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Old 02-04-2009, 11:19 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by HibachiDG View Post
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.
It was my attempt to make a subjective opinion appear to be objective.

You called me on it, and you have won :thumbup:
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Old 02-09-2009, 12:50 AM   #32
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No baseball statistician would consider VORP an advanced metric. It used to be but now it's used by people to mockingly decry sabermetrics ("those eggheads with their VORP..."). And I've never even heard of TotalZone.

Sacrifice flies are one of the most valuable things in baseball? Maybe, in the sense a 1:1 ratio for runs to outs. But sac flies say extremely little about a player's talent. It, along with RBI, is mostly about circumstance.

I agree about VORP not being a good stat to measure value or talent (unless you want to measure offense production... but there's better stats for that). I've never seen people use VORP to vouch for a player's defense. Whoever is doing that obviously needs to do more homework.

The concept of replacement level is fine. Outliers like Utley are going to be averaged out by all the crappy hitting second basemen out there. And if defense is accounted for (hopefully by using Fielding Bible along with several other metrics) it should give a reasonable win value for position X.
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Old 02-09-2009, 02:34 AM   #33
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acrifice flies are one of the most valuable things in baseball? Maybe, in the sense a 1:1 ratio for runs to outs. But sac flies say extremely little about a player's talent. It, along with RBI, is mostly about circumstance.
Anytime you directly get a run home is a valuable thing in baseball. But, then again, if you're working from the premise of an RBI being mostly about circumstance, I would imagine we are working from opposite vantage points of judging what it takes to be a productive baseball player. I see that as an extremely thin way of looking at the game.

If every pitcher pitched the same, maybe. If every pitcher pitched the same with a runner on 2nd as they do with the bases empty, maybe.
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Old 02-09-2009, 05:04 PM   #34
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I agree RBI are productive (of course they are). But there's a big difference to me between a player's production and a player's talent. Bat even an average player in the cleanup spot and he'll probably drive in around 100 runs a season. That doesn't mean he's a great player, just that he had a lot of opportunities.
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Old 02-09-2009, 05:13 PM   #35
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I understand that you need to have opportunities to get RBI. But, to go from there to saying that the stat is mainly about circumstance doesn't seem to be accurate.

For instance, a lot of people compare Ryan Howard to Adam Dunn, in terms of big power hitters, low averages, tons of strikeouts. The huge difference between the players is that Howard hit .309 with runners on and Dunn hit .235.

So, yes, Howard got more chances, but, who would you want hitting in those situations? There's a huge gap in the answer. A lot of stats people make the mistake of thinking Dunn's value is there with Howard because his overall stats are similar outside of RBI. But, if he had all those chances that Howard did, there would just be a lot more men left on base.

And, this is why Adam Dunn has little interest and why Howard asked for 18mill in arbitration (and most likely would have got it). You have to make sure you balance the statistical analysis with some of the traditional aspects of the game.
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Old 02-09-2009, 05:26 PM   #36
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Probably why Howard just got the $18 mil per year contract and Dunn is still an unsigned free agent.
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Old 02-09-2009, 07:39 PM   #37
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Probably why Howard just got the $18 mil per year contract and Dunn is still an unsigned free agent.
Barry Zito signed a big contract a couple of years ago too...

My point? General managers aren't the best judges of talent.

Doug mentions batting average with runners on base. Did it ever occur to you that such a stat is also team dependent?

Who did each player have hitting behind them for most of their careers? If we look at last season, Howard was followed by Pat Burrell. Adam Dunn on the other hand was "protected" by Edwin Encarnacion.

Adam Dunn played most of the season on one of the league's worst offenses while Howard played on one of the leagues best.

In short, pitchers had to pitch to Howard, they didn't have to pitch to Dunn, as evident by Dunns 122 walks to Howards 81. Or Dunn's .386 OBP to Howards .339.

Dunn's low average with runners on base is a result of the team around him more than a reflection of his ability. He was forced to swing at "pitcher's pitches," or take a walk with runners on base. Howard was afforded the luxuary of "protection."
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Old 02-09-2009, 08:37 PM   #38
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You act like Burrell is some kind of huge force batting behind Howard. I mean, it's certainly not a given that Burrell is a huge step up from Edwin Encarnacion.

(I'd take Encarnacion over Burrell fairly instantly and hope that he can get his 2007 AVG back and keep some of the pop from last year...but, both of them seem to be prone to long slumps)

Second, Howard had the 81 walks this season that you pointed out, but 107 and 108 in the two prior seasons. Howard has more pressure on him to drive in runs, I would say that Howard swings at more junk pitches than Dunn because of that. Dunn hasn't really played in a pressure situation...where a walk isn't as good as a hit.
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Old 02-09-2009, 08:41 PM   #39
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In short, pitchers had to pitch to Howard, they didn't have to pitch to Dunn, as evident by Dunns 122 walks to Howards 81. Or Dunn's .386 OBP to Howards .339.
Also, I'm pretty sure in their ABs with RISP they walked at about the same rate. Dunn just racked up a ton more when there weren't RISP.
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Old 02-09-2009, 09:16 PM   #40
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With Howard though, there's the whole thing about Howard's relationship with the city. He's without question the franchise player so a deal was going to get done. Plus he could have used arbitration as a baseline for salary while Dunn basically lucked out by being a free agent in the worst economic climate in twenty years. I mean, if Dunn was a free agent last year he probably wouldn't gotten at least $12 million. Not saying he get $12 milllion, but the market seriously soured for all the but the very very best free agents.

I don't think it's a great deal (frankly I think Philly ****ed up by selecting Amaro over Arbuckle as GM, but that's a different story) in terms of value but it's only three years, rewards Howard for his earlier years and is generally good news for the team.

And batting with RISP isn't something that should be solely credited to Howard. Rollins and Utley, two of the best 1-2 hitters in baseball and speed threats, along with the pitchers facing Howard with RISP are also factors.

Besides, having RISP is a situation that's for the most part out of Howard's hands. I think it's safe to say Howard is one of the best players to have bat with RISP but conversely this is a guy who hit .196 with the bases empty.

Anyway... going back on topic. I didn't really think of Larkin too much as a HOF but the more I do the more I'm thinking yes. Also, considering that voters are rewarding people (i.e. Jim Rice) who probably didn't steroids... that's going to help Larkin. His clean numbers (and let's assume he's clean because there's no reason to assume he did anything) will stand out compared to guys in the steroid era.
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Old 02-09-2009, 11:55 PM   #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HibachiDG View Post
You act like Burrell is some kind of huge force batting behind Howard. I mean, it's certainly not a given that Burrell is a huge step up from Edwin Encarnacion.

(I'd take Encarnacion over Burrell fairly instantly and hope that he can get his 2007 AVG back and keep some of the pop from last year...but, both of them seem to be prone to long slumps)

Second, Howard had the 81 walks this season that you pointed out, but 107 and 108 in the two prior seasons. Howard has more pressure on him to drive in runs, I would say that Howard swings at more junk pitches than Dunn because of that. Dunn hasn't really played in a pressure situation...where a walk isn't as good as a hit.
It's not just the guy hitting directly behind the hitters that effects one's BA with RISP. As Ken pointed out, the men on base in front of them play a big part in that, not to mention the rest of the line-up.

Howard has MORE pressure to drive in runs than Dunn did in Cincy? In Philly, there are probably 5 guys capable of driving in 100+ runs a season. In Cincy, Dunn was the only run producer for most of his career.
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Old 02-10-2009, 12:09 AM   #42
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I realize that it's also the men in front of them that play a big part of it. I think that was one of the very first things I covered.
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Old 02-12-2009, 02:58 PM   #43
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Anyway, this wasn't to try and knock Adam Dunn, I think he is a generally underrated player, but, I think Howard is generally underrated by the statistical folks. I think the signing of Dunn by the Nats was very good for them.

Howard's gone 58-47-46 in HRs in his three full seasons, Dunn has gone 46-40-40-40 in his last 4 seasons. Take that and put it with Howard's domination over Dunn in hitting with RISP and it's a fairly large gap. Dunn is a good power hitter, but Howard has the chance to be a very special and rare baseball player. You don't really get that with Dunn.

And, the last two seasons have been the only ones where Howard became an all or nothing type hitter without runners on base. The 2006 season, they did not put the shift on him as much.

I only mention this because the common thinking seems to be that Howard has regressed since his MVP season in 2006. 58 HRs, 47 and 46 with a much lower average the next two seasons. He hit .313 in 2006, then .268 and .251.

But, I think Howard has improved the past two seasons...and I think the difference is that they made the playoffs the last two years. He hit .313 in his MVP year because he hit .337 with the bases empty. I'll take the last two seasons of his getting better with runners on base even if it means the decrease in hitting with the bases empty. Situational hitting just matters so much more in games.

That said, the most important hit of Howard's career was off a tough lefty in Hong-chih Kuo with the bases empty that stopped a series from going 2-2 and set the stage for the Phillies to be up 3-1. He is getting better as a hitter and has the potential to get to .260 or so with the bases empty and maintaining his improvement on hitting with runners on base. You can't really say the same for Dunn.
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Old 02-12-2009, 04:03 PM   #44
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Howard is better than Dunn, I don't think anyone would argue otherwise.

He's not $8 million per year better, but he is better.
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Old 02-12-2009, 05:52 PM   #45
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Yeah, but if Dunn were a free agent last season he would have signed for more than 10mill per year. There are few teams that are going to do well in this economy and Dunn got hit by that. The Phillies have made a ton of money the past few seasons and are set to make a bunch more the next couple of years, so, Howard's pay is pretty much on last season's and Dunn is facing this market.

And, hell, if you went by fangraphs.com value, Howard was valued at 15mill last year, Dunn at 6mill. But, then again, they had Jayson Werth at 23.5mill for last season.
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