The Baseball Graphs Blog

Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Three Up, Three Down

Over at a Minnesota Twins’ blog called Three Up, Three Down , there is an article using Win Shares to assess the Twins’ offseason developments.  This is a relatively simple exercise, and it shows the potential power of Win Shares.  However, it’s worth pointing out a few things:

- Looking at contract dollars, the Twins have probably increased their potential Net Win Shares Value next year.
- Relievers’ Win Shares are a function of how they’ve been used by their managers.  So it’s easy to see that Joe Nathan’s, or someone’s, Win Shares will increase next year and fill in the bullpen gap somewhat.
- It’s better to use Expected Win Shares for this sort of analysis.  Dustin Mohr had -4.1 WSAA, Denny Hocking had -1.5, Kenny Rogers had -0.6.  These guys are easily replaceable except for, perhaps, Rogers.
- Joe Mauer’s potential Win Shares are not included in next year’s projections.

If the Twins had signed Guardado or Hawkins, their offseason would look pretty good.  I’d worry about their starting rotation, too—Santana was their only above-average starter last year.

Posted by Studes on 12/30 at 10:33 AM
Monday, December 29, 2003

My Vacation with FIP and DER

If you’ve spent any time around this site (and God bless you if you have), you know that I like to talk about FIP and DER a lot.  FIP and DER sound like some mythical creatures, maybe Pan and Echo, or Merry and Pippin, but they’re not.  They’re a couple of pitching statistics that are pretty throughly explained in this article.  So I won’t go into that here.

But I will say this: If I can only have two statistics about a batter, I’ll choose OBP and SLG; for a pitcher, I’ll choose FIP and DER.  FIP and DER paint a fairly complete picture of a pitcher—how much he relies on his defense, how great he basically is on his own, how lucky or unlucky he’s been, how replicable his success is, etc.  FIP and DER are also very important for our understanding of Win Shares, which splits responsibility for runs allowed between pitchers and fielders.  So I took a chunk of my Christmas vacation to better understand these two numbers.

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Posted by Studes on 12/29 at 01:16 PM
Sunday, December 28, 2003

Valuing Starters and Relievers

Guy Molyneux has posted a nice article at Baseball Primer’s Primate Studies about the relative value of starters and relievers.  I think his general point is right on, and likely has implications for Win Shares.  Over the next couple of weeks, I hope to take a harder look at relivers’ Win Shares valuations.

Here’s the link: Valuing Starters and Relivers.

Posted by Studes on 12/28 at 11:48 AM
Monday, December 22, 2003

The Win Business

Baseball is all about entertainment, plain and simple.  Even for people like you and me, it’s entertainment.  Okay, it’s serious entertainment for you and me.  But entertainment nevertheless.  Like the movies.

Going to a game is like going to a movie, only it’s more expensive and the parking is harder.  See your team lose in a lousy ballpark, that’s like watching Ishtar.  See them win, or play in a good ballpark, that’s maybe Anger Management.  Put a win and good ballpark together, you’ve got The Princess Bride.  Win the World Series, Lord of the Rings.

Just as better movies make more money, better baseball experiences make more money.  And it’s winning that makes a baseball experience great.  See where I’m going with this?

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Posted by Studes on 12/22 at 11:02 PM
Tuesday, December 16, 2003

The Win Shares Baseline

A month ago, I wrote a couple of articles about Game Shares and Loss Shares.  I think I lost a few people along the way, and wound up with an idea that was much too complicated to explain.  And if you can’t explain an idea, it won’t get far.

So I went back to the drawing board and devised an easier way to determine appropriate Win Share baselines for each player.  Baselines are crucial for an adequate interpretation of Win Shares, as explained in the Loss Shares article.

This baseline is the number of Win Shares an individual player would produce if he were an average player (batting, fielding and pitching), given his playing time.  His actual Win Shares can be compared to the baseline to determine how many Win Shares he contributed, above or below an average player.

This average baseline, by the way, is certainly not the most appropriate baseline to use for player comparison—a replacement level baseline is much better.  However, to calculate replacement, one first needs a sense of average.  Replacement level will come later (if I dare!).

The method I’ve devised is based partly on a paper Charlie Saeger sent me called “expected Win Shares” and based partly on suggestions from Steve Rohde in the Historic Win Shares per PA commentary.  Also, I should extend my usual debt of gratitude to Tangotiger, who suggested this approach in the first place.

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Posted by Studes on 12/16 at 06:19 PM
Sunday, December 14, 2003

Do Win Shares undervalue pitching?

In our last article, we reviewed total salaries paid and Win Shares achieved by position by league.  There are a lot of interesting stories implied in that chart, such as:

- The American League is the better “value” league, despite the presence of one George Steinbrenner among its owners.
- Second basemen are a good deal in either league.
- AL shortstops and NL first basemen aren’t.
- Pitching is overvalued by major league GMs.

Pitchers created about 36% of all major league Win Shares, but were paid 39% of the money.  What’s up with that?  Do GMs know something Win Shares doesn’t know?  Or vice versa?

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Posted by Studes on 12/14 at 01:13 PM
Thursday, December 11, 2003

Cleaning Up Salaries

The salary data I’ve been using so far has not been perfect.  For players who played on more than one team, the data was not prorated.  And I had a very gross estimate for those players for whom there was no salary data (mostly minor leaguers up for a cup of coffee).  It was throwing off my calculations a bit, so I decided to clean it up.

So let me present salary and Win Share data, by league and by position.  All player salary data has been appropriately prorated to each team, and reasonable salary estimates have been made for those instances in which there was no data.

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Posted by Studes on 12/11 at 08:13 PM
Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Sortable Pitching Stats

At the end of the season, I hastily assembled two long tables—one for the National League and one for the American League—of what I considered the most valuable stats for individual pitchers.  You can access them directly off the Baseballgraphs home page, or the Win Shares page, under “Individual Pitching Stats.”  The lists are long and not very user-friendly (which violates the most sacred mission of this site), but I figured I would fix them eventually.  Well, I finally have, by adding sort capabilities to the table.

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Posted by Studes on 12/10 at 12:50 PM
Monday, December 08, 2003

Mets sign Matsui

The Mets signed Kaz Matsui to a three-year $20.1 million deal today.  He reportedly received a number of perks as well, including a no-trade clause, reimbursement for housing costs as well as two translators, and various incentives.  But let’s just look at the $20.1 million right now.

That’s $6.7 million a year, or almost exactly $1 million more per year than Aaron Boone got.  I’m picking on Aaron Boone because we reviewed his contract a few days ago.

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Posted by Studes on 12/08 at 08:30 PM
Sunday, December 07, 2003

Historic Win Shares Per PA

Here’s a link to a neat analysis, by Cyril Morong, listing top historic everyday players (through year 2001) by Win Shares per plate appearance.  This is an important step in the analysis of Win Shares, similar to where I’m going with Win Shares Above Average.

Win Shares Per Plate Appearance

Posted by Studes on 12/07 at 03:05 PM
Friday, December 05, 2003

Shortstop Fielding Win Shares

David Pinto has posted the latest round of his “probabilistic range” analysis, this time for shortstops.  The data does not match very well with fielding Win Shares for shortstops, as shown in the following graph.

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Posted by Studes on 12/05 at 03:18 PM
Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Twins trade Milton

The Twins got the Philadelphia Phillies to take Eric Milton and his $9 million contract off their hands.  This is great for the Twins, as it appears that they did not have to throw any money into the deal.

My guess would be that Milton won’t have more than 15 Win Shares next year (that was his total in 2001, his best year).  If so, he’ll represent a negative $5 million Net WS Value in 2004.

Milton appears to be healthy again, but I think the Phillies literally got taken to the bank on this deal.

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Posted by Studes on 12/03 at 10:44 PM
Tuesday, December 02, 2003

The Aaron Boone Contract

Thought I’d review some recent deals and contracts, based on the Win Share/Salary discussion we’ve been having.  These deals have already been reviewed expertly by folks like the Transaction Guy and baseballprimer’s Transaction Oracle.  I can’t improve upon their work, but I can throw in a little bit of Win Shares data.  Let’s start with Aaron Boone.

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Posted by Studes on 12/02 at 04:35 PM