Why Sabermetrics?

by Shaun

I’ve often carried on discussions (arguments) about clutch hitting.  I point out that, according to all the data and evidence, players do not preform any better or worse in clutch situations than they do overall.  In other words, according to all the data and evidence, certain players do not have a knack for coming through or failing in the clutch relative to how they perform overall.  If a player performs well in clutch situations one season, he may perform worse in the clutch the next season, he may perform better the next season.  There is just no pattern.  Therefore it’s safe to conclude that there is no innate ability within certain players to be “clutch” or to be “chokers.”

The response I get is often something like, “I know what I’ve observed.  I don’t care what the stats say” or “you can make the stats say anything you want them to say” or “I’ll trust someone who plays the game over some stat sheet.”

Baseball writer Jonah Keri wrote a brilliant response to this way of thinking when discussing the Hall of Fame and Jack Morris’ candidacy:

It’s after 5 pm here on the West Coast, and I’m watching the sunset at the beach. The sun drops, drops, drops…and it’s gone! Into the ocean! Miraculously, a brand new sun will appear, fully formed, 13 hours from now. This is roughly how Hall of Fame voters justify ignoring numbers in making their case for or against certain players.

Jack Morris is a Hall of Fame pitcher because…well…you had to be there. Here’s the thing about us humans: We’re terrible at observing reality. As in the case of the setting sun, our eyes can only take us so far. Our minds are even more unreliable. We remember Jack Morris’ dominant Game 7 in the 1991 World Series, but conveniently forget his miserable playoff performance the very next year. This is known as confirmation bias, where we collect observations that prove our argument, and throw out the ones that disprove it. This is why science exists, people. Without hard data, our observations can be nearly useless – or worse than useless.

The reason sabermetrics (as generally defined) exist is because there are people out there who want to take this scientific approach to understanding baseball.  They do not simply blindly trust what they think they’ve observed or what someone who seems knowledgeable tells them.  Sabermetrics is essentially about finding the answers regarding baseball knowledge for yourself and not relying on what seems right or what tradition tells us.

Observation is important in baseball.  You can’t evaluate whether a player’s hands are getting to the ball quickly or whether he has a long swing by looking at data.  Scouts are important as professional observers.  No team should fire all it’s scouts in favor of statisticians and scientists.  But we need both scouts and statisticians to fill the other side’s gaps.

Scouts exist so that teams can get down to where the rubber meets the road.  They give us details about a hitter’s swing or a pitcher’s delivery.  Sabermetricians exist to answer big-picture questions by recognizing patterns in data.

Sabermetricians do not exist to advance some grand conspiracy about players not performing any better or worse in the clutch or in pressure situations than they do in other situations.  What would sabermetrics have to gain by pretending and twisting the data to show that players actually don’t perform any better or worse than normal in the clutch?  The folks who think science, data and statistics have no place in baseball can’t seem to answer this question.

Sabermetricians aren’t trying to advance any cause.  They are simply trying to get as close to the truth as possible, not what seems like the truth.  They start with something like a question.  For instance, “do players actually perform any better or worse in high-pressure, clutch or high-leverage situations than they do overall?  Are there certain players who have a knack for success or failure in high-pressure, clutch or high-leverage situations?”  Sabermetricians don’t assume going in that they have the answer to that question.  Again, they aren’t trying to advance their own biased opinions about the game.   If they don’t like what the data indicates, they realize that’s too bad.  They accept the results and move on.

If you think science, statistics and data have no place in baseball, think about the setting and rising sun.  If you just want to rely purely on what you think you’ve observed, remember that kind of thinking is what got us to a flat earth, a earth-centered universe and a new brand new sun every day.  “Because I said so” or “because this is what I want to believe” is not good enough when reality isn’t on your side.

Tags:

313 Responses to “Why Sabermetrics?”

  1. Jim Says:

    Frankly Shaun, most of the stat discussion makes my eyes glaze over and hope that there’s a game on or start surfing for porn. Having said that, at various times in my professional life I’ve needed to do some serious quantitative analysis. Fortunately I didn’t need to defend how I turned a pile of numbers into a business model, because some smart mathematician went through the trouble to “prove” that the equation I was using was produced an accurate representation of reality as measured by the pile of numbers I started with.

    When it comes to sabermetrics, except for the counting stats, there is little evidence that any smart mathematical has done the heavy lifting to “prove” these equations (overstatement for effect). Add to that, many of the advanced seem to appear after marathon Red Bull fired sessions from an author who did no critical analysis. As attractive as the concept of WAR is, there is little likelihood that any single stat will ever capture the subtleties of the game and accurately rank players. Or UZR, a seductive number that suffers from the garbage in syndrome. Someday with refinement and the deployment and development of fieldF/X the garbage in problem will be solved and there will be enough data that we can begin to trust that UZR does a reasonable job of measuring players.

    Make definitive arguments with the counting stats and use the derived stats with the appropriate qualifications and I believe that you’ll find more are willing to listen and consider.

  2. Raul Says:

    If you stats guys ever try to quantify the enjoyment gained from sex, you’ll single-handedly kill the porn industry and will likely send human beings to asexuality and ultimately extinction with your boring bullshit analysis.

    “Sabermetrics is essentially about finding the answers regarding baseball knowledge for yourself and not relying on what seems right or what tradition tells us.”

    You want to know why Albert Pujols hits a game winning single against the Mets? It has nothing to do with WAR or Jose Reyes’ UZR or the pitch count or DIPS or PECOTA or any of that shit.

    It’s because Albert Pujols kept his fucking balance, wasn’t on his front foot, kept his front shoulder closed and smacked that fucking slider over the 1st baseman’s head.

    If you want to calculate the amount of torque in the swing, the trajectory the ball took to RF and peg some rating to the outfielder because he was in Quandrant 45C of the outfield, like some game of Battleship, and use that as a way to “better understand baseball”, be my guest.

  3. Cameron Says:

    Scary thing, RAul? I’m pretty sure you can quantify the enjoyment from sex… But the brain surgery and chemicals needed would be so invasive and dangerous I’m pretty sure that even Mengele would question the ethics involved.

  4. John Says:

    Oh boy.

    That’s my comment before reading the article.

    Shaun has started some shit.

  5. Shaun Says:

    “You want to know why Albert Pujols hits a game winning single against the Mets? It has nothing to do with WAR or Jose Reyes’ UZR or the pitch count or DIPS or PECOTA or any of that shit.”

    Right, Raul. Something that narrow is more about scouting and I don’t mean that critically. Sabermetrics fills in the gaps for things that go beyond observation or things that fool our faculties of observation. For example, serious statistical research answers the question of whether Albert Pujols has any better chance of getting that game-winning hit than he has of getting a hit any other time. This is important because maybe you want to keep a roster spot for a player that might be inferior to another overall but may be more “clutch” than the better player…or maybe you just want the better player. (The data suggest that you want the best player because players don’t really have a knack for clutch hitting any more than they have a knack for hitting well overall.)

  6. John Says:

    Raul: “You want to know why Albert Pujols hits a game winning single against the Mets? It has nothing to do with WAR or Jose Reyes’ UZR or the pitch count or DIPS or PECOTA or any of that shit.

    It’s because Albert Pujols kept his fucking balance, wasn’t on his front foot, kept his front shoulder closed and smacked that fucking slider over the 1st baseman’s head.”

    I think Shaun was…kind of…making that point.

    Albert Pujols has a reputation for being a historically great clutch hitter.

    He is.

    He’s a historically great hitter, period. In all situations.

    When his team is up by 9 runs, Pujols “kept his fucking balance, wasn’t on his front foot, kept his front shoulder closed and smacked that fucking slider over the 1st baseman’s head” (or in the gap, or over the fence, or something like that).

    When is team is behind by 9 runs, Pujols “kept his fucking balance, wasn’t on his front foot, kept his front shoulder closed and smacked that fucking slider over the 1st baseman’s head”(or something like that).

    When the score is tied, Pujols “kept his fucking balance, wasn’t on his front foot, kept his front shoulder closed and smacked that fucking slider over the 1st baseman’s head” (or something like that).

    David Eckstein has a reputation for being a great clutch hitter because he had a couple big hits in the 2006 World Series.

    Career Line: .280/.345/.355 (5705 PA)
    Game Tied: .269/.335/.349 (1879 PA)
    Close&Late: .275/.343/.400 (627 PA)

    Basically the same guy.

    Jim: “there is little evidence that any smart mathematical has done the heavy lifting to “prove” these equations”

    I did a little leg work for a WAR article, but didn’t actually bother writing it. Anyway, I took the team WAR for every AL team, added the 49 wins that a replacement level team would theoretically win, and compared it to how many games they actually did win in the 2010 regular season. On average, Team WAR was off by 3 wins. The better the team, the closer WAR was to right; Tampa was off by 2.7, NY was off by 0.2, Twins were off by 0.3 and Texas was off by 1.8. That strikes me as pretty close.

    It’s an estimate. WAR isn’t supposed to figure out the exact freezing point of water (or rank the top-10 MVP candidates). It’s meant to tell you if signing Ryan Howard to a 5-yr, 125 million dollar deal is a good idea (it’s not).

    Cam: “I’m pretty sure you can quantify the enjoyment from sex”

    Yeah, the release of endorphins. Same thing if you’re drinking or smoking weed. That shit is most definitely quantifiable.

  7. Raul Says:

    Admittedly, my comment above was trying to be funny. And if I don’t say so myself, it was pretty fucking funny.

    That said…

    Shaun & John,

    How is examining sample size using complex formulas to determine whether or not a player is actually “clutch” giving you a clearer understanding of the game?

    That answer is two fucking words long: sample size. Known to old fogeys with their “tradition” as common fucking sense.

  8. Raul Says:

    I think a lot of the saber movement isn’t trying to explain shit to understand baseball.

    It’s to try to use some mathematical formula to shut up the people who call into sports talk radio.

    Because a smart baseball person knows pretty damn well that a guy with game-winning “clutch” hits 3 days in a row isn’t likely to get a 4th, simply because he’s “clutch”.

    You know who believes that shit? People who call into Mike & The Mad Dog.

  9. Chuck Says:

    “Admittedly, my comment above was trying to be funny. And if I don’t say so myself, it was pretty fucking funny.”

    It was.

  10. John Says:

    “It’s to try to use some mathematical formula to shut up the people who call into sports talk radio.”

    Ned Colletti gave Juan Pierre 45 million dollars over five years.

    Ned Colletti isn’t some douche calling in to Mike&Mike in the morning to suggest that Alex Rodriguez isn’t a team player. Ned Colletti is a professional GM, in charge of one of the highest payrolls for a team in the 2nd biggest market in the country, and he, using his professional understanding of value, gave Juan Pierre a 45 million dollar contract.

    Sure, baseball isn’t a formula. I get that. I love watching games. I probably watch around 200-250 every year. But a lot of people thought that the Pierre signing was brilliant, that Colletti had “cornered the market on leadoff hitters” etc etc. No formula should strictly be used to determine MVP or anything, but man…a professional GM gave a ton of money to a guy who should really be a 4th or 5th outfielder (his average WAR before the signing was like 1.7/year in 6 full seasons, with 2 being about what an average starter should put up).

    I’d love to see the common sense behind that move.

  11. Shaun Says:

    Raul, what about Jonah Keri’s example of people who think Jack Morris is a Hall of Famer? I think sabermetrics is useful to shut those people up as well.

  12. John Says:

    Raul’s “quadrant 45C” comment reminded me of the SABR-inspired episode of the Simpsons. Lisa is coaching and she bangs some shit into her laptop and all the position players move over to a spot in right field.

    So I’ll give you that.

  13. Shaun Says:

    Sabermetrics also keeps GM’s from doing things like building an offense around “RBI guys” instead of actually building an offense around good offensive players.

  14. Raul Says:

    Ok John.

    I see your point. But you also have to understand that a lot of people thought that Juan Pierre signing was terrible. I did. Not that I carry a lot of weight, but does it really take a complex formula to tell you that giving a weak-hitting outfielder who’s fast, but doesn’t really get on base much 40 million is a bad idea?

    You know what would be funny though? If it turned out that Colletti gave Pierre that contract based on some defensive metric. Actually, I suppose it wouldn’t be funny. It’d be sad. But sort of ironic.

    Shaun,

    Candidly, I think relying heavily on statistics (even the most basic) to elect people to the HOF is a bad idea. My personal preference? I would rather have a HOF that contains just that. A hall of “famous” baseball people. A hall of noteworthy people. I think diving into the numbers and saying “this guy put up these numbers, which were just as good as that guy’s numbers, ergo, this guy should be in.” All that does it lead to an endless debate over what the least common denominator is to get in the HOF.

    You can disagree with my idea of what I think the HOF should be, and I’m sure you do.

    At the end of the day, Jack Morris pitched probably the most memorable playoff game ever next to Don Larsen. Is it really a travesty to baseball that he be remembered and honored? I don’t think so. Frankly, I’m not passionate as to whether Morris or Mattingly or Raines or any of these fringe guys get in.

    If you really want to pique anyone’s interest, how about writing an article about how shitty the use of relievers is. Come up with mathematical proof that Tony LaRussa (and all his copycats) are complete jackasses for using a guy for 1 batter.

    And you keep talking about teams building players around “RBI guys”. What the hell are you talking about? What team does this? When has a team EVER done this? I can’t think of any player labeled an “RBI guy” who simply wasn’t a good baseball player. Who were the RBI guys of the 1990s? Juan Gonzalez? Manny Ramirez? Andres Galarraga? Cecil Fielder? Albert Belle? Those are “RBI guys”?? Newsflash, they were good players!

    The only thing I can think you’re referring to is a guy who gets 100 RBI in a season, then signs a big contract with another team, and never does it again. That’s not an RBI guy though. That’s just a guy who had a good season. And anyone with 2 braincells would tell you that player was never an “RBI guy”.

    Good lord, Shaun…

  15. John Says:

    “You know what would be funny though? If it turned out that Colletti gave Pierre that contract based on some defensive metric. Actually, I suppose it wouldn’t be funny. It’d be sad. But sort of ironic.”

    The year before he signed with LA, Juan Pierre had a dWAR of +1.9.

    Man, if you ever needed proof that defensive metrics were bullshit…

    “Who were the RBI guys of the 1990s?”

    I’ve got a good one.

    Dante Bichette. From 1995-1999, he had 5 straight 100 RBI seasons, averaging 128 RBI a year.

    He was not a great hitter.

    Maybe common sense tells you that a guy who refuses to walk and who hits 3rd or 4th in a lineup packed with big hitters in a hitter’s paradise is going to rack up RBI’s that just about any guy could get.

    I don’t think it hurts to know that his “oWAR” was a pretty pedestrian 1.2/year during that time frame. Even if it might not be *exactly* correct.

  16. Raul Says:

    I suppose you have somewhat of a point with Bichette. But that’s one guy.

    I honestly can’t remember if 5 or 7 million dollars was an insane amount of money in the late 1990s, but it didn’t seem like Dante Bichette was “grossly” overpaid.

    I guess that’s open to interpretation though.

  17. Chuck Says:

    Bichette’s not a good example because the environment he played in made him an RBI guy, not the other way around.

    Bichette, Castilla…these guys were expansion draft selections. Do you think if they had showed ANY ability at all they would have been exposed to the draft?

    Outside of Colorado, Bichette only had season over 60 in ribbies, and Castilla was worse.

    Dan O’Dowd or whoever the Rockies GM was in 1992 wasn’t sitting at a table saying, “hey, let’s get that Bichette kid, he looks like he’ll be an RBI guy.”

    It was more like, “hey, did we get a rightfielder yet, how about that Bichette kid”?

  18. John Says:

    I assume he was extended though right?

  19. brautigan Says:

    My god, I think I could have gotten 60 RBI’s in that Blake Street Bombers lineup. Hell, I think Juan Pierre could have gotten 60.

    Speaking of RBI machines, has anyone noticed Enzo Hernandez had 12 RBI’s with the 1971 Padres? Nothing strange about that, until you note he also had 618 plate appearances.

  20. Shaun Says:

    Raul, I think it’s fine if you want literally a baseball Hall of Fame (emphasis on Fame). Perhaps that’s they way many voters look at it. In that case, it’s hard to justify a selection by using any sort of judgment of how good a player was. The problem is that most voters seem to justify selections with numbers that they think tells them how good a player is, so it doesn’t seem to be literally about fame for most voters.

    If I’m not mistaken, it says somewhere in the voting guidelines that a player shouldn’t be elected for a singular moment. Morris is considered by many to be a Hall of Famer because of one game and because of most wins in the 1980’s. That’s fine if your standard is literally just fame, I suppose. But if Jack Morris is a Hall of Famer, why not someone like Dennis Martinez? Martinez had on 9 fewer wins and pitched a perfect game. Plus Martinez had a lower ERA and slightly better ERA+.

    If your standard is being one of the most valuable baseball players to his teams (as seems to be the standard for most voters), you have to dig a little deeper than a great game and most wins within a 10-year stretch.

  21. Raul Says:

    Well,

    I’ve stated on Dugout Central more than once, that El Presidente should be in the HOF for no other reason than his nickname was “El Presidente”. But that’s not a serious discussion.

    Braut, that’s awesome.

    I was just browsing on BBREF, and wondered if I could find pitchers with very few walks, and lots of innings pitched. Consider the following seasons:

    Greg Maddux – 1997
    19-4, 2.20 ERA, 232 IP, 20 walks, 177 strikeouts, 5 CG

    Catfish Hunter – 1974
    25-12, 2.49 ERA, 318 IP, 46 walks, 143 strikeouts, 23 CG

    Fergie Jenkins – 1971
    24-13, 2.77 ERA, 325 IP, 37 walks, 263 strikeouts, 25 CG

    Juan Marichal – 1966
    25-6, 2.23 ERA, 307 IP, 36 walks, 222 strikeouts, 25 CG

    Incredible seasons.

  22. Shaun Says:

    Regarding RBI guys, the Braves hung on to Jeff Francoeur and inserted him in the lineup everyday for too long because he was a hometown guy and they could justify it with his RBI totals. It took them about three seasons worth of games to bench him when he should have been in the minors or a platoon player.

  23. Chuck Says:

    I would hardly consider Francoeur an “RBI guy.”

    Considering his games played and PA totals, his RBI totals suck.

  24. brautigan Says:

    Shaun:

    Major league history is full of people like Jeff Francouer. They have one good season and they end up with another 2,000 plate appearances trying to catch that one good season in a bottle.

    I mean, I can’t blame the Braves. Francouer had so much promise, and he is/was a plus defender, so I think he did earn another 1,000 at bats or so. He even looked like he was learning how to draw a walk, but then quickly regressed. While I can say I can’t blame the Braves, I can’t tell you what the Mets and the Rangers were thinking.

  25. Hartvig Says:

    Raul- you missed Curt Schilling’s 2002 season

    23-7, 3.23 ERA, 259 IP, 33 walks, 319 strikeouts, 5 CG

    His ERA looks a little high but he actually has a better ERA+ than either Hunter or Jenkins.

  26. Hartvig Says:

    Some of Pete Alexander’s seasons are pretty jaw dropping too

  27. Chuck Says:

    Fritz Peterson

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/p/peterfr01.shtml

  28. Hartvig Says:

    Geez, I hadn’t thought about Fritz Peterson in years. And his similarity scores led me to poor Eric Show’s page.

    Baseball-Reference is the greatest website ever.

  29. Cameron Says:

    Eric Show…. Jeez, that’s a depressing name to have come to mind.

  30. Raul Says:

    Baseball fields used to be bigger.

    I wonder how many outfielders today could have played back then? Just off the top of my head, I doubt any of the 2010 Red Sox outfield could have played in the old Yankee Stadium. Like, literally all of them would have been out of baseball.

    You kind of had to had a good arm and cover a lot of ground.
    Citizen’s Bank Park?
    Camden Yards?

    Boog Powell could have played CF there. LOL. Just kidding…sort of.

  31. Cameron Says:

    The 2010? Ells can track down a ball pretty easily, but diving after them killed him.

    Really, I think a fair amount of modern OF could play back in the day. Sure guys like Luke Scott would be in the infield, but a good amount of guys would be able to stick it out there.

  32. Raul Says:

    You think, Cam?

    I think probably every team has 2 Outfielders that would not have made a Major League Roster 40 or 50 years ago.

  33. Raul Says:

    In case Chuck ever decides to go back east…

    http://bobbyv.com/

  34. Cameron Says:

    Now hold on Raul, are we talking guys that could’ve played the OF or guys that could play it well? Because I know there’s teams that have 2 OF that coudl play it well. Houston comes to mind with Pence and Bourn right away. New York with Gardner and Granderson, give me time and I could do a full list.

  35. Chuck Says:

    Been there a few times, Raul.

    Valentine was known to hop behind the bar on occasion.

  36. Cameron Says:

    Huh, saw a piece about the friendship between Aaron Rodgers and Ryan Braun. Lots of support of Green Bay in the Brewers clubhouse (except Zack Greinke, who’s cheering for my most hated team).

    But the most interesting thing? Shawn Marcum’s from KC and has Chiefs season tickets. Did not know that.

    You know what’d be awesome? The Chiefs and the Royals winning the Superbowl and World Series in the same year. Given the young talent on both teams, it’s feasible.

  37. Jim Says:

    Ellsbury playing center in old Yankee Stadium, hee hee. Any ball hit over his head that reaches the warning track will require the right fielder to serve as a relay to the cut off man. From the warning track an Ellsbury throw wouldn’t make it as far as his normal position for a singles hitter.

  38. Cameron Says:

    True, no arm, but he could track it down. Guy’s a left fielder by nature, center fielder by trade.

  39. Chuck Says:

    1971 MLB Starting leftfielders:

    Willie Stargell, Lou Brock, Billy Williams, Cleon Jones, Ron Fairey, Oscar Gamble, Ken Henderson, Willie Crawford, Ralph Garr, Bernie Carbo, Bob Watson, Leon Lee, Don Buford, Willie Horton, Carl Yastrzemski, Roy White, Frank Howard, Ted Uhlaender, Joe Rudi, Lou Piniella, Rick Reichardt, Roger Repoz, Cesar Tovar, Tommy Harper.

    Four others played at least 100 games…Merv Rettenmund, Tony Gonzalez, Walt Williams and Jose Cardenal.

    That’s 28 players.

    Brett Gardner starts over, maybe, four or five?

  40. Chuck Says:

    1971 Starting centerfielders:

    Al Oliver, Matty Alou, Brock Davis, Tommy Agee, Boots Day, Willie Montanez, Willie Mays, Willie Davis, Sonny Jackson, George Foster, Cesar Cedeno, Cito Gaston, Paul Blair, Mickey Stanley, Reggie Smith, Bobby Murcer, Del Unser, Vada Pinson, Rick Monday, Amos Otis, Jay Johnstone, Ken Berry, Dave May, Ike Holt.

    Two others played at least 100 games..Elliott Maddox & Jose Cruz.

    Jacoby Ellsbury starts over…four. And Granderson, maybe seven.

  41. Raul Says:

    I met Tommy Agee at a Mets game a while back. Super nice man. I was disappointed to hear he passed away less than a year later.

  42. Cameron Says:

    I’m just talking pure defensive ability, Chuck. Based SOLELY on their glove, would you take Stargell over Gardner?

  43. Chuck Says:

    Of course not, but you can’t take half a player, either.

    Unless he’s a DH.

  44. John Says:

    “Bichette’s not a good example because the environment he played in made him an RBI guy, not the other way around.”

    That’s the point though.

    Guys who are considered “RBI guys” are often just guys who put up 100 RBI seasons.

    But, a lot of the time, “RBI guys” are simply products of their environment, whether it’s ballpark, supporting cast, refusal to ever take a walk, or some combination of the three.

  45. Cameron Says:

    Can’t take half a player, yes. I’m just talking about guys who could start in the OF off the glove. Defensive quality is going down, but I wouldn’t say that only a third of modern outfielders would be able to handle the old outfields.

    …Though I always considered Pops more a 1B anyway. He was an outfielder out of necessity IIRC.

  46. Chuck Says:

    “Guys who are considered “RBI guys” are often just guys who put up 100 RBI seasons.”

    Considered by whom?

    I always liked Bichette, but never considered him an RBI guy, regardless of how many he put up.

    A middle of the order hitter getting 100 RBI isn’t impressive, it’s kind of like a starting NFL running back getting 1000 yards.

    It’s almost easy to do.

  47. Raul Says:

    Right, but how many of these so-called “RBI guys” were guys who weren’t good players otherwise?

    Almost every so-called “RBI guy” you could come up with was generally a good player.

  48. Chuck Says:

    Is Mark Reynolds an RBI guy? Adam Dunn? Carlos Quentin?

    In 2007, Jeff Francoeur drove in 105 runs with 19 homers and 188 hits.

    In 2007, Adam Dunn drove in 106 runs on 40 homers and 138 hits.

    Who is more the “RBI guy”?

    I’d say Francoeur.

  49. Cameron Says:

    “A middle of the order hitter getting 100 RBI isn’t impressive, it’s kind of like a starting NFL running back getting 1000 yards.”

    Oooh, lemme see how many 1,000 yard backs there were this season!

    Arian Foster (Honestly? NOBODY saw this season coming.
    Jamaal “The JC of KC” Charles (This dude is the reason Chiefs games are awesome again, a lock)
    Michael “The Burner” Turner (Very solid, the #2 weapon behind Roddy White’s receiving, a lock)
    Chris “CJ2K” Johnson (This guy rushed 1,400 yards and had a DOWN season. 2K’s a beast, a lock)
    Maurice “MoJo” Jones-Drew (A 1,000 yard lock)
    Adrian Peterson (A 1,000 yard lock)
    Rashard Mendenhall (Not necessarily a 1,000 yard guy, but solid)
    Steven “S-Jax” Jackson (A 1,000 yard lock)
    Ahmad Bradshaw (3rd down back platooning with Brandon Jacobs)
    Ray Rice (Decent, wouldn’t say a lock)
    Peyton Hillis (…WHO saw this one coming?)
    Darren “Run DMC” McFadden (The only reason to watch a Raiders game)
    Cedric Benson (The only offense the Bengals had)
    LeSean McCoy (…Okay, he was a lock)
    Matt Forte (Who saw Chicago doing anything this year?)
    Ben-Jarvus Green-Ellis (Started season as 2nd string RB)
    LeGarrette Blount (Undrafted FA rookie)

    17 RBs had 1,000 yards, Blount, Green-Ellis, Bradshaw, and Hillis started out second string or lower. So only 13 starting RBs had 1,000 yards out of 32.

  50. John Says:

    100-RBI is usually considered the benchmark for a good RBI season.

    I mean it’s a common baseball (mis)understanding.

    “Almost every so-called “RBI guy” you could come up with was generally a good player.”

    True. But RBI’s aren’t a very good indicator of that. And also there are various levels of “good player.” Ryan Howard and Albert Pujols are both “good players” with a lot of RBI’s. One of these gentlemen is worth giving a 25M+ $/year contract to.

  51. Chuck Says:

    Did you know Adam Dunn has more 100 walk seasons than 100 RBI seasons?

  52. Cameron Says:

    I could buy that, but that’s mostly because most of the time he was in Cincinnati, he had pretty bad protection.

  53. Chuck Says:

    “100-RBI is usually considered the benchmark for a good RBI season.”

    Yeah, in 1970, when 25 homers in a season was alot.

    Nowadays, we have middle infielders doing that shit.

    So, the bar has been raised, for a number of different reasons.

    But I don’t consider 100 RBI to be a significant achievement any longer.

    Mark Reynolds had 102 RBI in 2009, but he needed 44 homers to do it.

    That’s not an indication 100 RBI is difficult, it’s how badly Mark Reynolds sucks.

  54. John Says:

    In the entire history of baseball, there have been 68 seasons where a player has hit 40 or more HR and driven in 110 or fewer RBI.

    Adam Dunn has 5 of them. So does Barry Bonds.

  55. Chuck Says:

    Neither surprises me.

  56. Raul Says:

    I think I saw today that Barry Bonds (was it 2005?) where he hit 45 homers and drove in only 90.

  57. John Says:

    “Mark Reynolds had 102 RBI in 2009, but he needed 44 homers to do it.
    That’s not an indication 100 RBI is difficult, it’s how badly Mark Reynolds sucks.”

    Nah.

    It’s an indication of how crappy the people hitting ahead of him were.

    I’m down on Mark Reynolds, because with all his strikeouts, he needs to have a .400 BABip in order to be reasonably productive.

    I think his 2009 season was pretty good, but when you’re striking out 200+ times, you better make enough solid contact to make up for it. In 2010 he didn’t. And I think he’s most likely had his most productive season.

  58. Raul Says:

    Mantle had 2 seasons where he hit 40 homers and didn’t crack 100 RBI, but I think both of them were in the high 90s…and it might have been in like 1958 or 60-something.

  59. John Says:

    2003 Raul, but yeah.

    2005 was his “sabbatical.”

  60. Chuck Says:

    No, John.

    I’ve spent the past three years watching Reynolds play every day.

    Trust me, he sucks.

    He’d suck if he was a Yankee.

  61. John Says:

    “Yeah, in 1970, when 25 homers in a season was alot.
    Nowadays, we have middle infielders doing that shit.”

    In 1970, there were 35 seasons with 25+ HR, or 1.46 per team.
    In 2010, there were 44 seasons with 25+ HR, or 1.47 per team.

  62. John Says:

    I agree that he sucks.

    HR/RBI ratio is a terrible way to gauge if someone sucks or not.

  63. Cameron Says:

    Reynolds has an iron glove (but prone to flashes of brilliance), no legs (despite one season with a decent steal total), makes NO contact, but he can smack the shit outta that ball.

    If he starts making contact, god help the league. He has 40 homer seasons without cracking the Mendoza line.

  64. Kerry Says:

    Raul:”If you stats guys ever try to quantify the enjoyment gained from sex, you’ll single-handedly kill the porn industry and will likely send human beings to asexuality and ultimately extinction with your boring bullshit analysis.”

    There seems to be two issues here. The first is whether a player’s value can be quantified, i.e., condensed into a formula; the second is what formula is appropriate (WAR, e.g.). I won’t address the second issue, but the first is very important for anyone who really wants to understand what’s important — GMs especially. If you don’t, that’s fine, but don’t denigrate those that do. A GM needs something to quantify performance to choose between players and to decide how much to pay the one you choose.

    Without some kind of measure, you’re just winging it, and can be influenced too much by particular plays (both offensive and defensive) you may have seen. Even if you have seem most of their plays (unlikely unless they are already on your team), selective memory can distort your perception of a player.

    The human mind is wonderful at weighing a lot of information intuitively (without an explicit formula) in many cases, but sometimes selective memory can cause the results to be inconsistent. Your brain is using a formula of some kind, it just doesn’t get written down or acknowledged. The problem with that is your mind may not be considering things the same way from player to player — you might think you are, but it’s hard to be consistent without a strict set of rules, or a formula, to follow.

    So a formula helps you be more consistent in your evaluations. Now the inputs don’t have to be the usual saber ones (that relates to the second issue, which formula), but ultimately a formula is the best way to decide exactly how much someone is worth.

    Most of the offensive metrics are fairly close, it’s the defensive side that is hard to quantify. How much more important defensively is a SS than a corner OFer? How much worse a hitter can a SS be and still be as valuable. WAR has a number for that (positional adjustment). You can argue about the exact v

  65. Kerry Says:

    Whoops, I cut myself off at the end.

    You can argue about the exact value, but everyone has some relative values in their minds. How good they are at their position is even harder, and has a long way to go. When the defensive metrics converge to similar values like the offensive ones have, I’ll have a lot more confidence in them.

  66. Kerry Says:

    By WAR, Reynolds was 13th among third basemen in the majors in 2009 with 2.2 (pretty much average), but in 2010 he was 25th with 0.8 (ouch). I’m not sure where the suck cut-off is, but his 2010 season likely qualifies.

  67. Cameron Says:

    Dude hits .198 and you need WAR to know he sucks?

    …Dude.

  68. Raul Says:

    In 1970, 25 different players hit 25 homers or more.
    In 1980, 17 different players hit 25 homers or more.
    In 1990, 22 different players hit 25 homers or more.
    In 2003, 57 different players hit 25 homers or more.
    In 2009, 54 different players hit 25 homers or more.

  69. Raul Says:

    http://www.royalsauthority.com/?p=3627

  70. Cameron Says:

    Well… After league minimum salaries of the guys without guarnteed money, there’s about a 33 million dollar payroll.

    Low? Yes. How many of the guys on the Royals roster would you give anything other than league minimum? It’s low because the roster is full of suck.

    There’s still a bunch of money going into the team through revenue and other avenues. It’s not being spent now. When the core comes up and needs new contracts, guess what’ll show up? About a decade’s worth of savings.

  71. Cameron Says:

    I still can’t believe that Minnesota traded away Johan Santana, decisively lost that trade, have no one involved in that trade at the major league level for the Twins, and haven’t lost a freakin’ step.

  72. brautigan Says:

    Brook Jacoby in 1987 hit 32 homeruns. He had 69 rbi’s.

    Awesome.

  73. Raul Says:

    They got some lucky years from Carl Pavano and Scott Baker.

  74. Chuck Says:

    Kerry, just because GM’s have so much more information available to them today than in the past doesn’t mean that information is better.

    “The first is whether a player’s value can be quantified, i.e., condensed into a formula”

    It can’t, which is why sabermetrics and other advanced stats fail.

    Alot of what goes into value can’t be quantified, so even if you come up with a stat or formula that’s better than what you’ve been using, it’s still not going to give you an accurate result.

    If WAR was a stock there’s no way you’d buy it, at least not for a long term investment. Maybe you’d keep it for awhile and sell it off for a small return, but in the long run you’re going to lose your ass.

    When the Red Sox hired Bill James a few years ago, other teams took note and hired their own “stat departments”.

    As time has gone on, these teams are finding that the information provided can be obtained for far less money or is already available to them through means they already possess.

    Noted pro-stat teams like the Blue Jays and Rays, and to a lesser extent the Pirates, have all drastically reduced their stat departments or have gotten rid of them altogether and have re-invested in their scouting departments, with noticeable and immediate results.

    The sabermetric movement is alive and well on the internet, but in the major league conference rooms and front offices it’s deader than Charlie Sheen’s career.

  75. brautigan Says:

    In 1934, SS Billy Rogell hit 3 homeruns and drove in 100. In 1985, Tommy Herr hit 8 homeruns and drove in 110.

  76. Jim Says:

    @Cameron #38- Yes Ellsbury has great speed and for that matter is sure handed, but that’s mitigated by the lousy jumps he gets on the ball and elliptical routes to it. Defensively, without the speed, Ells would be Manny Ramirez with a better glove and poorer throwing arm.

  77. Cameron Says:

    Yeah. He’s a solid guy for putouts, but that arm makes Johnny Damon look like Roberto Clemente. He’s great if the bases are empty. Overall, he’s decent. Not bad, but definitely not great. If he could stay healthy, I wouldn’t mind having him on my team.

  78. Shaun Says:

    brautigan Says:
    February 2nd, 2011 at 5:52 pm

    Shaun:

    Major league history is full of people like Jeff Francouer. They have one good season and they end up with another 2,000 plate appearances trying to catch that one good season in a bottle.

    I mean, I can’t blame the Braves. Francouer had so much promise, and he is/was a plus defender, so I think he did earn another 1,000 at bats or so. He even looked like he was learning how to draw a walk, but then quickly regressed. While I can say I can’t blame the Braves, I can’t tell you what the Mets and the Rangers were thinking.

    My point is that Francoeur never had one good full season. He came up for 70 games in 2005 and was really good in just those 70 games. The next season he was a downright awful but the Braves kept running him out there. He ended the season with 100 RBI so many underrated him, without bothering to recognize that he bombed at the plate more times than some of the worst players in the game. the next season he was a little better, but a league-average hitting corner outfielder isn’t a player that you want in the lineup 162 games. But the Braves kept running him out there. The next season, when the RBI’s didn’t come and the batting average was low, the Braves finally started to realize what they had. The finally sat him for some games. Then the next season they moved him to the Mets before it was too late.

  79. Shaun Says:

    Chuck Says:
    February 2nd, 2011 at 11:18 pm

    Is Mark Reynolds an RBI guy? Adam Dunn? Carlos Quentin?

    In 2007, Jeff Francoeur drove in 105 runs with 19 homers and 188 hits.

    In 2007, Adam Dunn drove in 106 runs on 40 homers and 138 hits.

    Who is more the “RBI guy”?

    I’d say Francoeur.

    This is the essence of why RBI should be ignored, at least when judging the value and talents of individual players.

    Do you want the guy who was below average at succeeding when he came to the plate or do you want the guy who had a very high success rate when he came to the plate? Do you want the guy who had 285 total bases in 696 plate appearances or do you want the guy who had 289 total bases in 632 plate appearances, in addition to getting on base more often and making outs less often than the first guy?

    RBI should be ignored. If you strip the game down to its basics and to strategy and ignore tradition and convention, you see how ludicrous it is to judge an individual player on the bases on RBI or RBI rate or any form of RBI.

  80. Shaun Says:

    Mark Reynolds had 102 RBI in 2009, but he needed 44 homers to do it.

    That’s not an indication 100 RBI is difficult, it’s how badly Mark Reynolds sucks.

    Except that neither RBI or homers give us any indication of whether Reynolds was good or bad. Mark Reynolds succeeded at the plate at an above average rate while gaining the 7th-most total bases in the NL. If doing things offensively to increase your team’s chances of putting runs on the scoreboard is important, Reynolds didn’t “suck.” If your definition of a good offensive player is something different than doing things to increase the chances that runs will score, you can argue Reynolds did “suck.”

    Again, strip the game down. Ignore your biases. Ignore tradition and convention. If you just stumbled upon this game called baseball and read up on all the rules, you’d want to fill your team full of players who primarily get on base more often than others, make outs less often than others and advance around as many bases as possible while doing it. The problem is baseball fans are too conservative for their own good and stick to tradition or convention.

  81. Shaun Says:

    Chuck Says:
    February 2nd, 2011 at 11:40 pm

    No, John.

    I’ve spent the past three years watching Reynolds play every day.

    Trust me, he sucks.

    He’d suck if he was a Yankee.

    This is exactly what Jonah Keri was talking about when he said that our observations alone lead us to believe than a new, fully-formed sun comes up everyday.

    Anyone who watched Mark Reynolds in 2009 and concludes from his observation than he “sucks” must be horrible at observing. That person’s bias that strikeouts are extremely worse than other outs took over and all the strikeouts stick out. That person misremembered and ignored the fact that Reynolds got on base more often and avoided outs less often than an average player and gained the 7th-most total bases in the league. This is the essence of confirmation bias.

    It’s also the essence of not understanding that offense in baseball equals getting on base, avoiding outs and gaining as many bases as possible while doing it.

  82. Shaun Says:

    Kerry, just because GM’s have so much more information available to them today than in the past doesn’t mean that information is better.

    I agree. There was no excuse for someone to think RBI was useful in evaluating players, whether that be in 1890 or 2010. There was no excuse for a GM in 1910 to overlook how often a player gets on base, avoids outs and gains bases.

    I think the game got too caught up in people trying to out-think the basic strategies of the game and statistics at some point early on in the game’s history, so people went crazy devising things like RBI and rate of hits in non-walk, non-sac plate appearances. But when you strip the game down to its basics, you realize that it’s about getting as many runners on base and getting as many around the bases as possible before one, two or three outs are made. How an out is made is secondary. Who gets the credit for batting in the run is meaningless in the grand scheme of things. How an out is avoided or how a runner gains a base is secondary.

    In many ways sabermetrics is a movement about stripping the game down to its core. It’s a scientific, anti stats-for-stats-sake movement. It’s about evidence of a player contributing. If a stat can’t be used as evidence of how or what a player contributes, what’s the point? At some point in its history baseball became a game about numbers instead of a game about numbers as evidence.

  83. John Says:

    “It can’t, which is why sabermetrics and other advanced stats fail.”

    It can, which is why GM’s who don’t use them Steve Phillips, Jim Hendry) fail.

    The fact that Albert Pujols is better than Ben Zobrist doesn’t mean advanced stats fail.

    ” and to a lesser extent the *Pirates*, have all drastically reduced their stat departments or have gotten rid of them altogether and have re-invested in their scouting departments, with noticeable and immediate results.”

    I’d love to see those results.

  84. Shaun Says:

    “The first is whether a player’s value can be quantified, i.e., condensed into a formula”

    It can’t, which is why sabermetrics and other advanced stats fail.

    Alot of what goes into value can’t be quantified, so even if you come up with a stat or formula that’s better than what you’ve been using, it’s still not going to give you an accurate result.

    If WAR was a stock there’s no way you’d buy it, at least not for a long term investment. Maybe you’d keep it for awhile and sell it off for a small return, but in the long run you’re going to lose your ass.

    When the Red Sox hired Bill James a few years ago, other teams took note and hired their own “stat departments”.

    As time has gone on, these teams are finding that the information provided can be obtained for far less money or is already available to them through means they already possess.

    Noted pro-stat teams like the Blue Jays and Rays, and to a lesser extent the Pirates, have all drastically reduced their stat departments or have gotten rid of them altogether and have re-invested in their scouting departments, with noticeable and immediate results.

    The sabermetric movement is alive and well on the internet, but in the major league conference rooms and front offices it’s deader than Charlie Sheen’s career.

    A lot that goes into value can be quantified. But of course the future is unpredictable so a player’s value one season, while it can often give you a pretty good idea when taken with other considerations like age and skill-set, can’t guarantee you what his value will be in subsequent seasons.

    No one uses WAR like they use stocks. If Ben Zobrist has one of the best seasons in baseball according to WAR, no one is going to buy like a stock that he will be one of the best players in subsequent years. It’s a convenient strawman to pretend that people who pay attention to things like WAR are so narrow that they would only look at WAR and not consider lots of other things.

    I think the differences between scout departments and stat departments, scouting and statistical analysis of players, is overstated by people who are anti one side or the other and people who want to drive a wedge in the two sides and people who frankly are insecure about one side influencing the other.

  85. Raul Says:

    Shaun,

    You really think people say “Hey, let’s sign this guy. He had 104 RBI last year.” — without looking at anything else?

    Do you really think that happens? How stupid do you think these “old fogeys” are?

  86. Cameron Says:

    I just spent an hour and a half getting the snow and ice off my car.

    …Not baseball related, but Jesus tapdancing christ on a pogo stick that fucking sucked.

  87. Cameron Says:

    Oh, and Shaun? Present for ya.

    http://scottwriteseverything.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/spam.jpg

    Try to cut down on the back-to-back posts. Your wall o’ text almost crushed me to death.

  88. Raul Says:

    Shaun writes:

    “It’s a convenient strawman to pretend that people who pay attention to things like WAR are so narrow that they would only look at WAR and not consider lots of other things.”

    OR….

    “It’s a convenient strawman to pretend that people who pay attention to things like RBI are so narrow that they would only look at RBI and not consider lots of other things.”

  89. Raul Says:

    Happy Birthday Joe Coleman.

    Coleman was selected 3rd overall in the 1965 Amateur Draft behind Rick Monday and Les Rohr.

    Although certainly not a star, Coleman managed 15 seasons in the Majors, posting a 142-135 record with a 3.70 ERA.

    By comparison, Les Rohr managed just 24 innings in the Major Leagues. Something of interest: Rohr was from Billings, Montana. Boy, they don’t do much scouting up there anymore, do they?

  90. Shaun Says:

    Raul, no, I don’t think teams sign players based on RBI alone. I do think some teams overvalue things that don’t really tell them nearly as much about the player as some other things. So maybe they overrate homers, RBI, batting average, hitter strikeouts and things of that sort. They aren’t just looking at RBI or just looking at hitter strikeouts. They are overrating a flurry of things.

    Let’s go back to the Francoeur example. No, it wasn’t just RBI total that kept him in the Braves lineup literally every day for almost three full seasons’ worth of games. RBI total was a big part of it. Having a halfway decent batting average was part of it, too. As was age. As was his throwing arm. As was the fact that he was a hometown guy so they were hesitant not to give him every opportunity to fail. The Braves overrated all these things and underrated things like his lack of ability to get on base at a good rate, his inability to recognize pitches and take walks and his rather mediocre power for a corner-outfielder.

  91. Cameron Says:

    Hm… Here’s something interesting. A list of names that are still going through arbitration. Want your opinions on what you’d do with them.

    Josh Hamilton
    Jose Bautista
    Jered Weaver
    Rickie Weeks
    Hunter Pence
    Luke Scott
    Jeremy Guthrie
    Kelly Johnson
    Delmon Young

    Here’s what I’d do.

    Josh Hamilton – 3 years, 42 million dollars (Reigning MVP and a beast when healthy, but in his 30s and only a recent success. Long-term is a bad idea just because I don’t know if it’s lightning in a bottle or not. Still, I’m paying for what I’m expecting, not what I’m getting.)

    Jose Bautista – 3 Years, 30 million dollars, mutual option to push to 4/42 (Last year was unprecedented… But given a median between the past two seasons, he’s about a 30 homer guy with both OF and corner infield capability. In between the production and versatility, I’ll take a gamble, see if he’s as good as we’ve seen.)

    Jered Weaver – 5 years, 60 million dollars (If the kid wants more, he can have it. He’s gonna give you an ERA in the mid 3 range with good strikeout numbers and he’s got no health problems. He’s a guy you can build a rotation around and he’s entering his prime. Lock him up now.)

    Rickie Weeks – 4 years, 34 million dollars, club option for 5/43 (He’s a slugging second baseman with some speed. He’s a bit of an injury risk, but a premium offensvie talent at a lean offensive position. Not the best, so I’m not overpaying, but very good and should be in his prime right about now.)

    Hunter Pence – 5 years, 52.5 million dollars (Kid’s a five-tooler and almost had a 100 RBI season surrounded by a completely incompetent offense. Again, you can build a team around this guy and he’s a premium talent. My ceiling is 5/62.5 for him)

    Luke Scott – 2 Years, 14 million (He’s a good bat and still has limited use in the field. I’m pretty sure he’ll take a nosedive in a couple of years, but I don’t think it’s far off enough to where you’ll only need a one year deal.)

    Jeremy Guthrie – Non-Tender (I don’t like Guthrie. People want him for trades from what I’ve seen, but when the guy’s on his game he’s a mid-rotation guy. When he’s off, which he is a lot, he’s toxic. I’m not gonna risk giving money to a guy who won’t earn it.)

    Kelly Johnson – 1 Year, 7 million dollars (The 7’s a bit generous, but this is situational. Johnson’s a good bat for the position, but given the season before his last, I’m giving him the one year to build a ranked free agent status and letting him walk.)

    Delmon Young – 6 Years, 50 million dollars (While not a premium talent yet, when he was 24 he had a 46 double season and showed a flash of what made him a top draft pick. Sign him long term now before doing becomes too pricey. If last season is a barometer, he’ll be VERY solid and will be a cog for success on just about any team.)

    Mock me, call me a genius, whatever. Just my thoughts.

  92. Cameron Says:

    Raul, isn’t Travis Hafner from North Dakota? That’s probably why they stopped sending scouts up there.

  93. Shaun Says:

    I think we all agree that stats for stats sake are a mistake. I’ve brought this example up before. Reportedly the Phillies don’t use very much advanced statistical analysis if any statistical analysis. This is better than looking at meaningless stats that don’t really count as evidence of anything. But ideally you want the organization to have the best scouts possible and also the best stat people, the stat people that know what their looking at in the data.

  94. Cameron Says:

    I think it’s pretty obvious Philly doesn’t have a stat department. They haven’t thrown Blanton and Lidge to the curb yet, despite them chewing up salary and doing nothing in return.

  95. Chuck Says:

    Josh Hamilton: The Rangers have money now and I’d lock him up long-term, five years, $70 million.

    Jose Bautista: Last year was a fluke. A case of Labatt’s and a year’s supply of bologna.

    Jared Weaver: Sounds about right.

    Rickie Weeks: He’s going to end up in center eventually, I don’t want to commit longterm with him until I know for sure he can handle the switch.

    Hunter Pence: Sounds about right.

    Jeremy Guthrie: I agree

    Delmon Young. The Twins are loaded with OF prospects, I’d sign Young for one year for about three million and then let him walk.

  96. Cameron Says:

    And Raul, nice little obscure shoutout, but let me say Happy Birthday to today’s real star.

    Happy Birthday Fred Lynn, the first (and only true) Rookie of the Year to win the MVP Award.

  97. Chuck Says:

    Cameron @ #92…LOL

  98. Cameron Says:

    And friendly debate time!

    Hamilton’s entering his mid 30s, you really want to lock him up that long and get 2009 Hamilton for that back end of the contract?

    Weeks is premium for the position, I’m figuring that contract as a second baseman. If worse comes to worse, second and center are thin positions, a trade could easily be made if you need to cut and run.

    Young is good, very good. Hicks and Revere are great outfielders, but given between Span and Young, I’m keeping Young. Cuddyer’s on the outs when his contract is up and Kubel is firmly planted at DH. An outfield of Young-Revere-Hicks (okay, I have no idea who mans RF in this scenario) is something I’d like to keep for years.

  99. Cameron Says:

    …If we could start a pool and buy headsets for some of us and get Skype accounts, we could start a podcast. I’m sure Chuck being a grumpy old man would be great on audio.

  100. Lefty33 Says:

    “Reportedly the Phillies don’t use very much advanced statistical analysis if any statistical analysis.”

    Stop with the “reportedly”. It’s a known fact.

    David Montgomery and Bill Giles as owners do not believe in a stat based approach.

    Amaro does not believe in a stat based approach as the GM.

    Amaro’s two senior advisors, Pat Gillick and Dallas Green, do not believe in a stat based approach.

    The Phillies removed all in house stat guys when they fired Ed Wade in 2005 after they realized that the stat based approach does not work in Baseball with the current economic environment.

    Because you can’t out analyze another team’s ability to spend money.

  101. Lefty33 Says:

    Also in case you guys missed it, Pettite is announcing he’s done tomorrow.

  102. Cameron Says:

    No, but it could help you avoid making a huge fuck up in the budget. Finance are the real team’s number crunchers. But going with your gut feeling can net you some stupid mistakes.

    Paying Gil Meche 55 million dollars over 5 years.
    Paying Kevin Millwood 10 million for a year on a non-contending team.
    Paying Carlos Pena 20 million after hitting under .200 (check the details of that contract, it’s bananas.)
    Talking to Scott Boras.

    Numbers can give you a good history of a player. If you can look at what a guy’s done and take a guess on what he will do based on the performance, you can avoid a major fuckup. A stat department has its uses. It’ll let you know you can take a gamble on a guy like Jack Cust who’s got his uses as a hitter to shore up the back of the lineup or extending a young guy who isn’t fixing issues (Jonathon Sanchez’s ERA worries me) and it’ll help avoid mistakes.

    You can’t swear by numbers, but a good stat team should serve as a team’s conscience and voice of reason that stops you from doing something really stupid that’ll hurt your team that you decided to do on a whim.

  103. Chuck Says:

    I already have a Skype account, Cameron.

    My contract with Verizon ends in March and I’m thinking of getting rid of my cell and just using Skype for everything.

  104. Chuck Says:

    So, Pettitte’s announcing today what we already knew?

  105. Chuck Says:

    Josh Hamilton is 29, Cameron.

  106. Cameron Says:

    I could’ve sworn he was a year older. I thought his big 08 was when he was 28.

    I still stand by what I’ve said earlier though. While he is good, he’s such a late bloomer that I’m not sure he’ll be able to keep that up. I’ll amend it to 3/42 with a club option for 4/58 based off my age calculation, but I have a feeling that when he was away for so long that when he hits his decline, he’ll hit it HARD and I’m not riding that out.

    You’ve seen how I play fantasy baseball. Ubaldo’s second half? All it took was two starts to see a trend, I’m not biting the bullet and wasting resources on something that’s not a lock for success.

    Speaking of Ubaldo, should Colorado extend him? He’s a great talent and still a few years from his prime, but seeing the contracts of Tulo and CarGo, I feel adding Baldo to the mix will make half their payroll dedicated to three players and that’s jsut not a good move.

  107. Cameron Says:

    And the Royals continue to underwhelm this offseason.

    Ladies and gentlmen, your newest Royal is Pedro Feliz.

  108. Chuck Says:

    Shaun, I really don’t know why you hang out here, I mean, you’re obviously so much smarter than we are and have such a groundbreaking knowledge of baseball you make us all look like a bunch of lobotomy patients.

    If I were you I’d invest a couple thousand dollars and head to Dallas next year for the Winter Meetings, I mean, you clearly are more qualified than most General Managers and should have no trouble finding a job.

    And when you do, promise not to forget us peons, OK?

  109. Chuck Says:

    For Hamilton to do what he’s done after being out of the game for so long is nothing short of miraculous.

    His ability is right up there with Griffey and ARod and Pujols, I see him as a young 29, not an old 29.

  110. Cameron Says:

    …If the Winter Meetings ever come to KC (God knows why given our winters), I’m panhandling my ass off down there.

    Unless I’m not already invited there and kicking ass with my team.

  111. Cameron Says:

    I see Hamilton as a great player, but he was drafted at 18 and got into the majors at 26 with a lot of drug abuse and time off from the game in between.

    Honestly, I love the guy and wish him the best of luck. I’m just saying if I’m signing his paycheck, I don’t know if he’s worthy of a long-term investment. I’d be more than happy to re-up if he keeps up after his contract is done, but I want to give myself the option of having an evaluation first.

  112. Lefty33 Says:

    “No, but it could help you avoid making a huge fuck up in the budget. Finance are the real team’s number crunchers. But going with your gut feeling can net you some stupid mistakes.”

    But most teams that are in the playoffs every year don’t exactly give a flying fig about finances to a point and they can mostly outspend the majority of the league without missing a beat.

    The Phillies are blowing the doors off of the rest of the NL and they are doing it by spending a ton of money and by having a fantastic scouting department in place with two of the best talent evaluators in Gillick and Green helping Amaro.

    Every WS winner since ’95 with the exception of Florida in ’03 has been in the top third in payroll. And 9 of the 15 winners have been top five.

    Having the ability to spend is miles more important that the ability to statistically analyze. In the current Baseball economic environment if you can’t spend you will not win a WS.

    Until some team in the bottom third or hell the bottom half can win a WS or two with statistical analysis instead of spending then the whole exercise is stupid because anybody that puts too much faith in numbers over dollars is an idiot.

    No team has won a WS based on purely statistical approach yet and until they do the whole thing is mostly BS.

  113. John Says:

    The Phillies are paying Howard 25m a year until he’s like 63 years old.

    Major League baseball is a business and if you throw money at people with zero objective analysis, you’re going to get burned.

    Compare the Red Sox to the Cubs if you don’t believe me.

  114. Cameron Says:

    Not saying to swear by stats, I’m just saying that a stat department is there to help you get the bang for your buck. A team can have a shitload of money, but spending it on deadweight will still hurt your team regardless.

  115. John Says:

    Lefty,

    Look at the Cubs and Mets. Top 5 in payroll every year. They haven’t won shit, in large part because they don’t look at stats.

  116. Cameron Says:

    They both have 3 year/36 million dollar contracts that are beyond baffling (Fukudome and Perez). Just a weird coincidence that I noticed.

    …But did the Cubs have to pay a posting fee to get Fukudome? If they did on top of that contract, MAN do they look stupid.

  117. Lefty33 Says:

    “Major League baseball is a business and if you throw money at people with zero objective analysis, you’re going to get burned.”

    Who said anything about zero objective analysis?

    “The Phillies are paying Howard 25m a year until he’s like 63 years old.”

    And clearly that was done partially as a gate attraction to help increase revenue more by giving fans a name that will be the face of the franchise.

    The symbolic reasons of the Phillies doing that are no different that the Yankees overpaying on a ten year deal for Jeter.

  118. Lefty33 Says:

    “I’m just saying that a stat department is there to help you get the bang for your buck. A team can have a shitload of money, but spending it on deadweight will still hurt your team regardless.”

    But if you don’t have a shitload of money you are frozen out of ever signing the top tier of FA talent or your own FA talent and are in a perpetual cycle of spinning your wheels unless you catch lightening in a bottle for a year.

    After then after that year you will go back into mediocrity. (Rays)

  119. John Says:

    I dunno about Jeter, Lefty.

    I’m highly critical of Jeter but I would argue that in spite of his rancid defense, he justified his 10 yr deal.

    Howard will not. And if the Phillies are ignoring numbers, fine, but they still have probably the second best player in the game…he plays next to Howard.

  120. Cameron Says:

    I think Howard did.

    That’s a five year contract, right? I’m gauging the Phillies success to run about that long before they have to cast off the veteran talent and do some massive retooling. Pay your big draw for the time he’s there? I’d do it. I’d probably only pay him 5/100 instead of 5/125, but hey, what can ya do?

  121. Lefty33 Says:

    “Look at the Cubs and Mets. Top 5 in payroll every year. They haven’t won shit, in large part because they don’t look at stats.”

    They haven’t won shit because they have had idiots running the teams and those idiots have not given the organization any sense of direction.

    You don’t need stats to tell you that twelve million a year for Oliver Perez is bordering on retarded.

  122. Shaun Says:

    “No team has won a WS based on purely statistical approach yet and until they do the whole thing is mostly BS.”

    That’s kind of an odd way to look at this. There aren’t many teams (if any), even the most “old-school,” that have an approach that is absolutely no stats whatsoever just like there aren’t many teams (if any) that have an approach that is absolutely only stats. Many lean one way or another. A few are highly non-statistical but they still have some very basic stats in mind just because in the game of baseball of course you can’t ignore some very basic stats.

    The only organization to win the Series twice since 2004 relies pretty heavily on in-depth statistical analysis.

    Also, no one supports a “purely statistical approach.” There is not one person, if the most enthusiastic supporter of sabermetrics wouldn’t recommend a purely statistical approach.

    Also, this statement just isn’t reasonable. I mean, no team won a World Series with a black player before 1955. Does that mean the whole idea that you could was mostly BS?

  123. Lefty33 Says:

    “Pay your big draw for the time he’s there?”

    Exactly.
    “I’m gauging the Phillies success to run about that long before they have to cast off the veteran talent and do some massive retooling.”

    The retooling starts after this year.

    Ibanez will be gone, everybody in the bullpen not named Contreras is a FA, Oswalt has an option that I would be shocked to see Philly pick up, and the Rollins situation will keep Philly talk radio nasty for months.

  124. Cameron Says:

    …I’m just gonna grab the popcorn and watch the comments roll in now.

  125. Cameron Says:

    I’m talking the major retooling lefty, when guys like Doc, Howard, and Utley are on the outs and they need to find a new face for the franchise.

  126. John Says:

    So is paying Alfonso Soriano 136 million.

    A quick analysis of the hard numbers showed that he wouldn’t be worth the deal, but shit, he runs fast and has power! Give him the effing moon!

  127. John Says:

    Shaun,

    The 1948 Indians won the WS with Larry Doby and (I think) Satchel Paige. The 1954 Giants won with at least Willie Mays.

  128. Lefty33 Says:

    “The only organization to win the Series twice since 2004 relies pretty heavily on in-depth statistical analysis.”

    Way to be illiterate as usual Shaun.

    Boston was #2 in payroll in 2004 and in 2007.

    They could and did spend their way thru any deficiencies the team had.

    “Also, this statement just isn’t reasonable. I mean, no team won a World Series with a black player before 1955. Does that mean the whole idea that you could was mostly BS?”

    Damn, you just love to bring out the race card at crazy times.

    “Many lean one way or another.”

    And the ones that lead toward spending win the WS.

    The ones that don’t spend are playing golf in October.

  129. John Says:

    Lefty,

    The Cubs, Mets, and Red Sox have all operated with identical payrolls in the recent past.

    One of these teams has been successful.

  130. Shaun Says:

    Lefty33, so all those 80 some odd years Boston failed to win the World Series was just because they couldn’t and didn’t spend their way through any deficiencies. That’s the primary reason they all of the sudden became a great franchise.

  131. Lefty33 Says:

    “I’m talking the major retooling lefty, when guys like Doc, Howard, and Utley are on the outs and they need to find a new face for the franchise.”

    I got you Cameron.
    They have the relief pitching in AA and AAA now that could replace the bullpen pieces this year or next year.

    And the guys that they have below that are, on paper, stellar.

    Their biggest issues long term will be placing Howard and Utley as they are currently weak in the infield and as of now would have to go outside the organization to find replacements.

    Whereas in terms of outfielders and pitchers, if things pan out, they are in a good position to replace the current group.

    In theory.

    And you can have my popcorn as I’m not spending more time on this topic today past another comment or two.

  132. Lefty33 Says:

    “so all those 80 some odd years Boston failed to win the World Series was just because they couldn’t and didn’t spend their way through any deficiencies.”

    Is that your theory? Because I know it’s not mine.

  133. Cameron Says:

    Replacing Howard shouldn’t be that hard, actually. A lot of people are high on Jonathon Singleton, who’s a natural first baseman. He’ll probably be a left fielder by default at the end of Howard’s contract, but I’ve got good buzz on this kid. As for Utley, there’s five years to find a way.

  134. Lefty33 Says:

    “but I’ve got good buzz on this kid.”

    Me too.

    “As for Utley, there’s five years to find a way.”

    My worry with him is that physically I’m not sure he’ll make it that far.

  135. Cameron Says:

    Um… Yeah Shaun, I’ll be the one who says the main reason that Boston is such a big player now is because they went out and got premium talent. The core guys who helped them win in ‘04 and ‘07 weren’t home-grown and it didn’t take a genius to figure out if they were good. They stared so long into the abyss that was the Yankees’ budget that they became what they hated.

    It’s keeping up with The Joneses in the most asinine way possible, but it’s given us a good team. And look at their latest pickups. Do you need Bill James’ signature on a sheet of paper saying Crawford and Gonzalez are good players for you to know it? No. They’re taking the best they can get to get the most wins.

    In short, don’t bait a question for an obvious retort. Especially one you don’t agree with.

  136. John Says:

    Well a good chunk of it was that they were blatantly racist.

    I think Duquette refusing to go after Clemens following a great 1996 season (where he had a losing record) is pretty represntative for how the sox operated pre-Epstein.

  137. Cameron Says:

    At second? Maybe, but you really think Placido Polanco’s got five years of third base in him?

    …You think Placido Polanco has five years in him?

    Utley’s gonna find a way to stay in Philly.

  138. Cameron Says:

    John, it wasn’t just the losing season that made Duquette cut Rocket loose. Look at ‘93-’96 and you’ll see why he was a little iffy. There was a definite downward trend there.

  139. Raul Says:

    The Cubs and Mets have not won significantly because they haven’t been able to scout and develop well.

    As bone-headed as some of their contracts have been, I don’t feel they’ve been limited by them.

    The Cubs and Mets have the money to sign anybody.

    What has hurt a team like the Mets is the failed/slowed/poor development of players like Phil Humber, Mike Jacobs, John Maine, Dan Murphy, Angel Pagan, Mike Pelfrey, Lastings Milledge…etc. And they’re probably doing a poor job with Fernando Martinez and Jenrry Mejia.

    The Mets haven’t really been hurt from a lack of money. There haven’t been players they could not acquire that they wanted to. The only player in recent memory that the Mets failed to get because of financial constraints was Alex Rodriguez — 10 years ago.

    Money plays a part in baseball. No question. There needs to be responsibility and reform of the system. But the biggest failure of a team is traced to scouting and development.

  140. John Says:

    If it weren’t for advanced stats, no way does a team realistically trade 3 of its top 6 prospects for a 1b with Gonzo’s traditional numbers.

    Thanks to things like park factors, we can conclude that the Sox deal might end up being worth it. At any rate, it’ll work out in the short term.

  141. Lefty33 Says:

    “but you really think Placido Polanco’s got five years of third base in him?”

    Not at Polanco’s age.

    And with Utley’s thumb surgery last year and the surgery on his possibly arthritic hip before the ‘09 season, I question his long-term durability in the field.

  142. Cameron Says:

    3 guys who might not work out in a thin system versus one of the premier hitters in the league who you can reasonably sign long term? Given the fact that Youk, Pedroia, and Crawford are there for a while as a core and Buccholz, Lester, and Bard are there to keep the other guy down, I’ll take the win now button.

    I honestly thought Boston made out like bandits on that trade.

  143. Lefty33 Says:

    “The Cubs and Mets have not won significantly because they haven’t been able to scout and develop well.”

    Great answer.

  144. John Says:

    From 1993-1996, here are Roger Clemens’s ranks in all of baseball:

    Strikeouts: 5th
    ERA+: 7th
    BAA: 8th
    WPA: 8th
    WAR: 7th
    Pitching Runs: 6th

    And to think, he barely had 4 Cy Young seasons left in the tank!

  145. John Says:

    “I honestly thought Boston made out like bandits on that trade.”

    I think it was a good trade.

    I don’t think it would have been made if the Red Sox didn’t employ park factors, among other things.

    There are a fair number of 1B these days who hit 30-40 HR.

    I can’t think of many who could do it in Petcostone National Park.

  146. Raul Says:

    you need park factors to know it’s hard to hit homers in Petco?

    (sigh)

    this just in — after extensive analysis, we’ve concluded it was hard to hit homers to centerfield in the Polo Grounds.

  147. Cameron Says:

    If you couldn’t leg one out, Raul.

    I’m just wondering what Gonzo looks like in the AL East? He’s got Yankees Stadium, Fenway, AND Camden Yards to go crazy in.

  148. Shaun Says:

    Cameron, No one thinks you need a team of statistical analysts or Bill James’ signature to tell you that Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez are good and that a team like the Red Sox can and probably should pay and perhaps overpay for such players.

    You need sabermetrics (as commonly defined) to tell you that someone like JD Drew is good and a team like the Red Sox can and should pay and perhaps overpay for him even though it may not seem like it on the surface.

    I’m sure most of you will disagree, which will basically prove my point. Drew’s value isn’t obvious if you rely merely on observation or if you rely on statistics that provide little to no evidence as to what he does to increase the chances of his team putting runs on the scoreboard.

  149. John Says:

    But how hard? And how good is Gonzo?

    Shit people, ballparks aren’t divided into hitter&pitcher are parks. Players aren’t divided into good and bad groups. Albert Pujols and Mark Teixeira are both good hitters. Everyone knows that. But how good is one relative to the other? These are questions that objective analysis can help answer. And its not a trivial thing when youre deciding how to allocate hundreds of millions of dollars.

    Pujols becomes a free agent next year. No one is saying that sabermetrics gives an inside knowledge as to the fact that he’s a good player. But how many millions of dollars is he actually worth? That’s where this kind of analysis will come in handy.

  150. Raul Says:

    Shaun writes:

    “You need sabermetrics (as commonly defined) to tell you that someone like JD Drew is good and a team like the Red Sox can and should pay and perhaps overpay for him even though it may not seem like it on the surface.”

    HE WAS THE 5TH OVERALL PICK IN THE DRAFT!!!!!!!

    Nobody needed stats analysis to know JD Drew was a good player.
    You don’t overpay for JD Drew when essentially where was little market for him and he’s always hurt and plays below-average defense and can’t run the bases well.

    Damn it, Shaun. You are so out of touch with reality sometimes.

  151. Shaun Says:

    You have to love the response, “you need stats to tell you Adrian Gonzalez is good” or “you need park factors to tell you that it’s hard to hit in Petco.”

    My response: We needed science to tell us that it’s not a brand new but the same sun that comes rises and sets every day? We needed science to tell us that the earth isn’t flat? We needed science to tell us that the earth isn’t the center of the universe?

    In other words, it’s just pure arrogance to think that our mere observations are good enough to gain as much knowledge as we’d like to have.

  152. Shaun Says:

    “You don’t overpay for JD Drew when essentially where was little market for him and he’s always hurt and plays below-average defense and can’t run the bases well.”

    What did I tell you? I knew someone would disagree, which proves my point that we do need sabermetrics or something like it.

    The fact that JD Drew is under-appreciated, except by people who actually aren’t so arrogant to rely on merely observation but actually dig deeper, proves my point.

  153. Chuck Says:

    “Look at the Cubs and Mets. Top 5 in payroll every year. They haven’t won shit, in large part because they don’t look at stats.”

    Bullshit.

    “The only organization to win the Series twice since 2004 relies pretty heavily on in-depth statistical analysis.”

    And on one of the largest scouting departments in the game. The heavy stat analysis is a coincidence, not a cause.

    “but I’ve got good buzz on this kid.”

    Me, too. I’ll take him over Domonic Brown.

    “If it weren’t for advanced stats, no way does a team realistically trade 3 of its top 6 prospects for a 1b with Gonzo’s traditional numbers.”

    Bullshit.

    “I honestly thought Boston made out like bandits on that trade.”

    Damn straight they did.

    “you need park factors to know it’s hard to hit homers in Petco.”

    Gonzalez is an opposite field hitter, Petco, like Fenway, is death to lefties unless you favor the opposite side.

    Park Factors played no part in the trade.

  154. Raul Says:

    No, you jagaloon.

    JD Drew isn’t underrated.
    That’s the point.

    Teams all around the league knew EXACTLY what JD Drew was. He wasn’t under-appreciated. What possible reason could you give to say that?

    Because teams weren’t jumping to sign him? You know why? Because they knew JD Drew was a good player but essentially little more than a DH and didn’t want to pay 70 million for a DH.

    Stats analysis was completely meaningless.

  155. Chuck Says:

    “The fact that JD Drew is under-appreciated, except by people who actually aren’t so arrogant to rely on merely observation but actually dig deeper, proves my point.”

    No, it doesn’t.

    What it proves is the flaws in sabemetrics that over-value JD Drew.

  156. John Says:

    Chuck, make excuses all you want.

    If you have to justify everything that happens in the game as coincidence, your argument must suck.

  157. Lefty33 Says:

    “jagaloon”

    Pardon me Raul(no I’m not about to ask for your Grey Poupon) but jagaloon?

    Talk about out of left field.

    I love it!

    You’re a regular George Will with words.

  158. Lefty33 Says:

    “If you have to justify everything that happens in the game as coincidence, your argument must suck.”

    What excuses has he made and what kind of argument have you actually brought?

  159. Chuck Says:

    “your argument must suck”

    No, saying the Red Sox considered park factors when making the Gonzalez trade is an argument that sucks.

  160. Shaun Says:

    “Gonzalez is an opposite field hitter, Petco, like Fenway, is death to lefties unless you favor the opposite side.”

    Another example of why we need sabermetrics or something like it. One of the things Bill James (of all people) discovered, from research that he did for the Red Sox, was that contrary to popular belief, Fenway Park actually favors left-handed hitters. This idea that it is death to lefties is a myth. But anyone who relies on their own observation or relies on what tradition says wouldn’t know this.

  161. Raul Says:

    The thing is, Shaun comes up with reasons for why teams do things, and most of the time, they’re completely wrong.

    JD Drew was under-appreciated? He was a Top 5 pick and one of the highest rated draft picks in the last 15 years. But he can’t stay on the field, plays poor defense and can’t run. So teams didn’t want to give him a lot of money, especially when he was 30 years old at the time he opted out with the Dodgers. Underrated? Give me a break.

    The Braves kept Jeff Francoeur around because he was an RBI guy? He was 23-24 years old!!! Maybe the Braves kept him around because he’d shown flashes of promise and was still a young player. Did that ever occur to ANYONE?

    Motherb*tch Clownfu**er. DOES NO ONE HAVE ANY GOD DAMN COMMON SENSE!!!!????

  162. Shaun Says:

    Chuck Says:
    February 3rd, 2011 at 3:31 pm

    “The fact that JD Drew is under-appreciated, except by people who actually aren’t so arrogant to rely on merely observation but actually dig deeper, proves my point.”

    No, it doesn’t.

    What it proves is the flaws in sabemetrics that over-value JD Drew.

    Show us, then. Show us that Drew’s .377 on-base and .476 slugging in his 2,093 plate appearances with the Red Sox were less valuable than what a vast majority of Major League rightfielders would have provided. No, you’d rather just have everyone bow down to you and take your word for it.

    Get it through your head, folks. When you strip the game down, offense is about getting on base, avoiding outs and gaining as many bases as possible while doing it. If you think it’s about anything else, find a new sport.

  163. Shaun Says:

    Raul, since Drew opted out of his contract with the Dodgers, he’s been one of the best rightfielders in the game. Only Werth, Ichiro and Choo have been more valuable the last three seasons.

    I understand why teams didn’t want to give Drew a lot of money. Some teams were warranted in that. But there are a lot of teams that would have been better off with Drew and paying him what he got from the Red Sox than they would have been with their rightfielders. When a team is too intellectually lazy or simply too ignorant, of course they are going to miss out on players that don’t seem all that good on the surface; guys like Drew.

    Okay, so Francoeur was young and showed “flashes of promise.” Does that mean they had to run him out there literally every game with no regard to whether a righty or a lefty was pitching and with no regard to how often he took a walk or got on base? Did it ever occur to anyone that maybe he should have been in the minors a little longer or that maybe he should have been a platoon player? It took three organizations to figure it out. It wasn’t just because of RBI. I’m sure it was also because he was young and because the Braves observed “flashes of promise.” The point is that if a team digs into what actually is important to winning baseball games, they don’t make mistakes like putting the guy in the lineup every single game simply because of his RBI, his youth or what they think are “flashes of promise.”

  164. brautigan Says:

    Shaun: Your whole universe revolves around offense. Baseball is much more than offense. Trust me on this one. I played a boat load of baseball, I have watched a boat load of baseball, and I have talked with a lot of players that have a boat load more experience in baseball than I can even imagine.

    Your a priori is showing.

  165. Shaun Says:

    Sabermetrics, or something like it, is about getting beyond the way things seem to me or to you or to the generic baseball watcher or to a scout or to a GM or to a manager or to a coach. It’s about humbling yourself and not taking how things seem for granted. Because we shouldn’t assume how things seem are reality. Sometimes you have to do some discovery and get curious. This makes people uncomfortable, I understand that. JD Drew is injury-prone and his numbers don’t look that good. I am smart enough to see that. I don’t need to humble myself and question my knowledge. I know things. When you must admit that maybe you aren’t as smart as you think you are and that you shouldn’t take what you think is your own knowledge for granted, it’s a scary and threatening thing to most of us. But when you don’t assume you know everything, that’s when you actually start learning.

  166. Shaun Says:

    brautigan, huh? Who said baseball was all about offense? Where does this come from? This is out of leftfield, no pun intended.

    I guess you are assuming that I think it’s about offense because I’ve posted that offense is about getting on base, avoiding outs and gaining bases while doing it. I also understand that defense is about getting batters out, keeping batters off base and preventing the opponent from gaining bases.

    I’m talking about offense because the discussions have mostly involved hitters.

  167. Raul Says:

    Shaun,

    The Redsox gave JD Drew 70 million dollars. You’re just saying that teams were intellectually lazy. Name a team. You couldn’t possibly know why the Redsox gave Drew 70 million. Could be stats analysis? Could be that Scott Boras can get anyone anything? Could be that they were desperate after a season with Trot Nixon? How do YOU know?

    And how do you know that other teams were “intellectually lazy”??

    i think it’s far more likely that other teams didn’t want to give a 30 year old outfielder 70 million dollars, when he’s a defensive liability and can’t stay on the field, than it is that they were “intellectually lazy”.

    Clearly you think otherwise.

  168. Lefty33 Says:

    Post #165 is the biggest and funniest crock of shit ever posted on this site.

    It says nothing and it means nothing.

    So then by your logic Pat Gillick is the most arrogant, non-humble person in the history of Baseball since he’s won 3 WS as a GM and does not use sabermetrics, or something like it.

  169. Chuck Says:

    “When you strip the game down, offense is about getting on base, avoiding outs and gaining as many bases as possible while doing it.”

    No shit, Shaun.

    We’re all well aware of that, but thanks for the reminder.

  170. Shaun Says:

    Lefty33, I would argue the Gillick does use something like sabermetrics in that he likely doesn’t rely on the way things seem. I would bet he realizes what under-the-surface things that scouts need to be looking at.

    And how do you know that other teams were “intellectually lazy”??

    i think it’s far more likely that other teams didn’t want to give a 30 year old outfielder 70 million dollars, when he’s a defensive liability and can’t stay on the field, than it is that they were “intellectually lazy”.

    It is intellectually lazy to overlook the good in a player because he seems like a defensive liability and because he’s 30 and can’t play 150-160 games. When you’re lazy, you rely on what you see on the surface instead of doing your homework on the player’s actual value.

  171. Shaun Says:

    Chuck Says:
    February 3rd, 2011 at 4:31 pm

    “When you strip the game down, offense is about getting on base, avoiding outs and gaining as many bases as possible while doing it.”

    No shit, Shaun.

    We’re all well aware of that, but thanks for the reminder.

    Apparently you don’t because you think JD Drew (a guy good at these things) is over-appreciated or either just plain not very good.

  172. Chuck Says:

    Drew’s not very good. He’s just plain good, or OK.

    He’s certainly not $14 million per good.

  173. Raul Says:

    Wait, now JD Drew “seems” ilke a defensive liability?

    No, Shaun. He is and was a liability.

    And what evidence can you provide that JD Drew was overlooked?

  174. Chuck Says:

    “Only Werth, Ichiro and Choo have been more valuable the last three seasons.”

    Based on what criteria?

  175. Chuck Says:

    “No, you’d rather just have everyone bow down to you and take your word for it.”

    And, yet, you bow down to Bill James and take his word for everything?

  176. John Says:

    “No shit, Shaun.
    We’re all well aware of that, but thanks for the reminder.”

    Chuck, you hate OBP.
    Like, the same way normal people hate terrorists.

    “And, yet, you bow down to Bill James and take his word for everything?”

    I don’t think anyone does that. You take your own word on everything.

    “Drew’s not very good. He’s just plain good, or OK.
    He’s certainly not $14 million per good.”

    Maybe not to the A’s, who have a limited payroll (and yet, will probably win 25 more games than the Mariners using statistical analysis). But if you have a large payroll, you can afford to overpay as long as you know more/less what your getting. JD Drew is very good at getting on base and provides plus-slugging. I could give less than two shits if he contorts his fucking face in such a way as to make you think he’s not trying.

    “Wait, now JD Drew “seems” ilke a defensive liability?
    No, Shaun. He is and was a liability.”

    JD Drew has a pretty fucking good arm. Maybe he runs poor routes or sucks at managing the insanely close RF foul wall, but I certainly have never observed it Still, I think it’s crap that he’s a “defensive liability.” He might be a below average defender, but even there I think you’re in the minority. Really, I think you’re just looking for reasons to hate a guy who is part of a clearly winning system (evidenced by the fact that they WIN more games than teams with comparable payrolls).

    It would fucking murder some of you to acknowledge that the Red Sox are well-run. Or, for that matter, that the Mariners are poorly run.

    “So then by your logic Pat Gillick is the most arrogant, non-humble person in the history of Baseball since he’s won 3 WS as a GM and does not use sabermetrics, or something like it.”

    Pat Gillick said like one thing about looking at intangibles and how they have value (which I think everyone acknowledges), and somehow that got interpreted as he refuses to look at statistics ever.

    Look at the moves he’s made. There’s been some statistical analysis behind them.

    “Show us, then. Show us that Drew’s .377 on-base and .476 slugging in his 2,093 plate appearances with the Red Sox were less valuable than what a vast majority of Major League rightfielders would have provided. No, you’d rather just have everyone bow down to you and take your word for it.”

    JD Drew has OPS’d .850 in a “team-hurty” kind of way. When Juan Pierre OPS’s .560, he does it with pride and vigor.

  177. Chuck Says:

    “Chuck, you hate OBP.”

    No.

    “You take your own word on everything.”

    Of course. Prove me wrong on anything, and I’ll be happy to take yours.

    “It would fucking murder some of you to acknowledge that the Red Sox are well-run. Or, for that matter, that the Mariners are poorly run.”

    I’ve acknowledged all along the Red Sox are well run. And the Mariners are not poorly run. They were when that tool Bavasi was running the show, but now that Jack Z is in charge, they’ll be back to respectability soon enough.

  178. Kerry Says:

    Boy, leave the discussion for 17 hours and miss 100+ comments.

    Kerry:”The first is whether a player’s value can be quantified, i.e., condensed into a formula”

    Chuck:”It can’t, which is why sabermetrics and other advanced stats fail.”

    How have they failed? Sure it can come up with some clunker recommendations (Zobrist as the best player, for one), but has it really done worse than more traditional ratings?

    Chuck:”A lot of what goes into value can’t be quantified, so even if you come up with a stat or formula that’s better than what you’ve been using, it’s still not going to give you an accurate result.”

    Why not? And who’s to say it isn’t just as accurate, or more accurate, than someone who doesn’t use it. (I know, Chuck, you do, but you just state it without any proof.) My main point was that any time someone evaluates or compares players, they are weighing various factors in their mind. So why can’t you write it down in a formula, in principle? It might be complicated (so is WAR :-) ), and may not even use stats as inputs, but it would be tailored to a particular person’s value system (see the next section for more on that).

    Chuck:”The sabermetric movement is alive and well on the internet, but in the major league conference rooms and front offices it’s deader than Charlie Sheen’s career.”

    You may know more about other teams, but St. Louis doesn’t seem to be cutting back. They just moved Sig Mejdal to director of the amateur draft (he was their senior quantitative analyst), and he’s a SABR member. But they are integrating hardcore SABR stats with on-the-field scouting, so it’s a blend of the two. Sure the scouting inputs are more subjective, but they still put numbers to them and plug them into a formula. The net result is a player rating based on how many runs they contribute to on offense and save on defense. It doesn’t mean you ignore traditional scouting (far from it), but you are trying to quantify it.

  179. John Says:

    ” now that Jack Z is in charge, they’ll be back to respectability soon enough.”

    I love Jack Z. I really do. I credit him more than Doug Melvin with bringing the Brewers back to respectability. A tremendous scouting director.

    But I don’t think he’s a very good GM. GM’s have to manage resources and talent; maybe he’ll prove me wrong, but he has too high a payroll to be losing 100 games a season.

  180. Chuck Says:

    “Why not? And who’s to say it isn’t just as accurate, or more accurate, than someone who doesn’t use it. (I know, Chuck, you do, but you just state it without any proof.)”

    ?

    “They just moved Sig Mejdal to director of the amateur draft (he was their senior quantitative analyst), and he’s a SABR member. But they are integrating hardcore SABR stats with on-the-field scouting, so it’s a blend of the two.”

    So what?

    Are you implying every single SABR member uses hardcore SABR stats?

  181. Chuck Says:

    “But I don’t think he’s a very good GM. GM’s have to manage resources and talent; maybe he’ll prove me wrong, but he has too high a payroll to be losing 100 games a season.”

    Sometimes you have to take a couple of steps back before you can go forward. Cleaning up someone else’s mess can be difficult.

  182. John Says:

    He traded for Cliff Lee and Milton Bradley, & signed Chone Figgins to a multi-year deal.

    He was clearly moving to win in 2010. It kinda backfired as hard as it possibly could’ve.

  183. brautigan Says:

    John: Cliff Lee turned into Justin Smoak. That could be one of those head scratchers in 10 years (or Smoak could continue to suck, but I think it was a good risk for the M’s)

  184. brautigan Says:

    AND, wasn’t Chone Figgins a darling of the stat heads in 2009?

  185. Raul Says:

    You people can’t even acknowledge facts.

    That’s the problem.

  186. John Says:

    Facts…like the fact that the Red Sox are well-run? Is that a fact?

    Chone Figgins had a high WAR in one year. I wouldn’t say that made him a darling of anyone. Hence why the GM that signed him was someone who runs a very non-stat based approach, and not Theo or Beane.

  187. Raul Says:

    Who the fuck said the Red Sox are a poorly run team? Where did anyone say it?

  188. Raul Says:

    What I believe I’ve said in the past, is that Theo isn’t the best GM in the game.

  189. Raul Says:

    I gotta cut back on the cursing.
    I’m not really angered or anything. It just comes across in words as more intense.

    Sorry about that.

  190. John Says:

    Meh, I don’t mind.

    I’m in the Navy.

    I curse all the fucking time.

    Habit.

  191. John Says:

    For the record, I think Chone Figgins’s contract is the epitome of…fine.

    He’s a pretty good player most years. He plays a lot of positions, has great speed, gets on base at a decent clip. He’s a pretty good player, and he got a pretty good player’s contract of 4yr/35M.

    I just don’t think the Mariners intended to rebuild last year.

  192. John Says:

    “You people can’t even acknowledge facts.”

    I’ll bite. What facts am I not acknowledging?

  193. Chuck Says:

    “He was clearly moving to win in 2010. It kinda backfired as hard as it possibly could’ve.”

    Maybe so.

    But he re-couped what he lost in trading for Lee in the first place, and probably got a better return when he did.

    Safeco is a canyon and the Mariners have to manufacture runs differently than the Yankees or Rangers do, so, I can see the need for Figgins hitting behind Ichiro.

    Moving Figgins to second didn’t make much sense but I’d guess the guy responsible for that move is collecting unemployment checks right about now.

    Milton Bradley’s a head scratcher for sure what with his baggage and all, but, Jack needed a run producer and Milty was a good choice for what he was paying him.

    The M’s brought in Chris Chambliss as hitting coach and are moving Figgins back to third, if a couple of these young guys can figure out ML pitching quick enough they could be a tough opponent.

  194. Cameron Says:

    Man, you lay down for a nap and miss a shitload of stuff, huh?

  195. Chuck Says:

    “Man, you lay down for a nap”

    Do they still give out milk and cookies?

  196. Cameron Says:

    All I’ve been drinking today is citrus flavored alka seltzer and water, I’ve been nursing a bitchin’ cold for the past 4 days.

  197. Lefty33 Says:

    “Pat Gillick said like one thing about looking at intangibles and how they have value (which I think everyone acknowledges), and somehow that got interpreted as he refuses to look at statistics ever.”

    First of all John my response to Shaun was obviously sarcastic and condescending and second of all what you said in that post has absolutely nothing to do with what Gillick said or what I was talking with Shaun about earlier.

  198. brautigan Says:

    John: I was referencing Figgin’s .395 on base average in 2009. Statheads would jump all over those 100 walks, and the Mariners bit.

  199. John Says:

    Figgins walks a lot. That’s good. It helps the team.

    Still, if you look at Chone’s 3-year average before the signing (only an idiot looks at one year, especially a contract year) you’ll see that he amounted to a pretty good player, probably worth around what the Mariners paid him.

    Epstein needed a 3B last year. So did Beane. Neither bit at Figgins. He wasn’t *that* statty.

    I actually agree with Chuck on the manufacturing runs bit. Ichiro-Figgins is an excellent 1-2 combo at the start of the lineup especially in that ballpark. But the Mariners can’t rely on 3-6 hitters who, at best, amount to .270/.330/.370 guys and at worst are…well, you saw how they did last year.

  200. Cameron Says:

    The Figgins signing was great on paper, but MAN did he suck this year. What can you do, shit happens. This is one of those freak occurrences.

  201. John Says:

    Right, I think over the length of the contract he’ll be fine.

  202. Cameron Says:

    Hopefully, or this’ll go down as one of the best “shit happens” contracts in baseball history.

  203. Chuck Says:

    “Epstein needed a 3B last year”

    Adrian Beltre begs to differ.

    “So did Beane.”

    Oakland is on Figgins’ no trade list. If a player won’t allow his team to trade him someplace, he sure as heck won’t go there voluntarily.

    Beane: “Hello, Chone? Hey, what’s up, Figgy, Billy Beane here.”

    Figgins: Hangs up phone.

    “I actually agree with Chuck…”

    Welcome to reality.

  204. Kerry Says:

    Chuck: “Are you implying every single SABR member uses hardcore SABR stats?”

    Of course not, just Sig Mejdal. As I said, the have a numerical model that has a rating for each player in runs, so obviously they use a formula to get it. I’m sure all of the inputs aren’t sabermetric in nature, but a lot of them are.

  205. JohnBowen Says:

    Epstein needed a 3B and he chose Beltre instead of Figgins. That was my point.

    Good call Theo?

    I think so.

  206. Raul Says:

    Yeah, but who the hell didn’t know Beltre was a better 3B than Figgins?

  207. brautigan Says:

    Beltre should put up similar numbers in Texas.

    The Mariners offense has no where to go but up. I mean, can they be that bad two years running?

  208. JohnBowen Says:

    Raul, defensively, I think everyone knows that. Offensively? Maybe if you went into hiding shortly after the 2004 season and didn’t come back until after 2009, but Beltre wasn’t anything special in Seattle.

    Brautigan,

    Beltre is going to suck for 4 years and then miraculously hit .330 in his 5th season. As for the Mariners offense? Their big middle-of-the-order threat is Jack Cust. I’m not usually that down on guys who strike out a lot, but the Mariner lineup is going to require that #3 hitters put the ball in play and the on-base threats at the top, Ichiro and Chone. Cust strikes out 170 times a year like clock-work. Bad fit in that lineup.

  209. brautigan Says:

    Beltre will be just fine in Texas. He’ll be on a contending team and he’ll keep his focus, much like he did in Boston.

    Cust will be lucky to get 200 at bats. Seattle’s stadium is not a good fit for Cust.

  210. Hossrex Says:

    The Saber side: “YEAH HUH!”
    The traditional side: “NU UH!”
    The Saber side: “YEAH HUH!”
    The traditional side: “NU UH!”
    The Saber side: “YEAH HUH!”
    The traditional side: “NU UH!”
    The Saber side: “YEAH HUH!”
    The traditional side: “NU UH!”

    There ya go. I saved everyone who comes after the trouble of reading this comment thread.

  211. brautigan Says:

    What Hoss, no “neener, neener, neener”?

  212. Chuck Says:

    Where were you three days ago?

  213. Chuck Says:

    “They just moved Sig Mejdal to director of the amateur draft (he was their senior quantitative analyst), and he’s a SABR member.”

    Okaaaaaaay….so?

    Let’s check out his resume’.

    “Mejdal has degrees in Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering, and Masters in Industrial Engineering and Human Factors Engineering, and has worked both as a Travel Writer and a NASA sleep researcher.”

    Impressive, to say the least. Don’t actually see anything in there which refers to baseball, but, oh, wait…

    “While his baseball playing career ended in Little League..”

    Now we’re getting somewhere.

    “..he has had an almost unhealthy interest in baseball research ever since.”

    Nope, was expecting more.

    “Senior Quantitative Analyst for the St. Louis Cardinals since opening day of 2005.”

    Ten bucks says I have a bigger office, heck, twenty bucks says the closet in my office is bigger than his office.

    “He provides analysis, player projections and data-driven decision making for the General Manager’s office.”

    “Hey, Sig, John Mozeliak here, can you come to my office, please? I’ll call down to security so you can get in the building.”

    “Sure, Mr. Mozeliak, glad to.”

    (Security guard escorts Sig to Mozeliak’s office, he walks in and sees Albert Pujols and Tony LaRussa sitting on a sofa).

    Mozeliak: “Hey, Sig, thanks for coming by, let me introduce you to a couple of important people in our organization who you’ve undoubtedly never heard of before, Manager Tony LaRussa and player Albert Pujols.”

    Sig: (Stuttering) “Pleasure to meet you, Mr. Pujols, I’ve been quantitively analyzing your stats and I think you’re a real good player.” “Can I have your autograph please?”

    Mozeliak: “Stop drooling, Sig, and sit down for a second. We’re in an important meeting here regarding Albert’s contract extension, and we’ve come to a dilemma which we feel your quantitative analysis and data driven analysis can help us with.”

    Sig: “Absolutely, Mr. Mozeliak, whatever you need. Sir.”

    Mozeliak: “Spanish or Italian for lunch?”

    “Mejdal’s work is used for the amateur draft, and both the minor and major leagues.”

    My favorite.

    Since 2005, the overall ranks of the Cardinals’ farm system have been 30, 21, 23, 16, 8, and 29.

    Over the past three seasons, the Cardinal’s overall minor league won/lost records have been below .500 and they’ve had four postseason teams out of a possible 21.

    In the 2007 and 2008 drafts, the Cards’ picked a total of 100 players with just five playing in the majors to date, three of them have played one game each and the one with the most games played is in Houston.

    My ass is smoke proof, if you’re going to blow something my way it’s coming right back to you.

    You can’t quantitatively analyze what a 20 year old college kid with an aluminum bat is going to do as a pro with a wood bat when he’s 25.

    Can’t be done, I don’t care how many useless pieces of paper someone has framed on his wall.

    If the Cardinals are paying this guy more than twelve bucks an hour, they’re getting hosed.

    I’m surprised at you Kerry, thinking I’d buy something like that.

  214. Kerry Says:

    Chuck: “I’m surprised at you Kerry, thinking I’d buy something like that.”

    Well, I didn’t expect you to, but I was just refuting your point that sabermetrics was dead in MLB. St. Louis isn’t the only place using it, Boston and Arizona are others, to name ones I’ve heard about.

    Chuck: “Over the past three seasons, the Cardinal’s overall minor league won/lost records have been below .500 and they’ve had four postseason teams out of a possible 21.”

    Your data is old. While they certainly have had a poor farm system in the past, it has improved markedly recently. In fact last year they had the BEST farm system WPct, .549, with 5 teams in the post-season, and only one team, in the Venezualan Summer League, below .500 (they pretty much sucked, at 22-45). If you ignore the foreign leagues (which you seemed to be doing by mentioning 21 chances at the postseason in 3 years), their WPct last year was .571. Whether their record will stay that good remains to be seen, of course.

    Regarding the Cardinals’ drafts, Mejdal is a fairly recent addition, so I don’t think we’ll know how it’s really working for a few years yet (as you have pointed out somewhere else in the draft/free agent discussion). After all, I don’t think it’s realistic to expect results overnight, and it may have taken a while to fully implement the system.

    Regarding the rest of your little diatribe above, making fun of something isn’t going to convince anyone — it takes real arguments to do that.

  215. Chuck Says:

    “it takes real arguments to do that.”

    Which were provided.

    My data is fine.

    Foreign leagues are considered developmental leagues and not “official” minor leagues, so, yes, they are ignored.

    The Rangers had six of seven minor league franchises make the postseason last year, with three winning league championships, so the Cardinals hardly had the top minor league system.

    The Cardinals completely gutted their front office after the season, not to the extent the Diamondbacks did, but other than GM John Mozeliak, quite a few people found themselves with different responsibilities or pink slips.

    The role of the farm system is to develop players, not win games. It’s important to the owners of the individual teams and their communities of course, but if the Cardinals’ Double A team produced a ML all star each of the next three seasons while winning 40% of their games, St. Louis would consider them successful.

    Sarcastic humor aside, of course you’re right about Mejdal. We don’t know how successful he’ll be, or even how much authority comes with the title. For all we know, he could be like George Steinbrenner’s ex-son in law..nice title, big salary, and has nothing to do with the team.

    Arizona was heavily into analysis, and in five years went from a perennial playoff contender to a doormat. Same with Cleveland, same with Toronto.

    Kansas City went from the worst farm system to the best, arguably ever, and in ten years will be talked about as the team of the decade.

    You want to hang your hat on one example? Fine, but remember, a drowning man will grasp at anything to stay afloat.

  216. Raul Says:

    Players to come out of Cleveland:

    Albert Belle
    Omar Vizquel
    Kenny Lofton
    Manny Ramirez
    Brian Giles
    Jim Thome
    Sandy Alomar
    Sean Casey
    Richie Sexson
    Russell Branyan
    Carlos Baerga
    Bartolo Colon
    CC Sabathia

    All of them weren’t signed or drafted by Cleveland, but somebody back in the late 80s up through the late 90s did a hell of a job finding players.

    Alomar and Baerga came to Cleveland via a trade for Joe Carter.
    Lofton was acquired via trade for Eddie Taubensee.
    Vizquel was traded for Felix Fermin.

    The Indians got Grady Sizemore, Cliff Lee, Brandon Phillips and Lee Stevens for Bartolo Colon and Tim Drew. Hell of a trade in 2002.

    Since 2002, the Indians haven’t really brought up any talent that’s been worth going much until Carlos Santana came along last year.

    Well, I forgot about Travis Hafner, who I guess was a good pick up in a trade with Texas.

    Anyway, the Indians were a very well run franchise for a number of years.

  217. John Says:

    That trade in 2002 might be one of the greatest steals in history.

    At the same time though, can you blame the Expos one bit for making it? I mean, when your franchise is the center of contraction talks, you’re pretty much in the ultimate “win-now” mode, and the Expos really were in the hunt.

  218. Cameron Says:

    Well, Tim Drew sucked, but looking at Bartolo Colon back then… Man, he used to be really good. I can kinda see what the logic was, but surely they realized Phillips and Sizemore were something special and Lee was pretty good. I think they gave up too much, even in context.

  219. Raul Says:

    I love that Baseball Reference lists Bartolo Colon’s elementary school weight of 185 lbs.

  220. Bob Says:

    Elementry goes from K-6th. That could have been his weight at the start of his schooling.

  221. Kerry Says:

    Chuck: “My data is fine.”

    No, it isn’t. The Cardinals had 5 teams make the postseason last year alone (not 4 in 3 years), and 9 in the last 3 years. 3 of those won titles (considering there were only 21 titles to be had, and 30 MLB teams, that’s pretty good). Maybe you were using the old data — for 2007-2009 I think they only had 4 in 3 years in the postseason.

    And they did have the best record last year, at 431-327 (.569 WPct) — one team was at .500, the rest above. And for the last three years they were 1193-1073, hardly “below .500″, with only one team (GCL) below .500 for the whole 3 years. Again, maybe you were using 2007-2009, when they were 16 games below .500 (WPct .496) — which hardly sucks, it just means they were average.

    “The Rangers had six of seven minor league franchises make the postseason last year, with three winning league championships, so the Cardinals hardly had the top minor league system.”

    Well, 5 teams in the postseason and the best overall record versus six teams in the postseason and not the best overall record (could be second best, I haven’t looked it up). And the Cards high A team tied for the first half lead in their division and had a 75-65 overall record — they must have lost a tie-breaker and didn’t make the playoffs — so call it 5.5 teams. That sounds like pretty much a dead heat to me. And so what if they aren’t the absolute best, they were at least one of the best. Not a good argument that their system sucks.

    “The role of the farm system is to develop players, not win games.”

    Well, I agree. But you’re the one that used records as an argument.

    “The Cardinals completely gutted their front office after the season, not to the extent the Diamondbacks did, but other than GM John Mozeliak, quite a few people found themselves with different responsibilities or pink slips.”

    Assistant GM John Abbamondi left for San Diego, which lead to a reshuffling of staff. I wouldn’t call that gutting. If anything the saber influence is more firmly entrenched (but not necessarily dominant — they still emphasize a blend with traditional scouting).

    “Kansas City went from the worst farm system to the best, arguably ever, and in ten years will be talked about as the team of the decade.”

    That’s great, I never said you HAVE to have a saber component, or even a formula, to be successful, although I think if it’s done right you will gain an advantage. But like with anything else — traditional scouting, hard-core saber analysis or a blending of the two — it can be done well or done horribly.

  222. Raul Says:

    I’m wondering why whenever the argument about the impact of Saber-analysis comes up, the only example of a successful franchise anyone gives is the Boston Redsox.

  223. John Says:

    Yeah, no one ever mentions the 156 time AL West Champion A’s and their 7$ payroll.

  224. Raul Says:

    John,

    There’s been debate as to who, and how those Oakland teams were built.

    And even if I concede the A’s, that’s 2 teams.

    Two, brah.

  225. Kerry Says:

    Raul: “Two, brah.”

    But how many teams have really tried it? A lot of the teams who don’t use it suck, too. Like I said, whatever strategy you try can be done well or horribly.

  226. Jim Says:

    @Raul #222- I get the impression that for player acquisition and development that the RS do it the old fashion way, scouting. After signing Crawford, they were pretty clear that Allard Baird or another senior scout, saw Crawford play every game after the All-Star break.

    It seems to me that the Sox use statistical analysis in a few ways
    - knowledge of player tendencies as part of determining in-game strategy
    - survey players to determine which ones they want to scout in depth
    - project how a player’s past performance would translate to Fenway and the AL East.
    - Build a database and develop their own statistical analysis tools in the hopes they develop some secret sauce.

    It’s seems doubtful they use many of the advanced stats that are popular on the sabre websites. One I know they don’t use is UZR as Theo has been quoted as saying that the team doesn’t and then in the next breath mentioned that they have developed a proprietary set of defensive metrics.

  227. Chuck Says:

    “Assistant GM John Abbamondi left for San Diego, which lead to a reshuffling of staff. I wouldn’t call that gutting.”

    If you think that’s all they did, then you’re be right.

    “Not a good argument that their system sucks.”

    If you think that’s my only argument, again, you’d be right.

  228. Raul Says:

    I was reading up a bit on John Hart, as it looks like he built a heck of a franchise in the 1990s in Cleveland.

    Hart went on to Texas but gave up the GM position to Jon Daniels in 2005. Hart remains an advisor with the Rangers.

    There’s no way to really know, but I wonder who’s calling the shots in Texas with Ryan, Hart and Daniels all in the mix.

  229. Raul Says:

    The Orioles signed Justin Duchscherer and Vladimir Guerrero last week.

    Nobody expects the Orioles to take the Wild Card or win the Division, but they could be a competitive team in 2011.

    C – Matt Wieters
    1B – Derrek Lee
    2B – Brian Roberts
    3B – Mark Reynolds
    SS – JJ Hardy
    LF – Luke Scott
    CF – Adam Jones
    RF – Nick Markakis
    DH – Vladimir Guerrero

    SP – Jeremy Guthrie
    SP – Brian Matusz
    SP – Justin Duchscherer
    SP – Chris Tillman
    SP – Jake Arrieta

    RP – Mike Gonzalez
    CL – Kevin Gregg

    I’m not expecting much out of Hardy but he did play better in the 2nd half and should be decent defensively at SS. Guthrie isn’t bad. Matusz is young and improving and Duchscherer, when healthy is a solid pitcher. Matt Wieters was the best prospect in baseball a few years ago and many people expect him to start living up to those expectations this year.

    I think the Orioles will score some runs this year and should improve on their 66-96 record last season. After all, they did manage to go 34-24 from August on.

  230. Bob Says:

    Damn it Raul. That is what I was going to write about Baltimore in my East preview. I jest, thanks for doing some research for me!!!

  231. Raul Says:

    Sorry Bob. I didn’t mean to.

  232. Bob Says:

    No harm, no foul.

  233. Raul Says:

    Happy Birthday Carney Lansford and Dan Quisenberry.
    Lansford is 54 and The Quiz would have been 58 today.

    A special shout out to Ed Haigh and Art Jones, also born today.
    Both Haigh and Jones appeared in just one game in the Majors.

    Haigh in 1892 for St. Louis, going 1-4 with 2 strikeouts.

    Jones in 1932 for Brooklyn against the Boston Braves, pitching 1 inning while allowing 2 hits, 1 walk and 2 runs to score.

    I can’t understand how BBREF says he faced 5 batters although he gave up 2 hits and a walk. I guess there was a double play? Or someone was caught stealing? I can’t think. I better eat something.

  234. Chuck Says:

    John Hart hired Daniels when he was Texas GM, so his “senior advisor” role is probably more as babysitter/mentor than anything else.

    I don’t know for sure if Hart has a vote on things per se, but he does have input.;

  235. Kerry Says:

    OK, another fact check:

    Chuck: “The Rangers had six of seven minor league franchises make the postseason last year, with three winning league championships, so the Cardinals hardly had the top minor league system.”

    I count 5 of 6 in the postseason (it’s only 6 since we’re not including foreign developmental leagues, per your comment) with NO league championships (you said 3) in 2010. Their overall record was 361-331, for a .522 WPct (as opposed to the Cards’s system WPct of .569 in 2010).

    This isn’t a fact check, but it shows how you can mislead with facts with incomplete information:

    Chuck: “In the 2007 and 2008 drafts, the Cards’ picked a total of 100 players with just five playing in the majors to date, three of them have played one game each and the one with the most games played is in Houston.”

    Well, only one team has had more players making the majors so far from the 2007-8 drafts, and that was the Cubs, with 6. Of course some teams have received more impact with fewer or the same number of players, but they are in the minority (maybe 7 or 8 teams?), and 15 teams have had 2 or less draft picks from 2007-8 make the majors. 5 out of 100 sounds bad, but nobody really did any better than that.

    And the player that is now in Houston (Wallace) was the main contribution in the trade to get Holliday. So they got a damn good player in return for their former draft pick. I’ll bet Holliday contributes more from 2011 on than Wallace — certainly did so far since the trade.

    Regarding Holliday, consider the following lines for him: .319/.386/.552 (OPS+ 131) in Colorado, .324/.398/.552 (OPS+ 155) in St. Louis. Interesting that he’s actually gotten better after taking into account where he plays. As a Cardinal fan I’ll admit I was a little worried about the trade at the time, especially considering his stats in Oak were a step down, not up (.286/.378/.454, 119), but it seems they made a great deal there.

  236. Chuck Says:

    Thanks, Kerry.

  237. Raul Says:

    John was right, I was wrong.

    The Super Bowl was apparently the most-watched program ever. I thought nobody would watch it.

    I still think it would have been a bigger game with the Jets in it.

  238. Chuck Says:

    “The Cardinals had 5 teams make the postseason last year alone”

    Four, actually.

    Memphis, Springfield, Batavia and Johnson City.

    With two championships, Memphis and Johnson City.

    Four combined in 2008-09, with one championship.

  239. Kerry Says:

    No, five. Quad Citites made it too. But only one championship last year; Memphis lost in the finals.

    Of course, one year isn’t a trend, but they did well last year. We’ll see about 2011!

  240. Chuck Says:

    Mandatory reporting date is what, February 18?

    Five bucks says Michael Young is traded before.

    Things are starting to go downhill quickly between him and the Rangers.

  241. Chuck Says:

    “No, five. Quad Citites made it too.”

    Goddamn BR resolution didn’t fit my screen.

    Oh, well.

  242. Cameron Says:

    Yeah, Young’s really starting to get pissed that Texas isn’t giving him every day in the field.

    I still say tell Moreland to hit the bench and have Young play first.

  243. Cameron Says:

    Josh Hamilton’s really pushing for Texas to keep Young though. …And Josh Hamilton seems to hold a lot of sway in the Texas locker room. CJ Wilson’s the guy’s biggest fan, Hamilton’s the undisputed captain of the team. I have a feeling this will influence Daniels and Ryan’s decision. Not necessarily force them, but Hamilton’s got sway in negotiations.

    Also, Josh Hamilton’s the reason Texas keeps an alcohol-free environment, along with CJ Wilson. They sprayed ginger ale in the postseason celebrations. Burns, yes, but they wear goggles to prevent it from getting in their eyes.

  244. John Says:

    Michael Young is a leader in that clubhouse.

    He also makes a lot of money; more than most teams would want to pay for his abilities.

    Are the Rockies still in the mix? Othetwise I think he hangs around.

  245. Bob Says:

    Yeah, Texas will have to eat some of his contract if they want a decent return.

  246. brautigan Says:

    The way Texas keeps moving Young around, why would he want to stay? He has gone along with them when they moved him from 2B to SS. Then they moved him to 3B. Now they ought to do him a favor and move him to another team.

  247. Cameron Says:

    And Young’s said (more or less) “Fuck this platoon shit and trade me already.”

    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2011/02/michael-young-requests-trade.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+MlbTradeRumors+(MLB+Trade+Rumors)

  248. Cameron Says:

    Oh, and Raul, you said that this Superbowl wouldn’t be watched because of the small towns involved?

    111 million viewers, a new record (beating last year’s Superbowl by 4.5 million viewers and the M*A*S*H finale by 5 million).

  249. Raul Says:

    Shut up, Cameron.

    I already acknowledged I was wrong to John a few posts up.
    I was wrong, I admit it.

    Which is more than you can say about Shaun and some of his arguments.

  250. Cameron Says:

    Oh, my bad Raul. Didn’t see that post earlier. I haven’t been on much the past couple days and posts have been slippin’ by me.

  251. Raul Says:

    LOL

  252. Raul Says:

    I was just kidding, chief.

  253. Hartvig Says:

    Kerry

    “No, five. Quad Citites made it too.”

    And I saw 2 of the 3 games they played including the one where they were eliminated.

    Looking for a recommendation. If you we’re going to spring training & wanted to be sure you knew something about the players- keeping in mind it will be March 21st thru 28th so at the end of spring training- would you bring along Baseball Prospectus or Baseball America Prospect Handbook, assuming you could only pick one?

  254. Cameron Says:

    If you’re looking for the prospects, go with Baseball America. The Baseball Prospectus is more projections for the Major League level.

  255. John Says:

    Michael Young has really put up with a lot of shit for that team, but he’s been a real prick the last couple years.

    You’re making 17 million dollars to play a kid’s game. Just enjoy it.

    We need something else to talk about.

    Anyone have any requests for All-SomeTeam lineups?

  256. Cameron Says:

    Well, what ones do you have left John? Done Pittsburgh yet?

  257. John Says:

    Yeah I could do that. Not a lot of recent guys there.

  258. John Says:

    Actually there are two starters from the 2000’s.

  259. Cameron Says:

    Brian Giles and Aramis Ramirez?

  260. John Says:

    1 for 2

  261. Cameron Says:

    Considering the OF depth, I’m guessing Aramis was it. Jason Bay?

  262. John Says:

    This article’s author is rather critical of him (or rather, teams that sign him).

  263. John Says:

    just kidding, I was a couple years off

  264. Hartvig Says:

    They’ve got 3rd base covered with Pie Traynor so I’d guess Giles and… Jason Kendall? I can’t think of a lot of Pittsburgh catchers: Manny Sanguillen & Smokey Burgess are the only 2 that come to mind. Or maybe Matt Capps 06 season?

    But wow are they stacked at shortstop and in the outfield. I mean Glenn Wright was a gold glove worthy, cleanup hitting shortstop on 2 pennant winning teams in the 1920’s & he’s not going to make the cut. Same with the 1960 MVP for the World Series champions. Again, wow.

  265. Cameron Says:

    Here’s the thing, I never thought Pie Traynor was all that good. He may be one of the worst HoF picks I can think of, right in that Rabbit Maranville class.

  266. Cameron Says:

    That outfield selection for Pittsburgh has some pretty deep selections. Here’s JUST the HoF members.

    Lloyd Waner
    Paul Waner
    Roberto Clemente
    Willie Stargell (Will probably be the 1B to make room)
    Ralph Kiner

    That’s five guys to fill 3 spots.

  267. John Says:

    You forgot a pretty big one (not in the HOF yet).

    Dead-on about Stargell. Shame…look at the seasons he put up in LF.

    Actually I was off. No one from the 2000’s quite made it.

  268. Chuck Says:

    Michael Young had five consecutive 200 hit seasons.

    He’s made All-Star teams at three different positions.

    He FINALLY gets the Rangers to the post season, and to thank him, they AGAIN tell him to bend over.

    “Michael, move to short”

    “Michael, move to third”

    “Michael, move to first.”

    “Michael, you’re the DH.”

    I get that Kinsler, Andrus and Beltre are better options, but the Rangers plan of a Young/Moreland first base/DH platoon wasn’t bad.

    Then Texas turns around and picks up Mike Napoli.

    Thankyou, sir, may I have another?

    Eff Texas.

  269. Chuck Says:

    For a LONG time after he retired, Traynor was considered the best third baseman of all time.

    I think looking back at him now, he does appear to be somewhat overrated, especially defensively (Ron Santo, anyone?).

    He’s certainly not in the class of Schmidt or Brett, but he’s not Rabbit Maranville either.

  270. Chuck Says:

    “You forgot a pretty big one (not in the HOF yet).”

    And may never be, and if he is, he won’t be sporting a Pirates cap on his plaque.

  271. John Says:

    You’re the captain of the team.

    If you want to complain about a possible position change when a better player is coming to town, you do it in private.

    Right Jetah?

  272. Chuck Says:

    Sure, John, if it happens once.

    If I’m Michael Young, I don’t mind losing AB’s to Adrian Beltre.

    No fucking way am I losing AB’s to Mike Napoli.

    Especially since I AM the team captain.

    Respect is a two way street.

  273. John Says:

    I don’t care if Barry Bonds beats baby seals AND took steroids.

    He’s arguably the greatest player of all-time.

  274. Chuck Says:

    “He’s arguably the greatest player of all-time.”

    Because of steriods.

    Miss your nap today?

  275. Chuck Says:

    Pittsburgh’s been a joke now for two decades, but they’ve had some great teams and players.

    Their “all-time” lineup is not going to be as easy as it would appear.

  276. John Says:

    I look at Texas’s depth start and I don’t see any way Michael Young actually loses at-bats to these guys (Moreland, Napoli).

    Napoli’s gonna see a bunch of at-bats at catcher. In those games, Young DH’s and Moreland plays 1B.

    When Torrealba catches, Napoli DH’s and Young plays first.

    The only scenerio in which Torrealba, Napoli, and Morland all play is when Young plays 2B, 3B or SS to give one of the other guys a break.

    He should see 150+ games in this set-up. And he should. He’s a terrific hitter (in my opinion, the ideal guy to hit 2nd).

  277. Raul Says:

    Actually, I care.

    Because with steroids he went from Top 15-25 good, to Top 3 good.

    This is Barry Bonds’ career after 1998, when he just finished his Age 33 season:

    .290/.411/.556
    411 homers
    1917 hits
    1216 rbi
    445 stolen bases

    You know what? Pretty damn awesome.

    Top 5 awesome? Not on your life.

    Likelihood he would have declined and retired within a few years? History is full of hundreds of guys who fell off the map around ages 34 and 35.

    So yeah, it kind of matters that he juiced his fucking way into Babe Ruth territory.

  278. Chuck Says:

    I’m saying it now.

    Michael Young ends up an Angel.

  279. John Says:

    Meh.

    I think Bonds was juicing the whole damn time.

    So was most of the league.

    Difference is, Alex Sanchez didn’t OPS 3.000 every year.

  280. Chuck Says:

    Bonds had knee problems from playing on Pittsburgh’s turf and shoulder problems.

    Without steriods, he’s not hitting 73 homers in 2001, he’s playing the celebrity golf tour.

    Just like everyone else..steriods didn’t just add numbers, they added YEARS.

  281. John Says:

    Whatever, I’m really more interested in Young at this point.

    Didn’t he request a trade two years ago too? When the Rangers brought up Andrus?

  282. Raul Says:

    Yeah, Alex Sanchez didn’t OPS 3.000 every year.

    But I don’t have to give Bonds credit for OPSing 3.000 when realistically he should have been .850.

  283. Chuck Says:

    “Didn’t he request a trade two years ago too?”

    Yes.

    Because he had just won the GG and didn’t want to lose his job to a rookie.

  284. Raul Says:

    Doubt Texas trades him within the division.

  285. Chuck Says:

    Jon Daniels said he wouldn’t be opposed to trading Young within the division providing they “received fair compensation” in return.

    Young has a limited no trade clause of eight teams, which becomes full in May.

    One of his “no-trade” teams?

    Colorado.

  286. Chuck Says:

    I like the Rangers, but they’re not winning the division this year, with or without Young.

    Their pitching BLOWS.

    Trade Young for, say, Ervin Santana, and that would change things.

  287. John Says:

    I still say Michael Young could stay with Texas and play 150 games.

    For 17 million dollars, he should be willing to do pretty much anything his team asks.

  288. Chuck Says:

    I wish I was your boss, John.

  289. John Says:

    “I like the Rangers, but they’re not winning the division this year, with or without Young.”

    …have I finally persuaded you of something? Or are you going with the Angels?

  290. John Says:

    For 17 million dollars a year I would streak through Oakland Coliseum with “Moneyball Blows” painted on my chest for you.

  291. Chuck Says:

    “……have I finally persuaded you of something?”

    LOL…can I take the fifth?

  292. Mike Felber Says:

    Have to agree with Raul & Chuck here. Considering his total game, James had him at #16 in his ‘00 baseball Abstract. He already had been juicing a couple of years. John, there is much research & evidence on Bonds. None of it shows he was juicing before ‘98. All of it shows he was jealous of the attention paid to lesser players who PEDed themselves to glory (& a few years later, infamy).

    There is no good evidence that “most of the league” was juicing. Many did, some chronically, some dabbled. Still a lot did not even experiment w/illegal substances. Though until a few years ago, players *& citizens could legally take dubious ‘roid lite substances called precursor or pro-hormones. I didn’t like it, but it was legal, & sometimes effective.

    Bonds re-created his body, game, & just extended the scope & nature of his own personal Hell.

  293. John Says:

    “All of it shows he was jealous of the attention paid to lesser players who PEDed themselves to glory”

    The word you were looking for was speculation.

  294. Chuck Says:

    One of the first star players “outed” as a juicer in the early to mid-nineties was Bobby Bonilla.

    Does that mean Bonds’ juiced in Pittsburgh?

    No.

    But the link to the obvious is there, just like it is with Ken Caminiti in Houston or Todd Helton in Colorado.

    Not all fires smoke.

  295. John Says:

    I hadn’t heard about that.

    I always joked that if all roid users MVP’s were taken away, Bonilla would be an MVP.

    Of course, it’s like the Onion article about how Craig Counsell was the best clean player of the steroid era.

  296. Kerry Says:

    Cameron: “If you’re looking for the prospects, go with Baseball America. The Baseball Prospectus is more projections for the Major League level.”

    I agree.

    Hartvig:”And I saw 2 of the 3 games they played including the one where they were eliminated.”

    That’s right, you’re in Iowa too, right, or was it Wisconsin?

  297. brautigan Says:

    Arky Vaughn HAS to be Pittsburgh’s shortstop.

    And yes, Pie Traynor was the standard for 3B for a couple of decades. If you look at thirdbaseman in the first 30 years or so the last century, thirdbasemen were not much known for hitting. “Home Run” Baker was the exception, and even then he wasn’t the greatest of his era.

  298. JohnBowen Says:

    “Arky Vaughn HAS to be Pittsburgh’s shortstop.”

    On any other team, he would be.

  299. Hartvig Says:

    brautigan

    “Arky Vaughn HAS to be Pittsburgh’s shortstop.”

    Are you sure? He’s got to beat out this season to do it:

    ▴ Tm Lg G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+ TB WAR
    PIT NL 151 641 568 100 201 39 19 10 109 53 54 .354 .415 .542 .957 205 308 11.6

    Which, according to Bill James at least, is the most valuable single season in the history of the game.

  300. JohnBowen Says:

    Lol, I published the Pittsburgh article.

  301. brautigan Says:

    Hartvig: Vaughn’s 1935 season:

    .385/.491/.607 1.098 OPS

    However, as you noted, Wagner’s numbers were compiled in 1908 when a baseball was basically a dirty bean bag.

  302. Cameron Says:

    NL ERA in Wagner’s 1908: 2.35
    NL ERA in Vaughn’s 1935: 4.02

    Yeah, Wagner had it a hell of a lot tougher. Imagine facing 1999-2000 Pedro’s ability to get outs on average.

  303. Chuck Says:

    Mea culpa..

    Colorado is NOT on Michael Young’s no trade list.

    Oakland is.

    He’d look good in Cardinals’ red, it would show Pujols the Cards are serious about staying a contending team, although I don’t believe St. Louis can put together a package for him.

    Unless they’re willing to give up Adam Wainright.

  304. John Says:

    based on salary, Michael Young is definitely on Oakland`s no-trade list.

    The Cardinals are already screwed on payroll.

    Looks like Young is taking his talents to Denver when this goes down.

  305. Cameron Says:

    Here’s the teams Young can’t veto a trade to
    -
    Cardinals
    Yankees
    Twins
    Astros
    Rockies
    Dodgers
    Angels
    Padres

    I’d say the biggest players would be Colorado (since they’re already involved) and Minnesota (they’re willing to add payroll these days and are a bit thin up the middle with prospects/young talent to spare). The Dodgers are trying to make a play too, but nothing’s been reached yet.

  306. Jim Says:

    Red Sox sign a New Zealand softball player.

    “We have been impressed by his abilities behind the plate, he has excellent hands and a strong throwing arm, and with instruction from our Boston Red Sox coaches, we are confident he can make the appropriate changes from softball to baseball,” Red Rox Pacific Rim scout Jon Deeble told the web site Stuff.co.nz/

    “We believe he shows the aptitude and willingness to be a successful baseball player. He has also showed us the ability to hit the ball out of the park. There needs to be a few minor adjustments made from the softball swing to baseball with the ball coming from different angles.This will also take time, but watching him hit some baseballs, he showed us a great amount of bat speed.”

  307. Jim Says:

    I wonder if the RS are considering a beer league team?

  308. Raul Says:

    They did. It was called the 2001 Boston Red Sox.

    Rod Beck
    Rich Garces
    Ugueth Urbina
    Dante Bichette
    Jason Varitek

  309. brautigan Says:

    Man, I miss Rod Beck. What a funny, funny guy.

    Just shows you how strong addiction is (and how much addiction sucks).

  310. Chuck Says:

    “Red Sox sign a New Zealand softball player.”

    I guess advanced stats really do play a role in the Red Sox front office after all.

  311. brautigan Says:

    Joe Carter’s brother is/was a monster softball player. If he couldn’t master playing hard ball, what makes Deeble think this New Zealander can?

    By the way, I knew this guys’ name sounded familiar. He was Boston’s first base coach in 2005.

  312. Jim Says:

    Raul @308 LoL

    Deeble probably still had money in his budget and feared he’d lose it if not spent. What would it cost to sign a kid like that? $25-30K?

  313. Mike Felber Says:

    What do you mean John? Bonds was very heavily investigated, & there is just evidence that he juiced after the ‘98 season: & he showed up much bigger in spring training ‘99. I doubt that you mean Sosa or Big Mac’s use of PEDs, or that it impacted their HR performance is merely “speculative”.

    The only thing that is completely speculative is that Bonds might have used PEDs before the ‘98-’99 off season. He & his associations, from business to friends & mistress, have been looked at so closely that there would likely be evidence if he used before.

    i guess you could say that since Sammy did not confess & we do not have direct evidence, his PED use is speculative. But given not only his extreme change in body, game, face, AND his forgetting English performance in front of Congress-& his corked baseball bat-not even I am naive enough to give him the benefit of the doubt!

Leave a Reply


RSS
Categories
Fan Duel
FanDuel - Daily Fantasy Baseball
YardBarker
Advertisement