DTW Book Club v1

by Kevin in Dallas on May 21, 2013 · 4 comments

in 2013 Season,Statistics

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This could fail miserably…but here goes.

I found this gem on Amazon a few days ago (under “Books you may like” what does this say?).

I’m only a few chapters into it, but it is FANTASTIC, and I think that several of you would really enjoy it. Here’s the write-up from Amazon:


An ex-Wall Street trader improved on Moneyball‘s famed sabermetrics to place bets that would beat the Vegas odds on Major League Baseball games–with a 41 percent return in his first year. Trading Bases explains how he did it. After the fall of Lehman Brothers, Joe Peta needed a new employer. He found a new job in New York City but lost that, too, when an ambulance mowed him down as he crossed the street on foot. In search of a way to cheer himself up while he recuperated in a wheelchair, Peta started watching baseball again, as he had growing up. That’s when inspiration hit: Why not apply his outstanding risk-analysis skills to improve on sabermetrics, the method made famous by Moneyball–and beat the only market in town, the Vegas betting line? Why not treat MLB like the S&P 500?In Trading Bases, Peta shows how to subtract luck–in particular “cluster luck,” as he puts it–from a team’s statistics to best predict how it will perform in the next game and over the whole season. His baseball “hedge fund” returned an astounding 41 percent in 2011– with daily volatility similar to funds he used to trade for. Peta takes readers to the ballpark in San Francisco, trading floors and baseball bars in New York, and sports books in Vegas, all while tracing the progress of his wagers.

Far from writing a dry, do-it-yourself guidebook, Peta weaves a story that is often humorous, and occasionally touching; the topic may be “Big Data” but it’s as entertaining as a Bill Simmons column. Trading Bases is all about the love of critical reasoning, trading cultures, risk management, and baseball. And not necessarily in that order.
He’s already brought up “run efficiency” which is something that we discussed on here a few weeks (or months?) ago. If anyone picks it up, let me know and we can discuss.


Coleman May 21, 2013 at 11:24 am

I like the phrase “cluster luck;” it would be interesting to see how he defines that.

The Strategy Expert May 21, 2013 at 2:51 pm

Yeah this does sound like a fascinating read. I’m all about “run efficiency” and understand and appreciate the approach very intimately from my own individual perspective.

I like the “cluster luck” concept too. That’s very important. His concept sounds a little global with respect to predicting how a team performs, but I think that this concept can apply to specific elements of the game. From a strategy perspective you can’t tell a hitter exactly where to place his shots and you can’t tell them when they are going to be issued a free pass by the pitcher. You could have bad luck or good luck and so the art of managing the game comes down to making decisions that aren’t based upon trying to defeat luck that is outside of your control.

A guy like this with a stock background would feel similarly. When picking stocks a lot of people just buy blindly and without diversifying and thus they are really piling on lots of extra and unnecessary risk that is voluntary, and it’s the kind of risk you aren’t getting paid for. A trained stock professional won’t make that mistake and he will diversify a portfolio and with the same dollar amount as an inexperienced investor he would automatically have a built-in advantage since he simply factored out a portion of the risk that the other person didn’t understand how to unravel out of the situation.

In conclusion, I haven’t read the book but I get the idea. The author is an expert in this subject, something that the Tigers have little understanding of as the concept analogizes over to baseball:


stephen May 21, 2013 at 2:34 pm

This isn’t a baseball book, but, uh, I wrote it! http://www.themagicalstranger.com/

The Strategy Expert May 21, 2013 at 2:53 pm

Neat web page for the book!

This is off-topic too, but I have sales of over $2k from a strategy book and service that I created for the Goal Line Blitz game. I bring it up now just because that’s one of those sites that had a unique way to exploit football for a internet business opportunity. I happened to find the game on day 1 and played it for quite a while. Baseball needs more attention!

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