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Sunday, October 07, 2012

Murray Chass: MAKE GOOD GRAMMAR, NOT WAR

It has taken 45 years for someone to win the Triple Crown of hitting statistics, and the statistics zealots want to take it away from Miguel Cabrera. As Cabrera was zeroing in on the rare achievement, ESPN.com had a column about the “’real’ Triple Crown.” It was written by someone from something called “Baseball Think Factory.” I may be displaying my ignorance in not knowing what that is, but it sounds like something where its advocates could do themselves a favor by not thinking so much and just watch games for the pure enjoyment of them. ...

Without getting into details, I note that the column inadvertently states one of the reasons I have no use for WAR. It cites two different versions of WAR, one computed by Baseball-Reference, another by FanGraphs. For all I know, there are still others.Runs batted in are absolute. Home runs are the same wherever you look. Batting average is based on hits and at-bats. None of those statistics have different versions. If we accept new-age statistics, whom do we consult and trust, Baseball-Reference or FanGraphs or some other self-professed expert, Bill James perhaps?

This column goes further, suggesting there might be a better way of determining players’ relative value, but I didn’t learn what it is because reading more of the column would have required payment, and that’s not going to happen.

Edit: tags updated. Jim

bobm Posted: October 07, 2012 at 12:38 PM | 65 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: cranky old blogger, sabermetrics, tigers, wins above replacement

Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. Forsch 10 From Navarone (Dayn) Posted: October 07, 2012 at 01:06 PM (#4257790)
Oh, #### you, Murray. What a child.
   2. PreservedFish Posted: October 07, 2012 at 01:08 PM (#4257794)
OK, everyone that finds a grammar error in Chass' blog post gets a prize. Me first:

I may be displaying my ignorance in not knowing what that is, but it sounds like something where its advocates could do themselves a favor by not thinking so much and just watch games for the pure enjoyment of them.

"Do themselves a favor by ... just watch games."
   3. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: October 07, 2012 at 01:10 PM (#4257797)
Runs batted in are absolute. Home runs are the same wherever you look. Batting average is based on hits and at-bats. None of those statistics have different versions. If we accept new-age statistics, whom do we consult and trust, Baseball-Reference or FanGraphs or some other self-professed expert, Bill James perhaps?

They may be absolute in themselves, but once you're using them in an MVP argument or any discussion of overall value, you're implicitly making an argument, on some level, about wins. If you say "X is the MVP because of BA/HR/RBI over Y," then, whether or not you're actually going to the work at estimating wins, you're estimating wins. And there's no absolute, countable conversion of BA/HR/RBI to wins any more than there's an abosolute, countable conversion of OBP/SLG/SB/Baserunning/Defense/GIDP Rate to wins. The only question is, whether you're approaching the question of determining value implicitly or explicitly, do you use a better or worse method of doing so.

(He's ######## about my article, BTW)
   4. Alex Vila Posted: October 07, 2012 at 01:10 PM (#4257799)
I stopped reading after he admitted he was ignorant. What did I miss?
   5. Lassus Posted: October 07, 2012 at 01:12 PM (#4257802)
RELEASE THE HOUNDS
   6. Jim Furtado Posted: October 07, 2012 at 01:13 PM (#4257805)
PreservedFish, cut the guy some slack. Bloggers don't have editors like newspapermen do.
   7. Monty Predicts a Padres-Mariners WS in 2016 Posted: October 07, 2012 at 01:13 PM (#4257808)
There's no Congressman Les Winan!
   8. PreservedFish Posted: October 07, 2012 at 01:14 PM (#4257809)
Found another one:

Instead the Nationals chose the path of least imaginative effort and deprived Strasburg, the team and its fans of having a valuable asset for the most important games in the nation’s capitals last eight decades of baseball.

Too easy: "nation's capitals." Also it's a highly awkward sentence, and its awkwardness declares that Strasburg was deprived of having a valuable asset, which doesn't mean a damn thing.
   9. PreservedFish Posted: October 07, 2012 at 01:17 PM (#4257812)
Oh this is bad too.

Even Bobby Valentine’s sincerest sycophants would be hard pressed to come up with a high rating in any category for Valentine and the Boston Red Sox this year, but they surely have earned designation as the No. 1 flop of the season.

"Bobby Valentine's sincerest sycophants ... have surely earned designation as the No. 1 flop of the season." Really? His sycophants are the No. 1 flop?
   10. PreservedFish Posted: October 07, 2012 at 01:17 PM (#4257814)
And in their own special category, the sad-sack Pittsburgh Pirates, who fooled their followers after 19 consecutive losing seasons by building a won-loss record 16 games over .500 (63-47) Aug. 8, then struggling with a 16-36 record the rest of the season, extending their futility to two decades.

This one is just impressive.
   11. Pat Rapper's Delight Posted: October 07, 2012 at 01:24 PM (#4257828)
Thanks to the site admins for the new Health Advisory on the main page.
   12. Jim Furtado Posted: October 07, 2012 at 01:26 PM (#4257831)
You are welcome. I would hate to see any of you have your children taken away without warning.

Just an FYI, the health issue hasn't actually been proven and, at this point, should be taken more as a joke than a serious health issue.
   13. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: October 07, 2012 at 01:33 PM (#4257842)
Pfffft...you losers actually watch games? How quaint. My slide rule tells me everything I need to know.
   14. BDC Posted: October 07, 2012 at 01:42 PM (#4257848)
should be taken more as a joke than a serious health issue

Fortunately my health needs are being more than met by Green Coffee Beans and "1 trick of a Tiny Belly" :)
   15. Morty Causa Posted: October 07, 2012 at 01:44 PM (#4257849)
Wait a minute. There's no cane in Citizen Kane.
   16. Bob Tufts Posted: October 07, 2012 at 01:52 PM (#4257859)
Time for me to email Murray, get together for lunch (I did so after my cancer procedure) and find out exactly how many kids were on his lawn this week.
   17. The District Attorney Posted: October 07, 2012 at 02:02 PM (#4257873)
There's no Congressman Les Winan!
Good line, though.
   18. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: October 07, 2012 at 02:04 PM (#4257875)
Fortunately my health needs are being more than met by Green Coffee Beans and "1 trick of a Tiny Belly" :)]

Just watch out for those bananas. They'll make you look like Orson Welles before you know it.
   19. boteman is not here 'til October Posted: October 07, 2012 at 02:38 PM (#4257967)
I suppose nobody wants to edumacate Murray on how not-so-absolute a base hit is? You know, that long, contrived formula that also takes into account the whims of the official scorer, if he can even pull himself away from the pr0n on his smartphone to watch the play in question. Kinda makes "hits" less than the solid pillar on which to base an argument.

Also, my psychiatrist has had to quadruple my happy pill prescriptions since visiting this site. I never should have stopped watching baseball games.
   20. cardsfanboy Posted: October 07, 2012 at 02:45 PM (#4257999)
I'm twitching my mouse over whether to click on the link or not.... Do we reward Murray for basically trolling us by giving him a hit or not?

   21. jack the seal clubber (on the sidelines of life) Posted: October 07, 2012 at 02:46 PM (#4258002)
NEW AGE THINK FACTORY SYCOPHANTS THREATEN OUR INSTITUTIONS
   22. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 07, 2012 at 02:52 PM (#4258014)
Runs batted in are absolute.


Hack Wilson disagrees.
   23. cardsfanboy Posted: October 07, 2012 at 02:53 PM (#4258020)
I caved, clicked the link, and had to scroll through a "Bobby Valentine sucked, and I predicted it" post to get to the war article.

He is right when he posted
Runs batted in are absolute. Home runs are the same wherever you look. Batting average is based on hits and at-bats. None of those statistics have different versions.
and it's one of the flaws with war, and is also why a lot of people on here seem to be questioning it. If the stat can change based upon the whim of the person providing the stat, then it's hardly the best tool. Especially from a writer perspective. Imagine writing an article and a couple of years later the numbers you used have changed significantly(I understand rbi, hr, hits etc. are sometimes discovered after a historical search,but those are usually minor. Seeing a player lose 15 career war is something major)


   24. AJMcCringleberry Posted: October 07, 2012 at 02:57 PM (#4258039)
Quit thinking, watch the games...and give the MVP to the guy with the highest number in three arbitrary stat categories!
   25. cardsfanboy Posted: October 07, 2012 at 03:00 PM (#4258047)
Quit thinking, watch the games...and give the MVP to the guy with the highest number in three arbitrary stat categories!


Yep the Sb/wpa/runs scored crown.
   26. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: October 07, 2012 at 03:06 PM (#4258054)
"Jim Johnson for MVP" --Jim Kaat
   27. Shaun Payne Posted: October 07, 2012 at 03:25 PM (#4258089)
An open email to Mr. Chass:



Subject: You Don't Need WAR to See That Trout is Obviously the MVP. Just watch the games!



Body:

Trout was nearly as good a hitter as Cabrera (if not a little better), Trout was the better baserunner and Trout was the better defender.

The Triple Crown stats don't do a great job of measuring a player's offensive value, much less overall value. Batting average ignores a significant way that players avoid outs (walks) and it treats all hits as equal, whether they are singles or doubles or homeruns. RBI are a team stat. RBI depend on where a hitter hits in the lineup, whether he's pitched around, etc. Jose Bautista, the previous two season, did as much as any player to create runs yet never led the league in RBI. Why? Because his teammates weren't on base enough and pitchers pitched around him.

The Triple Crown stats do an even worst job than WAR at measuring offensive value, Mr. Chass. And of course the Triple Crown doesn't even attempt to measure anything related to defensive or baserunning contributions.

Another argument I've heard, which I'm not sure you've made but I'll address it anyway: Cabrera deserves the MVP because he led his team to the playoffs. First of all, the Angels won more games in a stronger division. Trout can't do anything about Anaheim being on the west coast instead of towards the middle of the country. Trout also can't do anything about his Angels teammates not being good enough to cause the Angels to win one of the wild card spots or the western division. All Trout, or any player, can do to help his MVP cause is to do more than any other player to increase the chances that his team will win.

Trout did a better job than Cabrera at avoiding outs, Trout wasn't all that far behind Cabrera in slugging, Trout was better on the basepaths and Trout was better on defense. Trout did more than any player to ensure his team would make the playoffs (it's not his fault that the Angels were in a different division than the Tigers or that his teammates weren't good enough to help him). Let's see you argue against that non-WAR case for Trout.

Of course you would rather make this all about WAR and the Triple Crown instead of what happened on the field. I'm sure you watched every Angels and Tigers game. If you had, there is no way you would conclude that Cabrera deserves the MVP over Trout.

Shaun
Atlanta
(A Braves' fan. I'm not a fan of the Tigers or Angels, nor am I a fan of either player. Nor am I part of some grand conspiracy to make WAR the ruler of a one-world government. Take off the tin foil hat and watch some baseball, Mr. Chass. Stop being a stathead, with your "Triple Crown." Maybe you'll realize that defense, baserunning and avoiding outs on offense actually matter.)
   28. Shaun Payne Posted: October 07, 2012 at 03:27 PM (#4258091)
An open email to Mr. Chass:

Subject: You Don't Need WAR to See That Trout is Obviously the MVP. Just watch the games!

Body:

Trout was nearly as good a hitter as Cabrera (if not a little better), Trout was the better baserunner and Trout was the better defender.

The Triple Crown stats don't do a great job of measuring a player's offensive value, much less overall value. Batting average ignores a significant way that players avoid outs (walks) and it treats all hits as equal, whether they are singles or doubles or homeruns. RBI are a team stat. RBI depend on where a hitter hits in the lineup, whether he's pitched around, etc. Jose Bautista, the previous two season, did as much as any player to create runs yet never led the league in RBI. Why? Because his teammates weren't on base enough and pitchers pitched around him.

The Triple Crown stats do an even worst job than WAR at measuring offensive value, Mr. Chass. And of course the Triple Crown doesn't even attempt to measure anything related to defensive or baserunning contributions.

Another argument I've heard, which I'm not sure you've made but I'll address it anyway: Cabrera deserves the MVP because he led his team to the playoffs. First of all, the Angels won more games in a stronger division. Trout can't do anything about Anaheim being on the west coast instead of towards the middle of the country. Trout also can't do anything about his Angels teammates not being good enough to cause the Angels to win one of the wild card spots or the western division. All Trout, or any player, can do to help his MVP cause is to do more than any other player to increase the chances that his team will win.

Trout did a better job than Cabrera at avoiding outs, Trout wasn't all that far behind Cabrera in slugging, Trout was better on the basepaths and Trout was better on defense. Trout did more than any player to ensure his team would make the playoffs (it's not his fault that the Angels were in a different division than the Tigers or that his teammates weren't good enough to help him). Let's see you argue against that non-WAR case for Trout.

Of course you would rather make this all about WAR and the Triple Crown instead of what happened on the field. I'm sure you watched every Angels and Tigers game. If you had, there is no way you would conclude that Cabrera deserves the MVP over Trout.

Shaun
Atlanta
(A Braves' fan. I'm not a fan of the Tigers or Angels, nor am I a fan of either player. Nor am I part of some grand conspiracy to make WAR the ruler of a one-world government. Take off the tin foil hat and watch some baseball, Mr. Chass. Stop being a stathead, with your "Triple Crown." Maybe you'll realize that defense, baserunning and avoiding outs on offense actually matter.)
   29. toratoratora Posted: October 07, 2012 at 03:40 PM (#4258124)
OMG-The Health Advisor warning at the top of the home page is hysterical. Well played gentlemen, well played.
   30. boteman is not here 'til October Posted: October 07, 2012 at 04:10 PM (#4258174)
"Say! You've got statistics on my baseball game!"

"Well, your baseball game is distracting me from my statistics!"

Two great tastes that taste great together.
   31. vortex of dissipation Posted: October 07, 2012 at 04:20 PM (#4258179)
He is right when he posted

Runs batted in are absolute. Home runs are the same wherever you look. Batting average is based on hits and at-bats. None of those statistics have different versions.

and it's one of the flaws with war, and is also why a lot of people on here seem to be questioning it. If the stat can change based upon the whim of the person providing the stat, then it's hardly the best tool. Especially from a writer perspective. Imagine writing an article and a couple of years later the numbers you used have changed significantly(I understand rbi, hr, hits etc. are sometimes discovered after a historical search,but those are usually minor. Seeing a player lose 15 career war is something major)


Put me in this category. I've been wanted to say something similar for some time, but have been afraid to do so for fear of getting flamed or being called a troglodyte. Look, I like advanced stats. I wouldn't frequent this site if I didn't. I devoured Bill James's Abstracts during the 1980s. I thought his runs created stat was one of the most useful stats I'd ever seen. I was official scorekeeper and statistician for a Pac-10 baseball team for five seasons, and incorporated what at the time were advanced stats (not so advanced now). I'm completely comfortable with current stats such as FIP or BABIP. And I like the idea of having a single number that encompasses a player's true worth. But WAR, as used now, leaves me completely cold.

My major objection, as noted by cardsfanboy above, is that there are differing formulas used by different people to calculate it. There seems to me to be something fundmentally wrong when a stat can be worked out in different ways to give different answers and all are accepted as being legitimate. The second is more of a personal problem. As I noted, I've been a baseball statistician. I don't consider myself an idiot when it comes to things like this. I've tried to follow the explanation of how to calculate WAR on the BP page. And I don't understand it at all...
   32. cardsfanboy Posted: October 07, 2012 at 04:33 PM (#4258187)
I've been wanted to say something similar for some time, but have been afraid to do so for fear of getting flamed or being called a troglodyte.


You don't get called a troglodyte for questioning the stats, you get called one for actively disparging them while refusing to learn what they are about.

War(either version) relies on someones definition of whatever they are measuring. Replacement level between the two is different, the components they use(defensive stats) have different sources, you are stuck with their opinion on the value of positional adjustments, you have to take their park adjustments, you have to trust the makers of the stats opinion on how much credit to give to pitchers/defense etc.

There is a lot of assumptions and hedging when it comes to war, which makes it a nice stat, that shouldn't be relied on as gospel.
   33. Walt Davis Posted: October 07, 2012 at 04:40 PM (#4258191)
Trout can't do anything about Anaheim being on the west coast instead of towards the middle of the country.

No but nothing was stopping Moreno from making them the Indianapolis Angels of Anaheim.

Is "sincerest" a word*? I always thought "most sincere". Certainly "sincerer" sounds and looks quite awkward.

On a let's get all meta footnote ... to be honest, I never have liked Baseball Think Factory as a name. It does strike me as pretentious -- I'm a primate damn it!

Well said #3.

*According to the language nazis that is irregardless of what Chass thinks.
   34. Flynn Posted: October 07, 2012 at 04:44 PM (#4258196)
Isn't Chass pretty much considered akin to a crazy old lady with too many cats within the biz?
   35.   Posted: October 07, 2012 at 05:07 PM (#4258230)
and it's one of the flaws with war, and is also why a lot of people on here seem to be questioning it. If the stat can change based upon the whim of the person providing the stat, then it's hardly the best tool


You're sort of like a creationist, who just throws out the same tired arguments over and over again no matter how many times they get shot down. WAR is a framework; bWAR is one implementation, fWAR is another. Maybe it's unfortunate that they use the same name for their stats, but it's not a complicated concept. You cannot say that a "flaw" with fWAR is that it has the same name as bWAR but is calculated differently; that is nonsensical.

It's also cute that Murray pretends he doesn't know about this place. As if he isn't deliberately trolling for hits at this point. HI MURRAY.
   36. cardsfanboy Posted: October 07, 2012 at 05:23 PM (#4258252)
You're sort of like a creationist, who just throws out the same tired arguments over and over again no matter how many times they get shot down. WAR is a framework; bWAR is one implementation, fWAR is another. Maybe it's unfortunate that they use the same name for their stats, but it's not a complicated concept. You cannot say that a "flaw" with fWAR is that it has the same name as bWAR but is calculated differently; that is nonsensical.


And you are a literalist that needs to relax

I know it's a framework, but so what. They changed the components on the stat and it changed the numbers. That was my point I made. I didn't point to either bwar or fwar, I pointed to the fact(and yes, it's a ####### fact) that at any point in time the people keeping the stats can change the components, and #### the stat up again. Deny to me, that bWar hasn't changed over the past 2 years?


My point was that the stat can change, not that there were two versions. My point was that it's not an absolute.
   37. SoSH U at work Posted: October 07, 2012 at 05:26 PM (#4258257)
Isn't Chass pretty much considered akin to a crazy old lady with too many cats within the biz?


Yeah. Since moving to his blog/non blog, I think he's made just as many enemies among today's MSM baseball writers as he has among our ilk.
   38. Blastin Posted: October 07, 2012 at 05:44 PM (#4258291)
It is indeed most sincere. Two syllable adjectives not ending in y go with more/most. There are exceptions, but sincere is not one.


Back to lesson planning!
   39. Monty Predicts a Padres-Mariners WS in 2016 Posted: October 07, 2012 at 05:58 PM (#4258310)
RBIs aren't really absolute, though. The rule "you can't get an RBI on a double play" has always struck me as pretty arbitrary.
   40. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: October 07, 2012 at 06:00 PM (#4258316)

According to Merriam-Webster, it is sincerer / sincerest. I am not surprised as I have heard the expression "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery".
   41. cardsfanboy Posted: October 07, 2012 at 06:06 PM (#4258331)
RBIs aren't really absolute, though. The rule "you can't get an RBI on a double play" has always struck me as pretty arbitrary.


Technicality to be honest, just like hits aren't technically absolutes either, but for the most part they are accumulation stats that are locked in and not dependent on a set of math formulas which can be altered whenever new evidence comes to light.

RBI is a horrible stat of course, but it's computation is pretty straight forward.
   42. Blastin Posted: October 07, 2012 at 06:06 PM (#4258332)
I am feeling silly then. Guess it is one of the exceptions.
   43. boteman is not here 'til October Posted: October 07, 2012 at 07:40 PM (#4258546)
Technicality to be honest, just like hits aren't technically absolutes either, but for the most part they are accumulation stats that are locked in and not dependent on a set of math formulas which can be altered whenever new evidence comes to light.

RBI is a horrible stat of course, but it's computation is pretty straight forward.


Even hits are not absolutes, they can change right out from under you. Michael Morse's 18-game hit streak got truncated to 7 games via a scoring change more than 2 weeks after the fact. So even Murray's treasured foundational stats can change. Is there nothing sacred any more???
   44. Dan Evensen Posted: October 07, 2012 at 08:42 PM (#4258591)
MY BLOG FEATURES SCREAMING HEADLINES, MR PRESIDENT

It has taken 45 years for someone to win the Triple Crown of hitting statistics, and the statistics zealots want to take it away from Miguel Cabrera.

OMFG! I can't believe the NERVE of these basement-dwelling creatures who wish to take Cabrera's triple crown away from him! They must have some pretty neat hacker skills to change the statistics like that. They should have their children taken away!

It was written by someone from something called “Baseball Think Factory.” I may be displaying my ignorance in not knowing what that is, but it sounds like something where its advocates could do themselves a favor by not thinking so much and just watch games for the pure enjoyment of them.

Apparently Mr. Chass has not yet learned that most of his readers come from links posted to this website. Personally, I'm looking forward to spending hours surfing "Baseball Pure Enjoyment Factory."

If we accept new-age statistics, whom do we consult and trust, Baseball-Reference or FanGraphs or some other self-professed expert, Bill James perhaps?

MAKE SHORT STATEMENTS, NOT RUN-ON SENTENCES

This column goes further, suggesting there might be a better way of determining players’ relative value, but I didn’t learn what it is because reading more of the column would have required payment, and that’s not going to happen.

The article totally explained everything, but it was too long and I didn't want to pay for it. Tl;dr. Time for another blog entry!

There is a lot of assumptions and hedging when it comes to war, which makes it a nice stat, that shouldn't be relied on as gospel.

This is an excellent point. Discussing baseball statistics is a lot more interesting when participants use a variety of statistics to make their points, rather than sticking with WAR and ignoring everything else. Unfortunately, Chass wasn't able to put it so succinctly (and he would be appalled at your grammar).

Speaking of grammar, did anybody take a look at Chass' four examples of bad grammar? Only one of those sentences is grammatically inaccurate, as far as I can tell. Using would only be is probably not great for a newspaper column, and I think that it's kind of nitpicking to say that The Tigers just have nine games left in the season is grammatically incorrect.

Ironically, as PreservedFish so eloquently pointed out, there are more glaring grammatical mistakes in Chass' blog post.
   45. Downtown Bookie Posted: October 07, 2012 at 09:32 PM (#4258642)
Ironically, as PreservedFish so eloquently pointed out, there are more glaring grammatical mistakes in Chass' blog post.


As ironic as that may be, in my humble opinion the greater irony is this:

...most of his [Chass'] readers come from links posted to this website.


DB
   46. Cooper Nielson Posted: October 08, 2012 at 12:56 AM (#4258899)
Trout wasn't all that far behind Cabrera in slugging,

People keep saying (some variation) of this, but the point difference between Cabrera and Trout in SLG (.042) is the same as the difference between Trout and Aaron Hill, and pretty close to the difference between Trout and Garrett Jones (.048). That's not particularly close IMHO. Trout would have needed about 24 more total bases to raise his SLG to Cabrera's .606.

Their batting averages (.330/.326) and OBPs (.393/.399), on the other hand, are virtually interchangeable. Three more hits and Trout wins the batting title; four more hits/walks and Cabrera passes Trout in OBP. But it takes some work to get 24 extra total bases.
   47. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: October 08, 2012 at 01:23 AM (#4258916)
But it takes some work to get 24 extra total bases

Or a better hitter's park.
   48. Walt Davis Posted: October 08, 2012 at 03:13 AM (#4258935)
Back to the "controversy" ...

I find these ... what ... interesting? I'm not suggesting they are determinative of anything ... in fact, I'm pretty sure they're not.

Road numbers:
MT 332/407/544, 14 HR in 329 PA
MC 327/384/529, 16 HR in 357 PA

Cabrera's home OPS was a ridiculous 1094. Trout was also better at home by 25 points of OPS which is pretty good given his park. You could argue that Cabrera's road parks are tougher since he doesn't get to play at Tigers Stadium but then a lot of Trout's road games are in the death valleys of Oakland and Seattle.

vs. >=500 teams, vs. <500 teams:
MT 314/393/588 vs 342/408/528
MC 353/431/633 vs 311/361/584

Cabrera takes that one -- his production against good teams is absurd. A quite big difference in competition though -- 82 of Trout's 139 games against 500+ teams; only 73 of Cabrera's 161.

Cabrera had 14 HR and 39 RBI against the Twins and Indians with SLGS over 700, "sucked" against the Royals. He manhandled the White Sox but only 12 RBI oddly. He didn't hit the Angels and was basically himself against the Rangers. Against the A's ... 483/515/862.

Trout didn't hit the A's "well" but spanked the Rangers at 338/451/689 with 6 of his 30 HR. He murdered the Twins, was himself against the Indians and hit 262/295/619 vs the Tigers. The entire NL will be happy if they never see him again (1063 OPS interleague) whereas they owned Cabrera (688 OPS).

Cabrera turned it on with a 1074 OPS in the 2nd half. 26 HR in 317 PA. If I understand sOPS+ right, that was a 192 OPS+ in the 2nd half while Trout was a measly 165.


   49. Flynn Posted: October 08, 2012 at 06:40 AM (#4258942)
Yeah. Since moving to his blog/non blog, I think he's made just as many enemies among today's MSM baseball writers as he has among our ilk.


Tom Verducci's statement about voting for Marvin Miller that made repeated references to Murray's blog was one of the best kiss-offs ever.
   50. jyjjy Posted: October 08, 2012 at 07:05 AM (#4258943)
From the headline I was hoping it would be about the constant and atrocious use of "played good" and similar phrases by seemingly everyone involved in baseball at the major league level.
   51. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: October 08, 2012 at 10:32 AM (#4259004)
Yeah. Since moving to his blog/non blog, I think he's made just as many enemies among today's MSM baseball writers as he has among our ilk.

This seems to be accurate, at least in my experience (talking about more traditional BBWAA writers, obviously the Stat Pack loves making fun of Chass).

I have to admit, Chass's attitude (both against blogs and stats) is far, far less prevalent among the MSM guys than I thought. In fact, it was one of the primary reasons for any ambivalence I had towards writing in MSM. From experience, I can say I was definitely wrong there. I've found that a scad of MSM writers aren't actually hostile to stats or bloggers, but simply that working with numbers is just out of their comfort zone and it can sometimes be tricky to get to the heart of the matter, which makes them less effective communicators. It's like me writing a human interest story - I'm not a sociopath or anything, but I have no experience communicating with an audience in this way, so I'm likely to avoid those types of things.

Now, there certainly are Chassian dolts, but there are fewer than I thought. I've never claimed to be some Grammar God and I won't claim that this particular article was the smoothest piece I've ever written (there was a ton of number-crunching with this one), but I think I communicate fairly well. Generally, the editorial issues around me involve matters of taste or references that are too obscure.
   52. Mike Emeigh Posted: October 08, 2012 at 10:52 AM (#4259020)
I've found that a scad of MSM writers aren't actually hostile to stats or bloggers, but simply that working with numbers is just out of their comfort zone and it can sometimes be tricky to get to the heart of the matter, which makes them less effective communicators.


I think that's probably more true nowadays than we'd like to believe - not just among the MSM, but also among a lot of the "old guard" in baseball circles as well. It makes it a lot harder to argue that there's mass ignorance among baseball front offices and their writing syncophants, which is how some statistically-oriented writers still approach their audience.

-- MWE
   53. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: October 08, 2012 at 11:21 AM (#4259046)
I've found that a scad of MSM writers


Pretty sure that's the first time I've ever seen "scad" used in singular form.
   54. just plain joe Posted: October 08, 2012 at 11:49 AM (#4259090)
I've found that a scad of MSM writers


Pretty sure that's the first time I've ever seen "scad" used in singular form.


Just how many MSM writers are in a scad, anyway?
   55. Bug Selig Posted: October 08, 2012 at 12:21 PM (#4259134)
Just how many MSM writers are in a scad, anyway?


Oodle and a half, tops.
   56. Loren F. Posted: October 08, 2012 at 12:24 PM (#4259141)
Just how many MSM writers are in a scad, anyway?


Oodle and a half, tops.


I thought it was a murder of sportswriters, not a scad.
   57. Morty Causa Posted: October 08, 2012 at 12:51 PM (#4259169)
Or an exaltation....
   58. bobm Posted: October 08, 2012 at 01:11 PM (#4259191)
Would you say there are a plethora of such MSM sportswriters?
   59.   Posted: October 08, 2012 at 01:58 PM (#4259234)
But it takes some work to get 24 extra total bases.


He got them, plus more, on the base paths.
   60. vivaelpujols Posted: October 08, 2012 at 02:14 PM (#4259242)
I love this logic. Any time there's a disagreement on how to calculate a stat it means that both versions are worthless! So if FanGraphs and B-R merged and arbitrarily decided to use one version of WAR, then it would be a good stat. If we stopped using park factors altogether, that would be one less point of disagreement and WAR would be a better stat, amirite??

edit: if you're gonna try to make a total value stat it's going to take in a lot of components and there's going to be measurement error. That's good thing because it allows for disagreement on the final numbers based on the inputs (defense, park factors, clutch value). Who in their right mind thinks their model has the sole ability to unquestionably value a player?
   61.   Posted: October 08, 2012 at 02:20 PM (#4259247)
the funniest thing is that even the most basic of absolute stats, home insurance, has changed calculations before.
   62. alilisd Posted: October 08, 2012 at 07:10 PM (#4259639)
@46: Wouldn't those 49 SB's make up any of them? Or what Shock said in 59.
   63. GGC don't think it can get longer than a novella Posted: October 08, 2012 at 07:29 PM (#4259659)
I need to start wearing my glasses again, I thought that Chass joined the site and posted #57.

DJS, I figured it had to be you. I don't think anyone else associated w/ BTF ever got an ESPN gig. I'm still alive. Haven't written much about sports lately. I'm finished some memoirs that aren't log enough for a book; posted some excerpts at DS. I'm also working on a couple of poems and a standup routine. Some day I am go to an open mike and bomb.
   64. Karl from NY Posted: October 08, 2012 at 08:01 PM (#4259717)
I may be displaying my ignorance in not knowing what that is, but it sounds like something where its advocates could do themselves a favor by not thinking so much and just watch games for the pure enjoyment of them.

"Do themselves a favor by ... just watch games."


That's not a grammar error. It can be parsed correctly. The clause "and just watch games" is not necessarily parallel to "thinking so much", it can be parallel to "do themselves a favor".

"Its advocates could - "
" - do themselves a favor..."
" - and just watch games..."
   65. Dan Evensen Posted: October 09, 2012 at 09:43 AM (#4260273)
I need to start wearing my glasses again, I thought that Chass joined the site and posted #57.

Murray Chass actually posting here would be a lot of fun. He'd troll and be a pain in the neck, but I'm sure he'd also have a bunch of interesting stories and unique insults.

Of course, if this were old (pre-registration) Primer, he'd post here every day. Along with Rear Admiral Mike Piazza. ;-)

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