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Monday, November 05, 2007

The Baseball Analysts: Lederer: The Bill James Handbook 2008 - Part One

Still waiting for Lederer to get around to re-reviewing Bill James’ 1989 Baseball Abstract…oh? no?..Ok…..on to the 2008 Handbook then!

Dewan points out that Manny Ramirez had the worst plus/minus in all of MLB over the last three years (-109). “Does that make him baseball’s worst defender? Maybe, but there is a question because of the wall in Fenway Park. Are his numbers hurt by the wall? The answer is clearly yes. Balls that hit the wall might be catchable in other parks. It’s an adjustment we need to make but haven’t gotten around to as of yet, mostly because unique park configurations like Fenway are not as common elsewhere. Ramirez was below average in road games as well, though nowhere near as poor as his overall numbers would suggest.”

The author proceeds to ask if Derek Jeter (-90) is the worst defender? “Well, Jeter’s poor numbers do not have a caveat like Manny’s do. There are no significant park effects clouding his stats. The numbers suggest that Jeter has hurt his team defensively as much or more than any other player in baseball. Having said that, you can still make a good case for Jeter being the best shortstop in the game. Given all that he brings to the team – hitting, baserunning, leadership, overall baseball savvy (including as a defender) – nearly every basebll general manager would prefer Jeter over almost any other shortstop. But, defensively, he’s not the best. Do I personally think he’s the worst defensive shortstop in baseball? No, but he’s far from deserving to be a guy who will probably win his fourth Gold Glove in as many years. He’s a below-average defender who should never have received a Gold Glove in the first place.”

Repoz Posted: November 05, 2007 at 01:20 PM | 9 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: books, sabermetrics

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   1. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: November 05, 2007 at 01:45 PM (#2605336)
It’s an adjustment we need to make but haven’t gotten around to as of yet...

Hasn't the Monster effect been discussed for like five years now? How hard can it be to fix? Just stop counting balls more than 9 or 10 feet up the wall as catchable.
   2. Slinger Francisco Barrios (Dr. Memory) Posted: November 05, 2007 at 01:48 PM (#2605339)
Hasn't the Monster effect been discussed for like five years now? How hard can it be to fix? Just stop counting balls more than 9 or 10 feet up the wall as catchable.

A-effing-men on that one. Sounds like a slam dunk to me, wonder what's keeping them from doing it.
   3. Rafael Bellylard: The Grinch of Orlando. Posted: November 05, 2007 at 01:51 PM (#2605340)
wonder what's keeping them from doing it.


Stats guys would actually need to watch games.
   4. Rally Posted: November 05, 2007 at 01:56 PM (#2605343)
"There will be a time in the future, probably not too long from now, when this baserunning data will be published for all teams and all players over the last 50 years. When that happens, we'll be in a better position to understand the role of baserunning (other than base stealing) in creating runs. This data is the first step along that road."

I know there are people who have run this, its all available for someone who wants to crunch the retrosheet files. I'm surprised nobody's published it yet.
   5. Rally Posted: November 05, 2007 at 01:58 PM (#2605347)
Ramirez was below average in road games as well, though nowhere near as poor as his overall numbers would suggest.


I wish he'd just tell us what the home/road numbers are. MGL did post Manny's road only UZR numbers at his site, and the end result is that he's just a typical bad leftfielder - no better or worse than Dunn, Burrell, Lee, and the rest of those born-DH types.
   6. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: November 05, 2007 at 02:02 PM (#2605358)
Stats guys would actually need to watch games.

Cute. But in reality, only the guys who chart balls in zone would have to watch the games. You know, those guys who are already getting paid to watch the games.
   7. villageidiom Posted: November 05, 2007 at 03:27 PM (#2605437)
...nearly every basebll general manager would prefer Jeter over almost any other shortstop. But, defensively, he’s not the best. Do I personally think he’s the worst defensive shortstop in baseball? No...
...but only if you consider Manny Ramirez a shortstop.
   8. The importance of being Ernest Riles Posted: November 05, 2007 at 04:40 PM (#2605548)
Hasn't the Monster effect been discussed for like five years now? How hard can it be to fix? Just stop counting balls more than 9 or 10 feet up the wall as catchable.


Fixed: http://frontier.cincinnati.com/blogs/spring/2007/11/q-with-john-dewan.asp

Q: Is there any part of fielding statistics that you're working on improving? Will there ever be a way for fielding statistics to tell us as much as batting statistics?

A: We're always working on improving. Since we went to print with the Handbook just two weeks ago, we have already added a new element to the Plus/Minus System. It's the Manny Adjustment. We no longer "punish" outfielders on balls that hit an outfield wall at a height that is physically out of reach. We now treat these balls the same way as home runs by removing them from consideration. Manny Ramirez went from a -38 to a -24, a huge improvement, but still a poor performance. Coco Crisp winds up with the highest plus/minus figure (+26) in center field with the adjustment.
   9. BDC Posted: November 05, 2007 at 05:01 PM (#2605569)
He believes the young talent in 2007 exceeds the previous peak in 1964 (which included Dick Allen, Lou Brock, Johnny Callison, Rico Carty, Dean Chance, Tony Conigliaro, Willie Davis, Bill Freehan, Jim Fregosi, Jim Kaat, Mickey Lolich, Sam McDowell, Dave McNally, Tony Oliva, Gaylord Perry, Vada Pinson, Boog Powell, Pete Rose, Ron Santo, Wilie Stargell, Luis Tiant, Joe Torre, and Carl Yastrzemski, among others)

You know, there is a certain imprecision in this reckoning (quite apart from the oft-noted problems with how James made up his top-50 list) that bugs me.

I mean, how about the young talent in 1991 (a year I just chose at complete random)? 25-and-unders in the majors in that great season include Frank Thomas, Ken Griffey Jr., Albert Belle, Jeff Bagwell, David Justice, Ruben Sierra, Larry Walker, Robin Ventura, Juan Gonzalez, Luis Gonzalez, Roberto Alomar, John Olerud, Craig Biggio, Bernie Williams, Mo Vaughn, Jim Thome, Ivan Rodriguez, Tino Martinez, Sammy Sosa, Kenny Lofton, Reggie Sanders, Curt Schilling, Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux, Mike Mussina, Jack McDowell, John Smoltz, Charles Nagy, Tom Gordon, Rod Beck, and John Wetteland. And Barry Bonds was only 26. Un-be-freaking-lievable :)

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