Crawford and Gonzalez

I’m pretty whipped after four tiring days in Orlando, so today’s post isn’t going to be a complete argument as much as it is an interesting tidbit to digest. Using the ridiculously awesome new mutli-year capabilities of the leaderboards, I decided to filter my personal dashboard for position players to show the 2006-2010 years, giving us the best players in the game over the last five years. This is what it looks like (click to expand).

It’s the usual names at the top, though you might be surprised how highly Matt Holliday ranks. But, this isn’t about the Cardinals left fielder. Go down to the bottom, where I’ve cut the screenshot off after the 18th spot on the list. You might notice the last two names have something in common – they were both acquired by the Boston Red Sox this week. That’s right, over the last five years, Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford have been virtually identical in value.

They’re nine months apart in age. Gonzalez has a shoulder problem that required surgery this winter, and he also cost the team three of their better prospects to acquire in addition to all the money they’re going to owe him in a long term extension. And yet, Crawford is seen as the guy who cost too much. Interesting, no?

This all comes back to the different perceptions of skillsets. Gonzalez has been labeled a high on base slugger, while Crawford has gotten tagged with the slap-hitting speedster label. These labels do more to obfuscate the truth than anything else. Crawford’s skills produce value in a different way than Gonzalez’s skills, but they do produce value. Given Gonzalez’s shift out of Petco, and Crawford’s potential move in front of the Green Monster, I’d expect the first baseman to outproduce the left fielder over the next five years, but the prices Boston paid also reflect that expectation.

Our reactions to these deals should be similar. If you liked the Gonzalez acquisition, you should like the Crawford one too. If Crawford was too much money for the expected production, than so is the upcoming Gonzalez contract. They are more similar than they have been portrayed.




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Dave is a co-founder of USSMariner.com and contributes to the Wall Street Journal.


93 Responses to “Crawford and Gonzalez”

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  1. Mike G. says:

    Anyone who plays Roto wouldn’t be surprised by Holliday’s ranking in the least.

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    • Scout Finch says:

      Anyone who is familiar with Coors Field wouldn’t be surprised either.

      There is only one name on that list with a higher BABIP: Ischiro Suzuki, and no one on that list has a lower BB% than he.

      A fine 2010 for Holliday that was certainly redemptive for his short stay in Oakland. Let’s see what 2011 brings.

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      • Don says:

        I don’t think we need to wait for 2011: Holliday is a very good offensive player. While he wasn’t great in Oakland, particularly power-wise (.286/.378/.454 in 400 PAs), he hit .353/.419/.604 in St. Louis in the 235 PAs he got with them in 2009, which he followed up with a very strong .312/.390/.532 line in 2010. That line is almost identical to his career average, which sits at .316/.388/.543 over 4,300+ PAs. I think we know what kind of player Holliday is.

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      • jim says:

        I see 6 guys on that list that have a lower BB% than Holliday, which over the past 3 seasons has been over 10% each year. His BABIP of .331 in 2010 is probably more in line with what I would expect going forward.

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      • fredsbank says:

        i remember my first time hating a member of the rockies for playing at coors field

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      • fredsbank says:

        career .360 wOBA away, 115 wRC+… yeah he’s not the monster he was at coors, but he’s hardly a slouch

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    • greg says:

      Head-to-head is better

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    • greg says:

      There’s Chase Utley! World’s greatest defender who also got the Yips in the last two postseasons! That guy is smooth as silk. It’s no wonder he’s so high on all the untested metrics boards, I mean–advanced metrics. The advanced metrics boards.

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      • B N says:

        Untested metrics? I will admit, there are plenty of issues I can bring up about linear-weighted metrics but untested isn’t one of them. These metrics are SPECIFICALLY trained for their projection value, i.e. their ability to determine the best fit from the inputs. You literally use a train/test approach to make these weights. I fail to see how much more one could ‘test’ such metrics.

        There are plenty of things you can complain about that linear weights are a dumb “rough approximation” of things. But untested? There’s a laugh.

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  2. Mike G. says:

    I would hope that the reactions to the Crawford and Gonzalez signings have more to do with where they are headed than what they have done so far. They have two different skill sets and while they may have produced the same value over the last five years, there’s a good chance they will head down different roads in the next five.

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    • Dave Cameron says:

      We’ll just have to keep repeating this, I guess. Speed players age better than non-speed players. Here’s the most recent evidence:

      http://www.insidethebook.com/ee/index.php/site/article/does_speed_age_better/

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      • Jamie says:

        The issue comes from crawfords dubious defense statistics. we can all agree he’s good. but is he really like +15 or so better than average every year?

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      • CircleChange11 says:

        Dave, I think there is some genuine questions about players that get such a large share of their value from defense. It isn’t a question about if they are good defenders, but a question about the accuracy of defensive metrics in general … and their proportion in WAR. .

        It doesn’t seem to me that the confidence level in defensive metrics, even advanced ones, is very high at this time. Consequently players that have a big component of their WAR in defense, are going to be examined.

        The really valuable speed guys are those that also walk a lot. Crawford does not. So, his speed factors in with extra bases (including stolen bases) and defense. He’s oing to be more reliant on BABIP than others.

        Some data displayed at TT’s site for (something like) “outs per innings” for defenders showed Crawford so far ahead of any other left fielder that it has to seem like there are two of him out there. If it’s accurate, it’s donwright amazing. If it’s a little inflated, then it’s still amazing. Initially it looked like “no way that is possible”, but seeing how speed guys are generally moved to CF, it is possible that Crawford gets to that many more balls than other LF.

        The concern is the amount of value that comes from defense (whether it’s accurate, not whether Crawford is a good defender), and reliance on BABIP as low/med walk rate guy. I think his seasons will go as his BABIP does. He may have career year one year, under perform a little the next, then right back above expectations, and then possibly under again, etc.

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      • Guy says:

        It’s going to be interesting to see what the advanced defensive metrics say about Crawford if he does man left field in Fenway. Jason Bay got a bad rep because of what I assume are flawed/skewed metrics and did just fine in Citi Field. Hope that people remember to take the LF at Fenway defensive metrics with a pinch of salt.

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      • alskor says:

        Jamie – Yes. As Dave mentioned previously (I believe – last Crawford article IIRC) he is almost universally considered an elite defensive LF. He’s almost certainly that good, and the different fielding metrics all have him elite. Some studies have actually had him +150 plays better than the next best LFer! (Skeptical about that one, personally)

        Lets put it this way – is it that hard to believe he’s a +5 CF? That’s what the adjustment would be… I find that throughly believable. In fact, I think I would buy even better than that, to be honest.

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      • Schmidtxc says:

        Spedsters in general seem to age better, but two things about Crawford specifically concern me. First, I’m curious to see how his defense is affected by moving to Fenway. It could well end up being just as valuable, but I’d love to see a few years of data from a comparable type of defender in front of the monster. Personally, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if the dimensions of left field and the wall height end up causing some of his great range to go to waste.

        Secondly, I’d guess (and it’s a guess without seeing the specifics of his study) that CC would be at or near the bottom of those “speedsters” as far as BB rate. I’d be curious to see what the BB rates of the speedsters averaged out to as compared to the non-speedsters. Once again, without the specifics this is only a guess, but my gut tells me the speedsters who walked at a very good clip likely aged far better than the ones who relied on base hits to get on base.

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      • John DiFool says:

        They DO have a LFer with speed who has played 538 innings in LF for the Sox lately-Jacoby Ellsbury. UZR has him at +9.9/23.2 per 150 games, and TZ has him at +5. There are a ton of balls which fall in the left field area without reaching the Wall, and a primo fielder can make a nice living snagging a lot of them. I also think Manny hurt this team significantly out there over the years, but I’ll always be thankful for his bat in any event.

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      • Schmidtxc says:

        538 innings is waaaay too small a sample to make a judgement based off of though. 3 full seasons of data is the recommended data sample to reach a conclusion, Just doing some quick and dirty math would bring that total to about 4000 innings needed to get an accurate idea of how a speedy LF’r does in Fenway.

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      • walkoffblast says:

        While 500 innings isn’t going to give you the total picture, it can certainly give you part of the picture. While defensive metrics are far from perfect, analysts tend to undersell their relatively predictability even at much lower than advertised thresholds. The keyword being relative and I think they do this because the public tends to fixate on a certain number opposed to a confidence interval with a mean.

        One interesting thing I think people might be considering incorrectly is that the idea that you can attempt to hide a bad left-fielder in Fenway since the dimensions may mitigate some of the risk necessarily means that a plus defender will not be as plus. Essentially my proposition is that above average defense will still stand out. Why? Range isn’t all speed, in fact Ellsbury is a walking case study in that. Range is also effected by positioning among other things like reads. The poor defender and the plus defender are going to take a different approach to LF in Fenway IMO. One attempting to mitigate risk by hiding their poor skillset vs one attempting to maximize the benefits by using their superior one. The former doesn’t mean the latter cannot exist. When they were making the Ellsbury defense I believe the idea was play shallow and good lateral motion to get some benefits out of LF defense. Crawford is certainly capable of that.

        One thing I think we can see from the 500 innings is that this idea that it is impossible to put up a strong + UZR in Fenway LF is false. Possible freak occurrences, or not, involved in the smaller sample size, it shows the possibility is certainly there for Crawford to put up a +15 in 150 games.

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      • vivaelpujols says:

        This is hardly settled science, Dave.

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  3. Mitch says:

    Ryan Howard: 1 MVP, 1 second place, 1 third place, 1 top 5 and 1 top 10.
    Chase Utley: 1 top 7, 2 top 8s, 1 13th and 1 14th

    MVP #fail

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    • Ben says:

      I was struck at Utley’s numbers as well. I’m not necessarily surprised he was #2; in fact, I may have guessed it, and certainly would have assumed he was top 5. But I am surprised that he is so comfortably #2. Not sure how many people would realize that the gap between Albert Pujols and the second best player in baseball during this span is not hugely wider than the gap between Chase Utley and every other player in baseball not named Pujols. He’s really a remarkable player, and yes, sadly underappreciated by the masses.

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      • Nik says:

        By the masses, maybe. In Philly he’s a god – by far the most popular athlete we have.

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      • Steven Ellingson says:

        There’s a difference between popular and being valued correctly. People love Carl Pavano in Minnesota, but no one would have voted him in for MVP.

        I bet (and I have absolutely no evidence for this) that most Philadelphians think that Howard is better than Utley.

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      • Not David says:

        I’m with Steven. He may be beloved in Philly, but Howard is routinely viewed as the “better” player.

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      • BurleighGrimes says:

        Chase Utley = so underrated.

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  4. Guy says:

    I’m more surprised that McCann outWAR’d Gonzalez and Crawford. Impressive, I guess he’s underrated – or I just underrated him.

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    • phoenix2042 says:

      well gonzalez plays the least important defensive position while mccann plays catcher, the most important, so he gets a huge defense boost in WAR. that may not be all of it, but its still something.

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  5. Joe says:

    This really just underscores how incredibly underrated Chase Utley has been over the past 5 years. The fact that he does it while constantly playing hurt is even more impressive. He seems to get no love for his phenomenal defense (zero gold gloves and constant criticism from the media), and he easily has one of the soundest approaches I’ve seen in the game.

    I think Chase still has 4-6 solid years left in him (it all depends on health), but I wonder if he is destined to be forgotten for his contributions while guys like strikeout master David Wright continue to have praise heaped upon them.

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    • chuckb says:

      It also underscores how great Pujols has been over the past 5 years. He has nearly twice as many WAR over the last 5 years as Crawford does. I wouldn’t have guessed that.

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      • CircleChange11 says:

        Walk rate ~5% greater than K-rate for a “power” hitter (~40HR/y).

        You don’t know whether to be stunned or just laugh.

        The cardinals could pay Albert 210M/7y … and he would still likely be well underpaid for his career (using WAR/$ as the criteria).

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      • Joe says:

        Totally agree. I mean, everyone knows Pujols is one of the most talented players in the history of the game, but it really puts it in perspective when you put it in terms of him literally being twice as good as a guy universally regarded as one of the best in the game. If Pujols were on the open market now, what would he get? 8 years, $280 million?

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      • It had to be the number they called Mr. Billion.

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    • Scout Finch says:

      Stats aside, he’s a stud. The AB that I’ll always remember: Jonathan Sanchez uncorked a fastball towards Utley’s head, knocking him down. Utley, juts out his chin, steps in the box and yanks one over the right field wall at the phone booth. This was the primer for that little NLCS fiasco this year.

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  6. CircleChange11 says:

    The perception of Holliday is likely slow, white left-fielder (the DH of the NL), whose offense was inflated by Coors.

    Not the case.

    Does quite a few things productively.

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    • Joe R says:

      Larry Walker also comes to mind as a guy whose abilities were ironically underrated thanks to playing at Coors Field.

      /waits for Walker to get < 5% of the Hall vote

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      • mowill says:

        He’ll get more than that but I’d say he gets less than Edgar Martinez did last year.

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      • Alireza says:

        Larry Walker was sick. Far better than Holliday in every way.

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      • CircleChange11 says:

        The problem is that every Rockie is viewed as if they were Dante Bichette or Andres Galarrage, while both of those guys had huge home stats, there might also be other things at work there … given the era.

        Larry Walker was a very good player in many aspects. IMHO, the perception of Walker has more to do with his look than anything else. He “looks” like a chuny white guy, so perceptions will always be the he couldn;t run or defend, etc. Truth is Walker was a complete player, as is Holliday relative to his position.

        Walker missed a 50-30 season by a single HR.

        Holliday has had better seaons (in StL as well) out of Colordo than Walker did, but that is primarily due to health. As a Cardinal, Walker always seemed to battling some injury, until his neck finally did him in.

        Holliday is a beast. 6’4 235 (and Walker is just an inch shorter). Not surprisingly Holliday was recruited as a major college (OU and OSU) QB.

        Saying that Holliday is not as good as Walker is no insult to Holliday.

        The other day, in a discussion of Cameron Maybin, I aske a poster defending Maybin if there had ever been a player who started out at a 30% K-guy that drastically improved his K-Rate. I give you Larry Walker. 1st 3 years … 27%, 27%, 20% and then was between 12 and 20 for the rest of his career. That doesn’t mean anything special for Maybin, but credit to Walker for lowering his K-Rate quite a bit.

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      • Joe R says:

        Yes, of course the big difference between Walker and Bichette, as we all recognize (I think), is that Walker was a complete player who played a strong RF, ran the bases well, and hit for average and walked. Bichette just slugged.

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  7. Dan Pitrowiski says:

    “These labels do more to obfuscate the truth than anything else”

    Am I the only one who didn’t know what obfuscate meant until today?

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    • Scout Finch says:

      Just associate press releases from the White House with obfuscation and you’ll be A-Okay.

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    • Kurt says:

      Dave bought “word of the day” toilet paper and was feeling extra saucy when he wrote this, hense the usage of obfuscate. Depending on the quality of his toilet paper (variety of words), you should look to expand your vocabulary again with tomorrow’s fangraph piece by Dave.

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    • blackout says:

      “Just associate press releases from the White House with obfuscation”

      As long as that premise tacitly entails the sub-clause “regardless of the occupant” you’re fine.

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  8. beantownmurdersrow says:

    And at least 6 of those don’t project as top 20 this year. Very possible bosox now boast 4 of top 10 hitters in 2011 leading off BoSox lineup each game: CC, DPedro, Youk, AG. And hitters behind them not chopped liver. Scary.

    Championships not won before pitches thrown, nor on paper, but pair that with decent defense, Lester, Lackey and Beckett at top of rotation, and Bard and JPaps at end of the game and they may be preseason projected 100 win team, even in rugged AL East?

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    • Joe says:

      Not so sure I completely buy the Red Sox staff yet. Lester is clearly their best arm, but they need Lackey and Beckett to rebound. Buchholz steadily falling K/9 might be cause for concern, too, as his 2.31 ERA last year definitely did not tell the whole story.

      Papelbon will almost certainly be better than he was last year, but he’s not a sure thing at the end of the game. I’d almost rather have Bard in that role (if I were a Sox fan).

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    • alskor says:

      That’s too strong all around for my tastes.

      I’d guess more like 4 of the top 15/20 (which is still remarkable) and closer to 97/98 wins (remember the losses of VMart and a fantastic season by Beltre – not that it would be replicated in all likelihood).

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    • B N says:

      Honestly, as a Red Sox fan I have some doubts about the rotation. I’d break it down like this:

      Lester – Solid, somewhere between a #1 and #2 guy. No doubts on him.
      Beckett – Inconsistent ace-type. I’d say he goes back to being a #1/#2 type guy, provided he can get his walks back down.
      Buchholz – Great potential, showed it last year. Could be a #1 type guy, but could easily regress and be more like a #4.
      Lackey – I have never liked him. Just putting that out there. I see him as a solid #3, potentially #2. But to be realistic, he hasn’t shown top-pitcher performance since 2007.
      Matsuzaka – Can we call this guy anything but a #4 or #5 now? I respect the guy, but at this point I’d expect decline rather than improvement.
      Wakefield – I love him. But he’s just an innings eater at this point.

      I’m seeing 2 very good pitchers, 2 potentially very good pitchers that could just be good, a so-so pitcher, and a cheap replacement. A contending staff? Sure. But I wouldn’t say I’m blown away by the talent involved. Many of these guys are not all that young, and you have to expect a slow decline for them on average. I recall an article this very year which stated that pitchers tend to decline almost monotonically over time on average. And many of them tend to hit cliffs in their 30′s due to injury.

      Sure, it’s a good staff, maybe even a top staff. But it’s not so impressive I’d say that teams should be quaking in their boots. There are lots of places where things can break down. The only sure bet, in my book, is Lester. Everybody else is either hoping for a rebound or hoping to maintain one year’s worth of progress.

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  9. Dan Pitrowiski says:

    Interesting also is next on the list is Kevein Youkilis at #19 and Adrian Beltre at #21.

    Despite the differences in players, the Red Sox at least would seem to evaluate them upon a WAR like criteria…basically looking beyond the obvious skill sets and understanding a players full contributions

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    • bbl says:

      no wonder bill james works for the bosox

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    • Nik says:

      I’m pretty sure other teams also recognize that AGonz and CC are pretty good at baseball.

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      • Dan Pitrowiski says:

        Red Sox think he’s worth 20 mil/yr for 7 years, Angels think he’s worth 18 mil/ry for 6 years and then there is everybody else.

        It would appear the Sox saw more value then others teams and paid for it.

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      • CircleChange11 says:

        … or … The Red Sox would rather overpay (in tears, dollars, or both) than not have him at all.

        That’s a choice that has to be made. The LAA choice “No” and we’ll see how it plays out for them.

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      • CircleChange11 says:

        years, not tears …. [insert joke here].

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      • mowill says:

        It’ll be tears in about three seasons. Crawford does not keep himself in the same type of shape as guys like Henderson and Ichiro and we all know what happens to guys who spent years playing on the ‘turf.

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  10. Person says:

    Sweet, Ryan Zimmerman in the top 10…

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  11. Synovia says:

    Decided to shorten to 2008-2010.

    Gonzalez is 10, Crawford is 15.

    Kevin Youkilis is 9, Pedroia is 16.

    Four in the top 16 is pretty damn impressive.

    The yankees have 2 in the top 20 (Arod, Teixera), as do the Cardinals (Pujols, Holliday), and Nationals (Werth, Zimmerman). The Brewers just miss having 2 (Braun and Fielder are 20 and 21)

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  12. Yikes says:

    For whatever reason I got a kick out of the SB differential between the last two guys on your dashboard…

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    • pft says:

      Yet despite all the SB for Crawford he did not score anymore runs than A=Gon, and only slightly more on a PA basis despite having guys like Longoria and Pena behind him.

      I myself was struck by the differential in BB% and HR’s.

      Too each his own.

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  13. pft says:

    Gonzalez offensive value increases significantly at Fenway, and Crawfords defensive value decreases significantly.

    I have always felt UZR and other defensive metrics undervalue a good 1Bman.
    Looking at scoops is not enough, a 1Bman with good footwork and extension simply gets to more errant throws and saves IF’ers throwing errors. This can not be measured at the moment so it is ignored.

    As for speedsters aging better than power guys. You should ignore Tangos study as it goes back to players born in 1895. Even so, the difference found was small, 0.5 WAR per year to 0.4 WAR per year. The uncertainty in WAR defensive metrics makes this difference statistically insignificant.

    In the end, the Red Sox replaced Ellsbury with Crawford in LF, A-Gon replaced 2010 Beltre, and V-mart has been replaced by Salty or Russell Martin. Basically, they have spent an addditional 200 million to improve 1 WAR in 2011.

    Sad this is overlooked.

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    • Synovia says:

      Half a win decrease per year difference is small? Are you high?

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      • Kurt says:

        It’s not half a win… He just stated power guys regress at .5 wins and speed guys regress at .4 wins… So the difference is .1 war, which because of defensive metrics being too unstable (and partially dependent on speed/range) makes it possible for speed guys to regress more rapidly with a better analysis of defensive value.

        In short, PFT is saying that the margin of error in evaluating defense (which heavily uses attributes tied to speed) could be significant enough to cause the study of player regression to be completely inaccurate as it pertains to power players regressing faster than speed players.

        Or something to that extent, either way, you or I need to review our reading comprehension because your analysis was the exact opposite of mine. One of us gets it and the other is an idiot. I’m leaving the door open to the possibility that I’m the idiot, but I’m also fairly sure that “0.5 WAR per year to 0.4 WAR per year” is a comparison of two numbers with the difference being .1 WAR.

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      • Schmidtxc says:

        It’s statistically insignificant because of it’s reliance on historical totalzone data. Modern totalzone data (2002-present) mirrors UZR to some extent. With the retrosheet data from 1990-1999, we can make the assumption that it was reasonably accurate. Everything 1989 and prior is very suspect, as the was no batted ball data available for a sizeable portion of that sample. It’s also worth noting that Catchers are likely all included in the non-speedster section of this study. Catchers decline at a much greater rate than most due to the wear and tear on their joints, and I’d guess they throw the study off anyway. We’d get a better feel for aging curves if the study looked only at offensive numbers (as those are at least available in all cases) and took catchers out of the equation entirely.

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    • Dan says:

      Seriously. I think the Sox should have simply signed “2010 Beltre.” This Strat-o-matic stuff is awesome.

      Synovia, “pft” was referring to the 20% difference between 0.5 and 0.4, which appears to be small. But it’s not. Given a “speedster” and a “slugger” with the same WAR and age, the speedster probably has 25% more career left. That’s significant.

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      • NEPP says:

        Yeah, I mean, I’m sure Beltre wont regress in 2011. I’m sure he’ll repeat 2010 instead of the 5 years before that where he wasnt close to the same player.

        Also, Ellsbury was injured for most of 2010 so they get both Ellsbury AND Crawford in the lineup as Ellsbury will likely see the bulk of the time in CF.

        I think they’ll see more than just 1 Win in improvement.

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      • pft says:

        My point was not what Beltre and V-Mart would do in the future, but what they did in 2010 relative to what A-Gon and Crawford did. Red Sox won 89 games in 2010. All else being equal, the addition of A-Gon and CC and substraction of Beltre and V-Mart make the Red Sox about 1.5 W better.

        Now maybe Ellsbury (still has pain at posterior rib loacation per Tito), Pedroia (has yet to begin running at speed) and Youk (no precedent for his injury) return to health, and 35 yo JD, Papi and Scutaro do not decline, and Theo fixes the BP and Beckett/Lackey bounce back, and Salty/V-Mart prove adequate as C, then the team may well win 113 games.

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  14. Anon21 says:

    Chipper’s having a fine decline phase.

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  15. John N. says:

    Isn’t it interesting how neither SF or TX is represented on this list?

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  16. CircleChange11 says:

    It would be interesting to see opponent spray charts vs BOS pitchers, particularly where they hit fly balls.

    It might make the most sense to put CC in the OF position with the greatest potential to make the most plays. Seems to me that Fenway has a lot of ground to cover in CF.

    I know I mentioned this before, but CC plays an OF position that is not going to feature each team’s OF with the greatest range. So, it seems logical that CC would dominate the UZR for that position. In TB, they also had a pretty quick CF, so perhaps that allowed CC to shade a little more toward the line and get to more balls that direction instead of shading toward the gap.

    So, while CC dominates LF UZR and it’s great for his individual WAR, so great that it’s tempting to say “leave him be”, the greatest overall benefit to the team could be in CF, even though it might lower his individual WAR.

    It still would be interesting to see what OF position for BOS gets the most balls. Since they often feature a consistent rotation, the data may be very reliable.

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  17. Cup of Coffee says:

    Chipper Jones is an arrogant prick.

    What a complete and total douchebag that guy is.

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  18. James says:

    “It doesn’t seem to me that the confidence level in defensive metrics, even advanced ones, is very high at this time. Consequently players that have a big component of their WAR in defense, are going to be examined.”

    Except the Red Sox don’t use UZR or any of the public systems. They have their own and I don’t I’m going out on a limb to say that they have more information than the public does, on top of the fact that they clearly know what they’re doing when it comes to statistical analysis.

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    • CircleChange11 says:

      Well Hell, I’d hope they’d have something better than metrics derived from pay by play data. They get to watch EVERY game and can probably note for each play whether the batted ball was “likely a hit” “shoulda been caught”, etc.

      I would certainly hope, with scouting departments, statistical analysts, etc … that they have systems and programs that do better than those derived from play by play data or from general sprya chart tpe diagrams.

      My comments were talking about Crawford’s defensive gap in UZR and how it affects individual WAR.

      I would hope the individual teams would have something much more accurate then large scale, perhaps generic, defensive metric systems. I’m not saying that sarcastic or snarky, just saying it’s a whole lot easier to be thorough and in-depth with 25 guys than it is to do the same thing for a 700+ player (league).

      Individual teams should be able to tell how many fielding runs a player has earned [1] going back on the ball, [2] going to his right, [3] to his left, [4] coming in, [5] positioning, etc.

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    • pft says:

      “Except the Red Sox don’t use UZR or any of the public systems. They have their own and I don’t I’m going out on a limb to say that they have more information than the public does, on top of the fact that they clearly know what they’re doing when it comes to statistical analysis.”

      Julio Lugo, Edgar Renteria, Coco Crisp, and Willy Mo Pena say hi.

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      • B N says:

        Player for player:

        - Lugo had been positive for UZR for 2 out of 3 years prior to signing. I don’t know any statistic that can predict the future with certainty.

        - Renteria had been positive or average for FOUR years before being signed by the Red Sox. And even showed positive/average UZR after leaving them. Hardly seems like a defensive debacle.

        - Crisp, while slightly below average for 2 out of three seasons due to injuries, had a net positive UZR rating over his years at Fenway due to an UZR over +25 (!!!) in one of his seasons. I think it’s fair to say that the guy had some glove?

        - Finally, Wily Mo Pena was always known to have DH-quality defense. Nobody signed that guy for his glove. While trading for him was probably the biggest mistake the Red Sox made in recent history, it wasn’t because his defense sucked.

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  19. James says:

    “Despite the differences in players, the Red Sox at least would seem to evaluate them upon a WAR like criteria…basically looking beyond the obvious skill sets and understanding a players full contributions”

    Are people really not aware of this?

    I give you, porn for Red Sox fans and stat geeks: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k4JZFH4_xXY

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    • Joe R says:

      Love it.
      At least D&C didn’t try to shout him down w/ 98.5 The Sports Hub garbage, too. More fans should listen to this stuff.

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  20. James says:

    And nobody is saying they’re the only ones so you can stop typing right now.

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  21. James says:

    “My point was not what Beltre and V-Mart would do in the future, but what they did in 2010 relative to what A-Gon and Crawford did. Red Sox won 89 games in 2010. All else being equal, the addition of A-Gon and CC and substraction of Beltre and V-Mart make the Red Sox about 1.5 W better.”

    No, you’re saying it will make them 1.5 WAR better. There is a difference. And if you had any idea what you were talking about, you would realize their WAR in 2010 says that they were better than an 89 win team.

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    • Kurt says:

      Being better than an 89 win team statistically means jack in the grand scheme of things, because it takes a lot more WAR to get over 89 wins in the AL East than the AL Central. Even without the Red Sox playing themselves, they had three good teams to compete with in their division. The Yankees obviously, the Rays of course, and even the Blue Jays were very solid.

      I would bet very heavily on the Red Sox being better in 2011 than in 2010 and not because their win-loss record didn’t reflect their overall WAR. In no specific order and obviously this doesn’t account for other things going wrong, but we’ll play the, “in a perfect world” scenario for a second.

      1) Lackey and Beckett (hypothetically) cannot be any worse than they were in 2010, so that should elevate the team, and to some degree Matsuzaka is better than he was in 2010 and Papelbon could bounce back.

      2) Buchholz could avoid regression and repeat his overall body of work from 2010 with a more realistic ERA that would be indicative of the park he plays in and the FIP/xFIP he posted.

      3) Youkilis and Pedroia stay healthy

      4) Crawford doesn’t lose value by playing a smaller portion of grass in LF 81 games out of the year and Gonzalez maintains his power despite playing in a new league against a lot of new pitchers that he’s unfamiliar with (his cup of coffee 6 years ago with the Rangers really doesn’t mean anything in the changing lanscape of pitching, it’s virtually the same thing as having never played in the AL)

      5) The Yankees don’t get better by adding Lee (hypothetically we’ll assume he’s already signed) and running out three tough lefties including Pettitte (assumed he doesn’t retire) and Sabathia, against a largely left-handed lineup doesn’t directly effect the offensive juggernaut that Epstein has assembled.

      6) Other teams like the Rays, Blue Jays, and Orioles don’t export right-handers (Marcum already, potentially Garza and Tillman) to replace with in-house lefties in the hopes of picking up some wins against the Red Sox as the team to beat in the East.

      7) Boston should benefit from Tampa Bay’s regression to an also-ran with the removal of the the best LF in baseball, one of the best pure power hitters, and a top 3 closer from their team. Plainly put, the Rays are Toronto without Crawford, Pena, and Soriano. The most exciting player in Tampa is Longoria, Upton, or Zobrist offensively, and while Longoria is a great 3B, he’s on an island so-to-speak talent-wise. Nobody else on the Rays in 2011 will be anywhere near his production and it’s hard enough being good when you don’t have much around you in the lineup, but it’s twice as hard when you play in the AL East.

      8) The biggest reason the Red Sox will be better is Andy MacFail (I mean MacPhail), with his lineup construction, he’s literally cobbled together a pile of crap. Reynolds was a wreck in the NL, in the AL against the pitching staffs in Boston, Tampa, New York, and Toronto, he’ll approach 250 punchouts. Include with that the enigmatic J.J. Hardy at SS, the often injured Roberts at 2B, and god knows what at 3B/1B (whatever corner Reynolds isn’t playing), Josh Bell is an undisciplined hitter with astronomical Ks and non-existent BBs or they throw Luke Scott at 1B and search for a DH. Either way, the Orioles are a lock for 100 losses, and I’d bet my life-savings in Vegas on that. Their outfield is overated, their pitching staff is lost, they are like the Royals of the East, despite having the exact opposite idea on how to build a big league roster.

      The Red Sox have a golden opportunity to win 90+ wins, but NONE of that has to do with Crawford or Gonzalez, it would be the same exact scenario with Beltre and Martinez. And to be fair, if they re-signed Martinez, Saltalamacchia would be on the bench and Cameron would be in CF with Ellsbury in LF. So technically, going with Gonzalez/Crawford over Beltre/Martinez means going with Saltalamacchia over Cameron and that means they’re 1-2 WAR less talented in their starting lineup in 2011 than they were in 2010. I do realize there’s a chance that Beltre never does have a 7 WAR season, but then again, everyone predicted this type of season for him coming in and in that respect he could be a solid 6 WAR player at 3B every year with his home games played in Fenway.

      EVERYTHING ABOVE IS COMPARING 2010 RED SOX WITH THE PRODUCT THEY WILL FIELD IN 2011 AND HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH WHETHER BELTRE OR MARTINEZ WOULD DUPLICATE THEIR 2010 PERFORMANCES.

      Realize also that Crawford and Gonzalez could faceplant in Boston as well. More pressure to succeed than with their previous teams (both), different environments (Gonzalez), different league (Gonzalez), large contract pressure (Crawford), justification for players traded away (Gonzalez), justification for draft picks lost (Crawford). These guys are still not a sure bet and it would be good to realize that a Boston jersey doesn’t guarantee a 5 WAR season.

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    • pft says:

      “No, you’re saying it will make them 1.5 WAR better”

      Wrong. If you compare 2011 and 2010 WAR, the difference is 1.5 WAR. However, given replacement players performance does not change much from year to year, so 1.5 WAR is the same as 1.5 W. If you do not understand that, my sympathies to you and your family, but I can not help you.

      “their WAR in 2010 says that they were better than an 89 win team.”

      The Red Sox won 89 games. If they are 1.5 Wins better, “all else being equal”, which it is not, they win 90-91 games.

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      • vivaelpujols says:

        Not true. The 89 wins are context dependent wins, the +1.5 wins are context neutral projected wins. They are different units and shouldn’t be added up.

        The only addition you can do is projected context neutral wins with projected context neutral wins (WAR). Combine like terms only – we learned this in 7th grade math.

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  22. Tookit says:

    Youk’s injury is not unprecedented. The way in which he incurred it is unique, the injury itself is common and not a long term issue.

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  23. James says:

    Uh, no. But his doomsday scenario is still cute.

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  24. James says:

    “The Red Sox won 89 games. If they are 1.5 Wins better, “all else being equal”, which it is not, they win 90-91 games.”

    So you admit that all else is not equal and that you’re wrong. Cool.

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    • pft says:

      Here is what I said in my original comment.

      “All else being equal, the addition of A-Gon and CC and substraction of Beltre and V-Mart make the Red Sox about 1.5 W better”

      Then

      “Now maybe Ellsbury (still has pain at posterior rib loacation per Tito), Pedroia (has yet to begin running at speed),……..etc, then the team may well win 113 games.

      Your reading comprehension is pretty sad Jamie. Thanks for playing anyways.

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  25. Koch says:

    No, you’re pretty much making no sense.

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