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Thread: BP 2006: Reds Hitters

  1. #1
    Member Sabo Fan's Avatar
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    BP 2006: Reds Hitters

    Just got my copy of the Baseball Prospectus annual and I was glancing at the Reds section and thought I'd offer up a few interesting points from the book in case anyone was wondering. Haven't gotten as far as the pitchers yet, so maybe I'll do that later or someone else can if they feel so inclined.

    Some things that jumped out at me:

    - They have nice things to say about Denorfia, giving him a .263/.336/.419 line to go with 13 homers and a .256 EQA. 20% breakout and a 48% improvement.

    - Dunn does well again, .263/.393/.558 line with 41 homers and a .313 EQA. 0% attrition rate, 24% breakout, 10% collapse, and 67% improve. Good stuff.

    -EdE. is another Red who does well in BP's eyes, though they make a note of Narron's Dusty Baker-ish affinity for the vets. 22 homers, 75 RBI's, a .275/.344/.485 line, with a breakout of 43% and a 63% improve. Top comparable is Eric Chavez in case you were interested.

    - Junior gets a .281/367/.541 line with 29 homers and a .299 EQA. BP sees just a shade over 500 PA's for Griffey.

    - Austin Kearns: .275/.367/.510, 21 homers, EQA of .292, top comparables are Pat Burrell and Dale Murphy, not bad.

    -They see a bit of a backslide for Felipe, a .266/.338/.433 line, 15 homers, an EQA of .260 and his VORP is cut in half, down to 21.7. A 24% breakout and a 46% improve.

    -Wily Mo Pena: pretty much a repeat of his 2004 season from a HR, RBI, PA perspective, but his line of .282/.345/.558 is significantly better than '04 and a huge leap from last year. EQA of .292.

    The overview portion can be summed up quite nicely by saying that DanO set the entire organization back several years and did nothing to improve the farm system, which was thought to be his forte. My favorite line: "The Cincinnati player development system is worthy of the term "farm" only in the sense that the Stalinist collectives of the 1930's Ukraine were a farm system - they caused millions to starve to death."
    Last edited by Sabo Fan; 03-06-2006 at 03:22 PM.
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  3. #2
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    Re: BP 2006: Reds Hitters

    I like what it says about our boy Austin!

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    Re: BP 2006: Reds Hitters

    If Junior can make it to the plate 500 times, he will hit more than 29 HRs - more in the range of 35-40, but that's a big iIF.

  5. #4
    The Lineups stink. KronoRed's Avatar
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    Re: BP 2006: Reds Hitters

    What about our solid vets Tony and Rich?
    Go Gators!

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    Charlie Brown All-Star IslandRed's Avatar
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    Re: BP 2006: Reds Hitters

    Quote Originally Posted by Sabo Fan
    The overview portion can be summed up quite nicely by saying that DanO set the entire organization back several years and did nothing to improve the farm system, which was thought to be his forte. My favorite line: "The Cincinnati player development system is worthy of the term "farm" only in the sense that the Stalinist collectives of the 1930's Ukraine were a farm system - they caused millions to starve to death."
    I picked mine up today, and was very curious about what they'd write given that the sale had been announced but not approved at press time. Given the last couple of books had adequately covered our pitching woes and Carl Lindner's lack of commitment to winning, it was obviously O'Brien's turn in the crosshairs. Ouch. It's not that unusual to see them performing the writing equivalent of a root canal without anesthetic, but they didn't even offer up an opening "this is going to hurt a little bit." Even the player notes contained a lot of snarks at the front office.
    Not all who wander are lost

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    Re: BP 2006: Reds Hitters

    If WMP puts up that line, he'll be a superstar.
    Suck it up cupcake.

  8. #7
    Stat Wanker Hodiernus RedsManRick's Avatar
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    Re: BP 2006: Reds Hitters

    I just don't understand projections that see a major uptick in Wily's batting average and on base percentage, yet see his homer totals in the 30's. If he hits .280, he'd have to take a major step backwards power wise to NOT hit 40 homers. If he hits .280 with 40 homers, he'll be one of the most valuable offensive players in the league.

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    White Castle to the Nile Crash Davis's Avatar
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    Re: BP 2006: Reds Hitters

    Anybody read the article in the back by Gary Huckabay regarding the limits of statistical analysis?

    Excellent essay and interview. I've been waiting to read another piece like that ever since since Bill James swiftly reprimanded the statistical analysis wannabes a few years ago while guest-writing for Neyer. It was so welcome, in fact, that I didn't even begrudge Huckabay for getting those thoughts into print before I could.

    Highlights:

    Gary Huckabay:
    Travis Hafner with the flu on April 8th is a different player than Travis Hafner in perfect health on May 14th. Using seasonal data, you get an aggregation of all the Hafners that played in 2005; that's not necessarily a bad thing, but any analysis or decision-making based on that information should include contextual information, if possible. That can't be done with statistical analysis.
    NL Scout:
    As a group, the statheads were no help. You didn't understand that parks change every year, and not just in little ways. Instead of understanding park effects better because we're taking all these little adjustments into account, now we know less than we did before, and we had to pay for the privilege.
    Gary Huckabay:
    The somewhat problematic issue is that of embedded assumptions -- we don't generally have enough data to know the specific impact of a player's physical environment on that player's performance, so we end up using data aggregations and averages, which leaves us without a good tool to explain why a particular park has certain effects.
    Kevin Goldstein, Baseball America:
    The amazing thing to me is that people don't question that a college football athlete can have great statistics, win the Heisman Trophy, and still have no future in the NFL because professional football is a different beast. Then, those same people can't accept that a player can be a great collegiate baseball player, but have no chance of ever making a contribution in pro baseball. The college game of baseball is a different game than professional baseball, just as the NFL game is a different game than Major College Football.
    Gary Huckabay:
    It's not about using information or not using information. It's about identifying and gathering the right information on which to base decisions.
    Gary Huckabay: So the stats guys have simply failed to make their case?
    Baseball Executive: I think so. And it's because most of the stat guys that have been hired are the wrong guys. They're amateur mathematicians, really. They don't have training or experience in persuading people. What I've seen and heard, both personally and second hand, is that if their mathematical case isn't the one that ends up determining a roster spot or contract, they repeat the same information, only louder, and decry the lack of understanding of the other people in the process.
    Gary Huckabay: Are you worried about losing ground to other organizations that are investing more money and time in their analytical capabilities?
    Baseball Executive: Not really, no.
    Gary Huckabay: There are clubs doing some pretty cool stuff.
    Baseball Executive: But they're not using it particularly well. One thing I've learned is that this isn't an area where clubs can actually generate an advantage. It's more of a place where you can lose ground if you do nothing, rather than one where you can gain something through action.
    Gary Huckabay: But don't you lose ground to an org that has a dedicated person, or a top-flight consultant like an Eddie Epstein?
    Baseball Executive: If so, it's not a huge advantage they're getting. It's not like every team has a squad of Keith Woolners on staff with a team of analysts and programmers at his beck and call. And, the dirty little secret of your industry is its lack of opinion divergence [bold and italics are mine]....
    Gary Huckabay: What do you mean by lack of opinion divergence?
    Baseball Executive: You guys generally don't have a dime's worth of difference between you when it comes to players. You like durable guys with high on base percentages who hit for power and play great defense. On the mound, you like guys that strike people out as often as possible, don't walk people, and keep the ball on the ground. Gee, not sh!t. Us dumb-arse scouts would never have thought of that. Do you think it's possible that maybe you'll be against wife beating and passing out meth to kids, too?
    Baseball Executive: The biggest problem with statistical analysis is that it's always retrospective. That's the biggest difference between stats and traditional scouting, and it's an unconquerable strength of scouting. I've seen perhaps 15-20 prediction methods using statistical data; you have PECOTA and Vlad, Rotowire, perhaps a dozen systems done by individuals, and all of them basically work off the same information. None of them are particularly interesting, really, and their primary benefit is that someone else has done the tedious work of writing them all down. I'd like to see a prediction system that worked well, and had some actual knobs that can be tuned, in terms of underlying assumptions.
    Gary Huckabay: What's next for statistical analysis in front offices?
    Baseball Executive: Like most movements, its best ideas will be co-opted by the brightest people on the "other side." It doesn't take very long to teach the core pieces of serious baseball analysis to scouts and old-line baseball men. The reality is that there's never been that much difference between the guys that the scouts like, and the guys that the statheads like. It's really just a question of degree.

    Baseball Executive: Seriously, though, it's much easier for an ex-player to learn what he needs in terms of analysis than it is for a true data star to learn what he needs in terms of observation, people, and management skills. Just the way it is.
    Gary Huckabay: The baseball analysis "community" lacks standards; people self-publish their work and feel confident that they're qualified to offer advice on multi-million dollar transactions. Many of these people don't have formal training in statistical methods or research design, nor exposure to all of the constraints facing decision-makers in front offices. They occupy a nexus between academia and fandom....
    There is excessive attention paid to the "academic" race, refining a model to another 1% of precision, without regard to its utility for making decisions that will actually help a ballclub, or the enormous error bars inherent in the entire exercise. All of these things work against the widespread adoption, much less embrace, of data-driven management.
    Ouch.
    Last edited by Crash Davis; 03-10-2006 at 10:55 AM.
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    Re: BP 2006: Reds Hitters

    Anybody read the article in the back by Gary Huckabay regarding the limits of statistical analysis?
    First thing I read when I got the book, it was very good, but also cited the FO lack of faith in paying the going rate for a trained math whiz and also pointed out that the scouts get peanuts as well. As for the "people" aspect of it the players are not short on guys with little or no people skills... come to think of it neither are some executives.

    Dan O'Brien leaps to mind.

    Do the real question could be in his case Nepotism or Math Skills without being able to crack jokes with the good old boys.

    In retrospect I'd take the math.

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    Score Early, Score Often gonelong's Avatar
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    Re: BP 2006: Reds Hitters

    Quote Originally Posted by Crash Davis
    Anybody read the article in the back by Gary Huckabay regarding the limits of statistical analysis?

    Excellent essay and interview. I've been waiting to read another piece like that ever since since Bill James swiftly reprimanded the statistical analysis wannabes a few years ago while guest-writing for Neyer. It was so welcome, in fact, that I didn't even begrudge Huckabay for getting those thoughts into print before I could.

    [B]

    What I get out of that is if you hire bad people you get bad results.

    GL

  13. #12
    Playoffs Cyclone792's Avatar
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    Re: BP 2006: Reds Hitters

    Quote Originally Posted by gonelong
    What I get out of that is if you hire bad people you get bad results.

    GL
    I got that out of it too.

    A good working front office model includes people who can provide good statistical analysis, form good decisions based on their analysis and be excellent communicators. That front office also includes good scouts that can provide a wealth of outstanding scouting information, make good decisions based on their analysis and also be excellent communicators. Have them report to front office executives that understand both ends of the equation well, can make good decisions based on all the information they receive from each side and can communicate effectively in a positive manner with everyone else.

    Throw that into a bowl, mix well and you've got a great foundation.
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    Re: BP 2006: Reds Hitters

    thanks for posting, Crash. You're always thought-provoking

    the problem of low opinion divergence is something that we also have right here on Redszone

  15. #14
    Hey Cubs Fans RFS62's Avatar
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    Re: BP 2006: Reds Hitters

    Thanks Crash. Great read.

    I've been saying this part for a long time.

    Baseball Executive: Like most movements, its best ideas will be co-opted by the brightest people on the "other side." It doesn't take very long to teach the core pieces of serious baseball analysis to scouts and old-line baseball men. The reality is that there's never been that much difference between the guys that the scouts like, and the guys that the statheads like. It's really just a question of degree.

    Baseball Executive: Seriously, though, it's much easier for an ex-player to learn what he needs in terms of analysis than it is for a true data star to learn what he needs in terms of observation, people, and management skills. Just the way it is.
    "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
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  16. #15
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    Re: BP 2006: Reds Hitters

    Gary Huckabay: What do you mean by lack of opinion divergence?

    Baseball Executive: You guys generally don't have a dime's worth of difference between you when it comes to players. You like durable guys with high on base percentages who hit for power and play great defense. On the mound, you like guys that strike people out as often as possible, don't walk people, and keep the ball on the ground. Gee, not sh!t. Us dumb-arse scouts would never have thought of that. Do you think it's possible that maybe you'll be against wife beating and passing out meth to kids, too?
    So, if all statheads like the same guys and those are the same guys the scouts also like, why again do the statheads get bashed for a lack of "opinion divergence"?

    And if they're truly the same guys the scouts and "baseball executives" like, then why do bad players the statheads wouldn't touch keep getting signed to multi-million dollar contracts by baseball executives?

    5-to-1 odds that "Baseball Executive" is Eddie Bane.
    "The problem with strikeouts isn't that they hurt your team, it's that they hurt your feelings..." --Rob Neyer

    "The single most important thing for a hitter is to get a good pitch to hit. A good hitter can hit a pitch that’s over the plate three times better than a great hitter with a ball in a tough spot.”
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