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Heat Check! Don't look now, but Sam Fuld is quietly moving to the top of the charts

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14 replies to this topic

#1 jokin

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Posted 11 July 2014 - 09:17 AM

For the season as a Twin, Sam Fuld just hit the OPS+ 100 mark, and despite his erratically noodle-roni arm, he has a dWAR of 0.3 on the season so far and an overall 1.0 bWAR and 2.0 fWAR- which ranks him 6th overall for CF in the AL (just to show how WAR #s should be taken with a grain of salt, Fuld is currently ranked just ahead of Jacoby Ellsbury).

Since Fuld has come off the DL on June 13, he ranks as the 3rd best CF in the AL and 5th best CF overall with a 1.1 fWAR. His slash line since his return:

.289/.382/.368/.750

He's really heated it up in July, he is ranked #4 for WAR (0.8), for ALL MLB players in the month so far.... for CFers, he is ranked #1 in WAR and is #1 in the following stats over the 10 games this month:

.452/.528/.548/.1.076 wOBA- .477 wRC+- .209


http://www.fangraphs...lter=&players=0

Edited by jokin, 11 July 2014 - 11:38 AM.


#2 Paul

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Posted 11 July 2014 - 10:46 AM

"just to show how WAR #s should be taken with a grain of salt, Fuld is currently ranked just ahead of Jacoby Ellsbury"

That's not a grain...that's a shovelful.

#3 spycake

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Posted 11 July 2014 - 10:54 AM

I'll take that from our fill-in CF, should-be 4th OF.

If Fuld keeps it up, and Escobar keeps going down, I think Santana may be the full-time SS upon his return.

#4 spycake

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Posted 11 July 2014 - 11:02 AM

Looking at Fangraphs, ranking CF by dWAR, half the top 30 are half-time player (or less).

Not sure how much of that is good defenders being bench players, or just the vagaries of small sample size.

#5 SgtSchmidt11

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Posted 11 July 2014 - 11:48 AM

If it were AVG or OBP SSS is really important, but WAR is a cumulative stat so the guy must be raking (no influence on projection but it does show he's been dominant)

#6 spycake

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Posted 11 July 2014 - 12:05 PM

If it were AVG or OBP SSS is really important, but WAR is a cumulative stat so the guy must be raking (no influence on projection but it does show he's been dominant)


But WAR isn't really a counting stat -- you can (and many Twins regularly do :) ) get negative WAR. Danny Santana is at +4.7 offensive runs now, but if his next 140 PA are like Escobar's last 140 PA, that will probably drop precipitously (Escobar is down to -3.5 offensive runs right now).

And defensive WAR is even worse, I think, for small samples. dWAR leaderboards are littered with part-time players and even pitchers.

#7 TheDean

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Posted 11 July 2014 - 12:57 PM

But WAR isn't really a counting stat -- you can (and many Twins regularly do :) ) get negative WAR. Danny Santana is at +4.7 offensive runs now, but if his next 140 PA are like Escobar's last 140 PA, that will probably drop precipitously (Escobar is down to -3.5 offensive runs right now).

And defensive WAR is even worse, I think, for small samples. dWAR leaderboards are littered with part-time players and even pitchers.


I see what you're saying. WAR isn't a counting stat because it can count backwards, but it's a cumulative stat in that a player needs to play a lot of innings defensively or acquire a lot of PAs to move the needle on their dWAR or oWAR, respectively.

In other words, Fuld will need to start being a sub-replacement level player for him to lose any WAR. Being replacement level offensively might mean a drop in average from here on out, and replacement level defensively might mean lower UZR/150, but replacement level will keep his WAR exactly where it is right now because nothing is being added or subtracted to it. That said, replacement level will not allow him to become the #1 CF in MLB :)

dWAR is finicky because it uses UZR, which is highly variable for small sample sizes (at least compared to oWAR). From what I can tell, this variability lends itself to assign defensive values that are so unrealistic that they override WAR's ability to be self-sample-size controlled.

So just how I read it is that a good (or lucky) fielder can increase (or decrease) their dWAR much more quickly with a series of improbable catches than a good (or lucky) batter can increase their oWAR with a series of improbable hits. For example: Chris Colabello has mashed with a series of doubles and homers since his callup to the tune of 3.8 batting runs. Fuld has gone full insane on defense over the last 30 days for 5.2 fielding runs. Next closest are Florimon and Nunez at 0.7. That's crazy.

*Should note that I'm mostly using fWAR for all of this, but mostly should apply to rWAR too.

#8 tarheeltwinsfan

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Posted 11 July 2014 - 01:33 PM

Posters on this thread are smart baseball fans. I wish I understood these stats better. Can anyone say calculus? Me, I'm sticking to batting averages, HR's, SB's, and fielding percentages.

#9 The Wise One

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Posted 11 July 2014 - 03:11 PM

So now I know why people don't use 10 game sample sizes to try to say how good or bad a player is relative to another player. Fuld has a good stretch going. Almost any mlb player is capable of that.

#10 SgtSchmidt11

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Posted 11 July 2014 - 03:22 PM

But WAR isn't really a counting stat -- you can (and many Twins regularly do :) ) get negative WAR. Danny Santana is at +4.7 offensive runs now, but if his next 140 PA are like Escobar's last 140 PA, that will probably drop precipitously (Escobar is down to -3.5 offensive runs right now).
And defensive WAR is even worse, I think, for small samples. dWAR leaderboards are littered with part-time players and even pitchers.

The difference you're missing is that I said cumalitive, not counting. If you cumulatively suck, like I would at the MLB level (or town ball ;)) I would be negative according to WAR. But if I was cumulatively Mike Trout I would be awesome at WAR.

Conversely if I went 0-4 with 4 K's in one game, of course I did terrible but it isn't fair to say I cost my team an entire win yet, just some. On the flip side If I go for the cycle, I certainly helped my team win, but I didn't win the game by myself so I don't quite get credit for the whole game. That's what I meant. Fuld is simply doing the latter case, being awesome over a small stretch of games.

#11 curt1965

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Posted 11 July 2014 - 03:42 PM

I see what you're saying. WAR isn't a counting stat because it can count backwards, but it's a cumulative stat in that a player needs to play a lot of innings defensively or acquire a lot of PAs to move the needle on their dWAR or oWAR, respectively.

In other words, Fuld will need to start being a sub-replacement level player for him to lose any WAR. Being replacement level offensively might mean a drop in average from here on out, and replacement level defensively might mean lower UZR/150, but replacement level will keep his WAR exactly where it is right now because nothing is being added or subtracted to it. That said, replacement level will not allow him to become the #1 CF in MLB :)

dWAR is finicky because it uses UZR, which is highly variable for small sample sizes (at least compared to oWAR). From what I can tell, this variability lends itself to assign defensive values that are so unrealistic that they override WAR's ability to be self-sample-size controlled.

So just how I read it is that a good (or lucky) fielder can increase (or decrease) their dWAR much more quickly with a series of improbable catches than a good (or lucky) batter can increase their oWAR with a series of improbable hits. For example: Chris Colabello has mashed with a series of doubles and homers since his callup to the tune of 3.8 batting runs. Fuld has gone full insane on defense over the last 30 days for 5.2 fielding runs. Next closest are Florimon and Nunez at 0.7. That's crazy.

*Should note that I'm mostly using fWAR for all of this, but mostly should apply to rWAR too.

All right- I've decided to show my ignorance. Would somebody be so kind to explain the different WARs and their meanings? I've been reading the various posts when WAR has been the topic, and feel I must be the only one not knowing what's being discussed!
Thanks!

#12 drjim

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Posted 11 July 2014 - 08:03 PM

The most important thing to know about WAR is that it is terrible to cite for small sample sizes because the defensive side of the equation skews it immensely and it will overrate hot streaks. And it is important to go at least +/- 1 WAR at a minimum when comparing players.

I am biased because I think WAR is used much too often and much too confidently. It does have value when comparing players across positions and across eras.
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#13 gil4

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Posted 11 July 2014 - 08:40 PM

Regression to the mean, here we come. (The old term, reversion to mediocrity, probably fits better.) For a 32-yr-old, he's an OK 4th OF. His hot streak won't last forever. At his age, his next slump might.

#14 twinsnorth49

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Posted 11 July 2014 - 09:01 PM

Mod note, discussing specific metrics and their meaning would make for a great thread and I would invite someone to start one. Let's try to keep this one on how they relate to Slammin' Sammy. :)

#15 jokin

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Posted 14 July 2014 - 08:50 AM

Regression to the mean, here we come. (The old term, reversion to mediocrity, probably fits better.) For a 32-yr-old, he's an OK 4th OF. His hot streak won't last forever. At his age, his next slump might.


Not quite yet....Fuld continued, no actually upped, his ridiculously good July hitting and OBP hot streak over three games in Colorado. His improved July slash over 13 games now reads:

.450/.540/.550/1.090 wOBA .473

Pitchers pitching around Fuld? Yes, under NL rules in the last 3 games when he bats in the 8-spot...but overall- His BB rate in July now sits at 18%.

Slash since he came off of the DL on June 13:

.306/.408/.388/.796 with a BB rate of 15.5%.

Slash as a MN Twin:

.285/.367/.380/.747 with a BB rate of 11.9%.

Clearly, someone or more than just one someone, deserves some credit for the huge improvement in Fuld's discriminating eye at the plate. His career BB% before joining the Twins is just 9.9%. It seems like there's a tiny bit more than just the element of pure statistical noise and luck going on here- the biggest differences I see is he's willing to take more first pitches and he's at a career high in P/PA, which seems indicative of Bruno's influence. While Fuld's high BABIP is clearly not sustainable, perhaps his improved plate discipline is.