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Saturday, December 02, 2006

Cincinnati Enquirer: Brennaman: It’s past time to put Concepción in Hall

Shove over, Joe!  Marty Brennaman wants Concepción in the HOF also.

Davey was every bit as important to the Big Red Machine as shortstop Pee Wee Reese was to the great Dodger teams of the ‘40s and ‘50s or Phil (“The Scooter”) Rizzuto was to the championship Yankees of the same era. But here’s the rub. Pee Wee and Scooter are in the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. Davey isn’t, even though he more than earned a ticket.

All three shortstops were scrappy “glue guys” who propelled talented teams to greatness. Davey’s career fielding percentage was significantly better than Reese’s or Rizzuto’s. Their batting averages and on-base percentages were comparable, although Davey had more extra-base hits. And Concepción’s post-season batting average - perhaps the best barometer of a ballplayer’s capacity to deliver when it matters - was a heady .297, far superior to the other two.

Repoz Posted: December 02, 2006 at 02:37 PM | 158 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: announcers, hall of fame, reds

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   101. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: December 04, 2006 at 04:13 PM (#2251257)
Dan Turkenkopf, my exact methodology is as follows.

1. Compile a list of starters at a given league-position-season (led team in PA among players whose primary position was the one in question).
2. Take the first player, let's say he has 650 PA. Take a theoretical team, league-average in both runs scored and runs allowed, and replace 650 PA of league-average offense with the player's stats. Distribute his extra outs saved/created evenly across the rest of the team. Calculate how many runs that team scores.
3. Take the player's FRAA (calculated by averaging BP FRAA, Fielding Win Shares converted into FRAA, and Dial for post-1986, after adjusting them so they all have the same standard deviation) and subtract it from the theoretical team's league-average runs allowed. Use Pythagenport with these RS/RA to see how many games this league-average team plus the player in question would win.
4. Repeat this for all starters.
5. Convert this wins above/below average number to a rate stat (e.g., wins above average per 650 PA).
6. Take a straight average of this wins above/below average rate for the three lowest rates in each year.
7. Average this three-worst-regulars rate for every season from 1985-2005. Compare this to Nate Silver's empirically determined Freely Available Talent (FAT) level from 1985-2005 to get the gap between the three-worst-regulars rate and the "true" replacement level (e.g., the worst three starting AL SS average from 1985-2005 was 3.5 wins below a positionless player hitting and fielding at the league average per season. Silver's FAT shortstops in the AL are 3.3 wins below a positionless player hitting and fielding at the league average. Thus, the gap is 0.2 wins per season).
8. For each season, take a nine-year moving average of the worst-three regulars average (the season in question plus four years on either side). Add on the worst regulars-FAT gap to his average. This is the replacement level. (e.g., the worst three regular SS in the AL averaged 4.6 wins below average per season from 1976-1984. Add on the 0.2 gap, and replacement level for 1980 AL SS is 4.4 wins below average per season).
9. Multiply the replacement level by the player's fraction of a season (e.g., if an AL SS had 325 PA in 1980, a replacement SS would have been 4.4*325/650 = 2.2 wins below average). Subtract this number from the player's wins above/below average to get his WARP.
   102. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: December 04, 2006 at 05:20 PM (#2251301)
Here are two examples, to illustrate. XR = Extrapolated Runs, PF = Park Factor, FWS = Fielding Win Shares, PPLA = a positionless player hitting and fielding at the league average, FAT = Freely Available Talent.

Dave Concepción, 1974. He hit .281/.335/.397 with 41 SB and 6 CS in 653 PA with a 99 PF, which is 84.2 XR. The average NL team in 1974 scored 670 XR in 4,161 batting outs, or .161 XR/Out. Subtracting Concepción's 436 batting outs (including his CS) from 4,161 leaves 3,725 batting outs for the rest of the team, which at .161 XR/Out is 600 XR, plus Concepción's 84.2 XR is 684 runs scored. BP has him with 19 FRAA, which I regress to 15 since BP's FRAA has a higher standard deviation for SS than Chris Dial's numbers. He had 10.0 FWS which for a shortstop with 653 PA is equivalent to 15 FRAA as well (the equation, using Chris Dial's standard deviations for SS, is 4.9*FWS- .051*PA). Averaging 15 and 15 gives you 15 FRAA. Subtract 15 runs from the league-average 670 XR and you get 655. 684 RS and 655 RA = 84.2 wins, 3.1 wins better than the league-average team. The worst three starting NL SS between 1985 and 2005 averaged 2.9 wins below PPLA per season, exactly the same as Silver's FAT SS, so the three-worst-regulars average is equal to the replacement level. The worst three starting NL SS between 1970 and 1978 averaged 3.5 wins below PPLA per season. The 1974 NL averaged 633 PA per lineup spot, and Concepción had 653 PA, so a replacement SS would have been 3.5*653/633 = 3.6 wins below PPLA in his PA. Concepción was 3.1 wins above average, so 3.1 + 3.6 = 6.7 WARP.

Willie McCovey, 1970. He hit .289/.444/.612 in 638 PA with a 99 PF which is 131.6 XR. The average NL team in 1970 scored 722 runs in 4,153 batting outs, which is .174 XR/Out. Subtracting McCovey's 355 batting outs from 4,153 leaves 3,798 for the rest of the team, which at .174 XR/Out is 661 runs, plus McCovey's 131.6 is 792 runs scored. BP has him with 3 FRAA, which I regress to 2 since BP's FRAA has a higher standard deviation for 1B than Chris Dial's numbers. He had 2.1 FWS which for a 1B with 638 PA is equivalent to -1 FRAA (the equation, using Chris Dial's standard deviations for 1B, is 8.01*FWS - .0284*PA). Averaging 2 and -1 gives 0.5 FRAA (call it 0 for convenience's sake). 792 runs scored and 722 runs allowed is 88.1 wins, 7.1 wins above a league-average team. The worst three starting NL 1B between 1985 and 2005 averaged 0.3 wins below PPLA, and Silver's FAT 1B averaged 0.2 wins below PPLA, so the gap between the three-worst-regulars average and the replacement level is 0.1 wins. The worst three starting NL 1B between 1966 and 1974 averaged 0.2 wins above PPLA, plus the 0.1 gap to the FAT level, is 0.3 wins above average. The 1970 NL averaged 632 PA per lineup spot, and McCovey had 638 PA, so a replacement 1B would have been 0.3*638/632 = 0.3 wins above PPLA in his PA. McCovey was 7.1 wins above average, so 7.1 - 0.3 = 6.8 WARP.

Concepción's 1974 and McCovey's 1970 were, thus, equally valuable seasons.
   103. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: December 04, 2006 at 05:35 PM (#2251314)
My contention is that Concepción's peak was equal to Ozzie's peak, but that Concepción didn't sustain that level for nearly as long as Smith did. Then again, I see Smith as a no-brainer Hall member, so being less great than Smith doesn't mean you don't belong. To repeat, I have Concepción right on the borderline.

I don't have either Speier or Russell as anywhere near Concepción. Speier's 1972 was a legitimately fantastic season, as great as Concepción's best, 7.2 WARP. But he only had one of them. He played at a good All-Star level in 1974 and 75, and was then an above-average regular for a number of other years. He was a slightly worse hitter than Concepción, and lasted 3-4 seasons less. And he was a very good fielder, but not phenomenal/extraordinary like Concepción's defensive peak. On the whole, it comes out to 42 career WARP, a *very* nice career for a forgotten player, but not within sniffing distance of even the Hall of the Very Good, really. And Russell doesn't even compare; he was a notably worse hitter than Concepción and a merely average fielder, and didn't last as long. 28 WARP.

I see Concepción as light years ahead of any of the people being thrown around as comparables, and I hope I have at the very least grounded my argument in (copious) evidence.
   104. BDC Posted: December 04, 2006 at 05:54 PM (#2251335)
Concepción's 1974 and McCovey's 1970 were, thus, equally valuable seasons

Doesn't your method "count" Concepcion's position twice? once for his actual contribution in saving runs at shortstop, and then again because he's a decent hitter playing shortstop? Tell me if I'm being dense; it will hardly be the first time.

I can see that it was damn difficult in 1974 to find a Concepcion, and that you might be willing to trade surplus hitters to acquire him, or pay him a lot of money had there been free agency back then. I am less convinced that Concepcion actually helped his team win as much as McCovey did in 1970. But I might be just fighting a rear guard action for the conventional wisdom :)
   105. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: December 04, 2006 at 06:18 PM (#2251356)
It most certainly doesn't. It compares his total runs--offense plus defense, relative to the overall league average rather than to a positional average--to the total runs relative to the overall league average that a replacement shortstop would produce. Concepción was 14 runs better than a league-average hitter (NOT an average hitting SS), and 15 runs better than a league-average fielder, in 1974, for 29 total runs above league average, which is equivalent to 3.1 wins. A replacement shortstop, combining hitting and fielding, would have been 3.6 wins below a positionless player hitting and fielding at the league average in 1974. Concepción's 3.1 wins above overall league average, plus the replacement SS's 3.6 wins below overall league average, equals 6.7 wins.

What is your operational definition of "helped his team win," if not exceeding replacement level at his position?
   106. Walt Davis Posted: December 04, 2006 at 08:31 PM (#2251490)
Sam M, what determines being a great player overall, if not exceeding replacement level at your position?

I don't have time to read all the posts, but one obvious answer to this question is:

exceeding league average at your position.

Using replacement level as comparison makes sense in thinking how valuable a player was for a season, because if Concepcion got injured at the start of the season, the Reds would have had to employ an emergency, replacement-level SS.

However, Concepcion played about 2500 games and it is absolutely absurd to think that he would have been replaced by the worst starting SS for every one of those games. For looking at a career or any reasonable number of years (say a 5-10 year span), it is far more sensible to assume that the Reds, over those 2500 games, would have replaced Concepcion with a league-average SS.

According to BPro, Concepcion was 39 runs below average on offense and 150 above average on defense for 111 runs above average for his career or roughly half a win per season. We can probably monkey with the offensive numbers some since I don't think those are position-adjusted and maybe we can get him up to one win per season. That's not an HOFer.
   107. Slinger Francisco Barrios (Dr. Memory) Posted: December 04, 2006 at 08:47 PM (#2251502)
#78: I was there too, and I don't recall "Concepcion for the HOF" debates. Maybe they didn't make it all the way to Chicago, where such nonsense would've been laughed out of town.

As for his ASG appearances and VORP, sucking azs less is not a badge of honor. If I have 23 bananas with ten big bruises on them and one with just one bruise, I suppose I'd be forced to choose the one-bruise banana for my All-Fruit team that year and assign it the greatest value over replacement banana, but if I were to one day compare it to the slightly freckled, well-formed bananas of yore and hence, it certainly wouldn't make my Banana Hall of Fame.
   108. Kiko Sakata Posted: December 04, 2006 at 08:54 PM (#2251508)
I see Concepción as light years ahead of any of the people being thrown around as comparables, and I hope I have at the very least grounded my argument in (copious) evidence.

I just want to say that, I for one think you've made a very impressive argument. I'm not necessarily convinced by it (I think the weakest aspect of it is that it's very dependent on the idea that Concepcion was an Ozzie Smith-level fielder, based on statistics that we know can be very, very flawed, but that's not your fault), but I think it's a strong theoretical argument and makes me much more receptive to the idea that Dave Concepcion could, in fact, be a deserving Hall-of-Famer.
   109. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: December 04, 2006 at 09:01 PM (#2251513)
whooooah are you suggesting that the difference between SS positional average and overall league average is just half a win per season? That's nuts.

I really don't like vs. average based measures, since they penalize below-average players for still providing positive value to a team. BUT if you insist, Concepción was 41.6 wins above an NL-average shortstop from 1970-86 (I don't have his 2B data for 1987-88), straight-line adjusting the 1981 season. By contrast, Willie McCovey (my favorite counterexample) was 42.0 wins above an NL-average player at his positions (1B except for outfield in 1962-64) for his career, supporting my case that Concepción's and McCovey's careers were about equally valuable. Again, if you don't believe me, I'd be delighted to show you the math.
   110. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: December 04, 2006 at 09:03 PM (#2251515)
Kiko, just to repeat, I'm arguing that Concepción was an Ozzie-level fielder at his peak. Concepción had around 6 years at that level, while Ozzie had about 15. But again, Ozzie is waay above the in/out line.
   111. BDC Posted: December 04, 2006 at 09:23 PM (#2251524)
Dan, I guess my objection is deeper. You figure the balance of contributions by each and conclude that McCovey on the whole is 7.1 wins above average, and Concepcion is 3.1 wins above average. To me (and to the common traditional wisdom), McCovey seems to win by four games. Now I understand the concept behind WARP, that you could have replaced McCovey for free with a better player than you could Concepcion. That concept is important for the market in baseball talent. But the fact is, they didn't replace either of them in those respective seasons. It's like saying that McCovey beat Concepcion in a NASCAR race, but Concepcion was really the winner because McCovey's backup car was a Maserati while Concepcion's backup car was a Morris Minor. That's why I say that McCovey did more to help his team win.
   112. Sam M. Posted: December 04, 2006 at 09:24 PM (#2251525)
I really don't like vs. average based measures, since they penalize below-average players for still providing positive value to a team.

I don't share that concern. How are they "penalized," simply by being identified as below average? They provide value regardless of that designation; it is simply stating a fact that they are below the average.

But even if the concern is valid, it's irrelevant for the current purpose, which is to identify HOF-worthy players. Who cares about the effect of this usage of the measure on below-average players? They shouldn't even be in the discussion in the first place (notwithstanding some of the guys who get a vote or two from some wayward sportswriters from time to time).

I agree with Walt: the HOF should be about whether and how far a player rises above the average players of his time, and then whether he joins the company of the truly elite players of all time. I have some doubts that Concepcion really rose far enough above the average shortstops of his time, but he probably did. But I am thoroughly unconvinced he was among the greatest overall players of his time, and even less convinced that he was among the very greatest of all time. The shortstops of the 70s were just a bad batch. God's made up for lost time ever since.
   113. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: December 04, 2006 at 10:11 PM (#2251555)
By the logic in #111, the only C in the Hall would be Berra and Bench, and the only SS Wagner and Vaughan. Bob Dernier Cri, I'm sure you don't think that, so how can you argue it both ways? Either position matters or it doesn't. And if it matters, you can't selectively ignore it when it leads you to surprising conclusions.
   114. BDC Posted: December 04, 2006 at 10:32 PM (#2251569)
By the logic in #111, the only C in the Hall would be Berra and Bench, and the only SS Wagner and Vaughan

Well, I favor a smaller Hall than the real one, yes, but I don't see how you infer that I want it that small :) Campanella was an RBI champ, among the slugging and HR leaders several times. Hartnett was on the slugging and HR leaderboards a lot. Cochrane's lifetime BA was .320 and his OBP was .419. Piazza might have been the best hitter in the NL for a few years; Lombardi won two batting titles. In fact excluding a few puzzling choices (Ferrell, Schalk) all the HOF catchers hit a ton. And there are several analogues among the shortstops (Banks, Appling, Yount, Cronin). Dave Concepcion didn't do anything near that. If he's a Hall of Fame shortstop he is in the glove wing (Maranville, Smith, Rizzuto, Aparicio). And I am not opposing that argument, just the one that somehow makes Concepcion exceptionally valuable because he ran with some batless peers ...
   115. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: December 04, 2006 at 10:46 PM (#2251578)
My problem with average-based measures is the following. Let's take two hypothetical players. Replacement level is 3 wins below average. Here are their careers:

Guy A

-2, -2, -2, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, -2, -2, -2. He is 28 wins above average and 61 wins above replacement.

Guy B

8, 8, 8, 8, 8. He is 40 wins above average and 55 wins above replacement.

Now, during those shoulder years, the player still had positive value--he was contributing something to a team above the freely available level. But the average-based measure penalizes him, suggesting he would have been more valuable had he retired, while the replacement-level measure accurately reflects that he still had a major league job for a reason.
   116. JPWF13 Posted: December 04, 2006 at 10:48 PM (#2251583)
Dan, I guess my objection is deeper. You figure the balance of contributions by each and conclude that McCovey on the whole is 7.1 wins above average, and Concepcion is 3.1 wins above average.


Let's say you are building a team and you have the choice of a 1B who is 7.1 wins above the average hitter- but only 5 wins above the average 1B, or an SS who is 3.1 wins above the average hitter, but 6 wins above the average SS. Who do you want? Who will help you more?
   117. Sam M. Posted: December 04, 2006 at 11:08 PM (#2251602)
Now, during those shoulder years, the player still had positive value--he was contributing something to a team above the freely available level. But the average-based measure penalizes him, suggesting he would have been more valuable had he retired, while the replacement-level measure accurately reflects that he still had a major league job for a reason.

For purposes of his HOF-worthiness, those -2 seasons are irrelevant to his case. I care about them as a GM, certainly, and they are relevant to his value if I might want to sign him or trade for him. But for me, a player's qualifications for the Hall of Fame are not about his early-career struggles to establish his credentials or learn his craft. Nor are they about his hanging on as a part-time player and (admittedly) perhaps helping a team as a below-average contributor. The HOF is about greatness. I do care about longevity when it comes to mixing in a few above-average seasons among the truly great ones -- many if not most HOFers do that. But once we're crossing the line into below-average seasons, especially consistent ones as you do in that hypo, Dan? That doesn't trouble me in the least to simply say they can be tossed.

And when I say tossed, I mean that. I wouldn't penalize him for hanging on, or for starting out younger. So I'd look at that carefully if and when we use the average-based measure, if the player's case justifies throwing out a "penalizing" season or three. But I wouldn't reward him, either, simply for being above replacement level.
   118. DCW3 Posted: December 04, 2006 at 11:19 PM (#2251609)
Now, during those shoulder years, the player still had positive value--he was contributing something to a team above the freely available level. But the average-based measure penalizes him, suggesting he would have been more valuable had he retired, while the replacement-level measure accurately reflects that he still had a major league job for a reason.

Dan (and Sam), I really hate to promote myself, but did you take a look at the article I linked to #79? It's my take on exactly the kind of issues you're discussing here.
   119. BDC Posted: December 04, 2006 at 11:30 PM (#2251617)
Let's say you are building a team and you have the choice of a 1B who is 7.1 wins above the average hitter- but only 5 wins above the average 1B, or an SS who is 3.1 wins above the average hitter, but 6 wins above the average SS. Who do you want? Who will help you more?

But if I am reading #102 correctly, McCovey is 7.1 wins above the average player, offense and defense combined. Concepcion is at 3.1 the same way. If the all-Universe shortstop can only hit well enough to get within four wins of the defensively indifferent first baseman, maybe I want the first baseman.
   120. Kiko Sakata Posted: December 04, 2006 at 11:37 PM (#2251624)
But if I am reading #102 correctly, McCovey is 7.1 wins above the average player, offense and defense combined. Concepcion is at 3.1 the same way. If the all-Universe shortstop can only hit well enough to get within four wins of the defensively indifferent first baseman, maybe I want the first baseman.

But you have to put somebody at shortstop. If your choice is McCovey + avg. shortstop (7.1 + (-2.9)) versus avg. 1B + Concepcion (2.1 + 3.1), you're better off with the latter (5.2 v. 4.2).
   121. Sam M. Posted: December 04, 2006 at 11:39 PM (#2251625)
Dan (and Sam), I really hate to promote myself, but did you take a look at the article I linked to #79? It's my take on exactly the kind of issues you're discussing here.

I did look at it, and liked the approach there, as you might expect from what I've said. This quote sums it up:

use a metric with an average base--and then only include those seasons in which a player was above average.

The key is that we really don't include those other seasons (the below-average ones), either way. Dan's objection is that if we use the average-based measure, including them has a negative impact, even though the player actually has value. My objection to his approach (using a replacement-level measure) is that the below-average seasons shouldn't have a positive impact on a HOF case.

So just don't include them. That seems like a pretty reasonable middle ground.
   122. Dan Turkenkopf Posted: December 05, 2006 at 12:23 AM (#2251660)
He had 10.0 FWS which for a shortstop with 653 PA is equivalent to 15 FRAA as well (the equation, using Chris Dial's standard deviations for SS, is 4.9*FWS- .051*PA).


Are fielding win shares really based on offensive plate appearances? That seems like a strange way to scale fielding unless you're using plate appearances as a proxy for playing time - but then don't you run into concerns of lineup position and team offense?

Average this three-worst-regulars rate for every season from 1985-2005. Compare this to Nate Silver's empirically determined Freely Available Talent (FAT) level from 1985-2005 to get the gap between the three-worst-regulars rate and the "true" replacement level (e.g., the worst three starting AL SS average from 1985-2005 was 3.5 wins below a positionless player hitting and fielding at the league average per season. Silver's FAT shortstops in the AL are 3.3 wins below a positionless player hitting and fielding at the league average. Thus, the gap is 0.2 wins per season).


Obviously you're assuming that the gap between FAT and the worst three starting players stays constant - which seems like it might be incorrect. I'm thinking that the gap may change based on expansion. Have you tried breaking it down by 85-92, 93-97 and 98-2005 for the NL and 85-97, 98-2005 for the AL? That might cause some sample size problems but I'd be interested to see if the gap changes at all.
   123. BDC Posted: December 05, 2006 at 12:30 AM (#2251665)
If your choice is McCovey + avg. shortstop (7.1 + (-2.9)) versus avg. 1B + Concepcion (2.1 + 3.1), you're better off with the latter (5.2 v. 4.2)

Oh sure, if you're asking me whether 5.2 is greater than 4.2, I get the picture :) But players don't come in matched pairs, star with average (or replacement) guy; maybe I'd still want to maximize my wins first by taking McCovey now and my chances later. And anyway this is not about choosing up sides; that's the market-value aspect of it. This is about looking back at the end of the year and seeing who contributed more to winning. McCovey still wins by four games.
   124. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: December 05, 2006 at 12:34 AM (#2251668)
Aparicio may be *the worst* member of the Hall of Fame, in my opinion.

Here is the full breakdown for Concepción (not counting his two years at 2B), along with his most comparable player (Ozzie Smith) and his polar opposite (Willie McCovey). I hope this chart provides enough detailed data for lots of people to draw interesting distinctions and conclusions. The Hall of Fame cutoff line is around 60 career WARP. Yes, I think Dave Concepción had a more valuable career than Willie McCovey, and here's my evidence. (I somehow miscalculated the values over positional averages the last time I did this, my apologies). And no, I don't have a life.

OWAA = offensive wins above the overall league (not positional) average for that year.
DWAA = defensive wins above the positional average for that year.
Av-Pos = wins gap between the overall positionless league average and the positional average in the player's plate appearances for that year.
Pos-Rep = wins gap between the positional average and the positional replacement level (summing offense and defense) in the player's plate appearances for that year.
TWAA = wins above the overall positionless league average (OWAA + DWAA).
PWAA = wins above the positional average (OWAA + DWAA + Av-Pos).
WARP = wins above the positional replacement level (OWAA + DWAA + Av-Pos + Pos-Rep).

Numbers may vary by fractions from what I've posted previously due to sac hits and sac flies, sorry. 1960, 61, 72, 81, 94, and 95 are straight-line adjusted for season length.



Dave Concepción

SeasonRank Year   PA OWAA DWAA Av-Pos Pos-Rep TWAA PWAA WARP
Best       1981  455  2.2  1.4    1.8     1.9  3.6  5.4  7.3
2nd Best   1974  644  1.6  1.7    1.8     1.7  3.3  5.1  6.9
3rd Best   1979  655  1.7  1.5    1.3     2.1  3.2  4.6  6.7
4th        1976  623  0.9  2.2    1.3     2.1  3.1  4.5  6.6
5th        1978  619  1.5  0.8    1.1     2.3  2.4  3.5  5.8
6th        1975  546  0.3  2.1    1.7     1.3  2.3  4.0  5.3
7th        1977  615 -0.2  2.1    2.1     1.2  1.9  4.0  5.2
8th        1982  615  0.0  1.6    1.1     2.1  1.7  2.8  4.9
9th        1973  348  1.2  0.7    1.3     0.6  2.0  3.3  3.9
10th       1980  657 -1.0  0.6    1.8     1.7 -0.4  1.4  3.0
11th       1986  335 -0.4 -0.1    0.7     0.9 -0.5  0.3  1.2
12th       1984  579 -1.1 -0.9    1.7     1.4 -2.0 -0.2  1.1
13th       1972  416 -1.9  0.5    1.2     1.1 -1.4 -0.2  1.0
14th       1970  290 -0.5 -0.2    0.8     0.8 -0.7  0.1  0.9
15th       1985  616 -1.6 -0.8    1.2     2.0 -2.3 -1.1  0.9
16th       1983  581 -2.6  0.0    1.0     2.1 -2.6 -1.6  0.5
17th       1971  345 -2.4 -0.2    1.2     0.8 -2.6 -1.3 -0.6
TOTAL           8939 -2.1 13.1   23.3    26.1 11.0 34.4 60.4





Ozzie Smith
SeasonRank Year    PA OWAA DWAA Av-Pos Pos-Rep TWAA PWAA WARP
Best       1985   603  1.9  2.4    1.2     2.0  4.3  5.5  7.4
2nd Best   1987   687  2.3  1.5    2.0     1.3  3.8  5.8  7.1
3rd Best   1991   633  2.6  0.9    0.4     2.6  3.5  3.8  6.4
4th        1992   576  2.1  1.7    0.6     2.0  3.8  4.4  6.3
5th        1988   646  1.4  1.6    1.0     2.0  3.0  4.0  6.1
6th        1986   598  1.9  1.0    1.3     1.7  2.9  4.2  5.9
7th        1989   648  1.5  1.1    0.9     2.0  2.6  3.5  5.5
8th        1982   555  0.1  2.3    1.0     1.9  2.4  3.4  5.3
9th        1984   468  1.0  1.4    1.4     1.1  2.4  3.8  4.9
10th       1978   636 -0.8  1.9    1.1     2.4  1.1  2.2  4.6
11th       1983   616 -0.2  1.4    1.0     2.2  1.2  2.3  4.5
12th       1980   683 -1.4  1.9    1.8     1.7  0.5  2.3  4.0
13th       1993   585 -0.4  1.5    0.4     2.2  1.0  1.4  3.6
14th       1990   570 -0.5  0.6    1.1     1.5  0.1  1.2  2.8
15th       1981   483 -3.2  1.8    1.7     2.2 -1.4  0.4  2.5
16th       1996   254  0.2  0.5    0.3     0.8  0.7  1.0  1.8
17th       1994   417 -1.0 -0.4    0.8     1.8 -1.5 -0.7  1.1
18th       1979   630 -3.1  0.7    1.3     2.0 -2.5 -1.2  0.8
19th       1995   175 -1.3  0.3    0.3     0.5 -1.0 -0.6 -0.2
TOTAL           10466  2.9 24.1   19.7    33.8 27.0 46.7 80.6




Willie McCovey

SeasonRank Year    PA OWAA DWAA Av-Pos Pos-Rep TWAA PWAA WARP
Best       1969   612  9.1 -0.4   -2.4     2.1  8.7  6.3  8.4
2nd Best   1970   638  7.1  0.0   -2.4     2.0  7.1  4.7  6.7
3rd Best   1968   595  6.7 -0.8   -2.0     1.7  5.9  3.9  5.6
4th        1963   625  5.6 -1.1   -2.2     2.7  4.5  2.3  5.0
5th        1966   581  5.3 -0.5   -1.8     1.7  4.8  3.0  4.7
6th        1965   628  5.1 -0.2   -1.5     1.3  4.9  3.3  4.6
7th        1967   527  4.7 -0.3   -1.3     1.0  4.4  3.1  4.1
8th        1973   488  4.3 -0.6   -1.2     1.0  3.7  2.5  3.5
9th        1974   440  4.0 -0.5   -1.1     0.9  3.5  2.4  3.3
10th       1962   253  2.4  0.2   -0.8     1.0  2.5  1.7  2.7
11th       1959   216  2.9  0.0   -0.4     0.3  2.8  2.4  2.7
12th       1961   365  2.1  0.5   -1.3     1.0  2.6  1.3  2.3
13th       1971   393  3.1 -0.9   -1.6     1.5  2.2  0.6  2.1
14th       1977   545  2.5 -0.8   -1.6     1.7  1.7  0.1  1.8
15th       1975   470  1.9 -0.2   -1.5     1.4  1.8  0.3  1.6
16th       1960   305  1.5 -0.4   -0.8     0.6  1.1  0.3  0.9
17th       1964   425  1.1 -1.0   -1.2     1.6  0.1 -1.1  0.5
18th       1979   389  0.4 -0.6   -1.0     1.0 -0.2 -1.1 -0.1
19th       1978   387 -0.3 -0.2   -0.7     0.8 -0.4 -1.2 -0.4
20th       1976   250 -0.5 -0.1   -0.7     0.7 -0.6 -1.2 -0.5
21st       1980   126 -0.5 -0.1   -0.3     0.3 -0.6 -1.0 -0.6
22nd       1972   302 -0.1 -0.5   -1.1     1.0 -0.5 -1.6 -0.7
TOTAL            9559 68.4 -8.5  -29.1    27.2 59.9 30.8 58.0
   125. JPWF13 Posted: December 05, 2006 at 12:39 AM (#2251672)
maybe I'd still want to maximize my wins first by taking McCovey now and my chances later.


No you wouldn't, the guys who think like that in Diamond Mind get clobbered- picking the "best" player available without concern for position or position scarcity. If you're building a team the guy who's going to get you the most wins is the guy who is farthest ahead against his position. That's how you maximise your wins.

The reason that McCovey's apparent advantage may disappear is because (for a few years anyway) Concepcion was actually further ahead of the mass of available SSs than McCovey was against the mass of available 1Bs.
   126. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: December 05, 2006 at 12:41 AM (#2251675)
Took me awhile to type all that in, so now I'll respond to the previous comments.

JPWF13: the shortstop.

Sam M.: OK, as long as you toss the below-average seasons I'm fine with that. But then you can't use BP's BRAA and FRAA numbers, because they most definitely do count the below-average seasons against the player.

Dan Turkenkopf: Yes, I'm using PA as a proxy for playing time, since I don't have a spreadsheet with defensive innings. And yes, you are right that a leadoff man on a good offense will appear to have fewer Win Shares FRAA than he deserves, while a #8 hitter on a bad team will have more Win Shares FRAA than he deserves. Somehow I doubt this effect could come to more than 0.3 wins, but maybe I'm wrong. And you're absolutely right that I'm assuming the gap between the worst 3 regulars and the FAT level stays constant. I will check it for the different periods you mention later, but the sample sizes are going to be so small as to be useless, in my opinion. Those are two good criticisms of my system, but unfortunately ones I'm not immediately sure how to fix.
   127. BDC Posted: December 05, 2006 at 01:51 AM (#2251717)
McCovey is ahead in Total Wins Above Average by 60-11, but Concepcion had a better career because his peer shortstops were a lot worse than McCovey's peer first basemen.

OK, let's say the average man is 5 feet tall. I am 6 feet tall and Eric Dampier is 7 feet tall.

But the shortest English professor is 4 feet tall, and the shortest NBA center is 6'9". Therefore I am 21 inches taller than Dampier.

I understand that good shortstops were scarce then, and that Concepcion was probably the best of a scarce lot. That makes Concepcion unusual, not necessarily superlative -- unless you somehow contend that the world had shifted on its axis in those days, so that even Honus Wagner would have looked like Chris Speier, while leaving the first basemen of the earth unaffected.

There's an analogy here to a theme in the "closer" threads. Someone will point out that any failed starter can become a closer, and many do. Closer-worthy pitchers are thick on the ground; what they do is not terribly hard. Someone else objects, sure, but they're still doing it, and it's pretty valuable work, even if someone else could have done it, or near enough to it. McCovey was still the guy hitting 35 home runs a year even if some mediocrity could have come out of nowhere and hit 15. The fact that Concepcion was hitting eight and the alternative to him would have hit zero does not diminish the difference between 35 and 8.
   128. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: December 05, 2006 at 02:03 AM (#2251724)
Needless to say I'm not going to convince you, but I hope this data is helpful to people in general.
   129. Kiko Sakata Posted: December 05, 2006 at 02:17 AM (#2251733)
McCovey is ahead in Total Wins Above Average by 60-11, but Concepcion had a better career because his peer shortstops were a lot worse <u>hitters</u> than McCovey's peer first basemen.

I think you're misunderstanding where Dan's introducing the positional adjustment. The offensive numbers he's showing are unadjusted. That is, they truly compare McCovey's 35 homers to Concepcion's 8. The <u>defensive</u> numbers, though, are relative to position. So, Concepcion here is being compared to an average shortstop - and in the 1970s, the average shortstop was probably a very good fielder, otherwise, how the heck did he make the major leagues - but McCovey's being compared to the average first baseman.

At some point, though, you have to adjust for the fact that shortstops are better fielders than first basemen. Traditionally, this is done in the first step - the calculation of offensive numbers. But I've never thought that made sense, for exactly the reason you suggest. You could introduce it in the defensive numbers, but that requires some sort of translation of how good an average first baseman would play shortstop, which doesn't necessarily make a lot of conceptual sense.

So, Dan introduces the positional adjustment at the end - by reflecting it in the "average" and "replacement level" that he compares these players to. Personally, I think that makes all the sense in the world and to the extent that I have quibbles with Dan's results here it's with the details of precisely how he calculates replacement level and the reliability of the defensive data upon which so much of Concepcion's case rests. But the idea that Concepcion ought to be compared to a lower "average" and "replacement level" than McCovey, given the raw numbers that Dan's using seems exactly right to me.
   130. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: December 05, 2006 at 02:30 AM (#2251746)
Kiko Sakata, thanks for taking the time to look over my methodology as well as my results. I'm always open to suggestions for improvement--do you have a better idea for how to calculate replacement level? I certainly think that using the worst three regulars as the baseline is far more accurate than using the positional average, but I'd love to hear suggestions on how to refine it even further.
   131. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: December 05, 2006 at 02:46 AM (#2251759)
I'd also note that McCovey would fare a lot better if he weren't losing 8.5 wins with his glove--Concepción's case is, as Kiko Sakata correctly notes, based on his fielding, and he is only +13.5 career wins in the field. If McCovey were a league-average first baseman he'd have 66.5 WARP which is clearly over the in/out line. BP has him as a horrific fielder, -124 runs for his career; I've regressed that obviously. Win Shares gives him only 27.1 fielding WS in his extremely long career. For comparison's sake, Johnny Mize accumulated the same number of fielding WS in 28% fewer games. Both metrics agree that McCovey was consistently one of the worst-fielding first basemen in the league, if not a disaster of Mo Vaughn-size proportions. I'm much more confident in their assessment of Concepción's greatness with the glove--Michael Humphreys' Defensive Regression analysis agrees as well, and Concepción was well-known in his time as a superb fielder--than I am in their finding that McCovey was basically a butcher. How was McCovey's fielding thought of by his contemporaries? I know this is about Concepción, not McCovey, but Hall of Fame debates are all about making comparisons.
   132. MAH Posted: December 05, 2006 at 03:05 AM (#2251770)
Dan, I recommended Concepcion for Hall of Fame consideration in the November 2003 article on BTF introducing Defensive Regression Analysis ("DRA"). The latest version of DRA, which I've calculated now for 1893 through 2005, suggests that he was about as good as Ozzie Smith, whose fielding declined after he tore his rotator cuff around 1984 and suffered some sort of leg injury around 1990. Baseball Prospectus give Dave about 110 wins above their way-too-low replacement level definition. Flawed as it is, it rarely shows someone with 100 career wins who doesn't deservice HOF consideration. I think Dave is over the line, but there are some folks who should go in first, Ron Santo being the clearest example.

If I were to use Baseball Prospectus' numbers, I would take career batting runs above AVERAGE plus career FIELDING runs above REPLACEMENT. The latter seems to account for replacement level issues to a reasonable extent. I think Dave Concepcion's BRAA+FRAR is HOF level.
   133. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: December 05, 2006 at 03:09 AM (#2251774)
I disagree, Michael, as I think BP's FRAR-FRAA adjustment is waaay too big and entirely unsupported by any empirical definition of replacement level.

Speaking of which, weren't you going to pass me those DRA's once you had them? :)

Santo is a good example but not the most egregious one. I have Trammell notably ahead of him, and of course there's Bill Dahlen and Bert Blyleven. I also think Darrell Evans is pretty clearly over the line. Concepción I believe to be right on the cusp.
   134. MAH Posted: December 05, 2006 at 03:20 AM (#2251786)
Dan, I agree that BP's FRAR adjustment is too big, just something to glance at. The folks at BP are smart, but nothing about FRAA or FRAR is explained. Just gotta take it on faith. I'll send you my latest list. I agree about Trammell, Dahlen (one of the three best Dead ball fielders), Bly and probably Darrell Evans. Davey is on the cusp, maybe just over it.
   135. Howie Menckel Posted: December 05, 2006 at 03:29 AM (#2251795)
McCovey was immobile for much of his career, but I don't remember him being poor other than that. They called him "Stretch" for a reason, and he seemed to scoop up lots of throws.
He definitely made some stretches for stray throws that looked really impressive, I remember that.
Whether this is a "Jeter effect" - slow but graceful guy seems like he can field - or not, I'm not sure.

No one doubts that if a fielder like Concepcion comes within a country mile of a 1B's offense, he's really really valuable.
It's tougher when the 1B pummels the SS offensively, but the case made is that the fielding makes up all of it.
It probably doesn't help Concepcion that it's not as if we wonder how the Reds won those pennants (Bench, Rose, Perez, etc duh), a la the 1914 Boston Braves. That team seems like a mystery at first, and then the sense that Johnny Evers was doing magical things seems quite plausible. Hell, SOMEBODY did.
   136. BDC Posted: December 05, 2006 at 03:33 AM (#2251800)
The defensive numbers, though, are relative to position

Yes, but that simply suggests that fielders, at their positions, are grouped much more tightly around average than hitters in terms of their effect on winning. Even the greatest fielder ever, Ozzie Smith, rarely goes more two wins above the average shortstop defensively. McCovey often goes 3-5 offensive wins above the average hitter, sometimes more. That suggests to me that really major sluggers have a much greater effect on the offensive side than even the greatest fielders can possibly have on defense. (Which is part of every game: McCovey will usually get at least four PA in the cleanup spot to do as much damage as he likes. Concepcion might not even get a chance that any pro shortstop wouldn't handle as well. Therefore it doesn't matter as much if you have Superman playing shortstop as if you have Superman in the batting order.)

Naturally Concepcion was a greater athlete than McCovey, faster, more agile, sure. A lot of guys are as slow as McCovey and a lot could play first base as badly. But McCovey's central skill, at which he was superlative, seems to me to be of greater value in a baseball game than Concepcion's, and is just as rare as Concepcion's glove.

Dan, this has been a fascinating discussion and your numbers are extremely interesting, don't get me wrong. I rarely comment on analysis, being more prone to stray smart remarks, so take my sudden plunge into debate as a compliment to your provocative ideas.
   137. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: December 05, 2006 at 03:34 AM (#2251802)
Concepción was twice the player that Tony Pérez was--that I feel I can say with certainty.

Do you happen to know if Fielding WS or BP FRAA measure scooping?
   138. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: December 05, 2006 at 03:41 AM (#2251808)
That team seems like a mystery at first, and then the sense that Johnny Evers was doing magical things seems quite plausible.

Mike Emeigh is somewhere smiling to himself.
   139. Kiko Sakata Posted: December 05, 2006 at 03:42 AM (#2251809)
Do you happen to know if Fielding WS or BP FRAA measure scooping?

Fielding WS sort of does. I'm pretty sure that one of the factors for 1B defense is errors by the other infielders. In fact, I have the book lying right next to me - and, indeed, the 10% factor is "Errors by the Team's Shortstops and Third Basemen." Very crude, to be sure, but obviously intended to measure "scooping."
   140. Howie Menckel Posted: December 05, 2006 at 03:44 AM (#2251811)
I agree with Bob D not only on his McCovey point, but also the whole debate.
Not trying to go kumbaya on anybody, but it's nice to be able to have one person assert one side, someone else assert a contrary point, and not have it turn into a flame war.
Clearly Dan R is onto something interesting re the Concepcion advantage; the question now is what to make of it.

And Bob D, I'd like to think we have had a lot of these type of discussions (shameless plug alert) in the last 92 Hall of Merit ballots since 2003. In fact, Dan R may want to produce a 'greatest hits' version of this for insertion onto the upcoming Concepcion thread.
   141. Kiko Sakata Posted: December 05, 2006 at 03:57 AM (#2251826)
Kiko Sakata, thanks for taking the time to look over my methodology as well as my results. I'm always open to suggestions for improvement--do you have a better idea for how to calculate replacement level? I certainly think that using the worst three regulars as the baseline is far more accurate than using the positional average, but I'd love to hear suggestions on how to refine it even further.

I think conceptually what you're doing makes sense. You're right that "replacement level" is a function of the players at the "replacement" end of the spectrum, not of the better players. I'm a statistician (really, econometrician) by trade, so my first instinct would be to do something like two standard deviations below average, although baseball talent isn't normally distributed - that's sort of the whole idea behind replacement level - so 2 standard deviations doesn't seem quite right.

In terms of HOF debates, though, I do fall mildly in the Sam M. / DCW3 camp of being more interested in comparisons to average - I think I'd say that "long-run" replacement level is probably higher (but still below average) than "short-run" replacement level. Given the McCovey-Concepcion comparison above, I'm not sure that this would necessarily hurt Concepcion all that much.

I will say that I like what you've done in terms of the fielding numbers. As I said, both Fielding Win Shares and BPro's numbers have a lot of uncertainty, but the adjustments that you make - averaging across the two metrics and regressing the results so that the spread lines up with more recent and more accurate PBP methods - look sound. For guys in the Retrosheet Era (e.g., Concepcion) you should probably be tying things to actual innings played, but I know that can be a pain in the ass in terms of data collection.

For that matter, Retrosheet has basic play-by-play info for all of Concepcion's career - it's not going to give you numbers as good as UZR, but hopefully it would be a step up from WS/FRAA. I actually have a goal of trying to do something with this stuff - Player Won-Lost records based on play-by-play data - but so far, I've done it for the last 3 years or so (2003 - 05, 2006 isn't on Retrosheet yet) and keep tweaking it. Plus, my job's been getting in the way lately. So doing this for Concepcion is probably years away for me.
   142. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: December 05, 2006 at 03:58 AM (#2251828)
I most definitely will. I also plan to vote in the Hall of Merit election for the first time since the 1930's.
   143. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: December 05, 2006 at 04:19 AM (#2251857)
Dan and Howie,

Full disclosure: I just linked up to this thread in the Hall of Merit in the 1992 discussion thread so that we'd know where it was when Davey comes up and, frankly, so that I could ask opinions within the HOM group about the methodology.

Dan, I asked some questions about your method there, which I hope you can respond to if you choose. I don't understand replacement theory terribly well; I'm not a statistician; and I'm a language-oriented guy who processes outside his own head. So if you pop over there and read my comments, don't think I'm criticizing. I'm just trying to get a handle on what I think I know about replacement and comparing it to what I think I read about your system in this thread. While trying to get feedback from others about it too.

As for the person who asked about shorstops since Wagner. Well, the 1930s-1940s were a golden age for SS. In no order: Cronin, Appling, Vaughan, Bartell, Reese, Crosetti, Rogell, Joost, Boudreau, Rizzuto, Vern Stephens, Pesky, Marion, Travis, Dark, Kress, Durocher, Jurges. Plus Negro Leaguers Willie Wells, Silvio Garcia, Bus Clarkson, and Hank Thompson. That's a goldmine of shortstops. Sort of like right now, I guess.
   144. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: December 05, 2006 at 04:24 AM (#2251864)
Kiko, just to reiterate, my basic point is that replacement level is an empirically real thing rather than something we have to estimate. Nate Silver's got the hard real-life data for 1985-2005, and I've made a corresponding empirical finding that his objectively correct replacement level correlates very closely to the worst-three-regulars average. The assumption I'm making is that the relationship between the worst-three-regulars average and the actual replacement level holds steady over time; that assumption may be unjustified.

What is the difference between long-run and short-run replacement level? I'm afraid I don't understand the concept.

For 1987-1999 I use 40% Dial, 30% FRAA, 30% Fielding WS, and from 2000 on I have UZR or Fielding Bible. But everything is regressed (or expanded, in fielding WS's case occasionally) so that the standard deviation matches Chris Dial's. I've chosen Dial's because it has the smallest SD of all the highly regarded metrics, thus best reflecting our greater uncertainty about quantifying defense far into the past.

If you can find a way to stick defensive innings into my spreadsheet, you'll be my hero.

There's no way I'm smart enough to devise my own defensive metric from Retrosheet PBP data.
   145. Kiko Sakata Posted: December 05, 2006 at 04:36 AM (#2251875)
What is the difference between long-run and short-run replacement level? I'm afraid I don't understand the concept.

I was just kind of thinking out loud. The objection to using "replacement level" over a long career is that - given 20 years, it seems silly to think that the best the Reds could have done was to plug "replacement-level" shortstops in there. Hell, they replaced Concepcion with Barry Larkin, didn't they?

But it's not all that easy to find "average" players. Teams have gone decades without being able to find an average player at some position. And besides that, being an average major-league baseball player for 20 years is a tremendous accomplishment, and while it obviously doesn't make you a Hall-of-Fame candidate, it does mean that you had a positive impact on your teams for those 20 years.

So, my thinking is that there ought to be some sort of compromise. In the short run, "replacement level" is sometimes viewed as - what if Derrek Lee broke his wrist in April, who could the Cubs put at first base? In that case, the answer is, "A bunch of crap" and, so, short-run replacement level is very low. But, in the long run, one should be able to expect to fill a position, on average, with a mediocre major-leaguer - not an "average" major-leaguer, necessarily, but something better than what the Cubs were using at first base in the summer of 2006.
   146. Mike Emeigh Posted: December 05, 2006 at 04:58 AM (#2251890)
That team seems like a mystery at first, and then the sense that Johnny Evers was doing magical things seems quite plausible.

Mike Emeigh is somewhere smiling to himself.


You guys are really going to make me finish that article, aren't you? :)

This doesn't have a lot to do with the topic at hand, but I found it interesting.

One of the things that you have to take into consideration when looking at the eight-team leagues - and it especially comes into play in 1914 - was that it was almost like having two four-team divisions, one in the east and one in the west, and you'd have long stretches of "intradivisional" games followed by long stretches of "interdivisional" games as the western teams went east or the eastern teams went west. You'd also have long homestands followed by long road trips for precisely that reason.

In 1914, Boston played the early part of its schedule entirely against its eastern counterparts - New York, Philadelphia, and Brooklyn. Those were the three best hitting teams in the NL of 1914, and Boston fared abysmally against them, getting off to a 3-9 start. The next three games were against the Giants in the Polo Grounds (all losses), after which the Braves immediately left on their first "western" trip followed by games in Philadelphia and Brooklyn, in what wound up being a 26-game road trip. They didn't play a home game for a month. They were 8-17 (with a tie) on the road trip: 6-8-1 against the West, 2-9 against the East. But then they came home to play the western teams - and then got the eastern teams at home, in what wound up being a 31-game homestand. The Braves held their own against the Western teams at home, again, winning 11 of 16, but then the eastern teams game in and took 9 of 15. At this point in the season, following a doubleheader sweep of Brooklyn on July 6, the Braves were 28-40: 17-12 against the West (with a tie), 11-28 against the East. The Braves didn't play another game against an Eastern team until August 13, as they followed their second Western swing (16 games on the road) with a home stand against the same teams (14 games). That was the true beginning of the miracle: Boston won 23 of those 30 games, losing 6 with one tie. By this time, the Braves were third, just behind the Cardinals but still six and a half games behing the Giants, who were in Boston for three games. The Braves took all three - and then immediately headed West again for a 14-game road trip, on which they were 10-4. At the end of that western swing, the Braves had won 36 of 46 (with the tie), all but three of them against the West, and were half a game in back of the Giants. But the best was yet to come.

By September 16, the Braves had moved 3 1/2 games ahead of the Giants. Coming up was their final homestand of the season against the West, a span of 15 games which included three doubleheaders in four days (when one game ended in a tie, it wound up being a 16-game stand with four straight doubleheaders). Following that series, the Braves had to invade the Polo Grounds for what was supposed to be a five-game series, which everyone thought would decide the pennant - except that it didn't turn out that way. The Braves won 13 games, lost 1, and tied 2 games in that home stand. By the time the Braves got to New York, they had a nine game lead and the pennant in hand.

The Braves won the NL pennant in 1914 in large part by beating up on the West teams - none of which had particularly strong offenses. It wasn't until the last month of the season - with the singular exception of the three-game sweep of the Giants in Boston in August - that the Braves showed any ability to beat the East.

-- MWE
   147. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: December 05, 2006 at 05:09 AM (#2251899)
Mike, when your name is invoked.... : )

That's a fascinating write up, thanks for sharing!
   148. Howie Menckel Posted: December 05, 2006 at 05:15 AM (#2251905)
Mike E,
Glad I smoked out that description.
I've had some idea of the schedule partitioning of the day, but never that detailed...
   149. The Bones McCoy of THT Posted: December 05, 2006 at 02:05 PM (#2252045)
As for his ASG appearances and VORP, sucking azs less is not a badge of honor. If I have 23 bananas with ten big bruises on them and one with just one bruise, I suppose I'd be forced to choose the one-bruise banana for my All-Fruit team that year and assign it the greatest value over replacement banana, but if I were to one day compare it to the slightly freckled, well-formed bananas of yore and hence, it certainly wouldn't make my Banana Hall of Fame.


Well, we have a difference of opinion then.

BTW....I cut this paragraph because it's pretty funny and wanted to make sure everyone didn't miss it.

Nicely done.

Best Regards

John
   150. Dan Turkenkopf Posted: December 05, 2006 at 02:59 PM (#2252071)
For that matter, Retrosheet has basic play-by-play info for all of Concepcion's career - it's not going to give you numbers as good as UZR, but hopefully it would be a step up from WS/FRAA. I actually have a goal of trying to do something with this stuff - Player Won-Lost records based on play-by-play data - but so far, I've done it for the last 3 years or so (2003 - 05, 2006 isn't on Retrosheet yet) and keep tweaking it.


Is the information needed to do PBP fielding analysis in the older event files? I feel like I've checked that out in the past and it didn't really have enough information before the Project Scoresheet years.
   151. BDC Posted: December 05, 2006 at 03:27 PM (#2252087)
Bob D, I'd like to think we have had a lot of these type of discussions (shameless plug alert) in the last 92 Hall of Merit ballots

I show up on HOM threads only to remark on the overqualified guys, so I have missed a lot of these debates; thanks for suffering me to reopen old questions, Howie. Actually, when the HOM catches up to the present day, its authors should think about making it into a book (maybe that's the plan already?) that would feature the Hall and some of the crucial methodologies and debates.
   152. Mike Emeigh Posted: December 05, 2006 at 03:35 PM (#2252090)
Is the information needed to do PBP fielding analysis in the older event files?


Mostly, no.

-- MWE
   153. GGC don't think it can get longer than a novella Posted: December 05, 2006 at 04:32 PM (#2252140)
Interesting thread. Carry on.
   154. Los Angeles Waterloo of Black Hawk Posted: December 06, 2006 at 03:25 AM (#2252297)
Even the greatest fielder ever, Ozzie Smith, rarely goes more two wins above the average shortstop defensively. McCovey often goes 3-5 offensive wins above the average hitter, sometimes more. That suggests to me that really major sluggers have a much greater effect on the offensive side than even the greatest fielders can possibly have on defense.

Well, the +2 wins for Ozzie over other shortstops may mean that he's +3 wins or something above all players.
   155. Paul Wendt Posted: January 02, 2007 at 05:02 PM (#2272360)
For those who agree with DanR against DCW3 and SamM (#118, #121) --that is, for those who interpret the HOF/HOM debate in terms of a whole-career sum in which a player's shoulder seasons and off-seasons commonly make a big difference--
DanR's argument turns on #64, #98 (first paragraph of each) and #126 (last paragraph).

Unfortunately, that is too demanding for me; I doubt that I will ever make time to assess Nate Silver's measurement of freely available talent (#64). Maybe some of you will benefit from my isolating the crucial points :-)
   156. Paul Wendt Posted: January 02, 2007 at 05:13 PM (#2272367)
DanR #64
Kiko Sakata: My actual methodology is to compare the three-worst-regulars average to Nate Silver's Freely Available Talent (FAT) levels for 1985-2005. In almost all cases, the three-worst-regulars average exactly matches the empirically determined FAT level. But when it doesn't (say, it is 0.3 wins below the FAT level), then I set replacement level as three-worst-regulars average plus 0.3 wins. So unless there's reason to believe that the relationship between the three worst regulars in the league and the actual FAT level changed over time, I think I control for the distortion you mention.

DanR #98
Howie Menckel, we're assuming that they [contemporary General Managers] were dumb, but we don't know that for sure. Again, it's perfectly plausible that the gap between the #16 and #26 shortstop was greater than that gap between the #16 and #26 1B or corner OF, increasing the relative value of SS post-expansion. If I have time this week I'm going to try to come up with some *very* elementary defensive translations to approach this from another angle.

DanR #126
Dan Turkenkopf: Yes, I'm using PA as a proxy for playing time, since I don't have a spreadsheet with defensive innings. And yes, you are right that a leadoff man on a good offense will appear to have fewer Win Shares FRAA than he deserves, while a #8 hitter on a bad team will have more Win Shares FRAA than he deserves. Somehow I doubt this effect could come to more than 0.3 wins, but maybe I'm wrong. And you're absolutely right that I'm assuming the gap between the worst 3 regulars and the FAT level stays constant. I will check it for the different periods you mention later, but the sample sizes are going to be so small as to be useless, in my opinion. Those are two good criticisms of my system, but unfortunately ones I'm not immediately sure how to fix.
   157. Paul Wendt Posted: January 02, 2007 at 05:21 PM (#2272371)
(One of the crucial points is only a promise as quoted-- #98.)

The three worst regulars in the league:
How much do the three worst play?
Do most of the Ray Nelsons --team leaders in playing time who didn't play half time-- end up among the three worst?
(Ray Nelson 1901, 39 games played. New York NL 1901 at baseball-reference)

Note OPS+ 53-58-42 for the regular Giants at C-1B-2B, ha ha!
(John McGraw turned that around pronto, I supposed, but I checked and found that he didn't have a league-average batter around the infield in 1903: five "regular" players at 88-93-77-74-88. Team W-L 84-55, outscoring opponents by more than one run per game. More than I realized, he did it with Matty and McGinnity. But 88-93-77 is a big improvement on 53-58-42.)
   158. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: January 02, 2007 at 06:21 PM (#2272410)
The Braves won the NL pennant in 1914 in large part by beating up on the West teams - none of which had particularly strong offenses. It wasn't until the last month of the season - with the singular exception of the three-game sweep of the Giants in Boston in August - that the Braves showed any ability to beat the East.

Mike, after July 4th the Braves went 66 and 19. Presumably the other Eastern teams played the same schedule as the Braves did. And then there's the World Series, where they swept the almighty Macks.

That team may have been a one year wonder, but you can't explain 70-19 by schedule splits, especially when their schedule wasn't any different from their chief rival, the Giants. Give that team the credit it deserves.
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