FanGraphs Baseball


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  1. are you drunk?

    Comment by Dan — September 1, 2010 @ 8:08 pm

  2. This article has no basis behind it. Where is the research?

    “I do not know the standard deviation for the average player on a year-to-year basis in those statistics, but my perception is that McCann is probably more consistent than a decent number of individuals.”

    Too lazy to do some math so you’re making a claim based on your perception? He is PROBABLY more consistent than a DECENT number of individuals? What kind of conclusion is this? So he may or may not be more consistent than some unknown number of players? This is poor.

    I don’t often criticize the writing here, and I have never done it in the comments because on the whole you guys do tremendous work. But a little research here would have been nice…and maybe a quick proofread before posting. This is not FanGraphs-quality work.

    Comment by spyder962 — September 1, 2010 @ 8:19 pm

  3. The walk rate has an 18% rSD just from 2006 to 2009, and now it’s shot up to double the 2007 number. Also, his K% the last three years has gone 12.6 %, 17.0%, 20.1%, with a contact rate six percentage points lower. The latter probably has to do with seeing dramatically fewer pitches in the zone this year, down eight percentage points. Over the last four years, he’s gotten more selective with pitches in the zone (Z-swing down 5 percentage points) and more willing to chase outside (O-swing up 4 percentage points). None of this is to say that he isn’t an awesome talent, because he is. But it kind of shows that cherry-picking three stats doesn’t show much about his consistency, globally speaking.

    However, I agree with most of the article, and McCann is definitely a player worthy of more coverage than he’s gotten. Good on you for that.

    Comment by Ixcila — September 1, 2010 @ 8:22 pm

  4. See? Research. It’s a beautiful thing. Thank you Ixcila.

    Comment by spyder962 — September 1, 2010 @ 8:25 pm

  5. Maybe Hall of Fame good?

    Comment by o971 — September 1, 2010 @ 8:26 pm

  6. are you?

    Comment by kbertling353 — September 1, 2010 @ 8:54 pm

  7. …and he was dealing with vision issues in 2009 and 2010

    Comment by Neil — September 1, 2010 @ 8:59 pm

  8. All that essentially matters in baseball are your results. It doesn’t always matter how you get there. Who cares if McCann is swinging at more or less pitches in or out of the zone if he is getting more or less the same results.

    Maybe that shows that he has been getting lucky or luckier as of late, but the consistency of the results to this point is pretty impressive. Not quite Ichiro, Dunn, Neifi Perez level consistency; but consistent nonetheless.

    Comment by grandbranyan — September 1, 2010 @ 8:59 pm

  9. He’s on the track.

    Comment by Temo — September 1, 2010 @ 9:19 pm

  10. Good comeback, Potsie.

    Comment by Peter Griffin — September 1, 2010 @ 9:36 pm

  11. He is a very consistent hitter for catcher. From a defensive standpoint he is distinctly average at the things catchers are graded on, though his release is a little slow in throwing out runners. I doubt he ever puts up a monster year on offense, he looks to have gotten everything already out of his natural ability. But the current level of play, for enough seasons, is very valuable at a position that has such a lack of hitting. Unless he plays for a long, long time and stays healthy, I would consider him the definition of Hall Of The Very Good. One or two breakout years would really help his candidacy down the line.

    Comment by Phantom Stranger — September 1, 2010 @ 9:42 pm

  12. Get off your high horse. Every article is not supposed to delve into upper level equations and a variety of breaking edge statistics. The point was to recognize a great player who does not get much press, nothing more.

    Comment by John — September 1, 2010 @ 9:48 pm

  13. Important to note that what is sometimes seen as consistency or inconsistency is often just noise. I’ll simulate five 650 PA seasons of a precisely .260/.329/.419/.330 wOBA hitter with a random number generator:

    Year 1: .239/.315/.388 .313 wOBA
    Year 2: .271/.322/.455 .337 wOBA
    Year 3: .286/.358/.409 .342 wOBA
    Year 4: .276/.345/.452 .348 wOBA
    Year 5: .276/.346/.431 .343 wOBA

    BB/PA ranged from 8.4% and 9.8% in four out of the five seasons but bottomed out at 5.7% in year two, K/PA ranged from 15.2% to 19.2%, and ISO ranged from .123 to .184. Somewhat inconsistent components but it was literally the exact same guy every time. I’ll simulate five more because the wOBAs came out too consistent in the last four years:

    Year 6: .236/.323/.359 .309 wOBA
    Year 7: .264/.331/.403 .326 wOBA
    Year 8: .234/.318/.382 .313 wOBA
    Year 9: .289/.352/.470 .357 wOBA
    Year 10: .267/.334/.404 .328 wOBA

    Okay, that’s more like it.

    Comment by Ray — September 1, 2010 @ 10:20 pm

  14. My horse is a lowrider. Looks kind of like a doxon.

    In comparison to his article yesterday about Gallardo, this is just poorly written. That was a well-written article based on some statistical analysis. You don’t want to take the time to find the SD, fine. But don’t make some half-ass claims based on perceptions and nothing more. Not to mention poor grammar and general poor syntax. That’s my biggest gripe. And clearly I’m not the only one when the first commenter asked if he was drunk.

    Comment by spyder962 — September 1, 2010 @ 10:21 pm

  15. +1

    Comment by Ray — September 1, 2010 @ 10:21 pm

  16. The +1 was for you, John. That’s why I’ve never said +1 before…

    Could some administrator actually be kind enough to delete both of my responses? :-)

    Comment by Ray — September 1, 2010 @ 10:24 pm

  17. Disagree. If he’s the NL’s starting C for the All-Star game for a good long while, he’ll be a HOFer. Or if the Braves manage to win a WS with him, he should be in. Unless he sees a precipitous decline, that is.

    Comment by NYS — September 1, 2010 @ 11:21 pm

  18. This year will be his third 5+ WAR season and fourth 4+ WAR season and he’s only 26 years old. He’s certainly on a HOF career arc right now. The only thing that might hurt him is that Mauer, Posey, Santana and Wieters willl all be playing at the same time. How ridiculous is it that those 5 are all within 5 years of each other (Mauer’s 27, McCann 26, Santana and Wieters 24, Posey 23)?

    Comment by Nitram Odarp — September 1, 2010 @ 11:27 pm

  19. I was trying to figure what he’d need to do over the last month to be a serious MVP candidate. He’s been hitting really well since the end of June, with a wOBA over .400 since then. Right now, he’s at 6th in WAR in the NL, but he’s 1.4 shy of the leaders. It would probably take a veritable collapse of the top three candidates for McCann to even get into the conversation. Still, as a catcher, it’s conceivable to rack up a huge WAR in a reasonably short time. I could see him topping 6 WAR if he has another month like July, where he’s pushing a .420 wOBA.

    Comment by Bronnt — September 1, 2010 @ 11:33 pm

  20. I am not sure what time of day that this article was written, but while McCann did slightly lead Heyward in wOBA coming into tonight’s game by a small margin (.380 to .378), given Heyward’s 4-4 2 2B night and McCann’s 0-2, I doubt McCann held the lead for long during the evening tonight.

    That being said, given that McCann is a catcher, his contributions are phenomenal. I am not sure he is that underrated, however, as he is a perennial All-Star and more or less acknowledged as the best catcher in the National League, even if the fans don’t vote him in the AS Game.

    Comment by Adam — September 2, 2010 @ 12:26 am

  21. We have different points of view on the question of results vs. process, and that’s a matter of personal taste, so I won’t dispute it, other than to say that I care about his Zone%, O-Swing, and Z-Swing because they tell me an interesting story that I can get, even though I don’t watch a lot of Braves games.

    They say to me that pitchers have shifted tactics when approaching McCann this year, pitching around him more, and that he’s shifted back, taking the walk when he can get it while simultaneously expanding his zone. I think it takes a tremendous talent to tune the balance of that shift as well as McCann has. It also makes me wonder why this change happens now, with a well-established hitter in his prime. Does it have to do with Chipper’s injury and the construction of the Braves’ lineup? Those are questions and stories that I think are a lot more interesting than picking out a few stats that have stayed the same and holding them up as evidence of qualitative consistency.

    Comment by Ixcila — September 2, 2010 @ 12:29 am

  22. Hey hey take it easy putting Santana, Wieters and Posey right in the same class as Mauer and McCann. Slow down, let them do it for 4 or 5 years like M & M then start putting them in the same discussion…

    Comment by DonCoburleone — September 2, 2010 @ 12:37 am

  23. “All that essentially matters in baseball are your results. It doesn’t always matter how you get there”

    this is an anti-sabermetric viewpoint if there ever was one.

    Comment by pele — September 2, 2010 @ 2:21 am

  24. Santana, Posey and Wieters may not be the main challenge to his status as best NL catcher. If he was only played more, this guy is very good too.

    That said, he’s a year older and hasn’t a great body type so he’s unlikely to surpass McCann. Which also must be the reason he hits 7th or 8th most days for the Cubs… Yeah.

    Comment by Daniel — September 2, 2010 @ 2:45 am

  25. @pele…I am actually very pro SABR, but some players have great results swinging at everything and some have terrible results swinging at nothing. Not everything can be quantified and in baseball especially every effect does not NECESSARILY have a cause. Random variation, luck, etc. If UZR needs three years to stabilize and you put up +15, -5, -10 your results were great in year one and years two and three sucked. It may help prognosticate future performance but that doesn’t mean for a few hundred fly balls in year one you didn’t track a bunch down.

    @ixcila…I agree with your overall sentiment, but McCann is more or less the same McCann he has always been. That to me seems to be the point of the article. The zone info would seem to indicate that he is being pitched differently than he has been in the past, but again the results are the essentially the same. The reason for the shift could come to down to any number of factors (keep in mind Chipper has been hurt constantly) but if he is getting similar results it just serves to reinforce his TTL.

    Comment by grandbranyan — September 2, 2010 @ 2:54 am

  26. Of course he’s underrated. He’s been the best hitting catcher in the NL for the last 5 years and he’s never started an All Star game. You just had to look at all the articles after he became NL MVP to realise that a lot of people had no idea he was that good.

    Comment by NickC — September 2, 2010 @ 8:01 am

  27. Don’t forget Miguel Montero. He’s older than Wieters/Santana/Posey, and he’s never been as good as Mauer or McCann, but if he’s healthy for all of 2011, he can easily put up numbers in the same class as those guys.

    Comment by jGreen — September 2, 2010 @ 9:21 am

  28. Those of us who have been watching that sweet swing of Mac’s for years have known how good he is, and the Braves organization knew what they had right away…that’s why they didn’t waste any time locking him up with an extension so early on in his career. Hell, if it hadn’t been for the back and forth with his laser surgery/glasses he would have even better numbers the past couple of years. Underrated and flying under the radar? Sure, but that could be said about the Braves in general, the media would always rather talk about the Yankees, Red Sox and Phillies. That said, it’s nice to see someone giving him some props.

    Comment by Slee — September 2, 2010 @ 11:36 am

  29. I love sentences (and I use that term loosely) like this one: “Not to mention poor grammar and general poor syntax.”

    Also, I looked up doxon, it wasn’t in my dictionary (you should pay attention to the red squiggly line under the words). Perhaps you meant dachshund?

    Comment by lifewontwait — September 2, 2010 @ 11:42 am

  30. Like somebody noted earlier, as a daily Braves follower, it’s extremely important to remember the vision problems Mac had to deal w/for most of the 09 season & the 1st half of 2010. The dude could barely see at all last year, dealing w/different types of contacts, glasses, eye surgeries, & after more visits to the doctor during the offseason, it apparently still took a couple of months into the 2010 season before he was able to throw all of the corrective lenses out the window & actually see the ball when it was dark outside.

    There’s always the chance that you can really just throw a year and a half of his stats out the window, as it’s hard to judge how much he matured/was going to mature, at the plate, b/c he just couldn’t see the ball the way MLB have to in order to produce at their highest level. It’s also quite possible that dealing w/all of those issues has made him a much smarter opponent at the plate now that he can see clearly again.

    Comment by RBR — September 2, 2010 @ 12:56 pm

  31. I’m not sure which he means by Doxon, but either way it’s either a ridiculous spelling of Dachshund or a ridiculous spelling of the former Nissan, a Datsun.

    Comment by Josh — September 2, 2010 @ 3:24 pm

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