And when I say things like “that doesn’t mean it’s the right call”—thinking that it’s unlikely to have much if any benefit is not the same thing as being certain it has no benefit. It takes nothing away from the serious study of baseball—and in fact adds quite a bit to it, in my estimation—if we can be humble enough to admit that we aren’t certain when we shouldn’t be certain. In this case, there is still some unresolved doubt, and the Angels probably ought to have the benefit of it.
This is why Wyers is among my favorites of the numbers-heavy baseball writers going on the Internet these days. The borderline-to-downright arrogant air of authority that comes with much of the contemporary sabermetric analysis bothers me, because if anyone knew everything there is to know about baseball there’d really be no reason to keep studying it. Maybe it weakens conclusions to admit you might be wrong about something — and it doesn’t seem like there’s much accountability anyway — but I prefer honesty and humility to confidence where it should not exist.