Jim - I apologize for the insinuation that you had attacked me personally. I responded to two thoughts at the same time, which was lazy and irresponsible. I think your original argument and subsequent follow-ups are logical and well-reasoned. I completely understand why you do not like WAR and I can fully appreciate that.
You make some great points about the fielding component and that is definitely where WAR can get a bit fuzzy. I would agree with your point about positioning as well. I can't say for sure that UZR is accurate. For me, WAR is the best measure that we have to compare a player like Greg Gagne to someone like say, Rafael Furcal. If something better comes along, I'll gladly use that instead.
Wise One - Fair enough. I thought this through carefully and thought it made sense. Obviously, my work is always going to make the most sense to me. If I failed here, then I failed. I can accept that.
One last thought on WAR. A major component of WAR is UZR. I dislike UZR because I believe the whole concept backing UZR is flawed. UZR gives a grade to every play a fielder makes. That grade is based on where the ball is caught. There are adjustments based on how hard the ball is hit and the handness of the batter. The problem with the concept is that where the ball is hit has no real correlation to how difficult the play is. That depends on where the fielder started from. Fielders position themselves differently for every hitter, often making further adjustments based on the pitcher, the pitch, the count, the number outs, the score, etc.
The whole idea that a ball hit to a particular part of the field has the same difficulity no matter who the batter is just wrong. Clearly Thome and Revere would be positioned entirely differently even though they are both left handed hitters.
There, I hope you understand where I coming from, even if I am a old, cranky man.
You would not get "criticized" if you worked on your writing before you put it out there. Run it by someone before you publish. Then you do not have to apoligize for putting out ill defined ideas.
I am sorry you perceive it as a personnal attach. But using a one number to compare players playing different positions from different eras has so much margin for error in it as to be almost completely meaningless. At least that is my perception.
You did say in the original post that you did not know how WAR was calculated. Now that is quite a bit different from not wanting to explain it because it is complicated. You also said there at least 3 different versions of WAR with strikingly different numbers. So there is no standard way to calculate it. You picked one because-why?
This is the reason I have trouble with these new stats. You are taking or perhaps asking other people, to take on faith that these stats really mean much and the calculations actually lead to what they purport to represent. The problem is they are taking the original stats(which all have flaws) weighing them in some porportion which might distort them even more, perhaps leaving out stats that might even be more useful and creating one number. Now I understand why people use them, and I appreciate your disclaimer. But other than as fun and simple way to look at and compare players, it isn't very useful. It is also likely to be very misleading.
Finally again, I am not attacking you personally. But I really think if you are or anyone is going to use these new stats, they better understand them, completely. They also better be able to defend them, because I feel they often lead to some very misleading conclusions about various players.
A couple things.
I do know how WAR is calculated and I do understand how it works. I said I couldn't explain it, but maybe I should have simply written that I won't explain it. I chose not to explain WAR because it would have doubled the length of this post. I did want to address the concept of WAR and explain why I use it. I find issues with the stat, and I was very up front about that. However, I stand by its use and I think it is a good tool to evaluate players. I can understand why some would prefer to use a stat without fully understanding how it works, especially a stat as complicated as WAR. Thus, my toothbrush example.
Also, I think this measure makes good sense and I apologize if I did not explain it better. Basically, I wanted to find players who had careers similar to Gagne's or peaks similar to Gagne's or who seemed to be on an equal or better career path to Gagne. In this way, I was able to discover just how few players actually reach the level of a player that I don't think many realized was as special as he was.
Finally, when we get to a point in society where we can seek to understand things better rather than attack other people for their ideas, we will have a much better Twins site and a much better society. I can handle criticism and I am happy to respond to it. I know there are flaws in my logic at times and I am working to be a better communicator. However, there are good and bad ways to frame an argument. If you find something you don't like about my information, please tell me. It isn't just about me either. I see plenty of people on this site who get major criticism for their ideas or ideals. Maybe that is just the way the internet works, and there is nothing that can be done about it. I will say, no one wants to feel personally attacked and no one should be personally attacked on a baseball website.
It is as good as tool as the one Thyrlos designed for starting pitchers.
"Better than Gagne" using war. Accumulaed WAR? average WAR/year? Did better one time than than Gagne ever did? This article makes as little sense as what the guy who used to post on Yahoo wrote.
Let's talk WAR for a bit. WAR is not a perfect stat. WAR has major limitations. The fact that three different sites have their own version of WAR and they do not match up is troubling. All that being said, I like WAR. In my opinion, WAR is the best way to look at the overall value of a player and compare that value to other players. In addition, the comparisons translate to past eras, which is very useful when looking at players from the 80s and today, like I did here. WAR includes offense, defense and baserunning. Many do not trust the defensive metrics, but I don't trust your eyes.
I couldn't tell you how WAR is calculated. Think about all the things you use on a daily basis that you would have no idea how to construct, create or compute. I use an electric toothbrush a few times a day and I have no clue how to put one of those together. Does that mean I shouldn't use it? I don't think so. I trust people who put more time into innovation to create things that I do not need to understand or create on my own, but still plan to use. WAR is one of those things for me.
I find it troubling that people will use a stat that they do not understand. How can you say it is the best way to compare players when you don't understand how it is created? People on this site argue about stats and their sigificance all the time. And that is about stats that they understand.
People use WAR because it is easy to use. The idea is that somebody can take a bunch of stats, weigh them according to the value THEY PERCEIVE them to have, and then combine them into one number that allows you to compare players from disparate eras playing different positions with roles that have changed over the years, and actually have that number mean something? All that and you don't even know what stats the various sites are using and what weight they are giving to each stat.
WAR isn't really a stat. It is a convenient fiction that allows people to do some things that would be difficult to do with real stats.
That's a classic case of bad chart labeling. The 273 is his career number, the 245 is his 2004-2012 number. I just used Mauer's career era for the second one. I should update that!
Fun read............ one thing.......... you have Eric Byrnes hitting 273 IFFB in 3478 PA's on one chart, and then have him hitting only (only?) 245 IFFB'S for his career in the next chart....... so as they sing on SNL........ "What's up with that?"
Thank you, Brad, for a very interesting article on a very strange stat.
Get some rest.
Nice article. That was good and I shared the info on Facebook for peeps. That's pretty rare for me to do that from something around here.
That's just sound strategy.
My first guesses were Baker or Pavano (the elbow looks either old or injured) but the glove brand didn't match either one.
I'm waiting for a double points special so I can get twice as much of the nothing I could normally get.
Thank you! However, gil4 is correct. A billion points to you! Save those points.
Still photos of pitchers throwing are crazy. His elbow is not in a natural position.
Great, great post. Is that the girthy body of Matt Capps on the Fein card??
I can't lie, I've thought about going and buying another pack at least a few times since yesterday.
Nope, not Slowey, but you're on the right track.
I think the Profar card is airbrushed a bit to make it flashier?? After all, it a Topps RC
hahaha! I love baseball cards... hilarious Fein card. Imagine that showing up in a pack of Topps...Kevin Slowey the body?