FanGraphs Baseball

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  1. LOLORADO

    Comment by Viliphied — August 1, 2011 @ 4:05 pm

  2. Pedroia’s charge up the WAR leaderboard is even more impressive given the context of him hitting like .240 at the end of May, with a .685 OPS and .320 wOBA. In two months he’s raised his average to .309, his OPS to almost .900, and his wOBA to .399…

    Comment by Kyle — August 1, 2011 @ 4:19 pm

  3. I shudder to imagine what his numbers would be like right now if he wasn’t being overly cautious with his knee early on. The guy has been an absolute monster.

    The biggest contributer to the Sox, though, is the fact that 3 of the top 10 (And 2 of the top 3) positional players by WAR in the MLB are in their lineup.

    Comment by Jonathan — August 1, 2011 @ 4:30 pm

  4. Detroit getting Fister reminds me so much of when Detroit got Washburn. The numbers make it seem like they did well to acquire him, but I can’t help but feel the outcome will be similar.

    Comment by Pelly — August 1, 2011 @ 4:36 pm

  5. The Giants position here is laughable and renders this list usless.

    Comment by DownwiththeDH — August 1, 2011 @ 4:37 pm

  6. You do realize that when you have the Colorado Rockies ahead of the Braves and Giants it gives ZERO credibility to this list right?

    Advanced stats advanced shmats, that’s an F’ing joke…

    Comment by DonCoburleone — August 1, 2011 @ 4:38 pm

  7. … less useful than than an ‘e’ in ‘useless’.

    Comment by DownwiththeDH — August 1, 2011 @ 4:39 pm

  8. .391/.471/.677/1.148 since June 5th (227 PA’s).

    Comment by Yirmiyahu — August 1, 2011 @ 4:39 pm

  9. Agreed. Colorado and AZ above Atlanta and SF? Really?

    Comment by Neuter Your Dogma — August 1, 2011 @ 4:41 pm

  10. But more useful than Ulysses

    Comment by Neuter Your Dogma — August 1, 2011 @ 4:45 pm

  11. I don’t get how SF’s tWAR lost .20 pts in a matter of one week, after picking up Beltran and his 3.7 WAR. He is that 3.7 WAR player, now playing for SF, right? It should come with him.

    Crazy

    Comment by Sultan of Schwwingg — August 1, 2011 @ 4:47 pm

  12. If you want to believe that Pedroia’s defense makes up for almost 200 points of slugging be my guest. But considering the wild fluctuations of UZR you would be kidding yourself. Once again Fangraphs proves that it is the most absurd, theoretical of all baseball websites. Stick to Baseball Reference WAR, people.

    Comment by Horace — August 1, 2011 @ 4:47 pm

  13. You do realize you’re the 20th person to post this and not understand what the list is about or how it is constructed right? Gives you ZERO credibility.

    Comment by Tom B — August 1, 2011 @ 4:50 pm

  14. Carlos Beltran’s previous contributions don’t transfer when he transfers teams. Those stats will still be reflected with the Mets. Only Beltran’s contributions as a Giant will be reflected in the Giants’ total. Also, the Giants got waxed this weekend.

    Comment by Paul Swydan — August 1, 2011 @ 4:50 pm

  15. Well, the advanced stats have Colorado at #13. Their rank is inflated by the FAN%, and of course we should always remember to never listen to the fans.

    Comment by buddy — August 1, 2011 @ 4:51 pm

  16. Look, I realize that it only took you 17 seconds to type that comment. But it would have taken the same 17 seconds to click the link under the intro that explains the Rankings’ methodology. Just sayin’.

    Comment by Paul Swydan — August 1, 2011 @ 4:52 pm

  17. I don’t get this. “Considering the wild fluctuations of UZR” — Pedroia is an elite defender by any way of measuring it, and by looking at it on a seasonal basis or a career basis. This year isn’t some fluke with Pedroia’s UZR – every defensive rating system has him as the best defensive 2B in baseball.

    And, fwiw, total runs at billjames has Pedroia ahead of Bautista at this point (along with Ellsbury).

    The whole argument is kind of pointless though, Pedroia has 6 war on b-ref, 6.6 on fg, either way he’s been the 2nd best player in the AL this year and the gap between he and Bautista exists but isn’t enormous.

    Comment by Seels — August 1, 2011 @ 4:58 pm

  18. Ibanez had a .376 wOBA in July, so he is not stringing together crappy games lately. Unfortunately, he has gone month-off/month-on through the first four months of the season. Shouldn’t Fangraphs look suspiciously at a negative WAR that is the result of a huge fluctuation in partial-season UZR? I think we ought to think in terms of regressed UZR when making single-season evaluations. Using rUZR, Ibanez’s 2011 is still crummy so far, but it’s not the abomination WAR is making it out to be.

    Comment by Phils Goodman — August 1, 2011 @ 4:59 pm

  19. Even Sean Smith, the creator of Baseball Reference’s dWAR, admits that UZR is superior to his Total Zone for seasons when the data is available. Total Zone just crunches some retrosheets and doesn’t even look at ArmRuns. There’s no reason to pick on UZR specifically — all defensive metrics are shaky enough that multiple seasons of data ought be used.

    Comment by Phils Goodman — August 1, 2011 @ 5:03 pm

  20. The credibility of UZR is questionable. Therefore, giving it as much weight as Fangraphs does takes away from those people such as Bautista who, you know, absolutely pound the ball. Start here:

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=11476#commentMessage.

    Comment by Horace — August 1, 2011 @ 5:06 pm

  21. Ok, question UZR. Total zone and +/- both have Pedroia as an elite defender in baseball.

    Comment by Seels — August 1, 2011 @ 5:14 pm

  22. UZR is “questionable,” but it is better than TZ. Even the guy who invented TZ says so ( http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/measuring-defense-for-players-back-to-1956/ )

    Comment by Phils Goodman — August 1, 2011 @ 5:15 pm

  23. I just think it’s hilarious that the pre-season fan rankings still count for almost a third of the total ranking.

    Comment by Viliphied — August 1, 2011 @ 5:16 pm

  24. @Paul that may be the way it is, but it’s a little asinine, don’t you think? If these rankings are meant to measure ONLY performance so far this season, then fan% should be 0 from week 1. If they’re meant to predict future performance, then the contributions of a player acquired through trade should come with him. Subtract out the contributions of whoever that player is replacing if you must, but the fact of the matter is Beltran will spend the rest of the year playing RF in SF, Pence will spend the rest of the year in PHI, and Jiminez won’t be pitching for COL in another game this year.

    I can understand why you wouldn’t necessarily want to just go adding and subtracting WAR willy nilly, but unless you want the rankings to be a straight WAR leaderboard, you need to have some subjective element, and pre-season rankings are not nearly good enough.

    Comment by Viliphied — August 1, 2011 @ 5:22 pm

  25. And you can’t change the methodology mid season because…?

    Usually when we realize something is broken, we take steps to fix it.

    Comment by Viliphied — August 1, 2011 @ 5:23 pm

  26. “The credibility of UZR is questionable.”

    In small samples, when other metrics give contrary indications, yes.

    With Pedroia, there is an enormous sample and every metric available confirms its findings.

    Comment by Welp — August 1, 2011 @ 5:24 pm

  27. I think the main point is that we place too much confidence in the defensive metrics in general. None of them are nearly advanced enough that we should be trying to get anything more than a general idea of how good a defender is out of them.

    Comment by Viliphied — August 1, 2011 @ 5:26 pm

  28. I think it’s hilarious how bad you are at math.

    Comment by Tom B — August 1, 2011 @ 5:30 pm

  29. It’s not broken, you’re just trying to make the list something it’s not.

    Usually when you realize you’re doing something wrong…

    Comment by Tom B — August 1, 2011 @ 5:31 pm

  30. It’s not just a little defense, here. We’re talking about outstanding defense at a premium position versus average defense at a slugging position. This is confirmed by most defensive metrics as well as scouting.

    Comment by Ari Collins — August 1, 2011 @ 5:33 pm

  31. … and trying to take anything more than a general idea from them is user (reader) error.

    Comment by Tom B — August 1, 2011 @ 5:33 pm

  32. Hey, advanced stats be damned. My 26th ranked Indians are still just 1 game in the loss column out of first and looking forward to seeing what Ubaldo can do in the AL Central. Stats are cool, but pennant races are cooler!

    The #10 Rockies are probably jealous.

    Comment by RéRé — August 1, 2011 @ 5:33 pm

  33. People are going to be shocked when Arizona makes the playoffs. I don’t understand why the common thinking is that ATL and SF have it locked up, it’s not even close. Arizona is probably more complete than either of those 2 teams and has a very favorable schedule.

    Just imagine next year with Parker and Bauer in the rotation.

    Comment by Jason — August 1, 2011 @ 5:34 pm

  34. How do you expect anyone to take this list seriously?
    It is the biggest joke of a series this site has ever published.
    So arizona and colorado are both ahead of the braves and giants? Really?
    How can you possibly rationalize that?
    Because that notion is completely and utterly false

    Comment by cs3 — August 1, 2011 @ 5:35 pm

  35. @Viliphied Your point is well taken, and will be taken into consideration when we look to make changes.

    Two counters – 1) I don’t think we can guarantee future performance for traded players, so I’m not sure I’m comfortable adjusting a team’s WAR like that. 2) I’m not convinced that using FAN% as a subjective measure “breaks” the Rankings. Yes, Colorado has underperformed, but they are 13th in WAR% – that’s really not all that far off from 10th. And as an aside, that’s why we break out the two percentages, for those who would like to just go by in-season #’s. I think there could very well be changes made next season, but we are taking a more cautious approach in exacting change during this first year because we’d like to have a more complete body of work to examine before we head back to the lab. Thanks much for the comment(s).

    Comment by Paul Swydan — August 1, 2011 @ 5:35 pm

  36. @Tom B Are you talking to me? Because, well, they do. Do the math yourself if you want.

    Comment by Viliphied — August 1, 2011 @ 5:37 pm

  37. @Paul I largely agree with your first point. My original thought was to use ZIPS or something to gauge the addition, but that would still be really tough, and honestly, you want the WAR% to be the objective part of your power rankings, like actual record in most other ranking systems.

    Re: your 2nd point, I think “breaking” may be a little bit too far, but expectations for a team fluctuate wildly through the course of a season, especially since for most teams, the team taking the field today/tomorrow is wildly different than the team that took the field on opening day, often in ways no fan could have predicted (Jiminez, I’m looking at you). Using Fan%, unless it was continually updated throughout the season, completely fails to account for the changing makeup of a team.

    Colorado’s Fan% was made under the assumption that Jiminez would be an ace with the team all year. SF’s was made thinking Posey would be playing all season, and Huff would be closer to his career performance than his 2009. The Braves thought they’d have McCann all year, the Yankees fans thought Colon would pitch like… well, Bartolo Colon, etc, etc, etc.

    Comment by Viliphied — August 1, 2011 @ 5:43 pm

  38. Ok Tom, what’s the list supposed to be?

    Comment by Viliphied — August 1, 2011 @ 5:44 pm

  39. Tom, fWAR uses UZR as far more than a general idea. Were you honestly not aware of this? Or were you just trying to be snarky

    Comment by Viliphied — August 1, 2011 @ 5:45 pm

  40. @Viliphied That’s not a bad suggestion. Maybe we should crowdsource The Fan Standings each month of the year. Something to talk about anyway…

    Comment by Paul Swydan — August 1, 2011 @ 5:47 pm

  41. More complete in what way, exactly?

    Comment by Brian — August 1, 2011 @ 7:19 pm

  42. Senor Bautista no es macho,
    Es solamente un borracho…

    Comment by Bigmouth — August 1, 2011 @ 7:22 pm

  43. Wait, What?!! The trade deadline passed? Man, I woulda gone hard for Alfonso Soriano and El Caballo.

    Comment by Tony Reagins — August 1, 2011 @ 7:25 pm

  44. The problem is that when someone says that Yuniesky Betancourt is the best hitter on the Brewers I don’t need to understand their methodology, I just know they’re wrong.. See how that works??

    Comment by DonCoburleone — August 1, 2011 @ 7:39 pm

  45. LOL jarrod washburn

    Comment by jim — August 1, 2011 @ 7:40 pm

  46. did you forget that the giants got beltran, the braves got bourn, and the diamondbacks lost drew within the space of like two weeks?

    Comment by jim — August 1, 2011 @ 7:43 pm

  47. “Also, the Giants got waxed this weekend.” Good ESPN rationale.

    Comment by Neuter Your Dogma — August 1, 2011 @ 7:43 pm

  48. The clamour of insult throwers at this site have awakened me from slumber to join them and so I say, Paul Swydan: you are botched and ridiculous, few other animals are so stupid or cowardly. The commonest yellow dog has far sharper senses and is infinitely more courageous, not to say more honest and dependable. The ants and bees are, in many ways, far more intelligent and ingenious. The lion is more beautiful, more dignified, more majestic; the antelope is swifter and more graceful. The ordinary house cat is cleaner. The horse, foamed by labor, has a better smell. The gorilla is kinder to children and more faithful to his wife. The ox and the ass are more industrious and serene. You are a mountebank.

    Comment by Ghost of HL Mencken — August 1, 2011 @ 7:44 pm

  49. you’re not very good at reading, are you?

    “the fact that the seven teams that occupy spots seven through 13 in the Rankings are only separated by .008″

    Comment by jim — August 1, 2011 @ 7:45 pm

  50. god the bitching about these is so freaking old. people, if you don’t like it, YOU DON’T HAVE TO READ IT!!

    Comment by jim — August 1, 2011 @ 7:46 pm

  51. “I don’t think we can guarantee future performance for traded players, so I’m not sure I’m comfortable adjusting a team’s WAR like that”

    1) We can’t guarantee future performance for any player. 2) Beltran will definitely be more than the .02 WAR he replaced (Ross). 3) That difference in WAR really should be reflected in your tWAR. It’s SF’s now, no question. To believe otherwise is to believe that Houston would remain the same, sad team once somehow acquiring Doc, Lee, Felix and CC.

    You see how ridiculous that is?

    Comment by Sultan of Schwwingg — August 1, 2011 @ 8:03 pm

  52. While that is true, Welp, there isn’t any history supporting Pedroia’s 20.5 UZR/150 this year. 2/3 of a season does not support Pedroia’s defense being twice as good as it’s been in the past.

    Comment by Sultan of Schwwingg — August 1, 2011 @ 8:23 pm

  53. I really like the IDEA of these rankings, as do most of the people “bitching” about them. We just see ways to make them better, and would like to share those ideas

    Comment by Viliphied — August 1, 2011 @ 8:32 pm

  54. This is a complicated suggestion, but I think it has some merit. How about, instead of using crowd sourced WIN%s, crowd source playing time and use a projection system (like ZiPS) to fill in performances, creating a projected team WAR. this could be more easily updated to include personnel changes and injuries, while still being an “anchor” for a wildly over or underperforming team. It might be complicated to set up, but I think it would be more accurate.

    Comment by williams .482 — August 1, 2011 @ 8:46 pm

  55. No, the methodology is not perfect. on the other hand, tearing the entire thing down because a couple of things “look wrong” is rather far fetched. as for the “Betencourt is the best hitter on the Brewers” example, Yes, I would like to know how they reached that conclusion. Totally irrelevant to the discussion, but it would be pure comedy.

    Comment by williams .482 — August 1, 2011 @ 8:51 pm

  56. That insult was so creative that I just changed my team name in the FG Staff League to “The Mountebank’s.” Well played, @Ghost.

    Comment by Paul Swydan — August 1, 2011 @ 8:52 pm

  57. Guys, BR’s WAR weights defense on a run-by-run basis, just like Fangraphs’ does.

    I don’t know of any WAR calculation that actually downgrades defense — that would run counter to the point of WAR. I don’t know of any WAR calculation that tries to temper the wild fluctuations in defensive metrics either; it might be worth a shot creating one.

    Comment by Al Dimond — August 1, 2011 @ 8:59 pm

  58. I guess we’ll see if the rankings knew anything at the end of the year when the Indians and Pirates do or don’t make the playoffs.

    Also, teams have made the playoffs before with negative run differentials so just making the playoffs doesn’t necessarily make you a power.

    Comment by J Hey — August 1, 2011 @ 9:15 pm

  59. Just looked it up and Pit is 15th and Cle is 20th in Pythag Win% so FG’s rankings don’t look as crazy when you see that.

    Pythag says Pit should be 52-54 and Cle should be 51-54.

    Comment by J Hey — August 1, 2011 @ 9:25 pm

  60. So the consensus says this list is a useless exercise. I agree.

    Comment by Scout Finch — August 1, 2011 @ 9:34 pm

  61. Exactly. If the reader is not interested in looking at an atypical perspective such as this one, I’m not sure why they would continue to complain here every week instead of simply going to one of the hundreds of sites with rankings designed to capture a snapshot of the most successful teams at a given moment.

    Comment by Dave — August 1, 2011 @ 10:18 pm

  62. “They’re certainly entitled to think that, and they’re entitled to full respect for their opinions… but before I can live with other folks I’ve got to live with myself. The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.”-Atticus Finch.

    Truly ironic that you said that while having your username as a To Kill a Mockingbird character.

    Comment by Uncle Leo — August 1, 2011 @ 10:31 pm

  63. you’re not very good at critical thinking, are you?

    if you were were, you would realize that a system that lumps together teams like the Rockies and DBacks with teams such as the Giants and Braves, is extremely flawed.

    If the results show that all these teams are of almost exactly the same strength, then whatever characteristic it is that is being measured, is absolutely meaningless.

    That or the system is flawed, as myself and many, many others have pointed out.

    Comment by cs3 — August 1, 2011 @ 10:43 pm

  64. Also the methodology itselof is completely contradictory to the mission statement of these rankings:
    ================================
    “In an effort to make this quantitative (that’s what we do around here, after all), we’re combining objective measures of 2011 performance with some subjective wisdom from our FanGraphs crowd.
    ==================================

    wait so this is quantitative because ‘thats what we do around here’?
    yet the end of that sentence says:
    =========================
    “…subjective wisdom from our FanGraphs crowd.”
    =========================

    and then just a couple sentences later, we are told one of the 3 measure used is:
    ================================
    “the preseason Fan’s Standings determined from readership input ( which we’ll call FAN% for short);
    ================================

    so basically its not a quantitative analysis at all.
    so i feel like either the calculations should be done differently or the intro to this series should be re-written to reflect the true nature of these rankings.

    another thing that seems completely counter-intuitive from a site such as fangraphs that stresses the very limited reliability of small sample size is that the author stated the main reason the Giants took such a drastic drop is:
    ============================
    “after the dust settled from the sweep, the Reds had vaulted six spots and the Giants had dropped six, the two nearly exchanging spots in the Rankings.
    =============================

    a 3 game series in the middle of a 162 game schedule is the epitome of a small sample. the fact that one of the Giants starting pitchers that the Reds shelled (Zito) will not even be a part of the rotation going forward, makes the analysis even more ridiculous.
    I mean are trying to determine whosgoing to be the best, or just what has already happened?
    Because I can look at the box scores and standings anytime i want for the latter.

    Comment by cs3 — August 1, 2011 @ 11:01 pm

  65. im digging the brian regan reference

    Comment by jts5 — August 1, 2011 @ 11:25 pm

  66. pythag also has the Giants at 54-54 and the D’Backs at 57-51. I don’t understand all the outrage that is coming from those teams being close in the rankings, unless it’s the same butthurt Giants fans that bitched to no end about Bumgarner being left off the top 50 trade value list

    Comment by Alan — August 2, 2011 @ 12:14 am

  67. LINDA RONSTADT

    Comment by Dave — August 2, 2011 @ 12:43 am

  68. Wow, haven’t seen that type of ownage on fangraphs in quite some time. Watch what you say next time, Scout.

    Comment by Boo Radley — August 2, 2011 @ 1:07 am

  69. The montebank strikes again!

    Comment by mattinm — August 2, 2011 @ 3:47 am

  70. *mountebank :(

    Comment by mattinm — August 2, 2011 @ 3:48 am

  71. I just like taking comfort in knowing at 30 games over .500, my Phillies have that No. 3 ranking locked down. We may not be sexy, but dang it, we’re No. 3!

    Comment by Ric Fleur — August 2, 2011 @ 7:30 am

  72. UZR is awful. for infielders. OF’s its fine, but infielders its completely awful. DRS and rPM, TZL, are all much better for Infielders. Pedroia is still elite with those too.

    Comment by ddriver80 — August 2, 2011 @ 8:31 am

  73. replace UZR with DRS and Jose Bautista’s WAR jumps what… 5 tenths?

    Use a real measure of defense instead of UZR which is just awful compared to rPM/DRS

    Comment by ddriver80 — August 2, 2011 @ 8:35 am

  74. Awful division is awful.

    Comment by ddriver80 — August 2, 2011 @ 8:36 am

  75. “The credibility of UZR is questionable. Therefore, giving it as much weight as Fangraphs does takes away from those people such as Bautista who, you know, absolutely pound the ball. Start here:”

    So, it’s okay to assume to that UZR is overrating Pedroia, but why do you not think it’s overrating Bautista? Who’s to say Bautista isn’t really a -10? Or worse?

    The answer is because that’s what you want to believe. You can’t have it both ways. “I’m fine with this guy’s UZR but not this guy’s.” Sorry, doesn’t work that way. Either accept it or look at a different metric, all of which (as has been pointed out) say that Pedroia is one of if not the best defensive second baseman in the game, and he has been his entire career.

    And by the way, ignore his UZR and Pedroia is still in the top 5 in MLB in WAR. This whole discussion is a red herring to begin with.

    Comment by Bill — August 2, 2011 @ 9:01 am

  76. Thanks for linking to Colin Wyers by the way. He would be less of a joke if he didn’t end his pointless rant with “Here, look at BP’s box-score reading metric instead!”

    Comment by Bill — August 2, 2011 @ 9:06 am

  77. While playing elite defense.

    Comment by RC — August 2, 2011 @ 9:15 am

  78. With an offense, they could be #2.

    Comment by Tom B — August 2, 2011 @ 10:10 am

  79. Ok, They have played 107 games… which is roughly 2/3 of the season… so the season WAR gets 2/3… the FAN % gets… how much?

    Comment by Tom B — August 2, 2011 @ 10:17 am

  80. Do you know what Cousin Jeffrey’s favorite animal is? The leopard! He likes the spots…

    Comment by Leo's Trivia Time! — August 2, 2011 @ 11:09 am

  81. a comment by a seinfeld character that isn’t pointless? wow, well done uncle leo!

    p.s. thanks for those tickets to the concert in the park

    Comment by jim — August 2, 2011 @ 4:10 pm

  82. And stealing 21 bases in 24 attempts.

    Comment by Kyle — August 2, 2011 @ 4:16 pm

  83. I completely understand how it’s formulated. That doesn’t make it worth my time when it’s result is so crude.

    Comment by DownwiththeDH — August 2, 2011 @ 5:16 pm

  84. I can’t believe you’re still using UZR. Just put it on hold and wait for FIELDf/x.

    Comment by DownwiththeDH — August 2, 2011 @ 5:20 pm

  85. I can’t believe I just read this here

    Comment by DownwiththeDH — August 2, 2011 @ 5:22 pm

  86. Bill, the point of the article Wyers wrote was to wake people up to the fact that we do not have a truly accurate way to measure defense yet. Pedroia may well be an elite defender this year, but like others have said, is he really playing defense twice as well as he ever has in the past? If it were up to me I would weigh defense half as much as fangraphs does, or simply go with wRAA and some positional adjustments. Offense is still more important than defense. Fangraphs seems a bit infatuated with defense at the moment but many of us still think and question defensive metrics.

    Comment by Horace — August 3, 2011 @ 6:48 pm

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