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03:08 PM on 10/04/12 
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SamuelJLast
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Texas and the Orioles finished with the same record so Texas gets to host because they had a better record against the O's this season.

Ah cheers, makes sense after all.
03:16 PM on 10/04/12 
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Eich696
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Yeah the advanced stats don't tell the whole story, but honestly they are the best we have right now.
05:09 PM on 10/04/12 
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thejetstolehome
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It is only this year because of scheduling.

Still dumb.
05:29 PM on 10/04/12 
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SwiftSilentDead
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I personally love advanced stats but a lot of people misuse them and mistake them for absolute trusts, so they can be misleading. I always hate when people say that "stats ruined baseball" when they've made the game more enjoyable in my opinion. I love being able to get an in-depth look at a pitcher's performance through tools like pitch f/x and how basically everything is tracked now so you can get a closer look at a player's performance. None of the stats are end be all, but they are helpful and very interesting to look at.

I'm a biased nerd, though.
05:52 PM on 10/04/12 
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TachyonEvan
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I personally love advanced stats but a lot of people misuse them and mistake them for absolute trusts, so they can be misleading. I always hate when people say that "stats ruined baseball" when they've made the game more enjoyable in my opinion. I love being able to get an in-depth look at a pitcher's performance through tools like pitch f/x and how basically everything is tracked now so you can get a closer look at a player's performance.

I'm a biased nerd, though.

All of this. There's a balance.
06:02 PM on 10/04/12 
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bigmike
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But here's the only issue...since Trout has the tools to be a better player (his speed allows him to score more, avoid more outs, steal more bases, cover more ground, be a better overall fielder), isn't he going to have the edge over a player like Cabrera every year?

also, im confused to why slugging wouldnt be weighed more than obp? wouldn't the amount of bases a player obtains in a certain hit outweigh the ability of a player to reach first base in an at-bat? A players ability to get to 2nd, 3rd or homer, is more helpful than whether or not a player is able to reach first..at least that sounds like it makes sense to me. Trout only leads cabrear by ops+ by 006 as well.

Plus Trout only leads Cabrera in obp by .006, which isnt anything significant. Also, I don't know how sabermetrics weighs strike outs, but Trout did strike out almost 50 times more than Cabrera, in 60 less abs (which i'm aware is irrelevant since we all ready talked about obp), but the inability to put a ball in play is surely something to consider.

but regardless of ALL this....i still don't understand how someone could be furious of Cabrera wins the mvp. we've gone back and forth and discussed all the stats at nausium. Clearly Cabrera does lead in a BUNCH of modern statistics...if you want to just discard all of them, then i guess there's nothing you can do, he did do something no player has done in 40 years (which has to mean SOMETHING). Even if its just an anomaly or a goofy thing, it's still something that just isn't accomplished very often. BUt i also understand that Trout's value, his WAR, is something of a rarity too, which is why I acknowledge the fact that if he won i wouldnt be upset. But i DONt get why someone be furious if Cabrera won.

I mean you're comparing Miguel Cabrera to Juan-Gone...a Juan-gone who in a steroids era, in 1996, didn't lead in a single basic statistic. Juan-Gone's war in 96 was 3.5, with an oWar of 4.4. Miggy's war's are in the 7s. You're diminishing Miguel Cabrera's season far too much.
No. I'm going to seem like a huge prick, but just no to basically all of this. Where to start, where to start.

Let's tackle OBP versus SLG. Sure, in theory acquiring the most bases possible in a plate appearance does seem like it's better than simply being good at avoiding outs, at first blush. I mean, a home run is the the ABSOLUTE BEST HIT in the game of baseball.

However, there is no clock. The only way baseball is "timed" so-to-speak, is through outs. A team could theoretically bat for eternity by not making outs. Outs are finite. You only get 27 of them per game, whether it's Single-A ball or Major League Baseball. Make 27 and the game is then over. That's why avoiding outs is the single most important thing in baseball. It'd be like if an act in basketball suddenly just took time off of the clock. Say, every time a player misses a shot, it takes 3 seconds off the clock. But maybe he's an amazing rebounder. Is it worth it to have him on the floor trying to grab rebounds if he's a very poor shooter of the basketball? Maybe this analogy doesn't make sense because it's dumb, but also because baseball is an individual sport masquerading as a team sport where as basketball is completely a team sport. But I feel it's mostly relevant.

Outs are the most precious commodity in the sport. As such, OBP is around 80% more important. Slugging Percentage gives these weights to each type of hit. 1 for a single, 2 for a double, 3 for a triple and 4 for a homer. That formula actually is over estimating the value of a home run, triple and under estimating the value of a single and a double.

Weighted On Base Average (wOBA) at Fangraphs uses the run value of each type of hit and then throws in walks and hit by pitches (which over the long haul of a career is a skill). So, on offense, the two appear as such:

Trout: .422
Cabrera: .416

What this is, is essentially the number of runs per plate appearance each player is providing his team. Cabrera's had 138 more plate appearances which gives him the edge before you calculate for home park played in.

If we turn their offensive production (wOBA) into a runs value, I get this:

Trout: 48.3 runs
Cabrera: 56.8 runs

Cabrera has the edge, but remember this is a counting stat. Trout, if extended to the 697 PA's that Cabrera had projected for 60.2 runs. Again, this is not dealing with park factors yet, either.

Now, let's deal with this is non-sabermetric terms.

Mike Trout is a better athlete, we can agree on this? Cool.

Mike Trout plays better defense, we can agree on this? Cool.

Mike Trout runs the bases better, we can agree on this? Cool

So what you have is Cabrera holding a 8.5 run advantage on offense. Is it inconceivable for Mike Trout to make up those 8.5 runs in his much better defense and his much better base running? I don't think it's an outrageous claim.

I haven't watched Mike Trout's defense enough to guesstimate his true talent value. I have watched enough Miguel Cabrera defense to know before the season he wasn't going to be the unmitigated disaster people were making him out to be. That said, he's a pretty below-average fielder. If I were to put a number on it, I'd guesstimate at around -10 to -15 per year. Not the Adam-Dunn-In-Left-Field atrocity baseball fans saw for years, but definitely not valuable.

That right there means that Mike Trout has to do literally nothing on defense but be perfectly average to make up the offensive difference (which is only a difference because he started the season in the minor leagues). But most people agree he's better than average; some say he's the best defender in CF in the American League. I'd argue that there's no one, in terms of true talent, better than Austin Jackson, but that's splitting hairs, really (and also not relevant to the discussion). So let's just give Mike Trout +10 in defense and Cabrera -10.

Now we have Trout at 58.3 runs and Cabrera at 46.8 runs. This basically flips the offensive totals.

Would it be a stretch to say that all the times the two men get on base -- which is a well-above-average amount of time -- that Trout could kick in a +5 runs by taking the extra base, by going 49/53 stealing bases (which if you wanted to look at power numbers, you could give Trout an additional doubles for all the times he stole second base which REALLY boosts his power numbers even though that's not entirely the correct thing to do)? I don't think that's unreasonable at all.

Would it be a stretch to say that Cabrera's slow feet cost the Tigers around 5 runs on the bases? I don't think it's a stretch at all.

Now we stand with Trout at +63.3 and Cabrera at 41.8 runs.

The way Fangraphs does their positional adjustments, they actually have 3B/2B/CF getting the same 2.5 run bonus over a full season. We can disregard that, but even if you (wrongly) think 3rd base is the tougher position, you'd have to be giving Cabrera/debiting Trout a cumulative total of around 15 total runs to get them back to square.

And this doesn't even take into account the park factors. When you factor in that Detroit is a neutral/slight hitters park (though it suppresses home runs mildly, doubles/triples for right handed hitters are much easier to come by in Comerica because of the big power alleys), Cabrera's offensive production decreases. Fangraphs has done this for us already and it's Weighted Runs Above Average (wRAA). Trout is at 55.4 and Cabrera is at 57.0.

So take our assumptions of Trout at +10 defense, +5 running and Cabrera at -10 defense and -5 running and add them to their wRAA's and we get Trout at +70.4 and Cabrera at +42.0. It's not even really close.

This is a very long-winded way to say that the general fan underestimates the impact of defense, of speed, of base running and, most importantly, getting on base while, subsequently, over valuing things like home runs as 'power' numbers.
You're comparing defense of Centerfield to defense of Third Base. I can make a pretty sound argument that third base is a more difficult position to play, so therefore if a player isn't a top level defender, his average glove could appear more glarring, while a 'poor center-fielder' isn't as obvious.

I'm not sure what stats people look at when looking at defense but no centerfielder created more than 8 erros, while thirty 3B's created more than that. If looking at fielding percentage, he nearly has the same percentage as Beltre (a gold glover last year). 21 Centerfielders currently have higher fielding percentages than the top third baseman. 9 third basemen have positive dWar, while 14 centerfields have positive dwar.

and while Cabrera may lack in speed, baserunning...he makes up for it with his hitting.
Let me ask you this. Would Miguel Cabrera hurt Detroit more defensively if he were playing CF or at 3B? The answer is pretty obvious, isn't it? He'd KILL Detroit in defense if he were in Center.

Would Mike Trout hurt Anaheim more defensively if he were playing 3rd base? Yes, because he hasn't played their before. But wouldn't his athleticism allow him to keep his head above water defensively? One would think so. Maybe that's a false assumption.

Alternatively, how much ground is Cabrera responsible for? Around 10-20 feet in a circular direction around him. How much ground is Trout responsible for? Some 100-150 feet, right? Maybe even more depending on the ball park. Mike Trout's defensive landscape changes when he's playing in Anaheim or when he's playing in Comerica because of the vastly different outfields that exist throughout the major leagues.

How different is third base from park-to-park. Not very. Bag is 90 feet from home. Your Shortstop stands in roughly the same spot. Second base doesn't move, the pitchers mound is the same spot. The ground Cabrera is defending is a stagnant amount; Trout's is dynamic and changes from venue to venue. I don't think any argument that third base is harder to defend holds any water at all from a skill-set standpoint. If it did, then no one would care if they put a lumbering 240+ lbs man in CF.

This says nothing of the fact that advanced defensive metrics (which are shady at the absolute best) compare each player to their own positional peers. Cabrera's being compared to 3rd basemen and Trout to CFers. Trout's 'average defender' thresh hold is likely a decent amount higher than Cabrera's given that, more often than not, CFer's are where the better defenders of.

This also says nothing of the fact that pretty much every third baseman in baseball history doesn't get groomed as a third baseman. Most move from another position in the minor leagues -- most commonly shortstop -- just like Cabrera did; he was a shortstop in Single-A ball before being moved to third base. Just like Chipper Jones. Just like Brandon Inge. Just like Alex Rodriguez. Just like basically every third baseman in the league.

Center field? Different story. Because it's a more physically demanding position.
06:02 PM on 10/04/12 
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bigmike
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I hate all this stat shit because it takes the fun out of everything. Its fun to have debates and opinions and argue with your buddies at the bar about what players are better. But now all these sabremetrics just throw around all these numbers that are supposed to be absolutes and are tossed around as facts.

I love baseball but I still enjoy the sexy things like homers, rbi's and batting average and to be honest I dont give a shit about much else.
They take the fun out of it for you. Saying it takes the fun out of it is a complete blanket statement. Sabermetrics and advanced baseball stats has only made my love for the game of baseball grown exponentially since I first fell into them in 2007. In fact, the advanced stats of all sports (basketball, hockey, etc) improve my enjoyment of the games infinitely.

And when I watch a game, I don't watch it with a sabermetric eye, either. I watch the game because it's entertaining, because of the match up's between pitchers and hitters, because of the raw talent on the fields and the chance to see something like the A's come back to win the division, Cabrera winning three categories that seem arbitrarily chosen now, but still MEAN something to anyone who's ever watched/loved the sport. The stat stuff is for me to enjoy away from the games. To say that the stats take the fun out of it is just a personal opinion, however. It may detract from the fun you have discussing baseball -- and I'd argue you're talking to the wrong stat nerds because I know you and i will disagree on things like this but I'm fine with that; I've a very deferential stat nerd -- but it adds to many other's enjoyment of the game.
I back you and this comment x1,000,000

These endless debates daily make it almost unbearable to come back to this thread
The endless debates are ridiculously dumb, I'll grant you that. Says I after a long ass post contributing to said debate.
06:10 PM on 10/04/12 
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Drew Beringer
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who gives a shit about the MVP award anyways? it's gonna be similar to what the NFL did last year: Rodgers MVP (overall better game) and Brees OPOY (better offensive numbers)

Rodgers:Brees::Trout:Cabrera
06:11 PM on 10/04/12 
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Eich696
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This website and the stuff i have learned on it about baseball (especially sabr), have grown my love for the game. Thank you all.
06:11 PM on 10/04/12 
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Drew Beringer
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I haven't learned anything! BRAUN FOR MVP!!!

really though, he was the best player in the NL, but Posey will get it and I don't care, good for him.
06:15 PM on 10/04/12 
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Eich696
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I haven't learned anything! BRAUN FOR MVP!!!

really though, he was the best player in the NL, but Posey will get it and I don't care, good for him.

Braun is a freak. I absolutely love him. Im picking him in fantasy every year.
06:18 PM on 10/04/12 
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Drew Beringer
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Braun is a freak. I absolutely love him. Im picking him in fantasy every year.
yeah, truly impressive this season with all the extra scrutiny and stuff and no Prince (although Aramis put up Prince-like numbers)

goddamn the Brewers offense was so good this year, shame that the bullpen fucked everything up (like that series against Philly ugh)
06:21 PM on 10/04/12 
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Eich696
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yeah, truly impressive this season with all the extra scrutiny and stuff and no Prince (although Aramis put up Prince-like numbers)

goddamn the Brewers offense was so good this year, shame that the bullpen fucked everything up (like that series against Philly ugh)


Beginning of the year: fuck aramis i hate him

end of year: man aramis put up prince like numbers

love you drew
06:23 PM on 10/04/12 
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TachyonEvan
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Yes. Basically yes to all of this. Why don't you work for the BBWAA?
06:24 PM on 10/04/12 
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MyBestFiend
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Thanks for this. Your posts are always really informative and well thought out, I appreciate it.
 



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