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Monday, March 04, 2013

Posnanski: Revisiting Trout vs. Cabrera MVP debate — with a twist

Or…How much is a Kneb worth?

So, get ready for a bit of a shocker. I was on a panel with Farhan Zaidi of the Oakland A’s. He’s a great guy. A’s general manager Billy Beane often calls him “Emotional Stat Guy,” which he says will be the name of his fantasy baseball team (though I personally think it would be a better band name.*) Zaidi is utterly brilliant — economics degree from MIT, Ph.D from Cal Berkeley in economics — and a lot of fun to talk with about baseball.

*Zaidi told a great story about his interview with Billy Beane, who he idolized. It was 2003, and he was doing some consulting and fantasy sports work — basically, he was overqualified for whatever he was doing. He heard about an Oakland opening. He fished out an old resume and, without really reviewing it, sent it off to Billy Beane. One thing he had forgotten was that in the personal section of the resume, he had mentioned that he liked Britpop — you know, Suede, Sleeper, Oasis, a bunch of those Wonderwall bands that were cool in certain circles in the mid-to-late 1990s. Unfortunately, it was now 2003.

First thing Beane said to Zaidi was, “So, I understand you like Britpop.” Zaidi felt his face go white hot as he sunk into his chair. He started to hem and haw about how he had not updated his resume in a while and that, you know, er, well, it’s just kind of …

At which point, Billy Beane said: “I am the biggest Oasis fan.”

How that scene was left out of Moneyball, I’ll never know.

Repoz Posted: March 04, 2013 at 04:45 PM | 36 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: history, sabermetrics

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   1. Tricky Dick Posted: March 04, 2013 at 04:52 PM (#4380446)
Wow. People put their favorite bands on their resume?
   2. Der-K: Hipster doofus Posted: March 04, 2013 at 04:55 PM (#4380453)
Mind blown.
   3. Gonfalon B. Posted: March 04, 2013 at 04:55 PM (#4380454)
I would hire anyone whose resume mentioned the Boo Radleys.
   4. Mike Emeigh Posted: March 04, 2013 at 05:07 PM (#4380469)
If you actually RTFA, you'll see that the conclusion is that by the A's model of player performance, Cabrera finished ahead of Trout for 2012. By a small amount, Zaidi emphasized - but ahead.

-- MWE
   5. Eric Ferguson Posted: March 04, 2013 at 05:19 PM (#4380479)
Posnanski's still with Hardball Talk? It's been nearly a fortnight!
   6. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: March 04, 2013 at 05:25 PM (#4380485)
Wow. People put their favorite bands on their resume?


Among other things.
   7. Dale Sams Posted: March 04, 2013 at 05:29 PM (#4380489)
I like Robbie Williams....maybe I can get on with the Red Sox....err.. Cubs.
   8. dr. scott Posted: March 04, 2013 at 05:32 PM (#4380491)
My sense, based on my reading of the numbers, Trout was better than Cabrera. I also readily concede Zaidi and the people in the Oakland front office are a lot smarter than I am.



I wonder if a lot of people are going to change thier mind now... What the A's think hes better... I knew he was just a beer league softball player...
   9. Nasty Nate Posted: March 04, 2013 at 05:40 PM (#4380497)
I don't hate Oasis in general, but if I am listening to the radio, there is probably no song that I switch channels to get away from faster than Wonderwall ... with the possible exception of Champagne Supernova.
   10. PreservedFish Posted: March 04, 2013 at 06:09 PM (#4380513)
I was at the show in Paris when Oasis broke up. There's not really any story there. It just happened. They never came on stage.

Also, a year ago I was copying the resume format from some business school, Dartmouth or something, and I was surprised to learn that these impressive b-school grads, many of whom had already started their own companies and ####, were apparently encouraged to put stupid little details like their love of britpop onto their resumes. It looked utterly unprofessional to me, and I'm not sure why one's fervor for knitting or cycling would make one more employable to Goldman Sachs or McKinsey, but there they were.
   11. Dale Sams Posted: March 04, 2013 at 06:13 PM (#4380515)
I got into Abandoned Pools after seeing them open for Garbage. I had never, ever heard Oasis before then...and have only heard a couple of songs, but I do hope the guy behind Abandoned Pools wasn't aping them.
   12. Der-K: Hipster doofus Posted: March 04, 2013 at 06:19 PM (#4380518)
10 - maybe the idea is that you need to do something to standout in a sea of resumes? may have worked here...
   13. KT's Pot Arb Posted: March 04, 2013 at 06:30 PM (#4380526)
If you actually RTFA, you'll see that the conclusion is that by the A's model of player performance, Cabrera finished ahead of Trout for 2012. By a small amount, Zaidi emphasized - but ahead.

-- MWE


Do they really? I think Poz used the words "more valuable", which makes me wonder if Zaidi was talking about something else.
   14. PreservedFish Posted: March 04, 2013 at 06:33 PM (#4380527)
10 - maybe the idea is that you need to do something to standout in a sea of resumes? may have worked here...


I'm sure that's it, but when "Builds model trains" is appended to a resume that includes excellent grades in crazy schools, experience managing dozens of people or millions of dollars, starting companies, etc, a person obviously gunning for a job that pays $150,000+, it's hilarious to me. Of course because these are ultracompetitive types manny of the hobbies are probably overstated or insane: "climbed the tallest mountain on every continent," "world-ranked squash player," etc.
   15. bob gee Posted: March 04, 2013 at 06:58 PM (#4380539)
oasis should have broken up after their third album, be here now. yeah, it's a little overblown, but it's still quite good.

then, oasis' musical output would have been a bit similar to the smiths (a few albums, an insane amount of b-sides that were great), and people would have begged liam and noel to get back together and play coachella or some such nonsense.

oh: i got to see oasis when they were first here in the states, at maxwell's ? and some nyc place - wetlands, i think. they really weren't impressive live in a small setting...
   16. BDC Posted: March 04, 2013 at 06:59 PM (#4380541)
Would "Judith Durham and the Seekers" give my resumé an edge?
   17. cardsfanboy Posted: March 04, 2013 at 07:07 PM (#4380544)
Do they really? I think Poz used the words "more valuable", which makes me wonder if Zaidi was talking about something else.


I can almost see an argument for Cabrera as more valuable after playing time is taken into consideration(and even that is a stretch), no way was Cabrera more valuable on a rate basis. Of course some of the gap in their war is helped out tremendously by the park factors, using a different(or none) park factor would reduce the gap a pretty decent amount.

Basically I could see the A's method giving Cabrera stronger defensive bonus than either version of War uses.(and as I like to point out in other threads, using replacement level of defense versus average helps Cabrera out more, same with baserunning)

But when it's all said and done, just looking at the traditional numbers, games played, positions played, defensive reputations and park adjustments, I just can't see how you can come up with Cabrera as more valuable. Forget War etc....they had roughly equivalent performance with the bat, Cabrera adds 20 games played vs better defense, elite baserunning, and tougher park to hit in.
   18. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: March 04, 2013 at 07:17 PM (#4380548)
I'm sure that's it, but when "Builds model trains" is appended to a resume that includes excellent grades in crazy schools, experience managing dozens of people or millions of dollars, starting companies, etc, a person obviously gunning for a job that pays $150,000+, it's hilarious to me. Of course because these are ultracompetitive types manny of the hobbies are probably overstated or insane: "climbed the tallest mountain on every continent," "world-ranked squash player," etc.


"Posted obsessively on baseball website while maintaining guise as articulate member of genus Herpestes."
   19. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: March 04, 2013 at 07:23 PM (#4380551)
Would "Judith Durham and the Seekers" give my resumé an edge?


Only if you are applying for work at a retirement home...in Australia.
   20. vortex of dissipation Posted: March 04, 2013 at 07:46 PM (#4380561)
Wow. People put their favorite bands on their resume?


Well, yes. I spent 25 years working as a music critic, and always put what types of music I was familiar with on my resume, and included samples of work, which tended to be about bands I liked and could discuss intelligently.
   21. PreservedFish Posted: March 04, 2013 at 07:56 PM (#4380563)
Are there still classifieds where the singers and guitarists that are looking for bassists and drummers list their three influential bands? "Drummer needed for power rock trio: Zeppelin, Cream, Nirvana." I'm worried that they've moved to Craigslist and now there's no need to condense the idea of the band's sound into so few words.
   22. Brian Posted: March 04, 2013 at 08:18 PM (#4380574)
The sprinkling in of personal tidbits at the end of your resume is a good idea. As someone who has worked on Wall Street for 30 years and seen 1000's of Ivy League resumes (yearly intern deluge), it's always nice to look at the resume before you meet someone and see something human on there. They're not going to impress you with any technical knowledge so it's a good icebreaker to see if they are able to speak to people.
   23. BDC Posted: March 04, 2013 at 08:25 PM (#4380577)
Only if you are applying for work at a retirement home...in Australia

A new career path beckons!
   24. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: March 04, 2013 at 08:48 PM (#4380584)
10 - maybe the idea is that you need to do something to standout in a sea of resumes? may have worked here...

Certainly that's part of it. It also gives you something to talk about in the interview that might help make a personal connection. And as someone who reviews resumes and conducts college interviews for an investment bank, often people's hobbies themselves are pretty impressive. Stuff like building model trains not so much (unless you're the National Champion Model Train Builder), but things that demonstrate long-term commitment, determination, and time management or leadership ability are viewed positively even if they're not directly relevant to the job at hand. It's also a way for you to bring out a side of you that may not otherwise come across. I can come across as soft-spoken and nerdy in interviews, so having the fact that I do triathlons and endurance races presents a different side of my personality.

There are other considerations as well. My wife used to find that men in finance would often struggle for things to talk to her about in interviews. She added that she was a baseball fan to her resume and that gave them something light/personal to ask her about, and enabled her to develop the kind of rapport that comes more naturally for men in those type of interviews.
   25. GGC don't think it can get longer than a novella Posted: March 04, 2013 at 09:50 PM (#4380609)
I put my SABR stuff on my resume (at the end.) But it doesn't really help my career.
   26. Darkness and the howling fantods Posted: March 04, 2013 at 10:18 PM (#4380622)
There are other considerations as well. My wife used to find that men in finance would often struggle for things to talk to her about in interviews. She added that she was a baseball fan to her resume and that gave them something light/personal to ask her about, and enabled her to develop the kind of rapport that comes more naturally for men in those type of interviews.

Yeah, I did interviews for my former law firm. The applicants were usually screened, so they had already passed our cutoffs for grades/school etc. The interview was mainly to get an idea of what type of personality they had and whether they would be pleasant to work with. Random interests/hobbies can be a great thing to discuss to get a sense of that.
   27. Good cripple hitter Posted: March 04, 2013 at 10:26 PM (#4380625)
Are there still classifieds where the singers and guitarists that are looking for bassists and drummers list their three influential bands? "Drummer needed for power rock trio: Zeppelin, Cream, Nirvana." I'm worried that they've moved to Craigslist and now there's no need to condense the idea of the band's sound into so few words.


Someone once posted a flyer near my house for a band that was looking for a bassist or a guitarist. I wish I'd taken a picture because 3/4 of the flyer was just a listing of 20 or so of the band's influences and they included Hendrix, Zeppelin, Clapton, Guns N Roses, Bad Brains and Black Flag. It probably could've used some condensing.
   28. Rickey! In a van on 95 south... Posted: March 04, 2013 at 10:27 PM (#4380626)
I like to mention in interviews that I stuff my victims into wine barrels, for aging. Gives it that personal touch.
   29. cmd600 Posted: March 05, 2013 at 02:40 PM (#4381233)
people would have begged liam and noel to get back together and play coachella or some such nonsense


Noel's new project just played Coachella, and was intended to be one of the bigger draws.
   30. AROM Posted: March 05, 2013 at 03:04 PM (#4381253)
Basically I could see the A's method giving Cabrera stronger defensive bonus than either version of War uses.(and as I like to point out in other threads, using replacement level of defense versus average helps Cabrera out more, same with baserunning)


Huh? If you are using replacement level instead of average for defense, you're just using a lower baseline. That would make Cabrera look better, but also makes Trout look better. It cannot make them different relative to each other.

But when it's all said and done, just looking at the traditional numbers, games played, positions played, defensive reputations and park adjustments, I just can't see how you can come up with Cabrera as more valuable. Forget War etc....they had roughly equivalent performance with the bat, Cabrera adds 20 games played vs better defense, elite baserunning, and tougher park to hit in.


They are probably showing Cabrera with a huge edge on offense, not the slight one suggested by traditional stats that allow Trout to leap past Cabrera because of speed and defense. Instead of looking at .330 average, 40 doubles, 44 homers, etc. they are probably looking at something like "ball hit x mph off bat, at y degree angle..." with whatever variables their datasystem gives them. Give some amount of credit for each ball hit, regardless of whether it was a hit or an out. This is not a new idea, they talked about it in Moneyball, the platonic ideal of a double, etc.
   31. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: March 05, 2013 at 03:12 PM (#4381264)
It cannot make them different relative to each other.


well it can- a little- due to Cabrera's PT advantage...

I suspect that the big factor may be this:

.337/.422/.618 vs. .277/.338/.446

that is Cabrera versus Trout in "late and close" situations...

but then again Trout still beat Cabrera in WPA (and so did Willingham)




   32. jyjjy Posted: March 05, 2013 at 03:14 PM (#4381267)
I never understood Oasis. Mixing now insipid Beatles and Bowie tropes with power balladry... I guess catchy enough radio fodder but I can't understand why anyone took them particular seriously in an artistic sense.
   33. cardsfanboy Posted: March 05, 2013 at 03:15 PM (#4381268)
Huh? If you are using replacement level instead of average for defense, you're just using a lower baseline. That would make Cabrera look better, but also makes Trout look better. It cannot make them different relative to each other.


Yes it would, Cabrera played in more games. He is penalized by his defense being compared to average as he doesn't get "pluses" for the more games played. As an example. Say Cabrera played 161 games in the field, his defensive component was -.01 per game played relative to average..that works out to a fielding rating of -1.61. Now lets look at Trout who we'll say was a + .02 per game defender in 110 games played, that works out to a fielding rating of 2.2, a difference of 3.81.. make it replacement level, say -.03 per game played relative to average as the baseline. Giving Miggy a defensive value of 3.22 vs 5.5 for Trout. Making the difference 2.28...note all numbers designed to illustrate a point, not actual numbers or methodology used.

Note: Yes Trout played in 139 games, but at 29+ of those were effectively at a lesser important defensive position than third base, and it's also arguable that even elite playing there is not as valuable as slightly below average at third...and again, my point is that if they measured on a different scale, it could indicate why they came up with what they did.
   34. jyjjy Posted: March 05, 2013 at 03:24 PM (#4381277)
"world-ranked squash player,"

Curse yourself for you missed a chance to work with The Eradicator;

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qFO1O020uyw
   35. AROM Posted: March 05, 2013 at 05:06 PM (#4381395)
#33, I see what you did there and I understand the 110 games is for sake of example, not Trout's actual games. Cabrera is playing 50% more games, so he gets a 50% greater credit for replacement level vs. average.

Before I continue, I need to make sure I have the correct assumption - are you suggesting that an average defender playing 160 games is worth .03 wins per game, or 4.8 wins per year? Or should I read that as 4.8 runs (0.48 wins)?
   36. Mike Emeigh Posted: March 05, 2013 at 05:50 PM (#4381459)
Exact quote from the article:

Zaidi and I were talking about this when he told me something that I found utterly staggering. He said that Oakland’s objective model for measuring a player’s value — remember now, we are talking about the Oakland A’s, the Moneyball people, Jonah Hill and so on — found that Miguel Cabrera, NOT Mike Trout, was more valuable in 2012.


-- MWE

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