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Sunday, November 26, 2006

BASEBALL NOTEBOOK BLOG: Luciani: Doubling the Road Stats

Well…then Mel Ott would have ended up with 699 taters!

One quick way to get a sense of a player, that I have used occasionally, is to take a player’s road stats and multiply them by two. In other words, while this doesn’t remove the effect of the league (NL pitchers will still pitch all but the interleague games in an NL game on the road), it does remove the effect of the home park and allows us to compare players to each other in a way that their raw, total stats don’t.

...As for the doubling of the road stats rather than just looking at them on their own, we do this because it then scales the playing time to approximately a full season, something to which most of us can easily relate when reading a performance line. It’s not a perfect method but it’s a lot more fair when we’re looking at players who accumulated half of their games in an overwhelmingly positive or negative home park and it’s a fun exercise to get new perspectives on players.

Repoz Posted: November 26, 2006 at 11:18 PM | 14 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: projections

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   1. bibigon Posted: November 26, 2006 at 11:45 PM (#2246179)
They're not mentioned here, but J.D. Drew's road stats the last couple years are pretty scary if you're a Red Sox fan.
   2. phredbird Posted: November 27, 2006 at 12:24 AM (#2246188)
repoz, you might want to take another look at ol' mel ... of all hall of famers, he is most heavily favored by his HOME stats. he was a dead pull lefty at the old polo grounds, so got tons of cheap homers in the right field porch. if you double his road stats, he doesn't look all that great ... but he's still louisiana's best career major leaguer!
   3. Hal Chase Headley Lamarr Hoyt Wilhelm (ACE1242) Posted: November 27, 2006 at 12:31 AM (#2246191)
If you double <url=http://www.baseball-reference.com/m/musiast01.shtml>Stan Musial</url>'s career road H total, he winds up with 3630 hits.
   4. The District Attorney Posted: November 27, 2006 at 12:37 AM (#2246192)
This article is Baseball Digest-esque. I'd like to see the actual proof that the players whom this method identifies as being particularly hurt by their home park do, in fact, improve more when their home park changes than simply park-adjusting their total stats would indicate. Just listing the players, and asserting that it would probably make sense that that would happen, doesn't do much for me.
   5. Danny Posted: November 27, 2006 at 12:44 AM (#2246196)
He should have put the last paragraph first.
   6. Gaelan Posted: November 27, 2006 at 12:49 AM (#2246198)
I'd be willing to bet the opposite of what he's suggesting. Not only is the method much worse than using park factors I think it's also worse than doing nothing at all.

I find it very aggravating when people quote road stats as if they were meaningful.
   7. Repoz Posted: November 27, 2006 at 01:01 AM (#2246202)
Ott had 323 HR's at home and 188 away...I was just making the point how things would have sort of leveled out (376) with his away's being doubled.
   8. Jim Wisinski Posted: November 27, 2006 at 01:28 AM (#2246207)
This is just terrible, you can't say that half a player's performance can be thrown out and still provide an accurate basis for performance evaluation.
   9. Rough Carrigan Posted: November 27, 2006 at 01:39 AM (#2246214)
Drew's road stats would be more of a worry if his home stats had been pumped up by hitters' parks but Turner Field and Dodger Stadium aren't. Maybe he just hates hotels. Or maybe it's not predictive at all.
   10. mgl Posted: November 27, 2006 at 09:46 AM (#2246362)
Given enough data, sure, road stats are a good estimate of a player's neutral performance, assuming you adjust for HFA (which the author fails to mention for some strange reason).

However, for one, or even several, years of data only, using road stats only is a HORRIBLE method of estimating player neutral performance or talent. Absolutely horrible. To simply ignore half of a player's performance because you are worried about properly neutralizing those home stats (which is admittedly problematic) is the epitome of throwing out the baby with the bath water. An author who even suggests that someone do this should be shot (not really of course).

And by the way, you CANNOT get even a suggestion of whether a park affects a player in an anomolous manner by looking at the difference between his home and road stats. There is WAY too much noise in that difference, especially in only 1 year.

In fact, there is ZERO correlation between a player's home/road splits, once you factor out HFA and a typical, generic PF, from one year to another. That tells you, as I said in the paragraph above, that you cannot infer anything from a player's unique home/road splits. The best you can do, and you definitely want to do it, is to take a player's complete home and road stats and apply a generic PF for his home stats. As others have articulated in the posts above, what this author is suggesting is an abomination. In almost all cases, using a player's home and road stats WITHOUT any park adjustments is better than just using his road stats. And in the cases where it may not be (the old Coors Field - pre-humidor, etc.), there is nothing wrong with tweaking the home stats a little, youeven if you are not exactly sure of how the home park might affect that particular player.

Imagine all the mistakes (regarding your estimate of a player's talent or future performance) you would make if you only used a player's road stats. Most parks are pretty neutral, yet lots of players will have all kinds of quirky and large splits by chance alone when you are dealing with 200-300 PA at home and on the road.
   11. Slinger Francisco Barrios (Dr. Memory) Posted: November 27, 2006 at 02:45 PM (#2246398)
Never explain, Repoz. It removes the fun of figuring what the aitch ee double-toothpicks you're talking about.
   12. Gaelan Posted: November 27, 2006 at 02:50 PM (#2246399)
Abomination is a wonderful word.
   13. The Balls of Summer Posted: November 27, 2006 at 06:05 PM (#2246545)
Well, I was going to post at Moises Alou and Alfonso Soriano and say hi, but mgl and Gaelan pretty much summed it up.

Needless to say, doubling the road stats is a quick and dirty way to get a dirty answer.
   14. soxfan3 Posted: November 28, 2006 at 12:57 AM (#2246887)
I just went and read the whole blog entry, it doesn't read this way to me -- sounds like some people think he was arguing for this to replace regular adjusting for home park method but this quote near the end reads like many of the user comments here-

Of course, all of this isn't to say that a player's road stats are all we should look at and I certainly don't mean that the doubled road stats offer us a better impression of the player than his total performance. In any statistical analysis, I'd rather have a larger sample, even if it requires work to neutralize for the effects of outside influences beyond a player's talent. What I do like about this doubling road method is that it gives us another perspective that isn't unrealistic and at least helps us potentially identify players whose home park may have suited (or not suited) their playing style.


Sounded to me like he was talking about another tool that "occasionally" offered "another perspective" on players to quote what I took from the blog. Just my one cents take and I could be way off but that's how I read it.

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