So this might be obvious, but stemming from this article, I’m wondering if we have any metrics to determine how much value a player gives his team just by making contact with a pitch?
I know we can measure players with thing like contact rate, but it would be great if we had a way to compare that value added with value added in other areas, measured through things like OPS (or OPS+).
A good way to look at this question: at what point does a team take a guy with an absurdly high contact rate over another guy who adds value through power, defense, baserunning, etc.?
We do, it’s called wOBA. If a guy makes contact a lot and gets on base a lot then he gets credit for this. If he strikes out a lot then this negatively effects his value. The absence of a strikeout for some other result is recorded in the weighted value of that outcome.
As a general rule, I agree with you that wOBA adequately captures the value of making contact.
However, baseball is full of fun little corner cases where just making contact might have measurable extra value. Things like a man on third with less than two outs, or RISP with the pitcher on deck, I’m sure other people can think of other/better examples. Not enough to plan a roster around them, but places where one might reasonably prefer Marco Scutaro batting to Adam Dunn.
I would imagine that Marco Scutaro is an excellent situational hitter. This year he has grounded into double plays at a league average rate. Runners scored from third 66% of the time, the league average was 51%. Runners from second with no outs advanced to third 74% of the time, league average is 56%. I think what Stephen is saying is that he’d like to see a model that approximates how valuable this is.
When I think of a classic #2 hitter, another name I think of is Placido Polanco during his Detroit years. Seems similar to what Scutaro is giving San Francisco: a low strike out, low walk, contact machine.
funny thing is they got Scutaro for what most Giant fans considered a marginal or non-prospect at this point in Charlie Culberson, so the Rockies must not have had too many serious offers for Scutaro at the trading deadline. I would have thought that some other playoff-bound teams might have been interested in that type of veteran player but i guess not.
but are those things– for instance, scoring a runner from 3rd by making contact–a skill that the batter has control over or more distribution luck?
let’s assume that kind of ability skill (which is, at minimum, plausible), there is still a lot of “noise”. for instance, how much does game score matter (is a team more/less willing to try to score from 3rd on a medium sac fly at different points of the game)? how much does team defense factor into whether contact is successful (if OF arm components of UZR are correct, I’d happily run even paul konerko on josh hamilton, but probably wouldn’t take many chances against the cespedes, frenchy, etc?
could it be the stat he’s looking for is a mix of wOBA and WPA, weighted more towards WPA?
Scutero had a few very good years, 2008, 2009, so his success isn’t totally unexpected. I’m surprised, watching him every day, at how good his defense is at 36.
Comment by Hurtlockertwo — October 23, 2012 @ 9:51 am
Brian Sabean doesn’t get enough credit for what he has done as GM of the Giants. He is continuously trashed for being old school. Yet look how he remade the outfield over the winter and shored up the team during the year. Scutaro’s teammates nickname him “Blockbuster” because he meant more to the success of his team than the Dodger’s huge salary haul did for theirs. Nice jab at the Dodgers and a very apt nickname for Scutaro.
There is actually a slight negative correlation between wOBA and contact rate (-.22), that’s because there is a much stronger negative correlation between ISO and contact % (-.55), and also a small negative correlation between contact % and BB% (-.28).
High contact is can be a valuable skill set no doubt about it. But Scutaro is a case in point, he has great plate discipline and he doesn’t swing much in or out of the strike zone, but when he does he makes contact so he only walks 6%, and only strikes out 7% despite only having a 40% swing rate. Guys that make contact put the ball in play. And high contact hitters are not the type of hard swingers that hit the ball over the fences. The negative correlation between contact % and HR% is -.62.
This year, Scutaro is at 9.92 runs, whereas “Batting Runs” has him at 2.4 context-neutral runs. If ~7.5 is the difference there, that seems large, but I can’t really conveniently sort by RE24-Batting Runs, so I can’t tell.