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  #46  
Old 07-05-2018, 07:29 PM
Mohoney Mohoney is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lip Man 1
And as I've stated before the were in the top quarter of the league in home runs, bunts (heaven forbid!), stolen bases, infield hits and sacrifice flys.

Balanced offense. As Farmer says, "get em on...get em over, get em in..."
Are there any more teams that fit this model? Did the Astros do this? Or the Red Sox? Or the Yankees? Or any of the other teams that have won a World Series since that time?

Are the 2005 White Sox an anomaly, or do they fit a larger pattern?
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  #47  
Old 07-06-2018, 03:33 AM
WhiteSox5187 WhiteSox5187 is offline
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Originally Posted by Mohoney View Post
Are there any more teams that fit this model? Did the Astros do this? Or the Red Sox? Or the Yankees? Or any of the other teams that have won a World Series since that time?

Are the 2005 White Sox an anomaly, or do they fit a larger pattern?
Last year the Astros were second in home runs and fourth in stolen bases (largely due to the contributions of Altuve and Bregman); the Indians in 2016 led the league in stolen bases but were 10th in home runs.

One thing I did notice though is that the last four winners of the AL Pennant were in the top three of the league for batting average. So. Maybe that means something?
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  #48  
Old 07-06-2018, 07:06 AM
asindc asindc is offline
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I used Frank Thomas as an example because he is the most easily identifiable example Sox fans have of a flawless hitter.

It goes without saying that you won’t succeed in acquiring a lineup full of Frank Thomas clones, but you still try anyway. You try and get six or seven of those guys and hope that one or two actually can reach those heights, two or three more become something relatively close and have both their hit and power tools develop above average, and the rest develop at least one of those tools to be above average.

And if only one tool ends up above average, it would preferably be power. And if I have a choice between two players, all other things being equal, I’m taking the guy with more power. That really is the point of the entire debate.

The 2005 White Sox are a great example. They had eight legitimate power threats in the lineup at any given time. They had one 40-homer guy, one 30-homer guy, two 20-homer guys, and four 15-homer guys. Speaking of Frank, he chipped in 12 homers himself during his brief period of good health.
I actually prefer the power guy over the high-average-only guy if those are the ONLY choices (I actually prefer a lineup of 9 balanced approach guys), but as much as you rail against having players bunt when they are not good at it, I’m opposed to hitters changing their approach to hit with more power when it is obvious that power is a skill that does not come naturally to them.

And my preference for power over high average is only up to a point. I can’t stand guys striking out a lot because at a certain point the attempts to provide power become a gamble rather than a consistent approach around which a team can plan. I would much rather have 9 Nelson Foxs or Wade Boggs than 9 Adam Dunns or Dave Kingmans. The 9 Foxs would be more consistent in their approach and would be less prone to lengthy slumps. Ask Bryce Harper about those. And yes, one of the many benefits of not striking out often is that you are more likely to avoid those slumps, which can last for months. Ask Chris Davis about those.

From a development standpoint, I much rather have a young hitter try to master the skill of hitting the ball in all situations and then work on power only after that. As it is with basketball (3-point shooting before learning how to shoot) though, baseball has too many young developing players trying to become proficient at an advanced skill (power hitting) before becoming proficient at the fundamental skill (making contact).
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Last edited by asindc; 07-06-2018 at 07:17 AM.
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  #49  
Old 07-06-2018, 11:03 AM
Mohoney Mohoney is offline
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One of the most widely accepted models so far for comparing players of different eras, different hitting approaches, and different ballparks is wRC, which stands for “weighted runs created.” This stat was designed to answer the very question we are debating: regardless of approach (slap-hitting, bunting, stealing bases, home runs, etc), when the dust clears, how many runs is a guy creating for his team?

wRC+ is an offshoot of wRC, which normalizes the league average at 100 and compares players to that league average. Each point above or below 100 represents one percentage point above or below the league average.

Nellie Fox career wRC+: 96

Dave Kingman wRC+: 113

Over the course of 162 games, nine Dave Kingmans are going to score far more runs than nine Nellie Foxs. It’s not even close. Dave Kingman’s flaws would relegate him to a #6 or #7 spot in the lineup in today’s game, but Nellie Fox’s skill set would relegate him to the #9 spot, if not keep him out of the starting lineup entirely.

It’s not a preference. It’s a necessity. I need to score as many runs as possible, no matter how ugly it may look or how many long-held conventions it may break.
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  #50  
Old 07-06-2018, 11:19 AM
Frater Perdurabo Frater Perdurabo is offline
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Of course, it goes without saying (but I'll say it anyway) that your team would give up a lot more runs if you had Dave Kingman playing second base instead of Nellie Fox.
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  #51  
Old 07-06-2018, 11:24 AM
Mohoney Mohoney is offline
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Originally Posted by Frater Perdurabo
Of course, it goes without saying (but I'll say it anyway) that your team would give up a lot more runs if you had Dave Kingman playing second base instead of Nellie Fox.
Irrelevant. We’re talking strictly about offensive production, specifically about which offensive approach should be favored between two different options. Overall player value is an entirely different matter.

The definitive order of those four particular players would be Boggs (132 wRC+), then a significant drop-off to Dunn (123), then another significant drop-off to Kingman (113), then another significant drop-off to Fox (96).

At the risk of making half the board’s heads explode, I have to go with the facts: a lineup of nine Adam Dunns would be 27% better at scoring runs than a lineup of nine Nellie Foxs.

Last edited by Mohoney; 07-06-2018 at 11:34 AM.
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  #52  
Old 07-06-2018, 12:08 PM
Lip Man 1 Lip Man 1 is offline
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Originally Posted by Mohoney View Post
Irrelevant. We’re talking strictly about offensive production, specifically about which offensive approach should be favored between two different options. Overall player value is an entirely different matter.

The definitive order of those four particular players would be Boggs (132 wRC+), then a significant drop-off to Dunn (123), then another significant drop-off to Kingman (113), then another significant drop-off to Fox (96).

At the risk of making half the board’s heads explode, I have to go with the facts: a lineup of nine Adam Dunns would be 27% better at scoring runs than a lineup of nine Nellie Foxs.
As pointed out though offense is only a part of the equation and from what I've read defensive metrics are badly flawed so as of now accuracy in that regard is sketchy. So you can't really factor in that side of winning baseball which is offense, defense and pitching.
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  #53  
Old 07-06-2018, 12:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Lip Man 1 View Post
As pointed out though offense is only a part of the equation and from what I've read defensive metrics are badly flawed so as of now accuracy in that regard is sketchy. So you can't really factor in that side of winning baseball which is offense, defense and pitching.
Right and obviously you wouldn't want 9 Adam Dunns in the field, but assuming the players can actually field the position they are assigned to, offensively you'd be better with all of them hitting like Dunn than like Fox.
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  #54  
Old 07-06-2018, 12:24 PM
Frater Perdurabo Frater Perdurabo is offline
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Lip, defensive metrics are getting better every year. And as more defensive data - including every route taken by every fielder (cross-referenced by the launch angle, velocity, curvature and spin of every batted ball) and every throw made by every fielder and every catch made (or missed) by every fielder - is incorporated into the databases, the defensive metrics will get even better.


Eventually, the data will get so precise that teams will be able to position their fielders perfectly even for relay plays, taking into consideration the arm strength of each fielder who would handle the ball.


In some cases, the data will support long-held beliefs about various aspects of fielding. In some cases, the data will refute long-held beliefs about specific aspects of fielding.
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  #55  
Old 07-06-2018, 12:36 PM
asindc asindc is offline
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I wonder if any advanced metrics account for the success of different approaches against different tiers of pitching. For instance, do 9 Kingmans have the equivalent level of success against elite pitching that 9 Foxs do? (Note I said “equivalent,” not “equal.”) My preference might be fueled by nostalgia or just simply familiarity, but my playing and watching experience tells me that Fox-type players hit elite pitchers more consistently than Kingman-type players. But I am willing to concede that advanced metrics have some merit in deciding how some players are better off trying to develop a power-based game. It is not for every player, though.

A flaw in the power-or-bust approach is that it is predicated upon taking advantage of pitchers’ mistakes:

*Wait for a pitch to drive; the better pitchers won’t throw such a pitch.
*Work for a walk if your pitch doesn’t come; the better pitchers won’t walk you.
*Don’t change your approach with 2 strikes; the better pitchers will strike you out with the same pitch he threw on strike one.

If I’m a pitcher, I’d rather pitch to Kingman than Fox. With Kingman, I know as long as I don’t make a mistake, I’m more likely to get him out than Fox because Fox will more likely than Kingman hit even my best pitches.

Hitting for power is obviously the most efficient way to score runs IF you can do it with efficiency or frequency, just as shooting a 3-pointer is more efficient than a 2-pointer IF you can make the 3-pointer efficiently or frequently enough. The problem in both baseball and basketball today is that you have too many players trying to do those things when it is clear that they will never be efficient enough or do it with enough frequency to make a more positive contribution than another approach would give them.

Last edited by asindc; 07-06-2018 at 03:16 PM.
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  #56  
Old 07-06-2018, 01:33 PM
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Yogi Berra ended up with 358 home runs for his career.

He also ended up with 414 strike outs.

19 year career. 2,120 games.

Sluggers do not have a clause in their contracts that they must strike out.
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  #57  
Old 07-06-2018, 01:35 PM
Mohoney Mohoney is offline
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Originally Posted by asindc
Hitting for power is obviously the most efficient way to score runs IF you can do it with efficiency or frequency, just as shooting a 3-pointer is more efficient than a 2-pointer IF you can make the 3-pointer efficiently or frequently enough. The problem in both baseball and basketball today is that you have too many players trying to do those things when it is clear that they will never be efficient enough or do it with enough frequency to make a more positive contribution than another approach would give them.
It still “pays out better” than the alternative. It’s the contradictory nature of the modern game.

Frequent pitching changes, defensive shifts, and increased fastball velocity have caused the subset of plate appearances that result in hits to drop substantially. Hitting a baseball has not been this difficult since 1963-1965, which were also anomaly years in their own right. We’re talking “Dead Ball Era” levels of futility here.

This is where the contradiction comes in.

While the act of hitting has become significantly more difficult, the act of hitting a home run actually has become significantly easier. When this season ends, 2016-2018 will represent three of the four most prolific home run seasons (2000 being the other one) in the history of the game. We’re talking “Steroid Era” levels of power here.

Combine these two phenomena, and what do you get? You get a situation where the act of hitting a baseball—an event that already has an inherently low probability of success—leads to fewer positive outcomes than ever before. However, at the same time, the best possible outcome of that low-probability event is occuring more than ever before.

Simply put, hits don’t happen frequently enough—and homers don’t happen infrequently enough—to justify prioritizing extra hits over extra homers. At one time, the opposite was true, but not today.
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  #58  
Old 07-06-2018, 02:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Mohoney View Post
One of the most widely accepted models so far for comparing players of different eras, different hitting approaches, and different ballparks is wRC, which stands for “weighted runs created.” This stat was designed to answer the very question we are debating: regardless of approach (slap-hitting, bunting, stealing bases, home runs, etc), when the dust clears, how many runs is a guy creating for his team?

wRC+ is an offshoot of wRC, which normalizes the league average at 100 and compares players to that league average. Each point above or below 100 represents one percentage point above or below the league average.

One of the biggest degrees of difficulty I have with advanced analytics is that, when I try to idea of where a particular stat comes from, it always seems to be derived from other advanced stats. I'm never able to get down to the simple, observable baseball stats that have been around from 100 years.


So now I find that wRC is based on wOBA. And finally, now, I get down to an stat with real baseball numbers in it.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WOBA


https://www.lookoutlanding.com/2017/...c-sabermetrics


The Lookout Landing article even goes so far as to say "Nothing more than basic algebra here, folks."


Okay. So we have a polynomial of the multiple ways to get on base divided by plate appearances. That I understand.



What I don't understand is the coefficient values. Where do they come from? Why do two different sources give me two different coefficient sets? Why should I trust one set of weighting over another? If the weighting is changed every year, why should I trust that the stat can accurately compare between eras?
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  #59  
Old 07-06-2018, 03:05 PM
Mohoney Mohoney is offline
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This can explain the coefficients better than I can.

https://www.fangraphs.com/library/pr...inear-weights/
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  #60  
Old 07-06-2018, 03:28 PM
asindc asindc is offline
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Originally Posted by Mohoney View Post
It still “pays out better” than the alternative. It’s the contradictory nature of the modern game.

Frequent pitching changes, defensive shifts, and increased fastball velocity have caused the subset of plate appearances that result in hits to drop substantially. Hitting a baseball has not been this difficult since 1963-1965, which were also anomaly years in their own right. We’re talking “Dead Ball Era” levels of futility here.

This is where the contradiction comes in.

While the act of hitting has become significantly more difficult, the act of hitting a home run actually has become significantly easier. When this season ends, 2016-2018 will represent three of the four most prolific home run seasons (2000 being the other one) in the history of the game. We’re talking “Steroid Era” levels of power here.

Combine these two phenomena, and what do you get? You get a situation where the act of hitting a baseball—an event that already has an inherently low probability of success—leads to fewer positive outcomes than ever before. However, at the same time, the best possible outcome of that low-probability event is occuring more than ever before.

Simply put, hits don’t happen frequently enough—and homers don’t happen infrequently enough—to justify prioritizing extra hits over extra homers. At one time, the opposite was true, but not today.
Ok, all that makes sense and does provide better context. I tend to forget that teams in previous eras more often used only 2-3 pitchers a game at most. That and defensive shifts have made hitting a more difficult skill to refine, even for veterans. I still maintain that learning how to hit pitchers’ pitches is a worthwhile pursuit even if less power comes as a result. Consistency in result is what I’m looking for. Are, let’s say, 5-7 more HRs worth 15-20 fewer hits and 7-10 fewer walks (I’m just randomly selecting numbers; please feel free to provide more accurate numbers if known)? I don’t know, to be honest. Is that something that is known or at least knowable?
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