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USAFChief
04-09-2012, 09:18 PM
has gotten the ball out of the infield 3 times in 4 games.

He has yet to get a ball past an outfielder.

Seth Stohs
04-09-2012, 09:30 PM
I'm not sure what that means? You think he won't all year... or he's just off to a slow start through 4 games... as several others in baseball are?

ChuckkJay
04-09-2012, 10:38 PM
I think UChief means that we've seen nothing from Mauer to suggest he's ever again going to be the player he was that one season. The one that got him the contract. The one that was an aberration from his entire career. I know he won some batting titles - though most people on this site discount batting average as a particularly meaningful stat. There's a reason Ichiro doesn't make $24M.

I like Mauer. He was a great story, MN hometown and all that, back when he was great. He's not today. He wasn't last year. He might be again, but that seems less and less likely. I'd say it's much more likely that he never hits a dozen HR again in a season, and might not ever even hit .325 again. I am very fearful for the Twins re: this contract.

Twins Fan From Afar
04-09-2012, 10:45 PM
I bet he'll hit .325 again. And I bet it'll be this year.
Yea, the power is mostly gone, or reduced to doubles, but I think it's a little early to write off his 2012.

Seth Stohs
04-09-2012, 10:51 PM
I don't know if the power is gone, or if it's the affect of Target Field... How many times the last two years has he flown out to the warning track in LF at Target Field (probably a couple dozen)... most of those would have been HR in Metrodome. I don't think the power is gone. The HR are down because of the ball park and the type of hitter he is.

If you got into the SethSpeaks.net archives from the day that the Twins and Mauer finalized the 8 year, $184 M extension, I wrote that it would never make sense from a baseball perspective... but that was the position that the Twins were in. If they had let him walk, fans would have whined about that too.

USAFChief
04-09-2012, 10:54 PM
It means I'm disappointed in the way he's started 2012.

It means in the litany of things to bitch about regarding games 1-4 of the 2012 season, I include Mauer's name somewhere on the list.

It means I found it interesting, in a bad way, to confirm through facts what my eyes have told me...he's managed to hit two, maybe three balls hard in four games.

That is all.

MileHighTwinsFan
04-09-2012, 10:59 PM
I love how people are down on Mauer after 4 games. Using the same logic we should be talking about the historic season Josh Willingham is going to have. He's on pace for 162 RBI and 81 homers - watch out Barry Bonds.

twinsnorth49
04-09-2012, 11:16 PM
I like Mauer. He was a great story, MN hometown and all that, back when he was great. He's not today. He wasn't last year. He might be again, but that seems less and less likely. I'd say it's much more likely that he never hits a dozen HR again in a season, and might not ever even hit .325 again. I am very fearful for the Twins re: this contract.[/QUOTE]


Well Chuckjay, clearly the only option is to throw yourself off the nearest bridge........or wait longer than 4 games to throw the towel in completely on a former 3 time AL batting champion. Mauer can still bring to this team what few others can once he gets it going, which I believe he will.

Highabove
04-09-2012, 11:19 PM
Sometime during the Season, most Players will go through some type of slump. Everything that happens the first few weeks of a Season is magnified.

Let's give him and the other batters some more time.

twinsnorth49
04-09-2012, 11:24 PM
Long-term multi-multi million dollar deals never make sense from a baseball perspective, or an any sport perspective for that matter. They are based on past performance that is rarely ever repeated, especially in the long term.

Seth is bang on with the reality though, it's really the fans who drive them, this board would have lit up the Minneapolis night sky if the Twins had let Joe walk at the time the deal was made. The Angels are the darlings of LA for bringing Albert and friends and the Tigers are the toast of the town by ponying up for Prince..... if they don't win the big one, visit the forums in those towns to see if the deals are still worth it in a few years.

jm3319
04-09-2012, 11:28 PM
I don't think he'll ever break 20 homers again. 28 was just an amazing year, and unfortunately for the Twins it was his contract year. I hate how people blame Mauer for the contract. If your boss came in and offered to triple your salary, you'd sign, no questions asked. You wouldn't tell your boss, "no thanks, I don't think i'm worth that much, i'll sign for less so i don't hurt the company." Just because Mauer is now making a ton of money doesn't mean he is going to be as good or better than he was when he signed. It sucks for the Twins, yes, but if anything you should blame management for offering the contract in the first place.

But, on the flip side, the Twins have been competitive and better team overall with a far less payroll than they have now, so even if Mauer is taking up too large of a % of the team's payroll, it's no excuse for the rest of the crappy team given that they've raised the payroll considerably over the last few years.

cr9617
04-09-2012, 11:57 PM
Mauer earns 24% of the teams payroll. The term Hometown Discount has been used a lot in this town whenever a high profile athlete has a contract negotiation. Rather than a discount, the Twins paid a Hometown Premium.


This contract will be an anchor to this organization for its duration. Not only is this the worst contract in baseball, it's the worst contract in sports. I doubt they could trade this guy even if they wanted to. Who would take him for the rights to pay that salary? Funny thing is, the PR disaster that was last season, and the way Mauer handled the whole thing and how out to lunch he seemed.....he could never survive in NY, Boston, Philly, Chicago, L.A., or any market other than here. How do you think the Clueless Joe act with the nice smile would go over in NY?? I don't think he ever intended to go anywhere else, and he and his agent got every nickel they could get from the Twins.

Hindsight is 20/20, but his value is worth about half of his current contract.

NorthwestTwinsFan
04-10-2012, 12:18 AM
I absolutely agree with cr9617. Mauer's contract is arguably the worst in the history of professional sports, and it's becoming increasingly difficult seeing the Twins ever winning a championship with him on the roster. You just don't see too many elite teams paying $23 million a year to a first baseman who isn't going to break 10 homers or 90 RBI in a season. And I'm sick of hearing the "Target Field isn't hitter-friendly" excuse. Plenty of players have had success hitting the ball over the fence there, and most of them make a fraction of what Mauer makes.

WJ
04-10-2012, 12:20 AM
The power goes when the legs go. If Mauer's legs are 100%, and he finds the right technique or actually tries to hit for power, he'll hit for power.

Highabove
04-10-2012, 12:54 AM
Yes, the Fans were adamant about signing Mauer, but no one ever imagined that the Contract would be as huge as it was. The spin was, winning meant everything to Mauer and it was essential that the Twins would retain the ability to to build a Championship Team around him. It caught people by surprise that the Contract amount was so large and resource draining. Some of us were foolish to think that their would be a Home Town discount.

shs_59
04-10-2012, 03:19 AM
I'm 99% with Chuckle Jay here, I felt strongly at the time of the contract it was an overpay due to him just coming off a career year. Did i think 2009 was going to be his career year? NO. But I felt strongly as if it was going to be in his top 2 or 3 season of his career (which looks absolutely true today) Giving a guy a contract RIGHT after they have a HUGE breakout year is always tough for the team, but usually turn out to be decent for both sides. And in Mauer's case its not like he was a schulb before 2009. He was a very good player from 2004-to 2008. Healthy always? No. Productive always? Yes. 28 HR power potential Always? No. I'm a big PRO Mauer guy and think he'll bounce back big if not in 2012, then in 2013 but will he ever be worth 23 Million dollars a season Strictly on the Field again? I think not at this point....but the value he as to this team and Twins territory is invaluable.

As you can probably see I felt he was worth apprx. 20 Million a year (or so) And not 23 Million. But no one can put a price on just how much the Mauer Deal WITH the TWINS means to the state of Minnesota, the fans, and the MLB and baseball as a whole.

Was Ryan Howard worth 25 Million a year? NO

was Joey Votto Deserving of the mega deal he just got? Absolutely Not. (if he wasn't a exclusively 1B , and coming off recent depression issues than maybe)

one_eyed_jack
04-10-2012, 05:28 AM
Not only is this the worst contract in baseball, it's the worst contract in sports.

Mauer's contract is arguably the worst in the history of professional sports.

---It's premature and melodramatic to be making such claims. We're 1.025 seasons into an 8-year deal. Mauer has a lot of disappointing baseball to play before you can start mentioning his contract in the same breath as Barry Zito's or Mike Hampton's. And if we're talking all of pro sports, it's hard to compete with the NBA for absurdly bad contracts. (See, e.g. Rashard Lewis and Elton Brand).

StormJH1
04-10-2012, 06:42 AM
---It's premature and melodramatic to be making such claims. We're 1.025 seasons into an 8-year deal. Mauer has a lot of disappointing baseball to play before you can start mentioning his contract in the same breath as Barry Zito's or Mike Hampton's. And if we're talking all of pro sports, it's hard to compete with the NBA for absurdly bad contracts. (See, e.g. Rashard Lewis and Elton Brand).

I think the point is that even the people who thought the contract could be a okay value for the Twins knew that the prime value of that contract would be in his 29-32 year old seasons. Nobody looks at a Josh Willingham or Michael Cuddyer at age 33 and expects them to suddenly take their game to the "next level". People understand that they are on the other side of their prime and will do well to simply maintain their current level of play for a few more years.

Mauer is only a couple of seasons away from that point, yet all we ever hear is how he's going to be better later on. But he's already transitioning away from being a "full-time catcher" (which is the right approach), which means we really should be thinking about him as a first baseman. We're so hard on Mauer because he's our guy, and greatness was expected of him. But compare his career so far to, say, Victor Martinez, and I'm sorry, but V-Mart's career is far superior:

http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/m/martivi01.shtml

Both have had their share of injury problems, as do many catchers, but when he played, V-Mart was a consistent .300 hitter, but a constant power threat in the middle of the lineup. It isn't about the "legs" or Target Field - Mauer isn't "overswinging". His approach is to put the ball into play making contact at all costs, and that leads to a lot of ground balls and opposite field liners. Which, yes, can lead to a .300 season, but also makes him fairly worthless as a #3 hitter.

ChuckkJay
04-10-2012, 07:12 AM
It's not about whining or throwing myself off a bridge. Everybody knew the Twins had to pay him. I didn't say I thought it was a bad contract. I said I am fearful for the Twins re: this contract. Who on this board isn't??

But in fact, I do have an interesting theory/question: Why don't teams just NOT pay their superstars? I honestly don't think it would lead to the doom that everyone says it would have if the Twins had let him walk. What would have happened? Would everyone on this site simply have stopped following the Twins? Stopped going to games? Sure - attendance at the new house would have dropped. Certainly. But how much, and for how long? Longer than the contract is going to hamper them? I seriously doubt it.

I think the Cardinals did absolutely the right thing in letting Pujols walk. Ditto for the Brewers. If I were a GM, I like to think that I would've done the same thing. Short term pain when the fans and writers go nuts, but 3 years later they're all still following the team and then you're not saddled with a $24M part time catcher who slaps singles.

And I have to say, everyone who is talking about how it's only four games into this season seem to have forgotten 2011.

one_eyed_jack
04-10-2012, 07:19 AM
I think the point is that even the people who thought the contract could be a okay value for the Twins knew that the prime value of that contract would be in his 29-32 year old seasons.


That may be a valid point, but calling Mauer's contract the "worst in the history of professional sports" seems an odd way to try and make it, doncha think?

I do find all of the Monday Morning Quarterbacking of the decision to pay up for Mauer pretty amusing. When the time for a contract extension arrived, I didn't hear anyone suggest that it if he wanted too much money and/or too many years, we should just let him walk. Virtually all of Twins Territory demanded he be re-signed. And you had to know it was going to be a fat, long deal because that's what he would have gotten had he hit the open market. Had the Twins allowed him to walk away and sign with, say, the Yankees for Red Sox, there would have been a torch-and-pitchfork mob heading down Hennepin Avenue demanding the blood of everyone in the front office.

Also, it was, ironically, precisely the type of move that Twins fans spent years whining about the team NOT making because they were too cheap.

But familiarity breeds contempt, I guess. When the Twins don't spend money, the fan base whines about ownership being unwilling to invest in talent. When the Twins do spend moeny, they whine about guys being overpaid. It's like listening to little old ladies at restaurants who complain that the food is terrible and the portions are too small.

dave_dw
04-10-2012, 07:52 AM
I think UChief means that we've seen nothing from Mauer to suggest he's ever again going to be the player he was that one season. The one that got him the contract. The one that was an aberration from his entire career....I'd say it's much more likely that he never hits a dozen HR again in a season, and might not ever even hit .325 again.

It may be surprising to you, but home runs and batting average aren't the only things used to measure a player's value.

Mauer posted a 7.9 WAR (http://www.fangraphs.com/statss.aspx?playerid=1857&position=C) that year, the "aberration." He also had seasons of 6.4, 6.1, & 5.5 WAR. According to the Fangraphs explanation of WAR (http://www.fangraphs.com/library/index.php/misc/war/), anything above 6.0 is considered MVP level and anything from 5.0-6.0 is "superstar" level. The only times Mauer's WAR dipped below 5.5 was in his first full season (age 22) and the season where he played 109 games or less.

The Twins didn't pay him for one season, they payed him because he's been the best catcher in baseball when he plays. If you want to argue against his health, go ahead, but don't pretend he's not one of the best catchers in baseball when healthy.

Cap'n Piranha
04-10-2012, 07:55 AM
If you got into the SethSpeaks.net archives from the day that the Twins and Mauer finalized the 8 year, $184 M extension, I wrote that it would never make sense from a baseball perspective... but that was the position that the Twins were in. If they had let him walk, fans would have whined about that too.

Completely agree. The Joe Mauer contract extension was an absolute perfect storm. A hometown kid, drafted by the team, who was far and away the team's most popular player, and one of the most popular players in team history, playing a premium position, has the best offensive season in the history of baseball for that position, while simultaneously winning a Gold Glove, Batting Title and MVP, exactly one year before his contract expires, and the year before the team opens a publicly-financed stadium that the team claimed was necessary to keep their best players. The Twins had no choice but to sign him, and if you think 23m/year was more than the Twins needed to pay, you're crazy, because the Yankees or Red Sox would have offered more.

It's also worth noting, to whomever appluaded the Cardinals for letting Albert Pujols walk, that before he did, the Cardinals offered him 220m over 10 years, which would be a significantly worse deal at the tail end than Mauer's deal.

woolhouse
04-10-2012, 08:27 AM
Mauer must be aware that every single scouting report on him states: "Will take the first pitch looking 99.9% of the time... will take second pitch 75% of the time..." He needs to, every once in awhile, swing at the first pitch. They are down the heart of the plate without fail. And if he does, maybe he'll start getting some balls thrown to him that first pitch.

TwinsFan01
04-10-2012, 09:19 AM
Mauer must be aware that every single scouting report on him states: "Will take the first pitch looking 99.9% of the time... will take second pitch 75% of the time..." He needs to, every once in awhile, swing at the first pitch. They are down the heart of the plate without fail. And if he does, maybe he'll start getting some balls thrown to him that first pitch.

This is my problem with Mauer. I love the guy and always have, and I have no problem with his contract because other teams would have paid him even more and I'd rather have him in a Twins uniform than any other.

BUT - he's become too predictable at the plate. Opposing pitchers can't be very afraid of him anymore; its easy for them to get ahead in the count when they know exacatly what he's going to do every time. It's maddening to see him watch those 88mph fastballs down the middle of the plate every single first pitch; not saying he needs to swing at them all...but even once in a while might keep them guessing.

CDog
04-10-2012, 09:38 AM
He needs to, every once in awhile, swing at the first pitch. They are down the heart of the plate without fail.

I'm sure you took the twelve seconds to look this up, but for the others that haven't... Mauer's first pitch strike % has never in his career NOT been well below league average and it's never been as high as even 56% in a season.

@_2244
04-10-2012, 09:40 AM
Completely agree. The Joe Mauer contract extension was an absolute perfect storm. A hometown kid, drafted by the team, who was far and away the team's most popular player, and one of the most popular players in team history, playing a premium position, has the best offensive season in the history of baseball for that position, while simultaneously winning a Gold Glove, Batting Title and MVP, exactly one year before his contract expires, and the year before the team opens a publicly-financed stadium that the team claimed was necessary to keep their best players. The Twins had no choice but to sign him, and if you think 23m/year was more than the Twins needed to pay, you're crazy, because the Yankees or Red Sox would have offered more.

It's also worth noting, to whomever appluaded the Cardinals for letting Albert Pujols walk, that before he did, the Cardinals offered him 220m over 10 years, which would be a significantly worse deal at the tail end than Mauer's deal.

This is the definitive answer on the Mauer contract. Well done, Cap.

CDog
04-10-2012, 09:45 AM
Mauer is only a couple of seasons away from that point, yet all we ever hear is how he's going to be better later on. But he's already transitioning away from being a "full-time catcher" (which is the right approach), which means we really should be thinking about him as a first baseman. We're so hard on Mauer because he's our guy, and greatness was expected of him. But compare his career so far to, say, Victor Martinez, and I'm sorry, but V-Mart's career is far superior:

http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/m/martivi01.shtml

Both have had their share of injury problems, as do many catchers, but when he played, V-Mart was a consistent .300 hitter, but a constant power threat in the middle of the lineup. It isn't about the "legs" or Target Field - Mauer isn't "overswinging". His approach is to put the ball into play making contact at all costs, and that leads to a lot of ground balls and opposite field liners. Which, yes, can lead to a .300 season, but also makes him fairly worthless as a #3 hitter.

I read a pretty fair amount on the Twins and I don't recall ever once seeing anybody expect or hope for him to improve into his 30's. I'm curious where you're getting "all we ever hear" is that.

As for your baseball reference link to the supposedly "far superior" career, it's laughable. I actually laughed. The very site you reference gives WAR values for Mauer of 1.5 (partial season), 3.4, 7.0 (!!), 4.6, 8.7 (!!!), 7.5 (!!), 5.9, and 1.7 last year in half a season. The "one career year" in a contract season that won him the MVP wasn't even his best one from a WAR perspective! V-Mart's, for comparison, are 0.0 and 0.4 in partial seasons, 4.1, 4.6, 3.3, 5.1, 0.6, 2.5, 1.4, 2.8, and 2.9. It's not even close.

CDog
04-10-2012, 09:48 AM
It's also worth noting, to whomever appluaded the Cardinals for letting Albert Pujols walk, that before he did, the Cardinals offered him 220m over 10 years, which would be a significantly worse deal at the tail end than Mauer's deal.

Not to mention also, a 10+ year contract to a 32-year-old is a little different than an 8-year contract to a 29-year-old.

jeffk
04-10-2012, 10:11 AM
anything from 5.0-6.0 [WAR] is "superstar" level

I think this is just an indictment of how all "superstar" level players are overpaid. It's like buying anything else: you get the best value in the middle of the price-performance curve. "Superstar" players have ~$25M/yr contracts, which is $5M a win. The free agent market is chock full of 2-3 WAR players for $3-6M. It's just another way of saying there's only so much one guy can do, even if they're a true superstar (and not an arguably struggling one like Mauer). It's never worth it. And while the Yankees of the world might be able to sign such contracts anyways, the Twins can't afford it if they ever expect to win.

Shane Wahl
04-10-2012, 10:25 AM
Four games. You will undoubtedly find some 4-game stretch in the majority of baseball players' seasons where even the best hitters don't "hit it past an outfielder."

nicksaviking
04-10-2012, 10:28 AM
Anyone who thinks Mauer's overly large contract is prohibiting the club from signing a similarly large contract for another accomplished player is not being reasonable. If the Twins had somehow lost Mauer, the team payroll would be exactly $23 million less than it is right now. That money is auxillary and a completely independent listing in the budget as a revenue producing asset. The Twins would never make the same deal with another teams superstar. This front office would never have offered Fielder, Pujols, Sabathia or anyone not from the organization a long term contract no matter how much room is in the teams payroll.

USAFChief
04-10-2012, 11:38 AM
Arguments centered around WAR have little to no value IMO. WAR is unproven at best, junk at worst. WAR for catchers is particularly problematic, since even the strongest proponents of WAR admit they are just guessing at the defensive component of a catchers "value."

jeffk
04-10-2012, 11:51 AM
Arguments centered around WAR have little to no value IMO

Not sure if this was directed at my comment. I'm sympathetic to WAR being imperfect, but I suggest my point still stands: Joe Mauers are bad values the way Ferraris are bad values. It's not to say they're not awesome, but they're not in everbody's budget.

StormJH1
04-10-2012, 02:26 PM
I read a pretty fair amount on the Twins and I don't recall ever once seeing anybody expect or hope for him to improve into his 30's. I'm curious where you're getting "all we ever hear" is that.

As for your baseball reference link to the supposedly "far superior" career, it's laughable. I actually laughed. The very site you reference gives WAR values for Mauer of 1.5 (partial season), 3.4, 7.0 (!!), 4.6, 8.7 (!!!), 7.5 (!!), 5.9, and 1.7 last year in half a season. The "one career year" in a contract season that won him the MVP wasn't even his best one from a WAR perspective! V-Mart's, for comparison, are 0.0 and 0.4 in partial seasons, 4.1, 4.6, 3.3, 5.1, 0.6, 2.5, 1.4, 2.8, and 2.9. It's not even close.

I might not have stated clearly enough what I was getting at. My sense from the supporters of the contract is that they look at 2009 in the Metrodome and expect him to return to that level in future seasons, which are the ones covered by the bulk of this contract. My point is that Mauer turns 29 in a couple of weeks, and it really isn't realistic to expect him to improve significantly upon his game at this point.

Mauer's breakout season was as a 26 year old in 2009. The "perfect storm" referenced by the other poster (great description) was the combination of the new ballpark, the associated expansion of the budget (from about 60 million to 100 million or more), and the timing of Mauer's free agency. Yes, I was happy that they got the deal done too. I was happy because .365 with 28 HR's and an 1.031 OPS was one of the greatest seasons in baseball history, and it was believed that Mauer had developed in his strength and his willingness to attack the ball as hitter. But the reality is that 2009 was an absolute aberration. His 2007 and 2008 seasons are very similar statistically to what he did in 2010 and 2011. Good average, impressive production for a catcher, but no interest in driving the ball, and a focus on "avoiding outs" instead of trying to make a more significant impact on the game, which is what you ask of a superstar player.

I'm not interested in WAR as a sabermetric tool either, sorry. I'm not opposed to all advanced metrics, but any statistic that claims you can tell how good a player is by measuring difference in a a couple of WINS over the course of a 162-game season when Joe Mauer is only 1/9 of a baseball lineup is garbage.

As for Mauer vs. Puljos, I'm not at all convinced the Puljos contract is worse. Does anyone here seriously think that Puljos, who just helped St. Louis win a second World Series last season won't be an immediate impact bat in the middle of the lineup for any team he played for until he's at least 35 or 36? Even if his skills decline dramatically after that, it's not at all unreasonable to think he could be a impact power bat as a DH into his early 40's, the way that Thome was. Mauer isn't even that guy NOW, and he's in the prime of his career. His durability is nowhere near what Puljos' has been. And Mauer's skills will decline also, except a 36-year old DH who hits .275 with 5 HR's a year (instead of the .300 hitter with 8-12 HR's a year he averages now) has virtually no value. I think Puljos is more valuable as a 32-37 year old than Mauer is from age 28-33, and if LAA wins a single World Series out of it, the results would be hard to argue with.

CDog
04-10-2012, 02:32 PM
Arguments centered around WAR have little to no value IMO. WAR is unproven at best, junk at worst. WAR for catchers is particularly problematic, since even the strongest proponents of WAR admit they are just guessing at the defensive component of a catchers "value."

Quite a coincidence then that the all-time greats perform marvelously measured by WAR. I don't think it's my place to defend WAR. There are piles of information on it. I am fairly confident that it's better than "it seems like" that gets thrown around like gospel sometimes.

Since you specifically object to the defensive component of catcher WAR, you'll be happy to know that it can be broken down into offensive and defensive pieces. And it is on baseball reference pages that were given as the place to see how "clearly" Martinez's career has been better than Mauer's. Mauer has gained less than 5 WAR from defense according to BR's calculation. Marntinez is just below 0. Stripping those out, it's 35.6 to 29.8 in Mauer's favor (in fewer seasons).

And to remove WAR altogether for you, if you rank order all of Mauer's and Martinez's seasons by weighted runs created, Mauer has the top 4. His career average is 132 to V-Mart's 121. Using weighted on-base average .376 to .361 in Mauer's favor. Using OPS is .872 to .840 in Mauer's favor. Keep in mind those are comparing him to a very offensively successful catcher, not the average or some scrub.

StormJH1
04-10-2012, 02:37 PM
Arguments centered around WAR have little to no value IMO. WAR is unproven at best, junk at worst. WAR for catchers is particularly problematic, since even the strongest proponents of WAR admit they are just guessing at the defensive component of a catchers "value."
Exactly, and see my other comments above.

There isn't even a uniform definition of how you calculate WAR (BP and other sources use different methods), so you can't even say "WAR" and know what it means...

Moreover, the scale of evaluating players is so narrow that it's basically useless. (I've had a similar complaint about faceoff percentages in hockey...even the best of the best are around 59% often, which tells you that it's basically a 50/50 crapshoot on any given play). Take the 2011 Twins. So, according to FanGraphs, Michael Cuddyer was the best Twins player (3.1). Okay. Span was next (2.2) and Revere after him (2.0). Excuse me?! So, according to WAR, Revere was better than Mauer last year when he played.

Oh yeah...and the grand difference in "wins" for the entire year for having Mauer as your catcher versus Drew Butera is about 2 wins. So, no, not a very useful stat.

Aaron Cross
04-10-2012, 02:55 PM
I love how people are down on Mauer after 4 games. Using the same logic we should be talking about the historic season Josh Willingham is going to have. He's on pace for 162 RBI and 81 homers - watch out Barry Bonds.
It basically means he's picking up where he left off last season.

CDog
04-10-2012, 03:17 PM
There isn't even a uniform definition of how you calculate WAR (BP and other sources use different methods), so you can't even say "WAR" and know what it means...

Moreover, the scale of evaluating players is so narrow that it's basically useless. (I've had a similar complaint about faceoff percentages in hockey...even the best of the best are around 59% often, which tells you that it's basically a 50/50 crapshoot on any given play). Take the 2011 Twins. So, according to FanGraphs, Michael Cuddyer was the best Twins player (3.1). Okay. Span was next (2.2) and Revere after him (2.0). Excuse me?! So, according to WAR, Revere was better than Mauer last year when he played.

Oh yeah...and the grand difference in "wins" for the entire year for having Mauer as your catcher versus Drew Butera is about 2 wins. So, no, not a very useful stat.

The different calculations almost always come up with the same result and especially the same rank ordering. Their differences are small and when they come up with different results it's almost always in cases of a small sample.

Second, so 59% to (presumably) 41% is too small of a scale? Like say a super high batting average of 37% to a super low of 15%? Or a winning % that gives a 95-96 win season (59%)? Or any racing event where the differences are measured in tenths or hundreths of a second and yet the same people are always at the top? Like that?

Third, Revere played 35 games (that's more than 1/5 of a season) more than Mauer last year and Mauer hit worse than he ever has. So that's not shocking at all.

Fourth, Mauer was at 1.7 WAR last year and Butera at -1.2 (baseball reference). That's 2.9 games. Butera played in just over half the games and Mauer in almost exactly half. Five and a half games over a full season from one position is pretty big. So yeah, that checks out, too.

What exactly on V-Mart's baseball reference page that you cited was the evidence of this "far superior" career? This is more pertinent to the thread than a debate on value of a particular statistic.

Shane Wahl
04-10-2012, 04:58 PM
Haha, thanks CDog for the WAR discussion. I greatly dislike some of the disregard for actual objective statistics in favor of something else . . .

shs_59
04-10-2012, 05:25 PM
If I were a GM, I like to think that I would've done the same thing. Short term pain when the fans and writers go nuts, but 3 years later they're all still following the team and then you're not saddled with a $24M part time catcher who slaps singles.

And I have to say, everyone who is talking about how it's only four games into this season seem to have forgotten 2011.\

Wait, ChuckkJay you're kind of contradicting yourself there, SOoo you're saying you would have paid Mauer or you wouldn't have? You sound like , "If you were GM you'd like to think you would have let him walk" Meaning like Pujols, Fielder you would have let Mauer walk?

Come on man, WE ALL know that wasn't a practicall option, EVEN if you predicted a massive setback and career lulls on the short-term horizon for Joe Mauer you STILL would have signed him if you were GM.

(just hopefully maybe not at that steep a price)

USAFChief
04-10-2012, 05:51 PM
Haha, thanks CDog for the WAR discussion. I greatly dislike some of the disregard for actual objective statistics in favor of something else . . .

I too think there is great value in objective measures. I would like to see some proof that WAR constitutes such a measure before assuming so. In fact, having researched the issue at some length, I've pretty much come to the opposite conclusion.

CDog
04-10-2012, 09:23 PM
I too think there is great value in objective measures. I would like to see some proof that WAR constitutes such a measure before assuming so. In fact, having researched the issue at some length, I've pretty much come to the opposite conclusion.

You've concluded that the formula for WAR takes subjective views??? That's some formula! Do people calculate it by hand with different inputs for different players, or is the subjectivity somehow cooked into the math?

BHtwins
04-10-2012, 09:57 PM
A large chunk of Joe Mauers offense value is positional scarcity.

Has a catcher of his best 5 comps 4 are Hall of Famers or certain hall of famers. His last 3 best by age comps are hall of famers. If he catches regularly through age 32 or 33 he will almost certainly be in the discussion. If he doesnt he probably wont unless his offensive numbers rise significantly

In other words, has a catcher he is probably underpaid, has a 1b or DH he is kinda ho hum.

USAFChief
04-10-2012, 10:18 PM
You've concluded that the formula for WAR takes subjective views???

I will strive to keep this civil, although you are making it difficult.

One more time: I have seen no evidence--none, zilch, nada--that WAR measures anything. I haven't even seen an attempt by the proponants of war (visit Fangraphs! Please!) to validate their theory. It is a mathematical formula that generates a number. That's all you, or anyone else as far as I've seen, can claim with certainty. It may be a perfect measure of how many wins Joe Mauer is responsible for over a mythical "replacement player," but then again, it may be complete garbage. The point is, how would you, or WAR's proponants, know that?

Furthermore, a reasonable person looking into WAR would have to at least question the following:

1. The formula itself is pretty questionable. For example, position player WAR uses three disparate measures (wRAA, UZR, UBR), and then mashes them together into a single number. Even if we accept the validity of those three numbers, they measure separate things using separate formulas. Meshing them together is like adding body temperature, blood pressure, and age and saying you're a 289/120. It makes no sense. And that's even IF we accept the validity of the three numbers themselves, which is questionable at best. Even the inventor of UZR, for example, says UZR is unreliable over a sample size of a single season. Yet that number is used in calculating WAR.

2. The number from the formula above is then "position adjusted." WAR would tell you if Brett Gardner played CF for the Yankees, while Granderson moved to left, their WAR would be different. Same players. Same team. Same spot in the batting order. Same offensive numbers. Same mythical "replacement players." Yet by swapping positions, both of their WAR changes. WAR would tell you if Joe Mauer plays 1b, he's worth 25 less runs than if he plays C. Ignoring the questionable logic of this premise itself...where did they come up with these numbers? I'll tell you...they pretty much took the "defensive spectrum," and assigned random numbers to it. That's pretty much the story. I understand it's easier to find a 1B that puts up a .300/.400/.500 line that to find a SS that puts up identical numbers, but that doesn't mean those numbers generate more team runs simply because the player moves across the diamond.

I could go on. You are of course free to believe what you wish. If you think WAR is an accurate measure of anything, good for you. I am skeptical at best, and it's not because I haven't done the research to form my own opinion. Frankly, I'm surprised anyone who puts some thought and effort into looking into WAR pays it much attention. I suspect within a few years, few people will.

Riverbrian
04-10-2012, 11:36 PM
Coming off the year he had. Signing the contract was a no brainer. I also was heartened that the Twins reached into the wallet and paid. That was a huge moment in Twins history because I still remember Calvin Griffith. This aint your Daddy's Twins anymore.

It completely sucks that Mauer has become this injury thing but the swing is still sweet.

I also get the impression that some posters over value the long ball. For those who over value the power part. Mauer can get it back, it's a slight swing adjustment. Will he... That's a good question.

If Mauer is hitting over .300 at the trade deadline and looking healthy and if the Twins decided to start the rebuild and put Joe on the block looking for prospects. Both the Yankees and Red Sox would pick up the phone and take a large portion of the contract And send a decent player or two over. (the twins probably won't do this).

If he gets Hurt again. He will play be in a Twins uniform for the duration of said contract.

Shane Wahl
04-11-2012, 01:07 AM
I will strive to keep this civil, although you are making it difficult.

One more time: I have seen no evidence--none, zilch, nada--that WAR measures anything. I haven't even seen an attempt by the proponants of war (visit Fangraphs! Please!) to validate their theory. It is a mathematical formula that generates a number. That's all you, or anyone else as far as I've seen, can claim with certainty. It may be a perfect measure of how many wins Joe Mauer is responsible for over a mythical "replacement player," but then again, it may be complete garbage. The point is, how would you, or WAR's proponants, know that?

Furthermore, a reasonable person looking into WAR would have to at least question the following:

1. The formula itself is pretty questionable. For example, position player WAR uses three disparate measures (wRAA, UZR, UBR), and then mashes them together into a single number. Even if we accept the validity of those three numbers, they measure separate things using separate formulas. Meshing them together is like adding body temperature, blood pressure, and age and saying you're a 289/120. It makes no sense. And that's even IF we accept the validity of the three numbers themselves, which is questionable at best. Even the inventor of UZR, for example, says UZR is unreliable over a sample size of a single season. Yet that number is used in calculating WAR.

2. The number from the formula above is then "position adjusted." WAR would tell you if Brett Gardner played CF for the Yankees, while Granderson moved to left, their WAR would be different. Same players. Same team. Same spot in the batting order. Same offensive numbers. Same mythical "replacement players." Yet by swapping positions, both of their WAR changes. WAR would tell you if Joe Mauer plays 1b, he's worth 25 less runs than if he plays C. Ignoring the questionable logic of this premise itself...where did they come up with these numbers? I'll tell you...they pretty much took the "defensive spectrum," and assigned random numbers to it. That's pretty much the story. I understand it's easier to find a 1B that puts up a .300/.400/.500 line that to find a SS that puts up identical numbers, but that doesn't mean those numbers generate more team runs simply because the player moves across the diamond.

I could go on. You are of course free to believe what you wish. If you think WAR is an accurate measure of anything, good for you. I am skeptical at best, and it's not because I haven't done the research to form my own opinion. Frankly, I'm surprised anyone who puts some thought and effort into looking into WAR pays it much attention. I suspect within a few years, few people will.

WAR measures the value a player has vs. the value a AAAA-type has. There's nothing mythical about that whatsoever.

I am not clear on what you don't understand about the position adjustment? Mauer catching, for instance, means that some scrub isn't catching and taking up a spot in the lineup (Butera) while 1B or DH is occupied by someone much better, in theory, than Butera. There is nothing difficult to understand about that. WAR isn't perfect (defense, stolen bases and speed in general), but it is pretty good. It's better than simple seeing-eye scouting and merely looking at homers or rbi or batting average. OBP is the number one statistic that requires little math.

USAFChief
04-11-2012, 01:30 AM
WAR measures the value a player has vs. the value a AAAA-type has. There's nothing mythical about that whatsoever.

You seem to have missed the point. WAR claims to measure the value a player has vs the value a AAAA-type has.

If you chose to accept that claim, sans even the vaguest hint of proof or validation, knock yourself out.

StormJH1
04-11-2012, 07:41 AM
USAFChief nailed why I think WAR is basically useless. It's "overanalytical" (too complex of a formula with inconsistent methodology) and "lazy" (attempting to explain everything about a player with one useful number) at the same time. But we're a bit off track with all the WAR talk...

I understand that we are "overemphasizing the long ball", but as Game 163 of the 2008 season showed (the Thome HR for the White Sox), hitting the ball over the wall is the one place the defense can't catch it. Also, if you hit a lot of balls to the warning track and beyond, you may end up with a lot of doubles even if a lot of those balls don't leave the yard. You will almost never end up with a double trying to but the ball on the ground or hitting a lazy liner with runners on base.

WAR may not be a good stat, but I do believe in OPS. OPS even figures in walks, which should benefit Mauer because selectiveness at the plate is supposedly one of his strong points. And .729 last year is not going to cut it. (Bill James defines "average" as .700 to .766). But in years where his HR total has been below 10, he has managed OPS's in the .860 to .880 range, such as 2008 and 2010. I think those the seasons are the "real Mauer". But that is not the Mauer we paid for. We'd have to be crazy to expect .365/.444/.587 every year, but I don't think it was unreasonable to pay him $184 million on the assumption that (a) He could be a .300 hitter with 20 HR's or so for several seasons to come; and (b) that keeping him with the new ballpark was absolutely necessary for marketing reasons.

I'm not going to overreact too much to 2011, and I'll give him a chance to get back to that "2010" type level. But I'm afraid that 2009 Mauer is much like 2006 Liriano - an amazing anomaly that we hope for, but will never see again.

VodkaDave
04-11-2012, 07:51 AM
WAR isn't useless, but it isn't an end all be all stat either. It should never be used alone as a way to judge a player on his "value" to a team.

Of course it is far from perfect, though I think it can be useful when you are looking at alongside numerous other stats to sort of paint the piture on a players overall value: Including OPS, OPS+, BABIP, Range Factor, UZR, wRC+, wOBA, K rates, BB rates, GB/FB/LD rates etc

Assuming he is healthy, Mauer will be fine, I don't think he will be some 1.000 OPS guy consistently ever, but if he sticks in the .850-.890 OPS range while playing C he provides plenty of value.

Riverbrian
04-11-2012, 08:28 AM
All stats have value but they ALL lose their value when they are used exclusively.

For example... Same player... Different WAR every year sometimes very large swings. As long as you have that kind of margin of error. You better understand the margin of error. I don't and I'm very sure that very few on this board understand it either and yet they post all kinds of stats and quote them like pros.

There is so much more to this game.

BHtwins
04-11-2012, 09:16 AM
Not understanding positional scarcity is to not understand baseball. That is kind of a basic principal that is both old school and new school. No matter how you measure it, a 2nd baseman who hits 30 homeruns is rarer and thus more valuable then a 1st baseman who hits 30 homeruns. Mauer to be a 23 million a year player has to catch a significant number of games. Catchers with Mauers offensive numbers are rare, a couple per era rare, thus have the high positional multiplier and the higher value

WAR isnt mythical. Its completely objective. You cant cheat the formula. Replacement level players are not arbitrary. They are -2.5 Wins in the AL

OPS is a nice quick dirty way to figure offensive value. It has its uses but it undervalues OBP which in turn overvalues slugging.

CDog
04-11-2012, 10:12 AM
I will strive to keep this civil, although you are making it difficult.

One more time: I have seen no evidence--none, zilch, nada--that WAR measures anything. I haven't even seen an attempt by the proponants of war (visit Fangraphs! Please!) to validate their theory

First, a recap of how we got here... In a discussion about Mauer, someone referenced and provided a link to Victor Martinez's baseball reference page with the claim that this would show Martinez's "far superior" career. I used the information on that page to refute that claim based on WAR. Chief added a comment, including nothing about the topic of the thread, that WAR is useless. These were echoed by the person who had first made the claim about Martinez. I replied with some comments about some of their specific reservations about WAR, but then quoted some other stats from the very same baseball reference page. Chief then made an absolutely false statement that WAR is not objective. And that led to my sarcastic comment about the conclusion that made it difficult for you to keep things civil.

A short aside on your comments on WAR since this isn't the place (but yet this is the thread where it exists): I've been to fangraphs plenty. No need for you to encourage me to visit their site. And the information there is quite clear to me as far as what it means and how it's calculated. Your follow-up comments indicate that it's not clear to you. That seems to be the end of that road, so I don't know what reason we have to be upset with anyone.

I'm not attempting to make you believe in the value of a statistic. If there were a thread on that topic, maybe I would. This was about Mauer. I used facts to make a point, you (and the original claimant) didn't like the facts I picked, so I picked others. I don't see what's not civil about that.

StormJH1
04-11-2012, 11:48 AM
I was the one who threw the V-Mart comparison up there, and then seconded the criticism of WAR. You are right that this is a discussion about Mauer, not WAR, but you missed my point...

I went back and read what you said. Your argument that my stats didn't support my argument (about V-Mart being a better hitter thus far) referenced his WAR stats on Baseball Reference. But I don't believe in WAR, and neither does USAFChief. Therefore, an argument that V-Mart is better than Mauer because of WAR, while not necessarily false, isn't going to have any impact on my opinion. That was the whole point of discussing the merits of WAR in the first place.

I linked Baseball Reference because that's where I usually go for quick information and statistics. I was not relying on sabermetrics in my argument, and certainly not WAR. My basic argument was that Mauer and V-Mart have had similar career paths in many ways:

- Both are catchers who broke into the league in the early 2000's (though V-Mart got a later start and is a couple of years older).
- Both of them are rarities at their position - middle-of-the-order catchers frequently discussed as "elite" hitters
- Both of their promising careers have been marred by recurring injury problems
- Both of them have transitioned to 1B and DH as they approached 30 years old to keep their bats in the lineup, and avoid the daily rigors of catching

And discussing the two of these similar careers as hitters, I felt that V-Mart's career average of .303 and an average of 20.16 HR per 162-game season is as valuable or more valuable than Mauer's averages of .323 and 14.76 HR's per full season. Which is also not to mention that Mauer's numbers are skewed heavily by a single year that he will almost certainly never replicate. Meanwhile, V-Mart has had five 20-HR seasons, despite all of his injury problems.

Yes, Mauer has a higher career OPS (again, smaller sample and skewed by '09). And yes, I'm leaving out defense, which was a strong point of Mauer's game, and an advantage in his favor. However, I feel that there was a point around the 2010 All-Star game (where he missed 2B with a throw by about 20 feet) after which his defense has been very average. Also, of course, Mauer's contract did not start until 2011, and he's not going to be a full-time catcher pretty much from now on.

My point is not that Mauer is not a very good player...he certainly is. But when you ask questions like "is he worth $184 million", or is he truly an "elite" hitter in today's game, those questions require a much higher degree of scrutiny. And unless you expect everything about Mauer's health, production, and approach to change in his 30's, I don't believe he will be have been statistically more valuable as a hitter than someone like V-Mart, looking back on their careers.

USAFChief
04-11-2012, 11:53 AM
First, a recap of how we got here... In a discussion about Mauer, someone referenced and provided a link to Victor Martinez's baseball reference page with the claim that this would show Martinez's "far superior" career. I used the information on that page to refute that claim based on WAR. Chief added a comment, including nothing about the topic of the thread, that WAR is useless. These were echoed by the person who had first made the claim about Martinez. I replied with some comments about some of their specific reservations about WAR, but then quoted some other stats from the very same baseball reference page. Chief then made an absolutely false statement that WAR is not objective. And that led to my sarcastic comment about the conclusion that made it difficult for you to keep things civil.

A short aside on your comments on WAR since this isn't the place (but yet this is the thread where it exists): I've been to fangraphs plenty. No need for you to encourage me to visit their site. And the information there is quite clear to me as far as what it means and how it's calculated. Your follow-up comments indicate that it's not clear to you. That seems to be the end of that road, so I don't know what reason we have to be upset with anyone.

I'm not attempting to make you believe in the value of a statistic. If there were a thread on that topic, maybe I would. This was about Mauer. I used facts to make a point, you (and the original claimant) didn't like the facts I picked, so I picked others. I don't see what's not civil about that.

One slight correction: my (visit Fan graphs!) Comment was not meant to encourage you to go to that website. It was a rather poor attempt to imply that I believe WAR is at least partially an attempt to drive up traffic at a website.

CDog
04-11-2012, 12:10 PM
... but you missed my point...

I went back and read what you said. Your argument that my stats didn't support my argument (about V-Mart being a better hitter thus far) referenced his WAR stats on Baseball Reference. But I don't believe in WAR, and neither does USAFChief. Therefore, an argument that V-Mart is better than Mauer because of WAR, while not necessarily false, isn't going to have any impact on my opinion. That was the whole point of discussing the merits of WAR in the first place.

I linked Baseball Reference because that's where I usually go for quick information and statistics. I was not relying on sabermetrics in my argument, and certainly not WAR. My basic argument was that Mauer and V-Mart have had similar career paths in many ways:

- Both are catchers who broke into the league in the early 2000's (though V-Mart got a later start and is a couple of years older).
- Both of them are rarities at their position - middle-of-the-order catchers frequently discussed as "elite" hitters
- Both of their promising careers have been marred by recurring injury problems
- Both of them have transitioned to 1B and DH as they approached 30 years old to keep their bats in the lineup, and avoid the daily rigors of catching

And discussing the two of these similar careers as hitters, I felt that V-Mart's career average of .303 and an average of 20.16 HR per 162-game season is as valuable or more valuable than Mauer's averages of .323 and 14.76 HR's per full season. Which is also not to mention that Mauer's numbers are skewed heavily by a single year that he will almost certainly never replicate. Meanwhile, V-Mart has had five 20-HR seasons, despite all of his injury problems.

Yes, Mauer has a higher career OPS (again, smaller sample and skewed by '09). And yes, I'm leaving out defense, which was a strong point of Mauer's game, and an advantage in his favor. However, I feel that there was a point around the 2010 All-Star game (where he missed 2B with a throw by about 20 feet) after which his defense has been very average. Also, of course, Mauer's contract did not start until 2011, and he's not going to be a full-time catcher pretty much from now on.

My point is not that Mauer is not a very good player...he certainly is. But when you ask questions like "is he worth $184 million", or is he truly an "elite" hitter in today's game, those questions require a much higher degree of scrutiny. And unless you expect everything about Mauer's health, production, and approach to change in his 30's, I don't believe he will be have been statistically more valuable as a hitter than someone like V-Mart, looking back on their careers.

I took your reluctance to use WAR into account with my following post that did the same thing using a whole bunch of other statistics. Using OPS (again), Mauer's second best season (since you want to disregard his best) is still higher than Martinez's best. If you rank order all of their OPS's, not only are the two best Mauer's, but so are 4 of the top 6. I'm throwing out, as I did/said before, Mauer's first partial season and Martinez's first two as they're all quite small. Yes, it's obvious that Martinez has hit more home runs. Yes, it's obvious that Mauer has hit for higher average. Everything that tries to combine those in a meaningful way to get at "runs" (isn't that what offense is about?) shows an advantage for Mauer, including OPS, which skews to the power numbers. Even with your own subsequent arguments, I don't see where you could ever stick with the claim of Martinez being "far superior" (I don't even see how "better hitter" would be accurate, but I haven't tried to make that point). That's a quote, THE quote, that I called laughable to begin with and I don't see how I missed the point when that was the phrase you used.

CDog
04-11-2012, 12:11 PM
One slight correction: my (visit Fan graphs!) Comment was not meant to encourage you to go to that website. It was a rather poor attempt to imply that I believe WAR is at least partially an attempt to drive up traffic at a website.

Fair enough. I misinterpreted that completely then.

ChuckkJay
04-11-2012, 02:28 PM
3 points to make. And since maybe nobody is going to care enough to read down to the bottom, I'll put my close up here: I love this site and I love the discussions. I think the audience here is perhaps slanted a bit far toward the uber-analytical crowd - which gets me into trouble when trying to make a point because I'm over my head - but I'd prefer that slant over the opposite, which would be people making indefensible, general statements. Well done to all, including whoever put this site together and everyone who contributes. Think about how far the activity of discussing/arguing our favorite team has come in the last five years.

1) I'm reasonably intelligent, despite what my daughter thinks. Or wife. Or boss. I'll stop now. And in general, I much prefer advanced stats when evaluating a player over BA and HR (I recognize that these were the two stats I cited originally, and regret that). My problem is that I don't have the time or the interest to dive really, really deep into their origins and meaning. All of this leaves me with enough knowledge about them to be dumb enough to try to use them in an argument. Having said all that, I do get annoyed when SOME (not all) people use WAR like a bible and don't cite any other stat. It reminds me of when ... well, it reminds me of when people used to measure hitters based solely on their BA. I understand that it attempts to measure in one stat a player's value, and I think it does very well. I don't understand it's intricacies, particularly how the replacement player performance is calculated, but that's fine. I trust that it generally works. But it's proponents would do well to not just say [paraphrasing here, this isn't a literal quote] 'his WAR is great so that really should be the end of the discussion.' Some collateral discussions beyond WAR would improve your arguments.

2) I need to go away from stats here. And I will likely lose many of you by doing so. I'd like to be able to talk just about how it is to WATCH Mauer. Not track every nuance of his performance. And I think that it's not as much fun or awesome to watch him anymore. He used to be MUST SEE. If he was coming to the plate, you had to pay close attention. He was going to get a hit. I never thought of him with power, so I don't much care that he doesn't have any. But he used to be exciting to watch. You used to expect something good. Now, I have to say, I expect a GIDP or a soft liner to the short outfield. It's sad. Maybe the pure stats don't back up this impression. But when I'm watching a game, and I see him hit another grounder to short, I don't console myself by saying "well, that at bat sucked, but his WAR is ok this season." Sorry, I just don't. If you can, more power to you. But I think there's a bunch of us who just miss seeing him be dominant.

3) The Contract. I understand completely all the arguments that the Twins had to sign him. Had to. I generally agree. Certainly agree as a fan. I think for the vast majority of us to talk about how the front office had to do it from a business and baseball perspective ... well, I'm not sure we're qualified. We don't know the inner numbers of the business, of the ballpark, of a lot of things on the commercial side. I'm a financial analyst in the electric utility industry. I'm VERY quantitative every day. But since I don't have the raw data that Pohlad, Ryan, and Smith do, I can't analyze. And I don't mean the big round numbers that get in the press.

I didn't say I thought it was a bad contract. I said I'm fearful for the future of the contract. It's quite reasonable to say that it was a necessary contract at the time, but now two years later it's starting to have an odor. I think we all thought it would stink at some point. We just didn't expect that point to come soon. Maybe it's not here yet. I hope not. GO TWINS.

CDog
04-11-2012, 03:14 PM
1) My problem is that I don't have the time or the interest to dive really, really deep into their origins and meaning. All of this leaves me with enough knowledge about them to be dumb enough to try to use them in an argument. Having said all that, I do get annoyed when SOME (not all) people use WAR like a bible and don't cite any other stat.

2) I need to go away from stats here. And I will likely lose many of you by doing so. I'd like to be able to talk just about how it is to WATCH Mauer. Not track every nuance of his performance. And I think that it's not as much fun or awesome to watch him anymore. He used to be MUST SEE. If he was coming to the plate, you had to pay close attention. He was going to get a hit. I never thought of him with power, so I don't much care that he doesn't have any. But he used to be exciting to watch. You used to expect something good. Now, I have to say, I expect a GIDP or a soft liner to the short outfield. It's sad. Maybe the pure stats don't back up this impression. But when I'm watching a game, and I see him hit another grounder to short, I don't console myself by saying "well, that at bat sucked, but his WAR is ok this season." Sorry, I just don't. If you can, more power to you. But I think there's a bunch of us who just miss seeing him be dominant.



I cut out the parts in the quote above that I'm not going to respond to. Except I will mention that I appreciate and agree with your opening conclusion, especially the part that said how smart you thought I was. Wait...what?

1) I feel like I'm largely the one (in this thread) carrying the torch for the advanced stats. I should say that I think they have limitations, too. In my original post (in this thread) mentioning WAR, I used only that. The reason for that was I was disputing a claim that on the page given by the link there was evidence of a far superior career to Mauer's. For a variety of reasons, in that particular case and that particular claim, I'd say that it's not such a bad place to use a summary stat that's WAY in one player's favor as enough evidence that he's not FAR inferior. But since folks didn't like that, I should point out again that I then went back and found a bunch of other stats, too. As to your comments about the intricacies of the calculations. I think for those that are new to them, the basics are not all that imposing. Wins are based on runs. Runs are based on hitting the ball, running the bases, and preventing the other team from doing that. All the advanced stats do is measure those abilities to create and prevent runs (and thus win games).

2) I know what you mean and I at least partially agree. When I would talk to people about Mauer (or having the inner dialogue with myelf....we all do that...right? right?), I always said or thought or noticed how often he hit the ball right on the button. It felt like every time. He squared up the ball over and over and over, and hardly anybody can do that. The first time I felt like that wasn't the case was the start of last year. There were some stretches where it was back last year, but for the most part it stayed gone. In the bit of Spring Training I got to see (on TV), it looked like it was mostly there again. In four games since Friday, it hasn't been always like it once was. But....it's four games. I'll be shocked and disappointed if he doesn't get back to that where "every" at bat ends with him whislting the ball somewhere after blistering it right on the screws. And just to keep being "that guy"...I'll point out that most of his groundouts go to 2nd, not short. Hehe.