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Monday, June 18, 2007

Lou Whitaker

Eligible in 2001.

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 18, 2007 at 03:49 AM | 45 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 18, 2007 at 03:53 AM (#2407752)
Bill James painted a picture of Whitaker in the NBJHA as kind of goofy. Do others remember Sweet Lou that way when he was still playing?
   2. sunnyday2 Posted: June 18, 2007 at 04:25 AM (#2407772)
An easy choice. The only question is whether he might even go ahead of Winfield. Oh, and whether Randolph goes in in '00. Hope not, want to see Whitaker and Randolph square off.
   3. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 18, 2007 at 04:33 AM (#2407780)
want to see Whitaker and Randolph square off.


Willie would lose that battle.
   4. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: June 18, 2007 at 01:46 PM (#2407903)
Bill James painted a picture of Whitaker in the NBJHA as kind of goofy. Do others remember Sweet Lou that way when he was still playing?

I don't know about that on the whole, but James' piece did summon a recollection of Whitaker forgetting his uniform for the All-Star Game and having to wear an off-the-rack one of sorts. It was too big for him and all baggy, as I remember, but in a way, he was just 15 years ahead of baseball fashion.
   5. sunnyday2 Posted: June 18, 2007 at 03:11 PM (#2407994)
>want to see Whitaker and Randolph square off.
>>Willie would lose that battle.

All the more reason why we should be thinking about it.
   6. DanG Posted: June 19, 2007 at 01:31 PM (#2409246)
Whitaker was often termed a bit of a "space cadet". He was, shall we say, not a scholar. His family was very religious, so he was often out of step with what the rest of the team was doing. It made him not at all a team leader.

Lou is often remembered as an under-achiever. His native tools and ROY award prompted many to predict him as a future BA champ. Of course, he fell short of this expectation; whether it was more from some personality deficiencies or the rigors of his position is an open question. Bill James feels this notion is one of unrealisitic expectations and racism.

The numbers say that Lou performed at a high level throughout his late career. This is attributable to a couple things: 1) He was very much a platoon player his last 4-5 years; 2) He was a natural who didn't seem too concerned with conditioning - Sparky knew this and didn't overuse him; 3) Like many other lefties, he adapted his swing to the short RF in Tiger Stadium.

Even with the above caveats he had a great career, comfortably above HoM standards for secondbasemen.
   7. Esteban Rivera Posted: June 19, 2007 at 01:51 PM (#2409274)
Lou is often remembered as an under-achiever. His native tools and ROY award prompted many to predict him as a future BA champ. Of course, he fell short of this expectation; whether it was more from some personality deficiencies or the rigors of his position is an open question. Bill James feels this notion is one of unrealisitic expectations and racism.


I'm inclined to say it's because he couldn't hit lefties to save his life. That is not in his favor. It's the same knock some people have against Norm Cash.
   8. sunnyday2 Posted: June 19, 2007 at 02:03 PM (#2409298)
Can somebody post his splits?
   9. Mike Webber Posted: June 19, 2007 at 02:19 PM (#2409318)
Lou's Splits
AB    R    H  2B  3B  HR  RBI   BB IBB   SO HBP  SH  SF  XI ROE GDP   SB  CS   AVG   OBP   SLG
vs RHP   6257 1062 1816 337  51 208  823  910  75  694   9  40  69   0  74 104  117  54  .290  .378  .460
vs LHP   2313  324  553  83  14  36  261  287   4  405  11  49  22   0  42  39   26  21  .239  .323  .334 
   10. TomH Posted: June 19, 2007 at 02:58 PM (#2409358)
So, Lou had 27% of his PA vs LHP. (2313+287)/(2313+287+6257+910). A quick check of other modern LH stars shows Brett at 33%, Mattingly 35%, Boggs 29% (probably due to LH pitchers avoiding Fenway).

One could argue that Lou's value was his value; his managers were wise enough (and had viable options) to rest him vs LHP, and the team benefited.

One could argue this was a weakness that transcends his situaiton and should be docked a bit.

As to Whitaker's spot on my ballot; how many guys who played 1200+ games at 2B scored and drove in more runs than he did? And won multiple gold gloves? A lot fewer than we've elected.
   11. sunnyday2 Posted: June 19, 2007 at 03:52 PM (#2409418)
We've done worse

Recently ;-)
   12. DL from MN Posted: June 20, 2007 at 01:20 PM (#2410625)
I have always seen a bit of trouble in how much advantage the bats LH infielders have over the bats RH infielders. The reason there is any difference between how a 1B hits and how a 3B hits is the 3B has to throw righthanded and usually throwing righthanded is something that forces hitting righthanded. Is the difference between Randolph and Whitaker simply the platoon advantage? Is Whitaker the more valuable player simply because MLB is populated with more RHP than LHP?

comparing splits:
Randolph Whitaker
Split PA BA OBP SLG split BA OBP SLG
vs RHP 5810 .262 .359 .327 vs LHP .239 .323 .334
vs LHP 3651 .297 .395 .391 vs RHP .290 .378 .460

Randolph was simply better at getting on base than Whitaker. Whitaker had more power when using his platoon advantage. Is that a Tiger Stadium phenomenon?

Home .279 .370 .448
Away .274 .357 .405

The big difference isn't doubles and triples - he hit more doubles on the road. He's +48 HR at home.

Can the overwhelming difference in value in favor of Whitaker be attributed to the platoon advantage and park effects? If so then Randolph was probably the more talented ballplayer despite not being the most valuable. I've struggled with that on other occasions (Stan Hack v. Bob Elliott for example). Do I want to honor the best ballplayer or do I want to honor the platoon advantage?
   13. TomH Posted: June 20, 2007 at 04:06 PM (#2410811)
Was it unfair to Lou Gehrig that he was a left-handed thrower, or he would have been able to play 3B, making him clearly the best 3Bman ever and possibly the greatest PLAYER ever?

I don't think there is a reasonable case for discounting a player because of his handedness at bat or in the field.
   14. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: June 20, 2007 at 04:18 PM (#2410831)
I don't think there is a reasonable case for discounting a player because of his handedness at bat or in the field.

Tom, i think the question isn't his handedness, but his usage. Whitaker was platooned a bit more than other contemporaries (as noted above), presumably because he lacked value against lefties. It's not handedness, it's weakness in his game causing a usage pattern to emerge.

I think the home-park question is interesting too.
   15. TomH Posted: June 20, 2007 at 04:44 PM (#2410863)
aaah, but his usage was determined by.. his left-handedness!

curiously enuf, for you math types, if you make a few asumptions:

1 RHP and LHP, on average, are equally 'good' and will have equal stats.
2 ditto RHB and LHB
3 there are twice as many RHP in MLB as LHP
4 there are twice as many RHB in MLB as LHB

I beleive you can derive mathematically that the platoon advantage (performance vs opposite type versus like type) will be de facto twice as large for LHB as it is for RHB; ditto for pitchers.

The exercise is left to the student, or whatever those books used to say....
   16. DavidFoss Posted: June 20, 2007 at 05:13 PM (#2410895)
Whitaker was platooned a bit more than other contemporaries (as noted above), presumably because he lacked value against lefties. It's not handedness, it's weakness in his game causing a usage pattern to emerge.

Yeah, the platooning increased as he got older, by the mid-90s he was an exclusive platoon player.

Yes, lefty platoon players have the advantage that there are simply more RHP's than LHP's. Ones at defensive positions have a related advantage in that they can time their rest days to maximize their platoon advantage. I mean, if he's going to rest 15-20 games a year anyways, why not rest against lefties? Its better for him and its better for the utility guy filling in for the day. LHB's have been taking this advantage for years.
   17. Paul Wendt Posted: June 21, 2007 at 12:11 AM (#2411188)
Whitaker must be compared to full-time players, not to right-handed platoon players. So the question how to use
1. his split playing statistics (career totals posted above by Mike Webber, season data available at retrosheet) in conjunction with
2. the fact that he faced only 27% LHP rather than the general 33% (say 33% for sake of making this point concretely)
in order to assess his batting-baserunning, his merit during his team's innings.
   18. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: June 21, 2007 at 01:00 AM (#2411325)
I don't see why this is an issue. The fact that he was platooned means he got far fewer PA per season than his contemporaries, which hurts his WARP/WS etc. If in spite of the missed time he's still Meritorious, then he's clearly deserving. Moreover, I think one can argued that he should be credited for being used as he was, since the Tigers didn't have to throw out a generic replacement player when he wasn't playing--they could throw out a generic replacement player with the platoon advantage. If anything, the gap between overall replacement level and replacement level with platoon advantage, times the number of PA he missed due to platooning, should be credited to Whitaker.
   19. sunnyday2 Posted: June 21, 2007 at 01:37 AM (#2411436)
>The fact that he was platooned means he got far fewer PA per season than his contemporaries, which hurts his WARP/WS etc. If in spite of the missed time he's still Meritorious, then he's clearly deserving.

I agree with this. Players who sit on the bench have already been penalized. It is redundant to dock them anymore.

>Moreover, I think one can argued that he should be credited for being used as he was, since the Tigers didn't have to throw out a generic replacement player when he wasn't playing

I don't agree with this. This is the old argument we used to hear, maybe still do, about John McGraw, that somehow he should get credit for whatever a replacement player did in the games that he missed. No. I don't think so. This is just another variation on giving players credit for things they didn't do, due to the normal vagaries of playing the game of baseball (as opposed to things that have nothing to do with baseball, like war and apartheid, where one should give that sort of credit).
   20. Paul Wendt Posted: June 21, 2007 at 05:21 AM (#2411707)
I think one can argued that he should be credited for being used as he was, since the Tigers didn't have to throw out a generic replacement player when he wasn't playing--they could throw out a generic replacement player with the platoon advantage.

On the other hand, the platoon disadvantage happens to team members in phase where injury, sick, and family leave happen independently. All the lefty batters in a lineup face a lefty pitcher in the same game, so a team needs three righty substitutes in order to rest a trio of lefty batters against lefty pitchers. In contrast one generic substitute is commonly able to cover for the injury, sick, and family leave that three regulars need in a season, and two will almost always be able to cover.
   21. OCF Posted: June 21, 2007 at 03:06 PM (#2411957)
Here's one of my adjusted RCAA-based charts, for some second basemen:

Whitaker  42 42 42 41 28 28 26 19 17 14 14 13 13 12  8  5  3 -2-14
Randolph  49 33 26 25 14 12 12 12 10  9  8  8  5 
-----7
Grich     39 38 37 36 34 33 33 23 22 19 16 10  6  4  2  2 
-5
Doyle     59 48 44 37 34 30 25 25 20 18 17 15 12 
-4
Lazzeri   53 37 37 36 22 22 20 15 13 13 11  6  5
Evers     52 39 38 33 30 27 25 17 10  9  8  7  5  1  0 
-


Now, for the problem with that. The system's biggest blind spot is that it doesn't penalize players enough for missing time within seasons. It makes Frank Chance and John McGraw look like offensive demigods, and I haven't been voting for either of them. Now in the case of Chance and McGraw, I've simply pointed to their total games played. That's not really a problem for Whitaker, who has 2300+ games played at 2B, but the same problem surfaces in a different form: the games that he missed within seasons were matched with his platoon advantage. For that reason, I think the chart above grossly overrates Whitaker - but at the same time, taken at face value, those numbers would make him a marginal candidate as an outfielder. You do have to sit up and take notice.

Oh, and have I ever told you that Johnny Evers could hit, too?
   22. Esteban Rivera Posted: June 21, 2007 at 03:48 PM (#2411985)
I agree that Whitaker receives the penalty already by being benched but his stats do not represent his weakness because of this. I don't think a good comparison between Whitaker and his competition for election can be done without acknowledging this. Whitaker appears better because he was so bad at hitting lefties that he didn't face them while other players, although weaker against one of the handednesses (be it left or right), were not bad enough to be benched for it and do take the hit in their stats. Then it becomes a question of production vs. missed games, and Whitaker probably wins in the balancing of these factors.

Would it be possible to compare the second basemen using their platoon splits? This comparison could shed some light on the other second baseman and help place Whitaker among them. Oh, and I will most likely have Whitaker on my ballot and believe he'll get elected. Just want to run him through the wringer.
   23. Chris Cobb Posted: June 21, 2007 at 03:56 PM (#2411991)
I think the chart above grossly overrates Whitaker - but at the same time, taken at face value, those numbers would make him a marginal candidate as an outfielder. You do have to sit up and take notice.

Well, it shouldn't overrate him with respect to Randolph, as their seasonal playing time patterns were highly similar. Using WARP's adj. games totals to account properly for the higher percentage of partial games that Whitaker played in compared to Randolph, here are their seasonal totals, along with Grich's for comparison:

Whitaker  Randolph  Grich
151.6     149.2     158.5
144.6     142.1     157.1
143.2     140.4     146.7
140.9     138.1     146.3
135.5     137.1     143.3
~
133.7     135.7     140.4
133.3     135.0     136.2
132.2     134.5     135.5
124.9     127.7     129.9
~
118.8     122.6     123.3~
117.5     116.5     112.3
114.4     110.4     106.6
~
110.4     106.3      97.5*
103.3*    102.5     
101.3     100.3
           92.2
*

*
1981 strike season 


~Seasons with playing time at positions other than second base. I marked these for two reasons. First, if one just glanced at Grich’s BP stats, one would see that they don’t match what’s here. Second, in a number of seasons Grich’s games include 10-20 games at first base, which is less physically demanding, so his higher playing time may reflect his teams’ higher regard for his bat as well as a true durability advantage at a physically demanding defensive position.


I'd say the chart gives a pretty reliable view of the offensive differences between Whitaker and Randolph, then. It may overrate both somewhat in comparison to Grich. One ought to look at games played data for the earlier second basemen to assess the playing-time issue for them. Evers I know was out of the lineup a lot: I believe Doyle and Lazzeri were more durable.
   24. OCF Posted: June 21, 2007 at 04:07 PM (#2412008)
Eek! John or Joe - could you edit Chris's post #23 to stop it from stretching the page?
   25. DL from MN Posted: June 21, 2007 at 04:18 PM (#2412017)
One interesting quirk, Randolph was named to 6 all-star teams while Whitaker was only named to 5.

Whitaker mops up in the seasonal awards though with 3 gold gloves and 4 silver sluggers to Randolph's 1 silver slugger.

More head-to-head, not only did Randolph walk a ton more than Whitaker, he struck out about half as often. That's a lot of balls put in play and that's highly valued for a #1/#2 hitter.

I never really considered Randolph a premiere top of the order hitter but he pretty clearly was one. I think his reputation suffers because he played on the team as Rickey and same era as Raines.
   26. Paul Wendt Posted: June 21, 2007 at 04:42 PM (#2412034)
The RHP:LHP ratio faced by the Detroit team as a whole can be calculated but not by me now.

Lou Whitaker
less than 20% LHP (ratio > 4:1)
'78 92-93-94-95-96
more than 33% LHP (ratio < 2:1)
'79-80-81 87

Evaluated against a one-third benchmark he is short about 1000 plate appearances against LHP; against 30% benchmark, short about 470.

My guesses: The team faced a declining share of lefties in the eighties until a high outlier in 1987. Whitaker was on the bench against a significant number of lefties in 1988 generally increasing to almost all lefties in 1994-95.

--
DanR #18
I don't see why this is an issue. The fact that he was platooned means he got far fewer PA per season than his contemporaries, which hurts his WARP/WS etc. If in spite of the missed time he's still Meritorious, then he's clearly deserving. Moreover, I think one can argued that he should be credited for being used as he was, since the Tigers didn't have to throw out a generic replacement player when he wasn't playing--they could throw out a generic replacement player with the platoon advantage. If anything, the gap between overall replacement level and replacement level with platoon advantage, times the number of PA he missed due to platooning, should be credited to Whitaker.

19. sunnyday2 Posted: June 20, 2007 at 09:37 PM (#2411436)
>The fact that he was platooned means he got far fewer PA per season than his contemporaries, which hurts his WARP/WS etc. If in spite of the missed time he's still Meritorious, then he's clearly deserving.

I agree with this. Players who sit on the bench have already been penalized. It is redundant to dock them anymore.



Dan, Marc,
What would you do with two pure platoon players sharing one position in the field? Normalize each to a different run-scoring environment: all the LHPs lineups on the one hand, all the RHPs and their lineups on the other?
   27. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 22, 2007 at 12:02 AM (#2412567)
Eek! John or Joe - could you edit Chris's post #23 to stop it from stretching the page?


Took care of it, OCF.
   28. Brent Posted: June 22, 2007 at 01:56 AM (#2412625)
Thanks, John.
   29. Chris Cobb Posted: June 22, 2007 at 02:02 AM (#2412631)
Yes, thank you, John.

I'd've apologized for mucking up the thread earlier, but my computer was so upset with me that it took away the submit button from this thread until John fixed the formatting!

I'll not put unformatted text inside the pre- tag again.
   30. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 22, 2007 at 02:34 AM (#2412645)
I'll not put unformatted text inside the pre- tag again.


It's always good to check the Live Preview feature before you post. Of course, it's not always accurate.
   31. OCF Posted: June 22, 2007 at 02:48 AM (#2412653)
Except, of course, that the Live Preview feature does not correctly preview pre-tags. (And Chris probably knows that.) The rule of thumb for a table like I posted in #21 or Chris posted in #23 is that it has to look wrong in the preview in order to have any chance of being right.
   32. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: June 22, 2007 at 03:11 AM (#2412666)
rule of thumb for a table like I posted in #21 or Chris posted in #23 is that it has to look wrong in the preview in order to have any chance of being right.

And sure enough, the average of posts 21 and 23 is 22. There was only one catch, and that was Catch-22.
   33. Chris Cobb Posted: June 22, 2007 at 03:33 AM (#2412680)
The problem was created because I put a large block of text without hard returns inside the pre tags, rather than just a precisely formatted table with regular line breaks built in. I don't normally do that, but I was in a hurry and was careless in dropping in the closing pre tag. Had I realized what the result would be, I would have been more deliberate with the closing tag! And, as OCF notes, one must fly blind when using the pre tag, because live preview does not provide a visual check.

I don't know if I have just been lucky in avoiding this problem before, or if I once knew about this issue but have forgotten it, or if the site has changed the way the pre tag handles unformatted text since I was posting tabular data more regularly a year or two ago. But in any case, I'll make sure that it doesn't happen again in my posts.
   34. andrew siegel Posted: June 27, 2007 at 05:06 PM (#2419764)
Whitaker vs. Randolph:

An interesting comparison and a big problem. Using my win-shares based system that balances seven-year prime and career value, Whitaker is an easy HoMer (1.16 where 1.00 indicates an HoMer) and Randolph is easily out (I forget the number, but somewhere under 0.85). Some of this is just system weirdness, but win shares does see Whitaker as notably better. According to win shares, Whitaker played approximately one season more than Randolph and was approximately one win share (1/3 a win) better per season. That doesn't sound like much, but it adds up over a long career with a tight ballot. IF I trusted those numbers, Whitaker would be in the top 6 on my ballot and Randolph is--if anything--overrated at 38.

The problem is that most of the other Uber-metrics (WARP, the modified TPR, etc.) don't see it that way. According to them, Whitaker did of course play one season longer but Randolph was roughly half a win better per season, resulting in similar career value for the two despite Whitaker's longer career. As for seven or eight year primes, the two are almost dead even. If I trusted these numbers, Randdolpj and Whitaker would both be on ballot, with Randolph a few spots higher.

I am not well-versed enough in the mechanics of the systems to know for sure but the differences appear to come down to 3 things (in descending order of importance): (1) the relative value of offense and defense in a given metric; (2) the systems' evaluation of Whitaker's defense; and (3) the weight the systems give to OBP skills vs. SLG skills.

Any thoughts?
   35. Chris Cobb Posted: June 27, 2007 at 06:14 PM (#2419892)
Your conclusions on the source of the differences seems sound.

FWIW, my system sees win shares placing Whitaker comfortably ahead, while my system sees WARP as having Randolph very slightly ahead (.2 wins).

Both win shares and WARP agree that Whitaker was the better hitter and Randolph the better fielder.
Both win shares adn WARP agree that Whitaker was slightly above average defensively for his career and that Randolph was well above average but not near the level of players like Bill Mazeroski and Frank White.

Both win shares and WARP agree that Randolph, the weaker hitter, was above average offensively.

So, looking at hitting and fielding separately, the two metrics are more or less in agreement. Win shares likes Whitaker's hitting somewhat better than WARP does. WS likes Randolph's fieldng relative to average a bit better than WARP does.

The conclusions of the systems separate almost entirely based on the relative weight they give to hitting and fielding. My inference is that WS weights hitting too heavily and fielding too lightly because of how it sets the zero point for hitting and how it scales fielding, especially for infielders. My inference is that WARP sets the zero point for its hitting about right but sets the zero point for fielding too low. I therefore see its conclusions as closer to being accurate in this case. I have Whitaker ahead of Randolph, since I don't agree with WARP that Randolph's defensive advantage is sufficient to offset wholly Whitaker's offensive advantage (though if one docks Whitaker for park/platoon advantages, I could see treating them as even).

As I work with the findings of both systems, I see both of them as ballotworthy, so my choices are easier to make for both players, but my sense is that WARP is closer to right in this case than win shares is.
   36. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: June 27, 2007 at 07:17 PM (#2419969)
andrew siegel, for whatever it's worth, here's how my WARP system sees the two of them:

Glossary

BWAA/Yr: Batting wins above league average, expressed as a rate per season
BRWAA/Yr: Baserunning wins above league average, expressed as a rate per season
DPWAA/Yr: Double play avoidance wins above league average, expressed as a rate per season
FWAA/Yr: Fielding wins above league average, expressed as a rate per season
W1AA/Yr: Total wins above league average, expressed as a rate per season (BWAA/Yr + BRWAA/Yr + DPWAA/Yr + FWAA/Yr)
LgAdj: Ratio of the 2005 league standard deviation to the regression-projected standard deviation of the league-season in question
W2AA/Yr: Total standard deviation-adjusted wins above league average, expressed as a rate per season (W1AA/Yr * LgAdj)
Rep: Wins above average of a replacement player at the same position, expressed as a rate per season
WARP2/Yr: Standard deviation-adjusted wins above replacement, expressed as a rate per season
SFrac: Percentage of the league average plate appearances per lineup slot
WARP1: Wins above replacement (WARP2/Yr * SFrac / LgAdj)
WARP2: Standard deviation-adjusted wins above replacement (WARP2/Yr * SFrac)
Salary: How much the 2005 free agent market would have paid for that season's performance (SFrac*(($212,730*(WARP2/Yr^2))+($402,530*WARP2/Yr)))


Willie Randolph

Year Pos BWAA/Yr BRWAA/Yr DPWAA/Yr FWAA/Yr W1AA/Yr LgAdj W2AA/Yr   Rep WARP2/Yr SFrac WARP1 WARP2       Salary
1975   4    
-6.2     -0.3     -1.6     0.1    -8.0  .952    -7.6  -2.5     -5.1   .10  -0.5  -0.5           $0
1976   4     0.8      0.3     
-0.1     1.4     2.4 1.019     2.5  -3.2      5.6   .73   4.1   4.1   $6,619,441
1977   4     0.5      0.4      0.0     1.2     2.1  .931     2.0  
-3.1      5.1   .91   5.0   4.7   $6,951,431
1978   4     1.8      0.7     
-0.1     0.2     2.5  .972     2.5  -3.1      5.6   .88   5.0   4.9   $7,700,021
1979   4     0.9      0.7     
-0.5     0.6     1.7  .948     1.6  -2.9      4.5  1.00   4.8   4.5   $6,228,464
1980   4     3.7      0.9      0.2    
-0.4     4.4  .966     4.3  -3.0      7.3   .93   7.1   6.8  $13,352,005
1981   4    
-0.4      0.8     -0.6     0.6     0.5  .996     0.5  -2.9      3.4   .93   3.2   3.2   $3,539,328
1982   4     0.6      0.2      0.1     0.6     1.5  .980     1.5  
-2.7      4.2   .92   4.0   3.9   $5,004,737
1983   4     0.4      0.0     
-0.2     1.4     1.6  .985     1.6  -2.6      4.2   .69   3.0   2.9   $3,830,360
1984   4     1.4      0.0     
-0.3     1.0     2.1  .996     2.1  -2.4      4.5   .96   4.3   4.3   $5,795,658
1985   4     1.4      0.5     
-0.6     1.9     3.2  .981     3.1  -2.3      5.4   .87   4.8   4.7   $7,283,069
1986   4     1.4      0.5     
-0.2    -0.5     1.2  .973     1.2  -2.2      3.3   .87   3.0   2.9   $3,186,862
1987   4     2.6      0.9     
-0.4     0.7     3.8  .950     3.6  -2.1      5.8   .78   4.7   4.5   $7,361,434
1988   4    
-1.6     -0.2     -0.3     1.5    -0.6  .996    -0.6  -2.3      1.6   .69   1.1   1.1     $849,216
1989   4     1.5      0.3     
-0.1     0.0     1.7  .977     1.7  -1.6      3.2   .93   3.1   3.0   $3,302,168
1990   4    
-0.5      0.7     -0.4     0.6     0.4 1.021     0.4  -2.3      2.6   .64   1.7   1.7   $1,641,516
1991   4     3.2     
-0.1      0.1     0.6     3.8 1.001     3.8  -2.3      6.0   .74   4.5   4.5   $7,572,362
1992   4     0.4     
-0.3     -0.1    -0.6    -0.7  .997    -0.7  -1.7      1.1   .49   0.5   0.5     $329,683
TOTALS      15.1      5.6     
-3.1     8.9    26.5  .979    26.1 -35.7     61.7 14.06  63.4  61.7  $90,547,755
AVGS         1.1      0.4     
-0.2     0.6     1.9  .979     1.9  -2.5      4.4  1.00   4.5   4.4   $6,440,096 


Lou Whitaker

Year Pos BWAA/Yr BRWAA/Yr DPWAA/Yr FWAA/Yr W1AA/Yr LgAdj W2AA/Yr   Rep WARP2/Yr SFrac WARP1 WARP2       Salary
1978   4     0.8      0.5      0.2     0.6     2.1  .972     2.1  
-3.1      5.2   .82   4.4   4.3   $6,388,342
1979   4     1.4      0.5      0.0     1.2     3.1  .948     2.9  
-2.9      5.8   .75   4.6   4.4   $7,153,742
1980   4    
-2.0      0.0      0.3     0.5    -1.1  .966    -1.1  -3.0      2.0   .81   1.6   1.6   $1,305,678
1981   4     0.5      0.5      0.2     1.2     2.3  .996     2.3  
-2.9      5.2   .85   4.4   4.4   $6,559,294
1982   4     1.2      0.2      0.2     1.4     3.1  .980     3.0  
-2.7      5.8   .90   5.3   5.2   $8,400,426
1983   4     3.2     
-0.1      0.2    -0.3     3.1  .985     3.0  -2.6      5.7  1.05   6.0   5.9   $9,556,604
1984   4     1.4      0.0      0.3    
-0.2     1.4  .996     1.4  -2.4      3.8   .91   3.5   3.5   $4,183,124
1985   4     2.3      0.0      0.4    
-0.3     2.5  .981     2.4  -2.3      4.7  1.02   4.9   4.8   $6,688,110
1986   4     0.9      0.0     
-0.5     0.5     0.9  .973     0.9  -2.2      3.1   .95   3.0   2.8   $3,084,528
1987   4     0.6      0.1      0.4    
-0.1     0.9  .950     0.9  -2.1      3.0   .99   3.2   3.0   $3,147,858
1988   4     2.7      0.0      0.1     0.2     2.9  .996     2.9  
-2.3      5.2   .69   3.6   3.6   $5,477,603
1989   4     3.2      0.0      0.5    
-0.1     3.5 1.014     3.6  -2.2      5.8   .90   5.1   5.2   $8,469,212
1990   4     0.8      0.6      0.3     1.3     3.0 1.021     3.1  
-2.3      5.3   .81   4.2   4.3   $6,644,980
1991   4     4.0     
-0.3      0.7     0.2     4.5 1.001     4.5  -2.3      6.8   .83   5.6   5.7  $10,470,708
1992   4     3.4     
-0.1      0.6    -1.2     2.7 1.043     2.9  -2.3      5.2   .79   3.9   4.1   $6,136,803
1993   4     3.4      0.1      0.6     0.9     5.1 1.041     5.3  
-2.4      7.7   .68   5.0   5.2  $10,694,084
1994   4     2.1      0.6      0.3    
-0.3     2.7 1.003     2.7  -2.4      5.1   .75   3.8   3.8   $5,592,370
1995   4     2.5      0.1      0.2    
-0.6     2.1 1.016     2.1  -2.4      4.5   .46   2.0   2.1   $2,838,699
TOTALS      26.5      2.1      4.1     4.1    36.6  .991    36.6 
-37.2     73.9 14.96  74.1  73.9 $112,792,165
AVGS         1.8      0.1      0.3     0.3     2.4  .991     2.4  
-2.5      4.9  1.00   5.0   4.9   $7,539,583 
   37. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: June 27, 2007 at 07:28 PM (#2419980)
Analysis:

Both of these guys are career candidates, as neither had much of a peak to speak of--Randolph's 1980 is the only real HoM peak-caliber season among them. They both played many years at a solid All-Star level. Whitaker's late-career offensive surge definitely marks him as the superior hitter, particularly when double play avoidance is taken into account. Randolph was a plus fielder for most of his career, while Whitaker started out great with the glove but was below average from 1983 onwards. On the whole, Whitaker's offensive advantage is much bigger than Randolph's defensive advantage, and given the similarity of their career shapes and the fact that they played the same position in the same league at the same time, there's not much more to say. Whitaker is comfortably past the in/out line, while Randolph sits very close to it.
   38. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: June 27, 2007 at 07:29 PM (#2419982)
Note: Randolph has similar career value to many of the shortstops on my ballot (Concepción, Rizzuto, Bancroft, Pesky, Campaneris), but fares worse than them for lack of peak. Whitaker is a good cut above them, and the backlog in general.
   39. AJMcCringleberry Posted: July 07, 2007 at 11:10 PM (#2432266)
Something I just found...according to the work done by Dial, Whitaker is the second best defensive second baseman of the last 20 years. And that only counts his decline phase.
   40. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: July 08, 2007 at 04:17 PM (#2433573)
Dial's data is incorporated into my WARP statistic (it's weighted at 40% of defense, with FWS and FRAA at 30% each).
   41. Paul Wendt Posted: July 08, 2007 at 05:25 PM (#2433628)
Is there a bias or "curious disposition" in Dial's ratings that you can describe, DanR? As many of us can describe some of the curiously different dispositions of Palmer, James and Davenport, for example.
   42. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: July 09, 2007 at 07:40 PM (#2434937)
Bill James painted a picture of Whitaker in the NBJHA as kind of goofy. Do others remember Sweet Lou that way when he was still playing?


Yes.
   43. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: July 09, 2007 at 07:59 PM (#2434954)
I'm not sure what you mean, Paul, but I have the data if anyone wants it.
   44. Paul Wendt Posted: July 10, 2007 at 03:34 AM (#2435363)
No, I mean a prose interpretation of tendencies. As you have noted that your own salary system is disposed to honor peak seasons. As others have said Win Shares underrates good players on historically bad W-L teams. As "everyone" here has occasionally referred to shifts in the defensive spectrum.

Elsewhere today you DanR mentioned Michael Humphrey's revisionist evaluation of Wagner in the field.

I am always interested in capsule interpretations of these ratings.
   45. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: July 10, 2007 at 04:01 AM (#2435379)
Oh, I haven't studied Dial's data enough to generalize about whom it favors or not--it's just a straightforward conversion of Zone Rating to runs saved, so it's whoever the STATS scorers are fond of, I guess. My salary system is, in particular, disposed not just to prefer peak to career but much more specificially to prefer peak rate with low durability (John McGraw) to peak durability with low rate (Nellie Fox). Michael hasn't finished Defensive Regression Analysis for all positions, so there's no way to draw broad conclusions about his system.

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