NL MVP – Who’s your pick?

by JohnBowen

10. Clayton Kershaw

Clayton Kershaw won his Cy Young award with the first triple crown since Jake Peavy in 2007. In addition to wins, ERA, and strikeouts, Kershaw also led the league with a 0.977 WHIP, consisting of a league-best hit rate, and a career-best walk rate.

9. Justin Upton

The Arizona Diamondbacks went from last to first, and Justin Upton is a big reason why. Slugging 31 home runs and 39 doubles, the 23 year old budding star secured a silver slugger, and will likely find himself with a top-10 MVP finish.

8. Jose Reyes

The Mets are probably going to miss Jose Reyes when he tests the waters this season, having already received a 6 year offer from the Florida Marlins. The shortstop won the league’s batting title with a .337 mark and used his speed to finish fifth with 105 runs scored despite a poor supporting cast.

7. Albert Pujols

Easily the worst year of his career, Albert Pujols hit .299/.366/.541 for a 150 OPS+ and finished third in the league with 37 home runs. Again, this was a down year. As he chases 200 million this off-season, his prospective employers will likely keep his September in mind, when he hit .355 to help push his Cardinals past the Braves into the playoffs and onto the World Series.

6. Joey Votto

Joey Votto showed that his MVP 2010 season was no fluke, leading the National League in on-base percentage for the second year in a row with a .416 mark while slugging a league-best 40 doubles

5. Prince Fielder

Prince Fielder did not disappoint in his contract year; the only Major Leaguer to play all 162 games, he placed second in on-base percentage (.415) and third in slugging percentage (.566), while leading the league in Win Probability Added for the third time in five years. The only question now: who will pay big for his services over the next 6 to 10 years?

4. Roy Halladay

Roy Halladay placed second in the Cy Young voting but still garnered some first place votes in large part due to his first place standing in some of the more advanced statistics; the Phillies ace led the National League in ERA+, K/BB, and FIP.

3. Troy Tulowitzki

Troy Tulowitzki once again showed himself to be in a class all by himself among the game’s best shortstops, hitting .302/.372/.544 with 30 home runs to earn Silver Slugger honors over batting title winner Jose Reyes. Add to the fact that he’s among the very best defensive players in the game at any position, and you’ve got a perennial MVP candidate for the next decade in Denver.

2. Ryan Braun

Ryan Braun continued his excellent play in 2011, leading the National League with a .597 slugging percentage and a .994 OPS. He became the first Brewer since Tommy Harper in 1970 to reach the 30-30 plateau and even placed fourth in the league with 38 doubles. A man with a flair for the dramatic, Braun slugged the game-winning home run for the Brew Crew on the night they clinched their first division championship in 29 years. If you’re one of those people who believe the MVP must come from a playoff team, Braun’s your man.

1. Matt Kemp

I, however, am not one of those people; as long as the MVP award is the supreme award in sports, it should go to the very best player, period – and that man was unquestionably Matt Kemp. Kemp had a season for the ages in Los Angeles, leading the league in home runs, RBI, runs scored, OPS+, runs created – basically everything. His 10.0 WAR season not only ranked first in baseball, but was the best by a National League center fielder since Willie Mays in 1965.

Notable Snubs: Cliff Lee (SP – PHI), Cole Hamels (SP – PHI), Hunter Pence (RF – HOU/PHI), Brian McCann (C – ATL), Michael Morse (1B/LF – WAS), Mike Stanton (RF – FLA), Lance Berkman (RF – STL), Yadier Molina (C – STL), Matt Holliday (LF – STL), Brandon Phillips (2B – CIN), Starlin Castro (SS – CHC), Aramis Ramirez (3B – CHC), Andrew McCutchen (CF – PIT), Pablo Sandoval (3B – SFG), Tim Lincecum (SP – SFG), Matt Cain (SP – SFG), Madison Bumgarner (SP – SFG), Ian Kennedy (SP – ARI), Ryan Roberts (3B – ARI), Miguel Montero (C – ARI)

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241 Responses to “NL MVP – Who’s your pick?”

  1. Raul Says:

    Tulo is ranked too high.

  2. bleedDODGERblue Says:

    I don’t get how Kershaw beats out Halladay for the Cy yet comes 6 spots behind him in the MVP

  3. JohnBowen Says:

    Huh…

    I fully expected to be called out on that, but it’s a newbie that beats everyone to it!

    Welcome to the site, you should meet Hoss, you’d love him.

    I confess, I flip-flopped. I never took the triple crown thing seriously, but saw that Kershaw had far more starts than Halladay against winning teams, so I went with Kershaw.

    But in actuality, the total OPS of the batters who faced Kershaw and Halladay (opponent-quality OPS, not to be confused with OPS-against) showed them to be basically even. Remember that the Giants had a winning record, and their offense – which Kershaw saw five times – was a total joke.

    Halladay pitched in a tougher park, walked fewer guys, and pitched slightly better than Kershaw, though it’s not a bad vote by the writers to give it to Kershaw by any stretch of the imagination. Two great seasons (well, 3 counting Lee’s season), I would’ve gone with Halladay, but most people would’ve gone with Kershaw and that’s fine.

    6 spots might be a little steep…I guess I could see bumping Kershaw up as high as 6th.

  4. Chuck Says:

    Kemp, but only because Braun and Fielder will lose votes to each other.

  5. JohnBowen Says:

    I’ll be pretty surprised if any voters cast ballots for Fielder ahead of Braun.

    Both had monster years – and there’s certainly an argument to be made that what Fielder did with McGehee batting behind him is more impressive than what Braun did with Fielder batting behind him – but Braun is widely regarded as the categorically better player all around, including this season.

    Which, he is.

  6. Chuck Says:

    Congratulations, Ryan Braun.

    At least the writers got one right.

  7. Cameron Says:

    I would’ve voted Kemp, but Braun’s earned one by now. Congrats, dude.

  8. John Says:

    Well, I’m not complaining. Congrats Braunie! And congrats to Prince as well on third!

  9. Cameron Says:

    Huh… Just saw the video of Lennox Lewis vs. Oliver McCall. To date, this is the only fight I’ve seen where, for lack of better words, the ref had to call the match because one of the fighters started crying like a bitch.

  10. Raul Says:

    Why would you congratulate anyone on Third Place?
    LOL

    I know in the Olympics they get medals but LOL @ Congrats on 3rd place.

    As much as Chuck loves to hate Mike Tyson, Lennox Lewis was awful. If he’d come up 20 years earlier, he’d have been carrying the spit bucket at Larry Holmes’ gym.

  11. Cameron Says:

    Yes, but he didn’t spend the equivalent of two rounds sobbing and refusing to throw a punch or defend himself before the fight needed to be thrown out. Fucking disgraceful.

  12. Chuck Says:

    “he’d have been carrying the spit bucket at Larry Holmes’ gym.”

    LOL..15 years earlier Holmes would have been carrying the bucket.

  13. Cameron Says:

    Also, I need to watch more Australian Rules Football. I tried to make sense of it and the only rule I can safely make out is it is, in fact, legal to beat the holy fuck out of any member of the opposing team during gameplay. The fighting is so commonplace that they don’t bother to break up the fights and they just play around the fights. …Or join in if it looks fun enough.

    When you share a country with rugby and make it look like the more sane of the two sports, you need to calm your ass down.

  14. JohnBowen Says:

    I love Ryan Braun. He’s an outstanding player, on my favorite team, whose presence helped turn that team’s entire culture around.

    Matt Kemp was better in every single way, with the exception of picking better teammates.

    I get that some voters will automatically discard players on non-contenders, but Kemp’s year was on another plateau – and as happy as I am for my favorite player – I gotta say that objectively, Kemp was the NL’s best player, by a decent margin.

  15. Cameron Says:

    Kemp was one homer away from a unanimous MVP.

  16. JohnBowen Says:

    @15 I’m not so sure.

    A good comparison for Kemp would be Barry Bonds’s 1996 season, in which he definitely should have been MVP.

    That year, Bonds was 40-40 and had the OBP and SLG to boot, but played on a last place team on the West Coast.

    Ironically, the person who finished first ahead of Bonds and others was Ken Caminiti, one of the first admitted roiders (Bonds finished 5th).

  17. JohnBowen Says:

    I will say that Jacoby Ellsbury was 1 Crawford catch away from winning in the AL and causing Chuck to quit baseball.

  18. Raul Says:

    Crawford didn’t have anything to do with Ellsbury winning or not winning the MVP.

  19. JohnBowen Says:

    No.

    If Carl Crawford catches that ball, and the Red Sox sneak into the playoffs (they would’ve had to beat the Rays once too), some CRAZY how, the voters would have concluded that Ellsbury (who finished 2nd, btw) was a way more valuable player.

    It happens year after freaking year.

  20. Chuck Says:

    Verlander won the award because there was no one else worthy.

    The rules say you have to give it to someone.

    So, while Verlander probably shouldn’t have won, he’s a better choice than Ellsbury or Bautista.

    Live with it.

  21. JohnBowen Says:

    @20, I agree, he was a better choice than both those gentlemen. The writers came to the correct conclusion.

    They would’ve come to the wrong conclusion for superficial reasons if the Red Sox had sneaked in.

    Are you suggesting that the rules be amended to give it to nobody?

  22. Raul Says:

    I’m suggesting that if Verlander didn’t win it, Miguel Cabrera should have.

  23. Cameron Says:

    I forgot Bonds wasn’t MVP in ‘96. He won so many of the fuckers I just assumed. However, it’s proof you need at least 40 homers to beat a 40-40 club out of the MVP.

    Ken Caminiti had 40, Ken Griffey, Jr. had 56, and Ryan Howard had 58.

    The year Jose Canseco had his 40-40 year, his runner-up in homers hit 34, or one more than Ryan Braun.

  24. JohnBowen Says:

    Also a decent choice.

  25. Chuck Says:

    #22

    Yep.

    Cabrera was my vote.

  26. Cameron Says:

    The reason Verlander probably won is because there were a lot of decent choices. Cabrera, Bautista, Ellsbury, Granderson, there wasn’t someone so far above everyone else that there was a clear winner. Bautsita looked like it in the second half with his 200+ OPS+, but he trailed off and made the award pick really confusing.

    Verlander was plan B.

  27. Chuck Says:

    Ellsbury might have had the best “numbers”, but he wasn’t even the MVP of his own team.

    Without Gonzalez, the Sox are eliminated in June.

  28. Cameron Says:

    Ellsbury has his value. If he’s not on the roster, Kevin Youkilis’ douchebaggery might have been taken out on a player that was actually decent.

  29. Raul Says:

    I don’t recall who the last Dodger was to win the MVP, so I had to look it up.

    Turns out it was Kirk Gibson in 1988.
    Stastically speaking, I’m not sure how I feel about that. It appears Strawberry got robbed.

    But, I just happen to love The Straw so I’ll take his side on this one.

  30. Cameron Says:

    Darryl Strawberry: Cocaine is a hell of a drug.

  31. JohnBowen Says:

    Honestly, I don’t think you can go wrong with any of the top-4 choices.

    In 2006, you basically had Derek Jeter, Joe Mauer, Johan Santana, Carlos Guillen and Grady Sizemore.

    5 perfectly good choices. Anyone of those 5, and no one could speak ill of you.

    The voters chose…Justin Morneau. Who was, at best, the 3rd most valuable player on his own team.

    It’s like, it was so close they couldn’t pick, so they just eliminated all the right choices, borderline right choices, and picked Justin Morneau.

  32. Cameron Says:

    I’d say it’s more like the 2009 NL Cy Young where Lincecum won by collecting second place votes.

  33. JohnBowen Says:

    “Ellsbury might have had the best “numbers”, but he wasn’t even the MVP of his own team.

    Without Gonzalez, the Sox are eliminated in June.”

    No, not really.

  34. Chuck Says:

    No one is saying Ellsbury doesn’t have value.

    But if you look at his entire body of work going back to 2006 you’re fucking nuts if you think this year was even a point of discussion, much less a possibility.

    As is the case with every season there are some unexplainable things that happen, this year was no different…Adam Dunn..James Shields..the Dbacks, but NOTHING more than what Ellsbury did.

    Ellsbury’s season CAN’T be explained.

    And you know what, I think that may have cost him the award.

    Voters know what he did was a fluke.

  35. Cameron Says:

    …I feel like making a WAR joke, but I ran out of give a fuck.

  36. JohnBowen Says:

    @32, Lincecum did have 11 first place votes, 2 more than Carp and 1 less than Wainwright.

    I think he was the right call, personally.

  37. Cameron Says:

    “Ellsbury’s season CAN’T be explained.”

    You know how the new CBA says HGH testing won’t go on without “reasonable suspicion?” Shit like this is a pretty good definition of reasonable suspicion.

  38. Cameron Says:

    “…James Shields”

    No, THAT can be explained. James Shields usually pitches like he did for half the season and is fucking toxic to his team for the other half. This year he pitched like he could all season.

  39. JohnBowen Says:

    “And you know what, I think that may have cost him the award.
    Voters know what he did was a fluke.”

    If that’s true (and I don’t think it is), that’s fucking stupid.

    I don’t care if Ellsbury is going to regress to hitting .280/.330/.400 next season.

    He won’t, but that’s not the point.

    You’re looking only at the year 2011. Not fucking prospect ratings from 2005. Not ROY balloting from 2008. Not projections for 2012.

    2-0-1-1. That’s it.

  40. JohnBowen Says:

    According to the new CBA, players can’t dip on the field anymore.

    Fuck the heck?!

  41. Raul Says:

    I get what you’re saying @ John #39…

    But you know damn well a lot of awards are won on reputation.

  42. Cameron Says:

    Anyone can win the MVP on a fluke season. Like Jim Konstanty.

    I successfully repressed that knowledge until mlb.com’s editing staff decided to take a lunch break during covering the goddamn MVP award.

  43. Raul Says:

    I just wanted to piss John off…

    In 1988, Brett Butler had the 2nd highest WAR out of players receiving MVP votes.
    He finished 17th.

  44. Cameron Says:

    Got one better, Raul. 1984. Cal Ripken, Jr. was first in WAR and twenty-seventh in MVP voting.

  45. Raul Says:

    Who the hell gave Carlos Ruiz and Starlin Castro MVP votes?

  46. Chuck Says:

    If you’re pissed off because Kemp didn’t win the MVP and are using WAR as your reasoning, then you’re an idiot.

    Unless you can tell me, specifically, what defines a “replacement player”, then you should be banned from ever mentioning the stat ever again.

  47. Raul Says:

    Yeah, but The Quiz finished 3rd in 1984.

  48. Raul Says:

    I’d take 160 million dollars over an MVP trophy…but that’s just me.

  49. JohnBowen Says:

    @43, 1988 seems like the kind of year that a pitcher should’ve been MVP, no?

    Actual MVP’s line: .290/.377/.483. 77 RBI.

    Meanwhile, Hershiser shut down opponents for the final month of a season (and wasn’t too shabby before that month either).

  50. Cameron Says:

    No, I would’ve voted him because of his numbers. From a center fielder, those numbers are ri-goddamn-diculous.

  51. JohnBowen Says:

    @46, We’ve explained it to you over and over again, and you choose to make no effort to understand it.

    That’s your fault, not mine.

    Want some replacement level players?

    Seth Smith, Juan Pierre, Carl Crawford, and Delmon Young were all replacement level outfielders in 2011.

    There are your fucking replacement players.

  52. Raul Says:

    How do you decide that a team of replacement players wins X-number of games if you can’t nail down what stats a replacement player provides…and if those stats vary from year to year?

    Because even if the quality of play changes, it’s typically not a significant fluctuation. So the statistics of a replacement player should fall into a predictable range.

  53. Cameron Says:

    They’re a fairly predictable range, Raul. It’s just varying shades of terrible.

  54. Raul Says:

    Delmon Young: .268/.302/.393 with 12 homers, 64 RBI, 54 Runs Scored.
    Seth Smith: .284/.347/.485 with 15 homers, 59 RBI, 67 Runs Scored.
    Juan Pierre: .279/.329/.327 with 2 homers, 50 RBI, 80 Runs Scored.

    These are all replacement players.

    These are all very different players.

  55. JohnBowen Says:

    “if you can’t nail down what stats a replacement player provides…and if those stats vary from year to year?”

    You realize that a ballplayer has many different ways of affecting a ballgame, right? Not every replacement level player is going to have the same batting average, obp, slg, hr, 2b, sb, cs, errors, assists, putouts, etc.

    Just like elite ballplayers aren’t going to all have the same numbers. I would say that Tony Gwynn and Ralph Kiner were both elite. You telling me they had the same numbers?

  56. Raul Says:

    Predictable range? Perhaps. But just between those 3 players, there’s an OPS gap of 173 points between Pierre and Smith.

    And yet they’re equally determined to be “replacement” players.

    Where am I going wrong here?

  57. Chuck Says:

    “We’ve explained it to you over and over again, and you choose to make no effort to understand it.”

    YOU don’t know what defines a replacement level player, and yet you claim to have explained it?

    C’mon John, I know it’s hard, but can you stop being an asshole for five minutes?

  58. JohnBowen Says:

    Well, Seth Smith plays in Colorado, which inflates his numbers (oh right, park factors are hocum…) and he plays terrible defense.

    Juan Pierre provides big-time speed and plays in a pitchers park while playing bad (though not Smith-bad) defense. All these things close that OPS-gap significantly.

    I mean, what if I turned this around and asked about elite players?

    Ozzie Smith: .262/.337/.328 for a .666 OPS
    Tony Gwynn: .338/.388/.459 for an .847 OPS

    These are both elite players. Does it matter that they achieved elite-ness through different means?

    Seth Smith and Juan Pierre are both shitty ballplayers, the new “Mendoza Line” of performance. Does it matter if they achieved shittiness through different means?

    Answer both times: No.

  59. JohnBowen Says:

    “YOU don’t know what defines a replacement level player, and yet you claim to have explained it?”

    I just gave you four examples of replacement level players.

    They suck. That’s the point.

    The sum contribution of their bat, legs, glove, and arm are about the same as the expectation of a typical AAA player for their position. They’re the baseline against whom other players are measured.

    Players have many ways to impact a game. There’s no one replacement player set of numbers. Actually, there are infinitely many.

  60. Chuck Says:

    “The sum contribution of their bat, legs, glove, and arm are about the same as the expectation of a typical AAA player for their position.”

    Which is?

  61. Raul Says:

    Ozzie Smith was an elite shortstop.
    Tony Gwynn was an elite player.

    Not the same thing.

    But when you talk about “replacement player”, you have to be talking about replacement value.

    Two players can be good, but you can’t remove Ralph Kiner, plug in Tony Gwynn and expect the team to have the same record.

    Yet the replacement stat, or at least those who cite it, make that very claim, and then go out and assign a team win record.

    The difference in OPS between Seth Smith and Juan Pierre is 173 points. Theoretically, what you’re saying is…Nick Swisher and Ryan Braun basically had the same season this year…that is…depending on Swisher’s defensive value.

    I can’t think of any amount of defensive prowess that allows a guy like Swisher to make up that offensive difference.

    But I suppose some people do.
    *Shrugs*

  62. Chuck Says:

    “There’s no one replacement player set of numbers.”

    Exactly.

    And yet you statheads preach WAR like it’s gospel.

  63. JohnBowen Says:

    Once again:

    “There’s no one replacement player set of numbers. Actually, there are infinitely many.”

    Just like, there’s no one definition of a great ballplayer.

    Harmon Killebrew had replacement level defense and speed and hit just .256, but his power and on-base ability made him an all-time great.

    Ozzie Smith had below replacement power and on-base ability, but had enough ability with the glove and legs to make him an all-time great.

    Robin Yount wasn’t an all-time great at any one thing, but was good to very good at everything to the point where he was an all-time great.

    These are three very different ballplayers who are all all-time greats, showing that there is no one single set definition for any particular level, whether it’s replacement or HOF-caliber.

  64. JohnBowen Says:

    “The difference in OPS between Seth Smith and Juan Pierre is 173 points. Theoretically, what you’re saying is…Nick Swisher and Ryan Braun basically had the same season this year”

    You know that hitting in Colorado and hitting in Chicago are two very different exercises, right?

    And for shit’s sake.

    You claim to follow the game, and yet you’re hinging AN ENTIRE ARGUMENT on OPS? As if defense, speed, parks, etc don’t count?

  65. Cameron Says:

    I don’t preach. I think it’s interesting, but I can’t trust a stat I can’t calculate myself.

  66. Raul Says:

    But what you’re saying is…there’s different levels of greatness.
    True.

    But then it reasons that there are different levels of mediocrity? True. Which is what you’re saying.

    But then you’re using those same vagueries to determine that X-great player was better than X-replacement player. Without really knowing which player “X-replacement player” is.

    If you’re building a team and you are picking between 2 “replacement players”, there’s a big difference in how it impacts your team to choose Seth Smith rather than Juan Pierre — and vice versa. Yet the statistic calls them the same guy. That’s quite disingenuous, if you ask me.

  67. Cameron Says:

    You know what’s really disingenuous? Giving Juan Pierre enough PA to score 80 runs. That’s being able to look at guys like Dayan Viciedo square in the face and say, “Sorry, you suck worse than a guy who can’t hit, can’t field, and can’t throw.”

  68. Cameron Says:

    You know what I use as a good baseline for “replacement level”? The league average stats.

  69. Chuck Says:

    MLBNetwork has this new show called “Clubhouse Confidential”, which “breaks down the news of the day with a sabermetric twist.”

    The show is hosted by Brian Kenny, who used to be with ESPN.

    My first criticism of the show is it would help to have a host who actually understands sabermetrics.

    Anyone can read a teleprompter, but it’s easy to tell when someone does or doesn’t know his subject matter.

    Anyway, yesterday, Kenny is talking with Joe Sheehan, who called Jose Bautista an “average right fielder” at the exact time his NEGATIVE 8.6 UZR was up on the screen.

    Sheehan then said the difference for him in choosing between Bautista and Ellsbury was the “significant difference between them in plate appearances”.

    I’m not sure what public school system Sheehan is a product of, but someone should pull him aside and explain to him the definition of “significant.”

    Because 74 ain’t it.

  70. JohnBowen Says:

    “But what you’re saying is…there’s different levels of greatness.”

    Nah, that wasn’t the point. That’s a true statement, but it wasn’t the argument I was making.

    The way I see it, Harmon Killebrew, Robin Yount, and Ozzie Smith are all *roughly* in the same echelon of greatness.

    The point is that they attained that echelon with widely different skill-sets.
    there’s a big difference in how it impacts your team to choose Seth Smith rather than Juan Pierre — and vice versa. ”

    There’s a big difference in the means, but not the ends.

    Your team will win approximately just as many games either way. Of course, one might be a better fit than the other, based on who you have or where you play.

    If you choose Pierre, you’ll get a bunch more stolen bases, and runs that score with a man on first. You’ll get a higher proportion of runs produced from speed.

    If you choose Smith, you’ll get more runs through power but you’ll give away some runs in the field.

    The end result will be roughly the same number of wins. I don’t think that’s crazy at all.

  71. Raul Says:

    I noticed I haven’t really read or heard about those supposed WAR Dollars assigned to players after the season since that whole Chone Figgins/Ben Zobrist thing in 2009.

  72. Cameron Says:

    “The show is hosted by Brian Kenny, who used to be with ESPN.”

    …Doesn’t that explain EVERYTHING about what you typed after it? I think knowing anything about baseball causes them to fire you.

  73. Cameron Says:

    “I noticed I haven’t really read or heard about those supposed WAR Dollars assigned to players after the season since that whole Chone Figgins/Ben Zobrist thing in 2009.”

    Because everyone stopped caring.

  74. Raul Says:

    I actually don’t think the end result will be the same because the players don’t play in a vacuum. There are other players on the team.

  75. JohnBowen Says:

    “MLBNetwork has this new show called “Clubhouse Confidential”, which “breaks down the news of the day with a sabermetric twist.””

    “Sabermetrics is dead”

    So dead that a show on a network owned by the biggest baseball entity in the entire world has a show that airs thrice a day which discusses sabermetrics and interviews GM’s about how they incorporate analytics into their jobs.

  76. Chuck Says:

    #68,

    That’s exactly where I’m going.

    But, according to John, WAR doesn’t work that way.

    But we are lead to believe it does.

    He said it himself, “the typical AAA player..”

    I’m still waiting for the answer to what exactly IS a typical AAA player?

    What’s his BA? His OPS? How many doubles? Stolen bases? Fielding chances? Errors?

    And on and on.

    Here’s a question for you John..

    Would Matt Kemp’s WAR be the same in the AL?

    Oh, and as has been established…park factors are bullshit.

  77. JohnBowen Says:

    “I noticed I haven’t really read or heard about those supposed WAR Dollars assigned to players after the season since that whole Chone Figgins/Ben Zobrist thing in 2009″

    Right, because there was no realism to those figures.

    Even if, relative to other free agents, Ben Zobrist was worth 40 million dollars one year, who cares? No one’s going to sign a guy for that much per year.

    And on top of that, what was he worth…8 WAR? So, that means 5 of him and 20 AAA guys would win right around 89 games. So, if players made market value, a team with the same payroll as the Yankees could spend all their money on 5 of him, have him do exactly as advertised, and the Yankees would miss the playoffs?

    I agree, the fangraphs WAR $$ were really out there.

  78. Chuck Says:

    John..we all understand this Killebrew/Yount/Smith thing.

    What I want to know, without debate, is where does Kemp’s 10.0 come from?

    For anyone to come up with that result, it has to be based off something, right?

    So, what is it?

    Where is the “replacement level” numbers Kemp’s WAR is derived from?

  79. JohnBowen Says:

    “Oh, and as has been established…park factors are bullshit.”

    If Chuck had been a GM in 1996, he would have done anything to acquire Dante Bichette and promptly give him a 10-year deal.

    He would have been fired in 1997, when Dante Bichette hit .270/.301/.394.

    “I’m still waiting for the answer to what exactly IS a typical AAA player?
    What’s his BA? His OPS? How many doubles? Stolen bases? Fielding chances? Errors?”

    You know what?

    I’m gonna say he hits .230/.275/.340 with 9 HR, 20 2B, 7/11 in SB, with a 3.85 RF and a .950 fielding percentage, as a SS.

    Or, he could hit .250/.310/.400 with 16 HR, 25 2B, 0/1 in SB, with an 8.8 RF and a .980 fielding percentage, as a 1B.

    Or he could literally perform an INFINITE number of ways, because there are lots of variables that you’re looking at.

    Are you still not grasping this? Read the Killebrew-Yount-Smith thing. 3 guys, all HOFers, very different skill-sets.

    Same thing applies to replacement level players.

  80. Cameron Says:

    John, the problem is you’re trying to apply a standardized level of production to a non-standardized group of players. You can’t standardize education, you can’t standardize baseball.

  81. Raul Says:

    Ok…but Matt Kemp is an outfielder.
    So why wouldn’t his WAR be based off the statistics of another outfielder?

    How much faith can you really put into comparing Matt Kemp to Marco Scutaro?

  82. JohnBowen Says:

    “What I want to know, without debate, is where does Kemp’s 10.0 come from?
    For anyone to come up with that result, it has to be based off something, right?
    So, what is it?
    Where is the “replacement level” numbers Kemp’s WAR is derived from?”

    Um, if the Dodgers had swapped Matt Kemp for Vernon Wells, they would have won 72 games instead of 82 and the Angels would have made the playoffs with 96 wins instead of 86.

    It’s derived from correlation factors with winning. See, people have noticed the things that correlate closely with winning and the things that are less relevant, and they weight those things appropriately when determining the overall worth of a player.

  83. Chuck Says:

    John, if I have to ask you what “factors” go into park factors, then you don’t understand them, either.

    Good God, man.

    Do you read what you write before hitting the submit button?

  84. Cameron Says:

    John, when there’s more than one formula for a stat, it’s not a stat. It’s an equation of guys who know too much about math and have too much time on their hands.

  85. JohnBowen Says:

    “How much faith can you really put into comparing Matt Kemp to Marco Scutaro?”

    Because there is an inherent weight added for the position you play.

    If Marco Scuataro had had exactly the same season as Matt Kemp offensively, he would’ve had a higher WAR, because of the relative offensive scarcity at SS compared to CF.

    If Ryan Howard (who inexplicably got 10th today) had the exact same season as Matt Kemp offensively, he would’ve had a lower WAR because of the relative offensive abundance at 1B compared to CF.

    Not tough, really.

  86. Raul Says:

    Then I have to question what’s going into these “weights”.

    You see where we’re getting at?
    Analysts make these determinations…likely arbitrary in some cases…and I just don’t buy it.

  87. JohnBowen Says:

    “John, if I have to ask you what “factors” go into park factors, then you don’t understand them, either.”

    Actually, that means that you don’t understand them.

    Ya know, cuz you have to ask.

    They aren’t perfect, but if you think hitting in Colorado is comparable to hitting at US Cellular, you haven’t been paying attention to the game.

  88. JohnBowen Says:

    “Analysts make these determinations…likely arbitrary in some cases…and I just don’t buy it.”

    Ok, first off, it’s not arbitrary.

    Secondly, what do you buy?

    Batting average and RBI’s are nice and easy to figure out and you learned about them first as a little kid.

    You’re going to “buy them” as gospel for those reasons?

    Come on now.

  89. Cameron Says:

    Have you been paying attention to the game, or are you just looking for new things to put numbers to? My problem with sabermetrics isn’t that I think it’s full of crap. It has its merits and applications.

    But do you have to put a number to fucking everything? Can’t you just sit back, knock back a beer, and just watch the goddamn game?

  90. Raul Says:

    Nobody thinks hitting in Colorado is the same as hitting at US Cellular.

    But I don’t think park factors can quantify it.

    Hell you can take the Yankees, put them in San Diego and suddenly San Diego becomes a more hitter-friendly park. That’s nonsense.

  91. Raul Says:

    @ Cameron 89…

    No.

  92. JohnBowen Says:

    “Can’t you just sit back, knock back a beer, and just watch the goddamn game?”

    I do that all the time.

  93. Brautigan Says:

    One of the things I think most are missing is that the game is evolving again. It appears we’re moving towards speed on the field and away from power (well, it is easy to pinpoint why). And if that is the case, then guys like Juan Pierre have more value than someone like Dayan Viciedo (I mean, 5 foot eleven, 230 pounds? Where the hell is he going to play? Take out at Burgerville?)

    And there is a reason why guys like Pierre are not in AAA. Because the AAA players can’t hit major league pitching.

  94. JohnBowen Says:

    “Hell you can take the Yankees, put them in San Diego and suddenly San Diego becomes a more hitter-friendly park. That’s nonsense.”

    Tell me when that happens.

    See, another thing you can do is take a single Padre, put him in a hitter-friendly park, and all of a sudden he contends for the batting title, having never hit above .300 before.

    Oh wait…that happened.

  95. JohnBowen Says:

    “And there is a reason why guys like Pierre are not in AAA. Because the AAA players can’t hit major league pitching.”

    Nor can Juan Pierre.

    And the reason he’s not at AAA is that Ned Colleti and Kenny Williams are way more enthused with bunting than actual ability.

  96. Cameron Says:

    I dunno, with Ozzie gone I think Juan Pierre may see A LOT less ABs. Unless Ventura’s chock full o’ batshit, too.

  97. Cameron Says:

    I know this makes me sound really lazy, but I just took a step back and took a look at all that’s going on… And I realized you guys give way too much of a shit.

  98. Chuck Says:

    “They aren’t perfect, but if you think hitting in Colorado is comparable to hitting at US Cellular, you haven’t been paying attention to the game.”

    Players determine park factors, not the park.

    Otherwise, Coors’ rating would not change from year to year.

    No one is arguing Coors is an easier hitting environment than Chicago.

  99. Raul Says:

    “Tell me when that happens”

    Have you ever seen insane park factor fluctuations? It happens all the time.

  100. JohnBowen Says:

    “Have you ever seen insane park factor fluctuations? It happens all the time.”

    Not to the extent that you’re talking about.

    The idea that we should just ignore park factors is hilarious. Let’s just pretend that everyone with an .850 OPS is the same dude. And let’s ignore speed and defense too. Those things don’t matter.

    “Otherwise, Coors’ rating would not change from year to year.”

    Ok, Chuck.

    What do you think Coors’ rating should be.

    Remember: 100 is average, above 100 is more hitter-friendly, below 100 is more pitcher friendly.

    Go ahead. Give me a number.

  101. Chuck Says:

    “Hell you can take the Yankees, put them in San Diego and suddenly San Diego becomes a more hitter-friendly park.”

    Exactly.

    Which is the point.

    Petco would automatically become a more hitter friendly place to play, yet the PARK hasn’t changed at all.

    The Mets are changing CitiFields’ dimensions, which logically WILL change its park “factors”, even though, for the most part, the roster will be unchanged.

    And that’s the way it’s SUPPOSED to be.

    Christ, look at Wrigley.

    First two months of the season, wind blows to left..last two months it blows to right.

    THAT is a park factor.

    Aramis Ramirez hitting more homers in April and May and fewer in August and September is a result of a park factor, not the cause.

  102. Chuck Says:

    “Go ahead. Give me a number.”

    Not really the point, is it?

  103. Cameron Says:

    There’s just tricks you need to learn about a park. KC, technically a hitter’s park, but not easy to homer in. I think it’s probably the air’s heavy and humid through most of the season and we don’t get much wind. You gotta muscle shit out here.

  104. Cameron Says:

    ““Go ahead. Give me a number.””

    Zero. The number of fucks I’m giving.

  105. JohnBowen Says:

    “Not really the point, is it?”

    Well, if you think comparing everyone based solely on raw numbers is any better, that just points to laziness.

    “This new thing isn’t perfect, so I’m gonna keep using an old thing, which is way way way way way worse.”

    When the first calculators came out, was your response “FUCK THIS, IT CAN’T SOLVE IMPLICIT DIFFERENTIAL EQUATIONS. GIVE ME MY ABACUS!”

  106. Cameron Says:

    John, you’re sounding like a tool. Just sayin’.

  107. Raul Says:

    I did not know that about the wind blowing at Wrigley Field.

    Very interesting.
    I wonder if the Park Factors adjust for that.

  108. Cameron Says:

    You know who doesn’t adjust for that? The Cubs. Because they suck.

    …Fuck off, I’m tired.

  109. Chuck Says:

    “Well, if you think comparing everyone based solely on raw numbers is any better, that just points to laziness.”

    It doesn’t matter of Coors is a 104 or a 107, it should be the same EVERY year.

    The factor shouldn’t change just because Dante Bichette plays LF one year and Jay Payton the next.

    But they DO change, and it’s because the players change.

    Therefore, park factors, as we now know them, are bullshit.

    Understand?

  110. Chuck Says:

    A little sensitive today, Cameron?

    What’s the matter, leave the hot dogs in the microwave too long?

  111. Hossrex Says:

    Holy shit… you guys gotta check this out:

    http://espn.go.com/los-angeles/mlb/story/_/id/7270316/50-50

    Kempy predicts that he goes 50-50 in 2012.

    I’m swearing… right here, right now… that if Matt Kemp goes 50-50 next year, I will hire a tour manager to help organize a cross country trip, where I go across America to perform oral sex on each and every one of you.

    If Matt Kemp goes 50-50 next year, I’ll suck EVERY ONE OF YOUR DICKS.

  112. Cameron Says:

    Nah, just tired, Chuck. The shift in DST fucked up my sleep schedule and the weather here is miserable. I am not a happy camper today.

  113. John Says:

    LOL @ Hossrex.

  114. Cameron Says:

    Eh, never fault a guy for setting the bar high. They rarely live up to the boast, but it shows he’s at least trying and that he gives a fuck.

  115. Mike Felber Says:

    Love ya Hoss, but I;ll need to go into hiding if that happens! How ’bout you just buy us a drink or introduce us to a girl? ;-)

    Folks tend to see only the things which favor their arguments. Now it is true that the home team’s production distorts park factors. Why not adjust for their production in away games, figure how much better the average team plays in their park, adjust the #s, or throw out the home team’s production entirely? Hoss 7 I wonder about that.

    Yet clearly PF are much better than none. 1st, they are made up of all away team #s. 2nd, to at least some degree the conditions effect the production of home teams. Lastly, there are some yearly variations in the same park, though usually small, due to things like wind & weather.

    WAR is imperfect, there is variation between versions, & skepticism is generally very useful. But again, it is overwhelmingly at least in the ballpark, & some act like even the effort to quantify contributions-instead of misusing raw stats, with no consideration for context-is invalid or impossible, not worth doing.

    Bull. We have gotten much closer to the truth by trying & refining.

  116. brautigan Says:

    Hossrex:

    I just moved to Cleveland. Find me there.

  117. brautigan Says:

    I remember watching a game on WGN in the ’80s. Old Harry Carey and Steve Stone were on the air. It was early September and there was a right handed hitter up. It was late in the game and you could tell Harry had been pounding the Budweisers, he was getting out there. So this right handed hitter just crushes this pitch and ol’ Harry starts in with “THERE IT GOES” and you can hear Stone chuckling in the background. Harry begins to talk about “this is his such and such homerun of the year” and the left fielder has already caught the ball and has returned it to the infield.

    As much as Wrigley is a hitter’s park, it can be a pitcher’s park in the right condition.

  118. Chuck Says:

    I remember seeing Caray at a spring training game in Peoria.

    He was walking through the stands on his way to the press box, and he had someone walking with him to help clear the crowd.

    Or hold him up.

    It was like noon, for a 1 pm start, and he was already toasted.

  119. Chuck Says:

    “I just moved to Cleveland. Find me there.”

    Double my salary.

    Free corporate housing.

    Indians and Cavaliers season tickets.

    Five figure “contribution” to my 401k.

    A job for my wife.

    And I might consider Cleveland.

  120. brautigan Says:

    (I’m still in Portland, don’t tell Hossrex in the event Kemp goes 50-50.

  121. Hossrex Says:

    Mike: “Folks tend to see only the things which favor their arguments. “

    If the above wasn’t for me, disregard the next statement… but I wasn’t really trying to make a point with this. I just thought it was funny.

    Mike: “Now it is true that the home team’s production distorts park factors. Why not adjust for their production in away games, figure how much better the average team plays in their park, adjust the #s, or throw out the home team’s production entirely? Hoss 7 I wonder about that.”

    We went over that last week when we discussed the subject. I agree with you that your suggestion would go a long way to mitigate the problems I have with park factors.

    The problem is they don’t do it that way… for no reason I can understand except “that’s the way it’s always been”, which is particularly galling, since the people who use that type of excuse regarding saber type stats are the same people who fervently reject that excuse when it comes to aspects of baseball they DON’T agree with.

    We judge pitchers based on wins because “that’s the way it’s always been”, and that’s a problem.

    We judge park factors the way we do because “that’s the way it’s always been”, and it’s better than nothing.

    I couldn’t possibly be the only one who see’s a problem with that.

    Mike: “Yet clearly PF are much better than none.”

    No. No no no no no no no no no… NO!

    It most certainly is NOT better to utilize a set of data which gives misleading results, simply because we feel such a strong need to understand everything that we manufacture answers just to make us feel better about ourselves.

    Dumb person #1: “I don’t understand why we’re stuck to the ground.”
    Dumb person #2: “Hmmm… that’s a good question. I think the answer is that angels hold peoples feet to the ground.”
    Dumb person #1: “Uhhh… that doesn’t really make sense… I mean… how do you know the angels exist in the first place?”
    Dumb person #2: “Well… even if it isn’t ONE HUNDRED percent accurate, it’s better to believe that then to believe NOTHING.”
    Dumb person #1: “Well… that makes sense… I guess… I’ll put a twenty in the collection plate when it comes around.”

    If something is flawed, it’s flawed. Believing in something, or using consciously flawed data, not only leads to incorrect conclusions, but it can prevent you from looking deeper into an issue (which might lead to accurate conclusions) because you mistakenly believe you’ve come to a reasonable conclusion.

    You CAN NOT justifiably use data which you KNOW is inaccurate.

    Disagreeing is to spit in the face of every scientific philosophy that led you to look into sabermetrics. You’re literally saying you want to use the scientific process… sometimes… kinda sorta.

    That doesn’t make you uncomfortable?

    Mike: “We have gotten much closer to the truth by trying & refining.”

    I agree… the problem is… where’s the refinement? If the saber community is as scientific as you insist, why is park factor so OBVIOUSLY flawed, and so EASILY fixable?

    Why hasn’t it been refined?

    Doesn’t that concern you?

  122. John Says:

    Without park factors, we have people equating an .800 OPS at Coors Field with an .800 OPS at Petco.

    Yes, they’re flawed. So is everything. Batting average equates a bloop single off AJ Burnett to a home run off Jered Weaver.

    Somehow, that’s what “batting” is defined as.

  123. JohnBowen Says:

    Also, it should really just be common sense that an 8 point OPS is more than made up by playing in a stadium with a billion hectacres of foul ground and playing a harder defensive position and hitting more HR and stealing more bases etc etc.

    I’m not too pissed because Braunie is, ya know, the man. But Kemp was better this season in pretty much every way.

  124. Mike Felber Says:

    You make good arguments Hoss.

    The statement about selection bias was a general one, not directed at you. I agree that we should always try to get the best results, & one bias is that SM folks may take as gospel “their” side. Though the gravity analogy is flawed, because that is an all or nothing case.

    PFs are not binaries. I’m gonna check around to see why they do not adjust the obvious flaws in them. But clearly parks do provide effects, advantages to batters or pitchers. Since these things are matters of degrees, & we can see that 1/2 of the equation is fine, the other 1/2 contaminated by home team strengths (but they still are effected by the park), it is better to get closer to the truth while remaining critical than doing nothing.

    So it does concern me Hoss. But if we ran the #s in the ways we have talked about, adjusting for home team strength, or taking them out entirely, it will still correlate to what we have now in our debased PF #s, & be much closer to true than saying the Astrodome = Fenway Park= Shea=Colorado.

  125. Chuck Says:

    Amen, Hoss.

    Mike and John are so immune to what we say now because we’re basically it, so it’s nice when someone comes back from the dead, with no recollection of what’s been discussed since he’s gone, and jumps right in and reiterates what we’ve been saying all along.

  126. JohnBowen Says:

    “and reiterates what we’ve been saying all along”

    What you’ve been saying all along is idiotic.

    Park Factors, while clearly imperfect, give a better quantitative idea of how good a player is than your method, which is looking at batting average and all in all just blatantly guessing.

  127. JohnBowen Says:

    What do you think is a better representation of, say, Dante Bichette’s offensive career?

    .835 raw OPS, just ahead of Roberto Clemente?

    or

    106 OPS+, tied with Dave Hollins?

  128. JohnBowen Says:

    Also, I love what it comes down to is a straight denial that an 8 point OPS difference is easily made up for by playing in Dodger Stadium rather than Miller Park.

    I would love to hear that argument.

    DODGER STADIUM IS ONLY A PITCHERS PARK BECAUSE JAMES LONEY PLAYS THERE.

    Uh, ok. No.

  129. Chuck Says:

    “What you’ve been saying all along is idiotic.”

    And right.

    Which is the important thing.

    But the real question is….

    Why do you need an admittedly flawed stat to recognize the difference between Coors and Petco?

  130. JohnBowen Says:

    “Why do you need an admittedly flawed stat to recognize the difference between Coors and Petco?”

    I don’t.

    But, if I’m going to compare players, I’d like to know if/how much they’ve benefited/been hurt by their park.

    But just because park factors aren’t perfect, we’re supposed to completely ignore them?

    Why don’t we completely ignore statistics you like with (more) flaws?

  131. Brautigan Says:

    ““And there is a reason why guys like Pierre are not in AAA. Because the AAA players can’t hit major league pitching.”

    Nor can Juan Pierre.”

    Juan Pierre has 2020 career hits. Which, round off a few, is 2020 more hits than you.

    Even the worst poster child for bad ballplayers, Willie Bloomquist, is a hell of a baseball player. You HAVE to be to play at this level.

    I’d like to see you go up and bunt a 95 mile tailing heater or a 85 mph slider. And then do it to get on base. Or do it to move a runner up.

    Then tell me Juan Pierre sucks. (and then remind me of this rant when I rant on Willie Bloomquist)

  132. Chuck Says:

    “I’d like to know if/how much they’ve benefited/been hurt by their park”

    Suggestion?

    Watch a few games.

  133. JohnBowen Says:

    “I’d like to see you go up and bunt a 95 mile tailing heater or a 85 mph slider. And then do it to get on base. Or do it to move a runner up.”

    I can’t.

    I also haven’t been paid 10 million dollars a year to do so.

  134. JohnBowen Says:

    “Watch a few games.”

    You realize that you miss things when you just watch “a few games” ?

    There are 2430 games every year, and I’m bound to miss around 2200 of them.

  135. JohnBowen Says:

    Also, I’d love to hear if you have any suggestions for park factors.

  136. Chuck Says:

    The last time the Dodgers won the WS was 1988, Dodger Stadium park factor for the year was 107.

    It was 97 last year.

    Explain that, John.

  137. Chuck Says:

    “I also haven’t been paid 10 million dollars a year to do so”

    Like that would make the difference.

  138. Cameron Says:

    ““Why do you need an admittedly flawed stat to recognize the difference between Coors and Petco?”

    I don’t.

    But, if I’m going to compare players, I’d like to know if/how much they’ve benefited/been hurt by their park.

    But just because park factors aren’t perfect, we’re supposed to completely ignore them?

    Why don’t we completely ignore statistics you like with (more) flaws?”

    So… You can’t make any form of qualitative observation?

  139. JohnBowen Says:

    “The last time the Dodgers won the WS was 1988, Dodger Stadium park factor for the year was 107.
    It was 97 last year.”

    And yet the multi-year park factors which went into calculating ERA+ and OPS+ are…98 and 97.

    Swing and a miss.

  140. JohnBowen Says:

    “So… You can’t make any form of qualitative observation?”

    If you were an engineer at a firm and you tried to make a decision about a part using the same guesswork that Chuck so gleefully advocates, you would be fired in about 6 seconds.

  141. Cameron Says:

    Yes. Engineering is a perfect science and needs numbers applied to it constantly. Baseball is not a perfect science whatsoever. I almost forgot you were an engineer. Makes so much of the bullshit you spout make so much more sense.

  142. Chuck Says:

    No, John.

    Just like with WAR and every other bullshit stat you preach, when it comes right down to it, you’re just as fucking clueless about them as you claim we are.

    Face it, you don’t understand WAR any more than I do.

    The principle of WAR, sure, we all get it, but since you can’t provide the “replacement” level numbers used to determine Matt Kemp’s WAR, that makes you just as ignorant of the stat as the stat itself.

    You lose, bro.

  143. JohnBowen Says:

    “Engineering is a perfect science and needs numbers applied to it constantly.”

    NO

    It absolutely is not a perfect science.

    The rule in engineering is that it’s NEVER perfect. You keep iterating your design so that it keeps getting better and better but it is IMPOSSIBLE to achieve perfection.

    Just like with baseball statistics, you’re never going to have the 100% correct answer.

    But that’s no reason to continue to rely on worse metrics just because newer, better ones aren’t absolutely perfect.

    If Chuck were a caveman, he would have rejected the invention of the fucking wheel because it wasn’t flawless…and would have continued to walk on foot.

  144. JohnBowen Says:

    “The principle of WAR, sure, we all get it, but since you can’t provide the “replacement” level numbers used to determine Matt Kemp’s WAR, that makes you just as ignorant of the stat as the stat itself.”

    I can’t believe you’re still not getting this.

    There is NO ONE SET DEFINITION of a replacement level player because there are INFINITELY many ways a player’s net contributions can sum up to be zero.

    It’s like asking for a “definition” for 3 numbers that add up to 10.

    You could have 1, 4, and 5

    Or 10, 0 and 0

    Or 9, 1, and 0

    Or 8, 2, and 0

    Or 3, 4 and 3

    Or -100, 100, and 10

  145. Chuck Says:

    “But that’s no reason to continue to rely on worse metrics just because newer, better ones aren’t absolutely perfect.”

    They’re NOT better, John.

    That’s the point.

    Always has been.

  146. JohnBowen Says:

    “They’re NOT better, John.”

    Yes, they are.

    But if you want to hitch your wagon to a statistics which say that Ryan Howard is a better player than Shane Victorino, go for it.

  147. Chuck Says:

    “There is NO ONE SET DEFINITION of a replacement level player because there are INFINITELY many ways a player’s net contributions can sum up to be zero.”

    Give me a break, you tool.

    Matt Kemp had a 10.0 WAR this year.

    Where did that come from?

    His stats compared to ………?

    Yuniesky Betancourt?

    All NL centerfielders?

    All PCL centerfielders?

    All NL outfielders?

    There HAS to be a baseline somewhere.

    Show me.

  148. Chuck Says:

    Matt Kemp’s WAR was 10.0.

    Mine was 7.4.

    Prove it?

    Prove Kemp’s first.

  149. JohnBowen Says:

    “Where did that come from?”

    The sum total of his contributions in hitting, baserunning, and defense.

    Incredible that you’re still not getting this.

  150. Cameron Says:

    “But if you want to hitch your wagon to a statistics which say that Ryan Howard is a better player than Shane Victorino, go for it.”

    Howard may be overrated and overpaid, but I’d rather have him than Victorino ANY day of the week.

  151. JohnBowen Says:

    “Prove Kemp’s first.”

    It’s based on correlation factors.

    You sat around and bitched about how people like Jacoby Ellsbury and Jose Bautista sucked all year, while they finished 2nd and 3rd in the MVP voting.

    That has a 0.0 correlation with winning.

    Matt Kemp had the best year by an NL CFer since Willie Fucking Mays.

    That has a strong correlation with winning.

    Hence why an otherwise total shit team finished with a winning record.

  152. JohnBowen Says:

    “Howard may be overrated and overpaid, but I’d rather have him than Victorino ANY day of the week.”

    And you would be wrong.

  153. JohnBowen Says:

    I can’t believe Howard finished 10th in the MVP voting.

    If the only people eligible for the award were 1B, he maybe would’ve deserved to get 10th.

  154. Cameron Says:

    I never said Ellsbury had a bad year. I just thought it was a fluke year and I don’t like him as a player.

  155. Cameron Says:

    Grady Sizemore is with the Indians for one more year on a five million dollar deal that could become a nine million dollar deal in incentives.

  156. Chuck Says:

    “Incredible that you’re still not getting this.”

    I do get it, John, and that’s what’s pissing you off.

    You’re backed into a corner and can’t get out.

    I’m not interested in some brush off bullshit answer like “correlation” factors.

    I’m a kinesthetic learner.

    Put it in writing.

    The Dodgers won 82 games.

    Kemps numbers correlated to a .500 record?

  157. JohnBowen Says:

    “I’m not interested in some brush off bullshit answer like “correlation” factors.”

    Chuck, just because you don’t know what something is, doesn’t mean it’s bullshit.

    “The Dodgers won 82 games.

    Kemps numbers correlated to a .500 record?”

    Ok.

    This is pointless.

  158. JohnBowen Says:

    “I’m a kinesthetic learner.”

    I think you misspelled the word “non”

  159. JohnBowen Says:

    Ok, Chuck, how many games do YOU think the Dodgers win with the following lineup:

    C – Barajas
    1B – Loney
    2B – Miles
    3B – Uribe
    SS – Carroll
    LF – Gwynn
    CF – Sands
    RF – Ethier

    Along with their pitching.

    I want a number for how many wins that shit team would produce without Kemp.

    Go ahead. Just say a number.

  160. Cameron Says:

    C – Barajas
    1B – Loney
    2B – Miles
    3B – Uribe
    SS – Carroll
    LF – Sands
    CF – Gwynn
    RF – Ethier

    There ya go. And that’s probably a 70 win team if they’re lucky.

  161. JohnBowen Says:

    Can you imagine if Chuck was around when the phone was invented?

    Alexander Graham Bell: Chuck, you should try this! It’s called a phone!
    Chuck: Is there a “caller identification system”
    AGB: Well…no. At least not yet. I mean, it’s not perfect.
    Chuck: BAH! I will continue to have all my messages delivered in letter form by horseback.

  162. JohnBowen Says:

    “There ya go. And that’s probably a 70 win team if they’re lucky.”

    QED

  163. Cameron Says:

    Doesn’t take a genius to realize without Kemp, the Dodgers suck. I don’t need numbers to substitute for common sense.

  164. Raul Says:

    John and Mike think that baseball fans are so stupid that they really don’t know the difference between playing in Petco and Coors.

    I can’t recall ever encountering anyone so smug about something that was so fundamentally wrong in my life.

  165. JohnBowen Says:

    “Doesn’t take a genius to realize without Kemp, the Dodgers suck. I don’t need numbers to substitute for common sense.”

    “John and Mike think that baseball fans are so stupid that they really don’t know the difference between playing in Petco and Coors.”

    Again.

    That’s vague. It doesn’t tell me shit. How much is the disadvantage? How does Seth Smith compare to Ryan Ludwick?

    It’s like “I DON’T NEED WAR TO TELL ME ALBERT PUJOLS IS GOOD AT BASEBALL”

    No shit, but front offices are trying damn hard to quantify exactly how good, so they can figure out how much of their payroll to offer him.

  166. Chuck Says:

    “Chuck, just because you don’t know what something is, doesn’t mean it’s bullshit.”

    I understand, John, and made that clear numerous times before.

    The bottom line you can’t answer my question.

    It’s not a finger point to you, per se, it’s to the stat itself.

    I know what Matt Kemp’s batting average is based on, what the formula is.

    The same for his SB% and fielding percentage.

    “I want a number for how many wins that shit team would produce without Kemp.

    Go ahead. Just say a number”

    88

  167. Chuck Says:

    “No shit, but front offices are trying damn hard to quantify exactly how good”

    Based on what?

  168. JohnBowen Says:

    “Go ahead. Just say a number”

    88″

    Cool, also wrong.

    “I know what Matt Kemp’s batting average is based on, what the formula is.
    The same for his SB% and fielding percentage.”

    Sure those things are very exact.

    I thought the point of baseball was to win games, not have a high BA, SB% and FP.

    WAR makes an effort to quantify those things into something meaningful.

    So a team has a high BA? What the hell does that tell me?

  169. Chuck Says:

    “Cool, also wrong.”

    Prove it.

  170. Raul Says:

    No matter how much you tell it to yourself…you will never know what a player is worth. 4 wins or 13 wins.
    You have no idea. You never have. You never will.

    And for you to definitively say 88 wins is wrong than…say 93 wins…you’re just being an arrogant asshole because you don’t know

  171. JohnBowen Says:

    “You have no idea. You never have. You never will.”

    Yes.

    I have SOME idea.

    Doesn’t mean I have to be 100% right.

  172. JohnBowen Says:

    “And for you to definitively say 88 wins is wrong than…say 93 wins…you’re just being an arrogant asshole because you don’t know”

    If you think the Dodgers would have won 6 MORE games without the best player in baseball, I would say you’re an arrogant asshole.

  173. Cameron Says:

    Chuck, I said something the other day I think you can get behind. “I can’t trust a stat I can’t calculate myself.”

    And John, you told him to just say a number. You never said he couldn’t say anything to piss you off. Set yourself up to get slammed, you’re gonna get slammed.

  174. JohnBowen Says:

    On a scale of 0-10, where 10 is knowing with absolute certainty and 0 is just blindly guessing, WAR is around an 8.

    Chuck’s methods are basically a 1.

  175. Chuck Says:

    “On a scale of 0-10, where 10 is knowing with absolute certainty and 0 is just blindly guessing, WAR is around an 8.”

    Based on what, exactly?

    You can’t even tell me the basis for WAR, which is what constitutes a replacement player, and yet you’re saying WAR is 80% certain in it’s results?

    You can’t possibly believe that.

  176. Brautigan Says:

    I have to tell you John that WAR is the worst stat I have seen. IT means literally nothing to me, there is no context to it. None. It tells me nothing.

  177. JohnBowen Says:

    “You can’t even tell me the basis for WAR, which is what constitutes a replacement player, and yet you’re saying WAR is 80% certain in it’s results?”

    I can tell you that teams finished with about as many wins as could be expected from the statistic within an average of about 2.

    Not perfect, but holy crap.

    I’m not going to deliver messages by the pony express just because my email doesn’t always work perfectly.

  178. Chuck Says:

    What do you know, corraboration from another independent source.

    Go figure.

  179. JohnBowen Says:

    “I have to tell you John that WAR is the worst stat I have seen. IT means literally nothing to me, there is no context to it. None. It tells me nothing.”

    I care about a person’s value in terms of approximately how many wins he gives me.

    His batting average, doubles and home runs are perfectly nice, but those don’t show up in the standings.

  180. Brautigan Says:

    “You can’t even tell me the basis for WAR, which is what constitutes a replacement player.”

    To make it worse, it refers to a fictitious player. And what does fictitious refer to? Concealment. So what is there to hide?

    “I thought the point of baseball was to win games”. Read up on Connie Mack and Charlie Finley. Reality seems to escape you.

    “If you think the Dodgers would have won 6 MORE games without the best player in baseball”…..wait, I thought it was Ryan Braun.

    And if you think that owners only sign players based on statistics and not how many additional fannies it might put in the seats……….well, “Reality seems to escape you”.

  181. Chuck Says:

    So, John’s walking home and he gets zapped up into a space ship and flies off into the atmosphere.

    The lead alien says none of them know anything about baseball and want to learn, and tells him he’ll be returned to Earth safely only if he can explain WAR.

    So, John tells the aliens it’s “And 80% accurate guess to performance based on a number of factors which correlate to winning.”

    The lead alien then says, “Well, then what are those factors, and based on those factors, how was Matt Kemp’s 10.0 WAR determined.”

    To which John replies, “Well, because he’s a good player.”

    At which time the alien zaps him with his laser, and dumps his body in a cell next to Shaun Payne’s.

  182. Chuck Says:

    “I care about a person’s value in terms of approximately how many wins he gives me”

    Wins, or win shares, can’t be assigned to one player.

    Kemp goes 0-4 with a golden sombrero and the Dodgers win.

    He had nothing to do with it.

    He goes 4-4 with three bombs and seven RBI and they lose, 8-7.

    He had nothing to do with it.

  183. JohnBowen Says:

    “And what does fictitious refer to? ”

    Again.

    Infinitely many players.

    How come people have no problem with the idea that three completely different players – say, Robin Yount, Ozzie Smith, and Harmon Killebrew can all be described as “elite” – but there has to be exactly one type of player deemed “replacement-level” in order for replacement to mean anything.

    I mean, there are 9 positions on a diamond for starters. And several different ways for them to contribute.

  184. Chuck Says:

    “To make it worse, it refers to a fictitious player.”

    Yeah…

  185. JohnBowen Says:

    “Wins, or win shares, can’t be assigned to one player.”

    Yes, they can.

    “Kemp goes 0-4 with a golden sombrero and the Dodgers win.
    He had nothing to do with it.
    He goes 4-4 with three bombs and seven RBI and they lose, 8-7.
    He had nothing to do with it.”

    You miss the point, yet again.

    The whole point is to take a player’s entire body of work, try to isolate his contributions, and figure out how good that ONE PLAYER is.

    Why does it have to be exact? It’s better than saying “well, if we bring in Carlos Lee, he’ll make us contenders!!!!!!” when in fact, he will not.

  186. JohnBowen Says:

    Chuck,

    What’s the definition of a good player?

    I want his full body of work. Everything. Cuz apparently, there can be only one possible type of player for any given skill level.

  187. Cameron Says:

    John, can you actually give me the formula for WAR? Do you even know how what you’re taking as gospel is calculated?

  188. Brautigan Says:

    I think I get it now.

    You are 10 times more likely to get a player like Willie Bloomquist than you are Ryan Braun. Therefore, Bloomquist is a 0 and Braun a 10.

    Now WAR makes sense to me.

  189. Chuck Says:

    “Yes, they can.”

    No, John, they can’t.

  190. Chuck Says:

    “The whole point is to take a player’s entire body of work, try to isolate his contributions, and figure out how good that ONE PLAYER is.”

    Based on what?

    What are you comparing his “contributions” to in order to find out how good he is?

  191. JohnBowen Says:

    “John, can you actually give me the formula for WAR? Do you even know how what you’re taking as gospel is calculated?”

    It’s not a “formula” per se.

    You look at every team for a time period.

    You look at how closely BA relates to run scoring, and you assign a weight.

    You look at how closely OBP relates to run scoring, and you assign a weight. Turns out it’s much more important to have a high OBP than have a high BA!

    And you estimate how many wins are produced by a single player based on these factors.

    EVERY OTHER INDUSTRY IN THE ENTIRE WORLD DOES THIS.

    It’s downright irresponsible for guys to give guys like Gary Matthews Jr. 50 million dollar contracts because “well, I saw this one super catch, and he had a high batting average this year…ehhh..ahhh…well…let’s guess 50 million dollars.”

  192. Cameron Says:

    “It’s not a “formula” per se.

    You look at every team for a time period.

    You look at how closely BA relates to run scoring, and you assign a weight.

    You look at how closely OBP relates to run scoring, and you assign a weight. Turns out it’s much more important to have a high OBP than have a high BA!

    And you estimate how many wins are produced by a single player based on these factors.”

    And you know how these weights are assigned? How these weights are calculated? Can you even give me one of them? I know there’s at least two formulas for it. It IS a formula. In order to assign a weight, you need a benchmark to weigh things against. How is that benchmark calculated?

    Or are you just going to look at a number some guy on fangraphs as something concrete?

  193. Raul Says:

    LOL @ you thinking Matthews got a huge contract because of simpletons.
    For all you know, his agent had WAR graphs up the ying yang

  194. Cameron Says:

    Raul, the dumbass who signed him to 50 million was the same dumbass who traded for Vernon Wells. WAR is too complicated for him. I assume the negotiations hinged around jingling keys in front of Tony Reaigns’ face.

  195. Brautigan Says:

    We all know why Matthews got 50 million. The answer lies in a depleted syringe.

  196. JohnBowen Says:

    “LOL @ you thinking Matthews got a huge contract because of simpletons.”

    Silly me! Those guys were geniuses. I sure look silly now that Gary Matthews has hit .330/.443/.663 –

    Oh wait, he didn’t do that. What happened was, he failed epically.

    “For all you know, his agent had WAR graphs up the ying yang”

    He had a 3.4 WAR in 2006, his last year before signing that deal, and was never above 2 at any point before that.

    So, no.

    “And you know how these weights are assigned? How these weights are calculated? Can you even give me one of them? I know there’s at least two formulas for it. It IS a formula. In order to assign a weight, you need a benchmark to weigh things against. How is that benchmark calculated?”

    I understand the general process.

    Matlab, or Excel computes the actual weights.

    What happens is, you have a regression line based on the data. None of the data is actually on the line, so you find the residuals, and come up with an “R^2″ value, which shows how closely the data correlates. This value is between 0 (no relation to data, such as “contact percentage”) and 1 (perfect correlation, which would be if the points lined up exactly on the line).

    The better the R^2 value, the higher the weight, and the more closely it relates to WAR.

    OBP has an R^2 value of around 0.9, compared to BA at 0.75, so OBP is weighted more heavily. A number of other factors are examined and given relative weights, and from there a certain number of runs created (or saved) is given based on league-wide averages.

    And as complicated as all that sounds, it lines up very well with team wins.

  197. Cameron Says:

    Fair enough. At least WAR isn’t fueled on black magic. Not a perfect system, but I can see what goes into it now.

    I’m assuming the baseline 0 on the weights is league average?

  198. JohnBowen Says:

    “I’m assuming the baseline 0 on the weights is league average?”

    What do you mean, exactly?

  199. Cameron Says:

    Well, every weight in this is gonna need a benchmark value to determine what correlates positively or negatively with winning, right? A sub-average batting average isn’t going to make that weight go up. All I’ve seen in this are positive values you’re multiplying by.

    Basically, I’m trying to figure out what constitutes replacement level in the equation itself. Logically, it’d be the league average player.

  200. JohnBowen Says:

    The weights assigned are to the individual component statistics themselves…BA, OBP, SLG, SB%, etc.

    Let’s say that all information was lost from before this year, and we just had 2011 to work with.

    For BA, we would have 30 team BA’s and 30 team R/G. We would figure out the R^2 value between BA and R/G.

    Let’s say that every team lined up perfectly – when you graphed one against the other it lined up in a perfect linear line and you could figure out a team’s R/G based on their BA. There would be a formula like R/G = m(BA) + b, where m is the slope and b is the y-intercept, like from algebra.

    That would be an example of perfect correlation, R = 1.0. You never see this.

    Let’s say we did OPS+, and it was just all over the place. Some teams had a 120 OPS+ and scored 3.6 R/g, some had an 80 OPS+ and scored 7.3 R/g, others did what you’d think they’d do…it was just all over the place. And when you graphed it, you just had a horizontal line through the data (presumably equal to league average R/g).

    This would be an example of 0 correlation, R = 0.0. You’ll never see exactly this, but some things – like contact percentage – are pretty close.

    Now, you can also have negative correlation, but it’s not that important for our purposes.

    Anyway, these weights just come from how strong a correlation you have, relative to a baseline…essentially a 50 win team, which is what is defined as replacement.

    You can just as easily have WAA – wins above average. Everything would just be shifted. Kemp would be at 8.0, Braun at 5.7, etc. It’s done the way it is because average players don’t make league minimum, typically.

  201. Raul Says:

    John, you have any grasp of mechanics of pitching or hitting?
    You claim to understand what leads to winning, like homers and walks. Do you understand what goes into a player hitting homers and taking walks?

  202. John Says:

    “John, you have any grasp of mechanics of pitching or hitting?”

    Um, off-topic.

    I would say I have some grasp, probably about as much as you, frankly. Less than Chuck or Brautigan or Lefty.

    How does that have any significance into understanding why a statistic works well?

  203. Cameron Says:

    If I had to guess, it’s going to lead into him saying since you don’t know anything about baseball on the field, you don’t know anything about baseball period. In other words, theoretical knowledge is trumped by applied knowledge.

  204. Raul Says:

    It has more to do when the basis of what people say leads to winning.

  205. Raul Says:

    fail @ cam

  206. John Says:

    “It has more to do when the basis of what people say leads to winning.”

    What does that have anything to do with mechanics?

  207. Cameron Says:

    No, the fail is what you tried to post. Was that English? When the basis of what people say to winning… What? That sentence has no verb!

  208. Cameron Says:

    The People Ryan Braun Called After Winning The MVP
    -
    1. His Parents
    2. His Agent
    3. His best friend Aaron (Rodgers)

    What he said to Rodgers? “Your turn.”

  209. John Says:

    “What he said to Rodgers? “Your turn.” ”

    No kidding.

    The more I watch #12, the more I forget about #4.

  210. Raul Says:

    Jonathan Papelbon is 31 today.
    Dale Sveum is 48

  211. Cameron Says:

    I wonder how Sveum’s gonna handle Chicago. Guy’s a hardass on his players from what I’ve heard. He said he’s not gonna put up with his players’ crap, but there’s a lot of crap to put up with in that town.

  212. Chuck Says:

    John @ #196 & 200,

    Why didn’t you say that 150 comments ago?

  213. Chuck Says:

    John @ #196 & 200,

    Why didn’t you say that 150 comments ago?

  214. Cameron Says:

    Chuck @ #213

    Why didn’t you say that one comment ago?

  215. John Says:

    Yay for repeat posts.

  216. John Says:

    Hey Cam, word on the twittersphere is that the Chiefs just put in a waiver claim on Kyle Orton! Get excited! #dontgettooexcited

  217. Chuck Says:

    I didn’t even think we COULD duplicate anymore, that Wordpress would decline them.

    Anyway, not intentional.

  218. Chuck Says:

    That guy who QB’d (loose term) the Chiefs on Monday was, shall we say, not very good.

  219. John Says:

    There’ve been a lot of really crappy matchups on national television this year…I guess part of that is all those games the Colts were scheduled for back when ESPN and NBC thought their QB would be Peyton Manning…

  220. Cameron Says:

    Chuck, that’s Tyler Palko. He’s our second-stringer, now our starter since Matt Cassel is on injured reserve. He used to be our third stringer behind Brodie Croyle, a man who went 0-13 in his starts.

    …Yes, he sucked so hard he lost to a guy who went 0-13 as a starter.

    I never thought I’d say this, but thank god for Kyle Orton.

  221. John Says:

    KC still has to play Chicago, right? It’d be cool to see Orton stick it to the Bears for trading him to get Cutler.

  222. Cameron Says:

    He probably would. I don’t care what the record says, the Bears suck.

  223. John Says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=avRHH9uAL4Q

  224. Cameron Says:

    Niiiice.

  225. Cameron Says:

    The details on the Gonzalez negotiations with Miami are getting dumber. They wanted either a package centered around Morrison or a package centered around Stanton.

    …A PACKAGE including Stanton. Billy, fuck you.

  226. John Says:

    Stanton is just silly, and Morrison? If I’m the Marlins, I’m not trading LoMo – if for no other reason, because he’s the only reason anyone’s even aware that the Marlins are a team, thanks to twitter.

  227. Chuck Says:

    “because he’s the only reason anyone’s even aware that the Marlins are a team, thanks to twitter.”

    And now that the new CBA restricts, or in some cases bans social media…….

  228. Cameron Says:

    Huh, didn’t know this, but it seems there’s some stories saying the reason Bobby Thompson hit The Shot Heard ‘Round the World is because New York was stealing Brooklyn’s signals.

  229. John Says:

    Yeah, @227, what exactly is that about?

  230. Cameron Says:

    I think they took a look at some of the dumb shit other players in other sports do on Twitter (lookin’ at you, NFL) and said, “Yeah, not gonna be part of that shit.”

  231. John Says:

    Looks like Bruce Chen is coming back to the Royals.

  232. Cameron Says:

    That makes three years in a row of proof KC’s rotation sucks.

  233. Brautigan Says:

    @ 228: Ralph Branca wouldn’t acknowledge it, but Carl Erskine didn’t hold back. He was adamant that the Giants were stealing signs.

  234. Chuck Says:

    Ralph Branca was Bobby Thompson’s bitch.

    If I’m not mistaken, Thompson homered off him in Game one.

    You know how to keep teams from stealing signs?

    Change them.

  235. Cameron Says:

    I’m with Chuck on this one. If your signs are getting called, you change the goddamn signs.

  236. Brautigan Says:

    Thompson did homer off of Branca in game one of the three game playoffs. So rather than point fingers at Branca, how about Chuck Dressen who brought Branca in? I think Rob Neyer brought that up as well……….good memory Chuck. I had forgotten about that.

  237. Brautigan Says:

    (the rumor was there was a guy in the scoreboard relaying the signs to Ray Nobles.)

    My favorite was when the Yankees were playing in the ’50s and they had a pitcher that had a knack for calling pitches (Tom Sturdivant). So, when the Yankees were up to bat, Sturdivant is coaching first and when a fastball was coming, he would whistle this shrill whistle. So Mickey Mantle comes to bat against Jim Bunning and here comes a fastball and Sturdivant whistles. The next fastball comes and a whistle and Bunning starts to glare at Sturdivant. Yet another fastball comes in and Bunning drills Mantle. Mantle limps to first base and up comes Yogi Berra. Bunning looks in for his signals and goes in to his stretch and Sturdivant whistles. Berra jumps out of the batters box and yells out, “Jim, he’s whistling but I’m not listening”.

  238. Cameron Says:

    I just realized that Larry Bowa is coaching Ivan DeJesus’ kid. For some reason, I find this funny.

  239. Chuck Says:

    You know Larry Bowa didn’t coach all this year, right?

  240. Mike Felber Says:

    Happy Thanksgiving all.

    The Blog that has been transplanted from B-R.com’s is a great place to ask all questions about details of WAR, win shares, & other matter SM. Instead of giving a long winded summary, here is one recent thread that discussed replacement level & Win Shares. Folks there can also refer you to the old site’s archive for technical questions. http://highheatstats.blogspot.com/2011/11/ryan-braun-wins-nl-mvp.html.

    I & others discuss how Kemp * Braun are closer together in fangraphs WAR, & Win Shares varies a bit too. Yet there is much agreement in general between systems. All variations are reasons to challenge & refine.

    Getting an understanding of what goes into them & then approximating what values are closer where narrows down the degree of error greatly. It makes sense to look at things skeptically, but still try to employ relevant #s & formulas that just for context. Much better than going on what has often been traditional context dependent #s unalloyed, &/or to merely have a vague idea of how environmental & other player factors effect the true contribution of a player.

  241. Cameron Says:

    And Ivan DeJesus wasn’t on the team all this year either, but the connection’s still there.

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