Do Youth Baseball Statistics Matter?
Posted by Eric Davis on Jan 3rd 2021
Do they tell the truth or a lie?
Statistics can be a useful tool; they help us to understand complex information and boil it down into an understandable number. But even statistics have their downfall.
They can be used to enhance understanding but they can also be used to say whatever the statistician wants. For this reason, we have to be careful when taking any statistic too seriously and evaluate the basic data for ourselves.
We have to decide what statistics are worth drawing from the raw information provided.
As oftentimes, this can be convoluted into something that is essentially meaningless, but powerful in the minds of others.
Youth baseball statistics are gathered by people, and people will always be prone to things such as genuine error, unconscious or conscious bias, and influence by others. This makes any information gathered a little suspect as to how accurate it really is.
In youth baseball, those affecting this information are often inexperienced volunteers, and as such the results of this information may represent that lack of experience.
With baseball, subjective calls are relatively frequent. These calls can alter the statistics generated greatly and are open to a lot of different possibilities.
This is one of the downfalls of statistics; they can’t be accurately used to represent something that is subjective. For statistics to be reliable the information gathered should be objective with little room for variation.
With inexperienced scorekeepers this variability is increased exponentially resulting in sometimes unreliable information.
As stated before, humans are innately biased; it isn’t something that can be eliminated as a factor. In some cases, this bias can be stronger, such as if one’s child is involved.
Bias is interesting, in that more often than not, people don’t believe they are acting in a biased manner when in reality they are.
This is a major factor in keeping a good book and must be taken into account when evaluating any results formed from a source of possible bias.
There are other factors that come into play when evaluating statistics gathered from youth baseball as well. While these are also unavoidable, they should be understood and taken into consideration when reviewing any stats.
How statistics portray our players can be affected drastically by the variability of the competition.
An opposing team who is not as strong will inflate the statistics of our players, while an exceptionally good team will drag down the well-earned stats of those same players.
With statistics, sample size is one of the most important factors. The larger the sample size the more accurate any statistics derived from it will be.
With a large sample size, things such as extremely good or bad competition will have less impact on the overall results of your players; leaving you with more accurate results.
Players improve rapidly with the right coaching and training plan, so having recent information available is important.
Information from a year or even a few months ago may no longer be relevant as our players grow in skill.
When considering statistics this is another important factor to take into account.
How To Use Stats Effectively
While statistics have some downfalls, they can still be used to help coach your team better.
By keeping in mind the potential problems, you can look at your players stats with the needed clarity to fully understand them.
Watch For Trends
If you find a stat that is concerning for one of your players, for example a low contact rate, watch how they play and what factors could be affecting this.
Take that statistic in combination with your own observations to decide the best way to address any problem areas.
Don’t Ignore High Scores
The opposite is also true, just because someone has a high stat in an area doesn’t necessarily mean that there isn’t any work to be done.
After all, we can always improve and learn to do better.
Watch these aspects as well and see if they are still ringing true, if not, one of the downfalls of statistics may be affecting these numbers.
Value Offensive Stats Over Defensive
Offensive statistics are less open to certain pitfalls such as subjectivity.
For instance, they either had a hard-hit or they didn’t.
This is less open to bias and subjectivity than other defensive statistics.
While what you do with the baseball glove is just as important, it is less easy to evaluate based solely on statistics.
This is an area that your observation will paint a more accurate representation than subjective data.
What You Should Do
Keep Stats Private
There are pros and cons to making players statistics public.
It can help explain your rational in how you are using each player, but it can also create drama and competition.
Parents and players can be easily wrapped up in scores that may not be accurate representations of actual play and ability.
Don’t Over Inflate Their Importance
By keeping everyone aware of both the benefits and downsides of youth baseball statistics you can help everyone be on the same page.
This will help decrease any unnecessary competition and drama surrounding scores.
Remember That Scouts Don’t Care
Minor changes in each players statistic shouldn’t be a cause of concern.
This will happen, and any scouts will base their assessment off of their own observations rather than possibly inaccurate statistics.
Youth baseball statistics can be helpful in analyzing players, but make sure that you are looking at the overall picture.
Being wise with how you share this information can help keep your team and their parents happy, while limiting drama.
For each team there will be some trial and error, and what works for one may not work for another.
So, keep working at it until you find your teams ideal balance.