Did that headline get your attention? Did you spit out whatever you were drinking when you read it?
The Hardball Times has an article on the MIT sports analytics conference. The article even has a photo of Tim Pupura with the line: Statheads never gave Tim Purpura much credit, but maybe they should have...
Apparently Purpura was on one of the panels (which crossed sports...for instance, the Rockets GM Daryl Morey was on a panel), and he was singled out for making a good point:
But can sabermetrics be used to improve the performance of players? That's a much tougher pitch. Tim Purpura, former GM of the Houston Astros, was never known as a sabermetric darling, but he made most of the most important comments of the day. He said that the Astros developed metrics to demonstrate to pitchers the importance of getting ahead in the count. They used it as a way to educate players about their own performance. It would take a special seamhead—or ballplayer!—to convince an athlete to change the approach that brought him to the top of his profession. Credit Purpura for being willing to use data not only to inform his own decisions, but to help his players reach their full potential. Yes, it was something as simple as pitching ahead in the count. But if you're going to bring the data directly to the players, you've got to start somewhere.
The only notable sabermetric oriented comment I ever heard from Pupura during his GM term with the Astros was on the importance of OBP. He said that, during his tenure over the farm system, the team quit posting batting averages in minor league clubhouses and showed players the OBP instead. Otherwise, Pupura never struck me as statisically oriented.
The rest of the article is mildly interesting if you want to review it.