Archive for General

In Defense of the Three-Man Rotation

I used to be a fan of the four-man rotation in the post-season, but I have changed my mind. One of the key events that altered my opinion was last year when Joe Girardi successfully rode the three-man playoff rotation of C.C. Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, and Andy Pettitte all the way to a World Series title. At the time, I was skeptical that this was the right move, but I was impressed at how well it worked, which is why I am surprised that the Yankees are going with a four-man rotation in the ALCS.

Sometimes bad decisions turn out just fine, so I wasn’t completely convinced that the Yankees did the right thing in 2009. I was soon persuaded that the three-man rotation was the way to go in the post-season after a conducting a study with Sean Forman on the impact of pitches thrown and rest days on performance. In our analysis of games from 1988 — 2009, estimates showed that days of rest had very little impact on performance. On average, every rest day lowered a pitcher’s ERA by about 0.015; however, the estimate was not statistically different from there being no effect. It seems that most of the recovery benefits that pitchers receive occur in the three days of rest between starts. And though we found the impact of pitches thrown was small, one day of rest was worth throwing about two fewer pitches less than average in the previous game. If you want to get improved performance from managing pitcher workloads, fewer pitches is better than more rest. And the broader lesson is that small deviations in pitches thrown and rest days don’t seem to have much effect.

In the case of Sabathia and Hughes, they should be good to go in Games 4 and 5. In Game 1, Sabathia threw 93 pitches, for the season he averaged 105 pitches per start. Twelve pitches fewer than average translates to an improved ERA by 0.08 runs. And in his previous five and ten starts (where we found stronger effects than the previous game) his average pitches thrown was right on his season average.

In Game 2, Hughes threw 88 pitches, for the season he averaged 102 pitches per start. Like Sabathia, he pitched about the same number of pitches in his last five and ten starts, which included two one-inning relief stints on regular starters rest. According to our estimates, the reduction in pitches thrown lowers his expected ERA by approximately 0.10.

While I don’t expect Sabathia or Hughes necessarily to benefit from having a lighter load in Game 1, I believe each pitcher should pitch about like he has all season if they were to go on short rest. Now maybe the strain of the post-season and the quality of opponent puts a little extra strain on each pitch, but the loads these pitchers are bearing hasn’t been exceptionally high.

Of course, there may be factors affecting the Yankees decision that aren’t public, but if things don’t go well for the Yankees tonight, I won’t be surprised to see Girardi hand the ball to Sabathia in Game 4. Even if the Yankees do win, I think Girardi would be wise to move Sabathia up. The Yankee rotation has struggled as a whole lately, but I don’t think more rest offers much help. I think a tired trio of Sabathia, Hughes, and Pettitte is preferable to allowing Burnett to make a start.

Thoughts on Fredi Gonzalez

Today Tomorrow Today, unless all indications are way off, Fredi Gonzalez will be named the next manager of the Atlanta Braves. Is this a good move? Well, I don’t think it’s a horrible move, like Peter Hjort does. The post is a little vague, but in the comments he points to some examples of poor management by Gonzalez. But still , I’m not too worried. I think the choice reflects the fact that it will be hard to step into Bobby Cox’s shoes, and it’s clear that the front office wants to replace Bobby with a manger familiar with Bobby’s style and clubhouse culture. Gonzalez likely won’t have the autonomy and input that Bobby had, but he won’t be rocking the boat of a team that played well for the most part this year.

In my opinion, mangers don’t have much impact on how their teams perform. They handle the press, they keep order in the clubhouse, and make a few on-field decisions here and there—most of which are non-controversial. The most important thing is to keep the core of this team focused like it always has been. This is a team that was united for Bobby: a manager who loses this clubhouse would face a serious revolt. That’s the biggest danger with this club.

What are some positives that Fredi brings, maybe ones that Bobby didn’t have? Well, he attended SABR 40 in Atlanta this year. I read an article in which someone talked about why he was there (which I cannot find now, link would be appreciated) and he stated that he was looking to hear new ideas. Not sure if he found any (and he missed my presentation with Sean Forman!) but it’s nice to know he’s on the lookout.

I also have personal anecdote about Fredi. In one of my classes, I have the students read Moneyball for an assignment and write a paper about it. Several years ago, a student approached me and asked if she would mind if she got some advice from an acquaintance of hers who worked in baseball. It turns out that the acquaintance was Gonzalez. He worked out at the gym where she worked, and he was happy to talk with an undergraduate student about a school project. I don’t remember the specifics of her paper or the comments that Gonzalez gave her, but he didn’t rail against the book or offer over-the-top praise—after all it’s just a book. Overall, I was impressed that a sitting manager would take the time to discuss a school project with a virtual stranger. Whether that makes him a good manager, I don’t know, but I certainly consider it a positive.

Fredi will have a clubhouse behind him the moment he steps onto the field, which is something that few new managers can do. Let’s hope he keeps their trust and doesn’t screw this up. Welcome back to Atlanta, Fredi.

So Long, Bobby…and Thank You

Last night, the Braves 2010 season came to an end, along with Bobby Cox’s managerial career. I was a good fan this year, living on the hope that good things can happen, even as the odds tilted more and more against the team. Around the seventh inning of last night’s game, I had a moment of clarity: this team has no shot and never did. Sure, the team could lucky-bounce its way into the NLCS and maybe even the World Series, but that was highly unlikely. And deep down, I’d known this team was dead the moment that Martin Prado went down. Even before then, this team wasn’t capable of playing like a 91-win team in the post-season. When Melky Cabrera mercifully ended the season, I was angry and disappointed, but strangely relieved. The 2010 Braves died slowly, but they gave it all they had—not for themselves, but for Bobby. This has been one of my absolute favorite seasons to watch Braves baseball, but it was time to go. Their work was done. In a season that I watched my father die a slow and predictable death, it was strange parallel path to recognize in the the late innings of last night’s game.

Why was Bobby Cox such a good manager? Bobby is not just intelligent, but he likes people and understands them. I can think of exactly three players who didn’t get along with Bobby: Kenny Lofton, Tim Spooneybarger, and Yunel Escobar. There were probably more, but Bobby made sure that such problems didn’t spill out into public. Bobby was once a player, and not a great one. I think one of the reasons he wore spikes was to remind players that he was once were they are: he had walked, and continued to walk, in their shoes. He gave it all he had on the field, and he had never liked being showed up for lacking ability he didn’t have. Bobby had a positive role model, and an anti-role model. He took after Ralph Houck and was careful to avoid doing anything like Billy Martin had done. Bobby understood that to win with the players he had, he had to get the most out of all of them. That meant not just having good players play well, but have the bad ones play as well as they could, too. If a star got an ego and started problems with lesser players in the clubhouse, Bobby didn’t see it as player versus player, but as all players getting worse. He treated all players equally. The rules applied to everyone, and the team would win and lose together. If you didn’t like it, you were going to have problems. Probably the greatest testament to Cox’s ability to handle people is the fact that Gary Sheffield played for the Braves for two seasons, and he didn’t have a single problem. Controversy followed Sheffield throughout his career, but there was none of it in Atlanta.

Bobby also had an eye for talent and was amazingly patient. He would allow young kids to play everyday, and early failures were tolerated as growing pains. Being a general manager helped his patience. He returned to the Braves dugout in 1990s, he would be managing teams that he had built. He watched for long-run success and wasn’t going make snap judgements based on small samples. Sometimes his fondness, or lack of fondness, for a player would get him into trouble. But, I’m a big believer that sometimes the overall qualities that give us our strengths and weaknesses aren’t easily modified. The same stubbornness that allowed him to write Jeff Francoeur in the lineup everyday for far too long was the same thing that allowed him to stick by John Smoltz in 1991 when every one was demanding he be sent back to the minors. You can’t have one without the other.

How good was he has a manager? I recently examined how his players performed with and without Bobby as their manager. I found that the hitters were no worse, and that pitchers were much better (decreased their ERAs by approximately 0.25) when they played for Bobby.

I also have a personal observation of Bobby that made a lasting impression. At SABR 40 this year in Atlanta, Bobby graciously agreed to appear on a morning panel on the Braves rise from worst to first. It was the first session of the day, I think it was at 8am. The night before, the Braves had played a game against the Giants in the sweltering August summer heat and humidity of Atlanta. Late that day he would participate in the festivities surrounding Tom Glavine‘s number retirement, and he had a night game to manage after that. Bobby could have bagged the event and no one would have complained. The panel still had several former players, and we all know Bobby had a lot going on. Not only did he show up, he was in a suit and tie. He was as professional and polite as anyone could be. He answered every question, he signed autographs, and he never looked at his watch. At that moment, I understood why Bobby’s players love him so much.

Bobby Cox is a class act, and I will miss him. Good luck in your retirement, Bobby, and thanks for everything.

Posey’s Better….Really?

Last night during Game 1 of the Braves-Giants NLDS, San Francisco fans jeered Atlanta Braves rookie Jason Heyward with the chant “Posey’s Better!” in reference to San Francisco’s Buster Posey being the superior rookie. Frankly, I thought it was kind of rude. Georgia gives you Posey, and you give us Rice-A-Roni. Thanks. There is no doubt that Posey is a phenomenal young baseball player, but let’s not sell Heyward short.

Instead of taunts, let’s look at the performances of the two players this season to see what they provided for their respective big-league this season.

Player 		Positions 	PA 	Batting Runs 	Def. Runs Saved
Buster Posey	C(73%)/1B	443	15.7		5
Jason Heyward	RF		623	26.6		10

With the bat, Heyward produced more runs; with his glove he saved more runs; and he played 40% more than Posey. Simply put, Jason Heyward gave more value to his team than Buster Posey did in 2010, and it wasn’t really close. Using the method that I explain in my new book, I estimated that Heyward’s performance was worth approximately $14 million compared to Posey’s $9 million. Given that there has been so much discussion about who should be the NL Rookie of the Year, how is it that Heyward has such a big lead?

Then main difference between the two players is that Heyward played more. While the J-Hey Kid was taking an early lead in the Rookie of the Year sweepstakes, Posey was in Triple-A Fresno. And the value of runs is increasing, not linear, so the marginal runs added by Heyward were more valuable. Whether that’s Posey’s fault or nor, it’s still value that Posey didn’t contribute.

You might argue that Posey played the tougher position of catcher. Well, he did, part of the time. About three-fourths of his defensive innings were played at catcher, a tougher position than right field. But when he was first called up, he played first base, a less valuable position than right field. And while right field may be relatively less important than catcher, Jason Heyward played it excellently saving ten runs more than the average right fielder. Buster Posey wasn’t as good between his two positions.

Now, past aside, is Buster Posey better than Jason Heyward? An affirmative answer is certainly defensible. But, if you’re going to be jerks about it, this is the kind of analysis that you’re going to get from a bitter Braves fan. So, don’t be surprised if Turner Field welcomes Gerald Demp “Buster” Posey back to Georgia with a classic “GER-ald…GER-ald.” Nah, we’re too nice for that.

Fall Training: Getting Ready for the Hot Stove League

If your team didn’t make it to the playoffs, this is a tough time of year. You can’t watch your guys play, and your club can’t start making major moves to improve until after the World Series. But fret not, while your buddies rooting for teams still in the championship hunt are concentrating on the playoffs, you can bone up on the upcoming action in the hot stove league with my new book Hot Stove Economics: Understanding Baseball’s Second Season.

Book-jacket description:

The final out of the World Series marks the beginning of baseball’s second season, when teams court free agents and orchestrate trades with the hope of building a championship contender. The real and anticipated transactions generate excitement among fans who discuss the merit of moves in the arena informally known as the “hot stove league.” In Hot Stove Economics, economist J.C. Bradbury answers the hot stove league’s most important question: what are baseball players worth? With in-depth analysis, Bradbury identifies the game’s best and worst contracts—revealing the bargains, duds, and players who are worth every penny they receive. From minor-league prospects to major-league MVPs, Bradbury examines how factors such as revenue growth, labor rules, and aging— even down to the month in which players are born—shape players’ worth and evaluates how well franchises manage their rosters. He broadly applies the principles of economics to baseball in a way that is both interesting and understandable to sports fanatics, team managers, armchair economists and students alike.

Table of Contents (The Preface and Chapter 2 are available online as free previews.):

Preface

PART I. GETTING STARTED
1 Why Johnny Estrada Is Worth Kevin Millwood: Valuing Players As Assets
Hot Stove Myth: Every Trade has a Winner and a Loser

2 Down With The Triple-Crown: Evaluating On-Field Performance
Hot Stove Myth: Some Players are Clutch

3 A Career Guide From Little League To Retirement: Age And Success In Baseball
Hot Stove Myth: Players Peak at 27

PART II. TRANSLATING PERFORMANCE INTO DOLLARS
4 Putting A Dollar Sign On The Muscle: Valuing Players
Hot Stove Myth: Replacement Players are Cheap and Abundant

5 Deals, Duds, And Caveats: What Do The Estimates Reveal?
Hot Stove Myth: The Size of the Free-Agent Pool Affects Player Salaries

6 Winning On A Dime: The Best- And Worst-Managed Franchises Of The Decade
Hot Stove Myth: General Managers can Buy Low and Sell High

PART III. PROJECTING PERFORMANCE
7 Is C.C. Sabathia Worth $161 Million? Valuing Long-Run Contracts
Hot Stove Myth: Player Salaries Raise Prices at the Gate

8 You Don’t Need A Name To Be Traded: Valuing Minor-League Prospects
Hot Stove Myth: College Players are Better Draft Bets than High School Players

9 Epiliogue

The book will be released tomorrow, and the e-book version is already available for purchase. There are links to the book’s pages of several online sellers on the right sidebar. You can get more news about the book on it’s Facebook page and by following me on Twitter.

During the offseason, I’ll be writing quite a bit on the topics discussed in the book as they apply to current events. If you have any topics relating to the book that you’d like me to write on, please let me know.

Why It’s OK for Players to Call Out Fans

Earlier this week, Evan Longoria and David Price stated that they were embarrassed by the weak attendance to their potential playoff-clinching game in Tampa Bay on Monday night. Their comments brought immediate backlash from the baseball media. How could guys making millions of dollars criticize fans for not supporting them, especially in the climate of a recession?! Pundits also cited the ugly facility, the difficulty of getting to the stadium, and the possibility that puppies might be run over by fans driving to the game. Oh, the horror.

What this was, was a rallying of the troops, and it’s exactly what the Rays need. Sporting events benefit from bandwagon effects. People want to go where other people are. If the Rays game is the place to be, then citizens need to know that. The way to make it so is to get someone who is well-liked to say it’s the place to be. I can’t think of better spokesmen than Longoria and Price.

Baseball is a business, and if fans don’t want to pay to see the games, that’s their right. But they have to understand that when you don’t patronize a business, it goes away. Do fans want that? If fans aren’t going to come out, then the owners may decide it’s in their best interest to trade their valuable commodities elsewhere instead of actively seeking improvements on the free-agent market. The owners may even decide it’s not worth staying in town, find a prospective new location where fans will go to the game, buy out the lease, and hit the road. Why stick around if fans won’t even come when the team is doing exactly what fans in many other cities wish their front offices would do?

Rays owner Stuart Sternberg has already announced that the Rays will be slashing payroll. The reason for this is that all the investments intended to improve the team were done, not out of kindness, but to make money. As I have found, in most cases winning begets high returns. But this hasn’t been true for the Rays.

If Tampa Bay residents want good baseball to remain, they are going to have to support it. Good fans sometimes need a push, just as good soldiers sometimes need a reminder from a general. That’s all Price and Longoria were offering, and I don’t think there is anything inappropriate about their comments.

Identifying Prospects

Request:

1) What traits or skills do MLB teams scout for, and what do they expect players to develop over time?
2) What traits/skills do teams avoid? How do they estimate injury risk, and do they do this well? Can they?
3) What pitches generate more injuries? It seems that pitchers who throw a curveball more often get injured more (think Ben Sheets, Chris Carpenter, Stephen Strasburg). Is this really the case, and if so, is it worth the risk?

I don’t know exactly what teams look for in players beyond the five tools, tall pitchers, and possibly the “good face.” Kevin Kerrane wrote a marvelous book on scouting in the 1980s Dollar Sign on the Muscle, which follows the lives of several scouts and discusses the characteristics they look for. While there is some agreement over what makes a baseball player good, different scouts and organizations have their own philosophies as to what characteristics mark future success.

I can’t comment on how to predict success based on personal observations (a technique one of my professors referred to as “ocular least squares”), but I have looked for makers for success in minor-league performance statistics. I report my results and explain my methods for predicting success in the Chapter 8 of Hot Stove Economics. I even put a dollar value on prospects using these characteristics.

The difficulty with picking out major-leaguers before they’re ripe is that while most future big-league players excel in the minors, many bad players do as well. Looking beyond the slash stats reveals some common characteristics of big-league players, and some of the stats I found useful for predicting major-league success aren’t necessarily stats that I find to be the most useful stats for evaluating players once they make it. For example, I rarely look at the batting averages and strikeout rates of major-league hitters, but I find that high batting averages and low strikeout rates are important predictors of major-league success. You can succeed in the big leagues with a low average and striking out a lot, but even players who struggle in these areas typically handled the bat much better in the minors. Also important are a player’s walk rate and isolated power. If you have patience and can hit the ball hard, you’re more likely to succeed in the majors that players who lack these skills. And you can’t look at minor-league performances without also accounting for age. A twenty-year-old who’s treading water in Triple-A may have more promise than some of the older guys having success at the level.

Another interesting finding was that the stats below High-A ball have no predictive power. At this level, predicting success requires personal observations of trained scouts.

As for how players skills develop, I’ve done some work looking at how major-league players improve and decline over their careers. For hitters, batting average and power peak in the mid-to-late-20s, but these skills see minimal improvement and decline. The ability to walk improves into the early-30s, but the age-range of peak performance is less than it is for batting average. Pitcher strikeout ability is at its greatest almost as soon as pitchers enter the league, but this ability doesn’t diminish as fast as other skills. Like hitters, pitchers improve in walking into their early-30s. This is likely the result of acquired knowledge that allows older players to succeed, even as their physical athletic skills are deteriorating.

As for identifying injuries, that’s something that is not well-understood outside of baseball. I would hope that teams are conducting their own internal analyses of injuries, but most of that knowledge is kept private. Baseball injury data is just starting to become available where we can look at factors that influence injuries. The research being done in sports medicine journals is good and is still developing. What I have found interesting is that the medical community seems to have a better grasp on youth injuries than it does on adult injuries. For example, I’ve got a study on my desk that looks at factors that impact elbow injuries among youth pitchers—arm fatigue and mechanics seem to matter, but curve balls don’t. Play tracking systems like Pitchf/x, and motion analysis technology like Dartfish should help us better predict and prevent injuries for all players.

Determining Awards: Results Versus Performance

I’m starting on blogging requests. This one actually came in before I opened the queue.

How much do you think the Cy Young voters should take into account things like BABiP? On the one hand, it’s not [Tim] Hudson’s fault he’s getting lucky and getting outs, and that is his job. On the other hand, it’s not all Hudson’s performance that has led to all those outs. My tendency is to want the BBWAA to hand out individual awards based on performance and not based on results. How much should results matter over performance, if at all, in your opinion?

Sports awards are kind of silly when you think about it. We use awards for the arts when there are no winners (e.g., Oscars, Emmys, etc.), but sports competitions have winners. Why bother? And the ESPYs? Who watches that? But, for whatever reason, awards have been around for a long time, and it’s fun to argue over who is the best. So, it’s a worthy topic of discussion.

The results versus performance debate is an interesting one. If I was trying to predict future outcomes, then distinguishing true performance from luck in outcomes is of utmost importance. Awards are backwards looking, and in sports competitions all we care about is outcomes. At the end of the regular season, we don’t pick post-season participants based on Pythagorean records or some other luck-sanitizing measure. For individual awards, should the standard be different? On the hitting side, I developed PrOPS to identify when players may be over- and under-performing based on the way they hit the ball. Fortuitous bounces and wind gusts may push a good hitter into the elite category, but I wouldn’t pick a player with a higher PrOPS over a player with a higher OPS to win an offensive award. I think what actually happens on the field matters more.

Here is another example. I don’t think Jose Bautista will ever hit 50 home runs in a season ever again, but should the flukyness of his season take away from the luster? Maybe he’s not in the MVP discussions, but if he was, I don’t think any favorable match-ups, wind-conditions, or other factors beyond his control that may have helped him outperform other players should put him out of contention for the award. The reason I’m reluctant not to single the performance out as an aberration is that an alternate explanation for Bautista’s improvement is that the took active steps to play better. Even if I can specifically identify good luck he benefited from, there is also the chance that there is unidentified bad luck that I am missing.

When it come to pitchers, that analysis gets a little more complicated. Batters do most everything they do by themselves. Pitchers need the help of fielders to get outs. Batting average on balls in play is something that pitchers have little control over, and BABIP is heavily influenced by randomness. I’m a strong-DIPS proponent. I think the evidence is clear that pitchers have very little control over hits on balls in play, and even on extra-base hits on balls in play. When I see a pitcher like Tim Hudson near the top of the league in ERA with a strikeout-to-walk ratio of less than two, I have a hard time treating Hudson as pitching as one of the league’s elite pitchers. Tim Hudson is a good pitcher, and at times this season he has been one of the best, but the award should go to the best pitcher for the entire season. Even if Hudson led the league in ERA, I couldn’t support him for the Cy Young.

It may seem that I am judging Bautista and Hudson by different standards by ignoring luck for the former but not for the latter, but I’m really focusing on different types of randomness. The role that randomness plays for pitchers is different than it is for hitters, because the main metrics that we use to judge pitchers are heavily polluted by factors beyond their control. If a pitcher gets lucky in striking out batters or preventing walks and homers, I’d have no problem supporting a Cy Young campaign, even if I thought there was little chance that he could continue to perform with the same level of outcome success.

So, when its outcomes versus performance, I prefer to focus on outcomes, but I there has to be some accounting for luck. And due to the nature of the luck they experience, I think we have to treat pitchers differently than we treat hitters when accounting for luck.

Taking Requests

The hectic summer took me away from the blog more than I had anticipated, but things are beginning to lighten up to where I can settle back into a routine in October. If you have any topics that you would like me to write on, let me know via the comments, e-mail, Twitter, or Facebook.

On the JQAS Study of Attendance and Winning

The other day, the Wall Street Journal posted a note about an interesting research finding regarding baseball attendance and winning. According to research published in the Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports increasing attendance increases the home team’s chance of winning. The finding makes some intuitive sense. If players are motivated and umpires are influenced by a large boisterous crowd, then teams might want to make more of an effort to get fans to the ballpark. I’ve had a few people ask for my opinion of this study, and since I am quite familiar with the paper I will offer a very blunt negative assessment.

When I first saw a draft of this paper as a referee for another journal, I was intrigued by the finding. I reviewed the paper positively, but I still had a few questions that I thought the authors needed to address before the results could be accepted and published according to the quality standards of the journal. A few months later a revised paper was submitted to me, but I was not pleased by the revisions.

In my initial referee report, I suggested using a method that I had used for investigating how umpires are influenced by outside pressure using QuesTec. The authors bizarrely interpreted my suggestion and did something that made little sense. But more importantly, they credited a source that they did not use, and that source happened to be me. Using the citation that I had provided, they stated that in my work I had found that QuesTec monitoring limited racial bias by umpires. I was shocked to read this, because I have done no such research. The authors simply fabricated this. I can only guess their motives: I suspect laziness in an attempt to placate an annoying referee.

If the authors had lied about something so simple and easy to verify, what had they done behind the scene, where numbers can easily be manipulated? I looked at the results more closely, things looked fishy, and the explanations in the text didn’t make much sense. I wrote up my report, in which I stressed the severity of the academic integrity violation and expressed my other concerns about the research. I recommended that the editor reject the paper, and he agreed with my recommendation. In his letter to the authors, he also noted the false citation.

Jump ahead to earlier this year. I stumbled across the paper at JQAS. To my surprise, the paper had been published with the offending text that I had identified in my report. I contacted JQAS editor Ben Alamar to tell him the saga of the paper. I was most upset by the academic dishonesty, but I was also concerned that my work was being cited as finding results that I didn’t find. Dr. Alamar responded promptly and stated that he would discuss the matter with the editorial board.

Soon after I initiated my complaint, I received an e-mail from one of the study’s authors Erin Smith. She apologized to me and stated that the incorrect text should not have referred to my book but to some commentary that I provided on another study of racial bias among umpires in The New York Times. I replied to Ms. Smith that I appreciated her apology; however, this did not explain why the error made it to the JQAS. Ms. Smith was unaware that I was an anonymous referee on her paper, that I was someone who had previously pointed out the error to her, and that I was aware that another journal editor had also pointed out this error to her. Yet, the offending text remained in the paper. Ms. Smith was lying again, and I never received another response from her.

A few weeks later, I received an e-mail from JQAS editor Ben Alamar in which he stated, “I just wanted to let you know that we have finished our review and have rejected the paper based on the incorrect citation of your work.” So, you can imagine my surprise when I read an article on the study in the mainstream media. When I went to the JQAS’s website, I found the paper still published with the following appended.

Erratum
Please note that the following statement has been retracted from Page 4:

“Bradbury (2007) shows racial discrimination is less likely to occur when the umpires are monitored by an electronic pitch tracking system called QuesTec.”

There is no argument in the paper by Bradbury that such discrimination is likely to occur.

The offending passage was removed with explanation; however, this is not what I had been told would be done to rectify the situation. I contacted Dr. Alamar to request an explanation, but he has not yet replied to me.

As you might imagine, I am not particularly happy about this affair. I don’t like academic dishonesty, I don’t like being lied to, and I’d rather spend my time doing other things. The thing that annoys me the most is that none of this should have happened. Ms. Smith could have removed the offending passage, or Dr. Alamar could have just told me that the journal would publish the paper with an erratum. I still wouldn’t think much of the paper or the decision to publish it, but that would be the end of it.

I would also like to note that this is the second time that I have identified serious errors published in JQAS articles (I identified coding irregularities in a paper that claimed to find performance spikes among players included in the Mitchell Report) and nothing was done about it.