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Thread: Top 5 most underrated Reds players of past 25 years

  1. #76
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    Re: Top 5 most underrated Reds players of past 25 years

    Quote Originally Posted by dfs
    I think it's a matter of degree. I think Jason LaRue does the little things SO badly that it's a big thing.

    It's not like I've tarred all the other catcher because of memories of JB. I can see why Joe Oliver is on some people's under-rated lists. Dan Wilson caught a mean game. Bo was fine. Benito...well, Benito had his own way. Eddie Taubensee got holy hell from the press about his technique but he never looked that bad to me. This is different.

    Look, I recognize that my opinion is not a popular one and my prose isn't going to convince anybody. I'm fine with that. What I'm asking for here is a sanity check. When the games start again....watch LaRue closely and then watch the other catcher. Pay attention to JUST that part of the game. Let me know what you see. I'll try and remember to ask the same questions in June and see what you think.
    To echo what Steel has said, we've already done that. You think you're the first person who ever paid attention to the catcher? Far from it.

    And there's a really good litmus test for your contention that LaRue's catching skills are having a major deleterious effect on the pitching staff. The staff would pitch much better for other catchers than for LaRue and this would happen on a consistent basis. That's not the case. Reds pitchers over the past five years have sucked for everyone. Some years they're a little better for LaRue than others, other years it flip-flops. It's exactly the kind of random distribution pattern you'd expect to see if all the evils you've listed added up to nothing. I'm talking about zero effect here.

    If it was a BIG thing, then we'd see a measurable effect. That's the thing about BIG things. They're obvious. They grab you by the front of your shirt and shake you. There is no such thing as a BIG thing that has no effect. That's the definition of NOTHING.
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  3. #77
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    Re: Top 5 most underrated Reds players of past 25 years

    I don't care for CERA for several reasons and I wouldn't have brought it up. But since you propose it as a standard of proof, I'll comply.

    Year LaRue Valentin/Stinnett/Miller
    CERA INNINGS CERA INNINGS
    05 5.26 841 4.92 500
    04 4.92 906 5.51 410
    03 5.08 954 5.19 409
    02 4.64 930 3.66 547
    01 5.07 915 4.53 463

    Last five years 5.00 4546 4.70 2329

    If you accept the belief that CERA actually measures what you propose it does, then Jason LaRue has cost the reds pitchers more than a run every four games.

    (That's not a simple average of the ERA's. It's innings weighted as it should be. Note that we have not compared Jason to outstanding defensive catchers, but to his backups. I left out LaRue's 00 and 99 campaigns, because you said last five years and he was only there for 30 or so games each year. When it comes to sample size you have to have some standards. If you want they're easy enough to add. I included Miller's numbers for 02 because Stinnett got hurt. Other year's 3rd catchers numbers aren't included simply because I'm lazy and the samples are small. Not gonna move things much.)

    In 03 they are essentially even. In three other years LaRue is worse. The only year in his favor was the year Javy Valentin got stuck catching Cory Liddle every 5 days and doing nothing else. I think there are valid sampling reasons to discard it, but I've kept it in there because it's the only year you can make the case that Jason's D was better than his backups. Take that year out and it's WORSE, but we'll go with the low estimate.

    So if Jason costs them a run every four games. That's...40 or so runs over the course of the year.
    But Jason didn't play full time last year he caught about 2/3 of the innings so we'll say that's 26 runs. Now we need an estimate of Jason's offensive contribution. That's easy. We can extract Bill James Runs created easily enough from Baseball-Reference. Subtract 26 runs from Jason's outstanding 2006 campaign leaves him with an RC of 29.

    Adjust for playing time and that's below folks like matheny or ausmus or ...well, that's pretty much below everybody you can name.

    This last year Kelly Stinnett got less than 150 plate appearances and he created 19 runs. Adjust for playing time on offense AND defense and he outperformed Jason. Stinnett was pretty much avaliable for the asking this last off-season. Nobody thinks he's under-rated or some kind of star that they need to lock up for multiple years.
    Last edited by dfs; 02-03-2006 at 11:51 AM.

  4. #78
    Posting in Dynarama M2's Avatar
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    Re: Top 5 most underrated Reds players of past 25 years

    Quote Originally Posted by dfs
    I don't care for CERA for several reasons and I wouldn't have brought it up. But since you propose it as a standard of proof, I'll comply.

    Year LaRue Valentin/Stinnett/Miller
    CERA INNINGS CERA INNINGS
    05 5.26 841 4.92 500
    04 4.92 906 5.51 410
    03 5.08 954 5.19 409
    02 4.64 930 3.66 547
    01 5.07 915 4.53 463

    Last five years 5.00 4546 4.70 2329

    If you accept the belief that CERA actually measures what you propose it does, then Jason LrRue has cost the reds pitchers more than a run every four games. You're gonna tell me that's not big?

    (That's not a simple average of the ERA's. It's innings weighted as it should be. Note that we have not compared Jason to outstanding defensive catchers, but to his backups. I left out LaRue's 00 and 99 campaigns, because he was only there for 30 or so games each year. When it comes to sample size you have to have some standards. If you want they're easy enough to add. I only included Miller's numbers for 02 because Stinnett got hurt. Miller's (and other 3rd catchers) numbers for the other years aren't included simply because I'm lazy.)

    One of those years they are essentially even. In three of them LaRue is worse. The only year in his favor was the year Javy Valentin got stuck catching Cory Liddle every 5 days and doing nothing else. I think there are valid sampling reasons to discard it, but I've kept it in there because it's the only year you can make the case that Jason's D was better than his backups. Take that year out and it's WORSE.

    So if Jason costs them a run every four games. That's...40 or so runs over the course of the year.
    But Jason didn't play full time last year he caught about 2/3 of the innings so we'll say that's 26 runs. Now we need an estimate of Jason's offensive contribution. That's easy. We can extract Bill James Runs created easily enough from Baseball-Reference. Subtract 26 runs from Jason's outstanding 2006 campaign leaves him with an RC of 29.

    Adjust for playing time and that's below folks like matheny or ausmus or ...well, that's pretty much below everybody you can name.

    This last year Kelly Stinnett got less than 200 plate appearances and he created 19 runs last year. Adjust for playing time on offense AND defense and he outperformed Jason. Stinnett was pretty much avaliable for the asking this last off-season. Nobody thinks he's under-rated or some kind of star do they?
    Nice job of fudging the stats. So we can count Corky Miller's innings, but not Jason LaRue's from 2000 and 1999? Standards isn't the term I'd use for that.

    Because I suspect you know what happens when you count those years, you get a statistical wash.

    For the record, I also don't think CERA is all that great a statistic (for instance, those 2002 numbers probably had a lot to do with the percentage of innings that people caught the bullpen and Elmer Dessens), but, back to my main point, LaRue's done better than the team average in four of his seven seasons. No way that happens if he's consistently giving away runs like you've intimated. It shows a completely random distribution pattern. Unless every catcher the Reds have had for seven years has been completely deficient, LaRue seems to come out just fine.

    Mike Matheny came out below his team average for CERA last year (and I belive the year before, but ESPN won't dredge up the numbers for me). That's how the cookie crumbles sometimes. Starting catchers get tethered to the team ERA while backups form outliers in either direction. A guy whose little flaws add up to something BIG would show a consistent pattern of undermining his pitchers and the outliers would rarely pop up with a higher CERA. It would also be exceedingly difficult for a guy with a BIG defensive hole to provide a positive outlier. You'd expect him to produce negative outliers, but just the opposite is what occurred. BIG doesn't duck and hide. It doesn't disappear for two years in a row. BIG would run roughshod over other factors.

    As for comparing LaRue to other catchers, for the past five seasons running, he's come out ahead of Mike Lieberthal and Jason Kendall for defensive Win Shares per inning caught. No one's claiming LaRue's elite, but the guy compares to and even does a little bit better than others whom almost no one considers to be defensively deficient. Heck, some years he's even come out ahead of Pudge Rodriguez on WS/inning.

    You're chasing a phantom. A lot of people do with LaRue. That's why he's underrated, because too many people elevate style over substance.
    Last edited by M2; 02-03-2006 at 12:05 PM.
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    Re: Top 5 most underrated Reds players of past 25 years

    Nice job of fudging the stats. So we can count Corky Miller's innings, but not Jason LaRue's from 2000 and 1999? Standards isn't the term I'd use for that.

    Because I suspect you know what happens when you count those years, you get a statistical wash.
    I'm sorry you feel misused. That was not my intent.

    Adding in everything actually makes the numbers WORSE for Jason. If you care to, I'll let you investigate as to the reason why that's so. Jason's numbers are from ESPN.com. Eddie Taubensee isn't active meaning he's not listed there. So for the non-Jason CERA I had to go back to direct calculation from the team numbers. I think I've included everything needed to replicate the results.

    Jason Jason Team Team Other
    Innings CERA ERA IP CERA
    1999 241 3.81 3.991 1461.3 4.027
    2000 257 3.75 4.327 1456.0 4.451
    2001 841 5.07 4.772 1442.7 4.353
    2002 906 4.64 4.272 1453.7 3.665
    2003 954 5.08 5.090 1446.3 5.118
    2004 930 4.92 5.187 1443.7 5.677
    2005 915 5.26 5.150 1433.0 4.952
    Total 5044 4.8729 4.682 10136.7 4.492

    LaRue's done better than the team average in four of his seven seasons.
    Really, I guess that's true, but you only asked for the last five. You're giving him credit for two years in which he played a total of 67 games, another year with a 0.01 difference in ERA and the Cory Liddle platoon in 04 and you accuse me of fudging data? I really don't know what to say to that. You asked for numbers and you're finding them unconvincing. Ok. I can live with that.

    The numbers show that over the course of his career Jason has cost his team about 2 runs every 5 games compared to the other catchers on the roster. There's no comment I can add. I presented the numbers because I thought you would want to know.
    Last edited by dfs; 02-03-2006 at 12:53 PM.

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    Re: Top 5 most underrated Reds players of past 25 years

    Quote Originally Posted by dfs
    The numbers show that over the course of his career Jason has cost his team about 2 runs every 5 games compared to the other catchers on the roster.
    Actually the numbers don't show that.

    You've made an assumption here, that the catcher is wholly responsible for the CERA differentials. I suspect you didn't like CERA to begin with because the catcher bears responsibility for only a sliver of the stat. I don't think I'm out on much of a limb in noting that ERA, no matter how you slice it, is primarily a pitching measurement.

    I submit the 0.30 differential from your first count is probably statistically insignificant and that the 0.19 overall differential between LaRue and the team average certainly is. Why? Because if the catcher only owns a 1/4 of the CERA (and that's probably shooting way high on the fraction). Then LaRue would be costing the team eight runs (7.695 to be exact) a year, max, and that's over 162 games. Fix it to LaRue's playing time and you'd wind up at five runs a season. In fact I'd fix that as the figure for how far you could stretch it if you assumed maximum deleterious effect for LaRue's supposed flaws.

    Personally, I think a more proper ownership fraction for CERA might be about 1/10. That would knock you down to two runs a season for LaRue. And that's all assuming those numbers mean something and that they don't fit into the kind of random distribution pattern you commonly would see for the position. CERA seems to jump all over the place. A seasonal differential of more than 1.00 isn't that odd between catchers on the same team.

    Anyway, looking over Win Shares fielding figures from 2002-2005, the guy who seems to be the best defensive comp for LaRue is Jason Varitek, which gets back to my point that LaRue is defenisively fine.
    Last edited by M2; 02-03-2006 at 01:47 PM.
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    Re: Top 5 most underrated Reds players of past 25 years

    Quote Originally Posted by M2
    You're chasing a phantom. A lot of people do with LaRue. That's why he's underrated, because too many people elevate style over substance.
    Absolutely.

    The numbers show that over the course of his career Jason has cost his team about 2 runs every 5 games compared to the other catchers on the roster.
    It's interesting that you claim not to care for CERA, yet you use it to somehow support your belief that LaRue's defense is hurting the Reds. It's also interesting how you imply that his presence in the lineup has cost the Reds "2 runs a game" over his career (a practically worthless statistic due to the mass fluctuations in the quality of the pitching staff from year to year), yet ignore what his offensive presence has contributed.

    From 2002 to 2005, Jason had RC's of 4.09, 4.11, 4.41 and 5.27. The other Reds catchers during this time: Stinnett had 4.93, 4.44 and 3.38 from '01 to '03. Miller had 3.14, 4.31 and 3.38 from '01 to '03. Valentin had 3.86 in '04 and 6.86 in a statistically-skewed performance in '05. So, not only is LaRue a solid offensive player, he is consistent.

    Additionally, he is responsible for far more win shares than any other Reds catcher during the past serval years. In 2003, he was credited with 10, in 2004 he had 15, and in 2005 he had 18. No other reds catcher even comes close during those years. In fact, in 2005, Jason trailed only Mike Matheny and Michael Barrett in NL catchers win shares.

    So, to recap, your claim that LaRue is a substandard catcher and a liability to the team stems from your observations of him while he catches (which many of us do not share), and your use of the career CERA stat to show that he costs them .4 runs per game. Forgive me for not being convinced.
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    Re: Top 5 most underrated Reds players of past 25 years

    Quote Originally Posted by M2
    Mike Matheny came out below his team average for CERA last year (and I belive the year before, but ESPN won't dredge up the numbers for me). That's how the cookie crumbles sometimes. Starting catchers get tethered to the team ERA while backups form outliers in either direction. A guy whose little flaws add up to something BIG would show a consistent pattern of undermining his pitchers and the outliers would rarely pop up with a higher CERA. It would also be exceedingly difficult for a guy with a BIG defensive hole to provide a positive outlier. You'd expect him to produce negative outliers, but just the opposite is what occurred. BIG doesn't duck and hide. It doesn't disappear for two years in a row. BIG would run roughshod over other factors.
    And with Matheny, we're talking about a guy who only makes millions because of his reputation for allegedly making pitchers better.

    Ironically, Matheny has posted a CERA below 100% of his team's average ERA in only 3 or 12 seasons. In only one of those three seasons was he behind the plate for more than 900 Innings- 2000, when Matheny's CERA finished up at 99.1% of the Cardinals' team ERA.

    It appears that dfs isn't looking within the numbers to understand the true nature of Larue's career CERA deviation versus the team numbers (the 2001-2002 differentials). Even IF CERA wasn't junk and even IF Jason Larue was 100% responsible for CERA differentials- thereby actually making pitchers worse during those two seasons (106.2%, 108.6% CERA vs. Team ERA)- I'd think that his most recent differentials (99.8%, 94.7%, 102.1%) would quash any fears about the current version of Jason Larue. In fact, logic would dictate that if one were using those differentials to attempt to indict Larue for previous defensive deficiency, one couldn't maintain consistency unless they were also willing to concede that his most recent performance indicates defensive PROFICIENCY.

    But alas, CERA is junk. And I'm getting tired of hearing arguments about how much a productive Catcher sucks.
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    Re: Top 5 most underrated Reds players of past 25 years

    I suspect you didn't like CERA to begin with because the catcher bears responsibility for only a sliver of the stat.
    You could have just asked and I would have been glad to state that CERA gets confounded by staff/park and team and usage effects and usually a meaninglessly small sample size. Neither staff or park effects apply here, because the players are on the same club and we're computing a difference. The only conspicous usage effect that I remember would be in the one year in the last five that really goes in Jason's favor, his backup was platooned with a Cory Liddle. We've got 5+ years of data so sample size isn't a concern. For the most part those objections don't hold water with the LaRue/Backup comparison.

    I submit the 0.30 differential from your first count is probably statistically insignificant
    You can do that, but I strongly suspect you would be mistaken. That's a big sample spanning several seasons where most of the specific limitations of CERA are controlled for. I'll let you do the work to estimate a controlled variance to compute significance.

    That's not "Some years they're a little better for LaRue than others, other years it flip-flops." After the first two years of his career, Jason does consistantly worse than other catchers when everything else is controlled for.

    Because if the catcher only owns a 1/4 of the CERA (and that's probably shooting way high on the fraction).
    I'm not sure how you conclude that. Once you've controlled for park,staff, and usage patterns I guess space aliens are left. Frankly, At this point I don't much care. You proposed a standard of proof and when it was met declared it not to your liking. Ok. I'm down with that, but don't expect me to play anymore. Funny thing about the search for truth. It often takes you to places you didn't expect to go. You're willingness to go there depends on how hard you seek the truth. No more hoops for me today. I'm out.

  10. #84
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    Re: Top 5 most underrated Reds players of past 25 years

    Quote Originally Posted by dfs
    You proposed a standard of proof and when it was met declared it not to your liking. Ok. I'm down with that, but don't expect me to play anymore.
    No. M2 didn't do that. What he said (and I'm paraphrasing) is that we don't see significant annual negative CERA deviations for Larue.

    Your true issue isn't Larue's career deviation. Your problem is really with Larue's biggest negative deviation seasons (2001, 2002) in isolation. But those seasons aren't representative of who he is right now even IF we could use CERA as a true guage of who Jason Larue is. We can't so it's moot but there's nothing consistent about the logic you're using.

    In short, if Jason Larue was bad then, he has to be good now. There's no two ways about that if you're attempting to use CERA as a way to measure his current defensive performance.

    Funny thing about the search for truth. It often takes you to places you didn't expect to go. You're willingness to go there depends on how hard you seek the truth. No more hoops for me today. I'm out.
    You're not seeking truth. You're seeking something that fits your pre-conceived notion of truth and then pimping it as truth. Funny thing about bad methodology- it'll lead you right down the exact path you want to go if you try hard enough to get there.
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  11. #85
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    Re: Top 5 most underrated Reds players of past 25 years

    Quote Originally Posted by dfs
    You could have just asked and I would have been glad to state that CERA gets confounded by staff/park and team and usage effects and usually a meaninglessly small sample size. Neither staff or park effects apply here, because the players are on the same club and we're computing a difference. The only conspicous usage effect that I remember would be in the one year in the last five that really goes in Jason's favor, his backup was platooned with a Cory Liddle. We've got 5+ years of data so sample size isn't a concern. For the most part those objections don't hold water with the LaRue/Backup comparison.
    When the Reds bullpen had a much better ERA than the starters, that created a major usage effect differential (backups tend to catch a higher percentage of later innings). The Reds have also needed to revamp large portions of their pitching staff in mid-season in many years, which would give a guy like Corky Miller an advantage because he didn't have to catch some of the dogs that laid down in the gate during April and May. Also, a little extra work with an Elmer Dessens in 2002 or Aaron Harang in 2005 can have a big effect on a guy logging backup innings. Similarly, extra work with Ryan Dempster or Eric Milton can ruin the CERA for a backup. There's jiggle all over the place with the stat. Claiming that staff effects have normalized strikes me as simplistic pap. A quick review of CERA stats for teams from the 2005 will show you that wild vacillations in CERA numbers occur all over the place. You can see from LaRue's numbers how easy it is to bounce to either side of the team norm. Either catchers as a group suffer from defensive fits and starts or there's an ocean inside of CERA that you've failed to account for.


    Quote Originally Posted by dfs
    You can do that, but I strongly suspect you would be mistaken. That's a big sample spanning several seasons where most of the specific limitations of CERA are controlled for. I'll let you do the work to estimate a controlled variance to compute significance.

    That's not "Some years they're a little better for LaRue than others, other years it flip-flops." After the first two years of his career, Jason does consistantly worse than other catchers when everything else is controlled for.
    Except for the two years where he did better. You seem to want to make 2002 go away, but it's there. Plus, except for 2004 and 2005 Adam Dunn isn't all that elite a homerun hitter. LaRue's been behind the plate during seven major league seasons and in four of them he's been better than the team average for CERA.

    And, as has been mentioned, everything isn't controlled. It isn't even sort of controlled. You've got a stat with a huge jiggle and random distribution on the outliers even for players on the same team. If LaRue was anywhere near the sort of defensive liability you make him out to be, he'd run roughshod over that pattern. He doesn't. In fact, he fits into it quite neatly.


    Quote Originally Posted by dfs
    I'm not sure how you conclude that. Once you've controlled for park,staff, and usage patterns I guess space aliens are left. Frankly, At this point I don't much care. You proposed a standard of proof and when it was met declared it not to your liking. Ok. I'm down with that, but don't expect me to play anymore. Funny thing about the search for truth. It often takes you to places you didn't expect to go. You're willingness to go there depends on how hard you seek the truth. No more hoops for me today. I'm out.
    As mentioned above, twice, you haven't contolled for squat. I proposed CERA full-well knowing that it was snipe hunt. We've been down this road before on this board. This is about as old hat as it gets around here. We've parsed these numbers to death over the years.

    The reason I raised the spectre of CERA was that once folks take a deeper look at it, they often come away with the realization that catchers have damn-little effect on ERA. Granted, a truly atrocious catcher could submarine it, but truly atrocious catchers rarely get to spend a lot of time behind the plate. Mike Matheny didn't do squat for the Giants pitching last season and he's your classic good receiver. People have been crashing upon the rocks of CERA for years. It's why no one I'm aware uses it much. All it ever produces are spits into the ocean.

    The real defensive differentiator among catchers is assist rate, where LaRue's just fine thank you due to his arm and quick feet. The BIG effect you'd assumed isn't there and no matter how much squinting you do it won't be there.
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    Re: Top 5 most underrated Reds players of past 25 years

    * Edited by an administrator - please keep reputation matters private. You can see who left you reputation by clicking on your user control panel.
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    Re: Top 5 most underrated Reds players of past 25 years

    i know what LaRue's problem is....he's not Johnny Bench.
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  14. #88
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    Re: Top 5 most underrated Reds players of past 25 years

    Deion Sanders-caught a lot of heat from the fans
    Tom Browning
    Mike Cameron
    Remember Roger Salkeld? He was a good young pitcher in about 96 or 97
    Kal Daniels


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