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Thread: Bill James - Team-by-Team Talent Rankings

  1. #16
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    Re: Bill James - Team-by-Team Talent Rankings

    Quote Originally Posted by lollipopcurve View Post
    If you're doing team rankings of young talent, I'd think you'd want to focus on -- or at least include -- players the teams will be able to control for the next few years. Instead, there are players on these lists who will be eligible for free agency soon. So, this is more a snapshot than a forecast.

    Kyle Kendrick an A, and Ryan Howard and Chase Utley Bs? Sorry, James may be esteemed, but he may also be inebriated.
    I'd like to know how he arrived at what he did here. Seems like a puff piece, IMO.

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  3. #17
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    Re: Bill James - Team-by-Team Talent Rankings

    Quote Originally Posted by Falls City Beer View Post
    I'd like to know how he arrived at what he did here. Seems like a puff piece, IMO.
    Well it is in the right publication for puff.

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    Re: Bill James - Team-by-Team Talent Rankings

    Quote Originally Posted by westofyou View Post
    Well it is in the right publication for puff.
    Can you explain a bit more of why you feel that way? Is it just becuase it is his book, or because of the stuff in it?

  5. #19
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    Re: Bill James - Team-by-Team Talent Rankings

    Quote Originally Posted by AvesIce51 View Post
    Can you explain a bit more of why you feel that way? Is it just becuase it is his book, or because of the stuff in it?
    Well it ran in SI, which as a magazine is nowhere where it was in the 70's as far as groundbreaking sports journalism. SI started out in the late 50's when Sport and The Sporting News were the standard of sports pubs, SI was then known as a glossy picture magazine with little "real" sports content outside of the photos.

    Sure James made a list and he's who he is and all that, but he isn't prone to picking 100 winners out of 100 by any stretch, all you have to do is leaf through a few old Abstracts to see that the man misses the target like any other fan now and then.

    As far as rankings, he's prone to use speed and ones glove and arm to throw a guy up a list, way more then just bats and OB%.

    One thing about the list is that it's just as prone to bad picks as any list compiled by anyone here, he just happens to have a track record that enables his name to be in the byline.

  6. #20
    breath westofyou's Avatar
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    Re: Bill James - Team-by-Team Talent Rankings

    Quote Originally Posted by Falls City Beer View Post
    I'd like to know how he arrived at what he did here. Seems like a puff piece, IMO.
    Perhaps it's some of the reasoning (not the method) described in the other thread on young talent.

    Who is the best young player in baseball? A deceptively tricky question, in that it requires us to combine two unlike factors -- youth and talent -- into one measurement. C. C. Sabathia is certainly a better pitcher right now than Felix Hernandez, but Sabathia was 26 in 2007; Hernandez was 21. Does Hernandez' youth outweigh Sabathia's production? Alex Rios is probably a better player right now than Jeff Francoeur, but Francoeur is three years younger. Both players are 1) clearly still young, and 2) clearly very good. How do you balance Francoeur's additional youth against Rios' additional accomplishments?

    You just have to pick a method and roll with it. We're not talking here about prospects or minor league players. We're discussing proven major league players who are still young. This was my method, in short. First, I eliminated from my study all players who were 29 years old in 2007 or older, since 29-year-olds in 2007 are now 30, and 30-year-old baseball players are not young. A 28- year-old player can be considered to have a little bit of youth left; a 30-year-old, no way. Second, I figured the runs created by each player -- for Rios, 105. Third, I made a "speed adjustment", since speed correlates strongly with defensive value, and defensive value is more difficult to measure. Fourth, I divided that total by the runs scored/runs allowed per game by the player's team, thus building in context adjustments. Fifth, I multiplied that by the number of years the player had left before he was 33 years old. For Alex Rios, this creates an output of 216, which ranks ... well, I'll get to that in a moment. For the pitchers, I developed a similar method based on runs allowed.

    Why 33 years old, rather than 30? I tried it the other way and it doesn't work. Suppose that you have a 27-year-old player and a 24-year-old player of the same accomplishment...Jose Reyes and Albert Pujols, or Justin Verlander and Josh Beckett, or Edwin Encarnacion and Felipe Lopez. The 24-year-old is more valuable, and we want him to rank higher, but he's not twice as valuable. If we subtract his age from 30, that's 3 "years left" for the 27-year-olds, 6 years left for the 24-year-olds. It causes moderately good 22-year-olds to vault ahead of MVP-level 27-year-olds. Subtracting from 33 flattens the slope, creating better balance.

  7. #21
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    Re: Bill James - Team-by-Team Talent Rankings

    Yep, he just picked a method and rolled with it. Just because he's Bill James doesn't mean he can't fiddle around with stuff for the heck of it sometimes. I wouldn't take this particularly seriously, but it's maybe a good starting point for a conversation about how you might create a better method.
    "Reality tells us there are no guarantees. Except that some day Jon Lester will be on that list of 100-game winners." - Peter Gammons

  8. #22
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    Re: Bill James - Team-by-Team Talent Rankings

    Quote Originally Posted by blumj View Post
    Yep, he just picked a method and rolled with it. Just because he's Bill James doesn't mean he can't fiddle around with stuff for the heck of it sometimes. I wouldn't take this particularly seriously, but it's maybe a good starting point for a conversation about how you might create a better method.
    A couple points (basically another way of saying what you've just said I think):

    1. Bill James basically is a fiddler.

    2. Saber guys are allowed to have opinions without being accused of presenting them on stone tablets...
    "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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