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Article: Mailbag: Available Pitchers, Buxton Hype, Baseball Time Machine

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#81 spycake

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Posted 12 March 2019 - 11:21 AM

 

The problem with WAR is that people like it. It allows them to do things that are otherwise difficult to do. Like comparing players that play different positions. Or even comparing the value a pitcher brings to a team with the that of a position player.

The issue with this is that WAR is a subjective stat. It is taking stats that someone thinks are important, weighing them to emphasize the most important, and then combining them and putting them on a scale. Assuming the math is legimate, we are when using WAR, agreeing that the author used the correct stats, and weighed them the way we individuals would if we were comparing two or more players. That is nonsense of course. Not everybody on this site would agree on something as simple whether ob% or slugging % is more important for example , much less what stats we should use or which are most important.

WAR is largely a lazy way to compare players. Since it is subjective, it is not WRONG, merely an opinion about how players compare.

Many of the new stats like FIP and most defensive stats, are like that. They are subjective stats that give you an opinion about what value players bring to their teams.

Every single method of baseball player evaluation since the dawn of time has been subjective. That's not unique to "new stats".


#82 Mr. Brooks

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Posted 12 March 2019 - 08:00 PM

Jorgenwest already tried to help you on this. And the original posters point was on the same thing. I'm not sure how you got on this tangent, but it's a strawman.

No one doubts that if you are given 5 x 2 you'll get 10. Of course that's objective. But it isn't whether 5 x 2 is objective or subjective, it's the question of whether it should be 5 or should be 2 and the decisions made in that regard. What's subjective is deciding it should be 5 or should be 2.

What you decide to incorporate and how you weigh it is an act of choosing what is most important. That is, by definition, subjective. Now, you can have strong reasons for doing so. You can test it and find the results in line with what you are trying to measure, but nonetheless there are elements that are subjective.

Hell, on WAR alone we have multiple ways to calculate it based on what different places choose to weigh. That doesn't eliminate them from being useful, but it pretty much squashes the "objective" argument.


Ok, in that context, then what was the point of the post I responded to? Almost every stat has a level of subjectivity behind how it's calculated, so why did he single out FIP?

#83 TheLeviathan

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Posted 12 March 2019 - 08:03 PM

 

Ok, in that context, then what was the point of the post I responded to? Almost every stat has a level of subjectivity behind how it's calculated, so why did he single out FIP?

 

FIP has more subjectivity than, say, OBP.It's about the levels, stats like WAR and a few others certainly have a higher component than many others.

 

Basically, any "value" stats are going to be more subjective than others. 


#84 Mr. Brooks

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Posted 12 March 2019 - 08:16 PM

FIP has more subjectivity than, say, OBP. It's about the levels, stats like WAR and a few others certainly have a higher component than many others.

Basically, any "value" stats are going to be more subjective than others.


Well I don't agree.
FIP has hardly any subjectivity behind it. The multipliers only exist to put it on a comparable scale to ERA, not as an attempt to place more value on certain components of it.

#85 TheLeviathan

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Posted 12 March 2019 - 08:25 PM

 

Well I don't agree.
FIP has hardly any subjectivity behind it. The multipliers only exist to put it on a comparable scale to ERA, not as an attempt to place more value on certain components of it.

 

From Fangraphs: The individual weights for home runs, walks/HBP, and strikeouts are based on the relative values of those actions with respect to run prevention.

 

The constant is what puts it on scale with ERA.The multipliers are value driven.

 

And that is different than calculating ERA or OBP.There are no multipliers or value adjustments.(And, before some new tangent arrives, I'm not saying that makes the stat lesser.It just makes it some degree more subjective)

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#86 Jham

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Posted 12 March 2019 - 11:37 PM

From Fangraphs: The individual weights for home runs, walks/HBP, and strikeouts are based on the relative values of those actions with respect to run prevention.

The constant is what puts it on scale with ERA. The multipliers are value driven.

And that is different than calculating ERA or OBP. There are no multipliers or value adjustments. (And, before some new tangent arrives, I'm not saying that makes the stat lesser. It just makes it some degree more subjective)


Fangraphs even explicitly cautions users on the weighting, particularly of HR which typically occur in small samples. Thus it created a separate stat, xFIP which assumes league avg hr rates.

That said, FIP, xFIP, and SIERA are all good stats that carefully and scientifically weight the input data based on historical correlations with run prevention. But... the game is changing in regard to, and perhaps because of, the areas these stats emphasize: k's, bbs and HRs. 2 things i'd like to see is if the counting stats have the same run prevention correlations in the modern game as they used to.

I'd really like to see how much more stable Fip is from year to year compared to era. Still don't get trying to predict era.
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#87 Mr. Brooks

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Posted 13 March 2019 - 06:41 AM

Fair enough. Argument withdrawn.

#88 Don Walcott

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Posted 13 March 2019 - 09:35 AM

I think some of the confusion with this argument is that, as Yarnivek said, WAR and FIP are like the QB rating system. They aren't "statistics," though their formulas are based on statistics.

 

And as has been pointed out by others, it's how the rating system's formula is comprised that is "subjective" to an extent. However, it's not that "subjective" formulas are inherently unreliable. Rather, they are as reliable as the person on whose expert opinion we rely, and the data that they are using. Even without diving deep into the composition of the formulas, we can look at different formulation of WAR, for example, and determine which outcome most closely aligns with what we believe reality is.

 

I prefer not to use WAR at all, because I believe it is generally used by people who believe it is authoritative, like a statistic, proving definitively how one player is better than another or how one player's season or career is better than another player's season or career. I think it's a lazy way of making an argument from authority, without really knowing much about the authority. And it's also not the correct way to use these rating systems, which are really intended to be predictive (attempting to equalize things like luck and park factors) and not a reflection of what actually happened.

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#89 Jim Hahn

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Posted 14 March 2019 - 10:23 AM

I seem to have derailed this thread, unintentionally, by my use of the word "subjective". As Mr. Walcott said rather well above, my intent was to point out that WAR and FIP are subjective in the CHOICE of which stats they are constructed from and also the WEIGHING of those stats. Hence the different versions of these stats. Agsin, I am not claiming these stats are WRONG. Merely that these type of stats are more like opinions about the value players bring to their teams.

Back when I was young, there was debate about who was the best player on the Twins, Killebrew, Oliva, or Carew. They were hugely different players, bringing much different skill sets to the game. Two were Hall of Fame players, the 3rd probably would of been except for injuries. You could use WAR to "settle" this debate. Except that this would still be an opinion based on what someelse thinks are the most important stats, weighed in a manner to reflect his veiws of which is more important. That view is not WRONG. It is merely an opinion. You can agree or disagree with.

I think some people use WAR as a conversation stopper. WAR says, so it must be right. To me, it is more of a place to start. It gives you one view of how players compare. You are free to come up with your own view. By the way, Oliva was the best player, if for too short of time. In my opinion.
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#90 Don Walcott

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Posted 14 March 2019 - 11:29 AM

No way, Rod Carew was the best player who ever played for the Twins!!

 

. . .

 

And I'm coming up with a formula of statistics to prove it!!


#91 spycake

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Posted 14 March 2019 - 11:42 AM

 

I think some people use WAR as a conversation stopper. WAR says, so it must be right.

If you encounter that here, please point it out.

 

But note that this particular tangent started not with someone using WAR as a "conversation stopper", but rather someone taking a generic swipe at "defensive metrics fans".

 

Let's challenge misuse of any stat -- be it WAR, or defensive metrics, or batting average or ERA -- but challenge it *when we see it*, and not simply make broad characterizations about stats and the people that may use them.


#92 Jim Hahn

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Posted 14 March 2019 - 01:11 PM

If you encounter that here, please point it out.
 
But note that this particular tangent started not with someone using WAR as a "conversation stopper", but rather someone taking a generic swipe at "defensive metrics fans".
 
Let's challenge misuse of any stat -- be it WAR, or defensive metrics, or batting average or ERA -- but challenge it *when we see it*, and not simply make broad characterizations about stats and the people that may use them.



Ok. Fair. But people do use WAR as a semi-definitive way of comparing players. I see it on certain MLB Network shows where WAR is used as a cutoff for Hall of Fame consideration. I don't mind that if you dig deeper into the stats. That is the point. I believe if you only use WAR as your comparative stat, you are probably missing things.