What is your opinion of the A.J. Pierzynski signing?
MJH on accountability
Nice try Romro
^^^^That man is an imposter.
David Shoenfield on WAR -http://espn.go.com/blog/sweetspot/post/_/id/32781/do-you-need-stars-to-make-the-playoffs
hate to revive this discussion (athough is it a discussion if both sides are so entrenched in their opinions that there is no movement on either side?) that eventually devolved into utter crap, but there is a new article out there on what WAR is and how it can be viewed:
I think most on THIS sight(what's left to view)understand WAR and the concept, etc.What some don't understand is the use of such stats in MLB, to promote *better choicesavailable. SABR can be and is very valid... to an extent. As is "the gut or feel" or "my eyes" etc.I've learned so much(in a positive vein)about SABR, here at this sight. I remain open to change.I believe in the facts presented and will use them in which the manner presents the relative info.So Baseball evolves, as I do as well..
Substance of both views are only relevant to those that absorb what each gives or expects in return.Mathheads believe in almost the totality of SABR. Non-SARBR's don't, or maybe not so much.There the twain shall meet.
I personally think, as many in MLB, a hybrid is more serving as a whole. String theory?It's a guide or tool to adjust and survey. Point being, that Harrison has similar numbers asGreg Maddux at the same age/time is NOT a science that Matty is or will be a HOF Maddux.
It gets crazy from both sides. Intangibles vs. Stats? It's not that simple either way. It folds out.Baseball will never turn to SABR 100% to make decisions based on the information given/perceived.Nor will Baseball ever go back 100% to the old school of aged experience of the gut & eye theory.That would be baseball business suicide.
The evolution of Baseball is never ending, yet still is a sport driven by statistical heroes & champions.After Roger Maris' 61 in 1961, I never again want to see another astric besides a baseball record holder.Baseball is not about pompousness... it's still and will always be "The Great American Passtime".It grows with and within America's self changes.
^^^^^Finally, someone with total sense!!!!!!
I just dislike the irony in people saying, "People who follow sabermetrics are nerds who only follow stats," and then turned it around and say "Well I like Miguel Cabrera to be the MVP," and then they go ahead and justify their stance with stats. It's dumb.
To me, I have no problem with forward thinking. If people want to pretend batting average and pitching wins and losses still mean something, it's cool. But WAR is the language I speak with the rest of the illuminated folk.
^^^^^Such pompousness. Baseball survived and grew over 150 years, without being illuminated by (your view)sabermetrics. It's not Calculus, Trig or Geometry. It's out the box and outside the lines in perspective only.Anyone can read what they want with the information. Not quite the illuminating fix-all to past/modern baseball.Face it, you can't watch a baseball game without your stat sheet infront off you. That's the big Nerd in you.I bet you even talk to the tv/radio with each player stepping into the box. You already expect the outcome.That's not entertainment, which you've taken that joy out of. It's Nerd DeLuxe, giggling w/every swing & pitch."See, see, I told you. I was right". Xerox copies of one another... nothing original.
^^^^^^^PuuuuuurfectOLike I said from the beginning of this forum...WAR is for Nerds that never played baseball / don't know how to watch or enjoy a game.
How do you accurately grade WAR for players like Michael young if I understand this correctly he gets a -17 a defensive metric for being a DH? When he actually played 4 different positions? And I'm only using Young as an example...I am not trying to say he had a good year... And what about shifts and player positioning , how does that affect your defensive metric?I'm an ex high school coach and understand the game but don't undstand all of WAR...please help
Djones, I would recommend checking out the "Glossary" section at FanGraphs.com. In there you'll find all the definitions and precise explanations. The only ones I'd really pay any attention to are (a) WAR, (b) wRC+, (c) wOBA, (d) xFIP and (e) SIERA.
Basically, when you're talking about offense, wRC+ and wOBA are what you want to focus on. With pitching, xFIP and SIERA. WAR is just the a cumulative number for your offense, defense and base running.
WAR shouldn't be the end all be all. There are no stats that should be. When you are doing a sorting process you want to use the most general sort first. To me that's where you start with WAR, its the largest aperture sieve. You can quickly, with one number, differentiate vastly different level of players from each other. A player with a WAR of 7 is incredibly likely to be better then someone with a WAR of 3. Most SABR analysts say if two players are separated by less then 1 WAR then you can't easily declare one player undoubtedly better. I tend to fall down on the idea that Trout was the best player in the AL last year. He was a slightly worse hitter then Cabrera was but he was a vastly better defender and base runner.
The defensive part of WAR depends on which version you are looking at. Both are derived from other SABR metrics. fWAR's defensive component comes from UZR. bWAR from DRS if I remember correctly. I know a year or two ago the numbers were very fouled up by large shifts, IIRC Brett Lawrie had an incredible UZR and DRS because they were giving him credit for plays made behind 2b when he was a 3b shifted to in between the SS and 2b. Both of the stats are ones in which individuals look at film of the players and rate a player on plays made in their zone and outside their normal zone. IE the player with better range makes more out of zone plays, and unless he doesn't do a good job on the balls in his zone, should have a better DRS or UZR then a player who doesn't have as good of a range. Right now IIRC there's some question about the way that LF is being graded in UZR and DRS, there seems to be an abnormal spike of players having high defensive numbers in LF. To finish off the adding of defense into WAR both of them use some form of positional adjustment, the harder the position the bigger positive impact it has on it. An average defense SS usually has a larger adjustment to WAR from defense then all but the best 1b, because 1b is considered to be a very easy defensive position so therefore takes away some of the positive contribution from the 1b defensive values. To me it makes sense. The one major problem with both systems for measuring defense, iirc, is catcher. Neither seems to have a really great way to grade catcher defense. Though I could be working on old data with that.
JKolar, I remember reading that article about Lowrie over at Baseball Prospectus. An excellent read to get to entire scope of which metric is measuring what. I tend to prefer UZR myself, because DRS has things like the Lowrie situation, adding fringy weights on shifts. I'm not comfortable with that.
But like you said, they are both limited in regard to the catching position, which is kind of a conundrum within itself, because one could easily argue that catcher is the most important non-pitching position on the field. It really places a premium on scouting and developing good catching, because when you look around the league, there just isn't a lot out there.
The one thing I might disagree with you on is WAR being the start of the conversation rather than the end of it. I look at is as WAR sort of being the umbrella that holds all the other metrics, and all the individual stats (BA, OBP, SLG) that make up the metrics. WAR, to me, is the beginning and the ending to the question.
I seem to remember, eric, you once told me you thought I was relying on WAR too much.
WAR is good at what it is, but like all stats, it shouldn't be made into something it's not. WAR is a counting stat that attempts to measure a player's total contributions, but that doesn't mean it's the most useful for predicting things.
For example, if you don't realize WAR is a counting stat, you might think that, based on 2012 numbers, Clint Barmes is likely to be a better shortstop than Tulowitzki, because he had a (slightly) higher fWAR. But we know that's probably not going to happen, and the reason Tulo's fWAR is lower is largely correlated with the fact that he played in only 1/3 as many games as Barmes. I suppose if you made some sort of adjustment (maybe WAR/150?) you'd have a stat that's a little better predictively, but I've never heard of someone doing that.
As FanGraphs says, WAR is a handy reference point. When making predictions, I would certainly use more stats than WAR, especially because WAR isn't always calculated the same. On occasion, the different calculations can be quite a ways apart. For example, in 2011 Matt Harrison's fWAR was 4.4 and his bWAR was 3.5. In 2012 his fWAR was 3.8 and his bWAR was 6.2. There wasn't a huge diference in 2011 (both suggest he was a solid player but not quite all-star level) but in 2012 fWAR says he was solid again but bWAR suggests he was a Cy Young candidate (he was tied with Kershaw for 3rd in the league, behind Verlander and Price).
Point being, you can see some weird things if you look at just one stat. In terms of predicting how well guys will do, it's better if you look at several and try to come to conclusions based on all of them - and that doesn't even consider the factors other than historical performance that weigh into how someone will do.
I think WAR is a very effective way to judge the value of a player. It may also be a good way to project future performance and value. Like any stat, however, it's a measure of past performance. So any good GM is going to need to do his homework. For example, Justin Upton's WAR values have been -0.6, -0.7, 3.8, 1.4, 5.7, 2.1, between 2007 and 2012. Can you accurately predict future performance from this? Possibly. But you're looking at the very reason why the Snakes thought they'd be better off without him.
As GM, you're of the opinion that player "X" is capable of consistently posting 5-6 WAR seasons. But, the whisper is that player X is difficult employee to work with. He has an anger management issue. He sounds OK on TV. But that's because he's on Zoloft. He once broke a vase over his Mother-in-Law's head at a dinner party. It didn't make the news, but there is a PROBLEM there.
Baseball players, unlike normal employees, are joined at the hip with teammates for 8 months out of the year. Have you ever tried to work with/around someone you intensely dislike? What happens to the quality of your work (your WAR)? What about the other people in your work group (their WAR)? This is what makes a good GM. He uses WAR with detective work to determine an employee's value to the organization.
Andy, I used to dislike WAR. I just wasn't a believer at the time.
This discussion is more than just WAR, I think. The more familiar you get with the basics, the further you begin diving into the particulars. WAR obviously has its limits at certain places (catching defense, in particular), but that's where the beauty of baseball comes back into play. I can still enjoy the games because my eyes do most of my thinking; checking the WAR is just a validation of my perception.
I mean, with my eyes I know that Yu Darvish is better than Matt Harrison. Not my computer. I knew that Ian Kinsler was always more valuable than Michael Young. Again, that comes from watching baseball games. FanGraphs simply told me I was right.
Again, as it's probably been mentioned, there isn't a big different between 3.8 and 3.2 fWAR players. There is a different in Mike Trout's 10.0 and Miguel Cabrera's 6.8, or whatever.
We all have opinions. WAR is an effective tool to justify arguments, rather than just saying pitching wins and losses or batting average is the end-all.
Go dive into your stats and keep not watching actual baseball played on a field. LOOOOOSERS.
"But you're looking at the very reason why the Snakes thought they'd be better off without him."
Rob Neyer recently said that he didn't crash into enough things for them to think of him as a long-term option. Or, less sarcastically, he doesn't play with the all-out (110%?) intensity that guys like Josh do (well, sometimes Josh...) and Kirk Gibson did. I wouldn't be surprised if there's at least a grain of truth to that. It's possible that the inconsistent WAR was a factor too, of course, but sometimes these "intangibles" matter a lot to certain people.
"WAR is an effective tool to justify arguments, rather than just saying pitching wins and losses or batting average is the end-all."
As a handy reference point, WAR is certainly a better tool to use singularly than batting average or pitching wins. I can't imagine anyone who understands WAR and what it's good for would disagree. But I prefer not to swear by its infallibility in comparing players, if for no other reason than the possibly vast discrepancies (see Harrison, Matt, 2012, above). I mean, do you think Harrison was the 3rd best pitcher last year? No, I know you don't think that. But that's what bWAR suggests.
You can certainly argue that bWAR sucks and fWAR is so much better, but let's check Jered Weaver. Weaver's fWAR of 3.0 was 35th in 2012. Do you think Weaver was only the 35th best pitcher in baseball last year? Of course not. We know Weaver has outperformed his peripherals for several years running now, and last year was no exception. The best thing a pitcher can do is not let runs score. Weaver's ERA of 2.81 was 7th best in 2012. That's ace territory by that measure. But fWAR doesn't even think he's an all-star. His bWAR in 2012 was 3.7, which was 21nd, which I think is closer to his real value. I'm pretty sure he's in the 20 best pitchers by most peoples' rankings, and top 10 for many.
Again, WAR is good, but not flawless.
Andy, I think it's just preferences. I know bWAR is what dominates MLB Network and ESPN, but I for one hardly ever use it. FanGraphs is more precise with pitchers and hitters. In that sense, I tend to agree with Matt Harrison's 3.8 fWAR in 2012 as compared to it being 6.2 bWAR, or whatever. No, he isn't the 3rd best pitcher in baseball, and FanGraphs sees him as a fringy-2 to strong-3 type.
As far as Jered Weaver, again, we're dealing with personal preference. I know you are very high on him, but I still see a gimmicky windup with one or two good pitches, the rest average. I'm not a slave to WAR, but I view him as FanGraphs does, because he relies heavily on his ballpark to suppress his terrible GB%. Usually once or twice a year he's subject to an implosion at our ballpark. I mean, yeah, we have a strong, motivated lineup, but also our park is absolutely unforgiving to fly ball pitchers.
So if you set the over/under on Jered Weaver, pitching an entire season for the Rangers -- theoretically half his games at RBiA -- and finishing with a 4.00 ERA, would you take the over? -- or the under?
I'm inclined to take the over.
At the same token, if you set Matt Harrison's -- a pitcher who already pitches half his game in Arlington -- over/under at an ERA of 4.00, would you take the over or the under?
In his case, I would take the under.
I don't think anyone thinks Weaver is any less than a #2, and a lot of people (including most in Anaheim) probably consider him a true ace. There's a case to be made for that, though I think he's more like a borderline #1/2, but I also think he's helped out by his home park more than any other pitcher. I don't consider myself a Weaver fan, but you can't argue with his results. He just doesn't allow that many runs. Yes, he benefits from a pitcher-friendly park and a rock pile. But all that factors into how he'd do anywhere else, and why he's probably more valuable to the Angels than any other team.
Being a flyball pitcher, we certainly wouldn't expect the same numbers out of him if he pitched half his games in a bandbox. I'm not sure if I'd take the over or under on Weaver if he were a Ranger; even considering the different park, you're still talking about a huge regression from outperforming his peripherals in order for his ERA to be above 4. I'd definitely take the under on Harrison, though - after all, he's a groundball pitcher. Assuming similar luck dragons, though, you'd have to think he wouldn't do any worse in a pitcher's park - though probably not as much of a discrepancy as a flyball pitcher.
I also prefer fWAR too, but again, not infallible. It's probably more useful than any other single stat in terms of gauging how good a player was, which is somewhat correlated to how you expect him to do going forward. But it's still not the only thing we should look at.
All right, so if we consider Weaver no less than a #2, and Matt Harrison as no more than a #2 -- no less than a strong #3 -- then who's contract would you prefer?
Jered Weaver has 4 years remaining on a $70 million commitment.
Matt Harrison just signed for 5 years and $55 million.
I'm heavily inclined to believe Matt Harrison will provide much more surplus value than Jered Weaver, and, as many on BBTiA know, I like Harry, but I'm not exactly "high" on him.
I'd take Harrison, of course. He's younger, is a groundballer, doesn't have the discrepancy between being an ace at home but at least one rank lower on the road, and will cost less for more years. If you told me that only one of Harrison and Weaver would outperform his luck dragons from here on out I'd bet dollars to donuts it would be Weaver, but that doesn't mean Harry won't be worth his contract. I'm pretty sure he will be. Weaver will probably be worth his, too, but given their current situations, I see no reason why trading Harrison for Weaver (hypothetically, of course) would be any more beneficial to us.
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