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Thread: Is the WAR war over?

  1. #46
    Box of Frogs edabbs44's Avatar
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    Re: Is the WAR war over?

    Quote Originally Posted by RedsManRick View Post

    Anyway, I find all this stuff fascinating. I'm convinced that part of the reason people resist UZR is simply because they don't have a mental model for processing baseball performance data that is presented like this. If RBI were presented as RBI above or below the average #3 hitter, people would be much more comfortable with it.
    I resist it more because of the wild fluctuations from year to year. Do we see offensive numbers vary as widely as we do on a metric like UZR? Look at Bruce over the last few years and what that has done to his overall WAR number.

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  3. #47
    Five Tool Fool jojo's Avatar
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    Re: Is the WAR war over?

    Quote Originally Posted by edabbs44 View Post
    I resist it more because of the wild fluctuations from year to year. Do we see offensive numbers vary as widely as we do on a metric like UZR? Look at Bruce over the last few years and what that has done to his overall WAR number.
    Why do you assume defense shouldn't fluctuate?
    "This isnít stats vs scouts - this is stats and scouts working together, building an organization that blends the best of both worlds. This is the blueprint for how a baseball organization should be run. And, whether the baseball men of the 20th century like it or not, this is where baseball is going."---Dave Cameron, U.S.S. Mariner

  4. #48
    The Boss dougdirt's Avatar
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    Re: Is the WAR war over?

    Quote Originally Posted by edabbs44 View Post
    Going back to comparison of UZR to RBI. Fly ball pitcher equals more opportunities, similar to more OBP in front of you equalling more RBI opps.

    Sorry, I see why it wasn't clear.
    I guess the difference for me is that every at bat, your objective is the same. Don't make an out. You are presented with that chance every time.

    In the field, you aren't always given the same number of chances to make "out of zone" plays. But those plays made are quite valuable. But they aren't exactly of equal opportunity.

  5. #49
    Stat Wanker Hodiernus RedsManRick's Avatar
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    Re: Is the WAR war over?

    Quote Originally Posted by edabbs44 View Post
    I resist it more because of the wild fluctuations from year to year. Do we see offensive numbers vary as widely as we do on a metric like UZR? Look at Bruce over the last few years and what that has done to his overall WAR number.
    You keep saying "wild". What's wild? How much variation should there be? And what's your basis for asserting that? Why shouldn't defense have a significant amount of variation? Anybody who watched EE knows that players can be inconsistent on defense too.

    Point out that there are outliers is hardly a convincing method for "debunking" something, especially when there's no better alternatives.

    Are saying it is simply impossible that Jay Bruce had a really, really good year defensively and then had some merely average ones?

    Again, I'm not saying it's perfect; I just don't see the fact that there are occasional large jumps in performance as evidence it's a broken stat.

    In 2009, Derek Jeter hit .334. In 2010, he hit .270. Normalizing for plate appearances, that's a drop from 212 hits to 193 hits. That's 25 hits in 700 chances!

    In 2010, Bruce converted 259 of 276 (93.8%) in zone chances and added another 84 out of his own zone. In 2011, he converted 230 of 252 (91.2%) and added just 76 out of zone plays, despite playing in 172 more innings.

    Had Bruce converted opportunities in 2011 the way he did in 2010 he would have made 6 more plays in zone and 20 more plays out of zone. So, knowing that those out of zone plays are almost all doubles and triples and that the average linear weight run value of a double (when outs are zero) is about 1 run, that makes perfect sense.

    That said, the opportunity gap seems the curious thing. Prior to 2010, Reds RF saw about .2 BIZ/IP. In 2010 that went up to .23. In 2011 that went down to .18 and last year it was .19.

    So it seems that Bruce's crazy 2010 was a function of a few things: Firstly, you have a young,ahtletic former CF in his 2nd full season in RF. If there's a time when his physical and mental skills were in the greatest combination, that would seem a good time for it. Then you have a season when, for whatever reason, the Reds were giving up a ton of balls hit to RF.

    So what gives? Beats me. It's worth looking in to. The video would certainly tell the tale of whether or not he truly had more chances and whether or not he made use of them. It's worth noting that on plus/minus & DRS, his 2010 was off the charts too. John Dewan's guys who watched and coded every single play at BIS thought he made a lot of extra ones too. Maybe that actually happened?

    Again, I'm not trying to be a shill for UZR. I think the questions of variance are important ones. I'm just not ready to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Knowing that it's not perfect, I doubt we get a better "WAR" type value by omitting defense.
    Games are won on run differential -- scoring more than your opponent. Runs are runs, scored or prevented they all count the same. Worry about scoring more and allowing fewer, not which positions contribute to which side of the equation or how "consistent" you are at your current level of performance.

  6. #50
    Box of Frogs edabbs44's Avatar
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    Re: Is the WAR war over?

    Quote Originally Posted by jojo View Post
    Why do you assume defense shouldn't fluctuate?
    A few reasons. Ranging from it is fairly obvious to me that it doesn't to I've never heard a valid argument that it does.

    You?

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    Box of Frogs edabbs44's Avatar
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    Re: Is the WAR war over?

    Quote Originally Posted by dougdirt View Post
    I guess the difference for me is that every at bat, your objective is the same. Don't make an out. You are presented with that chance every time.

    In the field, you aren't always given the same number of chances to make "out of zone" plays. But those plays made are quite valuable. But they aren't exactly of equal opportunity.
    Right, everyone isn't given the same opportunities. Also, all in and out of zone plays aren't created equally. Two reasons why I have limited faith in the way certain defensive metrics are applied.

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    Re: Is the WAR war over?

    Quote Originally Posted by edabbs44 View Post
    A few reasons. Ranging from it is fairly obvious to me that it doesn't to I've never heard a valid argument that it does.

    You?
    I dont assume defense doesn't fluctuate mostly because every measure of defense ever devised suggests it does, humans aren't robots, clearly defensive ability changes with age, scouts will look you in the eyes and tell you defensive ability changes, well respected saber guys like Bill James argue defense is more variable than offensive production and my eyes tell me it's very obvious that it does. Furthermore watching Jay Bruce's career closely literally screams a player's defense can change significantly. Frankly, I've never heard a valid argument that it's reasonable to assume defense shouldn't fluctuate.
    "This isnít stats vs scouts - this is stats and scouts working together, building an organization that blends the best of both worlds. This is the blueprint for how a baseball organization should be run. And, whether the baseball men of the 20th century like it or not, this is where baseball is going."---Dave Cameron, U.S.S. Mariner

  9. #53
    Box of Frogs edabbs44's Avatar
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    Re: Is the WAR war over?

    Quote Originally Posted by jojo View Post
    I dont assume defense doesn't fluctuate mostly because every measure of defense ever devised suggests it does, humans aren't robots, clearly defensive ability changes with age, scouts will look you in the eyes and tell you defensive ability changes, well respected saber guys like Bill James argue defense is more variable than offensive production and my eyes tell me it's very obvious that it does. Furthermore watching Jay Bruce's career closely literally screams a player's defense can change significantly. Frankly, I've never heard a valid argument that it's reasonable to assume defense shouldn't fluctuate.
    Those quotes you posted from Bill James were from 2006-08. Do you have any more recent quotes from him or other fresh studies on the topic that would maybe be more relevant to this conversation?

  10. #54
    Viva la Rolen kaldaniels's Avatar
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    Re: Is the WAR war over?

    I think it's very reasonable to take an average defender, have a few "hops" go his way, which results in him having an outstanding defensive year. And UZR will show that. No one is (or shouldn't be) using one year of UZR to draw any definite conclusions. Don't know why that is so controversial.

    Advances will be made, but UZR does a decent job of showing what happened. Get enough of a sample and it gives you a good idea of a player's defensive ability.

  11. #55
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    Re: Is the WAR war over?

    Completely random thought: Should Bill James be in the HOF? There are plenty of people already inducted that didn't actually play the game - broadcasters, reporters, owners, general managers, etc. Bill James has had a pretty strong, and I would opine positive, effect on the game. Just wondering out loud.
    Zero chance the Reds miss the playoffs!

  12. #56
    Five Tool Fool jojo's Avatar
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    Re: Is the WAR war over?

    Quote Originally Posted by edabbs44 View Post
    Those quotes you posted from Bill James were from 2006-08. Do you have any more recent quotes from him or other fresh studies on the topic that would maybe be more relevant to this conversation?
    You're kidding, right?
    "This isnít stats vs scouts - this is stats and scouts working together, building an organization that blends the best of both worlds. This is the blueprint for how a baseball organization should be run. And, whether the baseball men of the 20th century like it or not, this is where baseball is going."---Dave Cameron, U.S.S. Mariner

  13. #57
    The Boss dougdirt's Avatar
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    Re: Is the WAR war over?

    Quote Originally Posted by edabbs44 View Post
    Right, everyone isn't given the same opportunities. Also, all in and out of zone plays aren't created equally. Two reasons why I have limited faith in the way certain defensive metrics are applied.
    All at bats aren't either. The Reds don't have to face their own pitching staff. That helps their batters compared to other teams given just how good the Reds pitching staff is. Heck, we use park factors to try to normalize stats, but what if you are on the road in a pitchers park and it just so happens that the wind is blowing out all three days you are there and it usually isn't and you hit 3 home runs in 4 games? What about a rainy day? The ball isn't going to fly like it normally would, but that isn't be accounted for in the stats.

  14. #58
    Box of Frogs edabbs44's Avatar
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    Re: Is the WAR war over?

    Quote Originally Posted by jojo View Post
    You're kidding, right?
    No.

  15. #59
    Box of Frogs edabbs44's Avatar
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    Re: Is the WAR war over?

    Quote Originally Posted by dougdirt View Post
    All at bats aren't either. The Reds don't have to face their own pitching staff. That helps their batters compared to other teams given just how good the Reds pitching staff is. Heck, we use park factors to try to normalize stats, but what if you are on the road in a pitchers park and it just so happens that the wind is blowing out all three days you are there and it usually isn't and you hit 3 home runs in 4 games? What about a rainy day? The ball isn't going to fly like it normally would, but that isn't be accounted for in the stats.
    Not the same thing.

  16. #60
    The Boss dougdirt's Avatar
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    Re: Is the WAR war over?

    Quote Originally Posted by edabbs44 View Post
    Not the same thing.
    Why isn't it? We don't measure hitting ability based on the "chances" they get based on the ability of the pitchers they face throughout the season (though there have actually been things done on that premise and some guys very clearly have advantages in the competition they face versus others).

    It seems that you want to equate UZR with skill level, but we don't do that same thing with hitting.


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