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Re: Cliff Lee on the verge of becoming a Yankee

Postby Neato Torpedo » Mon Jul 12, 2010 1:57 pm

A Fleshner Fantasy wrote:
Big Pimpin wrote:
A Fleshner Fantasy wrote:Regardless, couldn't that just mean that whoever made up the formula thought defense was more important than it actually is? :-?


I guess, but a run is a run is a run. I'm still trying to figure out how one can contend that a run saved is not equal to a run created.


I'm not trying to contend that. I would argue that when a particular player "saves" a run, there is a relatively high percentage of other players that would also have saved that run. On the other hand, when a player creates a run, I think a much lower percentage of other players would have also created that run.

Well, stats like UZR correct for that. The way UZR is measured is essentially "runs saved above average". I mean, let's say the bases were loaded and someone hit a lazy fly ball to center field. Sure, if the ball is caught, the player technically saved the runs, because if he didn't catch it then it would have scored 3-4 runs, but stuff like that doesn't count toward UZR. There's routine plays and then there's tough plays; routine plays that players screw up count against them and tough plays that they make count towards them, while routine plays they make and tough plays they don't make aren't counted either way.
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Re: Cliff Lee on the verge of becoming a Yankee

Postby A Fleshner Fantasy » Mon Jul 12, 2010 2:07 pm

Neato Torpedo wrote:
A Fleshner Fantasy wrote:
Big Pimpin wrote:I guess, but a run is a run is a run. I'm still trying to figure out how one can contend that a run saved is not equal to a run created.


I'm not trying to contend that. I would argue that when a particular player "saves" a run, there is a relatively high percentage of other players that would also have saved that run. On the other hand, when a player creates a run, I think a much lower percentage of other players would have also created that run.

Well, stats like UZR correct for that. The way UZR is measured is essentially "runs saved above average". I mean, let's say the bases were loaded and someone hit a lazy fly ball to center field. Sure, if the ball is caught, the player technically saved the runs, because if he didn't catch it then it would have scored 3-4 runs, but stuff like that doesn't count toward UZR. There's routine plays and then there's tough plays; routine plays that players screw up count against them and tough plays that they make count towards them, while routine plays they make and tough plays they don't make aren't counted either way.


Right, but whose to say what average is? In general, I do like sabermetrics, but UZR is one that I really don't like, because I think it is done under the assumption that there is more variation in fielding between the best fielders and the so called "average" fielders than there actually is. Personally, I think fielding is far less important than hitting (accordingly, I never bought the FraGu being MVP over MCab at any point during this season).
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Re: Cliff Lee on the verge of becoming a Yankee

Postby Big Pimpin » Mon Jul 12, 2010 2:30 pm

A Fleshner Fantasy wrote:
Neato Torpedo wrote:
A Fleshner Fantasy wrote:
I'm not trying to contend that. I would argue that when a particular player "saves" a run, there is a relatively high percentage of other players that would also have saved that run. On the other hand, when a player creates a run, I think a much lower percentage of other players would have also created that run.

Well, stats like UZR correct for that. The way UZR is measured is essentially "runs saved above average". I mean, let's say the bases were loaded and someone hit a lazy fly ball to center field. Sure, if the ball is caught, the player technically saved the runs, because if he didn't catch it then it would have scored 3-4 runs, but stuff like that doesn't count toward UZR. There's routine plays and then there's tough plays; routine plays that players screw up count against them and tough plays that they make count towards them, while routine plays they make and tough plays they don't make aren't counted either way.


Right, but whose to say what average is? In general, I do like sabermetrics, but UZR is one that I really don't like, because I think it is done under the assumption that there is more variation in fielding between the best fielders and the so called "average" fielders than there actually is. Personally, I think fielding is far less important than hitting (accordingly, I never bought the FraGu being MVP over MCab at any point during this season).


The data says what average is! If you take the field and split it into ~80 zones, then the entirety of the season dictates how often a type of batted ball (line drive, fly ball, grounder) in a specific zone is turned into an out. If it's a can of corn that 99.8% of the time is turned into an out, a fielder is going to get very little credit for making the play. On the other hand, if a ball is hit that falls in for a hit 95% of the time but the fielder turns it into an out, he's going to get a lot of credit for that. Those plays can all be converted to run values, and the fielder gets credit accordingly for each play he does or doesn't make, and the accumulation of all those plays becomes his UZR for the year.

There really aren't any "assumptions" that there is a lot of variation between the best and average fielders in a year. The data behind the stat is constantly being updated and the numbers are driven by a player's actual performance in turning batted balls into outs. You're not giving UZR credit for being as sophisticated as it is. It's not as if some guy is sitting in a room arbitrarily grading every play and player...
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Re: Cliff Lee on the verge of becoming a Yankee

Postby A Fleshner Fantasy » Mon Jul 12, 2010 3:03 pm

Big Pimpin wrote:
A Fleshner Fantasy wrote:
Neato Torpedo wrote:Well, stats like UZR correct for that. The way UZR is measured is essentially "runs saved above average". I mean, let's say the bases were loaded and someone hit a lazy fly ball to center field. Sure, if the ball is caught, the player technically saved the runs, because if he didn't catch it then it would have scored 3-4 runs, but stuff like that doesn't count toward UZR. There's routine plays and then there's tough plays; routine plays that players screw up count against them and tough plays that they make count towards them, while routine plays they make and tough plays they don't make aren't counted either way.


Right, but whose to say what average is? In general, I do like sabermetrics, but UZR is one that I really don't like, because I think it is done under the assumption that there is more variation in fielding between the best fielders and the so called "average" fielders than there actually is. Personally, I think fielding is far less important than hitting (accordingly, I never bought the FraGu being MVP over MCab at any point during this season).


The data says what average is! If you take the field and split it into ~80 zones, then the entirety of the season dictates how often a type of batted ball (line drive, fly ball, grounder) in a specific zone is turned into an out. If it's a can of corn that 99.8% of the time is turned into an out, a fielder is going to get very little credit for making the play. On the other hand, if a ball is hit that falls in for a hit 95% of the time but the fielder turns it into an out, he's going to get a lot of credit for that. Those plays can all be converted to run values, and the fielder gets credit accordingly for each play he does or doesn't make, and the accumulation of all those plays becomes his UZR for the year.

There really aren't any "assumptions" that there is a lot of variation between the best and average fielders in a year. The data behind the stat is constantly being updated and the numbers are driven by a player's actual performance in turning batted balls into outs. You're not giving UZR credit for being as sophisticated as it is. It's not as if some guy is sitting in a room arbitrarily grading every play and player...


I'm not suggesting a guy is just sitting in a room arbitrarily grading every player, but I'm suggesting that there isn't really a good way of actually calculating how good a fielder is. UZR fails to take into account how hard a ball is hit, how high it is hit, etc. Sure, a lot of lazy fly balls that somehow reach the warning track are caught, but how is it a fielders fault if a ball is crushed and bounces on the warning track for a double? Sure, there are some versions of UZR that include "soft, medium, or hard," but those frequently aren't used, and even when they are, there's so much variation within those groupings that it's barely relevant anyway.

If this ball was merely hit deeper:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K4eWAkyU5k0

It would be considered in the same vain as this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7dK6zPbkFnE
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Re: Cliff Lee on the verge of becoming a Yankee

Postby Big Pimpin » Mon Jul 12, 2010 3:14 pm

A Fleshner Fantasy wrote:
Big Pimpin wrote:
A Fleshner Fantasy wrote:
Right, but whose to say what average is? In general, I do like sabermetrics, but UZR is one that I really don't like, because I think it is done under the assumption that there is more variation in fielding between the best fielders and the so called "average" fielders than there actually is. Personally, I think fielding is far less important than hitting (accordingly, I never bought the FraGu being MVP over MCab at any point during this season).


The data says what average is! If you take the field and split it into ~80 zones, then the entirety of the season dictates how often a type of batted ball (line drive, fly ball, grounder) in a specific zone is turned into an out. If it's a can of corn that 99.8% of the time is turned into an out, a fielder is going to get very little credit for making the play. On the other hand, if a ball is hit that falls in for a hit 95% of the time but the fielder turns it into an out, he's going to get a lot of credit for that. Those plays can all be converted to run values, and the fielder gets credit accordingly for each play he does or doesn't make, and the accumulation of all those plays becomes his UZR for the year.

There really aren't any "assumptions" that there is a lot of variation between the best and average fielders in a year. The data behind the stat is constantly being updated and the numbers are driven by a player's actual performance in turning batted balls into outs. You're not giving UZR credit for being as sophisticated as it is. It's not as if some guy is sitting in a room arbitrarily grading every play and player...


I'm not suggesting a guy is just sitting in a room arbitrarily grading every player, but I'm suggesting that there isn't really a good way of actually calculating how good a fielder is. UZR fails to take into account how hard a ball is hit, how high it is hit, etc. Sure, a lot of lazy fly balls that somehow reach the warning track are caught, but how is it a fielders fault if a ball is crushed and bounces on the warning track for a double? Sure, there are some versions of UZR that include "soft, medium, or hard," but those frequently aren't used, and even when they are, there's so much variation within those groupings that it's barely relevant anyway.

If this ball was merely hit deeper:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K4eWAkyU5k0

It would be considered in the same vain as this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7dK6zPbkFnE


I'm sorry, but I don't think any of those statements are accurate. As far as I know, while there are lots of defensive metrics, there's only one version of UZR, and it clearly draws distinctions between batted ball types as well as classifies each of those again by how hard it's hit. I do agree that there's room for improvement (and I'll say it again, HitFX is going to be freaking awesome), but you're basing your opinion of UZR off of things that just aren't true...
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Re: Cliff Lee on the verge of becoming a Yankee

Postby A Fleshner Fantasy » Mon Jul 12, 2010 3:28 pm

Big Pimpin wrote:
A Fleshner Fantasy wrote:
Big Pimpin wrote:The data says what average is! If you take the field and split it into ~80 zones, then the entirety of the season dictates how often a type of batted ball (line drive, fly ball, grounder) in a specific zone is turned into an out. If it's a can of corn that 99.8% of the time is turned into an out, a fielder is going to get very little credit for making the play. On the other hand, if a ball is hit that falls in for a hit 95% of the time but the fielder turns it into an out, he's going to get a lot of credit for that. Those plays can all be converted to run values, and the fielder gets credit accordingly for each play he does or doesn't make, and the accumulation of all those plays becomes his UZR for the year.

There really aren't any "assumptions" that there is a lot of variation between the best and average fielders in a year. The data behind the stat is constantly being updated and the numbers are driven by a player's actual performance in turning batted balls into outs. You're not giving UZR credit for being as sophisticated as it is. It's not as if some guy is sitting in a room arbitrarily grading every play and player...


I'm not suggesting a guy is just sitting in a room arbitrarily grading every player, but I'm suggesting that there isn't really a good way of actually calculating how good a fielder is. UZR fails to take into account how hard a ball is hit, how high it is hit, etc. Sure, a lot of lazy fly balls that somehow reach the warning track are caught, but how is it a fielders fault if a ball is crushed and bounces on the warning track for a double? Sure, there are some versions of UZR that include "soft, medium, or hard," but those frequently aren't used, and even when they are, there's so much variation within those groupings that it's barely relevant anyway.

If this ball was merely hit deeper:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K4eWAkyU5k0

It would be considered in the same vain as this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7dK6zPbkFnE


I'm sorry, but I don't think any of those statements are accurate. As far as I know, while there are lots of defensive metrics, there's only one version of UZR, and it clearly draws distinctions between batted ball types as well as classifies each of those again by how hard it's hit. I do agree that there's room for improvement (and I'll say it again, HitFX is going to be freaking awesome), but you're basing your opinion of UZR off of things that just aren't true...


Based on this link, it is true...

http://grannybaseball.blogspot.com/2009 ... h-uzr.html

Actually there are several different versions of UZR and you are correct, there is a "hard, medium, soft" for those that use Baseball Info Solutions. But, unless things have changed, the versions that used the more common Stats Inc. data do not include that information.


Also, it is very commonly believed that Teixeira is an excellent fielder, yet his UZR is below average. The stat is not always accurate, which was my original point.

http://riveraveblues.com/2010/03/a-low- ... man-25454/

It doesn’t factor in player positioning, and it certainly doesn’t assign first basemen extra credit for scooping balls out of the dirt. When we look at a first baseman’s UZR, we have to recognize that it will not tell us these things. It will tell us only what goes into it, and that mostly involves how often a player turned a batted ball into an out, in a particular zone, compared to the league average. For the other aspects of manning first base, we’re on our own.


Fielding at 1B is different than at SS which is different than C which is different than CF. There are tons of aspects that contribute to whether or not a player is a poor, adequate, or above average fielder, yet UZR attempts to make a blanket examination assessment of fielders in general, without taking any of these inconsistencies into consideration.
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Re: Cliff Lee on the verge of becoming a Yankee

Postby Big Pimpin » Mon Jul 12, 2010 4:56 pm

A Fleshner Fantasy wrote:Based on this link, it is true...

http://grannybaseball.blogspot.com/2009 ... h-uzr.html

Actually there are several different versions of UZR and you are correct, there is a "hard, medium, soft" for those that use Baseball Info Solutions. But, unless things have changed, the versions that used the more common Stats Inc. data do not include that information.


Also, it is very commonly believed that Teixeira is an excellent fielder, yet his UZR is below average. The stat is not always accurate, which was my original point.

http://riveraveblues.com/2010/03/a-low- ... man-25454/

It doesn’t factor in player positioning, and it certainly doesn’t assign first basemen extra credit for scooping balls out of the dirt. When we look at a first baseman’s UZR, we have to recognize that it will not tell us these things. It will tell us only what goes into it, and that mostly involves how often a player turned a batted ball into an out, in a particular zone, compared to the league average. For the other aspects of manning first base, we’re on our own.


Fielding at 1B is different than at SS which is different than C which is different than CF. There are tons of aspects that contribute to whether or not a player is a poor, adequate, or above average fielder, yet UZR attempts to make a blanket examination assessment of fielders in general, without taking any of these inconsistencies into consideration.


It's hard to take you seriously if you're going to use a random biased ("Dedicated to the defense of traditional baseball values"... give me a break!) blog as your "source" as opposed to the actual inventor. And again, there are several metrics out there, but only one UZR. You can read about it here from the guy who built it if you're so inclined.

The Teixeira example is getting really old. It's been discussed ad nauseam. Commonly believing anything is the first problem. It's commonly believed (by morons, mostly) that Derek Jeter has been an amazing defensive shortstop for his entire career. But that doesn't mean it's true. As far as whether having a negative UZR in one season means a guy is below average, that's been discussed as well. A poor UZR in one season means only that a player had a poor UZR in that season. It doesn't mean he had a poor year (although it could), and it certainly doesn't mean he's a poor defender (although he could be). I think of it as a performance metric as opposed to a true talent metric.

For the vast majority of defenders, the only relevant defensive event is whether a ball was a hit or an out. The exceptions are C and 1B. There's no way to measure blocking balls or calling a good game or, as in your example, scooping a poor throw. I happen to think that it's a bigger deal to catcher UZR than it is to 1B UZR though, but that's me. I think positioning and your "other aspects" are taken into account by virtue of whether a ball became a hit or an out. For example, bad positioning makes it easier for the ball to fall in for a hit and vice versa. I happen to believe that's appropriate. Similarly, I don't think you should get credit for being fast if it doesn't translate into more outs.

I guess I just still don't see how you can contend that UZR doesn't take the inconsistencies of fielders into account when the very metric is based off of measuring a player against all the other players at his position.
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Re: Cliff Lee on the verge of becoming a Yankee

Postby A Fleshner Fantasy » Mon Jul 12, 2010 5:15 pm

Big Pimpin wrote:
A Fleshner Fantasy wrote:Based on this link, it is true...

http://grannybaseball.blogspot.com/2009 ... h-uzr.html

Actually there are several different versions of UZR and you are correct, there is a "hard, medium, soft" for those that use Baseball Info Solutions. But, unless things have changed, the versions that used the more common Stats Inc. data do not include that information.


Also, it is very commonly believed that Teixeira is an excellent fielder, yet his UZR is below average. The stat is not always accurate, which was my original point.

http://riveraveblues.com/2010/03/a-low- ... man-25454/

It doesn’t factor in player positioning, and it certainly doesn’t assign first basemen extra credit for scooping balls out of the dirt. When we look at a first baseman’s UZR, we have to recognize that it will not tell us these things. It will tell us only what goes into it, and that mostly involves how often a player turned a batted ball into an out, in a particular zone, compared to the league average. For the other aspects of manning first base, we’re on our own.


Fielding at 1B is different than at SS which is different than C which is different than CF. There are tons of aspects that contribute to whether or not a player is a poor, adequate, or above average fielder, yet UZR attempts to make a blanket examination assessment of fielders in general, without taking any of these inconsistencies into consideration.


It's hard to take you seriously if you're going to use a random biased ("Dedicated to the defense of traditional baseball values"... give me a break!) blog as your "source" as opposed to the actual inventor. And again, there are several metrics out there, but only one UZR. You can read about it here from the guy who built it if you're so inclined.

The Teixeira example is getting really old. It's been discussed ad nauseam. Commonly believing anything is the first problem. It's commonly believed (by morons, mostly) that Derek Jeter has been an amazing defensive shortstop for his entire career. But that doesn't mean it's true. As far as whether having a negative UZR in one season means a guy is below average, that's been discussed as well. A poor UZR in one season means only that a player had a poor UZR in that season. It doesn't mean he had a poor year (although it could), and it certainly doesn't mean he's a poor defender (although he could be). I think of it as a performance metric as opposed to a true talent metric.

For the vast majority of defenders, the only relevant defensive event is whether a ball was a hit or an out. The exceptions are C and 1B. There's no way to measure blocking balls or calling a good game or, as in your example, scooping a poor throw. I happen to think that it's a bigger deal to catcher UZR than it is to 1B UZR though, but that's me. I think positioning and your "other aspects" are taken into account by virtue of whether a ball became a hit or an out. For example, bad positioning makes it easier for the ball to fall in for a hit and vice versa. I happen to believe that's appropriate. Similarly, I don't think you should get credit for being fast if it doesn't translate into more outs.

I guess I just still don't see how you can contend that UZR doesn't take the inconsistencies of fielders into account when the very metric is based off of measuring a player against all the other players at his position.


Yes, it's measuring a player against all other players at his position, but it's not measuring every aspect of playing that position. There's still variance, which I've already noted in other posts. Separating balls hit into 3 categories titled hard, medium, and soft) DOES NOT account for how hard a ball is actually hit. In that scenario, a ball in the 35th percentile is the same as one in the 65th percentile. That's well below average as compared to well above average, yet for the purposes of UZR, they are the same.

You say that it's hard to take me seriously, yet you've essentially tried to ram down my throat the theory that UZR is the be all end all stat that definitively shows how good a player is defensively: it's not, because a stat like that does not (and never will) exist, just like there is no stat that shows exactly how good a player is at hitting. Sure, things like UZR can be useful, as long as you take the information with a grain of salt, but it really bothers me to see people talking about players as if they're the greatest thing since sliced bread because they are a good fielding CF according to UZR, despite hitting .258.

And as for the Teixeira example, yes, I'm sure it is starting to get really old for you to see an example that goes completely against your point that you struggle to combat. If I was on your side of this discussion, I wouldn't want to discuss that example either.
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Re: Cliff Lee on the verge of becoming a Yankee

Postby Big Pimpin » Mon Jul 12, 2010 6:31 pm

A Fleshner Fantasy wrote:Yes, it's measuring a player against all other players at his position, but it's not measuring every aspect of playing that position. There's still variance, which I've already noted in other posts. Separating balls hit into 3 categories titled hard, medium, and soft) DOES NOT account for how hard a ball is actually hit. In that scenario, a ball in the 35th percentile is the same as one in the 65th percentile. That's well below average as compared to well above average, yet for the purposes of UZR, they are the same.


Except that there are really 12 batted ball types, when you look at the 4 (ground balls, bunt ground balls, outfield line drives, and outfield fly balls) X 3 (slow, medium, soft). Pretending that there's but three buckets with which to bucket all batted balls is just not true.

A Fleshner Fantasy wrote:You say that it's hard to take me seriously, yet you've essentially tried to ram down my throat the theory that UZR is the be all end all stat that definitively shows how good a player is defensively: it's not, because a stat like that does not (and never will) exist, just like there is no stat that shows exactly how good a player is at hitting. Sure, things like UZR can be useful, as long as you take the information with a grain of salt, but it really bothers me to see people talking about players as if they're the greatest thing since sliced bread because they are a good fielding CF according to UZR, despite hitting .258.


1. I've never said that UZR is the end-all, be-all. It and +/- are the best things we've got now, and they're based on sound principles with enough data support to be reasonable.
2. I think with HitFX we might actually get close to saying definitively how good a player is, although there will always be room for debate.
3. There is a stat that shows how good a player is at hitting, it's called wOBA.
4. I'm not sure why it bothers you to see people talking about how valuable good fielding players are. Maybe you should try to not be bothered so easily. Although I guess it kind of bothers me that there are still people who think RBIs are a good way to measure players as well, but I just chalk that up to people being stupid and watching too much ESPN. There's really no reason to not believe that there aren't players out there who derive most of their value from their skill with the leather.

A Fleshner Fantasy wrote:And as for the Teixeira example, yes, I'm sure it is starting to get really old for you to see an example that goes completely against your point that you struggle to combat. If I was on your side of this discussion, I wouldn't want to discuss that example either.


Teixeira isn't an example of anything when it comes to the virtues of UZR. He's had a negative UZR once in his entire career, and even then it was -1.6 which is basically average. If that's evidence that UZR thinks he's a bad fielder, I'd love for someone to explain that to me. And I know that I've made similar comments several times, but I'll just link you to David Appelman to refute the whole Teixeira non-story from last year. Moral of the story: use your brain, people!
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Re: Cliff Lee on the verge of becoming a Yankee

Postby urbanbreez » Mon Jul 12, 2010 6:57 pm

*slow clap*
Someone should make this thread a sticky because it's turned into a very informative and intelligent discussion on modern baseball statistics. I, for one, have learned heaps on the dynamic of UZR. Great job, fellas. ;-D
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