In 2010, Felix Hernandez won the Cy Young Award despite winning only 13 games. He likely deserved it, despite the uproar it caused among many fans, “baseball men”, and less analytically inclined journalists. The notion that a pitcher can’t control his team’s offensive output shouldn’t be revolutionary, but in a world where “good face” was a key piece of prospect scouting reports, it’s understandable.
Hernandez’s achievement – absolutely unthinkable before the Moneyball revolution – is often hailed as the final proof of the conquest of advanced metrics in baseball. The hierarchy of the “seasoned baseball man” and the narrative of the winner or loser athlete (dependent on their team chemistry!) was overthrown. That doesn’t mean there aren’t numerous holdouts – you can hear them on your local sports radio every afternoon; and statistics can certainly be misused and abused without contextual understanding, but our comprehension of baseball has irrevocably changed.
So, too, basketball.