|By Casey McLain||By 03-10-2013|
|1. By: BackseatGM on 03-11-2013 11:19:26|
Ok, I'm hopelessly old school and admit to not having a good handle on these new stats. Can someone tell me how a guy with 92 RBI's in 140 games in 2012 (Torii Hunter) has a WAR of 5.3 but a guy with 128 RBI's in 148 games (Josh Hamilton) has an expected WAR in the 3's for 2013?
|2. By: Casey McLain on 03-11-2013 11:35:37|
WAR is based on the Runs Created model created by Tom Tango (former M's employee), where every event has a theoretical run value. The currency of baseball, obviously, are runs, and the same way that things like health plans or not having to drive in traffic should factor into someone's total compensation at their job, even though they may not directly effect a person's bank account, baseball's events separate from RBIs also carry a similar value.
I'm not a guy that quotes RBIs much, and there are several studies that show that RBIs are correlated more with frequency of opportunity than repeatable skill.
Also, one thing that isn't captured in RBIs, or any other traditional metric, is the value of above average defense. Hunter's value is derived to some extent from his ability to competently play the outfield. I'm not convinced that there is a comprehensive defensive metric stable enough to consider the gospel, but they generally agree and are worth considering in terms of value.
RBIs don't have much predictive value for a player, and are highly influenced by a surrounding lineup and/or the player's home ballpark.
|3. By: Seattlesteve on 03-11-2013 12:18:29|
#1 The difference in Hamilton and Hunter last year was not as big as you might believe. Per Fangraphs WAR Hamilton's 2012 was 4.4 and as you noted Hunter's was 5.3. WAR will give you a good idea of a player's true talent level, it should not be used to make the argument "Hunter is a superior baseball player to Hamilton." There are so many variables that go into this calculation that you will have to dig pretty deep to understand where the difference in value is generated from. But just one key point: These WAR values are park adjusted, so since the Ballpark in Arlington is incredibly hitter friendly his WAR value took that into account. On the other side Hunter played in one of the most pitcher friendly parks in baseball and had his WAR positively impacted due to it. It makes sense if you just take a step back and look at it big picture... You would expect a player to put up better numbers in Texas than you would in Petco.
In regards to the article, nice piece. I would agree that this roster projects better in 2013 (and is one with crazy upside). Erasmo 1.2? Saunders 0.8? Guti 0.6? All of these guys definitely come with question marks but these projections are extremely conservative.
|4. By: maqman on 03-11-2013 12:25:10|
I don't have much faith in the various projection systems, including Steamer. However I do agree with it's basic prognostication that the M's improved their team more than the Texicans and Anaheimians.
Hunter put up his numbers last season in a big ballpark and Hamilton did his in a bandbox. That leads me to believe Hamilton will struggle to equal his last seasons output and will be unlikely to replace Hunter's contributions.
While I plead guilty to being a homer, I find Steamer is luridly underestimating the potential of several M's players, including Morales, Morse, Smoak, Wells or Bay (whichever they keep), Saunders and Wilhelmsen, plus Ryan who can do it with just his defensive runs saved.
|5. By: maqman on 03-11-2013 12:30:39|
Seattlesteve is right, I forgot WAR is park adjusted, but I still believe Hamilton will not improve the Angels enough to compensate for their lost production.
|6. By: Casey McLain on 03-11-2013 12:38:22|
I agree and don't think single season WAR is enough to determine one player is better than another. Hunter's 2012 was an outlier in his recent years, but it was production, albeit likely lucky, that they must replace to remain at the same level they were last year. All of the projection systems are pretty pessimistic about Hunter's ability to repeat his 2012 results, for the record.
I have been pouring through Saunders' peripherals to find some optimism. He's not an obvious "good luck" or "bad luck" guy, but he strikes out more than league average, walks less than league average, and swings and misses more often than league average. I can't find a reason to believe he'll be better this year than last. That said, and as I mentioned, these projections systems are going to be tough on young guys with little experience, and especially young guys who have a poor production as a large part of their experience. Guti's lack of recent playing time makes him function like a guy with much less experience within these systems.
Also, thanks for the extra vowel in your description of Anaheim's natives. With their nickname already being Angels, if you'd omitted it you may have started a new, more crude nickname for them.
|7. By: short on 03-15-2013 11:25:29|
Based on these projections I see a couple of guys that I think have a good chance of outperforming their numbers: Guti and Morales. At only .6 WAR Guti is assumed basically to be injured most of the year. If he's on the field he's producing at least a couple more wins than that. And Morales' second half last year suggests he could return to form and produce a win or so more than the 1.5 he's down for. Although he does have the positional adjustment problem, he claims that he's fully healed and his August and September numbers from last year seem to agree. I like him for 2.5 wins assuming he gets the AB's.
This doesn't make up for the ~12 WAR difference between the M's and the favorites in the division. They'll still need surprising progress from youngsters and for the other teams to stumble if they have a shot at the post-season. It'll be a miracle if they win 85+ games.
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