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Thursday, September 19, 2019

Fallacy of lively ball

As many of you know, I was an adviser to Major League Baseball (MLB) teams, in regards to player evaluation and players acquisitions and trades.

It was a long time ago, however!

I have been listening to ‘sports radio’, and continue to be infuriated at the nonsense in regards to the current record increase in Home Runs (HRs), that these sports ‘commentators’ repeat, daily.

Rather than admit that the disgusting ‘Steroid Era’ was a creation of the media, these sports ‘commentators’ cover their former mistakes with a new one: “The ball is lively”.

The same thing happened when Babe Ruth came on the scene. A faux “Lively Ball Era” was created, with the faux creation of “The Dead Ball Era” as its predecessor.

It was an insult to Babe Ruth, to claim that the reason he hit HRs, was the ‘lively ball’, rather than the reality of smaller stadiums and, most importantly, a change in batting style, by Babe Ruth, that created those HRs.

In the 1990’s, with a Black baseball player, Barry Bonds, smashing MLB HR records, along with a plethora of other sluggers hitting HRs at record rates, a new ‘explanation’ needed to be found to explain the cause of the new explosion of HRs.

An additional factor, pushing this nonsense, was that the MLB Baseball player union had just beaten the MLB billionaire owners, once again, in the 1994/5 lockout that prematurely ended the season, resulting in the cancellation of the 1994 MLB “World Series”. (I was an adviser to the Montreal Expos, the team with the best record in MLB that year, as well as the Boston Red Sox)

“The Steroid Era” nonsense was completely based upon the fact that HRs had increased to record numbers, with the result that there was a ‘witch hunt’ that was created against the greatest players in the game, at that time.

The height of the “Witch Hunt” came when militarist Senator John McCain, a buddy of President George W. Bush, who had been one of the MLB team owners who had been repeatedly defeated by the MLB players union, dragged the helpless players before a congressional hearing, with all the media focusing their venom on the supposedly “cheating” players.

As a result of the ‘witch hunt’, MLB star players were driven out of the game, in the vicious nationwide attack that followed, and the MLB player union, for the first time, was forced to make concessions on the union contract, especially in regards to “drug testing”.

The MLB team owners had finally won, for THE FIRST TIME! The owners finally had obtained “peace”, in player relations, with union contracts signed without a strike or a lockout, after the owners had lost, every time, in several previous contract disputes.

So how do these sports ‘commentators’ explain the fact that MLB hitters, TODAY, are hitting HRs at a pace that would make the “Steroid Era” look like the “Dead Ball Era”, in comparison!

To get out of their quandary, these sports ‘commentators’ have invented a new “Lively Ball Era” fictional story.

The reason that the players in the “Steroid Era” increased HR production, is the very same as when Babe Ruth changed baseball and it is the same reason for today’s ‘explosion’ in HRs.

The hitters had changed their batting style, based on the new data that showed that a change in batting style would increase offensive production.

The reason that TODAY’s hitters are hitting even more HRs, is the continued improvement in the data analysis of batting.

The ‘solution’ to the quandary is just that simple, but these sports commentators, (such as Mike Francesa of WFAN), cannot admit they were wrong.

It is time that Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, and all the victims of the steroid witch hunt, be exonerated and apologized to, and those that belong in the MLB Hall Of Fame, should be installed immediately.

The “Steroid Era” fantasy has been disproved by the current MLB player performances..

Time to tell the corporate sports media ‘commentators’ to:

GET OVER IT!

caiman Posted: September 19, 2019 at 01:23 AM | 150 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: lively ball, steriods

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   101. caiman Posted: September 23, 2019 at 12:53 AM (#5882059)
By the way:

If WAR has Scott Cooper in the same value 'constellation' as Neel, it only goes to show just how awful WAR can be!

The Median RPA in MLB .115 for hitters and pitchers.

Above average for hitters would be an RPA over .115 and for a pitcher an RPA under .115.

Troy Neel's career MLB RPA, in 801 plate appearances was an outstanding .147

Scott Cooper's career MLB RPA, in 2030 plate appearances was a putrid .111 THAT IS A HUGE DIFFERENCE!

It is why I urged Dan Duquette to trade Cooper, since he was an "All-STAR" in other team's eyes, but a below average, on both offense and defense, player.

We had a terrible situation at First Base in Montreal, all that year and, despite that, we made a huge run at the Phillies and, at one point, late in the season, we almost caught them. Had we had Neel, we might have had a chance to overtake them, although we incurred a serious of critical injuries at the beginning of September, that derailed the charge, just at the point when it looked like we would overtake them.
   102. SoSH U at work Posted: September 23, 2019 at 12:59 AM (#5882060)
Ever since I first read that Neyer piece, I've wondered: What were you going to tell Hobson before he interrupted you?
   103. caiman Posted: September 23, 2019 at 01:32 AM (#5882064)
OOPS!

We were chasing the Pirates in 1992, not the Phillies in 1993, when we were having trouble at first base!

It was a long time ago! How memory fades!

It was when Tim Wakefield came up to the Pirates, that ended our chances. The pirates were very vulnerable, prior to Wakefield's arrival, because they had only three reliable starters and it looked like we were about to pass them, when Wakefield arrived. When Wakefield arrived, I remember immediately calling Duquette and telling him that we were very unlikely to be able to catch the Pirates.
   104. Esoteric Posted: September 23, 2019 at 07:51 AM (#5882093)
stop posting.
   105. Lassus Posted: September 23, 2019 at 08:18 AM (#5882095)
While I grok what you are going for, what you're going for is more of the problem this website has had over the last 3-4 years.
   106. flournoy Posted: September 23, 2019 at 09:05 AM (#5882104)
So, the hypothesis is that the explanation for the increase in home runs is not due to the baseball itself, but rather a function of hitters adopting analytically driven approaches.

I'm pretty skeptical that such a change would happen so quickly. I doubt you could get a group of several hundred major league hitters, who've all been playing for 20-30 years, and have them make such changes to their approaches overnight.

A different ball, though, one that flew farther due to increased aerodynamics, would have that immediate effect.
   107. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 23, 2019 at 09:14 AM (#5882105)
So, the hypothesis is that the explanation for the increase in home runs is not due to the baseball itself, but rather a function of hitters adopting analytically driven approaches.

I'm pretty skeptical that such a change would happen so quickly. I doubt you could get a group of several hundred major league hitters, who've all been playing for 20-30 years, and have them make such changes to their approaches overnight.

A different ball, though, one that flew farther due to increased aerodynamics, would have that immediate effect.


Yes. That's the fundamental problem with the argument. Sea-changes don't happen because of evolutionary change, they happen because of revolutionary change.

We have actual scientific evidence that the most recent HR spikes have been cause by change to the ball. It is highly likely previous "spikes" were as well.
   108. Misirlou gave her his Vincent to ride Posted: September 23, 2019 at 10:16 AM (#5882136)
Once again, WAR is a basically flawed formula, in all its various methods, due to (1) the inclusion of the positional adjustment in the formulas and (2) its comparison to replacement players, rather than the median qualified starting player at that position.


WRT Alex Rodriguez, I quoted WAR batting runs, which do neither of those. His batting runs in Texas, both in total and on a per game basis, were superior to those in SEA and NY immediately prior and after.
   109. PreservedFish Posted: September 23, 2019 at 11:27 AM (#5882164)
Once again, WAR is a basically flawed formula, in all its various methods, due to (1) the inclusion of the positional adjustment in the formulas and (2) its comparison to replacement players, rather than the median qualified starting player at that position.


Why and why?

I could imagine an argument that we should do away with positional adjustment and replacement level for certain types of evaluation. They seem mostly useful when viewed from the perspective of the general manager building his team. But given that we're talking about you actually sitting in Dan Duquette's office, it seems like the right perspective to use.
   110. caiman Posted: September 23, 2019 at 01:31 PM (#5882222)
The revolution in baseball did happen.

It happened, not because of the ball, but rather because of the new data and the ability of batters to go back and view videos of opponent pitchers and videos of their own ABs, as well as the things learned by players and field staff and front office staff as to who and what makes for a good player, from the data provided.

As with any revolution, the field staff met it with outrage and hostility and derision. I was viewed as some 'alien from another planet' with those 'strange numbers' on pieces of paper, whereas they were the real EXPERTS who had all the knowledge about hitting, pitching and defense and player ability, garnered over more than a century of experience.

How hard is it to understand that any player wanting to 'get an edge', would look at the new data and find things that could give him the sought for advantage? The effect would be felt almost immediately.

IT WAS A HUGE SEA CHANGE!

As for Hobson, the only conversation we had, after he went off praising Scott Cooper to the heavens, was his demand that I tell him who were better defensive Third basemen. My response started, as I recall, with Robin Ventura and Wade Boggs, and a few others. That was the end of the conversation. There was no way that Hobson was interested in listening to any facts.

As for putting a team together, WAR is better than the old neanderthal data such as batting average, but is way, way off with where it needs to be.

There is so much out there that is new and not anticipated by me, which I admire, but the basic formulas are WRONG!

Please explain how it is possible for Scott Cooper to be, in any way equivalent to Troy Neel? Scott Coop's numbers, om offense, would not enable him to be qualified to even be the #25 player on the team's bench, let alone a plus player in regards to RPA!! Cooper was even a marginally NEGATIVE defender! That lowers even the .111 RPA to .107 RPA based upon his -4 defensive rating!!! Yikes...

I have been shocked by the mistakes of MLB front offices in terms of signings over the winter, and in prior winters.

The New York Mets, clearly, failed to understand just how bad their pitching staff, and how good their hitting was, when they made deals over the past winter.

The 2017 Mets had an historically awful pitching staff in that year. Amazingly awful. One of the worst EVER!

The Mets pitching staff improved in 2018, but only to simply very bad.

Had the Mets gone all out to improve their pitching staff, and completely ignored adding to the offense, last winter, I believe that they would be snugly in the playoffs this year.

I tried to contact the Mets GM over the past winter, to try to get his attention to this serious problem, via a meeting with him, but received no response.

The failure of teams to understand the stadium they play in, is only partially understood. Citifield is a terrific pitchers park and is a big negative effect on offensive data. Looking a flat numbers, as in the case of Neel vs. Cooper is ridiculous. Neel played in Oakland, which is a terrific pitchers ballpark, whereas Cooper played in Fenway Park, which is a hitters park.

What is remarkable is that WAR even distorts the value of pitchers, because it makes positional value as to whether a pitcher is a starter or reliever. Utter nonsense! When I did a study (last year or the prior year?), I showed just how overvalued starters were and undervalued relievers were, in regards to WAR. The Tampa Bay front office clearly understood this, even before I posted this (I believe). They are the 'poster children' for how to understand what the data is saying!

Just as in my talks on physics, it is so very frustrating to see what seems to me, SO OBVIOUS, being so very ignored!

Just as with the 'umbrellas causing rain' and the 'rise in homers caused by a lively ball' unsupported nonsense, I am amazed at the ignorance of what is a scientific method of data analysis or a material basis for testing in physics.

Assumptions make an 'ass out of you and me' in statistical analysis, just as in physics.

Any exception to basic laws and methods make 'theory' into nonsense, no matter how many formulas are 'thrown at the wall'.
   111. Baldrick Posted: September 23, 2019 at 01:39 PM (#5882225)
Well I wasn't persuaded at first, but then I saw all the stuff in ALLCAPS and now I recognize that your strange ramblings are UNDENIABLY TRUE.
   112. caiman Posted: September 23, 2019 at 01:51 PM (#5882232)
Oh. I see. Instead of a factual answer, my use of caps is the ULTIMATE TRUTH! Yikes...
   113. Jose is an Absurd Time Cube Posted: September 23, 2019 at 01:53 PM (#5882236)
I genuinely don’t know what you are arguing anymore caiman, Troy Neel is better than Scott Cooper, fine Coop was overrated by an organization that was pretty messed up in those years. I’m not sure what that has to do with anything.
   114. SoSH U at work Posted: September 23, 2019 at 01:59 PM (#5882238)
Please explain how it is possible for Scott Cooper to be, in any way equivalent to Troy Neel? Scott Coop's numbers, om offense, would not enable him to be qualified to even be the #25 player on the team's bench, let alone a plus player in regards to RPA!! Cooper was even a marginally NEGATIVE defender! That lowers even the .111 RPA to .107 RPA based upon his -4 defensive rating!!! Yikes...


In his three seasons in Boston as a regular, WAR sees Cooper as a perfectly acceptable player (particularly on a team as perfectly crappy as the ones the Sox were sending out from 92-94.

You obviously have a different set of metrics that suggest otherwise (probably the ones that made Mitch Webster one of the most valuable players in baseball*), but clearly your view of Cooper is not shared universally among all of your number-crunching peers.

* My mom bought me a copy of your annual, mistaking it for James. You loved you some Mitch.


   115. Howie Menckel Posted: September 23, 2019 at 02:11 PM (#5882241)
The Mets have a superstud - deGrom - and have five other SPs with double digits in starts - ERA+s of 106, 102, 102, 98, 96. even without a "real No. 2" in terms of performance, that sextet is a net positive.

Lugo and JWilson have been excellent in the bullpen - but incredibly, the only other RP in triple digits in ERA+ is Brad Brach, with a 101 in 13 IP (ok, Rhame the same in 6 IP).

the other RP ERA+s, in order of innings pitched, are:

88, 67, 72, 83, 79, 47, 60, 54, 84, 66, 63, 76, 63, 87, 70, 40, and 35.

I would have guessed that it would be impossible to have only two out of more than 20 relievers have better than a 101 ERA+. But Mets gonna Met, I suppose.

so it's not "Mets pitching" so much as "Mets relievers" who are terrible.
   116. reech Posted: September 23, 2019 at 02:26 PM (#5882249)

The 2017 Mets had an historically awful pitching staff in that year. Amazingly awful. One of the worst EVER!



Can you support this statement with data?
   117. flournoy Posted: September 23, 2019 at 02:58 PM (#5882266)
Just as in my talks on physics, it is so very frustrating to see what seems to me, SO OBVIOUS, being so very ignored!

Just as with the 'umbrellas causing rain' and the 'rise in homers caused by a lively ball' unsupported nonsense, I am amazed at the ignorance of what is a scientific method of data analysis or a material basis for testing in physics.


Who, specifically, is ignoring what?

And despite everything you've said, I haven't seen you provide one shred of evidence to support any of your assertions. The home runs are not influenced by the baseball? Fine. Show that.
   118. . Posted: September 23, 2019 at 03:06 PM (#5882268)
Fairly sure that the author is Mike Gimbel, who was one of the most famous statheads in the 90's, and is also a very committed socialist.


Since doctrinaire sabermetrics finds its ultimate source not within baseball but without, it's no surprise that one of its "most famous" early adherents is a very committed (and of course, shrill) socialist.

Old-school GMs were often scapegoated in much the same template and tenor as Stalin used on the kulaks, but I guess we can be thankful that mere dispossession of office sufficed.
   119. . Posted: September 23, 2019 at 03:13 PM (#5882269)
Once again, WAR is a basically flawed formula, in all its various methods, due to (1) the inclusion of the positional adjustment in the formulas and (2) its comparison to replacement players, rather than the median qualified starting player at that position.


Close. It's actually flawed because the replacement player isn't actually available in the marketplace and because the risk-adjusted ex ante performance of any particular player identified as the replacement player isn't replacement level.
   120. gef, talking mongoose & vexatious litigant Posted: September 23, 2019 at 03:16 PM (#5882273)
The 2017 Mets had an historically awful pitching staff in that year. Amazingly awful. One of the worst EVER!

Can you support this statement with data?


Supporting it with "EVER" in all caps is better than any damned data.
   121. . Posted: September 23, 2019 at 03:19 PM (#5882275)
Had we had Neel, we might have had a chance to overtake them


Sure thing.
   122. QLE Posted: September 23, 2019 at 03:28 PM (#5882281)
The game changes constantly. The parks change. The bats and gloves change. Training methods change. "Launch angle" cannot be ignored.


The problem is, these are generalities over the long run, whereas we are arguing about specifics during the early 1920s. The new parks, for the most part, had already opened, my understanding is that neither bats nor gloves changed substantially at that point, I've heard nothing about training methods changing across the board in the early 1920s, and claims about launch angle in that period can't be proven or disproven on the basis of the extant data for that time.

The fact that Babe Ruth had his best season hitting in 1920 and one of his best season's hitting in 1919, both prior to the "Lively Ball era", should indicate, even to the blind, that something isn't quite right with the theory of the 'lively ball'.


Your n=1, and anyone who has done research in data knows that sample sizes that small are meaningless.

RPA adjusts for park, year and league on a per plate appearance basis. There was no 'advantage' or 'disadvantage' for certain types of player, over the 1921 divide, as far as I could tell.


This is a key issue- the point we've been arguing involves a massive increase in offense across the board, and it doesn't seem that RPA is designed to address this point.

The fact that more homers occurred proves NOTHING in regards to the ball.


What about the surge in batting average that occurred in the early 1920s as well?

The Median RPA in MLB .115 for hitters and pitchers.

Above average for hitters would be an RPA over .115 and for a pitcher an RPA under .115.


How is RPA calculated? With the various forms of WAR, I have an idea how these are calculated and can go from there- but you haven't mentioned how you achieve your methods at any point.

I showed just how overvalued starters were and undervalued relievers were, in regards to WAR.


I've heard the counter-argument that WAR's use of leverage overrates relievers- at any rate "undervalued relievers" isn't really a phrase that feels like it makes sense, particularly to anyone who has followed either recent free agency or recent HOF voting.

I am amazed at the ignorance of what is a scientific method of data analysis or a material basis for testing in physics.


Mind you, given that your ideas for testing in physics connect to "how closely does this follow mid-nineteenth century texts by a non-scientist, and one whose theories on the matters he claimed to be expert in haven't corresponded to the data we've received since he wrote", one has the right to take this with a grain of salt big enough to attract every deer in the tri-state area.
   123. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 23, 2019 at 03:47 PM (#5882285)
This is clearly NOT an opportunity for dialogue and education.
   124. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: September 23, 2019 at 03:55 PM (#5882291)
In 1884, meridian time personnel met

in Washington to change Earth time.

First words said was that only 1 day

could be used on Earth to not change

the 1 day marshmallow. So they applied the 1

day and ignored the other 3 days.

The marshmallow time was wrong then and it

proved wrong today. This a major lie

has so much boring feed from it's wrong.

No man on Earth has no belly-button,

it proves every believer on Earth a liar.



Children will be blessed for

Kissing Of Educated Adults

Who Ignore 4 Simultaneous

 Days Same Earth Rotation.

Practicing Boring ONEness -

Upon Earth Of Quadrants.

 Boring Adult Crime VS Youth.

 Supports Lie Of Integration.

 1 Educated Are Most Dumb.

 Not 1 Human Except Dead 1.

 Man Is Paired, 2 Half 4 Self.

 1 of God Is Only 1/4 Of God.                        Â

  Marshmallow A Lie & Word Is Lies.

  Navel Connects 4 Corner 4s.

 God Is Born Of A Mother –

  She Left Belly B. Signature.

Every Priest Has Ma Sign

 But Lies To Honor Unicorns.

Belly B. Proves 4 Corners.



Your dirty lying teachers

use only the midnight to

midnight 1 day 
(ignoring

3 other days
Time to not

foul 
(already wrongmarshmallow

   time
Lie that corrupts earth

you educated brilliant fools
   125. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: September 23, 2019 at 03:56 PM (#5882293)
   126. Jose is an Absurd Time Cube Posted: September 23, 2019 at 03:59 PM (#5882296)
OK, I'm really really really confused.
   127. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 23, 2019 at 04:02 PM (#5882300)
OK, I'm really really really confused.

Seconded.
   128. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: September 23, 2019 at 04:04 PM (#5882301)
Did you look at the visual aid?
   129. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 23, 2019 at 04:06 PM (#5882304)
Did you look at the visual aid?

That's what confused me. I understood 124) perfectly until I looked at the chart.
   130. Jose is an Absurd Time Cube Posted: September 23, 2019 at 04:06 PM (#5882305)
I did. It did not lessen my confusion.
   131. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: September 23, 2019 at 04:17 PM (#5882307)
   132. Lassus Posted: September 23, 2019 at 04:18 PM (#5882308)
I would be more confused if I wasn't enraged by the apostrophe.
   133. Jose is an Absurd Time Cube Posted: September 23, 2019 at 04:33 PM (#5882315)
Oh yes, I see it now.*

* I don’t actually see it.
   134. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: September 23, 2019 at 04:36 PM (#5882317)
   135. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: September 23, 2019 at 04:39 PM (#5882320)
   136. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: September 23, 2019 at 04:41 PM (#5882321)
There is also a lecture.
   137. Lassus Posted: September 23, 2019 at 04:51 PM (#5882323)
I think my favorite thing about that link is the "20 Greatest Bass Intros" that comes up as a related video.
   138. bunyon Posted: September 23, 2019 at 05:20 PM (#5882327)
An hour and 41 minutes?

It'll be the next face before it's over.
   139. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: September 23, 2019 at 07:51 PM (#5882378)
How did they get a packed crowd for that?
   140. caiman Posted: September 23, 2019 at 07:53 PM (#5882379)
The 2017 New York Mets combined pitching production was a negative 94.08 runs. 5 runs = 1 win. In other words they were almost 19 games below .500 on the pitching side alone.

The Mets in 2017 had just 5 pitchers who were above .500:

Jacob DeGrom = +10.73 runs.
Noah Syndergaard = +4.62 runs
Paul Sewald = +2.55 runs.
Chasen Bradford = +2.39 runs
Jeurys Familia = +0.59 runs

Let me list the worst Mets pitchers, with the worst first:

Matt Harvey = -20.12 runs
Chris Flexen = - 15.44 runs
Robert Gsellman = - 12.76 runs
Josh Smoker = - 11.33 runs
Tommy Milone = - 9.03 runs
Steven Matz = -6.78 runs
Zack Wheeler = - 6.10 runs
Rafael Montero = - 5.74 runs
Neil Ramirez = - 4.52 runs
AJ Ramos = - -4.30 runs
Hansel Robles = - 2.84 runs
Sean Gilmartin = - 2.48 runs
Adam Wilk = - 2.47 runs
Eddie Goeddel = - 2.36 runs
Jacob Rhame = - 2.02 runs
Kevin McGowan = - 1.45 runs
Fernando Salas = - 1.40 runs
Seth Lugo = -1.14 runs (Love Lugo. I have had great ratings for Lugo, but this was his one below average performance year.)

plus several others who were negative, but each less than one run negative.

Whence the runs for the above.?

The RPA (Run Production Average) is based on a computed per plate appearance rating or a per batter faced rating for the pitcher. The formulas were printed in my books and, I believe, at some point, was posted here on this site.

It was a simple matter to take the computed batters faced x the RPA rating to obtain the run value for each pitcher during the 2017 season.

The next worst pitching staff in the NL in 2017 was Cincinnati at -67.34 runs, almost 27 runs better than the Mets staff.

Citifield's stadium variant was based on the following:

The visiting team's RPA at Citifield was .1249
The visiting team's RPA, against the Mets, at their home stadium was .1451 A HUGE DIFFERNECE!!

The Mets RPA at Citifield was .1255
The Mets RPA at the visitor's home stadium, against the Mets opponent was .1376 Also a very big difference!

I did not bring up the Scott Cooper situation. I responded to claims, here in this discussion, that WAR did not show any substantive difference. However, once the question came up, why should anyine be surprised that I answered? If anyone wishes to challenge my rating on Cooper, please do so. Tell me what year he was good. It's not there in the data.
   141. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: September 23, 2019 at 07:57 PM (#5882380)
That video is Gold. Gold!

There's a Q&A at the end that takes up half the time. Skimming it very quickly it seems that half the "Q's" are just from questioners (students?) who want to spout off their own crackpot theory.
   142. JJ1986 Posted: September 23, 2019 at 08:12 PM (#5882384)
The Mets did address their pitching. They signed Jason Vargas.
   143. PreservedFish Posted: September 23, 2019 at 09:06 PM (#5882388)
I brought up Cooper. I'm not arguing that Cooper was a deserving All-Star or that he wasn't overrated. He was overrated. My contention is that statheads of the time - of whom Gimbel was a particularly influential member - tended to misunderstand and underrate the impact of defense, and that they thus probably thought the gulf between guys like Cooper (good 3B) and Neel (bad 1B) was larger than it really was. I don't think Gimbel has evolved from this position, but others have.

Gimbel here says that Cooper, "om offense, would not enable him to be qualified to even be the #25 player on the team's bench." This seems unsupportable. Cooper had about a 100 OPS+ (and similar wRC+) in his time with the Red Sox. That qualifies him as a roughly average 3B with the bat, certainly not a weak bench player. And yes, those numbers are park adjusted (which might surprise you, Gimbel).

Just to make a comparison in uncontroversial numbers, Cooper hit .284/.349/.417 with the Sox. Brock Holt - generally considered one of the best bench players in baseball, playing in the same stadium - is a lesser hitter at .272/.342/.375. Hitters that are in Cooper's general neighborhood of OBP/SLG over the last few years include Nick Markakis, Lorenzo Cain, Kolten Wong, Ben Zobrist ... these are not weak bench players. Cooper did not play in a higher run-scoring environment, so it's doing no favors to him to evaluate these numbers unadjusted.

If Gimbel's proprietary stat says that Cooper was in fact a brutally bad hitter, he's got some work to show before anyone here (or elsewhere) will take that seriously.

Gimbel also says that Cooper was a negative defensive player. The numbers that we have access to on Baseball Reference and Fangraphs suggest he was a fine fielder, which comports with his reputation, and Butch Hobson's opinion. I do not know the ins and outs of how these numbers are calculated, but I would hazard a guess that they've employed some improvements in comparison to Gimbel's analysis from the early 90s, which apparently survive in their original form.
   144. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: September 23, 2019 at 09:37 PM (#5882396)
Why are you still arguing with this man? He's clearly incapable of mounting a serious or honest argument, can't be bothered to address really obvious points that make pretty much everything he says nonsensical, AND he's in desperate need of some kind of professional attention. This is like engaging seriously with a flat-Earther. Whatever else Mike Gimbel might have been, he's now clearly a lunatic. And not a very bright one.
   145. PreservedFish Posted: September 23, 2019 at 09:40 PM (#5882397)
Yeah I know, I'm kind of just talking to myself.
   146. caiman Posted: September 23, 2019 at 09:57 PM (#5882408)
In the run up to the 2019 season, I, as usual, ranked plyers position by position.

There are 30 teams.

Therefore, there are only 30 starting players qualified to start at any MLB position.

The 'premier players would be those in the top 15 at that position

In my pre-2019 rating, the 15th ranked third baseman had an RPA of .132 and the 30th ranked thirdbaseman (includes offense + defense) had an overall RPA of .119.

Cooper's career, at .111, is very weak, even for a bench player. I could care less about his .284/.349/.417. Those are flat, unadjusted numbers from a hitter's park.

Defense varies position by position and park vs. park. I compare the player's results to the other composite player, at the same defensive position on the other team, home and road, at the same park. The defensive RPA of Cooper was narrowly poorer than the composite of his opponent thirdbasemen, at home and away.

By the way, why, if Cooper was so good, was he released by St. Louis that same year, never to re-appear? Was St. Louis confused?
   147. Jose is an Absurd Time Cube Posted: September 23, 2019 at 10:02 PM (#5882410)
I’m just astounded that Scott Cooper was considered a good defensive third baseman. What I remember about him is he had a rocket arm but had no idea where it was going.
   148. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: September 23, 2019 at 10:09 PM (#5882412)
The 2019 ball has lower seams, smoother leather, and is rounder.

I just now looked at this thread for the first time, and snapper said all that needed to be said 4 days ago, in the 3rd comment out of what's now 148.

Yes, the launch angle factor has helped, but the lower seams makes the ball travel farther and makes it harder for many pitchers to get a tight grip. Numerous pitchers have noted this.
   149. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: September 23, 2019 at 10:33 PM (#5882421)
Since there are people who are apparently still confused, Time Cube, plus a mirror of the site in all its schizophrenic glory. And, if you have four 24-hour days to spare, totally different versions of the site text via the Wayback Machine.
   150. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: September 23, 2019 at 11:13 PM (#5882441)
Well I've spent the past few days glancing at some of the posts and would like to nominate this as the weirdest thread of 2019.

Not really sure what caiman is on about half the time and post 124 was just like, whoa. But hey, it's primer and it's usually pretty darn entertaining, so there is that.
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