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Sea Ray
08-17-2008, 12:51 PM
At the risk of starting a potential 500 post thread I'm going to throw this out anyway. Up for discussion is Erardi's article today on Adam Dunn and the stat OBI%. For those that don't get the local paper it can be found here:

http://news.cincinnati.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080817/SPT04/808170435/1071

What I object to in these stat heavy articles is how misleading they can be based upon which stats the author decides to omit. The article centers around the OBI % stat which I actually think is a very useful one. It shows the percentage of runners on base that a hitter drives in. It correctly states that league average is about 14% from year to year.

The first problem I have with Erardi is he lists the following:


So, how does Dunn compare to the league leaders in RBI this year?

Player ROB OBI OBI% HR-RBI
Ryan Howard 373 70 18.8 33-103
Carlos Lee 358 72 20.1 28-100
David Wright 394 71 18.0 23-94
Ryan Ludwick 326 60 18.4 30-90
Adrian Gonzalez 361 61 16.9 28 -89
Adam Dunn* 269 42 15.6 32-74

* with Reds

To me this gives the impression that Dunn is among the league leaders in OBI%, maybe even 6th. I think it would have been much more useful if he'd labeled the league rankings of these players. If so I believe Dunn would have been ranked about 28th in the league (assuming a min of 400 PAs), not 6th as can be implied from that table.

He begins the article with this:


How can one hit 40 home runs for four straight years and never drive in more than 106 runs?

Yet he doesn't mention Dunn's OBI% stats for the past four years. In fact he only refers to 2007 and 2008 which happen to be much higher than any other year in Dunn's career. In fact if you take 14% as a league average then Dunn has been below the league average for most of his career here in Cincinnati.

In 2006 there were 6 Reds starters with OBI% higher than Dunn's. In 2005 every Reds starter except for Sean Casey (and Ryan Freel is you want to count him as a starter) was above him in OBI%. During Wily Mo Pena's days with the Reds he continually had a higher OBI% than Dunn.

This article doesn't mention any of that yet it's very pertinent to Dunn's overall career as a Red.

The gist of the article should have been that Dunn has traditionally been very poor at OBI% but to his credit he has improved his game in 2007-08 to be above league average.

So Mr Erardi there are OBI% reasons why some Cincinnati fans have issues with Dunn's ability to drive in runs.

It seems to me that Erardi is not interested in e-mails due to the fact his e-mail address is not listed in the paper not is it easily found on their website. When I have attempted to e-mail him in the past he's not returned them.

Bear in mind folks my problem is not with Dunn here. I'm going to miss him. It's with Erardi and his stat cronies who chose to cherrypick their stats to come to a preconceived conclusion and I think that's disingenuous. This is not about OBPs, defense or salary or anything other than analyzing OBI% as it relates to Adam Dunn as a Red. I'll also go on record as saying kudos to Dunn for his current OBI% above 15. That's very good and shows improvement on his part.

cincrazy
08-17-2008, 03:41 PM
Nice job. Way to look deeper into the article, something the writer himself couldn't even do, apparently.

RedsManRick
08-17-2008, 03:50 PM
The first problem I have with Erardi is he lists the following:

To me this gives the impression that Dunn is among the league leaders in OBI%, maybe even 6th. I think it would have been much more useful if he'd labeled the league rankings of these players. If so I believe Dunn would have been ranked about 28th in the league (assuming a min of 400 PAs), not 6th as can be implied from that table.


You have a few fair points here Sea Ray, particularly regarding Dunn's full historical track record of OBI%, but this isn't one of them. The purpose of showing the people in this table was explicitly stated -- you even quoted it: how does Dunn compare to the league leaders in RBI this year?

Thus, the table is of league leaders in RBI, not of OBI%. If this confused you, that's on you. Perhaps Erardi could have been slighly better with the graphic, putting a line under the top 5 so that we would not see Dunn as #6 -- but the ranking is still clearly by RBI, with OBI opportunities and conversion as the point of comparison from that RBI leader basis.

There are always ways analysis can be more clearly presented and this article is no different. But it's important for the reader not to assume his/her own confusion is shared. And it's even more important not to discount the message because you don't like the author.

My critique of this article is that Erardi did not clearly enough differentiate two very different issues, the amount of opportunities a player has and the rate of conversion. Adam Dunn is not particularly good at converting RBI opportunities. Had Erardi shown Dunn's track record over the past 4 years, that would have been evident and it's fair to call out Erardi for this omission. But it's a bit of a red herring, because he's not particularly bad at it either and his overall value is buoyed by his strong OBP. It's true, Dunn isn't an elite "RBI guy". But the larger cause of Dunn's low RBI totals is the lack of runners on base for him, as Erardi correctly points out. Erardi could have done better at drawing this distinction, further developing the 2nd half of his article.

What's unfortunate is that many people seem more interested in discounting Erardi and his message due to the flaws in its presentation rather than examine the nature and validity of the argument being made. The irony is that Erardi's conclusion, though weakly argued here, is spot on. You seem too busy deriding him and his "stat cronies" to do the math your self and realize it.

Perhaps this was added after you posted, but Mr. Erardi's email is in his byline, right next to his name. jerardi@enquirer.com

Sea Ray
08-17-2008, 04:22 PM
You have a few fair points here Sea Ray, particularly regarding Dunn's full historical track record of OBI%, but this isn't one of them. The purpose of showing the people in this table was explicitly stated -- you even quoted it: how does Dunn compare to the league leaders in RBI this year?

Thus, the table is of league leaders in RBI, not of OBI%. If this confused you, that's on you. Perhaps Erardi could have been slighly better with the graphic, putting a line under the top 5 so that we would not see Dunn as #6 -- but the ranking is still clearly by RBI, with OBI opportunities and conversion as the point of comparison from that RBI leader basis.

There are always ways analysis can be more clearly presented and this article is no different. But it's important for the reader not to assume his/her own confusion is shared. And it's even more important not to discount the message because you don't like the author.

My critique of this article is that Erardi did not clearly enough differentiate two very different issues, the amount of opportunities a player has and the rate of conversion. Adam Dunn is not particularly good at converting RBI opportunities. Had Erardi shown Dunn's track record over the past 4 years, that would have been evident and it's fair to call out Erardi for this omission. But it's a bit of a red herring, because he's not particularly bad at it either and his overall value is buoyed by his strong OBP. It's true, Dunn isn't an elite "RBI guy". But the larger cause of Dunn's low RBI totals is the lack of runners on base for him, as Erardi correctly points out. Erardi could have done better at drawing this distinction, further developing the 2nd half of his article.

What's unfortunate is that many people seem more interested in discounting Erardi and his message due to the flaws in its presentation rather than examine the nature and validity of the argument being made. The irony is that Erardi's conclusion, though weakly argued here, is spot on. You seem too busy deriding him and his "stat cronies" to do the math your self and realize it.

Perhaps this was added after you posted, but Mr. Erardi's email is in his byline, right next to his name. jerardi@enquirer.com

Well we don't disagree on much here Rick.

I have no problem with him comparing Dunn to the top RBI guys in the league but he needed differential where Dunn fell as you noted above. Good point

Erardi clearly was obligated to show Dunn's OBI for 4 years and that's not a red herring as it relates to this article This column was solely on OBI%. It had nothing to do with OBP as you try to throw in above.
If he'd included 4 years his conclusion that Dunn's OBI% is above league average would have fallen to pieces.

You acknowledge that Dunn is not an elite RBI guy but I didn't get that impression from Erardi's article

I did do the math. I researched his OBI% over a 4 yr span and I reached a different conclusion than Erardi's cherrypicked year.

I don't dislike Erardi as a writer and it's improper for you to infer it from this statement:


And it's even more important not to discount the message because you don't like the author.

I don't like what he's written. It's nothing personal about him. Not that it matters but he's one of the few Reds writers I've met and I really liked him as a person. But just because I like you as a person doesn't mean you get a pass when I see holes in your article.

RedsManRick
08-17-2008, 05:05 PM
Well we don't disagree on much here Rick.

I have no problem with him comparing Dunn to the top RBI guys in the league but he needed differential where Dunn fell as you noted above. Good point

Erardi clearly was obligated to show Dunn's OBI for 4 years and that's not a red herring as it relates to this article This column was solely on OBI%. It had nothing to do with OBP as you try to throw in above.
If he'd included 4 years his conclusion that Dunn's OBI% is above league average would have fallen to pieces.

You acknowledge that Dunn is not an elite RBI guy but I didn't get that impression from Erardi's article.

Erardi was not trying to establish that Dunn has an RBI conversion ability of a certain level, elite, average, or otherwise. He was showing that RBI totals in and of themselves are not evidence of an RBI conversion problem. Thus, while a historical look at Dunn's OBI% would be interesting, it would be somewhat beside the point.

I agree, looking at Dunn's history of OBI% would have been interesting. I've also done so and you're right, Dunn's track record shows he's not a great OBI% guy. But at no point has Erardi suggested Dunn is great at converting RBI, nor even inferred it as far as I can tell. He's just attacking the idea that RBI totals are worthy evidence to suggest Dunn is bad at converting base runners in to RBI.



I did do the math. I researched his OBI% over a 4 yr span and I reached a different conclusion than Erardi's cherrypicked year.

To what conclusions are you referring? Here are the ones I could find:

1. "The evidence shows that the problem with Dunn's RBI count wasn't as much Dunn as it was his teammates." The bolding is mine.

This is the one conclusion which implicitly refers to years past. The use of "as much", to me, clearly shows that Erardi's aware that RBI totals are the combined result of a team and a player and that the critiques of Dunn misappropriate blame for Dunn's totals being less than elite. He's critiquing the commonly held belief that the reason Dunn's totals are low are primarily due to his inability to convert his opportunities.

2. "True, Lee has had a great year, driving in 20 percent of the 358 runners on base in front of him (20 percent will always place a hitter among the leaders in this category).

But if Dunn had Lee's opportunities, even with Dunn's OBI, Dunn would have 13 more RBI."

I quote this whole passage because I think it shows Erardi's nuance. He's admitting that Lee's totals are supported by an elite OBI% in addition to his opportunities. He then makes light of Dunn's comparatively lower OBI% as the method of illustrating the impact of opportunity on both Dunn's RBI total and our inclination to judge him for something which is not his fault. Erardi is not asserting that Dunn is particularly great at converting RBI. He's stating that Dunn's comparatively fewer opportunities has had a significant impact on his RBI totals and implying that if Dunn had more opportunities, fans may not be calling his conversion rate in to question in the first place.

3. "RBI totals are as much a function of opportunities as they are a function of a player's slugging percentage."

Erardi explicitly states what I presumed he was getting at with his first conclusion. This is the simple thesis of the article, with the Dunn example serving as illustration.

The idea that Erardi is suggesting Dunn is a good "RBI guy" seems to be in your head -- not in the article. Erardi should not have to state explicitly that Dunn isn't great to offset your unfounded interpretation.



I don't dislike Erardi as a writer and it's improper for you to infer it from this statement:

I don't like what he's written. It's nothing personal about him. Not that it matters but he's one of the few Reds writers I've met and I really liked him as a person. But just because I like you as a person doesn't mean you get a pass when I see holes in your article.

That's fair. I wasn't clear. I didn't mean you disliked the author himself on a personal level, but rather his chosen subject matter. You've been regularly hostile to sabermetric analysis on RedsZone and seem to have a desire to discredit it as a matter of course, rather than merely take a critical eye for the purpose of furthering our understand of what's going on.

Sea Ray
08-17-2008, 06:45 PM
Rick, you may be right about Erardi's objectives in writing this article. I can't be sure since I'm not in his head. My purpose was not to question his conclusions or guess his objectives. It was soley to evaluate the stats he used to make his point and say that his stats do not prove his point. I'm looking as this totally from a numbers standpoint and I think that's fair since Erardi credits numbers hacks as contributing to the article. I wouldn't hold Hal McCoy to this standard.

Erardi's numbers are entirely based on 2007-08 OBI% and I'm saying he cannot come to any fair conclusions on Adam Dunn as a Red if he soley cherrypicks those 1.5 yrs. It doesn't go any deeper than that Rick.

Many have taken a defensive stance to my opinions on sabermetrics because I have shown many instances where they're weak due to their misuse. But it doesn't mean I'm hostile to them or that I don't think they're useful. You did see where I said that OBI% is a good stat, right?

What I'm hostile to if anything, is how they're being used. If he'd given a more representative OBI % of Dunn's career the article would have read much differently. I'm more of the school stats don't lie but liars can figure.

In conclusion my point is Erardi's method of using Dunn's OBI% was flawed. You can't start off the article talking about Dunn's last four years as a Red and then only use stats from less than half of those.

Sea Ray
08-17-2008, 06:53 PM
Erardi begins his article like this:


How can one hit 40 home runs for four straight years and never drive in more than 106 runs?

That means he's looking at Dunn's years from 2004-2007. By using his stat of OBI% I could show that a major reason for those lack of RBIs came from a poor OBI% from Dunn. I'd point out his OBI% of 12.2 in 2004, 12.7 in 2006 and 13.5 in 2005 and how they were all under league average let alone elite. I could show that most other Reds were more productive at knocking in available runners.

So here we're using the same saber stats and making different points. I'm not opposed to sabermetrics. It's that you can cherrypick which ones you use depending on what point you want to make and that's what Erardi is guilty of here. Thus my point in this:

It's not the sabermetrics that are at fault. It's all depends on how you use them.

jojo
08-17-2008, 07:03 PM
It's not the sabermetrics that are at fault. It's all depends on how you use them.

Errardi didn't abuse sabermetrics. He just didn't write the article that you wanted him too.

Sea Ray
08-17-2008, 07:06 PM
Errardi didn't abuse sabermetrics.


So you think it was best not to include Dunn's stats from 2004-07?

jojo
08-17-2008, 07:13 PM
So you think it was best not to include Dunn's stats from 2004-07?

He asked how can a guy hit 40 hrs and only drive in 106 rbis. Then he used '07 to illustrate how that's possible.

It's pretty clear that Erardi is indicating Dunn's OBI% are basically average compared to rbi leaders. He also points out that Dunn's rbi totals have been impacted by his number of chances.

Erardi's article just doesn't contain a grossly incorrect conclusion based upon stat-abuse (manipulated stat usage) IMHO.

RedsManRick
08-17-2008, 08:23 PM
Erardi begins his article like this:



That means he's looking at Dunn's years from 2004-2007. By using his stat of OBI% I could show that a major reason for those lack of RBIs came from a poor OBI% from Dunn. I'd point out his OBI% of 12.2 in 2004, 12.7 in 2006 and 13.5 in 2005 and how they were all under league average let alone elite. I could show that most other Reds were more productive at knocking in available runners.

So here we're using the same saber stats and making different points. I'm not opposed to sabermetrics. It's that you can cherrypick which ones you use depending on what point you want to make and that's what Erardi is guilty of here. Thus my point in this:

It's not the sabermetrics that are at fault. It's all depends on how you use them.

The article was NOT an assessment of Dunn himself, which would surely require a more in depth examination of his track record.

As Jojo has already succinctly pointed out, Erardi was examining the nature of RBI production, using Dunn's four year track record as background for his purpose of examining the topic, and using Dunn's more recent numbers as specific illustration of how it works. That's it.

A full examination of Dunn's ability to collect RBI would be a very interesting article -- and a completely different one than Erardi wrote. He didn't use OBI% in a flawed way, he merely did not use it to address the question you want answered.

Ltlabner
08-17-2008, 08:38 PM
Dunn is no longer on the team.

Edison pitched a nice game and Javy made a nice diving stop during todays game.

The team won.

Could the conclusion that Dunn isn't good with RISP be any clearer?

GAC
08-17-2008, 09:15 PM
The article states very plainly what the "problem" is....


The evidence shows that the problem with Dunn's RBI count wasn't as much Dunn as it was his teammates.

Baseball Prospectus tracks OBI percentage, "Others Batted In." In OBI, a hitter gets credit only for the teammates he drives in

That's like a guy at work always says that Dunn's home runs seem to always be solo shots.

And that is somehow Adam's fault because the guys ahead of him aren't getting on base? :dunno:

cincrazy
08-18-2008, 01:57 AM
[QUOTE=Ltlabner;1725162]Dunn is no longer on the team.

Javy made a nice diving stop during todays game.
QUOTE]

That's an oxymoron :)

Sea Ray
08-18-2008, 09:34 AM
As Jojo has already succinctly pointed out, Erardi was examining the nature of RBI production, using Dunn's four year track record as background for his purpose of examining the topic, and using Dunn's more recent numbers as specific illustration of how it works. That's it.



It was more than that. He was also trying to show that Dunn is better than average at driving in the runners available to him. If that was not the case then what was the purpose of showing this:


The major league average in 2007 was 14.4 percent, about what it usually is. (The figure so far for 2008 is 14.0 percent; Dunn is 15.6 percent).

It brings me back to my original point. I could use his stats over a 4 yr range to show that his RBIs would have been better given his existing opportunities if his OBI% had been better.

Sea Ray
08-18-2008, 09:44 AM
The article states very plainly what the "problem" is....



That's like a guy at work always says that Dunn's home runs seem to always be solo shots.

And that is somehow Adam's fault because the guys ahead of him aren't getting on base? :dunno:


That's a good point GAC. If that's what he was trying to prove, wouldn't it behoove him to state how many OBI opportunities he's had recently?

If he had we would have seen that his OBI opps were generally #1 on the Reds (2007 the only exception) and it was also generally in the top 10% of the league. But know he didn't show any of that

jojo
08-18-2008, 02:51 PM
It brings me back to my original point.

I haven't really seen a column he's written in similar veins that can legitimately be criticized as being "deliberately misleading" especially to the degree that his columns could be pointed to as examples of why stat-heavy articles are flawed.

Accepting that to be the case then really your objection isn't against "stat-heavy articles because they are deliberately misleading" but rather it's directed at Errardi's ability to write such a stat-heavy article.

Sea Ray
08-18-2008, 03:46 PM
I haven't really seen a column he's written in similar veins that can legitimately be criticized as being "deliberately misleading" especially to the degree that his columns could be pointed to as examples of why stat-heavy articles are flawed.



I agree with you Jojo. I don't think Erardi is writing "deliberately misleading" articles. Next time you put something in quotes make sure you reference where I said that.

jojo
08-18-2008, 03:49 PM
I agree with you Jojo. I don't think Erardi is writing "deliberately misleading" articles. Next time you put something in quotes make sure you reference where I said that.


What I object to in these stat heavy articles is how misleading they can be based upon which stats the author decides to omit.

Sea Ray
08-18-2008, 03:59 PM
I still don't see where I said Erardi deliberately writes misleading articles. I said the stats he decided to use can be misleading but I'm not saying it was delberate. It could be laziness, a bad decision on the part of the writer or statistician or by accident.

I do not think Erardi deliberately writes misleading articles. Once again my point here is that one could use the same stats and make them say something totally different.

jojo
08-18-2008, 04:47 PM
I still don't see where I said Erardi deliberately writes misleading articles. I said the stats he decided to use can be misleading but I'm not saying it was delberate. It could be laziness, a bad decision on the part of the writer or statistician or by accident.

I do not think Erardi deliberately writes misleading articles. Once again my point here is that one could use the same stats and make them say something totally different.

Not credibly.

MWM
08-18-2008, 08:04 PM
I do not think Erardi deliberately writes misleading articles. Once again my point here is that one could use the same stats and make them say something totally different.

I've heard you say this numerous times on the board, and it still isn't any less false than the first time you said it.

So, if it's so easy to do, why don't you attempt to "use the same stats and makes them say something totally different."

GAC
08-18-2008, 10:21 PM
It brings me back to my original point. I could use his stats over a 4 yr range to show that his RBIs would have been better given his existing opportunities if his OBI% had been better.

I have to acknowledge my "unfamiliarity" with OBI%. It seems everyday they come up with a new stat/formula. :lol:

Doesn't OBI% primarily list those you actually batted in, and not opportunities?

And here is something I'll throw out that always concerned me when it came to Dunn. It's believed that those in the top of the batting order get the most ABs. That is why you want them there. Therefore, the most ABs you get will provide you with the most opportunities for RBIs.

Doesn't batting Dunn 5th diminish those opps?

Sea Ray
08-18-2008, 11:03 PM
I've heard you say this numerous times on the board, and it still isn't any less false than the first time you said it.

So, if it's so easy to do, why don't you attempt to "use the same stats and makes them say something totally different."


If my PMs since I started this thread are any indication a lot of folks disagree with you.

I've already done what you've asked. You must not have read the thread thoroughly

Sea Ray
08-18-2008, 11:05 PM
I have to acknowledge my "unfamiliarity" with OBI%. It seems everyday they come up with a new stat/formula. :lol:

Doesn't OBI% primarily list those you actually batted in, and not opportunities?

And here is something I'll throw out that always concerned me when it came to Dunn. It's believed that those in the top of the batting order get the most ABs. That is why you want them there. Therefore, the most ABs you get will provide you with the most opportunities for RBIs.

Doesn't batting Dunn 5th diminish those opps?

OBI% is the percent of runners on base that you actually drove in. The percentage is in no way tied to opportunities.

MWM
08-18-2008, 11:14 PM
If my PMs since I started this thread are any indication a lot of folks disagree with you.

I've already done what you've asked. You must not have read the thread thoroughly

Appeal to the masses is a poor argument for anything. Once upon a time, most people agreed with the point that OBP was worthless compared to BA.

I don't think you've ever done what you say you have. I'm asking for an example of when someone has used the same stats and made them say something completely different than what someone else says. If it happens so often it should be simple to find an example.

SteelSD
08-18-2008, 11:24 PM
Doesn't OBI% primarily list those you actually batted in, and not opportunities?

Finally, someone is asking questions about the metric itself. OBI% is the percentage of baserunners driven in by a hitter during his plate appearances and does not include a hitter who drives himself in via HR.

The problem is that OBI% assumes that all PA are actual "opportunities" and does not offer any information as to the positioning of runners driven in. Both shortcomings are severe issues with the metric.

SteelSD
08-18-2008, 11:33 PM
OBI% is the percent of runners on base that you actually drove in. The percentage is in no way tied to opportunities.

If you studied and understood the metric, you'd realize that it's absolutely tied to opportunity, just in ways you haven't considered.

Sea Ray
08-18-2008, 11:42 PM
Finally, someone is asking questions about the metric itself. OBI% is the percentage of baserunners driven in by a hitter during his plate appearances and does not include a hitter who drives himself in via HR.

The problem is that OBI% assumes that all PA are actual "opportunities" and does not offer any information as to the positioning of runners driven in. Both shortcomings are severe issues with the metric.

Right and one of the shortcomings, if I understand it correctly, is that walks hurt you in this metric. For instance if Dunn comes up with runners on 2nd and third and he walks, his OBI% goes down 'cause he didn't knock any of them in. Am I getting that right Steel? If not, please correct me.

Sea Ray
08-18-2008, 11:46 PM
If you studied and understood the metric, you'd realize that it's absolutely tied to opportunity, just in ways you haven't considered.

My point here Steel is it's a percentage of your opportunities. For instance if you knocked in 2 of ten opportunities your OBI% is the same as if you knocked in 20 of 100. Thus under this example your RBIs increased with your opportunities but not your OBI%. My point here is OBI% was not impacted with the extra opportunities

RedsManRick
08-19-2008, 02:25 AM
OBI% is the percent of runners on base that you actually drove in. The percentage is in no way tied to opportunities.

I think what you meant to say is that the percentage is independent of opportunity. By definition, "opportunity" is the denominator in the OBI% calculation and therefore quite "tied" in. However, you can have a good or bad percentage regardless of the specific number of opportunities you have -- I think that was your point here. A player may suffer from a dearth of opportunity and still be very good at converting those which he has.

But Sea Ray, it appears the two points you want to make, but seem to struggle to say explicitly, is that a) Dunn is not great at driving in runs and b) Erardi's article was written in such a way as to lead us to believe otherwise. Your corollary insinuation is that generally stats can be twisted to the authors intent and specifically that Erardi omitted Dunn's historical OBI% numbers because they would somehow refute his point.

I think Erardi's primary point was that opportunities matter too and Dunn hasn't had as many opportunities as the league's RBI leaders. However, the phrase that seems to have you upset is Erardi's assertion that "The evidence shows that the problem with Dunn's RBI count wasn't as much Dunn as it was his teammates." I'll admit, the comparative nature of this statement is not explored in this article. But it's reasonable to want this assertion backed -- so let's try.

What I've done is take a look at Dunn as compared to the top 10 "OBI" guys in the game each year for the last 5 years. As the general critique Erardi is refuting is one of Dunn's ability to drive in other guys generally, this seems the fair comparison group. A caveat, this should have been OBI/PA, however, I didn't have the time to run the math on everybody the past 5 years to get to this group. I feel fairly comfortable that the straight top 10 will be well representative of elite OBI production, requiring high rate production in addition to PA. We'll control for PA when doing adjustments.

We'll look at the impact of both opportunity and conversion, as those are component pieces of RBI. I will compare Dunn's opportunity (measured by ROB/PA) vs the 10, holding conversion rate steady, and see how many additional RBI that would produce. I will then do the same with conversion rate, holding opportunity steady. This should give us some good insight as to which is more influential.



OBI% ROB/PA Runners RBI Coversion RBI
08 Top 10 19.3 .702
08 A Dunn 15.6 .580 8.8 10.0

07 Top 10 19.5 .727
07 A Dunn 15.5 .676 5.0 17.4

06 Top 10 19.4 .689
06 A Dunn 12.7 .600 7.6 27.6

05 Top 10 18.8 .712
05 A Dunn 13.5 .672 3.6 23.7

04 Top 10 19.4 .727
04 A Dunn 12.2 .675 4.3 33.1

Tot Top 10 19.3 .711
Tot A Dunn 13.9 .641 6.1 21.6

Well, here's the data. I'll admit I'm surprised. In Dunn's run of 40 HR seasons, having the RBI opportunities of the elite OBI producers would have netted him an average of 6 more RBI season. However, having the conversion rate of the elite OBI producers would have netted him nearly 22 more RBI per season.

Dunn has had significantly fewer opportunities than the OBI leaders with only 90% the number of base runners per plate appearance. However, his conversion rate drastically lags behind the leaders, as Dunn converted just 72% of the runners as his elite peers.

So, Erardi's assertion appears to be wrong. While Dunn has suffered from comparatively fewer opportunities, the bigger issue has indeed been Dunn himself and his inability to convert the opportunities he's been given. In fact, you could say that 75% of the reason Dunn isn't an elite OBI guy is his conversion rate.

I maintain that the fundamental purpose of Erardi's article was to get his audience to consider opportunity and not just conversion. However, it appears he may have made an assertion too far.

The further issue for study here, as Steel has pointed out, is that not all ROB are created equal. Looking at the data, Dunn has a particular weakness in driving in runners from 2B and 3B (not surprisingly), but is as good as the other elite guys in driving in runners from first base. Thus, one could conclude that a good way to minimize Dunn's conversion issue is to maximize his opportunities with men on 1B as compared to with runners on 2B or 3B. Or put another way, BAT HIM SECOND FOR GOD'S SAKE. Ignoring the OBP and PA considerations, which are extremely relevant in their own right, Dunn would benefit significantly in the RBI department from having a strong OBP directly ahead of him.

Sea Ray
08-19-2008, 09:47 AM
However, his conversion rate drastically lags behind the leaders, as Dunn converted just 72% of the runners as his elite peers.

So, Erardi's assertion appears to be wrong. While Dunn has suffered from comparatively fewer opportunities, the bigger issue has indeed been Dunn himself and his inability to convert the opportunities he's been given. In fact, you could say that 75% of the reason Dunn isn't an elite OBI guy is his conversion rate.

I maintain that the fundamental purpose of Erardi's article was to get his audience to consider opportunity and not just conversion. However, it appears he may have made an assertion too far.



Erardi said:


The evidence shows that the problem with Dunn's RBI count wasn't as much Dunn as it was his teammates.


Your first comment in the quoted area above says just the opposite of what Erardi's article showed.

He never mentioned that Dunn historically has a conversion rate issue which you beautifully showed. In fact you again proved my point. You used stats to show that Erardi's assertion is wrong yet his stat guys showed the opposite. The difference is you used 5 yrs and he only used one.

You and I both know that RBIs are dependent on both conversion and opportunity. Erardi's article made it sound like Dunn has been proficient at conversion and historically that's not the case.

That's all I wanted to show.

Ltlabner
08-19-2008, 10:12 AM
But Sea Ray, it appears the two points you want to make, but seem to struggle to say explicitly, is that a) Dunn is not great at driving in runs and b) Erardi's article was written in such a way as to lead us to believe otherwise. Your corollary insinuation is that generally stats can be twisted to the authors intent and specifically that Erardi omitted Dunn's historical OBI% numbers because they would somehow refute his point.

RMR you are being too polite.

What he's trying to say is (1) Dunn sucks with RISP therefore he sucks as a player (2) Erardi's article sucks because it doesn't say that Dunn sucks. (3) Stats suck because they are numbers, and what the heck do numbers have to do with baseball?

It's a lot of smoke and mirrors but beneath the surface it's the same old song and dance.

Dunn's gone, the teams problems are over and the winning will commence.

SteelSD
08-19-2008, 10:21 AM
Right and one of the shortcomings, if I understand it correctly, is that walks hurt you in this metric. For instance if Dunn comes up with runners on 2nd and third and he walks, his OBI% goes down 'cause he didn't knock any of them in. Am I getting that right Steel? If not, please correct me.

As OBI% cares only about whether or not a run was driven in during a player's PA, you are correct. By itself, that's pretty much a metric killer; causing OBI% to be nothing more than a suggestive measure of who may or may not be good at something. At best, it's a step in an analytical process rather than an end metric from which anyone should be drawing conclusions (Eradi and Co. included).

The lack of usefulness for OBI% is compounded by other issues as well. For example, we can tell nothing about degree of distance or multi-runner opportunities. Does Hitter A see a significantly higher percentage of runners who've advanced further on the bases than Hitter B's runners have? We don't know because it's not something the metric tracks. But just as we should care about hitters' OBP in front of a player, we should care about their SLG as well.


My point here Steel is it's a percentage of your opportunities. For instance if you knocked in 2 of ten opportunities your OBI% is the same as if you knocked in 20 of 100. Thus under this example your RBIs increased with your opportunities but not your OBI%. My point here is OBI% was not impacted with the extra opportunities

Maybe I phrased my post incorrectly and we may agree on this but my point was that OBI% demands that we assume each PA represents the same amount of "opportunity". But that's not something we can assume without digging into places the OBI% metric doesn't.

bucksfan2
08-19-2008, 11:00 AM
Erardi and his articles are interesting. But Erardi tends hide/mislead/misrepresent/overlook certain analysis in order to make his point. Remember his article on runs scored and the .500 debate? He used two different intrepretations as one in order to make a point. In this article he did the same. Does Erardi do this to make his point better or is it just a slip up? Whether or not you like Erardi's articles or not if he knowingly ommits certain information in order to make his point stronger he loses some of his journalistic intregrity.

I thought Dunn played for the Dbacks now. Why are we worried about him?

Sea Ray
08-19-2008, 11:11 AM
RMR you are being too polite.

What he's trying to say is (1) Dunn sucks with RISP therefore he sucks as a player (2) Erardi's article sucks because it doesn't say that Dunn sucks. (3) Stats suck because they are numbers, and what the heck do numbers have to do with baseball?

It's a lot of smoke and mirrors but beneath the surface it's the same old song and dance.

Dunn's gone, the teams problems are over and the winning will commence.


Way to go! I knew someone would attempt to drag this down to being about Adam Dunn. Congratulations Ltlabner, you did it!

I wish it was about Adam Smith or Adam Doe because to me it's not about the player, it's about the numbers.

Sea Ray
08-19-2008, 11:22 AM
I think we've pretty well covered this subject but I'll add one thing. This metric is not kind to Adam Dunn considering all the walks he gets which we all agree is a good thing, yet it kind of hurts him here. The only way a walk helps is if it's with the bases loaded and drives in a run. The fact that now two years running Dunn has reached 15.5% OBI is incredible and is to be commended. If you're intentionally walked (with an open base) it hurts your OBI%.

Speaking of bases loaded walks did anyone see over the weekend that the Rays intentionally walked Josh Hamilton with the bases loaded while the on deck hitter was the tying run. Wow, that's respect!

blumj
08-19-2008, 11:35 AM
Offense in baseball is a team sport, and teams that don't recognize that reality are a step behind the teams that do.

RedsManRick
08-19-2008, 11:40 AM
I think we've pretty well covered this subject but I'll add one thing. This metric is not kind to Adam Dunn considering all the walks he gets which we all agree is a good thing, yet it kind of hurts him here. The only way a walk helps is if it's with the bases loaded and drives in a run. The fact that now two years running Dunn has reached 15.5% OBI is incredible and is to be commended. If you're intentionally walked (with an open base) it hurts your OBI%.

Speaking of bases loaded walks did anyone see over the weekend that the Rays intentionally walked Josh Hamilton with the bases loaded while the on deck hitter was the tying run. Wow, that's respect!

Sea Ray, the problem with OBI% as a stat, as Steel has pointed out, is that it focuses on the wrong thing. It's a stat to help us understand a different stat, one which isn't terribly meaningful in the first place. I think you realize this, but this basic point can get lost in the weeds.

When Dunn walks with a man on 2B, it lowers his OBI%. And we'd all agree that a hit would be better than a walk in that situation. But that's not the point. The point is that for the purposes of OBI% any short of a bases loaded walk is equivalent to an out. And in fact, some outs are better for your OBI% than walks.

For the purposes of examining the rate at which a player drives in runners, that's fine. But as a tool to evaluate a player's offensive abilities, it's crap. Adam Dunn isn't a good "RBI guy", I think that point has been made. But the broader point which should be take is that "RBI guy" is a pretty misleading label when taken as a proxy for overall run production ability. It's a poor way to look at the offensive production of a player as it disproportionately weights skills/events which don't necessarily lead to the most runs being produced. It completely ignores the value of advancing runners to bases besides home plate and more importantly ignores the value of the batter making himself a potential RBI for somebody else.

If Dunn traded all of his walks for deep flyballs, his OBI% would go up (as a result of driving in players from 3B). However, his value as a batter would drop significantly. I find OBI% very interesting -- and useful in understanding why certain guys rack of up RBI and others don't. But given that RBI is a pretty useless stat to begin with, who cares? As a tool for evaluating offensive value, OBI% is right there with batting average as marginally useful and often misleading.

gonelong
08-19-2008, 02:57 PM
Player ROB OBI OBI% HR RBI Total RBI / Total ROB

Ryan Howard 373 70 18.80 33 103 0.2761

Carlos Lee 358 72 20.10 28 100 0.2793

David Wright 394 71 18.00 23 94 0.2386

Ryan Ludwick 326 60 18.40 30 90 0.2761

Adrian Gonzalez 361 61 16.90 28 89 0.2465

Adam Dunn* 269 42 15.60 32 74 0.2751



When you don't discount the HR, it's a different perspective. I suspect if you factor in the cost of this production (outs) ... ( Side Rant: I have always thought this to be funny about BABIP, why not include the HRs? These area also batted balls that could not be converted to an out. I think we'd see that the better pitchers then have lower BABIP from year-to-year than the guys that are not so good. I also think SLGBIP would be a better measure than BABIP)

What's really interesting is that Dunn can drive in runs from the plate, and with ROB at first at a very high rate (if not elite). It should be obvious that it's harder to find a guy like this than guys that can drive them in with ROB @ 2nd/3rd.

Match your rare find with more of the ready available types instead of discounting the rare guy.

For all the talk of manufacturing runs, I have always shook my head at discounting the one guy that can do it with the least amount of help & cost (outs).

GL

princeton
08-19-2008, 03:04 PM
It should be obvious that it's harder to find a guy like this than guys that can drive them in with ROB @ 2nd/3rd.


not for the Reds. We've had a lot of guys that rank among the worst at driving in runners from second and third (Dunn most dreadful of course, but don't discount the dreadfulness of Kearns and EdE)

gonelong
08-19-2008, 03:37 PM
not for the Reds. We've had a lot of guys that rank among the worst at driving in runners from second and third (Dunn most dreadful of course, but don't discount the dreadfulness of Kearns and EdE)

That may be so, but the guys who can do this are more common than they guys that can do what Dunn does.

Dunn was a catapult. The Reds couldn't gather up any archers to supplement him, but rather decided to try to use him as an archer.

GL

RedsManRick
08-19-2008, 03:45 PM
What's really interesting is that Dunn can drive in runs from the plate, and with ROB at first at a very high rate (if not elite). It should be obvious that it's harder to find a guy like this than guys that can drive them in with ROB @ 2nd/3rd.

Match your rare find with more of the ready available types instead of discounting the rare guy.

For all the talk of manufacturing runs, I have always shook my head at discounting the one guy that can do it with the least amount of help & cost (outs).

You and Princeton are both right. The Reds haven't done well at driving in runners from 2nd and 3rd. They haven't been particularly good at driving in anybody.

Here is the full data for the Reds in 2008 and the guys listed in the article. Observations abound, but a few stick out to me:

- Phillips has by far the most R1BI opportunities and was terrible at converting them.
- The low R2BI% and R3BI% from Dunn and Encarnacion, two guys who batted low in the order, "RBI" spots if you will

This really speaks to the inefficiency of our lineup order. Guys were routinely placed in spots that highlighted their weaknesses. BP couldn't drive in the low SLG leadoff guys ahead of him, EE couldn't drive in Dunn, and Dunn was put in a spot which minimized the number of guys on 1B, even though his skill set is tailored to those situations.



NAME PA PA_ROB R1 R2 R3 R1_BI R2_BI R3_BI ROB OBI R1BI% R2BI% R3BI% OBI%
Ryan Howard 537 273 168 138 74 13 33 25 380 71 7.7% 23.9% 33.8% 18.7%
Carlos Lee 481 254 167 131 60 17 29 26 358 72 10.2% 22.1% 43.3% 20.1%
David Wright 568 295 187 125 91 17 17 38 403 72 9.1% 13.6% 41.8% 17.9%
Ryan Ludwick 476 232 159 119 56 12 27 23 334 62 7.5% 22.7% 41.1% 18.6%
Adrian Gonzalez 537 266 194 116 55 15 26 20 365 61 7.7% 22.4% 36.4% 16.7%
SELECT 5 2599 1320 875 629 336 74 132 132 1840 338 8.5% 21.0% 39.3% 18.4%

ALL MLB, 200+ PA 5.5% 16.4% 37.3% 14.6%
Reds Position Players 4577 1952 1357 872 479 65 127 171 2708 363 4.8% 14.6% 35.7% 13.4%

Brandon Phillips 523 250 168 101 73 6 17 30 342 53 3.6% 16.8% 41.1% 15.5%
Adam Dunn 464 183 121 92 56 12 12 18 269 42 9.9% 13.0% 32.1% 15.6%
Edwin Encarnacion 448 201 152 77 50 5 9 12 279 26 3.3% 11.7% 24.0% 9.3%
Joey Votto 428 182 130 84 39 9 15 16 253 40 6.9% 17.9% 41.0% 15.8%
Ken Griffey Jr. 425 188 120 83 45 13 12 13 248 38 10.8% 14.5% 28.9% 15.3%
Jeff Keppinger 359 141 88 61 38 3 11 13 187 27 3.4% 18.0% 34.2% 14.4%
Jay Bruce 307 130 91 59 25 3 9 10 175 22 3.3% 15.3% 40.0% 12.6%
Paul Bako 281 129 97 64 27 4 10 11 188 25 4.1% 15.6% 40.7% 13.3%
Corey Patterson 271 100 69 47 20 2 4 7 136 13 2.9% 8.5% 35.0% 9.6%
Jerry Hairston 231 79 46 44 21 2 7 11 111 20 4.3% 15.9% 52.4% 18.0%
David Ross 173 85 59 40 17 1 3 6 116 10 1.7% 7.5% 35.3% 8.6%
Ryan Freel 143 53 36 22 13 0 4 6 71 10 0.0% 18.2% 46.2% 14.1%
Javier Valentin 123 64 50 30 18 1 4 6 98 11 2.0% 13.3% 33.3% 11.2%
Paul Janish 72 29 25 14 6 0 3 2 45 5 0.0% 21.4% 33.3% 11.1%
Scott Hatteberg 61 33 27 15 9 2 3 2 51 7 7.4% 20.0% 22.2% 13.7%
Norris Hopper 58 21 17 6 8 0 0 1 31 1 0.0% 0.0% 12.5% 3.2%
Andy Phillips 54 25 17 10 6 1 1 3 33 5 5.9% 10.0% 50.0% 15.2%
Bronson Arroyo 53 29 24 9 5 0 1 2 38 3 0.0% 11.1% 40.0% 7.9%
Jolbert Cabrera 49 11 9 3 1 1 0 1 13 2 11.1% 0.0% 100.0% 15.4%
Chris Dickerson 24 9 4 6 1 0 1 0 11 1 0.0% 16.7% 0.0% 9.1%
Ryan Hanigan 14 6 4 3 1 0 1 1 8 2 0.0% 33.3% 100.0% 25.0%
Juan Castro 11 4 3 2 0 0 0 0 5 0 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Adam Rosales 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%

GAC
08-19-2008, 10:00 PM
When Dunn walks with a man on 2B, it lowers his OBI%.

And that is what bothers me with this stat in showing it's "incompleteness".

Is it a player's fault if he draws a walk with RISP? How? Yet OBI% counts it against them, or at least doesn't take it into consideration.

And what if that walk moves that runner(s) further into scoring position? Yet OBI% stills sees it as some sort of "negative" IMO.

And to get back to the issue of opportunities....

I've had guys say the same stereotypical statement about Adam... "I don't understand how a guy like Dunn, who hits 40+ HRs/season, still struggles to get 100 RBIs."

They feel he should be getting 130/140 RBIs season. They are placing the blame solely on Dunn and not considering that RBIs is team dependent.

Wouldn't Dunn have gotten more opportunities if he was given more ABs by hitting higher in the order? Sure - his OBI% (success rate) may still be the same; but with more opportunities wouldn't the overall number be higher?

And wouldn't that also be coupled with the frequency that those ahead of him are getting on base and into scoring position? And that has been a huge sore spot for this team. When the OB% of your #5-#8 guys is higher then the #1-#4 guys, then something is wrong.

And yet that is how Baker has constructed it. No one can tell me he doesn't see this? I think he just ignores (discounts) it. ;)