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Monday, October 09, 2006

Reggie Smith

Eligible in 1988.

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 09, 2006 at 07:10 PM | 92 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 09, 2006 at 07:17 PM (#2204940)
If he had played a few more seasons in the majors instead of going to Japan, Smith would have increased his HoM chances considerably. With that said, Smith still has a good case.
   2. DL from MN Posted: October 09, 2006 at 08:04 PM (#2204986)
I think he has a very good case without credit for Japan. How much credit does he deserve for his Japan performance?

http://www.baseball-reference.com/bullpen/Reggie_Smith
"It was obvious from the get-go that Reggie's personality was too different from the Japanese norm. He got into arguments with coaches like Isao Shibata and criticized pitchers who would not offer him a pitch in the strike zone. In April he injured his knee while sliding and was relegated to the bench for almost two months, earning him the media moniker "Million-Dollar Bench-warmer." While unable to play the field, Smith was used as a pinch-hitter.
<snip>
While Smith hit well after he was healed, he also struck out a lot and became known as the "Giant Human Fan." He also started to criticize the umpires; like many other gaijin he felt that they employed a double standard, using a larger strike zone for foreign players. Once Reggie intentionally struck out to drive home his point, drawing more criticism for a lack of effort.
<snip>
Overall Reggie hit .285/.409/.627 with 28 long balls in just 263 AB. He had fanned 61 times and drew 51 walks, for a Three True Outcomes Percentage of 43.3%. He would have led the league in slugging had he gotten enough plate-appearances to qualify for that title.

At age 39, Smith's abilities declined rapidly. He hit .255/.342/.511 in 1984 with 66 K and 17 HR in 231 AB. He injured his wrist, shoulder and knee that season, following a slew of injuries in the US."

A couple hundred mostly-injured at bats doesn't really add much. At that age he probably would have been injured in the US also.
   3. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 09, 2006 at 08:15 PM (#2205000)
How much credit does he deserve for his Japan performance?

I forgot that he deserves credit for his Japanese career, which should count just as much (making the proper adjustments for competition) as if he were in the States.

Overall Reggie hit .285/.409/.627 with 28 long balls in just 263 AB. He had fanned 61 times and drew 51 walks, for a Three True Outcomes Percentage of 43.3%. He would have led the league in slugging had he gotten enough plate-appearances to qualify for that title.

Not many AB, but every little bit helps.
   4. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: October 09, 2006 at 08:20 PM (#2205006)
I didn't realize there was a Japan component to his career. Yes, it probably would help him just a bit. As is, he's hovering just below the in/out line in both right and center. Anyone going to take a stab at some translations?
   5. DL from MN Posted: October 09, 2006 at 08:21 PM (#2205011)
Here's why he deserves credit for the Japan year:

"[Yomiuri] offered Smith three cars and a million-dollar contract, more than doubling what San Francisco had been paying"
   6. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 09, 2006 at 08:23 PM (#2205013)
Anyone going to take a stab at some translations?

Please? Pretty please...with sugar on top? :-)
   7. vortex of dissipation Posted: October 09, 2006 at 10:31 PM (#2205142)
Reggie Smith's Japanese stats can be found here (scroll down the page):

Reggie Smith's NPB stats
   8. sunnyday2 Posted: October 10, 2006 at 04:10 AM (#2205376)
I love Reggie 2 but he was no Stargell, no Cepeda, no Stretch. Or was he?

R. Smith 325/29-29-26-25-25-25-24-24-23-20-19-17-16-14 = 316 in 14 yrs ? 10 (22.6/yr)
Stargell 370/36-35-29-27-26-25-22-22-21-20-18-17-17-16-13 = 344 WS in 15 yrs ? 10 (22.9/yr)
Cepeda 310/34-30-29-26-26-23-23-21-20-19-19-17-13 = 300 WS in 13 yrs ? 10 (23.1/yr)
McCovey 408/39-34-34-33-29-29-25-24-22-16-16-16-13-12-12-12-11-10 = 387 in 18 yrs (21.5/yr)

Didn't have the monster year though years 7 through 12 he is tied or better or 1 WS behind.

OPS+ (in ? 100 games)

R. Smith 136/168-64-58-48-42-42-37-33-28-26-25-16 in 12 years ? 100 and 7200 AB+BB (600/yr)
Stargell 147/189-88-69-66-64-64-56-47-38-36-30-29-25-24-23-4 in 16 years and 7270 AB+BB (450/yr)
Cepeda 133/166-66-58-35-34-33-32-30-30-26-16-9-7 in 13 years and 8400 AB+BB (650/yr)
McCovey 148/212-83-76-64-63-62-61-61-52-51-31-30-30-26-8-3 in 16 yrs and 7020 AB+BB (440/yr)

Not the best but only the worst of the 4 in 2 of 12 seasons (#2 and #9). Virtual dead heat with Cepeda, but for what? Close to my ballot.

I guess I'd say (among newbies and their comps):

1. McCovey
2. Stargell
3. R. Smith
4. Cepeda
5. Lynn
6. Murcer
7. Lee May
   9. Yoenis Cespedes, Baseball Savant Posted: October 10, 2006 at 07:03 AM (#2205428)
Reggie Smith may be the posterboy for the importance of in-season durability.
   10. DL from MN Posted: October 10, 2006 at 01:26 PM (#2205492)
I'd agree with that placement, sunnyday. I have Reggie Smith ahead of Cepeda and Cepeda's on my ballot.
   11. Chris Cobb Posted: October 10, 2006 at 03:16 PM (#2205582)
Why not include Norm Cash in this group? I don't have win shares with me now, but here's OPS+

R. Smith 136/168-64-58-48-42-42-37-33-28-26-25-16 in 12 years ? 100 and 7200 AB+BB (600/yr)
N. Cash 139/201-50-48-42-41-36-35-34-29-28-28-26-26-20 in 14 years >100 and 7600 PA (540/yr)
Stargell 147/189-88-69-66-64-64-56-47-38-36-30-29-25-24-23-4 in 16 years and 7270 AB+BB (450/yr)
Cepeda 133/166-66-58-35-34-33-32-30-30-26-16-9-7 in 13 years and 8400 AB+BB (650/yr)
McCovey 148/212-83-76-64-63-62-61-61-52-51-31-30-30-26-8-3 in 16 yrs and 7020 AB+BB (440/yr)
   12. sunnyday2 Posted: October 10, 2006 at 03:44 PM (#2205615)
Cash doesn't not fit.

Likewise F. Howard and Cravath. I've got Cepeda, Howard and Cravath clustered on my ballot. Damned if I can see right now why I have Cash another 10 spots lower....
   13. DL from MN Posted: October 10, 2006 at 03:49 PM (#2205624)
> I've got Cepeda, Howard and Cravath clustered on my ballot. Damned if I can see
> right now why I have Cash another 10 spots lower

Especially when Cash is the one with the glove.
   14. sunnyday2 Posted: October 10, 2006 at 04:56 PM (#2205701)
Well, if Reggie Smith is in this set, and he is, then he's the one with the glove.
   15. DL from MN Posted: October 10, 2006 at 05:16 PM (#2205720)
Reggie Smith career FRAA: -1
Norm Cash career FRAA: 105
   16. sunnyday2 Posted: October 10, 2006 at 06:43 PM (#2205789)
WS has them both as A- fielders and Reggie played over 800 games in CF.
   17. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: October 10, 2006 at 07:30 PM (#2205830)
it's interesting that two of the more underrated offensive players of their era (Smith and Dwight Evans) both played at Fenway, which usually leads to overration

(well I think it's interesting, anyway)
   18. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 10, 2006 at 07:35 PM (#2205834)
WS has them both as A- fielders and Reggie played over 800 games in CF.

I don't remember Smith being viewed as an average outfielder when I was a kid. I thought he was pretty good.
   19. Mike Emeigh Posted: October 10, 2006 at 08:44 PM (#2205899)
Reggie Smith career FRAA: -1
Norm Cash career FRAA: 105


and that should tell you everything you ever wanted to know about FRAA.

-- MWE
   20. DL from MN Posted: October 10, 2006 at 09:11 PM (#2205929)
What did Reggie Smith do that made him above average defensively? What positions was he above average?
   21. DL from MN Posted: October 10, 2006 at 09:21 PM (#2205939)
What did Reggie Smith do that made him above average defensively? What positions was he above average?
   22. JPWF13 Posted: October 10, 2006 at 09:28 PM (#2205952)
and that should tell you everything you ever wanted to know about FRAA.


well, not hasving seen Norm Cash, and not being impressed with what I saw of Reggie Smith it doesn't tell me all that much.

But then again 105 RAA is usually a figure associated with guys with very good glove reps- which I don't think Cash had...
   23. DavidFoss Posted: October 10, 2006 at 09:31 PM (#2205957)
Re: the A- WS letter grade,

We know that WS inflates the letter grades for CF relative to the corners. So, A- is a bit closer to average than it looks.

Re:FRAA,

CF is at a premium in the post Willie/Mickey/Duke era and FRAA doesn't do positional adjustments. It doesn't say anything about whether an average CF is better than a fine fielding 1B. There's some apples-and-oranges comparisons going on there. Direct offensive comparison of Cash/Cepeda/McCovey & ReSmith is not entirely fair and FRAA is not the equalizer.

That said, like his contemporaries Wynn & Murcer, ReSmith spent some time in the corners as well so its unclear how much of a CF-bosst he should get.
   24. sunnyday2 Posted: October 10, 2006 at 09:31 PM (#2205958)
I saw them both, not often, but saw them, and Cash was a "good" 1B--no Keith Hernandez, mind you--while Reggie was a "good," not great CF. But an average CF is more valuable than an average 1B, and a "good" CF is worth more than a "good" 1B in my experience.
   25. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 10, 2006 at 09:38 PM (#2205971)
What did Reggie Smith do that made him above average defensively? What positions was he above average?

He was speedy and had a good arm, DL.

I don't really remember him when he was a center fielder, but my favorable impression of him was while he was in right field.

He did win a Gold Glove, so that suggests he had a good rep as a center fielder, though not necessarily Willie Mays. :-)

But then again 105 RAA is usually a figure associated with guys with very good glove reps- which I don't think Cash had...

FWIW, Win Shares like his play, too.
   26. DL from MN Posted: October 10, 2006 at 10:32 PM (#2206026)
I adjust the value of a "FRAA" according to position. Probably too crudely but I don't take them at face value.
   27. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: October 10, 2006 at 10:38 PM (#2206033)
mwe---

can you explain what about fraa systemically tends to create these distortions?
   28. OCF Posted: October 11, 2006 at 12:37 AM (#2206175)
Moving this over from the Bonds thread:

Bonds played 285 games in CF, 1472 in RF and 65 in LF. His career: 1736 games, 8090 PA. (He got a huge number of PA per year - three times over 720 - because he was a leadoff hitter.)

Smith played 808 games in CF, 874 in RF and 3 in LF, along with 21 at 2B/3B and 186 at 1B. His career: 1987 games, 8050 PA.

Wynn played 1181 games in CF, 355 in RF and 298 in LF, along with 23 at SS/3B. His career: 1833 games, 8010 PA.

Now - one of my offensive charts, year by year, best to worst:

Wynn  76 58 57 56 52 48 39 34 19 15  7  6 -4-11-12
Bonds 55 52 48 46 46 35 32 28 27 24 22 16 
--6
Smith 64 49 42 42 37 34 30 30 29 29 27 23 12  9  7 
   29. jimd Posted: October 13, 2006 at 03:54 AM (#2209375)
and that should tell you everything you ever wanted to know about FRAA.

I don't understand the sarcasm. I would think it's well understood here that one can't directly compare FRAA(CF) to FRAA(1B). That's what FRAR is for.

RSmith -1 FRAA 234 FRAR
Cash 111 FRAA 256 FRAR (in about 50 extra fielding games)

IOW, it rates their fielding contributions as a small edge for Cash, about the same size as his batting edge
(good fielding 1b versus slightly below average CF converted to slightly above average RF).
   30. AJMcCringleberry Posted: October 14, 2006 at 07:47 PM (#2211350)
We know that WS inflates the letter grades for CF relative to the corners. So, A- is a bit closer to average than it looks.

Bill James says CFers typically earn about 3 WS/1000 innings and an "A level" OFer is 3.30. Smith for his career had 3.35 WS/1000. So, to me at least, he still looks pretty good.

Cash earned 2.11 WS/1000, I don't know what average is but just for comparison, Hernandez earned 2.02 and Mattingly earned 2.06. Obviously that could mean there is a problem with WS, or maybe Cash was very good.
   31. sunnyday2 Posted: October 14, 2006 at 08:46 PM (#2211394)
But I think WS is less wrong than FRAR. i.e. A slightly below average CF is still more valuable than an above average 1B.
   32. The Ghost's Tryin' to Reason with Hurricane Season Posted: October 14, 2006 at 10:43 PM (#2211604)
I grew up watching Reggie in Boston, and i reallt liked him. As I recall, he was a fast CF with a cannon, but he was a little wild. He was a five-tool player during that part of his career.

He was traded by the Sox because he wasn't terribly happy in Boston, probably in part due to the racist attitudes that persisted around there in the 60's.

When I looked at his B-Ref page, the paucity of Black Ink but good amount of Gray Ink were just what I remembered as well - often among the league leaders, but rarely #1.
   33. Howie Menckel Posted: October 24, 2006 at 01:03 AM (#2222670)
Jimmy Wynn - or Jimmy Lose?

adj OPS+s over 100
JimmWynn 167 57 51 46 43 41 37 33 16 08
RegSmith 167 61 57 50 43 43 37 30 28 27 01

Smith 137 career in 8050 PA
JWynn 128 career in 8010 PA

9 pts is fairly significant, with same length career and Reggie matching or beating Wynn in all but year 8. Both add a 116 if you count near-full seasons as well.
Smith over 600 6 times, Wynn over 600 PA 7 times.

Again, any system that sees Wynn as much better offensively strikes me as bizarre. Wynn was a 69 pct basestealerto Smith's 61 pct, but surely that can't explain it.

Anyone else want to try?
   34. jimd Posted: October 24, 2006 at 01:52 AM (#2222691)
Smith 137 career in 8050 PA
JWynn 128 career in 8010 PA


WARP-1
Smith .305 EQA in 5193 outs
JWynn .303 EQA in 5195 outs

Factor in the AL discount and they both have .302 career EQA, WARP-2.

The key to remember with these guys is that both played significant chunks of their careers in extreme parks. The details of how park factors are calculated can make a difference in the final results.
   35. jimd Posted: October 24, 2006 at 01:55 AM (#2222692)
A slightly below average CF is still more valuable than an above average 1B.

But remember that Reggie Smith played more games in RF than he did in CF (879-808). Also 186G at 1B.

He's a corner, not a center.
   36. Howie Menckel Posted: October 24, 2006 at 12:27 PM (#2222949)
jimd, so you have them as equal hitters for their career?
I'm also not convinced that Wynn was much more effective as a fielder, either - Wynn was a CF with a lot of RF, Smith a RF-CF.

Wow, if we put these guys 30 or 40 ballot slots apart, people will rightly wonder if we're crazy, imo.
   37. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 24, 2006 at 12:59 PM (#2222975)
Wow, if we put these guys 30 or 40 ballot slots apart, people will rightly wonder if we're crazy, imo.

I have them about ten slots apart, which seems right to me.
   38. Mike Emeigh Posted: October 24, 2006 at 01:27 PM (#2222995)
can you explain what about fraa systemically tends to create these distortions?


I've done this about 20 times, but once more:

The basic problems inherent to FRAA (which are also inherent in every non-PBP based system) are:

1. the assumption that hits are distributed between FB and GB in the same proportion as outs, so that infield assist/OF putout ratio can be used as a proxy for team G/F ratio;

2. the assumption that an average fielder will make plays in the same proportion whether he's behind a flyball staff or a groundball staff.

Of these two assumptions, the second has the bigger impact. An average outfielder will make both *more* plays, and field a higher percentage of balls hit to him, behind a flyball pitcher than he will behind a groundball pitcher, not just because there are more flyballs to be had but also because the flyballs that are to be had are, on balance, easier to catch.

The upshot is that a fielder who catches a league-average percentage of flyballs on a groundball staff should be considered to be above average, while a fielder who catches a league-average percentage of flyballs on a flyball staff should be considered to be below average. FRAA, and other non-PBP-based systems, consider the fielder to be average in both circumstances - thus overrating the fielder on the FB staff and underrating the fielder on the GB staff.

-- MWE
   39. jimd Posted: October 24, 2006 at 10:58 PM (#2223498)
The basic problems inherent to FRAA (which are also inherent in every non-PBP based system)

So it's not just FRAA, it's any system based on traditional fielding stats (such as Win Shares).

If I understand your post, the fundamental problem is a lack of information about where the hits landed. Given that, at least GB/FB could be determined and then other stuff can be inferred with greater certainty.
   40. KJOK Posted: October 24, 2006 at 11:36 PM (#2223525)
But remember that Reggie Smith played more games in RF than he did in CF (879-808). Also 186G at 1B.

He's a corner, not a center.


Smith played his "prime/young" years as a CF, then played his post-prime years as RF with some 1B. The fact that he has more games in RF than in CF is because he hit well enough to keep playing as he progressed along the defensive spectrum. Like Andre Dawson, he's a CF, not a corner. ;>)
   41. KJOK Posted: October 24, 2006 at 11:39 PM (#2223528)
I didn't realize there was a Japan component to his career. Yes, it probably would help him just a bit. As is, he's hovering just below the in/out line in both right and center. Anyone going to take a stab at some translations?

I will, but with the Cardinals about to start playing, it might be a day or so...
   42. Mike Emeigh Posted: October 24, 2006 at 11:39 PM (#2223529)
If I understand your post, the fundamental problem is a lack of information about where the hits landed.


That and what type of ball they were.

-- MWE
   43. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 25, 2006 at 12:48 AM (#2223609)
Smith played his "prime/young" years as a CF, then played his post-prime years as RF with some 1B. The fact that he has more games in RF than in CF is because he hit well enough to keep playing as he progressed along the defensive spectrum. Like Andre Dawson, he's a CF, not a corner. ;>)

Ernie Banks falls in the same category.
   44. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: October 25, 2006 at 12:59 PM (#2223966)
Just because someone mentioned Wynn v. Smith elsewhere. I tried to do a comparison of Wynn and Smith's playing time, figuring that must account for much of the difference. Well, when I ranked the best to worst game totals in the career of each (adjusting 1981 upwards), Wynn played about 3-4 more games per year than Smith. Then Smith makes it all up and more at the back end (not that I really care about hang on time too too much, but...). That just can't be enough time for the kind of differentiation we see in their peaks.

So I'm going to back to the point mentioned above that Wynn's larger amount of time in CF is the determiner in terms of total value (in spite of Smith's long-term productivity), and the generally lowish peak of Smith and pretty good peak of Wynn are the differentiators for peak/prime voters. It should be noted that his 1981 season was all pinch hitting which doesn't really help him much in career compared to Wynn.
   45. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: October 25, 2006 at 11:54 PM (#2224485)
Even without adding in Japan, I have Smith ahead of Jimmy Wynn, at first glance, I'm going to have to look deeper, but I really like him.
   46. jimd Posted: October 26, 2006 at 01:59 AM (#2224553)
Seasons of 100+ games: (1972 adjusted for strike)
JimmWynn 158 57 57 56 53 50 49 48 39 30 23 05 1725 144 avg
Reg Smith 159 58 55 48 47 43 43 38 35 28 15 06 1675 140 avg

However, one reason for Wynn's higher peak is that he tended to play more games in his best hitting seasons, while Smith tended to do the opposite. Their very best season is similar but look at the contrast in GP in seasons 2-7. In Wynns' 7 best seasons with the bat, he slipped down into the 140's in GP only twice and only as low as 145. In Smith's 7 best seasons with the bat, he climbed up into the 140's only thrice, and had only one season longer than 145, the shortest of Wynn's top 7. The avg GP over those 7 seasons is 153-135 in favor of Wynn (154-136 strike adjusted).

JimmWynn1969 68 74 72 65 70 67 , 75 66 76 73 Year
JimmWynn 149 56 50 45 57 57 58 , 30 05 48 39 Games (1972 adjusts to 153)
JimmWynn 167 57 51 46 43 41 37 , 33 16 08 06 OPS+
Reg Smith 167 61 57 50 43 43 37 , 30 28 27 16 OPS+

Reg Smith 148 28 43 15 31 43 35 , 59 47 55 12 Games (1972 adjusts to 138)
Reg Smith1977 78 74 73 72 69 75 , 71 70 68 76 Year

(I hope the above table is intelligible.)
   47. jimd Posted: October 26, 2006 at 02:05 AM (#2224557)
Just noticed that if you strike-adjust Wynn's 1972 season, then ALL of his 7 best seasons with the bat have more GP than any of Smith's 7 best seasons with the bat.
   48. Howie Menckel Posted: October 26, 2006 at 11:43 PM (#2225343)
Wow, jimd, that is quite interesting.
That's pretty much the sort of post I was looking for.

It doesn't solve all of my questions, but it does answer some of them. I'll look at that again next time around.
That's the sort of thing that almost always evens out, so it usually doesn't make a significant difference.
   49. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: October 27, 2006 at 04:09 AM (#2225885)
I have made a series of posts over in teh discussion thread, but I also want to mention that while Smith may have played CF in his younger 'prime' years, his best offensive seasons were played in RF at the end of his career. Another explanation for the peak difference between Bonds/Wynn and Smith is that Smith the good defender and Smith the very good hitter didn't really combine in the same way that it did for the former two.

Therefore you really can't look at Eq
   50. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: October 27, 2006 at 04:11 AM (#2225893)
wow, to continue that post...

You can't really look at Eqa or OPS+ and conclude that Smith was better and played the tougher position than Bonds. His two and possibly three best offensive seasons rate wise per Eqa do not match up with his time as a good CFer and they didn't come in seasons where he played as often as Bonds or Wynn did.

I feel much better about having Papa Bonds about 10-15 spots above Smith and having both about 40-50 slots below Wynn.
   51. KJOK Posted: October 30, 2006 at 06:42 AM (#2227876)
MLE for Reggie Smith's 1983 Japanese Central League play (1984 probably wouldn't add any credit for Reggie):

G-127
AB-331
R-58
H-97
2B-9
3B-2
HR-20
RBI-86
BB-58
IBB-9
HBP-10
K-78
SB-1
CS-0
SH-0
SF-4
GIDP-5
AVE-.293
OBP-.409
SLG-.516
   52. sunnyday2 Posted: October 30, 2006 at 01:34 PM (#2227927)
What is that, with a discount, about a 15 WS season, maybe? That gets him to 340 or so.
   53. Daryn Posted: October 30, 2006 at 02:44 PM (#2227945)
AB-331
RBI-86


Are you saying his MLE would have him getting an rbi every 3.84 at bats, or 156 rbi in a 600 at bat season?
   54. sunnyday2 Posted: October 30, 2006 at 03:10 PM (#2227956)
Good question, I missed that that was already an MLE rather than raw data.
   55. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: October 30, 2006 at 03:58 PM (#2227987)
That's a McGwiresque line, huh? 9 doubles, 2 trips, and 20 dingers. Wow. Small parks, or bum legs?
   56. DL from MN Posted: October 30, 2006 at 05:10 PM (#2228039)
In April he injured his knee while sliding and was relegated to the bench for almost two months, earning him the media moniker "Million-Dollar Bench-warmer." While unable to play the field, Smith was used as a pinch-hitter.
<snip>
While Smith hit well after he was healed, he also struck out a lot and became known as the "Giant Human Fan."
   57. KJOK Posted: October 30, 2006 at 06:30 PM (#2228123)
AB-331
RBI-86

Are you saying his MLE would have him getting an rbi every 3.84 at bats, or 156 rbi in a 600 at bat season?


Since his "real" Japanese performance was 72 RBI's in 263 AB's, I'd say yes.
   58. KJOK Posted: October 30, 2006 at 06:31 PM (#2228124)
That's a McGwiresque line, huh? 9 doubles, 2 trips, and 20 dingers. Wow. Small parks, or bum legs?

His "real" Japanese line was 6 doubles, 0 triples, 28 HR's....
   59. Daryn Posted: October 30, 2006 at 06:37 PM (#2228133)
Since his "real" Japanese performance was 72 RBI's in 263 AB's, I'd say yes.

That's a pretty small discount then. Is the Japanese league better (comparatively) than the NeLs?
   60. DL from MN Posted: October 30, 2006 at 07:19 PM (#2228162)
I think the playing time may have been over inflated. He was injured and missed 2 months. In a league with better replacement players he probably would have been rested more often than he was in Japan where he was the big $$ star. He hadn't played 127 games in five seasons and only had 331AB once in the last 4 seasons. I'd turn the 2 triples into 2 HR on that line also, Reggie wasn't going to hit any triples. He'd hit 1 triple in his previous 1000 PA.

As a sanity check, here are his numbers from his last 4 years in MLB
G AB avg obp slg HR
68 234 .274 .359 .466 10
92 311 .322 .392 .508 15
41 35 .200 .318 .314 1
106 349 .284 .364 .470 18

If you regress his line above with his previous 3 full seasons you probably get a "truer" number. That suggests something more along the lines of his 1982 season all over again.
   61. KJOK Posted: October 31, 2006 at 12:10 AM (#2228357)
I'm not sure why you would regress - do you regress major league season results? The value is what it is, discounted for competition.

That's a pretty small discount then. Is the Japanese league better (comparatively) than the NeLs?

RBI's aren't necesarily 'discounted' per se, they are more for 'cosmetic' purposes only. I used an 8% discount factor on batting performance, which values the Japanese leagues as slightly higher than AAA. Also, Smith's MLE's were calculated into a 8.53 RPG environment.

I'd turn the 2 triples into 2 HR on that line also, Reggie wasn't going to hit any triples. He'd hit 1 triple in his previous 1000 PA. Maybe, but that would change the value of his output, and I really see no reason to do that. The triples occur because triples are very rare in Japanese parks, so in the translation to US parks he gets a Triple or two...
   62. Mike Webber Posted: October 31, 2006 at 12:40 AM (#2228394)
That's a pretty small discount then. Is the Japanese league better (comparatively) than the NeLs?


I'll argue the Japanese Leagues are for the following reasons -
1) Larger population feeds into the league. Even if the true superstars are statistcal outliers, they overall competition would be better.
2) Level of competitors more stable.
3) By the 1970's they had been playing baseball in Japan for 50 years. That is as long or longer they had been pitching overhand in North America in the 1920-40's.
4) System of finding and promoting the best players to the highest levels much more efficient.
5) Training/diet/excercise much better controlled/maintained. If you are in a bus driving every dang day, and sometimes playing in three different towns in a day, I find it very difficult to believe you would be in peak physical condition. Now the Japanese training regime is so draconian you could make an arguement that no training is better than the physical abuse they under go.

The only thing that I can think of that would clearly argue for the Negro Leagues is the physical stature of the players - and in a way you could argue that is just time-lining. The average Negro Leaguer due to their generally superior stature might play at the MLB level better than the generally smaller NPB player. If you argue that though you can essentially throw Tommy Leach or Hugh Duffy out of the consideration set.
   63. DL from MN Posted: October 31, 2006 at 12:49 AM (#2228399)
Are you interested in what Reggie would have done if he had played another year in MLB or are you interested in what his translated stats are from Japan? If the translations say he would have hit triples, the translations are wrong. I'm more interested in his true talent level and the likely production he would have had in MLB. Maybe you turn the triples back into doubles then. That drops his slugging back to .507.
   64. sunnyday2 Posted: October 31, 2006 at 01:00 AM (#2228409)
>Are you interested in what Reggie would have done if he had played another year in MLB or are you interested in what his translated stats are from Japan?

If these aren't approximately the same thing, then I have been laboring under a misconception for a long, long time.
   65. KJOK Posted: October 31, 2006 at 01:32 AM (#2228428)
Are you interested in what Reggie would have done if he had played another year in MLB or are you interested in what his translated stats are from Japan?

...

If these aren't approximately the same thing, then I have been laboring under a misconception for a long, long time.


Yes, they are USUALLY almost exactly the same thing, but not always.

When doing MLE's, you have two 'basic' choices:

1. Do them using the 'value' method. This is the method I normally use. It attempts to keep a player's value constant. So, if Reggie Smith or Cool Papa Bell was 8% better than average in whatever league they played in, and the league is 8% 'worse' than MLB, then in my MLE's they will both translate to be an exactly average player/hitter.

2. Do them using the 'component' method. This method attempts to translate not value, but each component of batting (singles, doubles, triples, HR's, etc.) instead of translating the players overall value. Since leagues do not always have the same mix of singles, HR's, etc. this will usually cause at least a slight 'distortion' in the player's value upon translation, and if you're going from something like AL 1909 to AL 1998, possibly a large distortion, depending on the player's own mix of offensive events.

As an example, if you use Method #1 to translate Bill Hinchman from AL 1908 to AL 1998, he comes out as 10-15% above average hitter. If you use Method #2, he ends up translating his 6 HR's, which were SECOND in the league in 1908, to around 45-50 HR's in 1998, making him more like an 80% above average player.
   66. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: October 31, 2006 at 03:35 PM (#2228714)
Curiously, Mike, I think you and Clay Davenport would agree on this one. IIRC, Clay has pegged Japan at around 93ish% of MLB, squarely between contemporary AAA and MLB, and 3% above the discount rate that Chris Cobb has suggested for the NgLs. Given the performance of Ichiro, Gochira, Hasegawa, Sasaki, Nomo, and Iguchi thus far, that seems like a pretty decent estimate. On the other hand, the Fat Toad and Kaz-Mat. Yoshi, Mac Suzuki, and Ishii perhaps falling somewhere in between. I'm forgetting a few....
   67. KJOK Posted: November 02, 2006 at 06:53 AM (#2230080)
Are you assuming that the Japan-MLB difference was the same in the late '70s as it is now? I know nothing about Japanese baseball, but I don't think that's a safe assumption, and even slight differences could mean a lot for these borderline players.

I generally will use a larger discount factor for 1940-1960's Japanese players, but for later years I normally use 92%. It is very possible, even likely, that the differences could have been greater in the 1970's, but I know of no study that confirms it. The problem is that although players went from MLB-Japan, NO players were going in the other direction, and the total # of players going to Japan was not all that great, especially pitchers, so you have a small sample size (and players going to Japan back then tended to be on the downside of their career, so you have aging factors to adjust for).
   68. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: November 02, 2006 at 03:02 PM (#2230160)
I wonder if the increased movement of Japanese top stars to MLB has widened the gap a bit again. Let's say it peaked at 95% (for arugment only!), maybe it's declining to 94% or 93% with so many major stars leaving and no major U.S. stars coming in.
   69. sunnyday2 Posted: November 02, 2006 at 06:13 PM (#2230261)
Interesting point, but I would bet that if the top Japanese stars are good enough to play in the US, it is because the caliber of baseball played in Japan has improved top to bottom. The loss of (how many) stars probably doesn't negate the improvement all the way down to replacement.
   70. DL from MN Posted: November 02, 2006 at 07:03 PM (#2230303)
Especially when it's the replacements who are moving the other direction. We get Ichiro and Otsuka, they get Roberto Petagine and Micheal Nakamura. The Japan baseball replacement level isn't much different than the US replacement level. The advantage of MLB is the extra 15 players on each roster and the protected minor leaguers are generally better than the protected Japanese players. The six year free agents are fair game for both leagues.
   71. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: November 02, 2006 at 07:16 PM (#2230309)
I wouldn't think that the migration of top stars from Japan to MLB woudl make a huge differenc in the quality of the league. For Instance if Miguel Cabrera, Albert Pujols, Johan Santana and ARod all retired tomorrow would MLB's level of play go down? I would think that it wouldn't It is the mass of players in the middle who set the level of play.

But I could be wrong...
   72. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: February 12, 2007 at 01:56 AM (#2295784)
KJOK, is that '83 MLE to the 1983 American or National League?
   73. Yoenis Cespedes, Baseball Savant Posted: September 06, 2007 at 09:41 PM (#2514403)
I have to dash off to class here, but I've been working on MLEs for Japanese players as a side project and ran the numbers on Reggie Smith. I'll explain the methodology and post my MLEs for Smith after class:

1. Mostly, it's a straight MLE. I adjust to a 4.5 R/G environment and use a .260/.330/.400 league average to calculate OPS+. I don't make any park adjustments. The MLE methodology is the same one Dan Szymborski uses, which he explains here:

http://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/btf/scholars/czerny/articles/calculatingMLEs.htm

2. The conversion rate I use for league difficulty is .92 of MLB. The rate Dan uses for AAA is .82. As a general rule of thumb, a percentage-point change is worth about one point of OPS+.

3. I use different adjustments for each component based on how Japanese players have performed in MLB:

http://sturgeongeneral.wordpress.com/2006/11/09/japanese-projections-part-3-hitters/

4. Based upon the above numbers, I add a couple of component adjustments that Dan doesn't: .52 for home runs and .72 for walks. There is no component adjustment for home runs in Dan's MLEs, but Japanese baseball is centered far more on the home run than MLB. Under a straight translation, you end up with a bunch of MLEs with 500-600 HRs. To wit: Hiromitsu Kadota hit 552 NPB homers from 1971-1991, 678 adjusted to 162-game seasons. Under a straight translation without a component adjustment, Kadota would have 577 MLE HR in 9160 at-bats in a 4.5 R/G environment. Kadota would be -- easily, I would guess -- the smallest member of the 500 HR club at 5'7" and 178 pounds. It just doesn't pass the smell test.

Anyway, the real short version of Smith's MLEs:

1983: 362 PA -- .267/.352/.446 -- 118 OPS+
1984: 305 PA -- .239/.297/.380 -- 85 OPS+
   74. KJOK Posted: September 06, 2007 at 11:21 PM (#2514476)
James - I look forward to your methodology explanation. At first glance, it looks like you may be 'double adjusting' downward, as you adjust for BOTH Runs and Individual components? Also, I think you normally need to have SOME adjustment for league context and park. The 1983 Tokyo Giants had 4.48 runs per game in their 130 Japanese League Games, so in this particular case it may not have a big impact.
   75. KJOK Posted: September 06, 2007 at 11:26 PM (#2514478)
KJOK, is that '83 MLE to the 1983 American or National League?

I see I never answered this. I MLE'd Smith into the NL 1955-2002 as a 'neutral' context, where scoring averaged 4.26 RPG.
   76. KJOK Posted: September 06, 2007 at 11:35 PM (#2514482)
I add a couple of component adjustments that Dan doesn't: .52 for home runs and .72 for walks.
I use .67 and .87. Using anything more extreme than these causes my MLE's to need to add too many singles/doubles/triples "back in" to get the player's performance back up to the correct runs level - and may be why your MLE's might be coming out too low...
   77. Yoenis Cespedes, Baseball Savant Posted: September 06, 2007 at 11:43 PM (#2514487)
KJOK,

As I understood Dan's methodology, you adjust for league context, park/run context, and component statistics.
   78. Yoenis Cespedes, Baseball Savant Posted: September 06, 2007 at 11:55 PM (#2514496)
To be clear, though, I do adjust for run context.
   79. Yoenis Cespedes, Baseball Savant Posted: September 07, 2007 at 12:00 AM (#2514502)
The .52 for home runs is used in place of the general Park Multiplier that Dan uses for translating minor-league home runs.
   80. Paul Wendt Posted: September 07, 2007 at 03:53 AM (#2514751)
Kadota would be -- easily, I would guess -- the smallest member of the 500 HR club at 5'7" and 178 pounds. It just doesn't pass the smell test.

no, not easily
Mel Ott is listed at 5'9 170
but the example underscores the need for ballpark adjustment

Banks, Aaron, and Mays 6'1 6'0 5'11, all 180 pounds

Palmeiro 6'0 188

not far below 500,
Musial 6'0 175
Yaz 5'11 182
but they approached 500 partly playing a long long time

Billy Williams 6'1 175

That is everyone in the 400 club listed at less than 190 pounds
   81. KJOK Posted: September 07, 2007 at 04:25 PM (#2515197)
As I understood Dan's methodology, you adjust for league context, park/run context, and component statistics.

Well, you can't overlap these adjustments however.

In other words, if you had a player in the 1930 NL who played in Baker Bowl, you can't:

Step 1 - Adjust his stats down from 1930 AL Run context to 4.5 R/G context, then
Step 2 - Adjust his stats down from Baker Bowl context to Neutral Field context, AND
Step 3 - Adjust his component stats down based on previous players who moved from 1930 AL Coors Field to a neutral league/park context.

Step 3 will be 'double adjusting' the Step 1 and 2 adjustments.
   82. Dandy Little Glove Man Posted: September 07, 2007 at 10:38 PM (#2515709)
I had a revelation a few days ago that I thought might be worth sharing here: Reggie Smith and Larry Walker had nearly the exact same MLB career. The similarities are so strong that it seems somewhat eerie. Both played in parts of 17 Major League seasons, finishing with 8030 and 8050 PAs respectively. Both had significant in-season durability issues but had 1 year in which they were at the top of the league offensively and managed to play nearly a full season in right field (1977 for Smith and 1997 for Walker). Smith's WARP1 that season was 10.2 compared to 10.1 for Walker. The second-best season for each player earned 8.9 WARP1. Despite dealing with injuries regularly, both were still very good hitters at the end of their long careers. Walker finished with a 140 OPS+ and a .307 EQA; Smith had a 137 OPS+ and a .305 EQA. Walker was a better defender as a RF, but considering Smith's roughly 800 games in center, their defensive value seems to be quite close as well.

I'm not sure what ramifications, if any, this has on Smith's HOM case. I haven't really thought about where Larry Walker ranks to be able to say with any conviction whether such a comparison might help or hurt Smith's cause. It seems clear that context makes Walker overrated and Smith underrated by B-Ref's HOF Standards and HOF Monitor, and I find it funny that neither player appears on the other's Similar Batters list due to the differences in environment. Maybe someone with strong opinions on Walker's future candidacy will find this comparison useful. Lacking that, I just thought it was interesting.
   83. Rafael Bellylard: Built like a Panda. Posted: September 07, 2007 at 11:06 PM (#2515732)
Nothing to add to this other than one odd thing he used to do when he played 1B for the Giants. If the pitcher threw over to first and the ball was low (defined as anything below waist level), Smith would kneel for it, usually coming down on the runner with both knees as he slid into the bag. Seems I remember a few almost-fights over that.

I don't recall seeing anyone else do that as much as he did.
   84. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: September 08, 2007 at 12:00 AM (#2515818)
I too have Smith and Walker right next to each other, and both comfortably in my PHoM.
   85. Brent Posted: September 08, 2007 at 04:01 AM (#2516291)
James or KJOK:

Do you have Smith's Japanese OPS+ (that is, relative to the Japanes League before converting to MLEs)?

That would help us see how much "adjusting" is taking place.
   86. KJOK Posted: September 08, 2007 at 06:01 AM (#2516322)
Do you have Smith's Japanese OPS+ (that is, relative to the Japanes League before converting to MLEs)?

1983 Japanese Central League - R. Smith
Non-Park Adj OPS+ = 169
Park Adj Est OPS+ = 170
   87. KJOK Posted: September 08, 2007 at 06:07 AM (#2516324)
James said:

The rate Dan uses for AAA is .82. As a general rule of thumb, a percentage-point change is worth about one point of OPS+.


The MLE I calculated for Smith comes out to a 161 OPS+, the one James calculated comes out to 118 OPS+, and by James own quote above the MLE "should" have come out around 151 OPS+ (169 - 18). I THINK the fact that his Japanese OPS is so SLG heavy may be why my MLE OPS+ is a little higher than expected, assuming the .1 to 1 ratio holds over most ranges.
   88. Brent Posted: September 08, 2007 at 12:17 PM (#2516371)
Thanks.
   89. baseball fanatic Posted: September 12, 2007 at 06:24 PM (#2521561)
Has anybody compiled Win Shares for Smith's NPB seasons? What position did he play there?

Thanks in advance, gentleman. Keep up the good work.
   90. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 12, 2007 at 06:30 PM (#2521572)
That's actually a good question, BF, since I need them for further anaysis myself.

Are you thinking about submitting a ballot?
   91. baseball fanatic Posted: September 12, 2007 at 06:55 PM (#2521627)
Are you thinking about submitting a ballot?


Don't have the time, John, but I enjoy just lurking in the shadows around here.

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