Does walking, striking out, and homering more often help or hurt a hitter in the postseason?
Let me pull back the curtain on how BP articles are made, at least at my house. This article came about when I was washing the dishes. It's my thing. I like to listen to podcasts and scrub down pots and pans. It's wondrously therapeutic after a long day at work, and BP alumni Joe Sheehan and Rany Jazayerli were keeping me company as I struggled mightily with the remnants of mac and cheese from my daughter's lunch plate.
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Continuing our series of excerpts from the archives, we revisit the birth of the Three True Outcomes over a decade down the line.
While looking toward the future with our comprehensive slate of current content, we'd also like to recognize our rich past by drawing upon our extensive online archive of work dating back to 1997. In an effort to highlight the best of what's gone before, we'll be bringing you a weekly blast from BP's past, introducing or re-introducing you to some of the most informative and entertaining authors who have passed through our virtual halls. If you have fond recollections of a BP piece that you'd like to nominate for re-exposure to a wider audience, send us your suggestion.
Join Rany on a tour of the pantheon of TTO heroes well over a decade after his words originally ran as part of the "Doctoring the Numbers" series on August 15, 2000.
Bio: Ten years ago I wasn't sure what I wanted to do with my life, but when asked about my dream job I would probably have said "general manager of the Oakland A's". This was a more realistic assessment of my talents than the response for the first 18 years of my life, "centerfield for the Oakland A's." Today, I am even more realistic about my abilities, and a bit less certain about my dream job. I still dream of being involved in baseball, either working in a front office or writing about it. But at 30, I have a Ph.D. in astronomy and a promising research career ahead of me. I have accomplished enough scientifically to think I have a reasonable chance of becoming a tenured professor, and I'm not sure I'd be willing to forsake that, even if Billy Beane came calling. So how to reconcile my two passions? I have been brainstorming ideas for a seminar intended to introduce university students to the basics of sabermetrics. I envision this class using "back of the envelope" calculations that rely on simple algebra to delve into more advanced statistical concepts. Thus, the column I hope to write for Baseball Prospectus would be the framework for the course I hope to teach one day, and perhaps the first draft of a textbook on
introductory sabermetrics. Also, one extra bit of impetus: my wife will let me get the MLB Extra Innings package if I work for BP!
We salute those players who most resembled Rob Deer in 2005.
In more mundane terms, the Three True Outcomes (TTO) are those plate appearances
that end without the defense getting a chance to touch the ball, plate appearances that end in a home run, a walk, or a strikeout. What started as a tongue-in-cheek tribute to
a unique player (Deer) has, ironically, turned out to have useful applications
not for batters, but for pitchers, in the form of Voros McCracken's work into
defense-independent pitching statistics.
Which player best evoked the spirit of Rob Deer to win the 2004 Three True Outcomes title? Keith Woolner takes a look.
The Three True Outcomes are, at their core, a celebration of hitters, epitomized by
the patron saint of the TTO, and the prototype for early BP book covers, Rob
Deer. Last year,
we introduced a more formal method for balancing the contribution from each True
Outcome to a hitter's overall rating. To summarize that method, we compute each
hitter's HR/PA, BB/PA, and SO/PA and divide it by the MLB average to normalize the
rate. We then look at the lowest value for each hitter (i.e. determining which
category he performed worst in compared to league average), and use that value as
the hitter's overall score. This ensures that those who rise to the top of the
rankings truly embrace and produce all three True Outcomes in abundance.
Periodically, Baseball Prospectus pays homage to the "Three True Outcomes" and those players who excel at creating them. A long-time inside joke at rec.sport.baseball, discussion of the Three True Outcomes (or TTO) has appeared on the pages of BP for years. In short, the Three True Outcomes are plate appearances that end with events that do not involve the fielders: the home run, the walk, and the strikeout. Somewhat ironically, the TTO have gained prominence in recent years with Voros McCracken's controversial (and oft-misstated) theory that pitchers do not differ significantly from each other on their ability to prevent hits on balls in play; thus making their primary differentiators of value the rates of strikeouts, walks, and home runs they allow. But the Three True Outcomes are, at their core, a celebration of hitters, epitomized by the patron saint of the TTO, and the prototype for early BP book covers, Rob Deer. With that in mind, we start with a list of the top hitters for 2003, according to the percentage of their plate appearances that ended with a True Outcome.
In short, the Three True Outcomes are plate appearances that end with events that do not involve the fielders: the home run, the walk, and the strikeout. Somewhat ironically, the TTO have gained prominence in recent years with Voros McCracken's controversial(and oft-misstated) theory that pitchers do not differ significantly from each other on their ability to prevent hits on balls in play; thus making their primary differentiators of value the rates of strikeouts, walks, and home runs they allow.
For this week’s article, I’d like to look at the amazing hot streak of Johnny Damon, who is hitting .477 since th-...hey, who let you guys in here? And what’s with the funny-looking helmets? Hey! Put me down! STOP THA...
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