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Sunday, October 01, 2006

Sal Bando

Eligible in 1987.

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 01, 2006 at 10:34 PM | 74 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 01, 2006 at 10:37 PM (#2194022)
Who was more underrated from the 1970's A's: Bando or Tenace (don't say Joe Rudi)?
   2. DCW3 Posted: October 01, 2006 at 10:49 PM (#2194032)
Well, they both appeared on The Simpsons, but only Bando got his name mentioned on the program. So I'm going with Tenace.

(More relevantly, Bando did finish three times in the top five of an MVP vote. Tenace had two eighteenth-place finishes, but never got a single vote in any other year.)
   3. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: October 01, 2006 at 11:05 PM (#2194036)
Bando's age 25 season really came out of nowhere...not only did not hit for powers in the majors before that season, he'd never hit for power in the minors, either!

Highest SLG pre-1969 at all levels of pro ball was a whopping .412.

http://www.thebaseballcube.com/players/B/Sal-Bando.shtml
   4. DavidFoss Posted: October 01, 2006 at 11:18 PM (#2194044)
Bando's age 25 season really came out of nowhere...not only did not hit for powers in the majors before that season, he'd never hit for power in the minors, either!

Funny. You're right, of course, but the A's shifted him to cleanup in June of 68 (the year before) when he was hitting .247/.294/.338. He was clean-up hitter from day one in 1969 and ended up doing a fine job protected Reggie (batting 3rd) in their dual break-out years. The A's knew enough to put him in the clean-up spot. Weird.
   5. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 01, 2006 at 11:37 PM (#2194055)
The A's knew enough to put him in the clean-up spot. Weird.

Not really when you look at the team's homer output from '68. :-)
   6. OCF Posted: October 02, 2006 at 12:31 AM (#2194082)
In my offensive system, years sorted:

Bando   68 60 42 37 32 30 29 25 14 11  5 -5-14-15
Boyer   42 38 29 29 28 24 22 22  8  7  1  0 
--6
Elliott 48 46 45 33 30 27 26 25 20 16 10  8  7 
--


The two top years for this for Bando were not consecutive: the 68 is for 1969 while the 60 is for 1973. As a technical note: I am now correcting for the DH rule and the differences involving pitcher-removed stats or not.

So Bando was in fact a heck of a hitter; that fact is largely obscured from view because he was a low-BA, high secondary average hitter in a pitchers park in low scoring times. He also should probably have hung them up a couple of years before he did; his 1979 and 1980 seasons aren't doing much for his candidacy.

The question now comes down to Bando's bat versus Boyer's glove.
   7. Mike Emeigh Posted: October 02, 2006 at 01:48 AM (#2194122)
Burlington and Mobile were tough places to hit. Vancouver wasn't as tough, but was then (as it is now) a very difficult home run park. Seen in that light, Bando's minor league numbers weren't all that bad.

-- MWE
   8. yest Posted: October 03, 2006 at 02:38 PM (#2195465)
Well, they both appeared on The Simpsons, but only Bando got his name mentioned on the program. So I'm going with Tenace.

when?
   9. DL from MN Posted: October 03, 2006 at 03:50 PM (#2195580)
Here's my raw numbers for Boyer, Bando and Elliott

Playr BRAR BRAA FRAR FRAA (season adjusted)
Boyer 480 233 396 107
Elliott 579 344 255 8
Bando 509 261 242 -5

It's my opinion that Boyer's glove makes up the difference. I give equal weight for fielding runs and batting runs for third basemen (25% fielding runs credit for corner outfielders, 30% for CF/1B, 100% for SS/3B/2B, 130% for C).

Bando is quite a bit below Bob Elliott in BRAR and BRAA while sporting pretty much the same glove. Make sure you're properly season adjusting Bob Elliott when comparing him to Bando.
   10. DL from MN Posted: October 03, 2006 at 03:56 PM (#2195588)
I'll go through and zero out 1979 and 1980 and see where Bando ends up next season. I don't do that on the 1st ballot to be conservative with the placement.

I also noticed that WARP just downgraded Bando's defense further.
   11. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: October 03, 2006 at 04:58 PM (#2195689)
Bando
Boyer
Elliott

I like to look at BRAR and FRAA. These are the unadjusted warp1 figures.

years in    years in         bp pos
NAME      PA BRAR FRAA OPS
+   DH league  war league     breakdown (>10 g)
-----------------------------------------------------------------
BANDO         509  -31  119     9 (73-81)   0           3b-1825/1B-14 
BOYER         479  113  116     0           0           3b
-1721/cf-101/1b-50/ss-20
ELLIOTT       579    5  124     0           3 
(43-45)   3b-1317/rf-399/cf-63/lf-47 


Looks like Bando gets wiped, right?

Well, what happens when we look first at Elliot and adjust first for the war years? You could argue that 1942 is a war year, but to be conservative, I won't. If you adjust his OPS+ down 10% for 1943-1945, his career mark drops to 121. Now what about the positional stuff? Well Elliott's a -1 RAA 3B per BP. It's in the outfield that he does his best work, 100 in CF, 102 in RF. In years where Elliott is primarily an OF, his OPS+ is 108, and I don't need to tell you that's not so hot for an OF. Elliott's performance in BRAR is probably a bit overstated without an adjustment for position (and since BP stopped reporting BRARP I don't know what his BRARPs were.)

Now how about the other big adjustment? Sal Bando in the DH league? Elsewhere in the HOM threads, posters have posited anywhere between 5 and 12 percent as the appropriate factor for increasing a player's numbers. I'll use 7% per annum for 1973-1981. Two things happen: first his sudden decline looks much more smooth and normal, second his OPS+ careerwise rises to 124. Check it out:

OLD  DHadj
YEAR  OPS
OPS+
=================
1966  113  113
1967   64   64
1968  107  107
1969  152  152
1970  136  136
1971  137  137
1972  116  116
1973  150  161 
1974  130  139
1975   98  105
1976  127  136
1977   99  106
1978  128  137
1979   83   89
1980   64   68
1981   82   87
=================
      
119  124 


So now let's revisit two charts ago and plug the adjusted figures in. I don't know if BP adjusts for the DH or not, so I went ahead and did the adjustment on their BRAR figures, and I adjusted Elliott's 1943-1945 figures down by 10% on their BRAR too:


years in    years in         bp pos
NAME      PA BRAR FRAA OPS
+   DH league  war league     breakdown (>10 g)
-----------------------------------------------------------------
BANDO         525  -31  124     9 (73-81)   0           3b-1825/1B-14 
BOYER         479  113  116     0           0           3b
-1721/cf-101/1b-50/ss-20
ELLIOTT       564    5  121     0           3 
(43-45)   3b-1317/rf-399/cf-63/lf-47 


It's just my opinion, but I don't think Bando's doing too badly here, in a scenario which is more friendly to Boyer's fielding than WS would be. Boyer holds his own either way, and questions about Elliotts positional replacement value make me wonder about his placement relative to Bando. For what it's worth, here's how BP sees the three with all-time timeline adjustments

NAME      PA BRAR FRAA 
-----------------------
BANDO         515  -39
BOYER         488  120  
ELLIOTT       573    4 
   12. karlmagnus Posted: October 03, 2006 at 05:14 PM (#2195718)
I thought we ended with about 3% for the DH adjustment, once all the factors are taken into consideration. You have to include the effect of all the pinch hitters, and that knocks it way down.
   13. DL from MN Posted: October 03, 2006 at 05:25 PM (#2195750)
> questions about Elliotts positional replacement value

Which is why I weight RAA more heavily than RAR for both fielding and hitting.
   14. Al Peterson Posted: October 03, 2006 at 06:12 PM (#2195885)
Bando's big trouble is the quality of his peers. All these players overlap his 12 year prime (68-79) at least six years.

AL: George Brett, Brooks Robinson, Graig Nettles, Buddy Bell
NL: Ron Santo, Mike Schmidt, Darrell Evans, Ron Cey

Do you take all of them, some of them, where do you draw the line? You want good glove over weaker glove but better bat? Career vs peak? There is much hairsplitting to be done here.
   15. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 03, 2006 at 08:14 PM (#2196237)
Bando's big trouble is the quality of his peers.

I agree. It also hurts Boyer to a degree, too. That's why, for whatever reason, the offensive numbers of the pre-Mathews "hot corner" guys have to be evaluated differently than the post-Mathews models.
   16. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: October 03, 2006 at 08:43 PM (#2196280)
We can seperate all of these guys into categories:

NBs
Schmidt
Santo
Brett

We'll elect all these guys.

Low-peak, long career borderliners
Evans
Brooks
Nettles

We've elected 1 of 1 so far, with both the other two getting positive vibrations from various members of the group in idle confabbing.

Medium to good peak, medium career borderliners
Bando
Boyer
Harrah
(Elliot may belong here)

None yet elected though Boyer is very close to election and Elliot has strong support (if he counts in this spot).

Others
Cey
Bell

I just don't see where they're support will come from in light of the magnitude of their peers.

I'm also not certain that if Boyer not Bando holds either. I'm not certain there isn't room for both. I just don't know. I mean Bando's the best 3B of his era, period. Brett's good years really don't begin until Bando's into decline and his best years are once Bando is either in his death throes or retired. Meanwhile when Brooks and Bando are in the same league, Bando is pretty much better for similar reasons. Nettles is a few years later in maturing and so he leads Bando toward the end of Bando's career but not really until then.
   17. Chris Cobb Posted: October 03, 2006 at 09:14 PM (#2196332)
Evans is better than "low-peak, long-career borderliner."

Here are his top 5 seasons by WARP1: 12.7, 10.2, 8.7, 8.6, 8.1

His peak is short, but high.

I mean Bando's the best 3B of his era, period.

Well, it depends on how you define an era.

Bando is probably the best third baseman in the majors from 1969-72.

Before 1969, it's clearly Ron Santo, and Brooks Robinson is also in his prime, but both begin to decline in 1969.

Evans peaks from 1973-75, while Schmidt's long and awesome peak begins in 1974 or 1975, and Brett's in 1976.
   18. sunnyday2 Posted: October 03, 2006 at 09:20 PM (#2196341)
Boyer would be a pretty weak choice, IMO. But of course somebody has to be our weakest choice.

I'm not a big fan of Mr. Evans, but I think the handwriting is on the wall there, and I'm not saying he won't make my ballot. Nettles to me is clearly a weaker version of Evans. I can't imagine him making my ballot.

Of the 3 (make that 4) Evans probably in/Boyer, Bando, Nettles almost surely out (of PHoM). (The others, other than the NBs, mentioned above all clearly out.)
   19. DavidFoss Posted: October 03, 2006 at 09:53 PM (#2196384)
Bando is probably the best third baseman in the majors from 1969-72.

Probably. Tony Perez hit better in 69-70. Killebrew hit better in 69-70 as well. Both ended up migrating to 1B by 1971 or 1972. The fielding contribution for those two (and durability/multipositional issues for HK) may swing the pendulum more toward Bando's.

Bando's 73-74 are impressive, though. He doesn't beat Evans/Schmidt both years, but he beats Evans in 74 and Schmidt in 73.
   20. DavidFoss Posted: October 03, 2006 at 09:56 PM (#2196390)
Nettles to me is clearly a weaker version of Evans. I can't imagine him making my ballot.

Nettles is one of my all-time favorite players, but I've never really felt he was robbed by not being in the HOF. It's a little while before he's eligible, so we have some time to discuss him, but there are just so many 1970s 3B. It really is a different position than it used to be.
   21. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: October 03, 2006 at 10:07 PM (#2196402)
Well, it depends on how you define an era.

I was actually only talking about the AL (but neglected to say so, thinking more quickly than typing), however, yeah, Bando was the best in the majors a few years, but the best in the AL for a longer span. Most of the great MLB guys in that era were NL guys.

Now I did use that notion to argue that Brooks was overrated. In this instance I'm only arguing that Bando was the best in his league. However in the last several elections we've elected several players who were the best of a weak bunch: Sewell (most notoriously) but also Brooksie and Freehan. Bando also benefits by this same logic and probably to roughly the same extent that Sewell does (in terms of # of years).

I'm not saying that's grounds for election, but it's not necessarily a good argument against any backlog or borderline candidate anymore. On the other hand, being the best MLB 3B over a multi-year period is a good argument.
   22. JPWF13 Posted: October 03, 2006 at 10:31 PM (#2196431)
Nettles to me is clearly a weaker version of Evans. I can't imagine him making my ballot.


How so, Nettles was a waeker hitter- but not by much and a better fielder
   23. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: October 03, 2006 at 10:58 PM (#2196460)
Just to emphasize the point about Bando's dominance over AL 3Bs....

You'll recall that I sometimes refer to a positional dominance junk stat that I like to use. I take the players at the position in question and average their "MVP percentage" over the previous three years then compare them to their positional peers. MVP percentage ends up being

Player's WS
-------------------------------
Best (any) position player's WS

Subject to several rules:
a) must play majority or plurality of games at same position for all three years
b) league switching is OK
c) must be in the majors all three years.

I also count which guys are within 95% of the leader and 90% of the leader.

Here's how this works out at 3B in the AL for a longer-view period.

3B LEADERS 1957-1986

YEAR  LEADER                       95
%            90%
-----------------------------------------------------------
1957  yosteddie         
1958  yost
eddie                           malzonefrank
1959  malzone
frank 
      
and yosteddie
1960  yost
eddie
1961  yost
eddie                           malzonefrank
1962  robinson
brooks   
1963  robinson
brooks
1964  robinson
brooks
1965  robinson
brooks                      wardpete
1966  robinson
brooks
1967  robinson
brooks
1968  robinson
brooks
1969  mcmullen
ken       robinsonbrooks
1970  bando
sal
1971  bando
sal
1972  bando
sal
1973  bando
sal
1974  bando
sal
1975  bando
sal
1976  nettles
graig      brettgeorge     bandosal
1977  brett
george
1978  brett
george                         nettlesgraig
1979  brett
george
1980  brett
george
1981  brett
george
1982  brett
george                         harrahtoby
1983  brett
george       bellbuddy 
                          
and harrahtoby
1984  boggs
wade
1985  boggs
wade
1986  boggs
wade 


So, in the AL, Bando is the link between Brooks and Brett. It's also worth noting that Bando's three-year MVP% scores are much higher than Yost/Malzone and a little higher than Brooks's but not as good as Brett's or Boggs'.

In addition, I use this same method to assess who is the best player in the league at a given moment. At the end of the period 1969-1971 in the AL, it was Sal Bando (tied with Reggie). One of the Keltner questions goes something like "Was this man ever considered the best player in his league?" An objective answer for Bando is that yes, he could have been considered the best player in his league. It's not a definitive thing, but it is very much a chip in his favor. Neither Boyer nor Elliott can claim it.

I have a wider WS-based system for approximating the more objective and reasonable of the Keltner questions. In this system, a guy starts building a candidacy for the Hall around 20 points, he's really got steam at 30 points, he's extremely likely to get elected at 40 points, a near slam dunk at 45 points, no brainer after 50. Bando scores 35, 13th best among 3Bs. Elliot scores 26, 21st among 3Bs. Boyer scores 18, tied for 30th among 3Bs. For reference, here's some others:

Schmidt 80
Brett 68
Santo 47
Brooks 46
Dcn White 46 (no NA credit)
Baker 43
Groh 40
Leach 38
Hack 36
(Bando 35)
Evans 34
Collins 32
Traynor 30
Nettles 29
Rosen 29
(Elliot 26)
Harrah 25
Lyons 23 (no, no AA discounts in these numbers)
Williamson 21
(Boyer 18)
Nash 18
Bradley 18
Yost 18
Cey 18
Sutton 18 (No NA credit)
Bell 17
McGraw 16
Clift 15
Kell 14


Boyer's score is weaker in part due to the better league and better positional competition of his era, which influences how he scores in questions regarding MVP-type seasons, best at position, best player in league. He also didn't play well past his prime, if he was a team's best player, his level of performance wouldn't typically push a team toward a pennant (based on historical WS comparisons among pennant-winning teams) and few comparable players have been elected to the HOF with his WS figures.

Elliott does rather better due to positional dominance. Bando's sustained positional dominance and his numerous All-Star type seasons make him that much more attractive in my system.

I don't have a good answer for Bando v. Boyer v. Elliott. It's getting murkier by the moment. They all have markers, Bando does the bestest in my system, but there's no perfect system and other ways of looking at him (as seen in posts above) see a different view.
   24. Mike Webber Posted: October 04, 2006 at 12:32 AM (#2196553)
Doc,
Not that it matters, but I know you like to be complete, with Brett's huge 1985 he isn't within 90% of Boggs over the three year period?
   25. DavidFoss Posted: October 04, 2006 at 12:50 AM (#2196611)
Not that it matters, but I know you like to be complete, with Brett's huge 1985 he isn't within 90% of Boggs over the three year period?

Doesn't look like it.

1983-87

GB-24-14-37-19-15*
WB-34-28-31-37-32

Brett shifted to 1B by 1987, even ignoring that, the running prev-3-year-totals 85-87:

GB-75-70-71
WB-93-96-100
   26. sunnyday2 Posted: October 04, 2006 at 02:04 AM (#2196783)
And here's my junk stat, Reputation Monitor. It includes WS, LWTS, HFMonitor and Standards, Ink, OPS+, my own MVP/all-star rating, and a defensive WS bonus. A score of 200 is pretty much automatic HoF, 175 a strong candidate (show cause why not), 150 a candidate (show cause why), a 100 is a totally horrible HoF choice. Actually < 150 is pretty bad (a mistake) for a post-WWII HoFer. It is meant to be predictive of the HoF voting, so take it in that spirit. I use it to build consideration sets, not as a final rating. Still:

Schmidt 349
Boggs 270
Brett 267
Matthews 260
Brooks 225
Baker 213
Santo 206--OK, so it isn't foolproof

Molitor 194--why not? no reason
Deacon White 193--why not? no reason
JCollins 175--why not? well, borderline but really can't say no

Traynor 170--why? best 3B between Baker and Matthews, and next in line, which to me is a yes
Boyer 169--why? best 3B between Matthews and Brooks, and that's a no
Groh 168--can make a case using a chronological method, couldn't make the case today
Hack 164--ditto
Rosen 155--can't make this case
Leach 155--this was a big maybe at the time, a clear no from today's perspective
Elliott 152--ditto

Bonilla 142--no
Lyons 141
Bando 141--does not do well by this method, heavy burden of proof needed
Da. Evans 137--ditto
Cross 135
Zimmerman 133
Nettles 133--heavy burden of proof here
Sutton 129--method doesn't work very well for 19th century, this is not a killer for such a player in my book
Kell 128--no way
Bell 119
Williamson 119--not a disqualifier for Big Ned
Cey 118
Gardner 117
Clift 115
Bradley 115
McGraw 115
Meyerle 112--actually pretty good score for a guy who goes back this far
Lathan 105
Devlin 103
Harrah 102

Selected others

Madlock 97
Keltner 96
Wallach 95
Pendleton 93
Gaetti 92
DeCinces 87
Yost 87
Lindstrom 87

Summarizing just the post-expansion guys

Schmidt 349
Boggs 270
Brett 267
Brooks 225
Santo 206
Molitor 194
Boyer 169
Bonilla 142
Bando 141
Da. Evans 137
Nettles 133
Bell 119
Cey 118
Harrah 102

This is probably the order I would rate them, but it does seem that this method underrates some of these guys. Basically it does underrate low peak players, it is in fact meant to, since I'm a peak guy. But OTOH this works fairly well in predicting HoF voting, so it's not just me. But as a peak voter this is probably the order I would have them in, with the exception of Bonilla maybe. I need to see how many games he actually played at 3B versus corner OF and/or 1B. But basically what this means is Bando, Evans and Nettles clearly are behind Boyer for me.

For comparison, in the same range (133-141) you've got guys like Jack Clements, Dolph Camilli, Johnny Evers, Maranville, Sheckard, Ginger Beaumont, Jack Clark and Wilbur Cooper, among others.

Career Defensive WS--top 14 among >100 Reputation Monitor 3Bs (?70)

Cross 114
Brooks 107
Leach 95
Nettles 93--so you're right about Nettles' defense
J. Collins 91
Schmidt 89
Bell 87
Gardner 80
Traynor 79
Latham 75
Boggs 75
Sutton 74
Groh 71
Boyer 70

Selected others:

Evans 69
Santo 68
Brett 60
Cey 59
Bando 54
Elliott 52
Molitor 46

Well, enough junk.
   27. DCW3 Posted: October 04, 2006 at 08:27 AM (#2197026)
Well, they both appeared on The Simpsons, but only Bando got his name mentioned on the program. So I'm going with Tenace.

when?


Last season, in this episode. After Homer, for complicated reasons, paints "74 OAKLAND A'S - BEST TEAM EVER" on his curb, several members of the team immediately drive by. Bando says, "Look, that guy remembers us!", and Tenace tells him, "Hey, Sal Bando, give him a '74 A's thank-you honk!" Tenace wasn't identified until the credits at the end of the show.

Now that I think about it, though, Tenace got a mention in Anchorman, which pushes his Pop Culture Rating up compared to Bando's.
   28. Howie Menckel Posted: October 04, 2006 at 12:38 PM (#2197054)
adj OPS+

Boyer as a 3B 143 35 30 30 24 23 21 15* 00
Elliott as 3B 147 45 40 35 34* 34* 26 23* 01
Bando as a 3B 152* 50 37 36 30 28 27 16 07/99 98 83

all years
KeBoyer 143 35 30 30 24 23 21 15* 00/94 93 91
Elliott 147 45 40 35 34* 34* 26 23* 16 12 05 01/99
SaBando 152* 50 37 36 30 28 27 16 07/99 98 83


Elliott war years in asterisk, as are Boyer's and Bando's expansion years.

Boyer gets a lot more credit for fielding, but I think Elliott was a good 3B whose versatility winds up hurting him with the voters.

Bando is in the mix, for sure. I vote for both Boyer and Elliott, and if Bando misses my ballot, it would be just barely. I do know that in 1987 Bando has not stood out quite as much, and he has neither Boyer's incredible defensive reputation nor Elliott's slight edge in the tail of their careers.
   29. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: October 04, 2006 at 01:28 PM (#2197091)
with the exception of Bonilla maybe. I need to see how many games he actually played at 3B versus corner OF and/or 1B.

Without looking at their numbers, if I had to guess, Bonilla would be a very good match for Elliott. Lots of 3B, lots of outfield, some MVP consideration, plenty of All-Star-type seasons, but very much bat-first candidates with similar peak/career kind of numbers.
   30. DanG Posted: October 04, 2006 at 01:37 PM (#2197099)
Remember, too, that in analyzing Boyer he deserves a full year of war credit.
   31. sunnyday2 Posted: October 04, 2006 at 01:40 PM (#2197102)
Bottom line, all 3 are 20-40 kind of guys, with the potential to move up if we keep whittling away at the backlog. HoVG.
   32. DL from MN Posted: October 04, 2006 at 01:42 PM (#2197103)
> Without looking at their numbers

After looking at their numbers - the bat is a good comp but Bobby Bonilla couldn't field nearly as well as Elliott.
   33. DavidFoss Posted: October 04, 2006 at 02:35 PM (#2197164)
Now that I think about it, though, Tenace got a mention in Anchorman, which pushes his Pop Culture Rating up compared to Bando's.

Tenace is most certainly more known. His 1972 WS-MVP is one of the most mentioned parts of the A's dynasty. I'm not saying he was better than Bando, but certainly less forgotten.
   34. andrew siegel Posted: October 04, 2006 at 06:11 PM (#2197482)
3B rankings:

(1) Schmidt
(2) Mathews
(gap)

(3) Brett
(4) Boggs
(gap)

(5) Baker
(6) Wilson
(7) Santo
(gap)

(8) Sutton
(9) Molitor
(10)Beckwith
(gap)

(11)Collins
(12)Groh
(13)Robinson
(14)Hack
(15)Leach
(16)Boyer
(17)Elliot
(18)Evans
(gap)

(19) Chipper Jones (a shot in the dark)

(gap/in-out line?)

(20)Nettles
(21)Bando
(22)McGraw
(23)Williamson
(24)Traynor
(25)Nash
(26)Ventura
(27)Rolen (for now)

I find it particularly hard to sort out #20-27, so I'm inclined to draw the in/out line above them.
   35. OCF Posted: October 04, 2006 at 07:01 PM (#2197592)
So, Boyer-Elliot-Evans above the line, Nettles-Bando below the line. That's a pretty fine line - you may call it a gap, but it doesn't look like a big gap to me. In particular, Elliott over Bando isn't completely obvious to me - I haven't settled the order between those two.
   36. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: October 04, 2006 at 07:26 PM (#2197655)
Seriously, Darrell Evans's case rests squarely on the qualifications of Brooks Robinson. Despite stylistic differences, they are extremely similar players in terms of career length, peak, prime. The biggest differences in their qualifications can be described in two words: Mike Schmidt. Schmidt was both the best NL player and the best NL 3B through much of Evans's tenure, and Schmidt's dominance of the league tamps down how high Evans could rise in regard to questions like positional and league-wide dominance, questions where Robinson undeniably shines due to weaker competition.

Which is to say that this analogy may well hold:

Robinson:Evans :: Boyer:Bando
   37. DCW3 Posted: October 04, 2006 at 07:33 PM (#2197671)
Nettles once had 54! I know he was considered a great or very good defensive 3B, but was he really that spectacular that season? Is it just an artifact of the terrible Cleveland pitching staff? Who else has had that many?

Nettles holds the record. The only other 3B even to reach 50 DP was Harlond Clift in 1937.
   38. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: October 04, 2006 at 07:46 PM (#2197700)
Per the SBE, here's everyone through 2005 with >39 GIDPS in a season at 3B

NAME              YEAR DPs
----------------------------
Graig Nettles     1971 54
Harlond Clift     1937 50
Paul Molitor      1982 48
Johnny Pesky      1949 48
Gary Gaetti       1983 46
Sammy Hale        1927 46
Clete Boyer       1965 46
Eddie Yost        1950 45
Jeff Cirillo      1998 45
Darrell Evans     1974 45
Frank Malzone     1961 45
Buddy Bell        1973 44
Brooks Robinson   1974 44
Vinny Castilla    1996 43
Hank Thompson     1950 43
Brooks Robinson   1963 43
Aurelio Rodriguez 1969 42
Don Money         1974 42
Aaron Boone       2002 42
Vinny Castilla    1997 41
Aurelio Rodriguez 1970 41
Clete Boyer       1962 41
Gene Robertson    1925 41
Ron Santo         1961 41
Ken Boyer         1958 41
Brandon Inge      2005 41
Darrell Evans     1975 41
Scott Rolen       2002 41
Doug DeCinces     1982 41
Doug DeCinces     1980 41
Pie Traynor       1925 41
Jeff Cirillo      2000 41
Wade Boggs        1983 40
Roy Hartzell      1912 40
Frank Malzone     1959 40
Graig Nettles     1970 40
Brooks Robinson   1964 40
Aurelio Rodriguez 1974 40
Mike Schmidt      1974 40
Ken Keltner       1939 40 


No one's done it more than thrice.

NAME # SEASONS >39 DPS
Robinson 3
Rodriguez 3
Boyer 2
Castilla 2
Cirillo 2
DeCinces 2
Evans 2
Malzone 2
Nettles 2
Bell 1
Boggs 1
Boone 1
Boyer 1
Clift 1
Gaetti 1
Hale 1
Hartzell 1
Inge 1
Keltner 1
Molitor 1
Money 1
Pesky 1
Robertson 1
Rolen 1
Santo 1
Schmidt 1
Thompson 1
Traynor 1
Yost 1

Also worth noting, only three times before 1930, none before 1910. Must the schedule, the run environment, and the bunts.
   39. Chris Fluit Posted: October 05, 2006 at 12:49 AM (#2198505)
Sorting out #20-27, I certainly prefer both Williamson and McGraw to Bando. I'd much rather vote for peak-centric, short-prime players from their era which is underrepresented by third basemen (only Sutton before 1900) than I would for one from the 1970s when we've already got a high number of contemporaries and overlapping careers to consider.
   40. Howie Menckel Posted: October 05, 2006 at 01:55 AM (#2198556)
That's no coincidence with Rodriguez - he had great hands and was just a vacuum cleaner. From what I saw at the time, he was a little better than Nettles or Robinson defensively.

A funny thing sometimes happens: I'm sure that the Hall is underrating Elliott, who I always vote for. Bando comes along, people are tempted, they notice the talk about Elliott, they realize Bando is similar.
Now, they could vote for both.
Instead, what tends to happen is that an Elliott kills a Bando but a Bando rarely helps an Elliott.

At least, it seems that way, for guys who may be questionable electees but who surely deserve more votes....
   41. sunnyday2 Posted: October 05, 2006 at 03:21 AM (#2198598)
If 3B DPs was a "skill," wouldn't somebody have done it more than 3 times?
   42. Chris Cobb Posted: October 05, 2006 at 04:03 AM (#2198613)
If 3B DPs were not a skill, wouldn't more players have done it once?

Most of the players who have done it more than once have strong-to-stellar defensive reputations.

Clearly a good defensive third baseman needs just the right circumstances to turn this many DP in a season.

I don't see any third baseman with poor defensive reputations on the list: players like Chipper Jones, Eddie Mathews, Bill Melton, Bobby Bonilla.
   43. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: October 06, 2006 at 04:11 PM (#2200544)
Thanks Toilet, I had unwittingly conflated them.
   44. TomH Posted: October 16, 2006 at 02:35 PM (#2213717)
The Oakland A's threepeat:
Should Sal get extra credit for his post-season performance?

Over his career, Bando's ALCS & WS OPS are about what you'd expect; slightly less than his regular season stats.

Of course, since his team got 3 rings, you'd think SOMEBODY ought to get a little bonus.

In general, the A's won some pretty low-scoring games; probably a combo of generally good pitching and D, often playing other teams with same (Orioles, Tigers, Mets, Dodgers), and maybe some late afternoon / early evening baseball in October made it tough on hitters. And, they plain won waaay more than their share of close games from 72 to 74. Call it luck if you wish, but the hardware is theirs. I suppose in a few ballots, defenders of Rollie Fingers will be able to point to the high-lev multiple innings he pitched and come up with a good case for him. REGGIE! of course gets lots of post-season ink, but his stats for a RF aint all that much better than Bando's; a few more HRs is all.

Bando did certainly help his team win. From 72-74, Oakland averaged scoring fewer than 2.8 runs per game - and won 6 consecutive playoff series. Sal scored over 17% of his teams runs in that set. Included in this was the 74 ACLS against the O's, where Bando hit a HR to win game 3 1-0, and scored both of the A's only runs in the 2-1 clincher game 4.

Overall, I will give Bando some bonus credit for this. For me, it will likely be enough to move him onto the bottom of my ballot for 1988.
   45. Mike Webber Posted: October 16, 2006 at 03:20 PM (#2213760)
Before 2006 110 times a 3b turned at least 35 DPs in a season:

<block>
Brooks Robinson 7
Gary Gaetti 5
Frank Malzone 4
Ken Keltner 4
Aurelio Rodriguez 3
Buddy Bell 3
Clete Boyer 3
Graig Nettles 3
Ken Boyer 3
Ken McMullen 3
Ron Santo 3
Vinny Castilla 3
Darrell Evans 2
Doug DeCinces 2
Gil McDougald 2
Jeff Cirillo 2
Johnny Pesky 2
Les Bell 2
Mike Lowell 2
Mike Schmidt 2
Paul Molitor 2
Rico Petrocelli 2
Sal Bando 2
Tony Batista 2
Wade Boggs 2
</block>

Notice that Harlond Clift doesn't show up again, who had 3 seasons in the 30's in addition to his big season. Couple other interesting ones, McDougald, Petrocelli and Pesky. Pesky had 2 full seasons at 3b and one of about 115 games, Petrocelli 2 full seasons at 3b and two of about 115 games.

McDougald had a 117 and 136 game seasons at 3b and turned more than 35 each time - though that might be one to take with a grain of salt, I wouldn't be surprised in the least if the accounting was screwed up a little. Not that Gil wasn't a great fielder, but what are the odds that some game Casey had him in 2 or 3 infield positions and a 2b DP got counted at 3b? Have to wait for retrosheet to confirm probably.

Because it's just total DPs, the schedule length is probably a factor, and just eyeballing it, does artifical turf appear to be a factor too?
   46. Howie Menckel Posted: October 16, 2006 at 03:47 PM (#2213785)
Howie in comment 41:
"A Bando comes along, people are tempted, they notice the talk about Elliott, they realize Bando is similar. Now, they could vote for both. Instead, what tends to happen is that an Elliott kills a Bando but a Bando rarely helps an Elliott."
...................
a comment on someone's ballot posted today:
"Specifically, its Bando's presence that made me rethink Elliott. Although, I do still like Elliott better than Bando, the comparison knocked Elliot down about five slots this week (below Rosen)."
...................
so maybe I should have written "a Bando can kill an Elliott, too," lol
I think we all do this, whether we notice or not, and it's not necessarily a mistake. It's just interesting to me...
   47. Brent Posted: October 22, 2006 at 04:00 AM (#2221017)
When I first rank a player, I run his stats through a big spreadsheet that makes a variety of adjustments and calculations and spits out a value that I use for my rankings. However, when I discover I’ve ranked a player either much higher or much lower than the consensus, I like to do a simpler direct comparison of the player against his comparables to make sure I’m comfortable that my spreadsheet hasn’t misled me.

Last election, I had Sal Bando ranked # 6, which made me his best friend and was far above the consensus # 42 rating.

Another player I’ve had difficulty with is Cupid Childs, who I've recently had ranked in the low 50s, but the consensus now has at # 4, placing him on the verge of election. Fox has been on my ballot, but I haven’t bother directly comparing Fox with Childs because of the great differences in their mix of talents, career shapes, and in the nature of second base defense between their eras.

It recently occurred to me that if 2B and 3B switched places on the defensive spectrum during the 1930s and 40s (as James and other have argued), then maybe I should be comparing Childs with modern 3B. In particular, it turns out that Bando’s career shape and numbers are quite similar to Childs, so the following is a comparison of Bando and Childs.

Other than adjusting to 162-game seasons, I’ve made one other adjustment—reducing Childs’ 1890 season in a weak American Association by 17% (see John Murphy, # 79 on 1988 discussion thread). The possibility of minor league credit has also been mentioned for both players, but I don’t see a strong case that either was held back, and in any case, if a year of credit were given to both players it probably would be a wash.

OPS+ (seasons with 100games)
Childs 150-150*-135-131-123-121-121-11194-90-71/11 seasons
Bando  152
-150 -137-136-130-128-127-116-107-99-98-83/12 seasons   
1890 AA reduced 17%. 

They’re roughly tied for their top 3 seasons, then Bando is slightly ahead.

WS (adjusted to 162 gamesseasons with 10WS)
Childs 34-33-30*-28-25-24-22-22-19-14-13/11 seasons271 total
Bando  36
-31-29 -24-24-24-23-21-21-19-17/11 seasons284 total
1890 AA reduced 17%. 

They’re obviously very close.

Finally, my own favorite—their average seasons during their 10-year primes:
Comparison of Average SeasonsChilds1890-99Bando 1969-78
Player      G  AB  PA
#   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS
Childs    145 562 681  .313 .426 .400 .826
Rel
-to-lg               109  119  104  123
Bando     156 553 655  .259 .364 .428 .792
Rel
-to-lg               102  113  114  127

All seasons converted to 162 games
.
* for 
1890AA OPSreduced by 17 percent


Despite Childs’ big advantage in the raw batting statistics, Bando has a very slight advantage in the relative statistics. Bando also has an advantage in in-season durability. Childs has a big advantage in PA/G, 4.68 to 4.19, but about half of that advantage is an illusion of context—the extra plate appearances that derive from playing in an 1890s environment with a .358 OBP, compared with .322 for Bando’s AL. The remaining difference is probably a reflection of batting position. Bando most often hit 3rd, 4th or 5th, whereas I assume that Childs generally hit leadoff or 2nd. (Maybe one of our 19th century experts can confirm this.)

Childs also had an advantage at defense. Fortunately (and perhaps unusually), WS and WARP are in general agreement. WS gives Childs a B+ with 4.48 fWS/1000 inn, and Bando a C+ with 3.20 fWS/1000; the difference between them works out to about 6 runs per 150 games. WARP sees things about the same, with Childs having a Rate of 103 and Bando of 99; the difference again working out to 6 runs per 150 games.

Therefore, over their 10-year primes I see them as roughly equivalent players, with Bando’s slight advantages in batting and in-season durability being offset by Childs advantage in fielding. For their entire career, I still see Bando as slightly ahead, since he has more value outside his 10-year prime (specifically a good 1968 season with an OPS+ of 107). But I see that I was wrong to have them so far apart, and I will be making adjustments to my system to lower Bando and raise Childs.

However, I still think the electorate has them wrong, with Childs on the verge of election and Bando appearing to be a lost cause. Their value was so similar that they really ought to be much closer together. Although there are differences in context going in both directions that I haven’t discussed, I don’t see that they can justify such a large difference.
   48. sunnyday2 Posted: October 22, 2006 at 01:22 PM (#2221109)
Childs is in my PHoM and has gradually slipped to #32. Bando is #40. Glad to know that makes sense. Among IF, there are plenty of guys I'd elect first, though I'm sure some of these don't make sense. Funny how a "global" stat can always produce a result that doesn't make sense when you break it down to a series of head-to-heads:

1. Dobie Moore
5. Larry Doyle
7. Nellie Fox
(14a. Bobby Doerr)

16. Phil Rizzuto
(18a. Joe Sewell)
20. Ed Williamson
23. Ken Boyer
24. Marvin Williams
31. Vern Stephens
32. Cupid Childs
35. Pie Traynor
40. Sal Bando

42. Dick Lundy
46. Bus Clarkson
52. Bill Monroe
53. Dave Bancroft
54. Al Rosen
57. George Scales
59. Joe Tinker
60. Bob Elliott
62. Johnny Evers
66. Fred Dunlap
70. Luis Aparicio
74. John McGraw
(74a. Ezra Sutton)
77. Tommy Leach
79. Jim Fregosi
81. Artie Wilson
84. Rabbit Maranville
88. Tony Lazzeri
89. Red Schoendienst
92. Silvio Garcia
94. Denny Lyons
96. Sol White
99. Johnny Pesky

All great players. I bet I could find a head-to-head that would make every single one of them look like a HoMer. How about the very last one--Johnny Pesky, for example.

Win Shares

25. Childs 238/32-31-27/127/26.5
20. Pesky 280*/34-31*-31*/155*/23.8 (*WWII credit)

There, done. ;-)

I am not saying, BTW, that there's anything wrong with Kelly's head-to-head on Bando and Childs, BTW, in fact it is quite credible. Like I said, it more or less confirms my rankings though obviously I could have them both too low (or too high).

And yes I know I cheated with Childs and Pesky, that was what the ;-) means. I'm just saying I could see somebody preferring Pesky. Even after you adjust Childs appropriately, which I did not do, those 28 and 34 WS years of Pesky's in 1942 and 1946 are pretty nice, and if you extrapolated 3 years at 31, the guy is flippin' ARod. It's a complicated world we live in, so much to think about.
   49. jimd Posted: October 24, 2006 at 01:10 AM (#2222676)
It recently occurred to me that if 2B and 3B switched places on the defensive spectrum during the 1930s and 40s (as James and other have argued), then maybe I should be comparing Childs with modern 3B.

The applicability of that position swap to the 19th century is in serious question. 3B-men outhit 2b-men in the 19th century. The cruz of James' argument is that 2b-men outhit 3b-men during the era that 3b-men were more valuable defensively than 2b-men; the argument mainly applies to the 1920's, and to a lesser extent to the Oughts. It does not apply very well for the 19th century. So the "intrinsic fielding weights" underrate all 19C 2b-men (and overrate all 19C 3b-men) relative to the other positions.

And that's before I bring up the pitching/fielding split. The top 5 players in the majors each of the first 5 seasons of Child's career (1890-1894) were pitchers, at least according to WS. Does that seem reasonable? Particularly if you take into account that very few homers were hit and players struck out less than half as often as today? Fielders were more valuable then, so the Win Shares totals would not be very comparable at all once that was taken into account.
   50. Brent Posted: October 24, 2006 at 04:52 AM (#2222804)
The applicability of that position swap to the 19th century is in serious question. 3B-men outhit 2b-men in the 19th century.

I looked up your "famous" table of OPS+ by position. Here's what it shows for the 19th century:

Decade 1B LF RF CF 3B 2B Ca SS Pit
1870's +1 +4 -1 +4 +2 +2 +0 +1 -13
1880's 13 +6 +1 +5 +1 -1 -7 -2 -17
1890's +6 +9 +7 +7 +0 -2 -6 -2 -22

In the 1870s shortstops out-hit right fielders. Center fielders out-hit right fielders in the 70s and 80s. First basemen go from being weak hitters to strong hitters to in the middle. I've never been convinced that defensive responsibility can be inferred from the absence of hitting, but the hypothesis seems especially untenable for the 19th century.

The cruz of James' argument is that 2b-men outhit 3b-men during the era that 3b-men were more valuable defensively than 2b-men

No, it isn't. Quoting James:

"To understand why this happened, start with this question: If you take the double play out of baseball, which is the more difficult defensive position: third base or second?

"Obviously, it's third. Third basemen need quicker reactions, since they are nearer the batter, and they need a stronger arm, since they are further from first base. Without the double play, third base is obviously the more demanding position.

"The defensive spectrum shifted, essentially, because double plays became more common than errors. In 1880 there were 2,950 errors in the major leagues, and only 411 double plays--more than seven times as many errors as double plays.

"Over time, errors became less common, and double plays more common. By 1900, the ratio of errors to double plays was about three to one. By 1920, the ratio was about 9 to 5; by 1930, about 6 to 5.

"Those lines actually crossed in 1947. In 1947, and in every year since 1947 except 1963 and 1975, there have been more double plays than errors."

James does cite hitting data as evidence of the change, but I think the "crux of his argument" is a shift in defensive responsibilities.

And that's before I bring up the pitching/fielding split. The top 5 players in the majors each of the first 5 seasons of Child's career (1890-1894) were pitchers, at least according to WS. Does that seem reasonable?

I'm not sure what this comment has to do with Bando, or with my comparison of him with Childs (which mentions WS, but really focuses more on good old OPS+). But FWIW, for a period when the top pitchers were pitching 400-450 innings, it doesn't seem unreasonable to me that the most valuable players would all be pitchers. I'm not saying WS handles the era correctly; I think some additional adjustment to move responsibilty from the pitchers to the fielders would have been appropriate. (I make such an adjustment in my own evaluations.) But I think WARP1's adjustments have gone way overboard and don't seem credible to me. I've posted items before where I've tried to look at the changes in the game in comparison to the massive shifts in WARP1 replacement levels, and have always concluded that they are too big to be believable.
   51. sunnyday2 Posted: October 24, 2006 at 07:52 AM (#2222883)
>The top 5 players in the majors each of the first 5 seasons of Child's career (1890-1894) were pitchers, at least according to WS. Does that seem reasonable?

Yes it does. PitchING may be more valuable today but individual pitchERs were more valuable then based on their work load. Pitching value today is spread out among an awful lot of pitchers.
   52. baudib Posted: October 24, 2006 at 09:45 AM (#2222907)
The 1970s-early 80s was the golden age of third basemen, no?
   53. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: October 24, 2006 at 01:14 PM (#2222981)
Baudib, I'd loosely agree, though that golden age extended well into the 1980s.
   54. jimd Posted: October 24, 2006 at 11:32 PM (#2223523)
The defensive spectrum shifted, essentially, because double plays became more common than errors. ... In 1947, and in every year since 1947 except 1963 and 1975, there have been more double plays than errors.

What do errors have to do with DP's? This is neat trivia but not a convincing argument by James. I do agree with him that the increasing number of 2b-centered DP's post WWII is what makes 2b-men more important than 3b-men; the batting numbers loudly agree with this shift in the spectrum. I need more than the trivia about errors to convince me that 3b was more important than 2b, as opposed to roughly equal, which is what the batting evidence tells me.

***

On the early spectrum:

In the 1870s shortstops out-hit right fielders. Center fielders out-hit right fielders in the 70s and 80s.

In the 1870's fielding responsibilities were somewhat different. If you the manager thought you need a substitute pitcher or catcher that day, he plays RF, because in-game substitution requires permission of the opponents. You put a "slugger" out there only if someone else in the starting lineup can cover the expected problem spots. This rule doesn't change until the end of the 1880's.

First basemen go from being weak hitters to strong hitters to in the middle.

Early 1st-base had to be more agile than the traditional model with the fair-foul rule, because they often had to chase down the fair-foul balls on that side of the diamond. This rule was changed after 1876. Within a couple of years big burly 1b-men like Dan Brouthers became the norm (though they all didn't hit quite as well as him).
   55. Steve Treder Posted: October 24, 2006 at 11:55 PM (#2223541)
What do errors have to do with DP's?

Nothing directly, but error rates do provide a very clear indicator of the degree to which improvement in gloves (and improved playing fields as well) made infield play easier to accomplish -- and thus brought about one of the primary conditions that made DPs more prominent, and thus the pivoting second baseman a more crucial defensive player.

This is neat trivia but not a convincing argument by James.

It's thus much more than neat trivia, and helps make a convincing argument.

I need more than the trivia about errors to convince me that 3b was more important than 2b, as opposed to roughly equal, which is what the batting evidence tells me.

The other factor is the huge decline in bunting and stealing that occurred post-1920. More bunts means 3B is a more difficult position, fewer bunts makes it easier. More steals takes away DP opportunities, and makes 2B an easier position relative to 3B. The closer to the modern day you get, in general the fewer bunts + steals you see, thus making 2B climb in relative difficulty/importance while 3B drops.
   56. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: October 26, 2006 at 12:21 AM (#2224499)
I've always liked James' eyeball 3B fielding metric of DP to E being a solid start to rating them. Of course there's a ton of noise to sift through, but I like it as eyeball metrics go.
   57. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: October 26, 2006 at 12:32 AM (#2224506)
Brent the problem I have with saying individual pitchers were more valuable in the 19th Century is that replacement level is much higher as well. Everyone is throwing 400 innings a year, so it isn't that big of a deal. And the variation in fielding from the best teams to the worst was huge.

I think the overall offense/defense split probably wasn't 50/50 back then, I think fielding/pitching was probably more important that hitting in the overall scheme of things. That's just intuition.
   58. Brent Posted: October 26, 2006 at 03:35 AM (#2224604)
What do errors have to do with DP's? This is neat trivia but not a convincing argument by James.

This is not trivia, and James did, in fact, present a convincing argument, which I didn't completely present. As Steve described, improvements in gloves and groundskeeping contributed to a long-term decline in errors. Other factors also probably contributed, such as coaching staffs, expanded spring training, and additional drilling on fielding fundamentals; also the elimination of the spitball. James makes the point that although this decline affected all positions, the impact on third base was larger than that on second base because fielding percentages have always been lower at third than at second. (He presents a table showing fielding percentages at the two positions decade by decade. For example, in 1890 the average FPct was .921 at 2B and .867 at 3B; by 1950 it was .976 at 2B and .954 at 3B.) James concludes:

"As errors have become less common, managers have naturally become less worried about them, more willing to risk defensive mistakes to get a bat in the lineup. Since third basemen make more errors than second basemen, this has more impact on expectations for third basemen than it does for second basemen."

Brent the problem I have with saying individual pitchers were more valuable in the 19th Century is that replacement level is much higher as well. Everyone is throwing 400 innings a year, so it isn't that big of a deal. And the variation in fielding from the best teams to the worst was huge.

I agree to a point. It's easy to see teams where all the pitchers have high ERAs or low ERAs, which suggests that their fielding was very good or very poor. But you still see teams on which there is a lot of variation in pitching. For example, the 1891 Giants had Rusie (337 SO, 126 ERA+, 500 IP), Ewing (138 SO, 141 ERA+, 269 IP), and late-career Welch (46 SO, 75 ERA+, 160 IP). It's clear that the difference between having Rusie or Ewing versus Welch on the mound had a huge impact. Since the mid-1880s I don't think there's been a period in which who was pitching wasn't the biggest factor in how many runs a team would give up. If defense in modern baseball is 70 percent pitching and 30 percent fielding, I'm guessing that think in 1890s baseball it was maybe 60 percent pitching and 40 percent fielding. WARP, on the other hand, comes up with 19th century numbers like 70 percent fielding and 30 percent pitching. (All of these numbers are just ballpark--I once did some calculations, but right now I'm just working from memory.) I've looked at the issues (for example, see the 1967 ballot discussion, # 122 through about # 188) and the shifts in WARP replacement levels seem much too large to be justified by the shifts in defensive responsibility that they are modeling.

For example, if the defensive responsibility shifted as much as WARP says, wouldn't the standard deviation of pitching performance have declined quite noticeably? I don't see such a decline in the records.

And if defense was a lot more than 50% back then, would the standard deviation of runs allowed be greater than for runs scored? It seems like there should be ways to test these hypotheses.
   59. sunnyday2 Posted: October 26, 2006 at 03:54 AM (#2224629)
I just don't agree that 19C pitchers were batting practice pitchers or pitching machines. It goes against everything we know about the competitive instinct, for one thing. And it goes against the fact that Jim Creighton was regarded as the greatest baseball player and star ever when he burst on the scene. He revolutionized the game by flaunting the rules about pitchers laying the ball in there to be hit, but rather trying to make it difficult for the hitters to hit the ball. And that, my friends, happened in about 1860.

That is, again, not to say that pitchING was as important as it is today. But if it was important at all--and I firmly believe that it was--then the fact that teams were going through entire seasons with 2 pitchers means that each of them was more valuable than pitchers of today.

For comparison, think slow pitch softball. I can assure you that there are slow pitch softball pitchers and slow pitch softball pitchers.
   60. jimd Posted: October 26, 2006 at 10:38 PM (#2225307)
I do agree with him that the increasing number of 2b-centered DP's post WWII is what makes 2b-men more important than 3b-men;

You're missing my point. You're all trying to convince me that 2b-men are relatively more important today than they used to be and that 3b-men today are less important than they used to be. I already said I agreed with that.

Convince me instead that 3b-men were SIGNFICANTLY MORE important that 2b-men IN THE 19TH CENTURY. Compare the two positions at that time, using only 19th century data, and show me why 3b was more important defensively. My stance is that they were of roughly equal importance.
   61. Steve Treder Posted: October 26, 2006 at 10:48 PM (#2225316)
Convince me instead that 3b-men were SIGNFICANTLY MORE important that 2b-men IN THE 19TH CENTURY.

I don't have an opinion on that. I was reacting to your complaint that errors were an irrelevant consideration, and that James' overall argument was unconvincing.
   62. jimd Posted: October 27, 2006 at 11:05 PM (#2226668)
I was reacting to your complaint that errors were an irrelevant consideration, and that James' overall argument was unconvincing.

Errors are an irrelevant consideration to the argument. The reason that 2b became much more important has little to do with errors and much to do with DP's.

Imagine that the bases were much closer together. New-fangled gloves would have dropped the error rate, but there would usually not be enough time to turn two; 2nd-base would not rise in importance, despite the drop in errors.

I found the DP portion of James' argument convincing in terms of explaining why 2b-men are more important now than they were before WWII. The batting arguments convince me that 3b was once more important than it is now. However, the batting arguments are inconclusive with respect to the relative balance between 3b and 2b in the 19th century.
   63. Steve Treder Posted: October 27, 2006 at 11:18 PM (#2226674)
Errors are an irrelevant consideration to the argument.

We simply disagree on that. They're relevant as an indicator of the changing conditions that brought about the capacity of infields to turn more DPs, and their reduction is relevant as a reason why it became more feasible to insert of less-capable defensive 3Bman into the lineup, as indicated in James's quote.

Imagine that the bases were much closer together. New-fangled gloves would have dropped the error rate, but there would usually not be enough time to turn two; 2nd-base would not rise in importance, despite the drop in errors.

Sure, but that isn't what happened. What happened is that because the capacity of players to deftly handle the ball in the infield improved, errors declined, and the capacity of infields to turn DPs improved -- changing the relative importance of defensive prowess between second basemen and third basemen.

However, the batting arguments are inconclusive with respect to the relative balance between 3b and 2b in the 19th century.

You've studied that much more than me, so I'll take your word for it. But the larger trend through the 20th century is, as you agree, clear and strong, and the declining error rate is a meaningful element.
   64. Brent Posted: October 28, 2006 at 05:18 PM (#2227312)
You're missing my point. You're all trying to convince me that 2b-men are relatively more important today than they used to be and that 3b-men today are less important than they used to be. I already said I agreed with that.

Convince me instead that 3b-men were SIGNFICANTLY MORE important that 2b-men IN THE 19TH CENTURY.


I don't claim any special knowledge of the defensive spectrum in the 19th century and am not trying to convince you of anything. My interest (back in # 50) is in comparing Sal Bando with Cupid Childs. For that comparison to work, we need to agree that 2B used to be less important defensively. The importance of 3B in the 1890s isn't relevant to that comparison, and I admit I don't really know how 3B compared to 2B. The intent of my other responses has been to ensure that the Bill James argument is accurately characterized.

Errors are an irrelevant consideration to the argument. The reason that 2b became much more important has little to do with errors and much to do with DP's.

My understanding of the Bill James argument is that over time 2B became more important because DPs increased and 3B became less important because errors decreased. In that sense, the decrease in errors may be of limited relevance to the change in importance of 2B, but is important to his overall argument about the two positions. For the James argument to work, one also has to agree that the variation between good and bad fielders has also moved up and down with the levels, a point that I think is generally true. For example, the FP of the "regular" NL 3B-men in 1895 ranged from .940 (Lave Cross) to .829 (Doggie Miller if you consider him to be a 3B-man), or .844 (for Bill Joyce if you don't). In the 1975 AL the range was from .979 (Brooks Robinson) to .933 (Roy Howell). My understanding of the James argument is that a team may be willing to give up 10 errors at 3B to get another bat into the lineup, but won't be willing to give up 40 errors.
   65. Steve Treder Posted: October 28, 2006 at 05:50 PM (#2227321)
In that sense, the decrease in errors may be of limited relevance to the change in importance of 2B, but is important to his overall argument about the two positions.

Precisely.
   66. jimd Posted: October 31, 2006 at 12:55 AM (#2228405)
In that sense, the decrease in errors may be of limited relevance to the change in importance of 2B, but is important to his overall argument about the two positions.

The evidence from DP's and from hitting are both strong arguments that together make James' case, that 2b is more important relatively than it used to be.

The error portion of the argument by itself says little. Yes, errors went down, but they went down at ALL positions. By the error argument then SS should have also become less important, CF less important, etc. Something else was going on at 3b, to make it relatively less important than it used to be when compared to the other positions, but James does not explore what that something else might be. James (correctly, IMHO, as indicated by the batting evidence) picks on 3B to devalue, but does not cite any other fielding reasons for that choice, aside from the generic "errors", which could have been cited for any position. It's a "hand-waving" argument which I don't think stands up to scrutiny.
   67. Van Lingle Mungo Jerry Posted: October 31, 2006 at 01:34 AM (#2228431)
Mostly OT, but without invoking the word "racism," can anyone explain how Bando finished ahead of Reggie Jackson in MVP balloting in 1974? A few stats:

AB: H: HR: BA: OPS: SB:
498 121 22 .243 .778 2 Bando
506 146 29 .289 .905 25 Jackson
   68. KJOK Posted: October 31, 2006 at 01:54 AM (#2228445)
Jackson played RF, while Bando played 3B.

Jackson made 10 errors in RF.

Of course, Bert Campaneris or Catfish Hunter may have been better candidates than Bando also, so probably not 'good' explanations...
   69. Brent Posted: October 31, 2006 at 04:29 AM (#2228534)
The error portion of the argument by itself says little. Yes, errors went down, but they went down at ALL positions. By the error argument then SS should have also become less important, CF less important, etc. Something else was going on at 3b, to make it relatively less important than it used to be when compared to the other positions, but James does not explore what that something else might be. James (correctly, IMHO, as indicated by the batting evidence) picks on 3B to devalue, but does not cite any other fielding reasons for that choice, aside from the generic "errors", which could have been cited for any position. It's a "hand-waving" argument which I don't think stands up to scrutiny.

James addressed this point and explained why 3B became less important, even though errors declined for all positions. The reason is that errors are relatively more important at 3B because it has (and has had, throughout most of baseball history) the lowest fielding percentage. Hence, a proportional decline for all positions had the biggest effect on 3B.
   70. jimd Posted: November 01, 2006 at 11:39 PM (#2229874)
Hence, a proportional decline for all positions had the biggest effect on 3B.

But James' argument doesn't make a lot of sense if you think about it.

The difference between FPct at 3b and SS was not much during the deadball era. The difference between number of plays made was nearly twice as much. So the total number of errors saved by a proportional drop in FPct was nearly twice as much at SS when compared to 3b. So the absolute value of a sure-handed SS declined faster than that of a sure-handed 3b-man. The decline in total number of errors at each position (or error rates) does not explain why value moved from (only) 3b to 2b, instead of moving from all positions to 2b.

The key is not errors or error rates.

3b might become less important in the fielding spectrum if: 1) the number of plays made went down relative to other positions (assuming a constant degree of difficulty for the mix of plays made), or 2) the degree of difficulty of the plays made went down (assuming a constant number of plays made), or 3) or some combination of 1 and 2 (which is what actually happened, IMHO).

2b became more important relative to other positions because of #1, the number of plays made went up relative to other positions, due to the increase in DPs. (#2 may also be a factor here, though it is more difficult to assess whether the average degree of difficulty of the individual plays made at 2b went up with the increase in DPs.)
   71. Brent Posted: November 02, 2006 at 05:03 AM (#2230064)
You're right that the fielding percentages for SS are only slightly better, and the range from best to worst is only slightly narrower than for 3B. For the 1979 AL, the highest FP was Dent with .981, the worst were Yount and Mike Miley tied at .939. (Compare with 3B in # 67.) However, a team will be less willing to sacrifice a SS glove to get a bat into the lineup because the SS has a larger fielding responsibilty (many more fielding chances). Suppose a 3B has 450 TC per season and a SS has 750. If the team has to choose between a player with a better bat but with .030 point lower FP at both positions, the cost is 13.5 errors at 3B versus 22.5 at shortstop. Hence, 3B should be where we see the switch from fielding to hitting -- the Bill James argument regarding error rates is logical and holds up.
   72. Brent Posted: November 02, 2006 at 05:04 AM (#2230066)
Oops, that should have said 1975 AL.
   73. Steve Treder Posted: November 02, 2006 at 05:18 AM (#2230067)
the Bill James argument regarding error rates is logical and holds up

Yes, entirely. The resistance to it appears more than a bit tortured. :-)

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