So, we’ve been talking about revising the metrics we use here at Baseball Prospectus—I’ve described a fieldingmetric and a complementary battingmetric. So now let’s go about discussing some of the ways they fit together.
One of the big things we need to do when we build all-encompassing metrics is adjust for position. That’s because of the way we construct our metrics—we have offensive metrics that compare players to all other players, but defensive metrics that compare players only to other players at that position.
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The longtime Dodger's accomplishments were often obscured by one terrible inning amid a prime spent in the most parched scoring environment on earth.
Willie Davis was before my time. Davis spent 18 seasons in the major leagues, from 1960 through 1976, with a brief comeback in 1979 after a foray to Japan, so unless he made a cameo appearance in an Angels game I was watching in that latter year — he wasn't in this Nolan Ryan near no-hitter, which I fondy recall — I never actually saw him play. I knew of him primarily because of one gruesome inning in the 1966 World Series in which Davis set a record for October futility, making three errors. The moment represented the fall of the Sandy Koufax-era Dodgers' mini-dynasty, as Davis lost one fly ball in the sun, dropped the next ball, and then overthrew third base on the same play, leading to a three-run inning in a 6-0 loss.
Sorting and separating the best and worst baserunners from the rest.
"I don't really like to run, and that's why I didn't go out for track in high school. I ain't no fool, I see those dudes running around a track for a living. I wouldn't want to run against them. I wouldn't want to embarrass myself." --Willie Wilson
David expands on his five-division realignment plan.
column on rearranging the majors into five six-team divisions elicited many
favorable comments and a number of questions and suggestions. The main
questions concerned how to arrange the divisions and how to schedule the season. This article addresses those issues.
There has never been a season when Barry Bonds was obviously the league's best player that he did not win the MVP award. Were he to lose the award this season (he is currently leading in VORP by 17 runs over Albert Pujols) it would be his first real injustice. If Bonds has not been mistreated by MVP voters though, several stars of the past have been. Although it has been 80 years since anyone has hit like Bonds has the past few years, there have been occasions when a player has dominated his league for several years and been ill-served by the voters. The rest of this article briefly discusses a few of the more famous cases. Ted Williams' problem was that he played in a time when it was difficult to win the award without winning the pennant, and his team finished second every year. From 1941 through 1954, Williams led the league in VORP every season that he wasn't either in the military (five years) or hurt (1950). He won two awards: 1946, when the Red Sox finished first, and 1949, when they finished one game behind. Let's run through a few of the more interesting losses:
Leaving aside the 2003 race, which is, after all, still ongoing--and which Bonds might very well win--let's turn our attention to how Barry has been mistreated in the past. To begin with, we have to deal with the fact that Bonds has won the award five times, two more than any other player in history. This is not necessarily a contradiction, of course--if Bonds is the best player in the league every year, then the writers have a responsibility to give him the award every year. Given this, how many MVP awards should Bonds have won?
As you have no doubt gathered, I make no distinction between the "best" player and the "most valuable" player. What could be more valuable than "greatness," after all? The distinction is often used as a crutch; rather than trying to make the case that a candidate is really the best player, one can instead try to cloud the issue with grammatical semantics. We won't do that here.
It wasn't that long ago, really. In 1992, 30 homers would have placed a
hitter fourth in the National League. These days, a player could hit 30
home runs and never show up on the typical fan's radar. We're in the middle
of the biggest home run jump in baseball history. (Big news, to you all,
I'm sure. Tomorrow's feature: the Pope wears a skullcap!)
If the sportswriters of the future aren't careful, then hitters of the '90s
are going to be seriously overrepresented in the Hall of Fame, the same way
that hitters of the '20s and '30s are today. People looked at the gaudy
batting averages of the era (Freddy Lindstrom hit .379 in 1930! Ooooooh!)
and instinctively viewed then through the prism of their own era (a .379
average in 1976, when the Vets' committee inducted Lindstrom, would have
been 40 points higher than any major leaguer actually hit that year).