Originally Posted by RedsManRick
What percentage of the outcome of baseball games do you think is a function of defensive performance?
I ask because your method of valuing defense seems to relegate it to a mere marginal contribution that has no sense of scale and which shouldn't even be considered if the player has an advantage at the plate.
I don't think that actually reflects how you value defense. That logic says Adam Dunn should be playing the outfield still. If defensive value has some scale associated with it, it should be treated as such. Maybe you think the difference in defense isn't worth more than say, 5 runs. I'd disagree, but at least then we can do the math. But when you treat it as a mere tie-breaker, you basically dismiss it entirely.
And if you treat multiple aspects of the game that way, you miss that those other things, small on their own, can add up to a fairly significant number in aggregate.
Let's take defense out of the question entirely. If we include all PA outcomes (e.g. double plays) and baserunning, do you think Cabrera was more productive than Trout?
I've already gone into why I would vote for Cabrera over Trout in this thread. No point in repeating it. You can go go back and read it if you wish.
As for the value of defense. Neither you, nor me, nor anyone else on this planet has a good statistical fix on it. The noisiest, silliest stats in baseball revolve around defense. We don't even have a good sense for what the luck variance is on defense.
Never said defense doesn't matter or that it shouldn't be taken into consideration, just that caution is called for when trying to account for something you don't measure particularly well.
What would be more productive is trying to understand the range of potential values created by Trout's defensive advantage. It also would be helpful to understand where his defense and production really fit in a sport that's a bit flush with good defensive CFs who can get it done at the plate. I don't think linear weights is quite catching the full effect of that. Nor do I think linear weights are quite catching the value of exceptional production from a 3B in the current talent climate (where 3B is dropping behind 2B in terms of overall productivity).
I don't actually care who wins the AL MVP. Trout or Cabrera is fine by me. Both are excellent choices. What interests me (and that I find more than a bit disappointing) is how shallow the arguments have been in support of both players (and I'm talking mostly about the wider debate going on outside of this board). Both players have attributes and weaknesses that are being overlooked. Cabrera is more than his special achievement. Trout is more than WAR -as much some insist they're beyond WAR, when you pick through the verbiage you're mostly left with WAR.
The rush for a simple answer, IMO, is passing by a chance to think more broadly about the game.