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Old 02-03-2009, 12:39 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by HibachiDG View Post
You mentioned TotalZone rating for fielding. It would seem rather silly to argue TotalZone rating as an example of "advanced statistical analysis."
No, but VORP would qualify I think
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Old 02-03-2009, 03:08 PM   #17
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I don't really want to get into the over reliance of VORP, so I'm going to answer this two ways. First, I'll answer it under the assumption that VORP is a legitimate good statistic and then at some point that will probably transition into me going on about why I think people over rely on VORP.

So, Larkin's VORP is going to be inherently higher than Ozzie's because VORP certainly doesn't have a near accurate indication of fielding in it. Hell, it has no indication of fielding in it. VORP might be OK for 1B, DH, corner OF, or even 2b at this point, but does very little alone for SS, 3B or CF. Obviously Larkin was a better hitter than Ozzie was. No one's arguing that, so what exactly is VORP giving you?

I would imagine that Ozzie Smith was negative VORP at some point in his career.

If you want to use VORP to point out that Larkin was a good hitter, or an underrated, hitter, ok, but what kind of advanced statistical analysis is involved in comparing Ozzie and Larkin's VORPs?

Now, two problems with VORP. It's driven mainly by not making outs. So, a player who hits .250 with RISP but has a .400 OBP is likely going to be higher than a guy that hits .300 overall and .300 with RISP but with a .350 OBP. I'm not saying that it is necessarily a given that you'd want one of those players over the other. In your lineup creation, frankly, you want both. But, VORP doesn't really take into consideration where someone would bat in the lineup and it definitely doesn't take into consideration situational hitting.

Not just hitting with RISP, but productive outs. The thing that's always struck me as hilarious is that OBP doesn't include sac flies. You're getting a negative mark for doing one of the most valuable things in the game.

Second, it's a weird statistic in terms of relation to winning. If you want to argue it as the ultimate in how to determine individual prowess, fine, but 5 of the top 25 players in VORP were on playoff teams from last year. There was 1 player from the World Series in the top 10 of VORP. The reason why this is, is that teams from weaker teams can put up tons of numbers that don't necessarily help a team win. That's a small complaint with it, but I somewhat use it to illustrate the previous point about structure of a lineup and situational hitting.

The most important thing is probably that it doesn't consider defense, and for some reason I see a lot of people kind of pretend like it does. One of the reasons for that, that I think is a huge flaw, is that they weight it compared to the position. Completely silly idea since it is only an offensive stat. While it is good that we have great hitting SSs and 2B as a more common thing now, it doesn't make sense to have the VORP of a SS go down because his team has other players for hitting and they are asked to perform a different role.

That also rolls into, the value of replacement player determination is quite arbitrary. That doesn't make a huge difference in comparing star players, but when you start using VORP for the 5th or 6th best guys on a team, you run into brickwalls. For instance, some teams now are starting to have better hitting 2b. The Phillies, for instance, have Chase Utley who hits like a 1b. When you average out 2b now, you're going to now have Utley's expectations played across the board, so it raises what the value of replacement player would be because it raises the average production of the 2b position. The same can be said, and this might be more especially so, with SSs like Hanley, Jimmy Rollins, Peralta and JJ Hardy. Some team is going to get a great deal on Orlando Cabrera or Orlando Hudson because of this.
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Old 02-03-2009, 03:30 PM   #18
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Quote:
So, Larkin's VORP is going to be inherently higher than Ozzie's because VORP certainly doesn't have a near accurate indication of fielding in it. Hell, it has no indication of fielding in it. VORP might be OK for 1B, DH, corner OF, or even 2b at this point, but does very little alone for SS, 3B or CF. Obviously Larkin was a better hitter than Ozzie was. No one's arguing that, so what exactly is VORP giving you?
Quote:
The most important thing is probably that it doesn't consider defense, and for some reason I see a lot of people kind of pretend like it does. One of the reasons for that, that I think is a huge flaw, is that they weight it compared to the position. Completely silly idea since it is only an offensive stat. While it is good that we have great hitting SSs and 2B as a more common thing now, it doesn't make sense to have the VORP of a SS go down because his team has other players for hitting and they are asked to perform a different role.
There is an offensive VORP and a defensive VORP.
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Old 02-03-2009, 03:48 PM   #19
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I haven't seen a defense statistic created that is even remotely relevant to comparing the defense between two greats like Larkin and Ozzie. The best I've seen accomplished is that they can determine who is good and who is not so good...and sometimes the stats mess that up. Fielding stats are OK as a baseline, but nothing determinative.
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Old 02-03-2009, 04:00 PM   #20
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It is so hard to base a player's defensive prowess on stats alone. Infielders on teams like the Cubs and Giants who load up with strikeout pitchers are going to see far fewer chances than guys on teams like St. Louis where LaRussa and Duncan love to load up on groundball pitchers who throw strikes. Of the shortstops who qualified for the fielding leaders in the NL this year Cesar Izturis had the best range factor while Stephen Drew and Ryan Theriot had the two lowest ratings and I am sure the fact that St. Louis was next to last in the majors in strikeouts while Chicago and Arizona were tops in Ks had a lot to do with that.
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Old 02-03-2009, 04:00 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by HibachiDG View Post
I haven't seen a defense statistic created that is even remotely relevant to comparing the defense between two greats like Larkin and Ozzie. The best I've seen accomplished is that they can determine who is good and who is not so good...and sometimes the stats mess that up. Fielding stats are OK as a baseline, but nothing determinative.
I don't know if I agree with that, but I'll concede the point that they don't tell the whole story.

But let's put it this way:

In terms of 162 game averages, Larkin was responsible for 41 more runs per year offensively (21 RBI difference, 20 R difference).

Perhaps defensive statistics can't quantify the extent of Smith's "production" in the field compared to Larkin. However, I think common sense and observation would lead any critic to conclude that Smith did not save 41 more runs in the field than Larkin per season.

Yes, runs and RBI are team-dependent statistics. I could use OPS and the difference is just as striking.

What I am getting at is that Smith would have to be leagues better than Larkin defensively to make up for the difference in offense. And as we all know, the difference in their defensive play was not that dramatic.
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Old 02-03-2009, 04:11 PM   #22
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Yes, runs and RBI are team-dependent statistics. I could use OPS and the difference is just as striking.
As are most fielding stats.
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Old 02-03-2009, 04:14 PM   #23
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As are most fielding stats.
Right, which is why I used the "observation" argument.

There might not be any stat to prove it, but I think any objective observer will realize that the difference between Smith and Larkin defensively is not nearly enough to make up for the dramatic difference in offensive production.
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Old 02-03-2009, 05:30 PM   #24
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I would consider myself an objective observer, and I'd say that the difference defensively is enough to make up the offensive production.
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Old 02-03-2009, 05:34 PM   #25
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I would consider myself an objective observer, and I'd say that the difference defensively is enough to make up the offensive production.
Really? That's surprising.

I don't have the ability to claim objectivity, but I'd argue that the difference was neglegible on defense.
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Old 02-03-2009, 05:54 PM   #26
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Ozzie was ridiculous with the glove. I'm not trying to take anything away from Larkin, but I just don't see how you can call the difference in defense "negligible".

In terms of defense, I'd say Larkin's is comparable to Jimmy Rollins. Which is, I think, a high level of ability. But, Ozzie is at a completely different level. The amount of balls that Ozzie got to was ridiculous.

Of shortstops that I've seen enough of to judge, the only one that even comes close to Ozzie would be Omar Vizquel. And, I wouldn't call that difference negligible.

I just don't see how you can say Ozzie and Larkin were similar defensively.
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Old 02-03-2009, 09:02 PM   #27
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I guess I'm just not sold that Ozzie was that much better than some other great short stops. He was flashy, and he looked very graceful, but I'm not convinced that his range was as unique as some would suggest.

He was great, don't get me wrong, I just don't see him as that much greater than the other greats.
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Old 02-04-2009, 02:44 AM   #28
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Fresh, did you ever see Ozzie play in person? He got to balls that would have been base hits with nearly anyone else at SS. His arm was phenomenal and his release was perfect. Ozzie could make perfect throws to first blindfolded. His field awareness was second to none.
He was the best defensive SS I ever saw play, plain and simple.
Barry Larkin, while a fine defensive SS himself, was not close to Ozzie defensively, which is why it is amazing that he got 3 gold gloves.
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Old 02-04-2009, 02:51 AM   #29
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Barry Larkin was a better offensive player than Ozzie was. That is why I feel he will be a first ballot HOFer. He was among the very best players at his position during his career.
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Old 02-04-2009, 11:07 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by CKFresh View Post
I guess I'm just not sold that Ozzie was that much better than some other great short stops. He was flashy, and he looked very graceful, but I'm not convinced that his range was as unique as some would suggest.

He was great, don't get me wrong, I just don't see him as that much greater than the other greats.
I don't have any problem with this. I disagree completely, but if you want to think he's overrated, fine. I just don't get throwing out the, "but I think any objective observer will realize that the difference between Smith and Larkin defensively is not nearly enough to make up for the dramatic difference in offensive production" line to support it.
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