Saturday, October 13, 2012

12 comments Jerry Green Puns it Up, Goes to War Over WAR

Jerry Green is an old-school sportswriter. I say that not only because he is semi-retired, but also because he doesn't like the use of advanced statistics to judge a baseball player. Jerry appears to enjoy the use of older statistics and plain ol' logic when judging a baseball player. Obviously no one can argue with the use of logic since what is logical or not logical is dependent on someone's point of view. For example, I don't think it is logical to criticize the use of WAR to judge a player when the sportswriter doing the criticizing doesn't understand what the statistic means. That's logical to me. Jerry Green thinks Miguel Cabrera's MVP credentials over Mike Trout are logical, but mostly he just hates the use of advanced statistics.

For the record, with a gun to my head I would probably vote for Mike Trout as MVP, but it isn't the end of my world if Miguel Cabrera gets the AL MVP award. I don't believe the Triple Crown automatically means Miguel Cabrera should be the MVP, but I think a reasonable case can be made for Trout and Cabrera. I simply don't like Jerry Green's method of determining Cabrera is the American League MVP because it seems close-minded.

The talent is true. He plays with rare versatility in a game that dissects the skills of its athletes...

Yet he climbs fences, stretching above walls, to catch balls ordinary outfielders could never reach. He runs with the verve and the speed of a sprinter. And for most of this current season, he led the American League in batting.

Mike Trout is the finest ballplayer to reach the major leagues in the past half-century.

Let's get ready for the proverbial "but" to enter the discussion. It's never good when someone sits down and starts overcomplimenting you to the point it becomes awkward. There's usually a "but" towards the middle of that discussion that takes the conversation into a whole new direction.

In my judgment, Trout is the most talented player to enter the big leagues since Willie Mays joined the New York Giants in May 1951.

But he isn't MVP. Shit, did I just spoil the ending of this column?

Trout arrived in the majors on April 28 this season, from the Salt Lake Bees of the Pacific Coast League. Shipping him to a farm club was an obvious gaffe out of spring training by the often strategically challenged Angels.

Games won by strategically challenged Angels this year: 89 games, which would have been enough to win the AL Central if only Anaheim wasn't located in California.

Games won by Detroit Tigers this year led by Miguel Cabrera: 88 games, which wouldn't have been good enough to win any other division in the majors this year.

Indeed, measuring the old-fashioned numbers that we the purists still regard as sacred — batting average, runs batted in, home runs — Trout's rookie stats are superior to those compiled by Willie Mays 61 years ago.

Advanced statistics show this to be true as well. But those advanced statistics are evil we will soon learn.

No matter what — he must be the unanimous choice for the rookie of the year award. But MVP? Not this season.

Here's the "but" sentence. Mike Trout is the greatest rookie since Willie Mays, but there is an award for that and it is called the "Rookie of the Year" award. This is as opposed to Miguel Cabrera who wins the fictional "Triple Crown" award and the American League MVP.

The "no-matter what" boils down to Miguel Cabrera's season — and the ancient baseball rarity revered as the Triple Crown.

I understand, know and appreciate baseball history. So I am not blind to the accomplishment that Miguel Cabrera has achieved this year. There is a reason I wouldn't hate it if Cabrera won the MVP award. The fact Cabrera won the Triple Crown is just fantastic and is a sign he had a great year. I don't know if the fact Cabrera won the Triple Crown makes him the MVP. A perfect game is also a baseball rarity and Matt Cain threw one this year. Should he win the National League Cy Young award for this?

I get the Triple Crown is a season-long accomplishment, as opposed to a perfect game being only over one game, and Cabrera did have a great season. The Most Valuable Player is about which player had the best season and which player was the most valuable. Fortunately, because he was called up in late April we get an idea of how valuable Mike Trout was for the Angels. They were 6-14 before Trout got called up and 80-56 after he got called up. Granted, this wasn't all because of Mike Trout. Albert Pujols hitting like he is used to hitting had something to do with it. In my opinion, Mike Trout was the most valuable player in the American League this year for reasons that go beyond this. Yes, his WAR is incredibly high, but he also excelled in five phases of the game and in my opinion was more valuable to the Angels than Cabrera was to the Tigers. Even if it is a small sample size you can see how the Angels played before and after he was called up to the majors.

Cabrera is destined to lead the American League batting for the second successive year. He surpassed Trout a few weeks ago. Cabrera likewise is due to top the league in runs batted in. He is challenging Josh Hamilton for the AL's home run championship, the third segment of the Triple Crown. He tied him with his 43rd Saturday.

You can break it down into segments of the Triple Crown to basically restate the case, but the fact remains the same that Jerry Green is using Miguel Cabrera's Triple Crown as why he should win the MVP. He isn't including defense and that "lost art" old-school writers are conveniently forgetting to bitch about being a lost art right now, stolen bases. I find it that funny. For a few years now we have heard old-school, Sabermetric-hating writers talk about the lost art of the stolen base. They say more teams need to stop trying to hit home runs and start "manufacturing runs," using speed, guile and grit. Now "manufacturing runs" is all-but-forgotten when it comes to a player old-school baseball writers don't think should win the MVP award. Suddenly, stolen bases are giving a Sabermetric-candidate (which is what Mike Trout basically is) a better chance of winning the AL MVP and I don't hear much discussion about this lost art of stolen bases anymore.

Plus, Cabrera is powering the Tigers toward the postseason, the pennant playoffs — the qualifying tests leading to the World Series.

Great point! Why isn't Mike Trout leading the Angels to the playoffs? Is it because he just isn't the team leader that Miguel Cabrera is? Or is it because Mike Trout is the only decent player on his team so he has had a chance to shine on a bad team?

Well actually, the Angels won 89 games this year while the Tigers won 88 games. I heard this point of view given by an ESPN analyst recently during a Yankees-Red Sox game. The analyst said Cabrera was the MVP because he is leading his team to the playoffs. He said this despite the fact the Angels have won more games than the Tigers. This is conveniently not mentioned. So the only reason Cabrera is powering the Tigers towards the postseason is because the Tigers play in the AL Central. In every other division, the Tigers wouldn't even qualify for the Wild Card in either the American League and would be tied for the Wild Card in the National League. So if Jerry Green really finds it persuasive to say Cabrera is powering the worst playoff team in the majors to the playoffs, a team that has won 1 fewer game than Mike Trout's team, then I shouldn't really argue with that kind of idiocy. It's a losing deal...and yet I continue.

Cabrera is the American League's MVP. Not the multi-talented Mike Trout. 

The guy who can hit the baseball slightly better than Trout is the MVP, not the guy who can hit the baseball only slightly worse than Cabrera, yet run and field better. I think I got it.

And the Angels, it appears with a few games left this season, are not destined to reach the postseason. If the Angels fail, incidentally, it would be because they shipped Mike Trout to the minors for a few weeks out of spring training.

This is arguable and actually makes a case for Trout as MVP. The Angels still could have gotten off to a 6-14 start without Trout, but the odds are very good they would have won more games with Trout in the lineup. Of course, I find it interesting that Green doesn't think Mike Trout is the AL MVP, but also states if the Angels had called him up for the first 20 games of the season they would be in the playoffs. Seems like he is kind of valuable to the Angels, especially considering the Angels had a better record than the Tigers even without Trout being eligible to play in a little over 12% of the season.

This sort of thinking, of course, has baseball watchers — many with opinions similar to mine — condemned as reactionaries and opponents of progress.

No, I just think Jerry Green is not paying attention to three tools of the five-tool player that Mike Trout has shown himself to be. I do think it is bizarre Jerry Green touts how Miguel Cabrera is leading his team to the playoffs when any smart sportswriter should immediately notice two issues with this statement:

1. The Angels won more games than the Tigers this year. Again, the Tigers have the worst record of any division winner and they probably play in the worst or second worst division in the majors as well.

2. Jerry Green believes the Angels would have won more games if they had put Mike Trout in the starting lineup coming out of Spring Training. So not only does Jerry Green believe Trout is very valuable to the Angels, but the whole argument of "Miguel Cabrera led his team to the playoffs" becomes even more short-sighted and meaningless knowing this.

ESPN claims that Trout merits the MVP award — despite Cabrera's possible Triple Crown — on the basis of WAR.

I base my MVP vote on the idea that Mike Trout was (what I believe) the difference in the Angels season being sort of a disappointment or a big disappointment...and yet the Angels still won 89 games. I also base it on the fact I think Trout was not only the most valuable player, but also he was valuable in five phases of the game, while Cabrera was valuable in two phases of the game.

This is not the kind of war that Ted Williams fought in twice amidst his Triple Crown-style seasons. Or the war that brought Willie Mays into the Army during his career.

Ugh. Not really that funny. Jokes like this make me a little "green" when reading Jerry's columns. Get it? That's humor.

It is that relatively new "Moneyball" style of crackpot Sabermetrics stat described as wins above replacement. Whatever that means.

I hate those crackpot Sabermetric stats. They aren't nearly as reliable as using RBI's or a team's record to show why an individual should be the American League MVP. If you can't use data that is reliant on other players on that team's performance to measure an individual's worth then what is the point of life?

WAR — and there are versions disseminated by both websites and — includes more skills than pure hitting and hitting for power. Stolen bases are considered, a number that actually can be counted.

WAR is by no means perfect, but it does encompass a player's all-around contribution to a team, including stolen bases.

Fielding likewise counts.

Just how fielding figures in … well, you look and watch. And then guess, and perhaps the guess works. Or doesn't.

Everyone knows fielding shouldn't count now and has never counted when determining the value of a baseball player. It's not like old-school sportswriters have ever allowed defense to count when determining the MVP or who gets in the Hall of Fame.

I guess Jerry Green doesn't see defense as part of baseball since it takes some effort to quantify the value of a player's defense. Who wants to put effort into voting for a postseason award? I never knew defense wasn't a part of the game of baseball, yet scrappiness and non-quantifiable attributes like leadership and clutchness are a part of the game and should be factored into a player's favor when discussing his value.

I realize I just sort-of created a straw man argument, but it feels so good.

And then the figure person tries to measure how an ordinary replacement player might compare to the established high-skilled player.

If you can't understand how to figure WAR then how is it possible to criticize what you don't understand? Didn't Jerry Green listen to Bob Dylan in the 1960's? Don't criticize what you don't understand. WAR is measuring how many more wins over a replacement player (AAA or AAAA player) a certain Major Leaguer adds to his team's win total. 

Once upon a time, the MVP was not decided on the basis of some imaginary numbers that are jammed into a murky, invented stat such as WAR.

This is nonsensical. All calculations are invented in some fashion. Batting average and ERA aren't "naturally occurring" statistics which require no calculation. WAR requires more calculation than some other statistics, but don't be afraid of it because it requires a little bit more work to understand. WAR isn't invented any more than other statistics are invented and it doesn't use imaginary numbers. WAR uses real numbers in the same way figuring out a player's ERA or batting average figures real numbers.

Were there no Calculus or Advanced Algebra classes when Jerry Green went to high school? I wonder this because I can see old-school sportswriters like Murray Chass and Jerry Green standing up on their desks at the age of 17 rebelling against "these imaginary and invented numbers" their Calculus teacher is forcing them to learn. At some point this opposition to difficult numbers to calculate speaks to a lack of education in terms of math and science. Calculating WAR isn't any different than the other "imaginary" calculations which created "invented" formulas used in high school math and science.

Unlike WAR there is no stat in Sabermetrics known as LOGIC.

There is no statistic in any sport called "LOGIC." In the land of invented statistics using imaginary numbers the use of "LOGIC" would be the king of invented statistics and imaginary numbers because there is no way to quantify what "LOGIC" really means since it is subjective to each individual person. For example, logically even if I disagree with something I take the time to understand it so I know exactly what I am disagreeing with.

And oops, WAR does not figure in baseball's most important statistic — finishing in first place during the regular season.

Hey Jerry, does your LOGIC statistic figure up how bragging the Tigers are finishing in first place with 88 wins in a weak division is a better showing than the Angels coming in third place in a stronger division with 89 wins? Because my LOGIC statistic says 89 games won is more than 88 games won, so bragging the Tigers won their division isn't the best way to campaign for Miguel Cabrera as the MVP. It's a losing argument, especially if we consider Jerry Green states the Angels would have won more than 89 games if Mike Trout had played in the majors for the entire month of April.

The Tigers are aimed — likely — for a first-place finish in their division now that all the white flags in Detroit have been ripped down.

Maybe Jerry Green doesn't have access to the Interwebs to find out the Angels won more games this year than the Tigers. If the Angels played in the AL Central, they would have won this division. I can't repeat how stupid this "the Tigers won their division" argument is when it comes to Miguel Cabrera's candidacy for AL MVP.

A ballplayer who leads his team to a first-place finish — nothing could be more valuable.

Other than a ballplayer who leads his team to a third-place finish with more wins than the ball-player who led his team to a first-place finish, while playing in 22 less baseball games?

There is no doubt that Mike Trout is first over Miguel Cabrera in both WAR I and WAR II.

But Cabrera is first in the American League.

Consider your point not made and LOGIC states you have failed to persuade me with your argument. Mike Trout was slightly more valuable than Miguel Cabrera was this year. I don't even need statistics to say this because I know it from watching both of them play (ouch, there is the old-school sportswriter "I saw them both play and that tells me all I need to know" argument used against an old-school sportswriter). Mike Trout's team won more games and Mike Trout stole more bases and played better defense, while still hitting at an extremely high level. If you can't beat them, use their own LOGIC against them.


rich said...

If the Angels fail, incidentally, it would be because they shipped Mike Trout to the minors for a few weeks out of spring training.

This is bullshit - they are going to miss the playoffs because they don't play in a shitty division and because their big time acquisitions (Wilson, Pujols) weren't very good at the beginning of the year.

Mike Trout had a WAR over 10, I don't give shit if Cabrera plays on a playoff team or not. Mike Trout is more valuable than Miguel Cabrera.

despite Cabrera's possible Triple Crown

The triple crown is impressive and it's an extraordinary achievement for Cabrera... BUT

1) Cabrera's fielding percentage is .966, which is not very good.

2) Mike Trout had a year where he hit .326 with 30 HRs and 129 runs. He also managed to steal almost 50 bases. .300+, 30HRs and almost 50SB? That's a pretty exclusive club too.

So fuck it, I'm giving Trout the AL "who gives a shit triple crown" of Runs, Stolen Bases and OPS+... which is just as meaningful as the "actual" triple crown.

Just how fielding figures in … well, you look and watch. And then guess, and perhaps the guess works. Or doesn't.

It's not like old-school sportswriters have ever allowed defense to count when determining the MVP or who gets in the Hall of Fame.

This is the hilarity of this argument to me: fielding doesn't matter for MVP awards, but it sure as shit matters for the Hall of Fame.

How is that anyone can argue "well sure, he sucked ass in the field, but look at his batting stats!" for giving Cabrera an MVP, but then a few months from now will use that same exact argument for keeping guys like Edgar Martinez out of the Hall.

Either defense is important and Trout should be given consideration for his all-around game or it's not important and you immediately kick Ozzie Smith out of the Hall of Fame and induct Edgar Martinez in.

Unlike WAR there is no stat in Sabermetrics known as LOGIC.

The fact this moron is trying to say WAR is illogical while basing his thoughts on "defense doesn't matter" and "who gives a shit that the Angels had a better record, the Tigers made the playoffs"... I'm speechless.

Mike Trout is first over Miguel Cabrera in both WAR I and WAR II.

And OBP, OPS+, runs, SB, Fielding %...

But Cabrera does have more DUIs, so that's something Trout has to work on...

ivn said...

And oops, WAR does not figure in baseball's most important statistic — finishing in first place during the regular season.

It's "wins above replacement"! "Wins" is the first thing in the name!

Bengoodfella said...

Rich, I can go either way on this, but lean towards Trout because he was a more complete player than Cabrera this year. The Triple Crown is very impressive, but why don't the other statistics that Trout put up count for anything? Other than the fact they are "made up" statistics that Jerry Green wants to deny the existence of.

You finished my point for me. I can't wait for Jerry Green to say Edgar Martinez shouldn't be in the HoF because he didn't play the field. Fielding only counts when it needs to count and shouldn't count when it doesn't need to count. It's true they seem to change this standard when it fits their preconceived conclusion.

It almost made me speechless too. WAR is illogical, but defense is irrelevant and the fact the Tigers won fewer games than the Angels doesn't matter either.

Mike Trout is only 20 years old. He can't even legally drink. Of course he can still get a DUI, so maybe someone should suggest that to him. Or he could demand a trade. That seems to work in getting Michael Young MVP consideration.

Ivn, that's a good point. I missed that. Wins is the most crucial part of the statement too, since the WAR stat measures how many wins a team has with one player or another.

AJ said...

Are you really comparing fielding % of CF to 3B? Compare other 3B with Cabrera all you want, but you can't compare an infielder to a outfielder. Its apples and oranges. Now go ahead and compare him to others at his position and let me know if he "sucked ass" or not. I'll save you the time, he was 3rd in the AL in fielding percentage at 3B. Trout, by the way, was 5th in the AL for CF. A .966 fielding percentage at 3B is "not very good"?? What was tops in the league again, .977?? I guess it's just Beltre and everyone else is a scrub that sucks ass at 3B then. The guy that finished ahead of Cabrera finished a whopping .001% better. If you want to say he was slow at getting to balls or couldn't cover as much ground as others, fine, but you didn’t say that and only said he sucks ass cause of his fielding percentage, which is the furthest thing from the truth. All you did was pick one number (fielding percentage) and said he sucks (even though he was top 3). His .966 in fact was VERY good. It's fun to cherry pick numbers without any reference or facts.

You did get the DUI stat correct though. You forgot that he threatened to blew up a bar also. I'm sure he leads Trout in those two categories that are in fact, irrelevant. Oh and you conveniently left out how much money he has raised for charity (millions), how he has his own charity for kids, and how he is up for the Roberto Clemente award. Who cares about all that though, he got arrested for a DUI! No one ever gets arrested for that......................

Ben - Trout is a more complete player then Cabrera because he has "5" tools or basically cause he can run faster. Does he have a good arm? Or are you saying this based on what you have heard? There is no doubt he is a great OF'er, but lets see him throw some people out before we say he has 5 tools.

I like the WAR stat, it has some value, but it is in fact MADE UP. If you don't think its made up, let me know how the formula works (different sites calculate it differently). I could make up a WAR stat as well and add in stats I feel are important and leave out others that I feel are not important. That’s what it is, they use a formula based on what they THINK is important and not some definite stat (i.e. RBIs are left out of the equation, which is a joke. Add RBI into the equation and I'm willing to bet Cabrera has about the same WAR as Trout.). Stolen bases are in the equation though, which means stealing a base is far more important than driving in a run. It's all about picking what YOU think is important. Again, it's fun to cherry pick numbers.

AJ said...

Continuing on, i ran out of space!

By the way, the "wins" part of WAR does not indicate how many wins his team had with him in the lineup, it’s the amount of wins he hypothetically would produce over a "replacement" player. For example, a team could win ZERO games and someone on their team could have a WAR of 50. It doesn't mean he added 50 wins, obviously, it just means compared to the average stats of certain statistics over the course of the season he would be 50 games better than the replacement player. His team could still lose every game. Wins are a byproduct of more than just one player on your team. You could score 10 runs in one game, steal 15 bases, make 8 spectacular catches, throw out 10 bases runners, and break a bat in half with your head...but you could lose that game 20-10 and your WAR would go up. So did you "win"?

Like I said, I think the WAR stat is good, but it should come with a caveat. It doesn’t take into account any stats that can't be measured (like moving positions), the other people in your batting order, etc. It doesn't take into account that you saved a home run in a game you ended up winning by 12 runs (cause that important, winning by 12 instead of 11 is so much more valuable). It doesn’t take into account that the Tigers would have finished in 3rd place in their division without Cabrera while the Angels would have finished exactly where they did in theirs without Trout (3rd place). Do I know for a fact the Tigers finish 3rd? No. At least I can admit that’s hypothetical, but if you watched any baseball this year one could easily conclude that. Sure the Angels finished with a better record, but does that make him MORE valuable than a player who pushed his team to a post season? You can't help what division you play in, you can only help how you finish in yours.

Did Trout have a great year? Of course he did, you can't argue any other way. Did Cabrera have a great year? Of course, again, you can't argue this another way. We shouldn’t have to belittle someone's season to make a point. They are both great players and each of them deserve the MVP. I don't believe there is a clear cut winner here, I'm bias towards Cabrera, but I wouldn’t have any argument if Trout ended up winning it.

Lets just all admit that the Tigers are making the Yankees look like a bunch of cry baby bitches and showing everyone they are chokers. And maybe we should just give Cabrera the MVP for that!

HH said...

Once upon a time, the MVP was not decided on the basis of some imaginary numbers that are jammed into a murky, invented stat such as WAR.

He's right on the imaginary numbers. Trout's fielding percentage is actually .996i.

[I'm so sorry.]

Bengoodfella said...

AJ, are you the same AJ who used to comment here all the time and lives in Detroit? Just wondering because I had not seen you comment in a while.

I'm saying Trout has 5 tools because he can hit for average, hit for power, he stole a lot of bases, he's a good fielder, and I have seen he has a strong throwing arm and this only goes to prove what I have seen is true. He can play every OF position and I've watched him throw the ball. He seems to have a very good throwing arm. Have I watched every Angels game this year? No, I haven't so perhaps you are proven correct.

I am guessing RBI's are left out of the equation because they are a product of having men on-base to drive in. Players who don't hit in the 3/4/5/6 spot in the lineup most likely wouldn't have as many runners to drive in, which would mess up the WAR stat.

Stealing a base is an individual achievement. RBI's are a team statistic. I am not taking RBI's out of the equation at all, just including stolen bases in the equation. I'm not leaving RBI's out, I'm merely adding in stolen bases. I'm not cherry picking the numbers just including numbers you don't like because they don't support Cabrera's candidacy as much.

I wouldn't say WAR is made up. I would say there are different ways to come to the statistic. It is no less made up than another statistic like OBP. Are there different ways to calculate it? Yes, but from what I've read every popular way to calculate WAR has Trout above Cabrera.

What I meant was that wins calculates how many wins a player should add to the team. I realize WAR isn't a perfect statistic and the fact you say baseball is a team game is fine. That's true. Regardless, I think Mike Trout helped his team out as much or more than Miguel Cabrera.

For what won't be the last time, the fact Miguel Cabrera switched positions should have nothing to do with the MVP race. Switching positions, giving massages or sharing your batting gloves with other players is not a part of the MVP conversation. If so, Martin Prado should be in that conversation. He played well at six positions this year. Does that make him more valuable because he played multiple positions? I don't think the voters will see it that way.

I love how you throw out a hypothetical that the Tigers would be in third place without Cabrera, admit it could be wrong and then say "if you watched any baseball this year one could easily conclude that." What??? So you may be wrong, but your hypothetical isn't so wrong everyone should agree with you. I can't even argue with that statement really, it's just too nonsensical for me. You use your own standard as the basis for what everyone should believe. Come on.

Trout isn't more valuable based on his team winning more games, just like Cabrera isn't more valuable because his team is in the playoffs. I am not saying Trout should be MVP b/c the Angels won more games, but saying Cabrera shouldn't be MVP just because the Tigers made the playoffs.

I don't really either way on this argument either. I would vote Trout, but it seems like contrary to what you say you do have strong feelings towards Cabrera.

You have to get in a position to win a game before you can choke. The Tigers are simply beating the Yankees ass at this point.

rich said...

I feel the need to defend myself here:

Just because Cabrera finished third in the AL in fielding % does not mean he is a good fielder. The league as a whole has not had a good year defensively at the position.

The highest 3B fielding % is lower than .980 for the first time in seven years, and has been below that threshold three times dating back ten years.

Just because he's the sixth best in the majors does not make him a good fielder. He's behind stellar 3B such as Chase Headley and Adrian Beltre, who is not being paid for his defense.

The DUI thing - you busted me. Here I was making a joke about how Cabrera's own team publicly chastised the guy for being an alcoholic and got a DUI while threatening to blow up the bar.

Sorry, if you make 16M a year and threaten to blow up a fucking bar, sorry, I don't give two shits how much you've done for charity. Lots of lowlife assholes do a lot of financial shit for charity, it doesn't stop them from being raging assholes: see, Steinbrenner, George.

Also, you know why RBIs aren't included in some WAR stats? it's entirely dependent on your teammates.

Teammates get on base, you can get RBI, teammates can't get on base, you can't get RBI.

Given that Trout is a lead-off hitter, you saying if they included RBI Cabrera's WAR would be similar is just as misleading as my fielding percentage argument.

If you're going to shit yourself about how misleading my fielding percentage argument was, you'd think you would have picked up on why RBIs are a terrible metric to compare them too.

AJ said...

RBI's are a team statistic? But runs aren’t? This is a what came first, the chicken or the egg, problem. RBI's are not just driving in a guy that’s on base, since you get RBIs by hitting home runs (which includes solo shots). But mostly, yes, its about having someone on base. But you know what else is? Scoring runs. It’s the same thing, you can't score a run without SOMEONE driving you in (unless again, you hit a solo HR than you have scored your own run, or steel home, or score on errors). You can walk, steal second, steal third and never score unless the guy at the plate drives you in. It's as much as a team stat as RBIs. So which came first, the chicken or the egg?

What they SHOULD use is a byproduct of both RBI and runs. Total runs produced would be more telling. RBI plus runs. You would have to remove the solo HR's though since they produce both a RBI and a run (well remove either the RBI or the run from it). How many total runs you produced for your team, now that is a more meaningful stat. You can't discount driving in a run just because you don't think it means anything. Everything is basically a team stat except homeruns. Scoring a run and RBI both need the help of someone on your team (except for certain things).

See I made that comment about the Tigers wouldn’t be in first place without him as a more tongue in cheek. It doesn’t come across in writing, obviously. I made it up cause there is NO WAY to tell if he made that difference.

Actually the Tigers aren’t really beating the Yankees ass, winning 6-4 in 12 innings and 3-0 (which should have been 1-0 if the umps weren't blind) is not exactly dominating. Of course, maybe its just that the Yankees hitters aren’t as good as everyone makes them out to be on ESPN. Fister loaded the bases 3 times in game 1 and got out of it, and another time a guy on 2nd and 3rd with no outs. I'm not sure if that’s just good pitching or pathetic hitting by the Yankees...probably a combination of both. To me, the Yankees just don’t look like they care, especially Cano. This is a good topic to discuss though!

Yes I used to comment a lot more before, but that’s cause work blocks the comments section from time to time. Work is weird that way, one day I can comment one day its blocked. The DoD doesn’t like your comments section I guess! I still read the blog at least once a week though. You should do more Simmons!

AJ said...

Rich - I agree with you about his defense! I said that above, but you chose a arbitrary stat (fielding %) and that’s it. Is Cabrera a gold glove defender? Hell no. Does he "suck ass" as you said, no he does not. He is merely average. He is not good and he is not bad, just average. The point I was making was that he does not suck as you said he does, but of course he isn’t great either. Basically he is just there, he makes the plays that are hit to him but never really does something spectacular like Trout does. Trout plays GREAT, Cabrera plays average.

"picked up on why RBIs are a terrible metric"

This is your opinion and not a fact. YOU may think RBIs are meaningless, but does that make you right? I may think they mean a lot, but does that make ME right? No and no. Its your opinion and its my opinion and its not something that can be factually correct one way or another, so neither position is wrong. That’s the point of an OPINION. But its ok, you can take personal shots at me all you want if you think it proves your OPINION is right or if it makes you feel better, I can take it. I didn't take any personal shots at you guys, just merely gave you my thoughts. Your take on RBIs is not a FACT but an OPINION, just because others agree with you doesn’t make you right. Nor does it make me right.

Bottom line, no one is right and no one is wrong since this is all based on OPINIONs. My opinion is Cabrera is the MVP, that he does not suck at defense, and that RBIs are very much important. Your opinion is that Trout is MVP, Cabrera sucks at defense, and that RBIs are pointless. We are both right and we are both wrong, if everything was clear cut then there would be nothing to talk about. We are not talking about a stat you cannot argue, like AVG. That’s a factual stat that you can tell who hit for a higher AVG and you cannot argue any other way. What we are talking about is our opinions and not facts so there can be no right or wrong.

Also to prove I'm not a robot I had to type in!!

Bengoodfella said...

AJ, I wondered where you had gone when you quit commenting. I wish the DoD liked me more. I do want to do more Simmons. He has completely foiled me though. He posts something late on Friday when I don't feel like writing anymore for that week. Then I forget about him during the next week. You are like the 3rd person to tell me this over the past week so I probably should take the hint.

I think the Yankees are getting their ass beat in some ways. They aren't hitting with runners on base, they aren't hitting their typical home runs, and they can't even hit the baseball at times it seems. If it weren't for Valverde the Yankees wouldn't have been in either game.

I do think the Yankees care, I just think they are all slumping at the same time or the postseason pressure is getting to them for some reason. Nick Swisher has been terrible, A-Rod is terrible, and Cano has been terrible. They aren't going to win if at least one of those guys isn't hitting. I think good pitching is keeping them down and they are pressing too much as a team. They are facing every at-bat like they just don't want to screw up. I look for them to win two games in Detroit. I figure the series goes back to New York at 3-2 Tigers. I know you don't want that to happen of course.

Personally, my opinion is totally correct. It's the only correct opinion naturally. I don't think RBI's are useless, but I wouldn't use RBI's to justify Cabrera's MVP candidacy just like I wouldn't use runs to justify Trout's candidacy.

I completely didn't get the whole "Tigers would be in 3rd place w/o Cabrera" mention as being tongue in cheek. I thought you were serious and that's why it confused me.

I don't think I took personal shots at you, but if I did I am sorry. I don't think Cabrera sucks at defense and I don't think RBI's are pointless. I simply think RBI's don't impress me as a statistic that determines whether one player gets the MVP over another player. Just like I wouldn't use runs to justify one player over another. I would vote for Trout over Cabrera, but I won't care if Cabrera gets the award. I don't want him to get it based on the fact he hit for the Triple Crown though. Baseball writers claim to value defense and stolen bases, so I would like to see those represented in the vote as well.

If you keep typing in MENLUST into your computer, then DoD IT may come visit you soon.

Steve Sprague said...

AJ - What they SHOULD use is a byproduct of both RBI and runs.

Fangraphs has such a stat - it's called weighted runs created, or they also have weighted runs above average. This allows credit for getting a hit, stealing a base, going from first to third on a single, or scoring on a double, etc.

If you really want to understand some of the advanced stats read through the glossary on fangraphs. Don't just blast things you clearly don't understand.

Also, as far as WAR goes go through and look at the team WAR for hitting and pitching. Take these two numbers and add them to 43 (the number fangraphs says is the expected wins for a team full of replacement players) and see what you get. Most teams are within a few wins of what their WAR would predict.

I'm not telling you to change your mind. I live in southeastern MI and I've given up arguing that Cabrera should finish second to Trout. In all of my arguments though I never mention WAR. I argue that Trout is close to Cabrera in hitting, and his fielding and base running are far superior. This tilts the MVP debate to his side for me.