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Thread: To Fangraphs, or Not to Fangraphs, that is the question.

  1. #1
    Member MikeThierry's Avatar
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    To Fangraphs, or Not to Fangraphs, that is the question.

    I love using both baseball reference or fangraphs. I like the ease of access to the raw numbers that baseball reference brings to the table and I like the advanced stuff that fangraphs brings to the table. However, the thing that is kind of frustrating when debating people on things like WAR is how fangraphs and baseball reference have different ways in evaluating WAR. I know that fangraphs uses UZR to calculate WAR while baseball reference uses DRS (I believe). Which website is more reliable in their WAR calculation rather which one is the best measurement to use in conversations or in a baseball debate?
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    Lets Go 'Bird' Hunting The Voice of IH's Avatar
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    Re: To Fangraphs, or Not to Fangraphs, that is the question.

    Here is a n00b question that I want to ask.

    Wouldn't Shin-Soo Choo's WAR be higher when he plays for the Reds than when he played for the Indians. Clearly, the Reds were in need of a leadoff hitter much more than Cleveland did.

    How does WAR account for that?
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    Re: To Fangraphs, or Not to Fangraphs, that is the question.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Voice of IH View Post
    Here is a n00b question that I want to ask.

    Wouldn't Shin-Soo Choo's WAR be higher when he plays for the Reds than when he played for the Indians. Clearly, the Reds were in need of a leadoff hitter much more than Cleveland did.

    How does WAR account for that?
    It doesn't nor should it, as it's supposed to value the baseball player independant of his teammates.

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    I'm gettin paper Homer Bailey's Avatar
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    Re: To Fangraphs, or Not to Fangraphs, that is the question.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Voice of IH View Post
    Here is a n00b question that I want to ask.

    Wouldn't Shin-Soo Choo's WAR be higher when he plays for the Reds than when he played for the Indians. Clearly, the Reds were in need of a leadoff hitter much more than Cleveland did.

    How does WAR account for that?
    Choo's WAR would be the same, but the net WAR gain for the Reds would be bigger considering the hole he is filling in (Stubbs).

  6. #5
    The Boss dougdirt's Avatar
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    Re: To Fangraphs, or Not to Fangraphs, that is the question.

    With position players, it is simple for me: UZR>>>>>>> DRS. Not even close. So FG>BR.

    Generally speaking, I can get the merits for both versions of their pitching WAR.

    I will say this though, the only time I see "sabermatricians" using BWAR is when talking about players who played before UZR came around. Anything that is talked about in recent time, they are using FWAR.

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    Stat Wanker Hodiernus RedsManRick's Avatar
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    Re: To Fangraphs, or Not to Fangraphs, that is the question.

    Here is an interesting thread on Tango's site discussing the two defensive systems:

    http://www.insidethebook.com/ee/inde...hts_uzr_v_drs/

    I personally tend to use fangraphs, but that's more a function of their interface (customizable player page layouts & leaderboards) than a strong affinity for the logic behind their metric. But they do come from different places:

    Fangraphs evolved from an analytical viewpoint of understanding the numbers behind the numbers. It's tried to bridge the gap from the "analytics" side of the ravine.

    Baseball Reference evolved from a historical viewpoint of documentation the game's outcomes throughout history. As it has become more of an analytics warehouse, it bridges the gap from the "historical" side of the ravine.

    Ultimately, I tend to err on the Fangraphs side of the "let's stick to what we can objectively, quantitatively account for" rather than B-Ref's "let's start with what the sum of what happened on the field make adjustments" approach. In large part, that's because the things that we historically have measured and treated as real measures of what happened don't actually measure what we care about (e.g. RBI is only a proxy of a given hitter's performance at the plate and ERA is only a proxy of a given pitcher's performance on the mount; as an outcome, both are strongly influenced by other members of the team. I'd rather start from what I know the individual player did and try to make it as rich as I can than start from a a team outcome and try to subtract out the overlaps. But given that the "truth" almost always lies in between the two, I think there are defensible reasons to prefer either.

    That all said, at the end of the day, the cases where the two vary significantly are relatively few and generally not sufficiently different to result in meaningful differences in interpretation. And where those cases do exist, we can probably get to the bottom of it through closer examination and adjust our ultimate conclusion accordingly. In that context, give me the tool that's easier to use, which I think is Fangraphs.
    Last edited by RedsManRick; 01-23-2013 at 07:37 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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    KungFu Fighter AtomicDumpling's Avatar
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    Re: To Fangraphs, or Not to Fangraphs, that is the question.

    Baseball Prospectus also has a great version of WAR but they call theirs WARP.

    All three versions of WAR are different. I would not say one has proven to be better than the others by any means. Each one of them has its pros and cons. For example, Fangraphs WAR has the better defensive component, but B-R WAR uses more accurate adjustments for park factors and interleague play.

    Here is a chart comparing the difference of the three major WAR systems: CHART

    One other interesting comment is that for most players their fWAR is usually higher than their bWAR which is higher than their WARP. If you add up all the WAR scores for all players in the league in 2012 the fWAR total is 691, the bWAR total is 517 and the WARP total is 433. (see WAR Index) This means that it is easier to earn a point of fWAR than a point of the other WAR scores.

    Each of these websites is constantly tinkering with their formulas. WAR is an evolving concept. I imagine it will be a number of years yet before any sort of consensus is reached on the best way to distill a player's contributions on a ballfield into one simple number.
    Last edited by AtomicDumpling; 01-23-2013 at 09:03 PM.

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    Re: To Fangraphs, or Not to Fangraphs, that is the question.

    For pitchers, I like Fangraphs because they've got both (FIP-based) WAR and RA9-Wins in the "value" section of the player page. So, if you think FIP is a good indication of a pitcher's ability, you've got that stat, but if you think there's a reason a pitcher tends to outperform his FIP, you have easy access to the RA9 metric as well.

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    Member MikeThierry's Avatar
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    Re: To Fangraphs, or Not to Fangraphs, that is the question.

    Thank you all for your input here. I tend to always side with fangraphs because I like UZR a lot better than DRS. I just wasn't sure which one was more accurate. You all answered some questions I had.

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    High five! nate's Avatar
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    Re: To Fangraphs, or Not to Fangraphs, that is the question.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Voice of IH View Post
    Here is a n00b question that I want to ask.

    Wouldn't Shin-Soo Choo's WAR be higher when he plays for the Reds than when he played for the Indians. Clearly, the Reds were in need of a leadoff hitter much more than Cleveland did.

    How does WAR account for that?
    Well, sort of. WAR gives "credit" for how much you play so more PA as a result of batting higher in the order theoretically gives more opportunity to accumulate wins.
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    Stat Wanker Hodiernus RedsManRick's Avatar
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    Re: To Fangraphs, or Not to Fangraphs, that is the question.

    Quote Originally Posted by AtomicDumpling View Post
    Here is a chart comparing the difference of the three major WAR systems: CHART
    I'd not seen that table before. Thanks for sharing!
    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
    Stat Wanker Hodiernus RedsManRick's Avatar
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    Re: To Fangraphs, or Not to Fangraphs, that is the question.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Voice of IH View Post
    Here is a n00b question that I want to ask.

    Wouldn't Shin-Soo Choo's WAR be higher when he plays for the Reds than when he played for the Indians. Clearly, the Reds were in need of a leadoff hitter much more than Cleveland did.

    How does WAR account for that?
    At its heart, WAR is about giving a player credit for his actions over a generic baseline replacement.

    What you're describing is the reality of the situation that "real" replacement level varies by team, position, etc.

    If you want to analyze how much the Reds team improves as a result of having Choo instead of Stubbs, you can compared two players. But realize that's a team-level question. Choo himself isn't a more (or less) productive player as a result of who he is replacing.
    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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