Originally Posted by doublem23
I want to compare to all players who played 2B in the AL last year. That is how the "average" of something works.
Again, if you only take the players that accrued 550 or whatever PA at the position last year, you leave out a lot of information, specifically that there were several teams that didn't have a 2B as good as Beckham to eat that much playing time at the position. That's just as valuable as comparing Beckham's line to guys like Pedroia or Cano. It's why OPS+, ERA+, or WAR all take into account ALL players who played in a given season, not just the ones that reached the magic 3.1 PA/G or IP/tmG marks, because yes, there it is more worthwhile to judge a player against the entire sum of his peers, not just the top.
I don't think there's anything wrong with looking at how a guy compares to other starters around the league. When you compare pitchers, you compare starters to starters, closers to closers, and middle guys to middle guys. You don't say a starter is below average because there were 50 middle relievers who had a lower ERA and higher K/9 rate.
So if you picked, say, five teams in a division, and you wanted to know how each team's main second baseman compared to those on the other teams, you'd just look at the five starters. If instead you want to look at total production that each team got out of the second base position, you could include the utility guys who played some games at 2B.
But why get mad at a guy for comparing a player to other players who are in the same position (in this case, starting second basemen)?
Basically, there's a difference between comparing a player to another player and comparing a team's positional production to another teams positional production. They are both useful in their own way.