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Transaction Oracle
— A Timely Look at Transactions as They Happen

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Braves - Acquired Renteria

Atlanta Braves - Acquired SS Edgar Renteria from the Boston Red Sox for 3B Andy Marte.

This trade is going to get a lot of negative backlash and while I wouldn’t do it from the Braves’ perspective, I don’t think it’s nearly as bad as it looks.  Chipper wants to play 3rd and just deferred a bunch of money and the Braves aren’t going to push him to left against his wishes.  Shortstop is a hole and they don’t like Betemit enough to play him there, apparently, and Renteria is one of the best choices around, especially considering the Red Sox are throwing in some money, $5 million apparently.  Renteria was a disappointment in Boston, but I think he’ll be a lot better in 2006, especially defensively

There’s the problem of what to do with Marte in Boston, but the Red Sox have never seemed overly excited with The Greek God of Walks at 3rd, but they might be willing to let Marte play the hot corner.  If the Red Sox start the season with Pedroia/Marte on the left side, it’ll go a long way to rectifying my complaints about the direction of the organization.

2006 ZiPS Projections
———————————————————————————————————
Player     AB   R   H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB   BA   OBP   SLG
———————————————————————————————————
Marte     416 65 106 24 2 19 77 61 91   0 .255 .350 .459
Renteria   602 89 179 35 2   9 70 56 76 16 .297 .356 .407

 

Dan Szymborski Posted: December 08, 2005 at 06:35 PM | 59 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: December 08, 2005 at 07:03 PM (#1767873)
They don't seem to want to give the SS job to Pedroia this year, though I don't see why not. It also seems likely that Marte will start the year in Pawtucket, unless the Red Sox flip Lowell somewhere.
   2. 1k5v3L Posted: December 08, 2005 at 07:12 PM (#1767909)
Look at that projection... Marte kicks arse.

Anyhow, now that Marte is on the Red Sox, I wonder what kevin really thinks about him and Pedroia. Tell us, kevin:

Who's the better prospect, Marte or Pedroia?
   3. 1k5v3L Posted: December 08, 2005 at 07:13 PM (#1767911)
The Red Sox are sending in $11m, according to Rosenthal, which means the Braves will pay Renteria around $18m over the next 3 years. Not too bad.
   4. Andrew Edwards Posted: December 08, 2005 at 08:25 PM (#1768136)
2006 Standings:

Red Sox
Blue Jays
Yankees
Devil Rays
Orioles
   5. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: December 08, 2005 at 08:28 PM (#1768148)
I'd say that Marte's the better prospect, mostly because his slugging percentage at Triple-A last year was more than a hundred points higher than Pedroia's and they are (roughly) the same age. Even taking position into account, I think Marte rates higher, because he seems to project into a much stronger hitter.

I heard some vague rumour about shipping Marte to Tampa for Julio Lugo and Aubrey Huff, which I pray to G-d is not true. Huff's thirty, he fell off a cliff last year, and he just ain't worth it. I'd rather they play Youks at first and let Marte try to prove that he's better than he showed in his cuppa this year.
   6. 1k5v3L Posted: December 08, 2005 at 08:37 PM (#1768178)
kevin kept arguing that pedroia was the better prospect.

he'll probably keep harping the same thing to save face.

but marte is definitely the (much) better prospect.
   7. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: December 08, 2005 at 09:37 PM (#1768319)
kevin, like many of us in the Red Sox Nation, suffers from a bit of blindness when it comes to such matters. I can remember thinking for a while that Freddy Sanchez might be something special. I quickly amended my opinion of him when he went to Pittsburgh.
   8. chris p Posted: December 08, 2005 at 09:42 PM (#1768335)
Who's the better prospect, Marte or Pedroia?

marte and pedroia could be the best left side of the infield in the al east next year!
   9. VG Posted: December 08, 2005 at 09:45 PM (#1768348)
kevin, like many of us in the Red Sox Nation, suffers from a bit of blindness when it comes to such matters.

Maybe we should think of this as a Fandom Factor when evaluating evaluations of Red Sox prospects by Red Sox fans. Something tells me that it afflicts others beyond the RSN, however.
   10. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: December 08, 2005 at 09:51 PM (#1768368)
Something tells me that it afflicts others beyond the RSN, however.

It does, but I suspect it's worse for Boston fans, largely because we had so few prospects to get excited about at all for so long. I think that's the major factor for a lot of people -- when your team has nothing but chicken feed in the minors, you get excited about a little pig slop.
   11. 1k5v3L Posted: December 08, 2005 at 09:51 PM (#1768369)
well, marte is a hell of a better prospect than hanley ramirez, for sure. of course, now i'll have to suffer hours of gammo wanting to take his lips off ramirez's butt and stick them on marte's, but i can always mute the tv and watch gammo's spittle clowd the camera...

this was a very nice acquisition for boston. the gm in atl is losing his marbles. the right thing to do would've been to move chipper to 1b, leave marte at 3b, and play betemit at ss. but chipper redid his contract, blah blah blah, so the atl gm will bear his kids now...

which is why you should never ever put a veteran over the future of the team. the dbacks are still paying for that...
   12. 1k5v3L Posted: December 08, 2005 at 09:53 PM (#1768373)
cloud the camera... ugh. i still can't believe marte got traded...
   13. Kyle S Posted: December 08, 2005 at 09:54 PM (#1768376)
Neither can we.
   14. Rafael Bellylard: A failure of the waist. Posted: December 08, 2005 at 10:00 PM (#1768384)
marte and pedroia could be the best left side of the infield in the al east next year!

Red Sox fan that I am, I'll still take Jeter and A-Rod.
   15. Kevin Sweet Child Romine (aco) Posted: December 08, 2005 at 10:01 PM (#1768388)
Yeah, this was a nice trade for the Sox, but did it really help the Sox' situation going into next season? Meaning: the Red Sox now have 3 third basemen and no shortstop and I'm having a hard time thinking of who the Sox could sign or acquire that would really be an upgrade over Renteria. Lugo might be - he could easily be a downgrade - but he'd probably cost Marte. If the Sox do that, they really won't have come out ahead. Maybe Pedroia, but I'd be shocked if that's the plan. Castro, Reese, Gonzalez, Gomez - all a downgrade from Renteria IMHO. Marte is a good prospect and I'm glad to have him, but the Sox now have even more scrambling to do, and they were already giving IHOP a run for their money.
   16. Kevin Sweet Child Romine (aco) Posted: December 08, 2005 at 10:03 PM (#1768390)
marte and pedroia could be the best left side of the infield in the al east next year!

Red Sox fan that I am, I'll still take Jeter and A-Rod.


I'd rank Mora-Tejada ahead of them, too.
   17. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: December 08, 2005 at 10:04 PM (#1768391)
Now, I find myself wondering -- is there anybody else on the Red Sox who is grossly overpriced that we might use to acquire Felix Hernandez? As long as teams are giving away their top prospects for our bad investments.
   18. Fat Al Posted: December 08, 2005 at 10:17 PM (#1768417)
Manny. It seems obvious.
   19. 1k5v3L Posted: December 08, 2005 at 10:42 PM (#1768427)
manny's actually good. try curt schilling. or keith foulke
   20. Mike Emeigh Posted: December 08, 2005 at 10:54 PM (#1768460)
There have been some rumors of Youkilis to Pittsburgh for Craig Wilson, which (to me, at least) makes very little sense from Boston's POV.

-- MWE
   21. Kevin Sweet Child Romine (aco) Posted: December 08, 2005 at 11:02 PM (#1768476)
Youkilis gets no love from Sox management, so I fully expect him to be shipped out this winter. Craig Wilson would make an ideal platoon partner for Nixon, or a passable replacement if Trot is traded.
   22. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: December 09, 2005 at 01:06 AM (#1768725)
So, basically the Sox paid 21 million dollars and gave up a first round pick for one subpar year of Renteria and Marte. If he goes bust, that's pretty terrible overall. Of course, if Marte is as good as everyone says he is, it might be a bargain.
   23. OlePerfesser Posted: December 09, 2005 at 01:14 AM (#1768738)
So this deal isn't as bad as it looks 'cause it enables Chipper Jones to drop anchor at 3B for a couple more years? Despite the fact that he's 133 Fielding Runs BELOW Average for his career there?

Sorry--he belongs in left.

Marte belongs at 3B, or should've been traded for comparable YOUNG talent.

Even if Renteria's effective cost is $6M/yr. for the next three years, it should've been possible to get within hailing distance of his output by buying talent on the FA market, WITHOUT giving up the gold that is a MLB-ready player who promises to be very cheap and good for a while.

Schuerholz is slipping.
   24. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: December 09, 2005 at 01:25 AM (#1768762)

Sorry--he belongs in left.


He's brutal in left, he belongs at first but I get your point. Oh wait the Bravos have The Great Adam LaRoche there. Can't take ABs away from him. Nope, can't do that.
   25. Greg Maddux School of Reflexive Profanity Posted: December 09, 2005 at 01:25 AM (#1768765)
Despite the fact that he's 133 Fielding Runs BELOW Average for his career there?

FRAA's a joke.
   26. MM1f Posted: December 09, 2005 at 01:35 AM (#1768789)
"Sorry--he belongs in left"

God I am so pissed off about hearing this shtt. First off, i see no proof that fielding runs are a true measure of defensive ability. They might be, they might not be; stop taking defensive stats with out large boulders of salt. It's nice to have them and consult them but to pull out one number and say it proves his lack of defensive ability is ludicrous. Yeah he is probably a below average defender, but hes not bad either.

And stating it as 133 runs below avg for his career is misleading. Hes been playing since 95. Its not like his career average 133 below. Its like a guy posting 10 years of 95 ERA+ and you calling him 50 percent below average for his career. Thats about the most misleading way you could criticze his defense. Putting it that way punishes him for having a long career and for being good enough to stick at third for a decade.

Second, they put Chipper in left (or rather he put himself there, he volunteered it), he played bad, got hurt, hit poorly and didn't like it. Why would they move him back?
   27. Rickey! In a van on 95 south... Posted: December 09, 2005 at 02:03 AM (#1768829)
Despite the fact that he's 133 Fielding Runs BELOW Average for his career there?

Considering that Fielding Runs is a crock of ####, yes.

s/
   28. Raleigh Horn Posted: December 09, 2005 at 03:50 AM (#1769011)
Actually, the Sox gained a better 1st round pick and a sandwich pick by letting OCab go to the Angels. So yes, it's about $19 mil for one year of Renteria and six+ cost controlled years of Marte. I'll take it.
   29. Sam M. Posted: December 09, 2005 at 04:29 AM (#1769059)
he belongs at first but I get your point. Oh wait the Bravos have The Great Adam LaRoche there. Can't take ABs away from him. Nope, can't do that.

I agree with that in theory -- the optimal way this could have worked out for the Braves was Furcal back at short, Marte at third, and Chipper at first. The problem, though, is that there is no frigging way I would ask him to move after what he already did for the team in restructuring his contract. Both by his performance, and his attitude for the club, I think he's earned the right to stay at third if he wants. That meant the highest, best use they could make of Marte was in a trade.

I just wonder if Renteria was the right guy to pull the trigger for, that's all. I sure hope not!
   30. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 09, 2005 at 04:31 AM (#1769060)
I think it's been shown (by Chris Dial?) that the ball distribution estimator in FRAA and other such stats has consistently screwed up with the Braves, and expected far more grounders to third than happened. I don't have a link, but, generally, I basically ignore FRAA, Win Shares, Range Factor and the like for defensive evaluation.

Not really fair to talk about the year the Sox blew on Renteria. We already know they blew that year, and that the contract was looking bad. After this move, it's now looking much better.
   31. J. Cross Posted: December 09, 2005 at 04:58 AM (#1769093)
I remember the summer when I acquired Renteria. At first I thought it was just Kasparaitis but then the internal bleeding started.
   32. peter21 Posted: December 09, 2005 at 05:27 AM (#1769133)
the gm in atl is losing his marbles.

Schuerholz is slipping.


When was the last time John Schuerholz did NOT make the playoffs?

Oh yeah. 1990.

And he's STILL underrated.
   33. OlePerfesser Posted: December 09, 2005 at 05:44 AM (#1769147)
OK, so some people really hate FRAA. The thing to do then is trot out the defensive metric that suggests Chipper is actually decent at 3B. It's really not enough to just crap on the metrics you don't like.*

It's also foolish to say, Mordecai, that citing a career stat "punishes him for having a long career and for being good enough to stick at third for a decade." He's played 3B for all or parts of 9 years, and been below average every one of them. 0 for 9. When you're that consistently incompetent, it adds up; that's the point of citing a career total; it's not just one or two years that he sucked.

But even if one's organizational philosophy is "our superstar gets to decide where he plays, even if he'd help the club more elsewhere," the key thing about this trade is that the Braves didn't have to give up a very marketable young player, plus pay $6M (or more) per year, for the kind of output Renteria is likely to give them at SS. They squandered a very valuable resource here; if Braves fans aren't PO'd they should be.

*fn to MCA: Given the imperfect nature of defensive metrics, why "basically ignore" several? The more measurement error you have, the more important it is to examine several indicators to see if there's a robust pattern. If, e.g., FRAA says Chipper's chronically below average, but UZR, ZR, WS, etc. say he's great, I'll happily concede he should stay put (though dealing Marte for E-Rent would still be unwise).
   34. Shalimar Posted: December 09, 2005 at 06:05 AM (#1769164)
Tejada apparently just demanded a trade, so Boston doesn't have to settle for Lugo if they want to flip Marte for a better shortstop.
   35. The Keith Law Blog Blah Blah (battlekow) Posted: December 09, 2005 at 06:45 AM (#1769206)
Next year the Braves will trade Renteria back to the Red Sox for Phil Plantier.
   36. greenback likes millwall, they don't care Posted: December 09, 2005 at 01:51 PM (#1769429)
The more measurement error you have, the more important it is to examine several indicators to see if there's a robust pattern.

The indicators MCA mentioned all are based on similar assumptions. Any pattern here is likely nothing more than a consistent bias.
   37. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 09, 2005 at 02:16 PM (#1769441)
I agree with greenback. The same basic assumptions underlie each of the non-PBP stats. If they all miscalculate the number of ground balls hit to the left side of the Braves defense, and all miscalculate in the same direction, then adding them together only exacerbates the problem.

This was the thesis of Mike Emeigh's great series of articles, "And the Beat Goes On," from three years ago. Here's a link to Part 2, where he shows that FR greatly recapitulates ball distribution. sadly, many of the articles are cut short in the BTF archives, and the FRAA section is missing its conclusiom, but I did find a post where Mike lays out the argument clearly:
One thing that struck me when I did the original analysis for SABR32 is the extent to which the results from every recent method correlate with Palmer's Fielding Runs. Fielding Runs is a much-maligned statistic among the community of defensive analysts, for good reasons - yet even after you make a careful effort to account for the known problems that affect Fielding Runs, as Davenport and Saeger and James have done, you wind up with rankings that place the players in more or less the same order (although not with the same range of separation between best and worst), and you still end up with a good-sized positive relationship between fielding opportunities and results. It's certainly *possible* that good fielders act as ball magnets, and that pitchers try to pitch in such a way as to maximize the opportunities that their good fielders have to handle the ball, but there's not a lot of evidence that pitchers actually *do* pitch in this fashion - which leads one to the conclusion that there is still some form of opportunity bias for which existing defensive methods do not account.
Also, Chipper Jones was -5 per 162 games by UZR in 00-01.
   38. JPWF13 Posted: December 09, 2005 at 04:04 PM (#1769568)
FRAA's a joke.

maybe- but like everyone else I get TBS where I am- and Chipper looked pretty bad at 3rd last year. He's definately below average defensively- but he's definately a vastly superior hitter to LaRoche...
   39. OlePerfesser Posted: December 09, 2005 at 04:07 PM (#1769576)
The indicators MCA mentioned all are based on similar assumptions.

Similar assumptions are not identical assumptions. In science, lots of different people attacking data from different angles--even if their angle differs only slightly from someone else's--is a necessary part of the research process.

And it's rarely fruitful to "basically ignore" a fairly large subset of the research that's out there. You might want to grant some established approaches less weight than others, but a zero weight is tough to defend, especially when you're talking about not just one but several studies. And especially when you're talking about the output of people like Palmer, James, or Davenport.

Apart from the question of whether Chipper is a below-average 3B (and it's interesting that even our beloved UZR suggests he is), there's a larger issue here: Peer review. Too often, we sabermetric types accord a great deal of trust to studies that have never been evaluated by competent referees.

SABR presentations, for example, could benefit from having qualified discussants who take the time to chew over assumptions and test interpretations for robustness. That's the way research is presented in every other field; why not in sabermetrics? Ditto the research people throw up on their web sites. Rarely do we see such studies acknowledge the help of peers who've helped them avoid errors (as is routine in most areas of research) or qualify their findings as tentative, pending replication by others. Yet we often start citing that work immediately ("Joe Blow posted a study on Seamhead Dot Com that proved... ").

This is all part of the reason sabermetrics has had a tougher time becoming influential in MLB than it deserved. We often jump to conclusions that are thinly supported, and pronounce these conclusions with certainty that borders on arrogance. Information that doesn't validate our priors is a "crock of ####," and opinions based on it are "ludicrous." Little wonder so many in the mainstream media hate us and so few teams listen to us.
   40. Jurgen Maas Posted: December 10, 2005 at 09:20 AM (#1771055)
<blockquote>marte and pedroia could be the best left side of the infield in the al east next year!

Red Sox fan that I am, I'll still take Jeter and A-Rod.



I'd rank Mora-Tejada ahead of them, too.</blockquote>

And I don't think there's any reason to believe they'd necessarily be better than Burroughs and Upton in 2006.
   41. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 10, 2005 at 02:05 PM (#1771090)
Oleperfesser -

I certainly agree that sabermetrics could benefit from being a bit more like an academic science. I think Sean Forman has tried to make some moves in that direction over the years, but it's true that the comment/defense response to studies is suboptimal.

However, I thought that peer review was exactly what Mike Emeigh's set of articles were. And the best kind of peer review, as they used the newest data to evaluate both older and newer systems. What he found, and what is so fundamentally troubling for all of the non-PBP metrics, is that they significantly recapitulate ball distribution. One of the big factors the quality of a fielder's WS/FRAA/CAD/FR is simply how many balls happened to be hit toward that fielder. Emiegh peer-reviewed a set of statistical measures and found a consistent pattern. It was great work. It was the sort of work that called into question an entire line of research and suggested new directions instead.

Now, if the ball distribution numbers were freely available, we could all go and adjust the numbers ourselves. But they're not. All of these numbers are heavily biased in one direction, and we have no idea what that is. What we've got, instead

I can see the case for still looking at the non-PBP stats and saying, well, this statistic says this, but I really can't know if it's just telling me about ball distribution which the player cannot control. I will say, though, that is not how you presented FRAA - you presented it as very strong evidence. Now, as I read it, you're arguing for looking at it as very weak evidence instead of basically ignoring it. I tend to think there's not a very wide gap between those two positions. I'll look at FRAA and WS if there are no pbp stats available, and I'll take them as the only data out there. But when we have pbp stats, I'll generally take them with only a little adjustment for non-pbp numbers.

Chipper Jones rates as a historically bad 3B by FRAA. UZR has him slightly below average. I disagree that this is telling - there's a ~20 run difference between the two evaluations.
   42. philly Posted: December 10, 2005 at 02:53 PM (#1771107)
Excellent post from OleP in #39. One of the things that I've tried to do with my draft studies and whatever else is to include as much of the raw data that I used for my conclusions as possible. In that way anyone can take that data and come to conclusions that may or may not be in agreement with my own. I've always strongly encouraged web based researchers to put as much of their raw data as possible either within the body of their articles or attached as an appendices. (That doesn't follow for someone who is trying to sell their work obviously).

One the great advantages of the internet over print publications is the virtual limitless supply of space. More people should take advantage of that.

In the last couple of weeks I read an interesting column on the future of newspapers vs web based "new media". The author made the point that while things like real time immediacy of web media and an open DIY ethos are nice benefits, in the long run web based new media can have it's biggest impact in long form heavily hyperlinked stories that newspapers will just not be able to do. We may have to wait for the generations that did not grow up with computers to die off, but eventually the depth and breadth of news delivery processes can and will grow because of the limitless space available on the web. It was an interesting somewhat contrarion pov anyway.
   43. Andere Richtingen Posted: December 10, 2005 at 03:30 PM (#1771126)
SABR presentations, for example, could benefit from having qualified discussants who take the time to chew over assumptions and test interpretations for robustness. That's the way research is presented in every other field; why not in sabermetrics?

Not in every field, at least not for presentations at meetings. I assume however that articles published in the SABR journal are peer-reviewed.
   44. Andere Richtingen Posted: December 10, 2005 at 03:32 PM (#1771127)
I agree with that in theory -- the optimal way this could have worked out for the Braves was Furcal back at short, Marte at third, and Chipper at first. The problem, though, is that there is no frigging way I would ask him to move after what he already did for the team in restructuring his contract.

I assumed the contract restructuring was contingent on signing Furcal. Does Renteria sub for that?
   45. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 10, 2005 at 03:51 PM (#1771140)
I agree with the big-picture arguments made by philly, kevin and OleP. Greater data and length are good, peer-review is really good, UZR and other non-pbp stats need greater peer-review, and so on. There's a really basic problem for all of us that the raw pbp data is unavailable, and I don't see a good solution to this right now.

What I disagree with here seems to be a rhetorical move that steps to the big picture without addressing the content of the previous argument. Mike Emeigh's work - and other work by Chris Dial and I'm sure if Chris shows up he'll cite seven people we've never heard of on Usenet - looked over the major non-pbp defensive stats and found a basic bias which none of them had properly accounted for. I know of no major researcher today who views non-pbp defensive stats as particularly reliable in comparison to the pbp stuff. That's the state of the field, as I perceive it.

If I want to evaluate an individual defensive player, I look to his UZR, ZR (and ZR-based stats like Chris' and Chone Smith's) and to subjective evaluations (my own, the fans' scouting report, the Stats profile, and elsewhere). And I recognize that my way of bringing all those together will have to be idiosyncratic and thus less certain than an evaluation of offensive worth.

If you guys are suggesting that I should give equal weight to things like FRAA and WS, I strongly disagree. If you're suggesting maybe a half weight, I still disagree, but we're getting closer. And any less than a half weight, and I don't think I'm losing much value in my own evaluations from ignoring them.

If I were working for a ballclub and my evaluations mattered to anyone, well, I'd have access to the raw pbp data and none of this would matter very much.
   46. Sam M. Posted: December 10, 2005 at 03:57 PM (#1771147)
I assumed the contract restructuring was contingent on signing Furcal. Does Renteria sub for that?

I have to assume it was somewhat more broad than just signing Furcal. It was probably something like, "Here is our projected budget. It won't even make us competitive for Furcal. If you redo your contract, every penny of the difference will go into the budget, not into corporate pockets. The first place it'll go is into an offer for Furcal. If we don't sign him, it'll go to someone else."

The "someone else" turned out to be Renteria -- who surely is a lot more expensive that Betemit. I don't think Chipper can complain that the Braves haven't held up their end of the deal; they've plowed the money not only back into player salaries, but to the very position they all had in mind.
   47. chris p Posted: December 10, 2005 at 04:13 PM (#1771156)
For instance, David Pinto published the results of his method last year and had Kevin Millar rank near the top at both 1B and RF.

well i have a problem with any pitching metric that says chris hammond is the best pitcher in the league.

... i understand your point, but i don't think picking out particular strange data points is of much use unless it's part of a larger pattern.
   48. Darren Posted: December 10, 2005 at 04:33 PM (#1771163)
Where does MGL get the raw data? Is it pricey?
   49. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 10, 2005 at 04:56 PM (#1771180)
a) Stats, Inc, and b) somewhere over ten thousand, I think, definitely multiple thousands
   50. chris p Posted: December 10, 2005 at 05:14 PM (#1771191)
iirc, most of reese's playing time at 2b was when he had about 10 nagging injuries. he played shortstop every day at the beginning of the season when he was 100% healthy.

but yeah, millar is a ballhog. the millar poach will forever be remembered as the ugliest play in baseball history.
   51. Joel W Posted: December 11, 2005 at 12:38 AM (#1771669)
I think that Tango's Fans Scouting Report has given us a good way to go forward with the sort of problems that we observe when talking about PBP data. We empirically bring in observation. Maybe in the future he can ask us "judgment on groundballs" so that we see how fans judge their own firstbaseman's ballhogging. Also, we can normalize pop-up data to an even distribution in the infield. We could regress balls in certain zones at first base and second base.

However, I think we can also take the standard data like UZR and then make our own adjustments. Manny seemed to have a lot of linedrives taken away at the beginning of the season, and PrOPS supported that. It doesn't make OPS a bad rating system that it's liable to adjustments like that. It just means that we should add in other information to our judgments, but it doesn't mean that the system is bad.

Now, I know the flaws in one are more systematic. It's not that Kevin Millar is getting dinky Darren Erstad hits, it's that he's constantly taking balls that aren't his. So in order to get an idea of his talent, we shouldn't say, "disregard UZR" we should try to see, "what's his UZR if we discount balls hit into in between zones." What sucks is we don't have the PBP data.

It's too bad we can't buy the data here...like a contigency fund, where if we get to $10,000 in some 3rd party account we'd buy the data...i don't think it would be proprietary enough for STATS anyway.
   52. OlePerfesser Posted: December 11, 2005 at 12:38 AM (#1771670)
Thanks to philly, kevin, and MCA for the kind comments regarding the "big picture." Progress is being made, BTW, regarding peer review; a good deal more of that is starting to happen for some of the SABR newsletters. And I certainly agree with MCA that Emeigh's work on defense is a type of after-the-fact refereeing, which happens a lot in the blogosphere. Best example might be the way people have been chewing on Voros's DIPS the last few years. (Though I'd still argue it's advisable for all of us to pass our research around among competent reviewers pre-posting; it can avoid having readers go down blind alleys or, worse, having erroneous ideas take root.*)

On the fielding metric issue, what we're all talking about is coping with obvious measurement error. One thing I'd point out is that even play-by-play-based metrics have it. Zone boundaries are arbitrary; the distribution of balls within zones can have random clusters near the boundaries, which clusters can bias player ratings, especially for corner positions with relatively few chances per game. (E.g., for the first half of last year, A-Rod was rated one of the least-rangy 3Bs in MLB by ZR; it was just a bad draw of balls that were uncatchable, but in his zone; his ZR number recovered in the 2nd half.) And p.b.p. systems involve lots of judgment calls; I've sat in press boxes and watched scorers and recorders make those calls, and aside from obvious problems of staying perfectly alert for 3+ hour games (you have no idea how often even an official scorer will ask others in the box "what just happened?"), they just have different degrees of skill in categorizing plays.

So the bottom line, for me, is defensive numbers of ALL kinds have so much possible measurement error we should look at them all, in my view, but just be real careful about interpreting them. For fielding metrics, a small sample size can be just 2 or 3 years worth of data instead of 4 or 5. (That's partly why I cited Chipper's career number.) It's certainly true that non-p.b.p. numbers have biases (groundball staff? lefty-heavy staff? strange park?), but a savvy sabermetrician understands that and asks whether a number is meaningful or biased--and p.b.p. numbers probably shouldn't be approached with vastly greater trust, frankly.

*Here's an example: The common assumption that players generally peak at age 27, which probably originates in a short study Bill James did for his '82 Abstract, but which was based on a cohort of players from a single decade that, it turns out, was atypical. Bowling Green U. statistician Jim Albert looked at a far larger cohort, using a different methodology, and argues peak age for players born more recently is closer to 30, and that about half of players peak between ages 28 and 32, a quarter sooner and a quarter later. But how often do we hear people use the 27 figure as if it's set in stone?
   53. Backlasher Posted: December 11, 2005 at 12:58 AM (#1771690)
Though I'd still argue it's advisable for all of us to pass our research around among competent reviewers pre-posting; it can avoid having readers go down blind alleys or, worse, having erroneous ideas take root.*


Absolutely. Some seriously bad things have been published, that not only prompt erroneous conclusions, but lead others to proposterous conclusions. And that stiffles discussion, when these things are used like universal constants.
   54. Darren Posted: December 11, 2005 at 01:24 AM (#1771726)
I think Tango's Fan Scouting Report is a nice idea, but is probably seriously flawed. In general, it is probably filled out by people who are familiar with UZR, ZR, and other stats (as well as conventional wisdom) that are going to influence their opinions. That the numbers track well with UZR is not surprising or affirming of UZR, it shows the influence those numbers have had, I think.
   55. Rich Posted: December 11, 2005 at 04:12 AM (#1771900)
2006 Standings:


Yankees
Blue Jays
Red Sox
Devil Rays
Orioles
   56. Darren Posted: December 11, 2005 at 04:53 AM (#1771937)
Wanted to add this about Marte: BA loves his defense. This is from their trade analysis:

He was rated the best defensive third baseman in the Triple-A International League in 2005, the fourth consecutive year he won such an honor in his league in Baseball America's annual survey of minor league managers.
   57. Der Komminsk-sar Posted: December 11, 2005 at 05:53 AM (#1771975)
Rumor is Marte has a rotator cuff problem that Boston was made aware of prior to the trade and may miss a big chunk of 2006.
As a Braves fan living in a AAA city: Marte is a pretty good defender; Jones is below average, but not atrocious.

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