By Jason Wojciechowski on October 31, 2010 at 11:20 PM
Here's an interesting interview with old-school baseball analyst Eric Walker. Walker's not as famous as Bill James, but just like James, you can draw a line from Earnshaw Cook through Walker to today's giants, like Tom Tango. Walker doesn't say anything new in the interview, but the thing I like is that he hammers on how basic all this stats stuff is for offense: we've known what contributes to run-scoring and what doesn't for decades now. We're long past the point where we should be talking about new-fangled this or radical that. Rubin tries to press Walker at one point on whether a team can play more small-ball in a big park, and Walker shuts him down appropriately: the point of being at bat is to not make an out. Whether you're playing in Yosemite or the sandlot down the street, you don't give away outs. It's very simple.
Walker does talk about how run prevention has been the new focus of teams like Seattle and Oakland (and, he doesn't say, Boston). Unfortunately, he pulls out the "look where that got them" card, which is silly. It hasn't helped the A's and Seattle do much in recent years, but, as to the former, that's more a failure of player development on the offensive side (there's been no Chavez, Tejada, Giambi, or even Swisher to match the Anderson, Cahill, Bailey ascension), and as to the latter, Jack Z. has had two years to reform a thoroughly broken organization. Let's give it a little time.