseball purposes. Not to mention trained scouts often get it wrong too. Not to mention potential other issues, like confirmation bias that can creep in. And then there's just the pure luck factor. So to answer your question, no I don't eyeball people. I will seek out opinions of people that do, but it's only a factor in a decision

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  • oswald737 changed the title to The "eyeball" test
1 hour ago, bigbluecrew56 said:

The eye test involves a bunch of factors. Most are life experiences in the game yourself. Reading body language, seeing how a hitter is working his counts, trying to pick up on clues if a player is pressing. Case in point with someone like Correa right now when he comes up with runners on base especially with the bases loaded. You can tell that he's pressing and is guessing incorrectly. Correa works a 3-1 count with the bases loaded and fouls off the next pitch which is a ball. Considering he went down swinging on a bad pitch in the last bases loaded situation you could tell that he had it in his head that he was getting a bad pitch and was not going to swing this time. Pitcher throws him a slider on the outside corner for strike three and he goes down looking. What Correa should have done was take his walk at 3-1. The problem with him right now is that he's anxious to do too much with runners in scoring position. Atleast that's what the eye ball test tells me. Pitcher's will continue to take advantage of this until he becomes more patient.

 

I guess what I question is, what does this eyeball test prove to you about Correa?  You can see he's pressing right now and maybe making bad decisions, but hot and cold streaks for hitters seem to turn off and on like a light switch.  Correa pressing today doesn't mean he doesn't go home tonight, do some yoga, reflect on life, and show up tomorrow with a better outlook.

 

You can also look at his BB rate being down and K rate being up, with a very low HR/FB%, and say "he'll likely break out of this funk sooner or later" and view him as a buy low from an owner using an eyeball test that doesn't like his demeanor at the moment.

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1 hour ago, Dugout Legend said:

A healthy mixture of  sabermetric data, observation and " gut" feeling on decisions are the ingredients here.

 

Pretty much this. If you aren't combining scouting with statistics, you aren't going to do as well. Period.

 

If sabermetrics and the evolution of stats every single year have told us one thing, its that our existing stats do not tell the whole story. With the advent of Statcast, spin rate, real time pitch tracking, launch angle, etc.... the world of sabermetrics has never been more robust, complicated and confusing. Simply put, you need to look at the statistics, then watch the player or vice versa and make it a two step authentication process.

 

The other extremely important thing to do is to really look hard at when your gut is wrong. For example, I was adamant that this was Kevin Gausman's year. Right now, Gausman has probably done so much April damage that his end of year totals simply cannot be better than last year. Why? Velocity, spin rate, contact rate? Oh, different arm slot. I see. Let me go watch him.... yup, looks like a mechanical flaw not an injury. Maybe he gets that corrected and provides positive value.

 

Cole Hamels' K-rate has disintegrated, but his velocity, movement and pitch utilization are the same... why? Hmm, they aren't chasing outside the zone like last year. Let me watch him. I see, he's missing too badly on his pitches for them to swing. That's a problem. What do I do now? Sell? Probably a good idea.

 

Those examples are just to illustrate the powerful combination of metrics and observation. Its still not perfect and you WILL still get it wrong, but you'll be a lot farther ahead of the game.

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1 hour ago, handyandy86 said:

 

I guess what I question is, what does this eyeball test prove to you about Correa?  You can see he's pressing right now and maybe making bad decisions, but hot and cold streaks for hitters seem to turn off and on like a light switch.  Correa pressing today doesn't mean he doesn't go home tonight, do some yoga, reflect on life, and show up tomorrow with a better outlook.

 

You can also look at his BB rate being down and K rate being up, with a very low HR/FB%, and say "he'll likely break out of this funk sooner or later" and view him as a buy low from an owner using an eyeball test that doesn't like his demeanor at the moment.

Concerning Correa, I saw a star while watching a game that said he was 3'rd worst contact rate in the MLB @ pitches away... to the tune of a .042 BA. Granted SSS, but when you watch him flail at two consecutive sliders w/ men on 2'nd/3'rd and one out, after being in control w/ a 3-1 count, the K and stats don't tell the whole story. He looked helpless!!! 

The following day I believe, when he watched a called third strike on a FB belt high but away w/ bases loaded and no outs, you can simply see the kid has no intention of swinging ATM @ anything close or off the plate. It was an ideal opportunity to lean on it into the gap in right center and clear the bases, but he's either currently unwilling to do so, or unable to pick it up I guess. 

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41 minutes ago, oswald737 said:

 

Pretty much this. If you aren't combining scouting with statistics, you aren't going to do as well. Period.

 

If sabermetrics and the evolution of stats every single year have told us one thing, its that our existing stats do not tell the whole story. With the advent of Statcast, spin rate, real time pitch tracking, launch angle, etc.... the world of sabermetrics has never been more robust, complicated and confusing. Simply put, you need to look at the statistics, then watch the player or vice versa and make it a two step authentication process.

 

The other extremely important thing to do is to really look hard at when your gut is wrong. For example, I was adamant that this was Kevin Gausman's year. Right now, Gausman has probably done so much April damage that his end of year totals simply cannot be better than last year. Why? Velocity, spin rate, contact rate? Oh, different arm slot. I see. Let me go watch him.... yup, looks like a mechanical flaw not an injury. Maybe he gets that corrected and provides positive value.

 

Cole Hamels' K-rate has disintegrated, but his velocity, movement and pitch utilization are the same... why? Hmm, they aren't chasing outside the zone like last year. Let me watch him. I see, he's missing too badly on his pitches for them to swing. That's a problem. What do I do now? Sell? Probably a good idea.

 

Those examples are just to illustrate the powerful combination of metrics and observation. Its still not perfect and you WILL still get it wrong, but you'll be a lot farther ahead of the game.

Wonderful sumarized, and my play on FBB as well. I suppose it's easy to take out of context my initial question... wrote it while being late for work and probably should have thought it out further this evening when I had time to really explain myself, but the responses (shy of the typical snarky stuff that's become so common around here) have been excellent. I thank you all! ?

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1 hour ago, handyandy86 said:

 

I guess what I question is, what does this eyeball test prove to you about Correa?  You can see he's pressing right now and maybe making bad decisions, but hot and cold streaks for hitters seem to turn off and on like a light switch.  Correa pressing today doesn't mean he doesn't go home tonight, do some yoga, reflect on life, and show up tomorrow with a better outlook.

 

You can also look at his BB rate being down and K rate being up, with a very low HR/FB%, and say "he'll likely break out of this funk sooner or later" and view him as a buy low from an owner using an eyeball test that doesn't like his demeanor at the moment.

Well looking at Correa's recent commercial about using his ipad (technology to his advantage) maybe he needs to just go back to his natural instincts. I'm an owner of Correa obviously and i'm not selling low that's for sure. The eyeball test with Correa tells me he's pressing at the moment but it's something like you said can overcome quickly with a few adjustments. Players like Correa deserve at least till the end of may to find there stride. There is probably a buy low window with a certain type of owner who's frustrated.

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2 hours ago, jstep13 said:

tough to eyeball test every player when you have a life 

 

"For us, baseball was just a game- but for Benjamin Franklin Rodriguez, baseball was life."

 

ball is life!

 

naw, but what I do, is open up two separate tabs of MLBtv, along with a third tab that is mlb.com scoreboard (or gameday on phone). Then when interesting players come up, or the heart of the order, I'll flip one of the tabs to that game. And during commercial breaks (the MLBtv logo) switch to another feed. 

 

The downside is you miss out on the continuity of following one game from start to finish, but get a taste of everything. 

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4 hours ago, Cmilne23 said:

Eyeball test tells me if Adrian Gonzalez hits one homer this year I'll be genuinely shocked.  He looks 100% done as being anything more than a slap singles hitter.  Yet I'll continue rostering probably until Memorial Day just due to track record.  But eyeball test is big for me.  I always buy MLB extra innings so I can watch as many games as possible. 

Couldn't agree more that being said Bellinger will be sent down when Forsythe and Joc come back, is it a coincidence the Dodgers start rolling when Clay is in the line up and Joc is gone? Stupid move by the Dodgers

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6 hours ago, LarryChip10 said:

I'm curious how many fantasy owners actually watch players intently before picking up or dropping them? 

Now im not talking about a SC highlight when he's at his best or worst, but intently watching a player for not only performance, but subtle body language clues.

 

I played baseball (SP, SS, CF) every free second of my childhood, then high school and some college ball, so I know when I felt I could dominate a batter, or occasionally when I was about to be dominated. I feel this gave me a nice set of scouting eyes if you will, and while I dabble in sabameteic analysis and pay astute attention to the raw numbers... I see so many posts about how garbage a guy is w/ no substance behind it. Have we become so reliant on the plethora of data in the internet age that we've all to a degree, kinda gone away from personal observation? Has the human eye and gut feeling been lost? Do a series of extremely unfortunate loud outs get lost in the data, rather than an opportunity to pounce on a player just before a breakout? (see A. Rendon)

 

Id love to hear some opinions from this group, if you are on this forum you obviously are intent on winning regularly and finding any advantage. Please discuss, and thanks in advance. 

I imagine a lot of you are going to dislike this post.

 

What you're seeing is not people misunderstanding how to actually use statistics. Thinking that because a guy is hitting .260 in the first two weeks, he's automatically a bad fit as a leadoff man, etc. I would go so far as to say that a large majority of the people that I have spent years arguing with about sports don't understand the statistics they're looking at, much less how to apply them.

 

So it's not an issue of being overly reliant on data, or that in turn leading to posts lacking in substance. The issue is that the people making observations using a set of data often don't know what they're doing with said data in the first place, leading to nonsensical posts.

 

I'm an advanced stats nut, and I generally find myself disputing people that are using stats, basic, advanced, in tandem, whatever, incorrectly, more often than any old school observers. Why? Well, probably because of the stats themselves. I make an observation based on numbers, and I am right, although obviously there is only so much predictive value that those stats have, and nobody can be 100% confident in what the future holds. Inversely, when someone uses numbers wrong, I will bluntly tell them that they're wrong, and why they're wrong. If you're making an observation based on a player's body language, etc., I may disagree, but I will not do so as strongly.

 

To be honest with you, the whole reason that sabermetrics got so much use in the first place, as many of you well know, is because of their predictive value in a sport like baseball. I use advanced stats when breaking down basketball and the like. It's cool, but the certainty with which you can state things can only go so far. I can pretty confidently say that watching baseball games would likely have a very, very small impact on, say, fantasy baseball. I watch my Dodgers whenever I have time, but I don't really watch any other teams. I dominated my overmatched high school peers in fantasy baseball and stopped following the sport because, frankly, I don't like baseball all that much compared to football or basketball. I've played the last 2 years, for work research purposes and because I just enjoy fantasy sports and I've pretty comfortable won the competitive league that I was in each year. I probably watched less baseball than anybody in either of those leagues. But of course, watching doesn't hurt. I just doubt it has much impact on fantasy performance.

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3 hours ago, miasma16 said:

I can pretty confidently say that watching baseball games would likely have a very, very small impact on, say, fantasy baseball. I watch my Dodgers whenever I have time, but I don't really watch any other teams. I dominated my overmatched high school peers in fantasy baseball and stopped following the sport because, frankly, I don't like baseball all that much compared to football or basketball....

Well, most leagues are won by the guys who are the most dedicated and stay on top of developments the most closely. Plain and simple. Subbing guys that are out of the lineup that day, being the first to pick up a new closer or rookie getting the call, capitalizing on injury news, etc. Being a super statistics major really wouldn't compensate much for those things anymore than watching the games and being super knowledgeable about baseball would. 

But in any case, the truth of the statement that "watching baseball games would likely have a very small impact on fantasy baseball" is entirely dependent on this hypothetical person doing the "watching."

Obviously, if I'm at the game with a guy and I'm explaining the force play to him, or the infield fly rule, then he's going to want to stick to the -very basic- numbers when it comes to fantasy baseball, such as triple slash, ERA, WHIP. Certainly the eyeball test should be the furthest thing from his mind.

On the other hand, if I'm talking to a guy who understands the ins and outs of everything happening on the field (particularly pitching/hitting, obviously), then that guy might be able to rely on more advanced stats as well as the eyeball test.

In reality, most people fall somewhere in between those two extremes.

I mean sure, if I had to choose between stats or eyeball of course I'd take stats, without question, since that's all fantasy baseball is: stats. But there also isn't any question that the eyeball test is valuable depending on the particular "eye".

In the end, if you don't know much about baseball, or have never played it, then yeah the eyeball test probably isn't going to do a lot for you. And the bigger your statistical sample size is, the less relative value an eyeball test will tend to have. It's the younger guys who mostly have PCL, AZ Fall league numbers, etc. that it can be most helpful for, in my opinion.

tldr: it depends on the particular eye as well as a few other things as far as how valuable the eyeball test is.

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10 hours ago, LarryChip10 said:

I'm curious how many fantasy owners actually watch players intently before picking up or dropping them? 

Now im not talking about a SC highlight when he's at his best or worst, but intently watching a player for not only performance, but subtle body language clues.

 

I played baseball (SP, SS, CF) every free second of my childhood, then high school and some college ball, so I know when I felt I could dominate a batter, or occasionally when I was about to be dominated. I feel this gave me a nice set of scouting eyes if you will, and while I dabble in sabameteic analysis and pay astute attention to the raw numbers... I see so many posts about how garbage a guy is w/ no substance behind it. Have we become so reliant on the plethora of data in the internet age that we've all to a degree, kinda gone away from personal observation? Has the human eye and gut feeling been lost? Do a series of extremely unfortunate loud outs get lost in the data, rather than an opportunity to pounce on a player just before a breakout? (see A. Rendon)

 

Id love to hear some opinions from this group, if you are on this forum you obviously are intent on winning regularly and finding any advantage. Please discuss, and thanks in advance. 

 

There's quite a few of us that put eyeballs on guys and comment.   You'll find a nice mix of people hardcore into analytics, heavy on the eyeball test,  and people that blend both.

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9 hours ago, pbjfb said:

I don't know what to look for, but I would like to learn, the only thing I might observe is if someone is able to foul off a bunch of balls and stay longer in the count or someone who swings at every ball out of the zone, but then again you can just access their swinging-strike%, can you guys describe what you would look for in the eyeball test?

 

Hitters - swing mechanics, balance, rhythm, hand positioning, lower body mechanics

 

Pitchers - command, command, command, command.  Then stuff.

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one thing i'll say - a lot of times in these conversations it's presented as, stats, or scouting, these are the two choices for how to approach baseball, or fantasy baseball, and people argue for one or the other, and then someone says "you gotta blend both" and everyone agrees.

 

but to be honest, i don't feel like either of those things is what really gives me an edge. i do both, and i try to combine them, sure. but at my core i'm not a math guy, or a scout - i'm a writer and information gatherer. i read fast, and i'm good at googling, and i'm good at figuring out if the source i'm reading was written by somebody who knows what they're talking about or not. and that's most of what i do. if i'm better than other fantasy players, those skills are the main reason why. i read lots of articles and pass nuggets of information along here; i search twitter for bits and pieces, filtering out all the dumb stuff by fans who get mad every time a player has one bad game. stuff like that. if i get interested in a player, i don't just assume i already know everything about him. i read everything i can find, always keeping in mind, i don't know everything. i barely know anything. i might be wrong. who knows. 

 

not sure exactly how this fits into the discussion here, but, that's the first thing i think of every time i see this come up.

 

 

 

 

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Having read everyone's reply, it appears this topic has many layers. 

The superstar you should probably bail on...

The diaper dandy you should probably add...

The post hype sleeper you should pay close attention to as he's about to finally make good and the tools have always been there, maybe not the luck or opportunity... or a crappy manager who hates his mom and young players. 

 

When I started this, I guess I was thinking more about the fringe and WW players that make or break you're season by years end. When to cut bait on a guy who lives on name recognition alone, who if you aren't watching how pathetic he's become, can linger on your roster for two extra months till you finally realize how bad he's been. Vs. the guy who's always on the WW, yet is locked in and making real strides to become a regular contributor. When players hit the DL, I tend to gravitate to the guy I've been impressed w/ of late that I've actually seen on TV, rather than the guy at the top of the list. For right or wrong, I figure it's two or three weeks he can make good on what I've noticed. Sounds biased now that I type it... haha. 

 

Anyway, thanks again RW... this forum is simply the best, and the contrasting opinions are both enlightening and vital to keep an honest look at the pulse of FBB! Kudos. 

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