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Forgive my ignorance, and this is not meant to be anything other than my lack of advanced understanding of ballpark effects, but why is Comerica Park considered to be a very good ballpark for offense? The large outfield? The deep fences decrease home run numbers. There's also larger than average foul territory.
I suppose the original rationale for treating ROE as 0-for-1's is that the batter didn't hit the ball well enough to reach base. (If he did, it's scored as a hit whether the fielder misplays it or not; we often see baseballs bounce off 3Bmen scored as singles.)
So it's not absurd to score them as hitless ABs, but OTOH sometimes the batter swings weakly, hits an inadvertent chopped or squibbed ground ball, and runs out a single because no infielder ever reaches the ball. He hit it worse than most ROEs, but it's acknowledged that since he didn't make out, it's a clean single. What's the essential difference?
And I do think ROE should not count as hits. While there is plenty of gray area between the hit and the ROE, I wouldn't want the dropped pop-up or routine grounder kicked to be counted in a player's batting average.
On the other hand, ROE should absolutely count in OBP. We know that ROE, in total, are not simply accidents, but a byproduct of skill/hustle, contact rates, types of balls hit (FB vs. GB) and handedness. OBP should reflect the percentage of time reached base, without concern about the role the defense may have played in making it happen.
I'll never decline a decent Culture Club reference!
Comerica increases singles - the most common offensive event quite a bit, probably because the outfielders play further back I suppose. It also increases triples by around 50%.
I don't particularly have a problem with how RoE is treated in either BA or OBP but it is an event whose value has to be recorded somewhere and oWAR is as good a place as any. I feel a bit the same about GDPs. GDP has very little to do with batter skill. It is related to batter speed of course but is more a function of opportunity and the batter's GB/PA rate. RoEs are mainly a function of batter speed, batter handedness and, again, GB/PA rates with probably a bit of how hard the batter hits the ball tossed in.
Sure, many roe are influenced by speed, but many are not. Since you are either giving the batter all or none of the credit, you need to figure out which induces the bigger error. Since scorers are so loath to hand out errors these days, I suspect that giving the batter credit for a loe actually introduces more error.
Most studies have shown that certain skill sets have a tendency to show up more frequently on roe...left handed, contact, speed hitters generally do well on this skill.
I suppose you don't have to put it in a "skill" component. You could have a run-value attached to the "overall quality of the pitching/defense a batter faced." That value will be regressed and not balance out at an individual batter level so you still have to assign the residual to the batter's value. That might work and your 1/3 might not be a bad approximation but it does create a horribly complex and thoroughly debatable extra component to WAR.
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