Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Baseball Newsstand > Baseball Primer Newsblog > Discussion
Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Bobby Valentine, Sox weigh sabermetrics

“(Valentine) did cite Alfredo Aceves as “one of the most astute players we have” for trying to understand subtleties such as hitters’ swing paths.” And a commenter responded…“How did sabermetrics work out for Aceves last night!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

That’s the idea, at least, which is why something Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said at yesterday’s Jimmy Fund benefit “Sabermetrics, Scouting and the Science of Baseball” seminar at Boston University helped point out numbers can only take a player, and a team, so far.

“I haven’t been given one suggestion based on sabermetrics since I’ve been in Boston,” said Valentine. “Sabermetrics and numbers can’t tell a different story, I don’t think, unless you’re reading a different book.”

Part of Valentine’s point was that number-crunching can help but when it comes to game time, and in that half a second it takes for a ball to travel from a pitcher’s hand to home plate, that’s when reflexes, instincts and talent take over.

“From my vantage point,” said Valentine, “I want my players to just play, I want them to be given information that can help them but once it’s game time, I think they have to react. Use pregame data but play the game. The essence of success in anything you do is being in that moment.”

...Also at the seminar for the second year in a row was Tom Tippett, Red Sox director of baseball services. With Bill James, the founding father of sabermetrics and a senior adviser for the Red Sox, in the audience, Tippett pointed out how even with reams of data at the club’s beck and call, there is still plenty of debate about how best to use it and interpret it. He said that he and James disagreed about whether or not Fenway’s dimensions would help or hurt Carl Crawford.

“Bill argued that Fenway Park would mostly negate Carl’s defensive value” while Tippett argued the opposite. “So far, Bill’s right and I was dead wrong,” said Tippett.

Repoz Posted: August 05, 2012 at 08:52 AM | 24 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: red sox, sabermetrics

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. Dale Sams Posted: August 05, 2012 at 10:53 AM (#4200816)
“Bill argued that Fenway Park would mostly negate Carl’s defensive value” while Tippett argued the opposite. “So far, Bill’s right and I was dead wrong,” said Tippett.


Crawford is reported to having had his feelings hurt, and immediatly went 0-72.
   2. boteman Posted: August 05, 2012 at 10:55 AM (#4200819)
Part of Valentine’s point was that number-crunching can help but when it comes to game time, and in that half a second it takes for a ball to travel from a pitcher’s hand to home plate, that’s when reflexes, instincts and talent take over.

I'd like to field a team of Datas (with a Lore thrown in to keep it interesting) with the latest Baked Alaska positronic matrix that could crunch all the necessary numbers in a femtosecond. Because, you know, veteran presence and instinct can only take a player so far.
   3. Swedish Chef Posted: August 05, 2012 at 11:07 AM (#4200826)
I'd like to field a team of Datas (with a Lore thrown in to keep it interesting) with the latest Baked Alaska positronic matrix that could crunch all the necessary numbers in a femtosecond.

Wireless Joe Jackson is my choice.
   4. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: August 05, 2012 at 12:40 PM (#4200881)
Bobby Valentine, Sox weigh sabermetrics


If she weighs the same as a duck...
   5. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: August 05, 2012 at 12:43 PM (#4200882)
Wireless Joe Jackson was a blern-hitting machine.
   6. Jittery McFrog Posted: August 05, 2012 at 01:14 PM (#4200900)
“Bill argued that Fenway Park would mostly negate Carl’s defensive value” while Tippett argued the opposite. “So far, Bill’s right and I was dead wrong,” said Tippett.


I don't think we can eliminite the hypothesis that Carl Crawford has mostly negated Carl's defensive value.
   7. Jeff R., P***y Mainlander Posted: August 05, 2012 at 01:28 PM (#4200909)
Wireless Joe Jackson was a blern-hitting machine.


That's because he was designed to be a blern-hitting machine!
   8. jack the seal clubber (on the sidelines of life) Posted: August 05, 2012 at 01:34 PM (#4200915)
“I haven’t been given one suggestion based on sabermetrics since I’ve been in Boston,” said Valentine. “Sabermetrics and numbers can’t tell a different story, I don’t think, unless you’re reading a different book.”


Look for Bill James to be dealt to the White Sox soon.
   9. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 05, 2012 at 01:38 PM (#4200917)
“Bill argued that Fenway Park would mostly negate Carl’s defensive value” while Tippett argued the opposite. “So far, Bill’s right and I was dead wrong,” said Tippett.
We had the same debate here seventeen different ways over the last two years. It's interesting that the same debate was happening in the Red Sox organization between their two primary consultant experts.

I think JMc is right that Crawford's been so bad that it's hard to draw any conclusions. It's not like Crawford has been a defensive asset in road games for the Sox. He's just been an all-around disaster. (If I'm right that Crawford hasn't been better on the road, this sort of kind of support's Tippett's position that Fenway isn't the issue. Of course, Tippett was the one arguing for Crawford' defensive value to the Sox, so it's hard to call him "right", exactly.)
   10. DA Baracus Posted: August 05, 2012 at 01:55 PM (#4200926)
Wireless Joe Jackson is a pretty good BTF handle.
   11. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: August 05, 2012 at 02:04 PM (#4200933)
“Bill argued that Fenway Park would mostly negate Carl’s defensive value” while Tippett argued the opposite. “So far, Bill’s right and I was dead wrong,” said Tippett.


Ahem.

Me-me-me-me-me-me-meeeeeeeee.


I TOLD YOU SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
   12. valuearbitrageur Posted: August 05, 2012 at 02:07 PM (#4200935)
“Bill argued that Fenway Park would mostly negate Carl’s defensive value” while Tippett argued the opposite. “So far, Bill’s right and I was dead wrong,” said Tippett.


Did Larry Luchino make Tippett say this?

Just kidding. This kind of honest self assessment is what makes for healthy, successful organizations and Tom should be commended for making it publicly.

But it still goes against everything Larry Luccino stands for.
   13. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: August 05, 2012 at 02:11 PM (#4200938)
What exactly does Larry Lucchino stand for, other than Larry Lucchino?
   14. The District Attorney Posted: August 05, 2012 at 02:13 PM (#4200939)
He said that he and James disagreed about whether or not Fenway’s dimensions would help or hurt Carl Crawford.

“Bill argued that Fenway Park would mostly negate Carl’s defensive value” while Tippett argued the opposite.
Not sure what this is attempting to communicate. Are we saying that Tippett thought Crawford's defensive value would be the same, or that it would increase?

If the latter, what would that argument look like?
   15. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 05, 2012 at 02:23 PM (#4200944)
I assume the opposite is "Fenway Park would [not] mostly negate Carl's defensive value."
   16. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: August 05, 2012 at 02:35 PM (#4200952)
I'd assume James' argument was that a great defender is wasted in LF at Fenway, while Tippet's was that a great defender is a great defender, period.
   17. Dale Sams Posted: August 05, 2012 at 02:51 PM (#4200958)
What exactly does Larry Lucchino stand for, other than Larry Lucchino?


All I know is, with those initials, he's an important figure in Superman's life.

If the latter, what would that argument look like?


"With less ground to cover, nothing should touch the ground in LF?"??
   18. Jittery McFrog Posted: August 05, 2012 at 02:59 PM (#4200968)
If the latter, what would that argument look like?

"With less ground to cover, nothing should touch the ground in LF?"??


"Crawford's vertical is about 37 feet, right?"
   19. RJ in TO Posted: August 05, 2012 at 03:12 PM (#4200980)
What exactly does Larry Lucchino stand for, other than Larry Lucchino?

The national anthem, and urinals.
   20. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 05, 2012 at 03:31 PM (#4200989)
Red Sox have acquired 3B Danny Valencia from the Twins. Valencia has a .301 career OBA in 1062 PAs.
   21. vivaelpujols Posted: August 05, 2012 at 06:24 PM (#4201102)
I would say Bobby Valentine is just an idiot, but I've heard a lot of people say this type of ####:

Part of Valentine’s point was that number-crunching can help but when it comes to game time, and in that half a second it takes for a ball to travel from a pitcher’s hand to home plate, that’s when reflexes, instincts and talent take over.


Orly, sabermetrics (the study of objectively look at statistics in baseball) doesn't physically play the game? Tell me more Bobby..
   22. Jim Wisinski Posted: August 05, 2012 at 08:43 PM (#4201156)
Logically Crawford should be able to take away a bunch of singles dropping in front of him and some balls going over his head for extra bases, taking advantage of the smaller dimensions to add value that way. There are two points that would suggest his defense would have a lower max value though. One, in other parks his speed allowed him to take away a lot of XBH over his head that other LFs wouldn't get to; in Fenway a fair amount of those will hit the wall regardless of his speed so that doesn't matter. Two, he's never been a lay out, crash into things kind of guy so I could see him occasionally misplaying a ball that he might catch due to being too hesitant about hitting the wall. That being said saying that his defensive value would be almost totally negated seems absurd.

   23. Jittery McFrog Posted: August 05, 2012 at 09:14 PM (#4201164)
Most of the way through the second year of his seven-year deal, Crawford has provided a combination of replacement level hitting, replacement level baserunning, replacement level defense, and DL time. His elbow is a Tommy John surgery in the waiting. If Crawford gets to the point where his #1 problem is "elite defense slightly suppressed by home park" the Sox front office should be ecstatic.
   24. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: August 05, 2012 at 11:32 PM (#4201222)
In terms of left field defense, I'll say this - after over 30 years of watching Red Sox baseball, the skill set that adds defensive value as a left fielder in Fenway Park is unlike that of any other field in MLB. Specifically:

1) The ability to read fly balls that you can catch near The Wall versus those that will hit above your outstretched glove. If you go after a ball that ends up above your glove, it's a double for the batter. If you read it right, and position yourself to get it quickly off the wall, it becomes a double-oops-single. That's obviously valuable, and keeps a runner out of scoring position. It also adds a handful of assists a year for batters that get thrown out who otherwise would not.

2) The ability to barehand a ball off the wall is a big difference between a single, a double, and legit chances to throw somebody out at second. Rice was awesome at barehanding a ball off the wall, and Manny was actually pretty good at it, too.

3) Everybody notes that a strong arm isn't terribly useful in LF at Fenway, and it's true - but an accurate arm is very valuable, because there you'll probably get more chances to throw out a runner in Fenway than most LFs in baseball, both at second and at home.

Notice, again, what is NOT on this list - strnegth of arm, and range. I still don't see why the Red Sox were so willing to pay big money to Crawford, who never struck me as an elite player, and whose strengths don't play into the Red Sox. His defense is less valuable at Fenway, and on a team that has relied in the last decade on doubles and OBP to score lots of runs - as compared to speed - paying a guy who doesn't walk, and derives his power by pulling the ball makes no sense.

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

BBTF Partner

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
robneyer
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogPrimer Dugout (and link of the day) 12-18-2014
(34 - 12:29pm, Dec 18)
Last: Dan Lee is some pumkins

NewsblogOT: Politics - December 2014: Baseball & Politics Collide in New Thriller
(4650 - 12:28pm, Dec 18)
Last: Rickey! trades in sheep and threats

NewsblogThe 2015 HOF Ballot Collecting Gizmo!
(42 - 12:27pm, Dec 18)
Last: Monty

NewsblogOT: Monthly NBA Thread - December 2014
(650 - 12:26pm, Dec 18)
Last: Moses Taylor, Moses Taylor

NewsblogOpening of Relations Could Bring Cuban Stars to Major League Baseball
(3 - 12:25pm, Dec 18)
Last: Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq.

NewsblogSource: Myers to Padres in 11-player deal with Rays, Nats | MLB.com
(8 - 12:24pm, Dec 18)
Last: PreservedFish

NewsblogAre Wil Myers' flaws fixable? | FOX Sports
(78 - 12:04pm, Dec 18)
Last: boteman

NewsblogMLBTR: Padres-Rays-Nationals Agree to Three-Team Trade
(50 - 11:49am, Dec 18)
Last: PreservedFish

NewsblogOT: NFL/NHL thread
(9154 - 11:44am, Dec 18)
Last: zenbitz

NewsblogOT: Wrestling Thread November 2014
(156 - 11:32am, Dec 18)
Last: Dock Ellis on Acid

NewsblogRoyals sign Edinson Volquez for two years, $20 million
(9 - 11:19am, Dec 18)
Last: RoyalsRetro (AG#1F)

NewsblogPosnanski: The Royals Celebration Tour
(2 - 11:17am, Dec 18)
Last: RoyalsRetro (AG#1F)

NewsblogNew York Mets Top 20 Prospects for 2015
(20 - 11:15am, Dec 18)
Last: formerly dp

NewsblogMorosi - Effects of US Shift on Cuba Policy
(10 - 10:36am, Dec 18)
Last: Hal Chase School of Professionalism

NewsblogOT: Soccer December 2014
(302 - 9:51am, Dec 18)
Last: I am going to be Frank

Page rendered in 0.2791 seconds
48 querie(s) executed