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Overrated = Brian Roberts?


Pruke

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That would be my take. He's 3rd in VORP among 2nd basemen for 2007. He's 2nd to Utley in Eqa and RARP He's also 2nd to Utley in Win Shares (13th in fielding Win Shares in 2007 and 23rd in 2006). He's 4th in OBP and 15th in SLG among 2nd baseman, but he's 1st in steals among 2nd basemen by a wide margin with an 88% success rate and 4th among lead off hitters in OBP, which makes him one of the premier lead off hitters in the game in my book. He's not the best fielding 2nd baseman around by a wide margin, but he is 7th on the +/- list for 2005-2007, so he's not chopped liver on defense either. I'd take him over anything the Cardinals have had since Placido Polanco.

Great breakdown! No problem, we'll send him your way for the low low price of Rasmus straight up ;)

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You didn't ask me, but I have a really tough time believe that he is one of the three worst defensive 2B in the AL. I can't "prove it" obviously, but it is hard to believe.

I agree, and maybe its semantics, but that is different than what Frobby wrote.

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why no way?

Just my feeling based on watching him play and based on most of the other defensive stats out there. For example he's 8th best in MLB according to the TotalZone stat you cited. BP's Rate/Rate 2 has him at 101/100 which is exactly average. His RZR and OOZ numbers are not bottom tier.

When the stats are all over the lot like that, I get to go with my gut. :P

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FWIW Uggla is a horrible defender while Phillips is a very good one

Phillips #2 2b, Uggla one of the more not so goods

<img src="http://www.billjamesonline.net/fieldingbible/charts/leaders1-07.gif">

Yay Phillips, boo Uggla

2007 UZR = Uggla 2nd worst 2B

Hah. That's what I get for laziness. I used BP's rating (even though I know it's suspect, which has him at a 109 rate for last year and a 112 over the last two - which is pretty good.)

Fair enough. Happy to be corrected. And that'll be the last time I look to BP.

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I followed the links to the explanations, and I'm not seeing how those numbers are worthwhile. Perhaps someone could explain to me why they should be taken seriously, or if I'm not understanding them.

The ones listed here are apparently based on league averages at the position, like the number of chances and/or plays made. So let's say the math spits out that Roberts has a rating of Q. It's a night when the O's aren't playing, and somewhere around the league the pitchers do a great job and induce ground ball after ground ball to 2nd. Well Roberts is at home surfing Amazon, and his defensive rating just changed. To me, that's an issue.

With offensive stats, at least you're looking at what actually happened. What that player actually did. I just can't wrap my head around defensive stats.

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Great breakdown! No problem, we'll send him your way for the low low price of Rasmus straight up ;)

We should archive this and see who was right a couple years from now. I would never do that deal right now if I were the Cardinals GM because I'm too high on Colby's prospects, but I wouldn't be at all surprised if 2-3 years down the road, Brian is still an all star quality 2nd baseman and Rasmus is looking like the 2nd coming of David Green, Jim Lindeman, Jeffrey Hammonds, or Larry Bigbie.

The winter of 2003-2004, I was arguing on Cardinals forums that I believed the Cardinals should have been trying very hard to acquire Roberts, because I thought the O's regarded Jerry Hairston Jr. as the brighter prospect (I did too) and would be more willing to bargain away Brian for that very reason. If Jerry hadn't broken his finger stealing 3rd in the first game of spring training, I might have been proven right before opening day 2004. Oh, what might have been!

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I'd say for the most part the folks here have a pretty realistic appraisal of Roberts and his trade value.

However you can always spot the ones that don't. They are the ones that refer to him as the O's "All-Star 2B," as if that's meaningful.

In this context (in most contexts, actually) whether or not a guy has appeared in an All-Star game is basically a worthless piece of information. We've got many much better ways to evaluate players than this.

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They are the ones that refer to him as the O's "All-Star 2B," as if that's meaningful.

It is meaningful. It means that Brian was either one of the best 2 or 3 healthy 2nd basemen when the All Star game came around that year, or he was one of the best 2 or 3 players on a lousy O's team and got picked to be the team's sole All Star representative. Such players may not be HOF caliber, but they're not dog meat either.

Yes, there are much better ways to evaluate Brian Roberts, but All Star selections are never meaningless. Occasionally undeserved, but never meaningless.

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It is meaningful. It means that Brian was either one of the best 2 or 3 healthy 2nd basemen when the All Star game came around that year, or he was one of the best 2 or 3 players on a lousy O's team and got picked to be the team's sole All Star representative. Such players may not be HOF caliber, but they're not dog meat either.

Yes, there are much better ways to evaluate Brian Roberts, but All Star selections are never meaningless. Occasionally undeserved, but never meaningless.

Then the O's should have no trouble finding lots of trade interest around baseball for their All-Star reliever Danys Baez, right?

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I followed the links to the explanations, and I'm not seeing how those numbers are worthwhile. Perhaps someone could explain to me why they should be taken seriously, or if I'm not understanding them.

The ones listed here are apparently based on league averages at the position, like the number of chances and/or plays made. So let's say the math spits out that Roberts has a rating of Q. It's a night when the O's aren't playing, and somewhere around the league the pitchers do a great job and induce ground ball after ground ball to 2nd. Well Roberts is at home surfing Amazon, and his defensive rating just changed. To me, that's an issue.

With offensive stats, at least you're looking at what actually happened. What that player actually did. I just can't wrap my head around defensive stats.

That's only because you're right ;-)

Here's one way to think about it:

  • OBP is like RZR (Revised Zone Rating = how did he do at balls he was s'posed to get, aka how did he do with his opportunities to make a play).
  • SLG is like OOZ (Out of Zone = how many extra balls did he get that he wasn't supposed to, but he made the play anyway.)
  • OPS is like the Mystery Number we don't have for D.
  • OPS+ is like "+/- Plays" (kinda-sorta)
  • We have a rough formula for RC (Runs Created) based on multiplying AB and OBP and SLG.
  • We have a rough formula for DR (Defensive Runs) that's based on +/- Plays.
  • That's like calc'ing RC based on OPS+ without even knowing what OPS is *and* not even caring about AB's. (How crazy is that?)

Lots of people think that RZR and OOZ are the right inputs into the Mystery Number we want that's analogous to OPS. I don't know enough to know if they really are the right inputs, but it sounds plausible at first blush. If they aren't the right numbers, I figure that they each are trying to get at something that would be the right numbers if we were doing it right. But let's not worry about that. Let's just assume for the moment that they are the right numbers. If RZR and OOZ are the right numbers, the problem is that we don't know what to do with them to get the Mystery Number we want. What we need is some easy way to take RZR and OOZ and come up with the equivalent of OPS (maybe "ZPO" for "Zone plus Out-of-zone"). Then, we need a simple formula for turning that into DR. Right now, we don't have either one of those things.

Part of the problem is because it's hard. Another big part of the problem is that D-stats involve secret obscure information. You don't need to wait for somebody to tell you what OBP and SLG are. They're directly extracted from any simple log of simple game events. There's no interpretation required. Everything you need is crystal clear. In contrast, neither RZR nor OOZ are like that. You can't get them from a simple log of game events. They require somebody to watch what happens to every ball-in-play and make notations about how it's hit and where it goes. They require some interpretation of game events, not just a simple log of game events. So, we're dependent on middlemen making judgments.

It's fine with me that we're dependent on human judgment, simply because people can be trained to reliably make correct judgments, we know that's true. The problem is that that the observations/notations about each play that are the basis for RZR and OOZ are not things that show up in Box Scores. So, nobody can just calculate RZR and OOZ. Instead, you have to wait for somebody to tell you. The people who know only tell you whenever they feel like it. And they don't even tell you the data points they're based on. So, it's like being told what OBP and SLG numbers are for a given guy without knowing how it happened. It's not like the announcer says, "That shoulda been a double into the gap, but Whatshisname grabbed it, and mark that as an OOZ play for him!" With RZR and OOZ, we don't even know what they are when we see them. To make things worse, AFAIK "+/- Plays" is propriety information that stays secret except for the Top-10 lists they throw to us.

Bottom line: None of the D-stats can be extracted from simple game events. So, we've got what amounts to be the D-equivalents of OBP and SLG as mystery numbers based on events that we can't just see evolve during the game like we can with OBP and SLG... plus, we've got DR being calc'd as a secret score based on secret data, so we have no way to construct it. This means that, whatever fragments of truth we have in D-stats are either inaccessible, mysterious and dispensed only periodically, or else they are outright trade secrets. Meanwhile, the basic numbers and formula we need just aren't there. Maybe somebody knows what they are, but if they do, they ain't telling us. What they're doing is treating it like the Coca Cola formula and selling the resulting information. They're not giving it away. So, we may have some actual stat-truth happening here, but if we do, it's not in the public domain. So we don't really know. (BTW, this is *not* how science is supposed to work.)

ps: Why isn't OPS really OTS? It's not OBP *plus* SLG, it's OBP *times* SLG.

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I'd say for the most part the folks here have a pretty realistic appraisal of Roberts and his trade value.

However you can always spot the ones that don't. They are the ones that refer to him as the O's "All-Star 2B," as if that's meaningful.

In this context (in most contexts, actually) whether or not a guy has appeared in an All-Star game is basically a worthless piece of information. We've got many much better ways to evaluate players than this.

If Roberts were just a bat, that hit .290, scored 90 runs and drove in another 65 - I'd say there's really not much to valuing him more than the average Joe. The original assessment took him for what he's worth which is above 30 and highly productive but not included in the assessment.

I think it's important that we don't attempt to compare apples to oranges - Roberts is highly valuable to a team that needs a leadoff hitter who can get on base, steal bases, produce runs and field a good (if not great glove).

I don't know if you're questioning his selection as an all-star, but even if you do - he really fits the needs of the Cubs unless you believe Soriano and his 30+ homers are best seated at the leadoff spot.

Don't get me wrong - I KNOW we hold him in higher regard than most simply because of where he came from and what he means to this town, but it does not mean he's Joe Slacker worthly of a Marshal / Marquis package.

Sorry for venting, but I had to throw my thoughts out there before we began the 'he's not this' scenario.

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We should archive this and see who was right a couple years from now. I would never do that deal right now if I were the Cardinals GM because I'm too high on Colby's prospects, but I wouldn't be at all surprised if 2-3 years down the road, Brian is still an all star quality 2nd baseman and Rasmus is looking like the 2nd coming of David Green, Jim Lindeman, Jeffrey Hammonds, or Larry Bigbie.

The winter of 2003-2004, I was arguing on Cardinals forums that I believed the Cardinals should have been trying very hard to acquire Roberts, because I thought the O's regarded Jerry Hairston Jr. as the brighter prospect (I did too) and would be more willing to bargain away Brian for that very reason. If Jerry hadn't broken his finger stealing 3rd in the first game of spring training, I might have been proven right before opening day 2004. Oh, what might have been!

I completely agree. Based on where we are headed and potential alone, its worth taking a gamble to get an unproven like your boy Rasmus, but way more often than not, that unproven turns into Hammonds instead of Edmonds.

Wouldn't be too bad of a gamble for us if we are looking at getting swing men/SS about to lose prospect status.

Now if there were any truth to the Adam Miller package rumors, that would be a better way to go, but at this point I would swing for the fences and hope we make contact. Lord knows what having a guy like that leading off and setting the table for Pujols could do.

If you guys only had enough to give up to warrant Bedard and Roberts, you might be in good shape again in the Central.

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I don't see what that has to do with the thread topic.

It has everything to do with the thread topic.

Being a former All-Star doesn't make Danys Baez worth more than he would be otherwise. (Which as we stand here today is basically nothing in either case.)

And the same logic holds for Brian Roberts too.

So anytime I see someone here respond to a trade idea with a comment like "that's not enough for an All-Star 2B," I know right away that that person isn't viewing the situation rationally, but is instead artificially inflating Roberts' value for the All-Star factor. That's just not pertinent to the analysis.

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