Tuesday, March 8, 2011

4 comments Apparently Murray Can't Just Agree I'm Right

He's back. Murray is back with another thinly-veiled (if veiled at all) attack on anyone who disagrees with his insistence on not using logic. Murray has made some changes to his non-blog. One of the key changes he has made is he has increased the font to the point where a person can actually be legally blind and still read Murray's non-blog. Clearly, this is an effort to reach his 65-80 year old target market. As part of his continuing refusal to think, Murray Chass has decided that pitchers are pampered now.

A reasonable person would say it is Tony LaRussa, with his idea to give each bullpen member his own role in an effort to shorten games that has caused starting pitchers to pitch fewer innings than they did 50 years ago. A reasonable person would say this hasn't turned out as a terrible turn of events. Another reasonable person would say teams are careful to protect their multi-million dollar investment in these pitchers by not overworking them. Another reasonable person would say pitchers don't pitch as many innings today as they did 50 years ago because baseball has just changed and pitchers "back in the day" used to be able to coast at certain points in a lineup and now pitcher's don't have this luxury.

Murray disagrees. See, pitchers are pampered because the standard for a win has gone down due to the statistic "quality start." Yeah, this really doesn't make sense, but it all goes back to Murray's insistence that wins are awesome and should be the sole basis for how a pitcher should be judged. Murray will deny this is true in his non-blog post I am covering, yet for some reason this was the sole reason he gave for Felix Hernandez not deserving to win the AL Cy Young award. Sounds to me like wins are the only category Murray Chass cares about.

Pitchers have never had so many friends – in baseball itself and on the periphery of baseball. People keep coming up with excuses for pitchers and more crutches for them than for a legion of Tiny Tims.

Non-relevant pop culture reference!

"Roy Halladay has the guts of Amelia Earhart on the mound!"

People in my once proud profession are probably mostly to blame because the younger generation of baseball writers have led the rush to the dark side, believing their new view of statistics is more significant than the view of the older writers that has prevailed for as long as baseball has been played.

No one believes the new view is more significant than the older view that has prevailed for as long as baseball has been played. The new view is supplemental to the old view. There is this idea called "progress" and even when there is progress older ideas don't always get left behind. The view of older writers will always be used, there are just more modern methods that should prevail at some points too.

I have asked this question way too many times, but why does it have to be black and white? Can't the older writers with their wins and hatred of progress co-exist with newer writers with their WAR and hatred of ignorant thinking?

It began with the advent of the five-man pitching rotation, with starters pitching every fifth day instead of every fourth day.

If a four man rotation is good enough for Mordecai Brown, its good enough for Murray Chass!

(Murray turns the television volume up to its maximum limit and then complains about how loud the commercials are)

Then came the pitch count with 100 pitches set as the limit.


100 PITCHES IS THE MANDATORY LIMIT! No pitcher shall throw more pitches than that...ever!

100 pitches is a guideline and if a pitcher is pitching well then often the manager lets him surpass this number. This number is not even set in stone and the best pitchers aren't held under 100 pitches. In fact, let's do a blind test. I will look at the 2010 Cy Young candidates and the seven starters who got the most votes. Guess which pitcher is which (by the way, because he pitched for the best team and won a lot of games, Murray supported CC Sabathia or David Price) based on how many times he threw over 100 pitches.

Here are the options: Felix Hernandez, David Price, CC Sabathia, Cliff Lee, Jon Lester, Jered Weaver, Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz.

1. He threw 100 pitches in 25 of his 32 starts last year.

2. He threw 100 pitches in 24 of his 32 starts last year.

3. He threw 100 pitches in 30 of his 34 starts last year.

4. He threw 100 pitches in 25 of his 34 starts last year.

5. He threw 100 pitches in 30 of his 34 starts last year.

6. He threw 100 pitches in 20 of his 28 starts last year.

7. He threw 100 pitches in 20 of his 28 starts last year.

The answers are:

1. David Price
2. Jon Lester
3. Felix Hernandez
4. CC Sabathia
5. Jered Weaver
6. Clay Buchholz
7. Cliff Lee

The point of this little exercise is that Felix Hernandez threw a ton of pitches and he rightly won the Cy Young award. In fact, at one point before last year Hernandez had thrown 29 straight games of 100 pitches or more. So Hernandez, outside not having enough wins, isn't a coddled pitcher. I am getting my points all mixed up a bit, but this is what Murray does to my brain. He can't call Felix Hernandez or really any quality pitchers in the American League coddled. The 100 pitch limit is just a guideline.

The game’s alleged pitching experts were so focused on preventing injuries that they didn’t think of the possibility that the changes in the ways young pitchers were being trained were the cause of injuries.

Or they did think of these possibilities and realize there is no great evidence on how to properly handle a young pitcher? There is anecdotal evidence that pitchers shouldn't be abused (see: Wood, Kerry) in regard to pitch count, but then there are pitchers who can throw a ton of pitches and never get severely hurt (see: Hernandez, Feliz...sorry Mariners fans if I just jinxed you).

The point is nobody really knows anything. So the "alleged" pitching experts side with caution and don't overwork a pitcher. I know this may shock Murray Chass (and when did Murray get his doctorate so he is an expert on pitcher's injuries and what causes them?), but every person is different. Some pitchers can throw a ton of pitches and be fine, but other pitchers can not.

“Warren Spahn believed the more you threw the stronger your arm would be; he never got hurt,” said Fay Vincent, the former baseball commissioner, who interviewed the 363-game winner for the first volume of his three-volume oral history project.

Oh well, if Warren Spahn believed it then it is obviously fact. Spahn also believed a starting pitcher only needed two pitches:

"A pitcher needs two pitches - one they're looking for, and one to cross 'em up."

This is interesting and I can't help but wonder how that would go over in today's game for a starter who only threw 2 pitches. I'm not sure Warren Spahn even really actively followed his own advice.

Another point that Murray/Fay Vincent leave out is that Spahn is well-known for not throwing the baseball hard. He relied more on location to confuse batters and get them out. Perhaps because he could rely on timing and location pitching wasn't as hard on his arm, sort of like how Tom Glavine pitched for the Braves a few decades later. That's a possibility, no? So Spahn may have believed the more you throw the ball, the stronger your arm would get, but he also probably didn't throw the ball at his maximum velocity possible, which didn't stress his arm.

Tommy John, a more recent major league pitcher, believed in throwing every day.

Hmmm...Murray does know there is a famous elbow reconstructive surgery named after Tommy John, right? So Murray is using the guy the most famous reconstructive elbow surgery in baseball is named after as a source on how to avoid the very surgery he ended up undergoing...to the point the surgery was named after him? That's like using Greg Oden as a source on how banging a hammer against your knees for an hour a day strengthens them.

The changes, however, weren’t just physical. The changers got into pitchers’ heads as well.

Murray Chass: Mind Reader Extraordinaire. He knows what ALL pitchers are thinking.

About 25 years ago, baseball writer John Lowe, then writing for the Philadelphia Inquirer, created a statistic he called Quality Start. If a starter pitched six or more innings and allowed three or fewer earned runs, he received credit for a Quality Start.

Pitchers came to love the statistic and embraced it psychologically.

Because if anyone can speak to how pitchers embraced the quality start psychologically it is the psychologist/doctor/mind reader Murray Chass. I wonder what other profession he will be qualified enough to comment upon with cold hard facts before this column is over?

They soon became convinced that all they had to do was last six innings, and they had done their job. Managers contributed to that six-and-out mind-set by adding the bullpen job of set-up man to the closer and then set-up man to the set-up man.

Naturally, much like minorities in pro basketball, the three-point line in college basketball, and the forward pass in football is a terrible idea that is ripping the very fabric of baseball up and destroying it in a statistics-loving incinerator.

The computer, too, has contributed mightily to a flood of statistics that have altered the perspective of the game for their advocates.

Fucking progress!

"What are all these polls and computer generated statistics showing the President's approval rating? Why don't we just make a computer President of the United States?"

"These computers are supposed to tell me how my stocks are doing in real-time? These computers don't understand the intangible things a company does to help the stock value increase."

Age basically determines where the advocates of the two different statistical worlds reside. I have made no scientific study of the makeup of the two groups, but I would guess that most fans and writers older than 50 continue to live by the basic old statistics with which they grew up while the majority of fans and writers under 40 have embraced the new-age statistics spewed out by the computers with which they have grown up.

Apparently the 40-50 year old age group is just so confused about the entire issue they don't watch baseball or have an opinion.

I have been thinking about the new statistics recently because of the criticism I have received from readers and opinionists – my new word for the proliferation of “experts” that the Internet has spawned – and I set out to take an objective look at the stuff cascading over from the dark side.

Murray was going to look into the statistics that he doesn't know much about, but feels like he is still able to criticize, but then he saw a bunch of kids on his lawn and spent the rest of the afternoon taping signs to telephone poles around the neighborhood warning kids he will shoot them with his BB gun if he sees them doing this again.

But I was interrupted in that endeavor by e-mail from younger readers telling me it was about time that I realized the insignificance of using number of wins to judge pitchers.

“Please allow me to be the latest young-un to inform you that your outlook on baseball is hilariously outdated,” wrote Matthew Carley, who did not give his age.

Because Matthew's age, over his point of view, is much more important to understanding the relevance of what he is trying to say?

“To say that wins are the most important statistic for a pitcher is like saying that ‘countries taken over’ is the most important statistic for a world leader.”

Young cretins with their analogies!

let me say that I didn’t write or imply that “wins are the most important statistic for a pitcher.”

Yes Murray Chass, you did. Felix Hernandez was the best pitcher in the American League last year, except for one little statistic...wins. In fact, Murray didn't criticize Felix Hernandez's candidacy for the AL Cy Young on any other level other than the fact he only had 13 wins. That was the implication that wins are the most important statistic. Either that or Murray is just running off at the mouth and not educated enough to know Felix Hernandez was dominant in nearly every pitching category except for wins, so because Hernandez didn't have many wins he assumes he was deficient in other categories as well. So Murray is either willfully uninformed or just plain wrong. Either way, the implication of the importance of wins is there. Here's how I got there.

-Felix Hernandez only had 13 wins. He was in the Top 5 or led the American League in most major pitching categories.

-Murray Chass criticized Felix Hernandez's candidacy for AL Cy Young based on his number of wins, ignoring Hernandez's dominance in other pitching categories.

-Murray said Felix Hernandez should not win the AL Cy Young because he didn't have enough wins.

-Therefore, I can assume since every other pitching category favored the candidacy of Felix Hernandez for AL Cy Young, except for wins, and Murray used wins to discount Hernandez's candidacy, that he considers wins to be the most important pitching statistic for a pitcher. Otherwise, he would have supported Hernandez's candidacy since wins was the only category that was lacking.

The implication is there, even if Murray doesn't know it.

“Wins are absolutely dependent upon the following,” young Mr. Carley continued: “luck, run production, adequate defense, and playing for a team that isn’t as terrible as the Pirates.”

Murray doesn't know Matt is young. It doesn't matter, but he is assuming that Mr. Carley is wrong.

As I read that passage, two words came to mind:

I'm wrong?
Grape nuts?
Mike Piazza?
Non-blog?
Early retirement?

Warren Spahn. I wonder if young Mr. Carley is familiar with that name.

Since Murray doesn't know if Mr. Carley is young, we don't know if he is familiar with the name Warren Spahn or not. I am guessing that, yes, he is familiar with Warren Spahn. Not so shockingly to everyone but him, Murray Chass is not the only person who is familiar with baseball history.

But given one of the primary excuses for pitchers not winning games, this, I think, is my favorite Spahn statistic: the man gained 25 percent of his victories, 91 of 363, when his team scored three or fewer runs.

So Murray's reasoning for why wins aren't overrated is that the greatest left handed pitcher of all-time (I'm obviously biased) and Hall of Fame member won 25% of his games when his team scored three or fewer runs? Given Murray's lack of ability to grasp statistics he has just dug his own argument's grave with this statistic. I shall elaborate briefly...

This means 75% of Spahn's wins came when his team scored four or more runs. So it can easily be argued that Spahn won more games when he got more run support, or it can be argued when his team scored more runs for him he had a better chance of winning the game. This can be seen by the fact when his team scored more runs, he won a higher percentage of his games. This can led us directly back to the argument that a pitcher winning a game is directly tied to the run support he receives. Spahn also lost 245 games in his career. Murray doesn't tell us how many games Spahn lost when his team scored three or fewer runs. That would defeat his point.

Let me help out a little bit with this. Warren Spahn had a career record of 45-149 with a 3.13 ERA when his team scored 0-2 runs. He had a career record of 151-79 with a 2.98 ERA when his team scored 3-5 runs and he had a 167-17 record with a 3.19 ERA when his team scored 6 or more runs in a game. This very clearly shows that Warren Spahn relied on his team's offense to win games.

Spahn had a 0.232 record when his team didn't score more than 2 or more runs for him. Murray likes to talk about how if a pitcher is "good enough of a pitcher" he will win the game no matter what his offense does. Apparently, Warren Spahn is not good enough because he couldn't win without run support. When his team scored 6 or more runs, Spahn had a winning percentage of 0.908. You have to be a moron to not see how his team scoring runs helped him get wins.

Even if Spahn never won a game when his team scored three or fewer runs, he still would have had 272 wins and possibly made the Hall of Fame. When you pitch as long as Spahn did you are going to win some close games, but also when you compare how many games one of the greatest pitchers in the history of baseball won when his team didn't score that many runs you can see he "pitched better" and got more wins when his team scored more runs.

Bob Waterman of Elias Sports Bureau also found, using pitchers I asked him to check, that with their teams scoring three or fewer runs that Jim Palmer gained 81 victories, 30 percent of his 268 career total; Ferguson Jenkins, 67 of 284, 24 percent, and Robin Roberts 64 of 286, 22 percent.

Which means Palmer won 70% of his games, Jenkins won 76% of his games, and Robin Roberts won 78% of his games when their team scored four or more runs. Those numbers also mean something. They mean the more runs a team scores, the better chance a pitcher has of winning a game. I think the basic problem is Murray Chass doesn't understand how to use statistics in evaluating players and he is too damn lazy to learn now.

The Mariners scored four or more runs total in 15 of Felix Hernandez's starts this year. He won 11 of those games.

Twenty-five or 50 years from now, will fans and writers be recalling how Hernandez had a stretch of six successive seasons of 6.0 WAR ratings? Will they be able to explain what a WAR rating is?

Maybe and yes. Murray wasn't sure Matthew Carley knew who Warren Spahn was, does that mean he isn't important or relevant to the game of baseball today? So simply because we have forgotten a particular statistic about Felix Hernandez doesn't mean it isn't impressive or isn't still somewhat relevant today.

With batting average, it’s hits and at-bats. Earned-run average is earned runs and innings pitched. There’s only one way to compute them.

Murray is referring to the fact there is more than one way to compute WAR. Simply because there isn't one set way to get a statistic doesn't speak to the irrelevance or uselessness of that statistic. The easy way isn't always the best way.

I have considered WAR and VORP (“value over replacement player;” yes there’s that replacement guy again), and I have a basic problem with them. The replacement player isn’t real; he’s a myth, and I’ve never seen a myth play baseball.

I understand this issue, but the replacement player is a consistent standard that is used to measure all of the players. So even if you don't necessarily like or understand the idea of a replacement player, you can compare players using VORP because the standard doesn't change.

Let’s look at one statistic that is determined by real players and real numbers, Lowe’s quality start.

Actual baseball players determine what VORP ends up being. It's clear Murray has no interest in actually learning, but he only cares to criticize what he doesn't understand.

I have never liked the idea of a Quality Start and have never referred to it.

This may say more about Murray than the statistic.

For me, a pitcher has to do better than a 4.50 earned-run average, which is what three earned runs in six innings is.

Yes, but Murray fails to see how it is hard to justify this point of view along with the fact Warren Spahn won 75% of his games when his team scored four or more runs, while having a terrible record when his team only scored 0-2 runs.

I am not the only baseball writer who has no fondness for Quality Starts and other newer statistics. In the interest of giving readers the views of others I asked for opinions from the two baseball writers I have most respected during my many years covering baseball.

Naturally, Murray Chass knowing nothing about statistics or how the sample data you choose determines the result, goes to two writers that he personally respects. There's already a bias in his results because Murray most likely respects writers who agree with him and his point of view. Not to mention, he chooses two writers who are older and would fall into the "old school" side of statistical analysis.

I will readily acknowledge that Moss Klein (left), retired baseball writer for the Newark, N.J., Star-Ledger, and Marty Noble (right), long-time baseball writer for Newsday of Long Island and now for MLB.com, are closer to my age than to that of the rookie on the baseball beat,

Hey, I asked everyone at the Tea Party convention I attended if Obama is a Communist and they said he was. It must be true!

but I don’t have enough experience with the rookies to know if I should respect their views.

I don't get why Murray insists on continuing to talk about wins and quality starts. It is clear he is over his head. Murray is attempting to prove the idea of how "quality start" is a useless statistic and wins aren't overrated, so he samples two people who he personally respects and then says he would have asked someone younger (who may disagree with him), but he doesn't know any.

So Murray is using the opinion of people who agree with him to refute the opinion of people he doesn't know, hasn't talked to, and frankly doesn't understand the position their opinion is based upon. This is why I pick on Murray Chass. This is weak, weak persuasive journalism.

Noble said, “Quality starts bugged me from the first day,” adding, “I’m never going to measure a guy by the number of 1-0 wins, but the best pitchers can win regardless of their support.”

Except for the Hall of Fame pitchers that Murray Chass just listed. Warren Spahn would have won 45 games in his career if his team scored 0-2 runs for him in every one of his starts during his career. Apparently this guy doesn't think Warren Spahn is one of the best pitchers in history because he can't meet the criteria arbitrarily set out for him to meet. Look at Spahn's career statistics, the only thing that majorly changed when he won or lost a game was his run support. How can anyone judge a pitcher's ability on whether he won a 1-0 game consistently? Even the greatest pitchers of all-time can't do this!

The same thing goes for all the other pitchers Murray listed. Jim Palmer would have had 81 career victories if the Orioles never scored more than three runs in a game for him.

This statement by Noble is infuriating. You absolutely can not ignore the effect of run support for a pitcher in evaluating that pitcher. It's ridiculous to do so. The idea a pitcher pitches to the score of the game assumes that pitcher knows EXACTLY how many runs his team will score and when he should or should not give up runs. This assumes a pitcher will sometimes not try as hard to prevent runs because he knows his team will score more runs for him.

Klein called the recent “devaluation of wins” a mistake.

I call this statement a mistake.

“Remember when it used to be said of good pitchers that ‘they do what it takes to win’ and of certain pitchers that ‘they’re good enough to lose,’” he added. “Granted, there are always hard-luck pitchers who consistently pitch strong games but get minimal hitting support.

So was Warren Spahn (I am using him constantly because Murray was the one who used Span originally) "good enough to lose." He certainly lost when his team didn't score enough runs for him, yet "he did what it took to win when his team scored 3+ runs for him."

These pitchers should be punished because their offense can't score? NO! Why would you judge a pitcher's personal performance on the performance of his offense? It makes not of sense!

“But I always felt there was a class of pitchers who would win 2-1, and another class of solid pitchers who, in big games, would lose 3-2. Wins are still the most important stat. Felix Hernandez was declared the Cy Young winner, but I didn’t hear anybody declaring the Mariners the AL champs. Why? They didn’t have enough wins.

Because their offense isn't good enough to win games and Felix Hernandez isn't the only pitcher on the pitching staff! Is this really a difficult point to understand? The Cy Young is an INDIVIDUAL award. There are four other pitchers on the Mariners staff and an offense that has to hit well or the team won't win games. The best individual pitcher can be on the worst offensive team and he can't pitch in every game, nor can a pitcher in the American League do ANYTHING about the run support he gets.

As for the new statistics, Noble said, “You can’t quantify everything. That’s the charm of the game. You can have 18 hits and lose by 5 runs when the other team has 6 hits.

Right! Let's roll with this one. Let's say both pitchers in this example pitched a complete game and the final score was 7-2. One pitcher (Pitcher X) gave up 18 hits, but somehow managed to win the game, while the other pitcher (Pitcher Y) gave up seven runs, but his team committed three errors. Which pitcher did enough to win the game? Pitcher Y did give up runs, but they weren't completely his fault. Pitcher X managed to keep the opposing team to 2 runs on 18 hits. Neither pitcher pitched very well, but Pitcher Y's teammates that hit the ball couldn't get runs across. This isn't his fault. So while neither pitcher pitched well, Pitcher X gets the win and "did enough to win," while Pitcher Y gets the loss because his offense couldn't score enough runs. The hitters have to hit the ball and score runs for a pitcher to win. You can't ignore this.

“They ignore the David Eckstein factor,” he said. “He’ll do something that will piss you off,” he said, something, he meant, that you can’t find in the statistics.

I will admit statistics-oriented people do tend to overlook the intangible, unpredictable completely unmeasurable, unquantifiable things a player does. Partially because they are intangible and unquantifiable.

Or “Jeter late in a game,” adding, “Jeter was seen as the worst player at all positions but who else makes that play against the A’s in the playoffs?”

I can't respond to this logically.

“They are occasionally interesting, and they can point out strengths and weaknesses. They might be worthwhile if you’re simply participating in a fantasy league, but if you’re dealing with real life you have to see the player in action, the way he responds to key situations.

Clearly this guy hasn't ever been in a fantasy league. WAR and VORP aren't prominently used in a fantasy league. I'm not even sure how this would work if these stats were used.

“Some players thrive on pressure situations, some can’t deal with them. That’s important. Some players pile up great numbers in early-inning, big-lead, no-pressure spots – and do well in the fancy, new-fangled numbers. Others can be counted on to deliver the key hit with the game on the line in the eighth inning. That’s the player I want.

So how are you going to figure out which player can be counted on to deliver the key hit with the game on the line in the 8th inning? Call a psychic...or Murray Chass since he seems to be able to read minds? This is the old "let's throw out a bunch of meaningless hypotheticals with no specific player in mind to disprove something" way of debating an issue. I'd love to hear an example of a player that puts up great numbers in early inning, big-lead, no-pressure spots and has great fancy, new-fangled numbers. We won't get one though.

Oh, and a player who puts up great numbers in early-inning, big-lead, no-pressure spots will also do well in the traditional statistics like batting average, home runs, and RBI's. The pitcher that is pitching on the mound for the team that has this player will do well in the traditional statistics like wins because he is getting a ton of run support. It goes both ways. It's not like players who don't do well in high-pressure situations don't have their statistics skewed by traditional statistics as well as new-fangled statistics.

The biggest problem with the ‘new stats’ is they turn the players into robots, not people. And for now, at least, it’s still people who are playing the game.

The "new stats" don't turn players into robots, they take out biases while evaluating a player which a person may have about a player...like, I don't know, whether a guy really likes Derek Jeter and thinks he is a great fielder due to him making a really great play in the field a decade ago.

4 comments:

rich said...

The game’s alleged pitching experts were so focused on preventing injuries that they didn’t think of the possibility that the changes in the ways young pitchers were being trained were the cause of injuries.

I agree with what you said BGF, but even if Murray is right (and I think he's actually on the right track), if a young pitcher has been poorly trained, then it would be absolutely stupid to have him go out there and throw 100+ pitches every game. You handle them with care until you can train them to last through the workload. It's a pretty basic concept.

“Warren Spahn believed the more you threw the stronger your arm would be; he never got hurt,”

Notice how he said "throw," not pitch. Huge difference between throwing and pitching. I think Spahn was talking about tossing the ball around, i.e. long toss, not gunning 95MPH fastballs every day.

Another thing that Murray seems to forget, a lot of off-speed pitches require you to do weird things with your arm or wrist, you can't throw 400 curveballs a day and not expect your wrist to hurt.

They soon became convinced that all they had to do was last six innings, and they had done their job.

No, most players probably decided that it was a nice stat to have when negotiating contracts, but through competitiveness and a desire for more money wanted to keep going.

I would guess that most fans and writers older than 50 continue to live by the basic old statistics with which they grew up while the majority of fans and writers under 40 have embraced the new-age statistics spewed out by the computers with which they have grown up.

Most of the "new" statistics haven't been around 40 years. I mean I was probably 20 when I heard VORP used for the first time.

the man gained 25 percent of his victories, 91 of 363, when his team scored three or fewer runs.

Because maybe back when Warren Spahn played, teams scoring three runs was almost worthy of throwing a parade?

Bravo sir on your research showing why this is an incredibly stupid stat. Oh 91 of his victories came when his team score less than 3 runs? Well what was his winning percentage? If you play in 1000 games where your team scores 3 or less runs and you win 91, that's not a real great thing.

The replacement player isn’t real; he’s a myth, and I’ve never seen a myth play baseball.

I have a surprise for Mr. Chase, most things in the world are defined against a reference point. In electrical circuits, "ground" is a point at which you take the voltage to be 0V... it may not necessarily be that though. Same with physics and calculus, there has to be a baseline.

For example, what's this "sea level" bullshit people talk about all the time?

“I’m never going to measure a guy by the number of 1-0 wins, but the best pitchers can win regardless of their support.”

Well their team might win, but why punish a guy for letting in 1 or 2 runs in 7 innings and then watching his team put up 3 runs in the 9th?

I can't respond to this logically.

I can. It was a great play. A phenomenal heads up play that 99% of players don't make. That said, one play that most people don't make doesn't excuse the fact that Jeter (recently) fails to make plays that most people would make.

One play does not define a career.

The biggest problem with the ‘new stats’ is they turn the players into robots, not people.

It actually lets us see their individuality more. Stats like VORP and WARP let us see the total value of a player. If you take two players with similar batting averages, RBIs and HRs, WARP and VORP may illustrate which player was more valuable to his team by taking a lot more into account than simple mathematics.

Bengoodfella said...

Rich, I am against the protecting of pitchers, or as much as pitchers are getting protected. I probably wouldn't have gone after this article if he had focused solely on that. You handle a pitcher with care until you get an idea of what his arm can handle. The "throwing" thing is the key. Leo Mazzone had a workout he had Braves pitchers do where they threw in between starts and threw from different distances to warm up (or something like that). I think that's the difference between throwing and pitching.

I still don't know if I completely use VORP and some of the other stats correctly sometimes. I heard of VORP a few years ago and have taken the time to learn more about statistic used in a sport I care about...which is something I think Murray should do.

It was a retarded stat. I knew it was because Spahn had Eddie Matthews, Joe Adcock and Hank Aaron hitting for his team. I knew the statistics were out there that Spahn needed run support to win games and I knew he got some of it. A 0.232 winning percentage, from a HoF pitcher when his team scores 2 or less runs. That tells me something about run support.

Sea level sounds stupid, but it is similar. I don't know if sea level is actually the literal seal level everywhere, but it is a reference point and that is all that matters when comparing.

You can't punish a guy with a loss for something other players do. Many times a pitcher will lose a game on his own, but many times there are other factors that go into it. I don't hate wins and absolutely think the stat should be used, but it can be over-relied upon. There are so many external factors that go into it, you can't base a conclusion on a player's ability on it.

Jeter's play was a heads-up play, but that play is the very reason stats-oriented fielding metrics are in place. It removes the bias of the viewer seeing the Jeter make a few good plays and thinking he is a great fielder because of his memorable plays.

I think the VORP argument about individuality is persuasive, but good luck convincing anyone who doesn't like VORP of it. It's a tool to be used, not a complete system of beliefs.

Anonymous said...

ESPN needs to hire Murray Chass to have 25-minute weekly chats on Tuesday mornings throughout the baseball season. I think his views might be even crazier than those of Joe Morgan. Nothing could match the laughter that comes from a typical JoeChat, but we definitely need some kind of pseudo-replacement for those chats now that Joe is gone.

Bengoodfella said...

Anon, I would cover that Murray Chass chat every single week without missing one. I would love for him to do a chat. Unfortunately, I think he is too technologically behind the world to do a chat like that.

I do need a replacement for Joe Morgan though and I have only had one suggestion at this point. I need more! I am searching in vain because I love covering chats.