How can we use math to help us understand sports?

There are some interesting debates raging within the sports community about the ways in which statistics can help us understand athletic performance and the value of different players to a team. These statistics also are used to evaluate what are effective strategies and which are not.

Though some of the debate is about whether we should or should not rely on these statistical models, there are some interesting differences among those models themselves. Each model relies on different assumptions and maps the reality of the game differently. Sometimes, as in the case discussed in the article below, different models give us wildly different answers about a player’s value. Which is correct? What does this case tell us about the ability and limits of using math to understand reality? Is it possible to resolve this debate?

http://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/18114272/miller-going-war-mystery-robbie-ray

How does the quote below apply to this case?

“A man with a watch knows what time it is. A man with two watches is never sure.”

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