It's a pity that my Amazon book shipment arrived today, because I came across another book that will probably have to read at some point in the future. It is called The Beauty of Short Hops: How Chance and Circumstance Confound the Moneyball Approach to Baseball, written by Sheldon and Alan Hirsch. The title pretty much explains the authors' point of view, but I'll include the publisher's description about the book:
Sabermetrics, the search for objective knowledge about baseball through statistical analysis, has taken over the national pastime. The authors argue that this approach began as a useful corrective but has come to harm baseball. The book demonstrates that the so-called moneyball approach, based on sabermetrics, offers only limited guidance for assembling a team, managing games, and evaluating player performance. Equally important, the obsession with statistics and vision of the game as wholly predictable obscure baseball's spectacular improvisational quality. It is the game's unquantifiable and relentless capacity to surprise–the source of wonder so central to its greatest stories and personalities–that informs any real appreciation of baseball.
The book's been panned in the on-line reviews, but I'm going to have to read the book to obtain my own impressions. I will say that Bill James has been fairly clear-eyed about the limitations of purely statistical-based decisionmaking in sport, and voiced his concerns in Moneyball and other publications. There has been a fair amount of hubris from a few people in the sports analytics community about the future of stats in sport, and I have criticized such sentiments on this site, but the authors seem to be castigating all analysts with the same broad brush.
Okay, I've made a prejudgment without reading the book, so I better stop here and read the book. I'll let you know if/when I get it.