Nationals Baseball: Your annual Spring Training stats reminder

Thursday, March 03, 2016

Your annual Spring Training stats reminder

They doesn't matter.

Not really anyway. For example :

Best hitter on the Nats last Spring? Matt Skole.  Also very good in the Spring. Tony Gwynn Jr, Wilson Ramos.

Best pitchers on the Nats last Spring? Matt Grace, Blake Treinen.

Yes, I cherry picked a little - you could toss in Clint Robinson, Bryce and Max in there. But that's doesn't kill the point. How well you do in a limited time frame against a large variation of competition produces results that are pretty much random. That's even before you factor in the "working on something" aspect of Spring Training.

Oh the stats guys will try to pull together something or other from it because that's what they are being paid to do but try not to pay too much attention.  At best these are "maybe something is there" or "confirming what I already thought" types of stats. For the former you need more data, more REAL data. For the latter you already have the data, this is just the final shovel of dirt on the coffin.

Ok fine. What are these things? Well for me I look at three things

(1) If someone hits for substantially more power than they usually do. That's falls into the "maybe something is there" category.

(2) If someone does terrible and you thought they might be terrible. That falls into the "confirming" category. But here when I say "terrible" I mean "terrible".  ERAs over 6.00.  BAs under .100. That sort of thing.

(3) I'll also allow a "I don't really have a preference between these two players so I'll let Spring Training decide".  Something has to right? The Nats shouldn't be in this position. They have decent reasons to make their decisions. But if you are choosing between say Jedd Gyorko and Johnny  Giavotella for your starting 2B, first I'm sorry, and 2nd, sure, what the hell. Use ST stats to make the decision.

Anyway friendly reminder out of the way. When Solano or Difo hits .380 for the Spring I hope you remember this when I call your cries of "Start him!" stupid.


SM said...

And just how do you assess a player who undergoes--see (bad bun) Wilson Ramos--spring training LASIK surgery?

"Maybe something is there" or "confirming what I already thought" seems somehow outside the bounds of conventional assessment.

Normally, a sample size of one (1) would be dismissed as preposterous. Dusty Baker, however, doesn't think so. "He'll really be able to hit now," said Dusty.

Oh, boy.

SM said...

(bad pun) is what it should say. Then again, (bad bun) is whimsically erroneous.

JC said...

Sorry I meant to ask yesterday but I had a question about your win projecting methods. When you add up each persons WAR does that reflect the expected base-run W/L record? It certainly seems possible to me that individual players could perform in a manner that increases their WAR but does not actually result in a team win. For example if Harper gets a bunch of HR in blow out games his WAR goes up but this contribution is essentially "wasted" in a game that was already won. Conversely if a mediocre player gets "lucky" and produces their runs at the right time then those runs are worth more to the team then the WAR is giving them credit for.

Robot said...

Let's not forget that there's also the risk of injuries that are initially reported as no big deal, maybe a week or two, but result in a fringe MVP player being out for the first third of the season.

Harper said...

SM - LASIK? Add 5 wins for MVP RAMOS! He's a bad bun.

JC - there isn't any real "science" behind these scenarios. I look at last year, the past few years, age, trends, and kind of get a sense where I think what my fair projection of their WAR should be. Then I compare to various WARs on the team last year (usually their own, but sometimes the guy they replace) and translate that directly to the win total. It's more of a feeling because let's be honest figuring out how well a team can do sticking to "No injuries, no breakouts, no crashes" is an exercise in fantasy.

WAR despite the presumed tie-in to wins, is more objective than some of the other fancy measures. Did you see the articles toward the end of last season about "value" during the MVP race? They tried to kind of answer your question with Game adjusted RE24 and the like. I can see this in hindsight analysis but I'm not sure there's anything there that would stop us from assuming the general WAR to win connection for projections.

Robot - At least Rendon isn't day to day anymore

Jay said...

I do think Baker was joking when he said Ramos would hit better. And Ramos having lasik would fall under confirmation category for me. Last year he swung the bat like he couldn't see at all and just wanted the experience of each at bat over as quickly as possible. Goes to show that baseball is over valuing prospects. Ramos was thought of very highly just a year or two ago. Remember the "if he can just stay healthy crowd". Now he looks more like a back up catcher, much less an elite catcher. Hopefully the lasik does help. But I doubt it.

What about Difo bobbling 4 different ground balls yesterday?? Another prospect that may be going nowhere. The fun of spring training.

SM said...

Jay - That's just it: Was Dusty joking? Whether he was gently teasing, snidely mocking or anything in between, the joke was at Ramos's expense. (Does Wilson strike you as the kind of easy-going, self-deprecating sort who'd appreciate Dusty's joke?)

But perhaps the vision issue isn't necessarily restricted to hitting, either. Could it be possible that Ramos's vision affected his ability to "read" throws from the outfield on plays at the plate? (Is there a stat for how many throws catchers mishandle in a season? Was Ramos better than most? Worse? Average?)

Can't wait for a decent sample size to form conclusions about the efficacy of LASIK treatment on baseball players--without any Dan Uggla jokes, that is.

Richard Parker said...

"They doesn't matter" is your lead-off? That's worse than Danny Espinosa!

Anonymous said...

I'm not worried. 6 h2H.