Free Trial Ad
Why Subscribe?
  • Player/Prospect News
  • Exclusive Insider Info
  • Members-Only Forums
  • Exclusive Videos
  • Subscribe Now!
Inbox

Jim Caple on WAR

Avatar

Posted: 02/01/2013 10:29 AM

Jim Caple on WAR 


Reply | Quote
Avatar

Posted: 02/01/2013 11:07 AM

Re: Jim Caple on WAR 


Interesting and informative.  Thanks for posting.

I'm probably one of the "curmudgeons" mentioned repeatedly in that piece, but I'm OK with that.  biggrin

I think oWAR is a useful (but not exclusive) measure of offensive performance.  I also think that dWAR is mostly a joke and entirely useless.

___________

 

  

Reply | Quote

Posted: 02/01/2013 11:28 AM

Re: Jim Caple on WAR 



gr1111 wrote: Interesting and informative.  Thanks for posting.

I'm probably one of the "curmudgeons" mentioned repeatedly in that piece, but I'm OK with that.  biggrin

I think oWAR is a useful (but not exclusive) measure of offensive performance.  I also think that dWAR is mostly a joke and entirely useless.
Just curious, why?

I mean it definitely isn't perfect and will inevitably be improved, but it is the best single measure of defense that we have right now in baseball.
Reply | Quote
Avatar

Posted: 02/01/2013 11:40 AM

Re: Jim Caple on WAR 



cferrel3 wrote:
gr1111 wrote: Interesting and informative.  Thanks for posting.

I'm probably one of the "curmudgeons" mentioned repeatedly in that piece, but I'm OK with that.  biggrin

I think oWAR is a useful (but not exclusive) measure of offensive performance.  I also think that dWAR is mostly a joke and entirely useless.
Just curious, why?

I mean it definitely isn't perfect and will inevitably be improved, but it is the best single measure of defense that we have right now in baseball.


It is far too subjective, and based on the personal opinions of a very small number of people.

Whether someone is a good fielder or a bad fielder (or somewhere in between) is in the eye of the beholder, and can't be converted to numbers for pure statistical analysis.  Offense is different, because there you can accurately measure performance in numbers (either it is a hit or an out, a single or a double, etc.).  The quality of defensive play can't similarly be measured in numbers.

Again, I don't deny being a curmudgeon in this regard.  But I also don't think I'm alone in holding this opinion.

___________

 

  

Reply | Quote

Posted: 02/01/2013 11:41 AM

Re: Jim Caple on WAR 


I agree that I am not a fan of it either, and here is why. How do they measure the players range? Do they watch each play and measure how far a player goes to get a ball? Do they take into account how hard the ball was hit and how long it took the player to get to that spot? Is there a formula that says if a player travels X feet on a ball that takes x amount of time to get there then they receive x amount of points?

And do they measure going to the left vs going to the right? Or is all subjective? If it is then does one guy make the judgment or do several people do different players. If so then the stat really cannot be a true indication. Some infields are faster than others and weather playes a big part as well. Some teams water their field more than others and some places have higher grass as others. All effect the ball and how fast it travels. You cant account for that.

No how about official scores. One guy may call a ball in play an error and the next guy a hit. There are too many variables out there to have a true defensive formula. I think for the most part you have to use the eye test, as well as actual balls the player gets to and makes plays on. Even then there is still debate if that is the most accurate way as well.
Reply | Quote

Posted: 02/01/2013 11:56 AM

RE: Jim Caple on WAR 


That article was horrible. It was extremely lazy. WAR can be calculated if you know how to do it. He doesn't know how to do it so he assumes that it can't be done.

Fangraphs and Baseball reference have different WAR numbers because they have different baselines for how valuable a replacement team is. One considers a replacement team to be worth 45 wins and one considers a replacement team to be worth 49 wins so the corresponding values will be higher or lower depending on the site used. Pitchers are a little different as one uses FIP while the other uses pitchers runs allowed and adjusts it for their opponents, team defense, park and role. So pitchers can have a bit of fluctuation. The main difference in position players is usually on defense as one uses UZR and the other Total Zone. They also have minor differences in base running. From a hitting perspective it's pretty identical.

Is it perfect? Absolutely not. It's relatively new. Every year that goes by it gets better and more accurate. As a whole it's pretty accurate though with the exception of catcher defense which is the hardest to evaluate because you have so many outside factors. I don't think it's definitive either but in my opinion it's the best tool out there. Like it or not baseball teams are using WAR more than ever. It's why a guy like Delmon Young only got a minuscule contract this year because teams realized how useless he was.

The article keeps going back to the Cabrera vs. Trout debate. Because Trout had a higher WAR. The main reason for this is that Trout plays excellent defense and Cabrera is a butcher in the field. Personally I think Mike Trout was far more valuable and it has nothing to do with WAR just from counting numbers really.

AVG
Mike Trout - .326
Miguel Cabrera - .330

This is so close that you don't really declare a winner.

RUNS
Mike Trout - 129
Miguel Cabrera - 109

A clear win for Trout

RBI
Trout - 83
Cabrera - 139

A clear win for Cabrera. This is also batting order dependent though.

OBP
Trout - .399
Cabrera - .393

Again really no winner

Homers
Trout - 30 homers
Cabrera - 44 homers

Cabrera gets the edge but did the power really mean anything?

OPS
Trout - .963
Cabrera - .999

A slight edge to Cabrera but for all his extra power that is a small difference between the two players. It's also worth noting that Cabrera actually had a worse year than he did the previous two seasons. His OPS was 1.033 in 2011 and 1.042 in 2010. He led the league in RBI in 2010 and led the league in average in 2011.

Stolen Bases
Trout - 49
Cabrera - 4

Not even a contest here.

Lets also not forget that Mike Trout didn't play for part of the season. Cabrera played 22 more games because Trout was in the minors the first month. What could his counting numbers of been if he played the entire month?

Then we factor in defense. Defense apparently matters in voting because guys like David Ortiz get overlooked as MVP players because they only DH. Well what difference does it make if you DH or if you're a terrible fielder? So if David Ortiz had played first base terribly in 2005 that would of made him MVP? Trout was an incredible defender. I didn't need WAR to tell me how good he was.

I would of voted for Trout. That doesn't mean that Cabrera wasn't very good. It was very close and I don't consider it an outrage that Cabrera won over Trout because they were both deserving. I think the only reason Cabrera won and Trout didn't is because Detroit made the playoffs and LA didn't.

From an offensive point of view the players were similar. Trout was worth 8.6 oWAR and Cabrera 7.4 oWAR. Trout got the extra value from base running.

Where WAR shines is not in this argument. You don't need WAR to know both these guys are good players. On offense they're pretty close. If you want defense from your team then Trout is clearly the better player. WAR will tell you how truly bad guys like Delmon Young and Michael Young were last year or how valuable defense really is. A nice article was written on fangraphs about Ryan Braun in 2007. How he had a monster offensive season and won ROY. However his defense was so bad at third base that he gave back a lot of the value.
Reply | Quote

Posted: 02/01/2013 3:59 PM

Re: Jim Caple on WAR 


So WAR has determined that Trout had a better offensive year than the first guy to win the triple crown in how many years?!
"I originally said he would get fired in mid-May after a poor start, but honestly, he might not make it to May at this rate." A 'professional' opinion of Manager of the Year Clint Hurdle 4/8/13
Reply | Quote

Posted: 02/01/2013 9:01 PM

RE: Jim Caple on WAR 


The numbers are about identical. Trout has a higher oWAR because of position adjustment. If 8 players all hit .300 with 30 homers and 100 RBI but they each play a different position they will all have different oWAR numbers.

Remember it's wins above "replacement". Meaning that player performed above a replacement level player at his position. The replacement level of a shortstop and a third baseman are quite different. Generally it's the reverse of the defensive spectrum.
Reply | Quote

Posted: 02/02/2013 4:42 AM

Re: Jim Caple on WAR 


While that's true (and admittedly, I didn't think about it) I wouldn't have thought an Outfielder and a 3rd baseman would be that different.  I just remain skeptical on all things WAR (especially defensive WAR) and when you see triple Crown winners (there's been 1 in my lifetime) come in 2nd in WAR, it only makes me even more skeptical.
"I originally said he would get fired in mid-May after a poor start, but honestly, he might not make it to May at this rate." A 'professional' opinion of Manager of the Year Clint Hurdle 4/8/13
Reply | Quote

Posted: 02/03/2013 6:53 AM

Re: Jim Caple on WAR 


You cannot compare different players based on WAR because it is based on position. A position like an Outfielder will have a lower baseline because there are so many players at the position and some of them are down right terrible. A position like 3rd base may have a better overall baseline so a 3rd basemen may have a better season, yet may have a lower WAR because of a higher baseline.

Unless all baselines are the same comparing WAR of different positions cannot be done. In fact in may not be fair because some positions have a built in advantage based on lower baselines.
Reply | Quote