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Thread: Anti-WAR protest

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    Re: Anti-WAR protest

    Quote Originally Posted by jojo View Post
    Im confused. Randomly pick 40 or 50 pitchers and illustrate for us please.
    Waaaaaaaaay above my pay grade, lol. But it would take the people at Fangraphs around 20 minutes to do it for everyone in the majors.
    "Man, the pitch looks fast, even in slow motion." Thom Brennaman on Chapman's fastball.

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  3. #47
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    Re: Anti-WAR protest

    Quote Originally Posted by 757690 View Post
    Waaaaaaaaay above my pay grade, lol. But it would take the people at Fangraphs around 20 minutes to do it for everyone in the majors.
    Honest question....how do beliefs about things you claim are above your pay grade become so engrained?
    "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

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    Re: Anti-WAR protest

    Quote Originally Posted by jojo View Post
    Honest question....how do beliefs about things you claim are above your pay grade become so engrained?
    It's way above my pay grade to calculate batted ball types into the WAR formula. It is to above my pay grade to understand how all those elements work. I understand the basic physics of what makes boats float and what makes planes fly. But I can't figure out how much of a curve is needed for the bottom of the boat or the wing of an airplane to make them do that.
    "Man, the pitch looks fast, even in slow motion." Thom Brennaman on Chapman's fastball.

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    Re: Anti-WAR protest

    Quote Originally Posted by 757690 View Post
    Completely disagree.

    The idea of WAR is not to determine who was a better pitcher, who was more effective, but to determine who helped his team win more often. Otherwise, it shouldn't be called Wins Above Replacement, it should called, Run Prevention/Creation Above Replacement. They translate the runs created/prevented into Wins for a reason.

    Pitching in high leverage innings means that you are having a greater effect on your team's ability to win. A pitcher who pitches in high leverage situations should get more credit for helping his team win than a pitcher who pitches in low leverage situations. The only reason why we don't need to do that for hitters, is the general assumption is that most hitters hit in the same amount of high and low leverage situations over the course of a season. That is not the case with relief pitchers.
    I think we disagree in two ways.

    Firstly, a stat is not defined by it's name, but by how it is calculated, by what it actually measures. WAR starts by measuring a player's Runs Above Average (RAA), the sum value of his actions on the field, as measured by their average contribution to run scoring and prevention compared to the contribution of an average player in those situations. That is then converted to Runs Above Replacement (RAR), by adjusting that total down to a hypothetical level of what another player would have done given all of the same opportunities. Lastly, RAR is converted to WAR, by dividing RAR a fixed number, the amount of runs which correlates to an additional win or loss in the pythagorean formula given the level of scoring in the league that year.

    In no way, shape or form does WAR actually attempt to measure player contribution to individual game outcomes. That its name might imply otherwise is unfortunate, though it still is the best way to easily appreciate the proportionate contribution of players to a team's outcomes.

    Secondly, let's take the case a 5-4 game. It's the top of the 8th inning and the Reds are down 4-1, a fairly low leverage situation. Alfredo Simon comes in and shuts down the opposition, 1-2-3. In the bottom of the 8th, Joey Votto hits a go-ahead grand slam. Chapman comes in for the 9th, a high leverage situation given the small lead. He pitches a perfect inning; game over, Reds win.

    Your way of tabulating contribution says that Chapman had something on the order of 2x the contribution to the Reds win that Simon had. In retrospect, we know that had either guy had allowed a run, the victory would have been lost. But because Joey Votto hit a heroic HR. Had Votto struck out and Chapman still came in and pitched a perfect 9th, he would have been given about the same amount of credit as Simon. But but due to absolutely nothing he did, you want to drastically change the amount of contribution Chapman made to the Reds winning/losing the game.

    I'm sorry, in the circumstance where I am trying to assess the contribution of a player to his team's collective outcome, that simply does not make sense to me. You say that "pitching in high leverage innings means that you are having a greater effect on your team's ability to win". I fundamentally disagree.

    What you mean by leverage is this: when that reliever came in to the game, we happened to know more about how close things would end up being. It doesn't mean that his run count any more or less. Each of those 5 runs scored and 4 runs allowed count for 1 run a piece. It just means that when that reliever came in to the game, there's much less unknown about how much each individual run scored throughout the course of the game would matter when it was all said it done. And because there's much less unknown, any 1 action represents a bigger chunk of what's left to know.

    Leverage index doesn't measure how much that a given run actually contributes to the outcome of the game. It measures how much that run matters to our point-in-time knowledge of what the outcome of the game is likely to be. Those are vastly different things. And I personally think that measuring player performance based on how much his performance changes our ability to predict the final outcome is pretty silly, especially given that our ability to predict the final outcome is mostly a function of how much of the game has already been played and how well it was played by everybody else, two things that player had nothing to do with.
    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.

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    Re: Anti-WAR protest

    Quote Originally Posted by Brutus View Post
    Another issue is the reliance on FIP to accumulate WAR.

    We know, because it's been shown time and again, that pitchers do have an ability to influence batted ball types and what happens in play -- to a degree. But WAR uses FIP, at least Fangraphs' version does, and that takes absolutely nothing into account in the field of play.

    I don't think the problem has to do with boiling it down to a single number, as you said. It's good to be able to stack a player's value up against everyone in the game, whether at his position or at another position. However, it should be taken with a grain of salt until we have done a better job quantifying every player's worth. There's still some wiggle room with pitchers, and a lot of room with defense.
    Let's say that instead of FIP it used ERA and adjusted for the team's defense and park. Would that change anything? Because that's how Baseball Reference does it. They have Guidry at 9.6 WAR in '78, good for 21st best since 1970 and a heck of a lot closer to Fangraphs estimate that the authors. It also has him at 47.9 for his career, not too far off from Fangraphs' 48.1.

    I agree with your basic criticism. FIP takes the route of assuming pitchers have no control over batted balls, which we know to be false. But if we're comparing different methods of assessing performance, even an ERA based WAR is going to be a whole heck of a lot more useful than W-L. Just about any measure of pitcher performance that's regularly used will give us a better picture of his contributions than W-L will.

    Regarding your critique on Homer vs. Arroyo vs. Leake, etc. What makes you think that they were significantly differently in a way that WAR just missed on? Is it not completely feasible, for example, that Arroyo and Leake, two pitch-to-contact guys, benefited much more from the Reds stellar defense than Homer did? You seem to start from a presumption that your existing assumptions about their relative contributions is more accurate, without pointing out how we know that to be the case. That WAR tells us that pitch-to-contact pitchers with low BABIPs provide less value than we think they do does not necessarily mean it is flawed -- it could mean that our current thinking about the value of those types of pitchers is misguided.
    Last edited by RedsManRick; 01-14-2014 at 09:19 PM.
    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.

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    Et tu, Brutus? Brutus's Avatar
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    Re: Anti-WAR protest

    Quote Originally Posted by RedsManRick View Post
    Let's say that instead of FIP it used ERA and adjusted for the team's defense and park. Would that change anything? Because that's how Baseball Reference does it. They have Guidry at 9.6 WAR in '78, good for 21st best since 1970 and a heck of a lot closer to Fangraphs estimate that the authors. It also has him at 47.9 for his career, not too far off from Fangraphs' 48.1.

    I agree with your basic criticism. FIP takes the route of assuming pitchers have no control over batted balls, which we know to be false. But if we're comparing different methods of assessing performance, even an ERA based WAR is going to be a whole heck of a lot more useful than W-L. Just about any measure of pitcher performance that's regularly used will give us a better picture of his contributions than W-L will.

    Regarding your critique on Homer vs. Arroyo vs. Leake, etc. What makes you think that they were significantly differently in a way that WAR just missed on? Is it not completely feasible, for example, that Arroyo and Leake, two pitch-to-contact guys, benefited much more from the Reds stellar defense than Homer did? You seem to start from a presumption that your existing assumptions about their relative contributions is more accurate, without pointing out how we know that to be the case. That WAR tells us that pitch-to-contact pitchers with low BABIPs provide less value than we think they do does not necessarily mean it is flawed -- it could mean that our current thinking about the value of those types of pitchers is misguided.
    What critique are you referring to? I haven't made a critique on Homer/Arroyo/Leake. Perhaps you are confusing someone else's post in this thread with mine?

    As far as the article in question, I really don't have much of an opinion on it, nor should anything I say be remotely construed as an endorsement or defense thereof. I don't subscribe to W-L record as being a better measure than any kind of WAR, even in its current form. I merely believe that the idea that WAR can be greatly improved is a fair, if not wholly accurate stance.

    I don't think there's a right, or certainly not a single right answer as to how it can be improved. But as I said, I'd start with the approach of accounting for some of the other things we know a pitcher controls. The goal of a single measurement is to be as accurate as possible, so I am surprised anyone in this thread (not you, mind you), would sneeze at such an attempt and call it pecking at the periphery.

    When I was in school, I never heard a teacher tell a student they shouldn't try to turn an 85 test score into a 95 or a driving instructor tell a student to settle for only nudging one cone. When the goal is to quantify something, what seems like pecking can make a big difference. I'll use an example: I had college basketball data that I ran regression analysis from 1980 to 2013. It included all Division I games played. Merely using adjusted scoring margins gave a standard error of about 10 points for predictive purposes. When I collected tempo data, some would call that pecking... however, that improved the standard error to 8.7. That seems like a meaningless figure, but that kind of difference in error is what makes Vegas casinos billions of dollars.

    In its current form, WAR tells us only what we already suspected... which players are valuable and which aren't. They get us in the neighborhood with numbers to back it up. But if the margin of error is even half a win per player, that's actually a substantial amount to improve on as that can be a pretty big error when taking into account a 25-man roster.
    Last edited by Brutus; 01-15-2014 at 01:06 AM.
    "No matter how good you are, you're going to lose one-third of your games. No matter how bad you are you're going to win one-third of your games. It's the other third that makes the difference." ~Tommy Lasorda

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    Re: Anti-WAR protest

    Quote Originally Posted by RedsManRick View Post
    I think we disagree in two ways.

    Firstly, a stat is not defined by it's name, but by how it is calculated, by what it actually measures. WAR starts by measuring a player's Runs Above Average (RAA), the sum value of his actions on the field, as measured by their average contribution to run scoring and prevention compared to the contribution of an average player in those situations. That is then converted to Runs Above Replacement (RAR), by adjusting that total down to a hypothetical level of what another player would have done given all of the same opportunities. Lastly, RAR is converted to WAR, by dividing RAR a fixed number, the amount of runs which correlates to an additional win or loss in the pythagorean formula given the level of scoring in the league that year.

    In no way, shape or form does WAR actually attempt to measure player contribution to individual game outcomes. That its name might imply otherwise is unfortunate, though it still is the best way to easily appreciate the proportionate contribution of players to a team's outcomes.

    Secondly, let's take the case a 5-4 game. It's the top of the 8th inning and the Reds are down 4-1, a fairly low leverage situation. Alfredo Simon comes in and shuts down the opposition, 1-2-3. In the bottom of the 8th, Joey Votto hits a go-ahead grand slam. Chapman comes in for the 9th, a high leverage situation given the small lead. He pitches a perfect inning; game over, Reds win.

    Your way of tabulating contribution says that Chapman had something on the order of 2x the contribution to the Reds win that Simon had. In retrospect, we know that had either guy had allowed a run, the victory would have been lost. But because Joey Votto hit a heroic HR. Had Votto struck out and Chapman still came in and pitched a perfect 9th, he would have been given about the same amount of credit as Simon. But but due to absolutely nothing he did, you want to drastically change the amount of contribution Chapman made to the Reds winning/losing the game.

    I'm sorry, in the circumstance where I am trying to assess the contribution of a player to his team's collective outcome, that simply does not make sense to me. You say that "pitching in high leverage innings means that you are having a greater effect on your team's ability to win". I fundamentally disagree.

    What you mean by leverage is this: when that reliever came in to the game, we happened to know more about how close things would end up being. It doesn't mean that his run count any more or less. Each of those 5 runs scored and 4 runs allowed count for 1 run a piece. It just means that when that reliever came in to the game, there's much less unknown about how much each individual run scored throughout the course of the game would matter when it was all said it done. And because there's much less unknown, any 1 action represents a bigger chunk of what's left to know.

    Leverage index doesn't measure how much that a given run actually contributes to the outcome of the game. It measures how much that run matters to our point-in-time knowledge of what the outcome of the game is likely to be. Those are vastly different things. And I personally think that measuring player performance based on how much his performance changes our ability to predict the final outcome is pretty silly, especially given that our ability to predict the final outcome is mostly a function of how much of the game has already been played and how well it was played by everybody else, two things that player had nothing to do with.
    You are actually making my point for me with your example.

    When Simon comes in the 8th inning, no matter the score, there is still one more turn AB for the Reds, When Chapman comes in to pitch the ninth, no matter the score, the Reds have zero more turns AB. So what Simon does in the 8th is less consequential to the Reds winning or losing than what Chapman does when he comes in the 9th. This is basic strategy logic 101. As a game gets closer to the end, the decisions and actions made become more meaningful, because the options of both players become more and more limited.

    Think of chess. If you lose your queen, early, when there are still a lot of pieces on the board, that isn't as bad as when you lose your queen late, and there is only your king on the board. In fact, in some chess strategies, it can be beneficial to sacrifice your queen early, if it gives an advantage in the long term. Your queen, when it is the only other piece on the board, besides your king, is far more valuable then, than earlier in the game when you have many other pieces, and many other options.

    The same strategy logic is used on the battlefield all the time. Lets say you start off with 5 fighter planes. The first one that gets shot down isn't as big of a loss as the last one that gets shot down. In both cases, it's the loss of just one fighter plane. But when it's your last one, you're out of options, and you have lost. The last fighter plane in a fight is far more valuable to you winning than the any of the first five.

    Just like not all planes have equal value during a fight in terms of determining who wins, not all runs have equal value during a baseball game in terms of determining who wins.

    Intuitively, we want to think that a run is a run is run. But the world, and a baseball game is more complex than that.
    "Man, the pitch looks fast, even in slow motion." Thom Brennaman on Chapman's fastball.

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    Re: Anti-WAR protest

    Quote Originally Posted by 757690 View Post
    You are actually making my point for me with your example.

    When Simon comes in the 8th inning, no matter the score, there is still one more turn AB for the Reds, When Chapman comes in to pitch the ninth, no matter the score, the Reds have zero more turns AB. So what Simon does in the 8th is less consequential to the Reds winning or losing than what Chapman does when he comes in the 9th. This is basic strategy logic 101. As a game gets closer to the end, the decisions and actions made become more meaningful, because the options of both players become more and more limited.
    No. It's simply not true, because you're not going back and adjusting the meaning of other events based on what ended up playing out. What matters is the final outcome. We can only determine the value of the events once we know the final outcome. Trying to assign meaning at the specific point in to And what determines the final outcome is the entire sequence of events that produced it.

    For example, if you try to steal home in the first inning and get caught. Oh well, right? Lots of game yet to play. But then the game goes in to extra innings and we lose. We now know that if you had been successful stealing home, the team would have won. That out was HUGE. But you don't want go through the process of revaluing past events based. We only judge their value in the moment. That's the whole problem.

    What's changing over time is not the actual value of those events. What's changing is your knowledge of the value of those events -- because you know more about the final outcome. The last run doesn't count more. In a 1 run game, having allowed an additional run at any point would have cost you the victory. The only thing that's different at the end is that you now know that it's a one run game, so you recognize how valuable each of those runs actually is. But you don't go back and re-value those earlier runs. Instead you choose to give all of that to the final one. That's just a function of judging value narratively.

    Sure, that's how we experience the game. Our emotions are driven by our knowledge of the likely final outcome at a given point in time. But if I'm measuring player performance, player contribution to the eventual outcome, I don't have to subject myself to that knowledge limitation. Even recognizing that the events at a given point in time provide proportionately more information about the final outcome, given what we know already, I see zero justification for giving the player extra credit for being the one in that situation. It was nothing he did to create the situation. And from a baseball situation, the perceived importance of the situation has zero impact on the rules of the game. Giving Chapman significantly more credit for doing the exact same thing simply because it happened at a different point in our knowledge about the game seems to me to be a horrible way to measure performance.

    Think of chess. If you lose your queen, early, when there are still a lot of pieces on the board, that isn't as bad as when you lose your queen late, and there is only your king on the board. In fact, in some chess strategies, it can be beneficial to sacrifice your queen early, if it gives an advantage in the long term. Your queen, when it is the only other piece on the board, besides your king, is far more valuable then, than earlier in the game when you have many other pieces, and many other options.
    Baseball isn't chess. Chess pieces have different functions. They interact in all sorts of way that constrain your strategic choices. Baseball is much simpler. All runs count the exact same. The rules don't change. Different pieces don't do different things. Giving up a run in the 8th doesn't make it easier/harder to prevent runs in the 9th.

    The same strategy logic is used on the battlefield all the time. Lets say you start off with 5 fighter planes. The first one that gets shot down isn't as big of a loss as the last one that gets shot down. In both cases, it's the loss of just one fighter plane. But when it's your last one, you're out of options, and you have lost. The last fighter plane in a fight is far more valuable to you winning than the any of the first five.
    If the first one hadn't gotten shot down, you wouldn't have lost either. Put better pilots in other planes and you won't find yourself in a situation where it all hangs on the performance of one guy. All 5 pilots matter equally.

    I understand that the changing composition of the scenario changes your strategy. You have more knowledge about the consequences and thus can make decisions accordingly. Your strategy should change. But what's changing is your strategy, your knowledge. The plane is still just one plane. That his buddies didn't make doesn't make him worth more planes. It means his performance will have outsized contribution to our knowledge of the outcome. But it doesn't mean he actually did any more or less. And we should be measuring his performance on what he did -- not our knowledge of how what he did affected our marginal knowledge of the final outcome.

    Here's the simplest example I can think of to illustrate my point clearly:
    You have a bale of straw and are loading it on to a camel's back. Each piece of straw is identical. You're not sure how much the camel can carry, so each additional straw you put on the camel's back increases the odds of his back breaking. You're almost done loading the straw -- there's 1 piece left. If the back is going to break, it's now or never. It all comes down to this. You put the last piece of straw on his back. He makes it! Should we hold up that final piece of straw as having done something different than all the rest? Did it weigh less? Did have some special non-back-breaking characteristic that we saw in action? Should we say that the final straw made a greater contribution to the eventual outcome? Of course not.

    Sure, we paid a lot more attention to it. We felt a lot more nervous about it. We watched the camel's reaction more intently. Because at that point, we had accrued a ton of knowledge about the situation. The only remaining unknown was this one. But all of that was a function of things that came before it. And were I going to stack straw on another camel, I would be silly to treat that piece of straw any differently simply because of how I chose to use it last time.
    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.

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    Re: Anti-WAR protest

    Rick, let me ask you this.

    Chapman gives up 20 runs a season. Ondrusek gives up 40 runs a season.

    Knowing this, according to your view that all runs are worth the same, over a full season, if the a Reds pitched Ondrusek in high leverage situations, and Chapman in low leverage situations, they would win exactly the same number of games as if they pitched Ondrusek in low leverage situations and Chapman in high leverage situations. After all, the Reds are giving up 60 runs either way, it doesn't matter when they were given up.

    Do you think that if Chapman was a middle reliever last year and Ondrusek the closer, and they pitched the same number of innings, the Reds would have won the same number of games?
    "Man, the pitch looks fast, even in slow motion." Thom Brennaman on Chapman's fastball.

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    Re: Anti-WAR protest

    Quote Originally Posted by 757690 View Post
    Rick, let me ask you this.

    Chapman gives up 20 runs a season. Ondrusek gives up 40 runs a season.

    Knowing this, according to your view that all runs are worth the same, over a full season, if the a Reds pitched Ondrusek in high leverage situations, and Chapman in low leverage situations, they would win exactly the same number of games as if they pitched Ondrusek in low leverage situations and Chapman in high leverage situations. After all, the Reds are giving up 60 runs either way, it doesn't matter when they were given up.

    Do you think that if Chapman was a middle reliever last year and Ondrusek the closer, and they pitched the same number of innings, the Reds would have won the same number of games?
    No, they wouldn't win the same amount, but that is because of the situation. Chapman isn't always pitching in a high leverage situation. 3 run game in the 9th isn't high leverage. Heck a 2 run game in the 9th isn't really either. Your example doesn't work with that premise though.

    The second question is tougher, but yeah, I think the Reds wind up about where they were if the two switched spots.

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    Re: Anti-WAR protest

    Quote Originally Posted by 757690 View Post
    Rick, let me ask you this.

    Chapman gives up 20 runs a season. Ondrusek gives up 40 runs a season.

    Knowing this, according to your view that all runs are worth the same, over a full season, if the a Reds pitched Ondrusek in high leverage situations, and Chapman in low leverage situations, they would win exactly the same number of games as if they pitched Ondrusek in low leverage situations and Chapman in high leverage situations. After all, the Reds are giving up 60 runs either way, it doesn't matter when they were given up.

    Do you think that if Chapman was a middle reliever last year and Ondrusek the closer, and they pitched the same number of innings, the Reds would have won the same number of games?
    No, I don't. But let me clarify a few things:

    1) I think leverage itself, as measured, is flawed. It should include a retrospective adjustment based on the final game outcome. Runs scored or allowed in a game that ends with a close score play a bigger role in the outcome. What determines the value of each run from a win standpoint is the final outcome. A close game means each run scored or prevented was necessary. The bigger the gap, the less necessary each individual run is. Accordingly, the "leverage" of a given situation is a function of the value of runs in that game.

    When a closer comes in to a close game, it's not that the 9th inning runs suddenly count more toward a win or loss than runs previously scored or allowed. It's that all the runs in the game were important, including this one -- we just might have not have realized it earlier in the game.

    2) Obviously, at no point in the game do we know for sure what the outcome is going to be. Is this a game in which a given individual run is really important or not? All we can do is guess based on what we know at that point in time -- what's already happened. So from a strategic standpoint, we make the best decisions we can based on what we know at the time. Early in the game, so much is unknown that play it right down the middle. As the game progresses, we learn more and more about the value of each individual run in that game. If the game seems like it is likely to end in a blowout, individual runs are less important and we can use lesser players without jeopardizing the outcome. In a game with a close score, we choose to use the better players to maximize the leverage of their production.

    3) That's the key phrase: the leverage of their production. It's not that the player is actually producing more or less runs. It's that what they are producing (or not producing) is more valuable to the team from a win/loss standpoint because of the situation created by everybody else in the game. The first inning run in 1-0 game was actually hugely important -- we just didn't realize it at the time and thus couldn't adjust our strategy accordingly. But that has nothing to do with the actual performance of the player who allowed the run. So my question becomes, why would measure an individual player's production by adjusting it for contextual value produced by his teammates and enabled by the decision of his manager? I don't know.

    Here's where I land.

    1) I would adjust the calculation of leverage to be at the game level, rather than situational, as situational is a point in time best guess, not the actual leverage of that situation in reality.

    2) WPA/LI is fun. It tells the story of how player production was used to produced wins. We can look at it in comparison to raw production to see how a team squeezed extra wins out of the production it's players provided. That's cool. That's interesting. It has very real strategic implications from the managerial standpoint regarding player usage, risk taking, etc.

    3) I see no reason to use leverage when making assessments of the players themselves. When I judge players, I want to judge the player himself on how well he personally created or prevented runs. How those runs related to team wins and losses was outside of his control and I don't think it serves any purpose when analyzing the player to give him credit or penalty for that.

    Anybody who has enjoyed this conversation should definitely check out the leverage stats on Fangraphs. They're a lot fun. But I think the fundamental debate regarding whether or not we should include leverage when discussing player valuation is a fascinating one that should continue -- and one we've been having regarding Brandon Phillips & Joey Votto for the last 6 months, even if we didn't think of it in those terms.
    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.

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    Re: Anti-WAR protest

    Quote Originally Posted by dougdirt View Post
    No, they wouldn't win the same amount, but that is because of the situation. Chapman isn't always pitching in a high leverage situation. 3 run game in the 9th isn't high leverage. Heck a 2 run game in the 9th isn't really either. Your example doesn't work with that premise though.

    The second question is tougher, but yeah, I think the Reds wind up about where they were if the two switched spots.
    I only was asking about the hypothetical that I described, not about what they did last year. Forget about the "closer" role.

    So you're saying that if Chapman only pitched when the Reds were behind by multiple runs early in each game, and Ondrusek only pitched when the score was tied or within one run late in the game, the Reds would win the same amount of games if Ondrusek only pitched when the Reds were behind by multiple runs early in each game, and Chapman only pitched when the score was tied or within one run late in the game.

    So you're saying that it is silly for managers to worry about when to pitch which reliever in games?
    "Man, the pitch looks fast, even in slow motion." Thom Brennaman on Chapman's fastball.

  17. #58
    The Boss dougdirt's Avatar
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    Re: Anti-WAR protest

    Quote Originally Posted by 757690 View Post
    I only was asking about the hypothetical that I described, not about what they did last year. Forget about the "closer" role.

    So you're saying that if Chapman only pitched when the Reds were behind by multiple runs early in each game, and Ondrusek only pitched when the score was tied or within one run late in the game, the Reds would win the same amount of games if Ondrusek only pitched when the Reds were behind by multiple runs early in each game, and Chapman only pitched when the score was tied or within one run late in the game.

    So you're saying that it is silly for managers to worry about when to pitch which reliever in games?
    Slow down now. I never said that and your example didn't say that either. Of course the Reds would do better with Chapman pitching in tied or 1 run games than Ondrusek. He is a better pitcher.

  18. #59
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    Re: Anti-WAR protest

    Quote Originally Posted by RedsManRick View Post
    No, I don't. But let me clarify a few things:

    1) I think leverage itself, as measured, is flawed. It should include a retrospective adjustment based on the final game outcome. Runs scored or allowed in a game that ends with a close score play a bigger role in the outcome. What determines the value of each run from a win standpoint is the final outcome. A close game means each run scored or prevented was necessary. The bigger the gap, the less necessary each individual run is. Accordingly, the "leverage" of a given situation is a function of the value of runs in that game.

    When a closer comes in to a close game, it's not that the 9th inning runs suddenly count more toward a win or loss than runs previously scored or allowed. It's that all the runs in the game were important, including this one -- we just might have not have realized it earlier in the game.

    2) Obviously, at no point in the game do we know for sure what the outcome is going to be. Is this a game in which a given individual run is really important or not? All we can do is guess based on what we know at that point in time -- what's already happened. So from a strategic standpoint, we make the best decisions we can based on what we know at the time. Early in the game, so much is unknown that play it right down the middle. As the game progresses, we learn more and more about the value of each individual run in that game. If the game seems like it is likely to end in a blowout, individual runs are less important and we can use lesser players without jeopardizing the outcome. In a game with a close score, we choose to use the better players to maximize the leverage of their production.

    3) That's the key phrase: the leverage of their production. It's not that the player is actually producing more or less runs. It's that what they are producing (or not producing) is more valuable to the team from a win/loss standpoint because of the situation created by everybody else in the game. The first inning run in 1-0 game was actually hugely important -- we just didn't realize it at the time and thus couldn't adjust our strategy accordingly. But that has nothing to do with the actual performance of the player who allowed the run. So my question becomes, why would measure an individual player's production by adjusting it for contextual value produced by his teammates and enabled by the decision of his manager? I don't know.

    Here's where I land.

    1) I would adjust the calculation of leverage to be at the game level, rather than situational, as situational is a point in time best guess, not the actual leverage of that situation in reality.

    2) WPA/LI is fun. It tells the story of how player production was used to produced wins. We can look at it in comparison to raw production to see how a team squeezed extra wins out of the production it's players provided. That's cool. That's interesting. It has very real strategic implications from the managerial standpoint regarding player usage, risk taking, etc.

    3) I see no reason to use leverage when making assessments of the players themselves. When I judge players, I want to judge the player himself on how well he personally created or prevented runs. How those runs related to team wins and losses was outside of his control and I don't think it serves any purpose when analyzing the player to give him credit or penalty for that.

    Anybody who has enjoyed this conversation should definitely check out the leverage stats on Fangraphs. They're a lot fun. But I think the fundamental debate regarding whether or not we should include leverage when discussing player valuation is a fascinating one that should continue -- and one we've been having regarding Brandon Phillips & Joey Votto for the last 6 months, even if we didn't think of it in those terms.
    I think we're pretty much in agreement... I think, lol.

    I was under the misunderstanding that WAR was meant to represent what value a player represented to a team's winning percentage. But if all it is meant to do is to represent what value a player produced in abstract, then there is no need to figure in when they pitched.
    "Man, the pitch looks fast, even in slow motion." Thom Brennaman on Chapman's fastball.

  19. #60
    Stat Wanker Hodiernus RedsManRick's Avatar
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    Re: Anti-WAR protest

    Quote Originally Posted by 757690 View Post
    I think we're pretty much in agreement... I think, lol.

    I was under the misunderstanding that WAR was meant to represent what value a player represented to a team's winning percentage. But if all it is meant to do is to represent what value a player produced in abstract, then there is no need to figure in when they pitched.
    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.


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