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Since we all like a good sabermetrics debate...

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by BB Bobcat, Sep 6, 2011.

  1. BB Bobcat

    BB Bobcat Active Member

    Came upon this blog post about why WAR is overrated...


    I think this is right on. I'm not a crusty old schooler. I like a lot of the new stuff. However, I believe that a lot of the new defensive stuff just whiffs, which is where I think WAR goes wrong. That's one of the topics of this post. I'm much more comfortable using offensive WAR and then using my own judgment for how much to adjust based on defense.

    Personally, I like OPS as a one number, catch-all for evaluating offense. I'm guessing offensive WAR and OPS are pretty closely correlated anyway.
  2. Brian

    Brian Well-Known Member

    Rob Neyer says the writer set up a series of straw men.


    When Hippeaux says WAR doesn't work "in the fantastically straight-forward way we try to use it," what he really means is that it doesn't work in the way you -- that is, you dunder-headed fools who aren't as smart as Hippeaux -- try to use it.

    Can you say "straw man"?

    Who's trying to use WAR that way, exactly? Who is arguing that Ben Zobrist is EXACTLY 9.3 percent better than Adrian Gonzalez? None of my friends are doing that. Are yours?
  3. RickStain

    RickStain Well-Known Member

    He's right. With sabermetrics, you usually have to trade convenience for accuracy. WAR is very convenient, and not useless, but you give up some accuracy when you use it.
  4. deskslave

    deskslave Active Member

    I can't help feeling that BB has missed a chance here with the thread title. Surely it should have been "WAR: What is it good for?"

    And then you could have thrown an organizer out the window of a limo.
  5. 2underpar

    2underpar Active Member

    nice seinfeld reference.
  6. bumpy mcgee

    bumpy mcgee Well-Known Member

    He was going to go with that, but his mistress made him change the title.
  7. BB Bobcat

    BB Bobcat Active Member

    Neyer is probably correct that he doesn't misuse WAR, and probably some of his saber pals don't either, but there are a whole mess of Faux Intellectuals out there in the world of baseball fans. They latch on to a sliver of some idea they picked up on the Internet or by reading Moneyball and then they run like crazy with it to try to make themselves look smart.

    I'd argue that FIP is similar. I think most people inside baseball, and the open minded saber guys, have now acknowledged that pitchers do have some control over the way balls are put in play, but a whole raft of folks missed that and are still living on the cutting edge of 2002.
  8. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    Defense in baseball seems a lot like the attempt to apply sabermetrics to football -- there is just too much interdependency with other factors to put a lot of stock into it.
  9. RickStain

    RickStain Well-Known Member

    Some control, yes, but large, short-term fluctuations are still variance.

    When you have a pitcher with a sudden change in results, and that change is based on a large change in their BABIP, it's an incredibly safe bet that the change is not going to last in the long run.

    I'm not going to argue that a guy with a 3.40 FIP and a 3.60 ERA is inarguably better than a 3.6 FIP and a 3.4 ERA, but it's still a very useful concept.
  10. RickStain

    RickStain Well-Known Member

    And much like football, I have a lot more faith in team metrics than I do individual ones.

    The big problem with defense is how you account for chances, and how that relates to "value" vs. "ability."

    Take two center fielders of precisely identical defensive ability. Give one guy a bigger home park and 20 extra chances in a season right on the edge of their range, and he's going to look like he's 10 runs better per year than the other guy. If you normalize those factors and rate them as equal, then you aren't accurately measuring their value and what happened on the field that season. If you rate the first guy significantly better, you aren't generating a predictive assessment of his ability.
  11. Herbert Anchovy

    Herbert Anchovy Active Member

    FanGraphs suggests that Madison Bumgarner (10-12, 3.37) has been the sixth most valuable pitcher in the National League this season. Garza (8-10, 3.52) two spots behind.

  12. dooley_womack1

    dooley_womack1 Well-Known Member

    Not all of like like a good sabermetrics debate. Just for the record.
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