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 Post subject: Re: Fangraphs on the Pirates and Justin Morneau
PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2013 11:04 am 
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 Post subject: Re: Fangraphs on the Pirates and Justin Morneau
PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2013 12:18 pm 
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TheShark wrote:
ZelieMike wrote:
StarlingArcher wrote:
1B is an incredibly low value defensive position with pretty much all the metrics coming down largely to range...


Let me hear you say this the next time Jone's throws a double play ball into left field.


It's almost September, how many times has that happened this year?


At least 5 times that I can remember off the top of my head.

Jones is a defensive liability at first that Morneau is not. That alone, with Jone's struggles right now make that acquisition worthwhile.

ZM

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 Post subject: Re: Fangraphs on the Pirates and Justin Morneau
PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2013 12:37 pm 
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J_C_Steel wrote:
I'm a big fan of advanced statistics, sabermetrics, and all that jazz. I am.

But the game is still played by human beings. And different human beings react differently in identical situations. Managing human beings is a tricky thing, and, believe it or not, experience matters. There is a reason so many managers lean on veteran players in a playoff race. It's not because they're stupid or don't read the same numbers we all have access to; rather, it's because they know that experienced players are generally more reliable and have less delta in their range of performance.

I like numbers, but baseball is still a situational game. It's not all about the aggregate. It's about what a guy can do with one out, runners on first and third, in a tie game in the bottom of the 7th inning. It's about locating a fastball down and away against a great hitter when the go-ahead run is in scoring position. At the end of the year, those outcomes will be numbers on a page. But in the moment, human beings will determine the result you get.


I think there's something to be said for somebody who can manage players over a long season. Even in the NBA, that's a huge asset for a coach. I also think it's something Hurdle excels in. I just don't think there's much to be said for strategizing, particularly on the offensive side of the ball.

Also think (and said) that playoff experience is significantly bigger for a pitcher than a hitter. A hitter is still 60'6" away and at the mercy of what the pitcher does to them....and even then they need to hope that a great at-bat doesn't lead to an at 'em ball. Hitters just haven't shown that playoff experience matters, largely due to the random nature of hits.

The pitcher is in far more control and can far more easily hurt himself by losing the plate or having a pitch get away from him than a hitter. A hitter can put a terrible swing on something and luck into a dinky hit....but a pitcher losing the zone is 100% on him and in his control.

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 Post subject: Re: Fangraphs on the Pirates and Justin Morneau
PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2013 12:40 pm 
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No. 9 wrote:
Well ... if Fangraphs wrote it ... how dare I question their assumptions and conclusions? Silly me. I need to get back on my medication and study the RE charts and WE tables.

Feel free to question them, but do so with convincing evidence. The problem is that you question their "assumptions and conclusions" with mere hypotheticals and arguments based on gut-feeling. If you want to tear down Fangraphs, give us a legitimate reason why they should be torn down.

StarlingArcher's argument is that Morneau's contribution to winning would not be a significant upgrade over Jones. Prove to us why he's wrong.

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 Post subject: Re: Fangraphs on the Pirates and Justin Morneau
PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2013 12:46 pm 
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ZelieMike wrote:
TheShark wrote:
ZelieMike wrote:
Let me hear you say this the next time Jone's throws a double play ball into left field.


It's almost September, how many times has that happened this year?


At least 5 times that I can remember off the top of my head.

You're either mistaken or lying. Jones has only 1 throwing error this entire season as a first baseman.

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 Post subject: Re: Fangraphs on the Pirates and Justin Morneau
PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2013 12:47 pm 
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ZelieMike wrote:
At least 5 times that I can remember off the top of my head.


Yeah, going to go ahead and call BS on that one.


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 Post subject: Re: Fangraphs on the Pirates and Justin Morneau
PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2013 12:50 pm 
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Willton wrote:
No. 9 wrote:
Well ... if Fangraphs wrote it ... how dare I question their assumptions and conclusions? Silly me. I need to get back on my medication and study the RE charts and WE tables.

Feel free to question them, but do so with convincing evidence. The problem is that you question their "assumptions and conclusions" with mere hypotheticals and arguments based on gut-feeling. If you want to tear down Fangraphs, give us a legitimate reason why they should be torn down.


It would be amazing if the anti-Saber folk put as much effort into defending their thoughts and POV rather than just shoveling the stereotyping rhetoric and sweeping generalizations/assumptions about how the Saber-minded people don't care about the game, only numbers, think that no statistic has flaws, etc etc.


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 Post subject: Re: Fangraphs on the Pirates and Justin Morneau
PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2013 1:31 pm 
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It's almost September, how many times has that happened this year?

At least 5 times that I can remember off the top of my head.

Jones is a defensive liability at first that Morneau is not. That alone, with Jone's struggles right now make that acquisition worthwhile.

ZM[/quote]


I call bullshit! No way, GJ has thrown 5 DP balls into LF. He only has 6 errors at 1b.

Obviously Sanchez is better, but to be honest, there is not all that much of a difference. GJ has logged 596 innings at 1b while Gaby has 602. GJ has had 709 chances while Gaby has had 697. Gaby field pct .996. GJ .992 Gabby has 67 more putouts and 26 more DP, while their assists are the same. All things considered, GJ's "bad defense" has not made a difference at 1b.

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 Post subject: Re: Fangraphs on the Pirates and Justin Morneau
PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2013 1:33 pm 
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Judging a player's defense based on fielding percentage and putouts is like judging a hitter based on RBIs.


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 Post subject: Re: Fangraphs on the Pirates and Justin Morneau
PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2013 1:38 pm 
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SUPERCHARGED APE wrote:
I'm pretty sure just about everybody talking about Morneau on this board is reading a stat sheet.

Bingo. The people pining for Morneau are looking at his statistics. Yet some among this crowd poo-poo anyone arguing against the acquisition of Morneau as being too focused on statistics. Hypocrites.

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 Post subject: Re: Fangraphs on the Pirates and Justin Morneau
PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2013 1:40 pm 
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J_C_Steel wrote:
Judging a player's defense based on fielding percentage and putouts is like judging a hitter based on RBIs.

I don't think there is any question that Morneau's defense at first base is better than Jones's. The question is whether the difference between the two is significant enough to warrant giving up anything of value.

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 Post subject: Re: Fangraphs on the Pirates and Justin Morneau
PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2013 1:49 pm 
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J_C_Steel wrote:
Judging a player's defense based on fielding percentage and putouts is like judging a hitter based on RBIs.


Pretty much. It's why so much of a 1B value is tied up in range in UZR because you're pretty much looking at 99+% fielding from most at that position due to the lack of difficulty. Range is nice, but at 1B they're so low on the priority list for batted balls that it doesn't really matter a whole lot. They make a couple of catches in foul territory near the stands, it boosts the OOZ rating, but is mostly just luck based on how many rows back the ball went.

It really is just a low standard position....as long as you aren't talking Mike Morse type defense it's pretty minor impact.

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 Post subject: Re: Fangraphs on the Pirates and Justin Morneau
PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2013 1:51 pm 
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Willton wrote:
J_C_Steel wrote:
Judging a player's defense based on fielding percentage and putouts is like judging a hitter based on RBIs.

I don't think there is any question that Morneau's defense at first base is better than Jones's. The question is whether the difference between the two is significant enough to warrant giving up anything of value.


Who suggested giving up anything of value for Morneau? If the Pirates can't get him for a very low-level pitching prospect, I don't think they should do it. But if they can bring him in on the cheap, why not?


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 Post subject: Re: Fangraphs on the Pirates and Justin Morneau
PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2013 1:55 pm 
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J_C_Steel wrote:
I'm a big fan of advanced statistics, sabermetrics, and all that jazz. I am.

But the game is still played by human beings. And different human beings react differently in identical situations. Managing human beings is a tricky thing, and, believe it or not, experience matters. There is a reason so many managers lean on veteran players in a playoff race. It's not because they're stupid or don't read the same numbers we all have access to; rather, it's because they know that experienced players are generally more reliable and have less delta in their range of performance.

I like numbers, but baseball is still a situational game. It's not all about the aggregate. It's about what a guy can do with one out, runners on first and third, in a tie game in the bottom of the 7th inning. It's about locating a fastball down and away against a great hitter when the go-ahead run is in scoring position. At the end of the year, those outcomes will be numbers on a page. But in the moment, human beings will determine the result you get.


+1. Just like pretty much any issue across any discipline the answer's almost always somewhere in the middle. Never at the extremes.


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 Post subject: Re: Fangraphs on the Pirates and Justin Morneau
PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2013 1:56 pm 
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J_C_Steel wrote:
Willton wrote:
J_C_Steel wrote:
Judging a player's defense based on fielding percentage and putouts is like judging a hitter based on RBIs.

I don't think there is any question that Morneau's defense at first base is better than Jones's. The question is whether the difference between the two is significant enough to warrant giving up anything of value.


Who suggested giving up anything of value for Morneau? If the Pirates can't get him for a very low-level pitching prospect, I don't think they should do it. But if they can bring him in on the cheap, why not?

Then it's a question of defining what a "very low-level pitching prospect" is. Is that the same as a C-level prospect, as you indicated yesterday? Others might disagree.

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 Post subject: Re: Fangraphs on the Pirates and Justin Morneau
PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2013 1:59 pm 
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Willton wrote:
Then it's a question of defining what a "very low-level pitching prospect" is. Is that the same as a C-level prospect, as you indicated yesterday? Others might disagree.


I'm thinking someone well off the top prospects list, far from the majors, with flaws. The Pirates have a ton of those guys.


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 Post subject: Re: Fangraphs on the Pirates and Justin Morneau
PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2013 2:10 pm 
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J_C_Steel wrote:
Willton wrote:
Then it's a question of defining what a "very low-level pitching prospect" is. Is that the same as a C-level prospect, as you indicated yesterday? Others might disagree.


I'm thinking someone well off the top prospects list, far from the majors, with flaws. The Pirates have a ton of those guys.

I wonder if the Twins would go for that.

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 Post subject: Re: Fangraphs on the Pirates and Justin Morneau
PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2013 2:19 pm 
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Willton wrote:
J_C_Steel wrote:
Willton wrote:
Then it's a question of defining what a "very low-level pitching prospect" is. Is that the same as a C-level prospect, as you indicated yesterday? Others might disagree.


I'm thinking someone well off the top prospects list, far from the majors, with flaws. The Pirates have a ton of those guys.

I wonder if the Twins would go for that.


Considering they could save nearly $3 million and re-sign Morneau for 2014 if they so desire, they should. But who knows?


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 Post subject: Re: Fangraphs on the Pirates and Justin Morneau
PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2013 2:23 pm 
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J_C_Steel wrote:
Considering they could save nearly $3 million and re-sign Morneau for 2014 if they so desire, they should. But who knows?

I suspect that if the Twins would be willing to trade Morneau for so little, they likely do not want him back. And if I were Morneau, after seeing how much the Twins value my services, I certainly would not want to go back.

Anyway, we'll see what happens Saturday.

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 Post subject: Re: Fangraphs on the Pirates and Justin Morneau
PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2013 2:29 pm 
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Its not anti-SABR to question assumptions and conclusions. Heck, SABR folks do it to one another all the time. Academics do it to one another all the time.

I've done it at length with RE and WE. I've done it with the purported "value" of strike outs. Hell, I've linked an article from a BP author who went to work for the Indians and, when he returned to BP, he wrote something to the effect that based upon what he learned when working for the Indians, he's concluded that "some of what the SABR crowd considers to be law" is not accurate.

I like stats . . . a lot. Believe it or not, I spend a fair amount of my down time when the rest of my family is asleep looking at sites like baseball-reference and fangraphs. But you won't find me citing WAR. Why? Because it isn't a hard and fast calculation. WAR is calculated by its proponents diifferently. And, frankly, I find its application to have very little meaning. The Pirates, as a team, have what WAR calculation? How does it compare to the Brewers? How does it relate to the real standings? If WAR is an accurate measure of player performance, shouldn't a team's WAR match reality? How many wins would the hypothetical average replacement team have after 132 games? Do you multiply 132 by .320 or .294 and why? How many WAR are the Pirates above this hypothetical average replacement team? I see that, as of today, the Pirates have 21 more wins the the Cubs. Are the Cubs, as a whole, better than the hypothetical average replacement team? If so, by how much?

Pirates actual wins = 77; Pirates' team WAR = 70.7 (WAR off by 8.2%)
Cardinals actual wins = 78; Cardinals' team WAR = 72.4 (WAR off by 7.2%)
Reds actual wins = 75; Reds' team WAR = 71.6 (WAR off by 4.6%)
Cubs actual wins = 56; Cubs' team WAR = 62 (WAR off by 9.7%)
Brewers actual wins = 58; Brewers' team WAR = 57.4 (WAR only off by 1.1%)

Call me crazy but WAR doesn't look to be particularly accurate when looking at those numbers above. According to WAR, the Pirates are only 8 wins better than the Cubs. The actual standings show the Pirates 21 games better than the Cubs. Thus, the WAR calculation - as applied to the real world in this situation - is off by 263%.

Let's look at the whole season and determine what an error factor of 8.2% amounts to. 162 * 8.2% = 13.28. For a whole season, WAR may miscalculate by a total of 13 wins. The difference between 80 wins and 93 wins is quite significant. 80 wins gets you a "loser" label. 93 wins gets you in the playoffs.

Here's BBR's explanation of how to use WAR:

How to Use WAR

The idea behind the WAR framework is that we want to know how much better a player is than what a team would typically have to replace that player. We start by comparing the player to average in a variety of venues and then compare our theoretical replacement player to the average player and add the two results together.

There is no one way to determine WAR. There are hundreds of steps to make this calculation, and dozens of places where reasonable people can disagree on the best way to implement a particular part of the framework. We have taken the utmost care and study at each step in the process, and believe all of our choices are well reasoned and defensible. But WAR is necessarily an approximation and will never be as precise or accurate as one would like.

We present the WAR values with decimal places because this relates the WAR value back to the runs contributed (as one win is about ten runs), but you should not take any full season difference between two players of less than one to two wins to be definitive (especially when the defensive metrics are included).


I underlined what I find to be most interesting. No one way to determine WAR. Hundreds of steps to make the calculation and dozens of places where reasonable people can disagree (shocking concept to those who worship at the alter of the RE Table). War is NECESSARILY an approximation. Will NEVER be as precise or accurate as people want it to be.

Call me old school, call me a romantic, call me a Neandrathal, accuse me of ignoring "intelligent discussion", call me whatever you want - fine by me. I don't really give a rat's patoot what somebody sitting behind a keyboard and posting anonymously under a Screen Name over the internet.

When I'm sitting on my couch watching a game or when I'll be sitting at Busch Stadium for three games at the end of next week, I'm not going to be concerned about Walker's season-long WAR or attempt to calculate in my brain how many decimal points McCutchen's WAR increased when he drills a Lance Lynn slider. I won't blame "bad luck" when Jones chases a slider on a 3-1 count with one out and RISP; I'll shake my head in disgust for a lousy approach. I won't be trying to figure out whether Alvarez's wRC+ goes up or down if he goes 1-4 with a single and 3 Ks. I'll be focusing on pitch-calling, pitch location, defensive shifts, pitch counts, batter counts and strategic plate approaches as the Pirates try to win game-after-game-after-game. The rest of the stuff - WAR, wOBP, wRC, etc is interesting but - to me - wholly secondary to what is going on in the game at that particular moment in time.

Baseball has been and always will be similar to a game of chess. A game of action/reaction. A game of adjustments. A game of anticipation and opportunity. If that's a "romantic" or "Neandrathal" view - so be it. I consider it to be a realistic view. An experienced view.

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