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Bill James' 2013 Projections


luismatos4prez

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Maybe it's worth noting that the 2012 Tigers scored 61 fewer runs than they did in 2011. Fielder had a pretty good year, so this pretty plainly suggests that his presence did not particularly help the other hitters on the team.

I'd say that the lost season of Victor Martinez had a lot to do with that. Cabrera + Fielder had outstanding results.

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It's hard to believe we're having a lineup protection argument in 2012, when a 15-second Google search would reveal multiple research essays going back 20+ years that find little or no evidence that the idea exists in any meaningful way.

That's the gist of the conversation if I'm not mistaken; do the published "studies" prove what they claim to prove or do they represent a collective exercise in number juggling applied to a theory that cannot be proven one way or another mathematically. Stats can be a useful tool, but they are not the be all end all when it comes to baseball, imo. Those aren't digital representations of humans stepping into the batter's box or on the pitching mound.

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It's hard to believe we're having a lineup protection argument in 2012, when a 15-second Google search would reveal multiple research essays going back 20+ years that find little or no evidence that the idea exists in any meaningful way.

No evidence that it exists? Seems to me virtually every manager and coach of every team in every league from the majors down to U-10 baseball and church league softball uses roster protection whenever possible. That a player's OPS shows no meaningful benefit is irrelevant for the reasons stated above.

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The fallacy of your argument is that you are taking an overall stat (OBP, OPS, or even wOBA) and applying it universally to all situations.

More often than not, getting on base is the primary goal of a batter. There are times, however, where driving in a run is the primary goal. It is in those situations that lineup protection becomes important.

You seem to be saying that to recognize the value of lineup protection is to claim that these statistics are worthless. That is simply not the case. In fact, through the prudent use of statistics a manager can most effectively use a strategy of lineup protection. The two are not mutually exclusive. I am recognizing the fact that prudent baseball men have and continue to employ a strategy of lineup protection, and that they have success by scoring in those game changing situations more often.

To argue that a player's OPS is not improved by such a strategy is irrelevant to the issue of whether lineup protection is a sound strategy. Of course a walk improves a player's OPS. It simply does not score a runner from scoring position (unless the bases are loaded - in which case roster protection is not an issue). Think about it -- if your argument were true and getting on base was always the primary goal, regardless of the situation, then why would the defense ever intentionally walk a batter or pitch around him?

I'm not even sure how to reply here. It's almost like I wrote something and you completely ignored it and repled with something completely tangential. I'm not sure if that's a failure of communication on my part or not. How do you gather from all that I said that my point is that "lineup protection is worthless". For one thing, I think we're working off different definitions.

Also, why are you stuck on OPS. OBP is more valuable than SLG percentage. You have understand that concept.

I guess what you're saying is that I can't understand that there are situations where a IBB could be beneficial or that there are situations where pitching around somebody may have positive results? Of course there are.... and many times it doesn't work out. What's a big factor in that equation: strength of the overall lineup.

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No evidence that it exists? Seems to me virtually every manager and coach of every team in every league from the majors down to U-10 baseball and church league softball uses roster protection whenever possible. That a player's OPS shows no meaningful benefit is irrelevant for the reasons stated above.

So, is it roster protection or lineup protection now? Give your definition of what you think it is.

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That's the gist of the conversation if I'm not mistaken; do the published "studies" prove what they claim to prove or do they represent a collective exercise in number juggling applied to a theory that cannot be proven one way or another mathematically. Stats can be a useful tool, but they are not the be all end all when it comes to baseball, imo. Those aren't digital representations of humans stepping into the batter's box or on the pitching mound.
No evidence that it exists? Seems to me virtually every manager and coach of every team in every league from the majors down to U-10 baseball and church league softball uses roster protection whenever possible. That a player's OPS shows no meaningful benefit is irrelevant for the reasons stated above.

I'm sure that in chuch softball lineup protection exists. If you bat Albert Pujols in front of a 12-year-old girl he's going to be intentionally walked 100% of the time, which is less productive than had he been batting in front of the star of the local high school baseball team and he gets walked 88% of the time and homers the other 12%.

But in the real world of MLB, lots and lots of people have studied the impact of batting order position, and who bats in front of or behind whom, across many years/players/teams/situations. And nobody has found any real evidence that it has any substantial impact on a lineup's production. You can choose to believe anecdotal evidence over empirical evidence if you wish, but I'm not going to. Every manager and coach of every team from MLB to church softball once believed many things that have since been proven false.

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I'm sure that in chuch softball lineup protection exists. If you bat Albert Pujols in front of a 12-year-old girl he's going to be intentionally walked 100% of the time, which is less productive than had he been batting in front of the star of the local high school baseball team and he gets walked 88% of the time and homers the other 12%.

But in the real world of MLB, lots and lots of people have studied the impact of batting order position, and who bats in front of or behind whom, across many years/players/teams/situations. And nobody has found any real evidence that it has any substantial impact on a lineup's production. You can choose to believe anecdotal evidence over empirical evidence if you wish, but I'm not going to. Every manager and coach of every team from MLB to church softball once believed many things that have since been proven false.

Oh come on. Look at the batting order of every major league team. Can you really say that the managers are not trying to protect their best hitters as best they can? And lineup protection has most certainly not been proven false. The statistical problem has been trying to prove it one way or the other. My contention is that since lineup protection really only matters in certain key situations, finding a convenient statistic to prove or disprove the obvious is just an exercise in futility.

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Oh come on. Look at the batting order of every major league team. Can you really say that the managers are not trying to protect their best hitters as best they can? And lineup protection has most certainly not been proven false. The statistical problem has been trying to prove it one way or the other. My contention is that since lineup protection really only matters in certain key situations, finding a convenient statistic to prove or disprove the obvious is just an exercise in futility.

I completely agree that managers are trying to protect their best batters. No argument there at all. But the effectiveness of that, the impact of it on the number of runs the lineup scores, is negligible. You'd probably change your run scored totals more by swapping out Robert Andino for Alexi Casilla in the 9 spot than you would by stacking your sluggers just so to maximize protection.

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I'm not even sure how to reply here. It's almost like I wrote something and you completely ignored it and repled with something completely tangential. I'm not sure if that's a failure of communication on my part or not. How do you gather from all that I said that my point is that "lineup protection is worthless". For one thing, I think we're working off different definitions.

Also, why are you stuck on OPS. OBP is more valuable than SLG percentage. You have understand that concept.

I guess what you're saying is that I can't understand that there are situations where a IBB could be beneficial or that there are situations where pitching around somebody may have positive results? Of course there are.... and many times it doesn't work out. What's a big factor in that equation: strength of the overall lineup.

I understand about OPS. My point to you is that a walk is not always as good as a hit or better than a productive out. It is in those situations that scoring the run is more important than just getting on base. I don't mean to run out on you, but I have to go. Will check back later.

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Getting back to Bill James' projections, he lists us as a good hitting bunch, with bad baserunning, mediocre SPs, and an okay bullpen.

The bad baserunning I got from a separate piece he did a while back. Markakis and Wieters are slow as molasses. Jones, McLouth, Reimold, and Casilla are good baserunners, but none of them will put up great SB numbers. Hardy, Davis, Machado, and the rest are all okay, but definitely not fast. It's a flaw with the team, and not one I can see being fixed this winter.

The fielding is fine. Machado, Hardy, and Wieters are all outstanding at their positions. Jones and Markakis are up for debate, but I'd say they're average. God only knows what Brob will do in the field this year. Through his concussion problems, he maintained a pretty decent UZR. The hip clearly slowed him down this year though. Reimold/McLouth can both do a decent job in LF. McLouth is better. Davis could be a decent 1B imo and he's shown tobe in the past, but he wasn't this year.

The pitching isn't a huge concern for me as it is now. According to the projections, we have

Hammel - 4.30

Chen - 3.92

Tillman - 4.31

Gonzo - 3.67

Britton - 4.08

The total starter ERA for the Orioles was 4.42 last year, so this would be a big improvement. If Saunders is willing to give us his dependable, average self for a year, then I'd take him and move Britton down. Hammel could be a good trade chip too.

For the pen, he projects

J. Johnson - 3.34

Strop - 3.63

O'Day - 2.71

Ayala - 3.95

Patton - 4.05

Hunter - 4.50

SJ - 4.40

Matusz - 4.70

That's not very good. Our bullpen ERA last year was 3.00. As I said in my OP, I think Matusz and Hunter will significantly outperform his expectations, if placed in the bullpen. He sees significant regression in JJ, SJ, Strop, Ayala, and Patton. I don't know how accurate he normally is on RPs, but I think he's way too pessimistic on Patton too. Nothing in his peripherals suggest that his performance was unsustainable. I don't see where he's coming from with JJ either. His peripherals weren't great, but it's not as if he's a one year wonder. His ERA was pretty much the same this year as last. I'm willing to part with Strop though. Everything he did last year screams "Regression Ahead", and I think he'd have some good value on the market.

As for the lineup, I'll construct one given his projections:

Reimold

Markakis

Jones

Davis

Wieters

Reynolds

Hardy

Machado

BRob

That's not good enough to me. I don't think Reynolds makes sense to bring back. An upgrade must be made. As far as I'm concerned, a 1B/DH is a necessity.

-Billy Butler is a great hitter. That would take out a significant chunk of our SP though. Hammel, Matusz, and Strop maybe. I don't think we can afford that.

-Josh Hamilton is a great hitter, but he's old and injury prone. If 4/90 brought him here I'd do it in a second, but it won't even come close.

-Lance Berkman has OBP for days, but he's old and and failed in his only AL appearance.

-Nick Swisher is an insufferable tool, and thinks he's worth way more than he is.

-Kevin Youkilis has seen an alarming decline in his batting for the last couple years, and is getting up there in years, but has that Jonah Hill OBP potential, and I bet he'd love to stick it to the Red Sox

Out of those, I wouldn't be upset if Berkman or Youkilis were signed short-term. But the best option I can see is for Duquette and co. to pinpoint a hitter that they believe the trade market undervalues, but could provide a MOO presence. Justin Morneau, Brandon Belt, Ike Davis, Chris Carter, Carlos Santana and Lucas Duda are some names that I'll toss out there. This is essentially what he did last year with Jason Hammel. Found a guy he felt was undervalued by the market and got him.

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I completely agree that managers are trying to protect their best batters. No argument there at all. But the effectiveness of that, the impact of it on the number of runs the lineup scores, is negligible. You'd probably change your run scored totals more by swapping out Robert Andino for Alexi Casilla in the 9 spot than you would by stacking your sluggers just so to maximize protection.

I have no idea how you can say this. There is virtually a non-existent sample size of lineups where the manager has not tried to employ lineup protection. Once in a blue moon - on the order of frequency similar to that of an unassisted triple play - a manager whose team is in a funk will pull names out of a hat for a completely random lineup. Since that sample size is so ridiculously low, there is no way to determine that conventional wisdom in lineup construction is not effective in producing more runs. Again, just because OPS is not increased measurably by using lineup protection, that does not mean that there are not more runs being scored.

Conventional wisdom is that your better hitters will see better pitches to hit in certain key situations if the on deck batter is also a strong hitter. As a result, the thinking goes, these hitters will drive more balls resulting in RBI hits and productive outs. These hits and outs score runs, while a base on balls would not in these situations. The defense can get out of these innings often by walking and/or pitching around these hitters if the on deck hitter is a lesser bat. Common sense and my eyes and game experience tells me this happens. Saying that there are not more runs scored by a strong hitter putting the ball in play with runners in scoring position and less than two outs than when he doesn't put the ball in play doesn't really make sense, does it? Since the hitter in such a situation gets pitched to because of lineup protection, I cannot see how you can possibly say that statistics "prove" that the effect is negligible. How can you possibly prove that a guy who hits a three-run homer when he is protected in the lineup would have seen the same pitch and hit a three-run homer if a weak hitter was on deck. You can't.

As you have agreed, managers do indeed try to employ lineup protection as best they can when trying to set their lineups. These men are professionals and know what they are doing.

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I have no idea how you can say this. There is virtually a non-existent sample size of lineups where the manager has not tried to employ lineup protection. Once in a blue moon - on the order of frequency similar to that of an unassisted triple play - a manager whose team is in a funk will pull names out of a hat for a completely random lineup. Since that sample size is so ridiculously low, there is no way to determine that conventional wisdom in lineup construction is not effective in producing more runs. Again, just because OPS is not increased measurably by using lineup protection, that does not mean that there are not more runs being scored.

Conventional wisdom is that your better hitters will see better pitches to hit in certain key situations if the on deck batter is also a strong hitter. As a result, the thinking goes, these hitters will drive more balls resulting in RBI hits and productive outs. These hits and outs score runs, while a base on balls would not in these situations. The defense can get out of these innings often by walking and/or pitching around these hitters if the on deck hitter is a lesser bat. Common sense and my eyes and game experience tells me this happens. Saying that there are not more runs scored by a strong hitter putting the ball in play with runners in scoring position and less than two outs than when he doesn't put the ball in play doesn't really make sense, does it? Since the hitter in such a situation gets pitched to because of lineup protection, I cannot see how you can possibly say that statistics "prove" that the effect is negligible. How can you possibly prove that a guy who hits a three-run homer when he is protected in the lineup would have seen the same pitch and hit a three-run homer if a weak hitter was on deck. You can't.

As you have agreed, managers do indeed try to employ lineup protection as best they can when trying to set their lineups. These men are professionals and know what they are doing.

Uh, he can say that because there is a wealth of evidence suggesting that he's right. Do you think he just had some sort of vision?

And the idea that "managers do it so therefore it must work" isn't even worth considering. If everything that is done is right, why even bother to turn your brain on in the morning?

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Uh, he can say that because there is a wealth of evidence suggesting that he's right. Do you think he just had some sort of vision?

And the idea that "managers do it so therefore it must work" isn't even worth considering. If everything that is done is right, why even bother to turn your brain on in the morning?

What evidence? Since virtually all statistics have been created in lineups written by managers employing a lineup protection strategy, what evidence can you show that proves that all of the pitches and plate appearance results would have been identical if the lineups were all written randomly.

No, I don't think Drungo had a vision. I think he has bought into some theoretical essays that misapply statistics. He has admitted that all managers write their lineups using a lineup protection strategy. Any attempt to apply statistics created in real life in real lineups written in this way into a different universe where the lineups were written randomly is flawed.

You do realize that you are saying that every pitcher is going to show a batter the same exact pitches in an at bat with runners in scoring position and first base open whether Ryan Braun is on deck or Cesar Izturis. Anything other than totally agreeing that is the case is to recognize that lineup protection is a real and viable strategy.

Of course I consider what the experts in a field believe about that field. You don't? The managers are experts. You and I are not.

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