Table of Contents

Sunday, November 30, 2008

wOBA wOBA wOBA wOBA Woo Woo Woo

I've watched a lot of Sesame Street with my daughter. She's now moving on to Dora (who I wholeheartedly endorse), but I think Elmo will always be her first love. As a result, Sesame Street has influenced a lot of the language we've used around the house these first few years.

As it turns out, Sesame Street has also influenced how we talk about baseball. From Tango, in a response to a comment on Rob Neyer's blog:
wOBA, huh? Every time I see this stat, or even think about it, I will always think of this:

You are the first person to mention this to me. I watched alot of Sesame Street with my boy, and that song was *definitely* a reason that I named it wOBA. I wanted to give the name something light. I used to call it lwtsOBA or lwtsOBP (for linear weights), and I was thinking of also wOBP. But, wOBA worked for the name, and making it match to the song was my little secret.
wOBA's been getting some attention lately. I've been using it around here for a while, and over the past six months, even though I haven't really focused on it, it really has become my favorite rate stat. Accurate, easy to interpret, and immediately convertable into runs. The only issue is park adjustments, but that seems easy to fix and will likely be done soon.

You can now get your wOBA (wOBA wOBA) at both StatCorner and FanGraphs. Dave Cameron has a nice introduction to wOBA here. FanGraphs' versions include season- and league-appropriate weightings.

Anyway, here's the song that inspired it all...

Monday, November 24, 2008

Random Awesomeness

With a hat tip to Shinsano, Bruce Lee playing ping pong with nunchucks...

I honestly don't care if it's real or not. It's awesome.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Award Recap

Awards season is finally over, and I feel pretty good about the decisions of the writers this year. While I'm not in complete agreement (here's my awards post), at least there weren't any egregious failures this time around in the selections themselves.

Let's recap, in reverse chronological order:

AL MVP - Dustin Pedroia

By total value, I had Pedroia in a tie with Joe Mauer for 3rd overall in the AL MVP. I had Sizemore a good 2.5 wins better than Pedroia, and unfortunately Sizemore finished a distant 10th in the voting. But Pedroia unquestionably had an outstanding season. And among playoff or near-playoff teams, he and Mauer were at the top of the list.

Mauer finished 4th, and my 2nd-place vote, Alex Rodriguez, finished 8th. This is unquestionably the selection that I'm the least comfortable with. But it's not horrible.

NL MVP - Albert Pujols

Pujols was the best player in the majors last year, by total value, providing roughly 100 runs above replacement. As Rally demonstrated, one Albert Pujols this year was worth two superstars (e.g. Mark Tiexiera + Torii Hunter). That's amazing.

My second place selection, Chipper Jones, finished 12th. And my third place selection, Hanley Ramirez finished 11th. And my 4th place selection, Chase Utley, finished 14th. So while the writers clearly got it right on the best choice overall, they also missed a bit (in my judgment) overall.

AL Cy Young - Cliff Lee

It came down to Lee and Roy Halliday, and while I opted for Halliday, I have no problem with someone voting for Lee instead. They were both amazing this year. Lee should win comeback player of the year as well, right?

NL Cy Young - Tim Lincecum

The guy taken two slots after Drew Stubbs (yes, I continue to beat that dead horse) continues to surpass even the most optimistic expectations. Maybe his arm will fall off next year, but he's probably already provided more value to the Giants than the average first round selection will in a career. Too bad it's been wasted on such a lousy team.

Lincecum was my choice as well, followed by a tie between Dan Haren (did not receive a vote) and Brandon Webb (finished 2nd). Haren's probably a snub, but no real arguments from me.

AL Rookie of the Year - Evan Longoria

A unanimous selection, and rightly so. Great power, great ability to get on base, and excellent defense to boot. Outstanding player.

I ranked Mike Aviles (finished 4th) and Denard Span (finished 6th) second and third, respectively. The voters gave some love to Alexi Ramirez with a 2nd-place finish. While my data indicate that he was a poor defensive player, the Fans' Scouting Report does not agree. Rally's defensive projections see him as a half-win below average in the infield based on ZR/RZR data regressed to the Fan's data. Given that, he probably finishes closer to I don't have a big problem with him being ranked 2nd in the voting.

NL Rookie of the Year - Geovany Soto

Only one voter dissented, and I have to think that they might be from Cinci's press corps (did Hal say who he voted for? I know Fay said he selected Soto). But as good as Joey Votto was (finished 2nd in voting), Soto was better this year, largely because he did what he did at a premium defensive position. I had Votto ranked 4th behind Jurrjens (finished 3rd) & Kurota (didn't receive a single vote..I guess because he's old??), but in truth they were all essentially tied.

Nice to see Votto getting some recognition for his outstanding season--certainly the Reds' best position player, and arguably the Reds' MVP (though I'd probably give that nod to Volquez).

AL & NL Managers of the Year - Joe Maddon & Lou Pinella

I'm not sure that there is a good objective way to evaluate this. It continues to often just be the award for manager whose team makes the biggest improvement from one season to the next...though the Pinella win certainly defies that trend, which is good to see. I think most people would agree that both of these guys did a good job this year. So yay for them.

Overall, I have to say, the voters largely got it right. The only serious snub, in my view, was Sizemore for AL MVP. But even in that case, Pedroia was at least a defensible choice.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Position Reviews & Total value

Over at Beyond the Boxscore, Sky recently finished a series of position-by-position reviews using the Total Value statistics that I released last month. He did a great job, and his series gave these data a lot of attention and a thorough vetting. He did was a great advocate for the data and the methodology in general, while also providing good insight into situations where the data weren't working very well.

Here's his series in entirety, broken down by position:

First Base
Second Base
Third Base
Left Field
Center Field
Right Field
Designated Hitter

Finally, here's his piece on overall rankings across positions.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


This is not a political blog--hence, no comments. But I just want to say this:

I feel incredibly proud to be part of this country tonight. And I haven't felt that way in a long, long time.