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To Replacement-Level or Not?

Posted By Tangotiger On August 19, 2011 @ 1:28 pm In Daily Graphings | 64 Comments

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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