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Thursday, November 08, 2018

Red Sox: Bill James “is not an employee nor does he speak for the club”

People are losing their minds over James’ tweets. Of course, people lose their minds over all kinds of stupid stuff, so I shouldn’t be surprised. Anyway, Craig has the important links and info.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 08, 2018 at 02:03 PM | 182 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: bill james, mlbpa

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   101. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: November 09, 2018 at 11:28 AM (#5784872)
Average 1987 NFL attendance during the player strike: 23,626

So you're saying a whole bunch of fans still came out to watch inferior players?


Sure, but nearly 100% of those fans had paid for their tickets before the season started, and could get refunds only in person. And the TV ratings tanked.

I'm not saying the new MLB would go on without a hitch under this scenario (though I think it's largely true under the foolish one Bill proposed). But, yes, some fans would stay loyal to the team.

Sure, just as the top minor league teams will draw about 6000 to 9000 fans a game, fans who are paying minor league prices to be able to watch future Major League players.

Would this newly formed Laundry League attract fans at Major League prices? Color me extremely doubtful. Would they be able to get cable contracts for even 10% of what they get today? Not likely.

As Lincoln might have put it, you can call minor league players "Major Leaguers", but that doesn't make them Major League ballplayers.
   102. SoSH U at work Posted: November 09, 2018 at 11:47 AM (#5784899)
Would this newly formed Laundry League attract fans at Major League prices?


Probably not. Nor would the other league.

What you would see would be both sides damaged (similar to what we saw in the CART/Indy Car split in racing in the 1990s. The best racers followed CART, the IRL had the Indy 500, the split hammered the sport, but the IRL "won" and the league with the best drivers folded and rejoined Tony George's circuit).

We have football fans who claim to have dropped the sport because a frizzy-haired guy took a knee during a terrible song. You have fans who routinely take the owners side over the greedy players in any contract dispute. The idea that every fan, or even a super majority, is simply looking to watch the greatest athletes perform at the highest level is belied by any number of instances. You might go. Tom might go. Some would stay. And some would offer a pox on both their houses and watch something else.

And it depends on the sport. Basketball? I think basketball fans would almost all follow the best players, because that's the nature of the fan base (seriously, it has to be, given how 90 percent of the league has no chance of winning a title every season). MLB, on the other hand, is undeniably a local sport.
   103. McCoy Posted: November 09, 2018 at 12:20 PM (#5784920)
IRL and CART both suffered and CART went under while IRL didn't mostly because one was better funded than the other. Having the Indy500 in your back pocket probably helps with that because other than that race nobody in America gives a damn about formula one racing. It also appears that people basically don't give a damn about the Indy 500 nowadays as well since the ratings for that is in the toilet as well. I don't think it should come as a surprise that NASCAR had its ascendancy at a time when Indy racing was split.
   104. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: November 09, 2018 at 12:25 PM (#5784923)
Would this newly formed Laundry League attract fans at Major League prices?

Probably not. Nor would the other league.

What you would see would be both sides damaged (similar to what we saw in the CART/Indy Car split in racing in the 1990s. The best racers followed CART, the IRL had the Indy 500, the split hammered the sport, but the IRL "won" and the league with the best drivers folded and rejoined Tony George's circuit).


I don't follow auto racing, but I'd certainly agree that while a Players League would have a better chance of catching on than a Laundry League, all of the above scenarios would cause lasting damage to baseball.

We have football fans who claim to have dropped the sport because a frizzy-haired guy took a knee during a terrible song. You have fans who routinely take the owners side over the greedy players in any contract dispute.

Sure, but none of those cases involve having to make a choice between the sort of alternatives that Villageidiom posed.

The idea that every fan, or even a super majority, is simply looking to watch the greatest athletes perform at the highest level is belied by any number of instances. You might go. Tom might go. Some would stay. And some would offer a pox on both their houses and watch something else.

Just to be clear, it'd take me a while to adjust to seeing those 750 players distributed in random order to 30 newly formed teams. OTOH if the 25 former Yankees were to form the start-from-scratch New York franchise, and the other 725 players likewise wound up in their previous cities, my transition would be seamless. IOW how fast I'd adjust would depend on the details of the Players League setup.

But in either event, I'd never pay to watch a Laundry League that was made up exclusively of minor league players, any more than I'd watch the 2019 Yankees if their roster were exchanged for the top 25 players in their minor league system. To me, "laundry" = uniforms + history + a high degree of year-to-year roster continuity. The uniform itself is a nice symbol of the entire enterprise, but at bottom it's no more than a symbol, and without the rest of the package it's just an historical artifact.
   105. SoSH U at work Posted: November 09, 2018 at 12:27 PM (#5784925)
But in either event, I'd never pay to watch a Laundry League that was made up exclusively of minor league players, any more than I'd watch the 2019 Yankees if their roster were exchanged for the top 25 players in their minor league system. To me, "laundry" = uniforms + history + a high degree of year-to-year roster continuity. The uniform itself is a nice symbol of the entire enterprise, but at bottom it's no more than a symbol, and without the rest of the package it's just an historical artifact.


Sure. But don't pretend your view is anything close to universal.

Sure, but none of those cases involve having to make a choice between the sort of alternatives that Villageidiom posed.


There are no exact parallels. All of these things just demonstrate that a) the reactions of fans vary significantly to all sorts of stimulus and b) they're not always rational.
   106. BDC Posted: November 09, 2018 at 12:29 PM (#5784927)
I'd never pay to watch a Laundry League that was made up exclusively of minor league players, any more than I'd watch the 2019 Yankees if their roster were exchanged for the top 25 players in their minor league system


I only wish the Rangers would exchange their roster for 25 random minor leaguers.
   107. McCoy Posted: November 09, 2018 at 12:41 PM (#5784935)
The Cubs saw their attendance cut in half with the arrival of the Whales and the White Sox saw about a 25% decrease in attendance. The Pirates saw a 50% decrease. The Cardinals actually saw an increase but then again barely anyone was going to the games before 1914. The Browns barely dropped in 1914 but had about a 35% drop in 1915. The Terriers were dreadful in 1914 but were a good team in 1915 which could have had something to do with that. The Dodgers (Robins) saw a 66% drop in their attendance but were able to claw some of those losses back in 1915. The Dodgers were an improving team in 1915 and would go on to win the pennant the next year.
   108. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: November 09, 2018 at 12:43 PM (#5784937)
But in either event, I'd never pay to watch a Laundry League that was made up exclusively of minor league players, any more than I'd watch the 2019 Yankees if their roster were exchanged for the top 25 players in their minor league system. To me, "laundry" = uniforms + history + a high degree of year-to-year roster continuity. The uniform itself is a nice symbol of the entire enterprise, but at bottom it's no more than a symbol, and without the rest of the package it's just an historical artifact.

Sure. But don't pretend your view is anything close to universal.


Just what percentage of current MLB attendance figures do you think a Laundry League would draw in 2019, assuming that all existing season ticket holders had the right to cancel their purchases?

Personally I doubt if they'd get more than 20% or 25%, especially in the cities that are currently drawing well on the basis of successful teams with well known star players. And to reach even that number the teams would have to cut their prices dramatically, along with all the Mickey Mouse level parking fees, etc.

Again, they can call it whatever they want, but everyone would know it'd be minor league baseball they were selling.

And don't forget that the same group of fans that always complain about player salaries are also the ones who would complain the loudest if the owners of the Laundry League teams didn't drastically cut their prices to reflect their huge payroll cuts.

Sure, but none of those cases involve having to make a choice between the sort of alternatives that Villageidiom posed.

There are no exact parallels. All of these things just demonstrate that a) the reactions of fans vary significantly to all sorts of stimulus and b) they're not always rational.


I admit that my predictions are more of an imperfect art than a science, but I'd imagine we all hope that VI's hypothetical remains just a hypothetical.
   109. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: November 09, 2018 at 12:47 PM (#5784939)
an argument for why Bryce Harper is should get 400 million dollars, which is a ludicrously large claim on society's resources that no one is entitled to.
”Society” [sic] doesn’t have any resources. Harper will be getting this money from people voluntarily giving him money, which means he’s definitionally entitled to it.
Just because someone's skills are "entertaining" does not entitle them to the status of Croesus.
It literally does, if individuals decide such.
   110. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: November 09, 2018 at 12:47 PM (#5784940)
I'd never pay to watch a Laundry League that was made up exclusively of minor league players, any more than I'd watch the 2019 Yankees if their roster were exchanged for the top 25 players in their minor league system

I only wish the Rangers would exchange their roster for 25 random minor leaguers.


And I might say the same thing about the Orioles, but OTOH neither you nor I would be likely to pay anything remotely approaching current MLB ticket prices to watch those scab teams in action.

And if MLB thinks that attracting the "casual fan" now is a problem, let's see how many of that group would want to follow a sport with no players with recognizable names.
   111. McCoy Posted: November 09, 2018 at 12:56 PM (#5784944)
And I might say the same thing about the Orioles, but OTOH neither you nor I would be likely to pay anything remotely approaching current MLB ticket prices to watch those scab teams in action.


I routinely paid 24.50 to sit in the 200 level to watch what would be a 97 loss team play another 97 loss team
   112. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: November 09, 2018 at 12:57 PM (#5784947)
”Society” [sic]
...and there it is.
   113. base ball chick Posted: November 09, 2018 at 01:01 PM (#5784950)
ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: November 09, 2018 at 12:47 PM (#5784940)
I'd never pay to watch a Laundry League that was made up exclusively of minor league players, any more than I'd watch the 2019 Yankees if their roster were exchanged for the top 25 players in their minor league system

I only wish the Rangers would exchange their roster for 25 random minor leaguers.

And I might say the same thing about the Orioles, but OTOH neither you nor I would be likely to pay anything remotely approaching current MLB ticket prices to watch those scab teams in action.

And if MLB thinks that attracting the "casual fan" now is a problem, let's see how many of that group would want to follow a sport with no players with recognizable names.


- we already know that fans won't watch a MAJOR LEAGUE team filled with terrible major leaguers

if every single current major leaguer on the 25 man roster were immediately permanently banned from MLB, the owners would just call up the next best 750 players

as we have seen, the cable contracts already exist - for 3 years, the astros got a rating of ZERO on the cable channel
the astros had a couple thousand actual physical b odies in the seats

ticket prices did NOT go down - and, in fact, terrible teams do NOT decrease ticket prices

as long as stadia are paid for by tax dollars to billionaires and corporations buy the best seats and boxes, it wouldn't bother the owners one bit because their bills are paid and they'll make money, even if there are no fans

and the people who play fantasy baseball, besgt i can tell, are mostly in it for the gambling, so it doesn't matter if jose cortez is replaced by joe cortez, the people gonna gamble on him anyway

of course, there will be new major league worthy players in the minors, sooner or later, but whether or not they would have chosen baseball as a career in the first place i don't know

fewer White boys, more poor dominicans, which is fine with all the bigots anyway, as long as they stay Humble and Know Their Place

there will always be plenty of folks who will continue to root for team Crappola, because they always have rooted for them

if the overall quality of play is just AAA, well, there is a very good reason the stadium is not built to hold 40K people. but then again, don't look like that matters a tall



   114. base ball chick Posted: November 09, 2018 at 01:03 PM (#5784954)
oh yeah

garbage like this is why i loathe bill james and always have. just a complete shttttttbag
   115. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: November 09, 2018 at 01:23 PM (#5784973)
James hasn't posted on twitter for nearly 24 hours, which must be damn near a record for him. One can surmise the Red Sox must have gagged him.
   116. GGC Posted: November 09, 2018 at 01:57 PM (#5784999)
115. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: November 09, 2018 at 01:23 PM (#5784973)
James hasn't posted on twitter for nearly 24 hours, which must be damn near a record for him. One can surmise the Red Sox must have gagged him.


Do you post at HeyBill? I saw one there by Zeth about a 107% strike out rate and figured it was a typo.
   117. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: November 09, 2018 at 02:12 PM (#5785011)
That was me, yeah. Not a typo, believe it or not, look it up yourself--more players struck out 100+ times last year than qualified for the batting title.

That was the trivia, that 107% of major league regulars (guys with the requisite 502PA) struck out 100+ times. Obviously that's a cute way to put it, there were numerous regulars who didn't strike out that much and even more guys that struck out that much in fewer than 500 plate appearances. Which is, actually, even more amazing if anything.
   118. Karl from NY Posted: November 09, 2018 at 02:48 PM (#5785035)
That's an overly cute way to put it, indeed. I don't think that comparison works in terms of the smaller set. If one in four cars is a Ford, would you say that 400% of Fords are cars?
   119. GGC Posted: November 09, 2018 at 02:51 PM (#5785038)
Ahhh, that makes sense. Bring back the interwar era!
   120. OsunaSakata Posted: November 09, 2018 at 08:28 PM (#5785253)
Next year, the AAF will start playing. And someone will say that fans will never watch such low quality football. Yet the stands in Tuscaloosa are packed.

If the NCAA and the AAF jointly authorized a game between Alabama and worst team in the AAF, and both teams had time to practice, the AAF team would win easily.

So I strongly believe in the power of laundry. And the popularity of college sports means that quality doesn't matter to fans.

College laundry isn't all tradition. Boise State and UCF in football and Georgetown in basketball got popular by being good.
   121. McCoy Posted: November 09, 2018 at 09:40 PM (#5785272)
If the NCAA and the AAF jointly authorized a game between Alabama and worst team in the AAF, and both teams had time to practice, the AAF team would win easily.

Why? Atlanta has a former North Carolina QB who couldn't even get on the field in the CFL and couldn't make a roster in the NFL. You got another QB who couldn't even manage to be the full time starting QB at Louisville & Rutgers and a 3rd QB that threw a grand total of 30 passes at Nebraska. Why would any of them give the Alabama defense fits? Because they are older?

There big running backs are Justin Crawford and Tarean Folston. Neither did much in college and neither have done anything post college. For WR you finally get a guy that was drafted (7th round) in Jeremy Gallon who I think might have played a game or two professionally in Japan since 2014. Keyarris Garrett was on the practice squad for the Panthers which with this crowd makes him one of the better recievers. Stephen Hill actually played NFL ball 5 years ago so that's good. Why would these guys give Alabama fits?

AAF teams by almost design are not going to be deep in talent and are not going to be extremely talented. They are going to be fringe players that may or may not be good enough to get some professional team in some country to look at them. Alabama generally has 6 to 10 players a year get drafted by the NFL.

Atlanta was picked somewhat blindly. I went with them because they are my hometown team. I don't know anyone's roster. For all I know they could be the best team in the league or middle of the road.
   122. Tony S Posted: November 10, 2018 at 08:16 AM (#5785324)

From way back in the thread -- a couple of people cited the low attendance figures of NFL replacement games during the 1987 strike. It is true that the numbers were down, but I believe they would have eventually bounced back to regular levels, simply because NFL players, as a group, are a faceless lot. The NFL is truly a laundry league, and as the weeks dragged on more and more fans would have started tuning in to the games (which still offered a better quality of play than college football), scabs or no scabs. The players knew it, too; a few of them started crossing the picket lines after a couple of weeks, and the trickle eventually became a flood, rendering the strike meaningless.

Baseball is a more individual sport than football, and it's easier for non-superstars to build identities. Baseball is also the most history-oriented of the major American sports, so the havoc wreaked by the use of replacements during a labor stoppage would have (probably) alienated a lot more fans than the NFL did in 1987. So I don't really agree with James that the game will just continue on seamlessly if all the players were replaced overnight.

As an aside, it's odd to see James take on an anti-player stance like this. What next, a defense of the reserve clause?
   123. McCoy Posted: November 10, 2018 at 08:34 AM (#5785326)
They would eventually come back if there was no other competition and if the NFL replaced the lost talent through the draft.

Most people can identify football stars than they can identify baseball stars. Football stars get bigger endorsement deals than baseball players.
   124. John DiFool2 Posted: November 10, 2018 at 08:43 AM (#5785327)
Coming in late, so if I missed this...but IIRC James years ago said specifically if the players started a new league that all of the cachet would lie with them.

If so, this wouldn't be his first flip-flop...
   125. Tony S Posted: November 10, 2018 at 08:58 AM (#5785331)
Most people can identify football stars than they can identify baseball stars. Football stars get bigger endorsement deals than baseball players.


The stars, yes. But I'll bet you more baseball fans can name the starting third baseman for the Braves than football fans can name the starting left tackle for the Falcons.
   126. BDC Posted: November 10, 2018 at 09:03 AM (#5785332)
it's odd to see James take on an anti-player stance like this


Not to go all OTP on this topic, but I think it's more generally an anti-labor stance. People on the management side in labor-intensive industries can be in the somewhat paradoxical position of believing that, although their main product or service is the people they employ, the specific people they employ don't matter and could be easily replaced. I think you see this in education, hospitality, entertainment generally. Actors are cattle, as Hitchcock said.
   127. BDC Posted: November 10, 2018 at 09:05 AM (#5785333)
name the starting third baseman for the Braves


I knew he was a young guy, because in some thread or other some Braves fan here was saying the Braves didn't need to deadline-trade for a veteran 3B, they had this young guy. I forgot his name, though.

Of course, I can't name a single Atlanta Falcon, so there's that.
   128. McCoy Posted: November 10, 2018 at 09:44 AM (#5785337)
I can’t name either one but that is also apples and oranges. I mean I could ask you to name the starting QB of the Patriots and the 16th man in the pen for the Red Sox. Most people can name the QB. Ask the question who is the #1 receiver for the falcons or who is their current RB and you’ll get more correct answers and would be in line with asking who is the starting third baseman.
   129. BrianBrianson Posted: November 10, 2018 at 12:20 PM (#5785364)
The real issue is the new Player's League would be able to regularly and publicly issue All-Star/World Series challenges to MLB, which MLB would have to either decline and look like the inferior league, or accept and look like the inferior league.

Not a good look.
   130. Rennie's Tenet Posted: November 10, 2018 at 01:12 PM (#5785378)
but IIRC James years ago said specifically if the players started a new league that all of the cachet would lie with them.


I remember him writing that they could dtart their own hall of fame, and supplant the other because of their control of historic items. He did write about the 1890 Players League 30 years ago, and predicted a new players' league would fail similarly.

I really don't think you can brand someone who isn't impressed with the MLBPA anti- anything without more to go on. The union has relentlessly cooperated with ownership on keeping all the money between themselves, screwing players from Seoul to Curacao along the way. It's an anomoly in labor relations.
   131. Darren Posted: November 10, 2018 at 01:32 PM (#5785388)
Does anyone think that James has anything interesting or coherent to say these days? He's constantly spouting nonsense that the Bill James of the 1980s would eviscerate.
   132. McCoy Posted: November 10, 2018 at 01:35 PM (#5785390)
It's an anomoly in labor relations.

I have yet to come across a union that didn't occupy their time by screwing over anyone that wasn't in their union.
   133. PreservedFish Posted: November 10, 2018 at 01:44 PM (#5785396)
Does anyone think that James has anything interesting or coherent to say these days? He's constantly spouting nonsense that the Bill James of the 1980s would eviscerate.


What I want to know is if there is any sort of mental exercise that we can do to prevent the same thing from happening to us.
   134. McCoy Posted: November 10, 2018 at 02:05 PM (#5785406)
Sudoku
   135. Jay Z Posted: November 10, 2018 at 02:11 PM (#5785409)
Some of this is due to timing and circumstance.

The 1987 scabs were coming into a situation where games were already going on, there was already excitement. At least some of the fans continued to watch.

In 1995 you'd already had a decimated fan base by losing the 1994 World Series. Then you have to gear up from scratch in the 1995 spring training. No one cares about these games anyway, fans and press are already grumpy. Owners were never going to get the PR to sell that product.

Also, the NFL had a few feel good stories about some truck driver becoming a gunner on special teams or something. MLB was just using minor leaguers. The NHL has had different situations, since some of the players actually go and play in Europe when labor disputes happen.
   136. Jay Z Posted: November 10, 2018 at 02:30 PM (#5785415)
What I want to know is if there is any sort of mental exercise that we can do to prevent the same thing from happening to us.


Not being fellated by a fanbase for 35 years? Very few people care about what any of us write.

James has a first rate mind... when it's properly applied. I thought the Win Shares book was absolutely needed at the time. James is not really a mathematician or statistician, he kind of sketches out ideas and leaves the implementation to others.

But he always had his weak spots, even back in the 1980s. He always had an arrogant side and a thin skin, even back then.
   137. AndrewJ Posted: November 10, 2018 at 07:51 PM (#5785555)
But he always had his weak spots, even back in the 1980s. He always had an arrogant side and a thin skin, even back then.

I wouldn't go that far. But in the 1982 Abstract Bill eviscerated the letters to the editor Baseball Digest published regarding his "Fielding Stats Do Make Sense!" article (which introduced Range Factor)... which ran in 1975. I for one wouldn't want to be publicly roasted for a Tweet or Facebook posting I made in 2011.

I think Bill's stuff is as great as it was in the 1980s. Back then, he was 20 years ahead of everybody else. A lot of people have simply caught up.
   138. McCoy Posted: November 10, 2018 at 07:57 PM (#5785557)
How was the win shares book needed at the time? WAR was already out and WS didn't cause any changes. In will say the creation of WS did give James an excuse to rewrite the historical abstract so that was good.
   139. Rennie's Tenet Posted: November 10, 2018 at 08:44 PM (#5785573)
How was the win shares book needed at the time?


James was adamant that a player shouldn't be reduced to a single number. I always wondered if win shares wasn't needed because his kids were getting up to college age.
   140. Jay Z Posted: November 11, 2018 at 12:11 AM (#5785614)
How was the win shares book needed at the time? WAR was already out and WS didn't cause any changes. In will say the creation of WS did give James an excuse to rewrite the historical abstract so that was good.


It tied to actual wins.

The typical ratings systems tie to components. Components only apply to the ball game in question. James moved the conversation back to context in determining value. The rest of the stat world/industry was very insistent on waving any sort of context away as "random chance" or what have you.

Rating systems clearly should take context into account, as it goes to winning ball games, which is the reason for the sport.
   141. SoSH U at work Posted: November 11, 2018 at 12:23 AM (#5785619)
WAR was already out


Is that right? I thought Win Shares predated WAR.
   142. Ziggy's screen name Posted: November 11, 2018 at 12:42 AM (#5785623)
This "lower quality of play" thing often comes up when people talk about how baseball is losing players to other sports &etc;. And I think it's mostly a red herring.

I've been studying Japanese baseball lately, and I've come to the (not very surprising) conclusion that the quality of play in early Japanese pro ball was pretty low. My best evidence is that there were lots of guys who were both good hitters and good pitchers. The probability that you're in the top X% of both of those skills gets lower and lower as X decreases. So if there are a lot of guys who are good at both, X must be relatively large.

The thing is, this probably makes close to no difference at all to the fan's experience. Nobody said "Fumio Fujimura must not be very good, let's stop watching baseball"; instead they named him "Mr. Tiger" (Osaka version, not Detroit version) and were overjoyed that they had a pitcher who could hit. He was a superstar. They didn't know, and couldn't tell (by watching) that he (probably) wasn't really that good.

If the quality of play dropped in MLB - either because MLB isn't able to recruit the best athletes, or because it bans all MLBPA members the next time the CBA is up - the fans wouldn't notice a difference on the field. Of course if Mike Trout got banned they would notice that, but not because they can tell Mike Trout's play (against fellow MLBers) apart from that of Jabari Blash (against fellow AAAA players), they'd notice that he was gone only because he's already famous.

As to the debate about the league of replacement players versus the league with the real players: there's no need to speculate what happens when a new league threatens a major league. We have lots of history to go on here. If Mike Trout and friends joined the Long Island Ducks MLB would cut prices and operate at a loss. It's backed by a bunch of billionaires, they can do this almost indefinitely. Eventually the relatively under capitalized Ducks would go broke and Trout would ask for a contract with MLB again. This is what happened to the AA, the federal league, and so on. Ask Monte Ward how well a player's league works. Granted the American League pulled it off, but the history of upstart leagues is not encouraging.
   143. McCoy Posted: November 11, 2018 at 04:44 AM (#5785633)
Re 140 and what has changed?
   144. McCoy Posted: November 11, 2018 at 04:49 AM (#5785634)
Yes. Besides the AL it doesn't happen. Well, the AFL. Okay, besides the AL and AFL it doesn't work. Well, you also have the ABA. . .
   145. DJS Holiday-Related Pun Posted: November 11, 2018 at 05:24 AM (#5785637)
The reason pretty much no professional analyst really uses win shares (or ever has) in any capacity isn't because people angrily hate context, but that Win Shares essentially lies with accounting fiction. Just like we can't model runs perfectly, we can't model wins perfectly - WAR is an acknowledgement that we don't have perfect knowledge, not a glorious ignorance of that fact. Win Shares, as a stat, doesn't give us any knowledge and it doesn't actually contextualize anything; it simply just arbitrarily redistributes the error in order to pretend that the error doesn't exist.

Is that right? I thought Win Shares predated WAR.

Win Shares preceded WAR the stat, but concepts of pegging value relative to replacement-level in baseball predate Win Shares (measures by Woolner and Tate, for example).
   146. McCoy Posted: November 11, 2018 at 07:44 AM (#5785640)
As mentioned by Dan Baseball Prospectus was doing WAR like states without calling it WAR and also doing it incorrectly but they were doing it before Bill James was doing it incorrectly with Win Shares. I believe it was called WARP was it not? Taking VORP for offense and defense and converting that into wins. Looking at BPro I see they still have those stats and it looks like they have removed them from Ted's stats for his 1939 to 1948 season. I think in the old days they used to list them and now his highest WARP is 10.1. I think in the old days they had an early season of his in the mid teens. I think at one time his 1941 season was scored as a 13.7 WARP.

I think they would eventually role other things like WARP2 and WARP3 which adjusted for length of season and quality of league.
   147. Tom Nawrocki Posted: November 11, 2018 at 08:33 AM (#5785643)
Win Shares preceded WAR the stat, but concepts of pegging value relative to replacement-level in baseball predate Win Shares (measures by Woolner and Tate, for example).


Bill James invented the concept of replacement level, and of pegging the value to that. I don't have my books with me now, but in the '82 or '83 Abstract, he explains why it's wrong to measure players against average (as most analysts had been doing), and does his player rankings based on the likelihood of a .350-level player doing as well as that player.
   148. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: November 11, 2018 at 09:20 AM (#5785649)
Bill James invented the concept of replacement level,
I think economists did that. (He might have been the first to apply it to baseball, though.)
   149. McCoy Posted: November 11, 2018 at 09:27 AM (#5785651)
I recall Palmer and James arguing about it a good deal and I think James was right in the end but virtually no one including James had a widely viewed and accepted uber stat until the 21st century. I would say that the BJNHBA seemed to have kicked off a renewed interest in uberstats and very quickly afterwards you had at least three major competing uberstats. Win Shares, BPro's WARP, and Rally's WAR (Fangraphs would follow suit shortly thereafter). At the time I figured that it would be Bill's WS that would lose the battle as the formula is a bunch of incomprehensible gobbleygook and you couldn't easily find it online nor find it for the current season. Once Baseball-Reference put WAR on their pages it was game over.
   150. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: November 11, 2018 at 09:31 AM (#5785652)
If the quality of play dropped in MLB - either because MLB isn't able to recruit the best athletes, or because it bans all MLBPA members the next time the CBA is up - the fans wouldn't notice a difference on the field. Of course if Mike Trout got banned they would notice that, but not because they can tell Mike Trout's play (against fellow MLBers) apart from that of Jabari Blash (against fellow AAAA players), they'd notice that he was gone only because he's already famous.
I mean, it depends (obviously) how we end up with a lower quality of play. If we end up with so-called AAAA players, and the major leaguers aren’t around for comparison, many wouldn’t notice. But I watch a lot of minor league ball, especially A/AA, and the difference is very very obvious. It’s not the case that the lower level of play all around cancels out.
   151. John DiFool2 Posted: November 11, 2018 at 10:09 AM (#5785655)
I think Bill's stuff is as great as it was in the 1980s. Back then, he was 20 years ahead of everybody else. A lot of people have simply caught up.


Seinfeld is Unfunny.
   152. McCoy Posted: November 11, 2018 at 10:13 AM (#5785656)
I had Bill's 80's abstracts and I purchased them in the early 00's. He most certainly was not ahead of everybody else by 20 years back in the 80's.
   153. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: November 11, 2018 at 11:02 AM (#5785665)
I had Bill's 80's abstracts and I purchased them in the early 00's. He most certainly was not ahead of everybody else by 20 years back in the 80's.

That's true, but what James did, after that 1981 SI interview and after his abstracts were picked up by Villard in 1982,** was to become the ambassador of sabermetrics concepts into the mainstream. He wasn't 20 years ahead of his time, and some of his ideas could be found in early 70's SABR bulletins, but in terms of getting the ball rolling towards where we are today, James was easily the most important figure.

** After being self-published for the first five years, with print runs of 500. Those original 1977-81 Abstracts were going for up to and over $100 each in the 90's. I know that because I bought and sold more than a few of them, and there are literally no copies to be found online today.
   154. bobm Posted: November 11, 2018 at 01:18 PM (#5785706)
Yes. Besides the AL it doesn't happen. Well, the AFL. Okay, besides the AL and AFL it doesn't work. Well, you also have the ABA. . .

To be fair, those were cases that ended in merger, as did the Continental League.

Per Wikipedia:

Of the eight proposed Continental League cities, all but one would eventually receive relocated or expansion Major League Baseball franchises – Minneapolis–St. Paul in 1961, Houston and New York in 1962, Atlanta in 1966, Dallas/Ft. Worth in 1972, Toronto in 1977, and Denver in 1993. Buffalo, although it made efforts to lure an MLB team to then-new Pilot Field in the early 1990s, has not succeeded in bringing Major League Baseball back.


At the risk of inducing OT-P, the USFL was apparently a Trump merger play:

NY Times: U.S.F.L. Owners' Merger Strategy in '84 Revealed

By MICHAEL JANOFSKY
JUNE 8, 1986
In the nine months before the United States Football League filed an antitrust lawsuit against the National Football League, owners in the U.S.F.L. discussed and formulated strategies designed to achieve a merger with the N.F.L., court records show.

Documents filed in Federal District Court in Manhattan also portray Donald Trump, the New York real estate developer who owns the Generals, as the leading advocate for the U.S.F.L.'s move a fall schedule from the spring, a switch Trump characterized as a prerequisite for a merger. The documents also show that the contract of Harry Usher, who became commissioner in January 1985, includes bonuses for a merger with the N.F.L. The U.S.F.L. played its first three seasons in the spring, starting in 1983, and intends to play its 1986 season this fall, opposite the N.F.L.

Because of a recent ruling by Judge Peter K. Leisure, who is presiding in the trial, these documents - exhibits not yet offered into evidence - have taken on a new significance in the case and could be helpful to the N.F.L. in defense of charges of anticompetitive behavior toward the U.S.F.L. Testimony resumes tomorrow with the cross-examination of Herschel Walker, the Generals' running back.

In an amended ruling Thursday, the judge said he would allow attorneys for the N.F.L. to explore the possibility that the U.S.F.L. moved several of its franchises out of major markets for reasons other than those stated by Usher. Testifying last Tuesday, Usher said, ''Rather than any game plan that we have to go into these minor markets, we have been pushed and shoved by the N.F.L. and by the networks into this situation because of the N.F.L. pressure.'' [...]

Trump's role as a force within the league emerges soon after he bought the Generals, following the U.S.F.L.'s first season. In a letter dated Jan. 17, 1984, nine months before the current suit was filed, Trump told the other owners that the U.S.F.L. would be ''foolish'' by not moving to the fall.

''If we expect the networks to pay us a great deal of money for a period where there is a small television audience, then we are being foolish,'' he wrote. ''The N.F.L. knows this and are just waiting. Their only fear is a switch of our league to the winter -an event which will either lead to a merger, or, in the alternative, a common draft with a first-class, traditional league.''

Later in the two-page letter, he wrote, with respect to the switch to the fall, ''I did not come into this league to be second rate. We are sitting on something much bigger and better than most people realize. We had better get smart and take advantage of it.''

The next day, at a league meeting in New Orleans, Trump told the owners, with respect to a move to the fall:

''I believe it's going to end in one of two things. Either we're going to have a league that's going to be just as valuable as the N.F.L. because we're going to have the big television contracts, et cetera, et cetera, which is fine with me, or we're going to have a merger. And the merger is going to take place sooner rather than later because that's the biggest fear they have.''

Four months later, at a league meeting in New York, Trump, still trying to sell the idea of a move to the fall, told the other U.S.F.L. owners: ''There will not be a merger unless this league moves.'' Later he added, ''The bottom line is, if we do not move, we are going to have problems. We are not going to have the merger, and we are not going to have the psychology and we are not going to have the challenge and we are not going to have the television.''

Three months after that meeting, Tad Taube, the owner of the Oakland Invaders, in a letter, marked ''highly confidential,'' to then Commissioner Chet Simmons, said: ''Major professional leagues have never, do not now, and will never be able to co-exist for any appreciable time period. The central focus of all U.S.F.L. strategies must therefore be to bring about a merger or accommodation with the N.F.L. There is no other financially viable alternative.''

The letter goes on to say that ''if there is to be a merger, the U.S.F.L. must be present in logical markets for N.F.L. expansion.''[...]


Link
   155. manchestermets Posted: November 11, 2018 at 02:47 PM (#5785718)
I mean, it depends (obviously) how we end up with a lower quality of play. If we end up with so-called AAAA players, and the major leaguers aren’t around for comparison, many wouldn’t notice. But I watch a lot of minor league ball, especially A/AA, and the difference is very very obvious. It’s not the case that the lower level of play all around cancels out.


How does the lower quality manifest itself most obviously?
   156. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: November 11, 2018 at 03:54 PM (#5785727)
I mean, it depends (obviously) how we end up with a lower quality of play. If we end up with so-called AAAA players, and the major leaguers aren’t around for comparison, many wouldn’t notice. But I watch a lot of minor league ball, especially A/AA, and the difference is very very obvious. It’s not the case that the lower level of play all around cancels out.

And just how are the 750 former Major Leaguers NOT going to be "around for comparison"? Are MLB's visual archives going to be destroyed, YouTube videos taken down, and amnesia pills dissolved into the nation's water supply?

   157. BDC Posted: November 11, 2018 at 04:32 PM (#5785732)
Others will have their own impressions, but when I compare major-league baseball to independent-league, the main difference is the professional execution of plays in the field, and the level of fielding ability generally. (I used to see the Ft. Worth Cats fairly often, and of late I've started to go to some games over in Grand Prairie.)

In the independent minors, you do see some guys with notably superior fielding ability, but you also see some who aren't very crisp or reliable. Teamwork can suffer at times, too. The variation is marked; some guys have major-league fielding talent but clearly couldn't hit well enough to play even at AA or AAA; some guys were clearly trying to succeed with the bat alone (which must not have worked either, because here they are with the Grand Prairie Air Hogs).

In the majors, even the guys we think of as "bad" fielders turn plays routinely that would just not get made by a lot of independent leaguers. It's like the difference between some forgettable Broadway musical, and watching community theater. The top professionals may be bad in some absolute sense (eg compared to one's memories of Brooks Robinson), but they are extremely polished and consistent at what they do, or they don't last.

By contrast, pitching/hitting is far more a zero-sum contest. In the independent minors, everybody throws hard and hits the ball hard. Guys hit home runs, they hit the ball to the gap, they draw walks, they strike batters out, they fool and jam batters and get them to ground out or pop up. You have to remind yourself that none of them would succeed as well against a higher class of competition.
   158. GGC Posted: November 11, 2018 at 06:49 PM (#5785782)
IIRC, WAR was used in the Big Bad Baseball Annual books.
   159. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: November 11, 2018 at 08:20 PM (#5785808)
I was on a plane, but BDC said it well in 157. Fielding is the easiest place to see it, because the canceling out effect doesn’t apply at all. (E.g., a throw is accurate or not regardless of the talent level of the opposition. A 6-4-3 is smooth or not regardless of the talent of the opposition.) But there’s also a lot less spectacular play in general. Fewer 400’ homers. Fewer good breaking balls. Players making poorer decisions. More one-dimensional players.
   160. GuyM Posted: November 12, 2018 at 09:56 AM (#5785891)
Others will have their own impressions, but when I compare major-league baseball to independent-league, the main difference is the professional execution of plays in the field, and the level of fielding ability generally.

Fielding may be the easiest difference to observe, but in reality it's almost certainly the smallest difference. We know that replacement level players field about as well as MLB regulars, which obviously isn't true for either hitting or pitching. If you had to fill 750 open roster spots, maintaining a reasonable level of fielding quality would be by far your easiest task. That said, the desperate search for decent hitters might lead teams to accept some very poor-fielding players (because they can hit), and so we would likely see some decline in fielding.

One test of this scenario is WWII. Notably, BABIP declined pretty dramatically in the war years. So unless there was some change in the ball manufacturing process in those years (anyone know?), it seems that fielding ability (and perhaps pitching talent) declined much less than hitting ability.
   161. McCoy Posted: November 12, 2018 at 10:07 AM (#5785900)
So unless there was some change in the ball manufacturing process in those years (anyone know?), it seems that fielding ability (and perhaps pitching talent) declined much less than hitting ability

Yes there was a severe change in ball composition. They used old baseballs and the balata ball which was absolutely horrible in terms of hard hits. The supply of 1942 balls got used up and they continued to tinker with the balata ball throughout 1943. In 1944 there was enough of a supply of synthetic rubber that the government allowed baseball to use them so the balls went back to normal. But in 1944 there was a shortage of ash to make bats.
   162. McCoy Posted: November 12, 2018 at 10:12 AM (#5785905)
If you look at the BaBIP by month in 1943 for the majors it does improve dramatically. In April it was .243 then .264 then by July. SLG would go from .270! to .327 to .348 to .353 to .366 in August.

The year before BaBip went from .266 in April to about .270ish the rest of the time. SLG went from .355 in April to below that the rest of the season in 1942.

   163. GuyM Posted: November 12, 2018 at 10:17 AM (#5785910)
161/162: Interesting history, thanks. Is there a good article/book on this?
   164. McCoy Posted: November 12, 2018 at 10:54 AM (#5785962)
I think there is a book on baseball that covers this issue. There are old Popular Mechanics and Science articles about the balata ball along with other old sports magazine articles as well. I think most of them can be found on the internet via Google.
   165. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: November 12, 2018 at 10:58 AM (#5785971)
So unless there was some change in the ball manufacturing process in those years (anyone know?), it seems that fielding ability (and perhaps pitching talent) declined much less than hitting ability

Yes there was a severe change in ball composition. They used old baseballs and the balata ball which was absolutely horrible in terms of hard hits. The supply of 1942 balls got used up and they continued to tinker with the balata ball throughout 1943.

FTR that 1943 balata ball was only used until May 9th. At that point the balata was replaced by synthetic rubber. The move to ditch the balata ball came after Warren Giles ran a test, dropping the ball from a high distance and discovering that its bounce came up 25% short of the bounce of a 1942 ball. His suspicions had been aroused when only 6 total runs had been scored in his Reds' opening 4 games with the Cardinals, a series that included two extra inning games.

P.S. There were more RPG in 1943 than there were in 1967, 1971 and 1972.
   166. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: November 12, 2018 at 11:09 AM (#5785981)

I sort of agree with zachtoma's posts on page 1, but for different reasons. I don't think that our current system of entertainment is economically sustainable -- i.e. people with average incomes spending hundreds of dollars to go to a pro sporting event or concert, $20 for a movie ticket and snack, $100+ per month on cable; companies spending tons of money on luxury boxes while average workers see limited wage growth; very few people actually saving enough for retirement. It seems like it's been working because a lot of it has been funded by growing debt -- public sector and private sector debt. But that can't keep going on forever.

The top baseball players and other entertainers should be well compensated, but how much of the pie they get is the result of a negotiation between two wealthy groups of people and I don't really care to pick sides in that debate. The size of that pie, however, doesn't seem sustainable to me.
   167. McCoy Posted: November 12, 2018 at 11:18 AM (#5785988)
Entropy is a thing so sure but something can't last forever is a kind of an empty statement. Will the status quo hold for 10 more years? 100? 200? I bumped up an old thread yesterday about a Hardball Times article from 2009 that had the view that team values were in a bubble and that they would pop. It has been 9 years since that was written. If they pop in 2020 does that mean the article in 2009 was right or does that mean that statement in 2009 is irrelevant or even wrong?
   168. base ball chick Posted: November 12, 2018 at 11:22 AM (#5785995)
David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: November 11, 2018 at 09:31 AM (#5785652)

If the quality of play dropped in MLB - either because MLB isn't able to recruit the best athletes, or because it bans all MLBPA members the next time the CBA is up - the fans wouldn't notice a difference on the field. Of course if Mike Trout got banned they would notice that, but not because they can tell Mike Trout's play (against fellow MLBers) apart from that of Jabari Blash (against fellow AAAA players), they'd notice that he was gone only because he's already famous.


I mean, it depends (obviously) how we end up with a lower quality of play. If we end up with so-called AAAA players, and the major leaguers aren’t around for comparison, many wouldn’t notice. But I watch a lot of minor league ball, especially A/AA, and the difference is very very obvious. It’s not the case that the lower level of play all around cancels out


- i agree completely with david (hey, it happens)

if you put a AAA team on a ML field, so as you wren't distracted by the stands being so small, you would really see the difference. and i mean the difference is YUGE - like comparing an 18 year old male to a 10 year old one. seriously. every now and then you'll see one who is gonna obviously make it in the majors because he really stands out in everything

the pitchers don't have as good stuff - and the fielding, well, the plays aren't as smooth. and more are missed. very few 5 star anything. when they bring up AAAA guys as filler for a few weeks, you can tell it right off. of course, sometimes, they look LOTS better than the major leaguer they are replacing but for whatever reason, the team doesn't like them and they go nowhere

there is a good reason that the minor league stadiums have so fewer seats. the product just isn't as good. it's not like college sports where people are rooting for the college. and umpty great college players never get above AA. and speaking of college ball - well, not real too many people go, and the quality of play of even good teams is SO far below the majors
   169. base ball chick Posted: November 12, 2018 at 11:29 AM (#5786009)

Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: November 12, 2018 at 11:09 AM (#5785981)

I sort of agree with zachtoma's posts on page 1, but for different reasons. I don't think that our current system of entertainment is economically sustainable -- i.e. people with average incomes spending hundreds of dollars to go to a pro sporting event or concert, $20 for a movie ticket and snack, $100+ per month on cable; companies spending tons of money on luxury boxes while average workers see limited wage growth; very few people actually saving enough for retirement. It seems like it's been working because a lot of it has been funded by growing debt -- public sector and private sector debt. But that can't keep going on forever.

The top baseball players and other entertainers should be well compensated, but how much of the pie they get is the result of a negotiation between two wealthy groups of people and I don't really care to pick sides in that debate. The size of that pie, however, doesn't seem sustainable to me.


- i know what you mean, but i think it is economically sustainable as long as the stadiums are purchased with taxpayer dollars and corporations are buying the hella expensive seats. also, MLBAM is not gonna die

gonna be interesting to see what happens as cable has fewer and fewer subscribers - they won't be able to make the kind of deals they been making

but i will believe that pigs can flap their wings and fly before i will believe that owners aren't making millions every year

on the other hand, who knows if/when the bubble will pop. because things are worth what people will pay for them. there are still enough customers to fill enough seats (you notice i didn't say FANS) that the owners can handle it


   170. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: November 12, 2018 at 11:30 AM (#5786011)
I sort of agree with zachtoma's posts on page 1, but for different reasons. I don't think that our current system of entertainment is economically sustainable -- i.e. people with average incomes spending hundreds of dollars to go to a pro sporting event or concert, $20 for a movie ticket and snack, $100+ per month on cable; companies spending tons of money on luxury boxes while average workers see limited wage growth; very few people actually saving enough for retirement. It seems like it's been working because a lot of it has been funded by growing debt -- public sector and private sector debt. But that can't keep going on forever.

What keeps it going in sports is the Great Tradeoff between the ever-increasing cost of attending live events and the ever-expanding cheap viewing options on TV or computers/phones, which are far more affordable.

To take an example that only slightly exaggerates what I'm talking about, the most expensive ticket in Yankee Stadium in 1968 cost just over $29.00 in inflation-adjusted dollars, which is less than 10% of what it costs today.** But if you lived in Los Angeles, you got to watch only 9 Dodgers games a year on TV, whereas today anyone can watch nearly every game, every day or night, for all of $199.50 a year on Extra Innings, and much less than that with mlb.tv. If baseball didn't have that safety valve for non-rich fans, the overall financial picture of MLB would really be in serious trouble.

** Though on the resale market it can be much higher or much lower, depending on the opponent and the closeness of the race.
   171. GuyM Posted: November 12, 2018 at 12:16 PM (#5786045)
if you put a AAA team on a ML field, so as you wren't distracted by the stands being so small, you would really see the difference. and i mean the difference is YUGE - like comparing an 18 year old male to a 10 year old one. seriously. every now and then you'll see one who is gonna obviously make it in the majors because he really stands out in everything
the pitchers don't have as good stuff - and the fielding, well, the plays aren't as smooth. and more are missed.

I don't believe you -- or anyone else -- could tell the difference between MLB fielding and AAA fielding just by watching the games. A AAA player is probably 2 or 3 runs worse over the course of a season, which means they miss 3 or 4 plays that the MLB player would have made -- spread over 150 games! I can't see how anyone could detect such a tiny difference in fielding ability through observation alone.
   172. Nasty Nate Posted: November 12, 2018 at 12:29 PM (#5786056)
A AAA player is probably 2 or 3 runs worse over the course of a season, which means they miss 3 or 4 plays that the MLB player would have made -- spread over 150 games! I can't see how anyone could detect such a tiny difference in fielding ability through observation alone.
A good AAA player might be that adept in fielding, but I'm not sure that's the average.

Furthermore, you're not just watching one player, you are watching 18 players in any single game.
   173. base ball chick Posted: November 12, 2018 at 12:39 PM (#5786060)
GuyM Posted: November 12, 2018 at 12:16 PM (#5786045)

if you put a AAA team on a ML field, so as you wren't distracted by the stands being so small, you would really see the difference. and i mean the difference is YUGE - like comparing an 18 year old male to a 10 year old one. seriously. every now and then you'll see one who is gonna obviously make it in the majors because he really stands out in everything
the pitchers don't have as good stuff - and the fielding, well, the plays aren't as smooth. and more are missed.


I don't believe you -- or anyone else -- could tell the difference between MLB fielding and AAA fielding just by watching the games. A AAA player is probably 2 or 3 runs worse over the course of a season, which means they miss 3 or 4 plays that the MLB player would have made -- spread over 150 games! I can't see how anyone could detect such a tiny difference in fielding ability through observation alone.


- well, i understand your point
(am i supposed to do that or is that a girly thing to do)

i would say that the vast majority of plays are routine. Meaning that i would expect an 18 year old high schooler to make those plays. you notice the difference on the tougher ones.

and you REALLY notice the difference if there is a player on the team who is ML quality (see jake marisnick, who KILLS AAA pitching)

but i guess i think it is kind of like pr0n - i know it when i see it

   174. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: November 12, 2018 at 12:50 PM (#5786068)
Furthermore, you're not just watching one player, you are watching 18 players in any single game.

Which is still less than one play missed every other game, if you believe GuyM's numbers.
   175. dlf Posted: November 12, 2018 at 01:03 PM (#5786072)
But I watch a lot of minor league ball, especially A/AA, and the difference is very very obvious. It’s not the case that the lower level of play all around cancels out.


I used to have season tickets in a AA city and, having moved a few years back, now go to a fairly large number of games at AAA. I don't go to many MLB games in person watching instead on tv so this isn't 100% apples to apples, but from a fielding or baserunning standpoint, I absolutely could not tell the difference between the non-prospects at AA/AAA and the major leaguers, but believe I could from pitching or hitting and suspect that would be true of all but the trained scouts.
   176. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: November 12, 2018 at 01:34 PM (#5786087)

- i know what you mean, but i think it is economically sustainable as long as the stadiums are purchased with taxpayer dollars and corporations are buying the hella expensive seats.

Yep, but that was basically my point. That can't go on forever. To McCoy's point, though, it can go on through the end of Bryce Harper's next contract.
   177. Ziggy's screen name Posted: November 12, 2018 at 01:48 PM (#5786103)
Of course you couldn't tell the difference in fielding. There are millions of people who still think that Derek Jeter was a good fielder. The AAAA guys make impressive diving plays just like the major leaguers, it's just that they, like Jeter, dive a few inches shorter than Andrelton Simmons.
   178. base ball chick Posted: November 12, 2018 at 02:07 PM (#5786113)
Ziggy's screen name Posted: November 12, 2018 at 01:48 PM (#5786103)

Of course you couldn't tell the difference in fielding. There are millions of people who still think that Derek Jeter was a good fielder. The AAAA guys make impressive diving plays just like the major leaguers, it's just that they, like Jeter, dive a few inches shorter than Andrelton Simmons


- laughing

we're talking about us, not people who think you give the guy with the highest BA the GG

but we sure nuff can EASILY tell the difference between jetah and simmons
we also can tell stuff like nolan arenado is the best since scott rolen without having to look at numbers

and you can tell who is great, good, adequate, semi-pro (as domingo ayala would say)
   179. BDC Posted: November 12, 2018 at 02:22 PM (#5786118)
I think I've been to one AAA game and one AA in my life – I've never lived nearby. So I can't comment on distinctions between the high minors and the majors. Except that major-league fans obviously get to see a lot of AAA/AAAA types on big-league fields. I did see Jabari Blash play last year.

I guess, in terms of fielding skills, I'd compare AAAA guys to Broadway or Metropolitan Opera understudies. Often the process is quite the same, as someone in a minor role understudies a star and gets a chance to step in and start once in a great while, their minor role being taken by somebody further down the food chain. They execute everything very professionally. They train constantly for it and know the value of a chance.

So I don't know that you can visually see great differences between AAA veterans and major-league players. I'm sure some observers are much better at that than I am, though. When I get frustrated with some of the lesser players on the Rangers, it's because I can see them making a lot of outs and I can read their sub-Mendoza average on the scoreboard. But the difference between them and decent major-league hitters is just a couple of hits a week – and on defense, at that level, may be nothing at all, or the lesser player may be better.
   180. PreservedFish Posted: November 12, 2018 at 08:47 PM (#5786331)
What I'm curious about is how many Rafael Belliards there are that can field at a very high level but are simply such awful hitters that they'll never make the majors. It stands to reason that AAA would have some number of them.

If you swapped out the MLBers for the AAAers, every team in baseball would hit and pitch far far worse, but there might be some teams that would actually improve defensively.
   181. GuyM Posted: November 13, 2018 at 09:16 AM (#5786426)
What I'm curious about is how many Rafael Belliards there are that can field at a very high level but are simply such awful hitters that they'll never make the majors. It stands to reason that AAA would have some number of them.

There must be hundreds of these players. The fact that replacement players field about as well as the average MLBer means that MLB-level fielding talent is just not that scarce (compared to hitting and pitching talent). In contrast, there are virtually no minor leaguers who can hit well at the MLB level but are held back by lack of fielding ability.

If you didn't care about offense, you could significantly improve the defense of MLB teams by replacing them with weak-hitting minor leaguers. But you could not significantly improve offense this way, even if you were willing to take a hit on the fielding side.
   182. McCoy Posted: November 13, 2018 at 09:25 AM (#5786430)
Chicken or the egg. If all teams are good fielding-weak hitting they'll look like greatest of all time fielding and horrible hitters. But you can still have good to great fielding and still have good to great hitting. Home runs are nice that way.
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