"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

At Close Range

How to quantify fielding? That is the question. Statistics are often revealing when discussing hitting but fielding is harder to pin down. For instance, how can you accurately determine a fielder’s range when players are often positioned by their coaches? Well, in today’s New York Times, Alan Schwarz takes a look at the future of fielding metrics:

A new camera and software system in its final testing phases will record the exact speed and location of the ball and every player on the field, allowing the most digitized of sports to be overrun anew by hundreds of innovative statistics that will rate players more accurately, almost certainly affect their compensation and perhaps alter how the game itself is played.

Which shortstops reach the hard-hit grounders up the middle? Which base runners take the fastest path from first base to third? Which right fielders charge the ball quickest and then throw the ball hardest and most accurately? Although the game will continue to answer to forces like wind, glaring sun and the occasional gnat swarm, a good deal of time-honored guesswork will give way to more definite measurements — continuing the trend of baseball front offices trading some traditional game-watching scouts for video and statistical analysts.

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1 Dimelo   ~  Jul 10, 2009 9:07 am

[0] I don't see this happening all that much: "affect their compensation".

If a player can hit, then most non-statistically inclined fans would care more about how well a player hits than his fielding. Not saying it isn't important, just don't think it'll affect how well a player gets compensated - as long as he can hit.

If the Yankees are offering player X 15 million - 3 million less than another team - and the Yankees fail to sign the player because of the 3 million gap in $. The player then goes ahead and has a solid career with the stick, I don't think too many Yankee fans will like the excuse "we didn't go higher because he's one of the worse defensive players at his position".

Also, can't that data be used to grade your bench coaches too? I would think so, if your bench coaches are continuously putting the fielders in spots that are making their jobs more difficult then you can use this data against them as well.

For example, this year I feel like Jeter is better positioned (before the pitch is thrown) than years past but there's no way I can prove this either.

2 RIYank   ~  Jul 10, 2009 10:01 am

I think there's no doubt at all that it will affect players' compensation. Think of Brett Gardner as a free agent, for instance, and figure his OPS is .750. Everyone knows he's fast, but not quite sure how well that speed is translating into effective range. And the Fangraphs data suggests his arm is great, but fans and scouts are skeptical.

If the new fielding metrics reveal that Brett is a ++ fielder, he very likely wins a starting job somewhere at maybe $7M/year. If he's just an ordinary fielder he's more likely a 4th OF, or someone's stopgap measure, or he plays on the Royals for $2M/year.

It's true that Albert Pujols won't suffer much monetarily if some newfangled digital gadgets tell us his defense is overrated, but I think it's going to make a significant difference to a lot of guys.

3 monkeypants   ~  Jul 10, 2009 10:06 am

Shaun P.--

I saw your post from last night's thread. I posted this in response:


Thanks for the link. I am somewhat concerned that the formula is somewhat “circular”, since it assumes the same constant for pitches per (estimated) plate appearance ( = 3.3 * PA). I suspect that with the increased emphasis on pitch counts, patience and walks, batters are going on average deeper into counts. But that’s just a guess.

Still, I may play around with this formula for the old days, at least to calculate the total (estimated) number of pitches thrown per game. Then I can compare that with more recent historical evidence (baseball-reference has the total pitch counts for the league going back into the 1980s, I think).

My operating hypothesis is that there are more pitches thrown per game today than in the old days, but not enough to account for the many fewer innings thrown by starting pitchers. In other words, starting pitchers simply throw fewer pitches (which, I imagine, most of us suspected).

4 Rich   ~  Jul 10, 2009 10:15 am

[1] For example, this year I feel like Jeter is better positioned (before the pitch is thrown) than years past but there’s no way I can prove this either.

It was reported after the 2007 season that the Yankees went to Jeter and asked him to position himself more in line with scouting reports, and the improvement in his defense since then can be seen in his UZR/150:

2007: -16.7
2008: -0.7
2009: 1.4

Of course, mediots like Sterling and Waldman think he has always been great, so this development could strengthen the case for firing them as a result of their virulent incompetence.

5 monkeypants   ~  Jul 10, 2009 10:16 am

[2] I think you're right, espcially with regards to seemingly marginal players like Gardner. I think it will also have an impact on players like Swisher. He *looks* bad in the OF, but advanced metrics may "prove" that he's actually better than he looks. If such metrics become mainstream, that could mean the difference between a starting contract or back-up status (and money).

6 monkeypants   ~  Jul 10, 2009 10:18 am

[4] It was reported after the 2007 season...

Do you have a link for this? I don't disbelieve you--it's just I don't remember this. All I remember is stuff about "improving lateral quickness."

7 Rich   ~  Jul 10, 2009 10:19 am

[6] I don't.

8 Dimelo   ~  Jul 10, 2009 10:36 am

[5] I'm sorry I don't see how Gardner can ever be valued at 7 million plus. No matter how many balls he gets to, unless he's so good you can play w/o one or two outfielders. If you are all glove and no punch w/ the bat, then no way I see a team paying premium money just for defense.

You have to be able to do something with the stick, I'll always think the game is about hitting first, second pitching, and 2(a) defense. The Cardinal teams of the 80's were one of the few exceptions, where they more defense came before offense but they had great team speed and were able to create runs that way.

9 Paul   ~  Jul 10, 2009 10:56 am

[8] So you'd have no problem with Damon in CF? And he's "worth" 13 million.

Whereas you can get away with subpar defense in the infield, because it usually only means a single, a subpar CF means doubles and triples for most balls they miss. That adds up quickly.

10 monkeypants   ~  Jul 10, 2009 11:00 am

[8] ...then no way I see a team paying premium money just for defense.

Since 2002, Omar Vizquel has averaged 4.7 miilion/year, more or less entirely because of his supposed defensive prowess.

In general I agree with your point. However, there was a time when certain defensive positions were seen as glove-first, stick second positions. The recent offensive explosion, and (arguably) the "moneyball" approach (used loosely: defensive differences tend to be marginal, build teams around patience and power, basically field the 1990s A's) has put greater emphasis on hitting. But recent times may be the anomaly more than the rule.

More importantly, the whole discussion hinges on two related questions: will advanced defensive metrics be able to show that defense does make a significant impact on runs allowed, and will GMs be willing to pay attention to new metrics. If--and it is an "if"--it can be shown that a speedy OF like Gardner (for example) saves lots of runs such that he makes up for his less productive bat, then there is no reason why a team shouldn't pay starting salary.

Where I disagree with you is in your formulation that the game is about hitting first, pitching second, and defense third(ish). It is about scoring more runs than your opponent, which can be accomplished in a variety of ways. The easiest does seem to be to fill your team with mashers and great arms, with defense a nice bonus. But perhaps that itself is a product of the lack of defensive metrics to quantify defensive run prevention (where it is much easier to show how hitters make runs and pitchers prevent them). That may change in the future.

11 monkeypants   ~  Jul 10, 2009 11:02 am

[9] Actually, I thought that most sabermetric types believe that IF defense is far more important than OF defense, since stopping ground balls from becoming hits is more important than tracking the relatively fewer balls in the gaps (OFs rarely miss fly balls).

12 RIYank   ~  Jul 10, 2009 11:04 am

[8] [9] Mostly agree, Paul, but infielders get more chances. Bad OF defense vs Bad IF defense is kind of like SLG vs OBP.

The idea that runs created with wood are worth more than runs prevented with leather doesn't really make sense. A team that followed that recipe would get stuck with inferior players overall and would give up a lot of runs.

And if you really think Brett Gardner couldn't be worth over $7M/year, Dimelo, then that just shows you're out of touch. Take a look at the contract for Gary Matthews, Jr.

13 Dimelo   ~  Jul 10, 2009 11:08 am

[9] Yes, if he's hitting more than Gardner then the answer is quite simply 'yes'. That isn't happening because Gardner is doing both, hitting well enough to stay in the lineup AND help us with the glove.

I don't think it's as complex as you are trying to make it, a guy who is all glove is not worth as much as a guy who hits with a not so great glove. That's all I'm saying.

A guy who is an above average hitter is more likely to be a consistent above average hitter throughout his career versus a guy who is an above average fielder is least likely to stay that way throughout his career. We are talking about shelf life here. IMHO

14 RIYank   ~  Jul 10, 2009 11:12 am

[13] You would play Damon in CF instead of Gardner, and the reason is that Damon's shelf life is greater?
That doesn't seem like a good reason.

15 Dimelo   ~  Jul 10, 2009 11:14 am

[10] your explanation is a good one, I think we are both kind of saying the same thing, but where we stand in our current positions is different. You think defense will be valued more once these metrics are easily available, and more reliable when compared to the current ones that exist. I think that they'll be important in identifying the five-tool player, but it won't affect compensation much if a guy's best attribute is mostly defense.

You are right, once time passes then we can revisit and see how it is all being used.

16 Shaun P.   ~  Jul 10, 2009 11:15 am

[13] Dimelo, I think there are some fans, and some teams, that will act as you suggest - value hitting over all else.

But look at the contracts that Burrell, Abreu, and Dunn - two incredible offensive performers, buit poor fielders - got this past offseason. Each was clearly paid less because of concerns about their defense - and that's even before any of the best defensive metrics have become mainstream.

And of course, there was a team that vastly overpaid a so-so defender - Raul Ibanez and the Phillies - showing that some people will always go that route.

You're certainly right, though, at least according to the current advanced metrics, who are the best fielders from year to year seems to fluctuate quite a bit. At least I remember reading that somewhere . . .

17 Dimelo   ~  Jul 10, 2009 11:18 am

[14] If Gardner is batting .220/.290/.310 and Damon is batting .290/.360/.440, then I bet more people would be pining for Damon over Gardner. No matter how spectacular Gardner is on defense.

This is all moot anyway because the Yanks have Melky, and a pretty decent platoon. If these factors didn't exist and what I said above was true, then I would want Damon over Gardner -- if we were looking at this in a vacuum.

18 seamus   ~  Jul 10, 2009 11:18 am

I think the gap between views of the importance of offense and defense is largely related to the difficulty of assessing defense and the randomness of defense (you always bat 4-5 times per game, but you may go a long time between plays in the field).

19 Rich   ~  Jul 10, 2009 11:19 am

Damon can't even play LF passably anymore.

20 Dimelo   ~  Jul 10, 2009 11:20 am

[16] I thought they were paid less because of the economy and that salaries normalized more this off-season. I never once heard that salaries went down because these guys were inferior defensive players, however, I did hear that teams weren't valuing the FA the same this year because of the economic conditions - the MLBPA would probably say that's a euphemism for collusion but that's a conversation for another day.

21 RIYank   ~  Jul 10, 2009 11:21 am

[16] who are the best fielders from year to year seems to fluctuate quite a bit.

Yes, but I think that's because the metrics aren't very good. New metrics from new data might fix that problem.

There might be an illusion -- or maybe it's not even an illusion -- that explains why people think defense isn't as important as hitting. The standard deviation for runs-prevented among CFs is probably only around 2, whereas for runs-created it's more like 12. That is: the difference between the fifth best fielder and the fifth worst is much smaller in win value than the difference between the fifth best hitter and the fifth worst (among starting CFs, say). So in that sense, superior defense will never be paid as much as superior offense.
So, right, that's not an illusion at all.

22 Dimelo   ~  Jul 10, 2009 11:24 am

[18] Those factors do it make it quite difficult, I agree 100%. The weird thing is, I've been under the assumption that Teixera has been great defensively this year for the Yanks, but UZR has him as below average.

23 RIYank   ~  Jul 10, 2009 11:26 am

[17] Uh, yeah, but you made those numbers up. The difference in hitting between them is 114 points of OPS, not 200 points. And what do I care how many people are pining for whom? The question is which player makes the Yankees better.

24 monkeypants   ~  Jul 10, 2009 11:27 am

[17] But surely there are limits, no? You would not, say, put Teixeira in CF over your hypothetical Gardner who is hitting .220/.290/.310.

The very fact that you compared two speedy OFs suggests that defense DOES calculate into your equation, at least on some level.

25 Dimelo   ~  Jul 10, 2009 11:32 am

[24] I only used those two as examples cause RIYank referenced them in [14], it was purely random - just like defense. :-)

In any case, your example is the extreme - I'm not advocating you create a lineup based on the best hitters and disregard their natural playing position. i.e putting Teixeira in CF. I would never advocate that.

26 monkeypants   ~  Jul 10, 2009 11:34 am

[24] This relates to a pet theory that I have had for years, which will actually argue against the point that I have been making here today: even with more advanced defensive metrics, I suspect that the difference between the best and worst fielders at a position will still be less than the difference between the best and worst hitters at a position. This is because in most cases, players are shifted to the defensive position that best suits them often before he reaches the majors. In other words, for example, extremely bad CFs get turned into LFs and RFs. This theory may break down at either end of the defensive spectrum: really, really good RFs (for example) may be moved to CF, but a really, really good CF has not more valuable OF position to move into. Similarly, extremely awful fielders will find themselves at 1B (in the NL).

I don't know, it's just a hunch that I have.

27 RIYank   ~  Jul 10, 2009 11:36 am

[26] You mean to be echoing/agreeing with [23], right?

28 RIYank   ~  Jul 10, 2009 11:37 am

Ugh, sorry, I meant: agreeing with [21].


29 monkeypants   ~  Jul 10, 2009 11:38 am

[25] Right. But my point is that there MUST be a cut off point at which truly awful defense (even by a player at his "natural" position) outweighs his superior offensive production. Likewise, there must be a point at which even the slickest fielder will not hit enough to warrant a spot in teh line up. And likewise, there must be an offensive threshold beyond which it is worth keeping a brutal fielder at a position.

Again, the allure of finding more advanced defensive metrics is that such cutoff points will be easier to quantify and evaluate objectively.

As I posted last night, defense is the last great frontier for the development advanced metrics.

30 monkeypants   ~  Jul 10, 2009 11:40 am

[28] No, I was referencing my argumentum ad absurdum in [24], though it related to your point in [21].

31 Dimelo   ~  Jul 10, 2009 11:45 am

[29] I look at defensive metrics the same as defect prevention for people who work in software development.

To look at beefs I have with what I do outside of watching Yankee games is that management has no idea how many defects an engineer prevents by having a good design before you get to implementation. They are still more likely to value a person who is fixing defects constantly and tending to the client's needs versus the person who is really good at defect prevention.

I look at defensive metrics the same way, no matter how many runs you help prevent, it will always be about how well you hit. Defensive metrics will help identify you better as a "special" type of player, but I feel it will have the same value as it does today.

32 Rich   ~  Jul 10, 2009 11:49 am

Using Zone Rating, RSAA has Teix at +4 defensively. No starting AL 1Bman ranks higher.

33 RIYank   ~  Jul 10, 2009 11:53 am

Hm, this is kind of interesting.
I just looked at all MLB shortstops arranged by UZR/150, and then arranged by wRAA. I don't quite understand these well enough to be sure, but I think they are comparable in terms of measuring how many runs a player prevents and creates.

For shortstops, the spreads are quite comparable. Hanly Ramirez creates about 41 more runs than Orlando Cabrera, but Jack Wilson (who knew?) prevents about 38 more runs than Yuniesky Betancourt. And if you cut off the extremes, it's similar: third best Tejada creates about 20 runs more than third worst J.J. Hardy, while third best Elvis Andrus saves 21 more than Yunel Escobar.

Shortstop is likely to be an extreme case, but I wonder how the other positions compare. I might try a couple...

34 Shaun P.   ~  Jul 10, 2009 11:53 am

Two things that leaped out at me now that I read the article.

The system is going to "assess it all to the inch." I wonder if that is a granular enough measurement. I'm being a little snarky, but besides being something you can't predict, baseball is a game of inches. The ball's diameter is just shy of 3 inches, so maybe to within an inch is enough.

The other thing is, this system, if truly accurate, could be the basis (along with pitch F/x) for giving umpires the tools they need to never, ever, screw up any play again. Presuming it can take care of balls in the glove, there will be no question as to whether the player touched the bag first, or the fielder tagged him first.

Of course, it could also replace them altogether, but I'm getting ahead of myself.

35 Shaun P.   ~  Jul 10, 2009 11:55 am

[22] Dimelo, BTW - UZR is notoriously inaccurate in small samples, like say half a season. Which may explain Tex's numbers.

36 Dimelo   ~  Jul 10, 2009 11:57 am

[32] I was going by what I saw at fangrpahs -- UZR/150 - UZR Runs Above Average per 150 Defensive Games.

source: http://tinyurl.com/l3exnk

I find it hard to believe that Tex is 2nd to last in the A.L.

37 RIYank   ~  Jul 10, 2009 12:06 pm

Now I'm worried that I used the wrong stats in [33]. UZR/150 projects runs prevented over 150 games. But I think wRAA counts actual runs created so far in the season, which is to say just over half a season. Should I be using RAA instead?

38 Horace Clarke Era   ~  Jul 10, 2009 1:01 pm

All interesting. I'll believe 'accurate D stats' when I see them and, er, when I believe them. (What circular argument?) I completely agree that D has been weirdly valued (over AND under) through the history of the game, but so has batting average, till fairly recently. So has grit, always! And clutchitude! And protection in the lineup, and closers...

In a way, this is what Moneyball was all about ... as someone said, rightly, it wasn't the glorification of OBP, it was the search for anomalies in player valuation, to enable to a low-budget team to field a competitive team more cheaply. As the anomalies even out, as others draw same conclusions, it gets harder.

I saw this, today, and smiled:

Those darn Yankees have the best batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage in the AL against left-handers,


This does reduce some of the ire a few people had about signing a left-handed bench bat in Hinske, right? Right?

39 Diane Firstman   ~  Jul 10, 2009 1:38 pm

Speaking of defense .... Geovany Soto has gone on the DL with an oblique injury. Would the Yanks think of trying to foist Molina on the Cubs for the next 2.5 months? Or is that putting too much trust in Frankie Cervelli being the #2 catcher for the rest of the year?

(Yes, I'm sort of back ... dealing with a nagging medical issue. I hope to get the NOTDs started again early next week).

40 Chyll Will   ~  Jul 10, 2009 1:53 pm

[38] Yanks are currently second in team BA (Angels - .281) and HRs,(Rangers - 127), first in slugging, runs, RBI and OBP in the majors, currently OPSing at .827 (also leads majors). Not bad when you consider Rodriguez is still healing, Tex appears to be tired, Damon seems old, Swish seems distracted, Matsui is in a wheelchair, Gardner is really a quasar in pinstripes, Jorge is really a Terminator set on DP and Cervelli was a figment of everyone's imagination. Throw in Melky being Melky and Molina about to threaten Mario Mendoza's legacy, I wouldn't be surprised if Kevin Long is queuing up Frank Capra films on Netflix as we head into the ASB.

Or maybe... nah, that's not it, they're not that good.

41 Chyll Will   ~  Jul 10, 2009 1:55 pm

[39] Get better, and soon. >;)

42 Horace Clarke Era   ~  Jul 10, 2009 2:02 pm

[39] Yes, Diane, get well soon. Maybe Chyll being funny [40] will help the mood!

43 Chyll Will   ~  Jul 10, 2009 2:19 pm

[42] Heh, yeah it's hilarious when I quote stats >;)

44 OldYanksFan   ~  Jul 10, 2009 2:24 pm

I have a poll question whos answer might add to this debate:
Question: Which Catcher would you rather have?
1) Piazza (having a career average year)
2) Pudge (having a career average year)

45 PJ   ~  Jul 10, 2009 3:15 pm

[44] I would take Pudge. He was much more of a total package and won a title being so in 2003 with the Marlins (see also Munson versus Fisk). Piazza with his stellar hitting prowess still wasn't enough in 2000. In fact, his team was spanked in five games...

I hate one or two tool players. There is much more to effectively being an asset to a winning team than that, especially at Catcher.

"Pitching and defense wins titles."

: )

46 monkeypants   ~  Jul 10, 2009 3:23 pm

[44] Piazza, only because i have never trusted the defensive metrics that added so much value to Pudge. It all depends on the defensive stats, because i have seen articles using WARP or the like that show Pudge as much more valuable than Piazza, at least over teh course of his career. If I trusted the defensive metrics more, I might change my mind.

47 monkeypants   ~  Jul 10, 2009 3:28 pm

[45] Boiling down the value of a player to how his *team* did in a given post season seems, well, problematic to me. I have a hard time holding the 2000 Mets against Piazza--that team had no business going as far as they did. One could just as easily argue that he helped carry them as it is to somehow blame him for not carrying them enough.

48 Shaun P.   ~  Jul 10, 2009 3:40 pm

[39] Diane, I hope your oblique feels better, too! =)

49 OldYanksFan   ~  Jul 10, 2009 4:21 pm

[46] Yes, in a head to head comparison, while Piazza was WAY more productive with the bat, considering defense and CS%, Pudge was well ahead of Mike... by 10% or so (if my memory serves me well).

And if you STILL pick Piazza because you don't trust current D stats, then maybe these new stats will change a number of your positions. I think a lot of 'average' fans would pick Piazza because they don't know how much Pudge's D and CS added to his value.

I think for some players, if these new stats prove, or are believed accurate, that it will affect the perception and salary of a number of players.

50 Horace Clarke Era   ~  Jul 10, 2009 4:31 pm

Pudge, in a heartbeat, though not if there's a steroids ban.

51 monkeypants   ~  Jul 10, 2009 4:40 pm

[49] And if you STILL pick Piazza because you don’t trust current D stats, then maybe these new stats will change a number of your positions.

But that was my point. To date I don't find defensive metrics particularly reliable, so I tend to go with offense and then grade plus or minus based on defensive reputation, metrics, and what I see. Catching defense is particularly difficult to evaluate, if I recall.

But you are correct, maybe the new fangles stats will change my position. Or maybe they will show that Pudge's defensive advantages have been exaggerated and it is your ranking that will change!

52 PJ   ~  Jul 10, 2009 4:50 pm

[51] Pudge in 5,000 more innings allowed roughly half as many SB’s as Piazza (711-1400)! Ouch! No amount of hitting can usurp shutting down opponents' running games to the extent Pudge did, even Gehrig's or Ruth's.

In fact, over their respective careers, their Hits/Game are as follows...

Pudge - 1.14
Piazza - 1.11

: O

And don't even get me started on the "Five Tools," given how I hate those with two or less and all...

: )

53 monkeypants   ~  Jul 10, 2009 4:56 pm

[52] Since the value of SB is somewhat exaggerated, I suggest that value of shutting down the opposing running game is exaggerated. And I'm pretty certain that If Ruth caught as well as Piazza, his total production would blow Pudge's out of the water. I'm sure someone more numerate could run the appropriate numbers.

As for their relative hits per game, I would respond with these three far more significant comparisons:

.377 v. .337
.545 v. .463
.142 v. .109

54 PJ   ~  Jul 10, 2009 5:25 pm

[53] I've never heard "Offense wins titles," ever.

My pernt with the Hits/Game was that Pudge was no slouch with the bat the way Piazza was behind the dish.

I'd even rather have Gary Carter as my backstop, especially in the playoffs.

55 Horace Clarke Era   ~  Jul 10, 2009 5:57 pm

Piazza was a monster at the plate. It is too easy to forget just how much so in his prime years. I don't think this debate is served by dissing either of them (except that I am so sure Pudge was a steroid poster boy, it pains me).

Running game may be overrated, and indeed it probably is, but since teams DID run, shutting it down can surely be seen to matter! In other words, if no one stole, Pudge's skill in throwing them out would, agreed, be trivial. But since people DID run, making those runners outs not fellows on 2nd base matters a lot. I think it is a red herring/misplaced argument to cite a running game's weakness in this discussion. Add in pitchers focusing more, less rattled, more confident, and there's that, too.

What's intriguing was scuttlebutt about Pudge late in his career being someone pitchers didn't want to throw to. Remember that when he was here, too? That he'd call fastballs to make it easier to gun runners, that he was a control freak (had a right to be, maybe, by then?)

56 monkeypants   ~  Jul 10, 2009 6:02 pm

[54] Pudge could hit, no doubt. But Piazza smoked him with the bat. In fact, while no slouch, Pudge's general refusal to walk made him a somewhat...overrated hitter...even in his prime. Piazza hit for better average, better power, and with more patience.

Now, whether Pudge's defensive strengths outweighed Piazza's enormous offensive advantage is another story. But you just can't ignore how much better with the stick Piazza was. In terms of OPS+, Piazza (142) was roughly the same hitter as Sheffield (141), Killebrew (143), Giambi (144), and Frank Howard (142). Pudge (109) was roughly the same hitter as such all-time greats Chris Sabo (109), Frank Catalanotto (198) and Lee Mazilli (109). Pudge had ONE season of OPS+ better than Piazza's career AVERAGE.

57 monkeypants   ~  Jul 10, 2009 6:03 pm

[54] I'd pick Gary Carter too...over Pudge, since Carter was a better hitter (OPS+ 115).

58 monkeypants   ~  Jul 10, 2009 6:07 pm

[55] I agree and well put. My point is that Pudge's great arm cannot be waived like a magic wand to make the superior offense of Piazza disappear. And teh statement that Pudge's defense would even outweigh Piazza defense + Ruth offense was just plain silly.

Pudge may have been worth more. Like I said, there was an article a couple of years back citing (I think) WARP, that had Pudge well ahead. But this is based entirely on his perceived defensive value. And one of the main points of the article on which this thread is based is that defensive metrics are questionable.

For what it's worth, we can quantify how much a stolen base is worth, how much a caught stealing is worth, etc. Iran these numbers last year when discussing Posada v. Molina, but don;t have the energy to find the posts in the archives.

59 PJ   ~  Jul 10, 2009 7:40 pm

[58] How many MVP's did Piazza win again?

I thought so...

So here we have a Catcher with a WS Title, an MVP, shutting down running games for virtually an entire catching career, 700 less SB's allowed, average offense or better, versus a career OPS+ 33 pernts higher, and outstanding offensive production yielding a bunch of Silver Sluggers (10) [Pudge got quite a few of those, too.(7)], but zero Batting Titles, HR Crowns, or RBI Awards...


Add their respective post season offensive numbers into the mix and it renders this argument moot. I'm not getting all worked up over 58 OPS pernts favoring Piazza when it mattered most, considering pitchers could steal a bag off of him.

Two tool players (hit for average and power), specifically Catchers, do not belong in the Hall of Fame in my opinion.

But whatever...

: )

60 monkeypants   ~  Jul 10, 2009 8:03 pm

[59] If you cited MVP awards as a legitimate evaluation tool, well then we are just speaking a different language. In fact, we must be speaking a different language because surely you did not just imply that Piazza does not belong in the HoF?!?

You're right, though, the difference of a few OPS+ points, the difference between Chris Sabo and Gary Sheffield is negligible.

61 RIYank   ~  Jul 10, 2009 8:13 pm

[60] the difference between Chris Sabo and Gary Sheffield is negligible.

Omar Minaya agrees. He wishes he had traded Gary for Chris, straight up.

62 PJ   ~  Jul 10, 2009 8:20 pm

[60] Apparently we are speaking a different language.

Wake me when the saying changes to, "OPS+ wins titles."... if I live that long...

Also, I indeed stand by my opinion that a two-tool player like Piazza does not belong in the HoF as a Catcher. I believe the correct term is "Hall of Fame Catcher," not "Hall of Fame OPS+ Man," but the HoF lost credibility with me decades ago both from their inductees and their omissions.

63 PJ   ~  Jul 10, 2009 8:21 pm

Sorry about the italics gaff...

64 cult of basebaal   ~  Jul 10, 2009 9:12 pm

Considering Rodriguez has an MVP for 1999 and Joe Mauer doesn't for 2006, I'd say MVP voting is a crap way to make value considerations.

Especially since the 99 MVP was a terrible decision, Jeter, Ramirez, Alomar, Pedro and Nomar all would have been better choices (or even Palmiero) ...

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