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The last twenty comments in true blog fasion, with the links to their authors and the player commented upon.

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Joey Votto Cincinnati Reds

That clinches it. They tied!

Two more quotes from Votto after losing by one second-place vote:

"People basically said, 'We loved them both.' That's something I'm
grateful for. Giancarlo plays in a monster ballpark and hit all those
home runs, and I was cheering for him. I played every day, and I felt
like I put together a nice, well-rounded season. We did it from the
beginning to the end. We both stayed healthy, and I think the fans
appreciated it."

"I think the season I put up would have been relevant in any era," Votto
said. "The feedback I got was, 'He played well.' Only now can they
realize that a player can do these sorts of things and get credit for
it. The season I just put up would have worked in the 40's, the 10's and
the 70's."

He's right about that.

Alex Patton Alex
Denard Span San Francisco Giants

Still waiting for my copy of The Bill James Handbook. In the meantime, here's an excerpt from Don Drooker's book report at https://rotisserieduck.com/:


... Fielding metrics are relatively new and not yet accepted by fans or even by many statisticians. The handbook’s “Defensive Runs Saved” chart does help us verify what we think we’re told by our eyes. The Red Sox defense was a major part of their winning formula in 2017, as their three OF’s were superb. Mookie Beets was the 2nd best defensive player in all of baseball with 31 runs saved while Jackie Bradley Jr. & Andrew Benintendi saved 10 & 9 respectively. The BoSox also got a 10-runs saved contribution from 1B Mitch Moreland. Angels SS Andrelton Simmons was the #1 fielder with 32 while the other leading infielders were Reds 1B Joey Votto with 11 and two Rockies…3B Nolan Arenado (20) & 2B D.J. Lemahieu (8). The Yankees Brett Gardner led the LF’s with 17 and the Twins Byron Buxton topped the CF’s by saving 24 runs…not surprisingly, Kevin Kiermaier and Kevin Pillar were close behind. If you’re wondering why Martin Maldonado is penciled in as the Angels starting Catcher, look no further than his 22 runs saved defensively. For all the cynical fans out there, we can’t leave out the worst fielders in the game and how many runs they cost their teams.

1B) Tommy Joseph -10

2B) Daniel Murphy -15

3B) Cory Spangenberg -14

3B) Nick Castellanos -14

SS) Jose Reyes -15

LF) Matt Kemp -17

CF) Denard Span -27

RF) Melky Cabrera -10

C) Jonathan Lucroy -15

Alex Patton Alex
Eric Hosmer Kansas City Royals

I wonder if WPA holds value over time.  As noted, it sounds dangerously close to "clutch," which tends to evaporate when looked at closely.

Mike Dean TMU2009
Nick Rumbelow New York Yankees

Yanks begin to deal with their embarrassment of riches, trading Rumbelow to Seattle for JP Sears and Juan Then, neither of whom have to be protected on the 40-man.

Sears, 21, had lights-out numbers in A-ball, pitching in relief,

Then, 17, pitched in the Dominican Summer League.

Alex Patton Alex
Kevin Kiermaier Tampa Bay Rays

Is fielding factored into WPA?

Keirmaier, Buxton and Simmons are all among the leaders that Eugene lists under Hosmer.

Keirmaier missed even more games than Trout (the leader by a mile). And Keirmaier's hitting stats aren't quite as imposing.

With runners in scoring position he hit .206.

Late & Close he hit .243.

His fielding once again was outstanding by any measure (dWAR 2.5). And even though he played in a mere 98 games, he had the highest oWAR of his career (2.9).

Alex Patton Alex
Mike Trout Los Angeles Angels

If I understand WPA (explained by Eugene under Hosmer), Trout in 114 games increased the Angels' chances of the winning a particular game, based on what he did in the game situation, more often than any other player in the AL. Altuve, Betts and Lindor follow behind him.

Far behind.

Alex Patton Alex
Jose Altuve Houston Astros

The twitter threads between Tangotiger, Mitchel Litchman, Bill James, Sean Forman and others regarding WAR reminds me of the usenet days when I used to lurk there and try to learn about player value.

Eugene Freedman EugeneFreed

JoePos explains what Bill James was arguing with more math regarding team wins and WAR and RAR.

The Houston Astros players, added together, are worth 53.2 wins above replacement. The position players are worth 39.8 WAR; the pitchers are worth 13.4 WAR. The Astros won 101 games in 2017, so this suggests a team of replacement players would win 48 games — 101 minus 53. That’s reasonable.

The New York Yankees players, added together, are worth, hey, what do you know, 53.2 wins above replacement. Amazing! The Yankees’ split is different though: 29.5 WAR for position players, 23.7 WAR for pitchers, but it adds up to the exactly the same WAR as the Astros.

But the Yankees won only 91 games in 2017. So again, doing the math, 91 minus 53, huh, the Yankees replacement team only wins 38 games. This is not reasonable. Why are the Yankees replacement players so much worse than the Astros replacement players?*

The answer as Bill explains is that WAR does not have anything to do with actual wins. It is about runs. The Yankees’ expected record, their Pythagorean record, based on how many runs they scored and allowed, is 100–62. The Astros expected record, based on how many runs they scored and allowed, is 99–63. By runs, they were the same team. And so they have the same WAR.

Eugene Freedman EugeneFreed
Eric Hosmer Kansas City Royals

Win Probability Added.  It's a product of the player's individual actions - based upon the win probability odds immediately prior to and immediately after he does something.  When the Dodgers took the lead in extra innings the player who put them up got a lot of WPA even though the team didn't win because the odds reversed.  But, when Correa or Altuve or Springer put the Astros back in front, well, he also added a lot of WPA.  It should sum zero across the league, unlike Win Shares, which should equal team wins (although there are 3 Win Shares for each win if I recall correctly).

Thus, in WPA, a 3-run HR up 5 runs is pretty irrelevant.  Whereas, a 3-run HR down 2 in the bottom of the 9th has a lot of WPA value.

Eugene Freedman EugeneFreed
Joey Votto Cincinnati Reds

The book says Stanton saved 10, 4th in the majors among rightfielders.

mike fenger mike

Less disappointing, I'll wager, since he's already won one.

Mike Landau ML-
Eric Hosmer Kansas City Royals

Remind me what WPA is?

Alex Patton Alex

What he's saying is that WAR is too tangential.  We know the value of Runs to Wins.  We know the value of nearly every offensive activity as it relates to Runs, but not how it relates directly to Wins.  He thinks eliminating the directly relationship in WAR is a problem for truly valuing players.  I wish the article were longer and contained the underlying math.  WPA agrees with him that Altuve was way ahead of Judge.  But, by that same measure, which is based upon game situation performance and how much likelihood it adds to a team's win totals (but doesn't actually base it on the team's ultimate performance), Trout wins hands down.  Of the players with 5 bWAR or more, Trouts WPA was 5.189, Altuve 3.623, Betts 3.161, Lindor 2.484, Justin Upton 2.435, Judge 1.99, Correa 1.98, Schoop 1.753, Jose Ramirez 0.996, Kiermaier 0.86, Buxton .677, Simmons 0.546

Eugene Freedman EugeneFreed
Joey Votto Cincinnati Reds

Joey's reaction to his near miss:

"Just so close," Votto said, according to MLB.com, after learning the outcome. "[I'm] really, really grateful for the support. I cannot believe how close it was. I just can't believe coming up two points short. It's so cool in a way coming up that short. Most of the time it's a landslide or it's clear. This wasn't that. That was one of the entertaining aspects of it. Because Giancarlo and I did things so differently and because we're both on losing clubs, it was for me a very interesting vote."

"I don't feel terribly disappointed, not really because I think that it was just two very, very good seasons that went head-to-head," Votto said.

Should defensive runs saved have been the tie-breaker? Votto led all first basemen with 11.

Still waiting for my Bill James Handdbook to arrive to find out how many Stanton saved. Or didn't.

Alex Patton Alex
Albert Pujols Los Angeles Angels

To drive in 100 runs with such unimpressive stats, I assumed Albert excelled with runners on.

Not the case. He was just slightly better with runners on (.247/.292/.399 in 291 AB).

But maybe he was clutch?

Not really. When the game was tied (182 AB), he slashed .227/.254/.420.

When the game was Late & Close (83 AB), he slashed .245/.311/.383.

Or maybe he was.

In situations that Baseball-Reference categorizes as High Leverage (118 AB), he slashed .305/.366/.500.

Alex Patton Alex
Eric Hosmer Kansas City Royals

Agreed.  So, if two guys did the EXACT SAME THING in 600 ABs each, and one guy's team wins 95 and the other guy's team wins 75, the first guy has a higher "win share" or whatever?  Odd.

Mike Dean TMU2009

It's a very strange article, don't you think?

He's now saying there is such a thing as clutch. Or even stranger, there might might be: it hasn't been proven, and it hasn't been disproven.

As many times as Bill has explained it, I've never understood why the number of wins that a player theoretically contributes has to be pegged to the number of wins a team actually gets.

Mathematically. In a formula such as WAR or Win Shares.

Subjectively, I totally get it. If I had the vote, I'd tip in favor of players on winning teams, all other things being equal.

I'd factor in how the player performed in clutch situations. Whether or not coming through Close & Late often in a given year -- more often than the player did the rest of the time -- is just a matter of luck, the fact remains, he did come through.

That's good and would affect my vote.

If I put Eric Hosmer second on my ballot, I would be laughed out of the BWA now that ballots are made public.

Alex Patton Alex

From this link (to Bill James' article about Altuve vs Judge) in the Altuve thread ...

... if you evaluate them by the specific relationship of Altuve’s runs to the Astros wins and Judge’s runs to the Yankees wins, then Altuve moves up and Judge moves down, and a significant gap opens up between—large enough, in fact, that Judge drops out of the #2 spot, dropping behind Eric Hosmer of Kansas City.

Howard Lynch LynchMob
Luis Urias San Diego Padres

Game time is 308pm EST ... which is 108pm MST (which is local time for Scottsdale) ... be there!

Howard Lynch LynchMob

Lots of interesting players in those lineups. It looks like it's going to be played at 3.

Alex Patton Alex

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