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Comparing pitcher's value?

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#1 spideyo

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Posted 17 December 2012 - 01:31 PM

Is there any website or standard statistic around that ties a pitcher's performance to his contract?

With all the various praises and critiques of our (and really, everyone's) FA signings and trades this winter, I'd really like to be able to track just how much "bang for the buck" we're getting compared to the contracts we didn't sign as the season progresses.

Not being a hardcore sabremetric guy, I have no idea where to even start making such calculations

#2 jharaldson

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Posted 17 December 2012 - 01:59 PM

Fangraphs.com publishes a dollar value which is a multiplier against their WAR. There is disagreement on this site if this is a valid indicator because it has shown guys with 5.00 ERA's to have significant value due to their secondary numbers remaining good but in my opinion it is the best I have seen published.

#3 snepp

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Posted 17 December 2012 - 02:27 PM

The problem with FG's WAR for pitchers is that it's built upon FIP. Guys that historically outperform their FIP get underrated a bit, while guys that regularly underperform get overrated. WAR on baseball-reference is based off a form of ERA, which comes with its own set of problems.

A real rough rule of thumb, average the two together, and use $5 million per WAR.

#4 Mike Sixel

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Posted 17 December 2012 - 02:34 PM

Just remember, pre-FA pitchers will cost a lot less than FA pitchers, because their contracts are kept artificially low due to how the labor agreement works.

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


#5 Guest_USAFChief_*

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Posted 17 December 2012 - 03:08 PM

A real rough rule of thumb, average the two together, and use $5 million per WAR.


Other wise known as a SNERRRT.

Snepp's Real Rough Rule of Thumb.

#6 snepp

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Posted 17 December 2012 - 03:25 PM

I got about 3.5 CAR out of that.



(chuckles above replacement)

#7 Guest_USAFChief_*

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Posted 17 December 2012 - 03:37 PM

I got about 3.5 CAR out of that.



(chuckles above replacement)


Of course I can only respond with the obligatory ... wait for it... bCAR or fCAR?

#8 old nurse

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Posted 17 December 2012 - 04:20 PM

The best way to get a good free agent contract appears to be to have two teams interested in you.

If you strike out batters and don't walk many or give up many home runs you will have a high WAR. Little things like actually winning games means nothing in WAR. Yet if you win a lot of games, you are viewed as valuable yet Jared Weaver has a low WAR despite winning 20 games. (And do you really think a replacement player would have won 17 in his place? Fangraphs had Dempster a 3.3. His contract was nowhere near 16.5. Dan Haren with a 10 year career, averages 3.85 WAR and got 12.5 million. So what pitchers are actually paid is not based on WAR.
What players are paid is of no consequence when your team is winning

Edited by old nurse, 17 December 2012 - 04:26 PM.


#9 Mike Sixel

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Posted 17 December 2012 - 05:35 PM

Wins are a team stat....would you rather sign a FA pitcher with a 7 ERA*, who's team scored 8 runs in every start, or one with a 1 ERA, who's teammates were shut out every game? Which one is more likely to help your team in the future?

*yes, I know ERA is not a perfect stat

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


#10 old nurse

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Posted 17 December 2012 - 09:25 PM

Wins are a team stat....would you rather sign a FA pitcher with a 7 ERA*, who's team scored 8 runs in every start, or one with a 1 ERA, who's teammates were shut out every game? Which one is more likely to help your team in the future?

*yes, I know ERA is not a perfect stat



ERA does not correlate at all well to salary levels. The question of the thread was about metrics correlating to salary. War does not correlate to what actually happened in the season in terms of wins nor does it appear to correlate to salary. IMO there is no metric yet devised to tell you wether or not you got a good deal on a pitcher.

#11 snepp

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Posted 17 December 2012 - 09:39 PM

Teams with players that accumulate more WAR win more games, players that accumulate more WAR end up making more money. The correlations are there, your opinions just won't allow you to see them.

#12 old nurse

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 12:13 AM

Teams with players that accumulate more WAR win more games, players that accumulate more WAR end up making more money. The correlations are there, your opinions just won't allow you to see them.

In regarding correlations one must remember the number of burglaries and ice cream sales correlate. Does the metric measure what it says it does? The accuracy of the number for an individual as well as for a team may be way off. The reliability number for WAR and actual wins by a pitcher is so variable to render it moot. The 4 season long starters for the Angels finished with a record of 54-41 combined war of 6.4. According to WAR, 4 replacement pitchers would finish 48-48 with that team. In a study of replacement level pitchers across the major leagues they found the win percentage of replacement level pitchers to be .430, or 5 wins. As a descriptor of the season, WAR would be significantly off

#13 old nurse

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 12:45 AM

Teams with players that accumulate more WAR win more games, players that accumulate more WAR end up making more money. The correlations are there, your opinions just won't allow you to see them.


2011 class of free agent pitchers Buerle WAR 3.6 14/yr ave CJ Wilson 6.1 15 Edwin Jackson 3.9 11 Kuroda 2.2 and 10 The fifth best starter per espn that pitched last year was Bedard 2.3 4.5. I doubt you could run statistics on that small of sample to come up with a reliability number, but the millions per WAR for the best five last year are variable.

#14 spideyo

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 11:31 AM

Ok...it looks like the first step is finding a good "advanced stat" glossary.

With fangraph's dollar amount...where does the actual dollar amount come from?

#15 old nurse

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 12:19 PM

Ok...it looks like the first step is finding a good "advanced stat" glossary.

With fangraph's dollar amount...where does the actual dollar amount come from?


By comparing dollar ammounts from free agents that switched teams

#16 jay

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 01:18 PM

In regarding correlations one must remember the number of burglaries and ice cream sales correlate. Does the metric measure what it says it does? The accuracy of the number for an individual as well as for a team may be way off. The reliability number for WAR and actual wins by a pitcher is so variable to render it moot. The 4 season long starters for the Angels finished with a record of 54-41 combined war of 6.4. According to WAR, 4 replacement pitchers would finish 48-48 with that team. In a study of replacement level pitchers across the major leagues they found the win percentage of replacement level pitchers to be .430, or 5 wins. As a descriptor of the season, WAR would be significantly off


There are so many incorrect statements in this it's hard to know where to start. You seem to be so very intent on bashing WAR as worthless, when it is largely a very good tool. Those who preach it as the end-all-be-all are equally incorrect, but continuing to cherry pick outliers to make examples is never a valid way to prove or disprove anything.

Wins are widely regarded as an extremely poor stat to measure a pitcher's skill. A "win" for a pitcher includes many things he has no control over -- ie offensive runs scored, the defense behind him, the bullpen that follows, etc -- which WAR intentionally removes to reach a more accurate measure of the pitcher's actual skill by looking at factors a pitcher can control or heavily effect. So, you're correct that WAR commonly won't equal a pitcher's wins, but it will without question provide a better measure of a pitcher's performance than "wins" -- the original question of the post.

We've already reviewed WAR's accuracy over a whole season to a team's actual record (a very strong .83-.89) with you. For the record, replacement level among the different WAR methods equates to between 43 and 52 wins on a full season... not your cited .500 record. It might help to understand how a stat works before you continually spout how ineffective it is.

#17 jay

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 01:30 PM

Ok...it looks like the first step is finding a good "advanced stat" glossary.

With fangraph's dollar amount...where does the actual dollar amount come from?


oldnurse is completely wrong. FG's dollar amount uses the assumption that each win above replacement level is worth a certain dollar value (about $4.5M, I believe) on the free agent market and multiplies the player's WAR by that value. For example, Josh Willingham's 3.9 WAR from 2012 would be "worth" $17.6M.

You have to be careful to use any one year to project a contract value, as it can't account for other factors like regression, injury risk, etc (ie - Willingham had a great year, but he wouldn't get $17M/year on the FA market as most people think he'll regress at least some).

One could theoretically track the free agent deals that a front office signs and compare it back to the FG dollar value to get a rough idea if the contract provided surplus value or not.

#18 old nurse

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 01:42 PM

We've already reviewed WAR's accuracy over a whole season to a team's actual record (a very strong .83-.89) with you. For the record, replacement level among the different WAR methods equates to between 43 and 52 wins on a full season... not your cited .500 record. It might help to understand how a stat works before you continually spout how ineffective it is.


So if your measurement is incorrect 15% of the time that is good?
Where in there does WAR measure the mistake pitches that end up multiple hits in the inning. The inabi;ity to hold a runner on base? The ability to make someone hit weak grounders? How good a pitcher is is again a component of skill sets that correlate with their teammate's skills. What you can do with your skill does depend on the rest of the team. To only look at one component to compare is half blind.

#19 jay

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 03:56 PM

So if your measurement is incorrect 15% of the time that is good?


If you understood correlation ratios, you would know that mid .8 is an exceptionally strong correlation. It measures what it is supposed to measure and then there is a certain amount of variation (about .15 in this case) caused by other factors. If you have a better stat that can project a team's record, I'd be happy to hear about it. I don't see how you can continue to say something is worthless and inaccurate when you don't have anything better.

How good a pitcher is is again a component of skill sets that correlate with their teammate's skills. What you can do with your skill does depend on the rest of the team. To only look at one component to compare is half blind.


I fundamentally disagree with you and I have no idea why you'd want to assess a pitcher's performance (the question in this post) based on his teammates. If David Price takes the mound with Little Leaguers behind him, he has no control over that but his standard stats would be far, far worse... and you certainly can't tell me that means he's a worse pitcher. Many of the advanced stats intend to remove those such things (defense, park factors, league, etc) so that you're comparing pitchers on a even apple to apple level.

Edited by jay, 19 December 2012 - 04:00 PM.


#20 old nurse

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 04:42 PM

I fundamentally disagree with you and I have no idea why you'd want to assess a pitcher's performance (the question in this post) based on his teammates. If David Price takes the mound with Little Leaguers behind him, he has no control over that but his standard stats would be far, far worse... and you certainly can't tell me that means he's a worse pitcher. Many of the advanced stats intend to remove those such things (defense, park factors, league, etc) so that you're comparing pitchers on a even apple to apple level.


You don't need much for statistics to understand the value of a David Price nor to understand that Hector Noesi had a bad season. The issue would be assessing the relative values of the middle of the pack. Baseball remaina a team sport. Not many pitchers have every skill. The factors of your home park and defense of the players behid the pitcher would influence a team's opinion of the value of the player. Putting a player in a position to succede will influence the outcomes measured by WAR.
David Price would pitch completely differently to a major league team with major leagures behind him than a bunch of little leaguers. How your team plays behind you will change how you pitch. You cannot isolate that.
The pitcher in WAR is deducted for giving up a home run. Is there a stat that says every home run was a mistake pitch?

ANd yes 85% correlation is good, not excellent. It is leaving a lot of room for error. The variabilty of WAR from year to year is either the player is inconsistent, or the stat is.