Turn Off Ads?
Results 1 to 14 of 14

Thread: A deconstructed view of projection

  1. #1
    Stat Wanker Hodiernus RedsManRick's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Guelph, ON
    Posts
    16,183

    A deconstructed view of projection

    So I just posted in another thread about my views on when you can "safely" project a pitching prospect. That got me thinking, why do we always talk about a guy making the big leagues based on his current place in the minors? What if we only talked about his move to the next level? That is, from the perspective of AA ball being baseline "majors", who are the best prospects. What player in A ball is going to make the biggest impact in AA? What player in AA is going to make the biggest impact in AAA?

    What if the type of player who moves well from A to AA is significantly different from the guy who moves from AA to AAA. Maybe walk rate is less important going from A ball to AA -- but a big deal for the next step. Maybe contact rate becomes less important relative to power as you move up the chain.

    I say it because a lot of the Reds' high level talent is still really young. Cueto & Bruce haven't played above A ball yet. There's this notion that certain types of guys who perform great at low levels hit their ceiling at a certain point. Is this really true? What skills progress linearly through the minors and which become more or less significant? As a rule, can we write off that soft tossing righty who locates his stuff well and dominates A ball by not walking a sole? What about that kid with some pop who hits .320/.340/.450 but never saw a ball four he didn't want to hit? At what point is a power frame merely a frame and a weakness an inability?

    I think we all internalize this process as we project guys all the way up the ladder, but perhaps it would be wise not to. I think we're hiding what it means for a player to develop. As players progress, they must refine their skills and perhaps learn new ones. They have to refine second and third pitches. They have to locate their fastball. They have to fix that hole low and inside and learn to recognize a slider from a lefty.

    Any stumble along the way from Rookie ball to the majors can keep a guy from making the show. Even guys who make the majors can flatline because of a developmental hurdle. (Say hi to Mr. Not-a-Fastball Mr. Larson) Thus, rather than trying to project players across all of these potential developmental stumbling blocks, why not try and break it down a bit. Once a guy has cleared a hurdle, let's look at his chance of clearing the next one -- not just refining our estimation of where he'll finish in the race. Until we know how likely a guy is to clear each hurdle (and if those likelihoods vary for different types of players), judging his overall shot at the majors seems like a complete guessing game.
    Last edited by RedsManRick; 01-29-2007 at 12:31 AM.
    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.

  2. Turn Off Ads?
  3. #2
    Charlie Brown All-Star IslandRed's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Location
    Melbourne, FL
    Posts
    4,866

    Re: A deconstructed view of projection

    Good post.

    I remember reading a bit about how the A's have revised some of their thinking from what was presented in Moneyball because of what could be termed "empty walks" in the lower minors. Patience and strike-zone judgment are important things, of course. But in the lower minors, a hitter can build a solid OBP and walk rate just by having that patience, even if he doesn't really hit all that well. As he moves up, walks are issued not so much because the pitcher can't throw strikes but because he's trying not to challenge certain hitters. A hitter who doesn't inspire fear will be challenged more and therefore walked less, and there goes his prime skill set. (I remember from Moneyball that it was part of Alderson's tenets that hitters should have enough power to inspire that fear. I think maybe the A's got away from that in the obsessive focus on OBP.) So maybe that's an example of a skill set that doesn't necessarily translate -- say, from Double-A on up -- unless it's backed up with another skill set.
    For those who believe, no proof is necessary. For those who don't believe, no proof is possible

  4. #3
    Stat Wanker Hodiernus RedsManRick's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Guelph, ON
    Posts
    16,183

    Re: A deconstructed view of projection

    Good point IR, the interplay between developing skills is huge. When Joey Votto couldn't wait on his pitch and was forced to hit from behind in the count, he struck out more and his power declined. Likewise, a guy who feasts on mediocre fastballs can destroy pitching up to a certain point. However, as those crappy players he killed fail to advance, he suddenly gets revealed as a guy who can't hit outside soft stuff and gets eaten alive.

    Perhaps this is the gap that scouting fills. It's difficult to isolate these types of things in terms of statistics -- in part to sample size, in part the the complexity of the situation. If a scout can look at that .300/.360/.500 guy and tell me how he's putting up that line, we have a better idea of if he'll be able to repeat & build on it.
    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.

  5. #4
    Charlie Brown All-Star IslandRed's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Location
    Melbourne, FL
    Posts
    4,866

    Re: A deconstructed view of projection

    Votto's a real good example. I pretty much discount his mediocre line from 2005 for those exact reasons, and without that dragging his numbers down, PECOTA would have had a field day with him.

    Now I remember one other BP article that outlined the difficulty of using walk rate as a proxy for plate discipline. They were comparing David Eckstein to Manny Ramirez, and using pitch-by-pitch data to point out that Ramirez wasn't really a more disciplined hitter despite his far higher walk rate, he was just pitched around frequently as opposed to Eckstein's hardly ever. Unfortunately, since pitch-by-pitch data is hard to come by for minor-leaguers, we do the best we can.
    For those who believe, no proof is necessary. For those who don't believe, no proof is possible

  6. #5
    Redsmetz redsmetz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Winton Place
    Posts
    11,291

    Re: A deconstructed view of projection

    I'm not sure if this plays into the equation, but I think we're seeing something different with the new regime. Maybe it's significant, maybe it's nothing. Krivsky seens committed to making each stop in the minor leagues a part of the process. I remember him saying that we have AAA teams for a reason. Since Dunn and Kearns came up, we have not had any leading prospects at Louisville, other than maybe Deno. Most have been guys like Norris Hopper who may end up being journeyman at the top level who are tearing it up in AAA.

    I think this is why it's highly doubtful that Bailey will go north with the team. He is going to see some AAA play this season, no matter how briefly. Ultimately, I think we will be a better team at the ML level with this change. The days of jumping from AA to the big club need to be a thing of the past. Of course, that will take time to fill the system with upward moving prospects.

  7. #6
    Ya can't teach speed... Triples's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Indpls
    Posts
    341

    Re: A deconstructed view of projection

    This is a really interesting thread. I wish I could think of something interesting to add to this but the posters have hit the nail on the head IMO.

  8. #7
    Hey Cubs Fans RFS62's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2000
    Location
    New York
    Posts
    16,599

    Re: A deconstructed view of projection

    Quote Originally Posted by RedsManRick View Post
    Likewise, a guy who feasts on mediocre fastballs can destroy pitching up to a certain point. However, as those crappy players he killed fail to advance, he suddenly gets revealed as a guy who can't hit outside soft stuff and gets eaten alive.

    Perhaps this is the gap that scouting fills. It's difficult to isolate these types of things in terms of statistics -- in part to sample size, in part the the complexity of the situation. If a scout can look at that .300/.360/.500 guy and tell me how he's putting up that line, we have a better idea of if he'll be able to repeat & build on it.


    Yeah, that's exactly what I believe. You have to have guys who know what they're looking at and can assess a players abilities.

    I really believe that you get better decisions when you combine statistical evaluation and expert subjective judgment.

    I think more old school guys every day are listening to stat guys. The smart ones know now. They're all going to have to learn the new language or they'll be left behind like dinosaurs.

    BTW, great posts RedsManRick and Island Red. Just fantastic observations.
    "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."
    ~ Mark Twain

  9. #8
    Redsmetz redsmetz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Winton Place
    Posts
    11,291

    Re: A deconstructed view of projection

    Quote Originally Posted by RFS62 View Post
    Yeah, that's exactly what I believe. You have to have guys who know what they're looking at and can assess a players abilities.

    I really believe that you get better decisions when you combine statistical evaluation and expert subjective judgment.

    I think more old school guys every day are listening to stat guys. The smart ones know now. They're all going to have to learn the new language or they'll be left behind like dinosaurs.

    BTW, great posts RedsManRick and Island Red. Just fantastic observations.
    Not to pick a fight, but how did "old school" guys get by before stat guys came along. It can't all be about stats, somewhere someone has to recognize the ability of the player and how to maximize that. Certainly that will show in stats, but I just don't think it's as simple as listening to the stat guys. Where's the human element?

  10. #9
    Charlie Brown All-Star IslandRed's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Location
    Melbourne, FL
    Posts
    4,866

    Re: A deconstructed view of projection

    Quote Originally Posted by redsmetz View Post
    Not to pick a fight, but how did "old school" guys get by before stat guys came along. It can't all be about stats, somewhere someone has to recognize the ability of the player and how to maximize that. Certainly that will show in stats, but I just don't think it's as simple as listening to the stat guys. Where's the human element?
    The eyes deceive us.

    So can statistics.

    I think the vast majority of reasonable people, in the game and out, understand the need for statistical analysis and good scouting. I've seen it expressed in different metaphors, but it's basically the "pizza or beer" question, where the correct answer is "both." You still have your fossils who think everything you need to know about baseball was known before 1950, and you still have statheads that think they can make scouts obsolete, but there really aren't that many anymore. The question has moved on from "stats or scouts?" to finding the best ways to integrate the two sources of information.
    For those who believe, no proof is necessary. For those who don't believe, no proof is possible

  11. #10
    The Big Dog mth123's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    15,038

    Re: A deconstructed view of projection

    Quote Originally Posted by redsmetz View Post
    Not to pick a fight, but how did "old school" guys get by before stat guys came along. It can't all be about stats, somewhere someone has to recognize the ability of the player and how to maximize that. Certainly that will show in stats, but I just don't think it's as simple as listening to the stat guys. Where's the human element?
    I think Stats and Scouting go hand in hand and provide checks and balances against each other. I'm guessing in the old days the stakes weren't as high and if "going with your gut" resulted in a mistake it didn't cost Millions of dollars.

    If it were my money, I'd want both.

  12. #11
    Stat Wanker Hodiernus RedsManRick's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Guelph, ON
    Posts
    16,183

    Re: A deconstructed view of projection

    Rather than a scouts vs. stats debate, do you guys have thoughts on which skill sets can deceive vs. those that are true indicators of future success? The A's are seeing somewhat of a backlash internally against guys with empty OBP. That is, guys like Scott Hatteberg who can get on base, don't have any speed, don't play good defense (or at least not at a valuable defensive spot), and are unable to advance runners. Sure, there's still value there, but the pendulum perhaps had swung too far.

    So why did Brandon Larson top out at AAA? Could we have predicted it earlier? Which skill sets develop at what level? If you lack a given skill at a given level, will it hold you back indefinitely or can it come along later?
    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.

  13. #12
    The Big Dog mth123's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    15,038

    Re: A deconstructed view of projection

    I think K Rate and Walk Rate in the minors can be deceptive. If a guy is getting a lot of strike outs because inferior hitters are chasing stuff that he can't get over the plate, that will turn into a lot of walks and a drop in K's at higher levels.

    It would take a scout who has seen a guy first hand (multiple times) to know whether these component stats are the real deal IMO.

    For hitters the whole "strike outs are just another out" line of thought can be deceptive. If a guy is working counts, getting behind and striking out as a side effect of his ability to draw walks and wait for his pitch, then the "strike outs are just another out" statement rings true. But if a guy is too often just flailing away and can't hit anything, then the strike outs could be an indicator that he will really go south as he moves up.

    Again, you may be able to glean the difference by looking at the walks and other totals, but I would want a scout checking out any hitter with a high K rate to have a better idea of the circumstances.

  14. #13
    Hey Cubs Fans RFS62's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2000
    Location
    New York
    Posts
    16,599

    Re: A deconstructed view of projection

    Quote Originally Posted by mth123 View Post
    I think Stats and Scouting go hand in hand and provide checks and balances against each other. I'm guessing in the old days the stakes weren't as high and if "going with your gut" resulted in a mistake it didn't cost Millions of dollars.

    If it were my money, I'd want both.


    Me too. I think one of the most confusing things about all the "stats vs scouts" debate is the fact that scouts have ALWAYS looked at stats.

    They all know ERA, batting average, and all the "traditional" stats that have been the mainstay of sports reporting since the first box score.

    And many of the guys who are seen today as dinosaurs were actually innovators in their day. The first group to use radar guns, stopwatch timing of pitchers and catchers moves..... these things were looked at with a skeptical eye when they first started appearing at ballparks.

    So, it's ironic to me that guys who were innovators and know "their" stats inside out and backwards would now be in a turf war over the "new" stats that have emerged since James started writing.

    It's a process of evolution, and the guys like Billy Beane who have a players sensibilities in addition to an understanding of the new math have an advantage.
    "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."
    ~ Mark Twain

  15. #14
    The Big Dog mth123's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    15,038

    Re: A deconstructed view of projection

    Quote Originally Posted by RFS62 View Post
    Me too. I think one of the most confusing things about all the "stats vs scouts" debate is the fact that scouts have ALWAYS looked at stats.

    They all know ERA, batting average, and all the "traditional" stats that have been the mainstay of sports reporting since the first box score.

    And many of the guys who are seen today as dinosaurs were actually innovators in their day. The first group to use radar guns, stopwatch timing of pitchers and catchers moves..... these things were looked at with a skeptical eye when they first started appearing at ballparks.

    So, it's ironic to me that guys who were innovators and know "their" stats inside out and backwards would now be in a turf war over the "new" stats that have emerged since James started writing.

    It's a process of evolution, and the guys like Billy Beane who have a players sensibilities in addition to an understanding of the new math have an advantage.
    I think this is simply a normal reaction by people who have had their jobs threatened by new innovations. The baseball lifer who hasn't had to use a computer or do a lot of math has to be a little threatened by the statistical analysis that has raised the bar for his performance. When you look at the cost of players these days, making a mistake on a guy is pretty costly. If some percentage of mistakes can be prevented by running a few numbers then teams need to do it to save millions of dollars - and guys who can't may not have a place anymore. That's what I would think if I were them and I would fear for my livelihood.

    IMO it is no different then when Robotic Machines, Computer Aided Engineering, and automated bookkeeping came along to threaten livelihoods in those industries. There will be some who embrace it and ride it to a new level of success, some who are left on the outside looking in and a lot who are angry, feel threatened and lash out. An unfortunate side effect of progress is those who are left behind and it always seems to lead to conflict.

    Aren't we lucky that we can just argue about it on a message board and not have our real worlds threatened by the debate?


Turn Off Ads?

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

Board Moderators may, at their discretion and judgment, delete and/or edit any messages that violate any of the following guidelines: 1. Explicit references to alleged illegal or unlawful acts. 2. Graphic sexual descriptions. 3. Racial or ethnic slurs. 4. Use of edgy language (including masked profanity). 5. Direct personal attacks, flames, fights, trolling, baiting, name-calling, general nuisance, excessive player criticism or anything along those lines. 6. Posting spam. 7. Each person may have only one user account. It is fine to be critical here - that's what this board is for. But let's not beat a subject or a player to death, please.

Thank you, and most importantly, enjoy yourselves!


RedsZone.com is a privately owned website and is not affiliated with the Cincinnati Reds or Major League Baseball


Contact us: Boss | GIK | BCubb2003 | dabvu2498 | Gallen5862 | LexRedsFan | Plus Plus | RedlegJake | redsfan1995 | The Operator | Tommyjohn25