Moneyball was a movie, a book, and a statistical revolution in sabermetrics.

If I wanted to ask a question like the following, which forum is best for it? Would it be on topic on CV?


I heard a manager refer to an employee as a "utility player" in the pre-moneyball sense. That means that the employee "[has] a wide breadth of skills and can work across many org's and disciplines", so it is quite a compliment.

Moneyball discarded the notion of a "utility player", and has much more strongly mathematically/statistically defined nomenclatures such as "slugging percentage" and "on-base percentage" (ref).


  1. What is the post-moneyball meaning of or analog to a "utility player"?

  2. If there is meaning, then how is a player identified as the new utility?

  3. Are there post-moneyball SBR-metric metaphors that are viable for abstraction to team composition outside of baseball?

asked in Sports meta, they say try it. Asked in Sports. Will let you know how it goes. Thank you for direction

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    $\begingroup$ Was the second word of your title intended to be something else? Perhaps forum? $\endgroup$
    – Glen_b
    Feb 7, 2017 at 23:00
  • $\begingroup$ There's a Sports Stack Exchange in beta, but that seems a rather obvious suggestion: are you in fact wondering if it might be on topic here? $\endgroup$ Feb 8, 2017 at 9:36
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    $\begingroup$ Questions about whether a potential Q would be on topic on the main site are very much on topic on meta.CV. I'm voting to leave open. $\endgroup$ Feb 8, 2017 at 13:31
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    $\begingroup$ I would have thought there are possible statistical questions but your proposed example seems to only be peripherally statistical in the form you pose it here. $\endgroup$
    – mdewey
    Feb 8, 2017 at 14:25
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    $\begingroup$ Somebody has to read this question as statistical for it to be on-topic. I hardly understand a word, but that's in no sense decisive.... $\endgroup$
    – Nick Cox
    Feb 8, 2017 at 15:27
  • $\begingroup$ @mdewey - I know. Also, the sports guys can say "its stats or management" and the managerial folks can say "its not management, its stats or sports". Sometimes stratification into topics gives a "false either-or" logical fallacy in the topic of questions. Things can sometimes be both sports and stats. If we spread topics well then this shouldn't happen often, but I think Godel would say that sufficient complexity is also a guarantee that it won't never happen - it has to occur sometimes. $\endgroup$ Feb 8, 2017 at 15:27
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    $\begingroup$ @NickCox, for clarity, I'm not saying the focal questions would be on topic on the main site, I'm saying the question of whether they would be is on topic for meta.CV. $\endgroup$ Feb 8, 2017 at 17:08
  • $\begingroup$ @gung This Meta question became on-topic only after your edit, so no wonder there was a vote to close it as off-topic before you edit. To be honest, it was my vote (which I can now retract). $\endgroup$
    – amoeba
    Feb 8, 2017 at 17:45
  • $\begingroup$ @amoeba, IMHO the question of whether those questions could go on the main site was implied already--I just made it explicit. But I recognize there was some ambiguity. $\endgroup$ Feb 8, 2017 at 17:49
  • $\begingroup$ @gung I agree. Sorry for ambiguity; I did mean the question discussed and whether it is on-topic for CV. $\endgroup$
    – Nick Cox
    Feb 8, 2017 at 19:39
  • $\begingroup$ @amoeba - the editing gung did, afaict, is put the questions into a numbered list and capitalize the title. I cannot see how that change makes the question "off/on" topic. Can you clarify? $\endgroup$ Feb 8, 2017 at 20:51
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    $\begingroup$ That was the editing I did :-) What gung did, was to add "Would it be on topic on CV?" sentence. Apologies for being pedantic. $\endgroup$
    – amoeba
    Feb 8, 2017 at 21:03

1 Answer 1


(Note that I have relatively little interest in sports, and so may be unaware of things that are assumed in the discussion of the analysis of baseball, or may misinterpret aspects without realizing it. I did see the movie a few years back.)

I largely don't understand the questions listed. I can recognize that aspects of them are related to statistics, but the questions don't seem to be about statistics per se. Moreover, it isn't clear to me that what needs to be explained to answer the question is some statistical / machine learning topic. As such, I think these questions would be off topic on the main site.

Relative to the further question, 'what other SE site might they belong on', I don't really know. I have little expertise concerning the boundaries and conventions of other SE sites. To be explicit, deciding what would be on topic on other sites isn't part of our purview. You could ask on some other site's meta. It's also worth recognizing that the answer might be nowhere (or nowhere yet)—there is no implied guarantee that there will be an SE site available to answer any given question.

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    $\begingroup$ +1 for relatively little interest in sports and for judicious summary. $\endgroup$
    – Nick Cox
    Feb 8, 2017 at 19:40
  • $\begingroup$ "Utility player" is a class of player allegedly derived by humans using pre-moneyball analysis methods. It is a statistical idea, but has meaning primarily in the intersection of statistics with baseball. fwiw. $\endgroup$ Feb 8, 2017 at 20:47
  • $\begingroup$ +1. Judging from others' (and my) reaction here, the question would be closed very quickly as "unclear what you are asking". $\endgroup$ Feb 18, 2017 at 20:16

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