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has anybody else got this book yet? qslvr, dtroppens? I just got its pretty interesting

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Todd,

Sorry out of all the folders this is the one I look in the least because I really am mostly just a Detroit sports fan. But today I just picked up the book.

I've been looking for it for about two weeks now (because that was the first I heard of people having it) and finally saw it at the Borders in Novi today. There is still one edition left!

It's really technical and I probably don't have the patience to sit down and read it page to page. I've really gotten to the point of learning about the players in terms of their personalities the last five years more than their stats, but I still had to get this book. I am intrigued about the defensive ratings. Primarily becuase I make my own game cards for my games and need any helpful tool I can to get defensive ratings.

Without reading a sentence explaining fielding shares I noticed Trammell and Whitaker rated a B-. That worries me. Kell also wasn't very high and neither was Lu Blue (a 1920s strong fielding first baseman for the Tigers). Those things bother me. Also Al Kaline only got a B (a B- if I recall correctly).

However, Mark Belanger is an A; Lance Parrish is an A (that's probably too high, he deserves a B for his weaker years for sure), and many others that deserve As got them.

Quickly my conclusion is he may have something here for some people but as with any other statistical info for defense it's not nearly as good as "what you see" yourself. However, he admits it isn't the final answer either, which is pretty refreshing.

I enjoy his first two historical abstracts. I don't think the second one nullifies the first at all. I just look at it as a different way to look at the players. This book probably enhances those in the same way.

It's amazing to me though. The more we understand baseball stats, the more I think they tell us that we never really will truly understand them. Our own opinions really deserve equal merit. But that's what makes baseball great huh?

I'd love to see what qsilver thinks of the book. I will never just sit down and read it page by page trying to understand it. However, I know within the next five or so years, I will probably eventually read pieces until I have it completed.

If you'd like to talk about a certain section, please tell me which anyone would like to. Maybe we can discuss it piece by piece.

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I haven't been able to find the stupid book. I've been to Borders and B&N to get it, but neither has had it for the last two weeks. hopefully it will be in tommorrow, but I'm calling first this time.

I don't think any defensive stat is the answer personally, but from what I've seen BP's defensive ratings are the most accurate. From what I know about win shares (which is basically stuff people on the stats and sabermetrics board at baseballboards.com have said) James' defensive ratings are similar to BP's in the way they are calculated.

B- doesn't seem that bad a grade for Trammell, depending on what his grading system is. It's above average but not one of the best of all time (assuming C is absolute average and the grading scale is a Bell Curve). Now if it's a uniform distribution (man I'm a nerd:) ) B- seems to low for Trammell. And by reputation at least a B- is WAY to low for Kaline no matter what the curve is.

I do think that "what you see yourself" is basically useless in terms of judging defense, because no one sees enough to make any kind of accurate comparison.

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What scouting yourself does though is help you learn the little things a guy can or can not do. A win share defensive number doesn't do that. And actually I disagree. I think over a period of a few years you really get a very good assessment of what a player can do. Heck at the HS level it takes less than that. It only takes a few games.

Qsilver,

Also it doesn't look like grades are uniform by a quick glance. It seems there are many higher grades than lower ones. That's something that's always bothered me when people do grades. He bases the grades on a number range. Maybe those ranges should be adjusted a little. There seems to be a heck of a lot more As than Ds.

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Personally I'd rather just see the number than the grade, because you're right, the grade doesn't mean much.

Even over the cuorse of 10 years, unless you are watching not only the player in question, but the other players in baseball on a consistent basis, there is no way you can make any kind of accurate comparison. And that is what rating someone is doing. If you say someone has above average range, then there has to someone with average range, and 50% of the SS in the league have to be below average. So while you get a very good idea of what an individual player can do, what you don't know is if that is actually better than what most of the other players in the league can do. Factor into this the fact that as far as defense is concerned, the first step and initial position are the keys to getting to any ball that is hit (both of which are almost impossible to make an assesment on unless you've decided ONLY to look at the fielder and not the pitcher or hitter for a play) and judging defense based on what you see is a really bad idea. Of course, statistics only tell you so much about a defender as well. Personally, I think the best method is a combination of statistics and what you see. Even that is seriously flawed. But overall I think an individuals defense is of significantly less value than an individuals offense, so it doesn't really become a problem unless you are talking about a really bad defender vs a really good defender, or two equally good hitters.

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I'd agree about using the combination of the two Qsilver.

I did start reading the book a tad last night and this morning. I read the entire intro and started getting in to chapter 2 about the win shares.

A few things I really don't get...

Why 3 win shares a game? I read somewhere where this was just a number he picked. He didn't think 10 proper or 1 was proper. He though 2-4 would be decent numbers and ended up with three.

- I just got to the start of his idea that any run over half the league average are important runs. It seems to me this is pretty arbitrary too. It seems to me maybe deducting a run for every game a team wins and none for every game a team loses should be done since that's the only given in a game that doesn't end in a tie or a forfeit (and actually that's a 9-0 game) - that the winning team must score at least one and the losing team can't win ever with no runs. It seems to me any run after those to points are what create the important characteristics to a game and the runs after those pre-requisites should be used because any run after that one winning run changes what happens during the course of the game. But maybe I haven't read far enough.

I usually read Bill James' stuff, but I don't always necessarily agree. And as I've said actually the older I get the less the numbers matter to me. Because of those factors I can see it's going to be hard for me to want to read too much on these formulas. Even the basic win shares formula (it took only a page to explain) was way more detailed than I am willing to sink into on an everyday basis.

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I don't think the 3 is really that important. If you use one you just ind up dividing all his numbers by 3. If you use 10 you multiply them all by 3.33, etc. As long as each game is worth the same, you can pretty much make it worth whatever you want. 3 does seem a bit more difficult to work with than 10 or 1 would be, but it might have something to do with baseball being split into three basic aspects (hitting, pitching, defense), but I kinda doubt it. It's probably just a number he thoguht looked good.

Of course, the book wasn't in yet today, so I haven't read any of it yet.

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