The WAR thing

  1. You have chosen to ignore posts from maxbialystock. Show maxbialystock's posts

    Re: The WAR thing

    Wow.  I am stunned by some, maybe most of the responses.  They seem to center around one basic thought:  all stats are baloney, so you can't trust any of them.  And a corollary appears to be:  watch the games because they will tell you a lot more than stupid numbers.

    Me, I'm not for or against wins above replacement and entirely agree with anyone who says it's hard to quantify all the things a player brings to the game. 

    That said, MLB is a very big business, and decisions in that business rely on both statistics and personal observation.  Way back when it was rbi's, batting average, and home runs.  Now it's OPS, OBP, slugging percentange, batting average with RISP, and all manner of splits--to say nothing of sabermetrics--and general managers and general managers rely on them as much as ever. 

    And don't forget blog sites like this one.  I mean moonslav, harness, and a whole bunch of others--myself included--are ready with a barrage of stats to explain why Ellsbury is having a good year or AGon is or Crawford is not or whatever.  Nobody ever says, "Crawford stinks because I've been watching him and I don't like his swing or his takeoff from first when stealing or his throwing ability or whatever."  Going 3 for 4 in a game is a stat that is hard to argue with.  So is a 2 hit shutout with 9 K's. 

    So, please, can't we just agree that wins above replacement is just another statistic, one that attempts to aggregate a bunch of different stats that measure what players do?  Isn't that what they do when deciding on who gets the MVP award or the Cy Young award of the silver slugger award? 

    As for these particular wins above replacement stats, I did point out that all five Boston players are having pretty good years by any other objective measurement.  Ellsbury, the one upon whom I cast the most doubt, is in fact having a year very similar to the one Pedroia had in 2008 when he won the AL MVP award--except, of course, for the defensive stats, but defense is often a very subjective judgment, that is, if you don't worry about fielding percentage (so far this year Ellsbury's is perfect), which most people don't. 

    And I also pointed out that these five players dominate the Sox offensive stats and that the Sox offensive stats are by any objective measure the wonder of MLB this year, particularly in view of the so-so pitching staff. 
     
  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from thirtysomething. Show thirtysomething's posts

    Re: The WAR thing

    "So, please, can't we just agree that wins above replacement is just another statistic, one that attempts to aggregate a bunch of different stats that measure what players do?"

    That's dangerous, especially when one or more of the inputs are suspect. For pitchers, xFIP is questionable as a stand-alone stat. For position players, the defensive ratings are often problematic.

    Aggregating a bunch of components is like tossing a salad with a bunch of different ingredients. If those tomatoes are rotten, good luck retrieving any value from that salad!

    "As for these particular wins above replacement stats, I did point out that all five Boston players are having pretty good years by any other objective measurement. "

    All are having terrific seasons. I would consider Ellsbury, Pedroia, and Gonzalez all to be legitimate candidates for MVP discussion. Gonzalez would likely win it, due to the RBI bias, but the Red Sox offense wouldn't be where it is without all three (and Youkilis/Ortiz behind them).

     
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from maxbialystock. Show maxbialystock's posts

    Re: The WAR thing

    Here you guys go again, saying that pitching WAR ain't that good.  OK, but I wasn't talking about pitchers.  And team WAR?  I'm not talking about that either. 

    All I'm saying is that WAR stats say the Ellsbury, Pedroia, Adrian Gonzalez, Youkilis, and Ortiz are all having very good seasons--in fact, maybe even the best or close to the best of all other teams' players at the same five positions.  And, if you ignore WAR and go by a whole bunch of other stats, it's not too hard to reach the same conclusion. 
     
  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from harness. Show harness's posts

    Re: The WAR thing

    In Response to Re: The WAR thing:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: The WAR thing : No, that tells you all you need to know about ERA being a flawed stat.  WAR is based on xFIP, which is a far better predictor for future performance, using peripheral stats.  I will say that pitching WAR tends to overvalue IP's though.
    Posted by JB-3[/QUOTE]

    Don't agree. xFIP is proven to be heavily flawed.
     
  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from emp9. Show emp9's posts

    Re: The WAR thing

    WAR is based on a hypothetical(s). It's a flawed system because it's based on an assumption from the start and ends with a meaningless number. A number that you can only compare to the next meaningless number (some other player's WAR). It doesn't tell me anything I need or want to know. I want facts. Below are a few questions that will never be asked:

    What was the final WAR of tonight's game?

    How many WAR did AGONE bat-in?

    Wow, Ells swiped THAT many WARS?

    Was that a towering WAR Ortiz hit tonight, or what?!    


    Leave it out.    

                                 
     
  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from nhsteven. Show nhsteven's posts

    Re: The WAR thing

    Just a personal preference of measures I can do with/without:

    Misleading

    1. UZR (in all forms, may be modified soon)
    2. WAR (but better than UZR)

    Mixed Bag

    1. RF
    2. Errors
    3. RBIs
    4. Ws
    5. ERA
    6. The BABIPs
    7. The FIPs
    8. Ballpark Factor

    Better (including all normalized forms, i.e with + or # suffixes)

    1. OBP
    2. OPS 
    3. ERC
    4. WHIP
    5. Clutch Stats for Pitchers & Hitters (RISP/Late in Game groups, PH, PS)

     
  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from Hfxsoxnut. Show Hfxsoxnut's posts

    Re: The WAR thing

    Bill James's 'Game Score' system for starting pitching performances is somewhat interesting. 

    http://www.google.ca/url?sa=t&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CBkQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fen.wikipedia.org%2Fwiki%2FGame_score&ei=ijMuTqnnBobs0gGg1uCfAQ&usg=AFQjCNFdsrT3pydBuIWjH-POWARlwc7owg
     
  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from moonslav59. Show moonslav59's posts

    Re: The WAR thing

    How about team WAR by position:
           Sox          Yanks
    C:   10th (2.3) 16th (1.8)
    1B:  2nd (4.7) 10th (2.6)
    2B:  1st  (6.0)   8th  (3.1)
    3B:  3rd  (3.7)  2nd  (3.9)
    SS: 15th (1.5) 18th (1.1)
    LF: 12th (2.1)   4th  (3.8)
    CF:   2nd (5.3)  5th  (4.8)
    RF:30th (-0.6) 12th (2.4) 
    DH:  1st (2.6)   13th (-0.6)

    Pitchers: Sox 9th (11.4)/ Yanks  6th (14.3)
     
  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from ADG. Show ADG's posts

    Re: The WAR thing

    In Response to Re: The WAR thing:
    [QUOTE]How about team WAR by position:        Sox          Yanks C:   10th (2.3) 16th (1.8) 1B:  2nd (4.7) 10th (2.6) 2B:  1st  (6.0)   8th  (3.1) 3B:  3rd  (3.7)  2nd  (3.9) SS: 15th (1.5) 18th (1.1) LF: 12th (2.1)   4th  (3.8) CF:   2nd (5.3)  5th  (4.8) RF:30th (-0.6) 12th (2.4)  DH:  1st (2.6)   13th (-0.6) Pitchers: Sox 9th (11.4)/ Yanks  6th (14.3)
    Posted by moonslav59[/QUOTE]

    That stat just tells me that J.D. Drew should be on the DL for the rest of the year. You can pick a scab out of a hat and he'd do better than Drew.
     
  10. You have chosen to ignore posts from tom-uk. Show tom-uk's posts

    Re: The WAR thing

    Good luck Max with the Grumpy Old Men "Change is bad".

    My Dad:

    "I'm not wearing a seatbelt a guy at my bar hurt his shoulder wearing one."

    "What is all this OPS craap, what is wrong with RBIs."

    "What do I need a cell phone for"  My brother walked around a train station looking for two hours only to find him outside smoking.

    As to subjectivity there are two WARs BBRef and Fangraphs.  They both come up with defensive figures that are pretty close.

    WAR is good to compare players you don't see. 

    How do you compare Cameron Maybin 3.3 WAR to Paul Konerko 2.3 WAR ?

    Maybin plays CF so you expect less offense than 1B.  He is a much better fielder and baserunner than Konerko.  While Konerko wins in OPS .920 to .755. A high OPS slow first baseman with a so - so glove is not as valuable as a good fielding, good baserunning, and decent hitting CF.  

    Look at the Rays who outscore teams with higher OPS every year.  Good baserunning.   Speed matters.   WAR reflects that.

     
  11. You have chosen to ignore posts from moonslav59. Show moonslav59's posts

    Re: The WAR thing

    Nice anologies, tom. Good points.
     
  12. You have chosen to ignore posts from craze4sox. Show craze4sox's posts

    Re: The WAR thing

    In Response to The WAR thing:
    [QUOTE]That's "wins above replacement," a single stat the presumably evaluates the total player in comparison to a "scrap heap" replacement.  Armed with a player's WAR, one can compare him to all other players.  It's supposedly the ultimate stat because it considers offense and defense--hitting, baserunning, hitting for power, runs and runs scored, fielding percentage, UZR, errors, assists, you name it.    As of right now the Sox have four players whose WAR's lead MLB for their positions:  AGon at 1B, Pedroia at 2B, Ortiz at DH, and Ellsbury at CF.  Given the 30 MLB teams (for DH, just 14 teams in the AL), that's not too shabby.  Plus Youk is ranked 3d among 30 thirdbasemen.  AGon and Ortiz are of course no surprise.  Pedroia is only because of Cano, but his WAR is in fact significantly better than Cano's.  Ellsbury is a surprise too because he and Granderson both play CF, but Ellsbury's is slightly better.  Amazing.   Almost as amazing:  for all players on all 30 MLB teams, Pedroia has the second highest WAR, and Ellsbury has the 4th highest.  Imagine that.   The question, of course, is whether WAR is a useful measuring tool.  
    Posted by maxbialystock[/QUOTE]

    I don't think there is anything amazing about Jacoby being better than Granderson.  As a whole they are probably equally talented defensively but offensively Granderson is another version of Grady Sizemore.  A lot of pop which of course raises his SLG and overall OPS, but Curtis has never been a great hitter 

    Jacoby is a more well rounded player in my opinion.

     
  13. You have chosen to ignore posts from emp9. Show emp9's posts

    Re: The WAR thing

    In Response to Re: The WAR thing:
    [QUOTE]Just a personal preference of measures I can do with/without: Misleading 1. UZR (in all forms, may be modified soon) 2. WAR (but better than UZR) Mixed Bag 1. RF 2. Errors 3. RBIs 4. Ws 5. ERA 6. The BABIPs 7. The FIPs 8. Ballpark Factor Better (including all normalized forms, i.e with + or # suffixes) 1. OBP 2. OPS  3. ERC 4. WHIP 5. Clutch Stats for Pitchers & Hitters (RISP/Late in Game groups, PH, PS)
    Posted by nhsteven[/QUOTE]

    Right, any certain stat has it's place and putting 1+1 together on your own, in your head, and drawing an acurate conclusion based on facts is what people have always done. Well that's the goal any way. ERA alone IS a great stat, but of couse, can never tell the whole story. WHIP IS a great stat (I look at it as a pitcher's EarnedBaseAverage in a way). And again, I don't expect it to tell me the whole story either.
    I just can't buy into a multi-tasking stat based on something that would never happen in the first place. Unless of course, Fringe science does exist, and we can watch MLB in a different, but parallel demension. If we want a acronymn or a name for a stat that covers and describes all areas of concern that is the end-all, be-all of rating a player... We don't have to look that far, because the English language already has those words. One of them is "GOOD" and (yes you guess the second word)... it's called "BAD".

    ( BTW, this post isn't totally directed at you NHSteven... it was just easier. It's more of a rant-nothing personal.) 
     
  14. You have chosen to ignore posts from JB-3. Show JB-3's posts

    Re: The WAR thing

    In Response to Re: The WAR thing:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: The WAR thing : Don't agree. xFIP is proven to be heavily flawed.
    Posted by harness[/QUOTE]

    And yet WAR is based on (in part) xFIP.  I'm not saying either is perfect, but xFIP provides a baseline to compare pitchers for different teams (different home parks and therefore different park factors).  xFIP's biggest issue is that it doesn't taken pitching style into consideration (i.e a groundball pitcher should give up fewer HR's, but this is negated by normalizing the HR/FB rate).  No 1 stat is perfect, but at least the FIP's don't have the extreme overvaluation of IP's that WAR has.
     
  15. You have chosen to ignore posts from thewags. Show thewags's posts

    Re: The WAR thing

    In Response to Re: The WAR thing:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: The WAR thing : And yet WAR is based on (in part) xFIP.  I'm not saying either is perfect, but xFIP provides a baseline to compare pitchers for different teams (different home parks and therefore different park factors).  xFIP's biggest issue is that it doesn't taken pitching style into consideration (i.e a groundball pitcher should give up fewer HR's, but this is negated by normalizing the HR/FB rate).  No 1 stat is perfect, but at least the FIP's don't have the extreme overvaluation of IP's that WAR has.
    Posted by JB-3[/QUOTE]

    which is why WPA is a more solid stat for evaluating pitchers! BOTH of these stats are not great for pitchers, you would be better off using a simultaneous comparison of ERA+, IP, and SO's, with some kind of weighted average system. I really like WPA/LI.
     
  16. You have chosen to ignore posts from maxbialystock. Show maxbialystock's posts

    Re: The WAR thing

    For starting pitchers, I think innings pitched are important--along with ERA and WHIP. 

    But for lineup players I think WAR might not be that bad.  I have googled wins above replacement and failed to find a coherent description of what's involved and of why the ultimate number is in fact called "wins above replacement."  I have seen the actual numbers for calculating a players overall worth--his WAR--so I'm not totally ignorant. 

    But my point all along has been this simple logic--

    1.  Five Sox players are rated highly by WAR this season, as of July 25, to be exact.  Ellsbury in CF, Pedroia at 2B, AGon at 1B, and Ortiz at DH are all rated the best at their positions.  And Youkilis is rated 3d best at 3B. 

    2.  The same five players are guys I watch almost every day.  I remember very clearly, for example, why Pedroia and Youk came in 1st and 3d in the 2008 AL MVP voting.  They are both good hitters who also play pretty good D, and they both give their all every inning of every game.  Their injuries last year were what  prevented the Sox from having a shot at the playoffs.  AGon is having almost a career year this year and leads MLB in rbi's and the AL in batting average, and he is also a good fielder.  Ortiz is easily the best DH in the game this year.  That leaves Ellsbury, who is himself having a breakout year of astonishing proportions--even his defense is pretty darn good (although, unfortunately, he still hasn't committed any errors, the sine qua non in some circles for a truly excellent outfielder). 

    3.  These five players have five of the 12 best OPS's in the AL and dominate the Sox batting stats--OPS, runs, rbi's, hits, doubles, and home runs.  And the Sox have the best hitting in MLB and the best record in the AL despite a so-so pitching staff. 

    4.  In other words, as flawed as WAR may be, I think there is plenty of evidence that in these five instances WAR ain't that far off the mark.  I say again, my eyes and other stats (OPS, OBP, etc) tell me that they are five pretty darn good players and close to the best if not the best at their positions. 
     
  17. You have chosen to ignore posts from thewags. Show thewags's posts

    Re: The WAR thing

    http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=all&stats=pit&lg=all&qual=y&type=3&season=2011&month=0&season1=2011&ind=0

    I think if you asked me to write down a list of the top twenty pitchers in baseball this season in order of preference, this is pretty much how I would feel. I might have a couple of changes, but these guys are the best, and everyone has their preferences on pitching style.

    For further comparisson, lets take a look at WAR vs xFIP vs WPA/LI, for the top 14 only (Im too lazy to do more, sorry)

    WPA/LI                       WAR                     xFIP

    Justin Verlander           Halladay                 Halladay

    Jered Weaver              Sabathia                Kershaw

    Josh Beckett               Verlander               Bumgarner

    CC Sabathia                Weaver                 Weaver

    Cole Hamels                Haren                    Hamels

    Clayton Kershaw          Kershaw                Sabathia

    Roy Halladay               Hamels                  Verlander

    Alexi Ogando               Lee                       Haren

    Justin Masterson         Bumgarner               Zimmerman

    Matt Cain                   Masterson              Lee

    Ian Kennedy               Hudson                   Lincecum

    Cliff Lee                     Wilson                    Masterson

    James Shields             Lincecum                Garcia

    Mark Buehrle              Felix Hernandez       Hudson

     

    To me, the most accurate reflection of emperical effectiveness is WPA/LI. I'm not saying it's perfect, I just think its the best of the three.

     
  18. You have chosen to ignore posts from JB-3. Show JB-3's posts

    Re: The WAR thing

    If you're comparing ranks the way you did above, you would need to alter WAR slightly to make it more comperable to xFIP.  WAR/GS seems about right, it would remove the cumulative nature of WAR (not saying that consistency isn't important, but it needs to be accounted for in comparing to the FIP's).

    Thoughts on WAR/GS for SP's?
     
  19. You have chosen to ignore posts from thewags. Show thewags's posts

    Re: The WAR thing

    Interesting. Of the 14 posted above, all but 4 (Sabathia, Verlander, Haren, and Hernandez) have 21 starts, with the other 4 having made 22 starts. Obviously the guys who have 22 starts would suffer from this readjustment. That means the adjustment would lead to the following list:

    WAR

    Halladay

    Weaver

    Sabathia

    Verlander

    Kershaw

    Hamels

    Haren

    Lee

    Bumgarner

    Masterson

    Hudson

    CJ Wilson

    Morrow

    Zimmerman


    Lincecum and Hernandez get booted, and Morrow, having only made 17 starts, rises up to the list, along with Zimmerman, 19 starts. Number 15 would be Beckett.


    What say you about this new list? I think the adjustment, if looking at WAR for SP, is definitely a good idea. I like the adjustment based on GS too, not IP.
     
  20. You have chosen to ignore posts from JB-3. Show JB-3's posts

    Re: The WAR thing

    Overall I like the list with the adjustment.  I think it is certainly more useful for comparing how effectively starters pitch.  One key assumption when using WAR/GS is that the pitcher is at least healthy enough to pitch, which doesn't necessarily mean that a higher WAR/GS should correlate to a higher FA contract value because of potential for injury.  I think Bedard making the list is the prime example of this.

    Also, IP/GS is certainly important when determining the value of a SP, and I think that is captured very nicely in WAR/GS.

    Thanks for doing the legwork on this list btw.  It really helps to see it like this.
     
  21. You have chosen to ignore posts from thewags. Show thewags's posts

    Re: The WAR thing

    In Response to Re: The WAR thing:
    [QUOTE]Overall I like the list with the adjustment.  I think it is certainly more useful for comparing how effectively starters pitch.  One key assumption when using WAR/GS is that the pitcher is at least healthy enough to pitch, which doesn't necessarily mean that a higher WAR/GS should correlate to a higher FA contract value because of potential for injury.  I think Bedard making the list is the prime example of this. Also, IP/GS is certainly important when determining the value of a SP, and I think that is captured very nicely in WAR/GS. Thanks for doing the legwork on this list btw.  It really helps to see it like this.
    Posted by JB-3[/QUOTE]


    I agree, and glad to make the lsit, it does help to see it all laid out.
     
  22. You have chosen to ignore posts from emp9. Show emp9's posts

    Re: The WAR thing

    Ya know what would be a useful stat? One that would calculate Hitters vs. Pitchers playing at Dusk ( obviously leave out games played in domes ). Like, when the Sun shoots a magnificent shadow across the feild, between the Pitcher's Mound and Home Plate. What is that area called? I'll call it the Diamond Taint for now. The shadow across the Diamond taint affects a lot of game outcomes I've always thought. Teams should look for players that overcome this natural occurance that happens every other game it seems. This would be a better stat than WAR. It introduces something that ACTUALY happens.
    Laughing
     
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