Re: John Dewan - Defense worth 50% of offense
Originally Posted by M2
Not exactly a eureka moment there for Dewan. First off, comparing the difference between the best and worst in offense and defense is a pretty arbitrary measure of the actual value of those things.
Second, you're comparing one actual thing (offense) with one highly theoretical thing (runs saved/cost on defense). The best Dewan can say is he thinks that's where the defense landed.
Third, if he's right, then the real revelation isn't that defense is worth 50% of offense, it's that it's exactly as valuable as pitching. Half the game is scoring runs, half the game is preventing runs. If defense is more valuable than we thought, then the thing that becomes less valuable is pitching.
Bill James said years ago that a lot of what we consider to be "pitching" is actually "defense." I'm very skeptical that defense accounts for 50% of run prevention at the major league level. Am I correct that about 1/4 of outs come from strikeouts and about a half of the remainder are can-o-corn outs (or non-x-chances for the strat geeks)? Plus the variance in the non-can-o-corn outs doesn't strike me to be nearly as pronounced as the variance in hitters.
How, then, are those people of the future—who are taking steroids every day—going to look back on baseball players who used steroids? They're going to look back on them as pioneers. They're going to look back at it and say "So what?" - Bill James, Cooperstown and the 'Roids