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Saturday, April 19, 2014

mets.com: Through hitting system, Mets aim to build winner

Mets players received statistical breakdowns of their 2013 performances centered upon Bases Per Out, an internally developed metric that seeks to measure a player’s overall offensive production.

Players with less than three years of service time were told that their BPOs would determine bonuses tacked onto future salary offers. Each base—one for a walk or single, two for a double—would earn them $200 more than what they would otherwise receive. Each out would slice off $100.

bobm Posted: April 19, 2014 at 12:35 AM | 22 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: mets

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   1. The District Attorney Posted: April 19, 2014 at 09:34 AM (#4689041)
This is weird. I don't think I like it.
   2. Monty Posted: April 19, 2014 at 12:00 PM (#4689072)
So it's a combination of times on base and extra-base hits? Why not just use OPS?
   3. PreservedFish Posted: April 19, 2014 at 12:40 PM (#4689080)
Why not just use OPS?


Someone is trying to justify his job, obviously.
   4. valuearbitrageur Posted: April 19, 2014 at 01:29 PM (#4689098)
OPS underweights value of OBP, and my guess is their system also includes double plays and base running, which OPS does not.

They probably wanted something simple and easily understandable on a day to day basis to motivate young players. Knowing that what tharl extra base could be worth or cost you is one way of making it immediate.
   5. bobm Posted: April 19, 2014 at 01:43 PM (#4689115)
research.sabr.org/journals/base-out-precentage [sic]

Copyright 1979 (!) by Barry F. Codell

It is figured in this manner: Bases are derived by adding total bases, walks, hit by pitch, stolen bases, sacrifice hits and sacrifice flies. Outs are totaled by adding "outs batting" (at-bats minus hits), sacrifice hits, sacrifice flies, caught stealing, and double-plays grounded into. Bases are then divided by outs. The result is the base-out percentage (BOP).
   6. The District Attorney Posted: April 19, 2014 at 02:36 PM (#4689141)
I suppose Daniel Murphy is lucky that he missed "qualifying" for this system by a year of service time. Despite being the only guy on the team last year who went out there every day and played well¹, he would have gotten a fine. If the system is literally what it says in the article (2B = 2, 1B/BB = 1, out = -1, 3B/HR = 0), he would have been docked $22,900. If it's (TB+BB)-(AB-H), which is probably more likely, he still would have been docked $16,500.

Obviously, we're talking about peanuts in terms of MLB salaries, so it's not a big deal in that sense. But the article is citing it as evidence of something bigger...
What began as gentle prodding from staff members in general manager Sandy Alderson's regime -- swing at strikes, not at balls -- has evolved into a system in which hitters are graded, judged, evaluated, acquired, traded, released and paid based upon their adherence to the system.
... and that's the part I don't know about. I mean:
Mets executives stress the importance of the process over results, which is why the organization considers it so critical for its players to understand not just what the Mets want, but why they want it, and how that will ultimately result in better success. To understand, for example, that walks are a byproduct of the system -- not its goal. That strikeouts are no worse than 400-foot flyouts, even if it means that through 15 games, the team is on pace to shatter Major League Baseball's team whiff record.
How exactly does this system help the players understand the concept that walks are a byproduct and not a goal? And just in general, how do you teach process with a results-based system? I don't see how.

The article also says:
coaches at each Minor League level were actually keeping score of their players through a point system, which had no correlation with traditional statistics. A hitter who worked a favorable count, for example, earned one point. A hitter who swung at a pitch out of the zone, regardless of the result, lost one.
That at least does teach process, although of course you wonder if you'd end up running Juan Lagareses out of the system in favor of Daric Bartons.

I kind of feel like all of this is attempting to hang a number on everyone's nose when that's not necessary. (Common Core Percentage? ;-) There are only a couple dozen players in the minor league system who have the potential to mean anything. Just coach each guy. Some of them will benefit by this sort of system; some of them won't; some may even be hurt by it. So focus on tailoring the instruction to the individual.

Also, y'know, try to draft Xander Bogaertses to begin with. Then you don't have to devote your minor league system to teaching them "approach." It's a skill that you drafted them on.

And then we need to do it in the majors, too? What are we even talking about? This...
Over the winter, the Mets targeted free-agent hitters whom they felt would fit into their system, ultimately signing outfielders Curtis Granderson and Chris Young.
... means what, exactly? That they walk a lot? (They do walk more than average, but they're not exactly the two players who first come to mind when you think "hitting approach.") That they strike out a lot? (They certainly excel there.) That you're going to teach them how to hit? That they're going to teach the other guys how to hit? What?

¹ Actually the only guy on the team to play more than 121 games, period.
   7. Walt Davis Posted: April 19, 2014 at 06:52 PM (#4689331)
I think you did your math wrong -- it's $200 for each base, -$100 for each out. Last year Murphy had 273 TB and 32 BB so that's worth +610; he made 491 outs.* HBP + steals - CS adds in another +47.

*So sayeth b-r. But AB - H is 470. He had 13 GDB to 483 I guess. He had 3 CS (and 23 SB which helps his total above) to get to 486. Was he thrown out on the bases an additional 5 times?

Ohhh ... sac hits and sac flies, not other baserunning outs. Fair enough from b-r's perspective, I'm not sure the Mets want to "punish" their players for successful sac bunts or for getting the run home.

Even Lagares's 242/282/352 line seems to earn him a small bonus. 138 TB + 20 BB + 2 HBP + 6 SB is +332; 313 outs including 7 SH/SF.

A question is whether this violates the restriction on performance-based clauses in contracts.
   8. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: April 19, 2014 at 07:12 PM (#4689337)
I prefer:

Swing at hittable strikes.
Don't swing at balls (or strikes you can't handle).
When you swing, swing hard.

The only advanced type thing I'd do is clue ballplayers in at where they get the best results (results being good contact, not outcomes) on pitches in the various parts of the strike zone, and try to get them to look for pitches where they have the best results.


   9. Benji Posted: April 20, 2014 at 01:43 AM (#4689489)
In those private meetings, young players considered good enough to play pro ball are surrounded by DePodesta, the psychologist, Hudgens, the video coordinator and Alderson and instructed on how to hit and approach hitting. And none of the instructors ever got a hit in a major league game. Then DePo, after explaining that this was the team's operating philosophy and would impact their career and earnings, says "We don't want them thinking in the batter's box". W T F !!!
   10. Karl from NY Posted: April 20, 2014 at 02:40 PM (#4689687)
A question is whether this violates the restriction on performance-based clauses in contracts.

The excerpt says "future salary offers", so presumably they're working around it that way. So next year they might offer Ruben Tejada $2,017,400 instead of $2,000,000 after applying this metric. It's logically kind of silly since Tejada's past production is already priced into whatever offer they would make.
   11. valuearbitrageur Posted: April 20, 2014 at 03:12 PM (#4689709)
"We don't want them thinking in the batter's box". W T F !!!


Not sure of your problem with that statement.

You want to ingrain habits in them so they don't have to think in the batters box.

You use incentives to help them work harder on the right things during practice and their development so they ingrain the correct habits. Whether these incentives are the right ones, whether they communicate the right things, is certainly debatable.

My parents always promised me big bucks for honor roll/4.0 GPA. It always got me super motivated and it ultimately always failed. Within a few weeks my friends would ask me to come over and smoke pot (or possibly I would suggest it, my memory of those days bit foggy:), etc, etc. I just could never focus my efforts for 3 months at a time.

I wonder if they just gave out free money every week to players in the farm system based on incentives like these whether it would offer more repetition and more effectiveness.
   12. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: April 20, 2014 at 05:42 PM (#4689799)
"We don't want them thinking in the batter's box". W T F !!!


“You can't think and hit at the same time.”
-- Yogi Berra
   13. formerly dp Posted: April 20, 2014 at 06:26 PM (#4689822)
My parents always promised me big bucks for honor roll/4.0 GPA. It always got me super motivated and it ultimately always failed.
I had some similar incentives in undergrad. Could never pull off the 4.0 in undergrad, and we agreed on a "close doesn't count" policy. The incentives went away in grad school, when I explained that if I wasn't pulling a straight 4.0 every semester I had no business being there.
   14. Walt Davis Posted: April 20, 2014 at 06:36 PM (#4689829)
The incentives went away in grad school, when I explained that if I wasn't pulling a straight 4.0 every semester I had no business being there.

Interesting. We didn't have GPA in grad school we had "high pass" (H), pass (P), "low pass" (L) ... and theoretically F but one F and you were out so people got a continuance on any such course (not sure it ever happened for that reason but some of the non-native English speakers struggled in some courses).

Anyway, the point of my story was that on day one of our grad school orientation the Dept chair said "if you're getting Hs in your courses, you're putting in too much time on courses and not enough on your PhD."
   15. formerly dp Posted: April 20, 2014 at 07:08 PM (#4689853)
For my MA and PhD, at different institutions, we had mixed classes with both MA and PhD students. There was definitely an understanding that the PhD students got graded on a different scale, with a higher bar for written work, but a lower chance of getting an A-/B+. An A- was definitely a "message" grade for the PhD students.

I teach a grad class every couple of years at my current job, and we have no pluses or minuses in the grad program, which really makes grading tricky-- it usually takes students until their second semester to realize that you have to being doing something really wrong to end up with a B.
   16. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: April 20, 2014 at 07:25 PM (#4689860)
I had some similar incentives in undergrad.


My parents certainly never did this with me, but I got a 4.0 from 7th grade till the day I graduated college. Never got a red cent for it, never occurred to me that I might. The only thing that motivated me was a desire to prove that I was better than everybody else.


Which is to say, I don't think I like this program, because it's too one-size-fits-all.
   17. bobm Posted: April 21, 2014 at 01:08 AM (#4690029)
Based on the formula in [5]:

2013 Top BPO
Rk             Player Age  Tm Lg   B   O    BPO    G  PA
 1     Miguel Cabrera  30 DET AL 453 383  1.183  148 652
 2         Mike Trout  21 LAA AL 488 422  1.156  157 716
 3     Hanley Ramirez  29 LAD NL 236 208  1.135   86 336
 4       Chris Davis*  27 BAL AL 463 429  1.079  160 673
 5   Carlos Gonzalez*  27 COL NL 297 286  1.038  110 436
 6        Joey Votto*  29 CIN NL 436 428  1.019  162 726
 7     Shin-Soo Choo*  30 CIN NL 426 426  1.000  154 712
 8   Paul Goldschmidt  25 ARI NL 454 457  0.993  160 710
 9       Jayson Werth  34 WSN NL 326 330  0.988  129 532
10       David Ortiz*  37 BOS AL 378 384  0.984  137 600
11        Khris Davis  25 MIL NL 101 103  0.981   56 153
12   Andrew McCutchen  26 PIT NL 414 425  0.974  157 674
13    Troy Tulowitzki  28 COL NL 308 321  0.960  126 512
14        Yasiel Puig  22 LAD NL 265 277  0.957  104 432
15       David Wright  30 NYM NL 300 314  0.955  112 492
16    Michael Cuddyer  34 COL NL 320 346  0.925  130 540
17  Edwin Encarnacion  30 TOR AL 381 412  0.925  142 621
18        Ryan Raburn  32 CLE AL 166 182  0.912   87 277
19   Freddie Freeman*  23 ATL NL 355 390  0.910  147 629
20         Jeff Baker  32 TEX AL 106 117  0.906   74 175
21     Robinson Cano*  30 NYY AL 395 439  0.900  160 681
22      Bryce Harper*  20 WSN NL 290 323  0.898  118 497
23    Josh Donaldson   27 OAK AL 383 429  0.893  158 668
24      Carlos Gomez   27 MIL NL 365 409  0.892  147 590
25        Mike Carp*   27 BOS AL 141 158  0.892   86 243
   18. bobm Posted: April 21, 2014 at 01:14 AM (#4690032)
2013 Bottom BPO

 Rk             Player Ag  Tm  Lg   B   O    BPO 
391     Jeff Francoeur 29 KCR  AL  71 150  0.473 
392       Clint Barmes 34 PIT  NL 120 255  0.471 
393   Yorvit Torrealba 34 COL  NL  68 145  0.469 
394       Jeff Bianchi 26 MIL  NL  89 192  0.464 
395         Pete Kozma 25 STL  NL 153 332  0.461 
396 Adeiny Hechavarria 24 MIA  NL 208 454  0.458 
397        Chad Tracy* 33 WSN  NL  49 107  0.458 
398      Austin Romine 24 NYY  AL  54 118  0.458 
399        Jeff Mathis 30 MIA  NL  90 197  0.457 
400   Martin Maldonado 26 MIL  NL  71 157  0.452 
401     Jerry Hairston 37 LAD  NL  78 174  0.448 
402      Jamey Carroll 39 MIN  AL  67 150  0.447 
403       Brendan Ryan 31 TOT  AL 121 274  0.442 
404        David Adams 26 NYY  AL  52 118  0.441 
405       Ruben Tejada 23 NYM  NL  75 173  0.434 
406     Cesar Izturis# 33 CIN  NL  48 111  0.432 
407        Josh Thole* 26 TOR  AL  44 104  0.423 
408       Rob Brantly* 23 MIA  NL  79 187  0.422 
409       Josh Phegley 25 CHW  AL  72 172  0.419 
410     Jimmy Paredes# 24 HOU  AL  45 109  0.413 
411       Henry Blanco 41 TOT  AL  49 121  0.405 
412          Tony Cruz 26 STL  NL  42 105  0.400 
413        Laynce Nix* 32 PHI  NL  42 107  0.393 
414    Danny Espinosa# 26 WSN  NL  53 136  0.390 
415       Mark Kotsay* 37 SDP  NL  51 131  0.389 
416          Luis Cruz 29 TOT MLB  46 158  0.291 
   19. bobm Posted: April 21, 2014 at 01:19 AM (#4690034)
2013 Bottom BPO with min 501 PA

            Player Ag  Tm Lg   B   O    BPO    G  PA
      Ryan Doumit# 32 MIN AL 246 382  0.644  135 538
     Michael Young 36 PHI NL 230 358  0.642  126 512
    Michael Bourn* 30 CLE AL 262 409  0.641  130 575
      David Freese 30 STL NL 236 371  0.636  138 521
     Yunel Escobar 30 TBR AL 260 411  0.633  153 578
  Brandon Phillips 32 CIN NL 305 483  0.631  151 666
    Alexei Ramirez 31 CHW AL 309 490  0.631  158 674
    Jimmy Rollins# 34 PHI NL 297 473  0.628  160 666
    Trevor Plouffe 27 MIN AL 234 373  0.627  129 522
  A.J. Pierzynski* 36 TEX AL 241 387  0.623  134 529
       Jose Altuve 23 HOU AL 308 498  0.618  152 672
 Andrelton Simmons 23 ATL NL 298 486  0.613  157 658
     Nolan Arenado 22 COL NL 227 376  0.604  133 514
    Matt Dominguez 23 HOU AL 265 439  0.604  152 589
      Erick Aybar# 29 LAA AL 261 435  0.600  138 589
    Nick Markakis* 29 BAL AL 293 489  0.599  160 700
 Brandon Crawford* 26 SFG NL 233 391  0.596  149 550
      Paul Konerko 37 CHW AL 219 369  0.593  126 520
    Ichiro Suzuki* 39 NYY AL 233 402  0.580  150 555
       Zack Cozart 27 CIN NL 267 464  0.575  151 618
   Mike Moustakas* 24 KCR AL 216 384  0.563  136 514
    Starlin Castro 23 CHC NL 279 532  0.524  161 705
   Alcides Escobar 26 KCR AL 239 490  0.488  158 642
     Darwin Barney 27 CHC NL 208 431  0.483  141 555
Adeiny Hechavarria 24 MIA NL 208 454  0.458  148 578
   20. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: April 21, 2014 at 08:00 AM (#4690060)
Wow, I didn't realize that Trout had that many more PA than Mickey C.
   21. billyshears Posted: April 21, 2014 at 08:30 AM (#4690074)
I had friends that got paid for As. I never did. My parent's motivational tactic of choice was to shame and punish me for any grades lower than an A. This plan was highly effective in high school, but markedly less so in college.
   22. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: April 21, 2014 at 09:23 AM (#4690101)
Wow.

I can't remember ever being asked or told anything about my grades. There was no discipline when I got my only C (6th grade class in which, to this day, I am convinced that the teacher lost a bunch of my assignments and decided it would be easy to just fob it off on me like it was my fault); there was no praise when I got straight A's. I had friends who were paid for their grades, which I found weird then and find weird now. (I find it VERY weird that you'd do it in college, where getting an A -- especially at a public school -- essentially consists of showing up. And the kid is nominally an adult.)

Maybe it's just that I never caused any trouble with my grades. I almost never got anything but A's, so nobody ever felt the need to incentivize or punish me. My middle brother was chronically in the #### for his grades.

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