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That’s not a literal 1000 words, of course. I’m talking about this:

javy baez bat waggle

As you look at that picture, you think, “Clearly that’s a take. The ball is maybe 20 feet from home plate, and the batter’s hands are still entirely elevated. Yup, he’s taking. Why are you showing me this picture?”

Well, actually, that is a picture of last night’s 450-foot Baez Bomb to center field. Just fractions of a second before impact, Baez’s bat is pointing nearly straight at the pitcher. If there was ever a picture that demonstrated just how quickly Baez whipsaws the bat through the zone, this is it.

Folks like to make the Gary Sheffield comparison, and the bat speed/waggle is the primary reason (Sheffield’s got Baez on the overall plate approach and contact ability right now). Truly, we’re watching something special with Baez.

I could stare at that picture all day. The only thing stopping me is the knowledge that, after looking at the picture for a while, I can then go watch the video again. And again. And again.

  • Dales Fired Ear

    Never. Stop. Posting. Baez. Stuff. I’ve seen the video at least 30 times, never gets old.

  • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

    It’s just that K rate that stops me from getting too excited about all this, if he refuses that then watch out he’s HOF.

    • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

      Reduces but I think he can just will it so and refuse the K rate.

    • Sandberg

      I’m with you. I hope he refuses too.

    • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

      I’m dreaming on July-August of last year being the real Baez (10% bb rate, 20% K rate) and drooling over a .300/.400/.550 non-1B infielder.

      • blublud

        If Baez is a 10%/20% guy, he is the best baseball player in the world, and one of the greatest ever. I talking Miguel Cabrera as a decent defensive SS good. That would be scary.

        I doubt he’s that 10%/20% guy though.

        • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

          Wait, so it’s more impressive if he does it at SS? Mmm, blub applying some positional value adjustment for offensive numbers?

          • ssckelley

            He was doing this to me yesterday when we were arguing about whether to draft Turner or Jackson/Gatewood.

            • jp3

              I don’t want Trea Turner, we’ve got enough Darwin Barneys

          • blublud

            No. Once again, let me explain. I have no problem saying SS is more important than 1B defensively. It is. I have a problem saying SS A with a .697OPS, 10 HR and 41 XBH is as good a offensive player as a .797 OPS 1B A with 22 HR and 55 XBH are equal offensive players. According to Baseball Reference, these two players with those exact numbers are equal offensive payers. I feel you should let the defensive value, PO or assist determine the value, not the fact that his position sucks.

            • blublud

              Those players would have a equal offensive WAR.

              • Kyle

                You are obsessing over this offensive WAR thing, when it’s already been explained to you. It’s disappointing that you choose to ignore the explanations.

                The problem you are talking about is a rather inelegant kludge, an accounting trick, that doesn’t change the actual value that WAR spits out. And Fangraphs recently fixed the kludge so that your complaint is moot anyway.

                There are two ways to arrive at the exact same number:

                Compare both offense and defense to players of the same position. This means that shortstops will get both a significant offense boost and a significant defensive downgrade compared with the population of players as a whole. What you are missing is that even while the so-called “offensive WAR” is giving a bonus to the player for his position, its counterpart “defensive WAR” is giving the player a precisely equivalent debit. Even the worst defensive SS is a better, more valuable defensive player than almost anyone playing the corners, but that sometimes isn’t reflected when WAR was calculated the way we are describing.

                The other, better way to account for it is to compare both offense and defense to the whole league. Fangraphs started doing it that way at the beginning of last year. Even the worst defensive SS’s get highly-above average defensive grades just because they are shortstops and field so many plays.

                So there are two ways of setting up a WAR formula, one in which a player gets +X on the offensive side and -X (the same number) on the defensive side, and one in which both of those calculations are eliminated.

                It’s literally the same either way.

                • blublud

                  Kyle, you are dead wrong. It unfortunate you can comprehend what’s right there. Fansgraph uses defensive value for actual defense and offensive adjustment for defensive position. HOW CAN YOU NOT SEE THAT?

                  • Kyle

                    Nope, I’m right. Are you perhaps looking at an outdated page that they haven’t updated?

                    The page where they explain how they calculate WAR doesn’t seem to have been updated, maybe that’s what you are looking at?

                    • Kyle

                      But again: It’s irrelevant. You are complaining about an accounting trick that doesn’t change the output.

                    • blublud

                      So a major data site like fangraphs will change the formula of maybe the most known metric in baseball a year ago and not update it. Yeah, you believe that. I got a beach house in Montana to sell you.

                    • blublud

                      You are the only one who is claiming this. I guess you are the only one who got the memo.

                    • Kyle

                      I’m used to being the only one who is right about things.

                  • Drew7

                    You’d think, after several people not only tell you that you’re wrong, but also explain why, that you’d at least consider the possibility of you misunderstanding the concept. But no – you just dig in deeper.

                    • blublud

                      Wrong about what. I understand the formula fine. I know exactly how WAR. I just think the formula is stupid. If WAR is to be correct, they need to take a page out of the NBA’s PER or the NFL’s QBR.

                    • Drew7

                      “I know exactly how WAR”

                      I dont think so. Should you know, after several people have kindly explained it to you? Yes.

                    • blublud

                      If you don’t think WAR accounts for positions played, then you don’t know how it works. Also, McClutchen is good, and as a minority in a game that’s not in the inner cities like it used to be, I love seeing a black American at the top of the game, as I think more blacks should play like I did, but he is not 2nd best player in the game good.

                  • Drew7

                    Is it because you’re Wolf Pack just choked? :)

                  • David

                    Kyle is absolutely right.

                    If you want to see evidence of it, just look at Anthony Rizzo’s defensive value (or look at the entire leaderboard for it – http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=1b&stats=fld&lg=all&qual=y&type=1&season=2013&month=0&season1=2013&ind=0&team=0&rost=0&age=0&filter=&players=0 – look at how low even the league leading defensive WAR totals are for 1B).

                    If that’s not enough evidence that Kyle is right, you can email fangraphs and they’ll confirm it for you.

                  • Norm

                    Give me the #1 offensive SS and the #10 offensive 1B over the #1 1B and the #10 SS.

                    • ssckelley

                      I am not picky, give me either one. :D

                    • NLIADad

                      Won’t it depend on the defense of the #10 SS? If he’s the #1 defensive SS, then I pick #1 offensive 1B & #10 SS.

                    • Norm

                      Yeah, but Blubud basically ignores the defensive component and I’m trying to keep it on his level.

                    • blublud

                      Yeah, but that first baseman is the better player and still produces more than that SS in most cases.

                    • blublud

                      I would take the no 1 SS Also, but that wasn’t the point. The point was that does not necessarily make him a better player or means he does more overall.

                    • blublud

                      I ignore defensive component, because its the most overated component of WAR. You can’t possibly tell me with a straight face Barney was a true 5 WAR($30 million player) in 2012. He was good, but not that good.

                    • jh03

                      Where in the shit do you see Darwin was a 5 WAR player?

                    • Norm

                      “I ignore defensive component, because its the most overated component of WAR. You can’t possibly tell me with a straight face Barney was a true 5 WAR($30 million player) in 2012. He was good, but not that good.”

                      Jacoby Ellsbury goes from 8 HR’s to 32 HR’s back to 9 HR’s.
                      Why is it possible that an offensive player can have huge fluke/fluctuations in HR’s but it’s impossible for a defensive player to put up a huge fluke/fluctuation in defense?

                    • blublud

                      According to BR, Barney was a 5.1 WAR player in 2012.

                    • blublud

                      Ellsberg was popping steroids, thats why. Also, offense impacts the game much more than defense.

                    • Edwin

                      If you want to ignore defense, just use wRC+ to measure players on a rate basis, or use wRAA.

                      When you talk about players producing more, are you talking about offensive production, or about value compared to a replacement level player?

                • bbmoney

                  I agree with Kyle on this. It also doesn’t look like Fangraphs has updated it’s WAR write-ups/explanation since they put them out.

                  But if you look at this page, I think it shows pretty well what they’re doing now comparing players across all positions. There is still an adjustment for position, but it’s not really specifically and offensive and defensive adjustment, just an adjustment, not that it really matters in the grand scheme of things when you’re looking at total value, as Kyle mentions.

                  http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=all&stats=bat&lg=all&qual=y&type=6&season=2013&month=0&season1=2013&ind=0&team=0&rost=0&age=0&filter=&players=0

            • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

              The 1B is a better offensive player but they’d have equal value to their team. Two different concepts.

              • blublud

                You get the point.

                Thats why I think WAR is good for comparing a SS to a SS, but not a SS to a 1B, or any other position. This has nothing to do with defense either. If the SS and the First Baseman are both exactly league average on defense, they will have equal WAR. Now if you move the first baseman to SS, and he plays bad defense at SS, his WAR would still increase just because of his offensive numbers. Makes no sense.

                • DocPeterWimsey

                  But that’s backwards: you can use raw numbers to compare a SS to another SS; you need the adjustment to compare across positions. A player’s value is based on how much he contributes to a teams run differential, after all.

                  And it makes perfect sense that a 1B playing poor (but acceptable) SS could have a huge WAR: he probably is going to hit 10 more HR than the average SS. That’s close to 2 wins right there. Add in that most 1B hit more doubles and take more walks, and you are talking about a huge contribution to a teams run. (Derek Jeter is a great example of this: his range at SS probably was worse than some guys playing 3rd or 1st could have provided, but because he created so many more runs with his bat than he allowed with his glove [or lead feet], he contributed more to the Yankees winning that did a lot of 1Bmen who posted much higher OPS than Jeter did.)

                  • blublud

                    Right. I understand all that. My point is anyone can play any position any day. For instance, take the Cubs opening lineup. Let each player play each position once over the first 8 games. It not going to change the offensive output.

                    Offense and defense is separate. Imagine baseball was football. One side hits, one side plays defense. 16 difference players. Now, those 8 offensive players are equal. A single is now a single, and a homer is homer. There is no need to add artificial value to it. Offense is positionless.

                    Now on defense, there should be no artificial value either. A put out is a put out, an assist is an assist. Now, there should be equal accumulative value assigned to each. Meaning a no position adjustment. Now SS is going to have more value because they’ll have more chances, but a SS putout should not be worth more than a 1B putout. Now if you wanna add range, errors yada yada to the formula, fine. It should be. Take those two formula’s, add them together and you’ll get the best player in baseball.

                    • Patrick W.

                      WAR doesn’t measure how your guy does versus even the same guys on your team, so yeah, on your team your offensive output wouldn’t likely change. WAR measures what kind of output your team would have if you replaced your SS with another SS. A good slugging SS is harder to find than a good slugging 1B. So yeah, a good slugging SS is more valuable than a good slugging 1B because the former is rarer than the latter.

                    • blublud

                      No it’s not. I’m moving Trout, Cabrera, Fielder, Rizzo, Freeman, Harper and Davis all to SS. I just found 7 slugging SS in 10 seconds. See how easy it is to find d slugging SS. Those guy are going to produce no matter where they play. Now I know those guy will never play SS, but if they did, their solo HRs would still only count for 1 run. The point is these guys are at 1st because thats the easiest place to put them. It doesn’t change their offensive output. There should be no position adjustment for WAR. CHANCES and range will create all the position adjustment you will need.

                    • Patrick W.

                      Yes but if you move all of those guys there the replacement level for SS will go up so now the “against replacement” side of things gets harder to beat so the calculation will change. Also those moves will make 1B easier to replace without those 4 sluggers and now Goldschmidt is going to be a 12 WAR guy!

                    • ssckelley

                      The defensive side of things gives to hell also. Imagine a lefty like Rizzo playing shortstop.

                    • ssckelley

                      Goes, not gives

                    • blublud

                      The Goldschmit argument makes my point. Now people are going to scream he’s one of the best ever when he’s really done nothing different. WAR is stupid.

                    • blublud

                      Kelley, him being a lefty at SS is irrelevant to this argument. Also, doesn’t he throw righty anyway.

                    • DocPeterWimsey

                      Blu, you have to *STOP* thinking about this as offensive output. It is contribution to run differential that matters. That means runs-created and runs-prevented. And here is the rub: most of those guys would be so disastrously bad at SS that they would allow many, many more runs than the opposing SS: and thus nullify (and more so!) the extra runs that they create with their bats.

                      Moreover, most of these guys *wouldn’t* produce as much playing SS over a whole year. Why? Simple: playing MI is very demanding, and most guys would simply get hurt trying to do it. There is a reason why so many MI suddenly fall off of the table in their early 30’s. (Part of what has made Jeter such a freak is that he’s been able to keep going 10 years after most guys cannot play the position any more: but even Jeter’s production has fallen markedly in that time.)

                      So, they’d allow more runs and they’d miss more games, and then they’d probably produce less with the bat late in the year when they could play.

                      You need to recast all of your ideas in terms of how much each player contributes to his team’s run differential. Every 10 runs that he contributes (with arm, bat, glove and feet) more than a replacement at his position is 1 WAR. Every 10 runs that he contributes relative to the *average guy playing his position* is one game over 0.500. If have league average pitching and an AL team, then if each guy contributes 10 more runs to his teams run-differential than the average player for his position, then you expect 9 victories over 0.500, or a 90 win season.

                      And this is where the difference emerges: if you shuffle those guys across positions, then even if their offensive output remains the same, then their net fielding output almost certainly will decline, and the same batters will generate a 89 or fewer win team.

                    • blublud

                      Nevermind. Im think about last year.

                    • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

                      Thank you doc that is perfectly stated I was trying to find a way earlier to explain but couldn’t find the right word to when talking runs & offense… differential is perfect. Nicely said.

                    • Jason P

                      Very well said.

                    • blublud

                      Doc, fine. I agree with all that. So this argument started two season ago with the MVP race between Trout and Cabrera then resumed last year. Because of WAR, people claim Trout is better. However, Cabrera creates more runs offensively for his team that Trout does. Maybe not more relative to his position, but more overall. So regardless if all the other first baseman can hit, Cabrera still produces more runs than any player in baseball, period. It’s not his fault that there are other 1st basemen who can hit better than most CF.

                      Just because SS A is 6 oWAR player and 1B B is only a 5 oWAR player doesn’t make the SS a better player. And if that 1B is producing more runs for his team, he will always be more valuable, regardless of what WAR says.

                    • Drew7

                      Doc just laid it out perfectly for you, then you even said you agreed with *all* of it. I even thought to myself, “Hey, maybe Blu’s finally opening up and listening.”

                      Then you proceed to spew the same misguided argument you’ve been spewing for 2 years.

                    • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

                      Blu “producing runs” is a direct result of the players on base when you hit. It’s not a direct measurement of a players value. WAR tries to get rid of all the situational stuff that inflates some stats (Miggy would still be good on the Cubs but never get the RBIs with a bad team he gets with the Tigers… because RBI are a dumb stat we give way too much weight (thankfully WAR does not)).

                      So are long as you are thinking “run protection” WAR won’t work for you.

                    • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

                      Blu once you realize that RBI is a horrible stat for individual player measurement you see what we are talking about. FURBI should be my next project once I’m done with TeamFUMS.org (PLUG) (which will never happen sadly since Multiple Sclerosis is going anywhere)

                    • blublud

                      I for one think RBI is a dumb stat, so I’m not speaking of RBI. I’m speaking of things Miguel can control.

                      Let’s break it down this way. The Cubs play the Yankees. The Cubs win 5-4. Rizzo had 4 solo home runs, Teixeira had 4 solo Homeruns, Castro has 1 solo home run, Jeter had none. Every other position was even and defense even across the board. Are you seriously going to argue that Castro was more valuable this game than Rizzo this game.

                    • blublud

                      What are you talking about, I never said RBI were a good stat, nor wins by pitcher. They are both stupid. I just don’t discount BA like you guys do.

                    • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

                      But Blu you keep talking about producing run, situational things like game winning RBI, you are really focused on what RBI represent

                    • blublud

                      You’re losing me goat. I have never mention game winning or RBI anything. In fact, I don’t think game winning anything or home run saving anything should be accounted for in WAR.

                      Its should be about the individual play and if you made it. Just like a batter can’t control who’s on base in front of him, neither really can the fielder control. So why should a catch I made to save a run count for more then if I made the same catch without anyone on. The whole formula makes no sense.

                    • ClevelandCubsFan

                      OK, let me take a shot at this WAR thing. If you were building a team from scratch and your first decision to make was whether you’d have Miguel Cabrera playing center field or Mike Trout playing first base, who would you choose? And why?

                    • blublud

                      Cleveland, that makes no sense. If it came down to taking Trout or Cabrera, I’m taking Trout every time. I think trout will be the better player than Cebrera when their careers are done. I just don’t think he was more valuable in 2012 and 2013. Plus Trout is younger, and still getting better while Cabrera has probably leveled off, and will be coming in for approach in a few years.

                      Also, I hate how people think because I don’t think a player is good, that I hate him. Trout has probably become my favorite player to watch, until Baez anyway. Same with a guy like Almora. Great kid. Good head on his shoulder. I just don’t think he’s elite good at baseball relative to his peers. I like the kid though.

                    • ClevelandCubsFan

                      Blu, let me rephrase my analogy, then. You get one year of them both. All other teammates are whatevers (so don’t worry about who you’d displace in this analogy). Just this: Would you rather have 2013 Mike Trout playing first base for your club or would you rather have 2013 Miguel Cabrera playing center field for your club? One year of each. Don’t factor in any other considerations.

                      I think most people’s answer will clearly demonstrate why defensive adjustments must be made. Mike Trout would likely be a serviceable first basemen from the get go and possibly even quite good by the end of the year. Cabrera would be a highlight reel–for all the wrong reasons–in centerfield, whether April 1 or September 30.

                      But I also think this debate might be clouding an important issue. I’ve not seen this clearly explained. Strictly speaking, WAR doesn’t tell you who is better. It doesn’t even tell you who will be better in the future. WAR tells you how VALUABLE a player was. These are different calculations. On a simple level, if Mike Trout is injured and sits out for 100 games, his WAR will be way lower than, say, Cabrera’s because by being out 100 games, he provided less value.

                      Similarly, a player that plays a a more challenging position that has more opportunities to make plays provides more value to his team.

                      Consider a large insurance company that doesn’t have independent agents. Suppose they have two agents, one in Chicago and one in Ottawa. Clearly, the one in Chicago will have more opportunities for clients and largely make a lot more money than the guy in Ottawa. He’ll be more valuable to the company.

                      But you’ll say, yeah, but it’s just because of the location he was placed in. Flip them around and the other guy would look a ton better.

                      Perhaps. BUT, an astute company will likely put their BEST agents in the locations to maximize money. You wouldn’t want your best agent in Ottawa. You’d want your best agents in Bloomington, in Peoria, in the suburbs, in Chicago. (No offense to Ottawa; it’s a cute little town.) Presumably, the company puts the agent where he or she is because of his or her ability.

                      In the MLB, the disparity between “agents” (fielders) might be even greater. If you stuck Cabrera in centerfield, he would get a positional “boost,” but Cabrera would likely mitigate that by being hilariously bad. He’d likely have a very low (read, well below 0) defensive runs saved and defensive WAR.

                      In short, it is highly likely that if you put 2013 Trout at 1B and put 2013 Cabrera in CF, Trout would still have a higher WAR than Cabrera.

                    • blublud

                      Cleveland I dont discuss defense because it plays a small part in victory. If Trout move to first and Cabrera to CF, Cabrera oWAR would be much higher than Tryouts.

                    • Edwin

                      “If Trout move to first and Cabrera to CF, Cabrera oWAR would be much higher than Tryouts.”

                      No. At least not on Fangraphs. The oWAR would remain the same, since it is based on league average and does not include a positional adjustment.

                      Total WAR will probably change, but that depends on how good/bad of a CF Cabrera plays, and how good/bad of a 1B Trout plays.

                    • ClevelandCubsFan

                      Blu, you say:

                      “Cleveland I dont discuss defense because it plays a small part in victory. If Trout move to first and Cabrera to CF, Cabrera oWAR would be much higher than [Trout's].”

                      This would be true because it would be hard to replace Cabrera’s bat with a minor leaguer. The ability to offensively replace him in CF would be harder than offensively replacing Trout at 1B. But I think where you are missing the big picture is that defense really does matter, a lot.

                      While oWAR would be higher, WAR would be much lower as Detroit fans groaned over repeatedly misplayed fly balls and line drives, and innumerable extra bases taken.

                      This is why you cant just add dWAR and oWAR to get WAR. It would count positions twice and make it impossible to compare players across positions.

                      It seems like your problem is that WAR factors defense significantly and you don’t think defense matters much. You don’t think position should matter at all in calculating value. That is my understanding at least. And if that is your basic position, I guess this should be a different conversation: Of what value is defense?

                  • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

                    okay blu your losing me here, WAR will never say say that 1 hr = a better player than 4 hr player (if all else is equal). WAR is not calculating game winning runs or situation. It doesn’t look at the game like that, its trying (and I’ll agree it has flaws) look over an entire season and think how much more production does this player have vs. a basic replacement player. Even though you agree that RBI are dumb you keep going back to RBI as justification.

                    • blublud

                      I have not mentioned RBI’s one time. You have never in the over 3 years I been coming here heard me mention RBI’s to justify how good a player is.

                    • blublud

                      I went extreme on purpose. I never mentioned who had the winning run. The point is if you broke the season down to one game with regards to WAR, this is what you would get. Rizzo production was match by the other 1B in the game, while Castro out performed the other SS. So WAR would tell us in this case that Castro was more valuable, even though Rizzo hit 3 more home runs and carried the bulk of the load for the team. Even without positional adjustment, it would still say Castro is more valuable, and I just could never agree with.

                    • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

                      You may not have said the word but you keep describing RBI as a way to measure and support your argument… do you not see this? You keep saying something, somebody else shows you why its wrong, you then agree, and then you go back to the same argument. We are not talking production (you still are and by doing that you are talking RBI since that stat measure how often you produced a run (because your teammates got on base (which is independent of your ability as a hitter)))

                      Doc said it perfectly is all about run differential not production.

                    • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

                      Blu do believe WAR cares about a game outcome? Or who produces the game winning hit (ie RBI)? You’re talking in circles here. WAR does not look at wins like the standings its not even aware that somebody wins or loses… only how they compare to other playing the game over the course of a season. If anything it tries to add up and entire season into one single game playoff.

                    • blublud

                      I never mentioned game winning, or RBI. That’s why in my example, I mentioned solo HR’s, because that’s what the batter can control. I’m talking individual runs produced by the players bat. Takes his singles, doubles,triples and HR, add it up and come up with a total. That’s all I care about.

                      You keep mentioning RBI. I always though RBI was dumb.

                    • blublud

                      I guess I care about how many runs(not including RBI) a guy produces overall. To me, that contributes more to winning. So we’ll agree to disagree. WAR will always barely be a useful stat for me.

                    • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

                      Blu it because you are thinking about run production and trying to compare it to a game situation (1 HR vs 4HR… but the single HR won the game), trying to take the math of WAR and trying it up as a game or play, it doesn’t work like that. When you start talking about run production you are directly talking about RBI and things that WAR does not think about.

                      WAR does not look at the game the way viewer or even player looks at the game, its look at everything as simple data points independent of anything else and then comparing the data to each other. I think this is where many people get angry and/or lost with advanced sabermetrics they can’t take the math away from the game and ignore that the game is a collection of mathematical probabilities.

                      Stop talking about production and you see a clearer picture. Forget about the game and what your eyes see and look at the math.

                    • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

                      Well I agree blu no need to keep beating this horse but you have to get past the idea of “producing a run” when thinking about WAR or any other more complex sabermetrics

                    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

                      First, WAR doesn’t care about single game stats. It is based on run differential, which is calculated on a seasonal basis. Individual games are too chaotic. The best team and baseball can and will lose any given game to the worst team in baseball. But over the course of a season, the best team will win a lot more games (in most cases, roughly the number predicted by their run differential (see – Pythagorean W/L).

                      Second, runs produced is not the sole component of WAR. WAR looks at runs prevented as well. If you you want to do is debate who is better hitter, look at OPS+, wRC+, wOBA, or something of that nature.

                      If all you want to do is debate who is the better defender, look to one of the stats that deals with defensive runs saved (and avoid counting stats like errors or put outs like the plague – particularly if you are comparing across positions).

                      If you want to know the relative total contribution of a player as compared to a “replacement” level player, look to WAR.

                      I’m also not sure why you seem to be hung up on the positional adjustments. You have to have them in WAR because of what WAR measures – the difference in total contribution to run differential (conceptualized as wins for this context) contributed by a player over a replacement level player. Attempting to remove the positional corrections from WAR would be roughly akin to saying that all AAAA players are basically the same, and that as a result there is nothing wrong with starting Koyie Hill in center field.

                    • blublud

                      I guess its like football. The RB does more than anyone but, and sometimes more than the QB to help his team win, yet teams don’t wanna pay RB because they are easily replaced. It’s complete BS. Please tell me how an 80 catch 1000 yds receiver does more than a 320 carry 1500 yd RB to help his team win. He doesn’t. So why is he payed more. I guess I’ll never get it.

                    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

                      If all you care about is runs created, blu, then stop using WAR and switch to wRC+. Your problem may be that you’re trying to force WAR into doing something it wasn’t designed to do by arguing that the parts of it you don’t like shouldn’t be there.

                    • blublud

                      Luke, while I disagree, and always will, with this assessment of WAR, will you at least go up top and tell kyle, Drew and BB Money that there is positional adjustment calculated in WAR, because they seem to think I reached Behind me and pulled it out my ass.

                    • blublud

                      I age to that MG if you guys stop using WAR to determine MVP. That the biggest thing I hate about it.

                    • blublud

                      I will always use WAR when comparing Rizzo to Goldschmit. Castro to Segura. Barney to Phillips. This is it’s one good, if not great, use. I will never use WAR to compare Rizzo to Castro. Or Castillo to Junior Lake. It makes no sense.

                    • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

                      WAR as a way to measure MVP is just part of a larger argument. Anybody that uses one stat to validate a position is missing the point behind stats and MVP is similar to All-Star or HOF problems, its part popularity, part giving an award to a face, and less about looking at a complete statistical analysis.

                      And for the record I was supportive of Miggy get the MVP over Trout he won the Triple Crown. As much as I hate BA & RBI I appreciate the historical feat that winning the Triple Crown was… even if I hate 2/3 of the stats its measures.

                    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

                      Nope. Kyle was, to my eye at least, both clear and accurate (so far as I could tell, anyway) in how he explained how the positional adjustments are handled. I’m still not sure where the disagreement on that point was coming from.

                      Doc and others were equally clear in the reasoning behind that adjustment and the general purpose of WAR.

                      I think the problem was occurring because you were wanting WAR to be little more than a measure of comparative offensive value, and that’s just not what it is. It contains components for more than just offense.

                      But, as I said elsewhere, based on your comment (paraphrased) that all you are really concerned with is run production, just switch to wRC+ and tack on whatever positional adjustment (or lack thereof) you like. Heck, go start your own blog to promote the value of bluVALU+ or whatever you call it. If your measures provide a useful and accurate way of looking at baseball, then others will adopt them in time. If not, not.

                      But trying to fight against WAR by forcing it to do something it isn’t really set up to do isn’t really going to be effective. Sure, you can lobby to design a better screw driver, but doing so on the basis that a screwdriver is bad at driving nails isn’t going to get anyone very far.

                    • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

                      Your issue with the positional adjustment this is because your confusing offensive WAR, defensive WAR, and overall WAR… you keep mixing the concepts up and not understand why in the overall picture the position doesn’t matter because the offensive and defensive components balance everything to an equal concept of player value. WAR does not care about or even really even think about what position a player is playing, the math takes care of that independently.

                    • Patrick W.

                      Let me throw another analogy at this.

                      Are you familiar with the Chicago area small chain of restaurants called Pepe’s? Pope’s has my favorite pork taco in the world. It’s better than all of the pork tacos I’ve had in many a Mexican restaurant. But I can get some pretty good, even great, pork tacos at many Mexican restaurants. Here’s the thing … Pope’s also has (under their American favorites) a hamburger with fries. That hamburger is an awesome burger. Just fantastic.

                      Think of positions as restaurants and players as dishes. A really good burger at a Mexican restaurant is harder to find than a really good taco at a Mexican restaurant. Likewise a really good pork taco is hard to find at a burger joint. An awesome burger at a Mexican restaurant is really valuable to that Mexican restaurant, but not as valuable in a burger joint.

                      Boom, nailed it.

                    • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

                      But are you adjusting for location? A great taco in Michigan is much more valuable than a great taco in Texas…. hmmmmm yummmmm taco…. wait is this now Yelps…. Yup I’m prettttty sure it is!

                      Nailed that

                    • Noah_I

                      The big thing I’m getting from blu’s argument is that he thinks the MVP should not take into account contributions on defense or on the bases, and should solely be given to the player who creates the most runs (as people have stated wRC+ is the stat blu should be looking at if this is primarily how he judges players) at the plate.

                      I wholly disagree with this statement, but if that is how you are judging players, yes, I’d say Miggy properly won the MVP the past two seasons.

                      However, in my opinion, if you just take base running into account without looking at defense, Trout already becomes more valuable than Cabrera. And if you care at all about saving runs as well as creating runs, Trout beats Cabrera by a fairly hefty margin.

            • ssckelley

              The difference is a career .797 OPS shortstop (even poor defensive ones) will get them into the Hall of Fame (see Cal Ripken, Robin Yount, ect), while a .797 OPS 1st baseman with the best defensive skills will not even get a vote.

              This is where the Baez argument comes into play, the 30% K rate will be more tolerable at 2nd base as opposed to a corner outfielder or 1st baseman.

            • Patrick W.

              But the whole point of WAR is to figure out what you get from a guy versus what you can replace him with, and who plays that position.

              Really dumbing it down: Meryl Streep is a fantastic actor. As good as she is, she can’t play Abraham Lincoln well. She’s extremely valuable in the roles she can play, but would be less valuable than a replacement Abraham Lincoln, even if that replacement was, say, Adam Sandler. Conversely, Daniel Day Lewis would be way less valuable as Marie Antoinette than would be, say, Lindsay Lohan.

              All of those people can act, but they have more value than the replacement actors in the roles they are suited for. Same thing with baseball players. All those SS can hit, but if tried to put them at 1B, where the average replacement 1B is going to hit better than the average SS can hit, he’d be way less valuable.

              • DarthHater

                This is an insult to Meryl Streep and Daniel Day Lewis.

                • Patrick W.

                  You sir, do not understand ACTING

              • DocPeterWimsey

                Music provides the same analogies. Whether your drummer is as good a musician as the other band’s rhythm guitarist is moot: you want him to be as good or better than the other band’s drummer. Putting 3 great musicians in a band who all play rhythm guitar might get you some great songs, but you’ve still got to find someone to play drums.

                • Pat

                  Except that in music, winning has little to do with being more talented than someone else – hence why Keith Richards is considered a guitar deity.

                  • Funn Dave

                    Not to mention, music isn’t a competition in the first place. Who is this “other band”? Are you worried about your opener having a better drummer than you?

    • ssckelley

      The K rate is bothering me less and less the more I see this kid hit. I think the K rate will take care of itself, if he strikes out 30% in his first season then so be it. When you break it down it really is not all the much, everyone keeps saying the magic number is 25% but that is only 30 strikeouts in 600 plate appearances. Which means 8 or 9 extra hits and perhaps 2 home runs.

      I mentioned Reggie Jackson earlier today, he struck out 28% as a 22 year old rookie back in 1968. I remember being a kid people making a bid deal about his monster swing and the amount of strikeouts he had. But even with a 28% K rate he had an OPS of .768, last season that OPS would have been the 2nd highest on the Cubs after Schierholtz’s .770 (regular players). Reggie Jackson was an outfielder, and not a very good one, Baez will probably be playing 2nd base where last season Barney had an OPS of .569.

      Another comparison, the last Cub I seen crush a ball like Baez was Glenallen Hill who, coincidently, once struck out 40% as a 20 year old in high A (221 Ks in 530 PA). If the guy would have been able to play 2nd base he might have been a HOF’er with a career .804 OPS.

      Baez just might be breaking the mold when it comes to elite players.

    • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

      Wow this comment of mine sure started quite the tangent.

      • ssckelley

        But entertaining, this argument has been fun to read.

  • ssckelley

    So a split second later the bat somehow gets from that position to crushing the baseball. Most hitters is the bat already starting to make it’s way towards the plate?

    • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

      I’d love to see some still shots of other players at that point.

      If only he had pitch recognition skills.

      • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

        I’d like to see just your average player in that position

  • Sandberg

    One additional thing that gives me a positive outlook. Since Theo and Jed basically know Baez inside and out, I feel like they would have tried to trade him this offseason if they felt he wasn’t going to be able to manage in the majors.

    • candyland07

      Funny ……. sometimes a player being a good or bad in any thing has nothing to do with Theo/Jed. I am sure Baez talent is why he is awesome at this moment in time. stop being a moth for the front office.

      I have confidence that if the front Office traded Baez it is because they got something in return for Baez that they could not turn down. I think Right Now Baez is ready for the next level – but i also have confidence in the front office if goes back to the minors.

      But sooner rather than later – this kid will push the issue on being on the Cubs 25 man roster. I have patience when it comes to true rookies and prospects.

      • Sandberg

        *yawn* It’s amazing you can keep this amount of negative energy around in your system.

        • candyland07

          its easy, the two worst records in Cubs history was kinda like yesterday and the day before in baseball seasons and today and tomorrow might not look any better , but next week looks bright and well next month will be ……

      • Jon

        All big time front office guys have egos. They want the building of their franchise to be their product….Jerry Krause always had to carry the cross that he never drafted Michael Jordan, of course MJ reminded him of it often as well…to the point there were rumors (before the 6 titles) that Krause would trade Jordan, cause he didn’t think he was unselfish enough to win titles. Thank got that never happened. You like to think it’s the case with Baez, but again, how will it eat at the FO that the best player during this rebuild, was not “their” guy.?

        • candyland07

          i never understood why people would cling to front offices . most people could care less how teams are run. Winning matters. When this Front Office spins its wheels to be terrible and the owners are in synch because of a business plan to control and make more money in the future by keeping the team crappy because of a debt ratio that this owner had to do to purchase the Cubs. because Sam Zell wanted to save tax/ cheat dollars from Federal Government which in return is the American People . Yeah I have problem with that . and remember The Ricketts family was not the highest Bidder for the Cubs – its just they basically would do what Sam Zell wanted to avoid any real taxes that sale would produce.

          But hey. all that is forgiven when the Cubs win . Hopefully if SAm Zell is found Guilty of any type Of fraud all the People that help him pays some type of consequences

          • aaronb

            The kicker is that the sale is set up such that the Ricketts have to pay THEMSELVES back with interest before any Cubs related business can commence. Which in and of itself is a really impressive hustle.

            • candyland07

              Let me forget about being a Cub fan for a moment…and let me be a business …person. I feel for the Rickets . that Sam Zell really hurt the Cubs . And yes the Ricketts I feel are doing the best they can do . From a business standpoint its smart to do what they are doing. They are building the foundation they are trying to build and expand an awesome entertainment and sports complex smack middle of a residential area to gain economical growth and have a presence in the financial market share Wrigley Field has to offer. The revenue the Cubs can gain in hospitality/ food / and not limited to only entertainment industry is mind boggling . The front Office dont have money to spend therefore a deep rebuild is not only logical but a relief from monetary obligations to field a competitive team in the present. A deep rebuild is necessary and Theo Epstein is that man to accomplish that mission. I understand all that as Cub fan and it still irks the hell out of me.

              Winning matters but sometimes how you win also matters. The sale of the Cubs / the feud with the Rooftops / the embarrassment of the last two years.

              The Cub fan in me just wants the cubs to be better.

            • roz

              It’s also arguably not their fault. If the trust had loaned the money with zero interest, you could probably argue that Ricketts was actually just paying with more cash and not actually taking out as much in loans, and therefore the “transfer” of the Cubs was more akin to a sale than a new partnership (which the IRS is investigating anyway).

              Now, I don’t know specifically the terms of any of the loans or the exact requirements on any of the loans, but I’m willing to bet that it’s not as simple as Ricketts just saying “Hey! Let’s give ourselves money with a huge interest rate so we will be unable to spend money on the big league team and I have a reason for sucking while lining my pockets!”

    • aaronb

      Agreed,

      If there is one thing this front office refuses to do. It’s roster bad players or assemble bad teams.

    • Funn Dave

      That is some convoluted logic right there.

  • Fishin Phil

    “stop being a moth for the front office.”

    Yes dammit! Stop being a moth!

    • DarthHater

      You should be more worried about termites…

  • another JP

    “Big Frank Thomas used to do that…” Damn.

    • willis

      The Rockies announcer last night…or the color guy referenced that. How that Baez swing is similar to Frank’s. I had some smiles after that.

  • half_full_beer_mug

    How does a post about the amazing bat speed of a prospect devolve into a long winded discussion on the merits of WAR and right below that turn into a debate as to whether or not the owner of the team is a greedy/stupid/money grabbing SOB for buying the team under the terms/or maybe not the terms of Sam Zell?

    Can we please start playing some real baseball so that people can at least complain about the decisions of the new manager using the benefit of 20/20 hindsight?

    • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

      idk it just does ;)

      yeah real baseball is needed

      • blublud

        2 weeks.

  • Diehardthefirst

    Speaking of words- Yosts words about their Ace Ventura apply also to our Bad Boy Baez- Theo- listen up!!!

  • Funn Dave

    So, Luke and Cleveland had some awesome posts in the long-winded argument up above, and I didn’t think they got the credit they deserved. So, here ya go. *pats backs*

  • candyland07

    I hate War. my understanding is war changes – only because stats change thus the medium changes. War across the board is different for each position .and have plus or minus associated with the position. Then the rules for war has changed i believe in the last few years and then certain people of groups still haggle over the true concept of WAR and how to compute certain aspects of the ranking system with in war. Replacement level was changed from 320 to 294 its a complicated mess. but I do value the end product of war.

    Barney may have a.high war in one certain area of performance but when you group every other factor HE stinks.

    • Edwin

      Is it the concept that you disagree with, or the current way it’s calculated?

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