Wins: Most overvalued stat in baseball? - Fantasy Baseball Cafe 2015 Fantasy Baseball Cafe
100% Deposit Bonus for Cafe Members!

Return to Baseball Leftovers

Wins: Most overvalued stat in baseball?

Moderator: Baseball Moderators

Wins: Most overvalued stat in baseball?

Postby LloydChristmas » Wed Jul 08, 2009 1:17 am

Aside from fantasy where they are an objective and tangible stat, I think wins are an astoundingly bad but WIDELY used method of assessing a pitcher's performance. It constantly baffles me when the only stat a talking head on ESPN (which I've stopped watching in favor of MLB TV completely for baseball coverage) will mention is wins and losses. The bright side of this for me is that it hopefully gives me an advantage in fantasy.

Once again, wins are wins in fantasy and this can't be ignored. The team a pitcher plays for is pretty important, this is undeniable. But aside from a pitcher's performance, how much of this "luck" that goes into a win is run support (over the course of a season)? How much does a pitcher's division and league factor? But that's a different discussion...

Thus to my ultimate point. Wins are wins, I've established this, but how much does this stat "leak" into other categories. I've kind of invented that term to mean when a good performance in one category correlates to good stats in other categories. For example:

Pujols has an off-the-charts OPS. This correlates/is a predictor that he has high HR totals, tons of RBIs and a great batting average. But do wins "leak" like this?

My best example is Tim Wakefield. He got elected to the All-Star team this year based almost solely on his 10 wins up until this point (not to mention a "lifetime achievement" of sorts from Joe Maddon). It absolutely pained me to hear some dime-a-dozen mediocre major leaguer-turned-analyst on Baseball Tonight make a case for why Wakefield should be starting for the AL in the All-Star game.

I wanted to run to Bristol and waive the rest of Wakefield's stats in this guy's face:

He's running an ERA of 4.30 good for 27th in the AL.
He's got a WHIP of 1.35 good for 26th in the AL
Striking out 4.65 per 9, 52nd in the AL

I know this is nothing new, but we're rewarding mediocre to good pitchers who happen to receive great run support here. Once again, "insiders" like myself who have access to basic stats available on any sports website can dig up the truth that wins are misleading and overvalued when it comes to assessing a pitcher's overall performance

So where does this translate to fantasy baseball? Let's take a look. I love using ESPN's fantasy player rater as an overall value system for players. It uses comparisons-to-league average in all the 5x5 categories. Amongst all pitchers, Wakefield is ranked 73rd. This shows that his wins certainly do not "leak" out into his other stats, thus he has a low overall value relative to his value just from his wins.

For stats that "leak" well, check out good old ERA. The league leaders in that category read as almost the exact same leaders in overall pitcher value. But what about something a little bit more obscure. Where can you find a gem?

Interestingly enough, I like batters faced as a good "leaking" stat. The league leaders read as such:

Kevin Millwood
Cliff Lee
Jason Marquis
Chad Billingsley
Nick Blackburn
Tim Lincecum
Adam Wainwright
Felix Hernandez
Zach Duke
James Shields

An interesting correlation maybe? I didn't dive too far into comparisons between batters faced and overall pitcher value but you'd certainly be happy if you had any of those names pitching for your team for the first half of this season. At the least, EVERY ONE of the above pitchers would have 10 wins for the Red Sox.

In comparison, let's look at some notable names amongst the league leaders in wins (other than Wakefield):

Kevin Slowey (4.86 ERA, 1.412 WHIP)
Randy Johnson (4.81 ERA, 1.320 WHIP)
Bronson Arroyo (5.85 ERA, 1.573 WHIP)

Not so good.

I'm very open to other opinions about this. My overall fantasy advice out of all of this is:

Sell high on pitchers who have high win totals and little else. Take a look at batters faced leaders. The first part, pretty much a no-brainer maybe, but the second part might be helpful for those looking for a 2nd half sleeper.
LloydChristmas
College Coach
College Coach

User avatar

Posts: 157
Joined: 6 Jan 2009
Home Cafe: Baseball

Re: Wins: Most overvalued stat in baseball?

Postby Ender » Wed Jul 08, 2009 1:40 am

AVG has to be a close second if not the real first. ERA is terrible too for a single season.
Ender
Hall of Fame Hero
Hall of Fame Hero

CafeholicFantasy Expert
Posts: 7733
Joined: 30 Apr 2004
Home Cafe: Baseball

Re: Wins: Most overvalued stat in baseball?

Postby LloydChristmas » Wed Jul 08, 2009 1:50 am

Average as in batting average against?
LloydChristmas
College Coach
College Coach

User avatar

Posts: 157
Joined: 6 Jan 2009
Home Cafe: Baseball

Re: Wins: Most overvalued stat in baseball?

Postby bigh0rt » Wed Jul 08, 2009 9:22 am

LloydChristmas wrote:Average as in batting average against?

No he means as in a player's batting average.
Image
bigh0rt
Hall of Fame Hero
Hall of Fame Hero

User avatar
CafeholicCafe WriterGraphics ExpertMock(ing) DrafterEagle EyeInnovative MemberCafe MusketeerWeb SupporterPick 3 Weekly Winner
Posts: 24818
(Past Year: 301)
Joined: 3 Jun 2005
Home Cafe: Baseball
Location: Crowding The Plate

Re: Wins: Most overvalued stat in baseball?

Postby Tavish » Wed Jul 08, 2009 10:23 am

Fist Pumps per 9 innings
Image

Bury me a Royal.
Tavish
Mod in Retirement
Mod in Retirement

User avatar
CafeholicFantasy ExpertCafe WriterCafe RankerMock(ing) DrafterEagle EyeCafe SpotterWeb Supporter
Posts: 11071
(Past Year: 23)
Joined: 3 May 2004
Home Cafe: Baseball

Re: Wins: Most overvalued stat in baseball?

Postby lastingsgriller » Wed Jul 08, 2009 10:50 am

i don't know... good pitchers generally win a lot of games.. Roy Halladay wins a bunch every year even though he playes on a mediocre Blue Jay team. one thing that wins measure is a pitchers ability to buckle down when it counts. alot of pitchers are way better when its a 1 run game, then when its out of hand. Roy is a prime example of this. if his Jays are up by 1, he will pitch and pitch well until he knows they have the game won. which often results in a complete game. this is why he wins so much. adn this is why he is a great pitcher. very rarely does a mediocre pitcher win more than 15 and pretty much never does a player that wins less than 15 have an argument for the Cy Young. so back to the original statement, good pitchers win games.
Follow me on the twit! @chadmiller16
lastingsgriller
General Manager
General Manager

User avatar
Cafe WriterCafe Ranker
Posts: 3882
(Past Year: 171)
Joined: 21 Jan 2009
Home Cafe: Baseball
Location: ..skipping the light fandango.

Re: Wins: Most overvalued stat in baseball?

Postby Dan Lambskin » Wed Jul 08, 2009 10:57 am

Spinning Jump Throws FTW
Image
Dan Lambskin
Hall of Fame Hero
Hall of Fame Hero

User avatar
CafeholicCafe RankerMock(ing) DrafterEagle EyeLucky Ladders ChampionPick 3 Weekly WinnerMatchup Meltdown SurvivorTrivia Time Trial Monthly Winner
Posts: 10225
Joined: 20 Mar 2005
Home Cafe: Baseball

Re: Wins: Most overvalued stat in baseball?

Postby Pogotheostrich » Wed Jul 08, 2009 11:31 am

GWRBI
Image
Pogotheostrich
Hall of Fame Hero
Hall of Fame Hero

User avatar
CafeholicFantasy ExpertCafe WriterMock(ing) DrafterEagle EyePick 3 Weekly WinnerLucky Ladders Weekly Winner
Posts: 21623
(Past Year: 272)
Joined: 9 Dec 2002
Home Cafe: Baseball
Location: St. Louis

Re: Wins: Most overvalued stat in baseball?

Postby LloydChristmas » Wed Jul 08, 2009 11:44 am

There's absolutely no doubt that good pitchers win games but all pitchers who wins games are not necessarily good. I don't even know if that's logically feasible but it made sense when I wrote it.

Take a look at this:

Who do you think would have a better record?

Pitcher A:
112 IP
3.13 ERA
6.8 K/9

Pitcher B:
89 IP
5.72 ERA
5.1 K/9

Pitcher A is Doug Davis. His record is 4-8. Pitcher B is Jamie Moyer. His record is 7-6.

This is an example of when more wins does not equal a better pitcher.
LloydChristmas
College Coach
College Coach

User avatar

Posts: 157
Joined: 6 Jan 2009
Home Cafe: Baseball

Re: Wins: Most overvalued stat in baseball?

Postby Bloody Sox » Wed Jul 08, 2009 12:44 pm

In real life, yes - wins are the most overvalued stat. They are not overvalued in fantasy, because they comprise 10% of the points in a 5x5 league, but they are probably the most difficult to predict, so there's a strong correlation. All that said, I like wins as a fantasy category because its the most important thing in real baseball - nothing else really matters. I'd be all for coming up with a better way to measure wins (no vulture wins, for example), but I still prefer wins to QS. Also, there's a degree of unpredictability with any stat, and its not impossible to try to make educated guesses as to how to predict wins (go for pitchers from teams with good offenses and good bullpens).

I do totally agree with your comments about the talking heads at ESPN and in the papers - those guys should be the "experts" and give regular fans additional insight that they don't have into why wins are the end-all of measuring a pitchers performance.

I'm certainly not going to argue that Wakefield deserves to be in the ASG game, but as a Sox fan I love it. It's obviously a lifetime achievement award and I'm sure Maddon didn't want to tick off the players in the Sox clubhouse by not picking Wakefield. That said, I don't think its any more absurd than guys getting voted into the game based purely on name recognition, even if they've barely played or have had a terrible first half (Hamilton? Really?). If the ASG didn't "matter", it would be a moot point - the game would be purely entertainment and putting the most popular players and best stories into the game would be a good thing.
"The government cannot give to anyone anything that it does not first take from someone else"
Bloody Sox
Major League Manager
Major League Manager

User avatar

Posts: 2148
(Past Year: 18)
Joined: 27 Feb 2006
Home Cafe: Baseball
Location: Fenway Park, RF Roof Deck

Next

Return to Baseball Leftovers

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: ayebatter and 9 guests

Forums Articles & Tips Sleepers Rankings Leagues


Get Ready...
The 2015 MLB season starts in 14:18 hours
(and 92 days)

  • Fantasy Baseball
  • Article Submissions
  • Privacy Statement
  • Site Survey 
  • Contact