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Monday, August 14, 2006

Prospectus Today: Sheehan: AL MVP

Thought this was timely considering recent threads on BTF…

This has the potential to be the best awards race in years, and not because of the traditional “clutch” or “pennant race” arguments. The candidates for AL MVP are tightly packed and generate their value in disparate ways, so much so that even conscientious analysts will be scratching their heads deep into the offseason.

Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: August 14, 2006 at 05:51 PM | 230 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: general

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   101. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: August 15, 2006 at 07:17 AM (#2141382)
(Obviously, Ortiz "counts" behind A-Rod; I just meant that flipflopping them wouldn't change the overall total.)
   102. DCW3 Posted: August 15, 2006 at 07:22 AM (#2141383)
Since Mattingly/Clemens in 1985-86, the two teams have had one MVP winner apiece. They've had five runners-up-- six, if you count David Ortiz behind A-Rod. And they've had five more players come in third. That's 12 or 13 "good NY or Bos candidates," and two wins.

And that doesn't even count Jeter in 1999, who, incredibly, finished sixth.
   103. Mister High Standards Posted: August 15, 2006 at 12:46 PM (#2141412)

(Another post noted that Ortiz had several failures during walk off opps as well- one reason Ortiz has more walk-off hits than Hafner for instance- is that Ortiz had literally 3 times as many opps)


As of a couple weeks back someone posted this:

Ortiz has had 8 at bats in the 9th inning this year with a chance to win the game…

First column is date, second is what Papi needed to do to win the game, third is what he actually did forth is pitcher.

Date Need to Win Papi Pitcher
6/11 HR HR Otsuka
6/24 2B HR Gordon
6/26 HR 4-1 Cormier
6/26 1B IBB Gordon
6/26 1B 1B Condrey
7/29 1B IBB Rodriguex, Fr.
7/29 1B 1B Romero
7/31 HR HR Carmona

I think the word "several" is actually 1... (unless something has come up in the past 2 weeks while I have been away. You look at that chart... With that said if the Sox don't make the playoffs I vote for Jeter, unless the Twins do and Mauer doesn't slump.
   104. pkb33 Posted: August 15, 2006 at 01:48 PM (#2141427)
No, they're not. High leverage relief -- the concept, perhaps not the particular calculation that you are thinking about -- is a product (or at least can be a product) of selecting high leverage GAMES, in which runs have differing value, not INNINGS WITHIN A GAME, where all runs have the same value. An elite PH, only brought into close games but left on the bench for blowouts, is leveraged the same way a reliever is leveraged. We don't see that, because guys can hit every day, but they can't pitch every day.

This just misunderstands the concept of retrospective valuation of production it seems to me. You are making essentially an abstract point that player usage affects the availability of leverage adjustments. While this is certainly true, and I don't disagree with it, it simply doesn't have anything to do with a retrospective discussion of the value a player added in a given season. We can only evaluate the production that actually occurred, and that's a function of the number of appearances, the performance in those appearances, and the context in which the performance occurred.

The suggestion that a high leverage 'game' for a closer is different than a high leverage 'inning' for a hitter is simply wrong so far as I can see. Those are very artificial labels you chose, and the only relevant issue is the game state in which the production occurs and the production itself. If you want to do the line-drawing around 'games' versus 'innings' then you need to debit the closer for all the innings in which he does not participate. That's why, logically, the approach you suggest doesn't work---you are working off of a different baseline for different positions and that's wrong.

Or, in other words, you can't possibly argue that a reliever should benefit because of what his teammates have done in the eight innings before he shows up and a hitter shouldn't benefit from what he and his teammates have done in the eight innings before he is given a chance to hit a walk-off. Well, I guess you can but it makes no sense at all logically to do so.

If the Red Sox replaced David Ortiz with an anti-Ortiz, who had all of those 9th inning RBIs in the 1st inning of the same games, the results for the team would be roughly the same, but the WPA for anti-Ortiz would be much lower.

That's simply not accurate, though. The reason we use WPA is because it reflects the impact (though imperfectly) of performance relative to context. A ninth-inning RBI often DOES have a greater impact on winning than a first-inning RBI and that's simply a coincidence. Teams make strategic choices along the way based on the score, and thus you can't simply move runs around in a game, wave your hands, and assume they are the same. Or to the degree you think you can, it's as true of Rivera pitching the first inning or two as it is of Ortiz or Hafner hitting later in a game.

You seem to be under the impression that how the manager deploys the player matters---this is simply not the case. Production matters, in context. That's it...not why or how the player was in the position they were in.

If a pitchers has an low BABIP, some of that may be his own doing, some of it may be his defense, and some of it may just be random variation. I don't have a problem giving the pitcher credit for his own doing or even random variation (Joe Mauer isn't going to be a career .360 hitter, but I wouldn't have a problem with him winning the MVP if he hits .360). But we should try to isolate the role of the defense to the extent possible, and not give the pitcher complete credit for that.

I agree we should try to isolate the defense, because that's a different contributor in the same way that "level of offensive production" is a different contributor to a pitchers' W-L record. The degree to which the defense actually drives the BABIP is a different question, of course, as is the degree to which we can accurate assess how one pitcher's low BABIP reflects defense versus other factors.
   105. Mike Emeigh Posted: August 15, 2006 at 01:50 PM (#2141430)
But even then, a guy like David Ortiz creates his own leverage, in a way, by performing worse in the early innings (and if he doesn't perform worse in the early innings, he'll have better overall numbers than the other guys and you won't need to use WPA to justify his MVP award).


You're confusing "early-inning" situations with "low-leverage" situations. Not all early-inning situations are low-leverage.

-- MWE
   106. pkb33 Posted: August 15, 2006 at 01:54 PM (#2141432)
An elite PH, only brought into close games but left on the bench for blowouts, is leveraged the same way a reliever is leveraged. We don't see that, because guys can hit every day, but they can't pitch every day.

Maybe this will explain my issue with your approach better.

Based on what you say above, we can agree that if Ortiz were deployed ONLY in the kinds of close-and-late appearances that you describe above, you'd give him credit for production in them, right? That's what you say above.

So, what you are then saying overall is that when he hits in those same at-bats PLUS contributes in other innings in the game, he magically loses the benefit that you were willing to give him above for the exact same late inning production because now he's playing all innings of the game. This is in spite of him producing at a level well above replacement the rest of the game.

How can this be---what happened to the value he brought by producing in late innings? How could this possibly be a reasonable approach, and if it is, how can it possibly make sense to treat a hitter's late-inning production this way and to give a closer a free pass for making zero contribution in the first 7-8 innings of every game?
   107. JPWF13 Posted: August 15, 2006 at 01:59 PM (#2141436)
As of a couple weeks back someone posted this:

Ortiz has had 8 at bats in the 9th inning this year with a chance to win the game…

....
I think the word "several" is actually 1... (


The post I saw was also several weeks ago, and mentioned specific instances this year, where Ortiz could have driven in teh winning run- but made an out- obviously the two posters weren't watching the same games :-)

Seriously, I don't know whose right or wrong, and 8 PAs is a ridiculously small smaple size, but making only one out??? In that type situation sheesh
   108. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: August 15, 2006 at 03:59 PM (#2141539)
You're confusing "early-inning" situations with "low-leverage" situations. Not all early-inning situations are low-leverage.

No, I'm not, I'm just not being academically rigorous in a message-board post. You're missing the larger point by overscrutinizing minor ones.
   109. Slinger Francisco Barrios (Dr. Memory) Posted: August 15, 2006 at 04:09 PM (#2141553)
Seriously, I don't know whose right or wrong

The list of 9 begins in mid-June, so it seems pretty cherry-picked to me. He had to have come up in that situation in April and May. What's there is impressive, though.
   110. Slinger Francisco Barrios (Dr. Memory) Posted: August 15, 2006 at 04:11 PM (#2141555)
Sorry, list of 8.
   111. Cowboy Popup Posted: August 15, 2006 at 04:12 PM (#2141557)
"And that doesn't even count Jeter in 1999, who, incredibly, finished sixth."

Jeter, Nomar and Bernie were all amazing that year, probably all had arguements for being the best player in the league (with Pedro and Alomar). 6th, 7th and 11th. Do writers just no give a #### if a player plays up the middle?
   112. More Dewey is Always Good Posted: August 15, 2006 at 04:15 PM (#2141559)
Do writers just no give a #### if a player plays up the middle?

Well, considering the winner in 1999 was a catcher...
   113. VG Posted: August 15, 2006 at 04:26 PM (#2141568)
In the AL, the MVP is like the Heisman in that with the MVP, if there's a good NY or Bos or candidate, they are winning. In the Heisman, if there's a good Notre Dame or USC candidate, they're winning. This award is Jeter's, Papi's, or Manny's.

USC has won three out of the last four Heismans, but they've also had exceptional players in that time period. A Notre Dame player hasn't won the Heisman since Tim Brown did in 1987.
   114. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: August 15, 2006 at 04:29 PM (#2141572)
Based on what you say above, we can agree that if Ortiz were deployed ONLY in the kinds of close-and-late appearances that you describe above, you'd give him credit for production in them, right? That's what you say above.

So, what you are then saying overall is that when he hits in those same at-bats PLUS contributes in other innings in the game, he magically loses the benefit that you were willing to give him above for the exact same late inning production because now he's playing all innings of the game. This is in spite of him producing at a level well above replacement the rest of the game.

How can this be---what happened to the value he brought by producing in late innings? How could this possibly be a reasonable approach, and if it is, how can it possibly make sense to treat a hitter's late-inning production this way and to give a closer a free pass for making zero contribution in the first 7-8 innings of every game?


No, you are missing the point. If a position player contributes better than everyone else in both the "high leverage" *and* the "low leverage" situations, he will have better overall numbers than everyone else and very few people will dispute that he deserves the MVP.

I think the implicit situation we are discussing is when two players have very similar overall numbers, but Player A has performed better in "high leverage" situations. Therefore, Player A has performed worse in "low leverage" situations (because Player A and Player B's overall numbers are the same).

If you think leverage is a meaningful concept for an everyday position player, then you'll claim that Player A was more valuable. If you don't think it is, or if you think the way that leverage is being measured is incorrect, then you will think they were equally valuable or you will have another way of comparing their value.

That's simply not accurate, though. The reason we use WPA is because it reflects the impact (though imperfectly) of performance relative to context. A ninth-inning RBI often DOES have a greater impact on winning than a first-inning RBI and that's simply [not] a coincidence. Teams make strategic choices along the way based on the score, and thus you can't simply move runs around in a game, wave your hands, and assume they are the same.

Well, that's why I said "roughly" the same, although it doesn't surprise me on this board that someone will still take issue with it. Yes, I know that the effects are not going to be exactly the same, but the phenomenom you describe cuts both ways. Imagine 15 inning game in which Ortiz gets the game-winning RBI. If Ortiz gets that RBI in the 1st inning, he saves his team 6 innings of bullpen work. But the 1st inning failure and 15th inning RBI will likely give him a higher WPA than the reverse.

Look at DCA's posts on this thread. He has already pointed out serious issues with WPA which call into question its claim as an accurate measure of leverage.

Or to the degree you think you can, it's as true of Rivera pitching the first inning or two as it is of Ortiz or Hafner hitting later in a game.

No, it's not, because Rivera's position (relief pitcher) allows him to be used in a way so that he rarely pitches in low leverage situations.

My basic feeling is similar to Mike Emeigh's, I think--you should look at a player's overall performance and the average leverage of his opportunities. For an everday position player the leverage will be close to 1. For a closer it will be higher than 1, for a mop-up guy, it will be lower, etc. You may think it's unfair to give credit to a reliever for the way his manager uses him but then I think you should just toss out the concept of leverage altogether, rather than using it incorrectly as WPA seems to.

Or, in other words, you can't possibly argue that a reliever should benefit because of what his teammates have done in the eight innings before he shows up and a hitter shouldn't benefit from what he and his teammates have done in the eight innings before he is given a chance to hit a walk-off. Well, I guess you can but it makes no sense at all logically to do so.

The argument that some are making here is that WPA can sometimes reward a player more for failing in the first 8 innings than it does for succeeding in the first 8 innings, because it gives him a chance to hit a walk-off later on. If A-Rod goes 1-3 with a solo HR in a 1-0 game, his WPA should not be affected by whether that HR was in the first or the 9th inning. However, the solo HR is more valuable in a 1-0 game than in an 8-0 game, regardless of the inning in which it's hit. That is why the concept of leverage within a game doesn't really make sense for a hitter, but leverage between games does.
   115. RobertMachemer Posted: August 15, 2006 at 04:30 PM (#2141575)
That's simply not accurate, though. The reason we use WPA is because it reflects the impact (though imperfectly) of performance relative to context. A ninth-inning RBI often DOES have a greater impact on winning than a first-inning RBI and that's simply a coincidence.

I assume there's a "not" missing between "that's" and "simply"...

Anyway, I suspect that teams which score 2 runs in the first inning have roughly the same likelihood of winning as teams which score two runs in the fifth inning (though at this point it's just an untested hypothesis). If true, wouldn't that belie the idea that runs in the fifth, say, are "more important" than runs in the first?

Teams make strategic choices along the way based on the score, and thus you can't simply move runs around in a game, wave your hands, and assume they are the same. Or to the degree you think you can, it's as true of Rivera pitching the first inning or two as it is of Ortiz or Hafner hitting later in a game.

Well, this is true, and it's why I deliberately didn't say "first" and "ninth" innings above -- I figured that teams which scored in the ninth inning (against closers) might be more likely to win since (theoretically) it might be the action of a superior offensive team to be able to score runs in the ninth innings of games. Then again maybe not.

Seriously, though, has anyone checked whether or not a team which scores 1 run in the first inning is any more or less likely to win a game than a team which scores 1 run in the second or third or fourth or etc.? A team which scores 2 runs? And so forth? Again, if a pattern emerged that later runs were more important to winning, then it might help sway those of us who are more WPA-ambivalent; if not, it might help the people who are more WPA-convinced.
   116. RobertMachemer Posted: August 15, 2006 at 04:33 PM (#2141579)
That's simply not accurate, though. The reason we use WPA is because it reflects the impact (though imperfectly) of performance relative to context. A ninth-inning RBI often DOES have a greater impact on winning than a first-inning RBI and that's simply a coincidence.

I assume there's a "not" missing between "that's" and "simply"...

Anyway, I suspect that teams which score 2 runs in the first inning have roughly the same likelihood of winning as teams which score two runs in the fifth inning (though at this point it's just an untested hypothesis). If true, wouldn't that belie the idea that runs in the fifth, say, are "more important" than runs in the first?

Teams make strategic choices along the way based on the score, and thus you can't simply move runs around in a game, wave your hands, and assume they are the same. Or to the degree you think you can, it's as true of Rivera pitching the first inning or two as it is of Ortiz or Hafner hitting later in a game.

Well, this is true, and it's why I deliberately didn't say "first" and "ninth" innings above -- I figured that teams which scored in the ninth inning (against closers) might be more likely to win since (theoretically) it might be the action of a superior offensive team to be able to score runs in the ninth innings of games. Then again maybe not.

Seriously, though, has anyone checked whether or not a team which scores 1 run in the first inning is any more or less likely to win a game than a team which scores 1 run in the second or third or fourth (and so forth) innings? A team which scores 2 runs? And so forth? Again, if a pattern emerged that later runs were more important to winning, then it might help sway those of us who are more WPA-ambivalent; if not, it might help the people who are more WPA-convinced.
   117. pkb33 Posted: August 15, 2006 at 04:36 PM (#2141584)
No, I'm not, I'm just not being academically rigorous in a message-board post. You're missing the larger point by overscrutinizing minor ones.

Which larger point do think I missed, exactly? And what minor ones are you even referring to? Specifics usually help things move along.

Do you REALLY not see the problem with the paradigm you suggested we should be applying? Really?
   118. pkb33 Posted: August 15, 2006 at 04:47 PM (#2141596)
No, you are missing the point. If a position player contributes better than everyone else in both the "high leverage" *and* the "low leverage" situations, he will have better overall numbers than everyone else and very few people will dispute that he deserves the MVP.

No, you've misunderstood the point apparently. No one has suggested in any way that Ortiz should win the MVP solely because of late inning production. What has been said, and what you now seem to be agreeing with, is that if his production is excellent that the high-leverage numbers should be considered to be of extra value. If anyone suggested that only late-inning production should matter, that's silly. But what I said earlier and MWE said is different---it's that the value of production should count whenever it occurs, and the value of production reflects, in part, the game state.

The argument that some are making here is that WPA can sometimes reward a player more for failing in the first 8 innings than it does for succeeding in the first 8 innings, because it gives him a chance to hit a walk-off later on. If A-Rod goes 1-3 with a solo HR in a 1-0 game, his WPA should not be affected by whether that HR was in the first or the 9th inning. However, the solo HR is more valuable in a 1-0 game than in an 8-0 game, regardless of the inning in which it's hit. That is why the concept of leverage within a game doesn't really make sense for a hitter, but leverage between games does.

Yes, but the problem (as noted already) is that the fact WPA rewards late production differently than early production doesn't support the shorthand you are attaching that "That is why the concept of leverage within a game doesn't really make sense for a hitter, but leverage between games does."

At most, you can say that WPA (like reliever leverage adjustments) might overstate the impact of some production because it depends on other events having transpired in a certain way. But as I noted above, it simply makes no sense to describe the impact a closer has as different than what a hitter has who produces late in games. Think about the hypo about Ortiz being used solely as a pinch-hitter---you have to be able to respond to that in order to dispute this conclusion. The fact that Ortiz' failure to get a hit earlier affects the existence of a late-inning leverage opportunity simply isn't different than Rivera failing to contribute anything earlier in the game, either.
   119. Kiko Sakata Posted: August 15, 2006 at 04:52 PM (#2141601)
Anyway, I suspect that teams which score 2 runs in the first inning have roughly the same likelihood of winning as teams which score two runs in the fifth inning (though at this point it's just an untested hypothesis). If true, wouldn't that belie the idea that runs in the fifth, say, are "more important" than runs in the first?

To repeat Mike Emeigh in post #105, WPA does NOT say that "runs in the fifth ... are 'more important' than runs in the first." In the work I've done playing around with win probabilities, in fact, just the opposite is true, average leverage declines as the game progresses (until the bottom of the ninth inning and extra innings, of course, all of which are virtually entirely high leverage). Both teams pretty much always still have a chance to win a game that's in the first inning (notwithstanding the occasional 11-run first inning), whereas a lot more games have become blowouts by the fifth inning.
   120. RobertMachemer Posted: August 15, 2006 at 05:11 PM (#2141618)
average leverage declines as the game progresses... Both teams pretty much always still have a chance to win a game that's in the first inning
I'm confused. :) (I'm not disagreeing with you -- just trying to wrap my head around it). If both teams have a chance to win a game that's in the first inning, isn't that implying that runs scored in the first inning aren't especially high-leveraged? (The answer is obviously "no" but I'm not sure I understand why yet).
   121. DCA Posted: August 15, 2006 at 05:14 PM (#2141624)
Teams make strategic choices along the way based on the score, and thus you can't simply move runs around in a game, wave your hands, and assume they are the same. Or to the degree you think you can, it's as true of Rivera pitching the first inning or two as it is of Ortiz or Hafner hitting later in a game.

Teams do make strategic choices along the way based on the score. Which is why things like WPA and leverage (the calculation, not the concept) are useful for analyzing and making decisions in real time, WHILE the game is unfolding. But AFTER the game is over, and we are apportioning credit, they are not very useful. That game-tying solo HR in the bottom of the 8th isn't as important as it seemed at the time when the other team scores 6 in the top of the ninth to win easily. Similarly, the leadoff HR in the 1st isn't a big deal at the time in WPA -- there are nine innings to catch up -- but when it's the margin of victory in a 1-0 game, it was quite an important shot. When the final score is 9-5, not so much.

And a run is a run is a run. They have the same value, within a game, BY DEFINITION. Three runs always beats two runs, no matter how or when they are scored. Four runs always beats three runs, etc ... Saying otherwise doesn't make it so.

Now I will concede that there may be some hitting leverage due to base-out situation. A 3-run HR in the ninth is more valuable than a solo shot in the first of the same game. But a 3-run HR in the first is similarly more valuable than a solo shot in the ninth. And this is almost entirely opportunity driven, that is, it tracks the abilities of one's teammates and place in the batting order (PH and being PH for can affect it as well, but for a guy who starts basically every day, that's a trivial effect).

And to the second part, yes, Scott Proctor's scoreless 6th is as important as Rivera's scoreless ninth in a 4-3 game. If either had given up a run, the score would be tied. The difference in their leverage -- again, concept not calculation -- is that Proctor pitches in a lot more 10-5 and 8-2 type games than Rivera, games in which his scoreless innings (or his not scoreless innings) aren't as important in a marginal win / marginal run sense.
   122. DCA Posted: August 15, 2006 at 05:20 PM (#2141633)
The suggestion that a high leverage 'game' for a closer is different than a high leverage 'inning' for a hitter is simply wrong so far as I can see. Those are very artificial labels you chose,

There is nothing artificial about games or innings. The outcome of games (W or L) is the only thing that counts in the standings. The outcome of innings (# of runs) is the only thing that counts in determining the outcome of games. Games and innings are well-defined intervals of the baseball season, and they are different.
   123. DCA Posted: August 15, 2006 at 05:24 PM (#2141638)
The fact that Ortiz' failure to get a hit earlier affects the existence of a late-inning leverage opportunity simply isn't different than Rivera failing to contribute anything earlier in the game, either.

No, Ortiz failed. Rivera didn't fail or succeed -- he didn't play. Sitting on the bench is different that making outs or errors or giving up runs.
   124. Kiko Sakata Posted: August 15, 2006 at 05:33 PM (#2141652)
I'm confused. :) (I'm not disagreeing with you -- just trying to wrap my head around it). If both teams have a chance to win a game that's in the first inning, isn't that implying that runs scored in the first inning aren't especially high-leveraged? (The answer is obviously "no" but I'm not sure I understand why yet).

Think of breaking situations into three categories - call them blowouts, normal situations, and game-changing situations. In the first inning, there are no game-changing situations - because both teams have 8 more innings to overcome whatever happens - but there are also no blowouts (or relatively few). In the fifth inning, you start to get some situations that can start to kind of change a game, because your opponent has fewer innings to overcome what happens, but even in the fifth inning, these aren't as high-leverage as they would be later in the game. More importantly, offsetting this, you also now have a lot of situations that are blowouts.

It's very rare to come to bat in the first inning of a game with your team already leading 8-1. That's much more common in the fifth inning.
   125. pkb33 Posted: August 15, 2006 at 05:38 PM (#2141658)
No, Ortiz failed. Rivera didn't fail or succeed -- he didn't play. Sitting on the bench is different that making outs or errors or giving up runs.

No, this is simply wrong. Assuming that Ortiz produced at a level somewhat similar to his overall production (which is in fact the case) the rest of the game, he was a very valuable player not a failure for the rest of the game as well.

The issue is not that he's 'more' productive at the end in a relative sense, as you seem to be suggesting. It's that he contributed something positive the rest of the game whereas Rivera did not.

If you reread what you just wrote, it suggests that in innings 1-7 it's better to have Rivera doing nothing than Ortiz hitting for you. I think you realize that's just not the case, right?
   126. Dizzypaco Posted: August 15, 2006 at 05:40 PM (#2141661)
And a run is a run is a run. They have the same value, within a game, BY DEFINITION. Three runs always beats two runs, no matter how or when they are scored. Four runs always beats three runs, etc ... Saying otherwise doesn't make it so.

This is a common viewpoint on this site, and its one way to look at things, but it is clearly not the only way to look at things. It is not wrong to view things from another vantage point.

In my opinion, every positive action is valuable if it brings a team closer to winning the game (or the pennant). An homerun still has value even if the team lost the game, because the homerun made it more likely that the team would win the game. A solo homerun is more valuable in the ninth inning of a game won by one run than the first inning of a one run game, using the same logic.

If you disagree, what you are saying is that no action taken in any game in which a team loses has value - we might as well throw out all statistics from losing games when discussing the MVP. Similarly, no performance by a team that does not reach the post season has any value - if we know after the fact that the team didn't make the post season, how could any player had any value at all?

The answer is that players can have value by improving their teams chances of winning even if the team does not eventually succeed. And players can have value in a game even if their teams don't win, for the same reason. And it is this logic by which a homerun in the ninth has more value than a homerun in the first inning of the same game - it does more to improve the team's chances of achieving their goals.
   127. pkb33 Posted: August 15, 2006 at 05:43 PM (#2141666)
And a run is a run is a run. They have the same value, within a game, BY DEFINITION. Three runs always beats two runs, no matter how or when they are scored. Four runs always beats three runs, etc ... Saying otherwise doesn't make it so.


You seem to be resorting to cheap rhetoric, which is unfortunate. As I noted before, the issue with elimating leverage from the analysis (as you do above) is that once you do so you also have to say that prevention of a run is no more valuable in the ninth than at other times as well. It simply, and logically, is not arguable that producing a run and preventing a run can be treated differently based on the time of game.

It's simply the flip-side to a coin, as noted earlier. That's why this distinction you are trying to draw between "games" and "innings" does not work.
   128. DCA Posted: August 15, 2006 at 05:43 PM (#2141667)
If you reread what you just wrote, it suggests that in innings 1-7 it's better to have Rivera doing nothing than Ortiz hitting for you. I think you realize that's just not the case, right?

But it's better to have Rivera doing nothing than Ortiz making outs. Which is what you said was equivalent and what I was replying to (see the text that I quoted).
   129. pkb33 Posted: August 15, 2006 at 05:47 PM (#2141672)
But it's better to have Rivera doing nothing than Ortiz making outs. Which is what you said was equivalent and what I was replying to (see the text that I quoted).

No, it really isn't. Because the issue isn't just Ortiz' outs earlier in the game it's actually his production relative to those outs. You are only looking at Ortiz' negative outcomes without also looking at the positive ones. That's why I said that so long as Ortiz is significantly above replacement level the rest of the game (as, of course, he is) you can't suggest it's a negative for him to be playing. I don't think there's really any way to dispute that point, is there?
   130. pkb33 Posted: August 15, 2006 at 05:48 PM (#2141674)
Oh, and also...

WPA results from late-game performance already reflect the outcome of Ortiz' earlier at-bats. You are to a fair degree trying to double-count, in essence.
   131. DCA Posted: August 15, 2006 at 05:49 PM (#2141675)
You seem to be resorting to cheap rhetoric, which is unfortunate. As I noted before, the issue with elimating leverage from the analysis (as you do above) is that once you do so you also have to say that prevention of a run is no more valuable in the ninth than at other times as well. It simply, and logically, is not arguable that producing a run and preventing a run can be treated differently based on the time of game.

And I also say that prevention of a run is no more valuable in the ninth than at other times in the SAME GAME. And have said it, repeatedly, in this thread. Relievers derive their leverage from appearing in some games and not others. It's not when in the game they appear, but if they appear in the game. The best relievers are held out until the end, in order to be as sure as possible the game is going to be close at end and their innings are not "wasted" in what ends up being a blowout.

Lastly, someone who calls innings and games 'artificial labels' shouldn't be attacking anyone else's rhetoric. Just a thought.
   132. Mike Emeigh Posted: August 15, 2006 at 05:56 PM (#2141685)
The definition of leverage that Tango uses (which makes sense to me) is based on the average swing in win probability for a particular game state, compared to the average swing for all game states. See this Tango article for a full discussion.

I should add that not all LI states are created equal - an absolute swing in win probability is probably more meaningful at the extremes than it is in the middle.

-- MWE
   133. DCA Posted: August 15, 2006 at 06:02 PM (#2141697)
Me:
And a run is a run is a run....


Dizzy:
This is a common viewpoint on this site, and its one way to look at things, but it is clearly not the only way to look at things. It is not wrong to view things from another vantage point.


Of course

In my opinion, every positive action is valuable if it brings a team closer to winning the game (or the pennant).


I agree with this.

An homerun still has value even if the team lost the game, because the homerun made it more likely that the team would win the game. A solo homerun is more valuable in the ninth inning of a game won by one run than the first inning of a one run game, using the same logic.


Here I disagree, the HR in the first brought the team as close to winning the game (one run closer) as the HR in the ninth. Whatever value you want to give to bring the team one run closer (not an easy question), each HR produced that value. Maybe an adjustment based on the upcoming batter-pitcher matchup, I could see that. Getting on base in front of Proctor-Ortiz is going to produce more runs than getting on base in front of Rivera-Mirabelli, and more runs = more value.

If you disagree, what you are saying is that no action taken in any game in which a team loses has value - we might as well throw out all statistics from losing games when discussing the MVP. Similarly, no performance by a team that does not reach the post season has any value - if we know after the fact that the team didn't make the post season, how could any player had any value at all?

As above, there can be value in losses, but all runs in the loss have the same value, just as they did in the victory. I don't know how to value the runs in a 5-4 loss vs a 5-4 win (or even a 5-2 loss or 5-2 win) but within the game, on the same team, the runs have equal value.

The answer is that players can have value by improving their teams chances of winning even if the team does not eventually succeed. And players can have value in a game even if their teams don't win, for the same reason. And it is this logic by which a homerun in the ninth has more value than a homerun in the first inning of the same game - it does more to improve the team's chances of achieving their goals.

But it doesn't result in more value ... it results in a greater change in WPA pre-event to post-event, or in the probability of winning if we don't what will come next. But after the game is over -- or even in-game, looking at earlier events in the game -- we know what came next, and so the WPA calculation with the missing information considered irrelevant isn't the best choice.
   134. pkb33 Posted: August 15, 2006 at 06:03 PM (#2141699)
And I also say that prevention of a run is no more valuable in the ninth than at other times in the SAME GAME. And have said it, repeatedly, in this thread. Relievers derive their leverage from appearing in some games and not others. It's not when in the game they appear, but if they appear in the game. The best relievers are held out until the end, in order to be as sure as possible the game is going to be close at end and their innings are not "wasted" in what ends up being a blowout.

Yes, but as noted several times there's no rational basis explained for distinguishing between 'innings within a game' and 'games' in the context we are using them, so this is a distinction without a logical analytic difference.

All players derive their value based on the situation, the frequency, and the effectiveness of their performance. You seem to have different defintions for these depending on who the player is and when they are used, and I think that's baseless.

Lastly, someone who calls innings and games 'artificial labels' shouldn't be attacking anyone else's rhetoric. Just a thought.

That's not, of course, what I said at all. The terms aren't artificial, nor are 'innings' and 'games' themselves. But, as has been explained, your use of them very much is.
   135. pkb33 Posted: August 15, 2006 at 06:10 PM (#2141711)
As above, there can be value in losses, but all runs in the loss have the same value, just as they did in the victory. I don't know how to value the runs in a 5-4 loss vs a 5-4 win (or even a 5-2 loss or 5-2 win) but within the game, on the same team, the runs have equal value.

But this underscores the problem with your approach. You have defined there as being apples and oranges----runs in wins and runs in losses. And you've said you can't explain the relationship (or relative value) between them. Doesn't this show clearly that the approach you are using does not provide a valid means for valuing full-season production by different players?
   136. Chris Dial Posted: August 15, 2006 at 06:19 PM (#2141730)
Seriously, though, has anyone checked whether or not a team which scores 1 run in the first inning is any more or less likely to win a game than a team which scores 1 run in the second or third or fourth or etc.? A team which scores 2 runs? And so forth? Again, if a pattern emerged that later runs were more important to winning, then it might help sway those of us who are more WPA-ambivalent; if not, it might help the people who are more WPA-convinced.

Check retrosheet.

David Smith's SABR34(?) presentation on "Scoring First" did something like this.

And I have long been on the record of not compleetly buying into LI, so at least I'm consistent with my WPA stance - even if I am wrong.
   137. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: August 15, 2006 at 06:27 PM (#2141742)
No, Ortiz failed. Rivera didn't fail or succeed -- he didn't play. Sitting on the bench is different that making outs or errors or giving up runs.

WOW. Someone using an argument AGAINST ORTIZ that sitting on the bench is not a negative.

I guess the fact that he plays DH shouldn't come into play in the MVP argument. After all, he isn't out there making errors.
   138. More Dewey is Always Good Posted: August 15, 2006 at 06:38 PM (#2141753)
I guess the fact that he plays DH shouldn't come into play in the MVP argument. After all, he isn't out there making errors.

I think there's a flaw in the thinking here. After all, the vote isn't whether or not David Ortiz should be the MVP, it's who you think should be MVP. If you think another player's defensive value makes him a more worthy candidate, you vote for him over Ortiz. Simple as that.

The time to take "points off" for being a DH is when he becomes eligible for the Hall of Fame, and he's competing against himself, so to speak.

And yes, Ortiz is definitely more valuable as a DH than he would be out in the field.
   139. Tony H. Posted: August 15, 2006 at 06:39 PM (#2141755)
I read a post awhile back where someone searched for the # of times that Hafner had the opportunity to get a walk off hit- he had less opps than Ortiz had actual walk off hits

That was me. At the time he was 1-3 with a walkoff homer and a walk. During Saturday's double-header, which was after I posted this, he had another walkoff hit. So he is 2-4 with a HR and a walk now. Also, in the second game he hit a go-ahead double in the 8th inning. I made a snarky remark in the game chatter that Ortiz would have done it in the 9th.
   140. Chris Dial Posted: August 15, 2006 at 06:49 PM (#2141772)
And yes, Ortiz is definitely more valuable as a DH than he would be out in the field.

Well, not exactly to his team. Because Ortiz sucks so bad (and he may not, but just for argument's sake), the Sox have to carry another 1B, rather than, say, some masher. And they could play a great LF, rather than Manny. So Ortiz' poor defense hurts the team's roster construct, and thus the team.
   141. The Balls of Summer Posted: August 15, 2006 at 06:56 PM (#2141785)
I guess the fact that he plays DH shouldn't come into play in the MVP argument. After all, he isn't out there making errors.

That's true, he isn't hurting his team OR helping his team out on the field. So when evaluating his chances for the MVP, he recieves no credit or debit for his defense, while a player like Mauer would get a credit, and a player like Ramirez may get a debit. It's very interesting.
   142. More Dewey is Always Good Posted: August 15, 2006 at 07:06 PM (#2141798)
Ortiz' poor defense hurts the team's roster construct, and thus the team.

Okay, but that doesn't mean that it would be better to put him out in the field.

What Ortiz DH'ing could do is actually change the thought process on Ramirez' MVP candidacy. Sure, his defense probably hurts the team, but his presence in left field allows the team to play David Ortiz every day, which definitely helps the team.
   143. Mister High Standards Posted: August 15, 2006 at 07:10 PM (#2141804)
Well, not exactly to his team. Because Ortiz sucks so bad (and he may not, but just for argument's sake), the Sox have to carry another 1B, rather than, say, some masher. And they could play a great LF, rather than Manny. So Ortiz' poor defense hurts the team's roster construct, and thus the team.


Isn't that the same thing as saying that Vernon Wells hurts the blue jays because he can't play SS? Because he can't they have to play John McDonald.
   144. Kyle S Posted: August 15, 2006 at 07:11 PM (#2141807)
I think Ortiz should be punished because the Sox have to play Manny in the field, when considering the MVP vote. Otherwise, you're basically saying he's worth just as much only playing DH as he would be if he was an average fielding defensive 1B who played in the field 150 times a year (DH == 1B in terms of replacement level I think).
   145. pkb33 Posted: August 15, 2006 at 07:12 PM (#2141809)
Well, not exactly to his team. Because Ortiz sucks so bad (and he may not, but just for argument's sake), the Sox have to carry another 1B, rather than, say, some masher. And they could play a great LF, rather than Manny. So Ortiz' poor defense hurts the team's roster construct, and thus the team.

This is true in a 'roster management' sense but if you are going to go to that level in MVP-type analysis then you have to say that Jeter's salary hurts his team, as does his 'need' to play SS even though there's a better SS on the roster, and so forth. If you want to include team position-utlization choices and roster-optimization choices you need to do so consistently across all players.

So while I agree it's true that Ortiz provides no defensive value and thus doesn't have a 'positive' in that area that many players provide, I also think most of the other 'negatives' people attribute to his DH status are bogus and not applied to other players.

Also, it's worth remembering that Ortiz can play first. He's not good at it, but he's better at it than Giambi who has been playing first fairly regularly. So having him at DH is suboptimal, but it's better than playing a position poorly as well.
   146. The Balls of Summer Posted: August 15, 2006 at 07:22 PM (#2141820)
Otherwise, you're basically saying he's worth just as much only playing DH as he would be if he was an average fielding defensive 1B who played in the field 150 times a year (DH == 1B in terms of replacement level I think).

Yeah, I guess I am. I'm not entirely comfortable with that, though. It seems that there should be some credit given for playing in the field, even if you're no better or worse than anyone else. I mean, an average first baseman still has to field ground balls and recieve throws. That has value.
   147. DCA Posted: August 15, 2006 at 07:23 PM (#2141821)
Yes, but as noted several times there's no rational basis explained for distinguishing between 'innings within a game' and 'games' in the context we are using them, so this is a distinction without a logical analytic difference.

You may have noted it several times, but it's wrong. Outcomes of games count in standings. Outcomes of innings count in the games they occur in only.

Inning A in game A and Inning B in game A -- innings within a game -- affect only a single value in the standings, and the outcomes of these innings (runs) are added together with other innings to determine the value that will go into the standings. Because the outcome of innings are additive, it is the case that the same outcome occurring in different innings has the same value. This is a property of the addition operation.

Inning A in game A and Inning C in game B -- different games -- affect different game outcomes. The outcomes of these games are not added directly to each other to determine anything of importance to the team. We don't give teams bonus points in the standings -- or even tie-breakers -- for run differential or outscoring their opponents over the season series or anything of that sort. So there is no structural reason that the same inning outcome occurring in different games has to have the same value. It might, but it doesn't have to. If you can't see the difference between these situations, I don't know what to say, except "wow" or "logical analytic difference doesn't mean what you think it means."

All players derive their value based on the situation, the frequency, and the effectiveness of their performance. You seem to have different defintions for these depending on who the player is and when they are used, and I think that's baseless.

I don't have different definitions. I am simply saying that all runs have equal value to a team within a game (by definition) and the credit each player should receive for that game is in proportion to their contribution to run scoring in that game. This is true for starting pitchers, relievers, DH's, shortstops, etc. However, a run in a close game is worth more than a run in a blowout. How much more? I'm not sure. But there is a distribution of games where there is high marginal win per marginal run, low MW/MR, and all places in the middle. Let's give these an arbitrary scale, where 1 is average, and high MW/MR games have 1.5-1.8 and low MW/MR have 0.2-0.5

For players who appear in essentially all games, their leverage (average opportunity) is close to 1. They may be more valuable than their cumulative stats indicate because they contribute more in close games, such as by walk-off HR or by equivalent HR in the first innings of one-run games. But their average opportunity is still close to 1 because they appear in approximately equal amounts in all types of games. Because they appear in all games.

For players who appear in only some games, at the beginning of the game, like SP, guys who miss a lot of time due to injury, or midseason call-ups who play everyday, their leverage is also close to 1, because there is no way to select the games that they play in being blowouts or close games, because they enter the game when it's 0-0 in the top of the first. There is more variance in these players' leverage (average opportunity) because we're sampling from a smaller number of games.

For players who appear in only some games, but enter in the middle or at the end of games, their leverage may be close to 1 but it may also be far from 1. Why? Because we have additional information about how close the game is going to be, and its likely place on the MW/MR scale. When we bring Rivera into the game, it's likely to end up as a close game, and so Rivera's leverage may be something like 1.6, because he's appearing mostly in high MW/MR games, and not appearing in the low MW/MR games. A mop-up guy, like say (whoever's at the end of the Yankee pen, I don't know) will appear in mostly low MW/MR games and may have leverage something like 0.6.

Please explain to me how this varies "depending on who the player is" because I'm not aware of making any such distinction.
   148. Cowboy Popup Posted: August 15, 2006 at 07:25 PM (#2141826)
"then you have to say that Jeter's salary hurts his team"

No, that's bogus. Ortiz being locked in at DH means that every other player the Sox get has to be able to play their position 155 times a year. You think Nixon might benefit from playing DH a few times a year? Jeter's contract does not tie Torre's hands when it comes to creating the defensive lineup for the game. Does it hurt Cashman from acquiring Carlos Beltran? Probably, but that is not remotely the same thing. Jeter's ability to play SS allows Cashman to be a lot more flexible in finding offense at other positions. Ortiz's need to play DH makes it harder for the Sox to find a spot for strong offensive players on the roster. That's why you should always pay a premium for offense at up the middle players.

"as does his 'need' to play SS even though there's a better SS on the roster"

Who?

"Also, it's worth remembering that Ortiz can play first."

It's also worth remembering that when Ortiz played first, he was a much worse hitter and got hurt frequently.
   149. Chris Dial Posted: August 15, 2006 at 07:27 PM (#2141829)
Isn't that the same thing as saying that Vernon Wells hurts the blue jays because he can't play SS?

No. A DH has no defensive value. Every other position does. Do Wells gets compared to others at his position on offense and defense, while Ortiz only gets offense.

It's one of the many reasons the DH is an abomination and why Bud Selig is commissioner and why we have interleague play. NONE of that would have happened had the DH never been instituted.
   150. DCA Posted: August 15, 2006 at 07:30 PM (#2141833)
It's one of the many reasons the DH is an abomination and why Bud Selig is commissioner and why we have interleague play. NONE of that would have happened had the DH never been instituted.

So the DH is an ambomination because it makes it harder to evaluate MVP candidates?
   151. pkb33 Posted: August 15, 2006 at 07:31 PM (#2141835)
No, that's bogus. Ortiz being locked in at DH means that every other player the Sox get has to be able to play their position 155 times a year. You think Nixon might benefit from playing DH a few times a year? Jeter's contract does not tie Torre's hands when it comes to creating the defensive lineup for the game.

The team's unwillingness to move Jeter does, though.

Ortiz has played 1B when the Sox felt it was in their interests to rest someone else or use them at DH. I agree there's a small impact from others not being used there...but it's a small one and it's not unique to the Sox. Lots of players are used suboptimally for various reasons. If you are going to use that as a consideration, it's much broader than just "players who are at DH"
   152. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: August 15, 2006 at 07:33 PM (#2141838)
It's one of the many reasons the DH is an abomination and why Bud Selig is commissioner and why we have interleague play. NONE of that would have happened had the DH never been instituted.

I'd be interested in hearing how the DH got Bud appointed.
   153. Chris Dial Posted: August 15, 2006 at 07:33 PM (#2141839)
What Ortiz DH'ing could do is actually change the thought process on Ramirez' MVP candidacy. Sure, his defense probably hurts the team, but his presence in left field allows the team to play David Ortiz every day, which definitely helps the team.

Back to the "two sides of a coin", Ortiz hurts the Sox. I don't think that's particularly debateable (or very well debated). Like what cowboy said.
   154. More Dewey is Always Good Posted: August 15, 2006 at 07:33 PM (#2141840)
"then you have to say that Jeter's salary hurts his team"

No, that's bogus.


Yes, that is bogus, although MHS's point (that if we dock Ortiz for not being a 1B, we should dock Wells for not being a SS) still stands.

I don't think roster construction (or salary, for that matter) should enter the discussion when talking about MVP's. A player is what he is, and every player's limitations present challenges when constructing a team around him. A player who plays a high-value defensive position and/or plays good defense provides fewer challenges, and the voters seem to recognize this when it comes time to vote for MVP.
   155. Chris Dial Posted: August 15, 2006 at 07:34 PM (#2141842)
although MHS's point (that if we dock Ortiz for not being a 1B, we should dock Wells for not being a SS) still stands.

No, it doesn't. It's a terrible point.
   156. More Dewey is Always Good Posted: August 15, 2006 at 07:44 PM (#2141852)
No, it doesn't. It's a terrible point.

No, it's a good point. You were saying that Ortiz' inability to play first base hurts the Red Sox. It's just as true to point out that Vernon Wells' inability to play shortstop hurts the Blue Jays.

Look, we all know you hate the existence of the Designated Hitter. But given the nature of the award (value in helping his team) and the fact that the position exists, while it's fair to include defense in the discussion, it's stupid to deduct points because he's not playing a position where he would have even more value, or to talk about how bad he would be if he were playing a different position. Most players fall in that category.
   157. Captain Joe Bivens, Elderly Northeastern Jew Posted: August 15, 2006 at 07:45 PM (#2141853)
Ortiz hurts the Red Sox in the same way that every player hurts his team to some extent. No player is perfect. Ortiz' value to the Red Sox far outweighs his negatives .
   158. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: August 15, 2006 at 07:49 PM (#2141861)
Ortiz' value to the Red Sox far outweighs his negatives.

Unfortunately for the Red Sox, Manny is a below average player.
   159. Slinger Francisco Barrios (Dr. Memory) Posted: August 15, 2006 at 07:51 PM (#2141863)
It's a terrible point.

But I bet you do that. If Wells puts up the same batting numbers as Jeter and they have comparable defense numbers, wouldn't you say Jeter is more valuable? That's all I take MHS to be saying.
   160. Captain Joe Bivens, Elderly Northeastern Jew Posted: August 15, 2006 at 07:57 PM (#2141869)
Unfortunately for the Red Sox, Manny is a below average player.

That is true, but that isn't Ortiz' fault. Pick your poison, while you have two great bats in the lineup.
   161. Chris Dial Posted: August 15, 2006 at 07:59 PM (#2141871)
while it's fair to include defense in the discussion, it's stupid to deduct points because he's not playing a position where he would have even more value, or to talk about how bad he would be if he were playing a different position.

As cowboy points out, a DH-only player hurts his team to a much greater extent, and the comparison of Ortiz offense + no defense is not the same as Wells offense + CF defense. Because DH isn't a position. *EVERY SINGLE MLB PLAYER CAN DO IT* And most have, including pitchers. Teams DH horrific hitters. But that doesn't happen in the field. Ortiz never plays a game in CF. Wells can DH, Ortiz cannot play CF. The degree to which a DH-only player impacts his team defensively in much greater than every other position.

Much. And in an MVP discussion, you penalize fielders when compared to DHs by not having some adjustment, and it's a helluva lot bigger than WPA.
   162. Chris Dial Posted: August 15, 2006 at 08:04 PM (#2141876)
If Wells puts up the same batting numbers as Jeter and they have comparable defense numbers, wouldn't you say Jeter is more valuable?

But the degree is HUGE here. There are no defense numbers for DH.

If Jeter and Ortiz have the same offensive numbers and Jeter is a -10 on defense, do you want to say Ortiz, who has a zero on defense, is more valuable?

oh, and no, I'd look at more numbers - tie-break stuff. I might hedge toward Jeter, but it'd be a flat-footed tie first.
   163. Captain Joe Bivens, Elderly Northeastern Jew Posted: August 15, 2006 at 08:04 PM (#2141878)
How did these MVP's defense factor into their winning the award: Jason Giambi, Jim Rice, Jeff Burroughs, George Bell, Sammy Sosa and Barry Bonds in 2004?
   164. Cowboy Popup Posted: August 15, 2006 at 08:10 PM (#2141882)
"Jason Giambi, Jim Rice, Jeff Burroughs, George Bell, Sammy Sosa and Barry Bonds in 2004?"

Well, the three I've seen play in my life time, Ortiz' offense is nowhere near where what Sosa, Bonds or Giambi's offensive levels were. So if your point is that shitty defensive players who are limited to the corners can win MVPs, fine. They should also be posting ~.370 EQAs. Also, wasn't George Bell like one of the worst choices ever for MVP?
   165. Chris Dial Posted: August 15, 2006 at 08:10 PM (#2141884)
How did these MVP's defense factor into their winning the award: Jason Giambi, Jim Rice, Jeff Burroughs, George Bell, Sammy Sosa and Barry Bonds in 2004?

All those guys didn't win in 2004.
   166. pkb33 Posted: August 15, 2006 at 08:10 PM (#2141885)
You may have noted it several times, but it's wrong. Outcomes of games count in standings. Outcomes of innings count in the games they occur in only.

This is, of course, true but as noted several times (accurately, I might add) stating this truism does nothing to change the player valuation issue I've noted Your own post seems to recognize later that, in fact, we have to include leverage in the calculation though I think you still misperceive how the calculation should occur.

So there is no structural reason that the same inning outcome occurring in different games has to have the same value. It might, but it doesn't have to. If you can't see the difference between these situations, I don't know what to say, except "wow" or "logical analytic difference doesn't mean what you think it means.

I've responded to this several times, and you seem in post 147 to have adopted much of what I've been saying (with one important problem still remaining). But to repeat once again...the right way to value this is not to break it into innings, but rather to recognize that Player A's contribution in game A has a value, as does his contribution in game B. If you want to understand how valuable the player is, you need to assess their contributions to the team success in both games. Not just wins, and not just losses. And you have to so so via a common metric so that you can include all games, not just one set of games.

As I've noted before, not all situations are equal. Thus, for each performance opportunity there is a leverage value for both hitters and pitchers for production in a given situation, whatever that situation may be. Over the course of a season we can add these and ascertain something about the relative value of the actual performance.

What I still think you are mistaken in is applying a random leverage assumption to players based on their role, as you did, outside of their actual production in the situation. That part of post 147 is baseless. The proper approach is to look at production based on the actual situation the player was in. Aggregating performance and aggregating leverage is easier, but not as appropriate.

Please explain to me how this varies "depending on who the player is" because I'm not aware of making any such distinction.

You distinguished between relievers and hitters when applying a leverage adjustment to the production. You also argued that it is more valuable for Rivera to sit on the bench than for David Ortiz to play early in games, though I suspect that was an error on your part.

I think neither of these is accurate, and also that these statements were driven by your opinion on the player, not of the valuation issues.
   167. Chris Dial Posted: August 15, 2006 at 08:11 PM (#2141886)
But seriously, those guys offense + defense was still a higher value than the next guy.

I don't see it as some mystery.
   168. DCW3 Posted: August 15, 2006 at 08:14 PM (#2141888)
Ortiz' offense is nowhere near where what Sosa, Bonds or Giambi's offensive levels were.

Ortiz is probably hitting better this year than Sosa did in 1998.
   169. Captain Joe Bivens, Elderly Northeastern Jew Posted: August 15, 2006 at 08:15 PM (#2141890)
All those guys didn't win in 2004.

Smile when you say that.


Well, the three I've seen play in my life time, Ortiz' offense is nowhere near where what Sosa, Bonds or Giambi's offensive levels were.

Ortiz isn't competing with those guys. He's competing with the rest of the league this year.

I wouldn't be upset if Ortiz didn't win MVP this year. I could see Jeter, Manny, Ortiz, Dye, Thome, and probably a couple more players win, and it wouldn't bother me. I just think ortiz should be in the top 1-8.
   170. pkb33 Posted: August 15, 2006 at 08:16 PM (#2141894)
Much. And in an MVP discussion, you penalize fielders when compared to DHs by not having some adjustment, and it's a helluva lot bigger than WPA.

No, you value the fielder's production, whether it's positive or negative. You penalize them only if they are bad at the position they play. And otherwise, you should adjust the offensive baseline for position by using something position-specific like VORP.

The Yankees would be a better team with Jason Giambi at DH. The idea that he should get 'credit' for being a horrendously awful 1B instead of a DH makes no sense to me.

The idea that there's an 'additional' demerit for a player who is a DH makes little sense either, unless you think 'roster impact' is a valid MVP criteria. And if it is, then salary and other factors are far larger anyway.
   171. Cowboy Popup Posted: August 15, 2006 at 08:18 PM (#2141896)
"Ortiz is probably hitting better this year than Sosa did in 1998."

Right, for some reason I sorta misfired and thought Sosa won in 2001, which he obviously didn't. I'd also argue that Sosa was not a zero in the field in 98.
   172. Kyle S Posted: August 15, 2006 at 08:20 PM (#2141898)
speaking of dye, i got him in my league for $1. should i keep him? if he wins the mvp, it'll be hard not to.
   173. John Lowenstein Apathy Club Posted: August 15, 2006 at 08:23 PM (#2141902)
Using EqA because it's a convenient single rate stat, Ortiz has a .327 EqA this year whereas Sosa had a .319 EqA in '98.

Sammy had 722 plate appearances, and at his current pace Ortiz should fall about 731. So Ortiz wins although it's very close.
   174. Cowboy Popup Posted: August 15, 2006 at 08:25 PM (#2141903)
"Ortiz isn't competing with those guys. He's competing with the rest of the league this year."

So why list them?
   175. Chris Dial Posted: August 15, 2006 at 08:26 PM (#2141904)
No, you value the fielder's production, whether it's positive or negative. You penalize them only if they are bad at the position they play. And otherwise, you should adjust the offensive baseline for position by using something position-specific like VORP.

If you know anything about me, you know I do this (you can see it in my MVP articles under Dialed In).

The Yankees would be a better team with Jason Giambi at DH. The idea that he should get 'credit' for being a horrendously awful 1B instead of a DH makes no sense to me.

That's mostly because you are missing this:
JG off + JG 1B def + BW DH off + BA off + BA RF def >>> AP off + AP 1B def + JG DH off + BW off + BW RF def.

That is why the fact that JG can play a passable, but poor, and not have it ruin his knees or batting is very valuable. It gets another *bat* in the lineup that doesn't have to field.
   176. John Lowenstein Apathy Club Posted: August 15, 2006 at 08:27 PM (#2141905)
Now, that was as a hitter. Their value obviously wasn't close, because Sosa was playing quite well everyday in right field, and filling in occasionally in center and not embarrassing himself. That adds a lot of value over what Ortiz has provided to the Red Sox with his glove, which is ten poor-to-indifferent games at first base.
   177. Chris Dial Posted: August 15, 2006 at 08:28 PM (#2141908)
So why list them?

He listed them because he views their defense as terrible and hopefully pointing up that defense doesn't count in MVP voting. (I think).
   178. More Dewey is Always Good Posted: August 15, 2006 at 08:30 PM (#2141909)
As cowboy points out, a DH-only player hurts his team to a much greater extent

Why? You're saying that an atrocious defensive player has more value when he's standing out in the field, pretending to play defense, than when he's DH'ing?

Because there really is no such thing as a "DH-only" player. You can stick a glove on any player and stick him at any position. He might dramatically hurt his team on defense, but he's still out there. It seems to me like you're saying that that's more valuable than having him DH, where he's not hurting his team on defense.
   179. Jorge Luis Bourjos (Walewander) Posted: August 15, 2006 at 08:34 PM (#2141916)
I think it’s interesting that the Tigers, the best team in the AL, have no one in the discussion.

Ahem. AL Win Shares:

Ramirez 22
Mauer 22
Jeter 21
Guillen 20
Hafner 19
Ortiz 19
Granderson 19
Morneau 19
Giambi 18
Pudge 18

None of these three desrves to win, esp Granderson, who's really tailed off. Carlos Guillen should get much more attention, though.
   180. More Dewey is Always Good Posted: August 15, 2006 at 08:35 PM (#2141920)
JG off + JG 1B def + BW DH off + BA off + BA RF def >>> AP off + AP 1B def + JG DH off + BW off + BW RF def.

Who's "AP"?
   181. pkb33 Posted: August 15, 2006 at 08:36 PM (#2141921)
That's mostly because you are missing this:
JG off + JG 1B def + BW DH off + BA off + BA RF def >>> AP off + AP 1B def + JG DH off + BW off + BW RF def.

That is why the fact that JG can play a passable, but poor, and not have it ruin his knees or batting is very valuable. It gets another *bat* in the lineup that doesn't have to field.


No, I understand that point at least in theory (I'm not sure I agree in practice in the above example). But I don't agree that it's part of the MVP calculus.

First, in the specific case, because I don't believe the incremental hitting the Yankees get is worth the negative glove Giambi brings. But second, and more importantly, if you consider the production of a 'second' player that is enabled by Giambi playing first base you might as well consider the production that (say) the Twins were able to buy in FA because they are paying Mauer so little.

In other words, once you get into team/player specific replacement values there's a lot of other factors that are just as legitimate to include as the extra offense someone else produces that you want to give Giambi credit for. Or that you want to debit Ortiz for not enabling.
   182. Chris Dial Posted: August 15, 2006 at 08:37 PM (#2141922)
Because there really is no such thing as a "DH-only" player.

I think I clarified this in 175.

And Edgar Martinez and Travis Hafner and David Ortiz are pretty close to DH-only.
   183. Cowboy Popup Posted: August 15, 2006 at 08:40 PM (#2141923)
"Ahem. AL Win Shares:"

Those numbers are slightly different from the HardballTimes ones, where are you getting them from?

Of course, that doesn't change the fact that Carlos Guillen is sick nasty. Even Stuart Scott knows he's good now. But doesn't he bat 6th or something? He'll never get any votes.
   184. pkb33 Posted: August 15, 2006 at 08:41 PM (#2141924)
Also, the reality is that Giambi is playing first because he hits better when he fields, isn't it?

I think the more accurate statement would be "the Yankees endure Giambi's -10 glove because he makes it up with improved hitting when he plays the field" and thus, they are worse off because of his peculiar splits than the Indians are with Hafner or the Sox with Ortiz...who provide 0 defense, a superior number to -10.

There's a value in playing someone at a high-value defensive position if they are playable there and it enables another bat to get into the lineup (this was true of Jeter for quite a while, though his defense now appears improved anyway). But this is not true of 1B, really, at the bottom of the defensive spectrum. And it's almost certainly not true of a guy who is the worst 1B in baseball.
   185. Captain Joe Bivens, Elderly Northeastern Jew Posted: August 15, 2006 at 08:42 PM (#2141926)
He listed them because he views their defense as terrible and hopefully pointing up that defense doesn't count in MVP voting. (I think).

That sometimes defense doesn't count in the voting. Some great defensive payers have won the award (Schmidt, ARod, Mays, Mantle). I left Reggie off the list of the horrible defenders. My bad.
   186. Chris Dial Posted: August 15, 2006 at 08:42 PM (#2141927)
In other words, once you get into team/player specific replacement values there's a lot of other factors that are just as legitimate to include as the extra offense someone else produces that you want to give Giambi credit for

They may be legitmate to include, but htey don't have the same impact. As elswhere stated, the ability to play so Manny can take a few days off fromt eh fild, and Nixon can and Youk can (and so on) is very valuable, and since I call ######## on financial roster flexibility, I don't weigh that at all. And Mauer isn't elgible for a higher salary in the construct, so he gets no credit for that. Players don't get credit in my book for artificial constraints from the front office. There are no real budgets when it comes to MVP players.
   187. Chris Dial Posted: August 15, 2006 at 08:45 PM (#2141932)
But this is not true of 1B, really, at the bottom of the defensive spectrum.

As historical data tells us, the top 1B can save as many relative runs as the top (other position) with his glove. Or close to it.

Because many teams use 1B as a dumping ground, the value of a good glove there is nearly as high as it is compared to other positions.
   188. Jorge Luis Bourjos (Walewander) Posted: August 15, 2006 at 08:46 PM (#2141933)
I did get them from THT.. maybe mine/yours are from different dates. Carlos bats anywhere from 3-6, but usually 3-5.
   189. More Dewey is Always Good Posted: August 15, 2006 at 08:47 PM (#2141937)
I think I clarified this in 175.

Well, you pointed out that the main reason those guys play DH is to prevent injury, which is indubitable.

But that doesn't change the fact that those guys can play the field. If there were no DH, I'd be willing to bet real money that David Ortiz and Travis Hafner would be standing in the field somewhere. You might not like the fact that AL teams can use the DH to hide injury-prone or poor defensive players, but they can, just as teams throughout history have used first base and left field to hide those guys (only much more effectively). And the fact that the DH exists indubitably increases the value of guys like Ortiz and Hafner.
   190. Fridas Boss Posted: August 15, 2006 at 08:49 PM (#2141938)
Dial, why does Bobby Abreu have to sit in the right side of your equation? The real substitution effect you should be capturing is gaining Andy Phillips net glove over Giambi's and whatever change in offense there is between Bernie and Andy. Methinks the right side of the equation now looks greater...
   191. RobertMachemer Posted: August 15, 2006 at 08:49 PM (#2141939)
How did these MVP's defense factor into their winning the award: Jason Giambi, Jim Rice, Jeff Burroughs, George Bell, Sammy Sosa and Barry Bonds in 2004?

All those guys didn't win in 2004.
Oh, but they did -- it's just been covered up. The whole "Bonds does steroids and HGH" story is a red herring. The story they don't want you to hear is that Bonds was biologically engineered by Destro and Dr Mindbender using the DNA of Giambi, Rice, Burroughs, Bell, and Sosa. After breaking Ruth's record, he plans to resurrect Cobra-La.

(And you thought that the fear and hatred of Bonds was irrational!)
   192. The Balls of Summer Posted: August 15, 2006 at 08:51 PM (#2141941)
If Jeter and Ortiz have the same offensive numbers and Jeter is a -10 on defense, do you want to say Ortiz, who has a zero on defense, is more valuable?

Yes, that's correct. Ortiz is neither helping or hurting his team on defense, while Jeter would be hurting his team.

It doesn't feel right, but it makes sense to some degree. The argument against this is that Ortiz would be a horrible shortstop, much worse than Jeter. Which is true, but why should Ortiz get penalized for his manager's decisions?
   193. More Dewey is Always Good Posted: August 15, 2006 at 08:53 PM (#2141944)
As elswhere stated, the ability to play so Manny can take a few days off fromt eh fild, and Nixon can and Youk can (and so on) is very valuable

Sure, but as was said above, if Vernon Wells could play shortstop, allowing someone else to play centerfield and taking John McDonald out of the lineup, that would be very valuable, too.

I think it's appropriate to give credit for the value a player does provide, and this happens all the time. It's commonly understood that Derek Jeter's offensive production is not expected to be as high as David Ortiz' offensive production.

But if you start taking away points for the value a player does not provide, you need to do it across the board.
   194. pkb33 Posted: August 15, 2006 at 08:55 PM (#2141945)
They may be legitmate to include, but htey don't have the same impact. As elswhere stated, the ability to play so Manny can take a few days off fromt eh fild, and Nixon can and Youk can (and so on) is very valuable, and since I call ######## on financial roster flexibility, I don't weigh that at all. And Mauer isn't elgible for a higher salary in the construct, so he gets no credit for that. Players don't get credit in my book for artificial constraints from the front office. There are no real budgets when it comes to MVP players.

No one really knows if there's much value to giving guys the occasional day off as you suggest---certainly, the value of it is pretty small and since we have no way to usefully quantify it we might as well say "Ortiz deserves a corresponding amount of credit for keeping the clubhouse loose." I do think there's some cost there, but I'm not sure that it's one that really is outside of the noise, at least as we are discussing MVP candidacies. The better point is the more direct one, that Manny has to play crappy LF because Ortiz is at DH.

The suggestion that there's no real budget would imply that you are a Yankee fan! But in point of fact, once you get into roster-optimization issues I don't really see how you can argue that salary isn't as relevant a consideration as the other things you describe.

Or, to put it another way, do you seriously contend that the 'flexibility' Giambi playing first more than Ortiz does is worth more than the $10 mil less Ortiz is getting paid this year? Or the $15 mil he's getting paid more than Mauer? I suspect virtually no one would agree with that. It sounds a lot like picking and choosing to reach a preferred conclusion to me.

Mauer is not prevented from holding out or from reaching a long-term contract. Plus, more importantly, he is paid what he's paid...why is not important.
   195. Rally Posted: August 15, 2006 at 08:55 PM (#2141946)
That's mostly because you are missing this:
JG off + JG 1B def + BW DH off + BA off + BA RF def >>> AP off + AP 1B def + JG DH off + BW off + BW RF def.


You lost me there Chris, I don't see Bernie's bat better than Andy Phillips, nor do I think even Joe Torre would bench Abreau to keep Bernie in the lineup. Bad example, but a good point nonetheless. Even a bad defensive player contributes at least something above what a DH contributes.
   196. Kyle S Posted: August 15, 2006 at 08:59 PM (#2141950)
The problem with that is, what does "same offensive numbers" mean? if they have the same eqA in the same PAs (setting aside the stupid WPA argument for a moment), then Jeter is clearly ahead because of the lower replacement level. if you mean, same VORP (i.e. replacement level already calculated), then, Yes, Ortiz is more valuable.

I would then ask, what replacement level was chosen for DH? It isn't really fair to simply use the 1B value for reasons discussed earlier (an average fielding 1B who hits like Ortiz is clearly more valuable than ortiz, crazy arguments to the contrary notwithstanding). The bar has to be a lot higher. To me, the penalty is somewhat proprietary or team specific. For the sox, ortiz BETTER hit a ton, because he's forcing manny to play LF.

But at this point we're talking in circles. bar bar bar. Ortiz is going to win, in no small part due to how he performed the two seasons before this one.
   197. pkb33 Posted: August 15, 2006 at 09:00 PM (#2141951)
As historical data tells us, the top 1B can save as many relative runs as the top (other position) with his glove. Or close to it.

Because many teams use 1B as a dumping ground, the value of a good glove there is nearly as high as it is compared to other positions.


Well, I don't think that's really true at the top end but it is true that there's a softer bottom defensively at first.

Of course, the larger issue is that talking about good 1B defenders and what they can save with their glove has NOTHING to do with Jason Giambi playing first, since he's one of the worst defensive players in baseball at any position. He's worse defensively at 1B than most of the DH at-bats the Yankees have had----including, I suspect, Bernie Williams playing there with his CF glove.
   198. Cowboy Popup Posted: August 15, 2006 at 09:01 PM (#2141955)
"Yes, that's correct. Ortiz is neither helping or hurting his team on defense, while Jeter would be hurting his team."

That is wrong.

"The argument against this is that Ortiz would be a horrible shortstop, much worse than Jeter. Which is true, but why should Ortiz get penalized for his manager's decisions?"

The fact is, if Jeter can stand at SS and only be ten runs worse then the average SS while hitting like that, he's actually much more valuable then Ortiz hitting at that level and being a DH. Arguing anything else shows a fundamental misunderstanding of the game. You need someone to play SS. In fact, it's the second (maybe first) most important position on the field. If that person who plays SS can put up a .315 EQA, he is by definition on of the most valuable players in the game. There are 3 or 4 players in the Majors capable of that (Tejada, A-rod, Jeter, and Young maybe). Maybe Stephen Drew can do that next year. Anyone who can hit like Ortiz can play DH. Anyone. Ortiz isn't even the best DH. The fact that you can only put 9 players in the lineup means that the more important a defensive position a hitter can play, the more valuable he is going to be, even if he isn't a stellar defensive player. The thought that a player contributes more value to his team by playing DH then playing a below average but certainly manageable SS is flat out wrong.
   199. DCA Posted: August 15, 2006 at 09:05 PM (#2141962)
This is, of course, true but as noted several times (accurately, I might add) stating this truism does nothing to change the player valuation issue I've noted

I'll ask again: WHAT PLAYER VALUATION ISSUE? I have no ####### idea what you're talking about. If it's that I'm treating players differently based on their role, then you're wrong. BECAUSE I'M NOT DOING THAT.

I've responded to this several times, and you seem in post 147 to have adopted much of what I've been saying (with one important problem still remaining).

I didn't adopt a thing from you. Not a thing. Post 147 is what I've been saying all along, just in more tedious detail.

But to repeat once again...the right way to value this is not to break it into innings, but rather to recognize that Player A's contribution in game A has a value, as does his contribution in game B.

Of course this is the case. When I responded to Dizzy earlier I said this was the case. Can you stop misrepresenting me now? The contributions within a game all have value ... in proportion to how much they helped the team win or not win ... which is to say, in proportion to the runs that they created. Between games, there has to be some scaling based on game outcome in order to add it up across games, and I'm not sure how to do that, but if you get to your final scale and it doesn't treat runs within games as equal, you're distorting the way you assign credit within the game and you've got a junk stat that may cause more harm than good, like WPA used after the fact when we have "what comes next" information which may give you more "points" for out-2B-2B-HR than HR-2B-2B-HR and that's just ridiculous.

What I still think you are mistaken in is applying a random leverage assumption to players based on their role, as you did, outside of their actual production in the situation. That part of post 147 is baseless. The proper approach is to look at production based on the actual situation the player was in. Aggregating performance and aggregating leverage is easier, but not as appropriate.

You can't leverage(verb) a player who plays in every game, for the whole game. Leveraging(verb) is when a player can only play some of the time and so you either pick close high-leverage(adj) games for a good player or low-leverage(adj) games for a bad player. Leverage(noun) is the average opportunity to add value and with normal usage is high for a good RP, low for a bad RP, and approximately 1 for all SP and everyday position players, because they play in approximately equal amounts in all situations. Not sure about position player subs.

Adding up somebody's leverage doesn't say a thing about their value. Not a thing. Having an average leverage also does not mean that you didn't contribute extra value by being "clutch." I think you are confusing "value" and "leverage" when I talk about them. Yes, you are right that to get at value you have to integrate performance and leverage at an earlier state. But you DON'T do that -- you CAN'T do that -- if you are talking about a player's leverage, because that calculation does not involve performance, only opportunity.

You also argued that it is more valuable for Rivera to sit on the bench than for David Ortiz to play early in games, though I suspect that was an error on your part.

Do you still not get this? I'll answer again. It is more valuable for Rivera to sit on the bench than it is for Ortiz to fail to make hits. You said these were the same. In post 118. I was responding to that statement and nothing more. Ortiz playing at his normal level is more valuable than Rivera not playing. Ortiz making outs is NOT. Both of these Ortiz situations are DIFFERENT than Rivera not playing.

I think neither of these is accurate, and also that these statements were driven by your opinion on the player, not of the valuation issues.

David Ortiz is a more valuable player than Mo Rivera. I don't think it's particularly close. Did I just blow your mind or are you used to making #### up based on something no one ever said?
   200. Srul Itza Posted: August 15, 2006 at 09:10 PM (#2141964)
If you're still asking, AP = Andy Phillips
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