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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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   101. JPWF13 Posted: February 20, 2008 at 08:48 PM (#2695807)
And finally, Runs+RBI's are the best measure of run production, not rbi's... and adjusted for park factor.


slight disagreement I think on a team level, runs are the best measure of run production...
   102. BadNewsCubs Posted: February 20, 2008 at 08:53 PM (#2695817)
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...


Clearly you haven't seen Michael Barrett play. Also, you didn't notice what happened in Milwaukee last season with Johnny Estrada. He's kind of had a hard time sticking in Atlanta, Arizona, Milwaukee, etc., huh?

There didn't use to be so many awful defensive catchers in baseball. I don't know what's happened to be honest. The teams in the World Series just about always have good ones. In the last decade, teams have looked for more offense out of catcher, even sacrificing defense for it... and that's a mistake. Obviously you want both... but if you can only have one, go with D.

Arizona took off this year with Chris Snyder in place of Johnny Estrada. As a bonus, Snyder wasn't so bad with the bat. But the D made the big difference. Bob Melvin was a catcher so he knows.

And as for this ridiculous Wakefield thing... have you seen Johnny Bench or Pudge Rodriguez catch Wakefield? Neither have I, but don't assume it would be a walk in the park. The knuckleball is a funny thing. There are specific skill sets in sports that can be held by specific people. Is Shaq a lousy center because of his poor free throw %. Was Michael Jordan a lousy guard because he'll never win a 3 point shooting contest?

I can't believe you people judge Varitek's overall defense at catcher based on a knuckleballer. Christ, and I thought statheads were the masters of using 'sample size' as an attack mechanism.
   103. Misirlou was a Buddhist prodigy Posted: February 20, 2008 at 08:56 PM (#2695820)
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).


Any stat that can say that a guy hitting 2 solo HR in a 2-0 game is less valuable than a guy who hits 1 solo HR in a 1-0 games is suspect on measuring value.
   104. Cowboy Popup Posted: February 20, 2008 at 08:57 PM (#2695823)
Dan, the aptly named Mediocre, you do realize that every hitter is worse with 2 strikes, right?

Except for Placido Polanco!
   105. Tracy Posted: February 20, 2008 at 08:58 PM (#2695825)
I can't believe you people judge Varitek's overall defense at catcher based on a knuckleballer. Christ, and I thought statheads were the masters of using 'sample size' as an attack mechanism.


The point, dumba$$, is that if he were catching Wakefield, he would not be leading the league in your pet stat, and thereby punching a hole in your argument that the Red Sox are winning because of his prowess in said stat.
   106. Dizzypaco Posted: February 20, 2008 at 08:58 PM (#2695826)
I can't believe you people judge Varitek's overall defense at catcher based on a knuckleballer.

I agree. Its one of the silliest arguments anyone has made around here in a long time, and that's saying something. How in the world can you judge Varitek on his inability to catch Wakefield given that almost no one else in baseball has even tried? You think its easy catching a pure knuckleballer?
   107. BadNewsCubs Posted: February 20, 2008 at 08:58 PM (#2695827)
Jason Phillips: he's not good.


He was good last year. He carried good (WP+PB)/G numbers in 2004, 2005, and last year.

I've said it many times. Just as Moneyball exposed a 'scout' culture for only using their eyes and not stats... there now exists an equal phenomenon in the reverse. There are an endless number of statheads who couldn't properly evaluate talent with their eyes if their lives depended on it.

You have this emotional opinion of Jason Phillips which flies directly in the face of what the STATS tell you. Unbelievable.
   108. JPWF13 Posted: February 20, 2008 at 09:01 PM (#2695829)
Is Shaq a lousy center because of his poor free throw %.


No, but he's not as good as he could be/ could have been...

If Shaq could nail 75% then Hack a Shaq wouldn't have been a productive pastime for the opposing teams...

I can't believe you people judge Varitek's overall defense at catcher based on a knuckleballer. Christ, and I thought statheads were the masters of using 'sample size' as an attack mechanism.


The "problem" (one of them) with using passed balls as a judge of catcher quality is that many times managers match catchers to certain pitchers- some times it's because they're friends or enemies, sometime it's because a good hitting catcher has a hard time catching the tougher pitchers (ie knuckleballers, guys who bounce curveballs a lot etc.)

No manager in his right mind would let Jason Phillips catch a tough handling pitcher - so if he's only catching the easy guys he'll have a good pb+wp/g- like he did one year.
   109. Chris Dial Posted: February 20, 2008 at 09:01 PM (#2695830)
(WP+PB)/G


Are you using G or IC? Or IC/9?
   110. BadNewsCubs Posted: February 20, 2008 at 09:02 PM (#2695831)
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.


That's a fair point... I can accept that one. I may have been wrongly projecting Baseball Prospectus, Win Shares, etc., onto this site... and if so, I stand corrected. My larger point is that I wouldn't pay for any of the garbage Dungeons and Dragons stats that statheads go crazy over.

And which stathead had the Rockies in the World Series last year? Not a single one. Which scout did? Not a single one.

That's the beauty of sport and why we love it.
   111. BadNewsCubs Posted: February 20, 2008 at 09:06 PM (#2695838)
Except for Placido Polanco!


He really is good with two strikes, isn't he?

And yet, career OPS - .766 & career OPS w/ 2 strikes - .663.

Still, not bad at all... and not quite the gap of say, Alfonso Soriano

Career - .844
2 Strikes - .561

I don't know why anyone ever throws Fonzy a strike or anything other than a breaking ball in the dirt.
   112. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: February 20, 2008 at 09:09 PM (#2695840)
Just for the edification of some here:

The plural of Runs Batted In is RBI. There is no such thing as RBIs or RBI's.

That is all.
   113. Famous Original Joe C Posted: February 20, 2008 at 09:09 PM (#2695842)
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


Thus we prove the clutch hitting is acheived by using PEDs.

Good day, sirs!
   114. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: February 20, 2008 at 09:09 PM (#2695844)
Would you accept RsBI?
   115. Charter Member of the Jesus Melendez Fanclub Posted: February 20, 2008 at 09:10 PM (#2695846)
And which stathead had the Rockies in the World Series last year? Not a single one. Which scout did? Not a single one.

Anyone counting RBIs would have known the Rockies would make it. The shock is that they don't make it every year.
   116. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: February 20, 2008 at 09:11 PM (#2695848)
Would you accept RsBI?


Despite its ugliness, Pops, yes. ;-)
   117. JPWF13 Posted: February 20, 2008 at 09:12 PM (#2695849)
You have this emotional opinion of Jason Phillips which flies directly in the face of what the STATS tell you. Unbelievable.


He's a poor thrower, he's immobile (even by catcher standards), he's not a good defensive player.

What do the stats tell me?
BPRos' fielding numbers tell me he's terrible (and my eye agrees)
   118. BadNewsCubs Posted: February 20, 2008 at 09:12 PM (#2695850)
The point, dumba$$, is that if he were catching Wakefield, he would not be leading the league in your pet stat, and thereby punching a hole in your argument that the Red Sox are winning because of his prowess in said stat.


The same thing applies to every catcher in baseball history, dumba$$. Brad Ausmus' numbers would drop too.

You want to see Doug Mirabelli's (WP+PB)/G?

.680

Actually, let's do better than that... here's Mirabelli from 2004 to 2007, including some interesting time spent in San Diego:

2004 Boston - .810
2005 Boston - .470
2006 San Diego - .180
2006 Boston - .700
2007 Boston - .680

Boy, San Diego sure stands out like a sore thumb, doesn't it? Are you next going to tell me that Doug Mirabelli's a lousy defensive catcher because of his horrible passed balls/wild pitches figures in Boston? How idiotic.
   119. Misirlou was a Buddhist prodigy Posted: February 20, 2008 at 09:12 PM (#2695851)
And yet, career OPS - .766 & career OPS w/ 2 strikes - .663.

Still, not bad at all... and not quite the gap of say, Alfonso Soriano

Career - .844
2 Strikes - .561

I don't know why anyone ever throws Fonzy a strike or anything other than a breaking ball in the dirt.


You do realize that the overwhelming reason players do worse with 2 strikes is that swinging and missing with 1 or 2 strikes is a non event, but swinging and missing with 2 strikes is an out. Looking merely at OPS tells you nothing about how well they hit with 2 strikes compared to 0 or 1. Ant player who strikes out a lot will look a lot worse with 2 strikes, because the only time they can strikeout is with 2 strikes.
   120. Padraic Posted: February 20, 2008 at 09:16 PM (#2695855)
My larger point is that I wouldn't pay for any of the garbage Dungeons and Dragons stats

I agree, Value Over Replacement Dwarf and HitPoint+ are completely useless for evaluating baseball players.

And I do actually agree with this guy that, whatever you think of Varitek, saying he doesn't catch Wakefield isn't a good argument. Only if every other catcher caught knuckleballers would it be a fair point.
   121. JPWF13 Posted: February 20, 2008 at 09:17 PM (#2695858)
Are you next going to tell me that Doug Mirabelli's a lousy defensive catcher because of his horrible passed balls/wild pitches figures in Boston? How idiotic.


No, but if you were being logically consistent you would be...

Take a look at your chart- a knuckleball pitcher is an extreme case- but pitchers can have a tremendous impact on a catchers PB numbers.
   122. Conor Posted: February 20, 2008 at 09:18 PM (#2695859)
"Actually, let's do better than that... here's Mirabelli from 2004 to 2007, including some interesting time spent in San Diego:

2004 Boston - .810
2005 Boston - .470
2006 San Diego - .180
2006 Boston - .700
2007 Boston - .680

Boy, San Diego sure stands out like a sore thumb, doesn't it? Are you next going to tell me that Doug Mirabelli's a lousy defensive catcher because of his horrible passed balls/wild pitches figures in Boston? How idiotic."


In case anyone didn't bother looking up the raw numbers, that SD total is based on all of 49 innings.
   123. Kiko Sakata Posted: February 20, 2008 at 09:19 PM (#2695860)
Are you next going to tell me that Doug Mirabelli's a lousy defensive catcher because of his horrible passed balls/wild pitches figures in Boston?


I thought you were the one arguing that (WP+PB)/G was the best measure of a catcher's defense.

The argument being posited here is that one would logically expect a team to play their best defensive catcher - in terms of ability to prevent WP and PB - when a knuckleballer was pitching, because WPs and PBs are much more common when knuckleballers pitch. Hence, the fact that the Red Sox have Mirabelli catch Wakefield is evidence that they believe that Mirabelli is, in fact, better than Varitek at preventing WP and PB and, thus, by your argument, that Mirabelli is a better defensive catcher than Varitek.
   124. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: February 20, 2008 at 09:20 PM (#2695863)
My threshold of enjoyment of responses to a troll article is about 125 posts. Does anyone have a metric around that? I think there must be a correlation to age, busyness at work and puppy kicking tolerance but I was pretty crappy at stats, which correlates well with being a barely functional math major.
If the professors had taught using examples as illustrative as (WP+PB)/G, I mighta hadda chance.

EDIT: Cleaned up lousy wording
   125. AJMcCringleberry Posted: February 20, 2008 at 09:22 PM (#2695866)
Only Brad Ausmus, Paul LoDuca, and Yorvit Torrealba were better.

Blow Duca #2! LOL!!!!!!111
   126. BadNewsCubs Posted: February 20, 2008 at 09:22 PM (#2695867)
The "problem" (one of them) with using passed balls as a judge of catcher quality is that many times managers match catchers to certain pitchers- some times it's because they're friends or enemies, sometime it's because a good hitting catcher has a hard time catching the tougher pitchers (ie knuckleballers, guys who bounce curveballs a lot etc.)

No manager in his right mind would let Jason Phillips catch a tough handling pitcher - so if he's only catching the easy guys he'll have a good pb+wp/g- like he did one year.


The first paragraph is almost the truth. I would say, though, that when you have a very good defensive catcher, the rotation doesn't get split up amongst catchers very much. You're correct when you take a case like Javy Lopez who Maddux didn't like throwing to. Javy was good with the bat. And yet, those instances are rare, as with the Tim Wakefield scenario. I don't recall any pitchers in Houston avoiding Brad Ausmus. I don't recall any Rangers, Marlins, or Tigers avoiding Pudge Rodriguez. I don't recall any Cardinals pitchers avoiding Mike Matheny when he was still around. You see my point.

As for Jason Phillips, here are his (WP+PB)/G figures:

2004 - .180
2005 - .290
2006 - .400 (Hardly played, only 45 innings. Was he hurt that year?)
2007 - .270

Those are very good numbers. But, for a complete view of a catcher, I look to (WP+PB)/G, then his catcher's era against how the other catchers on his team did... and THEN the CS%.

Chris Dial, it's per game... and the numbers can be found here:

http://www.hardballtimes.com/thtstats/main/index.php?view=catching&linesToDisplay=300&orderBy=wpPlusPbPerG&direction=ASC&qual_filter=ignore&season;_filter[]=2007&Submit=Submit
   127. Misirlou was a Buddhist prodigy Posted: February 20, 2008 at 09:24 PM (#2695870)
To expand on #119. Jim Thome is a great hitter who strikes out a ton. Juan Pierre is a terrible hitter who rarely strikes out. Thome's OPS drops 335 points from his career average with 2 strikes. Pierre's drops only 91 points. Any hitter who strikes out a lot will have a greater drop in OPS with 2 strikes than a worse hitter who doesn't.

editing 119:

swinging and missing with 1 or 2 strikes is a non event,

that should read 0 or 1 strike of course.
   128. BadNewsCubs Posted: February 20, 2008 at 09:25 PM (#2695873)
He's a poor thrower, he's immobile (even by catcher standards), he's not a good defensive player.


That's exactly my point. I care most about passed balls, wild pitches, and catcher's era compared with his teammate catchers. You care most about his arm and his mobility. Most catchers are so mobile after all.
   129. Conor Posted: February 20, 2008 at 09:25 PM (#2695875)
Those are very good numbers. But, for a complete view of a catcher, I look to (WP+PB)/G, then his catcher's era against how the other catchers on his team did... and THEN the CS%.

Chris Dial, it's per game... and the numbers can be found here:


So a catcher who allowed 1 passed ball in a game where he played 1 inning would rank the same as a catcher who allowed 1 passed ball in a game where he played all 9 innings?
   130. Cowboy Popup Posted: February 20, 2008 at 09:25 PM (#2695876)
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.

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.


There's a fellow around here that you would get along with very well.

And I do actually agree with this guy that, whatever you think of Varitek, saying he doesn't catch Wakefield isn't a good argument.

Agreed, there are plenty of reasons to believe he's not a good catcher. That's sort of one of the icing on the cake type comments, IMO.
   131. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: February 20, 2008 at 09:30 PM (#2695884)
Although he might also have drunk a Potion of Giant Strength.
Mighty funny. You know, if I was a flaxseed oil marketing person, "Potion of Giant Strength Flaxseed Oil" would have that old-fashioned kind of name that might be catchy in this ultra-modern era.
   132. flournoy Posted: February 20, 2008 at 09:30 PM (#2695885)
Playing an RPG style baseball game sounds either really fun, or really terrible. Can my level 8 Kelly Johnson homer off your level 14 Jake Peavy and earn 31 experience points?
   133. BadNewsCubs Posted: February 20, 2008 at 09:33 PM (#2695889)
You do realize that the overwhelming reason players do worse with 2 strikes is that swinging and missing with 1 or 2 strikes is a non event, but swinging and missing with 2 strikes is an out. Looking merely at OPS tells you nothing about how well they hit with 2 strikes compared to 0 or 1. Ant player who strikes out a lot will look a lot worse with 2 strikes, because the only time they can strikeout is with 2 strikes.


Did you mean missing with 0 or 1 strikes is a non event?

Overall, you make a good point. But, I don't want to split hairs over the initial point which is... some guys are better hitters with two strikes than others... Mark Grace was one of them. He carried a .330 career obp with two strikes. Impressive. A-Rod, by comparison is at .309. In OPS, A-Rod narrowly measures ahead of Grace with two strikes - .702 to .686 ... and we all know that A-Rod has a heck of a lot more power than Gracie ever did.

Your Jim Thome/Juan Pierre point is excellent.
   134. Chris Dial Posted: February 20, 2008 at 09:34 PM (#2695892)
Storm Giant at that. And is he wearing Gauntlets of Ogre Strength?

I do know other owners are jealous of Steinbrenner having Bucknard's Everful Purse.
   135. BadNewsCubs Posted: February 20, 2008 at 09:42 PM (#2695895)
Take a look at your chart- a knuckleball pitcher is an extreme case- but pitchers can have a tremendous impact on a catchers PB numbers.


The best catchers at preventing wild pitches and passed balls are pretty consistent with the skill. The numbers bare that out.

Obviously if you have Wild Thing from the Major League movie throwing 'juuuuust a bit outside', there isn't no catcher in the world that's going to do anything about it. And yet, the reason I like (WP+PB)/G is that sometimes, the wild pitches are a part of the pitcher/catcher relationship... and not solely an issue of the pitcher.

In Chicago last year, after Michael Barrett was gone, Michael Weurtz made a comment along the lines of:

It's nice to be able to throw pitches in the dirt again, knowing they'll get blocked.
   136. Misirlou was a Buddhist prodigy Posted: February 20, 2008 at 09:44 PM (#2695896)
some guys are better hitters with two strikes than others... Mark Grace was one of them. He carried a .330 career obp with two strikes. Impressive. A-Rod, by comparison is at .309. In OPS, A-Rod narrowly measures ahead of Grace with two strikes - .702 to .686 ... and we all know that A-Rod has a heck of a lot more power than Gracie ever did.


That's because Grace struck out far less often than Arod, 642 to 1524 in 700 more AB. When not striking out, Grace hit .320 with 2 strikes. When not striking out, ARod hit .380. Now, striking out is part and parcel with one's 2 strike performance. But looking at 2 strike performance as some sort of clutch indicator is dubious. May as well just look at strikeout rates. Anyone who strikes out a lot will not have good 2 strike performance, regardless of their innate clutchiness. The effect of the strikeouts will overwhelm anything else.
   137. BadNewsCubs Posted: February 20, 2008 at 09:46 PM (#2695898)
The argument being posited here is that one would logically expect a team to play their best defensive catcher - in terms of ability to prevent WP and PB - when a knuckleballer was pitching, because WPs and PBs are much more common when knuckleballers pitch. Hence, the fact that the Red Sox have Mirabelli catch Wakefield is evidence that they believe that Mirabelli is, in fact, better than Varitek at preventing WP and PB and, thus, by your argument, that Mirabelli is a better defensive catcher than Varitek.



The flaw in this argument is when you say that Mirabelli is better than Varitek in preventing WP's and PB's overall. In reality, he's better than Varitek at it with Tim Wakefield. There's a different.

And from there, even if Varitek and Mirabelli are equal in terms of WP&PB;prevention, Varitek's bat is superior. Plus, we haven't even looked at catchers' era that you statheads find so offensive.

Conor,

As for Mirabelli's 49 innings in SD... two things. One, try and find 49 innings of .180 when Mirabelli is catcher Wakefield. Next, I wish that site went further back in Mirabelli's career to his Giants days where you'd see much more innings of better numbers than his Wakefield numbers.
   138. Conor Posted: February 20, 2008 at 09:49 PM (#2695900)
As for Mirabelli's 49 innings in SD... two things. One, try and find 49 innings of .180 when Mirabelli is catcher Wakefield


I would imagine that would be impossible to do, but so what? 49 innings is such a small sample size it can't really prove much of anything.

Edit: I'm also not sure how you get a .18 figure for Mirabelli. I'm guessing it might not exactly be per game, because he caught 9 games for the Padres th at year. If he allowed 1 passed ball or WP, the 1/9= .111, and if he allowed 2, then its 2/9=.22, so I am not sure where .18 comes in.
   139. MB Posted: February 20, 2008 at 09:49 PM (#2695901)
Any stat that can say that a guy hitting 2 solo HR in a 2-0 game is less valuable than a guy who hits 1 solo HR in a 1-0 games is suspect on measuring value.

Sure, that's a strange one. I mean, I'm sure you could find a situation where 1-4 with 1 single is better than 3-5 with 3 homers (in a blowout) and all sorts of oddities, by WPA. But that's just what it is measuring. Patriot and others call it literal value. What we are generally after is performance, as Patriot describes it: http://gosu02.tripod.com/id11.html

Then again, he also has a part at the bottom about looking at literal value after the game is over. I am not saying one is right or wrong. Again, I think it just depends on what you're looking for.
   140. The Good Face Posted: February 20, 2008 at 09:55 PM (#2695906)
With that elbow protector, I bet Barry Bonds has a pretty good armor class. Although he might also have drunk a Potion of Giant Strength.


This wins the thread.
   141. Misirlou was a Buddhist prodigy Posted: February 20, 2008 at 09:58 PM (#2695909)
I mean, I'm sure you could find a situation where 1-4 with 1 single is better than 3-5 with 3 homers (in a blowout) and all sorts of oddities, by WPA. But that's just what it is measuring. Pa


Fine, I understand that. What I disagree with applying it to individual players. Yes, 1-4 can legitimately be more valuable than 3-5 with 3 HR (in blowout), unless the blowout is caused primarily by the three HR. Can 1-4 with 1 RBI in the bottom of the 9th in a 1-0 win be more valuable than three 3 run HR in each of the first three innings of a 9-0 game (or for that matter, a 9-8 game that started out 9-0)? If so, then the stat is hugely flawed, WRT using it as MVP criteria.
   142. BadNewsCubs Posted: February 20, 2008 at 09:59 PM (#2695912)
Conor, (WP+PB)/G is projected out to 9 innings like ERA. For example, Edwin Bellorin had one wild pitch thrown to him last year in 5 innings of work. His (WP+PB)/G is 1.8.
   143. BadNewsCubs Posted: February 20, 2008 at 10:04 PM (#2695921)
Oh dear lord. Never have I spoken the truth as well as this:

These statheads may as well be playing Dungeons and Dragons with their stats.


(That's the PG version.)

Man, I am creeped out at how well you people seem to know that game. Boy was I right.
   144. MB Posted: February 20, 2008 at 10:04 PM (#2695922)
Miserlou, I am not sure ... might mess around with the win probability calculator thing later. Anyway, good debate and interesting topic. I probably have not thought it through enough really ...

I know the idea that a walk of or late inning hit will end the game (or come close to ending the game) is part of it, as in the other team won't have much of a chance to come back. Also once a guy hits a 3 run homer to make it 3-0, the second homer really isn't that important in terms of winning the game, and the third is almost insignificant. Although, I definitely understand your point.
   145. flournoy Posted: February 20, 2008 at 10:06 PM (#2695926)
So then (WP+PB)/G is misleading, since the formula you use to classify the stat is not the same as the formula you use to calculate the stat. That's like calling ERA ER/G.
   146. BadNewsCubs Posted: February 20, 2008 at 10:08 PM (#2695929)
That's because Grace struck out far less often than Arod, 642 to 1524 in 700 more AB. When not striking out, Grace hit .320 with 2 strikes. When not striking out, ARod hit .380. Now, striking out is part and parcel with one's 2 strike performance. But looking at 2 strike performance as some sort of clutch indicator is dubious. May as well just look at strikeout rates. Anyone who strikes out a lot will not have good 2 strike performance, regardless of their innate clutchiness. The effect of the strikeouts will overwhelm anything else.


Excellent point again... and yet, I don't even know why we're talking about this.

The subject only came up because Dan, who properly understands himself to be mediocre, insisted that clutch hitting doesn't exist because Mark Grace's performance diminished with two strikes on him.... you know, just like how every player's performance diminishes with two strikes.

I'm perfectly content to let this subject go. I couldn't agree with you more. Looking at 2 strike performance as a clutch indicator is dubious and more.
   147. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: February 20, 2008 at 10:11 PM (#2695932)
The subject only came up because Dan, who properly understands himself to be mediocre, insisted that clutch hitting doesn't exist because Mark Grace's performance diminished with two strikes on him


Did you read his post? Weren't you the one railing about the reading comprehension of others?
   148. BadNewsCubs Posted: February 20, 2008 at 10:11 PM (#2695933)
So then (WP+PB)/G is misleading, since the formula you use to classify the stat is not the same as the formula you use to calculate the stat. That's like calling ERA ER/G


Flournoy, you're getting into semantics and splitting hairs. Who cares? If it was called ER/G it wouldn't be the end of the world. If the catcher stat was (WP+PB)Average, would you feel better?

Go complain to the hardball times, not me. I didn't come up with the acronyms for any of these stats.
   149. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: February 20, 2008 at 10:11 PM (#2695934)
Man, I am creeped out at how well you people seem to know that game. Boy was I right.

And what makes so many posters here so great is how they can laugh at themselves. It's a very endearing quality. Try it on for size sometime.
   150. Misirlou was a Buddhist prodigy Posted: February 20, 2008 at 10:12 PM (#2695936)
Miserlou, I am not sure ... might mess around with the win probability calculator thing later. Anyway, good debate and interesting topic. I probably have not thought it through enough really ...

I know the idea that a walk of or late inning hit will end the game (or come close to ending the game) is part of it, as in the other team won't have much of a chance to come back. Once a guy hits a 3 run homer to make it 3-0, the second homer really isn't that important in terms of winning the game, and the third is almost insignificant. Although, I definitely understand your point.


What really got me questioning the validity was the 2 vs 1 solo HR example. By WPA, a solo HR in the 9th inning of a 0-0 game is more valuable than a solo HR in the first inning of a 0-0 game plus a solo HR in the 9th inning of a 1-0 game. Can you imagine anyone saying "Sure, he was really valuable today, but he would have been more valuable had he struck out in the first instead."?

If adding positive achievements to your resume can make make you less valuable, then maybe the measuring tool is flawed with application to individuals.
   151. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: February 20, 2008 at 10:15 PM (#2695946)
What really got me questioning the validity was the 2 vs 1 solo HR example. By WPA, a solo HR in the 9th inning of a 0-0 game is more valuable than a solo HR in the first inning of a 0-0 game plus a solo HR in the 9th inning of a 1-0 game.

Also, a homer to win the game 1-0 in the bottom of the 9th is more valuable than a homer which wins a 1-0 game in the top of the 9th.
   152. BadNewsCubs Posted: February 20, 2008 at 10:18 PM (#2695948)
Did you read his post? Weren't you the one railing about the reading comprehension of others?


Yes pops, I read it.... what's your point?

Mark Grace was a clutch hitter. Mark Grace was excellent with two strikes on him. Grace also had plenty of clutch moments that didn't involve two strikes. The bottom of the ninth in Game 7 of the 2001 World Series comes to mind.

When Dan says Grace's numbers are worse with two strikes than without two strikes, it neither negates the fact that clutch hitting exists, nor the fact that Grace was good with two strikes.

Can you comprehend that?
   153. MB Posted: February 20, 2008 at 10:22 PM (#2695951)
What really got me questioning the validity was the 2 vs 1 solo HR example. By WPA, a solo HR in the 9th inning of a 0-0 game is more valuable than a solo HR in the first inning of a 0-0 game plus a solo HR in the 9th inning of a 1-0 game. Can you imagine anyone saying "Sure, he was really valuable today, but he would have been more valuable had he struck out in the first instead."?


But the second homer came when the game was pretty well decided (by that I mean like 85%). It has little impact on whether or not you're going to win that game. And the first came in the first inning when there was a whole game left to play.

On the other hand, the solo homer ended a ~50/50 game right there. I think you have to think of things in terms of winning that one game, rather than individual accomplishments. Again, though, I am not one really qualified to depend WPA and I'm not even sure if I agree with myself : )
   154. Misirlou was a Buddhist prodigy Posted: February 20, 2008 at 10:24 PM (#2695956)
I think you have to think of things in terms of winning that one game, rather than individual accomplishments. Again, though, I am not one really qualified to depend WPA and I'm not even sure if I agree with myself : )


Then we're in agreement.
   155. CrosbyBird Posted: February 20, 2008 at 10:24 PM (#2695957)
Crosby, you're going to have to do better than pointing out a few exceptions.

I took 5 minutes and found some extreme examples. If all you are looking for is players with higher park-adjusted OPS and lower R+RBI totals than a comparison player, with comparable playing time, that's not difficult at all. You could probably find 4-5 players with an absolute reverse trend (ascending OPS+, descending RBI) in any given season without too much difficulty.

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.

The problem people have with using RBI to determine an individual player's value is that they are highly team-dependent.

You are confusing cause (having good team offense) and effect (having lots of RBI, or if you prefer, R+RBI). It's like saying using a lot of tissues causes someone to have a runny nose.

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

I agree that it's interesting to find out the few places where having the best hitters doesn't lead to scoring/driving in the most runs. That's what a lot of those statheads you like to insult work on. What managerial strategies cost runs? How much does lineup matter, and what is the ideal lineup given a certain 9 players? How much should park matter.

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.

Opportunities? I thought you only needed OBP, SLG, Runs, and RBI? Now we need some sort of context-based look at RBI? Careful, or you're going to sound like some crazy stathead, or that Bill James sycophant Branch Rickey.

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?

More context? Of course park factor matters. But Boggs and Sierra played in good hitting parks, and we're not talking about Coors for the Griffey (in the pre-Safeco Seattle park) and Carter comparison.

As a very crude tool, R+RBI has some correlation with offense value for individual players. You would probably do much better with simple OPS * PA with most players (great runners will have value that shows up in runs that doesn't show up in OPS; players with exceptionally high OBP are underrated by raw OPS).

Raw OPS without any idea of playing time is probably even more worthless than R+RBI.

But nobody advocates the use of context-free stats, even those who attack statheads for obsessing over the minute details. Everyone has some sense that Coors is a better place to hit than Chavez Ravine (although both are generally overrated in terms of effect). Everyone considers playing time to be important. Everyone considers position to some degree.

What stats like VORP attempt to do is quantify those assumptions that people are making regarding one or more of these factors. Most of the time, you're doing a lot of work to get a relatively small gain.

Win shares are really good for determining "value" as opposed to "quality." Players on better teams will have higher WS totals. Similarly, put Bonds 2004 on that year's Yankees and he produces a lot more in terms of runs and RBI because better players drive him in more often and he drives better players in more often. But that's not a measure of how good he was so much as how much his team was in a position to take advantage of how good he was.
   156. Dan Szymborski Posted: February 20, 2008 at 10:34 PM (#2695970)
And what makes so many posters here so great is how they can laugh at themselves. It's a very endearing quality. Try it on for size sometime.

It's OK, we're laughing at himself for him.
   157. CrosbyBird Posted: February 20, 2008 at 10:42 PM (#2695978)
Man, I am creeped out at how well you people seem to know that game.

These guys are posers who wouldn't know a glaive guisarme from a bec de corbin, and none of them are fit to kiss the hem of Mordenkainen's robe. They'd probably miss anyway seeing as they have such a lousy THACO.
   158. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: February 20, 2008 at 10:59 PM (#2695994)
I think the Varitek can't catch Wakefield theory is somewhat overblown. From the time the Sox acquired Tek but before they obtained Mirabelli, Varitek regularly caught Wake with decent results. But in 02, Wake and Belli had a great year together, and from there forward the Sox opted to go with the personal caddy for Wakefield. To me, it made a lot of sense. If you've got one starter who's really difficult for anyone to catch, then it's logical to allow him to work with a single catcher to breed familiary (particularly if, like Dougie, he's a good backstop), while using that as an opportunity to give your starter necessary rest. It wasn't until the 2004 playoffs that his difficulty handling Wake arose. That shouldn't have been suprising, however, since he had only caught a few knuckleballs over a two-year span.
   159. BadNewsCubs Posted: February 20, 2008 at 10:59 PM (#2695995)
Crosby, well done. You're one of the better statheads.

The best offensive players from year to year will average the best runs+rbi numbers, period. These players have the most value.

I'm not interested in seeing exceptions from year to year. If we take Ruben Sierra's career and Wade Boggs' career... and put them together... Wade Boggs would average more runs+rbi's and for more seasons. This involves far fewer calculations than ZORP2.2.

If we look at great players on bad teams, their runs+rbi's numbers will still average out way better than most from season to season... regardless of their team's record or even their team's offensive fluctuations. Tony Gwynn played a lot of seasons on a mediocre team in a tough park... so go check out his runs+rbi's throughout the years.

You do realize, of course, how much OPS will fluctuate in a given player's career from year to year right? It fluctuates about the same as runs+rbi's does.

The goal is to know who the best players are, right? Your ZORP's won't put you in any better a position to make that assessment than I can with obp, slugging, runs+rbi's, watching the guy play D, and watching him run the bases. You do realize that I prize obp and slugging, right? I don't know how that gets lost in this shuffle. I'm just seriously anti-ZORP1.244 and win shares and all this other unnecessary garbage.

Runs+Rbi's, when spread out over seasons, like you guys do with all the minor league numbers... will not mislead you. Runs + RBI's will not make Austin Kearns appear to be more valuable offensively than Aramis Ramirez. They also won't make him look less valuable than the Neifi Perez of recent vintages.
   160. BadNewsCubs Posted: February 20, 2008 at 11:07 PM (#2696003)
I think the Varitek can't catch Wakefield theory is somewhat overblown. From the time the Sox acquired Tek but before they obtained Mirabelli, Varitek regularly caught Wake with decent results. But in 02, Wake and Belli had a great year together, and from there forward the Sox opted to go with the personal caddy for Wakefield. To me, it made a lot of sense. If you've got one starter who's really difficult for anyone to catch, then it's logical to allow him to work with a single catcher to breed familiary (particularly if, like Dougie, he's a good backstop), while using that as an opportunity to give your starter necessary rest. It wasn't until the 2004 playoffs that his difficulty handling Wake arose. That shouldn't have been suprising, however, since he had only caught a few knuckleballs over a two-year span.


Very well done. Pitcher and catcher numbers improve together collectively over time before flatlining. This is why I'm so critical of making dramatic changes at catcher midseason.

If your catcher is lousy defensively, use your backup or bring someone up from the farm who will know some of the younger pitchers and probably caught the veteran guys throughout the spring.

If your catcher is good and the pitching's going well, don't make a change. Paul DePodesta learned that one the hard way. He won that trade longterm, but he hurt that season by taking out a solid defensive catcher who got good results from the pitchers. Thinking only in terms of ZORP could lead a guy to do that.

The Cubs had the best record in baseball from June 3 until they acquired Jason Kendall. They had finally demoted Barrett during that time and traded him off. Once acquiring Kendall, to upgrade the offense, there was another leak at the catcher position and the team suffered. When they demoted Kendall in favor of Geovany Soto, they were winning again at the end of the year.

Challenge: Name a single playoff team in baseball history that upgraded the catcher position offensively midseason? I'll wait for Godot.
   161. Kiko Sakata Posted: February 20, 2008 at 11:11 PM (#2696008)
If we take Ruben Sierra's career and Wade Boggs' career... and put them together... Wade Boggs would average more runs+rbi's and for more seasons.


Actually, no. Wade Boggs averaged 100 runs scored and 67 RBI per 162 games for his career - 167 (runs+rbi's). Ruben Sierra averaged 80 runs and 98 RBI per 162 games - 178 (runs+rbi's). You are correct, however, that Boggs accumulated more (runs+rbi's) over the course of his career - 2,527 - 2,406, although it took him 1,958 more plate appearances to do so.
   162. Kiko Sakata Posted: February 20, 2008 at 11:14 PM (#2696013)
Name a single playoff team in baseball history that upgraded the catcher position offensively midseason?


2000 Chicago White Sox - they replaced Brook Fordyce with Charles Johnson.
   163. CrosbyBird Posted: February 20, 2008 at 11:20 PM (#2696015)
THAC0 hasn't been in D&D;since Second Edition. Don't bring that weak stuff in here.

Nice use of the 0 in THAC0. Forgot that little piece. I figured I'd go with that rather than the first set of books I owned.

I'm presently in a grand D&D;3.5 experiment (rotating DM on 4-6 week campaign legs, and rotating PCs). Something to keep us busy until this summer when 4th Edition comes out. Already pre-ordered on Amazon.com because I may be a big loser, but I'm a thrifty big loser (it's like 40% off if you buy the three core books).
   164. Cowboy Popup Posted: February 20, 2008 at 11:22 PM (#2696017)
He won that trade longterm, but he hurt that season by taking out a solid defensive catcher who got good results from the pitchers.

They made the playoffs that year. How did Depo hurt them that season? I hope you have a better reason than "If they had kept Lo Duca, then they would have beaten the 105 win Cardinals".
   165. RobertMachemer Posted: February 20, 2008 at 11:23 PM (#2696018)
Challenge: Name a single playoff team in baseball history that upgraded the catcher position offensively midseason? I'll wait for Godot.
The 1967 Red Sox hoped they had when they acquired Elston Howard. It didn't work out that way, but I'm pretty sure that was the plan.
   166. Charter Member of the Jesus Melendez Fanclub Posted: February 20, 2008 at 11:26 PM (#2696020)
If Melendez is going to use Runs Produced, can we at least subtract the HR, so it makes some semblance of sense?
   167. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: February 20, 2008 at 11:26 PM (#2696021)
Man, I am creeped out at how well you people seem to know that game. Boy was I right.

Well some people aren't cool enough to go around trolling stathead message boards for amusement. I mean that drips with Elvis level cool.
   168. JPWF13 Posted: February 20, 2008 at 11:29 PM (#2696025)
Actually, no. Wade Boggs averaged 100 runs scored and 67 RBI per 162 games for his career - 167 (runs+rbi's). Ruben Sierra averaged 80 runs and 98 RBI per 162 games - 178 (runs+rbi's).


What's really amazing is that Boggs and Sierra have almost identical (r+rbi)/outs rates-
.3849 for Boggs and .3845 for Sierra.

Sierra accomplished that hitting .268/.315/.450 while Boggs hit .328/.415/.443

In 29.9% of Sierra's PAs he batted with someone in scoring position
In 25.1% of Bogg's PAs he batted with someone in scoring position

In 50.6% of Sierra's PAs he batted with someone on base
In 42.9% of Bogg's PAs he batted with someone on base

opportunity...
   169. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: February 20, 2008 at 11:32 PM (#2696030)
Flournoy, you're getting into semantics and splitting hairs. Who cares? If it was called ER/G it wouldn't be the end of the world. If the catcher stat was (WP+PB)Average, would you feel better?
Sure. Then it would only be a stupid stat that doesn't measure anything meaningful, instead of a misnamed stupid stat that doesn't measure anything meaningful.
   170. Charter Member of the Jesus Melendez Fanclub Posted: February 20, 2008 at 11:33 PM (#2696033)
Of course it measures something meaningful.
   171. CrosbyBird Posted: February 20, 2008 at 11:34 PM (#2696035)
The goal is to know who the best players are, right? Your ZORP's won't put you in any better a position to make that assessment than I can with obp, slugging, runs+rbi's, watching the guy play D, and watching him run the bases. You do realize that I prize obp and slugging, right? I don't know how that gets lost in this shuffle. I'm just seriously anti-ZORP1.244 and win shares and all this other unnecessary garbage.

I mean, isn't it all unnecessary garbage at the end of the day? Practically none of us here have baseball-related jobs.

You're in a better position to evaluate a player with the tools you suggest above if you simply substitute playing time for runs+rbi. You'll avoid the misleading nature of team-based statistics in your measure of individual performance.

I know you hate VORP and Win Shares, but how about runs created? It's a free formula and the basic version is fairly simple (OBP times total bases).

My feeling is that once you get into the complications of adjusting for park and league context, and position, you're no longer in the "eyeball a stat line" territory. At that point, you might as well look at the individual systems and see what they have to say. All of them have some flaws. All of them arrive at a pretty similar place for most players... every system loves the offense of Bonds 2004 and every system hates the offense of Rey Ordonez.
   172. JPWF13 Posted: February 20, 2008 at 11:37 PM (#2696039)
I know you hate VORP and Win Shares, but how about runs created? It's a free formula and the basic version is fairly simple


Is Tango still on his anti- runs created campaign?
   173. BadNewsCubs Posted: February 20, 2008 at 11:46 PM (#2696047)
Good Job Kiko, I stand corrected.

Ruben Sierra had a far greater career than I recall. Boy did he do that quietly. Here are some other interesting elements:

- Wade Boggs had more at-bats leading off than he did at any other spot in the order. At my site, I did a great job of showing about how much the sluggers out-run-produce the leadoff men... http://badnewscubs.wordpress.com

- Boggs played during a bigger chunk of the mid-80's when offense was really down, whereas Sierra emerged during the spiked year of 1987.

But even so, I'm a man who can admit where I'm wrong... and I'm wrong about the runs+rbi's average between the two.

And yet, while I'm wrong about this particular example, I'm not wrong about the principle.... I'll take the guy who's averaging the better runs+rbi's offensively. That would have been Sierra. However, let us not forget that Boggs was a Gold Glove winning three bagger... while Sierra spent a ton of time at DH. That's why one guy's in the hall of fame and the other won't be.
   174. Charter Member of the Jesus Melendez Fanclub Posted: February 20, 2008 at 11:49 PM (#2696049)
I'm sure if you subtract HR, as you should, Boggs is slightly ahead of Sierra.
   175. Kiko Sakata Posted: February 20, 2008 at 11:52 PM (#2696050)
I'm sure if you subtract HR, as you should, Boggs is slightly ahead of Sierra.


Yes, their per-162 avgs for HR were 23 for Sierra - so R+RBI-HR = 155 - and for Boggs was 8 - so R+RBI-HR = 159.

But if you're not trying to construct a run estimator, but are instead simply trying to measure the actual runs that were produced by the two players, why would you subtract the HRs? Each run scored by Boggs that was driven in by somebody else is worth 2 "runs+rbi's"; shouldn't a run that is both scored and driven in by Sierra have the same value?
   176. BadNewsCubs Posted: February 21, 2008 at 12:07 AM (#2696060)
They made the playoffs that year. How did Depo hurt them that season? I hope you have a better reason than "If they had kept Lo Duca, then they would have beaten the 105 win Cardinals".


That Dodgers team was never quite the same after LoDuca was gone. Yes, they made the playoffs, but they weren't the same. Their winning % pre-trade was .583, and they finished the year at .574. Not a huge difference, but a decrease nonetheless.

You just do not change catchers midseason unless your catcher is really a drag defensively. In the Dodgers' case, Dave Ross and Brent Maybe were pretty good catchers, as was LoDuca, but the platoon guys truly couldn't hit a lick on a team that needed offense.

Would they have beat the Cardinals? Who knows? I thought you statheads all claim the playoffs are a crapshoot?

And yes, there's a thing to being a team leader, team chemistry... you know, the stuff statheads hate.
   177. JJ1986 Posted: February 21, 2008 at 12:10 AM (#2696062)
Wait, people still think Lo Duca was a good leader? After the Mitchell Report?
   178. spycake Posted: February 21, 2008 at 12:10 AM (#2696063)
Challenge: Name a single playoff team in baseball history that upgraded the catcher position offensively midseason? I'll wait for Godot.

So, what did he look like?
   179. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: February 21, 2008 at 12:12 AM (#2696065)
And yes, there's a thing to being a team leader, team chemistry... you know, the stuff statheads hate.

Please, tell us more about what we think. It's much easier to win arguments when you get to invent the opposition's conclusions.

The best offensive players from year to year will average the best runs+rbi numbers, period. These players have the most value.

Where do you keep coming up with these conclusions? Half of your examples are broken.
   180. Peoria Dave Posted: February 21, 2008 at 12:12 AM (#2696066)
I just can't comprehend why someone is so hostile towards various stats. If you think your R+RBI or (WP+PB)/G stats are so valuable, market yourself to a major league team and see what they say because all of them, to some degree, are using similar metrics that you "just seriously hate." Why do you hate them? That doesn't make any sense. If people want to use them, who cares? Why do you obsess over something you hate?
   181. Randy Jones Posted: February 21, 2008 at 12:14 AM (#2696068)
And yes, there's a thing to being a team leader, team chemistry... you know, the stuff statheads hate.

I know which of these LoDuca truly excelled at...
   182. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: February 21, 2008 at 12:14 AM (#2696070)
Challenge: Name a single playoff team in baseball history that upgraded the catcher position offensively midseason? I'll wait for Godot.

So, what did he look like?


The best part is that he already cited the Cubs in this thread... and they did it TWICE in 2007: Barrett --> Kendall --> Soto.
   183. BadNewsCubs Posted: February 21, 2008 at 12:15 AM (#2696071)
Kiko, good job again with the 2000 Chicago White Sox.

No one's ever answered that one before.

Though, once again, it's interesting to note that the Sox had a better winning % on July 31st, .610... than they did on the final day of the season... .586... despite the upgrade at catcher.

Plus, there's something else the 200 White Sox and 2004 Dodgers have in common, right?
   184. BadNewsCubs Posted: February 21, 2008 at 12:17 AM (#2696079)
So, what did he look like?


Apparently black... in the only example I've ever seen.
   185. Dan Szymborski Posted: February 21, 2008 at 12:20 AM (#2696082)
Though, once again, it's interesting to note that the Sox had a better winning % on July 31st, .610... than they did on the final day of the season... .586... despite the upgrade at catcher.

Actually, it's not interesting at all. When I told you that you should start ignoring sample size, I wasn't being serious.
   186. BadNewsCubs Posted: February 21, 2008 at 12:22 AM (#2696084)
The best part is that he already cited the Cubs in this thread... and they did it TWICE in 2007: Barrett --> Kendall --> Soto.


This is WAY wrong. The Cubs got rid of Barrett, correctly, due to defense and excelled. Then, when they sacrificed defense for offense and acquired Kendall, they went from having the best winning % in baseball starting at June 3... to a .500 team in a heartbeat. It's only at the end, when they returned to defense, Soto, that the ship was righted. The 2007 Chicago Cubs are a fascinating study in catchers.

Soto did well with the bat, but he was mainly brought in because of how lousy Jason Kendall was doing, not necessarily with the bat. The Cubs never needed Jason Kendall with Koyie Hill and Geovany Soto around and it was a big mistake to acquire him.
   187. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: February 21, 2008 at 12:26 AM (#2696085)
This is WAY wrong.

No, it is quite literally correct by the terms of your hypothetical.

Soto did well with the bat, but he was mainly brought in because of how lousy Jason Kendall was doing, not necessarily with the bat.

WTF? He was the freaking MVP of the PCL and it wasn't because of his (WP+PB)/G
   188. BadNewsCubs Posted: February 21, 2008 at 12:27 AM (#2696087)
Just because LoDuca used steroids doesn't make him the worst character guy on the team.

Christ, Jason Giambi was the heart and soul of the A's early this decade... and we now know he used. Are you going to say he wasn't a leader? Ask Huddy, Mulder, Zito, Chavez, etc... who they all looked up to. It was Giambi. That guy was so money in the clutch during those winning Oaktown years it was ridiculous.

You can't attempt some sort of ex post facto leadership thing when it comes to doping. You're going to tell me Roger Clemens wasn't looked up to before all this doping business?
   189. Mark R. Garber Posted: February 21, 2008 at 12:28 AM (#2696088)
Considering this is a site widely quoted by big media, widely read by front offices, a place where a number of alumni have earned front office jobs and book deals, this guy should be practically creaming in his silks that he got a link on BTF and that Repoz even considered giving his little retarded blog a spotlight, even if Repoz did it mainly to unleash the expected beatings.
   190. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: February 21, 2008 at 12:28 AM (#2696092)
Ask Huddy, Mulder, Zito, Chavez, etc... who they all looked up to. It was Giambi.

Do you have a basis for this assertion? Perhaps a citation?
   191. JJ1986 Posted: February 21, 2008 at 12:38 AM (#2696099)
Giambi gave the impression of being a hard partying guy. I'm not sure if that makes him a leader. Clemens always seemed like a standoffish, dumb #######, but he might have been a leader too. He also might not be guilty of anything. Lo Duca was a drug pusher, though, not just a user. He was also a bad teammate in New York and until the trade in L.A. wasn't thought of as the clubhouse leader. Bill Plaschke made that up to discredit DePodesta.
   192. BadNewsCubs Posted: February 21, 2008 at 12:45 AM (#2696103)
I mean, isn't it all unnecessary garbage at the end of the day? Practically none of us here have baseball-related jobs.


I just can't comprehend why someone is so hostile towards various stats.


I don't know where you're getting the word 'hostile' from. Profanity? I don't sit around stewing over these stupid stats. I have fun mocking them.

Crosby is by far the best contributor here and has made another good point.

There are many systems of analysis for baseball that will lead to similar conclusions. What I take exception to is the replacement level garbage and allotting wins to individual players.

In the Cubs world, all the statheads think Ryan Theriot is the worst baseball player in the major leagues. Their stats tell them he's worse than a fictional AAA player in the Cubs' farm system that doesn't exist. They miss the important scouting elements:

In the games you win, he's so often the guy getting you the run you need to win. Defensively, he's so solid, especially late in the game. When he hits late in the game, he fights tooth and nail and provides great at-bats. He comes through more often than your guys with the bigger OPS's. And yet, every stat head out there would kick him off the team. The guy everyone compares him to, Eckstein, has two rings... which statheads scoff at. The statheads think they know better than Lou Piniella, who looks at stats; just not ZORP and Win Shares.

The Cubs statheads want Ronny Cedeno at short who makes more stupid blunders to make you lose. His offensive numbers might be slightly better than Theriot's, but he'll bobble routine balls late, make a lousy throw, or do something stupid on the bases. He's simply not a savvy player and loses games for you.

The difference between these two players is difficult to find in ZORP's and Win Shares. But, for the seasoned and wise observer, the distinction is obvious. The same thing went for Barrett. After the Cubs got rid of him and won like crazy, one of the top statheads said the Cubs had lost value in that trade. Stupid. I guess when the Padres started losing most games when Barrett started, they had somehow 'gained value'.

My criticism of statland at large is their ridiculing of the things that 'aren't found in the box scores'. They don't believe they exist... and it's all because of the Michael Lewis book... which is a GREAT book. But those little things do exist. And the better the baseball scientists get at quantifying the game, the more these factors will get highlighted scientifically. That's why I love the simple (WP+PB)/G. 7 of the last 8 world series teams have featured a catcher at or near the top in this stat.

Meanwhile, you're not guarantee'd anything from any actual 'replacement player'. That's fiction. And individual players do not win games. Abstract jibberish.

More than anything, though, Crosby has a good point. I find these stats excessive, beyond what's necessary... despite the ways they might highlight the same things I can see with obp, slugging, run production, and my eyes.
   193. BadNewsCubs Posted: February 21, 2008 at 12:46 AM (#2696105)
When I told you that you should start ignoring sample size, I wasn't being serious.


Dan, sorry... I find you terribly uninteresting.
   194. Peoria Dave Posted: February 21, 2008 at 12:47 AM (#2696106)
Here are the rules to Bad News Cubs game as I understand them. Correct me where I'm wrong.

Name one team that did well after acquiring a new catcher midseason. Several have been named, but those teams don't count. What BNC really asked of you all was which team that didn't succeed when they traded for a new catcher at the midway point actually succeeded. See, you can't answer that one.

Why won't someone show me why sabermetric stats are more valuable than my R+RBI? Several have done so, but they don't count.

Sample size is only a thing used by statheads to attack in Dungeons and Dragons which they play all day and night.

I've seen some dumb people highlighted on this site and mocked for awhile, but BNC is the first guy to think anyone here isn't laughing at them as they type their every word as I'm doing right now.
   195. Peoria Dave Posted: February 21, 2008 at 12:49 AM (#2696108)
The most important question has yet to be answered by BNC. Why do you care what stats people use? Are you the stat police? Am I going to be arrested the next time I look at VORP?
   196. Kiko Sakata Posted: February 21, 2008 at 12:51 AM (#2696110)
BNC is the first guy to think anyone here isn't laughing at them as they type their every word as I'm doing right now


Peoria Dave, I can only guess that you missed the Jesus Melendez experience (and, if you did miss that, lucky you).
   197. Dan Szymborski Posted: February 21, 2008 at 12:58 AM (#2696113)
Dan, sorry... I find you terribly uninteresting.

If you found me interesting, I think I'd seriously have to re-evaluate what I do.

Now, if the idea is to interest you, I dunno? Should I jangle my car keys or something?
   198. BadNewsCubs Posted: February 21, 2008 at 01:03 AM (#2696118)
Considering this is a site widely quoted by big media, widely read by front offices, a place where a number of alumni have earned front office jobs and book deals, this guy should be practically creaming in his silks that he got a link on BTF and that Repoz even considered giving his little retarded blog a spotlight, even if Repoz did it mainly to unleash the expected beatings.


I absolutely love representing the non-stathead view of things. With pleasure and pride.

And it's in your dreams where front offices are keeping a sharp eye on the baseball think factory. What, a couple guys got assistant jobs to other statheads? Good for them. Some of the stats have value.

And people from here have had book deals? That's what I thought back at the beginning of the thread. That the statheads who buy into all the ZORP/Win Shares garbage are being swindled. Someone cried, "But this site is free!"

Robert Kiyosaki of 'Rich Dad / Poor Dad" fame is a complete fake... and he got his book deal and sells millions of them.

There isn't much work left to be done in examining a baseball offense. The game's over. Everyone is crunching similar numbers. The real work that's left to be done is defense. It's going to take a ton of data processing to get that one right. Personally, I'm looking forward to it... when the numbers bare out just how important defense is. The statheads have mocked the hell out of me for placing great value on defense. Statheads give greater value to stats that are easy to count and measure.

And yet, here's the king stathead, Bill James, with one of my favorite quotes:

“It seems to me that the BIGGEST factor in our team’s performance over the last week or so has been that Coco has been just unbelievable in center field…he’s just catching EVERYTHING that looks like it might be trouble. There’s been no gap in right center, no gap in left center, nothing getting over his head and nothing has been landing in front of him.”

"It’s not that he’s been making spectacular catches; it’s that he’s been making plays that had me scared shitless look they were no problem.”

"If Coco had been 11-for-20 with the bat over the last week, everybody would be talking about that. If he’d had a few good games as a reliever, like Okajima, everybody would be talking about that. But he’s just had this unbelievable streak in center field, and…nobody has noticed. Nothing about it in the papers, guys on TV haven’t said anything about it (that I’ve heard), radio guys haven’t said anything that I’ve heard. I tried to find his defense day-by-day to see how many putouts he has had in the last week, and I couldn’t even find THAT, let alone some up-to-date information about how many catches he’s made that were difficult plays that could have killed us.”

I loved seeing the real stathead mentioning that the defensive play of his center fielder had been the BIGGEST factor in the entire team's performance. You'll never see the knock-off statheads saying something like that. Bill James would tell you the exact same thing about the 2007 Cubs' catching situation that I have.
   199. BadNewsCubs Posted: February 21, 2008 at 01:09 AM (#2696122)
Name one team that did well after acquiring a new catcher midseason. Several have been named, but those teams don't count. What BNC really asked of you all was which team that didn't succeed when they traded for a new catcher at the midway point actually succeeded. See, you can't answer that one.


Huh? I didn't see one. The 2000 White Sox, The 2004 Dodgers, and 2007 Cubs all did worse upon their offensive upgrades at catcher. Am I missing something here?

Why won't someone show me why sabermetric stats are more valuable than my R+RBI? Several have done so, but they don't count.


No, show me how ZORP is any better than obp, slugging %, runs+rbi's, and accounting for stadium... and your team's needs?

The most important question has yet to be answered by BNC. Why do you care what stats people use? Are you the stat police? Am I going to be arrested the next time I look at VORP?


It's the opposite. I'm defending the RBI and conventional wisdom. Why did this site, or yourself personally... care what I think anymore than the contrary. Clearly, there's little regard in both directions. The only semblance of a brain here is Crosby. This site linked to me, not the contrary. It's not like I had ever visited before.
   200. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: February 21, 2008 at 01:14 AM (#2696125)
"Huddy"?


I believe Leadbelly has been dead for the past 60 years, the last I checked.
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