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Bill James' 2013 Projections


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Maybe it's cause I'm tired. But that made no sense. I agree with El Gordo, protection in the line up matters. IF not, why to GM's go out looking for it every year. Example, Prince for Cabrara.

The fact that people believe something isn't evidence that the belief is true. It's just evidence that the belief exists.

And that article is very good. To the point and devastating. You should give it another chance.

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The fact that people believe something isn't evidence that the belief is true. It's just evidence that the belief exists.

And that article is very good. To the point and devastating. You should give it another chance.

Good article but I have to disagree with the effectiveness of the methodology as an attempt to reach the conclusion they have already deemed true. With no distinction made for the quality of pitchers in the sample, I think the authors oversell their conclusion. Post-facto analysis of results does not measure the effect of the variables at play pre-event. Unless the details are drilled down to a much greater extent on a per situation basis, they are basically giving you a whitewash and selling it as a customized paint job ... in my amateur opinion.

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The fact that people believe something isn't evidence that the belief is true. It's just evidence that the belief exists.

And that article is very good. To the point and devastating. You should give it another chance.

I have really wrestled with this subject over the years, because I absolutely believe that pitchers pitch differently to a hitter depending on whether the following batter is really dangerous, or not dangerous at all. Frankly, it's just common sense.

But, it also depends on the type of hitter who is up. Take a guy like Nick Markakis, who has a very good batting eye and rarely swings at bad pitches. Pitchers are not going to want to walk him if Hamilton is right behind him, so he'll probably see more fat pitches and it will help him. But now take Adam Jones, who rarely walks and swings at a lot of bad pitches, especially behind in the count. I doubt the pitchers would change their approach to Jones if Hamilton was behind him, unless Jones himself made an adjustment and started taking more pitches.

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I would take that offensive production, especially out of Davis. Plus, a bounce back season from Hardy, some improvement from Wieters, steady production out of a healthy Markakis, and a rookie slash line I'd be more than comfortable with from Manny. Man would I take that offense.

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I have really wrestled with this subject over the years, because I absolutely believe that pitchers pitch differently to a hitter depending on whether the following batter is really dangerous, or not dangerous at all. Frankly, it's just common sense.

But, it also depends on the type of hitter who is up. Take a guy like Nick Markakis, who has a very good batting eye and rarely swings at bad pitches. Pitchers are not going to want to walk him if Hamilton is right behind him, so he'll probably see more fat pitches and it will help him. But now take Adam Jones, who rarely walks and swings at a lot of bad pitches, especially behind in the count. I doubt the pitchers would change their approach to Jones if Hamilton was behind him, unless Jones himself made an adjustment and started taking more pitches.

Well, the article does show that pitchers do change their approach, so that's right. The issue is the end result/value...which doesn't seem to vary that much from a statistical aggregate. I agree with you about Jones (why should the pitchers change), but many of the hitters we talk about needing "protection" are guys that you typically might see getting a lot of walks when pitched around. Anytime we talk about one case, we run the danger of observational bias, but I think Mark Beckens comment about Miguel Cabrera is pretty interesting to look at, especially considering the extreme nature of the Cabrera and Fielder relationship as premier hitters. Cabrera won the MVP, but his statistical value actually went down this year (from the previous 2 years) with Fielder batting behind him. He hit more HR's but his walks were down around 40%.

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Good article but I have to disagree with the effectiveness of the methodology as an attempt to reach the conclusion they have already deemed true. With no distinction made for the quality of pitchers in the sample, I think the authors oversell their conclusion. Post-facto analysis of results does not measure the effect of the variables at play pre-event. Unless the details are drilled down to a much greater extent on a per situation basis, they are basically giving you a whitewash and selling it as a customized paint job ... in my amateur opinion.

Its fine to disagree but it's a stretch to say that he's trying to make a case for something he deems true. Tom Tango is a professional and often disagrees with many of his fellow baseball statisiticians. While the quality of the pitching was not classified, he made great steps to isolate the variables in a very detailed and logical manner. Since the data is so random, why do you think the quality of the pitchers would have significant variance? Also, what about the second larger sample of over 20,000 plus AB's?

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Its fine to disagree but it's a stretch to say that he's trying to make a case for something he deems true. Tom Tango is a professional and often disagrees with many of his fellow baseball statisiticians. While the quality of the pitching was not classified, he made great steps to isolate the variables in a very detailed and logical manner. Since the data is so random, why do you think the quality of the pitchers would have significant variance? Also, what about the second larger sample of over 20,000 plus AB's?

Hi CA. I am familiar with Tango and the niche he has established for himself in the world of baseball analysts. I respect his efforts to quantify with greater accuracy many of the adages accepted by baseball folks at face value. On this particular issue, he seems fixated on the end conclusion that he reached in his initial swipe at the question and has failed to incorporate some factors that, imo, influence the actual outcome on the field of play. Please do not conclude that I'm dismissing the effort out of hand, I just disagree that the conclusion is as black and white as portrayed.

Regarding the quality of pitchers, I disagree that Daniel Cabrera's approach to a situation (and subsequent outcome) and say, Justin Verlander's should be aggregated and viewed as the same. Lumping all of the data points together while only controlling for the quality of batters distorts the truth of the on the field process. Tango presents his conclusion as a definitive answer to every instance of potential "protection" in the lineup and to me it's more shaded than that.

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Well, the article does show that pitchers do change their approach, so that's right. The issue is the end result/value...which doesn't seem to vary that much from a statistical aggregate. I agree with you about Jones (why should the pitchers change), but many of the hitters we talk about needing "protection" are guys that you typically might see getting a lot of walks when pitched around. Anytime we talk about one case, we run the danger of observational bias, but I think Mark Beckens comment about Miguel Cabrera is pretty interesting to look at, especially considering the extreme nature of the Cabrera and Fielder relationship as premier hitters. Cabrera won the MVP, but his statistical value actually went down this year (from the previous 2 years) with Fielder batting behind him. He hit more HR's but his walks were down around 40%.

I think this bit of info highlights the other dilemma Tango is not able to address. What is the actual psychological impact on the batters in question? Could Cabrera have been thinking, "well, with Prince behind me no way is the pitcher going to walk me here, so I'm going to take him deep" or something along those lines? For me, without a magical ESP helmet, the question is not answerable. This is an area of analysis that just doesn't lend itself to a broad brush, statistical approach, imo.

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Lies, damn lies, and statistics. OBP and OPS are generally excellent measures, but not always. Yes, both OBP and OPS are increased when a player draws a lot of walks, but there are situations in games where a walk is not necessarily good for the offense. 2nd and third, one out, your best hitter up. A hit is 2 runs, a homer is 3. A fly ball is one. The infield may be drawn in, depending on the situation in the game, and the chances of a hit is increased. A walk loads the bases and sets up the double play, which would net zero runs. Having another strong hitter behind him increases the chance of the batter seeing good pitches is greatly increased. A single and a walk both have the same effect on OBP and OPS in that situation, but a walk is not want you want there. A sacrifice fly negatively impacts OBP and OPS, but in many situations is a better result for the game at hand than a walk. I'd doubt you would find many that played the game agree that having lineup protection is of no consequence.

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Hi CA. I am familiar with Tango and the niche he has established for himself in the world of baseball analysts. I respect his efforts to quantify with greater accuracy many of the adages accepted by baseball folks at face value. On this particular issue, he seems fixated on the end conclusion that he reached in his initial swipe at the question and has failed to incorporate some factors that, imo, influence the actual outcome on the field of play. Please do not conclude that I'm dismissing the effort out of hand, I just disagree that the conclusion is as black and white as portrayed.

Regarding the quality of pitchers, I disagree that Daniel Cabrera's approach to a situation (and subsequent outcome) and say, Justin Verlander's should be aggregated and viewed as the same. Lumping all of the data points together while only controlling for the quality of batters distorts the truth of the on the field process. Tango presents his conclusion as a definitive answer to every instance of potential "protection" in the lineup and to me it's more shaded than that.

Well, other then the quality of the pitchers, he made great effort to isolate the the onfield process (in the first eample) into very specific situations (do I need to list them?). Other than the pitcher what is wrong with the variables? Again why do you think the pitchers quality will vary significantly considering the randomness of the data? What about the second larger sample of over 20K PA's?

Also, I woudn't say the conclusions are "black and white". There are a lot of implications here. One of which is that statistical value doesn't necessarily equate to team value.

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I think this bit of info highlights the other dilemma Tango is not able to address. What is the actual psychological impact on the batters in question? Could Cabrera have been thinking, "well, with Prince behind me no way is the pitcher going to walk me here, so I'm going to take him deep" or something along those lines? For me, without a magical ESP helmet, the question is not answerable. This is an area of analysis that just doesn't lend itself to a broad brush, statistical approach, imo.

Well, I have to disagree. I think both sets of data in the study (as well as others) do adress the psychological impact quite well. To me it's actually quite intuitive. Pitchers are generally more effective when the throw strikes and get ahead of hitters than when they're pitching around hitters. That general principal very likely applies for Miguel Cabrera as it does for Cesar izturis

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Lies, damn lies, and statistics. OBP and OPS are generally excellent measures, but not always. Yes, both OBP and OPS are increased when a player draws a lot of walks, but there are situations in games where a walk is not necessarily good for the offense. 2nd and third, one out, your best hitter up. A hit is 2 runs, a homer is 3. A fly ball is one. The infield may be drawn in, depending on the situation in the game, and the chances of a hit is increased. A walk loads the bases and sets up the double play, which would net zero runs. Having another strong hitter behind him increases the chance of the batter seeing good pitches is greatly increased. A single and a walk both have the same effect on OBP and OPS in that situation, but a walk is not want you want there. A sacrifice fly negatively impacts OBP and OPS, but in many situations is a better result for the game at hand than a walk. I'd doubt you would find many that played the game agree that having lineup protection is of no consequence.

These issues are adressed in the study. You need to separate statisitical value versus the potential affects on the team as a whole. In most cases they are probably negligible and/or offsetting.

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Well, other then the quality of the pitchers, he made great effort to isolate the the onfield process (in the first eample) into very specific situations (do I need to list them?). Other than the pitcher what is wrong with the variables? Again why do you think the pitchers quality will vary significantly vary considering the randomness of the data? What about the second larger sample of over 20K PA's?

Also, I woudn't say the conclusions are "black and white". There are a lot of implications here. One of which is that statistical value doesn't necessarily equate to team value.

No need to list the breakdown he provided. There are many variables at play that I have not seen recognized in the analysis. What inning, what's the score, what's the recent bullpen usage, is there a shutdown loogy/roogy in the pen that's available; who bats behind the protection, who's hot or slumping, is the manager leaving a younger pitcher out there in the 5th to see if he can work through it. Those are just some of the factors that come to mind and why, no matter how many PAs get aggregated, this approach to determining the effectiveness of protection is inherently flawed ... to me.

The conclusion seemed pretty clear, "no such thing as protection" but the implications may tell a different story.

So back to the Bill James guy : ) Would enjoy continuing the conversation CA, just don't want to derail too much.

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Well, I have to disagree. I think both sets of data in the study (as well as others) do adress the psychological impact quite well. To me it's actually quite intuitive. Pitchers are generally more effective when the throw strikes and get ahead of hitters than when they're pitching around hitters. That general principal very likely applies for Miguel Cabrera as it does for Cesar izturis

Undoubtedly true, but not the conclusion presented as far as "protection." I disagree that all players have the same psychological makeup.

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