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Saturday, September 09, 2017

Twitter: Brian Kenny: Is a consistent player more valuable than a volatile player?

I’m going to have to think about it because I can’t remember off the top of my head but…haven’t there been studies which looked at this? If there haven’t, this can be simulated. As a proxy, looking at injured players with replacement players would give us an answer. It’s essentially a question about peak vs. average.

On the other part of the question related to the Jeter hitting good pitching versus a guy who feasts on bad pitchers but is overmatched against better hurlers, I also believe someone has looked at this.

Anyone remember? I’ll try to look through my stuff at a later time. I have family stuff the rest of the weekend.

Edit: A quick Google search led me to some work by Bill Petti.
Dave Levine has looked at streakiness. (PDF)

Jim Furtado Posted: September 09, 2017 at 01:10 PM | 8 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: sabermetrics

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   1. DJS, the Digital Dandy Posted: September 09, 2017 at 02:27 PM (#5529038)
Generally, it works out in the data that you want good players to be consistent, bad players to be volatile.
   2. Sunday silence Posted: September 09, 2017 at 03:31 PM (#5529058)
without taking a stance on this issue in particular. I want to ask perhaps a more basic one:

is a lineup construction better with a mix of OBP and good slug.pct guys or does it really matter at all? Cause we often hear posters say "they should get player x cause he's a good obp player in a lineup filled with power hitters." Or does it really matter at all?

That's my question and although its not on topic, its been one burning in the back of my mind and this may be the one time I remember to ask it. thanks.
   3. The importance of being Ernest Riles Posted: September 09, 2017 at 05:36 PM (#5529086)
THT looked at this a while ago.
http://www.fangraphs.com/tht/are-foolish-conistencies-the-hobgoblins-of-starting-pitchers/

http://www.fangraphs.com/tht/same-old-same-old/

Basically, for pitchers, there is a small advantage for being inconsistent, which is what you'd expect when the critical variable had a lower but no upper bound.
   4. BDC Posted: September 09, 2017 at 07:29 PM (#5529109)
is a lineup construction better with a mix of OBP and good slug.pct guys or does it really matter at all? Cause we often hear posters say "they should get player x cause he's a good obp player in a lineup filled with power hitters." Or does it really matter at all?

I think this might be hard to study because OBP and SLG correlate to some extent – i.e., the pool of guys who are low-average sluggers who never walk and the pool of guys who are low-average walkers without good power are both small enough that recruiting from both at will is difficult. A high-BA player will be decent at both, for the most part, and is always desirable.

So if you have Gus Zernial you might want to get Eddie Yost too (the 1959 Tigers actually did this), but the chances of actually needing to balance your lineup that way are small.
   5. Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle Posted: September 09, 2017 at 11:40 PM (#5529198)
Generally, it works out in the data that you want good players to be consistent, bad players to be volatile.

Funny. My first reaction was that if you have a good team, you want your players to be consistent. And if you have a bad team, you want your players to be volatile.
   6. Jose Canusee Posted: September 10, 2017 at 02:07 PM (#5529304)
Will Clark or Mark McGwire?
That was a good argument for the two 1B who both hit the scene in 1987 with the Giants and the A's.
The Thrill's year-to-year numbers were more stable but Big Mac's power was hard to match.
   7. Walt Davis Posted: September 10, 2017 at 09:06 PM (#5529457)
But is there any way in which consistency or volatility are projectible? If you can't select for it then it doesn't matter which is preferable in some abstract sense. For pitchers, "volatility" is frequently injury-related anyway.

To the extent it's useful, I'd imagine it's primarily for the question of FA pitcher contracts, probably in the middle level. Are you better off signing Rich Hill -- low durability, very good when healthy -- or Jeff Samardzija -- durable before and so far during his FA contract, but average-ish production. They cost about the same in AAV terms.** This year, Hill has put up 1.5 bWAR, 0.6 bWAA while Samardzija has put up 2.1/0.6 (and 4.9/1.7 so far in the contract). Hill is presumably more likely to give you a 5-WAR season if he ever has a full one and more likely to give you 1.5 WAA in a half-season ... and presumably more effective in the playoffs if he's healthy. But even with a durable history, there's still a good chance that Samardzija will miss one of the next 3 seasons due to injury.

**Samardzija got more years but that's partly the big age difference.
   8. Moeball Posted: September 12, 2017 at 04:38 PM (#5530352)
I know Bill James did a simulation in his HOF book comparing Drysdale and Pappas. Similar career #s at first glance, but Drysdale had higher peaks (more volatility?) and so Bill concluded a pitching staff with Big D would win more pennants.

I've also thought it interesting, however, that Don Sutton's career started up as Sandy Koufax' was ending. I think we can all see the contrast between Sandy's short period of brilliance vs. Sutton's long term excellence. It's said that banners fly forever, and Sandy helped LA win 2 WS. Sutton couldn't deliver that. On the other hand, long term dependability helped Sutton's teams be in the thick of the pennant race for many seasons, so there's something to be said for that.

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