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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Bad News Cubs: The Great RBI Statistic

STAT!...Get that RBI Machine Gun McGurney in here!

It’s become fashionable amongst statheads to dismiss the RBI as useless. This view has become so commonplace, such unanimous dogma… you would think we should do away with it altogether. If a guy knocks in three runs in a game, he should be more concerned with the state of his OPS, and not celebrating.

Statheads love to rip Joe Morgan, a longtime proponent of the RBI… and hall of fame player. He contributed significantly to championship clubs. Morgan’s a hall of fame PLAYER and not a geek studying fictional numbers with no relationship to winning baseball games. He may have completely ###### up in criticizing Billy Beane for ‘writing Moneyball’, which Beane obviously didn’t do… but he’s not wrong about the RBI… or which teams win in the postseason… teams that can manufacture runs.

But the statheads know better. They know that RBI’s are ‘team dependent’ and aren’t a fair evaluator of talent. This means that RBI opportunities are not distributed equally amongst all hitters. Specifically, a hitter on a good team is going to get more RBI’s than a similar hitter on a bad one, right? The numbers should bare this out. Statheads love stats… and yet, the stats, the numbers… their love… tell us something different about the RBI. How disconcerting. The numbers tell us that the best hitters have the most RBI’s no matter where they play. A good hitter can have a bad year… and a bad player a hot one… but through the years, the best hitters collect the most RBI’s period… no matter where they play.

...A single baseball player cannot win entire games over fictional replacement players. There are no win shares in the standings. On offense, all a hitter can do to affect winning is to score or knock in RUNS. If I were evaluating acquisitions, I’d be looking at a guy’s runs+RBI’s average through the years.

Repoz Posted: February 19, 2008 at 12:56 PM | 375 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: sabermetrics

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   1. GotowarMissAgnes Posted: February 19, 2008 at 02:29 PM (#2694473)
Good team =! good offense
   2. TomH Posted: February 19, 2008 at 02:36 PM (#2694477)
are there very many of these paired players??

Player A: Higher WARP3, Higher OPS, Fewer Runs+RBI’s
Player B: Lower WARP3, Lower OPS, More Runs+RBI’s

Maybe if he actually used, you know, a real example of how R+RBI is better than OPS I would be able to coherently show the author how a stathead knows more about winning than he does.
   3. Slinger Francisco Barrios (Dr. Memory) Posted: February 19, 2008 at 02:38 PM (#2694479)
Maybe if he actually used, you know, a real example of how R+RBI is better than OPS I would be able to coherently show the author how a stathead knows more about winning than he does.

No doubt he would say you "bare" the burden of proof.
   4. McCoy Posted: February 19, 2008 at 02:41 PM (#2694481)
I'm betting you could use quite of few of Mickey Mantle seasons as the high WARP, high OPS low R+RBI total.
   5. Tricky Dick Posted: February 19, 2008 at 03:07 PM (#2694501)
I think the author oversimplifies the "stathead" argument by saying that they believe a player's high RBI production can only occur on a good team. That is straw man argument...who says that? And, in my view, RBI is not a useless stat. However, it is a stat which is too indirect to make accurate comparisons of players' offensive contributions. A player could have seemingly consistent RBI production from year to year, but you have to look below the "tip of the iceberg" to find out that the player's hitting and on base production was better or worse in some of those years.

I can't blame players like Joe Morgan for glorifying the RBI stat. A player who comes up to bat with runners on base is concentrating on one thing: drive in runs. That is what he is supposed to do. I can understand that players take pride in their RBIs. But that isn't the same thing as developing stats which are useful for comparing overall offensive contributions by players.
   6. DLew On Roids Posted: February 19, 2008 at 03:12 PM (#2694503)
I'm betting you could use quite of few of Mickey Mantle seasons as the high WARP, high OPS low R+RBI total.


Mickey Who? That guy sucks. Didn't get enough RBIs.
   7. Kyle S at work Posted: February 19, 2008 at 03:15 PM (#2694506)
The lowest OPS season for a player who had 200 R+RBI is Ruben Sierra's 1987, when he posted a .772 OPS. Second is Andruw Jones with a .773 OPS in 2001.

On the other end of the spectrum, Wade Boggs posted a 1.049 OPS in 1987 in 551 ABs with only 197 R+RBI.

Luckily, Sierra's and Boggs' seasons occurred in the same year in the same league, so they are easy to compare. Boggs had a WARP1 score of 10.7 in 1987 (.343 EqA in 667 PAs). Sierra had a WARP1 score of 3.0 in 1987 (.255 EqA in 696 PAs).

I guess I'm the idiot stathead who thinks Wade Boggs was better than Ruben Sierra in 1987, despite the fact that Sierra "caused more runs to be scored."
   8. Misirlou is on hiding to nowhere Posted: February 19, 2008 at 03:16 PM (#2694509)
I'm betting you could use quite of few of Mickey Mantle seasons as the high WARP, high OPS low R+RBI total.


In Roger Maris's 2 MVP seasons, he had 11 more R + RBI than Mantle, and an OPS about 70 points lower.
   9. The importance of being Ernest Riles Posted: February 19, 2008 at 03:44 PM (#2694526)
The funny thing is that he's partially right - a "stathead" would agree with, "On offense, all a hitter can do to affect winning is to score or knock in RUNS." Except the stathead would replace "score or knock in" with "create."

That is, spork-wielding, mother's basement freeloading, socially awkward set measure contribution in the same units as the Morganesque old-schoolers. The statheads just have a better way of doing it.
   10. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: February 19, 2008 at 03:49 PM (#2694536)
Mr. sucks, too, the "stathead" would also say that in addition to the "create" function, a hitter affects winning by "not making outs".
   11. Davo Dozier (Mastroianni) Posted: February 19, 2008 at 04:07 PM (#2694544)
Player A: Higher WARP3, Higher OPS, Fewer Runs+RBI’s

Player B: Lower WARP3, Lower OPS, More Runs+RBI’s


Wouldn't player A be Barry Bonds/Jack Cust/Adam Dunn, and player B be Joe Carter/Jeff Francouer?
   12. The importance of being Ernest Riles Posted: February 19, 2008 at 04:11 PM (#2694547)
Mr. sucks, too, the "stathead" would also say that in addition to the "create" function, a hitter affects winning by "not making outs".


Well, sure. There are Runs Created formula dock for outs.

And please, Mr. sucks, too is my father. Call me salb918.
   13. Andere Richtingen Posted: February 19, 2008 at 04:34 PM (#2694560)
The Flat Earthers are always going to be there. Ten years ago it was worth engaging in debate with them. Nowadays, not so much.

The waters have receded a bit from the sabermetric deluge, and with access to more data, some items of traditional baseball wisdom have held up better than some initially thought. The Book presents many of these things nicely. The RBI is not one of those things, however.
   14. JPWF13 Posted: February 19, 2008 at 04:38 PM (#2694563)
It’s become fashionable amongst statheads to dismiss the RBI as useless.


Not useless- just so badly misused by the MSM that any value it has is negated.

Someone with 100 RBI probably is better than someone with 80 RBI- but you have to look further

Opportunities- a clean up hitter will most likely have more RBI opp than a leadoff man or an 8th place hitter- a hitter on a good hitting team has more opps than a hitter on a bad team

What I want to see whenever anyone mentions that so and so had 125 ribbies- is how many men did so and so leave on base? or leave on base without advancing? or erase by GDPing?

Joe Carter is a great for that kind of analysis- he had tremendous fortune in his teammates and lineup placement virtually his entire career. He drove in scads of runs- and left scads of men on base.
   15. John Lynch Posted: February 19, 2008 at 04:49 PM (#2694574)
I love RBI as a descriptive statistic. If I'm looking at the box score for a game, I want to know who drove the runs in. Or, to put it another way, would I want a team of nine hitters who were each going to have 100 RBI at the end of the year? Hell yes, I would. Who cares how they got them? That team will have scored 900+ runs.

The problem is that RBI is not a good predictive statistic. The reason that I don't try and stack up past RBI totals when constructing a roster is that, despite the fact that I want a lot of RBI, other statistics serve as better predictors of RBI than RBI do. Thus, when trying to maximize RBI, it's best to ignore it altogether (or at least marginalize it, pardon the hyperbole).
   16. mlbfan303 Posted: February 19, 2008 at 04:53 PM (#2694580)
The author misrepresents the statheads take, and then uses his flawed arguements. No one will disagree that RBI is a good ranking that roughly outlines the players. Usually the best hitters get the most RBI. The point is that RBI is not a concrete "x player has 10 more RBI so he's better" type of thing. It's a "these groups of players have an average of 40 more RBI so as a group most are better" type of stat. What we make a big deal about is when MVP voters say "x is better because he has 5 more RBI" or "I wouldn't vote for him because he doesn't have 100 RBI".
   17. terry312 Posted: February 19, 2008 at 06:00 PM (#2694647)
When I saw the quote at the top in my RSS feed (without the blockquotes) I spent a long time trying to figure out if the quote was a joke or not.
   18. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: February 19, 2008 at 08:29 PM (#2694840)
It’s become fashionable amongst statheads to dismiss the RBI as useless.


It has become fashionable amongst people who pretend they are not statheads themselves to misrepresent what statheads say and believe as a whole.
   19. BDC Posted: February 19, 2008 at 08:42 PM (#2694854)
And just to pile on :)

If a guy knocks in three runs in a game, he should be more concerned with the state of his OPS, and not celebrating


If a guy hits a three-run homer, or three RBI singles, his OPS will be doing just fine anyway. If a guy goes 0-for-4 with a sacrifice fly and two RBI forceouts, he should be celebrating in very mild ways, most of them involving extra work in the batting cage.
   20. Padraic Posted: February 19, 2008 at 08:49 PM (#2694862)
Funny that statheads are both "geeks studying fictional numbers" and interested in being "fashionable." I think these two things may be mutually exclusive.

On a more serious not, what is the verdict (or, at least, latest evidence) on whether some players have a skill to hit better with men on base. It doesn't seem out of the realm of possibility that some players can shorten up their swings and get 2-strike singles to drive in runs, but my impression was that stats disagree.

The problem, is even if such a skill existed, RBI would still be a pretty poor measure.
   21. Kiko Sakata Posted: February 19, 2008 at 09:01 PM (#2694875)
On a more serious not, what is the verdict (or, at least, latest evidence) on whether some players have a skill to hit better with men on base.


I think this question tends to get confounded with the search for "clutch" hitters which leads to a lot more noise than signal. But, to your specific question, I think there is some evidence that "situational hitting" is a real, distinguishable skill. In <u>Baseball Between the Numbers</u>, BPro (they identified specific authors by chapter, but my book's at home and I don't remember who wrote this chapter - sorry) basically said that "clutch hitting" really amounted to an ability to adapt one's hitting to the situation. One of the guys that they had near the top of their list of "clutch" hitters was Mark Grace, who seems like this kind of hitter - good contact hitter, hard to strike out, high batting average. I think I remember reading another study of "clutch" hitting - I think by Andy Dolphin (co-author of <u>The Book</u> with Tango and MGL) - that sort of drew the same conclusion: high-contact, high-BA hitters tended to be "clutch" while high-K, high-SLG hitters were more likely to be "unclutch".

But overall, the general caveat about clutch hitting would still apply here - we're talking about very small differences in "skill".
   22. ronh Posted: February 19, 2008 at 09:14 PM (#2694894)
I did a quick study last year comparing a player's OPS w/RISP with his OPS with nobody on base. I used the years 2000 to 2006 (I believe those were the years) with a minimum of 500 PA w/RISP. Came up with 259 players.

Here are the worst
Casey Blake -178 (678 OPS w/RISP vs 856 OPS w/nobody on base)
Richard Hidalgo -146
Doug Glanville -135
Luis Rivas -122
Mike Lieberthal -101

Here are the best
Barry Bonds +213 (1412 OPS w/RISP vs 1199 OPS w/nobody on base)
Mike Sweeney +213
Manny Ramirez +191
Mark Teixeira +189
Jason Giambi +182

The mean for all players (259) was +22.

That's a pretty wide range. Blake was negative for every year he has played.

Draw your own conclusions if some of these are chokers and some are clutch.

The BA for these 259 players was .2801 w/RISP and .2808 w/nobody on base.
   23. Slinger Francisco Barrios (Dr. Memory) Posted: February 19, 2008 at 09:21 PM (#2694903)
One of the guys that they had near the top of their list of "clutch" hitters was Mark Grace, who seems like this kind of hitter - good contact hitter, hard to strike out, high batting average.

To further confound this, Grace had astonishingly few RBIs for a guy who batted where he did in the order and had as many hits as he did.
   24. flournoy Posted: February 19, 2008 at 09:38 PM (#2694929)
Is there any way you can separate RISP into "RISP with first base open" and "RISP with first base occupied?" My guess is that much of the RISP boost comes from automatic (and not necessarily "intentional") walks with first base open.
   25. ronh Posted: February 19, 2008 at 09:38 PM (#2694930)
Grace hit .290 .370 .434 .804 w/nobody on base and .311 .408 .443 .851 w/RISP.

He was probaly hurt on the RBI totals because he only hit 112 solo HR. For example, Manny has 242 solo HR in over 1000 less PA.

His lower SLG% than most sluggers would account for less runners being knocked in.
   26. ronh Posted: February 19, 2008 at 09:59 PM (#2694953)
Is there any way you can separate RISP into "RISP with first base open" and "RISP with first base occupied?"

Not easily. I used baseballmusings.com batter split comparisons to get those numbers. I would have to run a list with RISP and a runner on 1B for each instance (1B&2B;, 1B&3B;, bases loaded). Total those up for each batter and subtract those numbers from his overall RISP numbers.
   27. SouthSideRyan Posted: February 19, 2008 at 10:18 PM (#2694983)
This article is probably his least hostile. Check out the archives. Yow.
   28. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: February 19, 2008 at 10:29 PM (#2695000)
I'm not even sure I get his point by listing all the RBI totals. I hate that he ties his rants to the most successful franchise in MLB history.
   29. cardsfanboy Posted: February 19, 2008 at 11:33 PM (#2695086)
I think it's kinda funny how this guy attacks RBI opportunities and never once then tries to prove his point that rbi opportunities aren't a designation of being on a good or bad team. He says that statheads say rbi opportunities are a function of the quality of the team, then instead of going into a stream to prove that as a wrong statement, he then starts talking about rbi's by themselves.

This rant is so badly designed I'm surprised that this was actually linked, sure it feeds the group mind into enjoying bashing a guy with this incredible amount of stupidity, but beyond that, there isn't a coherent thought in this rant that stands up to any scrutiny.

Basic concepts that he completly misses.
1. he connects rbi's with place of team instead of team runs scored. Nobody ever said that good teams have more rbi opps, but that there is a chance that good scoring teams have better rbi opps.
2. he confuses rate stats with counting stats, doesn't even seem to understand the concept of rate vs counting.
3. worse part his thread got a WPA lover to comment on it....just go away WPA. please!!! (or at least get supporters who know what it's for, it is by far not the best stat for evaluating players, in fact it's pretty crappy for that task nearly on par with this guys garbage)
4. he makes this comment
There are no win shares in the standings
umm, yes there is.
5. He lost me with his arod comment.. arod had an ops of 1.015 in 2002 when he drove in 142 runs and an ops of .915 when he drove in 121 runs, and somehow this supports his claim that great hitters, not ops, drives in runs?
This guy has been sitting at home in his mothers basement too long, smelling the fumes of his own creation.
   30. Srul Itza Posted: February 20, 2008 at 12:42 AM (#2695145)
It’s become fashionable amongst statheads to dismiss the RBI as useless.


Or, as another guy once put it:

As a statistic, RBIs were not only misleading but dishonest. They depended on managerial control, a hitter's position in the batting order, park dimensions and the success of his teammates in getting on base ahead of him.


The geeky baseball know-nothing stathead who said that?

Branch Rickey, in 1954

Goodbye To Some Old Baseball Ideas
   31. ValueArb Posted: February 20, 2008 at 02:37 AM (#2695207)
If I were evaluating acquisitions, I’d be looking at a guy’s runs+RBI’s average through the years.


Doesn't this sentence explain why he isn't paid to evaluate acquisitions?
   32. MB Posted: February 20, 2008 at 03:15 AM (#2695238)
worse part his thread got a WPA lover to comment on it....just go away WPA. please!!! (or at least get supporters who know what it's for, it is by far not the best stat for evaluating players, in fact it's pretty crappy for that task nearly on par with this guys garbage

I made the comment about WPA. Well, I mentioned it. I would not call myself a "WPA lover," but I think it's alright for things like the MVP. What exactly is the problem with WPA in terms of ... measuring changes in win probability? I mean, sure you could get more technical and adjust for pitcher, ballpark, etc. rather than starting at .500 and assuming things are equal. I know there have been some extensive WPA debates here, but I have largely not followed them.

Anyway, I would never use it for projecting players or anything like that.
   33. Scott Kazmir's breaking balls Posted: February 20, 2008 at 03:27 AM (#2695245)
#1:

Good Team = Good Pitching + Good Defense
Good Team > Good Offense
   34. Davo Dozier (Mastroianni) Posted: February 20, 2008 at 03:29 AM (#2695246)
This article is probably his least hostile. Check out the archives. Yow.
It's so incendiary I can't quite decide if it's supposed to be satire or not. It's right on boundary. EG: "Warp3. These wanna-be scientists… these cow-tipping, beer from the can, Slipknot disciples… these ####### idiots… I don’t even understand why they follow the sport or even discuss it anymore. They worship at the alter of Warp3."

I mean, no one writes that with a straight face, right?
   35. Misirlou is on hiding to nowhere Posted: February 20, 2008 at 03:37 AM (#2695250)
What exactly is the problem with WPA in terms of ... measuring changes in win probability?


I don't know the ins and outs of how it's calculated, but someone here once showed how a guy gets a lower WPA by hitting 2 HR in a game instead of one, all other things being equal. A 2 out top of the 9th HR in a game that ends 1-0 > a 2 out HR in the first and a 2 out HR in the 9th of a 2-0 game. I'm sure there are plenty of more mundane examples of a guy earning fewer WPA points by being more valuable.
   36. GotowarMissAgnes Posted: February 20, 2008 at 03:45 AM (#2695253)
#33
Good Team = Good Offense + Good Defense
Good Team = Great Offense + Fair Defense
Good Team = Fair Offense + Great Defense

IOW, part of the author's error, as #29 points out, is that the author tries to connect team wins (good team) with RBIs, rather than with runs scored(good offense).

He describes Tampa as a lousy team. True. But, they were NOT a lousy offense.
   37. MB Posted: February 20, 2008 at 03:50 AM (#2695256)
35: I certainly don't know the ins and outs either, but isn't that just what it is measuring? That being changes in real time win probability. I suppose there could be another stat that looks back after the game is over and goes through things like that ... i.e., in a 1-0 game, a first inning homer will now equal a 9th inning homer, or something similar to your example. It depends on what you want, I guess.
   38. JPWF13 Posted: February 20, 2008 at 04:03 AM (#2695265)
He describes Tampa as a lousy team. True. But, they were NOT a lousy offense.


He does that a lot in his examples-

My favorite is he notes that ARod drove in more runs in Texas in 2002 than in NY in 2006- that one he actually notes specifically that the 2006 Yanks had a better offense-
what he ignores:
1: AROD slugged .623 in 2002, .523 in 2006
2: AROD had 50 more PAs in 2002

and he didn't notice that

AROD drove in fewer runs in 2002 than 2007, despite having more TBs and HRs in 2002 than 2007-

hmmm....
   39. cardsfanboy Posted: February 20, 2008 at 04:44 AM (#2695291)
my problem with WPA is that it is used by people as proof of a players superiority, instead of as a complementary stat. At the SABR convention one guy even commented that it was the best stat to evaluate a players overall offensive value, and he wasn't the first person that I have heard say that.

WPA is almost as useless as a stat as RBI's. At least it's used the same way in arguments. It's a Stark stat, something nice to know about, but not really germane in any discussion of quality of a player.
   40. MB Posted: February 20, 2008 at 09:03 AM (#2695372)
39: Well, I pretty much agree. I'm not sure what about my comment made you think that I thought any differently, but I guess it really doesn't matter (maybe it wasn't my comment?).

But like I said, in a pure backwards-looking estimation of value, it may be what people are looking for sometimes. It can still have its uses without being a catch all, do everything stat.
   41. rfloh Posted: February 20, 2008 at 09:17 AM (#2695374)
#37

Yeah, it measures changes in real time win probability. The problem some people have is using it to measure value. Of course, that depends on how one would define "value".
   42. Tuque Posted: February 20, 2008 at 10:31 AM (#2695381)
This guy writes like a deranged fanboy commenting on somebody else's blog. Why he has one of his own is a mystery to me.
   43. BadNewsCubs Posted: February 20, 2008 at 10:31 AM (#2695382)
As usual, my work creates the best threads on the internet. Nothing new.

For all the statheads here who have misinterpreted my baseball view....

I believe that to evaluate a player's offensive value, you need little else beyond obp, slugging, and runs+rbi's or uh, 'runs produced'. Anything beyond that is just Baseball Prospectus, Bill James, or some folks at this site taking your money.

But, if you like playing Dungeons and Dragons in your spare time... and believe in unicorns, fairies, and mermaids... sure, why not continue to believe that 'replacement level players' actually exist. Then, further your religion and worship at the alter of VORP2.2 / ZORP3.4 / Win Shares... or whatever else is the latest bull.

RonH, nice work on clutch hitting which actually does exist, unlike replacement players. I had the pleasure of watching Mark Grace for many years in Chicago. This was a guy who could choke up the bat with two strikes and get the job done. You know, the kind of thing statheads hate. The long ball loonies want you to swing for the fences every time. Gracie came through on the biggest stage of them all, against Mariano Rivera.

I challenge any stathead who believes in OPS, but not rbi's, to explain why the two correlate so incredibly well? And since they do, how can the rbi's be so meaningless, especially when comparing the times when the two stats DON'T correlate.

Plus, since all the Cubs statheads don't believe me... I challenge you guys to answer this puzzle:

The 2007 Cubs as of Sept. 20, the last time I checked, went 30-13 when a solid defensive catcher started. Koyie Hill, Geovany Soto, and Rob Bowen had outstanding WP+PB/G numbers and the club had great records with each as starters. Whereas Michael Barrett, Jason Kendall, and Henry Blanco had poor WP+PB/G numbers, the Cubs had losing records when Michael Barrett and Henry Blanco started, and were about .500 with Kendall.

Why?

Now, since statheads all think the same, I'm expecting my favorite answer, "Correlation, Not Causation". So hilarious... you guys think a leaky catcher can only affect one or two games per year. The 2007 Padres won like crazy with Josh Bard. When Michael Barrett started, they had a losing record. And how did their season end? On what play?

I can't wait to see the answers at this forum smack dab in the middle of statland.
   44. BadNewsCubs Posted: February 20, 2008 at 11:23 AM (#2695385)
Davoarid,

Thank you for reminding me of one of my finest moments in prose:

"Warp3. These wanna-be scientists… these cow-tipping, beer from the can, Slipknot disciples… these ####### idiots… I don’t even understand why they follow the sport or even discuss it anymore. They worship at the alter of Warp3."

Such beautiful poetry. So incredibly funny. I'm glad you all could enjoy it. There's plenty more to come. Repoz is now one of my most devoted readers. All of you will be devoted readers at my blog as well. It's the best baseball blog on the internet, hands down. You actually learn how games are won and lost... as opposed to studying data on unicorns.

There should be a stathead fantasy league where all the teams have names like:

The Unicorns
The Mermaids
The Fairies
The Santa's
The Easter Bunnies

etc.

Hey, you guys could even earn ZORP's and Win Shares instead of actual victories!
   45. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: February 20, 2008 at 11:27 AM (#2695386)
The 2007 Padres won like crazy with Josh Bard. When Michael Barrett started, they had a losing record. And how did their season end? On what play?

The best part of this is that Josh Bard is actually a horrible defensive catcher.
   46. GotowarMissAgnes Posted: February 20, 2008 at 01:29 PM (#2695394)
And I'm guessing your fantasy team name is The Trolls.
   47. Dan The Mediocre Posted: February 20, 2008 at 02:11 PM (#2695399)
sure, why not continue to believe that 'replacement level players' actually exist.


You mean that there aren't AAA players that teams can promote or free agents that aren't good enough to start?


RonH, nice work on clutch hitting which actually does exist, unlike replacement players. I had the pleasure of watching Mark Grace for many years in Chicago. This was a guy who could choke up the bat with two strikes and get the job done. You know, the kind of thing statheads hate. The long ball loonies want you to swing for the fences every time. Gracie came through on the biggest stage of them all, against Mariano Rivera.


Grace hit .244/.330/.356 with 2 strikes compared to .303/.383/.442 for his career. You aren't a clutch hitter with 2 strikes if you get noticeably worse. As for his hit against Rivera, no one denies that clutch hits exist, but the existence of players who improve dramatically when it's close and late.

The 2007 Cubs as of Sept. 20, the last time I checked, went 30-13 when a solid defensive catcher started. Koyie Hill, Geovany Soto, and Rob Bowen had outstanding WP+PB/G numbers and the club had great records with each as starters. Whereas Michael Barrett, Jason Kendall, and Henry Blanco had poor WP+PB/G numbers, the Cubs had losing records when Michael Barrett and Henry Blanco started, and were about .500 with Kendall.


This is hilarious given that Blanco is a much better defensive catcher than Kendall or Hill. Glad to see things like "facts" and "logic" don't get in your way.
   48. Misirlou is on hiding to nowhere Posted: February 20, 2008 at 02:20 PM (#2695402)
my problem with WPA is that it is used by people as proof of a players superiority, instead of as a complementary stat. At the SABR convention one guy even commented that it was the best stat to evaluate a players overall offensive value, and he wasn't the first person that I have heard say that.

39: Well, I pretty much agree. I'm not sure what about my comment made you think that I thought any differently,


I don't know, maybe this?

I would not call myself a "WPA lover," but I think it's alright for things like the MVP.
   49. CrosbyBird Posted: February 20, 2008 at 02:43 PM (#2695422)
I challenge any stathead who believes in OPS, but not rbi's, to explain why the two correlate so incredibly well?

To start with, they don't correlate "incredibly well" at all. Look at 1987 Boggs vs. 1987 Ruben Sierra or if you don't like that example because of lineup spot, compare 1993 Griffey (OPS 1.025, 109 RBI) to 1993 Joe Carter (OPS .801, 121 RBI). It's not playing time either. Griffey actually played 1 more game than Carter that year. Or more recently, 2004 Bonds (147 games, 1.421 OPS, 101 RBI) and 2004 Castilla (148 games, .867 OPS, 131 RBI).

To put those 2004 numbers into perspective, Bonds' OPS was almost 350 points higher than the closest player in baseball, and his 101 RBI would not crack the top 20.

But to the degree that having a good OPS translates into having a decent RBI total, here are some reasons:

1) Having a high slugging percentage means that more of a player's hits can drive in runners who are not in scoring position. Home runs not only drive in guys on first base, but drive in the batter as well.

2) The best hitters on the team generally bat 3rd or 4th, and most teams try to put guys that have some on-base skills at #1/#2 in the lineup. So the better hitters are usually placed in the best spot in the lineup for driving in runs.

3) Players who are good hitters tend to cluster on good teams because of unequal spending patterns. If a team can afford one really good hitter, chances are that they have more than their "fair share" of really good hitters. The exceptions to the "good hitter, high RBI total" are usually guys who are superstars on crappy offenses.

4) Having a relatively high OBP means a team's lineup cycles more often than the average team, which means the guys in front of the high-OBP player get more plate appearances, which means that he gets more opportunities to drive them in.
   50. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: February 20, 2008 at 03:16 PM (#2695464)
I challenge any stathead who believes in OPS, but not rbi's, to explain why the two correlate so incredibly well? And since they do, how can the rbi's be so meaningless, especially when comparing the times when the two stats DON'T correlate.


Slugging percentage is the stat that correlates extremely well to RBI, provided you take into account the opportunities each player has to drive in runners. A top-ten list for both SLG and RBI per Opportunity will have almost all of the same players for any given season.
   51. a bebop a rebop Posted: February 20, 2008 at 03:50 PM (#2695485)
Haha... who would have thought he looking for a fight instead of trying to start an intelligent discussion? No way!
   52. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: February 20, 2008 at 03:53 PM (#2695489)
is this guy related to Jesus Melendez?
   53. Peoria Dave Posted: February 20, 2008 at 04:55 PM (#2695540)
I think we found the first person on the interweb who defended Joe Morgan's ancient belief system.
   54. Cowboy Popup Posted: February 20, 2008 at 05:18 PM (#2695562)
Such beautiful poetry. So incredibly funny. I'm glad you all could enjoy it. There's plenty more to come. Repoz is now one of my most devoted readers. All of you will be devoted readers at my blog as well. It's the best baseball blog on the internet, hands down.

I don't really know what's going on in this thread, but this is incredible.
   55. Peoria Dave Posted: February 20, 2008 at 06:15 PM (#2695627)
I don't think anybody knows what's going on. That's the beauty of it. The Bad News Cubs author doesn't even know what the hell is going on.
   56. Ron Johnson Posted: February 20, 2008 at 07:08 PM (#2695677)
John, There's about a .98 correlation between career RBI and [at bats with runners on base * slugging percentage]

And you can improve it slightly by breaking the SLG down into BA and ISO. Given a normal distribution of baserunners if two guys have the same SLG and opportunities the guy with the lower BA will drive in a few more runs.

And in any given year ABROB * (SLG*1.09 - BA*.66) [ABROB is at bats with runners on base] works pretty well. Though there are always a few big misses -- primarily due to the distribution of baserunners (It's obviously easier to drive in Vince Coleman from third than Cecil Fielder from first. This tends to even out over time but in a single season players can get very different opportunities)
   57. MB Posted: February 20, 2008 at 07:40 PM (#2695701)
48: I don't view the MVP as the "best player award". If you want that ... sure use VORP, something with linear weights, etc. I view the MVP as the most valuable player in his context that given year. I think guys should be given extra credit for being clutch or getting a lot of hits with runners on base for the MVP (for the "value" part). For any serious evaluation of a player's future performance, I would certainly not touch WPA. Perhaps this is just semantics with the term MVP, but at least I have stated my criteria.
   58. Charter Member of the Jesus Melendez Fanclub Posted: February 20, 2008 at 07:52 PM (#2695711)
is this guy related to Jesus Melendez?

My thought exactly. It's not just the analysis, it's the same baseless swagger when he's in here. Hilarious ####.

I better update my name.
   59. BadNewsCubs Posted: February 20, 2008 at 07:59 PM (#2695715)
The best part of this is that Josh Bard is actually a horrible defensive catcher.


I love it when statheads... supposed scientists, make blanket judgments about defense. It really kills me. Ryno at Another Cubs Blog said many times what a lousy defensive catcher Jason Varitek is... when the guy has led the league in WP+PB/G several times! Both times the Red sox have won the World Series, Varitek led all of baseball for catchers with a legitimate number of innings.

Of catchers in the National League last year with at least 900 innings logged, Josh Bard ranked fourth in fewest 'passed balls + wild pitches per game'. Only Brad Ausmus, Paul LoDuca, and Yorvit Torrealba were better. That's not 'horrible', that's excellent. When San Diego pitchers threw to Bard, they carried a 3.44 era. With Michael Barrett, the same pitchers had a 4.15 era.

Hendry Blanco had a bad neck last year and it's showed. It's really difficult to block pitches in the dirt and off to the side with a bad neck.

Let me make something clear to statland. A catcher's first priority is to catch/block all pitches and get the most out of his pitchers. After that, you worry about what he does with the bat and controlling the running game. VORP doesn't tell you that, though, does it?
   60. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: February 20, 2008 at 08:01 PM (#2695718)
isn't it terrible when cousins marry?
   61. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: February 20, 2008 at 08:03 PM (#2695721)
Ryno at Another Cubs Blog said many times what a lousy defensive catcher Jason Varitek is... when the guy has led the league in WP+PB/G several times!

Bard ranked fourth in fewest 'passed balls + wild pitches per game'.

You should get your nose out of a spreadsheet and watch a few games.
   62. BadNewsCubs Posted: February 20, 2008 at 08:04 PM (#2695723)
You mean that there aren't AAA players that teams can promote or free agents that aren't good enough to start?


There aren't AAA players that guarantee any sort of 'replacement level numbers'. The whole thing is absurd. If it was that consistent, teams would make moves accordingly all the time.

Grace hit .244/.330/.356 with 2 strikes compared to .303/.383/.442 for his career. You aren't a clutch hitter with 2 strikes if you get noticeably worse. As for his hit against Rivera, no one denies that clutch hits exist, but the existence of players who improve dramatically when it's close and late.


Dan, the aptly named Mediocre, you do realize that every hitter is worse with 2 strikes, right? Let's take Barry Bonds in the greatest offensive season ever seen in baseball, 2001:

OPS - 1.378
OPS w/ 2 strikes - .910

If you're going to be a stathead, please be a good one.
   63. Tracy Posted: February 20, 2008 at 08:04 PM (#2695726)

I love it when statheads... supposed scientists, make blanket judgments about defense. It really kills me. Ryno at Another Cubs Blog said many times what a lousy defensive catcher Jason Varitek is... when the guy has led the league in WP+PB/G several times! Both times the Red sox have won the World Series, Varitek led all of baseball for catchers with a legitimate number of innings.


I assume that fact that Varitek never catches Tim Wakefield hasn't entered your mind?
   64. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: February 20, 2008 at 08:05 PM (#2695727)
isn't it terrible when cousins marry?
That depends. What's their WP+PB/G?
   65. Dan Szymborski Posted: February 20, 2008 at 08:06 PM (#2695728)
This is better than a bear-baiting - less blood, and a doofus being a target rather than a bear.

Hey Bad News Cubs, OPS isn't just better as a measure of a performance, OPS measures your soul as well!

This is such an unfair battle. It's like watching Tanner Boyle pick a fight with a dump truck.

If anything, he should be thanking us for 1000 of the 1025 or so pageviews he's done since starting his blog.
   66. The importance of being Ernest Riles Posted: February 20, 2008 at 08:07 PM (#2695730)
WP+PB/G


(WP+PB)/G

That was bugging the crap out of me.
   67. Dag Nabbit: secretary of the World Banana Forum Posted: February 20, 2008 at 08:09 PM (#2695732)
Of catchers in the National League last year with at least 900 innings logged, Josh Bard ranked fourth in fewest 'passed balls + wild pitches per game'.

And of the 1,270 teams since 1957, the 2007 Padres ranked dead last in ability to throw out opposing runners. Opponents stole 90.4% of the bases they attempted against the Pads -- including 92.4% against Bard.
   68. BadNewsCubs Posted: February 20, 2008 at 08:13 PM (#2695737)
To start with, they don't correlate "incredibly well" at all


Crosby, you're going to have to do better than pointing out a few exceptions.

Why don't you look at team batting statistics for pretty much every season in baseball history... filter by rbi's or filter by OPS... and watch the numbers either ascend or descend, hand in hand.

And what's interesting are the few teams each year who stand out of order... and figuring out why.

And don't use Bonds or Colorado players in your figures, that's absurd. Bonds' ops numbers tend to have a huge chunk of obp in them since the steroids use. He's been walked a billion times and not been given as many rbi opportunities.

Colorado's had a guy lead the NL in ribbies 7 times since they've existed. Dante Bichette, Andres Galarraga, Preston Wilson, and Vinny Castilla aren't exactly headed to the hall of fame. Helton? Maybe. Matt Holiday? We'll see. Ever heard of park factor?
   69. Charter Member of the Jesus Melendez Fanclub Posted: February 20, 2008 at 08:14 PM (#2695740)
Sorry Dag, that's not one of the criteria for determining a good defensive catcher. You must not have read the thread carefully.
   70. JJ1986 Posted: February 20, 2008 at 08:14 PM (#2695742)
Of catchers in the National League last year with at least 900 innings logged, Josh Bard ranked fourth in fewest 'passed balls + wild pitches per game'.

This if fourth of twelve, which is somewhere between "excellent" and "middle of the pack." Also, he was catching the best staff in the league, so he should be doing well.
   71. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: February 20, 2008 at 08:14 PM (#2695743)
Colorado's had a guy lead the NL in ribbies 7 times since they've existed. Dante Bichette, Andres Galarraga, Preston Wilson, and Vinny Castilla aren't exactly headed to the hall of fame. Helton? Maybe. Matt Holiday? We'll see. Ever heard of park factor?


Now, just to be clear, are you saying that we should discard RBIs as a measure of offense because they lack context?
   72. Dan Szymborski Posted: February 20, 2008 at 08:14 PM (#2695744)
Varitek led all of baseball for catchers with a legitimate number of innings.

What's an illegitimate number of innings?

Uh-oh, Bad News Cubs used sample size, a mathematical concept. Can't have that!

Jason Hammel: (RBI+R-HR)/AB = 1
MVP!
   73. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: February 20, 2008 at 08:14 PM (#2695745)
Ever heard of park factor?

gee, no--could you explain that to us?
   74. Charter Member of the Jesus Melendez Fanclub Posted: February 20, 2008 at 08:15 PM (#2695746)
Why don't you look at team batting statistics for pretty much every season in baseball history... filter by rbi's or filter by OPS... and watch the numbers either ascend or descend, hand in hand.


What's true for teams may not be true for individuals on those teams.
   75. JJ1986 Posted: February 20, 2008 at 08:15 PM (#2695747)
Why don't you look at team batting statistics for pretty much every season in baseball history... filter by rbi's or filter by OPS... and watch the numbers either ascend or descend, hand in hand.

Team RBIs correlate a lot better than individual RBIs. This is because team runs correlate well to OPS. Because OPS is a good way to measure which teams are good at offense, or scoring runs.
   76. Tracy Posted: February 20, 2008 at 08:19 PM (#2695755)
A catcher's first priority is to catch/block all pitches ...


Hey, like Casey Stengel said, if you don't have a catcher, you're gonna have an awful lot of passed balls.
   77. Repoz Posted: February 20, 2008 at 08:21 PM (#2695757)
One of the toughest things I've ever had to do was breaking off the working relationship with Jesus Melendez.

But now...it looks like the right move!
   78. Dan Szymborski Posted: February 20, 2008 at 08:21 PM (#2695758)
I think modeling is a concept a little advance for Bad News. If you asked him to make a model of weight gain from calorie consumption and exercise, he'd make a list of weight gain of the subjects and conclude that weight gain is what leads to weight gain.
   79. BadNewsCubs Posted: February 20, 2008 at 08:22 PM (#2695759)
I assume that fact that Varitek never catches Tim Wakefield hasn't entered your mind?


Not really. I don't care for the gross exceptions to any rule. How many knuckleballers in mlb today? One? Varitek isn't so good at catching him? I don't care. Greg Maddux carried personal catchers for years in Atlanta. The ultimate goal of a catcher is to get the most out of your pitcher. If on the Red Sox, there's one guy out of four that your best catcher doesn't work well with, use another catcher. Doug Mirabelli time.

Meanwhile, somehow despite Wakefield, Varitek logged the most innings as a catcher in the AL last year outside of Jorge Posada and Kenji Johjima? Not bad.
   80. Dan Szymborski Posted: February 20, 2008 at 08:25 PM (#2695761)
Hey, like Casey Stengel said, if you don't have a catcher, you're gonna have an awful lot of passed balls.

But without the catcher, the batter will eventually have to swing at strikes so the game would end.

However, a game can never end without the baseball. So the number of baseballs on field at a time is the ultimate determinant of quality. And it demonstrates the incredible amount of balance baseball has had historically.

Decades Ranked by Average Balls Used on Field Simultaneously

1T. 1900-1909: 1.0
1T. 1910-1919: 1.0
1T. 1920-1929: 1.0
1T. 1930-1939: 1.0
1T. 1940-1949: 1.0
1T. 1950-1959: 1.0
1T. 1960-1969: 1.0
1T. 1970-1979: 1.0
1T. 1980-1989: 1.0
1T. 1990-1999: 1.0
1T. 2000-2009: 1.0*

* Projected
   81. Dan Szymborski Posted: February 20, 2008 at 08:27 PM (#2695764)
I don't care for the gross exceptions to any rule.

Here's a list of other things (non-inclusive) that you apparently don't care about:

- Thought
- Reasoning
- Etiquette
- Intelligence
- Logic
- Insight
- Coherence
- Self-Awareness
- Being Ridiculed

I don't think we're alarmed that you're adding another one.
   82. BadNewsCubs Posted: February 20, 2008 at 08:27 PM (#2695765)
And of the 1,270 teams since 1957, the 2007 Padres ranked dead last in ability to throw out opposing runners. Opponents stole 90.4% of the bases they attempted against the Pads -- including 92.4% against Bard.

I've already said... controlling the running game is secondary for a catcher. Greg Maddux has been handing free passes to second base to opposing baserunners nearly his entire career. But a leaky catcher deflates an entire defense.

I always make the analogy to football's offensive line. You don't hear about these guys... even though they're paramount to your team's success. Quick, name the offensive linemen for the 2007 New York Giants and New England Patriots.

Defense at catcher is extremely important... and one day, a stathead will do a good enough job of quantifying it. (WP+PB)/G is a start.
   83. Padraic Posted: February 20, 2008 at 08:28 PM (#2695766)
Kiko (#21): Thanks!

"Ever heard of park factor?"

This is fairly amusing after this:

I believe that to evaluate a player's offensive value, you need little else beyond obp, slugging, and runs+rbi's or uh, 'runs produced'. Anything beyond that is just Baseball Prospectus, Bill James, or some folks at this site taking your money.


So, park factor, one of those things used in advance statistics by James or BPro or ZiPS, is ok?

Also, I've been reading this site for a while; where do I go to get swindled out of my money?
   84. Kiko Sakata Posted: February 20, 2008 at 08:29 PM (#2695768)
Varitek logged the most innings as a catcher in the AL last year outside of Jorge Posada and Kenji Johjima


I think this is my favorite rhetorical tool of BNC. Varitek logged the most innings! - well, except for the guys who caught more. Josh Bard was the best catcher in the National League! - well, except for the three guys that were better. RBI's are the best measure of run production! - well, except for the best hitter in major-league history and players whose home field is a really good hitting environment.
   85. JPWF13 Posted: February 20, 2008 at 08:29 PM (#2695770)
is this guy related to Jesus Melendez?


That's insulting to Melendez (I'm serious)

I assume that fact that Varitek never catches Tim Wakefield hasn't entered your mind?


I'm assuming it also means he's never seen Varitek try to catch Wakefield- I have and it's it's... scary...
   86. The Good Face Posted: February 20, 2008 at 08:32 PM (#2695772)
However, a game can never end without the baseball. So the number of baseballs on field at a time is the ultimate determinant of quality. And it demonstrates the incredible amount of balance baseball has had historically.

Decades Ranked by Average Balls Used on Field Simultaneously

1T. 1900-1909: 1.0
1T. 1910-1919: 1.0
1T. 1920-1929: 1.0
1T. 1930-1939: 1.0
1T. 1940-1949: 1.0
1T. 1950-1959: 1.0
1T. 1960-1969: 1.0
1T. 1970-1979: 1.0
1T. 1980-1989: 1.0
1T. 1990-1999: 1.0
1T. 2000-2009: 1.0*

* Projected


I find your research intriguing and would like to subscribe to your newsletter!
   87. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: February 20, 2008 at 08:33 PM (#2695773)
Quick, name the offensive linemen for the 2007 New York Giants and New England Patriots.

that's easy--Mark Grace and Joe Morgan
   88. BadNewsCubs Posted: February 20, 2008 at 08:33 PM (#2695775)
What's an illegitimate number of innings?


I'd say you're looking at sub-800 innings. That would not be a starting catcher most of the time... or a starter who had injuries.

When Varitek led baseball in (WP+PB)/G last year, the highest amount of innings a guy with a better (WP+PB)/G figure had was Mike Redmond with 483. In 2004, it was Jason Phillips with 650. These are not starters.
   89. Padraic Posted: February 20, 2008 at 08:33 PM (#2695776)
The ultimate goal of a catcher is to get the most out of your pitcher.


I think he might be on to something here, sort of like Hegel's idea that the ultimate goal of spirit (geist) is to realize itself.
   90. Padraic Posted: February 20, 2008 at 08:35 PM (#2695779)
And what's a catcher doing with my pitcher?
   91. BadNewsCubs Posted: February 20, 2008 at 08:36 PM (#2695783)
So, park factor, one of those things used in advance statistics by James or BPro or ZiPS, is ok?

Also, I've been reading this site for a while; where do I go to get swindled out of my money?


Park factor is significant with everything today... and I should have mentioned that in my article.

As for the second comment, I'm assuming someone at this site has written a book or had content that was available for a price... whether or not it was here. The point being... anyone paying for baseball measures beyond what's available for free... is wasting their money.
   92. Charter Member of the Jesus Melendez Fanclub Posted: February 20, 2008 at 08:36 PM (#2695784)
Jason Phillips, well-known as a defensive stalwart behind the dish.
   93. JPWF13 Posted: February 20, 2008 at 08:39 PM (#2695789)
Let me make something clear to statland. A catcher's first priority is to catch/block all pitches and get the most out of his pitchers. After that, you worry about what he does with the bat and controlling the running game.


You know this statement is true- if you are talking about little league baseball- some catchers give up a PB on every 4th pitch- a catcher who is good (relatively speaking) at catching or simply blocking the ball can make a huge difference relative to any difference in any other facet of the game.

But at the MLB level? The only catchers I've SEEN whose ability to block the ball was so poor that it outweighed any other facet of his game was the two times I've seen Tek attempt to "catch" Wakefield, and some poor schlub I remember long ago trying to catch Hough one game...
   94. Nineto Lezcano needs to get his shit together (CW) Posted: February 20, 2008 at 08:39 PM (#2695790)
I assume that fact that Varitek never catches Tim Wakefield hasn't entered your mind?


As the proprietor of one of many Cubs blogs invaded by this wonderful specimen of baseball acumen, allow me to assure you that TheHawk has never, ever allowed a fact to enter his mind. It's how he maintains his purity of essence.
   95. Tracy Posted: February 20, 2008 at 08:40 PM (#2695791)
Not really. I don't care for the gross exceptions to any rule. How many knuckleballers in mlb today? One? Varitek isn't so good at catching him? I don't care.


So, what you're saying is that Varitek is a good defensive catcher ("when the guy has led the league in WP+PB/G several times!"), but when it's pointed out that your metric doesn't account for him not catching Wakefield (whose catchers have 10+ PBs every year), you say "Varitek isn't so good at catching him?"

Got it.
   96. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: February 20, 2008 at 08:43 PM (#2695795)
Defense at catcher is extremely important... and one day, a stathead will do a good enough job of quantifying it. (WP+PB)/G is a start.

I know a fellow who can help you cubically transform those numbers.
   97. JPWF13 Posted: February 20, 2008 at 08:45 PM (#2695802)
it was Jason Phillips with 650.


well that proves pb+wp is crap- I've seen Phillips catch many a game and...

he's not good.
   98. BadNewsCubs Posted: February 20, 2008 at 08:46 PM (#2695803)
I'm assuming it also means he's never seen Varitek try to catch Wakefield- I have and it's it's... scary...


I've seen a lot of catchers try and catch Wakefield... and it was scary. Same with Charlie Liebrandt. What's your point?

I think this is my favorite rhetorical tool of BNC. Varitek logged the most innings! - well, except for the guys who caught more. Josh Bard was the best catcher in the National League! - well, except for the three guys that were better. RBI's are the best measure of run production! - well, except for the best hitter in major-league history and players whose home field is a really good hitting environment.


Terrible argument. Where did I write Josh Bard was the best catcher in the NL? I pretty plainly state he ranked fourth in a stat and that he was fine defensively last year, excellent even. I mean, what makes you statheads so poor at reading comprehension? It's this consistent illness. You argue what isn't written, not what is. You just want to jump in with the herd and attack someone.

Then, I explain how a guy with an enormous OPS may not have what would normally be a correlating RBI total because he's been walked more times than anyone in history. So, where's your argument there? Barry Bonds is an exception to a lot of rules. I can't believe you would even argue this.

The park factor element is legitimate, as I've already point out. And I should have mentioned that in my article. The RBI totals in Colorado in particular have been astonishing.

You're one of the lobotomized types, huh?

And finally, Runs+RBI's are the best measure of run production, not rbi's... and adjusted for park factor. But, I look at obp and slugging too. It's all the ZORP2.2 and Win Shares garbage that I have no time for. That's where you all are being swindled.
   99. talbright Posted: February 20, 2008 at 08:47 PM (#2695804)
Bonds' ops numbers tend to have a huge chunk of obp in them since the steroids use. He's been walked a billion times and not been given as many rbi opportunities.


So steroids = high OBP. Must be the juiced-up eyeball muscles.
   100. Padraic Posted: February 20, 2008 at 08:47 PM (#2695806)
The point being... anyone paying for baseball measures beyond what's available for free... is wasting their money.


That may be true, but it seems an odd thing to post on an open website that gives away all of its statistics and (if I'm not mistaken) methodology.

Thank you also for the elliptical sentence; really ratcheted up the drama. And I don't think "measures" is what you were looking for.
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