Good Process, Bad Outcome

You slot Tim Lincecum into your fantasy team’s starting rotation, feeling pretty smug because you have Tim Lincecum, and “they” don’t. In fact, he’s facing the Nationals today! A team that scores poorly, and hinges on just two guys to drive their offense. You were smart to draft, and you’re smart for starting him today. But shit, he gave up 6 runs in 4.2 innings?!? He recorded an ERA of 11.57, and a WHIP of 2.36. You’re fantasy team might be screwed this week. You made a bad decision to start him, right? Obviously not. He’s a great pitcher with a great matchup, and you’d start him 100 more times in this situation. The outcome does not always reflect the genius of the process, and therefore you can’t always put too much weight on the outcome.

Paul DePodesta–the current front office assistant for the Padres,  former GM of the LA Dodgers and before that, wingman of Moneyball’s Billy Beane–wrote a piece a few years ago that nicely summarizes my view of the Mariners 2010 season. When dealing with uncertainty, to which baseball is definitely vulnerable, management must focus on the process it utilizes to create the team and the lower minor league organizations. Management must use logic to put the best possible team on the field and in the minors, given the available resources, and I believe that is what the Ms have done.

Here is DePodesta’s take from a GM’s point of view: Draft Process – About Process.

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