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Sunday, August 29, 2021

Yadier Molina’s Hall of Fame case is perplexing, but here’s why the catcher is deserving


Earlier this week, venerable Cardinals backstop Yadier Molina announced that—after signing a one-year extension with the Cardinals—2022 would be his final season. Once his farewell tour ends, it will bring to an end a 19-year career all with the Cardinals. It’s a career that includes 10 All-Star Games, nine Gold Gloves, four Platinum Gloves, two World Series titles and plenty of adulation from the St. Louis area and beyond.

Once Molina has been retired for five years, he’ll be on the Hall of Fame ballot. His case is a perplexing one at the intersection of numbers and the so-called intangibles.

In JAWS, Molina ranks 22nd all-time among catchers, well below the average Hall of Fame catcher and trailing contemporary players like Jason Kendall and Jorge Posada. Joe Mauer is seventh and Buster Posey is 14th (and counting). Gene Tenace and Bill Freehan are among other non-HOF types rating well ahead of Molina here. If we go strictly by WAR, Molina is 20th and still well below the average Hall of Fame catcher, sitting the ballpark of Kendall and Posada.

Longevity has to count for something, though, and Molina’s racked up some impressive counting stats, given his position. His 2,090 career hits are 10th among catchers, sitting above the likes of Johnny Bench, Bill Dickey and Gabby Hartnett. His 397 doubles are seventh and he has a shot to get to third (Mauer is currently third with 428). With 983 RBI, he’s 17 away from becoming the 15th catcher to get to 1,000.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 29, 2021 at 06:47 PM | 244 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: hall of fame, yadier molina

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   101. SoSH U at work Posted: August 31, 2021 at 05:30 PM (#6037503)
Isn't that his whole point -- that due to the lack of data -- or what passes for data -- we can't do that, so some modern catchers are getting a boost into the Hall that earlier catchers were denied?


No more than some fielder today is getting a boost because we have PBP data (or Statcast) that wasn't available when Johnny Caucasian was manning center for the Superbas.

And it's not just a boost. Jorge Posada's borderline candidacy looks worse when the data is considered. These aren't bonus points.

I don't see anyone seriously advocating we don't use other metrics that weren't available for earlier time periods in our evaluations of player performance.
   102. SoSH U at work Posted: August 31, 2021 at 05:32 PM (#6037505)
No, that's not true at all. Researchers have shown that pitchers are a big part of the equation. It's a hell of a lot easier to get called strikes with a pitcher who hits his spots. The value should be split.


That's absolutely true. Livan (he of the Eric Gregg game) was the best example of this, as there were few better at hitting the exact spot where the catcher set up.
   103. cardsfanboy Posted: August 31, 2021 at 05:41 PM (#6037511)
Yet we ae going to use it to justify putting Molina in the HOF, but we can't use it to help previous catchers who were also good at it. So yes, just this group of catchers is getting credit for pitch framing.


no they really aren't, they are getting credited for a tangible ability that we can quantify now. (as far as the accuracy of that quantification, that is a different debate) but we absolutely know it's a repeatable skill and has value, to ignore what we know because we don't have the data to go back in time and quantify it for others makes zero sense. Over time we'll figure out a way to estimate it, or at least "tier" it based upon contemporary accounts and limited video we do have of someone, if you want to say Boone is equal to Molina in pitch framing, and have some contemporary accounts to back it up, then give him the same bonus or at least 'elite level' tier based upon innings played as a decent estimate. It's what I do with defensive metrics all the time, tier it into 5-9 levels assign a run value, and based upon the best information you have, put the guy in the tier that works.

The thing is for every Boone you find, you are going to find another Posada, a guy who is overrated because his defense was hurting more than people thought it was. (note that wasn't a knock against Posada so much, but to point out that the more we delve into it, we are going to find guys who war likes that ultimately may not be as good when we break everything down - and yes, that might include my favorite player of all time, maybe Whiney Herzog was right about Ted Simmons.-- I personally doubt it, but who knows maybe we'll eventually find the data.)

We've gone back and improved our understanding of defense to create the war system to begin with, and they constantly modify their defensive numbers based upon data that they learn or better information, to think we can't go back and figure out how good a pitch framer someone is, who played during the tv age seems a bit myopic to me. And again, for ease you can tier it and be happy you made the adjustments.

But the reality is, we know what the average starting position player was worth per innings played, and when we can see that a current player is worth x runs more than the average at his position because of this trait, then we can use that data to figure out where he ranks among his contemporaries, and even take a reasonable estimate where he ranks overall. This isn't a hard core science, and this weird obsession with "if so-so is not in, then so-so shouldn't be in." is not really the hof argument, the argument is always, based upon what we know, does he exceed the standards based upon how you as a voter vote.

When you get a guy who over 17 seasons consistently ranked "x runs over average" on whatever, it's a reasonable assumption that he would have done the same in other eras. So you aren't rewarding him, you are accurately assessing him.

   104. sunday silence (again) Posted: August 31, 2021 at 05:43 PM (#6037512)
The value should be split


Then Molina might just sail into the HoF. If the value is 2 WAR; which I don't know what it is, but that's what some of the systems are saying. The Molina gets 1 WAR. So he gets what 18 WAR for his career?

Even if you only give him .5 war/season, which seems conservative, thats put his career at 51 or so and that's definitely a good case, plus very good narrative as well. I think he's very likely to go in, not so sure he's first ballot .
   105. cardsfanboy Posted: August 31, 2021 at 05:46 PM (#6037513)
No, that's not true at all.


I didn't say pitchers didn't have a part of it, but I was saying we have more than ample enough evidence to prove that catchers are also a part of it beyond any doubt, the fact that it's repeatable and quantifiable based upon the catcher is exactly evidence that it's beyond any reasonable doubt. Can the same be said of pitchers? Absolutely, and heck the same can be said of umpires, and maybe even the same said of batters... I'm sure someone like Votto has definitive evidence that he gets balls called in the strike zone more than other players, or maybe not, it's possible that is too small of a sample size or something, but I'm sure the previous three comments are true.
   106. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 31, 2021 at 05:47 PM (#6037515)

Then Molina might just sail into the HoF. If the value is 2 WAR; which I don't know what it is, but that's what some of the systems are saying. The Molina gets 1 WAR. So he gets what 18 WAR for his career?


I don't think so. Fangraphs is giving him 12 extra dWAR (above BRef) to put him at 55 WAR (vs 42). If you only give him 6 of those, he's at 48 and much more borderline.
   107. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 31, 2021 at 05:49 PM (#6037516)
I didn't say pitchers didn't have a part of it, but I was saying we have more than ample enough evidence to prove that catchers are also a part of it beyond any doubt, the fact that it's repeatable and quantifiable based upon the catcher is exactly evidence that it's beyond any reasonable doubt. Can the same be said of pitchers? Absolutely, and heck the same can be said of umpires, and maybe even the same said of batters... I'm sure someone like Votto has definitive evidence that he gets balls called in the strike zone more than other players, or maybe not, it's possible that is too small of a sample size or something, but I'm sure the previous three comments are true.

No, you said this.

the catcher get's credit for it, because he's absolutely beyond any reasonable doubt, the reason it happened,


when in reality a bunch of that extra 12 WAR FG is giving Molina probably belongs to his pitchers.

I think there's a ton of reasonable doubt that most of that value belongs to Molina.
   108. cardsfanboy Posted: August 31, 2021 at 05:51 PM (#6037517)
Then Molina might just sail into the HoF. If the value is 2 WAR; which I don't know what it is, but that's what some of the systems are saying. The Molina gets 1 WAR. So he gets what 18 WAR for his career?

Even if you only give him .5 war/season, which seems conservative, thats put his career at 51 or so and that's definitely a good case, plus very good narrative as well. I think he's very likely to go in, not so sure he's first ballot .


Assuming the math value is correct, which again I've argued against it for years. (not arguing against Molina, arguing against the way they do their math) Mind you, that doesn't deny to my eyes, to the data, to everything we know about pitch framing, that Molina is pretty good at it, and worth some wins over some period of time, how much is one discussion, one that is worth having. (this other discussion about whether to blame the ump and completely ignore it... is pretty idiotic to be honest, but it's a fresh discussion, so why not see what rabbit hole it goes down also)
   109. cardsfanboy Posted: August 31, 2021 at 05:55 PM (#6037519)
when in reality a bunch of that extra 12 WAR FG is giving Molina probably belongs to his pitchers.


The reality is that it wasn't 12 war probably anyway, again I hate their math on it. It massively overrates pitch framing as a concept, it applies negative run values to events that haven't actually happened but could potentially happen. But at the same time, yes on average the catcher is more responsible for pitch framing than one pitcher over the course of a season for the team. There is no way to argue differently. On a per game basis you might have one pitcher that makes a difference, but unless your team is lucky enough to have a bunch of Livan's in it, the catcher is being credited for a season worth of data of catching pitchers, not one guy one game.

At the same time my comment might have sounded like it's giving the catcher the majority of the credit, it's not, again there are four people involved in any non-swinging strike, and in any borderline call, I think all four of them have a percentage in the play, but on average over the course of 162 games, the catcher is the biggest common denominator. You want to give Livan the credit for hitting the catcher, while also ignoring that the catcher set up that way. On that particular pitch you are probably talking catcher 40% pitcher 40% ump 15% and batter maybe 5% for not swinging at a pitch outside the strike zone, or give the batter a bigger penalty because he should have recognized that this pitch was going to be called etc... but you are right, on a borderline pitch it's doubtful that one person is singlehandedly responsible for a mis-call.
   110. sunday silence (again) Posted: August 31, 2021 at 05:56 PM (#6037520)
I wanted to get back to this idea that C defense must be underrated from a logical/theoretical view. Is it reasonable to assume that the best C should put up the same values as other position players? Well perhaps not as its understood they undergo more wear and tear than just about any other position.

So instead of career value, what about seasonal value. Whats the highest value season every put up by a C?

8.7 PIazza
8.6 Bench
8.6 Carter (per bWAR)

Bench did it in 147 games. PIazza 152; Carter 154. (Molina best is 7.2 in 137 games). I mean that is interesting that its what 1.5 WAR short of the best seasons at other positions?

THe underlying assumption is that baseball talent must necessarily be dispersed as efficiently as possible. Of course talent runs out at some pt. and its natural that it will start to run out at DH, LF, 2b first if those positions are easier to fill. C being very hard to fill you wouldnt expect it to first run out there.

   111. sunday silence (again) Posted: August 31, 2021 at 06:01 PM (#6037522)

I don't think so. Fangraphs is giving him 12 extra dWAR (above BRef) to put him at 55 WAR (vs 42). If you only give him 6 of those, he's at 48 and much more borderline.


Yeah I mean I think we could both agree:

Molina is

a) statistically very close to borderline;
b) Has a very good narrative for both a legendary arm; and some playoff highlights;
c) plays a position that erodes career value to a high degree.

Depending on your def'n of a HoFer he may or may not go in. I think he does.
   112. Harmon "Thread Killer" Microbrew Posted: August 31, 2021 at 06:05 PM (#6037523)
The family of catchers, the single-team career with the storied franchise, the championships, "teh fear" he caused for would-be basestealers, all the special sauce stuff, the fact that we can just call him "Yadi" . . . he'll get in without much trouble for many of the same reasons Jeter did and Ortiz will. It's still the Hall of FAME.

As Clint Eastwood (and others here) said: "Deserve ain't got nothing to do with it . . ."
   113. cardsfanboy Posted: August 31, 2021 at 06:14 PM (#6037527)
I wanted to get back to this idea that C defense must be underrated from a logical/theoretical view. Is it reasonable to assume that the best C should put up the same values as other position players? Well perhaps not as its understood they undergo more wear and tear than just about any other position.


I'm in the camp that it's massively undervalued from a theoretical view. A pitcher throws a ball and is given credit for about 50-70% of the defense or whatever or roughly if a pitcher pitched every inning of every game for an entire season, he would ultimately be responsible for about 35% of the teams entire value (maybe even more now as strikeouts have increased)

Meanwhile the catcher is the only other player in the game who is involved in every pitch of the game(on the defensive side), but he only gets credited for active plays he's involved in on defensive equations. (stolen bases, bunts, his hitting etc.) some advance systems do include the lack of the running game etc... but it's all about what he is actively involved with in the game. Pitch framing is the only attempt at a passive defensive stat for catchers that has shown there is something there, and attempts at catchers era has fizzled out because there is just not enough data and too much noise.

The catcher is the command general of many teams, and that is a lot of a load. I always point out how I think Piazza's defense was massively underrated because the thought was that the arm is the only thing that the catchers bring to the table. Piazza almost never had a full season in which his team wasn't in the top half of era in his league, and most of the time top three. Yes he had good pitching staffs and played in some good pitchers parks, but what it boils down to is that he still did the job well and got the results that they were hoping for, while playing 130+ games a year.

War generally adds a catchers bonus anyway, from what I remember it has the highest positional adjustment of any position, more so than it should have if you assume 600 pa and the equivalent innings played in the field at average level = 2 war. (or whatever pa number you use for average )

I just think that the defensive value of a catcher is higher than it's considered in a war like systems. fWar and Warp try to fix it, but I also think they are focusing too much on one metric, and using flawed methodology to do it.
   114. sunday silence (again) Posted: August 31, 2021 at 06:21 PM (#6037530)
seasonal highs, other positions:

RF Ruth 14.2/12.9 (modern: Mookie 10.7 splitting time in CF)
CF Mantle 11.3 (Cobb same but split time in RF)
LF Yaz 12.4; Bonds 11.9
SS Cal 11.5
2b Hornsby 12.3; Morgan 11
3b Rosen 10
1b Gehrig 11.9

Piazza's 8.7 really sticks out there.

Other than Ruth and Rosen that's a pretty tight cluster. I dont think there's any doubt in my mind that Ruth benefitted from being the first player to swing from the heels and it seems that it took some time for the league to catch up to him. I dont think he's putting up

In the case of 3b, I feel strongly that def there is underrated. Or perhaps the best talent is not being put there.
   115. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: August 31, 2021 at 06:34 PM (#6037534)
“In the case of 3b, I feel strongly that def there is underrated. Or perhaps the best talent is not being put there.”

If you are a righty who can catch, you catch, unless you are a great hitter. I’m which case you probably don’t have enough athleticism for anything but LF or 1B. If you have lots of athleticism, and you are a northpaw, you play SS or 2B. If you’re an athletic lefty, you go to CF then RF then LF. 3B is where right handed guys with a good first step but not enough athleticism to play CF end up. By the time their range at 3B diminishes, they probably wouldn’t play anything but 1B. And they probably don’t hit enough anymore to warrant that or DH. I think 3B is too much of a tweener position, especially at the MLB level.
   116. BDC Posted: August 31, 2021 at 06:36 PM (#6037535)
that is interesting that its what 1.5 WAR short of the best seasons at other positions?

THe underlying assumption is that baseball talent must necessarily be dispersed as efficiently as possible. Of course talent runs out at some pt. and its natural that it will start to run out at DH, LF, 2b first if those positions are easier to fill. C being very hard to fill you wouldnt expect it to first run out there


I think this is very interesting … I remember seeing some article here (everything's been studied, I guess) to the effect that catcher hasn't historically been a really low-offense position. Probably most teams, at least between 1920 and the mid-1990s, had a better-hitting starting catcher than starting shortstop.

If you take 1971, for instance, for no better reason than it was 50 years ago and I was young … four of 24 clubs in 1971 had better-hitting starting shortstops (per B-Ref listing) than catchers. (The SS were Fregosi CAL, Patek KC, Cardenas MIN, and Harrah WAS.) There were Eddie Brinkmans and Bobby Wines in 1971, but there were no real Eddie Brinkmans and Bobby Wines among starting catchers.

So (I guess) it's harder to have a good oWAR at catcher if most catchers (starting catchers anyway) are decent hitters. But there are no Hank Aarons or Harmon Killebrews among starting catchers either, because if you hit that well early in your career you get moved off catcher. (By 1971 there wasn't even a Joe Torre among starting catchers anymore :)

So there's something of a compression in offensive value at the position. Extremely occasionally there is a Campanella or Bench who has an MVP-quality bat but is such an outstanding defender that they don't get moved, and even they tend to alternate great years and merely good ones (E.g. Bench batted .238 with 27 HR in 1971 and had 4.1 WA.)

Bench incidentally too had an additional WAR advantage in that in his MVP years, he played 12-14 games at other positions. Campanella never played anywhere but C in the majors.
   117. Brian C Posted: August 31, 2021 at 07:52 PM (#6037547)
No more than some fielder today is getting a boost because we have PBP data (or Statcast) that wasn't available when Johnny Caucasian was manning center for the Superbas.

I think there's a big difference though - it's not just that we don't have framing data for some old-timey players. We don't even have it for a good number of Molina's contemporaries. Or full data for Molina himself, for that matter.

I mean, it's one thing to say that Molina excels relative to players over the last 13 years when it comes to framing - although as this thread shows, it's not necessarily even that simple. But to say that he's borderline and deserves the boost? I dunno. Would he even be borderline if we could compare apples to apples? Maybe he'd be a sure thing. Maybe he'd be farther back in ways that are hard to predict. We don't know.

And honestly, he's not even that borderline without it. The case for him otherwise basically rests on special pleading. Is this a factor that can take him from a clear no to a yes? To me, that's just special pleading of a different kind, albeit in the guise of objective statistical analysis.

At any rate, by the time Molina actually comes up for a vote, it wouldn't be too surprising if the whole debate over "framing" has shifted in a different direction. After all, it's still a relatively new concept and it seems plausible (perhaps likely) that our understanding of it is pretty crude and subject to heavy revision.
   118. baxter Posted: August 31, 2021 at 08:20 PM (#6037553)
116 Dick Dietz had a really good hitting year for SF in 1970; was also productive in 71; I thought he got bounced out of baseball b/c he was a player rep?

Also, many on this site have stated better than I the reasons for Molina's going in.

Would be nice if Freehan got in also. Munson had not tailed off as much as I thought he had. Anti-Yankee prejudice had prevented me from realizing how great he was.
   119. sunday silence (again) Posted: August 31, 2021 at 08:47 PM (#6037556)
Since we have so many primates with an interest in catching on this thread can I ask a non Molina question?

At what pt. did Catchers go into the full crouch? ANd for what reason?

We have Cochrane on the cover of Time magazine in 1935 and he's basically upright. Video of MIckey Owen during the 1941 dropped third strike seems to show him in a semi crouch. Then in '43 world series it looks like Walker Cooper is in a full crouch.

So did they go into a full crouch during the war? Was it to get the low strike call?

****

ALso is Retrosheet/Baseball Ref going to eventually get complete SB/CS for players? At least since 1900. They do have all the data they need to do that, yes?
   120. sunday silence (again) Posted: August 31, 2021 at 08:53 PM (#6037557)
If you have lots of athleticism, and you are a northpaw, you play SS or 2B. If you’re an athletic lefty, you go to CF then RF then LF. 3B is where right handed guys with a good first step but not enough athleticism to play CF end up.


Hello Dr. Chaleeko: Do you think 3b would be of a higher priority than 2b in deciding where to play a promising player?
   121. Howie Menckel Posted: August 31, 2021 at 09:03 PM (#6037558)
The Blackballing of Dick Dietz

Dietz 1970, age 28 season: 137 GS at C, .300-22-107 with 109 BB and a 153 OPS+
Dietz 1971, age 29 season: 127 GS at C, .252-18-72, with 97 BB and a 130 OPS+

1972 players' strike slightly shortens the season - and the Giants waived Dietz and let him go to the rival Dodgers as the season starts.
after all, the Giants could just give promising youngster Dave Rader 494 PA instead - with a 81 OPS+ - and Fran Healy was aboard for a 37 OPS+ in 113 PA to boot.

then the joke was sort of on the Dodgers in '72, as Dietz stumbled to a 64 OPS+ in 70 PA (9 H, 14 BB) before breaking his wrist at midseason to end a semi-time share with Chris Cannizzaro and Duke Sims of all peoples. Prospect Steve Yeager basically replaced them all in the last two months, and by spring 1973, Joe Ferguson (strong cup of coffee in late '72) also seemed ready.

makes sense to send Dietz packing - this time. the Braves are happy to take him for a box of baseballs late in spring training, since Johnny Oates and Paul Casanova were about to handle C duties with a combined 60 PA (this is the 40-HR Aaron/DaEvans/DavJohnson year btw, with Dusty Baker and Mike Lum as two more solid bats).

Dietz starts only 12 G at C, compared to 35 at 1B - where he had never started before, as Lum played half the games at first and a quarter in corner OF, and Frank "Unibrow" Tepedino saw some 1B action as well.

it's back to an offensive force for Dietz, with a 145 OPS+ in 191 PA. this is carried by a ridiculous .474 OBP.

Dietz returned for spring training 1974, but he was a late cut. the Braved would soldier on with dreadful Oates and Casanova and a respectable Vic Correll at No. 2. Davey Johnson, Lum, and a cratering Tepedino shared 1B.

and with that, Dietz's MLB career was over at age 31.

career 129 OPS+ in 2244 PA, with a .390 OBP.
no room in the AL for a bat like THIS, who could DH and fill in at C and 1B - nosiree.
   122. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: August 31, 2021 at 09:22 PM (#6037563)
if you can handle 2B but not SS, you play there. From there you likely move to 3B, unless your are late career Davey Lopes or Craig Biggio, but if you can’t hit, well, you are a UT guy or out of the league. 3B and the OF positions have greater batting expectations than 2B does.
   123. BDC Posted: August 31, 2021 at 09:38 PM (#6037564)
So I had to look up the 1971 second basemen too :) Ten of 24 starting second basemen in 1971 had better OPS+ than their teams' starting catchers. Unlike the shortstops, some of the second basemen were superior offensive players; they include Joe Morgan and Rod Carew. Glenn Beckert hit .342 that year and Ron Hunt got hit by 50 pitches, my gosh, it hurts just to type that. But still it was pretty common for a C to be a better hitter than a 2B. Your basic 1971 catcher was a strong guy compared to a middle infielder, hit with fair power or walked a good bit or both.

By contrast, in 2019, 20/30 second basemen hit better than their team's catcher, and 17/30 shortstops did. (Going just mechanically by who B-Ref lists as a starter; this is not much of a survey, it's just of superficial interest.) I don't think anyone expects that a C will have more power than a 2B or SS anymore, maybe just old folks like me.

And in 2019 there was an Eddie Brinkman of starting catchers. B-Ref lists Jeff Mathis as starter for the Rangers, and Mathis had an OPS+ of 11. That makes Bill Bergen look like Bill Dickey. Mathis has long been a marvel to sabermetric fans. He must frame the heck out of those pitches.
   124. baxter Posted: August 31, 2021 at 09:44 PM (#6037565)
121 The Dodgers had also earlier gotten Tom Haller from SF; Cannizzaro, he was a '69 Padre; wasn't he also a '62 Met (or am I confabulating w/former Dodger Joe Pignatano?). Yeager with the shard of bat hitting his throat; remember when it happened; forget who the batter was. Ferguson's throw in the '74 series; later to stay on as Lasanga's drinking buddy. Duane B Sims; I think you left off Tom Tischinski who was also backstopping at one point. Oates ended up playing for LA; is the one who died fairly young of a brain tumor (I hope I am mis-remembering); he also became a manager. Thanks for the walk down memory lane.

Also, it looked like Deitz (to my eyes in 71) really cratered as a player; from 300 to 252 batting average; but he still was excellent.

He is the answer to the (sort of) trivia question regarding Drysdale's consecutive scoreless streak.

By the way, for the one person (perhaps) out there who cares, I notice Don Sutton's nickname on B-R is "Black & Decker" I get the sandpaper reference, but I had never heard that nickname for him; had any one else? He was called "Little D" (Drysdale being "Big D). Sutton and John used to jog around the hills in Elysian Park (area around Chavez Ravine) before games; kept those legs in shape; each lasted a long time.
   125. BDC Posted: August 31, 2021 at 09:56 PM (#6037566)
Whitey Herzog tells the story of trying to get Charlie Finley to let him sign Don Sutton. Finley was uninterested; he liked pitchers to have colorful nicknames like Catfish or Blue Moon. Herzog explained this to Sutton. "OK," said Sutton, "tell him my name is #####-Face Sutton." But that didn't work either.
   126. Howie Menckel Posted: August 31, 2021 at 09:58 PM (#6037567)
there were "Black and Decker" jokes about Sutton at the time, but I wouldn't say it was his nickname, no.

both Cannizzaro AND Pignatano caught for the '62 Mets. G started:

Cannizzaro 42
Sammy Taylor 42
Choo-Choo Coleman 37
Pignatano 15
Hobie Landrith 12
Harry Chiti 11
Joe Ginsberg 2
   127. DL from MN Posted: August 31, 2021 at 10:07 PM (#6037571)
some fielder today is getting a boost because we have PBP data (or Statcast) that wasn't available


This is Andruw Jones.

I think the shift is making 3B more important defensively, or at least more important compared to 2B.
   128. cardsfanboy Posted: August 31, 2021 at 10:17 PM (#6037574)
I think the shift is making 3B more important defensively, or at least more important compared to 2B.


I can see that, in theory it should make it less important, but in reality the third baseman is now covering a lot more ground, the likelihood of a ball being hit to the "third base side" has of course drop with the type of hitter, but now he's covering a relatively higher percentage range, if that makes sense.... to put it in perspective that hitter might have hit the ball left of second maybe 30 percent of the time, 10 percent it was covered by the third baseman, 20 percent by the shortstop, now we are moving the fielders over and expecting the third baseman to cover 30 percent of the potential ground balls from the batter (these numbers are theoretical, but do accurately reflect the point of a shift) Meanwhile against the same hitter, the second baseman range has been reduced by the superior range of the shortstop and even though there is an increased chance in play on his side of the field, the fact that he has a shortstop covering the difference reduces his culpability for anything getting through. (and someone else might field the ball)

At the same time, some teams (the Cardinals under Matheny) moved the third baseman to the second base side and left the shortstop there, but that was because it was often Carpenter when they shifted.

   129. chisoxcollector Posted: September 01, 2021 at 08:24 AM (#6037619)
A couple of thoughts related to pitch framing:

- Somebody compared pitch framing to getting away with a travel in the NBA. They asked why give credit for one but not the other. The thing is, you already get credit for getting away with a travel. You get credit for whatever you do after the uncalled travel. Without pitch framing metrics, catchers would get zero credit for a skill that provides at least some amount of real value. Trust me, I suffered through Zach Collins this year. He turned many borderline strikes into balls with his poor receiving skills.

- My biggest problem with pitch framing metrics is that, as far as I'm aware, the effect is being double counted. If the catcher steals a strike from a hapless ump, at least some of the credit for that strike should be removed from the pitcher.

I don't know if I'd vote for Molina, but I don't think he'd be a terrible selection. And I absolutely can't stand the guy.
   130. cardsfanboy Posted: September 01, 2021 at 09:16 AM (#6037622)
- My biggest problem with pitch framing metrics is that, as far as I'm aware, the effect is being double counted. If the catcher steals a strike from a hapless ump, at least some of the credit for that strike should be removed from the pitcher.


agreed. The pitcher still gets full credit in bwar and fwar for the event that happens after the catcher helped them get an advantage or disadvantage, which is part of my issue with it.
   131. DL from MN Posted: September 01, 2021 at 09:43 AM (#6037626)
Catcher defense doesn't show up in bwar defensive adjustment?
   132. DL from MN Posted: September 01, 2021 at 09:49 AM (#6037628)
the second baseman range has been reduced by the superior range of the shortstop


Often the second baseman is playing in short right field. He's not an infielder anymore. 3B is covering half the infield and 2B has all the time in the world to react to a ground ball because they're playing in RF. You are right that some teams have the 3B shift to the least demanding spot and have the SS cover the left side of the infield. I wonder how the range based stats account for this.
   133. Rally Posted: September 01, 2021 at 09:57 AM (#6037631)
Somebody compared pitch framing to getting away with a travel in the NBA.


I think I’d compare it to the James Harden style of making contact with a defender, falling down, and getting a reward of shooting free throws.
   134. cardsfanboy Posted: September 01, 2021 at 10:52 AM (#6037652)
Catcher defense doesn't show up in bwar defensive adjustment?


Only the active parts (caught stealing, foul balls, double plays, actual fielding etc) but not the other 100 pitches of the game.
   135. cardsfanboy Posted: September 01, 2021 at 10:56 AM (#6037655)
I think I’d compare it to the James Harden style of making contact with a defender, falling down, and getting a reward of shooting free throws.


It's not that egregious, the travel comparison works to be honest, it's something that can happen a dozen times a game and certain people get away with it more and manage to make it work (I used to joke that for every all star game appearance you have in the NBA, it allows you to add another step in your ability to travel with the ball... obviously that is an exaggeration, but if you watch some of Michael Jordan's or other greats, greatest plays on you tube you see a ton of travelling)
   136. Jaack Posted: September 01, 2021 at 11:58 AM (#6037669)
Fangraphs does have an adjustment to pitchers to account for framing for the years they have the data, it just ends up less extreme - like 2 or 3 WAR either way over the course of a career is about as big as it gets.
   137. sunday silence (again) Posted: September 01, 2021 at 03:13 PM (#6037729)
The Dietz example also shows how myopic people are with respect to C defense. He was near the worst at: PB, errors in general, and SB/CS. He bottomed out at -20 def runs in 1970 and also hit -14 another. Its quite possible his bad defense was negating out offense, other than his outstanding 1970 campaign which was legitimate.

Not to say he wasnt black balled, that would suprise no one here. Only that because we have the impression that offensive stats are very well understood/quantified (despite having the same inherent limitations as def stats) we tend to see everything in terms of offense and minimize what we dont really know about defense. "It can be that much" or "it probably evens out" is typically how we rationalize this.

Bill James is often guilty of this he was always championing someone like Cecil Travis as some sort of overlooked great without attempting to quantify is def. limitations.
   138. sunday silence (again) Posted: September 01, 2021 at 03:40 PM (#6037734)
Getting back to the crouch and how it evolved..

Looking at 1943 series video. Cooper STL is pretty much in the typical crouch we see today although at times he's a bit more upright. I dont know if C still do that. Dickey NYY seems to be pretty much upright, knees flexed, the old school method.

By 1945 it seems both C are in the modern crouch mostly, and sometimes a bit more upright. Just in case anyone is still interested in this.
   139. Howie Menckel Posted: September 01, 2021 at 04:14 PM (#6037753)
if the AL hadn't added the DH in 1973, the Dietz case would be a bit different - although picking up players from the opposite league was just starting to become more common, and the realization that having a DH candidate who also could play first and catch would be an advantage was slow to come to front offices.
   140. Space Force fan Posted: September 01, 2021 at 09:13 PM (#6037862)
I don't see anyone seriously advocating we don't use other metrics that weren't available for earlier time periods in our evaluations of player performance.


You are missing the second part of the point. In the next couple of years, the skill goes away when robo-umps are implemented. So future catchers won't be able to get this boost either. In all the other areas where new metrics were developed that affected player evaluation, they remained for all future players. Over time, the number of players evaluated through these metrics grew to be big enough that the initial players didn't get an undo advantage. I just object to giving extra credit to players from a 20 year span because we could only measure their skill for that short time period. There isn't time to get the context correct, so we are likely overvaluing pitch framing (even if you accept its validity in the first place). An example is some of the very high defensive numbers coming out of the newest defensive metrics. They are so much higher than the previous metrics that there is a good reason to take them with a grain of salt until we get more understanding.

If catchers from these 20 years were only being judge against each other, fine. They are being judged against a historical standard.
   141. Space Force fan Posted: September 01, 2021 at 09:21 PM (#6037864)
(this other discussion about whether to blame the ump and completely ignore it... is pretty idiotic to be honest, but it's a fresh discussion, so why not see what rabbit hole it goes down also)


What other sport do we give players HOF credit for fooling the umpires? Why should the umpires not take the blame for their mistakes? Do we say "that CB is great at getting offensive pass interference called when he committed defensive pass interference" or do we complain about the ref missing the call? What soccer player is in the HOF for being a great diver?

The umpire blew the call. It is his responsibility and he gets the blame.
   142. cardsfanboy Posted: September 01, 2021 at 09:33 PM (#6037870)
What other sport do we give players HOF credit for fooling the umpires? Why should the umpires not take the blame for their mistakes? Do we say "that CB is great at getting offensive pass interference called when he committed defensive pass interference" or do we complain about the ref missing the call? What soccer player is in the HOF for being a great diver?

The umpire blew the call. It is his responsibility and he gets the blame.


Actually we do, but it doesn't happen nearly as often to be a repeatable skill. Refs aren't nearly as easily fooled. But yes if you can get value from something, and you can exploit the ref's ability to make a mis call, and you can repeat it, why would we not credit the player for that.

If a player in any sport does something successful and is helped by a missed call by the ref, nobody is going to be uncredited because the ref made an error. Just looking at the biggest one that I know of as a Cardinal fan.... and looking at the 1985 box score for the world series, even though everyone knows that the umpire missed the call, I still see Jorge Orta is credited with a single.

The point is that a miss-call is always credited to the person who takes advantage of it in the stat world, to think that framing should not be, just seems weird, especially when it's pretty much obvious that it's a repeatable skill.
   143. sunday silence (again) Posted: September 01, 2021 at 10:04 PM (#6037879)
An example is some of the very high defensive numbers coming out of the newest defensive metrics. They are so much higher than the previous metrics that there is a good reason to take them with a grain of salt until we get more understanding.


Whether a number is high or low has nothing to do with whether its valid or not. Presumably theyve improved their system. If that's what the improvement is telling them then it is what it is. Do you have some sort of logic to explain why these metrics are questionable?

I mean: "they're higher than before" isnt really logic.
   144. Jaack Posted: September 01, 2021 at 10:26 PM (#6037887)
What other sport do we give players HOF credit for fooling the umpires? Why should the umpires not take the blame for their mistakes? Do we say "that CB is great at getting offensive pass interference called when he committed defensive pass interference" or do we complain about the ref missing the call? What soccer player is in the HOF for being a great diver?

The umpire blew the call. It is his responsibility and he gets the blame.


If an ump misses a call, yeah sure we complain about the umps, but we don't take away the end result. If a pitcher throws a pitch outside the zone, but it gets called strike three, we don't strike it from the records or anything. If a pitcher continously got generous calls, people will complain, but he still gets the credit. Whether or not it was true, everyone complained about Tom Glavine getting generous calls, but no one really questioned his status as a first ballot Hall of Famer.

Someone is getting credit for the called strike. If a catcher has substantial influence over it (which pretty much every study done says he does, and to similar levels of magnitude) then he should get the credit. Otherwise, we're just giving it to the pitcher.
   145. cardsfanboy Posted: September 01, 2021 at 10:33 PM (#6037890)
Why should the umpires not take the blame for their mistakes?


And let's be honest here, we aren't that far off from a day in which umpires will have stats based upon how well they call the game, and we will see some win value credited to for and against the umpire. We've seen it happen with stadiums already, but as our metrics get better, we are going to see more splicing of results into unlikely places. There are already stats out there on umpires, eventually we'll see them incorporated into larger systems, that is just the next step.

Baseball is absolutely different than other sports, because of it's relatively easy to quantify nature of pitch vs batter... even football which has a similar start and stop component, still has a much more organic team feel than baseball. In baseball the start and stop is only a focus of four people on the field 100% of the time, and that is the pitcher, batter, hitter and ump. There might be 30% of those plays that other players figure into the result, but in reality 99% of all plays in baseball feature those four, there are the rare pick off attempts or even pick off fake outs that include the picture and other players, but broadly speaking baseball is different than other sports, and the ump is absolutely part of the mix, and the ability to exploit the ump's decision does factor in much more than in any other sport.

In the NFL or NBA or NHL or Professional grass growing, the ump doesn't really have an exploitable weakness as much as in baseball with the homeplate ump (except when they might be betting on the game)

   146. Lassus Posted: September 02, 2021 at 08:07 AM (#6037931)
Why? Because baseball is a more poetic, emotional, literary game. The fact that it's not like football or hockey or basketball is a feature, not a bug.
   147. Booey Posted: September 02, 2021 at 08:42 AM (#6037939)
As has been pointed out already, fooling refs into bad calls has always been a big part of basketball and the players who are good at it absolutely do get credit for it. Drawing undeserved fouls on offense and getting away with them on defense is a skill that all the biggest stars have mastered.
   148. sunday silence (again) Posted: September 02, 2021 at 03:41 PM (#6038014)
also flopping in soccer. Also pass interference in the NFL. also holding.
   149. Space Force fan Posted: September 02, 2021 at 07:09 PM (#6038043)
Can't wait until robo-umps arrive and this entire conversation goes away.

Yes, fooling the ref/ump is a thing in all sports. The examples you gave in the last several posts are all ones I noted in my initial post, so I agree that it happens. Its just not part of the HOF case.

Soccer diving often leads to goals, but seldom by the player doing the diving. Somebody else takes the penalty kick. Nobody has a HOF case where a premier argument is that they drew a lot of penalties by diving, even though it is clearly a repeatable skill.

Offensive linemen get away with holding on occasion. It is not part of their HOF case. The ones that get elected are the ones who are dominate enough that they don't need to hold very often.

Whether a number is high or low has nothing to do with whether its valid or not. Presumably theyve improved their system. If that's what the improvement is telling them then it is what it is. Do you have some sort of logic to explain why these metrics are questionable?


True, but since some of the newest defensive metrics show much greater run savings extremes then all the old metrics, there is a reason to take them with a grain of salt for the time being. Time and further analysis will tell if the old metrics were simply too conservative/flawed or the new metrics have some fundamental flaw. Since pitch framing has such short window of measurement which is likely to stop in the near future, it is questionable if we have enough data over a long enough time period to feel completely comfortable with the numbers.

I understand that I don't represent the consensus here, but without pitch framing, Molina is well short of HOF standards and to award him a big enough chuck of credit with a relatively recent and not well understood metric to make the HOF standards doesn't make much sense. If he was a borderline candidate, then sure, let it be the tiebreaker to put him in, but he isn't close to borderline without it. That is even punting the issue that the umpire is responsible for his calls.

   150. Howie Menckel Posted: September 02, 2021 at 08:32 PM (#6038051)
Just looking at the biggest one that I know of as a Cardinal fan.... and looking at the 1985 box score for the world series, even though everyone knows that the umpire missed the call, I still see Jorge Orta is credited with a single.

in Game SIX

Cardinals lead in the series, 3-2, and lead by a run in GAME SIX with 3 outs to go.
then, an obviously-blown call puts a runner on first base.

there is only one town in America that, learning these specific circumstances, collectively finds this set of facts so dire that realistically, the series was irrevocably shifted in the wrong direction.

I mean, what could the Cardinals possibly have done at that point? (there are 174 correct answers, and that blown call is not in the top 200+ in the history of such calls in traditional U.S. team sports, truth be told.)

while the rest of America discreetly giggles to this very day, I accept the mantle of villain in pointing this all out. it's a dirty job, but.....

carry on.
   151. sunday silence (again) Posted: September 02, 2021 at 08:38 PM (#6038053)
If he was a borderline candidate, then sure, let it be the tiebreaker to put him in,


what is your definition of a Borderline HoF Catcher?
   152. Jaack Posted: September 02, 2021 at 08:43 PM (#6038056)
Yes, fooling the ref/ump is a thing in all sports. The examples you gave in the last several posts are all ones I noted in my initial post, so I agree that it happens. Its just not part of the HOF case.

Soccer diving often leads to goals, but seldom by the player doing the diving. Somebody else takes the penalty kick. Nobody has a HOF case where a premier argument is that they drew a lot of penalties by diving, even though it is clearly a repeatable skill.

Offensive linemen get away with holding on occasion. It is not part of their HOF case. The ones that get elected are the ones who are dominate enough that they don't need to hold very often.


If a basketball player flops and hits his free throws, he gets credit for those points. Part of what made Manu Ginobili a great player was drawing phantom fouls. He'd probably still be a Hall of Fame level player without it, but it's definitely a contributing factor for him. Sure, no one says 'Manu is a Hall of Famer because he flopped so well' but he gets credit for being an extremely efficient scorer, an part of that was because he turned hard shots into free throws by flopping.

Yadier Molina is a great defensive catcher. Part of that is because he gets more called strikes on borderline pitches than most other catchers. By tradtional stats, the pitcher gets the credit for that, but framing stats allow us to give it to the deserving party.

I understand that I don't represent the consensus here, but without pitch framing, Molina is well short of HOF standards and to award him a big enough chuck of credit with a relatively recent and not well understood metric to make the HOF standards doesn't make much sense. If he was a borderline candidate, then sure, let it be the tiebreaker to put him in, but he isn't close to borderline without it. That is even punting the issue that the umpire is responsible for his calls.


Looking by JAWS, which doesn't incorporate framing data, Molina ranks 22nd among catchers. Generally the borderline is around 20-25th at a position.The Hall has been stingy with catchers, so there are quite a few guys in front of him that aren't in either, but that's well within the range where a guy deserves significant consideration. Considering two of the guys directly in front of him appear to have been pretty poor framers (Jorge Posada and Jason Kendall) , it's pretty easy to see him as a top 20 catcher all time even with miniscule framing credit.
   153. Space Force fan Posted: September 02, 2021 at 11:31 PM (#6038079)
what is your definition of a Borderline HoF Catcher?


Joe Mauer

TBF, this is mostly a positional question. If you think of him as a 1B/DH, he's not good enough. If you think of him strictly as a catcher, he is in. Given the limited number of games he caught, his case is borderline.
   154. Space Force fan Posted: September 02, 2021 at 11:40 PM (#6038080)
Looking by JAWS, which doesn't incorporate framing data, Molina ranks 22nd among catchers. Generally the borderline is around 20-25th at a position.The Hall has been stingy with catchers, so there are quite a few guys in front of him that aren't in either, but that's well within the range where a guy deserves significant consideration. Considering two of the guys directly in front of him appear to have been pretty poor framers (Jorge Posada and Jason Kendall) , it's pretty easy to see him as a top 20 catcher all time even with miniscule framing credit.


JAWS has Molina as the 9th best non-HOF catcher. It is not a metric which is screaming for him to be inducted.
   155. Howie Menckel Posted: September 02, 2021 at 11:44 PM (#6038082)
Mauer is a bit like Koufax - but with a tail, and without a narrative.
   156. Space Force fan Posted: September 03, 2021 at 12:11 AM (#6038085)
If a basketball player flops and hits his free throws, he gets credit for those points. Part of what made Manu Ginobili a great player was drawing phantom fouls. He'd probably still be a Hall of Fame level player without it, but it's definitely a contributing factor for him. Sure, no one says 'Manu is a Hall of Famer because he flopped so well' but he gets credit for being an extremely efficient scorer, an part of that was because he turned hard shots into free throws by flopping.



If the flop leads to free throws and if he hits the free throws he get credit for scoring those points. If either one of these events don't happen, he gets no credit for his flop. Nobody counts up the number of flops and give him additional credit because he had more than the next guy. The difference in pitch framing is that they simply count up the number of stolen strikes and give credit. In many cases, even with a stolen strike, the at bat results in a hit or other positive offensive play. The metaphysical question is if a strike is stolen, but it doesn't help is that anymore deserving of credit than a flop that doesn't result in any points?
   157. Space Force fan Posted: September 03, 2021 at 12:13 AM (#6038086)
Mauer is a bit like Koufax - but with a tail, and without a narrative.


Agree. That takes him from easy HOF choice to borderline.
   158. Jaack Posted: September 03, 2021 at 12:45 AM (#6038087)
JAWS has Molina as the 9th best non-HOF catcher. It is not a metric which is screaming for him to be inducted.


No no, you said that he wasn't close to the borderline without pitch framing. Being 22nd at your position is at least close to the borderline. Here are the 22nd best player by JAWS at each position.

1B: Harmon Killebrew - HOF
2B: Bobby Doerr - HOF
SS: Luis Aparicio - HOF
3B: Jimmy Collins - HOF
LF: Jose Cruz
CF: Earl Averill - HOF
RF: Bobby Bonds

That's five out of seven in, and Bobby Bonds has a fair bit of support as well. Personally, I think Aparicio is a questionable selection, and Averill is pretty borderline. But 22nd best at a position is clearly at the very least borderline, according to the standards established by the Hall of Fame. And this is with a stat that doesn't credit framing.

If the flop leads to free throws and if he hits the free throws he get credit for scoring those points. If either one of these events don't happen, he gets no credit for his flop. Nobody counts up the number of flops and give him additional credit because he had more than the next guy. The difference in pitch framing is that they simply count up the number of stolen strikes and give credit. In many cases, even with a stolen strike, the at bat results in a hit or other positive offensive play. The metaphysical question is if a strike is stolen, but it doesn't help is that anymore deserving of credit than a flop that doesn't result in any points?


We credit players for singles, whether the player scores or not. Linear weights assigns them the expected value of a single over time. I don't see how crediting a catcher for a stolen strike is any different. Changing balls into strikes is clearly valuable, so assign each one the standard value over time. That's perfectly in line with how we deal with offensive events.
   159. sunday silence (again) Posted: September 03, 2021 at 10:18 AM (#6038096)

Joe Mauer


HOw is that a def'n? There's only one Joe Mauer in the world. SO your defn of borderline is: Joe Mauer? There's only one borderline catcher in all of baseball history and there will be only one borderline C until/unless Mauer is inducted.

Do you have a standard we can use to measure these guys and say who is borderline?

What about WAR do you want to use that? Mauer produced 44.6 Mauer in the years he caught, do you want to use that?

If you think of him strictly as a catcher, he is in.


OK so he's not borderline then? He created 44 WAR not all of it as a C, and he's in?

DO YOU HAVE AN EXAMPLE OF A FULL TIME CATCHER WHO IS BORERLINE?
   160. sunday silence (again) Posted: September 03, 2021 at 10:24 AM (#6038097)

Catcher defense doesn't show up in bwar defensive adjustment?


Its an adjustment made across the board. SO every catcher gets it no matter how good or how bad they are. Under TZ metric bad catchers are probably worse than what is measured and good C are probably better. I havent studied C so I say probably. Its certainly true for TZ at other fielding positions.

THe def. adjustment is only needed to compare players at different positions. I wouldnt use it at all, if youre a C and you're 5 runs better than the avg player at C then that's 5 runs; that's it that's all you need to know. If you're not playing another position than whats the pt. It doesnt prove you can play 1b or SS or anything. If you're a RF and you're 5 runs better than avg RF that's 5. I dont like to use it.

But it doesnt account for whatever limitations we have in measuring defense. Jeter gets a def. bonus for playing SS the same way Aparicio does, that just make no sense if you're comparing Jeter to Aparicio.
   161. sunday silence (again) Posted: September 03, 2021 at 10:28 AM (#6038098)
So Mauer produced 44.6 WAR in the years as a C. He caught just over a thousand and played another position for 200 of those games.

So even if he made 40 WAR at C. He's a HoF.

Molina made 41.6 WAR. He's not even close to borderline?

What the fukc?
   162. Rally Posted: September 03, 2021 at 10:46 AM (#6038099)
I’d call Munson and Freehan borderline. I’d be fine with either getting in, but they aren’t. Just about everyone better than them is in. The players worse than them who are in are generally viewed as mistakes.

Seems like the definition of borderline to me.
   163. Rally Posted: September 03, 2021 at 11:01 AM (#6038100)
Wally Schang is just above those 2 in WAR. He’s not in, and he played too long ago for me to have much opinion of why.

Does seem a bit strange though, since he was a contributor to many good teams. Played in 6 WS, winning 3, with 3 different teams. I wonder if he just got lost in the confusion, the hall came into being a few years after he was done. Maybe if it had been an established institution he would have gotten more consideration.
   164. DL from MN Posted: September 03, 2021 at 11:29 AM (#6038103)
I’d call Munson and Freehan borderline.


That's fair. The borderline is going to be fuzzy. People will like certain players more than others depending on their peak/career leanings. For catcher it gets fuzzier due to WAR not fully capturing defensive contribution. Posada and Molina (for example) might end up with the same WAR number but I'm going to prefer Molina due to his defensive reputation. The Hall of Fame is too stingy with catchers and I think it's failing to tell the story of baseball because of it. If you define the borderline as a 50% chance of getting elected given the stats, here's your Hall of Merit borderline at catcher.

Bill Freehan
Biz Mackey
Quincy Trouppe
Wally Schang
Jorge Posada
Thurman Munson
Darrell Porter

Yadi fits right in with this group. Buster Posey is just above it and still adding to his case. Mauer is ahead of this group due to his additional value at other positions (see Ted Simmons).
   165. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: September 03, 2021 at 11:39 AM (#6038106)
We credit players for singles, whether the player scores or not. Linear weights assigns them the expected value of a single over time. I don't see how crediting a catcher for a stolen strike is any different. Changing balls into strikes is clearly valuable, so assign each one the standard value over time. That's perfectly in line with how we deal with offensive events.
It's not, though. It's different in that the unit of analysis is the pitch rather than the play or at-bat. So catchers now have the opportunity to accumulate WAR on a far more granular basis than any other players, which exaggerates their totals. The analog would be giving a batter credit for something like taking a borderline pitch that is called a ball.
   166. DL from MN Posted: September 03, 2021 at 11:40 AM (#6038107)
I should add that Jim Sundberg is what it would look like if you spread out Yadi's value more equally and flattened his peak. Equally strong defensive reputation.
   167. Ziggy: social distancing since 1980 Posted: September 03, 2021 at 12:55 PM (#6038121)
It's not, though. It's different in that the unit of analysis is the pitch rather than the play or at-bat. So catchers now have the opportunity to accumulate WAR on a far more granular basis than any other players, which exaggerates their totals. The analog would be giving a batter credit for something like taking a borderline pitch that is called a ball.


+1, "like", smiley-face emoji

This is what I came to this thread to say, but ElRoy beat me by and hour and a half. Counting pitch framing just doesn't make any sense methodologically.
   168. GregD Posted: September 03, 2021 at 01:03 PM (#6038123)
The analog would be giving a batter credit for something like taking a borderline pitch that is called a ball.


That's an interesting analog since working the pitcher is inherently valuable in an era of pitch counts and overstretched bullpens. And teams obviously value it and teach it. How in the world would you credit a 7-pitch at bat with bases empty that ended in a strikeout relative to a 1-pitch at-bat with bases empty that ended in a groundout....but they aren't exactly the same value.
   169. Jaack Posted: September 03, 2021 at 01:18 PM (#6038125)
We are comfortable evaluating pitchers on an inning-by-inning basis while evaluating hitters on a play-by-play basis. How is it any different? Everything is converted into runs in the end.

Converting a ball into a strike clearly has value and catchers clearly have a fair bit of control over that. How should that value be measured? What's a better way than finding the marginal value of a stolen strike in terms of runs?
   170. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: September 03, 2021 at 02:04 PM (#6038129)
We are comfortable evaluating pitchers on an inning-by-inning basis while evaluating hitters on a play-by-play basis.
Huh? We evaluate pitchers on a play-by-play basis. An out counts as 1/3 of an inning. Hits and walks given up are tracked. Etc. etc. etc.
   171. Jaack Posted: September 03, 2021 at 02:39 PM (#6038132)
Huh? We evaluate pitchers on a play-by-play basis. An out counts as 1/3 of an inning. Hits and walks given up are tracked. Etc. etc. etc.


We track these things, but the base of bWAR is runs allowed. A pitcher gives up a double, walks two guys, and then gets three outs is viewed as the same as one who strikes out the side.
   172. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: September 03, 2021 at 02:40 PM (#6038134)
the base of bWAR is runs allowed. A pitcher gives up a double, walks two guys, and then gets three outs is viewed as the same as one who strikes out the side.
Huh. I hadn't looked under the hood and was unaware of that. Seems like they should change that, no? But I would say that argues even more against getting down to the single-pitch level for catchers - they're even further removed from pitchers than they are from batters.
   173. greenback used to say live and let live Posted: September 03, 2021 at 02:58 PM (#6038138)
Seems like they should change that, no?

Why? If the pitcher has 2,000 IP and magically gets out of bases-loaded-nobody-out jams every time, then shouldn't he get credit for that?

There aren't a whole lot of other circumstances where it makes sense to get more granular. But if tomorrow morning builds a rigorous model that says actually hitter X is actually two wins better in 2021 with pitch-by-pitch data, then we should embrace that.
   174. The Yankee Clapper Posted: September 03, 2021 at 02:58 PM (#6038139)
So Mauer produced 44.6 WAR in the years as a C. He caught just over a thousand and played another position for 200 of those games.
Mauer caught just 920 games (none after age 30). During those 10 seasons when he mostly caught, he also made 58 appearances at 1st base, and 191 as the DH, so ~ 21% of his playing time during those seasons shouldn’t receive any positional enhancement for catching. That makes his marginal case a bit more marginal, although his performance at catcher was quite impressive. Duration is what makes him a tough call. I don’t have that much of a problem with Mauer in the Hall, although I’m reluctant to see it done if the Hall is going to continue to overlook those who caught hundreds more games while distinguishing themselves as the top catchers of their era.
   175. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: September 03, 2021 at 03:01 PM (#6038140)
Why? If the pitcher has 2,000 IP and magically gets out of bases-loaded-nobody-out jams every time, then shouldn't he get credit for that?
He would get "credit" for that by not having any runs on his record. We don't credit batters only for events that involve scoring runs.
   176. sunday silence (again) Posted: September 03, 2021 at 03:23 PM (#6038141)
Mauer caught just 920 games (none after age 30)


I counted it by hand twice and I must have added wrong somewhere. I know Walt or someone has mentioned Mauer's games several times and I know it was always less than a thousand. I just got tired of staring at bRef.
   177. sunday silence (again) Posted: September 03, 2021 at 03:28 PM (#6038142)

Wally Schang is just above those 2 in WAR. He’s not in, and he played too long ago for me to have much opinion of why.


This is another interesting choice. I was thinking he was the one killed in the bar fight. BUt I believe that was Larry McLean.
   178. sunday silence (again) Posted: September 03, 2021 at 04:15 PM (#6038146)
. So catchers now have the opportunity to accumulate WAR on a far more granular basis than any other players, which exaggerates their totals


I dont think this is correct. As long as you have a standard baseline for the MLB average they shouldnt be exaggerated.

Lets say we know umps give pitchers a gift call 10x/year.

Molina frames (wraps?) 20 gifts, that's +10.
Posada frames 1, that's -9.

As long as you have a base for average, why would there be an exaggeration? Granularity has nothing to do with it. At least that's how I see maybe you see it different?
   179. greenback used to say live and let live Posted: September 03, 2021 at 04:19 PM (#6038147)
We don't credit batters only for events that involve scoring runs.

I am not sure I understand your point, but I think the reason we don't credit batters based on run-scoring event is because we know the accounting can be distorted by context (e.g. Tino Martinez looks like a run-producer because he has Derek Jeter's 400 OBP and excellent base-running in front of him). BITD run and hands lost were the measurements of choice, and we have evolved ever since then.
   180. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: September 03, 2021 at 04:26 PM (#6038149)
I dont think this is correct. As long as you have a standard baseline for the MLB average they shouldnt be exaggerated.

Lets say we know umps give pitchers a gift call 10x/year.

Molina frames (wraps?) 20 gifts, that's +10.
Posada frames 1, that's -9.

As long as you have a base for average, why would there be an exaggeration? Granularity has nothing to do with it. At least that's how I see maybe you see it different?
Right, but isn't that still an opportunity to add to WAR (or subtract from it) based on single-pitch "events" that isn't available to other players?

I am not sure I understand your point,
The point was that it doesn't make a lot of sense not to discredit a pitcher for, say, a double that doesn't lead to a run when we of course credit a batter for such an event.

   181. sunday silence (again) Posted: September 03, 2021 at 04:50 PM (#6038158)
Right, but isn't that still an opportunity to add to WAR (or subtract from it) based on single-pitch "events" that isn't available to other players?


It is an opportunity for INDIVIDUAL catchers to add to their value, yes.

Are you asking is it fair? It is fair, if C really add more defense than they are usually given credit for. I tend to think they are, but havent really studied this so not certain.

To me its just another tool to measure them by, so why not use it? We now have stat cast data on speed as well as defensive outs. We are going to use that. Its not unfair if we discover that Baez is now worth 25 runs instead of 15; that doesnt bother me. Its not likely to pull WAR from other positions, because there's probably bad, Jeter like, SS worth -25.

I mean it is possible that it might pull WAR from other players. If we find C are actually on avg 20 runs/season better than we thought. Then OK someone has to pay for that. And Pitchers would have to give back some WAR. If thats where the numbers take you so be it.

And to me I prefer to compare players to other players at the same positions so using framing data doesnt bother me. So compare SS to SS or C to C. Use the best evidence. I see no reason to add positional adjustment. SS on average hit less than RF, so that alone provides whatever adjustment one needs. If Ripken hits 50 pts better than the avg SS, but only 30 pts better than RF. OK he's getting a 20 pt. bat avg bonus. To me, that more accurate cause its using real data. Not some imaginary positional adjustment based on Surplusage or wahtever.
   182. sunday silence (again) Posted: September 03, 2021 at 04:57 PM (#6038159)
The point was that it doesn't make a lot of sense not to discredit a pitcher for, say, a double that doesn't lead to a run when we of course credit a batter for such an event.


I do think that's a valid pt. BUt I think your concern is misguided.

If a Pitcher has some miraculous ability to pitch out of jams. Then indeed; his ERA and/or Runs Against would be the best measure. He's still on the mound after he gives up the double. If he can get out of the inn on his own, by K'ing the rest of the batters. Why not credit him 0?

But once the batter gets on base, there's not a lot he can do to advance himself. He can SB but we already count that so..

Until a pitcher is removed from the game he still has some sort of ability to "control his own destiny." Yea or nay? But if he doesnt strike out the side, or induce weak contact, then he's at the mercy of his fielders so, i guess it makes sense to use FIP or WHIP or whatever.

So that's all we can count for the batter his hits, his SB. Runs and RBI are dependent on his teammates so we dont put much faith in them.

Agree? or no?
   183. sunday silence (again) Posted: September 03, 2021 at 05:02 PM (#6038160)
BITD run and hands lost were the measurements of choice, and we have evolved ever since then.


Man, baseball was brutal in the old days.
   184. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 03, 2021 at 05:28 PM (#6038164)
Right, but isn't that still an opportunity to add to WAR (or subtract from it) based on single-pitch "events" that isn't available to other players?

The real problem is giving credit for changes of probability that aren't actually reflected in later events. e.g.,

Molina "steals" two strikes to get from 2-0 to 2-2, and then the pitcher walks the guys anyway, or gives up a double. Molina is accruing value, when that value didn't actually show up. Or alternatively, the catches blows a pitch at 1-2 to get to 2-2, but the pitcher gets the guy to pop-up anyway. The catcher gets debited, but no harm was done.

We don't give a hitter credit for going up 2-0, and getting in favorable count if he then flies out.
   185. sunday silence (again) Posted: September 03, 2021 at 05:38 PM (#6038166)

We don't give a hitter credit for going up 2-0, and getting in favorable count if he then flies out.


Well so what if you did? WOuld it break baseball or something? What actually would be the result? What possible problem is that?
   186. Howie Menckel Posted: September 03, 2021 at 06:33 PM (#6038168)
Molina "steals" two strikes to get from 2-0 to 2-2, and then the pitcher walks the guys anyway, or gives up a double. Molina is accruing value, when that value didn't actually show up.

did Mariano accrue more value for a 1-2-3 9th inning of a 4-2 game, compared to another closer who allows a single and a walk before the 3rd out? seems both accomplished the relevant thing - a save. what was the value of Mariano's version (unless we're counting the maintaining lower blood pressure of the manager and team fan bases as value)?
   187. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: September 03, 2021 at 07:05 PM (#6038173)
The point of analytics is to figure out what really contributes towards victory, right? Lou Brock got into the HOF based on his stolen base totals, among other things. We now know those SBs weren't as valuable as they thought at the time, and given the other holes in his game, he was much more borderline than believed at the time.

If, however, a new analysis took another look at the numbers and found out that stolen bases are three times more valuable than we thought, we'd adjust our perceptions, wouldn't we? Brock would move to the inner circle and maybe someone like Vince Coleman looks like a better candidate.

Why then the resistance of applying this logic to catchers? One argument seems to be that this sort of analysis applies only to catchers, and not to other position players. By the same token, reevaluating the stolen base would be bad for players who didn't steal. It might particularly disadvantage modern players who grew up in an era where the steal was devalued, and who therefore didn't try. Would we care about that, any more than we care about devaluing the speedsters of yore? Should we?

The second objection seems to be a feeling that the value of pitch-framing is exaggerated. It's an interesting philosophical question how long we should wait for analytical revisions to become 'settled understanding'. BITD when it was James and a few others howling into the wilderness it could take decades to upend conventional wisdom, so it didn't come up. How long ought we to wait before accepting current conclusions regarding pitch-framing?
   188. Howie Menckel Posted: September 03, 2021 at 08:20 PM (#6038178)
the Mets broadcasting crew was talking tonight about Bill Freehan and the HOF - and it underscores the embarrassing incongruity of BBWAA's "10-slot ballot maximum" and "5 percent or you're bounced off the ballot for good."

it's 1982, and you're a Hall of Fame voter.
Hank Aaron and Frank Robinson, those are easy and they get elected.
with a mix of "first-ballot HOFer" pixie dust-reluctance and the number of other good candidates, those coming up short of 75 pct that year included:
Juan Marichal, Harmon Killebrew, Hoyt Wilhelm, Don Drysdale, Luis Aparicio, Jim Bunning, Red Schoendienst, Nellie Fox, Richie Ashburn, Billy Williams, Orlando Cepeda, and Bill Mazeroski - future HOFers all.

now, it's 1982, so you're not choosing close to 10 players anyway. and with the two OF compulsories, you're starting to get resistant to more. so you choose maybe 3 or 4, tops, of those on that list. what the hell is Freehan supposed to do?

and thanks to catcher-aversion syndrome, Freehan (with 2 votes) also finished behind Maury Wills, Roger Maris, Tony Oliva, Harvey Kuenn, Lew Burdette, Frank Howard, Don Larsen, Thurman Munson (a catcher! but he had to die to get a few votes a couple of years after his death), Roy Face, Vada Pinson, Tommy Davis, Dave McNally, Rico Petrocelli and Lindy McDaniel.

as I've noted before, letting a group of writers of any sort get involved with setting up rules that touch on math - even tangentially - is, well, begging for trouble....
   189. Sweatpants Posted: September 03, 2021 at 08:45 PM (#6038182)
The second objection seems to be a feeling that the value of pitch-framing is exaggerated. It's an interesting philosophical question how long we should wait for analytical revisions to become 'settled understanding'. BITD when it was James and a few others howling into the wilderness it could take decades to upend conventional wisdom, so it didn't come up. How long ought we to wait before accepting current conclusions regarding pitch-framing?
Look at something like defensive numbers. I feel like conventional (saber) wisdom shifted from "defense is overrated" in the early 2000s to "look at how underappreciated Player X's defense was" during the WARP/WAR era, and now in the Statcast era people are starting to back up a bit to "I don't know if Andruw Jones was really saving 30 runs a year over a five-year stretch." It can take a while to sort out how accurate these measurements are.

I guess that how long you should wait depends on whether you'd rather argue for the principle (catchers have actually saved runs by framing, and we need to incorporate this) or for accuracy (is it really likely that we already have an accurate assessment of how many runs each catcher saved?).
   190. Space Force fan Posted: September 03, 2021 at 09:15 PM (#6038187)
No no, you said that he wasn't close to the borderline without pitch framing. Being 22nd at your position is at least close to the borderline. Here are the 22nd best player by JAWS at each position.


Apples v cumquats. Your argument seems to be that the 22th best according to JAWS at each position must at least a borderline HOF. My argument is JAWS has 8 better non-HOF catchers than Molina which means that he is not necessarily a borderline HOF. Agree to disagree here.

HOw is that a def'n? There's only one Joe Mauer in the world. SO your defn of borderline is: Joe Mauer? There's only one borderline catcher in all of baseball history and there will be only one borderline C until/unless Mauer is inducted


You asked me to define a borderline catcher. You didn't ask for every borderline catcher, so I didn't provide them. Don't go ballistic because I didn't answer the question you didn't ask.

OK so he's not borderline then? He created 44 WAR not all of it as a C, and he's in?


Can you read? I explained why. Mauer generated 55 WAR while playing substantial time at multiple positions, including catcher. If you credit all 55 WAR to him as a catcher he is clearly in, but this isn't logical. So as a pure catcher he is probably a little short, but he did put up the extra value while playing other positions which might be enough to get him over the threshold. Hence borderline.
   191. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: September 03, 2021 at 09:22 PM (#6038189)
It’s that we’ve never before recognized “change in the count” as a change of game state where value can be accrued. A hitter has to do more than that to gain or lose value - he has to reach base or make an out. A pitcher has to pitch an inning or give up a run, apparently. It seems like we should decide what constitutes a sufficient change in the game state for value to be added or subtracted, and use that consistently across all players.
   192. Space Force fan Posted: September 03, 2021 at 09:23 PM (#6038190)
So Mauer produced 44.6 WAR in the years as a C. He caught just over a thousand and played another position for 200 of those games.

So even if he made 40 WAR at C. He's a HoF.

Molina made 41.6 WAR. He's not even close to borderline?

What the fukc?


What are you talking about. He put up 55 WAR playing multiple positions, the majority as a catcher. If Mauer goes into the HOF, it will be as a catcher. If you limit your consideration to just the time he was catcher, he is not a HOF. If you include all his career he is borderline.

By your own numbers, Molina put up about the same WAR as Mauer did as just a catcher without his extra WAR from the other positions. I stated above that Mauer is not a HOF based just on the time he caught.
   193. Space Force fan Posted: September 03, 2021 at 09:30 PM (#6038194)
It's not, though. It's different in that the unit of analysis is the pitch rather than the play or at-bat. So catchers now have the opportunity to accumulate WAR on a far more granular basis than any other players, which exaggerates their totals. The analog would be giving a batter credit for something like taking a borderline pitch that is called a ball.


Thanks. You said it much better than I did.
   194. cardsfanboy Posted: September 03, 2021 at 09:38 PM (#6038197)
THe underlying assumption is that baseball talent must necessarily be dispersed as efficiently as possible. Of course talent runs out at some pt. and its natural that it will start to run out at DH, LF, 2b first if those positions are easier to fill. C being very hard to fill you wouldnt expect it to first run out there.


There is an argument to be made that since it is so hard to fill and that it's massive wear and tear on the body of the player, that you accept it as a lost cause and move those players who look like they might provide benefit to you with their big bats off of it so that you get more pa worth of big bats. There is a reason we don't have more than a handful of catchers who provided enough with the bat and still do the job defensively enough to play the number of games that Irod, Bench or even Piazza did.

It's possible that the hof voters have figured it out properly, you do not necessarily have to have the same number of players per position, some positions just aren't going to be equally represented by the nature of the wear and tear, and the teams acceptance of either moving people off of the position early in their career (like the minors) or making them hybrid players like Mauer or to a lesser extent Posey to maximize their value. That is all part of the discussion, there is no absolute reason to assume that if there are 25 first basemen in the hof, then there should be 20 catchers or second baseman etc. It doesn't really work that way. The ability to separate yourself from the average is what puts you in the hof, and if there is nobody doing that at a position for enough years, then maybe that position doesn't deserve a hofer at this time.
   195. sunday silence (again) Posted: September 03, 2021 at 11:52 PM (#6038224)
So I took another look to see if there was some aspect of catching defense that was being under valued. Looking at some borderline HoF.

WP per 162g:

Posada 56
D Porter 50
Munson 46
Freehan 41.6
Molina 42.6

current mlb avg: 62. WP are supposed to be blamed on the P; but if a C stops a bad pitch who knows if it was gonna be PB or WP? well maybe Molina is responsible for 7 or 8 less WP than avg and the rest is on the pitcher ?

Then there's PB Molina avg: 7.5 per 162g; mlb avg is 13. So he saves 4.5 better than avg. if he plays 80% of the games.

so lets say wp/pb: 12 less than avg. Value: 3.5 runs. (count 0.3 runs per since oftentimes there's more than one runner aboard)

SB PREVENTION

He's also good at stopping the running game. This site says he threw out 13% above avg AND teams run on him 40% less.

https://batflipsandnerds.com/2021/04/22/yadier-molina-is-so-good-he-impacts-games-he-isnt-playing-in/

So MLB avg SB year is 90 for Molina's career. Multiply by 53% we get about 47.5 SB prevented/162g. About 38 for a Molina season.

If we value sb at .25 we get 9.5 runs. Thats probably a bit overvalued, but I think all the weighted values for singles, doubles maybe similar overweighted (see below discussion on WE of SB) so lets keep it like that for now so we dont have to start re adjusting WP, etc.

HI LEVERAGE SITUATIONS

But then I thought of the value of SB in a high leverage situation. I.e. if a game is tied, or say down a run in the 9th inn. Does a SB have greater value because it increases the WinExpectancy much more. Well you can calculate the difference in WE at this site:

https://gregstoll.com/~gregstoll/baseball/stats.html#V.1.8.1.3.0.0.2011.2020

THe WE for SB w/ man on, no out, tied in 9th is: 8%. With one out its 6%. If down by one those numbers are: 7.5%/7%. (In the 8th inn. its marginal: just over 2%, so I'll ignore the 8th)

So lets call the WE for a SB in hi leverage situation (tied or down by one, in the ninth) about 7%.
How many weighted runs is that? Its supposed to be 10 runs = Win for WAR. So 7% means a SB in high leverage is 0.7 runs. A lot more than .25.

How many hi leverage situations are there in a season? That's another look up at baseball ref.

https://stathead.com/baseball/inning_summary.cgi?request=1&year_id=2018

About 10% of all games are tied going into the ninth. I assume a similar number are down by one in the ninth thats reasonable. OK so that's 32 games/ full season. SO 24 games for Molina.

HOw often is there a man on first, no out? 41.5% Same with one out: 26.5% so multiply by 67%= 16 high leverage situations for Molina in the ninth.

We know from above that Molina prevents about 50% less SB than avg. So that means he should save 8 SB here, the value using weighted runs for WE =.7 BUT we already counted those SB as .25 above ; so .45 x 8 = 3.5 runs (using runs to stand for WE). SO:

WP/PB: 3.5 runs above avg
SB prevention: 9.5 runs
Hi Leverage SB: 3.5 runs not counted previously


EXTRA INNINGS

BUT WAIT what about extra inn? Less than 10% of the games go to extras, but there's tied in the 10, 11th 12 etc. I.e. maybe 6% are tied in the 10th, 3% in the 11th etc. It all adds up to about 10% of the games are tied going into various late inn.

So again from above about 16 games are tied in extra inn. Because the visitors cannot start the inn. behind. then we get only 8 games where the home team is down by one, and Molina is catcher for visitors. So 24 times we start extras tied or down by a run. Molina plays 80% so 19 extra inn situations for Molina.

Multiply by 67% of the time when man on first no out/one out (silly ghost man ruins this entire aspect of baseball huh?) So 12 hi leverage extra inn situations for Molina.

x 50% Molinas ability to stop the SB = 6 SB prevented.

6 x .45 = 2.7 runs prevented, hi leverage extra inn.

TOTAL:

WP/PB: 3.5 runs above avg
SB prevention: 9.5 runs
Hi Leverage SB: 3.5 runs not counted previously
extra inn/hi leverage: 2.5 runs
Total ; 19 runs prevented.

Molina gets 10 runs/year for defense per baseballref. But that's way too short. Its about 1 WAR too short.

So we've been counting Molina at about 130 games a year. He has about 16 seasons of that. Multiply 16 x 1 WAR that makes his career WAR more like 58.

Someone else will have to do the math for the other Catchers.

NOTE ON POSITIONAL ADJUST

The positional adjustment used at bRef is used to compare players at different positions. Its very nearly equal to the difference in Catcher offense in terms of Runs vs MLB avg. (thats no coincidence). So we can simply add 7 or 8 runs to Munson, Molina, POsada all Catchers, to adjust Rbat (runs created vs MLB avg) to make it Runs vs avg Catcher . So if Molina is -3 Rbat vs MLB avg he's really +5 Rbat vs all Catchers. If Tony Pena is 5 Rbat, he's 12 runs better than the avg Catcher. It makes no difference if we are comparing C to C.

There's no reason to use positional adjustment as some sort of proxy for defense because not all C have the same defense.
   196. sunday silence (again) Posted: September 04, 2021 at 01:13 AM (#6038231)

You asked me to define a borderline catcher. You didn't ask for every borderline catcher, so I didn't provide them. Don't go ballistic because I didn't answer the question you didn't ask.



OK thats understandable. Here's the question Im trying to ask:

Can you define a borderline catcher in terms of career WAR? or some other objective standard.
   197. sunday silence (again) Posted: September 04, 2021 at 01:28 AM (#6038232)
CORRECTION TO THE ABOVE MOLINA ANALYSIS

I dont think I valued SB prevention correctly. On CS, he's throwing 13% more runners. So about 16.5/162games. x .5 runs value of CS = 8 runs
Molina plays 80% of season so: 6.5 runs/season for CS

On prevention: They made 40% less attempts or 50 less/162 games. But the value of that is not great because some of them will be thrown out. So assume a 35/15 cs/sb; that's +5 SB x .8 for Molina season =4 SB or 1 run.

So SB PREVENTION 7.5 runs; not 9.5.

Total runs saved: 17/season vs bRef 10

7 runs x 16 seasons = 11 WAR.

ADJUSTED CAREER WAR 53

Sorry
   198. sunday silence (again) Posted: September 04, 2021 at 01:44 AM (#6038233)
Lets try the same thing w/ Darrel Porter because he's a more average defense Catcher.

Most of this TZ defensive analysis is based on regression type of stuff. And the basic problem I see is that it lessens the extreme values in both directions. For a more average player it doesnt really hurt him.

But you take a Willie Mays who excels in so many facets of the game. He moves up on fly balls, and WP better than anyone. He's VG at reached on error. He steals at a high rate. he takes the extra base on a hit better than anyone. These categories by themselves are a few runs but you excel at 2 or 3 categories like that and that can be an entire WAR/year.


Ok back to Porter:

Porter plays about 100g/ year.

WP are less in his day (they dont throw as hard? ) about 45/year. Porter allows 50/162 games or 5 more than avg/162 games

3 more/100 games.

Giving up about one run.

PB. About one worse than avg so -.3 runs.

CS. 3% above avg. Or 1.5 runs/porter season. Value CS at .5 runs

Prevention. Opponents do run a little less on Porter. About 7 less/100g. Again the value of that is difficult but if they go 5/2. Then thats 0.25 runs.

So lets give him +2 run for CS and Not Running.

Leverage: About 20 games get to Ninth, tied or down one. So 13 get a man aboard with no out or one out. Porter prevents 1.3 SB or about 0.5 runs in high leverage.

Extra Inn. A bit less. So total maybe one run for all high leverage.

Grand total 1.5 runs saved/100 games.

Bref gives him 9 def runs for his career.

I think I'd give him 25 def runs total. COrrection factor of 1.5 WAR.

BRef WAR 39
Adjusted WAR 40.5

So for a guy like Porter whatever TZ is doing it doesnt really affect a player with average skills.
   199. sunday silence (again) Posted: September 04, 2021 at 02:06 AM (#6038234)

It's possible that the hof voters have figured it out properly, you do not necessarily have to have the same number of players per position, some positions just aren't going to be equally represented by the nature of the wear and tear, and the teams acceptance of either moving people off of the position early in their career (like the minors) or making them hybrid players like Mauer or to a lesser extent Posey to maximize their value.


I thought about this after I wrote that and yeah I pretty much agree with everything you're saying.

But then this argument would mostly only apply to C right? Perhaps Pitchers too. And possibly 2b, maybe.

But then you have to find players at C, who are willing to take the punishment and abuse and play there long enough to produce 45 WAR. Dont you have to reward them for taking such punishment? Even if objectively they didnt produce the same value as LFer?
   200. DL from MN Posted: September 04, 2021 at 09:42 AM (#6038254)
Lots of good stuff in these past few comments. I don't have the time to go systematically through all the borderline catchers at the moment. Posada is going to suck. I'm mostly interested in how good Freehan was.

I had some thoughts about how we allocate the value in pitch framing. I agree that a "by event" analysis at the pitch level is probably too granular. We don't credit the batter for working the count to 3-1 then grounding out.

A pitcher gives up a double, walks two guys, and then gets three outs is viewed as the same as one who strikes out the side.


This may be true in bWAR but not in a FIP WAR system. In FIP the pitcher gets credit for HR, walks and strikeouts. I wonder what would happen if we treated catcher framing in the same manner. For at-bats that end with a ball in play we don't give any credit to the pitcher so why would we to the catcher? If we're using FIP for pitcher WAR we should only credit catchers for strikes in at-bats that end in strikeouts and debit them for balls for at-bats that end in walks (especially if the framed pitch is strike 3 or ball 4). Even then I agree that the pitcher gets some credit for throwing the pitch near the edge of the strikezone. The most credit a catcher could reasonably expect to get for a strikeout would be 50% - frame 3 balls perfectly that would otherwise be a 50/50 call from the umpire. Likewise, a catcher could end up with a maximum of 50% of the debit for a walk.

We have wondered why this skill doesn't show up in catcher ERA. My guess is it is buried in the noise. We've moved beyond ERA for pitchers. Catcher xFIP might show something more interesting. Take out all the noise from balls in play.

I'll put it another way. If catcher framing isn't getting your pitcher more strikeouts and fewer walks then it's just moving the point in the at-bat where the ball gets put in play. If we don't think big league pitchers have much measurable difference in what happens when the ball is put into play then the catcher certainly doesn't matter for balls in play.
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