August 22, 2013

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle:

A place to discuss the sports stories that aren't making news, share links that aren't quite front-page material, and diagram plays on your hand. Remember to count to five Mississippi before commenting in anger.

posted by huddle to general at 06:00 AM - 8 comments

Are baseball statistics too judgmental? If they are, who got screwed by them?

posted by yerfatma at 09:50 AM on August 22, 2013

If you're going to make a sign for the ballpark, take some time and trace it out.

posted by yerfatma at 09:52 AM on August 22, 2013

Yeah, I'm in trouble now.

posted by smithnyiu at 01:37 PM on August 22, 2013

Oy. And who is Migga? I know of a Miggy. And the extended version of great is grrrreat. Oy.

posted by NoMich at 03:58 PM on August 22, 2013

From the Posnanski article, I'm not sure if it's completely fair to compare stats across sports, but when he does, it certainly makes things like errors seem silly. In any event, a very well written piece.

posted by bender at 04:25 PM on August 22, 2013

Yeah, I both agreed and disagreed with him, but it's an interesting, thought provoking essay.

I kind of agree on the error as subjective and irrelevent in terms of the larger statistical picture. But then again, if you stopped counting errors as errors- i.e., rule it an error on the fielder but still count it as a hit- then what do you call extra bases taken on an error- stolen bases? Where I think errors are problematic is on having them be subjective, but really- most of the time a fielder gets an error for dropping a catch he had lined up, or throwing the ball away. And contrary to Joe's claim, I believe many official scorers would rule an error when the fielder stood there, blinded by the sun, and the ball landed 5 feet to his left. Players don't and shouldn't get errors simply for not reaching the play, but that's already (ideally) capture by stats like zone rating et al.

As a tangent, I think defense, and zone ratings et al, are still a very inaccurate part of sabermetrics, and given how WAR is the hot sexy and yet is (double or triple) pegged to defensive position, we might find that down the road we have to re-assess players yet again. I'll never understand the positional adjustment to offensive WAR due to position played.

I also completely agree with the defensive indifference complaint; I've never understood that rule, as baseball- of all sports- is one where no lead is truly safe, so "letting" a runner advance could be just the thing to set off an 8-run inning in the top of the 9th that ends up winning the game.

However, I think he's wrong about sac bunts and sac flies. He might have a case with sac flies, but sac bunts are basically a low percentage play in terms of the batter reaching first safely. Essentially, the reason for that scoring rule is that the hitter is intentionally trying to make an out, or at least make himself so tempting a target for the fields that the existing runner(s) will advance easily. That a runner may advance on a check swing bloop is irrelevent: the point of that rule is to not penalize a hitter when the manager has told him in effect, "Make an out on purpose". The theory behind the sac fly is the same- the player may be intentionally just trying to put it in the air for the same reason. I guess the problem is, without the official scorer knowing the signs (the intent as he mentions) we don't know if the hitter was just swinging for a line drive and got a sac fly, or if his manager basically signaled for the sac fly or sac bunt.

posted by hincandenza at 09:52 PM on August 22, 2013

...or at least make himself so tempting a target for the fields that the existing runner(s) will advance easily.

Unless the team in question is the Nationals, in which case the lead runner is likely to be the one thrown out.

posted by bender at 10:51 PM on August 22, 2013

Wow. Just, wow.

posted by Etrigan at 11:27 PM on August 22, 2013

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