Tim Marchman has an interesting column/bookreview in today's Wall Street Journal online, titled The Religion of Prediction (sorry, no link). In it he discusses three recent books on sabremetrics, which he calls, "the province of cranks and eccentrics,"
"constantly devising systems to bring all knowledge into one orbit, in service of an idea of universal order (operating) on the faith that reality will, under careful enough scrutiny, turn out to operate under fixed percentages, and that these will, if discovered, allow you to see into the future."
Note the quotation marks, his words, not mine.
This is a subject far beyond my capacity to evaluate, but it's an interesting discussion. As they say, read the whole thing.
Marchman is reviewing three recent books: Jonah Keri's "The Extra 2%" dealing with the Tampa Bay Rays, Frederick Taylor's " The Runmakers: A New Way to Rate Baseball Players," and Michael Humphrey's "Wizardry: Baseball's All-Time Greatest Fielders Revealed." Marchman seems to prefer the latter title, and the burden of his argument seems to be that "technology," referring to Pitch f/x and the developing Field f/x, "is making the mining of traditional baseball statistics for practical insights obsolete -- everybody will have the same information." Replacing data mining, he seems to be saying, will be technology such as camera analysis of Pitchers' biomechanics to predict, and hopefully forestall through proper training and instruction, the possibility of the next Steven Strasburg (or Brad Lincoln) blowing out his arm.