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Debating WAR

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#81 USAFChief

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Posted 18 August 2014 - 09:02 PM

No, it never remotely said any such thing.

 

There are many valid arguments to be made against defensive metrics (most of which have already been made in this thread), but grossly inaccurate statements like this are not one of them.

Our Friend Aaron Gleeman:

 

 

According to Ultimate Zone Rating as a duo Gomez in center field and Span in left field (or right field) has been 30 to 35 runs above average per 150 games. Meanwhile, as a duo, Span in center field and Young in left field has been 45 to 50 runs below average per 150 games.

The latter total is inflated by Span's unsustainably horrible numbers in limited action as a center fielder, but even if you ignore them to give him credit for being exactly average in center field — which at this point is far from a safe assumption — the Young-Span alignment is 40 to 50 runs worse than the Span-Gomez alignment. In other words, by benching Gomez for Young, the Twins are gaining 15 runs offensively and losing 40 to 50 runs defensively. All of which is why focusing on their batting averages is silly.

 

http://www.minnpost....or-delmon-young

 

I remember this specific debate at BYTO...

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#82 snepp

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Posted 18 August 2014 - 09:18 PM

Our Friend Aaron Gleeman:

 

 

I remember this specific debate at BYTO...

 

I do as well. Very, very well.

 

 

Note the very first line of your post. That particular bit of analysis was a prime example of an egregious misuse of a statistic, one that made me cringe.


#83 USAFChief

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Posted 18 August 2014 - 09:47 PM

I do as well. Very, very well.
 
 
Note the very first line of your post. That particular bit of analysis was a prime example of an egregious misuse of a statistic, one that made me cringe.

My bad...I misunderstood. Not unusual for me, sadly.
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#84 snepp

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Posted 18 August 2014 - 10:09 PM

My bad...I misunderstood. Not unusual for me, sadly.

 

We could re-enact some of those old BYTO discussions on UZR/WAR, but we probably wouldn't make it past page 1 before someone would have to close it down. :)

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#85 jay

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Posted 19 August 2014 - 06:06 AM

I think you're making more out of "good hit" vs "bad hit" to try and make a point. If such a distinction even exists.


Makes plenty of sense to me. A guy with an .800 BABIP is either a cyborg or got plenty of "bad hits".

#86 jay

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Posted 19 August 2014 - 06:26 AM

Offensive counting stats mostly reflect the reality of the past. Scoring decisions for offensive stats can face the same subjectiveness that applies to defensive stats. Once that decision is made, you can put it in all sorts of counting and rate stats, but the downside is you lose an amazing amount of context.

Defensive stats start at that same point of reality -- did he catch it or not -- but have to use that same type of scorer's interpretation of whether it should have been caught based on the context in order to place a value on it. There's more subjectiveness to it, hence the need for larger sample sizes.

Neither one necessarily reflects true talent level or what you'd expect to happen in the future.

#87 drjim

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Posted 19 August 2014 - 06:41 AM

Joe Posnanski just tweeted this:

 

Irony would be Mike Trout, finally in line to win his MVP, LOSING to Alex Gordon or Josh Donaldson because they have higher WAR.

 

 

If Gordon wins because of a defensive bonus from playing LF, that has to be the death of WAR as a meaningful comparative statistic.

 

He is not good enough to stick at 3B but he can do well in LF and earn a bunch of dWAR, what a bunch of nonsense. A slightly above mediocre CF or 3B is so much more valuable than an elite LF, because it is hard to find even an adequate (or replacement level) defensive player at those positions. The replacement level players for LF are the 70% of MLBers who don't play there because they are good enough defenders to play elsewhere, not the lugs (ahem, Willingham) who they put out there because they can't play anywhere else.

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#88 Badsmerf

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Posted 19 August 2014 - 07:21 AM

I have stayed out of the conversation, but I love (yes love) WAR. You want to pick it apart as not an encompassing stat.... whatever. It's not perfect, but it isn't terrible like many are claiming. Usually the best players in the league have the highest WAR. I think defensive position should also play into it more, but the metric for that would then be debated too. The thing is, you have to take it for what it is. It's only a number, making judgements on one stat is foolish.
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#89 markos

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Posted 19 August 2014 - 07:51 AM

Then one would think they would regress offensive stats too, right?  Mauer's 2009 didn't really happen, we need to regress it.

While offensive stats are not necessarily "regressed", it should be pointed out that offensive stats are heavily adjusted when they are added into the WAR calculations. They are adjusted for run environment, stadium and position (and probably other things). This is done so that players on different teams, positions and leagues can be directly compared, as well as across multiple seasons.

 

Using your example, if Mauer had the exact same offensive counting stats in 2014 that he had in 2009, he would actually be credited for a lot more offensive value because he plays in a much tougher ballpark and a lower run-scoring environment. On the other hand, he will be docked value because he plays 1B instead of C.


#90 TheLeviathan

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Posted 19 August 2014 - 10:34 AM

Makes plenty of sense to me. A guy with an .800 BABIP is either a cyborg or got plenty of "bad hits".


A ridiculous BABIP doesn't make him a bad hitter. Just prime for regression.

Here's another way to say this point: UZR, in part, can be based on I accurately recorded past results. That isn't the same kind of problem as a high BABIP.

#91 Willihammer

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Posted 19 August 2014 - 10:53 AM

Joe Posnanski just tweeted this:

 

 

If Gordon wins because of a defensive bonus from playing LF, that has to be the death of WAR as a meaningful comparative statistic.

 

He is not good enough to stick at 3B but he can do well in LF and earn a bunch of dWAR, what a bunch of nonsense. A slightly above mediocre CF or 3B is so much more valuable than an elite LF, because it is hard to find even an adequate (or replacement level) defensive player at those positions. The replacement level players for LF are the 70% of MLBers who don't play there because they are good enough defenders to play elsewhere, not the lugs (ahem, Willingham) who they put out there because they can't play anywhere else.

I don't see why that would be the death of WAR. Maybe the positional adjustment is wrong or out of date but that could be easily changed. As it is, Gordon already has a full Win to make up on CFers or 3Bs


#92 drjim

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Posted 19 August 2014 - 11:15 AM

I don't see why that would be the death of WAR. Maybe the positional adjustment is wrong or out of date but that could be easily changed. As it is, Gordon already has a full Win to make up on CFers or 3Bs

 

I looked at this closer. Gordon gets about half of his value (2.5 WARish) from his defense. According to the WAR adjustment, this would mean is the equal defender to a 3.5 WAR defender at 3B right? But there is three years of data showing Gordon was about a 0 WAR defender at 3B (08-10). So he can move down the defensive spectrum and pick up 2.5 WAR in value, that is a nice gig.

 

I was happy to see that the guys on Effectively Wild and Keith Law in his current MVP ballot didn't take this WAR value too seriously.

 

But to answer your statement, the positional adjustment misses the point in my mind. The replacement level threshold is the issue, and trying to quantify defense into the same numbers as offense leads to even more issues. I thought there was value in WAR in comparing across positions, but looking more closely since this thread started I'm now more skeptical if it even has value in that.

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#93 Mike Sixel

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Posted 19 August 2014 - 12:48 PM

Read this, and comment, please:

 

http://www.fangraphs...ut-alex-gordon/

I don't know, it is a site to discuss sports, not airline safety.....maybe we should take it less seriously?


#94 Mike Sixel

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Posted 19 August 2014 - 12:49 PM

Why can't a guy be a terrible 3B, but an excellent OFer? I don't get that argument at all.

 

So, player X is a great OF, but you are sure he'd be a better SS or C? I'm confused by this argument.

Edited by mike wants wins, 19 August 2014 - 12:52 PM.

I don't know, it is a site to discuss sports, not airline safety.....maybe we should take it less seriously?


#95 jay

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Posted 19 August 2014 - 12:50 PM

I thought there was value in WAR in comparing across positions, but looking more closely since this thread started I'm now more skeptical if it even has value in that.


I wouldn't recommend making that determination based off an outlier.

#96 drjim

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Posted 19 August 2014 - 01:22 PM

Why can't a guy be a terrible 3B, but an excellent OFer? I don't get that argument at all.

 

So, player X is a great OF, but you are sure he'd be a better SS or C? I'm confused by this argument.

 

I never made that argument.

 

My argument is that many of the people currently playing 3B or SS or 2B or CF would be a better LF than Gordon. He benefits because he is compared to the worst defensive players in baseball as his baseline "replacement" level player, while players who stick at other positions are compared to better defensive players as their baseline "replacement" level player.

 

The notion of a replacement level player in LF should be expanded to include the many players in baseball who don't have the luxury of being moved to LF and have to stick at a position that is much tougher on the defensive spectrum.

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#97 Mike Sixel

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Posted 19 August 2014 - 01:27 PM

But they did not play LF......how would you know how good they are in the OF? Why complicate this wi th hypotheticals? People don't like defensive measures, and now we should add hypothetical outcomes?

I don't know, it is a site to discuss sports, not airline safety.....maybe we should take it less seriously?


#98 Willihammer

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Posted 19 August 2014 - 01:27 PM

Read this, and comment, please:

 

http://www.fangraphs...ut-alex-gordon/

I also invite Gordon skeptics to read this: http://www.fangraphs...-using-his-arm/


#99 Willihammer

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Posted 19 August 2014 - 01:34 PM

I never made that argument.

 

My argument is that many of the people currently playing 3B or SS or 2B or CF would be a better LF than Gordon. He benefits because he is compared to the worst defensive players in baseball as his baseline "replacement" level player, while players who stick at other positions are compared to better defensive players as their baseline "replacement" level player.

 

The notion of a replacement level player in LF should be expanded to include the many players in baseball who don't have the luxury of being moved to LF and have to stick at a position that is much tougher on the defensive spectrum.

If you are going to do that, should you also expand the notion of replacement level 3Bs and CFs to include the players who are stashed in LF because their bats are too good to keep out of the lineup? The defensive threshold may be lower in LF but players out there are expected to hit better. Overall, a -10 run penalty seems to be in the ballpark.


#100 drjim

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Posted 19 August 2014 - 01:36 PM

Read this, and comment, please:

 

http://www.fangraphs...ut-alex-gordon/

 

This article didn't say anything I didn't already realize about WAR, how it's measured, and how it might apply to Gordon specifically.

 

I should say, to be clear, that I think Gordon to be a very good baseball player and obviously an elite LF (relative to the other LFs), I don't argue any of that. I just believe there are many players who currently play in MLB that could make a similar switch and do similarly if not just as well, but are playing much more important positions.

 

This article did nothing to improve on the inherent problems of UZR (it admits them), and it really doesn't say much about the problems of applying defensive value when comparing a wide spectrum of baseline "replacement" players or the problems of turning defensive numbers into the same value as offensive numbers.

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