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  #1  
Old 05-20-2018, 02:52 PM
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Default WAR Question:

Mike Trout has a 3.9, while Mookie Betts is at 3.6. Of those totals, Trout has 0.9 for his defense, while Betts gets only 0.3 - yet neither has an error yet. The Range Factor Stats (which are VERY foreign to me) do not appear to make much of a difference.

Does it just mean that Betts has better replacements than Trout? If both are full-time players, how do they measure that?

I need someone who is fluent in WAR to explain the big difference.
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Old 05-20-2018, 03:44 PM
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I'd guess the difference is that Betts plays RF and Trout plays CF and has more overall chances and likely covers more ground due to his position.
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Old 05-20-2018, 05:04 PM
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I think WAR is a conspiracy invented by someone heavily invested in Trout cards.
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Old 05-20-2018, 05:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Peter_Spaeth View Post
I think WAR is a conspiracy invented by someone heavily invested in Trout cards.

That's certainly what I'd Betts on it.
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Old 05-20-2018, 05:37 PM
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I think WAR is a conspiracy invented by someone heavily invested in Trout cards.

LOL, it's crossed my mind before.

The guy is obviously a great player, but sometimes it seems like he just sneezes and his WAR goes up somehow.

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Old 05-20-2018, 06:20 PM
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That Trout is a CF and Betts is a RF is part of the difference. (Two runs worth.) Most of the difference in defensive ability these days is based in a player's range. Errors are so rare that they don't make much difference. So far this year Trout has been a better fielder than Betts. His defense has saved about three runs more than Betts' has. (To find this look for Rfield on a player's baseball-reference page.)

But also, remember that 0.6 WAR is not much of a difference, and that it's early enough in the season that our final defensive numbers will likely look very different than these.
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Old 05-20-2018, 07:37 PM
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Originally Posted by D. Bergin View Post
LOL, it's crossed my mind before.

The guy is obviously a great player, but sometimes it seems like he just sneezes and his WAR goes up somehow.

http://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/2...espnapi_public

Please.
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Old 05-20-2018, 07:51 PM
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The article isn't saying they think he's going to do it. Not even Trout's mom thinks he's going to do it. Just that he's on pace for it. Being on pace for the greatest season of all time after 40 games is hard, staying on that pace for the next 120 is much much harder. Ruth pulled it off, Trout probably won't.

But the article is celebrating Trout for managing this pace for even 40 games, which is an achievement all on its own.
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Old 05-20-2018, 08:15 PM
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The article isn't saying they think he's going to do it. Not even Trout's mom thinks he's going to do it. Just that he's on pace for it. Being on pace for the greatest season of all time after 40 games is hard, staying on that pace for the next 120 is much much harder. Ruth pulled it off, Trout probably won't.

But the article is celebrating Trout for managing this pace for even 40 games, which is an achievement all on its own.
He's hitting .290 with 12 or 13 HR. He is NOT on pace for the greatest season of all time. I don't care what his WAR is lol.
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Old 05-20-2018, 09:22 PM
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He's hitting .290 with 12 or 13 HR. He is NOT on pace for the greatest season of all time. I don't care what his WAR is lol.
I saw Trout play today.

Struck out swinging in first.

Walked in the third.

Walked in the fifth.

Stole second.

Stole third.

Scored on sac fly.

Walked in the seventh.

Took third on a single.

Scored on sac fly.

Flawless in the field (He was the DH).

So, the DH doesn’t get his bat on the ball, reaches first three times, scores twice and his WAR continues to go up.

Peter, what on earth do you expect?
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  #11  
Old 05-20-2018, 10:25 PM
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IMHO War is stupid, it is not a stat it is a judgement, and it does not take a lot of things into consideration on the true worth of a player. I truly believe it was developed by people who never played baseball or were athletes in general.
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Old 05-28-2018, 11:34 AM
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IMHO War is stupid, it is not a stat it is a judgement, and it does not take a lot of things into consideration on the true worth of a player. I truly believe it was developed by people who never played baseball or were athletes in general.
I get where you're coming from, although traditional stats have judgements involved, including (but not limited to) error versus hit, "earned" runs, who gets a win, sacrifice bunts not counting towards ABs, etc. etc.

I'm fine with non-athletes developing stats or whatever. One not need to an athlete to enjoy or have educated observations on sport, just as one not need to travel at the speed of light to understand the theory of relativity.

WAR has its flaws, no doubt, but just about every front office in MLB finds WAR and sabermetrics valuable enough to utilize them in their decision making process. In all likelihood, most MLB front offices utilize stats and analysis beyond WAR that I would have even more trouble understanding than WAR. But just because I don't fully understand it doesn't make it wrong or bad - I'll try my best to glean something useful out of it, if I can. Just like the theory of relativity.
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Old 05-28-2018, 11:55 AM
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How does Bobby Grich come out so far ahead of Biggio and Alomar, among others, speaking of WAR? 7th best second baseman of all time?
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Old 05-28-2018, 12:16 PM
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How does Bobby Grich come out so far ahead of Biggio and Alomar, among others, speaking of WAR? 7th best second baseman of all time?
I can't answer this to the underpinnings of WAR, and I'm certainly not well versed in Grich, but I'll do my best to share the context that I do know.

First off, there are two versions of WAR, produced by Fangraphs and Baseball-Reference, and they have some differences in how they get to where they get. Grich is 8th on BR's WAR list for 2B with 71.1 WAR (Alomar is 14 with 67.1, Biggio is 15 with 65.5). Grich is 8th on Fangraphs with 69.2 (Biggio is 10 with 65.8, Alomar is 11 with 63.6).

My understanding of WAR is that it offers an approximate value on a player's contributions, albeit the way it is presented sometimes would make one thing it is hard and fast to the decimal accurate. On a single season WAR total, my understanding is that there is around a .5 margin of error (possibly a bit more), so a player who has 6.5 WAR hasn't necessarily had a superior season to another one who has 6.0 WAR.

So my reading of that would lead me to believe that players with similar WAR totals for their career are all in the same boat, which would be the case for Grich, Alomar and Biggio. They all had about the same total contributions between defense, offense and baserunning.

In that light, it might be more useful to look at the different tiers of 2B, based on WAR. Using just Fangraphs' list, I might put Hornsby and Eddie Collins in the first tier, followed by Lajoie and Morgan in tier 2. After that, things get muddied, starting with number 5 all time with Charlie Gehringer (78.6 WAR) all the way down to Joe Gordon at 16th (60.6 WAR) - and due to service time limitations, and I'd easily include Jackie Robinson in this tier (17th, 57.2 WAR). This third tier could be broken up into two, easily, maybe three, or all grouped together. I don't think small differences in WAR should be hard and fast when it comes to ranking players.
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Old 05-28-2018, 12:59 PM
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I hear you, but I still don't know why Grich is even in that company. He didn't have much power, didn't hit for average, won a few GGs early but nothing after that, 1800 career hits with a .266 average.
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Old 05-28-2018, 01:05 PM
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Oh, here's a parallel: also think of WAR like ABV when it comes to beer. Beer may be listed at 6.5%, but there is a margin of error in that around .5%. WAR is the same.

And the best news is that having a beer will either help illuminate the value of WAR or help you forget about it entirely.
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Old 05-28-2018, 01:06 PM
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I hear you, but I still don't know why Grich is even in that company. He didn't have much power, didn't hit for average, won a few GGs early but nothing after that, 1800 career hits with a .266 average.
I'm with you on that, although I'll readily admit I know so little about Grich in the first place. But I'd suppose it means that WAR suggests Grich was more valuable than some of the numbers suggest - perhaps due to the era/ballparks he played in?
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Old 05-28-2018, 01:22 PM
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That Bobby Grich must have been one hell of a defensive wizard. In 1973 he batted .250 with 12 HR's, 50 RBI's, 82 Runs Scored, 17 SB's (9 times caught), .760 OPS and he led the AL in WAR for Positional Players according to BR (by kind of a lot).

I'm guessing with WAR it's kind of a positional thing to. If there's a shortage of other quality 2nd baseman, it's going to boost your replacement level.
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Old 05-28-2018, 02:05 PM
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That Bobby Grich must have been one hell of a defensive wizard. In 1973 he batted .250 with 12 HR's, 50 RBI's, 82 Runs Scored, 17 SB's (9 times caught), .760 OPS and he led the AL in WAR for Positional Players according to BR (by kind of a lot).

I'm guessing with WAR it's kind of a positional thing to. If there's a shortage of other quality 2nd baseman, it's going to boost your replacement level.
There was a guy named Carew also playing.
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Old 05-28-2018, 02:11 PM
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Grich's lifetime WAR is nearly double that of Steve Garvey's. Sorry, I know all the rap on Garvey, but that just does not square with reality IMO.
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Old 05-28-2018, 02:22 PM
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Grich's lifetime WAR is nearly double that of Steve Garvey's. Sorry, I know all the rap on Garvey, but that just does not square with reality IMO.
Agree totally.
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Old 05-28-2018, 03:06 PM
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Grich had a bunch of little things going for him. None of them really dramatic, so they don't catch your attention, but add them all up and he ends up being really valuable. Some of them have already been mentioned. He was a good defensive player, especially when he was young. Another is that he drew a lot of walks. That will help make up for his low batting average. By comparison, he had about the same ability to reach base as Pete Rose. (Although obviously Rose played longer and so reached base more times.) He had good power for a second baseman; not "set HR records" kind of power, but a lot more than your ordinary skinny middle infielder of the 1970s. Indeed, he led the league in HRs once. Also, being compared against other second basemen helps. Sure, he's being compared to Rod Carew, but he's also being compared to Bucky Dent.

Players who are good at everything but not outstanding at any particular thing are easily overlooked. The hall of fame, for example, has had a terrible time recognizing them. They finally got one right with Alan Trammel, whose case sabermetic types have been championing for a long time. Actually, a comparison between Trammell and Grich may be instructive. Trammell was the better fielder and Grich was the better hitter, but in both cases they were the sum of a bunch of little parts. Contrast this with guys like Jim Rice or Tony Gwynn, who will catch your attention because there's one particular skill that they excel at.

And yes, there's also a margin of error around WAR. Grich had 71.1, Trammel had 70.7. That's a tie. Seeing thing in tiers instead of a ranking is a good idea.

Since WAR is just a number that Grich and Trammel weren't flashy players doesn't matter to it, all it knows is that a bunch of relatively little numbers (which reflect their fielding, their ability to reach base, their power, and so on) can add up to one big number.
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Old 05-28-2018, 03:53 PM
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Grich had a bunch of little things going for him. None of them really dramatic, so they don't catch your attention, but add them all up and he ends up being really valuable. Some of them have already been mentioned. He was a good defensive player, especially when he was young. Another is that he drew a lot of walks. That will help make up for his low batting average. By comparison, he had about the same ability to reach base as Pete Rose. (Although obviously Rose played longer and so reached base more times.) He had good power for a second baseman; not "set HR records" kind of power, but a lot more than your ordinary skinny middle infielder of the 1970s. Indeed, he led the league in HRs once. Also, being compared against other second basemen helps. Sure, he's being compared to Rod Carew, but he's also being compared to Bucky Dent.

Players who are good at everything but not outstanding at any particular thing are easily overlooked. The hall of fame, for example, has had a terrible time recognizing them. They finally got one right with Alan Trammel, whose case sabermetic types have been championing for a long time. Actually, a comparison between Trammell and Grich may be instructive. Trammell was the better fielder and Grich was the better hitter, but in both cases they were the sum of a bunch of little parts. Contrast this with guys like Jim Rice or Tony Gwynn, who will catch your attention because there's one particular skill that they excel at.

And yes, there's also a margin of error around WAR. Grich had 71.1, Trammel had 70.7. That's a tie. Seeing thing in tiers instead of a ranking is a good idea.

Since WAR is just a number that Grich and Trammel weren't flashy players doesn't matter to it, all it knows is that a bunch of relatively little numbers (which reflect their fielding, their ability to reach base, their power, and so on) can add up to one big number.
Is that why Trammell and Steve Garvey received over 40% on HOF balloting and Grich received less than 3% his one year on the ballot? Or why Trammell and Garvey were on the last VC ballot and Grich wasn't? WAR is just one person's opinion of what is valuable. Baseball Reference and Fangraphs disagree on what makes a player "valuable."
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Old 05-28-2018, 04:11 PM
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Trammell hit .300 7 times. How do you figure Grich is the better hitter?
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Old 05-28-2018, 04:24 PM
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It's not an account of value (although some people certainly use it as a proxy for that). What it measures is how many additional games an arbitrary team would expect to win if the player in question were to join that team. This is a very difficult thing to measure. You need to know, among other things, how many runs a single/double/triple/HR can be expected to produce on average, how a player's park affects his ability to hit singles/doubles/etc, how many runs prevented/saved it takes to win an additional ball game (on average), how a team's defense shapes a pitcher's ability to record outs, how many runs are prevented by each out recorded (on average), and on and on.

B-R and Fangraphs have different WARs because they disagree about the best ways to measure some of these things. This is common in an on-going scientific investigation. Measuring things can be hard. And this is especially hard because we can't move players around from team to team to see how their records change - the best we can do is see how the various things that players do (hit singles, catch pop flies, strike batters out, etc) have correlated (historically) with run production/prevention. It's not that the dispute between B-R and Fangraphs is "just a matter of opinion", they have different hypotheses about how best to measure a player's effect on a team's record.


The hall of fame did a good job with Trammell. Historically they have overlooked players like him, either completely (as in the case of Grich) or it has taken them a long time to recognize their greatness (as in the case of Ron Santo). If you want to be a deserving player who doesn't get recognized by the hall of fame, a good way to do it is to be good at everything and great at nothing. We'll see Chase Utley does in a few years.
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Old 05-28-2018, 04:31 PM
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Trammell hit .300 7 times. How do you figure Grich is the better hitter?
Trammell had a career on-base percentage of .352 against a league average of .330.

Grich had a career on-base percentage of .371 against a league average of .324.

So Grich was both better at getting on base than Trammell, and had to do it in an environment in which getting on base was harder to do.

A walk isn't as good as a hit, because hits can move runners along. So let's look at their respective abilities to do that.

Trammell had a career slugging percentage of .415 against a league average of .401.

Grich had a career slugging percentage of .424 against a league average of .384.

So Grich picked up more bases each time he came to bat than did Trammell, and he did it in an environment in which hitting for power was harder. Trammell was better at hitting singles than Grich was (that accounts for the difference in batting average), but that's more than made-up for by Grich's superior ability draw walks, together with the fact that he hit for more power.
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Old 05-28-2018, 04:48 PM
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So what's your theory on why Trammell is in the Hall and Grich never even registered with the voters or the VC?
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Old 05-28-2018, 05:11 PM
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It's not an account of value (although some people certainly use it as a proxy for that). What it measures is how many additional games an arbitrary team would expect to win if the player in question were to join that team. This is a very difficult thing to measure.
WAR is completely unrelated to wins. That is why Bill James doesn't like WAR. It is just a theoretical number that has very little value on its own. The example of Trout vs. Betts is the perfect example. Trout is one of the worst centerfielders in MLB, while Betts is one of the best rightfielders. However, since someone decided that a CF is more "valuable" than a RF, Trout has a higher WAR.
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Old 05-28-2018, 05:36 PM
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WAR is completely unrelated to wins. That is why Bill James doesn't like WAR. It is just a theoretical number that has very little value on its own. The example of Trout vs. Betts is the perfect example. Trout is one of the worst centerfielders in MLB, while Betts is one of the best rightfielders. However, since someone decided that a CF is more "valuable" than a RF, Trout has a higher WAR.

WOW! Now, that's a statement!
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Old 05-28-2018, 05:36 PM
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WAR would be completely unrelated to wins if its components didn't correlate with wins, but they do. You can take its components and run a regression analysis to see how closely they correlate (and the people who developed WAR did just this).

The positional adjustment is in there because some positions are harder to play than others. Trout may be a poor CF, but center fielders need to cover more ground than do right fielders. If he was a right fielder he'd catch a higher percentage of the balls that are his responsibility than he does now. (Likewise Betts would catch a lower percentage of balls if he played CF.)

Defensive stats are subject to enough noise, though, that you should really use a range of years of performance when evaluating a player, and you should certainly be doing that this early in the season. So far this season Trout has a 5-run advantage over Betts on defense (that includes the positional adjustment). That's not much, and it will probably be gone by the end of the year. Trout is a roughly average CF and Betts is a really good RF, by the end of the season Betts will almost certainly catch enough extra balls to he'll come out ahead in the defensive component of WAR. (In fact, WAR says that for his career Betts has save far more runs than Trout has, even though Trout has been in the league longer.)
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Old 05-28-2018, 05:37 PM
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Originally Posted by nat View Post
WAR would be completely unrelated to wins if its components didn't correlate with wins, but they do. You can take its components and run a regression analysis to see how closely they correlate (and the people who developed WAR did just this).

The positional adjustment is in there because some positions are harder to play than others. Trout may be a poor CF, but center fielders need to cover more ground than do right fielders. If he was a right fielder he'd catch a higher percentage of the balls that are his responsibility than he does now. (Likewise Betts would catch a lower percentage of balls if he played CF.)

Defensive stats are subject to enough noise, though, that you should really use a range of years of performance when evaluating a player, and you should certainly be doing that this early in the season. So far this season Trout has a 5-run advantage over Betts on defense (that includes the positional adjustment). That's not much, and it will probably be gone by the end of the year. Trout is a roughly average CF and Betts is a really good RF, by the end of the season Betts will almost certainly catch enough extra balls to he'll come out ahead in the defensive component of WAR. (In fact, WAR says that for his career Betts has save far more runs than Trout has, even though Trout has been in the league longer.)


There's another one.
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Old 05-28-2018, 06:20 PM
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Blyleven, Gaylord Perry and Phil Niekro all have higher lifetime WARs then Pedro Martinez & Bob Gibson... Really?? Some one please explain that to me

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Old 05-28-2018, 06:25 PM
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Blyleven, Gaylord Perry and Phil Niekro all have higher lifetime WARs then Pedro Martinez... Really??
Longer careers, by a lot. The JAWS scores might be more meaningful, they are an average of career WAR and WAR7 meaning WAR for the best 7 year stretch.
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Old 05-28-2018, 06:33 PM
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So by WAR standard Blyleven was a better pitcher then Bob Gibson cause he played longer??

And again the old Mattingly debate, maybe one of the best defensive 1B in the 80s and early 90s and has a negative defensive WAR.

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Old 05-28-2018, 06:44 PM
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So by WAR standard Blyleven was a better pitcher then Bob Gibson cause he played longer??

And again the old Mattingly debate, maybe one of the best defensive 1B in the 80s and early 90s and has a negative defensive WAR.
As I said, on Baseball Reference I would compare the JAWS metric.
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Old 05-28-2018, 06:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Peter_Spaeth View Post
As I said, on Baseball Reference I would compare the JAWS metric.
Just checked. All 3 are still higher then Pedro Martinez... makes no sense
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Old 05-28-2018, 08:05 PM
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Just checked. All 3 are still higher then Pedro Martinez... makes no sense
No metric is perfect. I was surprised to see Pedro's WAR7 wasn't in the top 10 given his absolutely dominant stretch. Who knows. In fact he was only 21st.
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Old 05-31-2018, 09:46 PM
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No metric is perfect. I was surprised to see Pedro's WAR7 wasn't in the top 10 given his absolutely dominant stretch. Who knows. In fact he was only 21st.
By the 90’s pitchers were pitching far fewer games/innings...
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Old 05-31-2018, 10:51 PM
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WAR is a counting stat, like home runs, not a rate stat, like batting average. It's not surprise (as noted up thread) that Phil Neikro has a higher WAR than Pedro Martinez, he pitched many many many more innings than Pedro did. It's likewise no surprise that Harold Baines had more hits than Joe DiMaggio. His career was 33% longer. That doesn't mean that Harold Baines was a better baseball player than DiMaggio, and Neikro's WAR doesn't mean that he was a better baseball player than Pedro. He wasn't, and WAR doesn't claim that he was.

Mattingly was a very good defensive first baseman, and has the advanced stats to prove it. Look up his Rfield on baseball-reference. He, like pretty much every first baseman, has a negative dWAR because he's a first baseman, and you get a penalty just for that. The idea is that it's easier to find someone who can play first base than it is to find someone who can play any other position (besides DH). Imagine that Brooks Robinson had played 1B; he would have been out-of-this-world good, defensively. Even better than he was at 3B. If there was no positional adjustment you wouldn't be able to account for the fact that Brooks was a better defensive player than anyone who ever actually played first base.
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Old 06-01-2018, 11:50 PM
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delete...

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Old 06-02-2018, 06:20 AM
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Trammell hit .300 7 times. How do you figure Grich is the better hitter?
Trammell was the better pure hitter if you go by AVG alone. But hitting is not just AVG, of course. Ted Williams knew this: if you can't hit safely, get on base. What's the line from Moneyball? "He gets on base a lot. Do I care if it's a walk or a hit? No, I do not." Trammell had a .285 career AVG, and his OBP was .352. Grich hit .266, but with all those walks, his lifetime OBP of .371 dusts Trammell's. He got on base more. Grich also had a better SLG (.424 vs .415 for Trammell) playing in an era where hitting was at a premium. If you adjust for league averages, Grich did more damage at bat than Trammell. Significantly more.

Consider this. Three guys playing premium positions (short and second).

Player 1: lifetime 72.4 WAR. 115 Career OPS +. Hall of Famer
Player 2: lifetime 70.7 WAR. 110 Career OPS +. Hall of Famer
Player 3: lifetime 71.1 WAR. 125 Career OPS +. Not a Hall of Famer

If this is the era of advanced metrics, players three, Bobby Grich, is clearly on par with players one and two, Derek Jeter and Alan Trammell. If the argument is that Jeter is an automatic inductee because of his 3,000 hits (and Grich got only 1,833), how much value did Derek Jeter really give the New York Yankees during his career? WAR is clearly an imperfect metric. It can't be considered otherwise until there is one standard formula. What WAR does, however, is force baseball fans to look at things differently. I think that's a good thing.

So, maybe Grich deserves to be in the Hall. Before you scoff, think of this. What am I always harping on? Context!

If you look at the numbers like home runs, batting average, it might seem that Grich was a slightly above average player. But numbers can be deceiving. Consider this.

Carl Yastrzemski won the batting title in 1968 with a .301 AVG. The next best hitter in the American League was Danny Carter at .290. Yaz also led the league with a .426 OBP. Frank Robinson was next best at .390. Did Yaz have an off year in 1968? No. The pitching was that good.

Well, Bobby Grich came up to the Majors in 1970. He started off in that same pitcher dominated era.

Look at the average runs scored per game in the AL by year.

1968 3.41 (lowest in AL history)
1969 4.09 (MLB institutes a change to mound height across baseball)
1970 4.17 Bobby Grich plays in 30 games
1971 3.87
1972 3.47!!
1973 4.28
1974 4.10
1975 4.30
1976 4.01
1977 4.53
1978 4.20

Between 1970 and 1978, Grich puts up a 122 OPS +. His actual OPS is only .763 (.369 OBP, .394 SLG), but pitching dominates so much, even after MLB institutes the mound height adjustment, that offense is at a premium. Hell, in 1976, his .790 OPS is 38% above American League average.

Bring Carl Yastrzemski back into the conversation.

Yaz's .922 OPS In 1968 was worth a 171 OPS. He was 71% above league average.
In 1981, Bobby Grich led the American League with a 165 OPS +. He had a .921 OPS.

See the difference? Yaz and Grich, in those two seasons, had nearly identical OPS figures. But Yastrzemski's 1968 was, essentially, 6% better than Grich's 1981, relative to league average, because the pitching he faced was better in 1968. That's why you cannot simply compare things like batting average, and home runs, from players of different eras and leagues.

If you look at Grich, season by season, the counting stats don't grab ya. But he's sneaky good.

And yes, Grich only had four Gold Gloves. But that shouldn't be construed as meaning he had a drop off defensively after his last win. Hank Aaron won three straight Gold Gloves from 1958 to 1960. Did his play in the field drop off precipitously? No. He had a 2.0 dWAR in 1961. His play with the glove was worth two wins. But Roberto Clemente was also a right fielder in the NL, and starting in 1961, he won 12 straight Gold Gloves. He's arguably the best to ever play the position, at least with the glove. So, Aaron still played good defense, but, to borrow from Highlander, "there can be only one" winner.

Bobby Grich was still pretty good defensively after the Gold Gloves. It's just that Frank White and Lou Whitaker were better, splitting the next 11 awards between them.
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Old 06-02-2018, 06:35 AM
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By the way, Grich has the 8th best JAWS (compiled by combining career and 7 year peak WAR totals) of any second baseman, better than Ryne Sandberg, Roberto Alomar, and Craig Biggio (all Hall of Famers). It's also better than Lou Whitaker's (a man many think is Cooperstown bound). Grich's JAWS is 58.7. Whitaker's is 56.5.

Then, there's this:

Average for the twenty Hall of Fame second basemen:
69.5 career WAR, 44.5 seven year peak, 57 JAWS

Bobby Grich:
71.1 career WAR, 46.4 seven year peak, 58.7 JAWS

Discussion of his Hall worthiness is not that far fetched. He certainly deserved more consideration than he got by Hall voters his one time on the ballot.
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Old 06-02-2018, 07:32 AM
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I hear you, but I still don't know why Grich is even in that company. He didn't have much power, didn't hit for average, won a few GGs early but nothing after that, 1800 career hits with a .266 average.
Compare his numbers to the other second basemen of his day. Compred to them he had quite a bit of power. He was a far superior all-around player to his contemporaries. Bill James has been a huge supporter of Grich forever.
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Old 06-02-2018, 07:35 AM
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Grich had a bunch of little things going for him. None of them really dramatic, so they don't catch your attention, but add them all up and he ends up being really valuable. Some of them have already been mentioned. He was a good defensive player, especially when he was young. Another is that he drew a lot of walks. That will help make up for his low batting average. By comparison, he had about the same ability to reach base as Pete Rose. (Although obviously Rose played longer and so reached base more times.) He had good power for a second baseman; not "set HR records" kind of power, but a lot more than your ordinary skinny middle infielder of the 1970s. Indeed, he led the league in HRs once. Also, being compared against other second basemen helps. Sure, he's being compared to Rod Carew, but he's also being compared to Bucky Dent.

Players who are good at everything but not outstanding at any particular thing are easily overlooked. The hall of fame, for example, has had a terrible time recognizing them. They finally got one right with Alan Trammel, whose case sabermetic types have been championing for a long time. Actually, a comparison between Trammell and Grich may be instructive. Trammell was the better fielder and Grich was the better hitter, but in both cases they were the sum of a bunch of little parts. Contrast this with guys like Jim Rice or Tony Gwynn, who will catch your attention because there's one particular skill that they excel at.

And yes, there's also a margin of error around WAR. Grich had 71.1, Trammel had 70.7. That's a tie. Seeing thing in tiers instead of a ranking is a good idea.

Since WAR is just a number that Grich and Trammel weren't flashy players doesn't matter to it, all it knows is that a bunch of relatively little numbers (which reflect their fielding, their ability to reach base, their power, and so on) can add up to one big number.
Bucky was a shortstop, try Willie Randolph (another player whose WAR might surprise some)
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Old 06-02-2018, 07:41 AM
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WAR is completely unrelated to wins. That is why Bill James doesn't like WAR. It is just a theoretical number that has very little value on its own. The example of Trout vs. Betts is the perfect example. Trout is one of the worst centerfielders in MLB, while Betts is one of the best rightfielders. However, since someone decided that a CF is more "valuable" than a RF, Trout has a higher WAR.
Pretty much everyone believes that CF is more valuable than RF. ALso I'd have to investigate but I've never heard that he was a bad CF.

Also James might not like WAR but he loves Grich. It's a solid measuring stick of relative value. Yes BR and FG have differences in how they compile WAR, but relatively speaking they feel Grich belongs in the same company
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Old 06-02-2018, 09:13 AM
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WAR is completely unrelated to wins. That is why Bill James doesn't like WAR. It is just a theoretical number that has very little value on its own. The example of Trout vs. Betts is the perfect example. Trout is one of the worst centerfielders in MLB, while Betts is one of the best rightfielders. However, since someone decided that a CF is more "valuable" than a RF, Trout has a higher WAR.
Fangraphs has Trout's UZR/150 at 14.5 for 2018, and Betts' at 15.8. Maybe I am not a Sabermetrics expert yet, but those numbers don't suggest Trout is one of the worst anything when compared to Betts.
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Old 06-02-2018, 11:39 AM
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Good analysis on Grich, but the disparity between the sabremetric numbers and the voters' perception is pretty staggering. Can you be a great player and nobody knows it? I guess.

As for walk vs. hit that line is specious. Consider the dramatic difference with a runner on second. A hit likely scores a run, a walk just makes it first and second. The only time they are the same is with bases empty.
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Old 06-02-2018, 12:09 PM
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Bill- While I have great respect for your extensive research, you make my brain hurt.
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Old 06-02-2018, 01:08 PM
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"As for walk vs. hit that line is specious. Consider the dramatic difference with a runner on second. A hit likely scores a run, a walk just makes it first and second. The only time they are the same is with bases empty."

That's why you also have to look at slugging percentage. Grich does well there too. (I mean, of course he does, he led the league in HRs!)
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Old 06-07-2018, 05:39 AM
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Good analysis on Grich, but the disparity between the sabremetric numbers and the voters' perception is pretty staggering. Can you be a great player and nobody knows it? I guess.

As for walk vs. hit that line is specious. Consider the dramatic difference with a runner on second. A hit likely scores a run, a walk just makes it first and second. The only time they are the same is with bases empty.
Oh, I agree, Peter. The single and walk are only the same where OBP are considered. But if a guy gets a hit with a runner on, he gets the benefit of an RBI. If he gets a single, his SLG increases.

I don't know why there's a disparity between how voters that watched Grich play valued him, and how modern metrics value him. Is it possible that the baseball writers from that era were too focused on the Triple Crown stats? .300, 25 HR, 100 RBI sounds great, and better than a guy that hits .280, 17 HR 80 RBI. But if the .300 hitter has 25 doubles, 3 triples and 43 walks, while the .280 hitter has 40 doubles, 7 triples and 72 walks, obviously the Triple Crown stats don't tell the whole story.

I think this is a prime example of why the Veteran's Committee exists. Baseball thinking changes over time. Evaluation methodology evolves, and guys that didn't get a fair shake can get another look. I think guys like Ted Simmons, Dave Parker and Bobby Grich will ultimately benefit from this.
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