This gem yesterday from the Bergen Record:
Maybe this is Derek Jeter’s destiny: to be the best baseball player of his generation to never win an MVP award.
Maybe this is Derek Jeter’s destiny: to be the best baseball player of his generation to never win an MVP award.
…it’s akin to papi being called the best clutch [cough] hitter with his .280 BA with runners in scoring position…[gulp]
Actually, dc, it’s because Ortiz led the AL in close/late OPS, a better offensive measurement than batting average.
Paul, do we need to sit you at the kiddie table? For one day the pilgrim and the native shall live in peace! BREAK IT UP!
Hey, I’m at work and got nothin’ better to do. My Thanksgiving was last week. Besides I thought that was civil enough…
Nevertheless, I’ll leave things be.
I’m the best player ever. And I won an MVP. NYAAAAH NYAAAH NYAAAH NYAAAH NYAAAAH.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
I ask this sincerely and not as some rhetorical question: Has Manny ever been robbed of the MVP award? I feel Jeter has been snubbed of the award twice, in 1999 and this year, but what about ManRam?
back to my post-turkey nap…
Hell of a point, D-Mat.
In 1999, Manny hit 165 RBIs. Personally, I think that was the year where there were a plethora of MVPS. Look up Manny’s year, Pedro’s year, Jeter’s year. That definitely could have been Manny’s year, except one might say Pedro was better. Jeter was awesome that year. Instead, Pudge won it.
165 RBIs. Damn.
I could agree that Jeter is the best baseball player of his generation to be protected at the plate by past and present All-Stars throughout his lineup and to win a Gold Glove at shortstop because of his third baseman’s range.
Hudson: sabrmetric studies have shown that “protection” in a lineup isn’t actually very meaningful from a statistical perspective. And, um, Jeter has played with better third baseman than Alex (Brosius, Ventura), so that argument doesn’t work for me either.
Whatever. Today is a day to be thankful, and I’m thankful Jeter is a Yankee. You can be thankful Manny is a Red Sox. For now, anway.
I can agree with that, YF.
Manny had 100 RBI in 1999 BEFORE THE ALL-STAR BREAK, one of just three (iirc) people in baseball history to do that. But Pedro Martinez also had one of the best pitching seasons in baseball history that year. Jeter had his best season that year — and all three of those teams made the playoffs … and they gave it to I-Rod. Sorry, that doesn’t fly with me.
Does “protection” offer any statistical impact on runs scored? Opportunities to drive in runs? Does it offer players better looks at pitchers, since “protection” often means opposing hurlers throw more pitches, tiring earlier, leading to extended bullpen stints?
It’s an interesting fact you cite, and I am curious to know what it means, in more depth. I suspect the myth of protection comes from measurement of limited statistics, and doesn’t factor in situational baseball. Do you agree that a player of skill in the Yankees lineup benefits further from the fact that their lineup wears pitchers out, that it is stacked top to bottom?
…this discussion about “protection” in an “all-star” lineup suggests to me that the sf’s concede that their team is simply not as good as the yankees…as evidenced also by the results on the field the past couple of years…also, jeter’s got a goofy hairdo…
Funny how shortstops like ARod and Tejada have been stealing all of Jeter’s MVPs during his reign of very good-ness.
DC, I know George thinks great lineups are all that you need for a good team, but hopefully you don’t. Better lineups do not equate better teams, although 2006 isn’t really in question in that regard.
“Do you agree that a player of skill in the Yankees lineup benefits further from the fact that their lineup wears pitchers out, that it is stacked top to bottom?”
On the surface this seems like a reasonable idea, but then you have the examples of Andy Phillips and Craig Wilson, who did not, in the least, seem to benefit from the Yanks stacked line-up. But I guess that doesn’t exactly contravene your idea of a player of skill benefitting from a good line-up around him. Well, in that case, let’s use the example of A-Rod, who by most measures had one of his worst seasons in 2006. This probably was the best line-up he’s hit in during his career. Perhaps, this points to the idea that hitting is, more than anything, a personal, rather than team, skill.
It occurs to me that this line of argument when connected to the MVP debate is a little off-target. I’m not trying to say that you, SF, are trying to relate this to the MVP debate, but I’ve seen plenty of people arguing in this vein anyway. The general idea is that a player is more deserving of the MVP because it was tougher for him to excel given the circumstances in which they played. This often comes up in park factor arguments. For instance, Yankees Stadium (in most years) is a worse hitters park than Fenway. So last year’s MVP debate was colored by the park factor debate. A-Rod’s numbers were more impressive than Ortiz’s numbers, the argument went, because it was harder for him to do what he did than what Ortiz did. The problem with that argument is it focuses on effort. Who knows? Maybe A-Rod’s swing in 2005 made it a lot easier for him to hit in Yankee Stadium. The real argument is that because runs are harder to come by in Yankee Stadium, the runs he created were more valuable than the runs Ortiz created in Fenway. When something is scarce, it becomes more valuable.
>>>… sf’s concede that their team is simply not as good as the yankees…as evidenced also by the results on the field the past couple of years…
Extend that argument to three years, and see what result you get.
私は開会日のRed Soxプレーヤーである。 私達は選手権に皆で私達の方法の多くの目的を達成する。
But Nick, A-Rod’s season, for him, was an outlier, marked by tough times in the field as well. I don’t think you can isolate one season from one player to prove a point. I am more interested in knowing what “protection” really means, and for skilled playres, over the course of a much bigger sample. This is obviously hard (perhaps impossible) to do. But the sabermetric analyses that say “protection” is statistically insignificant may be limited in how they measure it’s impact. Can YF help us out here? How do they measure “protection”‘s impact?
As for the latter part of your comment, I am, as you say, not commenting on the MVP. But I do have a question for you about that part of your post: in what universe is Fenway a good hitter’s park for a lefty pull hitter like Ortiz?
SF, it doesn’t really matter if Ortiz being a lefty pull hitter is at a disadvantage playing his games at Fenway. The point is that in general it is more difficult to create runs as a batter at Yankees Stadium. Thus, runs are more valuable when scored in the Bronx.
One of the problems I have with sabermetrics is the refusal to see how real-life scenarios sometimes belie the statistics. For example, I agree that in theory, the order of a lineup does little to affect a team’s chances of scoring runs — yet in indicidual situations throughout the season, we see where a slumping player hitting too high up comes to bat with runners on base and fails, costing the team runs and thus wins, etc.
Likewise the clutch debate. It makes sense — and it’s generally true — that what we perceive as clutch is really just luck swinging in a batter’s direction for several at-bats or games or weeks or a season or whatever. But then you look at hitters like Pujols and Ortiz, who consistently perform in such situations over multiple year periods, and players like A-Rod, who has underperformed in such situations for several years, and you wonder whether there are players who simply are more clutch than others, sabermetric analysis be hanged.
Anyway, all that to say that sometimes just because the sabermatricians say it’s so, doesn’t mean the principle holds up universally. I don’t know in this case one way or the other, but it stands to reason that a hitter with protection gets better pitches to hit than one without — and thus has more pitches with which to increase his numbers.
SF, it doesn’t really matter if Ortiz being a lefty pull hitter is at a disadvantage playing his games at Fenway
Of course it should matter. This is why sabermetrics is incomplete. Useful, of course, but incomplete, as an informational tool. You can look at facts one way, make a claim, and then ignore the inconvenient facts that are part of the story. That you are so willing to throw this fact away, to get a “truer” picture (and a picture that serves your own argument, to be quite blunt) is, to me, ridiculous.
Well, I think the difference is that in the former, you can easily do park-adjusted value (Yanks stadium vs Fenway) since it’s something intrinistic about the stadium, while Ortiz being a pull hitter.. well, it’s like someone swinging with one hand – it’s by choice somewhat, and the variation comes out as the stats rather than being in the park..
Or something like that.. ;)
I don’t question the raw statistics, where it may be harder to score in one park versus another park. What I object to is not looking deeper, at trying to understand how one guy might hit in his own park versus how another guy might hit in his park, etc. If you don’t look at the unique players, you will be left with big-picture ideas that don’t tell you everything. Oftentimes these are the statistics that are most useful in a debate, even if they aren’t the most accurate.
I think my original comment might have come off as a little dismissive of Nick, and I think that’s an error in tone on my part. Despite being called a “flat-earther” by YF (who thankfully retracted that comment!), I am fascinated by the depth that sabermetrics allows us in understanding baseball. But it’s limited to not look more specifically at players, and this is what I am trying to articulate (poorly, perhaps).
SF, I guess the question for me is why does it matter that Ortiz was (supposedly) adversely affected by playing his games at Fenway? You seem to have no problem with ruling out players of the MVP debate if they (through no fault of their own) play on crappy teams. Through no fault of his own, Ortiz plays at a home park that is not catered to lefty pull hitters (although I can’t see how Williamsburg doesn’t help him). Your argument is essentially based on fairness and a hypothetical: If Ortiz played in a truly neutral ball park, if all things were equal, his numbers would have been better. But you never seem to care to make that extrapolation for MVP candidates (such as Sizemore or Hafner in 2006). What if they played on better teams? Wouldn’t their performances be just as valuable as the players who did play on the front-runners and were thus a part of your MVP rubric? As it stands, Ortiz plays a park that is generally a good hitters park, where runs are scored more easily. Runs created at Fenway are slightly less valuable than runs created at Yankees Stadium or Shea Stadium.
By the way, I don’t know why I’m being identified as being in the sabermetric camp anymore than Paul or SF. There have been instances on this site where all of us have relied on statistics to prove our points. Paul’s great post proving Papi’s clutchness was heavily reliant on stats and also his interpretation of what those stats mean. And to me, it’s a gross oversimplification of sabermetric thinking (whatever that is. It’s not a monolith as far as I can tell)to say that it argues against notions of clutchness. I think the best writers on the subject of clutch attempt to demystify the subject and to give us a better understanding of what it means. For instance, one of the things that I find interesting about the debate is why it is so central to sports argument. Most games are not decided close and late, so clutch is generally not a huge factor. Yet we focus on it much of the year. And on this site, there are huge threads devoted to the subject. Without the writings of BP, I would probably not realized how narrow most of our focus is when we debate what clutch is.
Update: SF, I just read your post, but I’ll send this one in anyway. I think it’s an interesting discussion even if I think you clarified your position and my combative tone is obsolete;)
I love sabermetrics, Nick. I was just saying, as SF did, that they don’t always give a complete picture, and that the more demagogic followers — and I wasn’t lumping you in with them — seem to ignore the realities of the play that takes place in favor of the trends the numbers show. As I said, I don’t know whether that’s the case as far as protection in the lineup or not, but I was just saying I’d take general sabermetric-based principles that almost seem intentionally to go against the grain with a grain of salt.
You’re right, though. I probably generalized more than I should have about the clutchiness issue.
Your argument is essentially based on fairness and a hypothetical: If Ortiz played in a truly neutral ball park, if all things were equal, his numbers would have been better. But you never seem to care to make that extrapolation for MVP candidates (such as Sizemore or Hafner in 2006). What if they played on better teams? Wouldn’t their performances be just as valuable as the players who did play on the front-runners and were thus a part of your MVP rubric?
Well this is where it gets admittedly tricky. For me, the MVP is a recognition of a combination of things, not *just* an evaluation of neutral what-if statistics and de-personalized measurements (VORP, etc.), though these certainly help pinpoint. Certainly it’s not fair to over-penalize a player because the guys around him stink, or because he can’t prove himself in the clutch just because those scenarios don’t arise. On the other hand, and to me, there’s an inherent concept in the award (yes, subjective), which privileges a player who contributes to the success of his team. This contribution isn’t only statistical, or only measurable sabermetrically. I do buy into the idea that one can measure relative value through sabermetrics, and I do believe that this helps narrow a field, even if that field is to include players for non-contenders. But once you get past these sterile numbers, you need to use your eyes, your subjective reasoning to make a more complete judgment. I suppose if I were a member of the voting clan I would occasionally be the type deemed a “moron” by those people angry at Jeter’s snub (though I think I would have actually cast my vote for him this year), since I would not be able to divorce certain circumstances from my voting choice. To me the “moron” is the guy who voted Jeter 7th, as there is, to me, no basis (however subjective the vote might be) for a deriliction like that. That person should have his privileges revoked, as far as I am concerned.
On the other hand, I would be probably be the type of voter who would get it “wrong” on occasion, at least if you just based a choice on the conventional stats and on deeper sabermetrics. I could live with that, as long as I could justify it through a combination of subjective assessment and statistical analysis.
Statistics are tricky, I agree, but 165 rbis. Damn. Someone may come up with a stat that tells me why Manny shouldn’t have won it, but reading his season back now, it’s 165 runs batted in. Tell me why Manny should not have won it in ’99. Tell me when someone else is going to do what he did that year.
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