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The Shift
The Shift

The Shift

The Next Evolution in Baseball Thinking
By Russell A. Carleton, Foreword by Jeff Passan

SPORTS & RECREATION

368 Pages, 5.5 x 8.5

Formats: Trade Paper, Mobipocket, EPUB, PDF

Trade Paper, $19.95 (CA $26.95) (US $19.95)

ISBN 9781629375441

Rights: WOR

Triumph Books (Mar 2018)

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Overview

A fascinating analysis of statistics' role in modern baseball—for the front office and the fan base
With its three-hour-long contests, 162-game seasons, and countless measurable variables, baseball is a sport which lends itself to self-reflection and obsessive analysis. It's a thinking game. It's also a shifting game. Nowhere is this more evident than in the statistical revolution which has swept through the pastime in recent years, bringing metrics like WAR, OPS, and BABIP into front offices and living rooms alike. So what's on the horizon for a game that is constantly evolving? Positioned at the crossroads of sabermetrics and cognitive science, The Shift alters the trajectory of both traditional and analytics-based baseball thought. With a background in clinical psychology as well as experience in major league front offices, Baseball Prospectus' Russell Carleton illuminates advanced statistics and challenges cultural assumptions, demonstrating along the way that data and logic need not be at odds with the human elements of baseball—in fact, they're inextricably intertwined. Covering topics ranging from infield shifts to paradigm shifts, Carleton writes with verve, honesty, and an engaging style, inviting all those who love the game to examine it deeply and maybe a little differently. Data becomes digestible; intangibles are rendered not only accessible, but quantifiable. Casual fans and statheads alike will not want to miss this compelling meditation on what makes baseball tick.

Reviews

"Russell Carleton is one of the industry's sharpest and most creative analysts, and watching him think through a puzzling baseball question is as much fun as watching Mike Trout battle an ace pitcher. There is no person involved in baseball—from the fan to the manager, from the field to the front office—who won't learn from this entertaining book." —Sam Miller, ESPN, co-author, The Only Rule Is It Has to Work

"What Daniel Kahneman did for behavioral economics, Russell Carleton has now done for baseball, opening up a new window on the sport, looking at it through a new lens while making it accessible to the lay reader." —Keith Law, ESPN, author, Smart Baseball: The Story Behind the Old Stats That Are Ruining the Game, the New Ones That Are Running It, and the Right Way to Think About Baseball

"Nearly 15 years post-Moneyball, baseball continues to change; the major league industry continues to have access to more data and more science. More and more conventional practices are being challenged. In many ways change is accelerating, and the way we understand and think about the game must also evolve. There is no one better to tell this story than Russell Carleton, who is not only one of the preeminent writers and analysts in the game at Baseball Prospectus, but who also worked inside an MLB front office and in the field of clinical psychology, which is becoming of greater interest to clubs. The Shift is a riveting read and an important baseball book." —Travis Sawchik, FanGraphs, author, Big Data Baseball: Math, Miracles, and the End of a 20-Year Losing Streak

Author Biography

Russell Carleton is a baseball writer, researcher, and fan, living in Atlanta. He has been a regular contributor to Baseball Prospectus since 2009, writing about advanced statistical analysis in baseball, with an emphasis on the gory mathematical details. He holds a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from DePaul University in Chicago, and has provided statistical consultation to several teams in Major League Baseball.

Press Releases

The Shift:

The Next Evolution in Baseball Thinking

By Russell A. Carleton / Foreword by Jeff Passan

 

Contact: Sam Ofman, Triumph Books, 312.568.5450, s.ofman@triumphbooks.com

 

DiMaggio’s 56. Aaron’s 755. Ripken’s 2,632. Baseball has always been a game of numbers. For generations, fans have held these numbers up as touchpoints that transcend the national pastime and act as cultural markers of greatness. Sometimes, the numbers themselves tell the story with no other explanation needed. But what if that story turns out to be fiction?


In The Shift: The Next Evolution in Baseball Thinking (Triumph Books, April 2018), psychologist, baseball writer, and ”numbers guy” Russell A. Carleton examines the new numbers changing the way we play and think about our game. Using an engaging and accessible style, Carleton breaks down not only the role of sabermetrics in evaluating how to build a winning team but also how the numbers can illuminate, rather than ignore, the human element of the game. Highlights include:


  • A thoughtful foreword from baseball writer Jeff Passan praising Carleton’s ability to bridge the gap between analytics and the human element
  • How Wins Above Replacement conquered baseball statistics by asking a better question
  • How to build the perfect team, even if you don’t have the perfect players
  • A thorough analysis of why everyone might have gotten the defensive infield shift wrong
  • Measuring the intangibles that separate great managers from the ones who are just pushing buttons

 

The Shift reads like a love letter written to baseball in the margins of a statistics textbook, combining Carleton’s scientific approach with his reverence and passion for the poetic majesty of the game. It’s equal parts Moneyball and Malcolm Gladwell. Through its humor and clarity, this great new title has the power to make baseball nerds race to grab some hot dogs in the nosebleeds while transforming bleacher bums into statisticians. Students of baseball’s history, as well as those looking to its future, will find value in the pages of this game-changing new title.


About the Author:

Russell A. Carleton is a baseball writer, researcher and fan, living in Atlanta. He has been a regular contributor to Baseball Prospectus since 2009, writing about advanced statistical analysis in baseball, with an emphasis on the gory mathematical details. He holds a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from DePaul University in Chicago, and has provided statistical consultation to several teams in Major League Baseball.

 

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