Posted by doubletruck on 1/31/2015 12:36:00 PM (view original):
I really don't understand much of this. First, how can team fielding that steals 1.3 hits a game make much difference over the long haul of a season, especially if having a weaker offense might cost you two hits or more per game? Second, are there other hit-robbing plays that don't show up as plus plays?
Based on total chances in 1987, Garry Templeton made 5.2 plays per game, and is WIS rated for range at A. Ozzie Smith made 5.1 PPG and is rated B+. Barry Larkin made .539 PPG and is rated C and Craig Reynolds made 4.4 PPG and is rated D-. So, does the difference of making only an additional 0.8 PPG merit the difference between having A range and having D- range? If not, then what else is being considered in range ratings -- and how would anything other than chances handled bear on one's range rating?
1.) First, how can team fielding that steals 1.3 hits a game make much difference over the long haul of a season, especially if having a weaker offense might cost you two hits or more per game.
The tradeoff between offense and defense (or more specifically "offense plus defense plus playing time" versus "cost") is one that every owner has to make with every team. What this thread is about is trying to understand if it is possible to build a winning team by spending extra money on high range players... and for me it's specifically about trying to understand if this strategy for putting together roster is an alternative to the generic "switch-hitting singles hitters with high SB and SB%" team that dominates most OLs. Clearly there have been enough owners who are successful with this strategy that the answer is "yes, it is." As to a weaker offense costing you 2 or more hits per game, there is no way the difference is that big. If it is, you are clearly doing something wrong. In the league that I most recently posted about here, the team I used ended up with 1782 hits. Which was the second highest total in the league, and only 11 hits fewer than the #1 team. We scored 910 runs, 5th most in the league. Yes, we played in Hilltop, but the other top offense teams also played in plus parks for offense. I didn't sacrifice anything close to 300 hits in putting together that team.
I guess you COULD put together a high-range team with a really terrible offense, but again, that would mean you are really screwing up the strategy. The trick is realizing that with the higher range you can spend less on PITCHING, not on hitting. Trade down either the quality of your pitching (OAV, WHIP, ERC) or the quantity (IP) or both...because the range is going to make up some of the difference.
2.) Are there other hit-robbing plays that don't show up as plus plays?
3.) So, does the difference of making only an additional 0.8 PPG merit the difference between having A range and having D- range? If not, then what else is being considered in range ratings -- and how would anything other than chances handled bear on one's range rating?
WIS doesn't use the raw number of plays made (putouts and assists) as their sole factor in determining the range grades. The knowledge base is not specific about this. Here's what they say: Range factors are based on WhatIfSports.com's Relative Range Factor values that take actual stats and better account for actual team makeup and balls in play allowed
. I take "actual team makeup" to probably mean number of innings pitched by lefties versus righties... Bill James and others have demonstrated that this has a huge impact on the distribution of putouts and assists. I take "balls in play allowed" to mean that they consider the strikeout rate - and possibly other factors - of the actual pitching staff. Teams with large numbers of strikeouts obviously tend to have fewer putouts and assists by the rest of the team.
If you search for the regular shortstops in the 1987 NL, and sort them by RRF-SS, you get the following:
||1987 Atlanta Braves
||1987 San Diego Padres
||1987 St. Louis Cardinals
||1987 San Francisco Giants
||1987 New York Mets
||1987 Chicago Cubs
||1987 Cincinnati Reds
||1987 Philadelphia Phillies
||1987 Cincinnati Reds
||1987 Montreal Expos
||1987 Houston Astros
There is a perfect correlation between RRF and the letter grade assigned to range. The difference between A+ and D- range for a shortstop is roughly 1.25 plays per game. Which is a huge difference.