December 6, 2006

2007 Lineup

2007 lineup? Maybe ...
Youkilis, 1B
Lugo, SS
Ortiz, DH
Ramirez, LF
Drew, RF
Crisp, CF
Lowell, 3B
Varitek, C
Pedroia, 2B
Nick Cafardo calls the initial media reaction to J.D. Drew
strange and unfair, to say the least. ... His critics will say they can't remember anything extraordinary he did last season, anything they felt singlehandedly won a game. They say he can't be the centerpiece of a lineup because sometimes he's too content to take a walk instead of trying to win the game on his own.
FJM touched on one aspect of this silliness about a month ago. In a post entitled "New Stat Alert" about Bill Plaschke's explanation of why the Dodgers should be glad to be rid of Drew:
Plaschke: "Sure, he led the team with 100 runs batted in last season, but do you remember more than a handful of them?"

FJM: "We'll call it RBIR, for RBIs Remembered. Drew only had 5 (!) last year. What a lousy player. Jeff Francoeur led the league with 249 RBIR. (People remembered a lot of his RBIs two or three times.)"
In case Plaschke, who covers the Dodgers, is confused, Drew led the team in OBP, OPS, OPS+, doubles, extra-base hits, RBI, walks, tied for the lead in HR, and was 2nd in slugging, 2nd in runs scored, and 4th in hits. He also grounded into only 4 double plays, lowest among all regulars.

Theo:
He really has a great swing for Fenway Park. When he pulls the ball and elevates the ball, it will certainly reach the bullpen. He's got plus raw power. The big dimensions in right field and even center field won't be a problem for him. If you look at his hit chart, those balls get out.
Dave Jauss, Drew's outfield coach in LA:
He's an excellent outfielder. He's got very good speed. He can score from first on a double and definitely score from second on a single. The fact he doesn't pull the ball is going to make him an effective hitter at Fenway. Not so much for the wall but for the fact on those cold days there, he's going to be able to go the other way and contribute as a hitter.
Tito Talks:
[Matsuzaka's] got a lot of pitches that he commands. He's got velocity on the fastball, he's got two breaking balls, he can elevate the fastball, but I think the thing that I've noticed that I like the best is the ability to throw a changeup any time it counts. It is kind of an old-fashioned screwball which you don't see too much anymore.
Francona also talks about Manny, who will catch Wakefield, Timlin, Varitek and Pedroia. ... Pitching coach John Farrell is brushing up on his Japanese.

Four or five teams, including the Red Sox, are asking about Eric Gagne, who has pitched only 15 innings in the last two seasons.

83 comments:

John said...

I think Drew will be fine for the Sox, as long as he stays healthy.

I like Lugo and Crisp at the top of the lineup, the two fastest guys on the team. If we lose Manny, then we go with Lugo-Youk-Crisp-Ortiz-Drew

Sean O said...

John-
Crisp and Lugo at the top of the lineup murders our offense. Why do you want people stealing in front of the best 1/2 combination in baseball?

Youkilis
Pedroia
Ortiz
Manny
Drew
Pena
Lowell
Varitek
Lugo
Crisp

is the only way to go. We need OBP, not unnecessary outs.

Anonymous said...

That's a ten person lineup!

How about?
Lugo
Youk
Ortiz
Manny
Drew
Lowell
Crisp
Varitek
Pedroia

R,R,L,R,L,R,L,S,R

You could have Crisp bat #2. He is supposed to be a good fastball hitter, last year being an exception.

redsock said...

I could go Lugo-Yook at 1/2 also. SoSH's Eric Van -- who I respect an awful lot -- thinks that Lugo should leadoff absolutely.

If DP hits #2 next year, I'll be royally pissed, because either Tito has truly gone insane or the team is so banged up, it was the only choice and we're likely out of the running anyway.

Now sign the Dice Man, firm up the pen and bench and let's head to Florida.

Anonymous said...

Crisp was brought to the team for his speed and his potential to fill the roll of Johnny Damon in the lead off spot. With Lugo now joining the team as another potential leadoff hitter, Crisp's role is certainly diminished. Why can't Drew play center with Wily Mo getting regular playing time in right? Lineup:

Player- OPS'06 / Career OPS

Lugo- .762 / .742
Youkilis- .810 / .802
Ortiz- 1.049 / .998**
Ramirez- 1.058 / 1.011
Drew- .891 / .905
Pena- .838 / .795
Lowell- .814 / .802
Varitek- .725 / .798
Pedroia- .561* / .561*

Crisp .702 .745
Cora .610 .654
Hinske .840 .774

Given a chance to have regular playing time and get consistent at bats, Pena could develop into one of the elite hitters in the game.

Crisp could be used as a fourth outfielder much like Dave Roberts was in '04, providing speed and defense off the bench. Crisp successfully stole bases 84% of the time last year compared to Roberts’ 71% with the Sox in ‘04 (though everyone remembers only one of those). Plus, Hinske presents a power threat off the bench, granted he is still on the team next season.

PS. When did the line up change to 10 batters sean?

* In 31 games during '06
** Career with Boston

(Statistics found at
www.baseball-reference.com)

James M. Cole said...

3B - Youkilis
RF - Drew
DH - Ortiz
LF - Manny
SS - Lugo
1B - Pena
CF - Crisp
C - Varitek
2B - Pedroia

First base is the easiest position to play. Put Pena there, let him practice over the winter and through Spring Training, and he'll be fine.

James M. Cole said...

(My lineup has us trading Mike Lowell for bullpen help, or something of the sort. I don't see us needing him. I'd prefer Youk and Pena in the line up over Lowell)

Jere said...

Wily Mo at first? That's crazier than a ten-man lineup.

I think of Joy's original lineup, with Lugo first and youk second, and I think "There's a lineup I can set my watch to," or something like that. Now can we please KEEP MANNY in it? Because if you take him out, it turns to crap.

redsock said...

I know Pena at 1B was discussed last year at various times (and he's played it in winterball), but I'm pretty sure they finally ruled it out for him.

Zenslinger said...

What is the rationale for Lugo leading off with his very modest OBP?

Sean O said...

Yeah, I keep forgetting that I have to put Crisp in, so we trade Crisp for a bucket of balls and put Pena in center. Then, Lugo bats 9th, because he's a terrible hitter. At least Pedroia has upside.

Michael said...

I like the Drew signing. Despite a game here and a game there, Drew has been essentially healthy for the last three seasons... except for when he went on the DL for being hit by a pitch, which is out of his control. I like his Runs Created numbers, too. Compare his RC/27 outs (essentially runs per game for a team 9 clones of that one player) with some others:

Player 2006/lifetime
Drew 7.12/7.25
Ortizzle 9.50/7.46

And the also rans...
Trot 5.02/6.23
Damon 6.19/5.57

The one I don't so much like?
Lugo 5.08/4.75
Crisp 4.22/4.85 (in comparison...)

To be fair, though, Lugo's for the last two years in TB was:
2005 5.26
2006 6.29
and it was his time with the Dodgers that killed it last year.

And Drew's 2006 OPS+ (which is park-adjusted) is 125, within a point either way of both Carlos Lee and Aramis Ramirez. Lugo? 122 with the Rays, but 40 with the Dodgers in 2006, and 105 in 2005.

Drew: good.
Lugo: assuming he continues with our Sox as he left off in TB, we're in great shape. Hopefully the Dodger time can be explained by his swingman role.

One more thing: Crisp may be fast, but Youk in the 2-hole, with his .400 and .381 OBPs (for last two seasons) makes so much more sense.

Michael said...

zenslinger and sean_o: Lugo's OBP isn't all that bad. Check it:

2006 TB .373
2006 LAD .278
2005 TB .362

Not bad if you omit the Dodgers numbers as an aberration.

Sean O said...

Michael-
How can we say that the Dodgers time, which caused Lugo to regress to his exact career line for the season, is an aberration? Why can't we believe that he had a hot first half, and a regression to the mean?

I see a man with 1 season above .350, and 2 above .340, with the 2nd .340+ being in his rookie season.

I've yet to see a reason to be positive about this deal apart from 4 months with a last place team in his age 31 season.

Why is it that Lugo's great half-year in Tampa is his true potential, while Gary Matthews' great year in Texas is a wild aberration? We can't have it both ways.

Zenslinger said...

How can we say that the Dodgers time, which caused Lugo to regress to his exact career line for the season, is an aberration? Why can't we believe that he had a hot first half, and a regression to the mean?

Because the "mean" you refer to is way below his career averages.

Sean, crack those eyes of yours open and let a little light in. I can understand feeling so-so about the Lugo signing, but not that it's an unqualified disaster.

Sean O said...

Zen:
Because the "mean" you refer to is way below his career averages.

No, the mean to which i'm referring:

Career line: .277 .340 .402
2006 Agg. : .278 .341 .421

All I'm saying is, when it comes down to it, things even out. Why do we put more faith in his TB time in '06 than his Dodger time? Is it 100% coincidence that BA and OBP are 1 off, and ISO Eye are exactly the same?

It's a problematic move because yet again, the front office has absolutely no idea how to properly guage talent. They simply make mistake after mistake without trying to change their methods.

When it's a fundamental problem, we have little chance for success.

Anonymous said...

If the Sox could get a healthy Gagne who has something to prove, that'd be H-U-G-E.

Anonymous said...

Do you really trust Eric Gange when he says he's healthy?

Sean O said...

Mike, that's why we have a whole host of doctors to take a look at him. If we can sign him to a nice, incentive-laden deal, it could be a major steal.

Or, we can use Hansen properly and have him close for us. In first innings last year, he was great. It was the 2nd innings where he was lit up.

Michael said...

All I'm saying is, when it comes down to it, things even out. Why do we put more faith in his TB time in '06 than his Dodger time? Is it 100% coincidence that BA and OBP are 1 off, and ISO Eye are exactly the same?

More faith goes to the TB time because it's a better approximation of playing conditions. The LA time was a move against his will to a position that he didn't want to play. It very well could have been a regression to the mean, but I don't think it's likely because:

1. his career 1st half/2nd half splits are about even, so he has no significant tendency to collapse, and thus we have no reason to expect that.

2. his OBP has trended upward in the since 2002:
.322, .333, .338, .362, and then .373 with TB in 2006. Small increases, but continual through his prime playing ages.

3. his collapse coincided with a significant change in playing situation which changed his playing time, and he was publicly unhappy with both the trade and his new role.

Consider that David Ortiz had .324 and .339 OBPs in his last two years with the Twins (with 350/450 plate appearances). His first with the Sox, 2003, was.369. Career year, a la Matthews Jr? Of course not, the trend continued through this year. Lugo is no Ortiz, not by any stretch, but a trend is a trend is a trend, even if interrupted by an aberration, which Lugo's LAD time certainly could be. We'll find out, but until then, we don't have to be typical Sox fans (The sky is falling!).

9casey said...

Can we change the sites name to the Joy Of Sabermetrics.......

Fellas as of right now Lugo and Drew are Sox...


Lets not get all get caught up in pct. points

Respectfully,
Bill James

redsock said...

Can we change the sites name to the Joy Of Sabermetrics....... Lets not get all get caught up in pct. points

I don't get it.

Sabermetrics is "the search for objective knowledge about baseball".

So we don't waste our time asking "Is this guy a gamer?" or "Does he have enough heart?" We'll leave that to the dolts at ESPN.

We try to answer meaningful questions like -- "How many runs did this guy produce last year and what can we expect from him in 2007?" -- in the most accurate way possible.

All we are doing is talking about what these guys have done (and might do) on the field.

Those "pct. points" are a measure of what he did on the field to help his team win. What else can you look at? His dirty hat? How long he prays on the mound? How many water coolers he breaks? How much he smiles?

...

(Also, if we can get away with a 10-man lineup, can we have Tiz or Manny bat twice?)

9casey said...

That being said.........

I am not thrilled with the signing of either of them at this point.

But, If Theo is right he is a genius and if they both fail right out of the gates he will be Globe fodder...

I have lost track what exactly overpaid in baseball is but it seems like these 2 may be overpaid

Risks, in my opinion, Huge risks...

And if Youk is still the leadoff hitter I for one will be shocked.

And if Drew can somehow muster up a .280 , 90 rbi , 20-25 hr season ...

Manny will win the mvp. He has had no one to protect him in the 5 hole for a while.

And if heart and attitude have nothing to do with team sports.

Then I guess I am the naive one...

You can look at stats all day and the one person who always comes up smellin like a rose is Alex Rodriguez....But redsock......do you want him on your team?

No one looks better in a clean hat than him.......

Stats , the one you guys are using, on base ops so on and so forth...
don't give you the true value of a player...
Quality outs , moving guys over , 10 pitch at bats, Hitting cutoff men, smart baserunning, 8 pitch innings, the ability to turn a double play...I can go on and on, but right now you are probabbly screaming at your computer, and thats fine...but 10 pts here and there with on base pct....thats nit-picking...

Julio Lugo is 10 pts behind Johnny Damon for career on base....But who would you rather have

Johnny averaged almost 30 more runs a season he played for the red sox....Lugo for the devil rays.......It's like apples and oranges.

It's just a team thing, In my humble opinion.......

Jere said...

Re: the stats issue: I still say, I'd take Lou Merloni on my team over a dude who has slightly better stats but doesn't try as hard.

I mean, as a kid I liked the players who wore the eye-black because they looked cooler than non-eye black guys. And, yeah, I grew up, but, still, as long as we're talking about a game, now matter how important it is, I'd like to keep that kid side of me, and I will. It's like those commercials for Frosted Mini Wheats.

Jack Marshall said...

Youklis
Crisp
Ortiz
Ramirez
Drew
Lowell
Tek
Lugo
Pedroia

Crisp's OBA pior to last season was decent. Forget stolen base dreams with Lugo et al...the Red Sox will NEVER steal bases. The Sox line-up was very productive as long as Youk was in the lead-off slot: if Francona can't figure that out by now, I'd fire him.

When the team wants to crush the daylights out of someone despite an error or four, I'd love to see THIS team on the field:

Youk, 3B
Drew, RF
Ortiz, 1B
Manny, LF
Wily Mo, DH
Lowell, 2B
Crisp, CF
Varitek, C
Lugo, SS.

But Tito doesn't have the guts.

redsock said...

Stats , the one you guys are using, on base ops so on and so forth...
don't give you the true value of a player...
Quality outs , moving guys over , 10 pitch at bats, Hitting cutoff men, smart baserunning, 8 pitch innings, the ability to turn a double play


and that stuff is reflected in some type of stat. if there is a tangible event on the field, there is a stat for it.

but of course no one stat tells you everything about a player. and no one is saying that.

if there were no stats at all in baseball, if i asked you in mid-august what drew's batting average was, could you tell me -- just from remembering the games you watched?

you couldn't. that's why people keep track of what happens. it is impossible to watch every single game every day and remember what happened for many years.

on base ops so on and so forth... don't give you the true value of a player...

knowing how often a guy gets on base tells you something about his value because getting on base is important.

Jack Marshall said...

The stats don't do a good job evaluating fielding (especially at certain positions, like first base), or middle relief pitching, and have never come to grips with clutch hitting, because its a floating standard. And even Bill James eventually came to agree that there were aspects of a player's value that could only be appreciated by direct observation. But there really is no legitimate argument over the importance of stats in measuring player quality. This site's understanding of stats and ability to apply them is one of its greatest strengths.
And yet, some managers, broadcasters and fans will STILL write that the fast guy with the .340 OBP should bat lead-off instead of the slower guy with a .380.

This amazes me.

redsock said...

And if heart and attitude have nothing to do with team sports.
Then I guess I am the naive one...


One problem with this, 9casey: No one has claimed this. You are simply making stuff up.

It's true -- good measures of fielding are well behind hitting measures.

Middle relief? Looking at base runners allowed would be good, inherited runners stranded, stuff like that. ERA is not very good for some guy who pitches .1 or .2 innings per outing.

And even Bill James eventually came to agree that there were aspects of a player's value that could only be appreciated by direct observation.

What exactly was he referring to? I know there were things he decided couldn't be measured, but I wasn't sure if that was because he felt they didn't exist or he didn't have the proper tools to measure them.

And -- "appreciated" as opposed to measured or evaluated? Sure, you can't marvel at Manny's swing without actually seeing it.

...

Lowell at 2B, huh?

Just checked his career: 9 games in 2005, that's it. Not likely. How about Lowell back to 3B and Yook at 2B? He had 2 games in 2005.

redsock said...

And yet, some managers, broadcasters and fans will STILL write that the fast guy with the .340 OBP should bat lead-off instead of the slower guy with a .380.

Yeah, because the slow guy will "clog up the basepaths".

Yaz-Tex said...

Per JM's line-up, I've often wondered why the Sox don't send Ortizzle to winter ball to develop his skills at 1B.

During Inter-League games in NL parks, he's acquitted himself quite well (e.g., pegging Suppan of 3B in G3 of the 04 WS), with the exception of the occasional adventure. I have to believe on his worst day he would be better than Giambi.

It would also bring a merciful end to the no-DH for MVP bullshit - I say give a brother some glove.

Zenslinger said...

Sean, sorry I misread your posting.

This thread is why I like JoS!

9casey said...

Redsock said: So we don't waste our time asking "Is this guy a gamer?" or "Does he have enough heart?" We'll leave that to the dolts at ESPN.

9casey said: And if heart and attitude have nothing to do with team sports.

Then I guess I am the naive one...


I am sorry I must have read that wrong.

Jack Marshall said...

Well, Redsock, here’s an example. James’s stats rate George Scott as a below-average fielder at first. Well, nobody who watched him would ever believe that for a second. He was the best, bar none, at scooping errant throws, coming off the bag, fielding bunts. He had astounding reflexes: I once saw him charge the plate in a bunt situation and catch a screamer at his ankles no more than 40 feet from the batter when the guy swung away. Scott made every infielder better, saved errors left and right, and James’s stats make him sound like Dick Stuart. Those Gold Gloves Scott won were not based on hallucinations. He was terrific.

I don’t think stats adequately tell us what was special about Tony Pena, keeping runners close by whipping the ball to first, or Fisk, reprimanding Bill Lee on the mound. Or how Bill Buckner could throw his bat at a ball head-high and move the runner along, and how he was the only player I’ve ever seen intentionally swing at a 3rd strike when he correctly guessed that the pitch would get away from the catcher. Stats don’t tell us everything that was special about Luis Tiant or Dick Radatz, or guys like Ed Bressoud, Jerry Remy, Rick Burleson, and Marty Barrett, who used their brains to get every last edge. They don’t do justice to clutch players like David Ortiz, or, though I hate to say it, Jeter. The Yankees have had a bunch of guys who were better on the field than their stats show: O’Neill, Piniella, Brosius. The reverse would be a guy like Albert Belle, who had great stats. He just drained the life out of a game and his team like a vampire…never saw anything like it.

Bill James said in his “Baseball Book” series that he thought the analysis of the game was becoming too stat-dependent, and that his goal would be to try to capture all the important information that the stats missed about player.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m a stats guy, I just get bored with the numbers. We still have to accept that numbers alone won’t give the true measure of many players.

redsock said...

Great post, Jack. And I agree with pretty much all of what you are saying.

My main response would be that all the stuff you mention is recorded in some way.

I don't know what James says about Scott, but I LOVED the Boomer, though I'm a bit wary of any explanation of a player's ability that begins: "I once saw him ..."

Tony Pena's skill at keeping runners close to the bag should be borne out (in some measure) by his assist total or the small numbers of SB attempts against him -- as well as observation.

Stats don't tell us everything that was special about Luis Tiant or Dick Radatz, or guys like Ed Bressoud, Jerry Remy, Rick Burleson, and Marty Barrett, who used their brains to get every last edge.

Again, I don't think I'm saying that they do. If I am, then I take it back because stats cannot tell us *everything*. But if smart players use their brains to know when to steal, what pitch to throw, what pitch to hit, etc., that will be reflected in their performance.

They don't do justice to clutch players like David Ortiz, or, though I hate to say it, Jeter. The Yankees have had a bunch of guys who were better on the field than their stats show: O’Neill, Piniella, Brosius.

But that would be reflected in "close and late" numbers or however you choose to define "clutch". We talked about how Ortiz always seemed to come through with walkoffs hits. Just saying that doesn't prove it, though, so I went back, looked at what he did in all those situations and sure enough, the numbers proved he was godlike.

Bill James said in his "Baseball Book" series that he thought the analysis of the game was becoming too stat-dependent

Right. That's a huge misconception about James, fueled by an ignorant media who refuse to look at what James had done. People think he is a numbers freak, but he's most defintely not. What he wants to do first and foremost is answer questions.

And the Ortiz walkoff post would be a (very) simple example of what James strives to do.

When we hear a claim (sports, politics, whatever...), we should say: Prove it. Show me the evidence. Back up what you are telling me.

We still have to accept that numbers alone won't give the true measure of many players.

Sure, but again, it's the only objective evidence we have.

L-girl said...

Can we change the sites name to the Joy Of Sabermetrics.......

Or "we" can read a different blog.

Jack Marshall said...

Redsock..I agree completely. I also agree that "I once saw" anecdotes generally prove nothing...but they can still be meaningful when they exemplify a player's unique qualities. I'll always remember the Scott play because it was pure Boomer...the guy just was a superb instinctive player. Don't we all have specific moments for players that just define them in our minds forever? Like a great game against the Angels in '67, when I was in the Left field grandstand (now all boxes) when Yaz took a one hop single off the bat of Bill Skowron and nailed a fast runner, and the go-ahead run, at the plate in extras by charging the ball and then putting ever inch of himself into the throw, hurling himslf face-down into the turf as he released it. Yeah, that assist was reflected in the stats...but when you saw that play, you knew what made Yaz an all-time great. I guess that's all I'm saying.

L-girl said...

Jack, I agree with your last post, absolutely.

My problem with the "I once saw" observer is that his memory is often only reinforcing the label the media has already given to the player.

I'm sure you know how humans' eyewitness perceptions tend to change according to pre-judgments. To oversimplify, once a player is labeled lazy, or passionate, or difficult, or ornery, or mentally tough, or a gamer, or an intellictual player, people's "I once saw" memories reinforce that perception, and anything that contradicts it is filtered out.

Bringing this back to JD Drew and the pre-season slime being thrown around: many years ago I used to hear Michael Kay trash JD Drew all season long. (It was Kay's last season on Yankees radio, that would place it in time.) I mean absolutely trash. It was a friggin obsession, he never let up. So in this case, before anyone ever saw JD Drew play one inning of one major league game, Kay followers were already set to dislike him. It's hard to overcome something like that.

The underlying moral, of course, is that if you're trashing JD Drew, you're validating Michael Kay. Ack!

Is this off-topic or on the wrong thread? Sorry if it is.

9casey said...

Jack , nice job , you obviouslly can do better job than I in conveying that stats do tend to lie?

I am also assuming that you either played enough or were around enough baseball through your life to realize that ballplayers always weren't 5 tool giuys with all the God -given abilty to make millions.

L -girl I don't believe redsock took that comment personally and neither should you.

And until he kicks me off I will post....My name isn't gutch

L-girl said...

L -girl I don't believe redsock took that comment personally and neither should you.

Personally? Nah. Irritated...? Maybe.

And until he kicks me off I will post....My name isn't gutch

And even Gutch kicked himself off! Funny how he was never seen again after the Yankees tanked in the ALDS. To quote Ralph Kramden, "Ohhhh, what a surpriiise!"

redsock said...

stats don't lie -- they are what they are.

batting average is batting average and innings pitched per start is innings pitched per start, but it's the interpretation of, and weight you give to, those stats that's more of the issue.

gutch is free to post. man, i WISH he would post. after he told us to put up or shut up (monday morning quarterbacking!) about the tigers/mfy series -- and we did and were 100% CORRECT -- he went "poof".

pity.

guuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuutch ... where are youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu?

...

casey, why would i kick you off? i may not agree with everything you say -- so what? -- but that's a pretty weak excuse to ban someone.

9casey said...

I hear ya.....

It's funny all my red sox fans friends .. That I talk to in person never disagree, but that's because there is usally a hoard of yankee fans around....

Solidarity.....

Jere said...

"The underlying moral, of course, is that if you're trashing JD Drew, you're validating Michael Kay. Ack!"

That's it, then. Drew is a gamer. Anything to go against my nemesis.

"Funny how he was never seen again after the Yankees tanked in the ALDS."

It's a classic phenomenon. On my blog, after all the trash talking by Yankee fans, they literally all disappeared the moment the Tigers beat 'em. And I mean not one comment since.

"stats don't lie -- they are what they are. "

They don't lie about the past, but they can't tell the future, which is why it can be okay for a manager to follow his or instincts, based on something they see in a player based solely on observation. Also, stats do lie, in a way, when they start with some arbitrary number and work off of it, like stats that compare players to "replacement players."

Jack: I also liked your big post--the one everyone's talkin' about around the JoS water cooler. And nice job by Joy in the ensuing discussion. I'm also a longtime stat person who just sometimes thinks they don't tell the whole story.

redsock said...

The biggest question of all is:

Who has more hatred for Michael Kay: Jere or Allan?

They don't lie about the past, but they can't tell the future, which is why it can be okay for a manager to follow his or instincts, based on something they see in a player based solely on observation. Also, stats do lie, in a way, when they start with some arbitrary number and work off of it, like stats that compare players to "replacement players."

I disagree with your last sentence, that is just establishing a baseline from which to measure players. "Replacement level" is not arbitrary.

I guess the whole past-future thing is another misconception. Stats can tell you what this player will likely do, given his career to this point.

In some game in 2007, Cora might get on base 5 times and Manny reach 0 times. That would be wildly out of line with what you would expect in any given game-- the odds against it happening are long -- but it could happen.

...

Laura said some great things the other night about "gamers" and perception. There was the Kay-Drew thing, which I did not know about (I know Kay hated Slappy for years), but also the fact that many Yankees fans hate Bernie Willians to this day because he was quiet and did not argue strikeouts, etc.

I say people who see Manny make an out or error and is later laughing in the dugout are just as stupid as those MFY fans who hate Bernie.

redsock said...

Let's try that again:

I say people who see Manny make an out and then laugh later in the dugout and think he doesn't care or isn't "in the game" are just as stupid as those MFY fans who hate Bernie for his quiet demeanor.

Manny's attitude is actually great for baseball. That previous AB is over, forget about it, nothing you can do to change it now, let's think about the next one.

L-girl said...

That's it, then. Drew is a gamer. Anything to go against my nemesis.

Now that was predictable. It's the JVMKF. Jere vs. Michael Kay factor. Works every time.

"stats don't lie -- they are what they are. "

They don't lie about the past, but they can't tell the future


Jere, you know that no one believes or says that stats tell the future. Numbers only speak to likelihood.

Also, stats do lie, in a way, when they start with some arbitrary number and work off of it

If that's what anyone does, then they're using the numbers incorrectly. The replacement players concept is not arbitrary.

L-girl said...

Hey, I said some great things! How 'bout that. :)

the fact that many Yankees fans hate Bernie Willians to this day because he was quiet and did not argue strikeouts, etc.

That was another Michael Kay trope. He always hated Bernie Williams, knocked him at every opportunity, and could never say anything good about him without an insult on the backhand.

Now, if you can put your Yankees hatred aside for a moment, what is there to hate about Bernie Williams? Too quiet? Too shy? That's the man's personality. How can you hate a player for being quiet, non-demonstrative?

But tons of Yankee fans really disliked Bernie - I won't say they hated him, but he was not a fan favourite - because he was perceived as passionless and aloof. At games I used to hear guys say, "Bernie is a natural athlete [gee, I wonder why they said that?] but he's not a ballplayer. O'Neill is a ballplayer."

Now WTF does that mean? It means those guys found O'Neill more entertaining, they related to his tantrums more than Bernie's quiet. But they're both ballplayers, and who can say who has more "heart"? All we know is who makes a bigger outward show.

Maybe on another team, with a different media, Bernie would have gotten the Bill Mueller "he's a professional" treatment. I don't know.

Mike Piazza had the same knock when he first came to the Mets. People went on about how he never smiled, he looked like he was just doing his job, showed no joy. It's not enough to do your job well, you have to make the right facial expressions, too.

Anyone who has made it to the major league level of baseball, and has managed to stay there, has plenty of the mental, psychological and emotional stuff - heart, for lack of a better word - that it takes. They must be competitive and hard-working, or they would never have gotten where they are. It's just not possible. No one gets to the major league level on talent alone.

Me, I'd take a team of Bernie Williamses over a bunch of Paul O'Neills (or Curt Schillings) anyday. But in team sports, guys whose emotions are on display are thought to have more heart, more game spirit. When all they have is a different personality.

I think it's ridiculous.

redsock said...

Julio Lugo is 10 pts behind Johnny Damon for career on base....But who would you rather have

At this stage of their careers, Lugo.

Johnny averaged almost 30 more runs a season he played for the red sox....Lugo for the devil rays.

Now why might a Red Sock score more runs than a Devil Ray? One good reason might be that Boston is good and Tampa is bad.

redsock said...

Hey, I said some great things! How 'bout that. :)

Plus -- you defended VORP!!!

I believe your favourite Yankee player was a low-key kind of guy.

redsock said...

One guy who shows a fair amount of emotion at the plate who I think should give it a fucking rest already is ...

...

...

David Ortiz.

Dude whines way too much on called strikes. It annoys me a lot.

Showing emotion can also mean enduring the "Derek Lowe Face". Ugh.

Jack Marshall said...

Laura's comment that the interpretation of single incidents can be distorted by prior biases is certainly both wise and 100% true, and as much a problem in everyday life as it is in baseball. A player who has a rep as failing in the clutch stikes out in a key situation and it "proves" he's a choker; David Ortiz does the same and, well, he can't deliver every time, now, can he?

That's why the observations of solid analysts who watch a player every day is valuable. Jerry Remy kept saying over and over that Bellhorn turned the DP well and was a deceptively good second-baseman, and the more I watched him the more I agreed. But come the play-offs in 2004, all you heard was that Bellhorn was marginal in the field (confession: I never checked the stats..but Bellhorn DID turn a nice DP.)
The great value to stats, honestly gathered and presented, is that they eliminate that bias, positive or negative, that infects all human judgement. And Bellhorn is a good example: people concentrated on his strikeouts and how bad he looked much of the time, and never noticed all the runs he scored and knocked in because of his walks and power. I'd take his 2004 season at second any day, but before we started paying attention to stats, a player like Bellhorn would be booed off the field.

Showing emotion is an especiallyfalse indication of quality. I love to watch Youk, because he's so expressive, while Fred Lynn used to annoy the hell out of me, because he seemed so passive, as if he didn't give a damn. Renteria looked half-asleep to me, and it colored my opinion of him; Nomar seemed self-absorbed and above it all. Yaz almost never showed any emotion: the time he went nuts and built a little sand castle on home plate probably doubled his fan base. The emotional players are fun, but really...what a stupid way to evaluate talent! Fred Lynn, while he was in Boston, was one of the ten most wonderful talents to play in Fenway of the past 50 years, and many of us, me included, never realized what we had the privilege of watching until he was gone...and we looked at the stats.

But sometimes a single incident, rather than being shaped by biases, banishes them.
For Yaz, who was booed hard in Fenway for years after his Triple Crown, it was the pinch-hit homer he hit in the All-Star Game 1975. Everyone woke up at once and said, "We better appreciate this guy while he's here, beacuse we'll never see his like again." And they never booed Yaz from July '75 until his last game.
I'd love for such an incident to turn the tide for Manny, so the media and the fans start thinking of him only as a great, great hitter they are lucky to have in the house, and not a flake, a goof, and a distraction. I hope its not too late for that.

Jere said...

I'd like to specify my personal opinion on the whole "gamer mentality" thing, since I'm in the camp of thinking it does have some meaning:

I DON'T like when guys get over-the-top mad. (The O'Neill vs. Water Cooler wars, and, yes, when Ortiz does the whining on almost every strike lately. Jeter also can't explain how any pitch he doesn't swing at could possibly be called a strike.) In fact, in Little League or high school ball, you could always tell the biggest phony: the one who'd throw his helmet down to make it appear he cares more than you.

I DO like when players go diving around (when it's NEC-essary, Derek) and aren't afraid to break that cigar in their back pocket and show that they're giving their all on the field.

L-girl said...

I'd like to specify my personal opinion on the whole "gamer mentality" thing, since I'm in the camp of thinking it does have some meaning:

Jere, that's your personal preferences for the kinds of players you like to watch. That's the only "meaning" it has - it means something personally to you.

Everyone has those preferences. They make the game more enjoyable for us. But they shouldn't be confused with an actual measure of value.

L-girl said...

Plus -- you defended VORP!!!

Like I don't know how to win your heart by now. ;-)

I believe your favourite Yankee player was a low-key kind of guy.

Don't remind me, I'll get all confused over here.

L-girl said...

But sometimes a single incident, rather than being shaped by biases, banishes them. . . .
I'd love for such an incident to turn the tide for Manny


There's been (potentially) a dozen of them. No, dozens of them. But the Boston media won't promote them. If they haven't given Manny an image makeover yet, they never will.

redsock said...

That's why the observations of solid analysts who watch a player every day is valuable. Jerry Remy kept saying ...

But then Remy's comments about a non-Sock wouldn't carry much weight at all because he doesn't see them every day. In fact, he may see them only 4 or 5 times a year and NL-ers, probably not at all.

And Remy has fallen into repeating the same stupid national-media-remarks about Boston players much more often than he should.

And we can't take the word of the KC announcers about the Royals players they see every day, for example, because 9 times out of 10, they're utter morons (or they get their "facts" from a Sox media spokesman like the CHB).

Jere said...

"that's your personal preferences for the kinds of players you like to watch. That's the only "meaning" it has - it means something personally to you."

It just seems like when y'all are talking about people who like "gamers," you're implying we like guys that get really mad--and that we just listen to what ESPN people say, which is also not true for me, since I rarely watch ESPN--and I'm saying it's about specifically the positive things a player does. For me. And I do think it has meaning. I would totally take a player whose stats are juuuust slightly below another player's, if the first player clearly goes out of his/her way or does extra stuff to try to win and the second player is indifferent.

I WOULDN'T take an entire team of Bernie Williams'. I'd take A Bernie, not all of them. Also, I know what you're saying about him and Yankee fans, but I would like to point out that he's definitely beloved among a huge faction of Yankee fans. I mean, they're definitely showing their appreciation currently, in his faux-retirement period here.

L-girl said...

There is not one "solid analyst" whose observations about players can be trusted without a very large grain of salt.

Their memories are as fallible as anyone else's, they are subject to the same prejudices (conscious and non-conscious) as everyone else, they are as effected by media labeling as much as anyone else. Jerry Remy's opinions are the opinions of one man who watches every game. So are Jack Marshall's opinions, so are Allan's opinions (and hey, so are mine). All season long, we'll watch the same games, and yet we'll all have different opinions.

Obviously, that's why we need the numbers.

L-girl said...

It just seems like when y'all are talking about people who like "gamers," you're implying we like guys that get really mad

Nope. I wasn't implying that. You cleared that up the first time you said this.

And I do think it has meaning. I would totally take a player whose stats are juuuust slightly below another player's, if the first player clearly goes out of his/her way or does extra stuff to try to win and the second player is indifferent.

My point is that your judgements of who "goes out of his way" and who is "indifferent" is a judgment of how demonstrative each player is. That is not an effective means of measuring how hard someone is trying or how much they care.

Some people cry very easily. Some rarely cry at all. Yet they all feel sadness. Some people show anger easily... My point is not that you should or shouldn't like one player over another. My point is that you are making a judgment about what's inside a player based on some superficial, external factor, a part of the player's personality. And that, in my opinion, is bullshit, when it comes to evaluating a player's worth.

Fun, enjoyable, part of your experience as a fan - yes. A factor in making up a team - god, no. Save me from the GM who makes trades based on what a gamer a guy is.

I WOULDN'T take an entire team of Bernie Williams'. I'd take A Bernie, not all of them.

But in professinal sports, you're never going to get a team of Bernie Williamses - he's a bit of an oddball, personality wise.

Also, I know what you're saying about him and Yankee fans, but I would like to point out that he's definitely beloved among a huge faction of Yankee fans. I mean, they're definitely showing their appreciation currently, in his faux-retirement period here.

Jere, I wasn't saying anything about Yankee fans. That is your reading only. I think Red Sox fans are 100% as guilty of this as Yankee fans ever are.

I'm not surprised you brought up the recent appreciation of Bernie in his waning years. I mentioned that in my discussion w/ Allan, too. It was new, it was specifically directed at him because he was leaving, and if he played every day and stank, they wouldn't have cared, they would have boo'd him despite impending retirement. As would Red Sox fans.

Please, I implore you, let's not go there. Talk about prejudices colouring everything one sees.

L-girl said...

I DO like when players go diving around (when it's NEC-essary, Derek) and aren't afraid to break that cigar in their back pocket and show that they're giving their all on the field.

...

Talk about prejudices colouring everything one sees.


My case in point. Most people (Red Sox fans included, at least as indicated on the SOSH game thread that night) saw this famous incident one way. Jere and supposedly other people he knows saw something very different.

Was Jeter the ultimate gamer that day? Or was he showboating? That depends on who you ask, and their answer may depend on what they already believed.

Jack Marshall said...

Agreed, Laura...but the "grain of salt" is simply to recognize that complete objectivity is impossible, not to ignore all informed opinions and observations, right?. People with integrity make the effort to know their own biases and adjust accordingly. Former players tend to excessively admire both players that were like them and the guys that do the things they never could. The smart ones recognize that, but it can be difficult. My hero, Bill James, tends to denigrate the players who are praised for making "productive outs," but moving runners along is a skill, and sometimes a game is won by it. And sometimes a biased observer will notice something because of his bias that others miss: Remy called my attention to the smart play of Alex Cora (a Remy-type), and I watched Cora more carefully after that as a result. Damn if Jerry wasn't right on the money: Cora is always thinking out there, a modest talent who adds quite a bit to his value by being alert and innovative.

Bias is an impediment to be acknowledged and dealt with; it isn't a disqualifier. If it were, no analysts of ANYTHING would have any value.

L-girl said...

I WOULDN'T take an entire team of Bernie Williams'. I'd take A Bernie, not all of them.

This also points out what I was saying. You're basing this on personality. Unless you're saying you think Bernie didn't try hard? Which would be silly. You're saying you wouldn't want a team full of laid-back guys who don't appear to be trying hard.

You're saying that external demonstrativeness - a quirk of personality - is a part of how you judge a player and should be a part of how a team is made up.

That seems very silly and childish to me.

L-girl said...

Agreed, Laura...but the "grain of salt" is simply to recognize that complete objectivity is impossible, not to ignore all informed opinions and observations, right?

Mmmrrrhmmm... I can only partially agree. Informed opinions are based on fact. That's the "informed" part of the opinion. Those are to be listened to.

Observations...? Those are not to be taken any more or less seriously than the observations of anyone who reads this blog, posts on SOSH, etc. - meaning, anyone who watches the team every day or almost every day. Those observations are valid, but extremely limited and subject to bias.

In my experience, most people do not correct for their own biases. A few do, but most do not, and I've never heard or seen an announcer or TV analyst who does.

Your note about Remy and Cora, that kind of thing is great when you're watching the game, it has value in that it increases your enjoyment of the game. However, I don't think it has much value when constructing a team.

redsock said...

I WOULDN'T take an entire team of Bernie Williams

Because who would pitch?

L-girl said...

Bias is an impediment to be acknowledged and dealt with; it isn't a disqualifier. If it were, no analysts of ANYTHING would have any value.

Analysts who use facts would still have value. People who analyze solely by observation are not analysts, no matter what their job description says. They are observers.

redsock said...

My hero, Bill James, tends to denigrate the players who are praised for making "productive outs," but moving runners along is a skill, and sometimes a game is won by it.

Does he? I'd say he either denigrates people who love "productive outs" or he feels players should not be praised for that "skill".

Outs are bad. Always. A team gets only 27 every game and they better avoid making them at all costs.

I really hate the term "productive out", though I understand what it means. If you are going to make an out, it's good to also move a runner with it, but why think about an out?

Also, I'm convinced that the rise in media praising "productive outs" (Hi, Buster!) is a specific backlash against Moneyball and the more progressive ideas of the last few years.

L-girl said...

(Hi, Buster!)

:<(

I'm convinced that the rise in media praising "productive outs" (Hi, Buster!) is a specific backlash against Moneyball and the more progressive ideas of the last few years.

It absolutely is! (IMO)

Just like how many times last season I heard "analysts" say, That was before everyone talked about on-base percentage and all that new stuff. (To paraphrase roughly.)

Jack Marshall said...

Wow, Laura, I don't understand that at all. Knowing that a player is smart as hell and plays like it isn't valuable in constructing a team? Maybe I didn't read you correctly, but I think judgement and baseball smarts add a tremendous amout of value: we're not talking dirty caps here. Dirty caps throw the ball into the stands when there are only two out and a runner is on the bases: I'll take Dwight Evans over Trot, gamer that he is. Dirty caps (a Steve Lyons classic) get thrown out trying to steal third in the bottom of the 9th with the batting champion at the plate. Give me Alex Cora any day.

Informed opinions are based on fact, but facts don't interpret themselves except on a very basic level. Analyzing facts requires weighing them, comparing them, extrapolating them, and coming to rational conclusions. Everyone's opinions are absolutely NOT of equal value. That's the problem with so much of the public opinion gauging in America; people actally think their opinions have value when they don't know what the hell they're talking about, or are only aping the opinions of experts they happen to like. Informed and qualified observors and analysts can certainly be wrong, but their opinions are still worth of more weight than the casual observor's...unless, of course, the informed observor is also a moron. Rick Sutcliffe comes to mind.

Skepticism of experts is healthy, no doubt, and knowing their biases are critical to weighing the validity of their analyses. But that is not the same as saying that our opinions are likely to be as inciteful and valid as theirs. I think I can run rings around Jerry Remy in a lot of areas that I've studied or worked in, but he deserves more respect than I do when he talks about the game he's spent a life-time playoing, watching, and analyzing.

Addendum on "productive outs": I think the concept gets too much attention and praise for sure (Suttcliffe is an offender here, too), but watching Billy Mueller and others consistently get that runner on second with no outs over to third (sometimes knocking it through the hole, too) has me convinced that such an out in the right situation is NOT "bad." Bad is trying to go for the fences and striking out. Bad is trying to bunt when you're lousy at it.

L-girl said...

Informed opinions are based on fact, but facts don't interpret themselves except on a very basic level. Analyzing facts requires weighing them, comparing them, extrapolating them, and coming to rational conclusions. Everyone's opinions are absolutely NOT of equal value.

Absolutely. I agree with you 100%.

Except that most of what I hear on TV comes down to dirty caps.

I'm not saying Jerry Remy never gives smart analysis. That would be going too far. Of course he occasionally imparts some insight that is useful. But despite his lifetime of experience in the game, Remy seems much more interested in promoting himself and selling his products than in analysis.

Most TV announcers are very lazy, and don't do a lot of analysis. That's just my opinion. Maybe while they're being intelligent and analytical, I'm busy tuning them out because of all the other stupid stuff they say. But I just don't see it.

redsock said...

Knowing that a player is smart as hell and plays like it isn't valuable in constructing a team?

It helps, but if he hits .220 despite belonging to Mensa, well, maybe a GM should look elsewhere.

And if you have Cora-level talent, you better have on-field smarts.

I'd take Dewey, too. He was quite underrated (for a start, people didn't understand about walks back in the old days).

L-girl said...

Knowing that a player is smart as hell and plays like it isn't valuable in constructing a team?

It helps, but if he hits .220 despite belonging to Mensa, well, maybe a GM should look elsewhere.


I guess is this more to the point. If a player's value can't be shown in numbers at all but everyone thinks he's such a gamer (Doug Mirabelli, anyone?), I'd be highly skeptical of the observers and would tend to think they're in love with a dirty cap.

Woti-woti said...

Jeez, is this thread still going? Every time I go away to gather my thoughts, I come back to find that someone has "stolen my thunder" (to quote countless 'EEI callers).

Anyway, my random 2 cents:

Surely a 'productive out' is after-the-fact serendipity. You don't want a guy going to the plate thinking "I'm going to make an out here, but it's going to be productive." Unless he's an NL pitcher or obviously going up to sacrifice. I, too, cringe when I hear the term. But after the Sox squander a lead-off double, or come up with zilch after loading the bases with no outs ...
Stats usually remind me of how selective my memory can be. I love the situational ones--RISP, 2-out RBI's, close and late, Inherited runners stranded etc., even knowing full well that they don't mean a damn thing for the specific at-bat I'm watching in real time.
By and large, I don't like the over-emotional display in baseball. It's ok for hockey or football when they can knock the crap out of somebody and give their mates a lift, but stomping around the mound or helmet-throwing is simply bush. As Jere infers, you tell Little-Leaguers to grow up when they act like that. If you had a team full of Bernie Williams, or one full of Eric Byrneses, you'd have the MLB drug chasers camped in both clubhouses. Balance and moderation, and we really can do without the Eric Byrneses.
Which brings us to the latter's performance on FOX last post-season and what the world of TV baseball commentary has become. Enough said. I cannot thank enough for whoever is responsible for MLB-Extra Innings and allowing me to watch and judge for myself. And the internet for allowing me to 'talk' with you guys who watched the same thing and drew different conclusions. Play Ball!!

9casey said...

I said it like 45 posts ago .....but the perfect example is

A-Rod...we all wanted him in 2004 but after we saw him play 26 times that year most people said he was a pretty boy stat machine, yankee fans mostly, Red Sox like Trot and Schill also called him out and his own team doesn't respect him very much, but every year he hits around 300 40 hr s and 100 rbi's and i belive he also had the most game winning rbi's last year....

When the comment sheet goes to 70 plus we should forward it to the FO....
Just for fun the 8 play off teams ranks in obp last year

NyY......1
Nym.........18
Tigers.....24
As....10
twins....6
card....14
dodgers...4
padres....21

ops
NyY......1
Nym.........18
Tigers.....24
As....21
twins....13
card....14
dodgers...4
padres....22

era
NyY......12
Nym.........6
Tigers.....1
As....7
twins....3
card....16
dodgers...8
padres....2

postion players might be overated..
Like we all didn't know it was all about pitching.....

The Dice man cometh?

L-girl said...

Woti man, no one steals your thunder, that's a great post.

Get ready for our wmtc outing at Skydome (Skydome, damnit!) in early spring. The Sox are in town on all weekdays, which the Jays hate, but Allan & Laura - working weekends - love!

I'm going to organize at least one big wmtc night, but we'll be going to lots of games, if you want to come in, that would be cool.

Woti-woti said...

L-girl, yeah, meeting at the Dome for a 'blind' outing sounds excellent. I don't mind mid-week at all. Just post your thinking etc. as to the when. Just one rule: NO FREAKING CHATTER ABOUT HOW THE FREAKING LEAFS ARE DOING!! There'll be enough of that at the Dome anyway.

L-girl said...

Just one rule: NO FREAKING CHATTER ABOUT HOW THE FREAKING LEAFS ARE DOING!!

Deal.

Glad you're in. Only one thing missing on my end and that's your email address. Email me or Allan so we have it, ok?

Jere said...

Laura, I think your response to me was colored/coloured by the way you perceive me to react to things. So, unless you were doing that on purpose to prove your point, then: I mentioned that a lot of Yankee fans DO like Bernie. And you took that as me somehow making fun of Yankee fans or I don't even know what. But if anything I was defending the Yankee fans who DO appreciate Bernie.

Okay, re-reading evething, I guess the confusion might be from redsock talkg about you talking about Michael talking about Yankee fans who hate Bernie. That's what I was referring to.

"You're saying that external demonstrativeness - a quirk of personality - is a part of how you judge a player and should be a part of how a team is made up."

Trying hard shows. The harder you try, the better stats you end up with. This is also a reponse to your dirty hat sarcasm response to me in the more current post's comments. Here I go with Little League again: In All-Stars, circa 1986, this coach told me that in life, as well as baseball, I need to come out of my shell. I thought, F you, dude, I like my shell. But I wasn't accused of not hustling or trying on the field, becuase I always did, despite not being a loudmouth helmet-thrower type.

Woti-woti said...

L-girl, you should have an email from 'Jim' in WMTC.

L-girl said...

So, unless you were doing that on purpose to prove your point, then: I mentioned that a lot of Yankee fans DO like Bernie.

Ah no, not to prove a point, just to say what I meant. Bernie has his following, sure, but don't confuse the love that was shown to him last season with that following. The following was never that big. Certainly never big enough to reflect his worth, IMO.

Trying hard shows. The harder you try, the better stats you end up with.

I don't believe that for one second.

So last year Keith Foulke didn't try hard enough? Crisp didn't try hard enough? And Ortiz, he tries the hardest? No, not necessarily.

Trying hard does not show. It may not show in facial expressions (although it may) and it may not show in stats. There are too many variables outside a player's control.

This is also a reponse to your dirty hat sarcasm response to me in the more current post's comments.

Jere, that wasn't sarcasm. I meant it only as a light joke, no offense meant whatsoever. I'm sorry if it seemed like I was getting on you. I was definitely not. I thought it would make you laugh. Sorry if I miscalculated.

L-girl said...

Re Bernie, I definitely think more Yankees fans disliked him than liked him, and considering what a good player he was in his prime, that really says something. A lot of it was down to Michael Kay, the rest down to Bernie's lack of perceived passion.

Re trying hard, sorry to quote my old friend Joe Torre here, but he's often quoted as saying, One year I hit 360, one year I hit 260, and I tried just as hard both years.

(Looking in Baseball-Reference.com, I can't find the .260 year, but the point is made all the same.)

Jere said...

"(Looking in Baseball-Reference.com, I can't find the .260 year, but the point is made all the same.)"

Proves my theory: whenever any baseball player tells a story that involves numbers, those number are totally wrong. Goes along with what you were saying about what's in people's memories.

Having lived in Yankee-land for the entire span of Bernie's career, I've seen him loved in general. Big seller, player T-shirt-wise, and they're even on a first name basis with him. Let's just say the fans that do like him, love him, and the fans that don't, hate him. Something like that.

Apology accepted on the other thing. Still, at a very basic level, I am right: If you play left field by sleeping in the grass and swinging the bat with your eyes closed, your stats will be worse than if you tried just the slightest bit. How far that can be taken, who knows. You could be right about it, that at the major league level, nobody can really improve by saying, "I'm gonna try harder this year." Then again, look at contract years...

9casey said...

This whole thing about yankee fans hating Bernie is new to me......I see quite a few yankee fans everyday...And I think they all respect him quite a bit.....

redsock said...

Torre hit .363 in 1971 (won the MVP), then hit .289 in 1972.

This reminds me of a great Bill James article that I blogged about in April 2004: "2,000 Years of Willie Mays".

James found that Joe DiMaggio could hit .338-38-150 one season and then .264-18-79 the next through nothing more than bad luck.

L-girl said...

Having lived in Yankee-land for the entire span of Bernie's career, I've seen him loved in general.

Well, I lived there for Bernie's whole career minus the final year. Not only that - assuming you went to the Stadium when the Sox were in town but not otherwise - I went to many more games than you. Bernie-bashing was a frequent pastime in the stands.

I'd often see little kids and women wearing a Bernie shirt. The bashing generally came from big groups of guys. Bernie was considered not "man enough".

Still, at a very basic level, I am right: If you play left field by sleeping in the grass and swinging the bat with your eyes closed, your stats will be worse than if you tried just the slightest bit. How far that can be taken, who knows.

About as far as Little League. Because if you do those things, you aren't playing the game, and you couldn't make it to high school sports, never mind professional sports on any level.

By re-making this point, you're actually making mine for me. I think fans' judgments of players' relative efforts - which can only be based on an external show of effort, since we are not in their heads - is a hangover from the days when our coaches and teachers gave us points for effort, and told us, if you work at it, you'll show improvement.

I don't think it applies in the majors, because I think everyone must be working hard, must be competitive and must want to win, or they won't survive.

I agree re players' memories. Always to be taken with several grains of salt. However, my point about what Joe Torre said - and the point he was making - are valid and not dependent on the exact numbers quoted.

The point is that when a player does not succeed, it doesn't mean he's not trying - and players who do well are not necessarily trying harder. That's just a fallacy.

Torre hit .363 in 1971 (won the MVP), then hit .289 in 1972.

Those are the years he's referring to, and the numbers are pretty close to what I said. It's very possible I got the quote wrong, rather than he misquoted his numbers.