All Forums > SimLeague Baseball > MLB > What do you think of WAR?
2/5/2013 11:10 PM
Posted by dahsdebater on 2/5/2013 10:31:00 PM (view original):
Of course not.  Although if you calculate all the probable outcomes of a walk and a single, it's closer than most people think...

I didn't say OBP is the only thing that matters.  I said it's the most important determinate of run scoring, at least on a team-wide basis.  A guy with a .290-.300 OBP who can hit 35 or 40 homers is moderately valuable, but only if there are guys in front of him who can get on base for him to drive in.  A team of that guy would be a fairly average offense in spite of leading the league in HRs by a mile and slugging by a healthy margin as well.  Alfonso Soriano has quietly slugged .489 over the last 3 years - one of the better slugging percentages in the NL over that time (17th) - but nobody wants him at even a reduced pricetag.  The Cubs can't move him.  You don't think his .312 OBP has something to do with it?  Here are a few NL players with lower SLG numbers over the past 3 years: Ryan Zimmerman, David Wright, Andrew McCutcheon, Pablo Sandoval, Hunter Pence, Adam LaRoche, and Jason Heyward.  You think those guys aren't valued head and shoulders above Soriano?  Of course they are.  And their OBPs all exceed his; other than Sandoval, they really all blow him away.

Please note that I never said I would throw SLG away.  But OBP is vastly more important.  That's all.
5 of those 7 players will be in their 20's on opening day.  Part of the reason they are more valuable is because Soriano is 37 (and he never should've gotten that massive contract in the first place).  No one is saying that OBP isn't important or that either has a linear correlation with runs scored (although SLG is somewhat linear for real life teams).  What formula are u using to predict runs scored only using OBP as ur variable?
2/5/2013 11:47 PM
Low walk guys aren't trading walks for hits - they are trading walks for batted balls and batted balls end up as outs more often than they end up as hits.  A 600 PA, .320 hitter with 40 walks hits into more outs/gets on base less than a 600 PA, .280 hitter with 100 walks. That's 39 more hits for the high average guys, but 60 less walks so 21 more outs. With only 3 outs per inning and 27 per game, those outs "cost" a lot in terms of runs.   The high AVG guy would have to also have more power to make up the difference.  Sometimes, SLG is higher just because AVG is higher, not because there is more power.  You can score runs being good at one and below average in the other, but being able to not make outs consistently seems like it should be the best bet for scoring the most runs more often.


2/6/2013 8:02 AM
Runs created leaders seem to have a lot of power.  
2/6/2013 8:08 AM
I didn't check but I I'd bet that runs created leaders are good at both.
2/6/2013 8:28 AM
They probably are.   I just looked at the top 10 lists and it seemed that Mauer a couple of years ago was the only "non-power" guy I saw.

Of course, top 10 lists are probably not the best place to look as those guys are obviously good ballplayers.    The real test is the middle of the pack guys, the .325 OBP vs. the SLG equivalent(whatever that is).

2/6/2013 8:30 AM
No idea how it would come out but the AL averages last year were .320/.411

If you had a good sample size of players who failed to reach one but exceeded the other, you could at least figure out which group created the most runs.
2/6/2013 9:36 AM
Granderson and Ibanez were under OBP/over SLG.   Avg runs per team was 4.45.   Granderson's RC was 5.6/Ibanez 4.4.   They had no one with significant playing time do the opposite but Nunez(100 AB) and Gardner(37 AB) were and their RC per game was 5 and 5.6.   Not sure that says anything but that's the Yanks.
2/6/2013 2:46 PM
RC = OBP*total bases, total bases = SLG*AB, so RC is OBP*SLG*AB.  Again, though, I'm talking about the relationship between runs and OBP/SLG on a teamwide basis, not an individual basis.  A guy with Granderson's power is valuable as long as he has other guys to drive in, but I don't imagine most people would expect a lineup of all Grandersons to be elite.  At least not people on this website.
2/6/2013 2:58 PM
My point was that Ibanez seemed to really fall off while Nunez/Gardner did not(albeit with limited opp). 

Granderson was just barely under league average OBP.

Anyway, I'm not sold on OBP being the "most important stat".   Hence my question about walk vs single.
2/6/2013 3:12 PM
Here is an interesting thought experiment...

This is a scholarly article on the Moneyball philosophy...

And the people who wrote this article did a 20-year regression analysis that gave a weighted coefficient for OBP nearly twice as high as that for SLG.  And that's still linear; if you allow for a non-linear fit you'll get an even higher OBP reliance on the high end.  I believe Bill James has estimated the importance of OBP for run scoring to be ~1.8*SLG, but based on the recent historical average distribution of walks, singles, doubles, triples, and home runs an increase in OBP typically corresponds to roughly a 1.3x increase in SLG.  That leads the remaining .5x value as pure additional value in getting on base.
2/6/2013 3:31 PM
I'll address the first one.   A team can draw 27 walks, have an OBP of .500 and get shut out.

Can a team that slugs .500 be shut out?  Sure but it's highly unlikely unless their only hit each inning is a triple.    But, as we know, based on league averages, .500 OBP is about .670 SLG.  Can a team that slugs .670 be shut out?
2/6/2013 3:55 PM
It's possible, but highly unlikely.  Same with the OBP.  Sure you can come up with a hypothetical scenario in which a team has 27 walks and no hits, 3 walks per inning, no sac hits, and they don't score a run.  But as you already pointed out, a team with a .500 OBP has an expectation of over .600 SLG, so the reality is that they're scoring a ton of runs.  The real question is if we take a very good, but not elite, offense - say a team with a net .350 OBP and .450 SLG - which is going to contribute more runs to that offense, increasing the OBP by 10 points or increasing the SLG by 13 points?  I would contend that the OBP would add more runs.  Bill James would say the OBP adds as many runs as 18 points of SLG, so that would suggest the OBP helps more.  The same applies to an average offense.  Over the past 60 years, a rough estimate of an average offense is .320-.330 OBP, .380ish SLG.  These are still in the range at which we'd expect similar gains from adding OBP or SLG.  So for an average-good offense, adding OBP is more valuable than adding a commensurate amount of SLG.
2/7/2013 9:26 AM
When you attempt to go to extremes, common sense in thrown out the window.

Is it better to not make outs?   Of course.   In a vacuum, would a team with a .400 OBP score more than a team with a .300 OBP?   Of course.

I'm not sure there's a "real" answer to be found.  Some people are "Weaver" people who like the 3-run homer and others are "Moneyball" people who prefer OBP.    I'd like to see some Whiteyball, or whatever it was called in STL, argue that SB are key. 
2/7/2013 2:03 PM
Hard to argue that in an era with even moderate offense.  But 3-run homers require guys to be on base.  Weaver was just a station-to-station guy, but he definitely looked for players who could draw walks way before walks were in vogue...
2/7/2013 8:12 PM
Look at last year's O's...second in the league in HR, terrible OBP. I think they were 8th in the league in runs. Slugging doesn't mean much if no one's on base ahead of you.

But that being said, with some decent pitching, that "go for the long ball" approach got them into the playoffs. You can use the same stats to support either argument.
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