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Does the Astros scandal make you feel differently about Elias or the "Astroball" strategy?


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#1 Slidemaster

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Posted 14 January 2020 - 12:03 PM

I have to admit, I've been thinking about it. I don't think Elias was a cheater, but it does make me wonder about Houston's philosophy and success. This is one of the largest systemic cheating scandals in the sport's history, and could have theoretically impacted the performance of every player on the big league club.

I think a lot of the changes Elias wants to make are good. I'm in full support of building through draft picks, international scouting, and analytics. Still, the whole concept of "Astroball" seems much more open to criticism if a major component of it was cheating.

I'm having some doubts about how much of their magic was rooted in being smarter than the room, and how much was cheating.

#2 Mackus

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Posted 14 January 2020 - 12:31 PM

I think the things Elias was credited with doing would have merit whether the Astros were the best hitting team int he league or just an ok hitting team.  

 

I think even before this the idea that Elias was some genius savior with a plan that was certain to be effective, if slow, was folly.  That remains true now.  But his plan doesn't get any less meritful because of the scandal, either.



#3 mweb08

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Posted 14 January 2020 - 12:43 PM

The primary reason why people praise Astroball is the results. Those results are now tainted (can argue how much). So, I think it is fair to have more skepticism over the legitimacy of the results, and therefore also the process that led to those results.

#4 bmore_ken

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Posted 14 January 2020 - 12:53 PM

I personally don't think some video takes you from a team that loses 100 three straight years to a team that's won 100 three straight years. 



#5 Slidemaster

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Posted 14 January 2020 - 12:56 PM

I personally don't think some video takes you from a team that loses 100 three straight years to a team that's won 100 three straight years.


Not by itself, but nobody is saying it was the sole reason.

It can contribute though, and I'd wager it can contribute pretty heavily.



#6 mweb08

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Posted 14 January 2020 - 01:02 PM

Not by itself, but nobody is saying it was the sole reason.

It can contribute though, and I'd wager it can contribute pretty heavily.


Even if it wasn't pretty heavily, a small advantage can be the difference between winning a World Series and losing one.

#7 Slidemaster

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Posted 14 January 2020 - 01:03 PM

Even if it wasn't pretty heavily, a small advantage can be the difference between winning a World Series and losing one.


Absolutely true.

#8 weird-O

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Posted 14 January 2020 - 01:14 PM

In response to the thread's title, I don't feel differently about Elias. Because, if I remember correctly, his primary focus was on int'l scouting. That's not to say he wasn't aware of what was going on. I just figure it was a situation where he wasn't involved, so why get involved. I don't feel differently about their strategy for drafting/developing players. Because this type of cheating isn't related to that aspect of the org. But it does taint their WS championship, for me anyway.     


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#9 bmore_ken

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Posted 14 January 2020 - 01:17 PM

Not by itself, but nobody is saying it was the sole reason.

It can contribute though, and I'd wager it can contribute pretty heavily.

I would wage differently. 



#10 bmore_ken

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Posted 14 January 2020 - 01:19 PM

In response to the thread's title, I don't feel differently about Elias. Because, if I remember correctly, his primary focus was on int'l scouting. That's not to say he wasn't aware of what was going on. I just figure it was a situation where he wasn't involved, so why get involved. I don't feel differently about their strategy for drafting/developing players. Because this type of cheating isn't related to that aspect of the org. But it does taint their WS championship, for me anyway.     

 

I would say it's a taint on their season for me as well, but not the player/personnel process. I guess that's the same thing you just said  :mrgreen:



#11 Mackus

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Posted 14 January 2020 - 01:35 PM

I personally don't think some video takes you from a team that loses 100 three straight years to a team that's won 100 three straight years. 

 

It's not the hitters reviewing some video before the at bat.  It's the hitters being told what pitch is coming before it's thrown.  Obviously that would improve your odds of success at the plate to know what pitch is coming.  It is impossible to argue otherwise.



#12 Nigel Tufnel

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Posted 14 January 2020 - 01:41 PM

In response to the thread's title, I don't feel differently about Elias. Because, if I remember correctly, his primary focus was on int'l scouting. That's not to say he wasn't aware of what was going on. I just figure it was a situation where he wasn't involved, so why get involved. I don't feel differently about their strategy for drafting/developing players. Because this type of cheating isn't related to that aspect of the org. But it does taint their WS championship, for me anyway.     

 

Isn't it possible, though, that the players Elias recommended aren't actually as good as they appeared to be?  That it took cheating to make them stars?



#13 weird-O

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Posted 14 January 2020 - 02:24 PM

Isn't it possible, though, that the players Elias recommended aren't actually as good as they appeared to be?  That it took cheating to make them stars?

I totally agree that hitters will benefit from knowing some of the pitches that are coming. I phrase it that way, because I doubt the players knew every pitch, before it was delivered. But I wouldn't go so far as to say it took a good talent and made him great. There's still the need to execute. But check back with me, if Bregman falls off a cliff. :)   


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#14 BSLRobShields

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Posted 14 January 2020 - 03:55 PM

The primary reason why people praise Astroball is the results. Those results are now tainted (can argue how much). So, I think it is fair to have more skepticism over the legitimacy of the results, and therefore also the process that led to those results.


I find it curious that you seem to be taking a harder line on this than you ever did with steroids.
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#15 Mackus

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Posted 14 January 2020 - 04:21 PM

I totally agree that hitters will benefit from knowing some of the pitches that are coming. I phrase it that way, because I doubt the players knew every pitch, before it was delivered. But I wouldn't go so far as to say it took a good talent and made him great. There's still the need to execute. But check back with me, if Bregman falls off a cliff. :)   

 

It's likely impossible to isolate when they were using this system and when they weren't to try and surmise even roughly how much of an advantage it gave.  

 

But as far as execution even if you know what is coming, you're right, that knowing doesn't guarantee a positive result.  It definitely does improve your odds of a positive result though.  Think of it like blackjack.  If you're cheating and are able to know what the dealer's hole card is, you still won't win every hand but you will have much better results than if you are blind.


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#16 bmore_ken

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Posted 14 January 2020 - 06:23 PM


I totally agree that hitters will benefit from knowing some of the pitches that are coming. I phrase it that way, because I doubt the players knew every pitch, before it was delivered. But I wouldn't go so far as to say it took a good talent and made him great. There's still the need to execute. But check back with me, if Bregman falls off a cliff. :)


Phrased a lot better than I put it but exactly how I feel.
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#17 Mike B

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Posted 14 January 2020 - 08:42 PM

I personally don't think some video takes you from a team that loses 100 three straight years to a team that's won 100 three straight years. 

I agree, and while I believe they gained some advantages from their cheating, the process built a talented team.


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#18 Mike B

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Posted 14 January 2020 - 09:24 PM

In thinking about the question.  I am not worried about Elias being a cheater, but the thing, that nags me with this entire Astros and Red Sox cheating scandal, is that there seems to be an attitude that we are smarter than everyone, and we figured out a way to gain advantage.

 

And the illegal aspect be damned.

 

Again, not saying Elias is a cheater or had anything to do with this, but there is a smarter than everyone feeling with Elias.


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#19 CMU27

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Posted 14 January 2020 - 09:51 PM

What Elias did in Houston eventually lead to the Astros 'success'.  Well, that is now tainted.

 

Of course, also signing Justin Verlander didn't hurt in the process.  That always seems to get overlooked.



#20 BSLChrisStoner

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Posted 14 January 2020 - 09:55 PM

In thinking about the question.  I am not worried about Elias being a cheater, but the thing, that nags me with this entire Astros and Red Sox cheating scandal, is that there seems to be an attitude that we are smarter than everyone, and we figured out a way to gain advantage.

 

And the illegal aspect be damned.

 

Again, not saying Elias is a cheater or had anything to do with this, but there is a smarter than everyone feeling with Elias.

 

 

“I don’t think we have any special insights or special knowledge, or that we’re smarter than anyone else. I think we’re operating with information or techniques that are more or less out there in the baseball community. More than half the teams use the information we have.”

– Mike Elias (Astroball)






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