FanGraphs Baseball


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  1. While I think it’s a great concept, I wonder if your decade selection is a bit arbitrary and possibly damaging. Consider a third baseman in 1979 and 1980. (Say, Ron Cey in his age 31 and 32 seasons). Regardless of his offensive prowess, his defense is likely to remain fairly consistent between the two years. However, he’s going to be affected both by players who were more prominent in the early part of the 70s (when he didn’t have much playing time) and the late 80s (likewise.) But your selection means that, from one season to the next in the prime of his career, he dropped in value? Doesn’t make sense to me.

    It seems like it’d be better to calculate the positional values by year. The game’s achanging all the time, after all. And if that has some concerns about small sample size, you could probably do three or five year roving averages.

    Comment by Jeff Petersen — January 26, 2009 @ 2:09 pm

  2. Great job!

    Comment by TangoTiger — January 26, 2009 @ 2:32 pm

  3. This is fantastic.

    Comment by Double06 — January 26, 2009 @ 3:14 pm

  4. I agree, moving averages would be the most accurate way to look at these. But even looking at decades, the changes are reasonably small and allow us to see the trends.

    At shortstop the average fielder has lost 2.5 defensive runs over the last half century, relative to the other fielders. (Of course, I have no idea if the average fielder is any better or worse, my data can’t determine that). It is well established that teams have expected more offense out of shortstop, where in the late 60’s, early 70’s a number of shortstops hit barely better than pitchers (Ray Oyler, Enzo Hernandez). Since the shortstops have gained a bit more than 2.5 runs on offense, it looks like the shift was wise. Maybe some team should have played a great infielder like Graig Nettles at short back then.

    Comment by Rally — January 26, 2009 @ 4:51 pm

  5. This is absolutely fantastic and extremely helpful. Thanks so much–I’ll apply this to the shortstop data we were discussing the other day. -j

    Comment by jinaz — January 26, 2009 @ 11:14 pm

  6. Last month at StatSpeak, I posted wOBA’s and BRAA’s for each position in each year in the RetroSheet years, using Marcel for a rolling mean.
    Using these values, you can use Marcel to calculate a player’s “True Talent Level” each year, compared to the expected values for each season with the same weights.

    Comment by Brian Cartwright — January 27, 2009 @ 3:59 am

  7. Awesome, just awesome.

    Comment by Sky — January 27, 2009 @ 1:06 pm

  8. The first thing i thought of when you were talking about OFers playing infield was Juan. That was hilarious.

    Comment by Joel — January 28, 2009 @ 2:16 am

  9. You really think you can calculate a players “True Talent Level”? I find this hard to believe no matter how you calculate it. Everything I’ve read reeks of so much hopefulness, desperation, and “weighting” (“smoothing”) when it never works out. BUT, the lemmings who fawn to the elite never cease to praise the outcome. Am I the only one who sees this?

    Comment by Greg Smith — November 17, 2013 @ 9:23 pm

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