FIP: A Simple, Predictive Stat.

Bob Hubbard:

I love seeing people combine things we already understand into something new. Baseball fans know that ERA (Earned Run Average) is a pretty good way to evaluate a pitcher’s performance. While most of us can’t recite the formula to calculate ERA, we do know that lower is better. We also know that there is lots of randomness (luck) related to ERA. I’m not sure if I’m ready to sign on to FIP as the next big thing in baseball statistics, but I am intrigued!

Originally posted on Mozeliak for MVP:

Many different, complex statistics have been created over the past couple decades that tend to overwhelm the average fan. It’s impossible to memorize all of them, and they all speak at so many different levels that the average fan often doesn’t know which one to listen to. The result: all the stats just get thrown out the window. However, the Fielding Independent Pitching statistic (a pitching statistic abbreviated as FIP) does a fantastic job of capturing the essentials of pitching in one stat, while keeping it in layman’s terms. FIP essentially asks this question: what would a pitcher’s ERA look like based on the stats he directly controls, like walks, strikeouts, hit by pitch, home runs, etc? FIP attempts to take defense completely out of the equation, while adjusting the stat to make it look like an ERA. However, with the above definition in mind, FIP should do an even…

View original 373 more words

Atlanta Braves 2014 Preview: Aging Trajectories

Bob Hubbard:

While this post does not fall into what I would traditionally call ‘lean’ thinking, it does point out great ways to use statistics to interpret the world. Plus, Jay went to UGA for grad school… and as a former Bulldog myself, I felt duty bound to “Like” and “Reblog” this great post about the baseball team I’ve been following since 1966.

Originally posted on Living In The Sprawl:

Atlanta Braves Home Run Leaders

The home run rate (home runs divided by at bats) of the top 12 home run hitters in Braves history.

Being a consumer of sabermetric analysis, a member of a fantasybaseballkeeper league, and a die hard Braves fan, the age of players is extremely important. You want youth with enough production that it makes sense to take the 23-year-old over the 30-year-old veteran.

When the Braves signed five of their young stars this off season to long-term deals, the team got their best players at below-market value for their most productive years, the mid-20s. They didn’t attempt to re-sign free agent Brian McCann, probably the second best offensive catcher the last five years (and the captain of the Baseball Police), who is 30. These moves show their fans and baseball that the front office actually knows what they’re doing and recognizes that you can’t build a…

View original 563 more words

Ricoh Gemba Mat, the best of Ohno Circles, Gemba Walks and Employee Engagement.

Bob Hubbard:

I love to concept of the Gemba Mat… a place and a process to observe value creating activities… and presumably, wastes.

Originally posted on What's the PONT:

Gemba Mat is an improvement tool which combines the ideas behind Ohno Circles , the Gemba Walk and enhances them through employee engagement.  I think it is incredibly effective, not just as an improvement tool but also in how it engages and develops people. I saw Gemba Mat in use at Ricoh in Telford during an IdeasUK networking event.  Thanks to Chris Nicholls from Ricoh for allowing me to share this.

The method is beautifully simple, low-cost and something I think could be used in just about any setting, not just manufacturing environments. This is how it works:

  • The whole process takes 60 minutes;
  • The observers find a good spot, and place the Gemba Mat on the ground;
  • The  observers then stand on the mat and observe what is happening in the process or activity in front of them;
  • To help with the observations there are some prompts on the…

View original 519 more words

Call for Papers

Hi folks!

I’m reaching out to colleagues involved in continuous improvement and I’m looking for high quality content for our new online publication titled, Quality Focus Magazine (

Looking for a broad range Quality related topics.

Subjects dealing with metrics, process improvement methodologies, case studies, challenges, deployment, statistics… you get the idea. We would also love to see unique and different topics; e.g., humor, speculation, tools, Opinions, or articles on Quality Management in someone’s personal life. 

We are looking for good content, not necessarily new content. If you’ve been considering  renovating a 2008 article on Muda, Muri, and Muni for a 2014 audience, we’d love to work with you on it. If you are a blogger, consider putting some of your posts together into a longer article. Bottom line is that we want to provide interesting insights to our readers around the world. We’re looking for between 500-2000 words. We LOVE content with visual elements. We work hard to leverage the digital magazine where images really pop!

  • You will be published Quality Focus Magazine in 85 countries through the Apple iTunes Newsstand
  • Your article will also be available for PDF download
  • Your article is accompanied by your bio w/ picture
  • You retain control of your article once it has been published.

Are You interested and ready to go!?

Great! Our monthly deadline is the 15th of the month, so we work on tight timelines. The deadline for the March  issue is February 16th, so if you have something in mind, by all means, send it along soon!

Are You interested but still have questions?

That’s fine too. We want to form long term relationships with industry insiders who have interesting points of view. Even if you don’t have a specific topic in mind, we would love to hear from you. We can help you select a great topic and/or help you write your submission. If you’d like to see an example of a recent issue, please send me a note and I’ll provide a link.

You can respond by replying through LinkedIn, or by emailing me at:

I look forward to hearing from you.

Bob Hubbard
Atlanta, GA 

2013 in review

WordPress is an outstanding tool… this is just one more example.

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 17,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 6 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

UCF Beating Baylor was NOT an Upset

The University of Central Florida beat Baylor University in the 2014 Fiesta Bowl. SB Nation declared this victory, “the biggest BCS bowl upset ever”.  I watched the game, and from the opening kickoff, it was clear that these two teams were equally matched. I love sports, and I especially enjoy American Football. 

Why did the pundits consider UCF’s victory an upset?

#1: Experts discounted UCF’s 2013 accomplishments based on their schedule.

UCF plays in the American Athletic Conference, not in a ‘power conference’ like the SEC or the PAC 12. They don’t even play in a former power conference like the Big 10 or Big 12.

#2: UCF does not have a rich and storied football tradition.

According to wikipedia,  the University of Central Florida opened in 1968 as Florida Technological University, with the mission of providing personnel to support the growing U.S. space program at the Kennedy Space Center, which is located only 35 miles (56 km) to the east. 

#3: Groupthink

(or, “nobody else is saying that UCF has a chance to beat Baylor, so I’m not going to the first on on the UCF bandwagon”)

Groupthink is the practice of thinking or making decisions as a group in a way that discourages creativity or individual responsibility. American football comentators fall into two categories: jocks and journalists. There are two subcategories of jocks, the players, and the coaches. Some, like the legendary Mike Ditka, were renowned as coaches and players. But when it comes to football expertise, there is a rigid hierarchy, jocks hold the trump card in every argument, coaches trump the journalists, and nearly to a man, everyone in this arena believes the ‘stats guy’ is a subhuman parasite who is hell bent on wrecking the noble game. Despite the popularity of Moneyball, and the success of the baseball teams using its principles, we continued to be fooled by what we see. Some people are willing to look past what they see to the facts. One of those people is Josh Friemel.    

Josh Friemel Nailed IT… with FACTS on 12/31/2013!

I had never read Josh Friemel’s work until today, but I am impressed with his “pre-game” analysis of the Baylor vs. University of Central Florida Fiesta Bowl game. Josh writes for the Dallas Morning News’ sports blog… and in his December 31, 2013 post titled, What’s up with UCF? Five things Baylor fans should know about the Knights, he lays out a convincing case for UCF. He talks about their strong defense, how their offense is balanced, the passing prowess of UCF quarterback Blake Bortles and about the Knights’ lone loss to the University of South Carolina. He backs up each assertion with facts. 

But he still predicted that Baylor would win easily…

Baylor Wins!

Given time to reflect on the things Baylor fans needed to know about UCF must have lessened his zeal for the Knights since at lunchtime on New Year’s Day, Josh posted, Prediction: UCF can’t handle Baylor’s speed, Bears easily win first ever BCS bowl. Please don’t think I’m being hard on Josh. He was the ONLY person I could find in who had published anything remotely positive related to the UCF Knight team’s chance to beat Baylor.

What can we learn?

Guard Against Groupthink.

In this case, former players and coaches spout opinions as if they are facts, and poo poo anyone who disagrees. In Howard Cosell’s book “I Never Played the Game” he helped popularize the term “jockocracy” and he talked openly about announcing jobs being given to former atheletes who had not earned them. Ironically, Cosell was replaced for the 1985 World Series broadcast by former St. Louis Cardinal Tim McCarver. <I’ll refrain from opining on Mr. McCarver’s journalistic chops in this post.>

Learn About “Confirmation Bias”

Confirmation bias (also called confirmatory bias or myside bias) is the tendency of people to favor information that confirms their beliefs. This is a difficult problem to deal with, since most of us are unaware of our biases, or worse, we are convinced that our biases are facts.

Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work

I strongly recommend Chip and Dan Heath’s book, Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work. It’s a great look at how we make decisions and how we can improve as individuals and as organizations.

Key Links

Josh_Friemel on twitter 

The American Athletic Conference Official site

University of Central Florida

Bob Hubbard, 1/3/2014