After Trevor Bauer complained about the voices he was listening to earlier this year, I commented on this site that Joan of Arc’s excellent career results suggested that perhaps he shouldn’t be so dismissive of the idea of listening to voices. This in turn has led me to undertake what I think many of you will agree is a pathbreaking method of historical research and analysis. Let me explain.
I have been spending a fair amount of time in France this year blending sabermetric principles with more common forms of historical analysis to try to determine Joan of Arc’s VORP (Value Over Replacement Peasant). Though the project is in its infancy, from what I can determine so far her number is going to be stratospheric.
Consider the following. A standard milkmaid of her age and background—in other words, a replacement level milkmaid—could milk twenty cows, muck out the milking shed, and cook dinner in a typical day. But Arc could give you all of that plus recruit, inspire, and lead an army in battle against a foreign power in that same single day.
And there’s even more to it than that. For example, I have also developed some crude defensive metrics and applied them to her and found that her ROR (Range On Rampart) was outstanding, with many of her contemporaries having given glowing accounts of her quickness to both her right and her left. Also on the defensive side of things, she was especially well known for being able to handle the off-speed smite in the open field of battle.
Offensively, she was also a force to be reckoned with. Paintings of her invariably show her keeping her sword-side elbow up and her weight back as she prepared to deliver a blow. They also show that she always shifted her weight from back foot to front in delivering that blow. The truly beautiful thing about her swing, though, was her uncanny ability to impart backspin to her adversary’s head when she struck it off. This caused the head to fly out over enemy lines in a long arc (insiders tell me this was how she came to have her name, which was actually a nickname), thereby demoralizing the enemy.
As I said, the project is just getting off the ground, and I know that the MacArthur genius grants have already been announced for this year. But if any of you have any pull with those people, I’d appreciate it if you could put in a good word for me. I can see this work requiring me to spend at least a decade more in France, and I would welcome the additional funding.