This is an important thread. What I hope to accomplish is to familiarize all of you baseball fans with more meaningful statistics than the ones you constantly hear about on TV. I know some of you already know some of this stuff, but I want all of you to be using these formulas and statistics and I want to learn some things myself.
First off, let me say which stats are either very unimportant or absolutely meaningless.
- Batting average. I'm sure a lot of you have read a post where I completely discredited all importance to a hitter's AVG. I take it back. As far as using it to justify a player's worth is meaningless. But when you have a guy up with 2 outs and a runner at second, it's nice to know the odds of him knocking the guy in.
Why I HATE hearing about BA? Because it doesn't take into account the player's power or how often a player is getting on base via a base on balls. Simply saying "yeah, he'll be good for us because he's hitting .300" is something you don't want me to catch you saying. A lot of players (i.e. Ichiro, Jeter, Luis Castillo) will constantly hit over .300 in a year, and all those hits are just singles. Whereas you have a player like Adam Dunn and Pat Burrell who generally hit around .250 and put up insane power numbers and draw an insane amount of walks. Thus making them more effective in a lineup.
- Home runs. It's simple, more at-bats you have, more chances you have at hitting home runs. It's a counting stat that doesn't average anything out. Now, if two players have roughly the same amount of at-bats, and one of the players heavily out-weighs the other in home run totals, then it's reasonable. But if you're an argument over who is better, Pujols or A-Rod, and you say "A-Rod has more home runs right now", you're pretty much digging yourself a hole.
- RBI. This one undoubtedly annoys me the most. In no case should you ever discuss RBI. RBI doesn't take into account anything. It doesn't take into account how often you are hitting with a person in scoring position; it doesn't take into account where you are hitting in the lineup; hell, it doesn't take into account how offensively talented your team is. As much as you want to say baseball is a team sport, statistically speaking it is not. You have no control whether or not you are up at the plate with runners on. Josh Hamilton has 108 RBI? Great. See how many he would have if he were batting third in Oakland. He probably wouldn't have cracked 50 yet.
- W/L. Yet another heavily-based team statistic. I'm sure most of you know by now how bad of a stat this is. I think most commentators are disregarding it now as well.
Now for the fun part. Let's talk Sabermetrics. Sabermetrics were created by Bill James who defines Sabermetrics as "The attempt to answer objective questions about baseball, such as 'which player on the Red Sox contributed the most to the team's offense?" Billy Beane, the GM of the A's, is widely known for using Sabermetrics to manage his decisions. As well as the GM of the Red Sox, Theo Epstein.
A few Sabermetrics that I like to use:
- OPS. It takes a player's OBP (which is the average of the combination of hits and walks a player has) and adds that to SLG (which is the total number of bases per at-bat for a player), thus making it an all-around excellent tool to justify a player's hitting skills. It's a statistic that takes hitting, walking, and power and averages it out. I really hope all of you can become more astute about OPS and use it on an every-day basis.
- OPS+. This is OPS with ballpark factors adjusted into it.
- Runs created. A more difficult one to understand and calculate. It's (Hits+Walks multiplied by total bases) divided by the sum of at-bats and walks. There are also more ways of doing runs created that use other baseball measurements factored in. It's virtually a replacement stat for RBI. It determines how many runs have resulted from what a player has done with his bat and on the basepaths.
Other stats like Win Shares and VORP are other predominant Sabermetrics. I can't sit here and talk about those as if I knew anything about them. I just know they are of high regard when spoken of. Maybe someone like Driven could break them down for us.
I feel like I just wrote another long *** post like the OPS one and nobody is going to read it. Please, ask questions on why I feel whichever stats are important/unimportant. I think if we are all using these stats it will look good for the guests. The ones that don't know what they are and see us using them will want to find out, and the people who already use them will be impressed as they aren't very common and usually lead to a more intellectual argument or conversation.
Don't just agree with me. Discuss this stuff guys.
Ask questions, take interest