Re: Old school stats vs. new school stats
posted at 1/26/2013 11:37 AM EST
Great post for a conversation starter.
Great all baseball thread so far.
My 2 cents:
On Jeter: while it is very important to "make the play" when you need it, not making plays is just as essential to the outcome of close games. I realize RF/9 is flawed, since some SSs play on teams with high K-rate or FB pitchers, byt teh range portion of UZR/150 confirms that Jeter has been the worst-ranged SS over the past decade. Perhaps before 2003, he was decent, but to me Jeter is clearly one of the worst 3 FT SSs over the last decade. I'd put him worst, but wouldn't argue with 3rd from worst (out of 23 qualifying SS the last decade). I think his Flg% has also been inflated a bit by an abnormally friendly home field scorer, but that is not the basis for my placement of him as "the worst".
On RBI: notin hit the nail on the head using the Manny and Drew examples. RBI has a lot to do with opportunity or lack of opportunity, but it goes beyond that. A high RBI rate is something that is very hard to sustain from year to year, as there are few if any players who can do it for multiple seasons over a career. Clutch RBIs is even harder to sustain over a career. Papi was perhaps the best I have ever watched personally, and he sustained it for several seasons in a row, but he has dropped off greatly over the last 4-5 seasons (due to loss of protection? Another topic for debate?) Back to Manny, His 2005 season with Boston he had 144 RBI in 650 PAs (pretty close the amount of RBI in his 165 RBI season). However, he had 313 PAs with nobody on base, 133 with just a man on 1st. He ended up coming to bat with 494 runners on base (only 14 fewer than his 165 RBI season), of which only 246 were in scoring position (an astounding 48 less than his 165 RBI season). He drove in 99 runs not counting himself (45 HRs) in 2005. I will add one thing: in 2005 the Sox line-up did not match the Indians line-up notin mentioned, but they did get on base a lot: 1st (.363) with Damon at .367, 2nd (.352) with Renteria at .337 and Nixon at .423, 3rd (.393) with Papi at .405. Manny had 142 batting 3rd in 2005 with 30 RBIs.
ERA is a highly flawed stat as is WHIP, since a teams fielding greatly effects the results of earned runs allowed or not allowed. Then there are park factors, strength of opponent's line-ups, and much more. When arguins with softy about Wake's high ERA numbers, I did a detailed analysis of every one of his ERs allowed one season (I believe it was 2011). I was astounded to find that the pen allowed about the same amount of his inherited runners to score than all the other starters combined. Many were from 1st base with 1 or 2 outs. I also found an incredible amount of ERs allowed due to infield hits, particularly to 3B and the hobbled Youk. WPs caused a few more, and one might be able to imagine that had we had Mirabelli or the like as a catcher, he'd have had less there. Many PBs allowed unearned runs to score as well as batter reaching 1B on a PB. More sac flies than normal, many as a result of SBs allowed, which can be mostly blamed on Wake's slow pitches, but the fact was a huge portion of his ERs allowed that year were not the result of being hit hard and often as the perception appeared to be. I don't have the exact numbers from that study, but one could have easily adjusted his ERA to an eye-popping number. He also had an incredible stretch of GS'd from 2008 to his injury mid 2009 of about 50 starts that showed an very low WHIP rate, a huge percent of games started with 3 or less ERs allowed, 4 or less ERs allowed, but way too few wins to show for it. (The win stat is one of the worst to judge a pitcher by- even the team wins per start, although better, is flawed as well, but not without some weight.)
I tend to think most fans over-value Ks, RBI, BA, ERA, Wins, and Error%. They undervalue WHIP, OBP, RF/9 and UZR/150.