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THE END IS NEAR: Ron Gardenhire Knows About Fangraphs.com

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#1 Parker Hageman

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Posted 18 August 2014 - 03:43 PM

According to MLB.com's Rhett Bollinger, Minnesota Twins' manager Ron Gardenhire acknowledged that the extensive statistical online warehouse called Fangraphs.com exists. "Here's a new one," Bollinger tweeted, "Twins manager Ron Gardenhire mentioned Fangraphs today when talking about swing percentages."

 

FoxSportsNorth.com's Tyler Mason followed that up tweeting that Gardenhire had discovered the site as it was often mentioned in the local writer's stories and proclaimed "It's interesting stuff."

 

Now that he has found this advanced statistical haven, what are the odds he changes his managerial style? Can old dogs learn new tricks? Or is Fangraphs just getting more empty clicks?

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#2 D. Hocking

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Posted 18 August 2014 - 03:47 PM

I wonder if he will start using terms like WARsie and BABIPsie.

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#3 Thrylos

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Posted 18 August 2014 - 03:51 PM

I wonder if he will start using terms like WARsie and BABIPsie.

 

Nah.  More like FIPsie and DIPsie ;)

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#4 Thegrin

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Posted 18 August 2014 - 04:19 PM

If you think that Gardenhire recently discovered fangraphs then you probably also believe that Gardy is to blame for the Twins awful record since 2011  :)

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#5 PseudoSABR

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Posted 18 August 2014 - 04:51 PM

Swing percentage as a statistic is far more palatable than a metric like WAR or fungible rates like xFIP, as it measures what happens and does not try to portend what should have happened.  I think the 'Twins hate advanced statistics' narrative has always been pretty overblown, but it's always nice to hear that Gardy (or someone for him) is doing their homework. 

Edited by PseudoSABR, 18 August 2014 - 05:00 PM.

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#6 Thrylos

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Posted 18 August 2014 - 04:54 PM

Swing percentage as a statistic is far more palatable than a metric like WAR or fungible rates like xFIP, as it measures what happens and does not try to portend what should have happened.  I think the 'Twins hate advanced statistics' narrative has always been pretty overblown, but it's always nice to hear that Gardy (or someone for him) is doing their homework. 

 

WAR and xFIP measure what happen as well, because they are based on factual cumulative and rate statistics.  Not figments of someone's imagination.  Just a tad more complicated than dividing a couple cumulative measures and multiplying by 100.

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#7 Thrylos

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Posted 18 August 2014 - 05:26 PM

here is the actual quote from Mike Berardino's update at the Dispatch:


In a discussion of Twins second baseman Brian Dozier, who still leads the American League in runs despite a .235 batting average, Gardenhire mentioned Dozier’s need to be more selective at the plate.

“I don’t know Fangraphs — how many times he swings in the zone and out of the zone — but I would bet if he cuts down his swings out of the zone, he’ll probably get on base more,” Gardenhire said.

Does Gardenhire visit the site?

“I see it in your guys’ articles all the time,” he said. “Why wouldn’t I? I read it, yeah. It’s real interesting stuff. We’ve looked up stuff before too.”

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#8 gunnarthor

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Posted 18 August 2014 - 06:06 PM

If you think that Gardenhire recently discovered fangraphs then you probably also believe that Gardy is to blame for the Twins awful record since 2011  :)

There are a few narratives on TD that have to be followed despite being false.  Gardy is a dumb redneck is one of them.

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#9 70charger

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Posted 18 August 2014 - 06:06 PM

WAR and xFIP measure what happen as well, because they are based on factual cumulative and rate statistics. Not figments of someone's imagination. Just a tad more complicated than dividing a couple cumulative measures and multiplying by 100.


Not really. FIP is to what should have happened as ERA is to what happened.

There are no assumptions in swing %, just the question of whether a player did or did not swing. There are massive assumptions in FIP and WAR, as to what kinds of things fielders "should" be capable of, and what a hypothetical "replacement" player "should" be capable of.

They're completely apples and oranges.
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#10 Parker Hageman

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Posted 18 August 2014 - 07:38 PM

This thread was obviously intended to be tongue-in-cheek and to get some discussion going about the use of stats (I just like to watch people debate this).

Having spent some time around Gardy the last three years, I will say he is more aware of the advance stats than people would assume. At the same time, I know he's old school when it comes to using technology so it is somewhat surprising to hear he has visited Fangraphs -- I was under the impression that the data was feed to him via Goin and his team. I suppose it was a matter of time before he dug into things himself.

If Goin is lerking around this thread like I know he is, I would love it if he would chime in on this.

#11 Thegrin

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Posted 18 August 2014 - 08:09 PM

The stat I like best is RP {Runs Produced) or RP/AB.  Its the old quick and dirty way to see who is really producing for a Team. The formula is Runs + RBI - HR. You can do it in your head when looking at player stats. 

Runs Created is the current stat in favor.  Wikipedia has a good description of it for those who want to go blind with formula :) http://en.wikipedia....ki/Runs_created

For a quick look-see of how are players are doing compared to other hitters, RP works just fine.


#12 ashburyjohn

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Posted 18 August 2014 - 08:37 PM

Not really. FIP is to what should have happened as ERA is to what happened.

Well, just to be picky, ERA is to a lesser extent "what should have happened", if certain plays the Official Scorer deems to be Errors had instead been outs, giving the benefit of the doubt to the pitcher as the inning is reconstructed. :)


#13 ashburyjohn

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Posted 18 August 2014 - 08:40 PM

Its the old quick and dirty way to see who is probably batting third for a Team.

Fixed that for you. :)


#14 Thegrin

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Posted 18 August 2014 - 08:54 PM

Thanks.  It does indicate who should be batting 3rd/

Edited by Thegrin, 18 August 2014 - 08:59 PM.


#15 snepp

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Posted 18 August 2014 - 09:07 PM

The stat I like best is RP {Runs Produced) or RP/AB.  Its the old quick and dirty way to see who is really producing for a Team. The formula is Runs + RBI - HR. You can do it in your head when looking at player stats. 

 

For a quick look-see of how are players are doing compared to other hitters, RP works just fine.

 

Too team/context dependent for my tastes. Runs rely too much on the guys behind you, RBI too much on the guys in front of you. Once you strip out home runs you've left yourself with nothing that the hitter himself is solely responsible for.


#16 Thrylos

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Posted 19 August 2014 - 08:09 AM

Not really. FIP is to what should have happened as ERA is to what happened.

 

Here is the formula for FIP: (13HR+3BB-2K)/IP

 

HRs, BBs, Ks, IPs all happened, correct?  So FIP is based on things that happened (facts) as is ERA (ER/IP)*9

 

They are both factual measurements.  They just measure different facts and have different uses.

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#17 goulik

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Posted 19 August 2014 - 08:23 AM

My guess is the Twins (and all MLB teams) create their own advanced stats and Gardenhire spends more time on those then Fangraphs

#18 tobi0040

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Posted 19 August 2014 - 09:28 AM

There are a few narratives on TD that have to be followed despite being false.  Gardy is a dumb redneck is one of them.

 

I think the guy has made some questionable decisions over the course of his career that lead many, including myself to question how often Gardenhire approaches the game.  Here are a few decisions that are easily dismissed with extremely basic math:

 

-The need for a 3rd catcher.  What are the odds this comes into play?  What are you giving up by having a 3rd catcher.  This takes some basic assumptions, even extremely conservative assumptions yield a result that this makes absolutely no sense.

 

-I need a fast player batting #2.  How many years have the Twins had a guy like Alexi Casilla hit #2 and get on base about 28% of the time?    Give me the slowest guy in the league that gets on 34% of the time in front of Mauer and Morneau and I can show you that makes more sense.

 

Just two examples.  It is hard to watch these on a daily basis and conclude Ron is on the cutting edge of advanced statistics.  Maybe he is but he is too stubborn, but for fans I don't think one is better than the other.

Edited by tobi0040, 19 August 2014 - 09:32 AM.


#19 mike wants wins

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Posted 19 August 2014 - 12:07 PM

People think he is dumb? I think people think he makes some bad decisions, but do people really think he is dumb?

What I just typed is probably an opinion, not a fact. I mean, I'm usually right, so you should maybe assume it is or will be a fact soon, but that's up to you. :)


#20 PseudoSABR

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Posted 19 August 2014 - 12:32 PM

Here is the formula for FIP: (13HR+3BB-2K)/IP

 

HRs, BBs, Ks, IPs all happened, correct?  So FIP is based on things that happened (facts) as is ERA (ER/IP)*9

 

They are both factual measurements.  They just measure different facts and have different uses.

Baseball doesn't happen without fielders, so FIP measures a subset of what really happened, which is why xFIP exists in the first place.  xFIP, the stat I originally brought up, certainly does manipulate what really happened into something else that 'should have happened'.  While WAR is derived from countable data, it is through its metrics and weights that it attempts measures what should have happened.   The entire notion of 'above-replacement' is not derived from countable data, it's derived from subjective notions of a standard baseline.    While every measure is statistical, the facts of those measures are in question, and aren't at all objective  

 

While the countable data isn't plucked from someone's imagination, how those different countable stats are weighted against one another certainly is.  (How much is a stolen base worth of a win as opposed to slice of fielding range?)  It's precisely why we have two different, widely popular measures for WAR.  These aren't standardized, much less objective or factual.  

Edited by PseudoSABR, 19 August 2014 - 12:50 PM.


#21 SgtSchmidt11

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Posted 19 August 2014 - 12:48 PM

Here is the formula for FIP: (13HR+3BB-2K)/IP

 

HRs, BBs, Ks, IPs all happened, correct?  So FIP is based on things that happened (facts) as is ERA (ER/IP)*9

 

They are both factual measurements.  They just measure different facts and have different uses.

I would disagree because Out of Zone swing percentage is simply times swung/oppurtunities to swing.  In no way is it debatable how many times Dozier swung at balls and how many times he didn't.

 

What if I were to argue that the formula would more accurately be represented by a 12HR variable?  Whole #'s across the board seem really unlikely to be the "true" impact of these events anyways.  This is likewise with WAR.  The balance of fielding vs. hitting vs. running is not a settled debate, that's why there are different measures of WAR out there, because it isn't fact.

 

Don't get me wrong, I like FIP, but since the impact of fielders and wind and so many other variables are not completely understood, it is not fact, it is theory.

Edited by SgtSchmidt11, 19 August 2014 - 12:50 PM.


#22 Kirby_waved_at_me

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Posted 19 August 2014 - 12:55 PM

Would it more palatable to have a player (or one player per position) voted on at the end of each season to be the "Replacement Level Player of the Year" ?

 

Then you're using a real set of data from events that really happened  - so, it's less Wins above replacement and more "Wins Above 2014 Nick Hundley"

 

Is that better than setting an arbitrary line, or is that just a different arbitrary line?


#23 tobi0040

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Posted 19 August 2014 - 01:09 PM

Would it more palatable to have a player (or one player per position) voted on at the end of each season to be the "Replacement Level Player of the Year" ?

 

Then you're using a real set of data from events that really happened  - so, it's less Wins above replacement and more "Wins Above 2014 Nick Hundley"

 

Is that better than setting an arbitrary line, or is that just a different arbitrary line?

 

I would prefer something quantitative versus a vote.  Voting gives us 38 year old gold glove outfielders


#24 Kirby_waved_at_me

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Posted 19 August 2014 - 01:28 PM

Maybe "Vote" is the wrong phrasing - but somehow a player is chosen... based on their below average performance, like the Mendoza line (which is kind of a poor example since Mario Mendoza generally was a bit better than a .200 hitter)

 

Is the fact that players are being compared to a baseline that is not a a real-world example an issue, or is it something else? How should players be compared to one another?


#25 tobi0040

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Posted 19 August 2014 - 01:42 PM

Maybe "Vote" is the wrong phrasing - but somehow a player is chosen... based on their below average performance, like the Mendoza line (which is kind of a poor example since Mario Mendoza generally was a bit better than a .200 hitter)

 

Is the fact that players are being compared to a baseline that is not a a real-world example an issue, or is it something else? How should players be compared to one another?

 

I think people will never agree on the appropriate statsistic, especially as new one's are created every day. Each has a limitation to some degree and people will highlight the limitations of each. 

 

My two cents believes you take 4-5 of the more popular ones and use them all.


#26 Kirby_waved_at_me

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Posted 19 August 2014 - 01:52 PM

sure - and is that not the goal for a stat like WAR ? To take more than one stat and combine them to give a general value for a player? 

 

I'm not really advocating for using WAR alone, I agree that there are weaknesses to using any metric on its own. I do like the conversation, though.

 

No two players are really equivalent, but that's what makes the comparison interesting to examine, right?

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#27 Thrylos

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Posted 19 August 2014 - 01:55 PM

I would disagree because Out of Zone swing percentage is simply times swung/oppurtunities to swing.  In no way is it debatable how many times Dozier swung at balls and how many times he didn't.

 

The Zone part is debatable ;)  Each umpire has his own zone and if a particular ump's zone is different than an idealized PitchF/X or such zone, some OOZ swings, are actually adjustments for that particular zone.  So really not out of that umpires' zone.

 

not that simple. 

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#28 SgtSchmidt11

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Posted 19 August 2014 - 05:29 PM

The Zone part is debatable ;)  Each umpire has his own zone and if a particular ump's zone is different than an idealized PitchF/X or such zone, some OOZ swings, are actually adjustments for that particular zone.  So really not out of that umpires' zone.
 
not that simple.

Since the only margin there is called strikes and balls that a player looks at, I think the margin is very small. And since all players deal with the same umpires, that margin is incredibly small.

What the impact of fielding is on an actual player's value is not even close to being determined, the margin in WAR is much larger.

Also I'm not debating that it isn't useful, but that it is not a fact.

#29 Thegrin

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Posted 20 August 2014 - 12:46 AM

The umpires zone will continue to be a problem until MLB lets technology call balls and strikes.  Without umpires calling balls and strikes, batters with a good eye will be rewarded and pitchers with good control will be rewarded. You will find that flame throwers will lose their value and "pitchers" will gain value, and probably batting averages, hits and runs will all rise.


#30 Oxtung

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Posted 21 August 2014 - 12:19 AM

Since the only margin there is called strikes and balls that a player looks at, I think the margin is very small. And since all players deal with the same umpires, that margin is incredibly small.

What the impact of fielding is on an actual player's value is not even close to being determined, the margin in WAR is much larger.

Also I'm not debating that it isn't useful, but that it is not a fact.

 

If your argument is only statistics that are "facts" should be used then we're going to be very, very limited.  While it is easy to assume that standard statistics like RBI, batting average, ERA, strikeouts, etc... are "fact" they aren't in reality.  Anything that requires a human eye to determine the outcome is subjective; errors, strikeouts, walks, etc.... When you get right down to it what baseball statistic isn't affected by human subjectivity? What is the difference if that subjectivity is derived via the human eye or by a human weighting fielding vs offense vs baserunning?