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   1. Sam M. Posted: September 02, 2006 at 04:32 AM (#2165507)
I love David Wright as much as the next guy, as long as the next guy isn’t a particular law professor, but I know he has to work on his defense.

LOL. Yet, even I agree with everything you wrote, Chris. I do hope that the seeming slight uptick in his defensive numbers since the ASB is a first sign of a step forward and not just a blip, but that's just a hope, not a real conviction. Tools are wonderful things, and Wright has them -- but they're just not enough. They can fool you when they produce that occasional highlight play that makes you go, "OH!" But they aren't a substitute for actual good defense.

But DW has now lifted his OPS back over .900 after the August slump, and I see a big September lifting him right back into the Silver Slugger mix -- which is probably a good goal to shoot for at this point for 2006.

The biggest things now for the team?

1) Getting the key guys healthy. That means Pedro, Glavine, Floyd, and to a lesser extent El Duque.

2) Making the right decisions on the rotation. I'm going to give the brain trust my confidence on this one -- I have my opinion, but whatever decision they make I'm going to give 'em the benefit of the doubt. I'm assuming that Perez's debacle in Denver eliminated his outside shot, leaving it Pedro, Glavine, Hernandez . . . and either Maine or Trachsel.

Everything else is gravy.
   2. NTNgod Posted: September 02, 2006 at 05:35 AM (#2165561)
Some want to throw Ryan Howard in the mix, but really - if Pujols is the best first baseman, then RHoward isn’t.

Let's see.

Howard is leading the majors in HR and RBI. Sportswriters love that.

Howard's team has charged back to just .5 games back of a playoff spot. Sportswriters love that.

Howard has been on fire down the stretch while the team fights for a playoff spot. Sportswriters REALLY love that.

You may want to start rooting really, really hard for the Phillies to lose during often the next month...
:P
   3. Raskolnikov Posted: September 02, 2006 at 05:50 AM (#2165565)
Actually, I think, as usual, Kahrl hits the point right on the head. The fact that the different defensive metrics still disagree significantly with each other indicates to me that there's much refining to be done. All of them have many assumptions and adjustments, so that any ranking per se should be seen with a considerable error bar. I'm interested in seeing Dewan's 2007 ratings and comparing them with the others for the year.
   4. Chris Dial Posted: September 02, 2006 at 12:44 PM (#2165602)
The fact that the different defensive metrics still disagree significantly with each other indicates to me that there's much refining to be done.

Methods that use teh same data don't have wide disagreement. You have to seperate PBP and non-PBP. And non-PBP are borderline worthless.

And "refining" is one thing - iterations of ZR (which are the same as DA/DR) are pretty close.

Non-PBP methods are not.
   5. Free Rob Base Posted: September 02, 2006 at 09:38 PM (#2165948)
This may be a dumb question -- but do any of the defensive stats account for game situations, like some of the newer offensive stats. Seems like a lot of Wirght's errors (and misssed plays) happen early in the games, but in late game (or "clutch") situations he seems to step it up. Maybe this is what accounts for the different assessments of Wright's defense.
   6. Chris Dial Posted: September 02, 2006 at 10:54 PM (#2165983)
steve,
I would say just the opposite has occurred. I score the games, ad expect Wright has made most of his errors in the 7-9 innings. I know of 3 9th inning errors.
   7. Chris Dial Posted: September 02, 2006 at 11:20 PM (#2165997)
Okay, I went through the box scores. Wright has 16 errors: By inning:
1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9
2-1-1-1-0-2-2-4-3

Seven errors in the 8th and 9th. So, no, steve, what you suggest isn't close to true, and Wright's errros have been high profile, AFAICT.
   8. Free Rob Base Posted: September 03, 2006 at 01:34 AM (#2166083)
Alright. Just an idea. I remember some pretty good plays late in games too. I was running today and thinking about whether there is such a thing as "clutch" defense. Most people seem to thing that there is no such thing as clutch offense -- but I could see how "clutch" defense is something that may exist. Was wondering whether any of you guys had ever looked into it because I thought it was something that might be interesting to look into.
   9. Dr Love Posted: September 03, 2006 at 02:25 AM (#2166112)
Some want to throw Ryan Howard in the mix, but really - if Pujols is the best first baseman, then RHoward isn’t.

Let's see.

Howard is leading the majors in HR and RBI. Sportswriters love that.

Howard's team has charged back to just .5 games back of a playoff spot. Sportswriters love that.

Howard has been on fire down the stretch while the team fights for a playoff spot. Sportswriters REALLY love that.

You may want to start rooting really, really hard for the Phillies to lose during often the next month...


While I agree that Howard has a better chance to win the MVP than we'd like to think, Andruw Jones led the NL in HR and RBI and his team to a division title (that they charged back to) last year and he didn't win it. So it seems that the writers aren't quite in love with that as they used to be.
   10. Chris Dial Posted: September 03, 2006 at 02:26 AM (#2166113)
Clutch fielding, other than errors would require access to a lot of PBP data that isn't much available.
   11. NTNgod Posted: September 03, 2006 at 02:30 AM (#2166114)
Andruw Jones led the NL in HR and RBI and his team to a division title (that they charged back to) last year and he didn't win it.

True, but Jones was a .260 hitter, while Howard is over .300.
   12. Dr Love Posted: September 03, 2006 at 02:33 AM (#2166116)
True, but Jones was a .260 hitter, while Howard is over .300.

That's a good point. But Jones is a great CF while Howard isn't going to be getting any votes over the competition for his defense. They're not exact matches, but they're pretty close.
   13. Sam M. Posted: September 03, 2006 at 02:55 AM (#2166124)
That's a good point. But Jones is a great CF while Howard isn't going to be getting any votes over the competition for his defense. They're not exact matches, but they're pretty close.

There's no doubt about one thing: if Ryan Howard wins the MVP award, it will prove beyond any doubt at all that the voters simply do not give a damn about defense. There is simply no way that any voters who consider defense in any meaningful way can give the MVP to Howard over candidates as deserving as Beltran and Pujols, unless something positively seismic happens in September.
   14. Dr Love Posted: September 03, 2006 at 02:59 AM (#2166127)
There's no doubt about one thing: if Ryan Howard wins the MVP award, it will prove beyond any doubt at all that the voters simply do not give a damn about defense. There is simply no way that any voters who consider defense in any meaningful way can give the MVP to Howard over candidates as deserving as Beltran and Pujols, unless something positively seismic happens in September.

Absolutely. That's why I said "any votes over the competition." Because no is getting votes purely for their defense, but if it boils down to Beltran/Pujols, at least some voters are going to go with Beltran because he plays CF.
   15. NTNgod Posted: September 03, 2006 at 03:00 AM (#2166128)
There's no doubt about one thing: if Ryan Howard wins the MVP award, it will prove beyond any doubt at all that the voters simply do not give a damn about defense.

Well, sure... David Ortiz has been an MVP candidate the last few years, right? :P

Plenty of defensively challenged individuals have won MVP awards. It's an offensive award, with perhaps some secondary consideration given to defense.

Beltran will probably get more off-days this month, if the Mets are smart, so the Mets' big lead will indirectly work against Beltran's chances of an MVP.
   16. Chris Dial Posted: September 03, 2006 at 03:00 AM (#2166129)
Oh, we won again. The Phillies are as close to the Pirates as they are to the Mets.
   17. Sam M. Posted: September 03, 2006 at 03:09 AM (#2166132)
Plenty of defensively challenged individuals have won MVP awards. It's an offensive award, with perhaps some secondary consideration given to defense.

I doubt a player as bad defensively as Ryan Howard has ever won the MVP award over hitters as good (and as defensively superior) as Beltran and Pujols. Putting aside the fact they are better hitters on better teams. Of course, when you put ALL those factors together, it begins to suggest that Howard could be one of the worst MVP choices ever.

Go Padres.
   18. Dr Love Posted: September 03, 2006 at 03:14 AM (#2166134)
I doubt a player as bad defensively as Ryan Howard has ever won the MVP award over hitters as good (and as defensively superior) as Beltran and Pujols.

My first thought was "maybe Mo Vaugh did." Vaughn beat out Albert Belle and Edgar Martinez. So much for that. And Giambi in 2001? He beat out Frank Thomas.
   19. NTNgod Posted: September 03, 2006 at 03:21 AM (#2166138)
In recent memory, Frank Thomas beat out Ken Griffey and John Olerud in '93, and beat out Griffey again in '94...

George Bell beat out Trammell, Kirby Puckett and Dwight Evans in '87.
   20. Sam M. Posted: September 03, 2006 at 03:40 AM (#2166153)
In recent memory, Frank Thomas beat out Ken Griffey and John Olerud in '93, and beat out Griffey again in '94...

As for 1993, Griffey finished 5th because his team finished 82-80. So that's distinguishable on a pretty traditional ground (not one I'm saying I approve of, but one we all recognize). The same thing cost Griffey in 1994 (although Thomas, unlike Howard, was a significantly better hitter than his competitors in 1994, thus at least giving rise to a legit offense v. defense debate).

Olerud is a good one, though. Fine defensive player, whereas Thomas wasn't. It's a good comp in some ways -- the greater HR power of Thomas beats out the more broad-based offensive contribution of Olerud. What's really interesting is that the DH Molitor finished ahead of his teammate Olerud (2nd and 3rd) -- which seems awfully strange in hindsight.

George Bell beat out Trammell, Kirby Puckett and Dwight Evans in '87.

George Bell was a much, much better defensive player than Ryan Howard. Howard is god-awful. So I don't think that really matches my claim re. Howard. But that aside, 1987 was a bad choice, too. Trammell was a much more valuable player in 1987 (WARP3: 12.6; Bell: 8.6), and you don't even have to consider quality of defense to see that -- just adjust for positional value and it should have been a clear win for the shortstop.
   21. The Wilpons Must Go (Tom D) Posted: September 03, 2006 at 03:51 AM (#2166163)
I love David Wright as much as the next guy, as long as the next guy isn't a particular law professor, but I know he has to work on his defense.

Ilove him as much as that law professor does. To know know know him is to love love love him, and I do.

Wright's defense needs work.
   22. AJMcCringleberry Posted: September 03, 2006 at 05:01 AM (#2166205)
Wright's defense seems to be a lot better lately.
   23. AJMcCringleberry Posted: September 03, 2006 at 05:09 AM (#2166207)
I was just looking through the stats. There are maybe 8 guys that I'd put above Howard, definitely 5.
   24. Chris Dial Posted: September 03, 2006 at 05:27 AM (#2166215)
Griffey was never a great defensive player. He's always been a smooth fielder, but is significantly below average for his career. As you'll find out in the next day or two.

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