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Bob Ryan on baseball's WAR

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by 3_Octave_Fart, Mar 3, 2013.

  1. 3_Octave_Fart

    3_Octave_Fart Well-Known Member


    This is becoming as trite as the "big event host city sucks" column.
    Or the "soccer sucks" column.
    A terrible argument.
  2. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    Which WAR is he using to say it was 9.1-6.6? B-R says it was 10.7-6.9. Of course, B-R also says Robinson Cano ranked ahead of Cabrera too, and that Alex Gordon was the 10th-best position player in all of Major League Baseball, a mere 0.7 points behind Cabrera.

    But really this whole argument is incomplete for another five years until we find out what Trout's 2012 WAR was under the next adjusted formula, and then of course we have to see if it's B-R or Fangraphs that we should take as gospel truth.
  3. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    Ridiculously simplistic to say the fetishization of WAR is the path to a front-office job. Whole lot more involved than that -- some very finely tuned defensive zone stats along with video scouting. Regardless, predicting what a person will do for the next five years is an entirely different exercise than evaluating what he did last year.

    But ridiculously simplistic is your milieu, so I am not surprised that that would be your stance.
  4. I get why Ryan's not into numerical modeling of players. I just don't know why people have to get so pissy when others eat it up.
  5. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    The problem isn't that Bob Ryan doesn't like WAR. Plenty of people don't.

    The problem is that Bob Ryan does a terrible job supporting the assertion that he doesn't like WAR.

    LTL, you're too smart to reflexively support this column. You could write it 10 times better.
  6. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    Uh ... I appreciate that?

    I'm probably just worn out on the whole topic. I didn't think Ryan's column was bad, maybe too much on the surface. To me, a column on that topic should always include those points I (and others) have mentioned: that the two leading authorities can't even agree on what WAR is, and that it changes again and again long after the seasons are in the books. Yet even though we all know Trout's and Cabrera's WAR for 2012 will be different five years from now, we are supposed to accept them as incontrovertible conclusions in the moment.

    But this ...

    ... is completely opposite of how this stuff happens. I have been called a stupid old man here on this board for saying I would have voted for Cabrera. There were dozens, maybe even hundreds, of columns deriding the 22 Flat Earthers who wasted their vote last fall. Probably the most egregious was Passan's saying that because Nate Silver nailed the presidential election, Cabrera voters are wrong.
  7. RickStain

    RickStain Well-Known Member

    I'm ready to just give up on WAR so I don't have to deal with these absurdly bad columns. It's a lazy, shorthand stat that no one really needs, although it is convenient. It's the fast food of analysis. I like it, but I can certainly do without it.

    There's no war inside baseball. The war is entirely being fought by fans (and that includes writers).
  8. Knighthawk

    Knighthawk Member

    WAR as a concept is fine. It's a very useful way to measure players in a context-free way. I don't think the MVP should be decided in a context-free manner, but that's just an opinion.

    The elephant in the room is that a big chunk of WAR is junk, because no one has found an accurate way of measuring defensive value. Fangraphs thinks that Jhonny Peralta was one of the best defensive shortstops in baseball last season.
  9. Bubbler

    Bubbler Active Member

    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 15, 2014
  10. RickStain

    RickStain Well-Known Member

    It's not that we don't know how to quantify defensive value. It's that you have to make choices no one likes to make about what you are trying to measure. The best defender isn't always going to be the most valuable.
  11. 93Devil

    93Devil Well-Known Member

    OPS is a perfectly fine way to judge a hitter.

    Fielding is trickier, but what about making a rating that measure how many times a game a player catches a batted ball? If a player does have limited range, it will show up in that stat. Compare shortstops to shortstops or RF to RF and the ones with good range should start to rise to the top over the course of a season and a career.

    And errors are errors.
  12. Michael_ Gee

    Michael_ Gee Well-Known Member

    Fielding is the Lost Dutchman gold mine of sabermetrics. I'm of the opinion that a consensus on the most accurate means of measuring fielding ability will NEVER be found, if only because the people inside baseball, managers, scouts, front offices, etc., place a much higher value on consistency than they do on range, while outsiders do the opposite.
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