Comments on: Albert Pujols’ not very good 3-HR game This and that about baseball stats. Tue, 16 Jul 2013 17:01:55 +0000 hourly 1 By: pcg Thu, 27 Oct 2011 16:38:10 +0000 My point (hastily and poorly made, to be sure) re: Green was that I've never heard anyone talk about it as the pinnacle of achievement, though in terms of HR and runs scored, it has never been surpassed (Guy Hecker's 8/15/1886 effort notwithstanding). Maybe it's because it was a May game and every pitcher Milwaukee trotted out was a tomato can throwing BP to an otherwise yawn-worthy Dodgers offense. You'd argue those are strikes against the performance's position as greatest, not best; I would argue that very few people make such pedantic distinctions.

But whatever, I didn't mean to distract and I'm not trying to break into Green's house to steal his sense of accomplishment, any more than I think Andy was in the first place. I just re-read the original article and, aside from the tongue-in-cheek headline (which everyone is taking way, way too seriously) I can see no conceivable problem whatsoever with anything Andy wrote. Factual, concise, and giving the full picture of WPA (i.e., not denigrating Albert's individual performance based on the stat, but rather recognizing his position among others according to that particular stat).

I see we're playing the "rewrite the headline" game as well. "Albert Pujols' not very good (as measured by WPA against similar individual achievements as defined by key accumulation statistics) 3-HR game" Would that have been a better headline? Is there just no room for hyperbole in writing on this blog?

By: Kelly Thu, 27 Oct 2011 13:17:49 +0000 Why wouldn't you think of Green's game as the best hitting performance ever? Why would that be ridiculous?

You are conflating two terms here, "greatest" and "best." They are slightly distinct. "Best" doesn't depend on story line etc. "Greatest" does. For instance, right now Jeter is NOT the "best" shortstop in the game today, but most would agree he is the "greatest." People often mix up these two words.

Green's performance might very well be the best. You would certainly make a case for it, though Whitten's record RE24 game would be in the conversation.

Basing the BEST game on hard numbers like the most number of bases etc. IS pretty logical. It is certainly not "ridiculous." What would be ridiculous is to dismiss doing so out of hand. What's your defense for that position other than what it would mean to Shawn Green? You really don't defend your argument, you just sort of scoff Green's game and then pretend you scored a point.

As far as Andy goes, he should have worded his article differently. If just a few people were confused, it would be on them. If you confuse virtually everyone, it's on you. Communication is measured by how well you communicated your thought, and if you didn't do that then its on you.

By: pcg Thu, 27 Oct 2011 04:57:02 +0000 To all who are using the logic that Pujols' performance was the best ever, based on his 3 HR and 14 total bases, something no one else has topped in postseason history:

Would you also say Shawn Green's 4 HR / 19 total bases performance was the best hitting performance ever? You'd have to, right?

But that's ridiculous, as anyone watching that game would attest; the fact is basing "the greatest" on number of HR and total bases is just as ridiculous as basing mediocrity on a low WPA (which I'm quite positive Andy was NOT doing in the first place).

By: cyberjudge Thu, 27 Oct 2011 04:11:46 +0000 Game 3 was historic even before Albert. From the top of the 4th through the top of the 6th, each team scored 3+ runs for a record total of 5 frames. In fact, only 4 times previously, in 1922, 1959, 1978 & 1997, had 2 teams each scored 3+ runs in the same inning in the WS. In Game 3, it happened in consecutive (4th & 5th) innings.

By: Ken Thu, 27 Oct 2011 03:38:43 +0000 Sorry, though I had read my post before submitting, this little glitch still snuck in; should be: "even getting 3/4 of a homer CYCLE is nothing to be sneezed at!"

By: Ken Thu, 27 Oct 2011 03:34:18 +0000 In all the arguments about WPA, it dawns upon me that nobody has noticed a stat Pujols accomplished that could be unique. When we think of hitting for the cycle, it's rarely done, and the usual comment afterwards is: "missed gettting the cycle by a homer", or however else it came up short. Well, I have always wondered if anyone had ever hit a HOMER cycle: a solo, 2-run, 3-run and slam in the same game. From what everyone has said, Pujols certainly came closer to that than anyone else post-season; he missed a homer cycle only by a slam. Not to trivialize a grand slam, of course, but even getting 3/4 of a homer slam is nothing to be sneezed at!

By: scott-53 Tue, 25 Oct 2011 15:07:05 +0000 @108 : Didn't word that answer very well.

You can't run out the clock in baseball making the first home run an important one.

By: scott-53 Tue, 25 Oct 2011 14:52:35 +0000 @107: I agree 100%. Things would have little chance of happening equally.

Still, a visiting team with an 8-6 lead after 5 innings will win the game about 77%
of the time. Also, you can't run out the clock in baseball.

Win probability is my personal favorite advanced stat. It's a telling stat in
my opinion.

By: Jim Dunne Tue, 25 Oct 2011 13:26:30 +0000 @101

You're assuming too much. If Pujols doesn't hit that first home run, the game is still very close, and may take a very different turn. Maybe everything else happens equally, maybe not.


Exactly! To put this hypothetical into baseball terms, suppose a player goes 5 for 5, with 5 solo home runs, and his team wins 7-1. Each individual home run won't produce a significant add to WPA - the first ones because they are so early that they're not changing the complexion of the game (the other team still has significant chance to come back), and the later ones add little because their teams chance of winning is so large. He's being penalized on that 5th home run because of the first four. To say that it's "not very good" completely mischaracterizes the achievement.

Then suppose the next night he goes 1 for 5, with four K's and a solo home run in the bottom of the 9th, to win the game 1-0. The second game will have an enormous WPA, but it's hard to classify that as "better." More clutch? Maybe. But saying that it's "better" that he didn't hit home runs instead of striking out in those at-bats is kind of daffy, don't you think?

So let's stop attaching value words like good, bad, better, worse, etc to WPA. That's not what it measures.

By: Uncle Jimmy Tue, 25 Oct 2011 05:34:03 +0000 I guess my interpretation is more generic, but I have always thought that the moment tends to define the achievement. It magnifies the accomplishment and also the act of the mistake. I always felt bad for Buckner because of the way he had to "pay" for the sins of the Boston bullpen in 1986, but we are always defined by our actions in a defining moment. In that perspective, Albert Pujols's game was outstanding, but there was no "defining moment" when any of the home runs was hit. I thought the shot off the second deck facing was massive. I guess I can only trust my eyes and what I saw to define what I thought was an individual game performance which will be talked about forever. It is very rare when the performance of one individual decides the outcome of a game (excepting a shut down pitcher, such as Bob Gibson). So, I don't know stats as well as you do, but I know beauty when I see it and I know when a performance becomes unique.