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Monday, October 08, 2012

Posnanski: The Triple Trout

Mike Trout led the league in three categories that almost never go together: He led the league in runs scored, stolen bases and OPS+. Well, runs scored and stolen bases do go together ... but OPS+ changes the dynamic. Very few can also lead the league in that category…

Here are the players who have won the Triple Trout:

2011: Mike Trout: 129 runs, 49 stolen bases, 171 OPS+.
1990: Rickey Henderson: 119 runs, 65 stolen bases, 189 OPS+.
1958: Willie Mays, 121 runs, 31 stolen bases, 165 OPS+.
1945: Snuffy Stirnweiss, 107 runs, 33 stolen bases, 145 OPS+.
1915: Ty Cobb, 144 runs, 96 stolen bases, 185 OIPS+.
1911: Ty Cobb, 147 runs, 83 stolen bases, 196 OPS+.
1909: Ty Cobb, 116 runs, 76 stolen bases, 193 OPS+.
1902: Honus Wagner, 105 runs, 42 stolen, bases, 162 OPS+...

And now we list those seasons in order of Wins Above Replacement, which tries to take into account defense as well:

1. Mike Trout, 2011, 10.7
2. Ty Cobb, 1911, 10.6
3. Willie Mays, 1958, 10.0
4. Rickey Henderson, 1990, 9.8
5. Ty Cobb, 1909, 9.5
6. Ty Cobb, 1915, 9.3
7. Snuffy Stirnweiss, 1945, 8.2
8. Honus Wagner, 1902, 6.9

... Did Mike Trout, all things considered, have a better year than Miguel Cabrera? Did the fact that he got on base more and score more runs despite playing in a tougher hitting environment, steal many more bases, and play demonstrably better defense more than make up for the fact that Cabrera hit more homers, drove in more runs and hit for a higher average? Others are more fervent about this than I am, but I still say unequivocally yes: I think they both had off-the-chart seasons, but Trout’s was better. Trout’s season is the best overall year in baseball* the American League, I think, in about 20 years, or for just about as long as he has been alive.

* The Barry Bonds years are a whole different category.

The District Attorney Posted: October 08, 2012 at 01:35 PM | 73 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: angels, awards, history, joe posnanski, mike trout, sabermetrics

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   1. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: October 08, 2012 at 02:55 PM (#4259267)
   2. JJ1986 Posted: October 08, 2012 at 02:58 PM (#4259269)
If I were a writer, I'd vote for Robinson Cano for MVP. This whole Trout/Cabrera thing is getting really tiresome.
   3.     Hey Gurl Posted: October 08, 2012 at 03:00 PM (#4259272)
I didn't realize he was so good last year as well. impressive to put up so much war in so few games :-)
   4. zonk Posted: October 08, 2012 at 03:17 PM (#4259285)
I like to think that I know enough of my baseball history that you could give me the best player on paper in any given year and I'd be at least somewhat familiar with the name, but Snuffy Stirnweiss is a new one for me.

Looking at his bb-ref page, he seems to pretty clearly have been a 4A speedster who took advantage of being available during WWII -- he had a great 1944 and 1945 -- then immediately fell back to earth as a 4A player (maybe a bit better - he appears to have been a fine defensive 2B, so maybe he's more Darwin Barney than 4A) once the big leaguers who served came back.

Anyone else shed some light here? Sheer happenstance just leave him as a big fish in a small pond during WWII and then exposed as actually a little fish in a big pond once MLB was restocked?
   5. bunyon Posted: October 08, 2012 at 03:41 PM (#4259309)
I said this as a half-joke, but it's a shame only one of these guys will get an MVP while a guy in the NL, who had a worse season, will get one.
   6. winnipegwhip Posted: October 08, 2012 at 03:46 PM (#4259319)
Wow, as a former voter for the hall I just realized that Ty Cobb was pretty good. I wished I voted for him in 1936 when I had the chance. Instead I listened to those other three clowns who were discussing how Cobb was overrated because he wasn't a power hit and he was a defensive liability.
   7. TomH Posted: October 08, 2012 at 03:53 PM (#4259328)
R, RBI and OPS+ (or pick another rate stat if you wish) would be a fine Triple Crown, but even more rare. SB are cool, but putting them in some TC category is about as good as including doubles (or triples, pre-1920).
   8. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: October 08, 2012 at 04:12 PM (#4259350)
zonk

snuffy wasn't barney with the glove but he was solid. he kept a job after the war because the yanks had talent everywhere but second base. once coleman showed up he was in a fight for his job and i think he came out of spring training nursing an injury and coleman came out of the box hot.

i don't know if it was gut or nose causing him problems because those are what made him 4-f. i am sure you can find out more via google

   9. zonk Posted: October 08, 2012 at 04:29 PM (#4259374)
Thanks, HW --

Google's not forthcoming on his 4-f, but looks like he did die early in a big NJ commuter train accident at age 39... The rest of what I read makes him out to be a really big 'character' guy -- the hustle of Eckstein, the sportsmanship of...pick someone.
   10. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: October 08, 2012 at 04:34 PM (#4259377)
zonk

well i know he had stomach and sinus issues, the latter was the basis for his nickname. he was constantly sniffing or so folks wrote

   11. Steve N Posted: October 08, 2012 at 04:35 PM (#4259379)
I just checked and Stirnweiss wasn't so bad. His best years were the late war years but they were also his age 25 and 26 seasons when many are at their best. Until age 30, with the real players back, he still got on base pretty well, 340-360. Some speed. No idea about the quality of his D.
   12. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: October 08, 2012 at 04:40 PM (#4259386)
steve

he was above average. he wasn't gerry priddy but he did just fine
   13. cardsfanboy Posted: October 08, 2012 at 04:49 PM (#4259394)
I said this as a half-joke, but it's a shame only one of these guys will get an MVP while a guy in the NL, who had a worse season, will get one.


That is probably standard about half the time(where both the first and second best player is in the same league) Although I'm not sure that Posey is notably(if at all) worse season than either Cabrera or Cano.
   14. Mike Emeigh Posted: October 08, 2012 at 05:04 PM (#4259414)
he kept a job after the war because the yanks had talent everywhere but second base.


After the war, when Joe Gordon came back, Stirnweiss moved to third base for a year; he went back to second after Gordon was traded. Stirnweiss wasn't a favorite of Casey Stengel's because he wasn't especially good on the DP. Yankee 2Bs (mostly Stirnweiss) turned 114 DPs in 1947 and 110 in 1948; in 1949 with Coleman taking over they turned 136 and then 142 in 1950.

-- MWE
   15. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: October 08, 2012 at 05:16 PM (#4259435)
agreed

the yanks went from league average to well above average and that was coleman
   16. tshipman Posted: October 08, 2012 at 05:21 PM (#4259440)
This is a stupid point. Stolen bases are nowhere near as important to winning games as home runs, batting average or RBI.

I said this as a half-joke, but it's a shame only one of these guys will get an MVP while a guy in the NL, who had a worse season, will get one.


I'm very confident that Posey was better than Cano or Cabrera, and somewhat confident that he was better than Trout.
   17. The District Attorney Posted: October 08, 2012 at 05:21 PM (#4259441)
Damn, I keep screwing up the links on my submissions. Sorry.
   18. valuearbitrageur Posted: October 08, 2012 at 05:29 PM (#4259454)
The comments on Joe's article (on his site) make my head hurt.
   19. cardsfanboy Posted: October 08, 2012 at 05:36 PM (#4259475)
This is a stupid point. Stolen bases are nowhere near as important to winning games as home runs, batting average or RBI.


And batting average, homeruns or rbi aren't near as important to winning games as ops+...

Trout did lead the league in OPS+, SB and WPA (which is a crappy stat, but it's still massively better than rbi)
   20. Chris Fluit Posted: October 08, 2012 at 05:51 PM (#4259513)
I thought I'd look up the NL guys just for kicks but I only found two of them since 1900:

1958: Willie Mays: 121 R, 31 SB, 165 OPS+
1902: Honus Wagner: 105 RBI, 42 SB, 159 OPS+

Am I missing any?
   21. Group Captain Mandrake Posted: October 08, 2012 at 05:54 PM (#4259519)
I thought I'd look up the NL guys just for kicks but I only found two of them since 1900:

1958: Willie Mays: 121 R, 31 SB, 165 OPS+
1902: Honus Wagner: 105 RBI, 42 SB, 159 OPS+

Am I missing any?


Did you skip the intro?
   22. depletion Posted: October 08, 2012 at 06:02 PM (#4259529)
Snuffy Stirnweiss went to the high school of Frankie Frisch and Bruce Markusen.
This is a pretty lame conglomorated stat. Runs has the same team-weightedness as RBI. OPS+ is a rate stat: lame. Give me hits, HR, outs, walks, TB, SB and CS. In the field give me PO, A and E. By the way, Cabrera had way more PO+A than Trout.
   23. cardsfanboy Posted: October 08, 2012 at 06:04 PM (#4259532)
Snuffy Stirnweiss went to the high school of Frankie Frisch and Bruce Markusen.
This is a pretty lame conglomorated stat. Runs has the same team-weightedness as RBI. OPS+ is a rate stat: lame. Give me hits, HR, outs, walks, TB, SB and CS. In the field give me PO, A and E. By the way, Cabrera had way more PO+A than Trout.


You have to have at least one rate stat. You want to show both cumulative value at a high rate.
   24. JJ1986 Posted: October 08, 2012 at 06:05 PM (#4259534)
By the way, Cabrera had way more PO+A than Trout.


First baseman are the best fielders on the diamond!
   25. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: October 08, 2012 at 06:06 PM (#4259536)
Stirnweiss died at age 39 in a train crash

Stirnweiss was killed at age 39 when the passenger train he was on plunged off the CRRNJ Newark Bay Bridge between Elizabethport and Bayonne, New Jersey.
   26. BDC Posted: October 08, 2012 at 06:43 PM (#4259606)
Wow, I did not know that about Stirnweiss. That's awful, no matter how long ago it happened. I've never been on that bridge, I don't think, but I've been on a parcel of North Jersey train and auto bridges; most of them look like they're about to dissolve into rust at any moment. Must have been even worse in the day.
   27. Yastrzemski in left. Posted: October 08, 2012 at 07:29 PM (#4259660)
Those Barry Bonds years will be known as the X-BOX seasons.

I've always believed Barry should be celebrated for ENDING the steroids era with his unbelievable assault on the game. It could no longer be ignored. To the point the league FROZE OUT a man who had just finished his 42 year old season with the same OPS+ as young demi-God Mr. Trout just had. Ridiculous.

   28. Chris Fluit Posted: October 08, 2012 at 07:57 PM (#4259709)
I thought I'd look up the NL guys just for kicks but I only found two of them since 1900:

1958: Willie Mays: 121 R, 31 SB, 165 OPS+
1902: Honus Wagner: 105 RBI, 42 SB, 159 OPS+

Am I missing any?




Did you skip the intro?


Did you? The excerpt didn't include any mention of NL "Triple Trouts." It only included a list of AL winners chronologically and then by WAR. It did include a citation that this list is AL only with an irrelevant nod to Barry Bonds- irrelevant because the only AL player who won the Triple Trout during Bonds' peak years was Rickey Henderson in 1990 and no NL player won the Triple Trout during Bonds career, including Bonds who never led his league in stolen bases. So, while it may not interest you, it's certainly relevant to the article to wonder who might have won a "Triple Trout" in the NL.
   29. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: October 08, 2012 at 08:24 PM (#4259740)
Well, runs scored and stolen bases do go together ... but OPS+ changes the dynamic. Very few can also lead the league in that category.

It's one guy per year, just like the rest of the categories.

Give Trout the ROY, Cabrera the MVP and be done with it. I give Cabrera a lot of credit for hanging in there for 154 games at third base after not having played there in five years. By agreeing to change positions (which most superstars wouldn't have done) he created a lot of value for his team so they didn't have to take another Brandon Inge season in the shorts. Anybody who wants me to take Trout's 2.2 dWAR seriously after having screamed for years that one year defensive evaluations are inaccurate can forget about it.
   30. Sleepy supports unauthorized rambling Posted: October 08, 2012 at 08:58 PM (#4259789)
Give Trout the ROY, Cabrera the MVP and be done with it. I give Cabrera a lot of credit for hanging in there for 154 games at third base after not having played there in five years.


So give him the 3B silver slugger award. Or a gold glove.

I'd be curious to see a WPA, OPS+, bWAR triple crown compilation. Gut feel is that even though OPS+ and WAR are probably highly correlated, a lot of high-WPA guys are surprisingly low on the WPA scale, since they have so many opportunities to fail.

Trout was #1 in WPA this year, with Miggy 5th, according to fangraphs.

Is there a way to do "led the league" with b-ref PI search? If not, that would be a cool check box to add to the "Select Additional Criteria Games Must Match" dropdowns.
   31. Group Captain Mandrake Posted: October 08, 2012 at 09:12 PM (#4259828)
Did you? The excerpt didn't include any mention of NL "Triple Trouts." It only included a list of AL winners chronologically and then by WAR. It did include a citation that this list is AL only with an irrelevant nod to Barry Bonds- irrelevant because the only AL player who won the Triple Trout during Bonds' peak years was Rickey Henderson in 1990 and no NL player won the Triple Trout during Bonds career, including Bonds who never led his league in stolen bases. So, while it may not interest you, it's certainly relevant to the article to wonder who might have won a "Triple Trout" in the NL.


???

Mike Trout led the league in three categories that almost never go together: He led the league in runs scored, stolen bases and OPS+. Well, runs scored and stolen bases do go together ... but OPS+ changes the dynamic. Very few can also lead the league in that category…

Here are the players who have won the Triple Trout:

2011: Mike Trout: 129 runs, 49 stolen bases, 171 OPS+.
1990: Rickey Henderson: 119 runs, 65 stolen bases, 189 OPS+.
1958: Willie Mays, 121 runs, 31 stolen bases, 165 OPS+.
1945: Snuffy Stirnweiss, 107 runs, 33 stolen bases, 145 OPS+.
1915: Ty Cobb, 144 runs, 96 stolen bases, 185 OIPS+.
1911: Ty Cobb, 147 runs, 83 stolen bases, 196 OPS+.
1909: Ty Cobb, 116 runs, 76 stolen bases, 193 OPS+.
1902: Honus Wagner, 105 runs, 42 stolen, bases, 162 OPS+...


The first thing you see on this page after the title.
   32. Moeball Posted: October 08, 2012 at 09:12 PM (#4259831)
I'm very confident that Posey was better than Cano or Cabrera, and somewhat confident that he was better than Trout.


tshipman - how much positional credit do you give catchers? I know they usually get shortchanged in the WAR calculations because as a rule catchers aren't going to play 150-160 games a season due to the brutality of the position.

Also, out of curiosity - do you see Posey making up the gap on the others (Cabrera, Cano, Trout) offensively or defensively (i.e., where do you see him getting shafted the most)?
   33. Chris Fluit Posted: October 08, 2012 at 09:23 PM (#4259848)
Okay. I'm stupid. Sorry bout that.
   34. djordan Posted: October 08, 2012 at 10:08 PM (#4259957)
@ Robert, agree on the dWAR. That's why you throw in a bunch of defensive metrics at once. dWAR, UZR, RF/9, maybe a couple others that aren't too complicated - this will give you a pretty solid picture of who were the top defensive players in the game. In isolation, no one metric is amazing. As a group, they're pretty good. The best part, for me, about using 4-5 at a time, it removes certain sheds light on outlier stats for certain players.
   35. djordan Posted: October 08, 2012 at 10:12 PM (#4259970)
@ Moeball, for my site, to evaluate Gold Glove catchers, I use the formula "dWAR+RF/9+rSB+RPP, where rSB = Stolen Base Runs Saved measures how many “runs” a catcher contributes to their team by throwing out runners and preventing runners from attempting steals in the first place.

RPP = First calculated by Bojan Koprivica, Passed Pitch Runs (RPP) calculates the number of runs above / below average a catcher is at blocking pitches.

My winners were Matt Wieters & Ryan Hanigan by an absolute nose over Molina. Steve Slowinski wrote an awesome piece on this for FANGRAPHS = http://www.fangraphs.com/library/index.php/defense/catcher-defense/
   36. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: October 08, 2012 at 10:18 PM (#4259977)
dWAR+RF/9+rSB+RPP

You realize that RF/9 for catchers is almost entirely dependent on the strikeout totals of their pitching staffs?
   37. djordan Posted: October 08, 2012 at 10:31 PM (#4259989)
Almost, but not entirely. Again, it's just another element in the pot. It is a fair question to see how much the needle moves if I remove it, or at the very least, sprinkle in an element of BIP to RF/9 as I do with Pitcher Defense. Thanks, Eric - you just made the formula better.
   38. cardsfanboy Posted: October 08, 2012 at 10:52 PM (#4260032)
By agreeing to change positions (which most superstars wouldn't have done)


Where does that come from? Which superstars who have been asked to move, didn't? I'll give you Hanley Ramirez didn't want to move and fought it, but in the end did move. But history is full of superstars/hof level players who moved positions. Off the top of my head you have Biggio, Chipper, Arod, Pujols, Pete Rose, Yount, Ernie Banks, (most centerfielders, but they moved after they were probably not superstars)

I'm not sure there is any case of a superstar not moving who has been asked. I think that would be the exception not the rule.

That is not a knock against the move of course, just don't think it's anything unique.
   39. Tuque Posted: October 08, 2012 at 11:08 PM (#4260054)
There's a novel to be written about this Stirnweiss guy. It's too bad I've never written a novel.
   40. vortex of dissipation Posted: October 08, 2012 at 11:10 PM (#4260059)
Where does that come from? Which superstars who have been asked to move, didn't? I'll give you Hanley Ramirez didn't want to move and fought it, but in the end did move. But history is full of superstars/hof level players who moved positions. Off the top of my head you have Biggio, Chipper, Arod, Pujols, Pete Rose, Yount, Ernie Banks, (most centerfielders, but they moved after they were probably not superstars)

I'm not sure there is any case of a superstar not moving who has been asked. I think that would be the exception not the rule.

That is not a knock against the move of course, just don't think it's anything unique.


One of the examples most similar to Cabrera is of Hank Greenberg, who moved from first base to left field for the Tigers to get Rudy York's bat into the line-up.
   41. McCoy Posted: October 08, 2012 at 11:17 PM (#4260072)
I'm not sure there is any case of a superstar not moving who has been asked. I think that would be the exception not the rule.

Well, generally if you've got a superstar who you asked to move but said no you don't advertise that.

But Dimaggio wasn't going to and didn't move for Mickey Mantle.
   42. Don Malcolm Posted: October 08, 2012 at 11:18 PM (#4260076)
Shouldn't this "stat" be named for the player who achieved it the greatest number of times? At this moment, that's Ty Cobb. Let's anoint Trout for such an honor after he's done it a couple more times, Joe.
   43. Yastrzemski in left. Posted: October 08, 2012 at 11:19 PM (#4260078)
Jeter is still at short. You think they didn't even ask?
   44. McCoy Posted: October 08, 2012 at 11:26 PM (#4260082)
Was it Fisk who basically pouted out in LF when they moved him off of the catcher position?
   45. eric Posted: October 08, 2012 at 11:36 PM (#4260100)
Re: stirnweiss

I've heard of him because I recently researched (ie, spent 2 mins looking on BBREF) the lowest batting average champions. Everyone knows Yaz's .301 in 1968 is the record lowest champion, but who's 2nd? 3rd?

.301 Yaz 1968
.308 Elmer Flick 1905
.309 Snuffy Stirnweiss 1945
.313 Tony Gwynn 1988
.316 Frank Robinson 1966
.318 Rod Carew 1972
.319 Terry Pendleton 1991

Those are all the ones under .320 afaik. Maybe missed someone.
   46. Walt Davis Posted: October 08, 2012 at 11:50 PM (#4260110)
I know they usually get shortchanged in the WAR calculations because as a rule catchers aren't going to play 150-160 games a season due to the brutality of the position.

How is that "shortchanging" Cs? They play less, they contribute less value. It's just the nature of the game. It's like saying starting pitchers are shortchanged because they only pitch 6-7 innings.

And given this seems to be in reference to Posey, I note the man only made 111 starts at C. That's not a lot. He got another 29 starts at 1B and 3 more at DH.

By the way, you guys wanna get worked up about defensive measurement, how about that Ryan Hanigan beating out Molina even though Hanigan had only 98 starts to Molina's 133? He's the Mike Trout of Cs I tell ya.

Anybody who wants me to take Trout's 2.2 dWAR seriously after having screamed for years that one year defensive evaluations are inaccurate can forget about it.

a) Defense is highly variable from year to year in large part because the samples are small. That does not mean that the value estimated in any given sample is wrong, it means that the next sample might give you a very different reading. This is every bit as true for Cabrera as it is for Trout.

b) One-year defensive evaluations aren't "inaccurate" they are unreliable for prediction purposes -- because they are small samples. That is to say, Trout's defensive performance this year in a small sample is not an accurate (in a variance sense) indicator of his true defensive talent. From a statistical point of view, that has nothing to do with bias which is what you're suggesting. From an MVP point of view, neither true talent nor projected future production are what the MVP is about.

c) For those of you who like to complain about the accuracy of defensive evaluations in small samples, do you expect any of us to believe that Miguel Cabrera is an average 3B?

d) For those of you who like to complain about the accuracy of defensive evaluations do you expect any of us to believe that Mike Trout was not a vastly superior defender to Miguel Cabrera this year?

e) Speaking of Triple Crown stats, I recall MGL looking at year-to-year correlation in UZR (in whatever version it was at the time) and showing it was about the same as year-to-year correlation in BA.

e) Miguel Cabrera's production this year was lower than 2011 or 2010. He finished 5th in the MVP last year despite being closer in WAR to everybody who finished ahead of him than he is to Trout this year. Why weren't you whining last year?

By the way, here is the variation, year to year, in Cabrera's Rbat -- y'know, the part you guys think is much more accurate than defensive stats:

2005 +16 (i.e. 16 runs higher than 2004)
2006 +9
2007 -15
2008 -14
2009 +17
2010 +15
2011 +10
2012 -13

This is the sort of variation that people point to in Rfield and scream "this is crazy! the defensive measures are useless!"

It's not just Cabrera, here's Ryan Braun:

-13
+20
-14
+24
-9

Guy can't decide if he wants to get better or worse.

Which of the following is Cano's year-to-year changes in Rbat and which in Rfield?

+10 +18
-3 +27
-28 -35
+33 +12
+14 +16
-9 -15
+17 +14

If you prefer the raw numbers (base year included) the SD of the first series is 16.7 and the other is 15.2. Given he conveniently lines up his drops in offense with his drops in defense and vice versa, I would guess Cano is the most variable WAR player.

For Cabrera, the SD on his Rbat is 13.6 and on his Rfield is 5.6. Even Pujols 2003-10, one of the most consistent hitters we've ever seen, had a Rbat SD of 8 and a Rfield SD of 9.

Now don't get in a tizzy, these are both the outcomes of something resembling a binomial process so that the SD on the counts is similar while the number of fielding chances is usually smaller than batting chances does mean that the defensive numbers still have more variability in them -- i.e. as sample size goes up, the variance of the count goes up (all else equal) but the variance on the estimated rate of success goes down. But these aren't orders of magnitude different. If you feel the defensive numbers have crazy variability in them, you should also believe the batting numbers have crazy variability in them.

None of this addresses bias but I don't recall any of the WAR critics around here offering any explanation why there is a bias. (There was at least one study of bias in recording of hit type and location by due to sightlines of the press box. I have no idea how Anaheim and Detroit fared in that study. And whether this was actually bias or measurement error I can't say.)
   47. cardsfanboy Posted: October 09, 2012 at 12:06 AM (#4260148)
Jeter is still at short. You think they didn't even ask?


Honestly, no I don't think they asked him. I don't know if he would move or not, but I honestly don't think he was asked when Arod came over, and it's not like he has any place to go to now.
   48. cardsfanboy Posted: October 09, 2012 at 12:09 AM (#4260149)
e) Speaking of Triple Crown stats, I recall MGL looking at year-to-year correlation in UZR (in whatever version it was at the time) and showing it was about the same as year-to-year correlation in BA.


I wonder if there is any relationship between a players fluctuating average and his defense? What I mean, is if a guy is having a good year with a bat, that could be indicative he is having a good year with his hand eye coordination/physical health/whatever and that could indicate his defense is also going to be good.

I imagine there is no correlation between those two, but I do think it might be interesting to know.

edit: or is that what you meant in the excerpt I quoted?(I wasn't sure if you were saying that they correlated in pairs or that their variance from year to year was about the same)
   49. McCoy Posted: October 09, 2012 at 12:15 AM (#4260150)
Honestly, no I don't think they asked him. I don't know if he would move or not, but I honestly don't think he was asked when Arod came over, and it's not like he has any place to go to now.


I can't see how there wasn't a discussion leading up to the trade or after the trade. The Yankees were looking to add another SS and I can't see how the subject wasn't brought up to either one of them.
   50. tshipman Posted: October 09, 2012 at 12:32 AM (#4260157)
tshipman - how much positional credit do you give catchers? I know they usually get shortchanged in the WAR calculations because as a rule catchers aren't going to play 150-160 games a season due to the brutality of the position.

Also, out of curiosity - do you see Posey making up the gap on the others (Cabrera, Cano, Trout) offensively or defensively (i.e., where do you see him getting shafted the most)?


Well, first of all, at least according to the BBref WAR, there is no gap between Posey and Cabrera. Posey's better. So that one's easy.

Posey vs. Cano: Most of the difference between them I see being captured on defense. Posey had a better year offensively, and catcher is a more valuable position than 2b. In addition, there's a slightly ridiculous 7 run gap in replacement level. I don't know why that is.

Trout: I think there's some goofyness with the park factor for Anaheim. I am also somewhat skeptical of his defense, and again, replacement is very high for him. In addition, there's just the sort of inherent underweighting of catchers in WAR. To me, mentally, I add about 1 WAR to a great catcher season. That puts them very close together.

I realize that most people probably wouldn't agree. In effect, to me, the difference between Posey and Cano/Trout is that Posey had a better year offensively than either of them and that he plays a more valuable position that we don't totally understand how to measure defense on. The stuff above from djordan is a good example.
   51. Random Transaction Generator Posted: October 09, 2012 at 01:02 AM (#4260160)
I'm not sure there is any case of a superstar not moving who has been asked. I think that would be the exception not the rule.


He's not a superstar by any imagination, but the year after George Bell won the MVP award, Jimy Williams tried to get Bell to play DH (instead of the OF) and he refused.
He played all of 7 games at the position in 1988.
   52. PreservedFish Posted: October 09, 2012 at 01:25 AM (#4260162)
I realize that most people probably wouldn't agree. In effect, to me, the difference between Posey and Cano/Trout is that Posey had a better year offensively than either of them and that he plays a more valuable position that we don't totally understand how to measure defense on.


And, you're a Giants fan.
   53. tshipman Posted: October 09, 2012 at 01:51 AM (#4260166)
And, you're a Giants fan.


Do you think Johnny Bench deserved to win an MVP award? WAR doesn't.

How about Mike Piazza? His 1997 where he had an 1.070 OPS in Dodger Stadium? Nope. 2000 when he had a 1.000 OPS in Shea? 4.9 WAR. Less valuable than Bryce Harper was this year.

Yogi Berra should have never even finished 5th place in the MVP voting. Same for Campanella, Mickey Cochrane, Ivan Rodriguez, etc. etc. etc.

WAR basically thinks that no catcher should ever win the MVP. I was talking about this long before Posey was a candidate for this year's MVP. There's significant uncertainty surrounding evaluating catcher defense and WAR punts on most of it.

Edit: If you'd prefer a career view, do you honestly think that Larry Walker was around as good a player for his career as Johnny Bench?
   54. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: October 09, 2012 at 02:05 AM (#4260169)
One-year defensive evaluations aren't "inaccurate" they are unreliable for prediction purposes -- because they are small samples.

You had a good head of steam until here and then...fail. Evaluating a players contribution on the defensive side of the ledger is an inaccurate calculation at the moment. We all wish that wasn't true, but it is. We know this is true because there are a even the most respected defensive metrics out there contradict each other all over the place. You will not see oWAR saying X is a very good hitter and OPS+ saying he's slightly below average. This happens all the time with our defensive metrics. Offensive value can be captured very accurately. Performance varies, and yes BABIP luck varies, but our ability to measure the actual value created is very good.
   55. valuearbitrageur Posted: October 09, 2012 at 04:35 AM (#4260178)
Both BBref and Fangraphs agree that Trout was the more valuable offensive player over Cabrera and Posey this year, you don't have to get your panties in a bunch over defense, positional adjustments, or park effects. It's just not even close.

But I like the idea of giving bonus points to sucky third basemen for agreeing to be regularly embarrassed at third, or catchers too brittle to catch very often. If you think about it, I'm pretty sure A-Rod is the MVP, he deserves triple bonus points for being brittle, moving positions, and he's a Yankee!
   56. Athletic Supporter can feel the slow rot Posted: October 09, 2012 at 05:14 AM (#4260180)
WAR basically thinks that no catcher should ever win the MVP.


Yes, catchers start out behind because their playing time is much less, but that legitimately makes them less valuable players. Catchers are at a disadvantage because they play 140 games instead of 160, just like relievers are at a disadvantage because they pitch 120 leveraged innings instead of 200. If we're actually trying to figure out who the most valuable player is, those are both relevant and should not be adjusted away. (Defense is another question.)

Also, again (not directed at tshipman), if you don't think Mike Trout is a fantastic defender, you haven't watched him play. It's very obvious from the eye test that he is excellent out there, +2.2 wins above an average CF does not seem at all implausible and actually seems a bit low to me (that represents catching a fly ball that the average CF would let drop for a double about once every 7 games).
   57. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: October 09, 2012 at 07:08 AM (#4260186)
In addition, there's a slightly ridiculous 7 run gap in replacement level. I don't know why that is.

League quality adjustment, if memory serves.
   58. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: October 09, 2012 at 07:40 AM (#4260191)
not to pile on but questioning trout's defense is strange stuff. i hooked onto the kid pretty quickly just by chance catching him in early may in a game where he hit a homer and a double and he just struck me as a real player. i must have watched over 70 angels games via mlb extra innings just to watch mike trout play baseball.

he's tremendous. and his defense is wonderful. the worst criticism i heard was from a guy who used to scout for the brewers who said maybe gary pettis was better for the angels.

if you are in the same discussion as gary pettis you can play defense
   59. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: October 09, 2012 at 07:47 AM (#4260195)
and for the record i am a strong supporter of posey winning the nl mvp

i do not think posey was better than mike trout this season.
   60. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: October 09, 2012 at 07:53 AM (#4260198)
and did anyone check out what trout did against the rangers? 19 games, 21 runs scored, 6 homers, 17 rbi and 7 stolen bases and never caught. that's a season for most guys. he was ordinary against the a's but man did he give texas a hard time
   61. McCoy Posted: October 09, 2012 at 09:21 AM (#4260257)
League quality adjustment, if memory serves.


Not just league quality which accounts for about 4 of those runs but playing time as well. Cano got almost 700 PA while Posey got 610. A player in the NL with a similar amount of PA as Cano would get 20 runs in replacement value whereas in the AL they get 24 runs. In the NL 610 PA would get you 17 runs while in the AL it would get you about 20 runs.
   62. Cooper Nielson Posted: October 09, 2012 at 10:16 AM (#4260306)
Where does that come from? Which superstars who have been asked to move, didn't? I'll give you Hanley Ramirez didn't want to move and fought it, but in the end did move. But history is full of superstars/hof level players who moved positions. Off the top of my head you have Biggio, Chipper, Arod, Pujols, Pete Rose, Yount, Ernie Banks, (most centerfielders, but they moved after they were probably not superstars)

I'm not sure there is any case of a superstar not moving who has been asked. I think that would be the exception not the rule.

That is not a knock against the move of course, just don't think it's anything unique.


I think one thing that makes this "more unique" (sorry, English pedants) is that Cabrera was asked to move to a more difficult position, one where there was a high possibility of him looking bad and being embarrassed. Superstars have moved all the time, yes, but usually it's a matter of them moving down the defensive spectrum due to aging or better defenders joining the team.

I imagine it's fairly rare for a superstar 1B who's not even considered particularly good defensively to move to a harder position.

And Michael Young's another example of a "star" who loudly complained when he was asked to change positions
   63. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: October 09, 2012 at 10:25 AM (#4260322)
hank greenberg is an obvious example

cooper, you keep beating this position move as if it puts up cabrera up for baseball sainthood.

the player handled it well. good for him. but your posts seem to suggest you want mvp voters to give cabrera a special boost that somehow closes the gap between his and trout's actual performance to make it 'even' and then the special nature of the triple crown puts mc over the top.

that is how i am reading things

and frankly, that's dumb
   64. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: October 09, 2012 at 10:27 AM (#4260324)
cooper

i am conflating your posts all together, not just this thread
   65. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: October 09, 2012 at 10:46 AM (#4260351)
dumb is excessively harsh

and i am likely misreading things
   66. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: October 09, 2012 at 10:54 AM (#4260370)
Here are the players who have won the Triple Trout:

2011: Mike Trout: 129 runs, 49 stolen bases, 171 OPS+.
1990: Rickey Henderson: 119 runs, 65 stolen bases, 189 OPS+.
1958: Willie Mays, 121 runs, 31 stolen bases, 165 OPS+.
1945: Snuffy Stirnweiss, 107 runs, 33 stolen bases, 145 OPS+.
1915: Ty Cobb, 144 runs, 96 stolen bases, 185 OIPS+.
1911: Ty Cobb, 147 runs, 83 stolen bases, 196 OPS+.
1909: Ty Cobb, 116 runs, 76 stolen bases, 193 OPS+.
1902: Honus Wagner, 105 runs, 42 stolen, bases, 162 OPS+...


I realize that there've already been several comments above about Stirnweiss, but I just wanted to say that the totally incongruous presence of Snuffy Stirnweiss's name in a list that includes Trout, Henderson, Mays, Cobb and Wagner justifies the entire column. I'd defy even Bill James to be able to be able to name the sixth player on that list.
   67. fra paolo Posted: October 09, 2012 at 11:22 AM (#4260406)
We know this is true because there are a even the most respected defensive metrics out there contradict each other all over the place.

I wouldn't put it like that. Those who read my comments about how AL 3b ranked this year according to various defensive metrics might also be interested to note that Michael Humphrys' Defensive Regression Analysis (described in great detail in his book Wizardry) also places Beltre at the bottom of the list of AL 3bs. (BPro's FRAA is the other culprit.)

Basically, there's some discrepancy between zone-based metrics (UZR and DRS/dWAR) and metrics based on adjusting traditional stats (DRA and FRAA). Win Shares provides a third approach, but is closer to the latter than the former.

One way Win Shares departs from DRA and FRAA is in the treatment of double plays, which Win Shares gives weight to and I don't think FRAA does. DRA certainly doesn't. UZR and DRS differ, for example, on how to handle the shift. Brett Lawrie's rating is a good barometer for that. These are all things on which a person can form an opinion about which system handles better.

We greatly exaggerate the problems with defensive systems in terms of achieving an historical accounting when comparing players at the same position. The problem, to me, emerges when comparing a CF vs a 3b vs a C, for example. Almost certainly, the catcher inherently offers vastly more defensive value than either of the other two, and the 3b probably offers more than the CF, even before you start looking at any actual numbers for the specific players. Which system accounts best for that?
   68. valuearbitrageur Posted: October 09, 2012 at 12:41 PM (#4260495)
Almost certainly, the catcher inherently offers vastly more defensive value than either of the other two, and the 3b probably offers more than the CF, even before you start looking at any actual numbers for the specific players


I find both of these implausible. While catching is important, it's also mandatory. You have to field someone who can take the punishment for most of a season, and teams are forced to compromise offense at the position because of that, not just defensive value. But I can also see in the volume of plays how good catchers can contribute a great deal defensively.

But third base is a reaction position. Doesnt seem like a good third basemen can make more extra plays than a top centerfielder can.
   69. fra paolo Posted: October 09, 2012 at 12:56 PM (#4260512)
it's also mandatory

Of course, but that's the issue. What value does one assign to a player just for being there and going through the motions? We assign negative value to the typical pitcher's AB (an out). Should we assign positive value to a fielder making a routine play?

Of the defensive systems, Win Shares probably assigns the most value to routine fielding. If one doesn't think that's worth very much, don't use Win Shares, even to average things out.
   70. Cooper Nielson Posted: October 09, 2012 at 01:48 PM (#4260573)
dumb is excessively harsh

and i am likely misreading things


You're definitely misreading things here. I was simply replying to cardsfanboy's questions. I think it's fairly rare for a superstar to cheerfully move to a more difficult position when almost everything thinks he will be bad at it. Greenberg moved to left field. That's arguably no more difficult than first base. I'm sure there have been others that did what Cabrera did (Kevin Youkilis for one, though the circumstances were a little different), but it's not particularly common. This is not like an old Cal Ripken moving to third base or an old George Brett moving to first base.

You're also misreading (or over-reading) my posts over the past month, or conflating them with something you heard/read somewhere else. I have never, ever said that Cabrera was more deserving of MVP this year than Mike Trout, and frankly I'm not sure why you think that. My attitude toward the Triple Crown was "it would be cool if he does it" but I never suggested it should have any impact on the 2012 AL MVP race. The strongest statement I made in the MVP (non-)debate was that I'm skeptical that the difference between Cabrera and Trout is actually 4 wins. That seems like too big a gap. But I never said the gap didn't exist.

I've said nice things about Cabrera but haven't said anything bad about Trout except an offhand (and actually tongue-in-cheek) comment that moving to 3B in spring training would have been difficult for Trout too -- but because he's an outfielder, not because he's terrible!

I'm a big Tiger fan and thus a big Cabrera fan, and I think the way he handled the move to 3B was admirable. He didn't complain, he didn't hesitate, and I believe he must have worked hard, because he certainly wasn't as bad as most people expected.

I don't like how some people who support Trout/sabermetrics feel like they have to denigrate Cabrera to make their point. (They shouldn't have to. Trout's performance more than speaks for itself.) When people here and elsewhere call Cabrera "a sucky third baseman" or "by any measure one of the absolute worst defensive players in baseball" who is "pulling a Bobby Bonilla impression," has "work ethic issues" and "runs with a piano on his back" and has had "various drunk driving incidents," I feel like someone should be there to defend him.
   71. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: October 09, 2012 at 01:57 PM (#4260586)
cooper

thanks for the response

   72. Walt Davis Posted: October 10, 2012 at 01:57 AM (#4261437)
Almost certainly, the catcher inherently offers vastly more defensive value than either of the other two, and the 3b probably offers more than the CF,

Why? If Cs are so valuable defensively, we would see a bigger gap in offense between C and other positions. Top defensive Cs who can't hit are bench players or borderline starters.

I am fine with the idea that WAR doesn't capture much of the variation in C defense, this is probably true for now. That doesn't mean it doesn't capture the variation between positions which one can measure via offensive differences. And of course we have no way of knowing if these unmeasured bits of C defense would help or hurt Posey whose defense is measured against the average C.

Interesting, AL CF this year hit better than RF and LF and the same as DH.
   73. Cooper Nielson Posted: October 10, 2012 at 06:25 AM (#4261451)
Interesting, AL CF this year hit better than RF and LF and the same as DH.

A rising Trout lifts all boats?

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