Neil Weinberg FanGraphs Q&A – 8/13/14

2:33
Neil Weinberg: Hey all. We’ll get started at 3pm, but go ahead and fill up the queue now with any and all questions.

Remember that this chat is designed for questions about FanGraphs, our features, and our stats, but I’m more than happy to answer any other questions you have. Fantasy and prospect questions aren’t forbidden, but the answers don’t come with a money-back guarantee.

PS: I’m @NeilWeinberg44 if you’re reading this after the fact and have FG related inquiries. I mean, that’s also true if you’re reading it live…see you soon.

3:01
Neil Weinberg: Let’s get started. Reminder, I’ll definitely give you an hour, and I’ll run for two if you ask lots of good questions. This is a social contract, make the most of it.

3:01
Comment From Matt
What are some of the best ways to learn about the sabermetric stats and how to apply them to writing?

3:04
Neil Weinberg: Two general pieces of advice: 1) Go to leaderboards, find a stat you don’t know about, and then go look it up. We have lots of good and improving glossary entries here, and there are others (this is my job here, so you can always ask me to). 2) Read sites that make use of these stats. It’s sort of like learning a language and immersion is the way to go. If you see a post where Dave uses wOBA, you’re going to catch on…”hmmmm these guys seem to be using wOBA when talking about offense…that must be important.” Hang out on these types of sites and you’ll pick it up.

And ask questions! Always ask questions.

3:04
Comment From CStat Guy
For pitching RAR, FIP is used in the calculation. Is there a stat where a pitcher’s ERA is used to calculate a value above league average or replacement level? Thanks.

3:05
Neil Weinberg: We have a stat called RA9-WAR. You have to click to the “value” tab on the leaderboards/pages, but this is WAR based on the players RA9 (which is ERA without the unearned runs subtracted out).

3:05
Comment From Ryan
Is there an alternative FIP equation that uses just K% BB% and HR% instead of totals and IP? I think I’ve seen one before, but I haven’t been able to find it again.

3:06
Neil Weinberg: FIP is meant to be on the ERA scale, which is a per inning measure. You could create a FIP that is scaled to batters faced, but I’m not aware of an already created version off the top of my head. Generally speaking, you’re going to get the same basic answer to your question, just like K/9 works just fine most of the time.

3:06
Comment From Guest
Android App. When?

3:07
Neil Weinberg: Last I heard, this wasn’t in the plans, but I’m not involved in that wing of the enterprise. To be honest, our iPhone App is very out of date. Best bet is to use the site in a browser, sorry!

3:07
Comment From CStat Guy
Just another vote to add customized dates for leaderboards. Thanks.

3:08
Neil Weinberg: Noted. I’m not in charge of the order in which requests are carried out, but this is one that’s definitely being sent up the chain.

3:08
Comment From Scott
Question about Park Factors. The glossary entry says they correct for the home team’s tendencies, but how? In 2013 Coors Field was 96 for strikeouts and 105 for ground balls. How do we know this isn’t because the Rockies encourage pitching for ground balls?

3:09
Neil Weinberg: Park Factors are based on how a team and their opponents perform at a given park compared to how they performed everywhere else. So if the Rockies hit a lot of ground balls, the park factor only cares if they hit a lot more at home compared to on the road.

3:09
Comment From Last Astros Fan
On the leaderboard, what purpose does the “Active Roster” button serve? If I’m looking at a team (i.e. Astros), players in minors still show even after I check this button.

3:09
Neil Weinberg: Believe this is the 40-man roster.

3:10
Comment From Bob Pollard
Rob Neyer has this weird thing about not liking the Little League World Series. Do you like the LLWS?

3:10
Neil Weinberg: I don’t know Rob’s take, but I will say that I enjoyed it more when I was closer to that age than I do now. I think it’s also more difficult to get excited about it now that I can watch 13 baseball games per day instead of two.

3:10
Comment From Carlos De Los Santos
Do you write about baseball full-time for a living?

3:11
Neil Weinberg: I’m a PhD student and a part time baseball writer.

3:11
Comment From Tom
I’m an aspiring sports writer who has interned with minor league teams in the past. I’m looking to start my own blog. Is it better to keep the topics I write about in one direction, ie about real baseball only instead of writing about real baseball and fantasy baseball? Keep up the great stuff at New English D!

3:12
Neil Weinberg: You should write about the things you care about and want to pursue. If you have diverse interests, write about them. I find it helpful to separate your content into different sections so that people who don’t care about fantasy don’t have to see it if they don’t want.

3:12
Comment From Gary
Do you know if any thought has been given to making offensive RAA, and thereby WAR, different for players with different platoon levels. It seems that if you wanted a “replacement” platoon outfielder, you would have a higher baseline offense than one who would be expected to face typical distributions of handedness

3:14
Neil Weinberg: Replacement level has nothing to do with handedness. Any player who is a good platoon guy would be above replacement level assuming he wasn’t an awful defender. I get your question, but it works out because platoon guys get fewer PA and such.

3:14
Comment From John
Can you explain Base Runs (BsR) and what it means to have a negative and positive BsR

3:15
Neil Weinberg: This is our baserunning runs above average. If you have a positive BsR, you are that many runs above average on the bases. This factors in the value of steals, the negative value of CS, taking extra bases, and getting thrown out on the bases.

3:15
Comment From Sam
Hi Neil, how much of a team’s double play rates would you attribute to random variation? I ask because it seems the Rays have had the worst luck, grounding into the 2nd most double plays and turning the least amount.

3:17
Neil Weinberg: I’d say it’s largely random variation. Obviously if you have more baserunners, you’ll hit into more double plays, but if we’re talking about a rate basis, the only thing that should really matter is if you have a bunch of slow guys who never beat out a double play. I think individual players have GDP R^2 of like .22? So I’d say there isn’t much to it for teams as far as hititng into them. Pitching/defense is a much different story

3:18
Comment From Sam
Can I expect to see K%-BB% and RA9-WAR as available stats in the custom player pages section? Right now they are only available in the custom leaderboard section.

3:18
Neil Weinberg: Noted. Not sure if they are coming or need to be requested. Will check.

3:18
Comment From Alex
Which fielding statistic do you consider the most accurate?

3:18
Neil Weinberg: I have a very minor preference for UZR over DRS but I’m talking 52-48.

3:19
Comment From Sam
As a high schooler who understands and enjoys the basic principles of sabermetrics, what route do you think I should take in terms of classes to attend if I want a future job in that area?

3:20
Neil Weinberg: Learn statistics. Learn to program/code/etc. Learn about markets and economics. But really just figure out what you care about doing and develop skills. Like if you want to be a stat analyst for a team, build yourself a little projection system this offseason and see how well it stacks up to Steamer

3:21
Comment From Larry Bernandez
How many games would a 0-WAR team win per season?

3:21
Neil Weinberg: About 48.

3:21
Comment From CuriousGeorge
Hey Neil- random thought. Any studies been done that show what % tendency a hitter needs to justify a defensive shift against him?

3:22
Neil Weinberg: I haven’t read any that deal with that kind of threshold idea. The way teams do it, or at least the teams I know about, is they take the tendencies of the batters and generate some sort of expected distribution for balls in play and try to shift to that. But that might not be typical, I don’t know.

3:23
Comment From Raynor Shine
Giancarlo Stanton is doing the ice bucket challenge and you can donate to have the opportunity to pour the ice water on him. My question is if you accidentally dropped the bucket on him would the bucket be destroyed upon hitting Giancarlo? Also, if you accidentally fell off the stool one would most certainly have to stand on to pour the ice water on him, would one automatically be destroyed upon impact on his beautifully constructed body? Also, why are Orioles fans so terrible on here?

3:24
Neil Weinberg: I would be most concerned about the ice turning to steam and burning me upon impact. And O’s fans are regular fans and it’s pretty typical for part of a fanbase to be upset with “experts” who don’t think their team is as good as they do. Happens all the time with different teams, Orioles are just in vogue right now.

3:24
Comment From Guest
Are there stats or analysis that can be better applied to players who are late bloomers? I give you the conundrum that is Juan Francisco, reading your feature on him from 2012 it seems like he hasn’t changed at all, but could the same have been said of Bautista/Encarnacion the year before their breakouts?

3:26
Neil Weinberg: This is a constant challenge in player forecasting. We have basic aging curves and we also have a really good idea how often players will deviate from those aging curves. So if you take Francisco, there’s a 70% change he doesn’t improve entering this year and a 30% chance his does (made up numbers). So we bet that he doesn’t, but 30% of the time the guy is going to improve and we have very little success targeting exactly which guy is gonna become Joey Bats. Global stats are easy, but getting all the individual cases right is very hard

3:26
Comment From Paul Maslin
Meant this as a question– under irony 2014 edition– could Donaldson win the MVP over Trout if the A’s win, say, 7 of 10 from the Angels and the divison going away– due to a combo of old school thinking (they won the division/best record in league) and new-fangled “sabermatics”– i.e, Donaldson’s lights-out 3B defense??

3:28
Neil Weinberg: Wouldn’t that be something? I think they need to get a little closer together in terms of value for saber-writers to back Donaldson, but the idea of a weird situation like that is pretty interesting. MVP races could be bonkers this year

3:28
Comment From Chris
Is this just a hot streak from Chris Carter or is there any evidence to suggest this could be some sort of breakout?

3:28
Neil Weinberg: Temple wrote about him today. http://www.fangraphs.com/bl…

3:28
Neil Weinberg: Carter is going to hit for power, but Carter is probably going to always have contact issues. My bet is that he’s a little better and not a lot better

3:29
Comment From Mack
May I propose that we all quit including WAR, UZR, et al. (anything that involves a comparison to league average or replacement level) under the umbrella of “counting stats” please? To say, for example, that Kevin Kouzmanoff is fifth on the Rangers in WAR

3:29
Neil Weinberg: I think we typically say cumulative stats? It’s a stat that is based on number of PA, but you don’t just count things. We can agree that it is not a rate stat for sure

3:29
Comment From sam
is there somewhere on fangraphs where one can find historical baseruns

3:30
Neil Weinberg: No. We’ve only just rolled them out at all. I bet there’s an old research post somewhere with some numbers, but we haven’t implemented any of that at least

3:30
Comment From Sam
How could I compare, say, Jacoby Ellsbury’s 2011 season to Brett Gardner’s 2014 season? Could you walk me through that?

3:31
Neil Weinberg: Alright, give me one second to create this

3:32
Neil Weinberg: Leaderboards. Go down to the bottom and type those two guys into custom players. Adjust the date range to 2011-2014. Click split seasons. Get this: http://www.fangraphs.com/le…

3:33
Comment From Ryan
Is there a way I can find league average (non pitcher) BABIP by batted ball type?

3:34
Neil Weinberg: Leaderboards. League stats at the top. Click NP on the positional tab. Change split to [grounders, liners, flies] and then click over to the advanced section of the results. Here it is for ground balls. http://www.fangraphs.com/le…

3:34
Comment From CuriousGeorge
OLIVER projections have Xander BsR as negative each year for the next 5, yet it’s positive this year. Why would that be?

3:35
Neil Weinberg: I don’t know for sure what goes into Oliver, but a couple possibilities. 1) Oliver might only look at certain aspects of baserunning 2) those oliver projections were generated pre-season and might not have known he was a good runner 3) his minor league career might indicate he isn’t very good

3:35
Comment From John
Can you all create an xFIP based WAR like the RA9 WAR?

3:36
Neil Weinberg: xFIP is a forecast and WAR is retrospective, so they don’t exactly go together. We could do it for comparison’s sake, but I doubt it would be a priority.

3:36
Comment From Matt
What’s the difference between ZiPS and Steamer projections other than they were developed by different people? Which one do you prefer using over the other?

3:37
Neil Weinberg: They have the same goals, but different methods based on different people. Steamer tries to figure out playing time a little more. Typically, I look at both.

3:38
Comment From Avery
Are DRS down this year with the addition of instant replays? For example: Last year Simmons made a good amount of amazing plays where the runner should have been safe. It makes sense that these calls would get reversed this year which means less DRS.

3:39
Neil Weinberg: This is interesting, but DRS is compared to average, so every player should get worse or better in the same way. Plausible that it could impact a truly great player at the margins but I don’t think so. It would probably be easy to test this

3:39
Comment From Guest
Doug Melvin has said that the Brewers’ farm system is underrated a lot because the team doesn’t talk up or artificially pump up their own players. Do you agree there’s some bias in organizational/prospect rankings on sites like FG based on sources?

3:41
Neil Weinberg: FG seems to be having some issues FYI. what is the last answer you can see in the chat?

3:43
Neil Weinberg: Okay, thanks.

3:44
Neil Weinberg: On the Crew, good writers can tell the difference between team hype and real hype. That said, lots of evaluations you read about second hand info, so there are always errors. I think it’s more likely that Melvin is saying this to influence opinion on his team than the opposite though

3:44
Comment From Guest
Is there a way to show context of the minor league advance stats such as ISO and BABIP? Maybe adding a “league averages” option like it’s done for contact stats for MLB players?

3:44
Neil Weinberg: This would be a good idea.

3:45
Comment From Alex
Can we get batted ball distance data on fangraphs, or anywhere else? Thanks.

3:45
Neil Weinberg: you can look this up on Baseball Heatmaps and Baseball Savant

3:45
Comment From Guest
Would it be possible on the leaderboards to have a pop-up quick definition of a stat, along with a “league average” when you mouse over a column heading so you can quickly see them?

3:46
Neil Weinberg: These exist in the player pages, ,but the averages thing is new. You can find the averages and explanations pretty easily, but I’ll make the rec.

3:46
Comment From Avery
I’ve been trying to find this stat for a while, but I don’t know how. I think Jason Heyward grounds out the the right size much more frequent than league average (especially on outside pitches). It there a way to find this info?

3:47
Neil Weinberg: Best bet would be to use Baseball Savant. We can tell you about each one of those things individually, but not all at once

3:47
Comment From Jim
I’ve never read Moneyball – is it honestly a good read in order to get a general understanding of sabermetrics or do people make it out to be like that because of the film?

3:48
Neil Weinberg: It’s a good read, but the actual baseball insight is pretty basic by today’s standards. Everything in that book is well known by most intelligent fans, but it’s a fun story too

3:49
Comment From Guest
How predictive is BsR, and how many games before we become confident in a team’s score?

3:50
Neil Weinberg: Depends on your definition of confident, but a full season will do it for a player and it should be sooner for a team

3:50
Comment From Guest
Why is it erroring out whenever i try to look up a player?

3:51
Comment From Scott
Neil, I think there is some confusion with the BsR questions–askers appear to be confusing it with Base Runs.

3:51
Neil Weinberg: Looks like we’re having some site issues, FYI

3:52
Neil Weinberg: BsR is baserunning. BaseRuns is something different. This looks at how many runs a team should be scoring based on their performance with timing stripped out

3:52
Comment From Logan Davis
Assuming access to Fangraphs’ SQL is out of the question, which database would you recommend using for daily-updating performance statistics? I’m talking about a .db file, not a website.

3:53
Neil Weinberg: I don’t know the answer to this, sorry.

3:54
Comment From Russel Wilson
does la stella hold onto the 2b job going into next year, or is it jose peraza’s job soon enough?

3:54
Neil Weinberg: La Stella? I think, but I am not confident.

3:55
Comment From Rob
General fantasy math question — is there any way to calculate expected winning percentage in a standard 5×5 h2h league based off the team’s numbers to date? I’d love to see if my team has been over or under performing to this point. I can calculate zScores, but I have no idea how that translates to winning percentage.

3:55
Neil Weinberg: I tried this once and got nowhere. My solution was to stop playing head to head.

3:58
Neil Weinberg: So this is sort of wacky, if you’re reading the chat you can see it, but new people can’t come in while the site is down. Now is the time to ask all of your secret questions. Give me a second to check on some things real fast

3:59
Neil Weinberg: Was hoping to find a way to get people the link without FG but that was taking a while. Abandoned, back to chatting

4:00
Comment From Garth Vader
This will be lengthy but read about this idea on Reditt and wanted your opinion… “I wanted to make a slightly simpler version of tRA because it is so reliant on batted ball statistics, which are not always perfect. My idea was to base it around the odds of an average pitcher giving up a run against an average batter (0.10126582278481 in 2013) and use strikeout, walk, ground ball, fly ball, line drive, and infield popup rates to determine if that pitcher is more or less likely to give up a run (the run value of a line drive is .34, a strikeout is about -0.3, etc.) For example, Clayton Kershaw would be something like 45% less likely to give up a run in an average situation because of his rates. You would then take that percentage and apply it to the likelihood of an average pitcher giving up a run vs. a batter, so his score would be about .455, and then you would multiply that by his total amount of batters faced, and that would give his ERA with neutral luck/defense/ballpark/other factors he has no control over. It still places value on batted ball rates, but with less emphasis on them than in tRA. Thoughts?”

4:02
Neil Weinberg: Seems like it needs some sort of control for how you got to the situation in the first place…the basic idea has merit, but I have to think about it to see if it’s actually a good idea

4:02
Comment From Guest
What are some of the major takeaways you had from “The Book?

4:03
Neil Weinberg: Run expectancy is this huge thing that your brain knew existed, but you had never seen it anywhere. Same with wOBA. I knew that a wOBA shouldbe a thing, but never how to actually use it

4:03
Comment From Garth Vader
Any interest in every creating your own PECOTA/ZiPS/Steamer at some point in the future or too tall a task?

4:04
Neil Weinberg: I don’t really have an interest in that type of thing. I have a few of my own little things that I use, but nothing capable of forecasting lots of players about whom I know very little.

4:04
Comment From Scott
Let me go back to my earlier question on park factors then. If for example the Rockies coaches encouraged their pitchers to get ground balls over strikeouts at home, but not on the road, park factors would be confused by that, yes?

4:04
Neil Weinberg: The other team would have to do that too.

4:04
Comment From Does it matter
Baseball players would perform best if dropped into ____ sport, ____ sport athlete would do best if dropped into baseball?

4:05
Neil Weinberg: Tennis or golf? Tennis.

4:05
Comment From Ryan
How many games might a team of 25 Mike Trouts win maybe? #WackyWednesdaysWithWeinberg

4:05
Neil Weinberg: Have no idea how to deal with pitching, so let’s say the team has average pitching. give me a sec

4:07
Neil Weinberg: Like 135? Assuming all of the Trouts had time to learn their new positions…

4:07
Neil Weinberg: And the bench Trouts didn’t cause problems in the clubhouse because they want to start

4:07
Comment From CStat Guy
For simulation leagues (such as Scoresheet), would you agree that a simple ranking would use wRAA for batters and RA9-WAR for pitchers? wRC+ is good too for batting not taking into consideration PAs. Thanks.

4:08
Neil Weinberg: Are park factors involved in scoresheet? If so, use “Batting.” It’s wRAA but it’s park adjusted.

4:08
Comment From Robert
MLB.TV or MLB Extra Innings?

4:09
Neil Weinberg: I use MLB.TV but it is a very frustrating product. It is usually a minute or two behind on Roku and freezes a decent amount. I wish they would raise the price and improve the quality

4:09
Comment From Garth Vader
Can you give us a sneak peak on what’s in the site addition que/hopeful list for your guys?

4:10
Neil Weinberg: I don’t think I’m supposed to do this….so it’s really all about wagering if Dave is going to read this later. Probably shouldn’t divulge company secrets

4:10
Neil Weinberg: So we’re running low on questions because lots of people can’t get in, if you want me to hang around, ask more questions!

4:11
Neil Weinberg: Is it back? FG is back!

4:12
Comment From CStat Guy
Thanks for info on RA9-WAR. Do you know if this will be included on the projection leaderboards next spring?

4:12
Neil Weinberg: Don’t know! Too early for me to know!

4:12
Comment From Guest
Did you read the piece a while ago on Rockies road wRC+ and them possibly playing with a structural disadvantage? If so, thoughts?

4:13
Neil Weinberg: Yes. Thought it was very interesting. I know that breaking balls supposedly move differently there and it’s hard to adjust when they go on the road. Seems like a really challenging situation.

4:14
Comment From Tucker
Do you know where I can find league averages for things like whiff rate for certain pitches?

4:14
Neil Weinberg: You should be able to do this at Baseball Savant.

4:14
Comment From zmiko
Can I add RA9-WAR to my dashboard? I don’t see it as an option

4:15
Neil Weinberg: It’s not there, but I’ll see about getting it on the list

4:15
Comment From CuriousGeorge
What do minor leage GM’s do? Earlier I asked Dave and he said “business of baseball” and I’m still unsure where he was going with that..

4:15
Neil Weinberg: They’re basically in charge of running the minor league enterprise except they have no control of the on field personnel.

4:15
Comment From Guest
Piggybacking on that question earlier about “league averages” option for minor league advance stats, how’s about also adding a leverage index on strength of pitching

4:16
Neil Weinberg: Can you be more specific?

4:16
Comment From @yancyeaton
Pork chops or BBQ chicken for dinner tonight?

4:16
Neil Weinberg: BBQ chicken

4:16
Comment From Scott
Many of the links around the site are out of date. For example, Park Factors under Guts goes to 2012 instead of 2013. There was something else that defaulted to 2011, but I forget right now. You seem like the guy to tell!

4:16
Neil Weinberg: Yes, there are a few things like this. Thanks!

4:16
Comment From Scott
If I look at a wRC+ split, is the calculation against others with the same split, or total? E.g. Troy Tulowitzki’s against LHP is 250. Is he 150% better against lefties than the average position player is against lefties or than the average position player is period?

4:17
Neil Weinberg: I’m like 90% sure it’s total, but let me run a quick calculation!

4:19
Neil Weinberg: Looks like total is right

4:20
Comment From CuriousGeorge
where did you go to undergrad?

4:20
Neil Weinberg: Eastern Michigan University.

4:20
Comment From Tucker
What team in recent memory do you consider to have been the most fun to watch?

4:21
Neil Weinberg: This is stupid, but I loved last year’s Tigers. Because I am a Tigers fan and because I’m a pitching guy. Similarly 2011 Phils

4:21
Comment From Ryan
Is there any correlation between GB% and BABIP on GBs? Likewise, any correlation between FB% and HR/FB?

4:22
Neil Weinberg: I think higher GB pitchers induce lower BABIP on GB, but I only kind of remember that, so I don’t know if it’s a big effect or not. Really depends a lot on the specific player.

4:22
Comment From Natsfan
Any thoughts on how to fix fWAR to account for guys like Doug Fister?

4:23
Neil Weinberg: You don’t. Fister, for one, underperformed his FIP in most of his seasons. He’s not some magic FIP-beater. But also fWAR tells you what a guy’s been worth via his FIP. If you want runs allowed, we have RA9-WAR. We don’t know where perfect truth is. Fister is great and fWAR has loved him in the past.

4:23
Comment From Natsfan
Also, man… that Fister trade was great.

4:24
Neil Weinberg: I could ban you from this chat….I won’t, but let’s not open old wounds man

4:24
Comment From Ewald
what is next on your library agenda? and is thw WAR-section cmonig last?

4:25
Neil Weinberg: Doing FIP this week. WAR isn’t coming last, but it’s a big project and I’d rather update a lot of important/easier ones first to get us started. Certainly will be done before Opening Day, probably much sooner

4:25
Comment From Matt
Do MLB teams read this website?

4:26
Neil Weinberg: I know people who work for MLB teams, some in decently prominent places who do. I have no idea if GM’s read it, probably some do from time to time

4:26
Comment From Rob
Can we get QS on the custom leaderboards too? It’s getting more popular for fantasy leagues and would be nice to be able to track it easily.

4:26
Neil Weinberg: Noted

4:26
Comment From Scott
Wouldn’t SLGIP be a more accurate metric for most of the things people use BABIP for?

4:27
Neil Weinberg: Why? We usually use BABIP to talk about how often things fall in, but SLGIP could be used to answer other types of questions

4:27
Comment From Gary
Do MLB teams read this chat?

4:28
Neil Weinberg: I think I had someone mention it to me once, but I have no idea if that’s because they knew me and wanted to see what I was doing or because they would have done so anyway!

4:28
Comment From Tucker
Piggy-backing on the SLGIP, what do you think of wOBAcon as a stat?

4:28
Neil Weinberg: Like it for what it tells you

4:28
Comment From Tucker
If you could change the definition of a QS, what would you change it to?

4:29
Neil Weinberg: I would probably make it into a sliding scale. So the more innings you pitch the more runs you could allow. Maybe 6 IP/1R, 7IP/2R, 8 or 9 IP/3R. Would also stop using earned runs and maybe have a limit for baserunners allowed?

4:29
Comment From Natsfan
If it makes a difference, he’s definitely my favorite Nats pitcher to watch. I live down the street from the park and make it a point to try to get to games he pitches. Says a lot on a staff with Stras/Gio/Zimm

4:30
Neil Weinberg: I miss watching Fister so much. I live in NC so I can’t even watch him on television or MLBTV because of the blackout. So sad.

4:30
Comment From Scott
re: SLGIP or wOBAcon vs BABIP. SLGIP fluctuations could tell you about luck on extra-base hits, but it would also be susceptible to actual changes in power I guess.

4:31
Neil Weinberg: Could be a useful thing to look at, but I think it wouldn’t be something to replace BABIP

4:31
Comment From Paul
Is the movie Bull Durham overrated?

4:31
Neil Weinberg: No, it is properly rated, but you have to understand it’s kind of a love story and a baseball movie on the side

4:32
Comment From Pale Hose
Hey Neil. Is there anything else in “Batting” outside of park adjusted wRAA? I can calculate wRC+ and I’m trying to perform a similar park adjustment to get to Batting, but I am not getting close.

4:32
Neil Weinberg: Need to park and league adjust.

4:32
Comment From Jon Singletons 2nd cousin
joe mauer looking good his 2nd game off the dl. Is he back to being .850 ops joe mauer ros, or is he going to go revert back to early season struggles with almost no power to speak of?

4:33
Neil Weinberg: If he’s healthy, I think he will be fine. but I don’t know if he’s healthy for real

4:33
Comment From Jon Stamos
What do you think of this michael a taylor fellah, and his future?

4:34
Neil Weinberg: Didn’t know a ton about him before the callup. Seems like he should be pretty good, but I’m not basing that on more info that you are! Sorry

4:34
Comment From CuriousGeorge
who had the best facial hair in mlb history

4:35
Neil Weinberg: In history? Tough. Should probably say Hoss out of fear.

4:35
Comment From CuriousGeorge
i saw on minor league central they have minor league park factors but they were pretty confusing. like for the CT Tigers park it just said “56”

4:35
Neil Weinberg: Minor league park factors still need some work.

4:35
Comment From Tucker
I know people are asking for the league averages to appear on the leaderboards in cool ways, but is there currently a way to see them on FanGraphs without exporting the .csv?

4:35
Neil Weinberg: For MLB, yes. Click league stats at the top of the page.

4:36
Comment From JS
Jorge Soler gonna be a star in your estimation? Absolutely mashing in minors

4:37
Neil Weinberg: Oh my…he certainly is. I think he should be pretty good, but I never like to say star without having watched him a little against MLB pitching. Looks the part so far

4:38
Comment From kevinthecomic
any movie with susan sarandon is, by definition, overrated

4:38
Neil Weinberg: That’s like saying any team with Brandon Phillips is overrated. What if they have Trout too!?!

4:38
Comment From CuriousGeorge
I went to Elon, so glad to hear your in NC. I miss cookout so much…

4:39
Neil Weinberg: Lived here for two plus years…actually have never been! Oops. There isn’t really one super close to the house, so I never think to go there

4:39
Comment From Drew Smyly
Am I the single most league average starter this year?

4:39
Neil Weinberg: Let’s see!

4:40
Neil Weinberg: You are close. Maybe Wheeler?

4:40
Comment From kevinthecomic
susan sarandon has the curious ability to bring down the awesomeness of those around her

4:40
Neil Weinberg: This is the opposite of the Miguel Cabrera MVP case?

4:42
Comment From JS
Whats going on with xander bogaerts, was excited when i acquired him early this season in a dynasty, when he was actually hitting. Should we be concerned about his future or well he start to figure things out by next year? K’s are a huge concern, and not much power

4:42
Neil Weinberg: He is very young. Easy to forget that he’s practically a child. Give him time to develop, he has the makings of a very productive player

4:44
Comment From Jim
Why is it that when you plug in all of MLB’s stats with the wOBA constants in tge guts! page you do not arrive at league avg wOBA?

4:44
Neil Weinberg: I just did this and got it exactly right.

4:44
Neil Weinberg: Possible that you have a simple error

4:44
Comment From Evan Longoria
Seems strange to consider, but I think I might be the most average hitter this year..

4:45
Neil Weinberg: This made me very sad to read.

4:45
Comment From CuriousGeorge
if you werent writing about baseball and getting your PHD what would your profession be

4:46
Neil Weinberg: So if I wasn’t a sportswriter or an academic? Looking back, I think I’d like to be some sort of investigator. But I am not brave so I could never be a real law enforcement person

4:46
Comment From Shauntell
How do I show the world that the Orioles are a mediocre team and have always been one? I started out with ERA-FIP difference which is only the third highest in the last 3 years…

4:47
Neil Weinberg: You have to get people to focus on the process rather than the results. Most average fans look at the record and assume 120 games is enough to even out the noise. It’s not. Show their offense compared to average and their pitching compared to average and work from there. It’s hard man, did you see Dave’s chat today? People don’t want to hear about randomness!

4:47
Comment From Chris Young
Has there been any advance in trying to model pop-up inducing pitchers who seem to baffle the existing metrics (FIP etc)?I want people to think I’m good!

4:49
Neil Weinberg: We actually include popups in fWAR. Tougher with fly ball guys who can run lower than average BABIPs. If we get statcast data, I bet ten years from now we’ll have made some leaps

4:49
Comment From JS
when a batter is having a breakout month or 2 at a later age, what numbers do you look at most closely to see if the changes are real or just a hot streak?

4:50
Neil Weinberg: BABIP first, then usually plate discipline stuff. Then I look at what pitches they’re swinging at. The later a player gets into their career the less likely I am to buy a hot month as real.

4:50
Comment From Interesting numbers
Jason Rogers in the Brewers system has put up some great numbers, with a high OBP, but he is 26. Is this why he gets no attention or are the numbers deceptively good?

4:51
Neil Weinberg: I don’t know what park he’s in, so it might be that simple, but teams and writers undersell “old for the level” players all the time. I think there’s a small market inefficiency there. Tigers have a guy in AAA right now who has a good glove and has hit everywhere, but has 0 MLB PA because he’s old and no one thinks he has the bat speed to hit.

Someone should give him a shot.

4:51
Comment From Tucker
Why is the league average for wRC+ 96 and not 100?

4:52
Neil Weinberg: League average is 100 excluding pitchers. They drag it down. click “np” for position and you’ll get there.

4:52
Comment From Matt
It bothered me that someone threw a Sheffield comp on Baez and Dave said it was “terrible”. It was a scouting comp referring to his build,insane bat speed,swings, and ability to have elite power/some speed.

4:52
Neil Weinberg: Dave was referring to their likely performance, I assume. Baez has a similar swing type, but Dave doesn’t see them as similar players.

4:53
Neil Weinberg: Fire off any quick ones and we’ll bring this in for a landing

4:54
Comment From Chris
Why are stolen bases given a weight of 0.2 for all years?

4:55
Neil Weinberg: You have to pick a number with linear weights. We care about the difference between SB and CS, so we set SB equal to anything and vary CS. If we set it to .4 it would end up telling us the same thing

4:55
Comment From Interesting numbers
What is the biggeest market inefficiency in baseball right now, and which team is capitalizing best?

4:56
Neil Weinberg: Starters coming off injuries and Cubs? First reaction I had.

4:57
Comment From JS
pedroia gonna hit over 12 homers in a season ever again?

4:57
Neil Weinberg: One more time?

4:57
Comment From JS
how many other 2b would you rather own over pedroia in a dynasty?

4:57
Neil Weinberg: Five? Guess it depends on the rules

4:57
Comment From quickie ;)
how would you calculate WAR for a manager? just a quick guess?

4:58
Neil Weinberg: I would probably try to do something based on lineup construction, bullpen choices, and bunting/stealing/IBB. Gets super hard very quickly because the problem is we don’t know what they are thinking. Does Ausmus keep using Nathan because he thinks he’s the best option or because Reliever X is nursing a tired arm? Hard to say

4:59
Comment From KMOB
Just mentioned this below and thought it woudl be a good question for you. Any idea why BBPro’s WARP is so hard on pitchers? In 2013, 14 hitters had at least 5.7 WARP. Zero pitchers made it that high. 21 Hitters were over 5 WARP, and only 2 pitchers.

4:59
Neil Weinberg: No idea. Have to ask them, I’ve never looked deeply into their calculations. Not sure I could

4:59
Comment From question
Is OBP properly valued now? what offensive category is undervalued in today’s market?

5:00
Neil Weinberg: Getting close. Probably mid range power, like doubles hitters? Not sure.

5:00
Comment From question
What is your PHD in? I’m an econ major and love how this stuff meets perfectly between baseball and economics

5:00
Neil Weinberg: Political Science

5:00
Comment From Gila Monster
This seems like blasphemy, but could Mike Trout have the career Josh Hamilton was suppose to? Not the terrible Josh Hamilton, but the one drafted in 1999 as a generational talent with elite tools that “disappeared”.In 7 years, could Trout be putting up 2010 Josh Hamilton seasons?

5:01
Neil Weinberg: This is a fun question and I may steal it from you, with proper attribution, or course

5:01
Comment From Joe
Shouldn’t WPA be used to determine the MVP. After all the leader has added the most to a teams chances of winning

5:02
Neil Weinberg: No. WPA doesn’t tell you anything about how that player really played. If your team always played 0-0 games until the 9th inning when you always got the winning hit, you’d have a huge WPA. If some other player had the same thing happen but they got the winning hit in the first inning of a 1-0 game, it would be much lower. Same player, different WPA. RE24 has a better case

5:03
Comment From question
Could you argue that a WAR overrates pitchers since they can only contribut to 1/5 wins?

5:03
Neil Weinberg: Go look at batters faced and then go look at PA for hitters. Pitchers have way more impact on their games than position players

5:03
Comment From Matt
We know projections are awesome. But should you trust an educated “personal projection” over a normal one. If I can look at SwgStk%,Whiff/Swing rates,Velocity, and changes in mechanics/release, wouldn’t you trust the things the stabilize quickly over a projection that doesn’t take that into account. Case in point, Jon Lester fixed some mechanical problems early in the season. Projections didn’t know that. I did from looking at pitch f/x/

5:06
Neil Weinberg: Do you know what info the projection is using? Maybe it does know that. Either way, this is an important point. The projections are right on average, we’ve seen the evidence. But all that means is that they miss equally in both directions. There is room to improve them and sometimes you can spot something they are missing.

The key is to also be aware of how often you will personally get this wrong. If I look at ten players, I should over and under project five in each direction. If I don’t, I have a bias

5:06
Comment From Nick
why the A’s so consistently good?

5:07
Neil Weinberg: Honestly, I think a lot of their edge is that they don’t get caught up in name value…or maybe they can’t afford to? So they don’t make bad long term bets. When they screw up, it’s easy to correct the next season

5:08
Neil Weinberg: Alright, I should wrap this up and have dinner ready for my wife when she arrives home.

5:08
Neil Weinberg: Sorry if I didn’t get to a question!

5:09
Neil Weinberg: Come back and ask again in the future, please. And tell your friends to do so too

5:09
Neil Weinberg: Check out my stuff on Friday, will be writing about FIP this week and get me on Twitter @NeilWeinberg44 if you have questions before next week.

5:09
Neil Weinberg: Take care.



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Neil Weinberg is the Site Educator at FanGraphs. He is also the Managing Editor at Beyond The Box Score and can be found writing enthusiastically about the Detroit Tigers at New English D. Follow and interact with him on Twitter @NeilWeinberg44.


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Paul M
Guest
Paul M
2 years 1 month ago

Under Irony– 2014 Edition– if the A’s beat the Angels, say 7 of 10, and win the West going away with Donaldson having a very strong final 6 weeks, could he beat out Trout for the MVP with a combination of old school merits and new-fangled “sabermatics”– i.e, his lights out defense at 3B? (And still lose the GG to Beltre– Ha Ha)

Andy
Guest
Andy
2 years 1 month ago

Actually, yesterday an article here argued that Hernandez might win the MVP. But an argument against both Hernandez and Donaldson is that they aren’t close to Trout on all three major sites. E.g., on BBPro, Trout has about a 2.5 WAR lead over FH, and a 2 WAR lead over Donaldson. If the MVP is going to be based on WAR, I think all three sites should be considered. Trout has for most of the season, after the first month or two, been at or near the top at all three sites. There is no other player like this. His three site average WAR is well above everyone else’s.

KMOB
Guest
KMOB
2 years 1 month ago

I’ve seen this mentioned before, but there’s something inthe BBPro WARP that evaluates hiters and pitchers on what is seemingly a different scale. To wit, 1999 Pedro Martniez (maybe the greatest pitching season, ever) had a WARP of 9.0. Their Hitter WARP has someone(s) match or eclispe this number every season. So basically their metrics don’t believe a top pitcher can be as vaulable as a top pitcher. The other sites, and I think most of us, would disagree.

Viewed from another angle, in 2013 BBPro has 21 hitters above 5 WARP, with 14 above 5.7. They have 2 pitchers, and neither of those eclipses the 5.7 WARP mark. That’s patently rediculous.

Andy
Guest
Andy
2 years 1 month ago

The biggest difference wrt hitters between BBPro and the other two sites, BBRef and FG, I think is defense. FG and BBRef use UZR or DRS, which as far as I can tell are pretty similar, are based on the same fundamental approach. Whereas BBPRo uses an approach that seems to be similar to TZ, in that it doesn’t require actual observations of the fielding plays.

I took the top 20 by (total) WAR on FG and compared their defensive ratings there with there defensive ratings on BBRef and BBPro. Sixteen of the twenty had roughly similar ratings on the three sites, i.e., if a player had a slightly negative or positive rating on one site, he would have a slightly negative or positive rating on the other two sites; if he had a very negative or very positive rating on one site, he would at least have a somewhat negative or positive rating on the other two sites. There were only four players in the top 20 where this agreement didn’t exist, and in all four cases the odd site out was BBPro. In all four cases, BBPro gave the player a very high positive or negative defensive rating, whereas the other two sites had him fairly close to zero.

Andy
Guest
Andy
2 years 1 month ago

I’ll just add that at least this year, the highest batter WARs are found at BBPro, while the highest pitcher WARs at BBPro are definitely lower than the highest pitcher WARs at other sites.

Andy
Guest
Andy
2 years 1 month ago

To CuriousGeorge, who asked about how to determine if a batter should be shifted for:

See Max Weinstein’s Exploring the Shift Dynamic http://www.hardballtimes.com/exploring-the-shift-dynamic/

Andy
Guest
Andy
2 years 1 month ago

Ryan, re your question on GBs and BABIP: I think you will find some useful insights in Max Weinstein’s article Redefining Batted Balls to Predict BABIP, http://www.hardballtimes.com/redefining-batted-balls-to-predict-babip/

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