To Replacement-Level or Not?

NOTE: If you haven’t seen the poll, then click that FIRST, then come back here to read more.

***

This is a the final part of a three-parter (for today anyway).

One thing that I wanted people to consider is that adding to one guy is like subtracting to another guy.

Say we look at our two players:
Player X: 105 runs created in 105 games
Player CD: 125 runs created in 162 games

The typical replacement-level process is to start with this guy:
Baseline: 0.35 runs per game

And we subtract that from each player.

So, Player X goes
from 105 runs created in 105 games
to 105 – 105*.35 = 68 runs created above Baseline

And Player CD goes
from 125 runs created in 162 games
to 125 – 162*.35 = 68 runs created above Baseline

Therefore, in terms of runs above replacement, both are at 68 runs.

But, what if instead of subtracting as I’m doing here, I simply ADD 0.35 runs per MISSING game.

Now we have this:
So, Player X goes
from 105 runs created in 105 games
to 105 + (162-105)*.35 = 125 runs created WITH baseline

And Player CD, having played all 162 games, remains at: 125 runs created

See? In both cases, we get the exact same answer.

When it comes to MVP talk, I presume a fair number of readers can’t fathom giving runs to a player for missing a game. That those 57 missing games should get zero runs, and therefore, the 105 runs in 105 games must remain identical in value to 105 runs in 162 games.

And I also think that those who support replacement level don’t realize that they are giving credit for the missing games, that they are in effect adding 20 runs to our Player X here.

In the end, it all comes down to an equivalency. You have someone with 105 runs created in 105 games. Is that better or worse, for MVP talk, than someone who created 106 runs in 162 games? How about 109 runs? 112?

The average Fangraphs reader made that decision: the average is 125 runs created in 162 games is equivalent to 105 runs created in 105 games. And so, the average Fangraphs reader supports adding 0.35 runs per game, for every missing game.



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FJR
Guest
FJR

To be fair though, I think people were so confused that all we saw was the well known fact that people get anchored to the median value in a poll when they don’t know what they’re looking at, since it seems to be inherently the most reasonable.

FJR
Guest
FJR

This is why we see that any poll where you chose from given values is biased towards the middle answer. The more confused the repondents are, the more pronounced this effect is.

Telo
Guest
Telo

That’s noted, however, it you were completely correct we’d see votes split between player C and D equally, while there was a very clear tendency towards C.

FJR
Guest
FJR

@tango

it’s not so much the actual answer that concerns me, it’s the level of agreement and the near perfect symmetry, after you take into account the obvious bad answer.

FJR
Guest
FJR

@yirmiyaho

yeah, i think that was part of the issue as well. The sabr inclined made up their own replacement level FIRST, which defeated the whole purpose as Tango stated it. The non-sabr inclined just picked the middle answer.

CBP
Guest
CBP

I think the average Fangraphs reader is intelligent enough to understand the poll question. If this were on Fox or ESPN, I’d have been more inclined to agree with you.

Yirmiyahu
Member
Yirmiyahu

I think I cheated. I worked backwards.

First I decided that I wanted to rate MVP based on runs-above-replacement instead of runs-above average. (I’d do the opposite if we were discussing HoF). Then I decided I wanted replacement level to be 20 runs-below-average per 150 games. Then I figured out all of the players RAA and sorted.

I am apparently a saber geek.

Yirmiyahu
Member
Yirmiyahu

Should’ve said “Then I figured out all of the players RAR and sorted.”

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