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Sunday, September 23, 2012

Tony Paul: WAR is no way to settle Miguel Cabrera vs. Mike Trout MVP debate

Or as Jason C. achingly points out…“my head hurts after reading this”.

I’ve had folks tell me lately that even if Cabrera wins baseball’s first Triple Crown since 1967, Trout remains the MVP pick. My apologies. I simply cannot comprehend that.

But fans of Sabermetrics, these new-age stats that attempt to give you an all-around worth of a player, actually will tell you — and with a straight face! — that batting average and RBIs are irrelevant today.

There might — might — be the case with batting average, because that doesn’t necessarily tell you how clutch or how much of a run producer a player is. There were some in Seattle who thought Ichiro Suzuki could have hit many more home runs, but didn’t because he wanted his batting average to stay sky high.

But RBIs? Really? Irrelevant? The critics like to say that’s only a measurement of how often guys get on ahead of you. Well, to that I have a two-word response: Delmon Young.

...Now, I ask you, is that an MVP? That’s for 28 of my peers to decide; I don’t have an MVP vote this year.

But if that is an MVP, then let me say this: Voters better be consistent and make Tigers ace Justin Verlander the Cy Young winner for a second straight year, because he leads the major leagues in WAR, too, not contenders Felix Hernandez or David Price.

By the way, here’s another thing FanGraphs’ WAR tells us, folks: Anibal Sanchez (3.1) and Rick Porcello (2.9) are worth more to their team than Angels ace Jered Weaver (2.7) is to his. Never mind that Weaver is 18-4 with a 2.79 ERA. What do those stats matter anymore?

Repoz Posted: September 23, 2012 at 10:23 AM | 180 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: awards, mvp

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   1. rconn23 Posted: September 23, 2012 at 10:35 AM (#4243524)
"But if that is an MVP, then let me say this: Voters better be consistent and make Tigers ace Justin Verlander the Cy Young winner for a second straight year, because he leads the major leagues in WAR, too, not contenders Felix Hernandez or David Price."

Deal. Now shut up.
   2. JJ1986 Posted: September 23, 2012 at 10:39 AM (#4243526)
Anibal Sanchez (3.1) and Rick Porcello (2.9) are worth more to their team than Angels ace Jered Weaver (2.7) is to his.


Has something with the ballpark changed in Anaheim? Three years ago it was netural and now it's an obscene pitcher's park.
   3. Cooper Nielson Posted: September 23, 2012 at 11:02 AM (#4243535)
Anibal Sanchez (3.1) and Rick Porcello (2.9) are worth more to their team than Angels ace Jered Weaver (2.7) is to his.

I know WAR is considered holy around here, but if this is true, it's at least kind of weird.

BB-Ref has Weaver at 3.3, Porcello at 1.5, and Sanchez at 1.7 (1.4 for Miami, 0.3 for Detroit).
   4. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 23, 2012 at 11:03 AM (#4243538)
By the way, here’s another thing FanGraphs’ WAR tells us, folks: Anibal Sanchez (3.1) and Rick Porcello (2.9) are worth more to their team than Angels ace Jered Weaver (2.7) is to his. Never mind that Weaver is 18-4 with a 2.79 ERA. What do those stats matter anymore?

FaGraphs WAR is useless for pitchers. FIP does not reflect the reality of run prevention. It is not a value stat.

BRef WAR has Weaver at 3.3 (still seems low), Porcello at 1.5, and Sanchez at 1.7.

Edit: half a Coke to Cooper!
   5. Dale Sams Posted: September 23, 2012 at 11:03 AM (#4243539)
Cabrera wins in other areas Tigers manager Jim Leyland might call "geek" stats, including on-base percentage (.398-.392) and slugging percentage (.613-.551), and thus OPS (1.011-.943).



Slugging is a geek stat?
   6. Tricky Dick Posted: September 23, 2012 at 11:09 AM (#4243541)
If he would rather look at "run producer" and the timing of production, I will note that Trout also leads the majors in win probability added, WPA, with Cabrera coming in at 8th. Both Trout and Cabrera are negative on fangraphs' win probability clutch measure. But this is probably because both players have a high level of overall effectiveness as hitters ("clutch" is measured as the difference between WPA in high leverage situations versus all situations).

Truthfully I don't have a problem with people who want to make Cabrera the MVP; I understand the point of view. But arguing that there is no basis for choosing Trout instead is ridiculous and close minded.
   7. dlf Posted: September 23, 2012 at 11:10 AM (#4243543)
FaGraphs WAR is useless for pitchers. FIP does not reflect the reality of run prevention. It is not a value stat.


Not that this changes the overall point at all, however ... I know I could look this up, but I'm being lazy today. Isn't fWAR based on xFIP rather than straight FIP? That is it is based on actual Ks and BBs, but instead of actual HRs is based on estimated HRs from number of fly balls allowed?
   8. Cooper Nielson Posted: September 23, 2012 at 11:16 AM (#4243546)
Can someone who's familiar with Fangraphs WAR explain the numbers for those pitchers? I can accept that Rick Porcello has pitched better this year than his "old-school" numbers show, and that Jered Weaver's numbers are gaudier than his underlying performance, but I can't accept any "comprehensive" stat that shows me that Rick Porcello has been significantly better than Jered Weaver this year.

Does Fangraphs believe that the Tigers' defense is so bad that everything good that happens in Porcello's starts is solely attributable to HIM?

His HR and BB numbers are pretty good, but he leads the league in hits allowed, thanks in part to a very high BABip, but also the fact that he only strikes out 5.4 per 9 IP. He's allowed 11 unearned runs.
   9. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 23, 2012 at 11:16 AM (#4243547)
Not that this changes the overall point at all, however ... I know I could look this up, but I'm being lazy today. Isn't fWAR based on xFIP rather than straight FIP? That is it is based on actual Ks and BBs, but instead of actual HRs is based on estimated HRs from number of fly balls allowed?

Their Glossary says FIP. Had to look it up, b/c I never look at FanGraphs for pitcher value.
   10. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 23, 2012 at 11:17 AM (#4243548)
Can someone who's familiar with Fangraphs WAR explain the numbers for those pitchers? I can accept that Rick Porcello has pitched better this year than his "old-school" numbers show, and that Jered Weaver's numbers are gaudier than his underlying performance, but I can't accept any "comprehensive" stat that shows me that Rick Porcello has been significantly better than Jered Weaver this year.

Does Fangraphs believe that the Tigers' defense is so bad that everything good that happens in Porcello's starts is solely attributable to HIM?

His HR and BB numbers are pretty good, but he leads the league in hits allowed, thanks in part to a very high BABip, but also the fact that he only strikes out 5.4 per 9 IP. He's allowed 11 unearned runs.


It's purely based on FIP. K/BB/HR. It has no idea how many runs, unearned or earned Porcello has allowed.

Porcello has a similar FIP to Weaver, and pitches in a less friendly park. That's all there is to it.

   11. Cooper Nielson Posted: September 23, 2012 at 11:20 AM (#4243550)
I can't accept any "comprehensive" stat that shows me that Rick Porcello has been significantly better than Jered Weaver this year.

EDIT: Sorry, Porcello hasn't been "significantly" better by fWAR, they've been approximately equal. But I still don't believe it.
   12. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 23, 2012 at 11:21 AM (#4243551)
EDIT: Sorry, Porcello hasn't been "significantly" better by fWAR, they've been approximately equal. But I still don't believe it.

Nor should you. FIP is a predictive stat, not a value stat.
   13. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: September 23, 2012 at 11:23 AM (#4243552)
I'd say give it to both Trout and Cabrera, since the difference between them is so small that's it's scarcely worth arguing about. If I had to choose I'd take Trout because of his baserunning and defense, but if Cabrera wins it'll rank about 200th on the list of awards injustices in history.
   14. Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun) Posted: September 23, 2012 at 11:23 AM (#4243553)
I know WAR is considered holy around here

In pretty much every thread of this kind, at least one person states that WAR is nonsense or that they don't believe the numbers or whatever. It's not "considered holy" around here at all.
Can someone who's familiar with Fangraphs WAR explain the numbers for those pitchers?

It's FIP-based, so it removes all influence of the fielders (and just uses SO, BB, HR). If you look at Fangraphs' RA9-wins on the same Porcello page, it's 1.1, which is a lot closer to the BRef numbers (similarly, they allow you to play around with the components if you want). I have a lot of problems with Fangraphs WAR, but they have been doing a great job with including components and such so that if you take the time to read some definitions, you'll get a lot of what you need.
   15. BDC Posted: September 23, 2012 at 11:29 AM (#4243555)
arguing that there is no basis for choosing Trout instead is ridiculous

Mike Trout has scored 121 Runs to lead Cabrera, and the whole league, by about a month's worth. There is no reason even to divide one number into another to make him a strong MVP candidate.
   16. Cooper Nielson Posted: September 23, 2012 at 11:30 AM (#4243557)
In pretty much every thread of this kind, at least one person states that WAR is nonsense or that they don't believe the numbers or whatever. It's not "considered holy" around here at all.

Sorry, I've just been beaten down a lot over the past week in other threads for expressing doubt that the difference between Trout and Cabrera is really on the order of 4 wins. So I'm a bit timid in expressing any additional doubt.
   17. cardsfanboy Posted: September 23, 2012 at 11:33 AM (#4243559)
I know WAR is considered holy around here, but if this is true, it's at least kind of weird.


Really? War is possibly overrated as a stat for position players, but I don't think anyone really looks at pitchers war and says that is the beginning and end of the argument.

   18. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 23, 2012 at 11:35 AM (#4243562)
Sorry, I've just been beaten down a lot over the past week in other threads for expressing doubt that the difference between Trout and Cabrera is really on the order of 4 wins. So I'm a bit timid in expressing any additional doubt.

I think you're definitely right that the gap isn't that big.

Trout is getting +25 from fielding, which seems unbelievable in only 120 Gs. He's also getting a big park adjustment; Trout 953 OPS = 168 OPS+, Cabrera 1014 OPS = 170 OPS+).

I would guess the gap is closer to 2 WAR than 4. That said, Trout has still been better.
   19. bookbook Posted: September 23, 2012 at 11:38 AM (#4243567)
The year A-Rod was robbed of his first MVP by Joan Gonzalez was a travesty (as much as a silly vote can be one). Cabrera beating Trout would just be the wrong choice. It would take a plurality of voters pretending that defense doesn't matter. Without the defense, they are awfully close (Trout's hitting and baserunning VS Cabrera's hitting).

As smarter folks than me have noted, WAR doesn't have anything to do with it. Either defense counts towards "valuable" or it doesn't.

Yeah, isn't Verlander likely the favorite among SABR folks for Cy Young at this point?
   20. cardsfanboy Posted: September 23, 2012 at 11:43 AM (#4243571)
Sorry, I've just been beaten down a lot over the past week in other threads for expressing doubt that the difference between Trout and Cabrera is really on the order of 4 wins. So I'm a bit timid in expressing any additional doubt.


4 Wins might be a bit high, and some of that could be argued that it is an overrating of the park adjustments... But I find it hard to believe that someone can honestly think that Cabrera has been more valuable than Trout. A gold glove quality centerfielder, exceptional runner, posting similar offensive numbers as a less than average defensive first baseman who has played about 20 games more looks as the more valuable commodity.

We are talking about on raw numbers a difference of .007 avg, .003 obp, and .048 slg. Basically a few more extra base hits that are more than wiped out by the 46-4 sb difference

Edit: or what Snapper said in post 18. (mind you I think the real issue is the park adjustment, something screwy is going on there)
   21. cardsfanboy Posted: September 23, 2012 at 11:49 AM (#4243574)
Yeah, isn't Verlander likely the favorite among SABR folks for Cy Young at this point?


First time I looked at AL Cy Young in about a month, and yes, I don't even see any reason to argue for anyone else over him at this point in time. Sale has 30 innings fewer with a minor advantage in era+(within margin of error at least) And maybe an argument could be made for Hernandez, but that is really the only other person in the conversation.
   22. Cooper Nielson Posted: September 23, 2012 at 12:17 PM (#4243581)
4 Wins might be a bit high, and some of that could be argued that it is an overrating of the park adjustments... But I find it hard to believe that someone can honestly think that Cabrera has been more valuable than Trout.

That's the thing: I never said that Cabrera was more valuable than Trout (this year) but because I questioned the gap — it really does seem overly large — I guess everyone assumed I was on the "Cabrera is better than Trout" side and felt they had to quiet that nonsense immediately.

I think there's probably a lot of pent-up rage from people who watch ESPN or listen to sports talk radio or work with morons, where I'm sure there are people talking all the time about how much better Cabrera is than Trout. But on this board, it seems that even the most pro-Cabrera guys are guys like me, who root for the Tigers, think Cabrera is awesome, and would be happy if he won the MVP. And even we have never said he "deserves" it over Trout. I see the defense, and the SB, and the GIDP. I still think Cabrera's awesome, and always will.

But Porcello over Weaver? Now that's actual nonsense.
   23. Cooper Nielson Posted: September 23, 2012 at 12:27 PM (#4243586)
First time I looked at AL Cy Young in about a month, and yes, I don't even see any reason to argue for anyone else over him at this point in time. Sale has 30 innings fewer with a minor advantage in era+(within margin of error at least) And maybe an argument could be made for Hernandez, but that is really the only other person in the conversation.

Let me make it clear that this is not my choice (I'd vote for Verlander if the season ended today), but do you think Fernando Rodney is in the conversation?

Kimbrel and Chapman are getting a lot of attention in the NL Cy Young race, and in some ways Rodney has been better than them: 0.65 ERA, more saves and a better save percentage, more innings (especially compared to Kimbrel). There's not really a starting pitcher who has separated himself from the pack, though Verlander could still do it with a couple of good starts. Anyway, when there's not an OBVIOUS selection from the starters, that's when closers slip in.

The thing going against him is that he's Fernando Freakin' Rodney, and we're so used to him sucking that no one thinks this is "for real," whereas Chapman and Kimbrel have always been this good.
   24. cardsfanboy Posted: September 23, 2012 at 12:30 PM (#4243587)
I still think Cabrera's awesome, and always will.


That is a chant that has been no these boards for close to a decade.

I think there's probably a lot of pent-up rage from people who watch ESPN or listen to sports talk radio or work with morons, where I'm sure there are people talking all the time about how much better Cabrera is than Trout. But on this board, it seems that even the most pro-Cabrera guys are guys like me, who root for the Tigers, think Cabrera is awesome, and would be happy if he won the MVP. And even we have never said he "deserves" it over Trout. I see the defense, and the SB, and the GIDP. I still think Cabrera's awesome, and always will.


The rage is that the people who are supposed to know these things aren't able to look at how close the numbers are and see that they are basically the same offensive player.
   25. cardsfanboy Posted: September 23, 2012 at 12:32 PM (#4243589)
Let me make it clear that this is not my choice (I'd vote for Verlander if the season ended today), but do you think Fernando Rodney is in the conversation?


He's in the conversation, not because he's worthy, but because the writers are idiots.
   26. Cooper Nielson Posted: September 23, 2012 at 12:38 PM (#4243591)
He's in the conversation, not because he's worthy, but because the writers are idiots.

I wonder, knowing what we know about the writers, do you think there's a chance he could actually win?

Let's say Price, Verlander, Sale all get lit up in their last 2-3 starts, and all the other top starters are no better than mediocre. If no one exceeds 18 wins, the ERA leader is around 2.80-2.90, and Rodney gets close to 50 saves (he has 43 now) without giving up any more runs... could idiocy rule the day?
   27. President of the David Eckstein Fan Club Posted: September 23, 2012 at 12:41 PM (#4243594)
The comments in that article are pretty funny too (as you'd assume the comments section at a Detroit page would be). So far my favorite is the guy who'd take Starlin Castro over Mike Trout if starting a franchise.
   28. cardsfanboy Posted: September 23, 2012 at 12:42 PM (#4243597)
I wonder, knowing what we know about the writers, do you think there's a chance he could actually win?


It's 28 writers so it's hard to make a prediction. Here is ESPN's Cy Young predictor(created by Bill James/Rob Neyer) It has Rodney 4th on that prediction. It's arguable that the writers have gotten better and ignoring wins so it might not be as accurate as it could be. I think that it's right now Verlander's to lose.
   29. Cooper Nielson Posted: September 23, 2012 at 12:50 PM (#4243601)
I don't think I would ever vote for a reliever for Cy Young, and I would never vote for Fernando Rodney for anything, but I've gotta admit that as far as closer seasons go, his has been pretty amazing. He hasn't had the overwhelming dominance of Kimbrel, but in terms of actual results, it's hard to get much better.

He's only blown 2 saves, and in one of them, both of the runs he gave up were unearned. He's been scored on in 7 games: the 2 blown saves, 3 successful saves, 1 easy win, and 1 game where the Rays were behind by 2 when he came in. So he only really "contributed" to 2, maybe 3 losses. He has allowed only 2 of 17 inherited runners to score.

I have no idea how he's done it, but he's been really, really good.
   30. valuearbitrageur Posted: September 23, 2012 at 01:10 PM (#4243611)
I still think Cabrera's awesome, and always will.


Cabrera is the best player in baseball at the most visually appealing position player skill, hitting. If you don't love watching him hit, you don't love baseball.

But the things he does poorly are less clear to the naked eye. He doesn't steal, sure that's visually obvious but base stealing opportunities are not as frequent as plate appearances and hits. He doesn't take extra bases, grounds into a lot of double plays, but again, those don't happen often and aren't something that jump out at most fans. And you'd have to be Ted Williams with enhanced laser surgery to be able to definitely say whether a decent third basemen would have made some of the plays that he just misses. Watching him with a fans eye it's easy to say he's not that bad.

But this is what his bat has produced this year
fRuns: 55.1
bRuns: 53

This is what his base-running & GIDPs have cost this year
fRuns: -2.9
bRuns: -5

This is his offensive value
fRuns: 52.2
bRuns: 48

Now let's look at Mike Trout's bat
fRuns: 52.4
bRuns: 48

His base running
fRuns: 6.1
bRuns: 11

His offensive value
fRuns: 58.5
bRuns: 59

In total offensive value, not a rate stat, this is total actual value that incorporates playing time and without any positional adjustments, Mike Trout is the best offensive player in all of baseball according to both FanGraphs and Baseball Reference. And neither sees it as particularly close.

And the sad fact is, it's obvious Trout has been at least as valuable on offense even if you don't have advanced stats. Miggy has 356 total bases, Trout 290. But total bases doesn't include steals, HBP, or GIDP. If you move stolen bases & HBP into total bases, and caught stealing into GIDP, now Miggy leads 363 to 341 in total bases, but in GIDP 29-11. Including GIDP, Miggy has made 415 outs, while Trout has made 362 outs.

So Miggy produces 363 bases at a cost of 415 outs, while Trout produces 341 bases at cost of 362 outs, and this still shorts Trout any extra bases he took running the bases. Miggy most certainly produced less than 22 extra bases at a cost of about 53 more outs, that's not the type of extra production that makes Miggy more valuable than Trout, it makes him worse.

Given their relative defensive positions and clear skills at each, it's blatently obvious that Trout is way more valuable than Miggy this year, easily more than 2 WAR better and making 4 WAR not only believable, but likely.

If Miggy wins the MVP it probably won't be the most undeserving ever, but on an actual value basis it would have to be one of the bigger discrepancies and Trout would have to have one of the most valuable non-MVP seasons ever. And you don't need advanced stats or WAR to make that glaringly obvious.
   31. Cooper Nielson Posted: September 23, 2012 at 01:17 PM (#4243614)
Preaching to the choir, sir.
   32. AJMcCringleberry Posted: September 23, 2012 at 01:18 PM (#4243615)
I’ve had folks tell me lately that even if Cabrera wins baseball’s first Triple Crown since 1967, Trout remains the MVP pick. My apologies. I simply cannot comprehend that.

What I can't comprehend is that Cabrera's MVP worthiness is based on one HR.
   33. Darren Posted: September 23, 2012 at 01:45 PM (#4243628)
FIP is a value stat as much as ERA is. It just doles out value based on different things. FIP says a pitcher provides value by not allowing HR and BB, and by striking people out. ERA says a pitcher provides value by preventing runs (but only runs that are not caused by errors and including runs of runners that the pitcher put on bass but that another pitcher allowed to score). FIP is a better predictor of future success and therefore is a better measure of what should actually be credited to the pitcher.

There's an interesting argument to be made for Cabrera involving his moving 3B and doing a good job there. That kind of flexibility is not reflected in WAR. But the argument OMG TEH TRIPLE CROWN is not a good one.
   34. cardsfanboy Posted: September 23, 2012 at 02:04 PM (#4243635)
Given their relative defensive positions and clear skills at each, it's blatently obvious that Trout is way more valuable than Miggy this year, easily more than 2 WAR better and making 4 WAR not only believable, but likely.


2 war is a pretty large discrepency, 4 war is huge. You are basically saying you take Cabrera and add one of Fielder/Pujols/Hamilton to the mix.

FIP is a value stat as much as ERA is.
Not really. ERA measures what actually happened(ignoring the unearned run aspect) and assigns full value to the pitcher. Fip says this is what should have happened based upon the number of batters faced, strikeouts and walks allowed, with an average defense. It not only ignores the runs that scored, it also ignores the order of events, and it ignores the actual type of hits(other than hr) that happened. It's multiple levels removed from reality. It's a theoretical model of a theoretical model using some real events as a base.
   35. cardsfanboy Posted: September 23, 2012 at 02:10 PM (#4243636)
FIP is a better predictor of future success and therefore is a better measure of what should actually be credited to the pitcher.


Why? Future doesn't matter for a value award based upon past events. I mean would we argue against an MVP because he hit an unsustainable .420 babip? Of course not, why should pitchers be any different? Yes I understand you want to remove defense from the equation, but that isn't as easy as fip says it is. I mean if you have a great infield, and you intentionally throw balls that lead to a higher ground ball percentage, shouldn't the pitcher be credited for using his available tools? There is enough evidence to support that pitchers can affect when they get strikeouts and avoid walks which fip doesn't take into account, but era(sequence of events) does. There is also evidence that pitchers do affect some type of specific outs(Infield fly balls is one of them, and again that is a sequence event thing)
   36. JJ1986 Posted: September 23, 2012 at 02:11 PM (#4243637)
RBIs are also a measure of what actually happened (if you include teammates, the runs that actually scored and the order of events). And linear weights are what would have happened based on a number of factors.
   37. cardsfanboy Posted: September 23, 2012 at 02:23 PM (#4243641)
RBIs are also a measure of what actually happened (if you include teammates, the runs that actually scored and the order of events).


Yes, but there are much better measures of actual events than RBI.(average, obp, slg etc) On top of that you can look at avg risp etc to more accurately gauge the players performance. I'm not saying ERA is the perfect evaluation tool, but it's massively better than fip. Fip treats a single and triple exactly the same.
   38. Random Transaction Generator Posted: September 23, 2012 at 02:35 PM (#4243649)
What I can't comprehend is that Cabrera's MVP worthiness is based on one HR.


I wouldn't be surprised if there is a voter who decides whichever team makes the playoffs, that will be the deciding factor for him.
In that case, a hitter's MVP worthiness might end up being based on whether a PITCHER can get a save in the final game of the season (see "Game 162" last year) in a game which the MVP-candidate doesn't participate.
   39.   Posted: September 23, 2012 at 02:50 PM (#4243662)
Nor should you. FIP is a predictive stat, not a value stat.


You have to ask yourself: why is it predictive?

If you're going to assert we should credit things to pitchers that they might not necessarily be doing but benefit based on the circumstances, it is essentially the same damn thing as looking at RBI.
   40. cardsfanboy Posted: September 23, 2012 at 03:03 PM (#4243665)
You have to ask yourself: why is it predictive?




I agree with fip as a stat for predictive, it tells you the components of a player. I think that fip does a good job of measuring "true talent level" while season long era is including hot/cold streaks that are being smoothed out by fip. Personally I would prefer a component era that looks at actual types of hits allowed converted to runs created and figured from there.

   41. micker17 Posted: September 23, 2012 at 03:15 PM (#4243673)
Lou Gehrig won the triple crown in 1934, and finished 5th (!!!) in the MVP voting behind 3 players on the pennant winning Tigers and Lefty Gomez.

The definition of "valuable" has always been and remains intentionally ambiguous. Neither Trout nor Cabrera's teams are likely to be among the FIVE teams to make the playoffs.

My MVP vote goes to Derek Jeter.

Miguel Cabrera can have the Hank Aaron Award and Mike Trout can have the Jackie Robinson Award.
   42. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 23, 2012 at 03:17 PM (#4243675)

You have to ask yourself: why is it predictive?

If you're going to assert we should credit things to pitchers that they might not necessarily be doing but benefit based on the circumstances, it is essentially the same damn thing as looking at RBI.


No. We're crediting pitchers for things they did: successfully preventing hits, inducing pop-ups, inducing DPs, controlling the running game, stranding a lot of runners. FIP ignores these things, and, because they're not very stable over long stretches, it makes it slightly more predictive of future ERA than past ERA is.

But, all those things generate real value in a pitching season. I literally don't care if they are even 1% repeatable. A pitcher that strands 90% of baserunners deserves credit for it for awards that recognize that season. FIP is still waiting for Tom Glavine to regress.
   43. cardsfanboy Posted: September 23, 2012 at 03:38 PM (#4243691)
FIP is still waiting for Tom Glavine to regress.
Or Vazquez to have a hof level season.
   44. Darren Posted: September 23, 2012 at 03:51 PM (#4243696)
No. We're crediting pitchers for things they did: successfully preventing hits, inducing pop-ups, inducing DPs, controlling the running game, stranding a lot of runners.


And crediting for things their fielders did like make good defensive plays. And not crediting them when they give up runs after their fielders make errors. And giving them credit when a reliever strands their runners. ERA is nowhere near the pure stat that you're making it out to be. It only seems that way because we've been using for so long.
   45. jwb Posted: September 23, 2012 at 03:53 PM (#4243698)
There have been ten batting triple crown winners during the MVP era. Six have won, four have not. Of the four who have not, three were considered defensively challenged (Williams twice, Klein (strong arm, lacking other skills)). As micker17 pointed out, Gehrig was the fourth. It's not unprecedented at all to deny a weak defensive triple crown winner an MVP.
   46. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 23, 2012 at 04:03 PM (#4243702)
And crediting for things their fielders did like make good defensive plays. And not crediting them when they give up runs after their fielders make errors. And giving them credit when a reliever strands their runners. ERA is nowhere near the pure stat that you're making it out to be. It only seems that way because we've been using for so long.

RA is good as well. The point is not that they're perfect, but they at least reflect what actually happened in terms of run prevention.
   47. TomH Posted: September 23, 2012 at 04:06 PM (#4243707)
Triple Crown likely considered more scared today because it used to happen a lot, and now it is much more rare. Like gold, some equate rare with value.
   48. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: September 23, 2012 at 04:30 PM (#4243715)
A gold glove quality centerfielder, exceptional runner, posting similar offensive numbers as a less than average defensive first baseman who has played about 20 games more looks as the more valuable commodity.


Of course, the fact that Cabrera plays third base changes things a little.
   49. cardsfanboy Posted: September 23, 2012 at 05:05 PM (#4243738)
And not crediting them when they give up runs after their fielders make errors.


NOBODY who is championing for era cares about the ####### errors and runs. Count them, don't count them it doesn't make a bit of difference. Why do people ever harp on this issue, who ####### cares about those runs. If RA was more prevalent we would go by that, nobody is saying era is perfect, they are just saying it measure ACTUAL EVENTS something that fip doesn't seem to care about.


Again... In fip, a pitcher that allows 6 doubles over 6 innings is exactly the same as a pitcher that allows 6 singles. (assuming walks and strikeouts are the same)
   50. bjhanke Posted: September 23, 2012 at 05:05 PM (#4243739)
I can agree with these analyses all I want. However, the realistic fact is that, if someone wins the Triple Crown, he will be the MVP, simply because its been so long since anyone pulled it off. - Brock Hanke
   51. AJMcCringleberry Posted: September 23, 2012 at 05:07 PM (#4243743)
Or Vazquez to have a hof level season.

I'm surprised you forgot 2009.
   52. AJMcCringleberry Posted: September 23, 2012 at 05:08 PM (#4243746)
ACTUAL EVENTS something that fip doesn't seem to care about.

Strikeouts, walks, and home runs are not actual events?
   53. cardsfanboy Posted: September 23, 2012 at 05:10 PM (#4243747)
Of course, the fact that Cabrera plays third base changes things a little.


I keep forgetting that point. And it does (another reason why I think that the 4 war difference is probably overstating the gap)
   54. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 23, 2012 at 05:12 PM (#4243751)
Strikeouts, walks, and home runs are not actual events?

Sure, but it ignore all the others. Doubles, triples, singles, DPs, pop-ups, etc.

FIP sees the pitcher who gives up three doubles, 2 runs, and K's two, and having a better innings than the pitcher who gets 3 pop-ups.
   55. cardsfanboy Posted: September 23, 2012 at 05:13 PM (#4243753)
Strikeouts, walks, and home runs are not actual events?
Yes they are actual events... so about 1/3rd of the game do they care about.

Hmmm a stat that looks at 29% of the game or a stat that looks at 100%.... tough choice. Even with the flaws with ERA, it covers a larger portion of the game (and yes, argument is that fip could arguably cover 100% of the game if you argue that every other out is exactly equal and that every non-homerun hit is exactly equal)
   56. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: September 23, 2012 at 05:13 PM (#4243754)
another reason why I think that the 4 war difference is probably overstating the gap


Well, WAR doesn't forget what position Cabrera plays.
   57. cardsfanboy Posted: September 23, 2012 at 05:15 PM (#4243755)


Edit: Nevermind
   58. cardsfanboy Posted: September 23, 2012 at 05:15 PM (#4243757)
Well, WAR doesn't forget what position Cabrera plays.

Ok. What is your point?
   59. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 23, 2012 at 05:18 PM (#4243762)
Not to defend dips, but that isn't a factually true statement.

FIP = ((13*HR)+(3*(BB+HBP))-(2*K))/IP + constant


Yeah, so those doubles and runs don't count against the first pitcher. His score is ((13*0) + (3*(0-0)) - (2*2))/1 + constant. or (constant - 4). The 2nd pitcher score is just the constant.
   60. AJMcCringleberry Posted: September 23, 2012 at 05:26 PM (#4243769)
Sure, but it ignore all the others. Doubles, triples, singles, DPs, pop-ups, etc.

ERA ignores those too, and it ignores the other 8 guys on the field. The only thing ERA cares about is earned runs. A pitcher does not ever have to get a batter out to have an ERA of 0.
   61. cardsfanboy Posted: September 23, 2012 at 05:37 PM (#4243775)
ERA ignores those too, and it ignores the other 8 guys on the field


True, but I don't think Fip is actually counting the guys on the field either. Personally I would prefer component era or something that actually does include type of actual hits allowed.
   62.   Posted: September 23, 2012 at 05:43 PM (#4243776)
I literally don't care if they are even 1% repeatable. A pitcher that strands 90% of baserunners deserves credit for it for awards that recognize that season.


Ok, but to be consistent I hope you evaluate batters based on what percentage of runners they drive in rather than things like hits and walks.
   63.   Posted: September 23, 2012 at 05:45 PM (#4243777)
NOBODY who is championing for era cares about the ####### errors and runs. Count them, don't count them it doesn't make a bit of difference. Why do people ever harp on this issue


The same reason you keep harping on the fact that one implementation of the FIP concept doesn't include doubles. You want doubles? Fine, assign a value to it and add it to the formula. It's not hard.

Nobody cares about any specific FIP implementation. We are talking about the concept. The point is that there is value to attempting to zone in on measuring the pitcher's actual performance by teasing out things like fielding. By eliminating the noise, you get a more predictive stat, yes, but you also get a stat that measures the ACTUAL VALUE.
   64. cardsfanboy Posted: September 23, 2012 at 05:48 PM (#4243779)
Ok, but to be consistent I hope you evaluate batters based on what percentage of runners they drive in rather than things like hits and walks.


We evaluate hitters by their hits...singles, doubles, triples and homeruns. Not their percentage of driven in. ERA does a better job of listing that result(of course you also look at whip, and other stats etc)
   65. cardsfanboy Posted: September 23, 2012 at 05:49 PM (#4243780)
The same reason you keep harping on the fact that one implementation of the FIP concept doesn't include doubles. You want doubles? Fine, assign a value to it and add it to the formula. It's not hard.


If you include doubles, triples etc in it's implementation, it's not FIP.... It becomes a version of component era, which is a great stat.
   66. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 23, 2012 at 05:55 PM (#4243783)
Ok, but to be consistent I hope you evaluate batters based on what percentage of runners they drive in rather than things like hits and walks.

That's nonsensical. A batter can't control what happens before or after their PA. We evaluate them by their actual contribution.

Pitching is completely different. Since the pitcher many faces consecutive batters, bunching of hits and walks, and sequencing matters.
   67. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 23, 2012 at 05:56 PM (#4243784)
Nobody cares about any specific FIP implementation. We are talking about the concept. The point is that there is value to attempting to zone in on measuring the pitcher's actual performance by teasing out things like fielding. By eliminating the noise, you get a more predictive stat, yes, but you also get a stat that measures the ACTUAL VALUE.

Except none of the DIPS stats do that.

BRef attempts that in its pitching WAR. They account for defensive quality. I'm fine with that.

I'm not fine with a pitching value measure that ignores the actual runs that score.
   68.   Posted: September 23, 2012 at 05:58 PM (#4243785)
Hmmm, you may be right.

My point is that people seem to get offended when you bring up a pitcher evaluation that ignores runs allowed, yet they have no problem doing so for batters. How many people pay attention to runs and RBI? Should we? If a batter managed to hit .400 with 100 walks would we care that he never scored or drove in a run? Should we?

Edit: The bolded font in [67] is what I'm talking about.
   69. Walt Davis Posted: September 23, 2012 at 05:58 PM (#4243786)
nobody is saying era is perfect, they are just saying it measure ACTUAL EVENTS something that fip doesn't seem to care about.

No, it doesn't.

Runs allowed measures "actual events." You could stop right there.

Unfortunately runs allowed doesn't tell you how well a pitcher pitched, it doesn't tell you what VALUE the PITCHER provided.

Plain and simple, it doesn't. You know it doesn't.

It tells you the combined value of the starter, the reliever, the defense, the quality of the offense they were facing, the game conditions, the umpiring, etc.

If you are going to assign credit/blame for runs allowed to individual pitchers you have no choice but to decide how you are going to apportion that value among all those factors.

ERA and RA/9 are purely arbitrary means of assigning that value by giving all the value to the pitcher. That is idiotic on its face unless one of the following two things is true. (a) The pitcher is providing something like 95% of the true value so the rest isn't worth adjusting for. But we know this is false. (b) The rest of that stuff is random so the only "signal" in ERA/RA is the quality of the pitcher's performance -- which, oddly enough, leads you to FIP.

The difference between the two is not their assumptions about what is and isn't random but their decision whether to "reward" that randomness or not.

The less abstract way to look at is that ERA assumes the defense is never at fault (except for errors) while FIP assumes the defense is always at fault. Those seem like equally untenable assumptions to me but if I had to choose one for assessing the quality of a pitcher's performance, I'd probably choose the latter.

bWAR falls in-between I believe, attempting to adjust for defensive quality, thereby blaming the pitcher for "extra" hits given up. Just by virtue of falling in the middle of the "how much do we award randomness" question it almost has to be the most accurate of the three (on a large sample basis ... could be off by a mile for an individual pitcher).
   70. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 23, 2012 at 06:03 PM (#4243789)
My point is that people seem to get offended when you bring up a pitcher evaluation that ignores runs allowed, yet they have no problem doing so for batters. How many people pay attention to runs and RBI? Should we? If a batter managed to hit .400 with 100 walks would we care that he never scored or drove in a run? Should we?

I don't think we should ignore runs and RBI in awards. If a guy happens to have a very clutch season driving in runs, that should count in his favor.
   71. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 23, 2012 at 06:06 PM (#4243791)
The less abstract way to look at is that ERA assumes the defense is never at fault (except for errors) while FIP assumes the defense is always at fault. Those seem like equally untenable assumptions to me but if I had to choose one for assessing the quality of a pitcher's performance, I'd probably choose the latter.

Really? I disagree.

The pitcher is almost certainly closer to 100% responsible than 0%. We know the vast majority of chances are either always outs, or always hits. It's not conceivable that defense could MORE responsible for BIP than the pitcher.

Edit: In other words, there is far more variance in quality between individual pitchers than between team defenses.

I'm fine with adjusting for defense (like BRef does), but you've got to start from the point of view of accounting for all the runs allowed.
   72. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: September 23, 2012 at 06:12 PM (#4243798)
Ok. What is your point?


That while the narrative description of the difference in value between Trout and Cabrera that you posted implies that you were making an erroneous mental positional adjustment, the WAR difference can't be due to a mistake in positional adjustment. Unless you think that the positional adjustments for 3B and/or CF are just wrong. Was that your point?
   73. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: September 23, 2012 at 06:19 PM (#4243802)
A pitcher does not ever have to get a batter out to have an ERA of 0.


Umm... actually, he does. While ERA might be listed as 0.00 for a guy who allows no runs in no innings, it isn't correct to do so, just as it isn't correct to list a BA of .000 for someone who has no hits in no at bats.
   74. AJMcCringleberry Posted: September 23, 2012 at 06:53 PM (#4243810)
Umm... actually, he does. While ERA might be listed as 0.00 for a guy who allows no runs in no innings,

I meant something like that he could give up single after single all day, but have all the runners get caught stealing.
   75. valuearbitrageur Posted: September 23, 2012 at 07:02 PM (#4243814)
I keep forgetting that point. And it does (another reason why I think that the 4 war difference is probably overstating the gap)


Maybe, but probably not.

How many wins do you think a good defensive player at a premium position can add in a season?

How many wins can a bad third baseman cost?

How many wins are an appropriate adjustment for putting up slightly better offense than Cabrera in a defense first position like centerfield?

Its pretty easy to think that Trout can get 4 wins from all three areas, his better offense, his positional adjustment, and their huge gap in defensive value.

Edit: but sinse fWar is only 2.6 apart maybe you should be happy with that?
   76. Don Malcolm Posted: September 23, 2012 at 07:24 PM (#4243827)
Its pretty easy to think that Trout can get 4 wins from all three areas, his better offense, his positional adjustment, and their huge gap in defensive value.

It's pretty easy to think that, but it's another thing to actually prove that.

The fact that there are redundancies and distortions in the currently favored versions of WAR is enough of a reason to at least lower the level of one's voice when attempting to discuss this matter. (Note to KT: this last reference is not directed at your personally--you ask the absolutely pivotal questions above. The answers you get will, alas, mostly be dubiously applied theory.)
   77. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: September 23, 2012 at 08:27 PM (#4243847)
I meant something like that he could give up single after single all day, but have all the runners get caught stealing.


Oh, I see. You're thinking of that little lefty who was on my son's U14 travel team -- couldn't actually pitch to save his life but had an absolutely hellacious move to first. His version of three up, three down was three walks and three pickoffs. Alas, he doesn't play baseball anymore.
   78. vivaelpujols Posted: September 23, 2012 at 11:48 PM (#4243929)
fWAR uses FIP, bWAR uses RA. That's the reason for the Weaver/Sanchez stuff.

Also that excerpt was one of the worst things I've ever read.
   79. vivaelpujols Posted: September 24, 2012 at 12:04 AM (#4243936)
The pitcher is almost certainly closer to 100% responsible than 0%. We know the vast majority of chances are either always outs, or always hits. It's not conceivable that defense could MORE responsible for BIP than the pitcher.

It's not just the defense, it's also the batter, ballpark and umpire. Combined that's a huge effect. The only thing the pitcher can do is throw the ball - once he does that, the rest is up to factors completely out of his control. Strikeouts and walks are the best stats we have in a single season sample size at gauging pitcher input because they take up an entire count and are much less prone to random variation, if you rely heavily on hits allowed, you're gonna be putting a lot of noise in it.

I'm with with taking RA and doing a general accounting - look at quality of batters faced, how well relievers stranded runners, quality of defense (not at the team level, but behind the pitcher on that given day), quality of umpire.
   80. bjhanke Posted: September 24, 2012 at 04:17 AM (#4243961)
Um, if you pick runners off, those are outs credited to you. You're not going to end up with "zero innings." - Brock Hanke
   81. Cooper Nielson Posted: September 24, 2012 at 06:46 AM (#4243972)
Um, if you pick runners off, those are outs credited to you. You're not going to end up with "zero innings." - Brock Hanke

Well, what he said was "A pitcher does not ever have to get a batter out to have an ERA of 0." Meaning he could let every batter he faced reach base, and still not give up a run. I understood what he meant.
   82. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 24, 2012 at 07:03 AM (#4243975)
It's not just the defense, it's also the batter, ballpark and umpire. Combined that's a huge effect. The only thing the pitcher can do is throw the ball - once he does that, the rest is up to factors completely out of his control. Strikeouts and walks are the best stats we have in a single season sample size at gauging pitcher input because they take up an entire count and are much less prone to random variation, if you rely heavily on hits allowed, you're gonna be putting a lot of noise in it.


I'm of course in favor of stadium adj. When I say ERA/RA I really mean ERA+/RA+. Sorry for any confusion.

Over the course of a season, I'd have to think the umpire, and opposing batter factors are not great differentiators among pitchers. You never have all the good hitting teams in one division.

I'm with with taking RA and doing a general accounting - look at quality of batters faced, how well relievers stranded runners, quality of defense (not at the team level, but behind the pitcher on that given day), quality of umpire.

That's a fine approach. It's basically BRef's ERA+; I think the added signal from the batters/umpires faced is going to be pretty tiny.
   83. vivaelpujols Posted: September 24, 2012 at 07:55 AM (#4243992)
You're talking about offensive and umpiring stats at the team, seasonal level. I'm talking about what happens at the individual at bat level.

There is much less variation on the quality of a pitch vs. the quality of the batter outcome. Think about it, a pitcher will throw a fastball in the meat of the strikeone zone 10-15 times per game, and sometimes he gives up 7 hits and a home run and sometimes he gives up 4 hits and no homers. In 30 starts, that variation from the offense is still very large. Of the three factors that drive BABIP - pitching variation, defense variation and offensive variation - offense is by far the largest.

Strikeouts and walks are more stable because they occur over 4-5 pitches per at bat, rather than just one pitch for batted balls. And they don't put the defense into the equation, or the ballpark as much as with batted balls. So even though there are more BIP in a given season than strikeouts and walks, strikeouts and walks are going to be much more reflective of pitcher performance.

So I think combining xFIP (or even just kwERA, which is only strikeouts and walks) with bWAR is the best thing you can do. Maybe 60% bWAR and 40% kwERA. That's just simply giving more weight to the strikeout and walk portion of bWAR.
   84. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: September 24, 2012 at 08:01 AM (#4243996)
I'm with with taking RA and doing a general accounting - look at quality of batters faced, how well relievers stranded runners, quality of defense (not at the team level, but behind the pitcher on that given day), quality of umpire.

How can anyone determine the quality of defense on a given day? Is UZR or TZ on a per game basis available or meaningful? What would you do with the relievers stranding runners....adjust to some average reliever strand rate? Aren't pitchers having good days typically relieved by better relievers? How would you adjust for that? More broadly, what is the purpose of this? Are you trying to say that pitcher BABIP and Strand Rate is a skill for starting pitchers or that it doesn't matter whether it's a skill or not and we're just trying to measure what took place? In the first instance, isn't that provable or disprovable using regression analysis? In the second instance, why make any adjustments at all? Why not just go with Innings Pitched and RA+?
   85. vivaelpujols Posted: September 24, 2012 at 08:55 AM (#4244004)
That comment was a joke, because adjusting for all those things on an individual game level would be impossible. Why would I ever go with straight RA+? That implies that there is zero difference in the batters, umpires and fielders each start for every pitcher. We know there is *some* difference. It's really simple, just take an average of K-BB WAR and RA WAR.
   86. BDC Posted: September 24, 2012 at 08:57 AM (#4244006)
I don't think we should ignore runs and RBI in awards. If a guy happens to have a very clutch season driving in runs, that should count in his favor

Exactly. If Howard drives in a lot more runs than Pujols, it's worth considering. One might find that Howard was a much better hitter, in which case (if defense and baserunning are a wash), the conversation is over. But one might also find:

(a) Pujols is a much better hitter than Howard, and would have driven in a lot more runs given Howard's much more numerous opportunities (MVP to Pujols)

(b) Pujols was a much better hitter than Howard, and had the same opportunities, but he got IBB'd so much because the team behind him was so weak, that he didn't drive in nearly as many runs (in which case one has to weigh the value of the IBBs, and settle the issue accordingly)

(c) They're even as hitters, but Howard had more opportunities (in which case toss a coin, or vote for a relief pitcher :)

(d) They're even as hitters and had equal opportunities, in which case Howard gets the MVP because dang it, he actually did stuff, as opposed to establish an even theoretical chance of doing it
   87. Ron J2 Posted: September 24, 2012 at 09:50 AM (#4244027)
FIP is a predictive stat, not a value stat.


And FIP ignores other aspect of run prevention at least partially under a pitcher's control. Popups/foulouts are almost 100% outs and should go as pure pitcher credit. The pitcher plays a huge role against the running game. The pitcher plays a huge role in DP frequency.

And not of least importance there's a big difference in expected runs allowed given balls in play, BB and home runs allowed and actual runs allowed. The standard error for a pitcher who pitched 200 innings has to be in the range of 10 runs. (IOW Fangraphs pitcher WAR has a standard error of something close to a win for a full-time starter)
   88. Ron J2 Posted: September 24, 2012 at 09:55 AM (#4244029)
I don't think anyone really looks at pitchers war and says that is the beginning and end of the argument.


I used to start from support neutral won/loss (SNWL). BP has changed what it's called and how it's derived but it's still a good start to the discussion since it considers not just the runs allowed but the distribution of those runs. (And deal with runners left on base in a way I like -- they're counted according to the expected runs allowed so bullpen support isn't an issue)
   89. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: September 24, 2012 at 11:28 AM (#4244092)

FIP sees the pitcher who gives up three doubles, 2 runs, and K's two, and having a better innings than the pitcher who gets 3 pop-ups.

FIP isn't intended to be used on one-inning sample sizes.

I think adjusting ERA/ERA+ for the quality of the defense when we know that there are differences in the defense makes sense. It's more complicated than a simple FIP calculation. There also needs to be differences in the stat if you're using it for predictive purposes or value purposes. You'd regress K, BB, and HR in addition to BABIP for predictive purposes, but you would want to leave the actual events as is when looking at historical value.

The portion of hits allowed that can't be easily attributed to the defense or the pitcher ("luck") is the toughest part. I'm inclined to be conservative and attribute it to the pitcher if we don't know any better.
   90. pezzonovante Posted: September 24, 2012 at 12:03 PM (#4244125)
And FIP ignores other aspect of run prevention at least partially under a pitcher's control. Popups/foulouts are almost 100% outs and should go as pure pitcher credit. The pitcher plays a huge role against the running game. The pitcher plays a huge role in DP frequency.

And not of least importance there's a big difference in expected runs allowed given balls in play, BB and home runs allowed and actual runs allowed. The standard error for a pitcher who pitched 200 innings has to be in the range of 10 runs. (IOW Fangraphs pitcher WAR has a standard error of something close to a win for a full-time starter)


And yet, past FIP predicts future ERA better than past ERA predicts future ERA. FIP is not the perfect indicator of a pitcher's performance, but it is better than ERA in finding his true talent.
   91. Barnaby Jones Posted: September 24, 2012 at 12:18 PM (#4244136)
FIP is a better predictor of future success and therefore is a better measure of what should actually be credited to the pitcher.


This doesn't follow at all. The terms "sustainable" and "true" are not synonymous.
   92. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 24, 2012 at 12:20 PM (#4244138)
And yet, past FIP predicts future ERA better than past ERA predicts future ERA. FIP is not the perfect indicator of a pitcher's performance, but it is better than ERA in finding his true talent.

Right, but the Cy Young isn't supposed to reward true talent. It rewards actual performance in that year.
   93. Barnaby Jones Posted: September 24, 2012 at 12:38 PM (#4244154)
To piggyback on snapper, basing the Cy Young on FIP is like basing the MVP on PrOPS or the like. No one ever advocates such a thing for hitters, but they seem to throw all scruples aside when it come to pitchers.
   94. JJ1986 Posted: September 24, 2012 at 12:40 PM (#4244157)
FIP is not (only) a predictive stat. It's a measure of three things, HR, SO, and BB and the displayed on a scale where it's easy to understand. It is not a measure of runs (or earned runs) allowed, but it absolutely is a measure of things that happened.
   95. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 24, 2012 at 12:44 PM (#4244165)
FIP is not (only) a predictive stat. It's a measure of three things, HR, SO, and BB and the displayed on a scale where it's easy to understand. It is not a measure of runs (or earned runs) allowed, but it absolutely is a measure of things that happened.

Right, but most people who use ERA+, or RA+, also look at Ks, WHIP, and K/BB ratios (as well as IP and wins). HRs directly show up in runs allowed.

FIP would be a better stat if it wasn't scaled to ERA, b/c it wouldn't be masquerading as a replacement.
   96. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: September 24, 2012 at 12:48 PM (#4244173)
FIP is not (only) a predictive stat. It's a measure of three things, HR, SO, and BB and the displayed on a scale where it's easy to understand. It is not a measure of runs (or earned runs) allowed, but it absolutely is a measure of things that happened.

Several times more removed than is warranted or necessary. The things that happened are HRs, SOs, and BBs. FIP did not "happen" in any real sense of the word.

Right, but the Cy Young isn't supposed to reward true talent. It rewards actual performance in that year.


It's hard to believe such an obvious thing needs to be repeated. "True talent," even if it could be measured accurately (which the commonly-proffered measurements don't) is of secondary or tertiary importance in baseball -- and that's being kind.

The point of today's baseball game is not to predict what will happen in tomorrow's baseball game.
   97. JJ1986 Posted: September 24, 2012 at 12:50 PM (#4244177)
Several times more removed than is warranted or necessary. The things that happened are HRs, SOs, and BBs. FIP did not "happen" in any real sense of the word.


This is true for all composite stats, down to OBP and SLG.
   98. JJ1986 Posted: September 24, 2012 at 12:54 PM (#4244181)
Right, but most people who use ERA+, or RA+, also look at Ks, WHIP, and K/BB ratios (as well as IP and wins). HRs directly show up in runs allowed.


Yes, but you can also look at both ERA+ (or RA+) and FIP. There's no reason one has to be a "FIP person" or an "ERA person". I don't like FIP on its own, but it still contains a lot of information.

I'm not quite sure why we haven't moved to a linear weights (or weighted linear weights where H, 2B and 3B are scaled down) system for pitchers yet except that the raw data's not ubiquitous.
   99. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: September 24, 2012 at 12:55 PM (#4244184)
This is true for all composite stats, down to OBP and SLG.

Actually, no. OBP and SLG aren't "scaled" to anything and there's no "13" or other multiplier.(*) And they make sense on their own terms in a way that FIP doesn't approach.

FIP is like multiplying gas mileage and the square of engine cylinders and pretending you're measuring something important about cars.

(*) Yes, I know doubles are multiplied by 2 to get SLG, but there's an underlying reason for that that isn't present with FIP.
   100. Barnaby Jones Posted: September 24, 2012 at 12:59 PM (#4244193)
This is true for all composite stats, down to OBP and SLG.


Not exactly; FIP specifically is scaled in a distorted way to make it appear as something it is strictly not, namely an ERA equivalent. This is because the original DIPS theory was for ERA predition. Also, it is reverse engineered in a non-intuitive formula with superficially arbitrary weights for a specific purpose, unlike OBP and SLG which are ostensibly just measuring something basic in a very basic way.
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