Oakland Athletics first base coach Tye Waller discusses data, coaching, team’s success in 2014

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /
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Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
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HK: It sounds like the information is not necessarily different, it’s just a matter of being more efficient with it. How have the advances in video technology affected your program?

TW: Well, the ability to have video accessible can allow you to put another notation in program that keeps you current with that particular player.

Ultimately statistics are analyzed in a different way depending on the end user. We look at the stats a little differently. There are so many stats out there right now you need a glossary to understand what everything is.

I always say: “old school, new school”…there’s always going to be a coming together of what is considered important. I just think, overall, the numbers have to match what the player looks like.

For me, I can look at a number and I can see that this guy has good numbers, but where are his weaknesses and strengths in those numbers? You can see power if a guy has hit a bunch of home runs. You can see a lack of power if he hasn’t. But can you tell by looking at a number if a guy can hit a fastball inside or not hit one inside? Can he hit a breaking ball? Is he a better breaking ball hitter than a fastball hitter? I don’t believe you can see that in numbers.

HK: To me that is really interesting. I think about how those of us who watch from a distance might criticize or second guess a decision. For example, if a pitcher is coming in the game and it seems like a bad match-up based strictly on numbers, we will criticize the decision, but we aren’t watching as coaches to interpret the numbers and look at things like how that hitter is handling a certain pitch type. That’s the information you’re gathering over the course of a game, a series, and a season that we don’t have access to.

TW: I have a saying about how I look at the game. I heard this years ago and I try to pattern my philosophy around this: “Eyes that look are common, but eyes that see rare.”

As a professional coach , I’m always trying to develop that rare eye to see what the average person doesn’t see. And I want to see if I can factor that in and communicate that to a player to see if it can make a difference in an outcome in his performance and the overall team performance.