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Spring~Fields
08-24-2008, 10:16 AM
Simple math: More runners, more runs
Reds by the Numbers

By John Erardi

CHICAGO - Amazing the amount of attention paid to the fact that the Reds were 0-for-15 with runners in scoring position in the recently completed three-game series at Wrigley Field.

Granted, a hit or two more in those situations and the Reds probably would have left town having won two of three, instead of only one.

But the Cubs weren't exactly gangbusters in the three games with runners in scoring position (4-for-27).

The biggest problem with the Reds is not that they went 0-for-15 with runners in scoring position.

The biggest problem with the Reds is that they put only 20 men on base total - for all three games.

Granted, the Cubs put only nine more men on base.

Those nine additional base runners in a three-game series might not seem like a lot.

But they are.

Three extra runners per game is exactly the margin of difference between the Cubs and the Reds this year.

Going into Friday's games, the Cubs had 2,432 plate appearances in 127 games with runners on base - an average of about 19 per game. The Reds had 2,081 plate appearances with runners on base in 128 games, or about 16 per game.

Those three extra runners per game add up over the course of the season.

Men on base
The Cubs lead the league easily in runs scored (681); they average 5.4 runs per game with a league-leading on-base average of .358.

The Reds rank 13th in runs per game with 4.2, with a miserable .318 on-base average. They rank fourth in the league in home runs with 148, just ahead of the Cubs' 146.

The biggest culprit in the Reds averaging 1.2 fewer runs per game than the Cubs is that the Reds are 40 points behind the Cubs in getting men on base. 6

Before I left Chicago on Friday, I read with interest the interview that baseball writer Hal McCoy did with Reds pitcher Bronson Arroyo. Arroyo said the Reds need to grow their lineup so that it more closely resembles the Cubs, who have a 7-hole batter (Mark DeRosa) hitting .280.

Arroyo is right. And his point holds up throughout the Cubs' batting order when one compares it with the Reds.

DeRosa vs. Phillips
DeRosa's .280 batting average is the basis of his .376 on-base percentage. His slugging average is .458. In sabermetric terms, this is expressed as .280/.376/.458.

Compare that with the numbers of Reds middle-of-the-order hitter Brandon Phillips (.267/.315/460).

Sure, Phillips has five more home runs (in 85 more at-bats), but DeRosa has 27 more walks (in fewer plate appearances), making him more valuable as a hitter.

Why? Because DeRosa is getting on base more than Phillips. For a team to score a lot of runs, it has to get a lot of men on base.

The Cubs lead the league with a .280 batting average; the Reds are at .245, 15th in the 16-team league, ahead of the Nationals.

(Which begs the question: If your team is hitting only .245 overall, why would you expect them to suddenly hit better with runners in scoring position? It doesn't work that way. For example, the Cubs' team batting average with runners in scoring position is only one point higher than their batting average overall. And consider: The Cubs are hitting only .213 with runners in scoring position when there are two outs. Yet, they still lead the league in runs.)

Focus on Fukudome
The Cubs' worst regular in terms of on-base average plus slugging average is Kosuke Fukudome (.748). But even with a relatively low batting average (.265) and little power (.385 slugging average), he is still getting on base (.363) at an above-average rate and helping to sustain a top-to-bottom offense. Fukudome has scored 69 runs, the same as Phillips.

Leadoff hitter Alfonso Soriano has the Cubs' worst on-base average (.340), but it would rank third-best among Reds who have significant playing time. (Jerry Hairston and Joey Votto are the top two for on-base average.)

The point: Do not get all caught up with what the Reds are hitting with runners in scoring position; beware those who do.

Pay more attention to how many runners the Reds are getting on base.

Improving that number is the only way the Reds have a chance to win next year.

http://news.cincinnati.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080824/SPT04/808240439/1071&GID=Hn0Id68JsSdWgorZngkJ37MCnFVW5CRwV3eYWVqxUfA%3D

RFS62
08-24-2008, 10:20 AM
Boy, John Erardi keeps getting stronger and stronger.

Easily the cream of the crop.

HokieRed
08-24-2008, 10:25 AM
I've said it here numerous times, usually getting trashed for it. Phillips is a slightly better than average 2baseman, made to look much better than that by being on a lousy team. He's not as good, statistically, as DeRosa or about 7 or 8 second basemen. He's great to have but needs to be moved down in the order (not into the 3 spot) and he should be aggressively shopped if Chris Valaika is really judged to be an average to slightly above second baseman. You've got to trade where you have valuable players with reasonable replacements.

remdog
08-24-2008, 10:37 AM
Arroyo said the Reds need to grow their lineup so that it more closely resembles the Cubs, who have a 7-hole batter (Mark DeRosa) hitting .280.

WOW! Why didn't someone here think of that! (Gives his head a 'I could'a had a V8!' smack)

Pssst! Hal! Did Bronson also tell you exactly how to do that?

Rem

corkedbat
08-24-2008, 10:55 AM
If somebody would give two players that I really like (say, a young OF & C), I'd be willing to move BP and let Keppinger/Hairston/Valika/Rosales/Richar/Gonzalez compete at 2B/SS.

edabbs44
08-24-2008, 11:35 AM
Next weeks newsflash from Erardi: "More runs, more wins".

puca
08-24-2008, 11:44 AM
If somebody would give two players that I really like (say, a young OF & C), I'd be willing to move BP and let Keppinger/Hairston/Valika/Rosales/Richar/Gonzalez compete at 2B/SS.

You need to prevent runs too.

There is not a decent defensive shortstop in that bunch, unless AGon is healthy and somehow has found the fountain of youth. Take away Phillips and any ground ball up the middle will find the outfield.

I surely hope the Reds don't subject their young pitching staff to another year of a statuesque SS, let alone compound the problem.

RedsManRick
08-24-2008, 11:44 AM
Next weeks newsflash from Erardi: "More runs, more wins".

And yet he wouldn't need to point out the obvious if certain people managing and calling ballgames for the Reds already got it.

corkedbat
08-24-2008, 11:50 AM
You need to prevent runs too.

There is not a decent defensive shortstop in that bunch, unless AGon is healthy and somehow has found the fountain of youth. Take away Phillips and any ground ball up the middle will find the outfield.

I surely hope the Reds don't subject their young pitching staff to another year of a statuesque SS, let alone compound the problem.

I was thinking of AGon @ SS and one of the others @ 2B, although I would add Valika to the 40-man and audition him @ SS come Sept 1.

Sea Ray
08-24-2008, 11:55 AM
WOW! Why didn't someone here think of that! (Gives his head a 'I could'a had a V8!' smack)

Pssst! Hal! Did Bronson also tell you exactly how to do that?

Rem

I was puzzled as to what Erardi was trying to prove here as well. Even the old time baseball purists will point to the reason the Cubs score more runs is because they hit .280 while the Reds hit .245. You don't need a PH D in Bill James Univ to figure that one out.

HokieRed
08-24-2008, 02:17 PM
First defensive priority, IMO, is to have an absolutely first-class SS. Nothing is more important. That means 1. No Keppinger as starter; 2. No attempt to get by with somebody like Valaika if he's not really an above average major league defender; 3. If BP can be moved for a good SS, that's a move to make, then using one of the replacement infielders at 2b; 4. realistically, if he's healthy, Agon is next year's guy and this is a problem for 2010.

Falls City Beer
08-24-2008, 02:24 PM
The offensive deficiencies are obvious. Less obvious are the pitching ones.

*BaseClogger*
08-24-2008, 03:14 PM
You've got to trade where you have valuable players with reasonable replacements.

I agree with this a lot...

Raisor
08-24-2008, 03:30 PM
I was puzzled as to what Erardi was trying to prove here as well. Even the old time baseball purists will point to the reason the Cubs score more runs is because they hit .280 while the Reds hit .245. You don't need a PH D in Bill James Univ to figure that one out.

I would say that it has more to do with the Cubs OPSing 806 vs the Reds' 724.

Sea Ray
08-24-2008, 03:40 PM
I would say that it has more to do with the Cubs OPSing 806 vs the Reds' 724.

Again, you're just using a different stat to show what's already obvious to all of us. It stands to reason that a team batting .280 will have a higher OPS than a team hitting .245.

Raisor
08-24-2008, 04:05 PM
Again, you're just using a different stat to show what's already obvious to all of us. It stands to reason that a team batting .280 will have a higher OPS than a team hitting .245.

Not necessarily.

SMcGavin
08-24-2008, 06:20 PM
And yet he wouldn't need to point out the obvious if certain people managing and calling ballgames for the Reds already got it.

Bingo.

Sea Ray
08-24-2008, 06:21 PM
Not necessarily.

In this case the difference is largely the result of BA. BA figures twice into the OPS stat, so it stands to reason that a team hitting .035 better in BA will have a significantly higher OPS.

RedsManRick
08-24-2008, 06:40 PM
In this case the difference is largely the result of BA. BA figures twice into the OPS stat, so it stands to reason that a team hitting .035 better in BA will have a significantly higher OPS.

This is true. I think the point being made is that a low batting average doesn't preclude a high OPS. The Cubs aren't the most point realistic comparison given that they outscore the #2 team by half a run and do absolutely everything well.

The Phillies for instance outscore the Reds by .6 runs per game despite a .253 batting average on the strength of a slightly higher IsoD (.077 vs .072) and significantly higher IsoP (.182 vs .160). The Reds outscore both the Dodgers and Giants, who have batting averages of .258 and .256 respectively.

As you rightly point out, most of OBP is batting average. However, batting average is hitting stripped of a lot of useful information, like getting on base via walks and the impact (on both batter and runner) of hits for extra bases -- so why look at it in the first place? As we've discussed at length elsewhere, if you know OBP and SLG, batting average brings nothing new to the table.

OldRightHander
08-24-2008, 08:14 PM
Simple math: More runners, more runs
Reds by the Numbers



Pay more attention to how many runners the Reds are getting on base.

Improving that number is the only way the Reds have a chance to win next year.

http://news.cincinnati.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080824/SPT04/808240439/1071&GID=Hn0Id68JsSdWgorZngkJ37MCnFVW5CRwV3eYWVqxUfA%3D

Grass is green, water is wet, and bears poop in the woods.

Sea Ray
08-24-2008, 08:50 PM
This is true. I think the point being made is that a low batting average doesn't preclude a high OPS. The Cubs aren't the most point realistic comparison given that they outscore the #2 team by half a run and do absolutely everything well.

As you rightly point out, most of OBP is batting average. However, batting average is hitting stripped of a lot of useful information, like getting on base via walks and the impact (on both batter and runner) of hits for extra bases -- so why look at it in the first place? As we've discussed at length elsewhere, if you know OBP and SLG, batting average brings nothing new to the table.


OPS includes OBP and SLG and both of those include BA to a certain extent.

Rick, if you want to compare the Reds to the Dodgers, Phillies or whoever then yes we can cuss and discuss the virtues of OPS for another 500 posts. I'm sure readers of RZ would greatly appreciate that...

But as you see I said things like "in this case" and in other posts specifically mentioned the Reds and the Cubs. I stand by my comments as they relate to "this case".

GAC
08-24-2008, 09:05 PM
In the first 4 months of the season, the #5-8 hitters, collectively, had a better OB% then the #1-4. And that would be obvious when you've got players like Dunn, EE, and Votto batting down further, while giving ABs in the higher part of the order to guys like Patterson (.233) and Phillips (.314).

The good news is that has now changed (reversed). But it's still not room to rejoice. ;)



Dickerson .392
Keppinger .313
Phillips .314
Votto .353
average .343


Encarnacion .331
Bruce .301
Patterson .231
Hanigan .273

average .284

OB% pre-AS break..... .325 post-AS break .315 (22 pts below MLB avg).

Now I'm not saying that the team we're seeing now - because they are playing several youngsters to see what they got - is the team we'll necessarily see in '09. I sincerely hope not. But when I look at the above list of players, who WON'T be here going into next year? The only name(s) I see that is a possibility (and I'm not so sure anymore) is Patterson and Cabrera.

I expect more from Bruce; but he is a rookie. My biggest concern with Jay though is just how much of an influence is Baker/Jacoby having on this kid as far as ABs (plate approach), if any? Because watching Jay at the plate right now is very disappointing.

Dusty Baker's approach to hitting is one of being aggressive. He's a small ball junkie who loves his speed. And the guy, IMO, has an over infatuation with bunting (sacrifice).

"get'em on, get'em over, get'em in" is a problem when you can't get'em on.

Pre-AS Break this team created 416 runs. So far in the second half they have produced 129 runs. If they are averaging 4.2 runs/game, and with 31 games left, that means they'll produce a dismal 259 runs in the second half, totaling 675/season.

This can't be comforting to this FO. It has to be obvious to a guy like Jocketty. But what we are seeing now is a team in "transformation" in which Walt and Dusty are putting their fingerprints on it. And unless Walt makes some big additions (changes) in the off-season, then we're looking at a team that will lucky to create 700 runs in '09.

And that will put a strain on any pitching staff.

bucksfan2
08-24-2008, 09:33 PM
Did this article point out anything obvious? I mean in all reality the Cubs are a much better offensive team than the Reds. It doesn't take a saber guy to point this out. The Phillies are also a much better team than the Reds. They have the last two MVP's on their team and they probably aren't even their best player, Utley is.

IMO no amount of OBP, SLG, OPS, etc. analyis is going to make the Reds a better club. What is going to make the Reds a better club is better talent. I don't need an article to tell me that the Reds have been awful offensively this season. Replace Patterson with Soriano and the Reds are a much much better team. Derosa is having a heck of a season but I still wouldn't take him over Phillips. You can have an article that breaks down the numbers or you could just go out and say the Cubs are better on offense because they have a lineup of Soriano, Lee, Ramirez, Soto, etc.

edabbs44
08-24-2008, 10:03 PM
Did this article point out anything obvious? I mean in all reality the Cubs are a much better offensive team than the Reds. It doesn't take a saber guy to point this out. The Phillies are also a much better team than the Reds. They have the last two MVP's on their team and they probably aren't even their best player, Utley is.

IMO no amount of OBP, SLG, OPS, etc. analyis is going to make the Reds a better club. What is going to make the Reds a better club is better talent. I don't need an article to tell me that the Reds have been awful offensively this season. Replace Patterson with Soriano and the Reds are a much much better team. Derosa is having a heck of a season but I still wouldn't take him over Phillips. You can have an article that breaks down the numbers or you could just go out and say the Cubs are better on offense because they have a lineup of Soriano, Lee, Ramirez, Soto, etc.

Sometimes I think some saber people just like to spout off because they love hearing themselves talk. Some believe they are smarter than everyone else.

Raisor
08-24-2008, 11:00 PM
Sometimes I think some saber people just like to spout off because they love hearing themselves talk. Some believe they are smarter than everyone else.

some non-saber people think the same thing

Spring~Fields
08-24-2008, 11:06 PM
Some believe they are smarter than everyone else.

Rather,
Is it possible that some of those individuals may be better informed than another in that specific area of study?

OldRightHander
08-24-2008, 11:18 PM
Rather,
Is it possible that some of those individuals may be better informed than another in that specific area of study?

"But Marty said..."

SteelSD
08-24-2008, 11:45 PM
Rather,
Is it possible that some of those individuals may be better informed than another in that specific area of study?

Yes, but we need to remember that Eradi is currently little more than a learned translator and nothing resembling a true sabermetrician. He's sure trying harder than any other writer in Reds' land to bring knowledge to the masses, but he needs to be more careful about not producing fodder for those who simply don't want to hear the message.

SteelSD
08-24-2008, 11:56 PM
IMO no amount of OBP, SLG, OPS, etc. analyis is going to make the Reds a better club.

Really?


What is going to make the Reds a better club is better talent.

Yeah, the kind of offensive talent that produces a better OBP, SLG, and OPS; which creates more Runs.


I don't need an article to tell me that the Reds have been awful offensively this season. Replace Patterson with Soriano and the Reds are a much much better team. Derosa is having a heck of a season but I still wouldn't take him over Phillips. You can have an article that breaks down the numbers or you could just go out and say the Cubs are better on offense because they have a lineup of Soriano, Lee, Ramirez, Soto, etc.

Well, we could analyze "names" or we could analyze performance. The former without the latter is completely meaningless and GM's who look for "names" tend to give us things like Eric Milton and Corey Patterson. Are you tired of that yet?

The players are defined by their performance.

WVRedsFan
08-25-2008, 12:23 AM
Really?



Yeah, the kind of offensive talent that produces a better OBP, SLG, and OPS; which creates more Runs.



Well, we could analyze "names" or we could analyze performance. The former without the latter is completely meaningless and GM's who look for "names" tend to give us things like Eric Milton and Corey Patterson. Are you tired of that yet?

The players are defined by their performance.

Kind of like in my biz. We have stars and we have "stars." The stars close at a remarkable 75% rate. The "stars" close at an 85% rate but the business never stays on the books. Eric Milton and Corey Patterson are "stars" (using that term loosely). The Reds need to look for stars.

And I might add, they need to instruct the youngsters on what this means. The coaching staff, if they don't act quickly, are about to ruin young Jay Bruce as he tries to imitate Brandon Phillips and Edwin Encarnacion in swinging at most anything that they throw to him. Rant for the night.

SMcGavin
08-25-2008, 12:29 AM
Sometimes I think some saber people just like to spout off because they love hearing themselves talk. Some believe they are smarter than everyone else.

I don't think this is the case. At the beginning of the article he cites the hand-wringing over the Reds' hitting with runners in scoring position. That's why he wrote the article, to show that analysis of BA w/ RISP is completely missing the point. There are a lot of people who think the Reds' struggles in that category are a big reason why they are a losing team (for example, Marty). The article wasn't written to teach anything to the average RedsZone poster, it's for the average Joe who catches a couple games on TV a week and moans that the Reds aren't "clutch" enough.

As for whether Erardi thinks he's smarter than everyone else, I have no idea. I'm guessing you've never met the man either. I don't really know what that added to the discussion.

gm
08-25-2008, 01:05 AM
Do not get all caught up with what the Reds are hitting with runners in scoring position; beware those who do.
http://news.cincinnati.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080824/SPT04/808240439/1071&GID=Hn0Id68JsSdWgorZngkJ37MCnFVW5CRwV3eYWVqxUfA%3D

Beware this

You're not going to drive in many runs without hitters who can make contact with runners in scoring position. Work the count full and load up the bases if you can, but don't expect multiple runs to score without a swing and the sound of horsehide meeting wood

jojo
08-25-2008, 07:53 AM
Beware this

You're not going to drive in many runs without hitters who can make contact with runners in scoring position. Work the count full and load up the bases if you can, but don't expect multiple runs to score without a swing and the sound of horsehide meeting wood

As Erardi points out though, that sound of horsehide meeting wood rings hollow if the lineup is incapable of "loading up the bases" (and frankly it doesn't matter what caused the difference between the Cubs' OBP and the Reds OBP for Erardi's point to be valid).

Erardi's article calls a spade a spade. While not the most innovative article ever written, it does serve to put the focus on the bullseye rather than the peripheral bull****e that many on sports talk radio fixate upon.

Basically Erardi is saying the Reds have a talent problem not a clutch problem or by extension a chemistry problem, a character problem, white line fever problem, a bad hair day problem etc.

bucksfan2
08-25-2008, 09:02 AM
As Erardi points out though, that sound of horsehide meeting wood rings hollow if the lineup is incapable of "loading up the bases" (and frankly it doesn't matter what caused the difference between the Cubs' OBP and the Reds OBP for Erardi's point to be valid).

Erardi's article calls a spade a spade. While not the most innovative article ever written, it does serve to put the focus on the bullseye rather than the peripheral bull****e that many on sports talk radio fixate upon.

Basically Erardi is saying the Reds have a talent problem not a clutch problem or by extension a chemistry problem, a character problem, white line fever problem, a bad hair day problem etc.

What the average Reds fan says or believes carries no weight with me. You can listen to talk radio and office talk all you want but in reality the knowledge is pretty poor.

I don't think Erardi is calling a spade a spade. He is basically spouting off numbers to prove a point that every knowledgable baseball fan knows. The Cubs are better because they have better offensive and defensive players.

Much of the saber anti-saber debate from Reds fans has come from one particular former player. Dunn had such a unique skill set that whatever he did caused debate. Now that Dunn is gone we may shift to Edwin but not to the huge extent.

I guess what I am trying to says is I don't need an entire article written about why the reds have been offensively challanged this season. If you give me BA and OBP of the Reds starters and you can come to a pretty good conclusion of why the Reds are struggling this season.

Yachtzee
08-25-2008, 09:21 AM
Did this article point out anything obvious? I mean in all reality the Cubs are a much better offensive team than the Reds. It doesn't take a saber guy to point this out. The Phillies are also a much better team than the Reds. They have the last two MVP's on their team and they probably aren't even their best player, Utley is.

IMO no amount of OBP, SLG, OPS, etc. analyis is going to make the Reds a better club. What is going to make the Reds a better club is better talent. I don't need an article to tell me that the Reds have been awful offensively this season. Replace Patterson with Soriano and the Reds are a much much better team. Derosa is having a heck of a season but I still wouldn't take him over Phillips. You can have an article that breaks down the numbers or you could just go out and say the Cubs are better on offense because they have a lineup of Soriano, Lee, Ramirez, Soto, etc.

I think the point of Erardi's series of articles this summer has been to provide some insight on using alternate stats beside BA and RBI to gauge the Reds' performance. I always felt his articles were directed to readers of the Enquirer, many of whom may be avid baseball fans who might be interested in alternate ways to look at the game and who haven't been subjected to the endless pro/con debates of sabremetrics that we see here on Redszone. Believe it or not, there are many people out there who like baseball and don't peruse internet discussion forums and might be open to learning a bit more about the game. Erardi hasn't broken new ground nor told anyone anything that hasn't been debated here on Redszone ad nauseum, but again, I don't think that was his point.

BCubb2003
08-25-2008, 09:25 AM
I think the point of Erardi's series of articles this summer has been to provide some insight on using alternate stats beside BA and RBI to gauge the Reds' performance. I always felt his articles were directed to readers of the Enquirer, many of whom may be avid baseball fans who might be interested in alternate ways to look at the game and who haven't been subjected to the endless pro/con debates of sabremetrics that we see here on Redszone. Believe it or not, there are many people out there who like baseball and don't peruse internet discussion forums and might be open to learning a bit more about the game. Erardi hasn't broken new ground nor told anyone anything that hasn't been debated here on Redszone ad nauseum, but again, I don't think that was his point.

I absolutely agree. I think he's taken that as his mission.

redsmetz
08-25-2008, 09:38 AM
I think the point of Erardi's series of articles this summer has been to provide some insight on using alternate stats beside BA and RBI to gauge the Reds' performance. I always felt his articles were directed to readers of the Enquirer, many of whom may be avid baseball fans who might be interested in alternate ways to look at the game and who haven't been subjected to the endless pro/con debates of sabremetrics that we see here on Redszone. Believe it or not, there are many people out there who like baseball and don't peruse internet discussion forums and might be open to learning a bit more about the game. Erardi hasn't broken new ground nor told anyone anything that hasn't been debated here on Redszone ad nauseum, but again, I don't think that was his point.

I have to say that Erardi's columns (and it seems to be a regular series now) have been very informative to me and works to knock down my resistance to classic sabermetric talk. Too often, I think much sabermetric analysis sucks the life out of the game and Erardi moves me towards seeing it as a flesh and blood reality within the game. I'm glad to see him writing them, even if they seem obvious to others.

westofyou
08-25-2008, 10:00 AM
He is basically spouting off numbers to prove a point that every knowledgable baseball fan knows.

Yet every day these "Knowledgeable" fans prove their lack of knowledge here at Redszone on a myriad of baseball subjects including run production, defense, baseball myths etc.

I get the sense that some folks just want the box score in the morning paper and at times they even find that too be too much information about this "simple game"

Personally I find stuff like this refreshing, especially in the wake of all those zeros and ones that Daugherty wastes when he writes about baseball.

wolfboy
08-25-2008, 10:14 AM
Yet every day these "Knowledgeable" fans prove their lack of knowledge here at Redszone on a myriad of baseball subjects including run production, defense, baseball myths etc.

I get the sense that some folks just want the box score in the morning paper and at times they even find that too be too much information about this "simple game"

Personally I find stuff like this refreshing, especially in the wake of all those zeros and ones that Daugherty wastes when he writes about baseball.

Amen. It might not be the most in depth and comprehensive breakdown of the Reds woes, but it's still refreshing.

RFS62
08-25-2008, 10:18 AM
There's nothing earthshaking in the articles, especially to a typical RedsZone reader. We've read infinitely more detailed analysis here for years.

The entire reason for my amazement is that it's taking place in the Cincinnati media, not a message board.

Chip R
08-25-2008, 10:25 AM
There's nothing earthshaking in the articles, especially to a typical RedsZone reader. We've read infinitely more detailed analysis here for years.

The entire reason for my amazement is that it's taking place in the Cincinnati media, not a message board.


A lot of folks on here and elsewhere have as much, if not more knowledge about this info than Erardi and Co. The difference is that Erardi has a forum to present it that a lot more people read and he can present it in a way that is more palatable to the average baseball fan.

durl
08-25-2008, 10:28 AM
You can throw out tons of stats about how players hit against brown-headed pitchers on odd-numbered days of the week when there's a 40% chance of rain, but when it's all said and done, all that matters is getting guys on base and getting them across the plate. And doing that better than the other team.

flyer85
08-25-2008, 11:11 AM
The Cubs are better because they have better offensive and defensive players.
and how are those players defined?

bucksfan2
08-25-2008, 11:54 AM
and how are those players defined?

By their names. Lee, Soriano, Ramirez, Zambraon, Soto, etc.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to watch the Cubs and come to the conclusion that they are much better off than the Reds. It doesn't take much to watch the Cubs and realize why they have on of the better records in baseball.

I never will get the notion that you have to define something with a number for it to be legit. The Cubs have played better baseball than the Reds this year. If you want to define it with the ultimate ranking its W-L record.

westofyou
08-25-2008, 12:01 PM
By their names. Lee, Soriano, Ramirez, Zambraon, Soto, etc.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to watch the Cubs and come to the conclusion that they are much better off than the Reds. It doesn't take much to watch the Cubs and realize why they have on of the better records in baseball.

I never will get the notion that you have to define something with a number for it to be legit. The Cubs have played better baseball than the Reds this year. If you want to define it with the ultimate ranking its W-L record.

Oh I get it... you just want to use YOUR measurements... which in this case is Wins and Losses, which are achieved by one team having more runs than the other team and however that was achieved doesn't matter, because after all we all know the devil is in the details.

The game is a compiling of small events that can and are measured, these events create the hallowed wins and losses that drive so many to actually tune in or tune out the Reds. Just because you don't see them as being important to the makeup of the game doesn't make them not important. I can't see oxygen or love, but I know that somehow both matter to my existence.

bucksfan2
08-25-2008, 12:33 PM
Oh I get it... you just want to use YOUR measurements... which in this case is Wins and Losses, which are achieved by one team having more runs than the other team and however that was achieved doesn't matter, because after all we all know the devil is in the details.

The game is a compiling of small events that can and are measured, these events create the hallowed wins and losses that drive so many to actually tune in or tune out the Reds. Just because you don't see them as being important to the makeup of the game doesn't make them not important. I can't see oxygen or love, but I know that somehow both matter to my existence.

Of course you want to look more into Wins and Loses but what I was getting at is why do you have to put number behind something to validate it. You can't just say that the Cubs have better hitters or more talent you have to define that. You can't say that they Cubs have a better overall team batting average because as we all know BA isn't that great of an offensive stat. You can't say the team has a better OBP because that doesn't tell you everything. You cant say the team has a better OPS because that doesn't take into account park factors. So lets say the Cubs have an OPS+ better than the Reds. You ask whats a good OPS+ number and the answer you get is it depends.

What I just don't understand is it isn't valid enough to say from watching the Cubs that the cubs are better? Basically what Erardi did was put Jamesian numbers behind a common belief this year in baseball. Anyone who has watched the Reds have seen a struggle offensively this season. It doesn't take much to realize that. I don't mean to argue that statistical analysis isn't usefull to the game of baseball. But when you take the best team in baseball and compare that with one of the worst teams in baseball its pretty obvious that one team is better than the other in a wide range of stats. IMO this would have been a more logical article had the Reds been in contention for a playoff spot of WC spot instead of the first pick in the draft.

BTW there is oxygen in the air? I thought it was O2.

westofyou
08-25-2008, 12:40 PM
What I just don't understand is it isn't valid enough to say from watching the Cubs that the cubs are better? Basically what Erardi did was put Jamesian numbers behind a common belief this year in baseball.

What if you never saw either team play?

What then?

BTW... Bill James was not even a zygote when all these "Jamsian Numbers" were first being bandied about in the game, and any attempt to pigeon hole that approach as "New" and more akin to extraneous navel gazing than baseball does discredit to the numerous guys in the game who figured out this stuff out before little boys stopped wearing knickers.

Falls City Beer
08-25-2008, 01:27 PM
The "new" thing is to emphasize the Reds' offense and to a lesser extent the defense.

I'm glad that Jocketty's the GM; I think he's one of a few GMs who will address the true pressing need of the club (you can already see it in his pickups of Masset and Owings): pitching depth.

Pitching depth and defense--it's what Jocketty will address. If offense happens to make itself available, fine; but I'm guessing that most of the principals will be pitchers and glovemen. As it should be.

Ltlabner
08-25-2008, 02:04 PM
Of course you want to look more into Wins and Loses but what I was getting at is why do you have to put number behind something to validate it.

Why do they post MPG's on new cars when everybody knows a V8 uses more gas than a 4 cylendar?

Why do they print ingrediants on shampoo bottles when everybody knows that goop will clean your hair?

Why do they print maps when everybody knows I71 takes you to Louisville?

Obviously the ultimate goal is winning, or calcuating fuel usage, or getting to Louisville or cleaning your hair.

But sometimes it's nice to know the building blocks of how you got somewhere. Especially if you'd like to get there more often and more quickly in the future.

Sea Ray
08-25-2008, 02:37 PM
Oh I get it... you just want to use YOUR measurements... which in this case is Wins and Losses, which are achieved by one team having more runs than the other team and however that was achieved doesn't matter, because after all we all know the devil is in the details.

The game is a compiling of small events that can and are measured, these events create the hallowed wins and losses that drive so many to actually tune in or tune out the Reds. Just because you don't see them as being important to the makeup of the game doesn't make them not important. I can't see oxygen or love, but I know that somehow both matter to my existence.


C'mon WOY. This is about baseball, not about Bucksfan2. Your post above takes the discussion away from Reds-Cubs and places it square on the shoulders of said poster. Making this personal about a given person's preferences doesn't advance the thread in any positive way.

Roy Tucker
08-25-2008, 02:45 PM
I'm glad Erardi has used his bully pulpit to get these kinds of articles into the mainstream Cincinnati media.

The Reds draw 2+ million customers. Not all of them have heard of Redszone.

BCubb2003
08-25-2008, 06:19 PM
The Reds draw 2+ million customers. Not all of them have heard of Redszone.

That's crazy talk.

GAC
08-25-2008, 08:26 PM
By their names. Lee, Soriano, Ramirez, Zambraon, Soto, etc.

But how did they get that name recognition? It certainly wasn't by putting up numbers like a CPatt.

The game of baseball has been about stats since Chadwick invented the box score. It's the parameters by which a ballplayer's performance (and careers) are defined at the end of the day. Nothing else really matters.

If that isn't true, then a heck of a lot of fans need to apologize to Juan Castro. ;)

remdog
08-25-2008, 10:49 PM
But how did they get that name recognition?

By people watching them perform. Surely (I know, don't call me shirly ;)) you understand that with all of the games you watch. :)

Rem

*BaseClogger*
08-26-2008, 05:53 PM
By people watching them perform. Surely (I know, don't call me shirly ;)) you understand that with all of the games you watch. :)

Rem

If you spent an entire season watching every MLB game, but was never given any of their statistics, IMO you would have a very difficult time telling the difference between a good player and an average player...

nate
08-26-2008, 06:05 PM
If you spent an entire season watching every MLB game, but was never given any of their statistics, IMO you would have a very difficult time telling the difference between a good player and an average player...

I think this is true.

Although, one might be inclined to believe an "exciting" player is "good" and an "unexciting" player is "bad."

wolfboy
08-26-2008, 06:12 PM
If you spent an entire season watching every MLB game, but was never given any of their statistics, IMO you would have a very difficult time telling the difference between a good player and an average player...

I can't agree with that. You'd be able to tell the difference between bad players, average players, and good players. The difficulty you'd encounter is trying to determine how good the good players are in relation to one another, and the same with average and bad players.

You'd certainly be able to differentiate between Juan Castro and Alex Rodriguez if you'd watched every single game. However, you might not be able to draw hard distinctions between Jeter and A-Rod. You might even make the determination that A-Rod is better than Jeter. Yet, you'd have one heck of a time figuring out how much better.

This really isn't much of a problem for a casual fan. However, it can lead to horrible pitfalls for a team. Sure, you can understand certain things about a player by just watching them. You can learn more about a player by observing basic counting statistics such as HR, RBI, etc.... You can learn even more about a player by utilizing other statistics such as OBP, OPS, RC, etc....

As a fan, I can understand why you wouldn't want to delve beyond your personal observations. After all, from a fan's perspective, baseball might be nothing more than entertainment. If what you see is all that's important, then more power to you. It's your dollar.

However, I cannot and will not understand why an organization should be held to the same standard. The stakes are higher for them. They have the responsibility of delivering the best possible product on the field. You can't understand what the best possible product is by simply relying on your eyes. The eyes can deceive. Organizations should attempt to obtain information from every possible source. They should feel obligated to expand their understanding of the game in any way possible. Why they don't is beyond me.

So...back to the Cubs v. Reds conversation: Sure, we can watch the Cubs and watch the Reds and decide that the Cubs are better. However, without a deeper analysis, we'd be hard pressed to understand how and why the Cubs are better than the Reds.

RedsManRick
08-26-2008, 07:40 PM
I can't agree with that. You'd be able to tell the difference between bad players, average players, and good players. The difficulty you'd encounter is trying to determine how good the good players are in relation to one another, and the same with average and bad players.

I agree with this. You could probably create about 5 buckets worth of players: bad, poor, average, good, great. But even then you'd probably get a decent chunk of guys off by a bucket because the actions on the field our eyes value do not perfectly correlate with the runs that they create/prevent.

For example, if saw a player steal 3 bases and get caught once, we would probably see that as a significant net positive even though the player was not creating any additional production. It's hard for us to deal with stuff like that absent data.

Unfortunately, I think there are many, many people in baseball who judge players at the major league level by their eyes almost exclusively, stirring in some stats when they confirm their existing opinions. It's fine when you're a scout or a coach and simply collecting information to push up the chain. But when you are in charge of managing some system and making comparative value decisions, judging only with one's eyes is a great way to consistently make the same mistakes -- in the stat world, we call that having great precision, but poor accuracy. I think too many managers fall in to this trap.

*BaseClogger*
08-26-2008, 07:49 PM
I agree with this. You could probably create about 5 buckets worth of players: bad, poor, average, good, great. But even then you'd probably get a decent chunk of guys off by a bucket because the actions on the field our eyes value do not perfectly correlate with the runs that create/prevent runs.

and that's why I was very careful to say good and not great...

GAC
08-26-2008, 08:20 PM
By people watching them perform. Surely (I know, don't call me shirly ;)) you understand that with all of the games you watch. :)

Rem

Absolutely true Shirly.... but watching alone is a very incomplete (superficial) way to judge a ballplayer because no where do I see a hustling matrix on Baseball Prospectus. :p:

Sea Ray
08-26-2008, 10:03 PM
If you spent an entire season watching every MLB game, but was never given any of their statistics, IMO you would have a very difficult time telling the difference between a good player and an average player...


How do you figure? My guess is you don't have kids. Whenever I watch little league games I can tell who the good players are and the not so hot and I don't have any stats on any of them.

But I don't think anyone is advocating we do away with stats.

*BaseClogger*
08-26-2008, 10:22 PM
How do you figure? My guess is you don't have kids. Whenever I watch little league games I can tell who the good players are and the not so hot and I don't have any stats on any of them.

But I don't think anyone is advocating we do away with stats.

Is that MLB? Is the talent gap as close?

Raisor
08-26-2008, 10:42 PM
I've always thought that for understanding the major league game, there's nothing worse then Little League.

paintmered
08-26-2008, 11:21 PM
How do you figure? My guess is you don't have kids. Whenever I watch little league games I can tell who the good players are and the not so hot and I don't have any stats on any of them.

But I don't think anyone is advocating we do away with stats.

This cannot translate to the major leagues, which is comprised of the best 750 baseball players in the world. The difference in talent and proficiency from number 1 to 750 is minuscule compared to the best to worst players in little league.

Stats are like the paint for a painting. Observation is the vision of what the painter wants to create. Painting stats for the sake of stats creates a ghastly piece of junk. Leave out the stats, and you've got nothing but a blank canvas and wishful thinking. But when observation guides statistical analysis, then you've created something profoundly useful.

Stats are the tools upon which we try to make sense of baseball. We are not in the business of using numbers for the sake of using numbers. I could say that Albert Pujols is 82 while Corey Patterson is 92. To try and understand these "stats" is futile. After all, I'm just throwing random colors on a canvas and it looks like excrement.

In my job, I constantly have to answer the question "what does it mean?" to a highly technical and complex subject. My customer doesn't care about the low level technical stuff and probably doesn't have the eduction to understand it if he had to. But that doesn't mean the technical stuff isn't important. Rather, it becomes all the more important. After all, I'd like to think that any answer I give is based on the laws of physics, even if my customer goes cross-eyed at the thought of Issac Newton. But my answer better be right because important people will make important decisions based on it. Likewise, in baseball, stats don't answer the question, "what does it mean?" It takes interpretation, experience and insight to do that. The ability to make sense of any complex system depends on a complete understanding of the parts that make up the system. Only then can you put an answer to "what does it mean?". We accept that a team who scores many runs and allows few will win more than they lose. But without an understanding of how runs are scored and prevented, how can you suggest the best way to do it?

In baseball, watching a the game gives insight, but quantifying the game gives understanding.

RedsManRick
08-26-2008, 11:40 PM
This cannot translate to the major leagues, which is comprised of the best 750 baseball players in the world. The difference in talent and proficiency from number 1 to 750 is minuscule compared to the best to worst players in little league.

Stats are like the paint for the painting. Observation is the vision of what the painter wants to create. Painting stats for the sake of stats creates a ghastly piece of junk. Leave out the stats, and you've got nothing but a blank canvas and wishful thinking. But when observation guides statistical analysis, then you've created something profoundly useful.

Stats are the tools upon which we try to make sense of baseball. We are not in the business of using numbers for the sake of using numbers. I could say that Albert Pujols is 82 while Corey Patterson is 92. To try and understand these "stats" is futile. After all, I'm just throwing random colors on a canvas and it looks like excrement.

In my job, I'm constantly try to answer the question "what does it mean?" to a highly technical and complex subject. My customer doesn't care about the low level technical stuff and probably doesn't have the eduction to understand it if he had to. But that doesn't mean the technical stuff isn't important. After all, I'd like to think that any answer I give is based on the laws of physics, even if my customer goes cross-eyed at the mere thought of Issac Newton. But my answer better be right because important people will make important decisions based on it. Likewise, in baseball, stats don't answer the question, "what does it mean?" It takes interpretation, experience and insight to do that. The ability to make sense of any complex system depends on a complete understanding of the parts that make up the system. Only then can you put an answer to "what does it mean?". We accept that a team who scores many runs and allows few will win more than they lose. But without understanding of how runs are scored and prevented, how can you suggest the best way to do it?

In baseball, watching a the game gives insight, but quantifying the game gives understanding.

I don't like to quote entire long posts, but wow. Great stuff. :clap:

You can absolutely appreciate and enjoy the game by watching in alone. And if you've seen enough baseball and are a keen enough observer, you can start to get an understanding. But if you are responsible for crafting an organization, a roster, or a lineup where games are won and lost on razor thin margins, you better have a deep understanding of how and why it works the way it does. Stats provide the tools for understanding in a way that mere observation cannot. The thing that should not be left out of either conversation, be it stats or observation, is that the skill brought to bear on the information determines the quality of the insight gleaned.

Spring~Fields
08-27-2008, 02:17 AM
This cannot translate to the major leagues, which is comprised of the best 750 baseball players in the world. The difference in talent and proficiency from number 1 to 750 is minuscule compared to the best to worst players in little league.

Stats are like the paint for a painting. Observation is the vision of what the painter wants to create. Painting stats for the sake of stats creates a ghastly piece of junk. Leave out the stats, and you've got nothing but a blank canvas and wishful thinking. But when observation guides statistical analysis, then you've created something profoundly useful.

Stats are the tools upon which we try to make sense of baseball. We are not in the business of using numbers for the sake of using numbers. I could say that Albert Pujols is 82 while Corey Patterson is 92. To try and understand these "stats" is futile. After all, I'm just throwing random colors on a canvas and it looks like excrement.

In my job, I constantly have to answer the question "what does it mean?" to a highly technical and complex subject. My customer doesn't care about the low level technical stuff and probably doesn't have the eduction to understand it if he had to. But that doesn't mean the technical stuff isn't important. Rather, it becomes all the more important. After all, I'd like to think that any answer I give is based on the laws of physics, even if my customer goes cross-eyed at the thought of Issac Newton. But my answer better be right because important people will make important decisions based on it. Likewise, in baseball, stats don't answer the question, "what does it mean?" It takes interpretation, experience and insight to do that. The ability to make sense of any complex system depends on a complete understanding of the parts that make up the system. Only then can you put an answer to "what does it mean?". We accept that a team who scores many runs and allows few will win more than they lose. But without an understanding of how runs are scored and prevented, how can you suggest the best way to do it?

In baseball, watching a the game gives insight, but quantifying the game gives understanding.

Real nice.

Why don't you post more often? We could use some higher on base percentage around here. :)

Ltlabner
08-27-2008, 06:51 AM
How do you figure? My guess is you don't have kids. Whenever I watch little league games I can tell who the good players are and the not so hot and I don't have any stats on any of them.

But I don't think anyone is advocating we do away with stats.

I played Flight Simulator once. Can't wait to fly my F-15.

Sea Ray
08-27-2008, 09:09 AM
I don't need stats to tell me Joey Votto is a better hitter than David Ross or Paul Janish. Do any of you?

However I like stats and I'm not advocating its exclusion. I'm merely reacting to the comment that asked this question.

*BaseClogger*
08-27-2008, 09:45 AM
I don't need stats to tell me Joey Votto is a better hitter than David Ross or Paul Janish. Do any of you?

However I like stats and I'm not advocating its exclusion. I'm merely reacting to the comment that asked this question.

No, but then again I said good (Votto) and average. Could you tell the offensive difference between say Joey Votto and Jay Bruce without the stats?

wolfboy
08-27-2008, 09:54 AM
No, but then again I said good (Votto) and average. Could you tell the offensive difference between say Joey Votto and Jay Bruce without the stats?

Additionally, can you determine who is more likely to be the better player in the future by simply watching them?

bucksfan2
08-27-2008, 10:31 AM
I don't need stats to tell me Joey Votto is a better hitter than David Ross or Paul Janish. Do any of you?

However I like stats and I'm not advocating its exclusion. I'm merely reacting to the comment that asked this question.

I agree with this assesment. If you cherry pick games Joey Votto can look like Babe Ruth (3hrs in one game) or he can look like Juan Castro (0-5 in one game). But if you watch a combined number of games you get a better understanding. You watch his approach at the plate, the way he hits the ball to all fields, and the contact he makes will all lead you to making a decsion about the type of player Votto is.

If you begin to talk about minute differences then it is more difficult that watching a game. I think you need to not only supplement that with stats but also watching that game. Yesterday Alonso made his minor league debut. He went 1-3 with a double and BB and already you are hearing good hitter, compared to Adrian Gonzales, and has a great eye. Most comments are from people who did not see the game live. What if his double was an excuse me swing that benefited in an odd bounce that led to a double and his walk were four balls that weren't even close to the strike zone? Its true that over the course of a season everything evens out but at the same time do you need an indepth analysis to tell you that Jay Bruce is better than Corey Patterson?

Sea Ray
08-27-2008, 11:08 AM
No, but then again I said good (Votto) and average. Could you tell the offensive difference between say Joey Votto and Jay Bruce without the stats?

Now we get down to who's good and who's average. When I watch hitters I judge their bat speed, how often they swing and miss (Jason LaRue had a big problem there), the sound of the bat hitting ball, distance traveled, etc.

Could I separate Votto and Bruce? That's a tough one. I don't know which one is average and good...But my assessment without looking at any stats is Bruce is striking out a ton, can't hit LHPs for anything, and is a free swinger. When he makes contact the ball jumps off his bat. Votto is much more selective, hits LHs better because he's learned the art of going to LF and draws more walks. He has good power but the ball doesn't jump off his bat like Bruce which leads me to say Bruce has more bat speed.

RedsManRick
08-27-2008, 11:40 AM
I don't need stats to tell me Joey Votto is a better hitter than David Ross or Paul Janish. Do any of you?

However I like stats and I'm not advocating its exclusion. I'm merely reacting to the comment that asked this question.

But that's not really the question at hand. Knowing that Votto is a better hitter than Ross or Janish doesn't tell us where he should bat in the lineup, how he should be valued versus future alternatives, how much he should be paid, etc. It doesn't tell us anything about how he's likely to produce in the future. It doesn't tell us how much of the production we've seen is sustainable versus the result of the random nature of things.

So while watching the guy lets us know generally who is better than who (and nobody has argued otherwise, so I'm not sure to whom you're posing this question) it barely begins to answer the questions germane to actually making decisions as a manager or general manager.

bucksfan2
08-27-2008, 11:59 AM
But that's not really the question at hand. Knowing that Votto is a better hitter than Ross or Janish doesn't tell us where he should bat in the lineup, how he should be valued versus future alternatives, how much he should be paid, etc. It doesn't tell us anything about how he's likely to produce in the future. It doesn't tell us how much of the production we've seen is sustainable versus the result of the random nature of things.

So while watching the guy lets us know generally who is better than who (and nobody has argued otherwise, so I'm not sure to whom you're posing this question) it barely begins to answer the questions germane to actually making decisions as a manager or general manager.

You got that time machine all oiled up?

I get your point that it is difficult to compare Votto to his peers but by watching Votto this year and paying attention to some rudimentary stat lines you can make a pretty good assumptoin about Votto's next season. But at the same time you never know what is going to happen next season. He may have a down year, he may have a great year, it all may click for him early in the season or late in the season.

I think that advanced stats are usefull for the front office when making player personal decisions. You always need to analyze who you have, who to keep or let go, and how much to pay a particular player. But I get confused when a stat tells me that Edwin is an above average 3B. In watching Edwin now for 3 years I don't see it. But then again that is not a decision that I need to make.

RedsManRick
08-27-2008, 12:53 PM
You got that time machine all oiled up?

I get your point that it is difficult to compare Votto to his peers but by watching Votto this year and paying attention to some rudimentary stat lines you can make a pretty good assumption about Votto's next season. But at the same time you never know what is going to happen next season. He may have a down year, he may have a great year, it all may click for him early in the season or late in the season.

Nobody is trying to claim they can predict the future. One of the common misconceptions of those critiquing statistical approaches is that the people citing/creating the stats don't account for the margin of error. But if you look at a system like PECOTA, it does precisely that. It gives you a range of possible outcomes with likelihoods attached to it. Can we "know" what's going to happen? Of course we can't. But looking at the stats gives us a much more thorough understanding of the possibilities.



I think that advanced stats are useful for the front office when making player personal decisions. You always need to analyze who you have, who to keep or let go, and how much to pay a particular player. But I get confused when a stat tells me that Edwin is an above average 3B. In watching Edwin now for 3 years I don't see it. But then again that is not a decision that I need to make.

Firstly, I'm not sure that the stats are telling you EE is an above average 3B. Most of the ones I've sen suggest otherwise. But that's beside the point.

As I mentioned earlier, a lot of the "problem" with stats is in their misinterpretation. Stats don't make claims, people do. Often, people use stats to make claims that are simply inappropriate or beyond the scope fo what's being measured.

One of thing that's great about a stat is you can show 100% of your work. For nearly every stat out there, you can look up what's being measured and how. Often there are articles written describing the logic and the process in depth. You are completely free, and in most cases encouraged, to improve the methodology where you find it lacking. That's something we can't do when all the calculus takes place in our heads.

There is no defensive stat I know of which make the generic claim of "above average" without a very specific definition of what is being measured. Many people (not necessarily you) run with an interpretation of a stat without full appreciation of the thing being assessed. And if that stat suggests a conclusion counter to their own, they then blame the stat/statistician as being misleading or wrong. It is what it is. Proper interpretation is at the hands of the user.

All of this begs the question, who is to say what the truth actually is? How can we say how good EE is at playing 3B? It has to be measured in some way. There has to be some definition. You may not have ever put it in to words, but there is some definition in your head of what average looks like. What stats do is put that definition and the information being applied to it down on paper for everybody to see. Some things are beyond quantitative. And some things are beyond qualitative measurement. Both have their blind spots. However, they also inform each other. It is unwise to get dogmatic about either. Both are subject to misuse and the quality of each depends on the skill of the person doing the analysis.

One key difference is that with stats, it's much easier to show and share your work, thus making it easier to both improve methodology and reach consensus on interpretation. If the stats suggest EE is above average and your eyes suggest he's below, question both and go from there.

westofyou
08-27-2008, 01:10 PM
Anecdotes told everyone that Buck Ewing was the best player of the 1880's. For years writers and old fans would go on about the great Buck and how he was the best player in the NL. Over 100 years later stats have enabled some of that to be seen as just not correct, without stats it's just porch swing stories concerning the past told by guys who smell like cigars and stale beer.

Ltlabner
08-27-2008, 01:16 PM
Quick: Just by watching, who produces more at the plate, Adam Dunn or Alfonso Sorriano?

bucksfan2
08-27-2008, 01:22 PM
Quick: Just by watching, who produces more at the plate, Adam Dunn or Alfonso Sorriano?

Define production?

edabbs44
08-27-2008, 01:23 PM
Quick: Just by watching, who produces more at the plate, Adam Dunn or Alfonso Sorriano?

We would need to watch all of their games.

westofyou
08-27-2008, 01:28 PM
Define production?

I thought you already did?

Runs.. correct?

bucksfan2
08-27-2008, 01:32 PM
I thought you already did?

Runs.. correct?

Runs driven in? Runs scored?

Production is a loaded question. Sure the ultimate goal is to score more runs than the opponent but how do you measure that in production of an individual player?

Falls City Beer
08-27-2008, 01:32 PM
Quick: Just by watching, who produces more at the plate, Adam Dunn or Alfonso Sorriano?

Soriano's been hurt more often hasn't he? Even so, the answer's Dunn.

edabbs44
08-27-2008, 01:35 PM
Anecdotes told everyone that Buck Ewing was the best player of the 1880's. For years writers and old fans would go on about the great Buck and how he was the best player in the NL. Over 100 years later stats have enabled some of that to be seen as just not correct, without stats it's just porch swing stories concerning the past told by guys who smell like cigars and stale beer.

I think it would be somewhat difficult and short-sighted to try and judge the best players of a certain era 100 years after the fact with only stats to back them up. 100 years from now, stats would be able to tell me that Derek Jeter was a better player than Juan Castro. But it might be a bit more difficult to judge Jeter vs Larkin vs Trammell vs Ozzie vs Vizquel armed only with a book.

Sea Ray
08-27-2008, 01:38 PM
But that's not really the question at hand. Knowing that Votto is a better hitter than Ross or Janish doesn't tell us where he should bat in the lineup, how he should be valued versus future alternatives, how much he should be paid, etc. It doesn't tell us anything about how he's likely to produce in the future. It doesn't tell us how much of the production we've seen is sustainable versus the result of the random nature of things.

So while watching the guy lets us know generally who is better than who (and nobody has argued otherwise, so I'm not sure to whom you're posing this question) it barely begins to answer the questions germane to actually making decisions as a manager or general manager.

Rick, the question at hand is "telling the difference". To get down to the minutia you describe above stats are very handy. Where do we disagree?

RedsManRick
08-27-2008, 01:50 PM
Rick, the question at hand is "telling the difference". To get down to the minutia you describe above stats are very handy. Where do we disagree?

We seem to disagree on the amount of precision granted by observation, particularly that of the typical RedsZone fan.

This is the comment which started the conversation:


If you spent an entire season watching every MLB game, but was never given any of their statistics, IMO you would have a very difficult time telling the difference between a good player and an average player...

BaseClogger wasn't implying you couldn't tell the difference between an above average player and a below average one. He was suggesting that it would be "difficult" to tell the difference between a good player and average one.

So his point appears to be that while large differences in production/performance are apparent, smaller differences are more difficult to detect, even given a wealth of observation. I agree with this statement. Do you?

The Soriano/Dunn comparison is apt. They are both productive players. But who is more productive and would watching them everyday lead you to the correct conclusion?

Roy Tucker
08-27-2008, 02:14 PM
My wife can tell the difference between players by just looking at them.

However, she just judges them on their butts, so I take her comments with a grain of salt.

Sea Ray
08-27-2008, 02:22 PM
BaseClogger wasn't implying you couldn't tell the difference between an above average player and a below average one. He was suggesting that it would be "difficult" to tell the difference between a good player and average one.

So his point appears to be that while large differences in production/performance are apparent, smaller differences are more difficult to detect, even given a wealth of observation. I agree with this statement. Do you?



Yes I do. Where's the disagreement?

bucksfan2
08-27-2008, 02:31 PM
The Soriano/Dunn comparison is apt. They are both productive players. But who is more productive and would watching them everyday lead you to the correct conclusion?

When first posed this question I said Soriano. I just liked his offensive game a little more than Dunn's (including his ability to not clog the bases up :p:). I thought Soriano is a better hitter than Dunn but Dunn will get on base more. I thought Dunn would have more power than Soriano but not by that much. I also thought that Soriano would have more runs scored because he hits leadoff but Dunn would have more RBI's.

I went over and checked out their basic stat line and came up with these conclusions. Even though Soriano has played in considerable less games he has more hits, 3 less runs scored, and a higher slugging than Dunn. Dunn on the other hand has more RBI's and a higher obp. Would you be willing to trade Dunn's higher obp for Soriano's much higher average but fewer walks?

I guess what I found out is that my initial answer was Soriano but mroe because he had a more desired skill set than Dunn for me. It was a close decision none the less. When you supplement that with basic statistics it doesn't clear up the issue much at all. The two player are both productive but both bring different skill sets. The difference comes down to each teams individual needs. If I am a team like the Reds and am going to make an investment in one player I do it in Soriano becuase IMO he is a better all around offensive player.

Ltlabner
08-27-2008, 04:19 PM
When first posed this question I said Soriano. I just liked his offensive game a little more than Dunn's

I guess what I found out is that my initial answer was Soriano but mroe because he had a more desired skill set than Dunn for me.

And that got exactly to the heart of my point. You thought Soriano based on a set of bias (you like his game). We all have a set of bias that collors our thinking. So while it's easy to say Vlad is better than Patterson, it's also easy to (potentially) say Sorianno is way better than Dunn based on a bias for liking one style of play over another.


YEAR NAME AGE PA EqA OBP SLG RAR RAP OPS+ RC/27
2008 Adam Dunn 28 464 .302 .373 .528 36.4 13.7 131 7.2
2008 Alfonso Soriano 30 386 .293 .347 .543 26.3 7.0 126 7.0

But you summed it up nicely, they both produce at the plate, just in different ways. Sorriano with more SLG, dunn with more OBP. Dunn has the edge in runs over replacement level left fielders (RAR) and over average left fielders (RAP) but he also doesn't lead off. (Heck even their ages and current sallaries are similuar).

Mostly they produce the same general results but in different ways. That is something people are likely to miss when just "watching the games" as their bias is saying "that Dunner feller strikes out a bunch" or "I hate how Sorriano does XYZ".

I know bringing up Dunn will cause people consternation but to me the Dunn/Sorriano question is the perfect example of how the analyisis of numbers is needed to cut through the fog our mind creates when watching the games.

Heck, even after seeing the numbers and admiting their production is the same, you still want to say Soriano is the better all-round offensive player. But you can tell the difference in players just by watching? :confused:

RedsManRick
08-27-2008, 04:30 PM
Heck, even after seeing the numbers and admiting their production is the same, you still want to say Soriano is the better all-round offensive player. But you can tell the difference in players just by watching? :confused:

I think this is a very key point. We all have aesthetic preferences and those preferences bias our assessment of the amount of production. Our brains conflate the "how" with the "how much". We all give more weight to the things we enjoy and that's true for nearly everything. However, at the end of the baseball game, runs are runs. How you score them is really irrelevant from the perspective of winning ballgames. In this case, the stats help us cut through our aesthetic bias and get to the heart of the matter.

GAC
08-27-2008, 04:37 PM
I've always thought that for understanding the major league game, there's nothing worse then Little League.

Only if you hadn't spent so much of your time running around your backyard dressed like Hans Solo with a light saber sword, and actually played little league! :p:

GAC
08-27-2008, 04:39 PM
I've always thought that for understanding the major league game, there's nothing worse then Little League.

dbl post :p:

Ltlabner
08-27-2008, 04:42 PM
YEAR NAME AGE PA EqA OBP SLG RAR RAP OPS+ RC/27
2008 Joey Votto 24 457 .277 .352 .458 22.5 -2.1 108 5.9
2008 Ken Griffey Jr. 38 425 .274 .355 .432 19 -1 101 5.4

Maybe this is an example with less Dunn-o-versy.

Votto and Jr (his Reds numbers) have been errily similuar at the plate in 2008.

Watching the games would you have come to that conclusion?

Would a kid who idolizes JR and see him hit a homer that day? How about someone who finds it painfull to watch a superstar in decline? How about the lady who sees Votto strike out 3 times in a game and muff a toss to the pitcher? How about after watching a whole bunch of games in 2008?

BoydsOfSummer
08-27-2008, 05:39 PM
If they didn't keep stats I could have had a shot at The Show.:D I hustled like Pete Rose on fire and I always got my uni dirty.

Raisor
08-27-2008, 05:41 PM
Only if you hadn't spent so much of your time running around your backyard dressed like Hans Solo with a light saber sword, and actually played little league! :p:

I was a hardcore little league player.

At 8 years old, I was the only catcher in the league that could catch the ball.

bucksfan2
08-28-2008, 08:52 AM
I think this is a very key point. We all have aesthetic preferences and those preferences bias our assessment of the amount of production. Our brains conflate the "how" with the "how much". We all give more weight to the things we enjoy and that's true for nearly everything. However, at the end of the baseball game, runs are runs. How you score them is really irrelevant from the perspective of winning ballgames. In this case, the stats help us cut through our aesthetic bias and get to the heart of the matter.

I was going to write about this yesterday but I ran out of time.

Everything comes down to a personal bias. You decide how you want to build your team and go get players that fill that mold. Both Soriano and Dunn, in this situation, equal about the same offensive production. They are two different ball players that may suit a given team differently. Lets say a team wants players that have a similar skill set to that of Soriano. Soriano is out on the market but doesn't sign with a particular team. Does that team fall back on Dunn or do they go a different route? You can also ask if the Reds this season would have been a better team had Soriano been a Red instead of Dunn.

RedsManRick
08-28-2008, 09:06 AM
I was going to write about this yesterday but I ran out of time.

Everything comes down to a personal bias. You decide how you want to build your team and go get players that fill that mold. Both Soriano and Dunn, in this situation, equal about the same offensive production. They are two different ball players that may suit a given team differently. Lets say a team wants players that have a similar skill set to that of Soriano. Soriano is out on the market but doesn't sign with a particular team. Does that team fall back on Dunn or do they go a different route? You can also ask if the Reds this season would have been a better team had Soriano been a Red instead of Dunn.

But again, the how is given too much importance here. The Reds would have been roughly the same with Soriano instead of Dunn. Now, certain teams may prefer a certain "how", they may have coaches who are particularly comfortable with that method. But the runs count the same.

The great insight of the "moneyball" approach is just this. Runs are runs and wins are wins. Runs scored from SB and batting average count just the same as runs scored from walks and homers. It behooves a team not to focus too much on building a certain style of run production, but on simply focusing on improving it's ability to score runs in the most cost-effective way it can.

The reason there was a market inefficiency around OBP 7 or 8 years ago is because of the aesthetic disconnect. Teams were so busy trying to score runs a certain way that they overlooked a cheaper, more effective way to score them.

So if you want Soriano and you can't get him, and Dunn is out there for the same price or less, absolutely go get Dunn. It's certainly a better approach than chasing after Soriano-lite and either overpaying for him or simply paying him what he's worth and ending up with less production. It's a smart organization that doesn't limit its options because of its collective aesthetic bias.

jojo
08-28-2008, 11:39 AM
I think it would be virtually impossible to determine a player's true talent level by the eyes alone-even if watching every single breath that player and every other player in the league took for an entire season.

Case in point-imagine the report submitted by the guy who watched Gary Matthews Jr during '06.

It would be impossible to infinity to attach an appropriate monetary value to a player's production come payday simply by using the eye.

Sea Ray
08-28-2008, 11:52 AM
I think it would be virtually impossible to determine a player's true talent level by the eyes alone-even if watching every single breath that player and every other player in the league took for an entire season.




I would agree with that but your point is only significant if you answered the following "affirmative":

Can you determine a player's true talent level by stats alone?

jojo
08-28-2008, 12:22 PM
I would agree with that but your point is only significant if you answered the following "affirmative":

Can you determine a player's true talent level by stats alone?

You don't have to have a position that a "stats alone" approach is the ideal to argue that the eyes alone are insufficient.

I don't and I do....

By the way, yes, a major league player's true talent can be estimated at an acceptable accuracy using a stats-alone approach provided the data is sufficiently large.

Sea Ray
08-28-2008, 03:11 PM
You don't have to have a position that a "stats alone" approach is the ideal to argue that the eyes alone are insufficient.

I don't and I do....

By the way, yes, a major league player's true talent can be estimated at an acceptable accuracy using a stats-alone approach provided the data is sufficiently large.

I don't... I do... Yes...

Sounds like you're all over the board so I'll leave it at that.

jojo
08-28-2008, 03:31 PM
I don't... I do... Yes...

Sounds like you're all over the board so I'll leave it at that.

I don't (have a position that a "stats alone" approach is the ideal)..... I do (argue that the eyes alone are insufficient)......

There is nothing "all over the board" about that position.

Sea Ray
08-28-2008, 03:43 PM
I don't (have a position that a "stats alone" approach is the ideal)..... I do (argue that the eyes alone are insufficient)......

There is nothing "all over the board" about that position.

The question I asked never involved "ideal" nor did I ask whether "eyes alone were insufficient". In regards to my question your answer was all over the board. A simple yes or no would suffice.

Here I'll show you how it's done:

Question: Can you determine a player's true talent level by stats alone?

Answer: No, I don't think you can.

wolfboy
08-28-2008, 03:51 PM
The question I asked never involved "ideal" nor did I ask whether "eyes alone were insufficient". In regards to my question your answer was all over the board. A simple yes or no would suffice.

Here I'll show you how it's done:

Question: Can you determine a player's true talent level by stats alone?

Answer: No, I don't think you can.

Thank you for instructing us on the proper way to answer your question. We've been eagerly anticipating your response. :rolleyes:

Sea Ray
08-28-2008, 03:55 PM
Thank you for instructing us on the proper way to answer your question. We've been eagerly anticipating your response.

And your post contributes to this thread how? :confused:

*BaseClogger*
08-28-2008, 03:56 PM
Here I'll show you how it's done:


Question: Can you determine a player's true talent level by stats alone?


By the way, yes, a major league player's true talent can be estimated at an acceptable accuracy using a stats-alone approach provided the data is sufficiently large.

Sea Ray
08-28-2008, 04:02 PM
Here I'll show you how it's done:

If that's all he had written, it would have added some clarity. However as I'm sure you know, his post included more ambiguity. Some on here have been known to complain about what you did above (pasting just part of a person's response). Jojo deserves to have his posts considered in their entirety.

wolfboy
08-28-2008, 04:05 PM
And your post contributes to this thread how? :confused:

Let's imagine a scale. On one end, there's a well informed, substantive answer to your question. We'll call that a 10. On the other end, there's your condescending responses to jojo's posts in this thread. We'll call those a 1 (liberally).

Right now, I'd have to say my post was a 4. I think pointing out your condescension did make a contribution, but there was an awful lot of snarkiness there, and I really should have sent it via PM. Then again, we're not all perfect. I'm sure you can relate.

I hope that answers your question.

Ltlabner
08-28-2008, 04:20 PM
Can you determine a player's true talent level by stats alone?

No.

True value is best determined by a combination of several things: stats, intanagibles, experence of the person making the judgement, etc.

Then again, only a fool would make a decision about an investment involving millions of dollars and purposely limit himself to only one decision making tool.

jojo
08-28-2008, 04:30 PM
And your post contributes to this thread how? :confused:

He saved me the trouble of getting snarky.

I've already answered your question with a yes. There was nothing all over the board with my answer either.

jojo
08-28-2008, 04:35 PM
If that's all he had written, it would have added some clarity. However as I'm sure you know, his post included more ambiguity.

No it didn't. My answer was appropriately qualified. And it's clear that I argued the eyes can't yield as precise an estimate of a player's true talent level as a sufficiently sized sample of player data.

Not wording my answer exactly as you want it to be worded isn't ambiguity.


Some on here have been known to complain about what you did above (pasting just part of a person's response). Jojo deserves to have his posts considered in their entirety.

I have no complaint with how my post was quoted above.

Puffy
08-28-2008, 05:23 PM
My wife can tell the difference between players by just looking at them.

However, she just judges them on their butts, so I take her comments with a grain of salt.

So, you're married to RFS62??

RedsManRick
08-29-2008, 12:49 AM
Sea Ray, why are you making this so complicated.

Eyes & Stats > Stats > Eyes. That's it.

Ltlabner
08-29-2008, 07:12 AM
Sea Ray, why are you making this so complicated.

Eyes & Stats > Stats > Eyes. That's it.

Where does "sound of the bat" fit into the equation?

jojo
08-29-2008, 07:46 AM
Where does "sound of the bat" fit into the equation?

Under "Eyes". I guess smell would fall under the purview of "Eyes" as well.


Sea Ray, why are you making this so complicated.

Eyes & Stats > Stats > Eyes. That's it.

Yep. :beerme:

All that I'd add is a "Mr Obvious" type comment-the above is true assuming the ideal (high degree of competency).

In other words, all "Eyes" and all "Stats" are not created equal. There are many skill combos (life is a bell curve) that in practice could upset the apple cart in the above "equation". For instance, extremely competent "Eyes" could trump shoddy "Stats". Competent stats could trump a combo of mediocre "Eyes/Stats". A logical extension then would be a poor execution of an approach isn't an indictment of the approach but rather it's an indictment of the party executing it....(another Mr Obvious statement that apparently needs to be added to the archives). Fallacious statistical arguments don't invalidate the the power of a statistical approach any more than Bill Bavasi invalidates the value of expert scouting.

But ya, assuming the ideal, Eyes & Stats > Stats > Eyes.

wolfboy
08-29-2008, 09:24 AM
Where does "sound of the bat" fit into the equation?

Eyes & Stats > Stats > Eyes > Ears (hearing wooden bat hit ball) > Ears (hearing metal bat hit ball) > Heart (breaking when batter strikes out or doesn't hustle)

Roy Tucker
08-29-2008, 09:45 AM
Tastes great > Less filling.

Ron Madden
08-30-2008, 05:21 AM
I have long been a Fan of John Erardi.

John Erardi is not afraid to think for himself. He is willing to learn more than just what meets the eyes and ears of Reds Fans. I quess you could say he is doing Investigative Reporting.

Unheard of around these parts.

Sea Ray
09-06-2008, 09:18 AM
The Erardi struggles continue. Sometimes I wonder if he even watches the games he reports on.

My morning edition delivered to my house had this from last night's game:


Right after Arroyo excited with one on and one out and a 9-1 lead, reliever Gary Majewski walked the bases full to bring up the Cubs three-hole hitter Derrick Lee. Reds manager Dusty Baker, having seen more than enough, summoned reliever Bill Bray, who struck out Lee.

Anyone think Dusty brought in a left hander to face Lee? That doesn't even pass the giggle test for baseball fans with any sense of how the game is played. I was at the game. Daryl Ward had already replaced Lee in the lineup at that point so Dusty brought Bray in to face Ward. To my surprise Lou left Ward in the game and Dusty won that managerial chess match because Bray struck out Ward.

The on-line version reaks of a last minute correction of this fact because I found this clunky line on Enquirer.com:


When Reds reliever Bill Bray struck out Cubs' 3-hole hitter with the bases loaded the Cubs' Daryle Ward with the bases loaded in the seventh inning, the blue-clad crowd groaned from every corner.


No one who watched the game would have said Bray struck out Lee. It'd be nice if the local paper at least hired writers who watch the game...

jojo
09-06-2008, 09:51 AM
The Erardi struggles continue. Sometimes I wonder if he even watches the games he reports on.

My morning edition delivered to my house had this from last night's game:



Anyone think Dusty brought in a left hander to face Lee? That doesn't even pass the giggle test for baseball fans with any sense of how the game is played. I was at the game. Daryl Ward had already replaced Lee in the lineup at that point so Dusty brought Bray in to face Ward. To my surprise Lou left Ward in the game and Dusty won that managerial chess match because Bray struck out Ward.

The on-line version reaks of a last minute correction of this fact because I found this clunky line on Enquirer.com:




No one who watched the game would have said Bray struck out Lee. It'd be nice if the local paper at least hired writers who watch the game...

If he didn't watch the game and simply relied upon the boxscore as you seem to argue, it seems very unlikely his story would've had such an error.

Ltlabner
09-06-2008, 10:20 AM
No one who watched the game would have said Bray struck out Lee. It'd be nice if the local paper at least hired writers who watch the game...

Holy crap! A guy made a mistake.

Quick, discard all of the ideas that I didn't believe in anyway.

Sea Ray
09-06-2008, 10:30 AM
If he didn't watch the game and simply relied upon the boxscore as you seem to argue, it seems very unlikely his story would've had such an error.

I don't know where he would make such an error, Jojo. You're right, he must not have gotten it from the box score. It looks like he didn't even look at that where is even more eggregious. I do know that no one here at RZ would post: "wasn't that strike out of Derrick Lee great by Bray last night!"

Edit: I'm just curious Jojo. Where did you ever get the idea that I thought he looked at a box score? What gave you that impression?

Sea Ray
09-06-2008, 10:31 AM
Holy crap! A guy made a mistake.

Quick, discard all of the ideas that I didn't believe in anyway.


I believe in some of his ideas, but he is judged by what he writes and this mistake does not reflect well on him.

jojo
09-06-2008, 11:00 AM
I don't know where he would make such an error, Jojo. You're right, he must not have gotten it from the box score. It looks like he didn't even look at that where is even more eggregious. I do know that no one here at RZ would post: "wasn't that strike out of Derrick Lee great by Bray last night!"

Edit: I'm just curious Jojo. Where did you ever get the idea that I thought he looked at a box score? What gave you that impression?

I'm willing to entertain the notion that my habit of first checking the boxscore of a game I missed to find out what happened is an extremely unique and uncommon practice.

I dunno though, boxscores are almost impossible to avoid (there might even be some in your morning edition) leading me to believe that they may be more mainstream than skull and crossbones.

Sea Ray
09-06-2008, 11:05 AM
I'm willing to entertain the notion that my habit of first checking the boxscore of a game I missed to find out what happened is an extremely unique and uncommon practice.

I dunno though, boxscores are almost impossible to avoid (there might even be some in your morning edition) leading me to believe that they may be more mainstream than skull and crossbones.

I'm just wondering why you said that I seem to argue that he used a boxscore. I mentioned nothing of the sort. No big deal. I just wondered what I said that threw "boxscore" into your mind.

jojo
09-06-2008, 11:18 AM
I'm just wondering why you said that I seem to argue that he used a boxscore. I mentioned nothing of the sort. No big deal. I just wondered what I said that threw "boxscore" into your mind.

How are you suggesting he covered the game then?

Sea Ray
09-06-2008, 04:14 PM
How are you suggesting he covered the game then?

Answer a question with a question...:rolleyes: fine...

Answer: I have no idea. My point is he must not have been watching it. Your point is well taken. He must not have been looking at a box score because he likely would not have made the mistake. You actually put Erardi in a worse light than I did by pointing out that failing of his.

jojo
09-06-2008, 04:47 PM
Answer a question with a question...:rolleyes: fine...

Answer: I have no idea. My point is he must not have been watching it. Your point is well taken. He must not have been looking at a box score because he likely would not have made the mistake. You actually put Erardi in a worse light than I did by pointing out that failing of his.

I don't agree that I've put him in a worse light. I just don't think it was that big of a deal. He was probably working at 11 pm to meet his deadline and it was an easy mistake to make IMHO. Ultimately it was corrected.

I think a great many beat writers are pretty much irrelevant in large part because they have to crank out a ton of content while being up against a deadline (it really promotes the formula, easy story IMHO) but that said I have a ton of respect for the demands of their job when it comes to having to crank out content up against deadlines.