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davidsb

09/02/2014: Detroit Tigers (Lobstein) at Cleveland Indians (Carrasco) – 7:05p

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This is true. That goes back to one of the reasons I hate the lousy scoring in the leagues today. Advanced stats are a good thing - no complaint at efforts to get better measures esp if you need to do quantitative valuations for trades etc, but at the risk of sounding Neanderthal here, from fan's perspective, I think you can look at most fielders and get at least a decent idea of what they can do in a couple dozen games. Sure absolute range can be really hard without the better metrics, but just in the case of an OF, 1)does he get a good jump 2)can he run fast 3)does he throw well and to the right place 4)can he play a wall, 5) can he deal with sun and lights...

You can do that kind of skill inventory and get a decent idea if a guy is a bum or not even without advance stats, but the one thing you need even without advanced stats is the reliability factor because you can't watch every fielder play every game. That is what errors should measure, but since scorers don't give errors regularly on clear mistakes you don't even have that anymore so we need the new stuff to be good even more.

This is what the fans' scouting report attempts to do on a year to year basis, and averages fans' opinions out. If you get enough opinions, you'll probably get pretty close to the truth.

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This is true. That goes back to one of the reasons I hate the lousy scoring in the leagues today. Advanced stats are a good thing - no complaint at efforts to get better measures esp if you need to do quantitative valuations for trades etc, but at the risk of sounding Neanderthal here, from fan's perspective, I think you can look at most fielders and get at least a decent idea of what they can do in a couple dozen games. Sure absolute range can be really hard without the better metrics, but just in the case of an OF, 1)does he get a good jump 2)can he run fast 3)does he throw well and to the right place 4)can he play a wall, 5) can he deal with sun and lights...

You can do that kind of skill inventory and get a decent idea if a guy is a bum or not even without advance stats, but the one thing you need even without advanced stats is the reliability factor because you can't watch every fielder play every game. That is what errors should measure, but since scorers don't give errors regularly on clear mistakes you don't even have that anymore so we need the new stuff to be good even more.

You may be able to judge their skill in a dozen games, but the statistics are measuring performance not skill. Just like a skilled hitter can perform poorly in a given year, a skilled fielder can also perform poorly in a given year.

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This is true. That goes back to one of the reasons I hate the lousy scoring in the leagues today. Advanced stats are a good thing - no complaint at efforts to get better measures esp if you need to do quantitative valuations for trades etc, but at the risk of sounding Neanderthal here, from fan's perspective, I think you can look at most fielders and get at least a decent idea of what they can do in a couple dozen games. Sure absolute range can be really hard without the better metrics, but just in the case of an OF, 1)does he get a good jump 2)can he run fast 3)does he throw well and to the right place 4)can he play a wall, 5) can he deal with sun and lights...

You can do that kind of skill inventory and get a decent idea if a guy is a bum or not even without advance stats, but the one thing you need even without advanced stats is the reliability factor because you can't watch every fielder play every game. That is what errors should measure, but since scorers don't give errors regularly on clear mistakes you don't even have that anymore so we need the new stuff to be good even more.

Yes, then the problem is that by the time you have a large enough defensive sample to be reliable you're measuring a guy over a time frame (3+ seasons) where not only his skills evolve/devolve but also where his park and/or teammates may change. Defense it seems will always be the province of communal observation as much as it is an exercise in data/analysis.

Ah, give me a power hitting first baseman anyday...so much easier.

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I think war is not that easy to explain. You have to cover a lot of things:

Batting events translating to runs

Runs translating to wins

Difficulty of playing one position relative to another

What replacement level is

Fielding in terms of runs

Base running in terms of runs

.

yeah, I don't think WAR is easy to explain and has a lot of caveats. It's a useful stat, but not one that is very accessible to the mainstream.

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This is what the fans' scouting report attempts to do on a year to year basis, and averages fans' opinions out. If you get enough opinions, you'll probably get pretty close to the truth.

I'm a pretty big believer in FSR now, yes.

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I'm a pretty big believer in FSR now, yes.

I tend to think the fans scouting report isn't that helpful relative to defensive runs saved and uzr.

I think the people that fill it out are biased toward what they see in uzr and DRS numbers.

Uzr and DRS are enough.

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I tend to think the fans scouting report isn't that helpful relative to defensive runs saved and uzr.

I think the people that fill it out are biased toward what they see in uzr and DRS numbers.

Uzr and DRS are enough.

I think it's a mix of DRS/UZR bias and true fan scouting. It's a useful data point when multiple years of data are not available such as with rookies. I also like how it breaks down fielding into different skills.

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Dave Dombrowski once reminded people that Darwin Barney had a higher WAR than Miguel Cabrera. He said he respected Barney, but he'd rather have Miggy.

Darwin Barney has never even been close to Cabrera in WAR.

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Doesn't uzr break down skills? I see range, error, and arm listed there.

Fan scouting is based on the same things uzr "sees."

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I tend to think the fans scouting report isn't that helpful relative to defensive runs saved and uzr.

I think the people that fill it out are biased toward what they see in uzr and DRS numbers.

Uzr and DRS are enough.

FSR shouldn't be used alone, but it tries to provide some "step back" context about player skills that UZR/DSR don't provide....you think it fails, OK.

But UZR and DSR don't really try to measure skills, they measure performance. And I don't think there are enough plays to cancel out the "noise" of a few great/poor plays over a season (or less than a season), which makes UZR/DSR too volatile to use alone IMHO.

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Tony Gwynn had a higher career batting average than Cabrera.

Greg Vaughn had 2 seasons where hit hit more HR than Miguel netted in his best season.

Dave Kingman had more career HR than Cabrera.

Juan Gonzalez had 2 seasons with more RBI than Cabrera had in his highest RBI season.

I would still take Miguel Cabrera career over any of those players' career.

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You may be able to judge their skill in a dozen games, but the statistics are measuring performance not skill. .

this is a good and interesting point to explore and bears on the difference between hitting and fielding analysis.

For instance, I can look at Castellanos vs J.D. Martinez and see some similar hitting skill sets. Both guys can inside out the ball, both have power to all fields, but can be beat by slider away etc. IOW, each of these guys has demonstrated some of the same skills. Yet because hitting is such a high failure rate activity (<40% success), it turns out that for hitters you can observe skill all you want and it still won't tell you with any certainly if they can execute the extra 10% of the time that changes a 200 hitter to a 300 hitter. So the actual performance metric overshadows the value of the skill inventory. Nick has a lot of hitting skills, but J.D. is outperforming him by a much larger margin and I don't think you could predict that very accurately just by looking at what bat skills the two may show intermittently.

But fielding is an extremely high percentage success activity. Most guys in the field play pretty much to their skill level - other than their mistake rate - which is important. But unlike hitters that may look great but don't hit a lick, you don't see fielders that make good plays one day and then can't make them the next to anything like the degree you see it in hitting. Other than explicit errors (not the scoring kind, the 'real' kind) with fielders we don't generally have to consider a rate of execution failure variable as a strong correlate of their performance analysis.

Now add the fact that hitters have a lot of AB and so quickly build a record that is well suited to statistical analysis that has some reasonable power, whereas fielders have relatively few chances - especially (as noted) hard ones and so don't build a record amenable to the same power of statistical analysis and it just highlights how different the situation is between hitting and defense.

and this puts me in mind of Ryan Raburn as the exception that proves the rule. The reason he was such an enigma as a fielder was exactly because the skills he could demonstrate did not hold up consistently in the game, which made him an outlier as a fielder because of how rare that situation is.

Edited by Gehringer_2

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I really like WAR and it is probably my go to stat when comparing players that play the same position but I do think when you try to compare it with people from other positions it can be flawed because of the positional adjustment. Now being that much better than your replacement should tell you that you are more valuable, but valuable doesn't necessarily mean better. Hypothetically you have an elite 1B and you have a 2nd tier SS. That elite 1B could probably do every thing better on the baseball field than that SS(for arguments sake lets say he is a good runner) but he doesn't have the skill to play SS. If you can hit for a better average, more power, better eye and are a strong defender at your position but just can't play SS Does that mean that you are a worse player than the SS? I don't necessarily think so even though WAR might disagree.

A perfect example of this situation this year is Jhonny Peralta and Jose Abreu. Now the defensive numbers don't like Abreu, but even if they did and they graded him positively he would still have less WAR than Peralta. Now Abreu literally does everything better at the plate by Peralta, by a long shot I might add, and runs the bases just as well but Peralta gets an almost 2 WIN advantage for playing SS over 1B which skews the numbers big time. That's why I don't like using WAR for identifying the better player when they don't play the same position.

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