Thursday, December 15, 2005

The Most Wonderful Day Of The Year

I've talked about my love of Diamond Mind Baseball before. It's a baseball simulation program that takes great pains to be statistically accurate. One of the things I like about it is that it rates players using play-by-play analysis and tries to put their performances into a neutral context. This would, for example, allow you to port a high-priced second baseman to, say, an extreme pitcher's park.

I got my 2005 season last night. I'm not saying that this is definitive, so don't take it for anything more than it is, but I moved the Texas Rangers to RFK stadium just to see how it would impact our new second baseman left fielder. Because seasons can vary, depending other factors, I ran ten simulations and averaged the results. I kept Soriano in the Texas lineup and used the same lineups Texas used on each day last year, so he has the same amount of playing time as last season.

In the simulation, he hit:
.249/ .297/ .472 with 30 home runs and 40 doubles.

To compare, in real life, he hit:
.268/ .309/ .512 with 36 home runs and 43 doubles.

Soriano had a few monster seasons in the sim, and one putrid one: .206/ .260/ .342.

RFK, as we expected was a pretty extreme pitcher's park. For right-handed batters, its factors were: singles - 80; doubles - 118; triples - 104; homers - 73. In a neutral park each of those factors would be 100. So, at RFK, right-handed batters hit 20% fewer singles than in a neutral park and 17% fewer home runs. (I believe that's called the Jose Guillen effect!)

The homer numbers seem about in line, but the singles factor has to be an anomaly. One-year park factors aren't very reliable, and that factor is so out of line with what other parks feature, that it doesn't make sense. I'd imagine that that would normalize slightly next season.

One more note... They evaluate defense using play-by-play data and accounting for handedness of opposing batters, strikeout tendencies of a team's pitchers, etc, so that they can put each defender into a neutral context. They then assign one of five categories for defense: poor/ fair/ average/ very good/ excellent. Jose Vidro was rated poor at second base. Alf Soriano earned a fair.

16 Comments:

  • That averaged projection isn't too out of line with (or too much more optimistic than) this back-of-the-envelope projection of .252/.292/.462.

    I'll reiterate: this is making me appreciate Jose Guillen more.

    By Blogger Basil, at 12/15/2005 12:42 PM  

  • By which I mean the fact that Guillen is being paid only $4 million for his services . . .

    By Blogger Basil, at 12/15/2005 12:45 PM  

  • Diamond Mind? Feh!

    Long live Out of the Park!

    J/K, of course. Ask Ulrath on BPG about stat sims like DM and OOTP. He's quite the afficionado.

    Me? I'm smitten with MVP Baseball 2005. Too bad EA didn't get the exclusive license to MLB video games for the next lifetime. In my current season, Guzman is actually a .300 hitter. Pitching is waaaay too easy though. May have to ramp up the difficulty there.

    By Blogger JammingEcono, at 12/15/2005 12:57 PM  

  • He's not the one who rants about that heretic Galileo anytime that someone mentions stats, is he? :P

    OOTP is more playable, and it's good for doing careers. But for seasonal play, it can't touch Diamond Mind's accuracy.

    By Blogger Chris Needham, at 12/15/2005 12:59 PM  

  • Jose Vidro was rated poor at second base. Alf Soriano earned a fair.

    Yeah, well my chaotic neutral half-elf ranger has a bag of holding and 10 dexterity, but that don't mean anything.

    By Blogger Ryan, at 12/15/2005 1:40 PM  

  • .249/.297/.472 with 30 HR and "fair" defense? Sounds like Tony Batista to me.

    By Blogger Randolph, at 12/15/2005 2:02 PM  

  • Tony could (and did) put up that sort of line in neutral parks. I don't think he'd come close to that at RFK.

    As bad as that line is, it'd still make him one of the team's second (maybe third) best hitter.

    By Blogger Chris Needham, at 12/15/2005 2:03 PM  

  • Well, he'll certainly improve what we had at 2B or LF last year (setting aside Vidro himself or a rebounded Wilkerson or a full-season Church might at those positions, too).

    By Blogger Basil, at 12/15/2005 2:08 PM  

  • .249/.297/.472 with 30 HR and "fair" defense? Sounds like Tony Batista to me.

    Not one of any recent vintage, though. The last time he slugged .500 was 2000. That's also the last time he came anywhere near. Thereafter, he had two seasons in the .450s, one at like .435 and one where he did the near-impossible---hitting 26 homers yet slugging below .400 (.393)..

    The post-2000 Batista kicked himself out of the "low average, RBI vulture" club and then vomited on the statue of Joe Carter at the entrance to its hall of fame. Soriano's at least still pays the dues. (And he can certainly afford them!)

    By Blogger Basil, at 12/15/2005 2:25 PM  

  • Not one of any recent vintage, though.

    It's true -- at one point I thought of doing a closer comparison, but the numbers were actually more strongly in Soriano's favor than I thought. So the comparison is a bit of pessimistic hyperbole

    In reality, Soriano has always been a much better hitter for average than Batista, and he hits more doubles compared to HRs -- he almost always has had more 2B than HR, whereas Batista usually had more HR than 2B -- so he contributes significantly more than Batista did even when he's not hitting homeruns.

    Still, I saw that projected line -- 30 HR with a sub-.300 OBP and it brought back some unpleasant memories. I think that Soriano will do better than that, though, at least in the average department, which I hope will keep his OBP above the Batista line.

    Batista, by the way, just signed a one-year deal with the Twins. Are they dumb enough to let him play?

    By Blogger Randolph, at 12/15/2005 4:14 PM  

  • Yeah, I realize the Batista thing wasn't a direct comp, but hinting at their offensive style. They certainly do have similar approches, but as you point out, Soriano is much better for average, and has more extra-base power.

    It's interesting how the stathead view of Batista changed. For the longest time they were yelling that he wasn't playing short, and that his production was being wasted. Then after a few years of low-OBP he became persona non grata, despite his all-or-nothing power display.

    By Blogger Chris Needham, at 12/15/2005 5:01 PM  

  • Still, I saw that projected line -- 30 HR with a sub-.300 OBP and it brought back some unpleasant memories. I think that Soriano will do better than that, though, at least in the average department, which I hope will keep his OBP above the Batista line.

    Me too on the unpleasant memories. And I agree with the rest.

    By Blogger Basil, at 12/15/2005 5:20 PM  

  • One important distinction....

    That number isn't a projection. It's merely a replay of what he did last season, assuming he had played in RFK instead of Ameriquest.

    Now Soriano is a fairly consistent performer, so it's probably safe to pencil him into something like that, but that's solely based on 2004's performance.

    By Blogger Chris Needham, at 12/15/2005 5:23 PM  

  • It's interesting how the stathead view of Batista changed. For the longest time they were yelling that he wasn't playing short, and that his production was being wasted. Then after a few years of low-OBP he became persona non grata, despite his all-or-nothing power display.

    But I think it changed because he went from an offense-scarse position to one not as much so, and more importantly, his OBP dropped 50-60 points from 1998-99 to 2003-04. He went from a SS with an OPS+ in the 110s to a 3B with an OPS+ in the 80s.

    I also think BPro took particular joy in the Blue Jays fleecing Batista for Dan Plesac; it reinforced the overarching CHEAP YOUTH = TEH AWESOME, EXPENSIVE VETS = TEH SUCK theme back then.

    By Blogger Basil, at 12/15/2005 5:24 PM  

  • That number isn't a projection.

    Good point. But I'll treat it as a projection. ;-)

    By Blogger Basil, at 12/15/2005 5:25 PM  

  • By Blogger Sneakers hobbies, at 10/29/2009 9:10 PM  

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