Like I said, hilarious.
Like I said, hilarious.
However, even if you could show the exact % advantage that a faster baserunner has, it would still be almost impossible to prove that your lineup overall scores more runs with that baserunner near the top of the order.
For example, a faster runner could steal second base, then advance to 3rd on a wild pitch that wasnt far enough away from the catcher to advance a slower runner, then come home on a fly ball that wouldnt have been deep enough to score a runner.
In this example the faster baserunner clearly scored a run that the slower baserunner probably wouldnt have, BUT, it wouldnt have mattered where in the order he was in this instance, since he created his own advantage, and wasnt necessarily driven in by the meat of the lineup.
Take two players that have the same OBP. Undoubtedly you would assume that if everything else is equal, including the outcomes of the at-bats that follow them getting on base, the faster baserunner will score more runs than the slower baserunner.
Now take a baserunner that is fast enough to often times score runs from 2nd and fairly often score from 1st, and put him on base slightly less than a player that can sometimes score from 2nd and can hardly ever score from 1st. It is possible to imagine that faster player still scoring more runs, even though he has slightly less opportunities than the player who has more opportunities to do so but is less fast.
Now gradually increase the numbers either way until you reach a point where a substantial amount of On Base skills are being overcome by the speed of the lesser OBP guy. This happens in Baseball all the time, one example of which is the Mientkiewicz/Guzman example. To what do you attribute the clear percentage of scoring per On Base opportunity that Guzman displays compared to Mientkiewicz (43% to 31%)? If speed is at least any part of what you attribute the difference to, then you must acknowledge that OBP does not neccessarily trump SPEED in every instance.
Therefore, OBP from top to bottom is not a smart lineup constructing system.
Now ask yourself: Is it possible that my team would score runs with a player who is faster but has a less high on base percentage in a higher spot in the order? How often could your guy who "created his own advantage" benefit from also being in front of hitters who will more often give him an opportunity to go from 2nd to home, 1st to 3rd, and 1st to Home? Very often, perhaps, but you would never find out because his somewhat lower OBP demands that a slower player with a somewhat higher OBP take the more advantagous place of batting in front of the power hitters in a lineup.
The Mientkiewicz/Guzman example isn't neccessarily able to single out how much of Guzman's increased scoring was directly due to SPEED, but it at least indicates the ability for SPEED to be a significant factor in determining a players usefulness and deservedness at the top of a batting order despite other options for that lineup spot having higher OBP's.
Simply put, SPEED can trump OBP. It probably happens more often than we realize, and certainly happens more often than you seem willing to admit.
Again, I've already said that of course there is some threshold that can be crossed where speed can overcome OBP.
I'm just saying we don't know where it is.
The Mientkiewicz/Guzman example is far too small of a sample size to determine anything. We don't know how many of those runs can be attributed to speed, and how many to pure happenstance.
Outs are a valuable commodity in baseball. You only get 27 of them. Its not like basketball where you can foul to lengthen the game, or like football where you can manipulate the clock or kick an onside kick. I dont want guys who are more likely to make an out, getting 1 more AB per game than guys who are less likely to make an out. For me, that is the bottom line in its simplest form.
I've already said there are exceptions, what more do you want me to say? But as a general rule, I want to give that extra AB to someone who is less likely to make an out.
This is the key statement to see the flaw in your argument. You're answering with "speed" because you seem pre-determined to look at the player in question's skillset rather than seeing run production for what it is: a team effort. A speedy runner can create more run-scoring opportunities, no one will deny that, but unless the player in question is stealing home frequently (I'm going to assume even in your case you're going to accept that this is not happening) than scoring runs is dependent upon the actions of the hitters that follow the player more so than with the player themselves. Hence why the more you bunch players at the top of your lineup that avoid outs (thus getting on base) the better your chances.Quote:
To what do you attribute the clear percentage of scoring per On Base opportunity that Guzman displays compared to Mientkiewicz (43% to 31%)?
Part of why using counting stats like runs and rbis is not a good way to evaluate a player is because those statistics are contingent on other players. Your analysis may be true, but you are using a woefully inept sample size to prove it. And it should be across the league, not a two player comparison.
What may account for the difference in your example here might be totally different for the next pair. So, as a general rule, it's better to defer to guys that can get on base at a higher rate before you worry about how well they translate that into scoring.
The majority of Guzman's PAs during 2001-2002 were hitting from the 1st or 2nd spot in the order. Meaning, he more often got on base with 0 or 1 out. Whereas Doug, batting in the 3 hole and to a lesser extent, the 6 hole, he more often got on base with 2 outs. Thus there were fewer opportunities for him to be driven in.
Its the same reason Willingham scored more runs than Mauer last year despite Mauer having a .050 advantage in OBP. More often when mauer got on, there were already two outs. By contrast, Willingham lead off the 2nd inning quite a bit, got on base quite a bit, and had 3 full outs where he could be driven in.
Incidentally, this is why you don't squander a high OBP guy by putting him in the 3 hole.
Though the difference in run production wasn't as dramatic as it usually has been- given Boston had a major down year, and JJ Hardy had an uncharacteristic BABIP meltdown- the AL East continued to be the biggest run producers in 2012, and all take the exact opposite tack to Gardy's approach of a preference for speed and bunting ability in the 2-spot.
AL East#2 hitter OPS: .730 Average Runs Scored: 733
AL West#2 hitter OPS: .698 Average Runs Scored: 727
AL Cent#2 hitter OPS: .688 Average Runs Scored: 703
"So, as a general rule, it's better to defer to guys that can get on base at a higher rate before you worry about how well they translate that into scoring"
Worrying about "how well they translate that into scoring " is exactly what managers who want to score the most runs possible should be doing. Managers who want to get guys on base but aren't concerned with how often those guys come around to score would be woefully neglectful of the true objective of lineup construction, which is scoring runs. If anyone is predisposed to focusing on one particular skill-set, it is you regarding OBP.
In 2002, the Twins managed a stable, if unconventional, top of the order. Jacque led off almost every game, with a respectable .346 OBP and 25(!) home runs. Guzman batted over 600 times in the 2 spot, posting an abysmal .292 OBP there. Mientkiewicz settled into the third spot and took most of his plate appearances there, posting an exceptional OBP.
As alluded to by Willi and others, that's where Mr. Run Expectancy Matrix enters the picture. Guzman batted in front of Minky pretty often. And Guzie made an out reeeally often. So that means that, as far as scoring a run himself, Minkie was bucking casino odds quite a bit thanks to Guz. Really. Check it out. Flash Guzman made a ton of outs. Flash Guzman usually batted in front of Minkie. A ton of outs in front of Minkie made it hard for him to score runs. Really.
In other words, as much as it might seem like sabr snobs are not getting your obvious point, consider the fact that Minkie 2002 often came to the plate with a below-average or less chance to score a run mostly because he was batting behing a speedy, incompetent hitter named Christian Guzman.
If that's not enough, there's the tidal wave of generic statistical evidence that isoloated speed is insignificant compared to OBP/OPS/wWhatever/etc. Of course speed matters, all things being equal. But other things are seldom equal, and they almost all matter more.
Also, Guzman was a middle infielder who often batted at the top of the Twins order despite a bad OBP, and it's a huge joke to you that someone could dare to question Gardy's alleged(?) tendency to bat an OBP-unqualified MI there. So if you couldn't explain Guzman's presence there with "speed", you'd have a lot to answer for, wouldn't you, doctor?
;) Not a trial, and you've raised some valid and interesting points about statistical vacuums in a game (or at least a chunk of its fan base) that abhors them. Well done.
How relevant is your scenario exactly? Because hypotheticals are great, but if they aren't relevant or generalizables.......than they don't have much weight as recommendations. Which, if you remember originally, was your point. Again, what you are saying might be true, but you have so narrowly defined and defended it that it is virtually irrelevant.
In baseball, all things are not equal. And in baseball run production is contingent upon more than isolated hitters - it is a team effort. I don't hide from the idea that I rely most on OBP/OPS to determine a lineup - those are the statistics with the best reflection of how well a batter avoids outs and does damage on their own. It requires far less irrelevant scenario-building.
I'm not sure if bothers fact checking but Dougie glove only hit 3rd (or higher) in 61% of his PA's in these heavily debated seasons. Unexpectedly his RS% didn't change a lot moving from the #3 to the #6 spots in the lineup. I also checked Luis Rivas and he scored about 42% of the time he was on base (not taking into account FC and E's). It's possible that Gardy has been using these advanced sabr stats all along.
I'm still in the camp that would like to see the <.320 OBP speedy guy hitting in the #8 and #9 spot than the #9 and #2 spots. The reasoning is that I want each of the better hitters (Mauer, Willy, Morneau) to get the extra plate appearances.
The point has been undeniably made, and backed by the rock solid science of made-up facts, that a lineup of Guzmans is far superior to a lineup of guys like Mauer/Willingham/Morneau with their useless, tangible "on-base percentage" and lack of the important factor in baseball, which is, of course, the chronically undefinable "speed".
Sure, they get on base at a ridiculously low clip, but when they do, there's a slightly better chance of them scoring, provided that the guys behind them can also find ways to effectively get on base at a solid clip. Wait a minute... that would almost mean that it has more to do with the linup composition than the individual players. Nah, that couldn't be. Rock solid science. 9 Guzmans > 9 Mauers.
If you eliminate home runs from the equation, you are left with Mauer getting on base 257 times and Willingham 190 times. Of these, Mauer scored 71 runs and Willingham 50 runs. Or, 27.6% of appearances for Mauer, and 26.3% of appearances for Willingham.
Its probably worth noting two things: Mauer is an above average baserunner and Willingham is a below average baserunner. In 2012, Mauer took the extra base 46% of the time to Willingham's 40%, scored from 2nd on a single in 16/17 chances to Willingham's 7/14. Mauer just flat out hit more doubles (and triples) too so he was in scoring position more often. Similarly with Mauer advancing to 2nd on a single (advancing 23/35 times when a single is hit to Willingham's 18/32) Small beans but it counts. All around, Mauer ran the bases better and in a small way that did contribute to him scoring more than Willingham. But I still believe that all things being equal, the guy hitting 3rd will score less often than the same hitter, in the same lineup, batting 4th, although I admit the difference is probably smaller than I initially indicated.
I think the really large elephant in the room here is this, baseball is about TEAM runs scored not INDIVIDUAL runs scored. In your Guzman/Mientkiewicz example you only looked at individual runs. But Guzman also created an out >8% more times when at the plate. Add onto that his 13 times caught stealing and you're looking at many more outs. How many times did he prevent other teammates from scoring because he created an out?
It's funny to me how often the chosen mode of debate in this thread has been to pretend I am making an extreme argument, and then argue against that made up extreme argument.
Since you seem to be one of those incredibly pleasant people who are very often inclined to use the well respected and exceedingly sophisticated humor and communication style of sarcasm as your chosen method of discourse, I will try to respond in a similar manner in hopes that the communication is successfully received.
Yes, Frodaddy, you got me. Despite making clear statements like "I'm not saying SPEED should be prioritized over OBP", I secretly think that lineups should be made up entirely of "9 Guzmans". You nailed it there. In fact, despite saying things like "combinations of high OBP and SPEED are obviously most desirable" I actually secretly despise OBP. In fact, I like guys that exclusively posses the skill of speed, and who get on and off base as quick as possible because I just don't even like the part where they're on base. I have been waiting for somebody to tell me that the actual stats I discussed were the "rock solid science of made up facts". You're right, I created those 2000 plate appearances from thin air. In fact, Meintkiewicz and Guzman didn't really exist. I knew I was going to have this discussion with the ever convincing and insurmountably sarcastic FrodaddyG, so I went back in time and faked these two player's existences for the sake of then having their fabricated stats at my disposal. My motivation? Because of how much I love Gardy, of course.
I'm sorry, but I have to stop the sarcastic tone. It is just exhausting to keep up, and it makes me feel like I should be sitting in a dimly lit room eating Doritos and watching Anime. The way you go about your argument makes you seem like you either don't pay full attention to the conversation, or aren't capable of the type of intellectual honesty that people who disagree with me, like Willihamer and Lobombo, display within their posts. The arguments that you are attempting to belittle me for making have quite simply never been made by me. But don't let that get in the way of another of your hilarious and high-brow sarcastic responses.
I think it is clear that OBP is one of the most important factors in determining the amount of runs a player or team scores. OBP is also very easy to quantify.
I think that SPEED is another factor which has a substantial impact on the amount of runs a player or team scores. Sometimes, a player or teams speed can even make up for somewhat lower OBP when in regards to actual runs being scored. I also think that SPEED is a skill that is very difficult to quantify. Here's the real problem though, and the difference between "Sabermetric minded thinkers" and "Sabermetric adherents". Thinkers would say, "Speed is hard to quantify, but it exists and definitely has to impact games in certain significant ways, even though an excellent way to quantify it hasn't been found yet. How can we find it?". Adherents.... They would just ignore it as a factor unless somebody has found a way to quantify it. If it's not presented in a nicely packaged statistic, it just doesn't exist in their world view. So, adherents say things like "You would prefer a whole lineup full off Guzmans, 'cause you love Gardy."