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Wednesday, March 05, 2008

ZiPS Career Projection - David Ortiz

There was a discussion of this recently in the thread talking about David Ortiz and the Hall of Fame and how he compared to Edgar Martinez.

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Dan Szymborski Posted: March 05, 2008 at 06:06 PM | 91 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: March 05, 2008 at 06:56 PM (#2706700)
Both ZiPS and PECOTA seems to love Ortiz, but I'm sticking to my guns and this as good a place as any to say it: I don't think he comes within a country mile of 556 HRs. That means he has to hit 330 homers between now and when he retires. Only 5 players have even hit 300 past age 32. Three of them were on the juice (Bonds, Raffy, McGwire) and the other two are named Ruth and Aaron.

The RBIs are not entirely within Ortiz's control, of course, but only two players have ever had more than 1,000 RBI in the 32 and beyond career: Ruth and Bonds. Hell, there's only 15 players to reach 800 or more. And that list has both PED guys (Bonds, Raffy, etc.) and a Coors wonder (Big Cat).

The doubles are more possible although there are still only 11 guys to have managed that number in their 32 and beyond career.
   2. 1k5v3L Posted: March 05, 2008 at 06:59 PM (#2706705)
I wonder what Mo Vaughn's zips career projection looked like the year he signed with the Angels.
   3. shoewizard Posted: March 05, 2008 at 07:02 PM (#2706708)
Not original by any means, but I really believe that the Mo Vaughn comparison is the most valid. I don't see how Ortiz's body holds up long enough.
   4. Cowboy Popup Posted: March 05, 2008 at 07:03 PM (#2706709)
Even with the hardboiled egg whites, I'll take the under on that. The way under.
   5. Mike Emeigh Posted: March 05, 2008 at 07:04 PM (#2706710)
Really, those are HoF numbers.


They probably are - if he gets to them. But the question is whether and to what extent those numbers will be discounted by the voting populace because he was "just a DH".

-- MWE
   6. 1k5v3L Posted: March 05, 2008 at 07:04 PM (#2706711)
I don't see how Ortiz's body holds up long enough.
The Sox have come up with a special diet to keep him healthy; it's called Petunia Juice
   7. Jon T. Posted: March 05, 2008 at 07:10 PM (#2706714)
I think the Ortiz's incredible post-season performance and well deserved clutch hitting reputation will more than cancel out the fact that he is "just a dh"
   8. Dan Szymborski Posted: March 05, 2008 at 07:18 PM (#2706722)
ZiPS gives Mo Vaughn a couple more great years with Angels and then has him dropping off sharply (and the actual year one was better than the pessimistic projection).

There are important differences between the two. Most importantly, Vaughn's offense was far, far more reliant on an extremely high BABIP than Ortiz's offense. Vaughn's BABIPs during his big Red Sox years were .345, .375, .349, .373, .388, and .388. Ortiz is at .312 for his career and has been better than .330 once. "Old players skills" isn't really a "Lots of three true outcomes" issue, it's a "low-speed, high BABIP" issue.

Outside of BABIP, Ortiz kills Vaughn in essentially measure of offense - Ortiz may be big and fat, but his excellence is based on a far broader variety of skills than Vaughn.
   9. Danny Posted: March 05, 2008 at 07:24 PM (#2706727)
I like the smooth path. It's always funny to see longterm projections that have random ups and downs based on who their comps were that year.
   10. Walt Davis Posted: March 05, 2008 at 07:24 PM (#2706729)
If he gets those numbers, or anything reasonably close, he's in for sure and deservedly so.

But I don't buy that aging curve either. In addition to the numbers in #1, ZiPS has him playing more games from 32-40 than he has through age 31, enough games to make him top 50 all-time.
   11. The Good Face Posted: March 05, 2008 at 07:29 PM (#2706732)
Put me down for the under. My money is that he becomes increasingly slowed by injury and is essentially done as a useful player by 2012.
   12. Mike Green Posted: March 05, 2008 at 07:47 PM (#2706743)
The age 40 prediction of .290/.376/.500 would be one of the top 10 performances of all time. The others- Cobb, Baines, Fisk, Moises Alou, Mays, Edgar Martinez, Henderson, Collins, Darrell Evans and Winfield. The age 31 list, of course has names like Ruth, Gehrig, Foxx, Thome, Sheffield...Lean lasts longer.

Put me down for the "under" too.
   13. rfloh Posted: March 05, 2008 at 07:54 PM (#2706747)
I really don't get the Mo Vaughn comp, othen than they were / are 2 big guys who play(ed) for the RS.

Ortiz' K / BB rates are better than Vaughn's.

Through age 30, Vaughn's last great year, Vaughn had 519 BBs, 954 Ks, 0.544

Through age 30, Ortiz had 540 BBs, 796Ks, 0.678.

Taking into account age 31, the gap increases,0.724 for Ortiz, 0.53 for Vaughn.

As it is, Ortiz has only 74 walks less than Vaugh's totals, while he has 530 fewer Ks.

Ortiz, at ages 30 and 31, had more BBs than Ks. Vaugh never came close to doing that. The closest he came to a 1:1 BB / K rate in a full season, was in 1996, 0.62, worse than Ortiz' career rate.
   14. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 05, 2008 at 08:14 PM (#2706762)
ZIPS project Ortiz to have a steal this year, but does ZIPS know that Jason Kendall is in the NL now?
   15. Mister High Standards Posted: March 05, 2008 at 08:14 PM (#2706764)
The reason why I'm pessimistic on this projection, isn't any of this Mo Vaughn flummery. It's a question of common sense. I can imagine, scenario's where Ortiz puts up this line, and they are actually pretty reasonable. I can also see many scenario's where he greatly misses these numbers. What I don't see is scenario's where he greatly exceeds these numbers.

So to simplify, lets just look at HR's. Lets say he has a 33% chance of hitting 560 career HR's and a 33% chance of hitting 460 HR's that means he has a 33% chance of 660 HRs? I just don't see it..

I think Ortiz most likely outcome is to retire with between 450-500 HR's and perhaps still being a hall of famer
   16. shoewizard Posted: March 05, 2008 at 08:30 PM (#2706774)
I think you guys mis understood. I didn't need instruction on how Ortiz is better than Vaughn ever was. That much is pretty much obvious.

Key words from Dan here:

Ortiz may be big and fat......

Sorry to parse words and pick just a few of them out of a post, (I don't like it when people do that to me) but this the main point. Show me guys with his height and weight, and EXISTING medical history that had long careers and didn't break down. There may be a few, but the odds are against him having a long HEALTHY career. Of course if he does have a long healthy career, then there is little doubt he will put up HOF numbers.
   17. Benji Gil Gamesh Rises Posted: March 05, 2008 at 08:37 PM (#2706786)
So to simplify, lets just look at HR's. Lets say he has a 33% chance of hitting 560 career HR's and a 33% chance of hitting 460 HR's that means he has a 33% chance of 660 HRs? I just don't see it..

I don't think that's how it works, even simplified. For one thing because there's a much greater than a 1% chance that he comes in *below* 460 HRs.

That said, while I agree that it doesn't seem *implausible* it also strikes me as rather optimistic. And he doesn't need to get all that near those numbers to go in, potential PED revelations aside. You could lop the last three years entirely off and readjust his rate stats to the final career rates shown above and he'd get in.
   18. Dizzypaco Posted: March 05, 2008 at 08:56 PM (#2706811)
There's a limit to the "comparable" approach that people aren't generally mentioning. The approach seems to be, find a player who had a similar career up to the same age as the player in question, and is also similar in other ways (build, etc.) If you look how the comparable player did later in his career, you'll know how the player in question will do.

The problem should be obvious. The sample size is one. Mo Vaughn, while perhaps being likely to perform in a certain way once he joined the Angels, was not predestined for that performance - a lot of things could have happened.

Now if you look at 15 or 20 players who are truly similar to Ortiz, and most of the 15 or 20 failed to age well, or aged particularly well, that would be meaningful. But you can't just look at one other player - no matter how comparable - and assert that you know how well someone is likely to age. I see this type of logic a lot.

By the way, I don't think Ortiz will age particularly well, for the reasons people have already stated. I just don't like the "If Mo Vaughn didn't, than Ortiz won't either" argument.
   19. tfbg9 Posted: March 05, 2008 at 09:05 PM (#2706822)
Stargell?
   20. Kiko Sakata Posted: March 05, 2008 at 09:17 PM (#2706837)
Stargell?


Stargell was still playing the outfield at age 34. I don't know how well he was playing it, but one problem with Ortiz is that he's got nowhere left to slide down the defensive spectrum if he gets older/slower/fatter. He's already a DH. The moment he slips to even a league-average hitter, his value all but disappears, although I suspect that Big Papi could probably ride his leader/clutch reputation to a couple of seasons as a DH even if he's putting up OPS+'s around 100 or just below, although I doubt that'd add much to his Hall-of-Fame resume at that point.

Basically, I agree with the consensus here. The numbers shown here are plausible and would make Ortiz a deserving 1st-ballot Hall-of-Famer. I would, however, bet the under on the PA/HR/RBI numbers shown here.
   21. Mike Green Posted: March 05, 2008 at 09:24 PM (#2706848)
Stargell's age 31 BBRef comps include Willie Horton, Frank Howard, Danny Tartabull, Tim Salmon, Ryan Klesko. Some big fellas there. Ortiz' age 31 BBRef comps are mostly either active (Giambi, Sexson, Konerko, Berkman, Delgado) or were fairly thin (McCovey,McGriff, Bagwell). Only Kent Hrbek fits the body type. The cumulative record of the big guys after age 35 is pretty uninspired. ZIPS is projecting Ortiz to be the best of all of them, thin or fat, after age 35.

Ortiz does have a good health and performance record from 27-31, and he is a DH, but still.
   22. John DiFool2 Posted: March 05, 2008 at 09:26 PM (#2706850)
I've seen some recent pics of Papi out of his uni, and he doesn't really look all that fat-just muscle upon muscle. Weight is weight and can lead to knee and back problems either way, but it's not foregone that he'll eat his way out of the league in 4 years like Mo did.
   23. Dan Szymborski Posted: March 05, 2008 at 09:33 PM (#2706858)
I'll take the under too, but as John notes, Ortiz is Big Papi, not Amorphous Blob Papi.
   24. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: March 05, 2008 at 09:35 PM (#2706859)
I've seen some recent pics of Papi out of his uni,
I sense a Page Six Blind Item in John's future
   25. Charter Member of the Jesus Melendez Fanclub Posted: March 05, 2008 at 09:46 PM (#2706865)
JUST ASKING
Which Primate has been seen sneaking in and out of a beloved Boston baseballer's apartment at late hours? Spies say they're trying to keep their relationship under wraps, but only a fool could ignore the obvious.
   26. Pat Rapper's Delight Posted: March 05, 2008 at 10:33 PM (#2706894)
The Sox have come up with a special diet to keep him healthy; it's called Petunia Juice

I first read this as Pedroia Juice, which certainly caused a quick double-take.
   27. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: March 05, 2008 at 10:45 PM (#2706904)
how did Powell not break down? He was finished as a hitter after his age 33 season and out of the league by the time he was 36.
   28. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: March 05, 2008 at 10:47 PM (#2706905)
And while Stargell could still hit, he broke down too. Never played more than 126 games the last eight years of his career and under 75 four times.
   29. Famous Original Joe C Posted: March 05, 2008 at 10:50 PM (#2706909)
The Sox have come up with a special diet to keep him healthy; it's called Petunia Juice

I first read this as Pedroia Juice, which certainly caused a quick double-take.


I think it was levski's intention to make this connection, "Petunia" being an ill-conceived nickname for Pedroia around there parts.
   30. Kiko Sakata Posted: March 05, 2008 at 10:52 PM (#2706911)
Show me guys with his height and weight, and EXISTING medical history that had long careers and didn't break down.


let me think:

...
Boog Powell


Some of your examples are good ones - Stargell, Gwynn, even Lombardi. But Boog Powell's last season where he was worth a damn was at age 33 and his last season period was at age 35. Actually, Boog's a much better comp for Ortiz than I would have guessed. Through age 31, Boog had an OPS+ of 135 in 1,653 games, 291 HR, 1,091 RBI, an MVP award and two other top-3 MVP finishes. That compares to Ortiz's OPS+ of 139 in 1,192 games, 266 HR, 880 RBI, and 2 top-3, 5 top-5 MVP finishes.

Boog finished with 339 career HR in 2,042 games and no Hall-of-Fame support.
   31. spycake Posted: March 05, 2008 at 11:02 PM (#2706920)
So to simplify, lets just look at HR's. Lets say he has a 33% chance of hitting 560 career HR's and a 33% chance of hitting 460 HR's that means he has a 33% chance of 660 HRs? I just don't see it..

I don't think that's how it works, even simplified.


I think the point is that if the above projection is the weighted mean, then there should be a fair chance at an optimistic projection where Ortiz surpasses these numbers. And that's hard to see, at this point (as evidenced by the many who have "taken the under" in this thread.)
   32. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: March 05, 2008 at 11:20 PM (#2706930)
"He also didn't have the option of just DH'ing though. That gives Big papi a big boost."

Depends whether you're talking about career milestones, or about HOF candidacy. For the latter, he might be better off with 60% playing time, if it took away the DH stigma.
   33. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: March 05, 2008 at 11:21 PM (#2706932)
Also, Gwynn's health was a serious issue for him from age-35 onward, largely due to the weight and the effect that it had on his legs.
   34. cody Posted: March 05, 2008 at 11:30 PM (#2706936)
That little of a decline to age 40 is essentially impossible. This projection tool fails the test of giving remotely sensible output. Nobody has ever been that good at age 40. Nobody. Ever.
http://www.baseball-reference.com/leaders/leaders_40_bat.shtml
   35. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: March 05, 2008 at 11:42 PM (#2706941)
Nobody has ever been that good at age 40. Nobody. Ever.

Am I missing something? Pretty clearly Baines was.
   36. Rough Carrigan Posted: March 06, 2008 at 03:59 AM (#2707068)
Isn't Frank Thomas a decent comp, in some ways, for Big Papi? He has no "speed" at all and yet he's still going. Except for bat speed, how is Ortiz going to slow down and have it much cost him? Yes, he might not score on some hits. So he moves to 5th in the order at the end of his career. He already gets almost zero infield hits. The guy hit .332 while losing something like 15 or so hits to the infield shift.

If I had to bet, I'd bet against the greatest man in the western and northern hemispheres reaching 556 homers in his career but it'll be because he can't hit. Speed ain't his game.
   37. Walt Davis Posted: March 06, 2008 at 04:15 AM (#2707074)
Nobody has ever been that good at age 40. Nobody. Ever.

Depends on the criteria of course. 296/390/557 ...

that would be the highest OPS in an age 40 season (to lazy to check post-40 seasons) ... by 25 points over Cobb.

it would be the highest SLG by 15 points over Fisk.

it would presumably be the 11th best OBP (Rose is 10th at 390).

OPS+ is hard to figure, but using 2007 lgavg*, I get 141 which would be tied for 3rd (with Edgar fittingly enough).

119 games is nothing special.

22 HR is, surprisingly to me, 6th.

85 RBI is, surprisingly, 8th.

There's enough in there to keep me from saying it would be the best ever, but it would be among the best ever.

And that does seem like a silly mean projection.

Still, it's the games played that seems the most off. He's projected to play in 153 this year, about the average of the last 3. That seems sensible enough except it doesn't seem to entail any injury risk. ZiPS expects essentially no substantial missed time due to injury over the next 5 years. Again, seems like a bad mean projection. (Or is it a median projection -- that would be more defensible.)
   38. Kiko Sakata Posted: March 06, 2008 at 04:43 AM (#2707090)
Isn't Frank Thomas a decent comp, in some ways, for Big Papi? He has no "speed" at all and yet he's still going. Except for bat speed, how is Ortiz going to slow down and have it much cost him?


Yes and no. Frank Thomas is a somewhat poor comp for Ortiz for the mirror image of why Mo Vaughn is a poor comp as outlined in #14 above. Thru age 31, Frank Thomas had a career OPS+ of 169. Since then, his OPS+ is 139. So he's lost 30 points of OPS+ in his older age. Ortiz's career OPS+ is already 139. If he loses 30 points off of that, he's sitting at 109 and an OPS+ of 109 for a guy who can only DH isn't all that valuable - you'd think replacement-level DH should be right around, if not slightly better than, a league average hitter.
   39. J. Lowenstein Apathy Club Posted: March 06, 2008 at 05:21 AM (#2707100)
Moises Alou just finished outperforming that last year at 40 as well. That said, the guys who perform well at and after age 40 are athletes... players like Alou, Henderson, Rose, Aaron, Mays, Fisk, Winfield, Bonds. Baines was a very good athlete. Brian Downing was a conditioning maniac. Molitor was a tremendously gifted athlete, who kept himself in great shape after he turned 30.

Of course, the one guy who performed well with the bat at age 40 who was mostly a career DH like Papi, was Edgar Martinez, the guy who sparked this discussion.

Unsaid in all of this discussion is that fact that Papi's longevity should be helped immensely by the labor-saving of the DH role. Not having to play the field should lengthen his career considerably. I don't think he will get to 556 homers, but he should get to 450.
   40. J. Lowenstein Apathy Club Posted: March 06, 2008 at 05:23 AM (#2707103)
Walt, those are the career #s you are looking at. The age-40 projection for Papi is .290/.376/.500 in 505 PA. I think that's high, but not ridiculously so.
   41. J. Lowenstein Apathy Club Posted: March 06, 2008 at 05:28 AM (#2707106)
And I made a mistake of saying that the DH-longvity issue was "unsaid". It's been mentioned further up.
   42. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: March 06, 2008 at 05:55 AM (#2707113)
Age curves are tricky when you try and predict five and six years or more into the future. The way you predict growth (or, in this case, decline) from real statistics and the way you would do so from projected statistics is tricky. Very tricky actually.
   43. villageidiom Posted: March 06, 2008 at 06:18 AM (#2707119)
Just picking ">20 games missed" as a benchmark, and stopping at age 31 (Ortiz's age last year)...

Boog Powell played <142 games at ages 24, 25 and 29-31.

Mo Vaughn played <142 games at ages 26-27, 29, and 31.

Willie Stargell played <142 games at 26-28 and 30-31.

Tony Gwynn played <142 games at 28 and 30-31.

Frank Thomas played <142 games at 26, 28, and 31.


David Ortiz played <142 games at 24-27, the last of those because he was competing for playing time his first year in Boston.


I don't know what to make of this, but despite the occasional ding Ortiz hasn't really missed much time in the last 5 years for health reasons. Each of the others I listed were already having material injuries by that time (missing >20 games in at least 3 of their age-27-to-31 seasons), and went on to have plenty of health issues from then on. I'm assuming that's why ZiPS and other projections seem to think Ortiz will age well. (Well, that, and he plays a "position" that reduces wear and tear.)

The reason I don't know what to make of it is that I don't know if that's a reasonable projection to make. Intuitively I'd expect him to break down over time. Knees and calves and backs can only take so much. But what do I know? Nearly every baseball player is heavier than a normal person, but nearly every baseball player is in much better shape than a normal person.


FWIW, doing a search on B-R for "weight 230", I also came up with...

Cliff Floyd, who only had 3 seasons with 142+ games through age 31.

Dave Parker, who played <142 games at ages 25 and 29-31.

I also tried "weight 250", and got Sabathia, Colon, Garces, and other players who clearly weigh more than Ortiz.
   44. rfloh Posted: March 06, 2008 at 09:39 AM (#2707148)
Of course, the one guy who performed well with the bat at age 40 who was mostly a career DH like Papi, was Edgar Martinez, the guy who sparked this discussion.


Edgar was also well known in the weightlifting / bodybuilding / powerlifting community as a conditioning maniac. Yes, even with his various injuries.

So, the question to people who have seen him without his shirt and in shorts, is Papi, Big Papi, or Amorphous Blob Papi?
   45. The NeverEnding Torii (oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh) Posted: March 06, 2008 at 10:43 AM (#2707152)
I don't see Ortiz aging that well, partly because he's such a big guy. I don't think he gets much more than maybe 400 homers. But he's already a Red Sox legend, his reputation as a post-season hero and clutch-hitter will help and the WS rings will probably push him over the HOF edge.
   46. villageidiom Posted: March 06, 2008 at 06:55 PM (#2707484)
I need to go back and double-check some of the players I listed above. I looked at their games played by age, not by year. Obviously another factor in games played is whether it was a strike year.

(...after researching...)

Boog Powell missed 20+ games at ages 24, 25, and 29-31 29, and 31.

Mo Vaughn missed 20+ games at ages 26-27, 29, and 31.

Frank Thomas missed 20+ games at 26, 28, and 31.

Stargell, Gwynn, Ortiz, Floyd, and Parker remain as they are listed above.


I also overlooked Killebrew yesterday; he missed 20+ games at ages 24 and 29. He and Thomas are two of the better ones in this crop in terms of injuries before age 32; and they are two of the better ones (from this crop) in terms of games played from age 32 on.

Hey, here's another one: Eddie Murray. He missed 20+ games in his age-30 season. The next time he missed significant time was in his age-39 season.
   47. Walt Davis Posted: March 06, 2008 at 08:21 PM (#2707575)
Walt, those are the career #s you are looking at.

Silly highlighting drawing my eye to the wrong line.

OK, OBP would be ???
SLG would be 6th
OPS would be 10th

So substantially less historic than it looked and definitely not the best ever. Still seems a bit silly as a mean projection to me.

By the way, my opinions about the aging curve have nothing to do with Ortiz's body. Yes, in general, I expect big guys to break down more often than fit guys but he's not playing the field hardly at all so maybe that counter-acts it. I just think it's silly to expect anyone to age that well. Many players will age that well of course, but it's silly to expect any of them to.

also David Ortiz, career 300 hitter, doesn't sound right either. I can't rule it out of course.

Anyway, ZiPS isn't a playing time projection system so I'm not sure what good these long-range projections do us. Certainly a system that doesn't account for injury risk somehow won't perform well projecting over 9 seasons. The average risk of a player missing, oh, 50+ games at least once in the next 5 years must be on the order of 25% I'd guess (that would be an annual risk of about 4% or about 1 player per every 3 teams' starting lineup). If those are the average odds (and obviously I'm just guessing), then for players in their 30s, the odds must be higher ... but maybe being a DH counter-acts much of that. The chances that such an injury would have long-term effects on durability and/or performance would seem to be pretty high.

Then you add in the risk of "mysterious early decline" and I just don't see how any player can be expected to play that many games from ages 31-40.

Here's a list of players I'd think of as "everyday" starters who played 112 or fewer games last year (72 or fewer games for Cs ... some missed games undoubtedly normal rest):

Giambi, (Glaus), G Anderson, Chavez, Crosby, Buck, Blalock, Alou, Rolen, Encarnacion??, Everett, A Gonzalez, Tracy??, Taveras??, Bradley.

Glaus just missed and I don't know how much playing time was expected for Encarnacion, Tracy and Taveras (or how much of their lost time was due to suckiness). Anyway, that's 11-15 players and I may have missed 1 or 2 (esp if they didn't play at all). And that's out of a fairly small pool of "full-time starters when healthy" and ignoring (or trying to) the numerous platoon arrangements, teams playing kids, etc. If you look at it as 254 starting positions, that's a 50+ game injury rate of 4-6%. If you look at it closer to 175-200 full-time positions (only 162 players qualified for the batting title last year), then we're as high as maybe a 7-8% annual rate.

Now, it's obvious that many on that list are the (now) chronically injured which is a comment on the long-term impacts. Still, to my knowledge, Buck, Blalock, Everett, Gonzalez, Tracy, Taveras and maybe Encarnacion have not had major injuries before. That would be a 2.5-4% risk of first-time major injury.
   48. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: March 06, 2008 at 08:51 PM (#2707615)
Still, to my knowledge, Buck, Blalock, Everett, Gonzalez, Tracy, Taveras and maybe Encarnacion have not had major injuries before. That would be a 2.5-4% risk of first-time major injury.

I've got to wonder how much being a DH would have protected those players. By taking a player out of the field, you do remove a significant source of injuries. It does seems unlikely that Ortiz would be able to maintain that level of effectiveness for so long, but I wonder if being permanent DH does really have a strong impact on reducing injury.
   49. dave h Posted: March 07, 2008 at 01:26 AM (#2707797)
Is there any observation bias going on here? Meaning, is this the weighted mean projection for Ortiz, given that his career lasts this long? Someone mentioned this in the other thread, and Nate Silver commented on it regarding PECOTA rate projections. For VORP-like stats it's not a problem since you can account for a percentage of seasons played by replacement-level players. This is especially an issue for players with no defensive value, since if they're not hitting well they're not in the league anymore. (I believe this was at least mentioned upthread but I didn't see an answer.)
   50. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: March 07, 2008 at 04:00 PM (#2708041)
I don't want this conversation to turn thsi way or anything but, unless I am mistaken, Derek Jeter's weighted mean in PECOTA is 6.0 (in WARP) vs. Papi's 5.9 for this coming year. Again, I don't say this in order to argue that Jeter is better than Papi but just to demonstrate how hard it is for a DH to consistently put up the MVP like numbers needed to make the HOF. Jeter is nowhere near the hitter that Papi is, PECOTA hasn't been terribly nice to him this time around (according to some at BPro at least) and Jeter is a really bad defensive SS. Still, it appears that Jeter being a SS is enough to overcome all of this when compared to Papi.

Jay Jaffe also mentioned that Papi does not have the peak for the HOF according to JAWS. I am not a big believer in that system for a number of reasons (which deal more with how it is used then the numbers themselves) but it does demonstrate hwow even Papi' amazing offensive contributions may not be enough without ANY defensive value. I mean for as bad as Jeter is at SS, Jeter has a decent bit more defensive value that Papi.

All this is a long way of saying that no matter how great of a hitter he his, it is hard to have a HOF peak if you have no defensive value and the replacement level at your position for offense is so high.
   51. shoewizard Posted: March 09, 2008 at 03:54 AM (#2708962)
There's a limit to the "comparable" approach that people aren't generally mentioning. The approach seems to be, find a player who had a similar career up to the same age as the player in question, and is also similar in other ways (build, etc.) If you look how the comparable player did later in his career, you'll know how the player in question will do.

The problem should be obvious. The sample size is one. Mo Vaughn, while perhaps being likely to perform in a certain way once he joined the Angels, was not predestined for that performance - a lot of things could have happened.

Now if you look at 15 or 20 players who are truly similar to Ortiz, and most of the 15 or 20 failed to age well, or aged particularly well, that would be meaningful. But you can't just look at one other player - no matter how comparable - and assert that you know how well someone is likely to age. I see this type of logic a lot.

By the way, I don't think Ortiz will age particularly well, for the reasons people have already stated. I just don't like the "If Mo Vaughn didn't, than Ortiz won't either" argument.


Dizzy, this not a very nuanced reading or interpretation of what I wrote. Yes, I only gave one example, Mo Vaugh, as one that quite frankly evokes the imagery of what I was getting at, but I ALSO wrote

Show me guys with his height and weight, and EXISTING medical history that had long careers and didn't break down. There may be a few, but the odds are against him having a long HEALTHY career.


I didn't do the work, in that I didn't go and research it to come up with a list, because intuitively I know that it is a short list. Thats the point. Kevin tried to come up with a list, but it's a strange one indeed, including guys that DID break down, or including guys that have different body sizes and shapes. (i.e. Gwynn who is 5 inches shorter than Ortiz.)

Another point is you can't really use the height and weights at BBRef because often they are incorrect or they show the weight a guy had when he first came into the league, but don't represent what a guy ended up at. So how do you compare? It's pretty hard to do accurately.
   52. Robert S. Posted: March 09, 2008 at 04:34 AM (#2708972)
One last thing. While Szym's projection predicts 2007 to be Papi's best year, there's no evidence in the record it should be. He's gotten better every year for the past 6. Why the sudden prediction of a falloff now? This season? 2008? He has no real injury history and he's prefectly healthy.

Because he's not athletic, he's on the wrong side of 30, and his improvement last year was BABIP while his HR/F and GB% both went in the wrong direction.
   53. Matt Garza smells it deep (Mr. Tapeworm) Posted: March 09, 2008 at 08:42 PM (#2709328)
Reconcile these two statements:

He has no real injury history and he's prefectly healthy.


He was also nursing a shoulder injury from May to August.
   54. DCW3 Posted: March 09, 2008 at 08:59 PM (#2709339)
One last thing. While Szym's projection predicts 2007 to be Papi's best year, there's no evidence in the record it should be. He's gotten better every year for the past 6. Why the sudden prediction of a falloff now? This season? 2008?.

Because there's no projection system in the world that's going to project a 32-year-old player to continue to improve?
   55. Darren Posted: March 09, 2008 at 10:38 PM (#2709372)
There are a lot of similarities between Vaughn and Ortiz and for that reason, the former is a good comp for the latter. But Vaughn suffered a pretty freakish injury in his Angels days, which eventually ended his career pretty early. His weight was, no doubt, a drag on his ability to recover, but it wasn't the only reason he was unable to continue playing baseball.

Having Ortiz DH may help him to avoid such injuries. I hope he stays in reasonable shape and keeps hitting the way this projections suggests.
   56. Greg Maddux School of Reflexive Profanity Posted: March 10, 2008 at 12:24 AM (#2709425)
One last thing. While Szym's projection predicts 2007 to be Papi's best year, there's no evidence in the record it should be. He's gotten better every year for the past 6. Why the sudden prediction of a falloff now? This season? 2008? He has no real injury history and he's prefectly healthy.

Are you honestly suggesting the mean projection should exceed his highest demonstrated level of performance?
   57. Greg Maddux School of Reflexive Profanity Posted: March 10, 2008 at 12:26 AM (#2709426)
I just checked, and there is in fact a Department of Mathematical Sciences at West Point.
   58. Matt Garza smells it deep (Mr. Tapeworm) Posted: March 10, 2008 at 02:32 PM (#2709699)
OK:

He was hurt for a little while with a nagging injury but completely healed before the season ended and there are no lingering problems.


Oh, I see. "He has no real injury history" means he was injured but is not currently injured, and "a little while" means most of last season. In other news, "I have cancer" means "I had a touch of lumbago last year."
   59. villageidiom Posted: March 10, 2008 at 02:59 PM (#2709716)
Oh, I see. "He has no real injury history" means he was injured but is not currently injured, and "a little while" means most of last season. In other news, "I have cancer" means "I had a touch of lumbago last year."

I think kevin's point is that while Ortiz had an injury last year it wasn't enough for him to miss significant time, and to the extent it "held back" his performance it didn't prevent him from having one of his best years.

That said, if we're going to suggest his nagging injuries held back his performance at all, we should also project that he will (at a minimum) continue to have similar nagging injuries, which will similarly hold back his performance. I don't know if the examples I tried above are good comps for Ortiz but they do suggest that players having had multiple significant injuries in the 27-31 ages will continue having significant injuries at ages 32+. I don't know how it goes for less-significant injuries - they're hard to infer from the statistical record - but I have no reason to suspect it's different.

Personally I can't imagine that Ortiz would've done materially better last year had he been more healthy. And I can't imagine that the likelihood of him continuing to improve at age 32 is high enough for us to project it for 2008. But given his consistency in playing time over the last few years and the relatively-sheltered health of a DH, I'm OK with projecting he won't have a Vaughnesque breakdown.
   60. Davo Dozier Posted: March 13, 2008 at 02:35 AM (#2711648)
The problem I have with this projection is that there is no chance whatsoever that Ortiz will exceed these numbers.

Compare it to the Alex Rodriguez career projection. I'd say the odds that A-Rod exceeds that projection are about as good as the odds that he fails to meet it. The Ortiz projection reads like a best case scenario shot.
   61. willcarrolldoesnotsuk Posted: April 25, 2009 at 02:03 AM (#3151672)
Should this projection be re-run?
   62. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: April 25, 2009 at 02:14 AM (#3151692)
Whoa, this thread looks ridiculous right now. At least nobody took the "over".

Highlights, from the "cautiously pessimistic" category:

I don't see Ortiz aging that well, partly because he's such a big guy. I don't think he gets much more than maybe 400 homers. But he's already a Red Sox legend, his reputation as a post-season hero and clutch-hitter will help and the WS rings will probably push him over the HOF edge.


Unsaid in all of this discussion is that fact that Papi's longevity should be helped immensely by the labor-saving of the DH role. Not having to play the field should lengthen his career considerably. I don't think he will get to 556 homers, but he should get to 450.


Walt, those are the career #s you are looking at. The age-40 projection for Papi is .290/.376/.500 in 505 PA. I think that's high, but not ridiculously so.


So to simplify, lets just look at HR's. Lets say he has a 33% chance of hitting 560 career HR's and a 33% chance of hitting 460 HR's that means he has a 33% chance of 660 HRs? I just don't see it..

I think Ortiz most likely outcome is to retire with between 450-500 HR's and perhaps still being a hall of famer
What are the odds right now that he gets to 300 homers? Okay, pretty good. But not guaranteed.


And finally:

While Szym's projection predicts 2007 to be Papi's best year, there's no evidence in the record it should be. He's gotten better every year for the past 6. Why the sudden prediction of a falloff now? This season? 2008? He has no real injury history and he's prefectly healthy.


Dow 36,000!
   63. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: April 25, 2009 at 02:15 AM (#3151693)
This part wasn't supposed to be a quote: "What are the odds right now that he gets to 300 homers? Okay, pretty good. But not guaranteed."
   64. Obama Bomaye Posted: April 25, 2009 at 03:56 AM (#3151894)
Wow, were Kevin's comments all deleted from the site? Pretty ####### pathetic, Furtado.
   65. Blackadder Posted: April 25, 2009 at 05:03 AM (#3151914)
There is no kevin.
   66. Baldrick Posted: April 25, 2009 at 05:38 AM (#3151918)
Turns out Ortiz is not going to have one of the all-time great post-32 careers.

Who could possibly have guessed that?
   67. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: April 25, 2009 at 05:43 AM (#3151919)
I'm not on record in this thread, but I've been saying for years that anybody who was too excited about Ortiz's late-career aspects doesn't remember Mo Vaughn very well.
   68. Famous Original Joe C Posted: April 28, 2009 at 05:31 PM (#3155894)
Wow, were Kevin's comments all deleted from the site? Pretty ####### pathetic, Furtado.

Yeah, kevin was all class.
   69. RJ in TO Posted: April 28, 2009 at 06:00 PM (#3155919)
I'm not on record in this thread, but I've been saying for years that anybody who was too excited about Ortiz's late-career aspects doesn't remember Mo Vaughn very well.

The proper spelling of his name for his late career is Moo Vaughn.
   70. Srul Itza Posted: April 28, 2009 at 06:32 PM (#3155954)
Maybe kevin asked to have them deleted.
   71. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: April 28, 2009 at 06:32 PM (#3155955)
With the benefit of hindsight, Pronk Hafner is another interesting comp.
   72. Mess with the Meat, you get the Wad! Posted: April 28, 2009 at 07:07 PM (#3155989)
this tread meakes no sense, i just spent 20 minutes trying to find a post that was quoted
   73. JPWF13 Posted: April 28, 2009 at 07:15 PM (#3155995)
The proper spelling of his name for his late career is Moo Vaughn.


I was partial to suMo Vaughn myself

this tread meakes no sense, i just spent 20 minutes trying to find a post that was quoted


I think certain posts were deleted after people had quote dfrom them....
   74. Mess with the Meat, you get the Wad! Posted: April 28, 2009 at 07:21 PM (#3156001)
yeah i know but it took moe forever to figure that out, was looking before i had finished the thread
   75. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: April 28, 2009 at 07:22 PM (#3156002)
I imagine when you delete a user, the software just automatically deletes everything.
   76. Dan Szymborski Posted: April 28, 2009 at 07:40 PM (#3156016)
I imagine when you delete a user, the software just automatically deletes everything.

That is in fact what happened. The problem came out because this wasn't the case in an earlier version of the software. When we deleted an account of a spammer in the past, we would have to go into a completely different utility to identify and remove the posts. It would still have been possible to theoretically restore the posts at the time someone noticed that Kevin's posts were gone, but our database is too breakable to make that risk worthwhile, as opposed to, say, if all of Walt Davis's or Tom Nawrocki's posts got accidentally deleted..
   77. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: April 28, 2009 at 07:47 PM (#3156020)
Of course you could have just deleted Kevin's particular offending posts, as opposed to giving him the Full Bukharin. Kevin's hardly the only one here who's gone over the limit in terms of posting style.
   78. Dan Szymborski Posted: April 28, 2009 at 07:58 PM (#3156030)
We would have needed a full-time Department of Kevin Affairs for that task.
   79. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: April 28, 2009 at 08:37 PM (#3156067)
Uh, huh. Not to mention a full-time Department of All The Innocent Little Lambs who get a pass when they go after other Primates on a personal level, as many of them routinely did to Kevin with no apparent fear of reprisal. But I guess as a technical matter it's easier to go the route of "No Kevin, no problem."

Again, I don't have any quarrel with wanting to keep the site civil, or even shutting down threads when they degenerate into personal attacks, but it's not as if Kevin didn't have plenty of help from others when those threads started to slide downhill.
   80. Dan Szymborski Posted: April 28, 2009 at 09:27 PM (#3156126)
The difference is lots of people lose their temper at times, including me and you.

Kevin, on the other hand, did not make the slightest good faith effort at any point to try to behave at the end. Whether it was using the e-mail console to harass those he didn't like or spamming 10 threads with the same angry rant so that everyone could know whenever he had a beef with someonek he broke and a vast array of infractions in between.

In the 3 months before his first suspension, I had to remove more than 100 inappropriate posts from Kevin. Over that time, I literally received complaints from dozens of posters about specific interactions with Kevin, an order of magnitude higher than every single poster on the site combined.

The amount of positive feedback received from Kevin's expulsion has pretty much convinced me that my grievous error was in banning him so slowly. He was bad enough that even a few members of the mainstream media that can hardly be considered regular posters actually advised me that he was the biggest problem with the site.
   81. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: April 28, 2009 at 09:56 PM (#3156147)
Szym,

Thanks for the explanation. My sense of what I mostly saw on those deleted threads before they were removed was that it was definitely more of a Takes Two To Tango sort of thing, but OTOH I also never saw the e-mails (from Kevin) you refer to. But on the third hand it's also a strong possibility that some of the anti-Kevin e-mails you received were from some of the people who specialized in baiting him. Surely you must have noticed that phenomenon over the years. Hell, you've still got people ragging on him even today, several months after his permanent exile.

You may or may not remember that I got into arguments with Kevin on more than one occasion, but for whatever reason I never found him to be particularly disrespectful, even when the topic got into things like race or abortion, where we often disagreed pretty strongly and where he can be prone to get his back up. Maybe it's because we were both "Union" members that he acted that way, but I don't think that that was entirely it.

But the bottom line is that I'm obviously opining here on the basis of incomplete information, so there isn't too much more I can say other than based on my own dealings with him, I don't think that Kevin was the entire problem.
   82. Obama Bomaye Posted: April 30, 2009 at 03:57 AM (#3158659)
Other people have gotten banned and their posts didn't all vanish.
   83. Dan Szymborski Posted: May 01, 2009 at 12:50 AM (#3159721)
Other people have gotten banned and their posts didn't all vanish.


90% of the people banned were spammers and yes, their posts were deleted. Kevin is only the second regular user to ever be banned, the first being Rob Base, who was banned years ago now.
   84. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: May 01, 2009 at 12:57 AM (#3159744)
What I would say is that if you start deleting the offensive posts by somebody, and after a couple hours you've deleted more than half of the person's posts, and the person has made several thousand posts at the site, you're justified in saying "Oh, f**k this" and deleting all the person's posts. What do people expect? We don't even pay to use this site. Sheesh.
   85. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: May 01, 2009 at 01:00 AM (#3159752)
I don't really give the tiniest #### what happens to kevin's posts (or, for that matter, kevin) but I am pleased that I am not only on the record but on the record as post #1 that Ortiz was on the down slope. Sweet.

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