The Wisdom of You

We have entered the most boring part of the year for a baseball fan. The season is long over, and the once-sizzling hot stove has been reduced to embers. We have nothing to occupy us except what-if scenarios and trade talk. This is the time of year that leads actual paid writers to write things like "Club relying on starters to stay healthy all season long." Seriously, if that's what the Cubs are relying on, I'm out of here. But fear not - there is a cure for boredom, and it comes from a non-baseball source. We're going to spend the next month predicting how the Cubs will do this season. And by "we," I mean "you." I'm just about to start reading "The Wisdom of Crowds" by New Yorker business writer James Surowiecki. His basic thesis is this:
large groups of people are smarter than an elite few, no matter how brilliantóbetter at solving problems, fostering innovation, coming to wise decisions, even predicting the future.
It's a provocative idea, and we're going to put it to the test. There are 36 days before pitchers and catchers report for Spring Training. Over that period of time we, the Cub Reporter community, are going to predict the 2006 stats for the Cubs. Here's how it's going to work: Every day, a new player will be up for prediction. Email what you think that player's stats will be for the 2006 season to me. I'll collate all the answers and determine what the TCR community thinks that player will do. It's just that simple! Feel free to post/discuss your predictions in the comments, though I will only use predictions which come to me via email. I'll do this for two reasons. First, it'll be a lot easier for me to keep track of them that way. Second, one of Surowiecki's conjectures is that it's important that the people in the crowd "need to be independent, so that they pay attention mostly to their own information, and not worrying about what everyone around them thinks." I was going to say not to discuss your predictions in the comments at all, but that hardly seems fair, so all I'm going to suggest is that you refrain from posting/discussing them until you've actually sent them in to me. That way you won't be swayed by what other people think might happen. I'll post the results when pitchers and catchers report. I'll also keep track of each individual prediction, and we should be able to get some nice prizes to people who come closest to nailing any specific player's prediction. I'd like these predictions to go beyond just the basic average, homers and RBIs. For offensive players, please give your prediction of: * Games played * At-bats * Hits * Doubles * Triples * Home runs * Runs batted in * Runs scored * Walks * Strikeouts * Stolen bases For pitchers, please give your prediction of: * Games pitched * Games started * Wins * Losses * Saves * Innings pitched * Hits allowed * Earned runs allowed * Home runs allowed * Walks * Strikeouts I'll post the first player later today. So sharpen your pencils, polish your crystal balls, make sure your PECOTAs are properly adjusted, and prepare to prognosticate!


What a damn good idea....

Crowds may be right on most matters, but rarely on sports. Its a well known fact that when a line shifts to bet the other side.

Hardball tells us what we already know about CP.

I think politics pretty much disproves the smart mob theory. And experts rely on being right, either to keep their job or status, so they will take more steps to insure their results are at a higher standard, while the mob only has their ego to power them. But still, it will be fun.

Have you read that book Kinanik? You should before you start to argue against it. I am stating the well known sports fact that professional gamblers will often take the other side when a line shifts in one direction.

ESPN1000 is reporting that CPatterson has been traded to BAL for 2 minor leaguers...the 2 prospects will be named within the hour according to Bruce Levine.

the other thread pointed to a site that claimed it was going to be these 2 guys INF Bryan Bass and P Chris Britton We'll see,,,

Can we please trade all of our chips away for crap and be done already. I still have some false hopes that need to be crushed. They have Britton listed at #17 on their list, reliever and here's their scouting report.. <i>No one in the organization had a more dominate season then this 22-year old did at Frederick this year. Amazingly ended up tenth in the Carolina League in strikeouts despite not starting one game all year. A strike thrower who varies the speed on his fastball between 90 and 94 MPH and compliments it with a tight late breaking curveball and a developing changeup. Held Carolina batters to a .175 average. Broke the Keys single season strikeout record for a reliever.</i> Listed by BA. com as having the best control of any Orioles pitcher Bass didn't make the Orioles Hangout Top 40 list but has him ranked as the best infield arm in the organization. Looks pretty awful with the bat, Britton looks pretty good though Who knows if that site is correct, but they did claim 2 O's prospects while the major newspapers sounded like it was only one, so maybe they know something over there. If it turns out to be correct, it's my new favorite site. :)

The Baltimore Orioles acquired outfielder Corey Patterson from the Chicago Cubs on Monday for shortstop Nate Spears and left-hander Carlos Perez.

Form Chicago Trib: "Spears, 20, spent the 2005 season at Baltimore's Carolina League affiliate. The left-handed hitter batted .294 with six homers and 41 RBI in 112 games. Perez recorded his first career double-digit winning season in 2005, going 11-8 in 27 starts for Class A Delmarva. The 23-year-old worked a career-high 151.1 innings -- and struck out 146 batters while issuing just 61 walks. He ranked second in the league in starts and fourth in strikeouts."

LOL! Try doing this at BCB. Everyone will over predict do to cocoon mentality. At least here, you might get a fair spread of optimists and realists.

Kiniac, Haven't read it, but I highly doubt The Wisdom of Crowds would have anything to say about politics, which reflects preference rather than anything that can be identified as right or wrong. (Politics is also an arean where judgments are not formed independently...)

"The reason democracy doesn't work is because the majority is usually wrong." --Benito Mussolini As this quote was from a fascist who was hung by his own people, take it with a grain of salt. But it has a little wisdom in it. Somewhere.

I'm not saying that on sports anyone can really be trusted, but that I'd trust PECOTA or Bill James over the majority consensus if I had to bet on one. Though if you take 1000 random people you're more likely to come up with the right answer than 2 experts :p I haven't read the book; I was just commenting on the reasoning. I think Mussolini does have a point; a group of selfless, well educated individules who ruled the country could be better than teh average democratically elected leader, but there's a greater chance of someone like Mussolini taking a system like that and doing what he did than there is in a democracy. The Majority may be usually wrong, but they usually weed out the really bad apples.

I have a question on the methodology -- Why is it important to not have our personal estimate influenced by one another's estimates? I have not read this particular book, but my general understanding of similar theories (such as the one behind the Iowa Electoral Market, which is now being adapted by, of all people, the Pentagon to help predict the next terrorist attack) is that the "general consensus" that will emerge from a group of people paying attention to a matter will tend to be more right than any one person's estimate. That seems to me like collaboration or communication before presenting estimates would contribute to the overall quality of the estimate. Of course, not everyone will collaborate and some may actually take a contrarian stand against what a particularly-influential voice may believe. But isn't that kinda the point? If AZ Phil predicts a .280/.320/.400 season from DLee and we all think it is bunk, we can collectively "override" that estimate by submitting our own. As for the criticism of casting votes in a democracy and majority rule, I point you to Ken Arrow's Impossibility Theorem, which shows that there is no one perfect voting system that would satisfy all criteria (such as consistency, participation, maximization of preferences/Concorcet, independence of irrelevant alternatives) that we would like a voting system to achieve. But as Churchill said, "Democracy is the worst form of government, except all those others that have been tried from time to time."

<i>As for the criticism of casting votes in a democracy and majority rule, I point you to Ken Arrow's Impossibility Theorem, which shows that there is no one perfect voting system that would satisfy all criteria (such as consistency, participation, maximization of preferences/Concorcet, independence of irrelevant alternatives) that we would like a voting system to achieve.</i> What you mean "we," paleface. First, I'm not sure that randomness must be universally rejected (that is, I can see accepting a non-deterministic system). Second, you can get around Arrow's paradox by restricting the issue to two possible outcomes (e.g. candidates).

Recent comments

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  • It's Magic.
  • "never been a fan of using closers in non-save situations." Tie game at home in the ninth, there can never be a save situation. So you're saying, don't use your best reliever today.
  • Sorry if this was covered in a different thread, but while I overall like this new design, the white type on the dark background is a killer. I may be in the minority on that. But again, nice job.
  • It was almost like Javy was saying, "see, O&B, same old Javy here." Guy's gotta learn you don't need to swing hard to knock a Chapman ball out of the park. Choke up, dude, follow Rizzo's lead.
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