What is your opinion of the A.J. Pierzynski signing?
MJH on accountability
Missing Bats is not binary. It is not an all-or-nothing proposition.
Some fans/students of the game assume that the only validation of a pitcher's stuff is a strike-out. But this is simplistic and flawed thinking.
I challenge you to think of missing bats as a continuum:• The batter missed the pitch entirely • The batter barely makes contact (e.g. broken bats, squibblers, off the end of bat)• The batter makes contact but doesn't barrel the ball• The batter emphatically doesn't miss..but forcefully applies the barrel bat squarely on the ball
Where has this all-or-nothing fixation on strike-outs come from?- A mis-application and exaggeration of sabermetric Defense Independent Pitching principles- A lack (until recently) of good stats to measure this continuum.-A fixation on the sexiness of the strike-out
A pitcher who can consistently induce weak contact has demonstrated a skill in the same way that a pitcher who can consistently strikes batters out. There is NO DIFFERENCE in the repeatability.
Increasingly NEXTGEN Saber stats are emerging to better measure and track pitcher's ability to induce categories of contact that are less conducive to becoming hits (line drives e.g. are hits 71% of the time), as well as how well barrelled a ball is.
Here's the JUICY part:Hit/fx have demonstrated that:-Line drives result in hits 71% of the time. -Ground balls follow with around 24% becoming hits. -Fly balls bring up the rear, landing safely only 15% or so.
So pitchers--if they can demonstrate sustained low line drive rates...have materially debunked the FIP contention that all contact is created equal.
Then this bomb hit the Saber community: Two years of MLB-wide data showed dramatic differences when batted-ball velocity was factored in...-A hard hit ground ball will produce a hit 57% of the time.-A weakly hit ground ball will produce a hit 18% of the time.
If/when Hit/FX becomes available to the fan (right now the info is sold to MLB cpus at a premium) we'll see amazing new stats that will show how particular pitchers repress struck ball velocity...and how certain pitchers get repeatedly shelled by well-barrelled balls.
Seriously Profar, you increasingly remind me of the Freshman kid in college who reads one chapter from an Economics book and starts spouting shit like's he's a Nobel economist.
Since this is becoming such a huge trend in the sabre community, please link to all of the experts in that field who agree with you on this subject.
Profar, What percentage of those 18% weak ground ball hits were from MY? He may be skewing the numbers.
If I understand your claim correctly, you are arguing that "NEXTGEN saber" has rendered obsolete analysis based on fielding independent pitching. The only article that I've seen you site in support of your position is Dave Cameron's article on the new Fangraphs stats measuring fielding dependent pitching. The new FDP stats (RA9 wins, BIP wins, and LOB wins) DO NOT render FIP obsolete. Dave Cameron makes this extremely clear in his articles on the subject. Here is a quote from Dave Cameron on this very point:
"In fact, those longer periods of time actually show just how effective FIP is as a measurement of pitching skill. In looking at all 3,951 pitchers who have thrown at least 100 innings in the majors since 1963, the correlation between the FIP-based WAR and RA9-wins is .96. For most pitchers with long careers, a WAR based on FIP and a WAR based on runs allowed is going to bring you to the same conclusion."
As Cameron makes clear in his articles, RA9 wins (which takes into account FDP, i.e., BIP wins and LOB wins) is highly correlated with FIP-based WAR over large samples. In other words, RA9 wins and FIP-based WAR may differ over small samples (due largely to luck or team defense) but they correlate highly over large samples (b/c luck and team defense evens out over large samples).
RA9 wins, BIP wins, and LOB wins are important advances, but their creators do not claim they render FIP analysis obsolete. In fact, fWAR is still calculated based on FIP b/c there is no way to determine what portion of BIP wins and LOB wins are due to pitcher skill and what portion are due to luck and team defense. Cameron says this clearly in his second article on FDP. Here is the quote from Cameron:
"As we noted this morning, our goal in introducing Fielding Dependent Pitching is to help quantify some of the missing aspects of run prevention that are not captured in Fielding Independent Pitching. However, you also have undoubtedly noted that we have not changed how we are calculating pitcher WAR, and FDP is not included in those calculations.
I promise that this is not because we are stubborn and refuse to admit that pitchers have some control over hits on balls in play. In actuality, the decision to leave FDP out of pitcher WAR for now was actually a difficult one, and was not our original intention when we developed FDP. The genesis of creating metrics to measure the wins added on balls in play and runner stranding was an effort to improve the way we calculate WAR, and we planned on modifying WAR to account for both FIP and FDP. Trust me, we don’t like some of the weird-looking results that a FIP-based pitcher WAR produces any more than you do.
However, when it came to actually modifying the formula, we came to the same crossroads that caused us to choose a FIP-based WAR when we created our initial implementation several years ago, and that was a trade-off between being more comprehensive at the cost of making an arbitrary decision about the level of defensive support a pitcher received. For whatever flaws FIP-based WAR has, it is strikingly good at being transparent in exactly what it is measuring and not measuring, and making no claims beyond what it knows it can support with data. Because walks, strikeouts, and home runs only really involve two parties — or three, if you count the umpire — it is easy to assign full responsibility for the outcome of these events to the pitcher. FIP knows what each of these events are worth, and judges a pitcher solely on the things that we can say were the direct result of their actions.
When you introduce balls in play into the equation, those blacks and whites become very gray. How much of a pitcher’s BABIP is he responsible for, and how much is the result of his defenders? We honestly don’t know.
And so, in not knowing, any decision we made now to add some portion of FDP into pitcher WAR would have required an arbitrary decision. In reality, the things that make up FDP are messy, acting more like football or basketball plays with multiple variables interacting together, and much less like the kinds of baseball plays that make it fairly easy to say “this guy did that, and he deserves this much credit for it.” Even if we decided that a pitcher should get half credit for his BABIP — my initial position, in the interest of full disclosure — what do we do with strand rates that are highly affected by BABIP distributions?"
(By the way, ProfarMVP's war against FIP analysis is based on his love for Matt Harrison. Harrison has 1.6 LOB wins this season. But prior to this season, his career LOB wins was -0.2. So there's no reason to believe that Harrison will continue to post very large positive LOB wins in the future. One season is way too small a sample to conclude that Harrison can do that. Cameron's article on LOB wins makes it very clear that LOB wins in one season tells us virtually nothing. It's only if the pitcher can sustain positive LOB wins over a long period that we can conclude he has a special skill at stranding runners.)
You know, I used to enjoy reading these blogs....but they are beginning to take all the enjoyment out of talking about the team/game like us "old" guys used to do. Some things "just happen" and there is really no need to try an analyze everything that happens in a game. Try sitting around with some good friends, a few frosty adult beverages and just enjoy the DAMN game. If you are talking about the current crop of "pen" fodder Wash has been trotting out they remind me of the old Rangers when the pitchers always tried to throw the perfect strike. Where the heck is Ross? Could have used him in the fourth tonight.....
I don't say FIPS is obsolete. Not at all. What is patently obsolete is the fundamentalist way some in the saber community...including you use--and abuse--FIPS.
I've seen countless occasions where you apply FIPS as some inerrant and ultimate debate Death Star weapon... in a manner that would make progressive Saber gurus wince.
Unlike you, Cameron has not only conceded the glaring deficiencies...he's trying to bring in ancillary methods to mend FIP's shortcomings.
I'm delighted that you finally sat down to read those articles. Let me highlight a few lines:
Cameron:Trust me, we don’t like some of the weird-looking results that a FIP-based pitcher WAR produces any more than you do.
Cam sure sees the instances where FIP is butt-ugly wrong in evaluating a player. He highlights quite a list of FIPS mis-evaluations in a recent blogpost.
...and we planned on modifying WAR to account for both FIP and FDP. Fangraphs is taking a prudent incremental approach. Introduce FDP. Test it. Tweak it...then fold into their next WAR formula.
I read the articles. I don't need the highlights.
If you have read the articles, you also know that Cameron says that over the long haul, the correlation b/w FIP-based WAR and RA9-wins (which takes into account fielding dependent pitching) is 0.96. That means that over the long haul, FIP explains 96% of the difference b/w pitcher results. Fielding dependent pitching is a small component.
Cameron identifies some fairly rare pitchers that consistently post positive BIP wins of LOB wins (which are the fielding dependent components of RA9 wins). However, Matt Harrison isn't one of those pitchers. Harrison hasn't consistently posted positive BIP wins or LOB wins. He's posted positive LOB wins in this season only. There are many examples of pitchers who have posted positive LOB wins in one season and then failed to repeat that again. LOB wins can vary dramatically from season to season but generally zero out over time. There's no reason to expect that won't happen to Matt Harrison.
UTB challenges, "Since this is becoming such a huge trend in the sabre community, please link to all of the experts in that field who agree with you on this subject."
I have provided 5 or 6 such great links in the big Harrison thread. Check it out!
Primi chuckles, "Profar, What percentage of those 18% weak ground ball hits were from MY? He may be skewing the numbers."
Little doubt. But he's roaring back. That OPS+ is up to 75!
One excerpt: HITf/x data has revealed limitations of the current DIPS metrics based upon batted ball categories. HITf/x-based metrics offer a great deal of promise for improvement over DIPS-based metrics in pitcher performance evaluation.
Following on my last post...I must add: This deeply researched series of articles by Mike Fast constitutes the HEART of NEXTGEN Sabermetrics.
Excerpt:"The Defense Independent Pitching Statistics (DIPS) developed by Voros McCracken and subsequent research by others had led much of the sabermetric community to conclude that pitchers have little control over the quality of batted ball contact that they allow beyond the ability to influence the vertical launch angle of the ball. In other words, pitchers primarily control their batted ball results by getting ground balls or fly balls, but not by controlling how hard the ball is hit.
However, by using detailed HITf/x data provided by Sportvision and MLBAM from the 2008 season, I found that a major-league pitcher does not only control whether he gets ground balls or fly balls; he also has a significant degree of control over how hard the ball is hit."
MrMan burps, Seriously Profar, you increasingly remind me of the Freshman kid in college who reads one chapter from an Economics book and starts spouting shit like's he's a Nobel economist.
You are smart enough to sense that class is in session. For that I commend you. But from your post it's clear you haven't done a lick of homework and you completely overslept your exam. The odds are 100 to 1 you wake up this morning with no clue regarding the meaning and implications of-FDP Vis a vis FIPS-NEXTGEN-HITf/x data and it's revelatory quality on BABIP
Tomorrow night you'll have one of those dreams where you are on a college campus NAKED. Book it.
Love how you irresponsibly peddle the idea of NEXTGEN and really don't have a clear grasp of the PRESENTGEN.
ProfarMVP wrote: “If/when Hit/FX becomes available to the fan (right now the info is sold to MLB cpus at a premium)...
... Fangraphs is taking a prudent incremental approach. Introduce FDP. Test it. Tweak it...”
So Hit/FX is being sold to MLB teams at a premium right now though no analysts have identified how to use the information? That makes sense.
Whether Fangraphs begins to use it or not, this is really the take-away from the articles: "In fact, those longer periods of time actually show just how effective FIP is as a measurement of pitching skill. In looking at all 3,951 pitchers who have thrown at least 100 innings in the majors since 1963, the correlation between the FIP-based WAR and RA9-wins is .96.”
What I love is the idea that anybody really gives a rat's ass about "ANYGEN" stats with a large amount of seriousness. I have these mental images of you guys watching a game and it's like "Big Bang Theory"....a bunch of math nerds who fail to see the tree because of the forest. Wow, what a shame. Have any of you ever actually ENJOYED a game for it's own sake?
T.O. There is a difference between enjoying the game and understanding it. I have found increased understanding often leads to increased enjoyment. A meteorologist can still enjoy a rain storm. Idols may fall but others will rise.
Wow. What obnoxious arrogance. People on this board have been very quick to adopt SIERA. That both demonstrates that posters here DO acknowledge pitcher control over batted balls, and that they are more than willing to accept new, tested, proven metrics on the evolving field of SABR. FDP is not yet tested, proven, or therefore, useful. I look forward to that happening. When it does, please do not pretend you invented the Internet. I am quite sure that RFAN, utb, Txball, Eric reining, and others will be all over it before you know what hit you. For the record, I'm a big Harrison fan. Would have locked him up ahead of Dutch. He's a really nice #3. But the measurables don't love him, and that should give is pause.
primi timpano, you made me spill my coffee.
Scooby, SIERA is not NEXTGEN. And as I've said in other threads, FDP is really just a precursor to it. FDP is but a bite sized mint, an appetizer for the coming meal.
Hit/FX combined with pitch/FX.—THAT is NEXTGEN. THIS explains:http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=15562
I find it interesting how technology (in this case SABR) evolves. Each time an innovation is created, an edge is gained. But the edge quickly goes away as everybody jumps on the bandwagon and the search for the next edge begins. For example, we began by watching the game and using our eyes to tell us what we see. Next, we used simple math and stats to provide us a broad view of the game (RBI, ERA). Then we found anomalies in the data we could exploit (Moneyball). The next step was to create statistical models for pitching, fielding, hitting, and managing to provide the extra 1% (SIERA, OPS, UZR). Finally, we train these models to tell us what we see (NEXTGEN) and we are back at the beginning. Yes, each step is a little better than the one before, but ultimately, the game comes down to pitchers throwing a ball and hitters trying to hit it. We will never create a perfect metric, but it sure is fun trying and arguing about it....
Utb is correct. The creators of the new fielding dependent pitching metrics find that over large samples, FIP explains 96% of pitcher results. FDP explains the other 4%. This finding actually gives me more confidence in FIP than I had before. It's amazing to me that anyone would interpret this finding as showing that FIP is not very important and that results on balls in play is the end all be all of pitcher analysis. That's a pretty big leap to make simply to support the claim that Matt Harrison is an ace pitcher despite having a non-ace FIP.
If sabermetricians or scouts thought Matty were an ace (Felix Hernandez 2.0), then JD and the other GMs around the league would be lining up to give him $100 mil. No one is going to do that b/c Harrison's peripherals indicate that he will not sustain his current ERA. All this nonsense about FDP and batted balls doesn't change that fact.
Another thing that I find perplexing is all the discussion about Matt Harrison's performance on batted balls. Fangraphs now has a measure of performance on batted balls called "BIP wins." Unusually good performance on batted balls would be reflected in positive BIP wins. But Fangraphs shows Harrison has having only 0.3 BIP wins this year. So the reason that Harrison is outperforming his FIP isn't due to unusually good performance on batted balls. It's due to what Fangraphs calls LOB wins, i.e., success in stranding runners. And as Dave Cameron clearly acknowledges in his article on LOB wins, 1 season of positive LOB wins is meaningless b/c 1 season of positive LOB wins could be due entirely to luck over a small sample. LOB wins is an important stat in analyzing a pitcher only if the pitcher consistently posts positive LOB wins, which would suggest that the pitcher has some special skill in stranding runnings that is consistent from season to season. Prior to this year, Matt Harrison has never had positive LOB wins. So if Matt Harrison has some special skill in stranding runners, apparently it's a recent development. The more likely explanation is that Harrison's LOB wins from this season are a fluke. It's easy to find dozens of pitchers who have posted large positive LOB wins in one season and then never gone on to do it again.
Eric burps, "Love how you irresponsibly peddle the idea of NEXTGEN and really don't have a clear grasp of the PRESENTGEN."
Sorry kid. You are JUST. FLAT. WRONG. .
When your kids look at Saber formulas in 20 years...they are going to make you feel so old. They will ask, "But daddy Eric, where is the part about the speed and trajectory of the struck ball? Where does it factor in pitch type, pitch speed..."
OLDGEN Saber has been a crude and blunt instrument. It will soon seem to us as leeching patients and exorcising demons.
Hit/FX--building and extending in synergistic song with Pitch/FX forge into a Star Ship of analytical tools...NEXTGEN Saber is what happens after we achieve HyperSpace. The world of baseball analysis is about to reach EVENT HORIZON.
NEXTGEN SABER? Remember the term. There will be an app for that.
Here is part 1 of that article I posted earlier:http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=15532
@ Shorty (That's what I'm calling you until you decide which Short Stop MVP you're going to stick with):
The NEXTGEN/SABR distinction you're trying to make is arbitrary, and leads to simple-minded black-and-white thinking. They are all Advanced Metrics. SIERA is an example of an Advanced Metric that has come online since bbtia has been up and running. Its acceptance here quickly shows how other Advanced Metrics will be accepted by this community: As soon as they are proven, tested, and reliable at conveying a useful piece of information, they will be used by the folks on this board. As of yet, Hit F/X is not proven, tested, or reliable. We don't know how to use it accurately, or what it really means yet, so we mostly ignore it until it becomes an accurate enough tool to turn raw data into useful information. At this point, it's mostly noise. Using noise to override known, proven information (like FIP, xFIP, and SIERA) does not make you cutting edge. It makes you a fad-chaser. Wait for it to be useful before you go trying to use it to "prove" something in contravention of existing, proven theories.
The Mike G. seen commenting above is an impostor.
That said, the evolution of metrics will never end. New metrics just mean new questions and possibilities. Today's advancements are tomorrow's foundations for newer and greater science, and so on and so forth. This argument over different perspectives may look like complete hogwash in just a few years as the knowledge and databases continue to gather more data. Metrics are adaptable, as should the fans of baseball be too.
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