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Postby Erboes » Wed Dec 31, 2003 8:56 am

HOOTIE wrote:ERB I was talking the Lofton of 97. He could play defense back then. Atlanta had a quiet clubhouse, and they disliked Lofton because he blasted rap in the clubhouse.


It went deeper than that, Hootie. There were weekly stories in the paper in Cleveland back then about Lofton in Atlanta and it wasn't pretty. The guy was an ass and the team didn't like them.

The guy never could play defense and I don't care how many gold gloves he won. He was good at going over the fence to save home runs, but he got poor jumps on the ball, couldn't go in on a ball to save his life, and never hit the cutoff man. Can I prove this? No, because you'll probably have some stats to back up your point, but I watched the guy for years and I know baseball.
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Postby trevisc » Wed Dec 31, 2003 9:15 am

HOOTIE wrote:ERB I was talking the Lofton of 97. He could play defense back then. Atlanta had a quiet clubhouse, and they disliked Lofton because he blasted rap in the clubhouse.


Sounds like a good reason to dislike him to me!

:-D


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Postby GotowarMissAgnes » Wed Dec 31, 2003 3:12 pm

Actually, Erboes, the numbers confirm your eyes this time. One of the neat things happen in the stats world is the effort and the results of people looking more closely at defense. There are a number of different people (e.g., David Pinto, M. Lichtman) who have been looking at this, refining things like zone ratings to do what we want them to do--measure what percentage of balls a fielder made the play on compared to others, and how many runs that saved for his team.

Here's a good explanation of one method.
http://www.baseballprimer.com/articles/ ... 14_0.shtml

And some results:
http://www.baseballstuff.com/tangotiger/UZR0003.html

You'll see that out of 40 or so guys that played 100+ games in CF, Lofton ranked a mere 14th. He's a slightly above average fielder, but doesn't give Erstad, Cameron, etc. a run for their money.

Fantasy Relevance: Look for pitchers who will be backed by fielders who rank highly on these measures. They may over-perform your expectations. For example, the Mets have added Cameron; the Red Sox have added Reese. Vazquez has gone from Montreal to NY (Cabrera +9 runs to Jeter -38 runs; Endy Chavez +29 runs to B Williams -25 runs). Those changes alone represent 91 extra runs that Yankee pitchers get from balls that Expo fielders usually turned into outs. Figure 1/8 or so of those are Javier's and you get an extra 11 runs or about a half point in ERA for each 200 innings!
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Postby HOOTIE » Wed Dec 31, 2003 7:20 pm

GTWMA Of course the current Lofton is average or below. In fact his career numbers are average as far as range. But he wasn't always that way. From ages 25-27, his range factor was huge. In 97, at age 30, his last year of a nice range factor, he was still a above average cf. Since 98, he's declined alot.

ERB Are you talking the Cleveland media saying things while he was there, or after he left? I'm not big on medias words myself, they can paint a player any way they choose too. Sheffield is a so called trouble maker, yet Atlanta said he was nothing of the sort last year. One only needs to look at the overpersecition of Bonds by the media. Manny was coddled and loved by Cleveland media, not the same love by the Boston media.
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Postby Lofunzo » Wed Dec 31, 2003 10:17 pm

HOOTIE wrote:GTWMA Of course the current Lofton is average or below. In fact his career numbers are average as far as range. But he wasn't always that way. From ages 25-27, his range factor was huge. In 97, at age 30, his last year of a nice range factor, he was still a above average cf. Since 98, he's declined alot.


Hootie.......Maybe so but he couldn't throw out a slug on a salt lick. Never could.
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Postby Erboes » Wed Dec 31, 2003 10:22 pm

The problem with statistics is that they don't cover everything. Even if he did at one time have a lot of range, it did not account for all the extra bases he gave up trying to throw out players he had no chance at. Nor do I have a clue how these measure all those bloop hits he gave up playing too deep and not having to play balls in front of him. Other than that, he was a fine fielder gap to gap and behind him.

It's funny, but according to your stats Vizquel was merely a good fielder and Lofton nearly a great one. Anybody else in Cleveland find that a bit amusing?
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Postby mikcou » Wed Dec 31, 2003 10:25 pm

Erboes wrote:The problem with statistics is that they don't cover everything. Even if he did at one time have a lot of range, it did not account for all the extra bases he gave up trying to throw out players he had no chance at. Nor do I have a clue how these measure all those bloop hits he gave up playing too deep and not having to play balls in front of him. Other than that, he was a fine fielder gap to gap and behind him.

It's funny, but according to your stats Vizquel was merely a good fielder and Lofton nearly a great one. Anybody else in Cleveland find that a bit amusing?


I find that quite amusing but i dont live in Cleveland...
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Postby GotowarMissAgnes » Wed Dec 31, 2003 11:44 pm

The problems with personal observations are that you never saw every player on every play, you never can logically process as much information as occurs even for one player, and random events, often outliers, have enormous influence on your judgement.

Statistics are merely the systematic collection of observations with an attempt to be as objective as possible. While some might prefer random, unsystematic, biased observations, I'll take stats.

If you read the information on UZR you will see that, in fact, it does make an adjustment for allowing runners to advance. It systematically counts every ball that was hit to CF, both those in front, behind, and side to side, and then counts how many Lofton caught.

And the stats show that Lofton and Vizquel are essentially about the same--average to slightly above average at their position. I'd say that's about right for the period studied, 1999-2003. Vizquel is old and in every fielding measure that matters, he's been dropping. He hasn't deserved the GG for about 4 years now.

http://www.baseballprimer.com/articles/ ... 11_0.shtml

http://www.diamond-mind.com/articles/gg2002.htm

http://www.diamond-mind.com/articles/gg2001.htm
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Postby Erboes » Thu Jan 01, 2004 12:12 am

From that period, maybe, but as Hootie attests Omar was merely good and Lofton was near the pinnacle then that is a different matter. Omar was never merely good and Lofton was never great and I don't care what the stats say. I'm sure there are a couple million people around this area who would laugh at that assertion. But then again, statistics never lie.
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Postby GotowarMissAgnes » Thu Jan 01, 2004 12:27 am

Statistics don't lie, but people can lie with statistics.

You seem to want to argue against the use of stats, even when they support your arguments. In general, the stats do show that Vizquel was an outstanding SS prior to 1998, but has been merely average over the last 4-5 years. Lofton, the stats seem to say, had a few great years when he first came up, but has been average or a little above at best, for a decade.

One of the first baseball discussions I had on USENET concerned the defensive abilities of Brooks Robinson compared to others. After listening to others, arguing my points, recognizing Ihad no valid facts to back up my opinions, investigating the data, and thinking about it myself, I revised my opinion. An open mind is a wonderful thing.

I think you'd learn a lot and come to love baseball even more, if you'd merely be willing to avoid such a knee-jerk negative reaction to any statistic that crosses your path. Baseball is a game where numbers mean so much. It's not a question of stats or not stats. We all talk about baseball in terms of numbers, whether it be 56, Mendoza lines, or 70. Learning to understand the right numbers and appreciate them can add a lot to the game.
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