Comments on: Nomar Through 2003 This and that about baseball stats. Tue, 16 Jul 2013 17:01:55 +0000 hourly 1 By: Gerry Mon, 15 Mar 2010 00:17:34 +0000 Thanks, JT. Thanks, DavidRF.

By: Johnny Twisto Fri, 12 Mar 2010 04:28:57 +0000 FWIW, I compared Garciaparra's and Davis's best offensive seasons, in which they had 155 and 156 OPS+, respectively.

I calculate Garciaparra creating 117 park-adjusted runs and making 343 outs, or 9.21 runs per 27 outs in a league that scored 5.30 runs per game, or 74% more than average.

I have Davis with 104 runs and making 362 outs, or 7.76 RC/27, 81% more than the league average of 4.29.

So this shows Davis with a little more edge than OPS+ did. This includes base stealing but not other baserunning, and Davis was very slow. A five-run advantage for Garciaparra on the basepaths could even them back up again.

By: Johnny Twisto Fri, 12 Mar 2010 04:02:32 +0000 Gerry, I'd use a runs created formula (I'm partial to BaseRuns these days), which as DavidRF said will more appropriately weight all the various elements. Tally up the runs created and compare the outs made. As for what my conclusion would be on Davis vs. Garciaparra, I'm not sure as I haven't actually run the numbers.

I prefer the big seasons because when I ask "How good was this player," his career totals don't interest me that much. I want to know how good he was at his best. Average performance doesn't mean anything to me when considering someone for the HOF. If I was systematic about it, I'd probably add up all a player's seasons above average, and ignore any seasons of average performance or below. So if I was using OPS+, the first player gets a total of 200 (4 seasons x (150-100)), and the second player has a total of something like 100 (10 seasons x (110-100)). The first player was great for a brief time. The second player was decent, maybe a few pretty good seasons. I'd rather vote for the first one. If Harold Baines had kept plugging along to 3000 hits, he still wouldn't get my vote.

By: DavidRF Thu, 11 Mar 2010 19:38:29 +0000 @8 again

"4 x 150 + 6 x 80 over the 10 x 110"

That's the classic Drysdale vs Pappas or Carlton vs Sutton debate. Bill James wrote about that quite a bit in his Hall of Fame book. I think the conclusion was that careers with sharper peaks led to more pennants for the teams they played for. That book is almost 20 years old now, though.

By: DavidRF Thu, 11 Mar 2010 19:33:18 +0000 @8

All the advanced metrics I can find actually like Alvin Davis's bat better than Nomar's bat through age 29. Nomar didn't walk much, so advanced metrics generally don't give him a boost.

The case against OPS+ is that an odd mixture of very simple and very complex. It includes park and era adjustments, so its not exactly "back of the envelope". As long as you are doing all of that, you might as well include SB's and GIDP's and a more validated balance between OBP and SLG.

That said, I really like OPS+ for these types of bulletin board discussions.

By: Finding Nomar | pitchers & poets Thu, 11 Mar 2010 15:04:35 +0000 [...] Baseball-Reference blog tracked Nomar’s early potential, pointing out that through his age 29 year, the shortstop was among the best of all time. I am [...]

By: Gerry Thu, 11 Mar 2010 11:59:52 +0000 Johnny Twisto, I think you and I agree on far more things than we disagree on, but I'm feeling particularly belligerent just now, so let me challenge you (in the friendliest possible way): where would you find the precision needed to distinguish between Nomar and (say) Alvin Davis through age 29, on offense? And to what conclusion would that precision lead you? Bonus points if you can do this without bringing defense into the discussion.

And why the preference for the 4 x 150 + 6 x 80 over the 10 x 110? I'm not sure where I come down on that one, so I'd like to see your reasons.

By: Johnny Twisto Thu, 11 Mar 2010 05:38:49 +0000 Gerry, I'll partially agree with you. Yes, ultimately it really only matters how many runs a player creates, and not whether he does it through HR or singles or stealing every base. But you can't just boil that number down to OPS+. OPS+ is a good raw stat to give you a general idea about a player's performance, but if you're analyzing borderline cases (which are the only interesting arguments, I suppose), you need more precision than it provides.

I'd also argue that the shape of the player's career is important. I'd rather elect a player with four 150 OPS+ seasons and six 80 OPS+ seasons than a guy who managed from 100 to 120 for ten years, even if their career PA and OPS+ are similar.

I also suspect that anyone who manages to appear so "unusual" per Sim Scores must be a very good player. Bad players are a dime a dozen. Not that I'd ever vote for the HOF based on sim scores.

Nomar seems similar to Vern Stephens, who I'm glad to see does sneak onto his most comparable list.

By: dukeofflatbush Thu, 11 Mar 2010 04:39:22 +0000 Live ball era righties with back-to-back batting titles.
1. Rogers Hornsby
2. Bill Madlock
3. Tommy Davis
4. Al Simmons
5. Joe Dimaggio
6. Nomar Garciaparra

Pretty decent company. Only the "Mad Dog" Madock is not in the Hall.
Another interesting note; during one 65 year stretch, '38-'03, 24 Red Sox won batting titles. 36%

By: Gerry Thu, 11 Mar 2010 02:32:23 +0000 Certainly, Nomar looked like a lock for the HoF in 2003. But the "club" arguments somewhat overstate the case. Why does someone have to hit for a higher average and get more hits and more home runs and more RBI to qualify? A player's offensive contribution can be boiled down to two numbers; PA and OPS+. Whether he achieves that OPS+ through home runs or singles or walks is irrelevant. So let's ask for players who, through age 29, had 4176 PA or more, and an OPS+ of 134 or better. Well, if I read it right, there have been 72 such players since 1901. That still puts Nomar in very good company, but I thinks it pegs his accomplishment a little more accurately. Players who beat Nomar on both stats include Juan Gonzalez, Jack Clark, Rocky Colavito, Boog Powell, and...wait for it...Alvin Davis. What Nomar mostly has going for him is the paucity of middle infielders among the 72.

Regarding the "most similar players" list, with only one player scoring over 830, those players aren't all that similar. The list shows Nomar was unusual; it's not clear that it shows he was good. (I'm not denying Nomar was good - he was superb - just saying I'm not convinced the MSP list is valuable evidence.)