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Monday, November 24, 2003

The Great Debate

Was A-Rod really the most deserving MVP candidate?

The waiting is over.  After weeks (and months for some) of deliberation, the American League?s Most Valuable Player has been announced, and to the surprise of nearly nobody, it was Alex Rodriguez.  For the weeks leading up to the award I told everybody who asked, which wasn?t many, that I thought Shannon Stewart should be the MVP.


Perhaps I was wrong about Stewart, and I am willing to admit that.


But should Alex Rodriguez really have gotten the award?  In the Baseball Primer vote, Rodriguez tallied up 24% of the total points.  In the BBWAA vote he racked up a bit less, at 15%, but still more than the other contenders.  Most people happen to agree with the selection.


I?m not one of those people.  However, unlike my Shannon Stewart theory, I will use statistics to prove that Rodriguez should not have won the award.  Keep in mind that it?s not that I don?t want Rodriguez to be the MVP, it?s just that I don’t think he was the right choice.  One of the problems I?ve had in my many encounters with people is that I think the winner of the MVP should come from at least a winning team, preferably a playoff team?otherwise what does the word "valuable" mean?  After all, this isn?t the Best Player award, it?s the Most Valuable Player award.  But, like everybody else seems to do, I?m going to leave that out and just go with who was the best player. 


The players I am going to be looking at are the top ten finishers in the BBWAA vote, with the assumption that those ten were the most worthy of the award.  Also, keep in mind that these statistics have nothing to do with anybody playing for a winning team, the MVP will be determined solely by his on-field performance and not by how his team fared, because I know a lot of you don?t agree with me about that. 


Let?s use Runs Created and Runs Created per 27 outs as a basis for determining who was better, as I think that makes the most sense.  Here?s a chart of the top ten in the official voting:



Runs Created

Outs Made


Alex Rodriguez




Carlos Delgado




Jorge Posada




Shannon Stewart




David Ortiz




Manny Ramirez




Nomar Garciaparra




Vernon Wells




Carlos Beltran




Bret Boone





They aren?t in order (they?re in order of their ranking in the BBWAA vote), but as you can see, Manny Ramirez created more runs per 27 outs than anybody else, but does that make him our MVP?  Of course not, we?ll have to do a little park adjusting here. 


For the park factors I will use just the 2003 numbers because we are determining just the 2003 MVP, not the 2001-2003 MVP, and the conditions of the 2003 season are what these players had to deal with.  For Shannon Stewart this gets a little tricky due to the midseason trade which brought him to the Twin Cities.  There might be a better way out there, but I don?t know of it, so what I did was figure out the runs scored and allowed at home and on the road for the Toronto Blue Jays before he was traded.  Then I figured the same thing for the Minnesota Twins after the trade and combined the numbers to make one park factor; the Stewart Factor. 


What I?ll do with the park factors is this: I?ll take the real RC/27out and divide it by the park factor to get an adjusted RC/27out.  By dividing the real number by the factor we get a sense of how much the park the player in helped or hurt his ability to create runs.  Here is a chart:



Runs Created


Park Factor

Adj. RC/27out

Alex Rodriguez





Carlos Delgado





Jorge Posada





Shannon Stewart





David Ortiz





Manny Ramirez





Nomar Garciaparra





Vernon Wells





Carlos Beltran





Bret Boone






Again, they?re not in order, but as you can see with the adjusted RC/27out Manny Ramirez is still the top man, even though he spent most of his time in Fenway Park.  But as far as Alex Rodriguez goes, the Ballpark at Arlington was a lot more friendly, therefore his RC/27out just isn?t as impressive.  Same thing for Carlos Beltran, whose RC/27out drop significantly by playing in the most hitter-friendly ballpark of all the candidates. 


By adjusting for the park we can see that most players were helped by their ballpark.  As a matter of fact, everybody was except for Jorge Posada and Bret Boone?two of the favorites down the stretch to win the MVP. 


What we can do now is take the adjusted RC/27out for each player and turn it into an offensive winning percentage.  To do this we?ll take the American League?s average ERA, 4.86, and call that the "team?s" runs allowed.  We?ll use RC/27out as a means of showing runs scored.  Basically, this will show what a team full of Rodriguez? or Manny?s would have done with an average pitching staff.

Here?s a chart:





Manny Ramirez



Carlos Delgado



Jorge Posada



Bret Boone



David Ortiz



Alex Rodriguez



Vernon Wells



Nomar Garciaparra



Carlos Beltran



Shannon Stewart




This chart is in order.  It?s interesting to note that, solely based on offense, Rodriguez is sixth on the list.  Of course, the BBWAA probably don?t take into consideration the fact that things like playing in a hitters? park helps hitters, which they should and the journalists that are coming in now and in the future probably will take notice of that.  Anyway, my number one pick, Shannon Stewart, came in last place, which I suppose is really not a surprise at all even though I would have picked him to win.  My other pick, David Ortiz, finished ahead of Rodriguez with this, but I just don?t think that?s right.


Ortiz was a designated hitter, and that has to count for something. 


Now what I?ll do is factor in offensive value with defensive position factored in.  In all, seven of the nine positions were represented in the Top Ten of the BBWAA vote.  To find the average runs created at each position I looked at all of the American League?s starters, but if there were two people that pretty much shared a position then I counted them both as one.  Here is a chart of the average AL RC/27outs per position.




Designated Hitter


Left Field


First Base


Center Field




Second Base





Now we?ll figure out everybody?s winning percentage with defense involved by using the AL avg. RC/27outs as runs allowed and adjusted RC/27outs as runs scored.  Here is a chart:





Jorge Posada



Bret Boone



Carlos Delgado



Manny Ramirez



Alex Rodriguez



Vernon Wells



Nomar Garciaparra



David Ortiz



Carlos Beltran



Shannon Stewart




So, with defense factored in with the offense Jorge Posada takes the cake..  My pick is the only player to post a losing record, which makes sense statistically speaking.  Stewart really didn?t post great offensive numbers and he?s a moderate fielder, so perhaps I was wrong, even if I still don?t think statistics tell the whole story (Ortiz, for instance).  For one thing, I think Alex Rodriguez winning was more of a "hey, we screwed you before, here?s to make up for it" type of thing, and he obviously didn?t have his best season this year. 


But in the end, a player from a playoff team finished first.


Just the way I like it. 


Steve Brooks Posted: November 24, 2003 at 05:00 AM | 33 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Steve Brooks Posted: November 24, 2003 at 02:59 AM (#614106)

That's neat that you can chastise me for using an "italics" argument, even though my argument really had nothing to do with the italics, it was simply putting more emphasis on a word.

If my argument is bogus you should be able to come up with a better way to disagree than that.

Thanks for reading,
   2. Steve Brooks Posted: November 24, 2003 at 02:59 AM (#614109)
Joe C.--

Sorry about the park factors.

But anyway, about the playing time. You make a good point, but I'm not sure it means that A-Rod is more valuable because he played more.

I think it would if A-Rod was going against anybody except a catcher, whereas Posada played a lot for a catcher, which might make them about even as far as playing time goes.

   3. Steve Brooks Posted: November 24, 2003 at 02:59 AM (#614112)
Joe C.--

I used RC/27 for two reasons.

1) It's the easiest thing I can use to convert to a single player winning percentage, and

2) I know I said that I really didn't put any emphasis on the word valuable, but in using RC/27 I probably did as the best thing a player can do for his team is create runs. A player who has created more runs than another person is probably more valuable than others. I think playing time is almost a non-issue in this simply because if a player is in the Top Ten I'm assuming one of two things: 1) That he played on a regular basis, or 2) If he didn't, he played so good it doesn't matter that he did.

   4. Damon Rutherford Posted: November 24, 2003 at 02:59 AM (#614113)
Unless I've misread the results, Alex Rodriguez leads the AL in 2003 in Win Shares, VORP, and RARP.

So can you please explain why I should accept your metric over these? In other words, why are these metrics incorrect in identifying the AL MVP, yet your metric is correct? I think the fact that all three of these estabished metrics have ARod as the best in 2003 illustrates how easy of a choice it was this year.
   5. Steve Brooks Posted: November 24, 2003 at 02:59 AM (#614115)
Gret Tamer--

I didn't say mine was the *correct* metric, rather, just one man's opinion. It is merely supposed to "add fuel to the fire," so to speak. Now, I can't say that mine isn't correct either. As far as I'm concerned, though, mine is pretty damn good.

It's by no means the be all and end all.

But neither are Win Shares, VORP or RORP.

   6. Zen Bitz Posted: November 24, 2003 at 02:59 AM (#614120)
Win Share are irrelvant, because the authors says he is only considering team-independent effects. The park factors do appear to be really wrong - but maybe they are just applied "doubled". But there is a reasonable argument that Posada : Arod :: Bonds : Pujols (given the playing time issues). In my opinion, although Posada may have produced at a higher rate compared to a replacement catcher (than Arod to a replacement SS), he did not do so by enought to cover the 200 odd PAs he is short.

Where as I came to the opposition decision in the NL, picking BB.
   7. studes Posted: November 24, 2003 at 02:59 AM (#614121)
I've been spending a lot of the past month picking apart Win Shares. As I do so, I'm becoming convinced Delgado was the AL MVP. In Win Shares Above Average (WSAA), which is Win Shares above 50% of Game Shares, Delgado ranks first in the league at 20, and Ramirez is next at 15. ARod is fourth at fourteen and Posada has ten. Obviously, fielding will fill in some of the gap, but I don't believe it will be worth a net of five WSAA, even for a shortstop.

All the gory detail is available in the Win Shares article section, if you're interested.
   8. Damon Rutherford Posted: November 24, 2003 at 02:59 AM (#614124)
Here?s a chart of the top ten in the official voting:


with the assumption that those ten were the most worthy of the award.

Why would you assume that?

Why did you leave out others, such as Giambi, Soriano, Nixon, Thomas, Mueller and Huff? These players are among the top ten in the AL in RC and/or RC/27, the metric that you used in your article. I think they should have been included.

Also, how did you calculate or where did you obtain your Runs Created values? They differ from the Runs Created values listed on For example, has Delgado with 142.4 RC, while you have him at 139 RC. has 125.5 RC for Wells, while you list 133. Etc. Obviously they are very close, so similar equations were probably used, but I'm just curious as to why the difference.

I will use statistics to prove that Rodriguez should not have won the award.

It appears that you are saying that you have the *correct* metric.
   9. bob mong Posted: November 25, 2003 at 03:00 AM (#614138)
Thanks for a great article, Steve.

I, for one, don't think that either VORP, RAA, BLAH, WAA, BLAP, ARP, ARGH, WARP, UGH, HYPERDRIVE, or Win Shares are perfect - and regarding the BProspectus stats: now that I know what the formula for EqR is, I have a hard time taking their numbers seriously (though I do try :)

And really: the various run estimation formulas are all fairly accurate (at least on the team level) but (1) adjusting for park factors is tricky and I am not convinced that it can be done with the kind of accuracy we commonly assume that it is done with and (2) estimating defensive value is a messy, inaccurate proposition at best.

So lay off Steve for coming to the "wrong" conclusion; he used commonly accepted metrics and a clear, logical process to come up with a ranking. If you don't like it, write your own article. :)

Anyway, all that to say: Stevem I like your approach (though: fix the park factors) and I like your conclusion, though I am not convinced that it's correct. Tight, well-written article. Thanks again.
   10. Damon Rutherford Posted: November 25, 2003 at 03:00 AM (#614142)
So lay off Steve for coming to the "wrong" conclusion; he used commonly accepted metrics and a clear, logical process to come up with a ranking. If you don't like it, write your own article. :)

Logical? I think not. He only looks at ten players, doesn't use park factors correctly, and doesn't look at defense appropriately. He also ends his argument looking at just a rate of RC, and ignores playing time. Posada, even after including other players, perhaps correcting RC values, and changing the park factor adjustment, may still come out on top in adjRC/27outs, but what about his playing time compared to others? Shouldn't that be taken into consideration? It appears completely ignored in this article.

And if I don't like it, write my own article? That's a piss-poor argument right there. I don't need to write my own article to point out any minor or major flaws in someone else's methods. I can post my own thoughts and comments right here.

As for Runs Creates, VORP, Win Shares, RARP, etc., they'll probably all bullshit to some degree. I've been studying BaseRuns and Super Linear Weights lately to see how they measure up. But to maintain that the method presented above *proves* ARod isn't deserving of MVP is an egregious statement. And I should point out that I'm not using just Win Shares, VORP, and RARP as the backbone of my argument. I just wanted to point out that those metrics all maintain that ARod was the best in 2003. If one creates a new metric that supports another player, they should probably address the issue of why their metric, which is based on very similar ideas and equations, comes to a different conclusion.

The article itself was well-written and enjoyable to read, but I find the methods to be lacking and the conclusion to be incorrect, or, perhaps, unfinished until the appropriate changes and adjustments are made.

   11. Damon Rutherford Posted: November 25, 2003 at 03:00 AM (#614144)
As for Runs Creates, VORP, Win Shares, RARP, etc., they'll probably all bullshit to some degree.

Should be: As for Runs Created, VORP, Win Shares, RARP, etc., they're probably all bullshit to some degree.

   12. Richie Posted: November 25, 2003 at 03:00 AM (#614155)
Where is the line drawn for the definition of a "winning team" for the purposes of allowing a player to be eligible for the MVP?

Can the MVP be a player who plays for a team that finishes 84-78, but 20 games out of first, and in fourth place?

Can the MVP be a player who plays for a team that finishes 80-82, 20 games out of first, and wins the wild card spot?

Can the MVP be a player who plays for a team that goes 79-83, but gets hurt when the team is 79-73, misses the final 10 games, the team loses all ten games and misses the playoffs by 1 game?

Can the MVP be a player who misses 20 games during the season for various reasons, posts ridiculously good numbers, his team goes 2-18 in the games he misses, but finishes the season at 76-86?

Personally, I don't think it's right to say the MVP has to come from a winning or competitive team. I think it's a good place to start, and something to consider, but I have no problem with an MVP playing on a bad team. I have no problem with A-Rod winning it in 2003.
   13. Steve Brooks Posted: November 25, 2003 at 03:00 AM (#614163)
Sorry that I haven't responded sooner, I've been in class all day.

Anyway, I'm sorry about the park factors, but that sort of thing happens I guess.

I got my Runs Created from

Also, I suppose I've been coming under fire a lot lately for using just the Top Ten in the final BBWAA vote, perhaps I shouldn't have done that. Although, to me, it seems that the BBWAA doesn't mess up enough to get the Top Ten completely out of order, so to some extent they seem like the best candidates for the MVP.

I wrote in my article that I was trying to prove that A-Rod should not have been the MVP, but what I was trying to do was actually show that he wasn't the best player statistically, which, really, he wasn't.

About playing time. How do you want me to factor in playing time? So A-Rod played more often than Posada. So what? Posada is a catcher, he's expected to play less than a shortstop. Anyway, by using only the Top Ten in the voting it shouldn't have really mattered, because those ten players either 1) Had enough playing time, or 2) Didn't have as much playing time but it doesn't matter because they were so good anyway.

I said earlier that this was not meant to be a "be all and end all" type article, rather a differing opinion from the rest of the writers out there.

It seems that people still dislike it because earlier in the year I said Shannon Stewart should be the MVP... that doesn't make sense. You're going to hold on to that when I state clearly in my article that I might have been wrong?

I'm still not very convinced that "value" means the same as "best." It seems to me that if somebody is contributing more to a winning team he should be considered more valuable, but I guess people are just going to edit and paste that comment in this little box and riddicule me some more. I see where people are coming from when they say that, but I don't really get it. Contributing to a team that makes the playoffs seems to be a bit more valuable than contributing to a team that finishes in last place. But maybe that's just me.

   14. Steve Brooks Posted: November 25, 2003 at 03:00 AM (#614164)
Whoops... I didn't mean to say is what I mean.

   15. Astro Logical Sign Stealer Posted: November 26, 2003 at 03:00 AM (#614177)
and that team only has lousy pitching because it has so much money going to a single player</i>

This is false. The Rangers non-ARod payroll is plenty to have a decent supporting cast, including pitching staff.
   16. Richie Posted: November 26, 2003 at 03:00 AM (#614181)
I wonder how MVP voting would go if it was done in a vacuum. If voters made their decisions without ever hearing during the year various people's opinions on who the MVP should be.

You football haters will hate this, but my favorite example of the problem with MVP and automatically giving it to a player on a winning team is Super Bowl XXV. (The Scott Norwood wide-right game.)

Ottis Anderson of the Giants won the MVP. If Norwood's kick goes 10 yards to the left, Buffalo wins and Thurman Thomas is the MVP. How can the decision of MVP between 2 running backs swing on whether a field goal kicker makes his kick, while both running backs are standing on the sideline?

For the record, I think Thomas should have gotten MVP anyway.
Thomas - 15 carries, 135 yards, 1 TD plus he caught 5 passes for 55 yards.
Anderson - 21 carries, 102 yards, 1 TD, caught 1 pass for 7 yards.

I guess that the analogy is that some people think A-Rod shouldn't win the MVP because the pitching on his team isn't very good.
   17. Shredder Posted: November 26, 2003 at 03:00 AM (#614182)
This is false. The Rangers non-ARod payroll is plenty to have a decent supporting cast, including pitching staff.

To add to that, 5 of the 8 AL teams that have made the playoffs the last two years have had payrolls lower than the Rangers payroll minus A-Rod. And they don't also have the best player in the league on their team. That argument that says A-Rod's contract prevents the Rangers from fielding a competitive team really pisses me off. It's intellectually lazy and inaccurate.

   18. Marc Posted: November 27, 2003 at 03:01 AM (#614190)
Speaking as a Twins fan, I am quite certain that most Twins fans know that Shannon Stewart was not the Twins MVP so he obviously could not be the AL MVP.

Speaking as a baseball fan, the sooner the MVP award gets redefined as rightfully belonging to the best player the better. One of these years some moron sportswriter is going to have a meltdown trying to explain exactly how "value" is really meant to be defined, and that will not be a pretty sight. The closest thing to a real nervous breakdown was the year when Albert Belle was not allowed to win because his team was too good. So I think the MVP has to play for a team that wins between 85 and 90 games and wins the division by less than 8 games or at least finishes second but is no more than 5 games ahead of the next wild card contender or maybe wins 91-92 games but wins the pennant by just 1 or 2 games, or else maybe if the team misses the playoffs but by less than 2 games, unless it's a Sunday and...

But the final irony is that as practiced by the BBWAA the MVP is really "the best" and not the most valuable at all. It is "the best story." Which, now that I think of it is value measured by the number of newspapers sold.

I hope that clears it up.
   19. All you Need is Glove Posted: December 01, 2003 at 03:01 AM (#614197)
Hey Blixa, does your brain still feel green?
   20. Steve Posted: December 02, 2003 at 03:01 AM (#614202)
I just think it's nice to see people attempting to make arguments based on logic and empirical data.

Obviously there are flaws here, and I realize the bar at a place like this is pretty damn high, but folks need to remember how arguments like these would be made 10 years ago.

Frankly, I give Steve Brooks lots of credit. After all, he went into the argument thinking Shannon Stewart was the MVP, and came out of it with Jorge Posada. That's tremendous progress.
   21. KronicFatigue Posted: December 02, 2003 at 03:01 AM (#614204)
Great comments, for the most part. My only concern is why people continue to debate what the word "value" means. The instructions CLEARLY define it for us.

1. Actual value of a player to his team, that is, strength of offense and defense.

The actual value of [arod] to [the rangers] is his strength of offense and defense. An elite hitter playing the most demanding position defensively and doing it better than all his peers. Sounds like he has a lot of value.
   22. Steve Brooks Posted: December 03, 2003 at 03:01 AM (#614206)

It's nice to be called an idiot.

I can't understand, really, why you, and others, are getting so mad at me because of playing time. You pointed out that Alex Rodriguez played 161 games at a difficult position, and that is more than David Ortiz, who was platooned.

Well, I have a question: Who ever said anything about David Ortiz?

Last I remember I came out with the answer of Jorge Posada, even with the fooey park factors (somebody else rearanged those and Posada still came out first) playing time isn't much of an issue here.

Think about it. Jorge Posada played 142 games at catcher, which, by all rights and purposes, is a much more difficult position than shortstop.

I took a look at the average amount of started games for both catchers and shortstops in the American League, and this is what I found.

The average American League catcher played 118 games and the average American League shorstop played 133 games.

Let's, then, look at Posada first.

Posada would be +24 games played at catcher (he started 142).

Rodriguez would be +28 games played at shorstop (he played 161).

Now, that pretty much takes playing time into account, and I can't say that Rodriguez absolutely knocked the crud out of Posada. For one, I'm willing to bet that it's a lot harder to be +24 games at catcher than it is +28 games at shortstop (I've played both).

But even if it's not, +28 is not a lot more than +24, so there really wasn't much difference between the two in playing time.
   23. Steve Brooks Posted: December 03, 2003 at 03:01 AM (#614207)

Where do you get off saying that Rodriguez is an elite hitter who plays the most demanding positin defensively?

I understand the elite hitter part, but the most demanding position? Anybody worth their salt will tell you that the catcher is by far the most demanding position.
   24. Ron Johnson Posted: December 03, 2003 at 03:01 AM (#614208)
Where do you get off saying that Rodriguez is an elite hitter who plays the most demanding positin defensively?

I understand the elite hitter part, but the most demanding position? Anybody worth their salt will tell you that the catcher is by far the most demanding position.

Well that depends on what you mean by demanding. Catcher takes the heaviest physical toll on the body. Followed (by a long way) by second base.

However shortstop is the position most demanding in terms of minimal level of athleticism. As such, the supply of people who can play the position at the major league level is always fairly low.

Combine the two factors together, and I'm pretty sure that replacement level for both catchers and shortstops are quite similar (and lower than at any other position)
   25. Steve Brooks Posted: December 03, 2003 at 03:01 AM (#614209)

You could be right.

I think, though, that the toll put through on a catchers' body when compared to a shortstop should count for more than ability of finding a replacement. The two positions are very hard, but the catcher position does take much more of a toll on your body, therefore they play less games, which I think most of the people who find pleasure in yellng at me didn't take into account.
   26. John Posted: December 06, 2003 at 03:01 AM (#614216)
Even with the completely wrong park factors (which somebody rearanged earlier and Jorge Posada still came up first) this is as good article. I think it pisses most people off because it came out with a *different* answer, not just the same boring, repetitive A-Rod crap.

This is a good article that sheld light on a subject that, apparently, to you people, isn't good enough because all of you dumbasses think the same way and aren't open to debate.

So #### you.
   27. Steve Brooks Posted: December 07, 2003 at 03:01 AM (#614219)
I suppose a lot of people are still talking about the defense not really being factored in, so that's what I intend to do right now (I'm glad Baseballprimer has these posts, so I can defend myself).

To do this I'm going to turn to Win Shares, which I know a lot of you don't like, but for what I'm doing it seems like the easiest and the best thing to use. I happen to like Win Shares anyway, and if you don't, well then I guess I've lengthened the amount of days people will be arguing with me.

I took a look at all the catchers and shortstops in the American League with four or more Win Shares, but I only looked, for the measuring, at their defensive Win Shares.

The average catcher got 4.62 defensive Win Shares.

The average shortstop got 4.67 defensive Win Shares.

Then, I looked at what Jorge Posada got, which was 7.53 defensive Win Shares. Alex Rodriguez got 6.43.

Now, if you're really good at math in your head, you will be able to tell that Posada had more Win Shares above average than Rodriguez did, but for those of you like me here are the numbers.

Posada was 2.91 defensive Win Shares above the average AL Catcher.

Rodriguez was 1.76 above the average AL Shortstop.

That, in my mind, would show that Posada was a better defensive catcher than Rodriguez was a defensive shorstop.

How do ya like dem apples?

   28. Steve Brooks Posted: December 07, 2003 at 03:01 AM (#614220)
I just wanted to do another thing real quick where I factor in playing time with the defensive Win Shares.

If you read my earlier post you would see that Posada was +24 games at catcher and Rodriguez was +28. What I want to do now, then, is factor that in with the defensive Win Shares. I'll multiply the defensive Win Shares above league average by amount of games played above league average.

So for Rodriguez that would look like this:


Which equals 49.28.

For Posada it's like this:

2.91*24, which is:


That's 20.66 more than A-Rod, and I happen to believe that does a pretty decent job of factoring in defense and playing time for the two.
   29. Steve Brooks Posted: December 09, 2003 at 03:01 AM (#614227)
I think you're right about the Pujols and Bonds scenario representing the best case for "best vs. valuable" argument. This is something I did a while ago, and I know a lot of you don't like Win Shares, but this thing is interesting and I happen to think it works pretty well.

One of the things that Bill James does in his book is something with teams either being led by front-line talent or being more balanced. I wanted to see which team needed whom the most. Did the Giants need Bonds more than the Cardinals needed Pujols, or did it work the other way around?

Let's see.

Basically what you do, for those of you who don't know, is take the top fifteen players on teach team in terms of Win Shares. To get the front-line talent mark you would multiply the number one man by 15, the number two man by 14 and so on down the line. To get the balance rating you start with the number one man and multiply by one, the number two man and multiply by two and so on down the line. Then you divide the balance mark by the front-line talent mark and presto, you've got your Team Balance Rating.

It turned out like this for Bonds and Pujols, actually, it turned out like this for the Giants and Cardinals.

San Franisco Giants Team Balance Rating: .627.

St. Louis Cardinals Team Balance Rating: .512.

That would show to me that the Cardinals had, essentially, a worse team than the Cardinals and *needed* Pujols more than the Giants *needed* Bonds in order to win.

The rest of this is just a little something I added on to the Bill James work, I think it works nicely.

You divide the single players Win Shares, Pujols with 41 in this case, by the Team Balance Rating. For Pujols you would get: 80.08. Do this for every player on the team, actually, just the top fifteen, and see what the difference is between the number one man and the number fifteen man. Make sense?

So, the differenc between Pujols and the worst player on the Cardinals is:


The difference between Bonds and the worst player on the Giant is:


That, again, just shows you that the Cardinals needed Pujols more to win.

Another thing you can do is just take find the difference between the number one man and the number two man.

For Bonds that is: 27.11.

For Pujols that is: 31.25.

That just goes to show that Pujols was so much better than his teammates, and that would mean that without Pujols the Cardinals probably would not have stayed in the race as long as they did.

The same goes for the Giants, but it appears as if the Giants didn't need Bonds to win as much as the Cardinals needed Pujols.

It makes sense to me.
   30. Steve Brooks Posted: December 10, 2003 at 03:01 AM (#614229)

I, too, read Mr. Hanrahan's article and enjoyed it very much. Although, I don't necessarily agree that Mr. Hanrahan was saying that the theory of Shortstops getting extra credit is wrong, rather, I think Mr. Hanrahan was just saying that if you are on a playoff team and you play shortstop you get more credit than if you play shortstop for a losing team. I don't think that means shortstops get no extra credit, rather that they do, just that they don't if they are on a loser: In other words, it doesn't matter what position you play for, but if you're on a winner it does. Which makes sense.

In reading the article, however, I do see some flaws. Actually, just one.

Leadoff hitters.

I didn't see anywhere in the article (and I could be wrong) that leadoff hitters get "punished"for being a leadoff hitter. The only leadoff hitters I can remember winning the MVP award are Ichiro Suzuki in 2001, Rickey Henderson in 1990, and Phil Rizzuto in 1950. Besides those three I see a lot of leadoff hitters, relatively speaking, getting screwed. Tim Raines comes to mind, as does Rickey Henderson in a couple of years.

I don't know, I think that if Mr. Hanrahan "punished" the leadoff hitters the system would work a tiny bit better (but it really might not be that significant).

But yeah, it was a good read and I look forward to Part II.
   31. Steve Brooks Posted: December 10, 2003 at 03:01 AM (#614231)
First off, I didn't do anything arbitrary there. Bill James came up with the Balance Ratings himself... it's on pages 205-210, so it's not like I was doing something arbitrary.

What you wrote was, almost, exactly what I said, but mine had a bit more flavor to it. I wasn't saying that Pujols wasn't more valuable than Bonds, because apparently he was. I just don't know. Because we have no idea what kind of effect Bonds had on his teammates compared to Pujols. I would have to say, and I don't have anything really to back this up, but I would have to say that Bonds *makes* his teammates better just by stepping into the batters box, whereas I'm not entirely sure Pujols does. At least, not yet anyway.

So perhaps Bonds was more valuable, perhaps he wasn't, all I know is that I wasn't doing anything arbitrary. So chill out.
   32. John Posted: December 21, 2003 at 03:02 AM (#614255)
I don't think Dannyboy was saying that Manny hit better on the road than he did at home, rather, I think he was saying that Manny hit better on the road than most of his teammates.

Know wadda main?
   33. studes Posted: January 01, 2004 at 03:02 AM (#614292)
Wow. Can't believe the comments are still flying here. A couple of things:

I've recalculated some WS numbers, and come up with an above-average methodology that I think is pretty good. It basically shows Delgado and A-Rod in a dead heat, and Bonds ahead of Pujols. I hope to get to replacement level eventually. Here's the link to the article:

I certainly agreee that defensive Win Shares can be improved. But I think they do a good job of taking the "pitcher" part of catcher fielding out of the equation. Having said that, James arbitrarily boosted the value of cathers' fielding by essentially giving them more claim points. I have no idea if that's valid.

One other thing: James did introduce the balanced team approach, but you could tell he was embarrassed by it. I don't think I'd use it for anything. I've tried to come up with a different approach, but I haven't hit on a good one yet.

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