When an analyst or website claims to have the best piece of intel or newest statistic, do they really? Too often I have come across websites that just repeat what every other person already knows – they just have prettier pictures. Making the pictures interactive doesn’t really add much to the equation either. With an understanding of pivot tables, “if” statements, or even how to abuse visualization software, anyone could create the latest and greatest data visual.I like Ian’s comment because he states that we sometimes forget to “torture the data.” Let us return to the glory days of developing sabermetrics! I like the idea of sabermetrics since its main goal is to discover objective knowledge about baseball. Sabermetrics doesn’t simply take a batting average and plot it 15 different ways. It looks at the batting average and determines if it truly represents the value of a player or team. Data is mined, formulas are explored and new ways of valuing players and teams are discovered – this is what makes true analysis!
We, as analysts, need to avoid the trap of displaying simple box score data in cool 6-D plots that no one else has and call it new insight. Although I am all for visual display of data – Brian Burke does an excellent job displaying unique analysis – we need to keep in mind that true analysis comes from really searching the data for new insight. Apply data mining, use machine learning, execute simulations – use whatever mathematical technique it takes to figure out statistically why the Ravens won the Super Bowl.