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Monday, August 16, 2010

The Great #6org Discussion

If you’ve read the comments of nearly any post I’ve written in the last few months, you’ve probably seen someone reference #6org, the popular twitter hashtag meme that was born out of our pre-season organizational rankings. A lot of people objected to that ranking when it came out, and the fact that the Mariners have been a disaster this year has only fueled the flames.

I’ve generally ignored the #6org crowd and just let them have their fun. I didn’t want to come across as defensive, and the comments were always off the topic of the actual post anyway. I don’t like encouraging people to hijack the comments of a post on a given subject, so we’ve just glossed over the comments and moved on.

That said, I know there are reasonable people who feel like the ranking is worth discussing in light of how Seattle’s season has gone. So, if you’re one of those people, the next day or two is for you.

Thus ends the internets.

The Nightman Cometh Posted: August 16, 2010 at 10:56 PM | 53 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. asinwreck Posted: August 16, 2010 at 11:19 PM (#3617651)
I didn’t want to come across as defensive,


We wouldn't dream of ever seeing you that way, Mr. Cameron.
   2. DKDC Posted: August 16, 2010 at 11:21 PM (#3617652)
He’s still not answering the basic question for me:

Please provide A, B, C, D for your system, and W, X, Y, and Z for all teams that justified a #6 ranking back in March.

Weighting (sum to 100%)
Current Talent A%
Young Talent B%
Organizational/Management Talent C%
Revenue Potential D%

Score (1 to 100)
Current Talent W
Young Talent X
Organizational/Management Talent Y
Revenue Potential Z

Organizational Rank Value = A*W+B*X+C*Y+D*Z
   3. shozzlekhan Posted: August 16, 2010 at 11:45 PM (#3617666)
We'll see how it plays out, but this is a good post from Cameron imo.
   4. . . . . . . Posted: August 16, 2010 at 11:48 PM (#3617668)
The crack of the bat
Dave Cameron's blather-
Oh, sounds of summer.

"I guess I should have nominated Cano in the most overrated prospect thread the other day. That he still gets talked up as some kind of top prospect (not pointing at John here, by the way) amazes me.

I’ve seen Cano play a lot, and I’m not even sure he’d be a productive Triple-A player. Let’s start with his defense; it’s brutal. He has terrible footwork and simply lacks any kind of instincts around the bag. There’s no way you want him playing up the middle. He might have the raw speed to not be awful in left field, but that’s about as kind as I can be regarding his glovework. Offensively, he’s a fastball hitter. He sits dead red on every pitch and waits for a mistake. Any good breaking ball or offspeed pitch will have him out in front. He’s mostly a gap hitter, lacking the power to drive the ball consistently over the wall. To add insult to injury, he’s also a terrible baserunner.

In his prime, I think he could hit .280/.320/.400 while playing awful defense. Yipee."
   5. Greg Franklin Posted: August 16, 2010 at 11:58 PM (#3617677)
Part 2 is here, with his responses to #6org antagonists.

Part 2
   6. ?Donde esta Dagoberto Campaneris? Posted: August 17, 2010 at 12:02 AM (#3617680)
Hey look, I'm more ridiculous that the Mariners' ranking.

I think it's fair to say that in terms of ranking organizations, Dave Cameron is more of an innings eater than an ace.
   7. Zoppity Zoop Posted: August 17, 2010 at 12:07 AM (#3617686)
Why not pick on Szym? Home-field advantage? If I'm not mistaken, he's partially responsible for the Mariners being on a magazine cover.
   8. Hugh Jorgan Posted: August 17, 2010 at 12:10 AM (#3617689)
sorry, too easy of a target. I like my prey to be a bit more elusive...
   9. Famous Original Joe C Posted: August 17, 2010 at 12:13 AM (#3617693)
The crack of the bat
Dave Cameron's blather-
Oh, sounds of summer.


#### off, #######.
   10. SY Ruined School Lunches! Posted: August 17, 2010 at 12:15 AM (#3617695)
I used to think Cameron was a bit of a douche, until I encountered the people who insist on craming this stupid meme into every thread.
   11. Brian White Posted: August 17, 2010 at 12:17 AM (#3617699)
Hey, everyone! Dave Cameron once said something that later turned out to be wrong! Everyone point and laugh!

I mean, I understand the dislike for Cameron. But I find the reflexive Cameron-bashing to be much more annoying than Cameron himself.
   12. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: August 17, 2010 at 12:25 AM (#3617708)
David would have helped himself by telling everyone who likes his writing and/or agrees with him to not post.

Having a dozen Dave wannabes attack every legit comment or question is annoying

David should have told his Greek chorus to go wash his car
   13. Jim Wisinski Posted: August 17, 2010 at 12:32 AM (#3617719)
I used to think Cameron was a bit of a douche


I used to think Cameron was a bit of a douche, nowadays I think the same thing about 'zop too.
   14. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: August 17, 2010 at 12:39 AM (#3617727)
Why not pick on Szym?


Because he's not an #######, and he's willing to admit that he's wrong when he's made a mistake.
   15. ?Donde esta Dagoberto Campaneris? Posted: August 17, 2010 at 12:44 AM (#3617732)
Hey, everyone! Dave Cameron once said something that later turned out to be wrong!

No one cares that he was wrong. It's how he responded (and how he responds generally) to people who question his analysis that makes him a punching bag when his analysis blows up in his face. In short, if you say X and I question you, if your response is "of course it's X because I'm smarter than you," you're going to get clowned. And if it turns out to be Y instead of X, you'll be further clowned. And rightfully so.

More important than simply tweaking an intellectually insecure little man, there is this- despite being someone who still questions a great deal about sabermetrics and numerical analysis of baseball generally, I find some of the insights invaluable and I want everyone to be exposed to such analysis as it provides more ways to think about the greatest game I've ever encountered. Such efforts at introduction are frequently retarded by analysts who act like ######## when people question their analysis. Cameron isn't such an analyst, he's practically a caricature of one. And I think people interested in advancing sabermetrics (like many of the people who read and post on this site) do well for the effort to broaden its appeal by placing themselves as far from Cameron as possible. Some might suggest that such is unnecessary or unwarranted, I respectfully disagree.
   16. Walt Davis Posted: August 17, 2010 at 12:45 AM (#3617733)
It is a tough call -- Dane was better but Garth had the longer career. Garth wins the WAR battle 1.8 to 1.0, Dane wins the OPS+ battle 92 to 72.
   17. xbhaskarx Posted: August 17, 2010 at 12:59 AM (#3617741)
Hey, everyone! Dave Cameron once said something that later turned out to be wrong! Everyone point and laugh!


Once??
   18. Spahn Insane Posted: August 17, 2010 at 01:00 AM (#3617742)
Never saw the M's underperform.
   19. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: August 17, 2010 at 01:05 AM (#3617750)
Cameron isn't such an analyst, he's practically a caricature of one. And I think people interested in advancing sabermetrics (like many of the people who read and post on this site) do well for the effort to broaden its appeal by placing themselves as far from Cameron as possible. Some might suggest that such is unnecessary or unwarranted, I respectfully disagree.


This is what I agree with. I've grown bored with the #6org jokes, and 'zop's one-note Cano agenda has been old for a very, very long time, but Cameron does damage to the project of spreading new ideas with his fascist instincts. And further, it would be one thing if it were earned -- it bugs me when MGL does it, but at least he has the goods; Cameron's just another guy with a laptop and a website, really, not right or wrong more often than anybody else, not terribly insightful, not an innovator, and not much of a writer. If he had ANY of those things over other people, it would mitigate his attitude and behavior a little. But he doesn't -- so the only function he really serves is to antagonize people who disagree with him, which is bad for discourse.
   20. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: August 17, 2010 at 01:17 AM (#3617755)
The biggest problem with the Cano rant is that the kid wasn't even considered a top prospect at the time that Cameron wrote it. In fact, Cano was never considered a top prospect. He was just a 21 year-old kid who'd held his own in half a season at AAA, but was generally considered (even within his own organization) to be unlikely to be able to play middle infield in the majors. Cameron pretended that this was a highly touted Yankee prospect just so he could mock an organization and fanbase that he hates. He created a strawman and ravaged it, and then his strawman came to life and ravaged him right back. Karma's a #####.
   21. ?Donde esta Dagoberto Campaneris? Posted: August 17, 2010 at 01:34 AM (#3617767)
He created a strawman and ravaged it

This appears to be something of a pattern. The same thing occurred with the Jered Weaver "more innings eater than ace" nonsense. It was during the course of a discussion with Rich Lederer who had not called Weaver an ace (nor anything approximating such- he had actually just referred to him as a third starter.) Cameron introduced the ace notion in order to use the innings-eater styling. And much like the Cano bit, it didn't work out so well for him.
   22. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 17, 2010 at 02:11 AM (#3617809)
David would have helped himself by telling everyone who likes his writing and/or agrees with him to not post.

Having a dozen Dave wannabes attack every legit comment or question is annoying

David should have told his Greek chorus to go wash his car


This 1000 times. Cameron's "I'm smarter than you" schtick is lame and annoying, but his sycophants are absolutely unbearable.
   23. MGS Hamster Posted: August 17, 2010 at 02:18 AM (#3617822)
I really don't care about Dave's Cano predictions at all.

But for this Seattle thing, he deserves all the scorn he can get.

It's not just that he's wrong, everybody's wrong sometimes.

But even now, the guy won't admit he's wrong. And he's not just wrong about player performance. Forget the on field stuff. If you asked fans which organization was most dysfunctional this year, I think only the Mets and Mariners would be in the discussion. And that's exactly what he gave them so much credit for.

Plus, as others have pointed out, he has no reason to be so damn smug. He's not smarter than the average poster here. He's just like Sheehan, he thinks working with smart people makes him smart as well.
   24. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: August 17, 2010 at 02:22 AM (#3617826)
He's just like Sheehan


Sheehan's gotten worse as he's gotten older, but there was a time when he was both funny and insightful on a just-watchin'-the-game level. Cameron's never been in possession of either of those qualities.
   25. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: August 17, 2010 at 02:29 AM (#3617836)
Voxter:

That is ridiculous. Joe Sheehan wouldn't know insight from a tire iron.

I respect David Cameron for recognizing that Sheehan (and others) would detract from the brand BPro was trying to build and leaving. David started fresh and went in a new direction. Sheehan stood on the shoulders of giants (hyperbole of course) and got himself an SI job that will eventually fade into nothing.

David's work causes others to think. Sheehan is the burning nettle of Internet writing. Irritating just being in the vicinity, painful if you have direct contact and you cannot feed it to anyone or they get sick.
   26. rr Posted: August 17, 2010 at 02:44 AM (#3617855)
Sheehan is the burning nettle of Internet writing.
Joe Sheehan wouldn't know insight from a tire iron.


HW continues his reign as BTF's most entertaining user of figurative language.
   27. rr Posted: August 17, 2010 at 02:49 AM (#3617864)
No one cares that he was wrong. It's how he responded (and how he responds generally) to people who question his analysis that makes him a punching bag when his analysis blows up in his face. In short, if you say X and I question you, if your response is "of course it's X because I'm smarter than you," you're going to get clowned. And if it turns out to be Y instead of X, you'll be further clowned. And rightfully so.


I agree with most of this.It also didn't help him that he is a Mariners fan. If he could just say, "Well, looks I was wrong on that one, and maybe my fandom got the best of me a little on this issue" people would leave it alone.

But he can't. I read the links; he can't do it. The guy is just not wired that way.
   28. MGS Hamster Posted: August 17, 2010 at 03:59 AM (#3617893)
It's a rare guy like Joe Posnanski who can truly maintain their humility in the face of overwhelming success and praise. For a lot of writers, it's success that breeds bad writing. Bill Simmons might be the best example of a guy who went from an entertaining underdog voice to a boring, self-satisfied and smug one. I still enjoy some of his work, but mostly I avoid it. This is different than age or time related decline, like Gammons and James.

I think the key to Poz's success in this regard is that he's always styled his viewpoint as a fan, and never pretended to be an expert. Simmons is somewhere in the middle, and I think it's his fandom that drives his better writing. Cameron and Sheehan rarely put on the fan hat, and constantly feel the need to assert their expertise. That's what makes them so abrasive.
   29. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: August 17, 2010 at 04:09 AM (#3617897)
David's work causes others to think.


I guess to each his own, but all David Cameron's work has ever caused me to think was, "If only I had a ball-peen hammer."

I used to enjoy Sheehan's writing. I haven't read it in a long time, but the idea that David Cameron does anything positive that Joe Sheehan didn't is simply Flat Earth kind of stuff.

It's a rare guy like Joe Posnanski who can truly maintain their humility in the face of overwhelming success and praise.


All Cameron's got is a moderately popular blog with a comments section that's moderated to eliminate anybody who's not a sycophant. There's nothing "overwhelming" his innate humility; he just doesn't have any, for reasons that are far beyond my grasp.
   30. nick swisher hygiene Posted: August 17, 2010 at 04:51 AM (#3617915)
about the only fact I know about either Harvey or Sheehan is that the former has a deep, abiding loathing for the latter.

I can't decide if this is weird, or just part of what makes the internets so great....
   31. nick swisher hygiene Posted: August 17, 2010 at 04:56 AM (#3617918)
also, let's not pretend we have coherent ethico-philosophical reasons for mocking Cameron, those of us who do it. the interwebs were invented so that guys could act like di¢ks and other guys could mock them elaborately for it. surely this is simple enough?
   32. ?Donde esta Dagoberto Campaneris? Posted: August 17, 2010 at 05:49 AM (#3617931)
let's not pretend we have coherent ethico-philosophical reasons for mocking Cameron

Yeah but if you put a cool veneer on the whole bit, it sounds more European. Some girls like that- which makes it nominally coherent.

You're probably right though. Mostly I just think Cameron is a tool. But it's true I don't care for the fact that some of the more prominent Sabr-types seem like nozzles. It's bad for team morale.
   33. Athletic Supporter is USDA certified lean Posted: August 17, 2010 at 06:13 AM (#3617935)
You're probably right though. Mostly I just think Cameron is a tool. But it's true I don't care for the fact that some of the more prominent Sabr-types seem like nozzles. It's bad for team morale.


I can't believe that you are citing team chemistry. Hand over that little red SABR book right now.
   34. RobertMachemer Posted: August 17, 2010 at 06:37 AM (#3617937)
Never saw the M's underperform.
My eyes! The goggles do nothing!
   35. Walt Davis Posted: August 17, 2010 at 06:48 AM (#3617939)
Joe Sheehan wouldn't know insight from a tire iron.

I am reasonably certain that if I hit Sheehan with a tire iron, he would gain insight.

I haven't read Sheehan in yonks. I don't know if I ever found him "insightful" but he was almost certain BPro's best writer (I recall Keith Law wasn't bad). Neither of them struck me as a sabermetrician really, just guys who could take sabermetric results and write something often worth reading.

But Sheehan definitely had a strong streak of the same thing Cameron does -- Sheehan wasn't shy about calling other people morons. As long as it's not overdone, I can live with that -- good thing, since I do that a good amount too.
   36. RobertMachemer Posted: August 17, 2010 at 06:57 AM (#3617942)
EDIT

Anyone can be wrong. (For instance, a totally irrelevant example: sometimes people are wrong for double-posting, say, a lame Simpsons reference). When faced with one's own fallibility, one can either admit one did wrong, or one can try to ignore it (perhaps even covering it up), pretending it didn't happen and hoping that no one noticed. Real men admit their mistakes immediately. Those who deserve mockery take the second route.
   37. PreservedFish Posted: August 17, 2010 at 07:07 AM (#3617943)
"I guess I should have nominated Cano in the most overrated prospect thread the other day.


Good God, this neverending crusade is worse than Cameron's 6 worst statements combined.
   38. Jeff R. Posted: August 17, 2010 at 10:52 AM (#3617959)
Really, the comments in the original #6org article were just mind-blowingly hilarious. The Mariners front office is sooo smart - one of them went to MIT! The M's now have the most advanced weight room in baseball! We don't know what the next market inefficiency in baseball is, but the Mariners are totally working on it right now (and other teams aren't?).
   39. rfloh Posted: August 17, 2010 at 10:52 AM (#3617960)

I used to enjoy Sheehan's writing. I haven't read it in a long time, but the idea that David Cameron does anything positive that Joe Sheehan didn't is simply Flat Earth kind of stuff.


The idea that Joe Sheehan ever did anything positive (in a sabermetric / baseball sense) is simply Flat Earth kind of stuff.

Sheehan used / uses sabermetrics as a club / tool / weapon to promote his preferred baseball aesthetic (walks and 3 run homers), and to make money (note, I'm not saying that there's anything wrong with this). Cameron might get things wrong, Cameron might be very abrasive, but at least from reading his various posts and article over the years, and from interacting with him, he is interested in sabermetrics as a means to understand basebal.
   40. bobm Posted: August 17, 2010 at 11:11 AM (#3617964)
[40] Really, the comments in the original #6org article were just mind-blowingly hilarious.

Most of the "blowing" in that piece took place well south of the "mind."
   41. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: August 17, 2010 at 11:22 AM (#3617966)
This thread is not my fault!
   42. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: August 17, 2010 at 11:35 AM (#3617969)
he is interested in sabermetrics as a means to understand basebal.


This is news to me. He's interested in sabermetrics inasmuch as they make him feel smart and agree with preconceived opinions; maybe in person he can put on a veneer of something else, but it's whitheringly obvious what he's up to when you read what he writes.
   43. 185/456(GGC) Posted: August 17, 2010 at 11:41 AM (#3617973)
Eh, he's no Bill Barnwell.
   44. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: August 17, 2010 at 12:35 PM (#3617988)
I am reasonably certain that if I hit Sheehan with a tire iron, he would gain insight.

Walt wins.
   45. Greg Franklin Posted: August 17, 2010 at 05:29 PM (#3618369)
The discussion continues....

Part 3

This is news to me. He's interested in sabermetrics inasmuch as they make him feel smart and agree with preconceived opinions; maybe in person he can put on a veneer of something else, but it's whitheringly obvious what he's up to when you read what he writes.

What is he up to that is contrary to sabermetrics? It's not obvious to me.
   46. Walt Davis Posted: August 17, 2010 at 08:30 PM (#3618647)
Now, to try to be fair, I've called up the fangraphs 2010 org rankings ... I'm not sure if these were all done by Cameron or not. I haven't read any of these in detail yet and I don't have a clue how they're weighting things. I'm gonna judge it by just a couple of criteria -- how are they doing this year; how much has their ranking changed from 2009 and does that seem likely?

The 2010 rankings

OK, anybody can slap Yanks, Red Sox, Rays at the top and feel good about themselves. To their credit, fangraphs had the Rangers at #4 and Twins at #5. Of their top 10, I believe the Ms are the only below-500 team and 8 of the 10 (Rockies) are in the playoff hunt (though the Red Sox are fading).

On the other hand, Reds 20, Giants 23, White Sox 24, Blue Jays 26, and Padres 27 don't seem insightful at all. Nor do Indians 13, DBacks 16, Os 17. The DBacks in particular were actually a franchise in free fall but they put them middle of the pack. The DBacks write-up focuses almost entirely on their 2010 prospects. As in the Ms writeup, the "hey, this is a high variance team, anything between 65 and 95 wins is possible" angle is played. They list a number of "if this goes right" points -- and every single one went wrong. It's an example where the "analysis" has provided no insight whatsoever and it's clear they had no inside information or unique perspective that foresaw the purge of the front office.

I also think the Nats make an interesting comparison. Compare the Nats and the Ms. Dunn, Zimmerman and Strasburg vs. Ichiro, King Felix and (at the time) Cliff Lee. Near as I can tell, the Ms have no young talent on the way while the Nats have a fair amount. Both have new front offices with (apparently) sharp young guys in charge. The Ms were #6 and the Nats were #28. It's fair to say the Ms 2010 prospects looked better than the Nats but for 2011-2013? I don't see 22 places of difference there.


Looking 2009-2010

The Ms jumped from #15 to #6 ... why? They added Cliff Lee (obviously a good move) and Figgins (not obviously a good move) but, then, they had been an overachieving team in 2009. They downgraded in a few other places. There wasn't anything particularly brilliant about their draft and the minor-league system wasn't revamped overnight.

To their credit, many of the mid-level teams in 2010 cited above had been dropped substantially from 2009. But what is it about the Cubs that dropped them from #7 to #18? The Cubs 2010 analysis is another high-variance one -- fair enough, that was pretty much my pre-season 2010 Cubs analysis but, again, there's nothing in their analysis that is original. Their analysis basically is "the Cubs have some nice players and a high payroll and could be good; on the other hand, they're getting old, Hendry isn't a great spender of money and the big contracts will hinder them long-term." Thing is, all that was true in 2009 too -- they got a year older and dropped 11 spots in the rankings? This just again raises the question of what weight is being given to current vs. future performance.

Again, give them credit for the Rangers -- they moved them up from #12 to #4. But why did the Twins go from #18 to #5 -- i.e. why were the 2009 Twins as low as #18 and what did they do to move up 13 spots? Was signing Mauer worth 13 spots? Otherwise the 2010 Twins team doesn't look that different from the 2009 Twins team.

The Rox also made a huge move from #23 to #7. In 2009, they handed out grades in 4 areas (not in 2010) and Rox got a C- for ownership, C for front office, B- for ML talent and B- for minor talent. No explanation is given for the jump -- ownership and FO are the same people and the 2010 analysis makes it clear they didn't like the 2010 offseason moves. The closest we come is that the Rox homegrown talent is entering their prime -- which would justify a higher grade for the ML talent but enough to jump them 16 spots? In 2009, they had B- minor-league talent but in 2010 the Rox are described as a talent development machine.

Of course you're always going to have some organizations you under-rated in 2009 and you correct and maybe over-rate them in 2010. I don't mean to pick nits. But explanations of why they've moved up or down substantially would seem obvious.
   47. Rally Posted: October 19, 2010 at 03:15 PM (#3668498)
Yes, the offense was going to be mediocre at best, but nobody was predicting it to be this bad. Anyone who said they saw 236/302/338 from the offense is straight-out lying.


Cameron tried to pin me down to a number when before the season I described the Mariner's offense as "pathetic". The number I gave him was six hundred and sixty six. So no, I didn't see 513 coming but I did see an offense that would be worst in the league or thereabouts.
   48. cardsfanboy Posted: October 19, 2010 at 03:22 PM (#3668507)
6. ?Donde esta Dagoberto Campaneris? Posted: August 16, 2010 at 08:02 PM (#3617680)

Hey look, I'm more ridiculous that the Mariners' ranking.

I think it's fair to say that in terms of ranking organizations, Dave Cameron is more of an innings eater than an ace.


wow, you are right that list is whacked, Mets #5 blows away Seattle being listed in the top half for sheer absurdity(and yes, even at the time that Cameron made the list, Seattle being in the top half was silly)

Edit:of course that list is also a Cameron list, I figured with that list he should have realized that grading organizations is something he really can't do well.
   49. zenbitz Posted: October 19, 2010 at 04:08 PM (#3668556)
Hold the freakin' phone here a minute.

Can *anyone* grade organizations? How would you even know if a given grade was correct ONE YEAR AFTER the ranking? He was not attempting to grade organizations with 2010 performance as the metric.

That wouldn't make any sense at all.

That being said @2 has a good point.

It may be that Cameron's rankings are crap -- but you can't judge them based on the fact that he put the M's 6th and they had a terrible offense.
   50. Nasty Nate Posted: October 19, 2010 at 04:13 PM (#3668563)
but you can't judge them based on the fact that he put the M's 6th and they had a terrible offense.


that's only one of many things they are being judged on that went terribly for the organization this year.
   51. Ron Johnson Posted: October 19, 2010 at 04:13 PM (#3668566)
the interwebs were invented so that guys could act like di¢ks and other guys could mock them elaborately for it.


Somebody in Canada is challenging this assumption:

Officer Bubbles sues Youtube

(Dan beware the next time you're tempted to bring Billy out to play. At least make sure your target isn't a Canadian Cop)

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