Somebody Explain This

Here is the link:

http://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/files/oracle/discussion/2009_zips_projections_texas_rangers/

 

Go there and you will find out how every Ranger is going to perform in 2009. 

 Now somebody explain this to me. Somebody explain what this means and why somebody would go to all this trouble. There’s no doubt this is impressive work. There is no doubt that this is the product of a beautiful mind. Euclid couldn’t be more brilliant.

Basically, if you read this, David Murphy and Matt Harrison are going to regress. Why?

Looks like Josh Hamilton is going to regress. Apparently Elvis Andrus is going to hit .242 with a .298 on-base percentage and steal 42 bases. Nelson Cruz – if the Rangers are going to give him a chance – will hit .282 with 31 home runs and drive in 92 runs. Take that right now?

Kevin Millwood is 11-11 but with a 4.20 ERA in 29 starts. Guess here is a 4.20 ERA for the Rangers would produce a record better than just .500. Vicente Padilla is 10-11 with a 5.04 ERA. Guess Millwood won’t get adequate run support.

Love to see what was said about the Rays a year ago.

23 days to go.

 

48 Comments

T.R. – it was written by someone with WAY to much time on their hands! If they were that good at predicting the future, they would have already won the lottery and be living on a tropical island somewhere.

Julia
http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com/

I don’t think it’s out of the question to expect a little regression from Murphy based on his minor league numbers, but the Harrison regression is puzzling to me given how much he improved in his last several starts after getting shelled in his first few.

Regarding Tampa last year, projection systems like this were ahead of the curve in predicting their success.

No Ben Sheets in that prediction…

Hey i post alot here, like to refer to myself as Nostradamus. But even i don’t have that kind of time to waste. However, predicting that the pitching staff will be marginal isn’t anything new, it is our history. This is obvioulsly based on some type of mathematical formula so you have to have some sort of +/- variance. So what is the variance +/- 10 pts, 5 wins? I really believe this is gonna be the year that Millwood and Padilla put good years together at the same time. This is really what has been hurting us, their inability to stay healthy and string together two good seasons at the same time. This may be the year that they get to the 34 wins, doubtful, i take the under at less than 28 wins combined, but hey thats what you have when they won’t go out and pay for what their own stated goals are 2 starting pitchers and 2 relievers. The last time i checked pitching was expensive, but i see other teams getting pitchers for far less than what has been paid in the past. Yet we remain idle. WE DO THIS EVERY YEAR. Take some action please. The offense will take care of itself, but it gets frustrating for the everyday players when we are 5 to 10 runs down before we even bat in the bottom of the first inning.

Let’s hang on to this link and revisit at the ASB. I agree that an ERA below 4.50 should yield a winning percentage above .500, but clearly I think our offense is more potent than these guys.

However, it will be interesting to see what impact losing Bradley’s bat will have on Hamilton and the rest of the line-up.

If Cruz hits .280+ with 30+ HRs from the clean-up spot, we’ll be just fine. If he struggles, then Hamilton isn’t protected and the house of cards may fall, so to speak.

Even with some young bright spots on the pitching staff (Harrison and Hurley), I just don’t see how this team gets to the post-season. 15 wins each from Millwood and Padilla seems like a tall order. 15 from Harrison even more so.

Once you get over the shock of someone “dissing” your team like that and think about it for a while the report is really not all that shocking. Oh you can pick minor disagreements on Murphy and Hamilton if you’re me but really…overall…isn’t it believable? The Rangers have given up on 2009 and as such I won’t be buying a ticket this year. To start Andrus means they acceed to another 30 errors in an already porous infield. The absence of 1st rate pitching continues to be a problem . Now we have no one to protct Hamilton in the lineup. I for one think that Ramierz is the better of our catchers…but he will probably start at AAA. Nelson Cruz has proved nothing to me. No people …they could be right.

Would someone please explain how this “projection” does not have a single Ranger hitting above .300! And Kinsler less than 20HR

Projections are a dime a dozen. That Dan guy who wrote the “PROJECTION” in the remarks section openly admits he “forgot Botts had gone to Japan” even though nowhere on his report was there a mention of Botts?

I project the Rangers still have at least one bullet left to shoot. One bullet that if shot at the right target along with 2 other moves OFF this roster will put them in contention for the West, this year. I believe!

Hey according to these stats, 4-10 won loss record and a 6.48 ERA, it looks like Hurley might be glad that he blew his shoulder out, ha ha. The bottom line is that baseball is a stat driven sport, however, the games still have to be played. I think Murphy, Kinsler, Hamilton and Cruz will all have good years if they stay healthy. Probably better than what is listed. I think Millwood and Padilla both put it together this year if they stay healthy, if only to try and get dealt out of here by the ASB. I like Ron, think he has done a good job under the conditions. I would like to see us go after some free agent pitching though. How about a list of available pitchers and the pro’s and con’s of signing them.

And i doth quote, “over the PAST 6 YEARS, THE WINNINGEST PITCHERS were ACQUIRED by TRADE or FREE-AGENCY.” So if the newspaper man knows this why doesn’t the “organization”? The market and the pitchers are ripe for the taking. Lets go, sign some pitching and make the soothsayers, prognosticators wrong. I am a Cowboy fan, and i remember something along the lines of the predictors saying Cowboys vs. Steelers in the Super Bowl. Well the Steelers held up there end, but we didn’t. So anything can happen, if we could hit on some starting pitching. One Ace on a staff can set the tone for the whole staff, Hershiser, Johnson, Brown, Beckett and others have carried a staff. Why not us, why not here? Let loose of the pocketbook Hicks….It is for your own good. It will soon be time to re-visit our felon alien pitchers. It is quite possible that those boys get in. IF they can pitch then i am all for it. Most of our young pitchers are 2 to 3 years away.

There appears to be no mathematical formula to these predictions. If there is, they need to re-formulate. The person who did this just made predictions.

He tweaked the catchers hitting statistics slighty from one to the other.

Chris Davis regressed for some odd reason. Even though the guy is just a flat out hitter.

Andrus has .242 AVG and .298 OBP. How do you get 60 steal attempts in? Apparently he has the green light all the time.

Hamilton regress? That’s a big N-O.

He apparently holds Nelson Cruz in high regard.

Murphy could regress but not that much.

His prediction on the pitching is in no way accurate to the pitchers. It may be accurate to Ranger history but not the current pitching staffs ability. It looks like he went through and held his finger on the 5 and 6 key to input the ERAs.

Dan Simborski has been prominent in the baseball projections business for a long time and Zips is always one of the top performing systems as seen on competitor Baseball Prospectus’s website http://www.baseballprospectus.com/unfiltered/?p=564. He’s kind of sarcastic but people say he’s usually helpful with questions.

T.R.,

Dan’s something of an acquaintance of mine, and I also grew up in the Metroplex before moving to Austin and basically being here for 12 years. So I’ve read a good bit of the bulk of your work, and I’m more than familiar with basically the entirety of Dan’s. If we consider the notion for the sake of argument that Dan’s “job” is player predictions, I will say the following: Dan is not only at least two orders of magnitude better at his job than you are at yours, he’s so much better that the part of his job that’s somewhat secondary, the writing/argumentation/analysis of the predictions, is better than anything I’ve ever read from you. You’re not a complete hack. You aren’t Bayliss (as a writer) or anything. You’re nothing special, either. A dime a dozen. A solidly mediocre guy who won’t ever write anything that makes someone think or learn something, but who doesn’t make waves.

I bet your editors love you; you seem like the kind of guy who gets to work at exactly the same time, right on time, bangs out an uninspired column while daydreaming about watching game shows on TV, turns it in with plenty of time to spare, and then mills about the water cooler the rest of the day. Probably much to the chagrin of anyone needing water that doesn’t want to hear about the new porch you’re building at Casa Sullivan, which is probably a ranch house in Frisco or something like that. You’re a poor man’s Kevin Sherrington. And since he’s probably a 5, 5.5 on the scale, you’re a 4. That sounds about right. Thing is, if you’re bland and dull, you can’t take potshots at people who write better than you, are more interesting than you, and who would wipe your rear at the task you are mocking them for.

Dan developed a system, continues to develop it, and as noted before, has it to the point that it competes with the very biggest names in the business and more than holds its own. Now, you may think that droll semi-hack eminently forgettable whatshisname and whatshisbeat sportswriter for the Star-Telegram and MLB.com is somehow better than that. You’re entitled to your opinion. I disagree. As for explaining what these things mean, and why some are likely to regress, it’s obvious from your comments that you didn’t even really read the thing, so I won’t waste my breath. You should try and read it sometime. You might learn something, something you could pass on to someone else through your writing. Dull, uninformative, and unoriginal is no way to go through life, son.

Love,
Jeff K.

“Love, Jeff K” Goodness, T.R., just as well this guy doesn’t hate you! What seething cauldron of barely repressed loathing, just because he didn’t like what you wrote about his special friend… Mind you, I do wish you possessed his wit and charm.

I’m one of the editors of the Web site linked in the blog entry. ZiPS is one of many projection systems in the Web world – think of it along the same lines as you would think of PECOTA at Baseball Prospectus, or Ron Shandler’s Baseball Forecaster, or the projections that Bill James does. What Dan is trying to do is what all of those guys try to do – figure out what a player is likely to do based on what other players with similar performances at similar ages have done. If you E-mail Dan through the site, he’s usually happy to answer your questions.

Specific comments:

Chris Davis, through his minor league AND major league career, has always struck out a lot, and walked very little. It is extremely unusual for a player with that set of characteristics to sustain his performance; eventually, major league pitchers learn what he can’t hit and stop throwing him what he can. To be successful in the long haul, Davis basically has to learn to lay off what he can’t handle, especially when it’s not in the strike zone. Davis is young, and maybe he’ll learn to do that; we will see. The track record for players of this type is to take a step of two backward while they make the adjustments.

Murphy’s minor league performance doesn’t suggest anything like the power he showed last year. I’ll grant that he’s played in some tough ballparks there, but even taking that into consideration it appears as though last year represents something close to a career year rather than a reasonable expectation going forward, given his track record.

Josh Hamilton is 27 (28 in May). It is rare that a player improves significantly past that age. Hamilton might be one of those, of course – in fact given his relative lack of experience compared to most players his age I expect that he probably does have some growing to do, and he’s the one player I consider most likely to do better than the projection.

Millwood’s projection is for a 4.62 ERA, not 4.20.

It is very hard for a pitcher to succeed long term if – like Matt Harrison, who I’ve seen pitch in the minors on several occasions – you don’t have a reliable swing-and-miss pitch. Sure, there are some who do make it, but the odds are against it – for every Jamie Moyer you have at least one Jeff Ballard – and you wouldn’t bet on it if you were a betting man.

Mike Emeigh

Talking of wit and charm, I have to say, d’god , that some of your recent posts puzzle me. All of last season you were pleading for the rotation to be filled with prospects. To heck with results; let them take their lumps and learn on the job. Now that they are a year further down the track, with some of them on the point of an Arlington call-up, you switch track and demand aquisition by trade/free agency. What brought about this epiphany? If you wish to kick against the pricks, why not have a go at a certain T.R. hater?

JeffK who? Dan who? I always trust anything I hear from a pirate fan. That franchise is one rung below the Rangers! If this guy is so good, why do you guys have to spend so much time defending him by taking shots at our guy. And, T.R. is our guy. We Ranger fans are just fine with T.R. and we don’t need some outside prognosticator apologists to comment on it. By the way, will you defenders of the witty one provide us with his prognostication of the Rays from last year? I’m sure your fellow got it all right didn’t he? Well, let’s see. Show us please…Regarding Murphy, I wonder how your guy projected Rusty Greer or maybe Gary Matthews Jr in his first year with the Angels. You want us to be impressed? Break out the resume including his percentage of correct projections for all he has done. By the way, if the “system” is so good, why does he need to continue developing it? Jeff K must have some outside agenda against T.R. or some big time love for his witty, charming, and special buddy.

By the way JeffK, if someone’s wiping your rear, aren’t they behind you? I’m just sayin’…And let’s see, Dan competes with the biggest names in the player prediction business. Is that like being among the top Tarot card readers? Impressive. There must be a lot of satisfaction in being right if Elvis Andrus hits .249. Keep shooting for those stars! I predict my Rangers are going to play baseball this year. That should put me among the top in team predictions. See how you can take shots without getting personal JeffK? That’s professionalism! Would you like to hear about my porch?

I don’t have an “outside agenda” against T.R. Sullivan. That’s kind of my point, who would have an outside agenda against T.R. Sullivan? That’s like having a seething hatred for oat bran, or loathing coupons for 40 cents off kitty litter. He’s there, not like death or taxes, because those things are interesting. He’s there like a blanket you’ve had a long time but you don’t know where it came from. It’s not a special blanket, it holds no memories, it’s just there. It serves a purpose even if no one’s really sure what that is and it isn’t great at anything you try to use it for, but it’s not so bad that you’d throw it out.
Y’all are some lazy folks: Rays 08. There you go. There’s the prediction, written in October of 2007. I didn’t read it again, and I’m not sure why people keep asking for it, but there you are. A whole 4 clicks from the article TR links. Not hard to find if you’re literate.

You want us to be impressed? Break out the resume including his percentage of correct projections for all he has done.

Yeah, I’ll get right on that.

By the way, if the “system” is so good, why does he need to continue developing it?

Congratulations, you just won “Dumbest Argument of the Week”, which is no cakewalk in the internet (Non-John Wiley Price) division. Why don’t you think about this for a moment and see if you can find at least 5 answers to it? You could ask a parent or legal guardian to help, if you are a child and/or brain damaged.

And let’s see, Dan competes with the biggest names in the player prediction business. Is that like being among the top Tarot card readers?

How the hell I ended up defending Szymborski on TR Sullivan’s blog, I have no idea, but: If you’re comparing Baseball Prospectus, Bill James (the business behind the name), ESPN, and RotoWire to tarot card reading businesses, you really should invest in that GED program Sally Struthers tells you about during your Judge Joe Brown marathons.
Nice, mlblogs.com. Way to show the HTML editing with tags perfectly in the preview and then remove everything but one break tag in the post.

I risk my feelings on this post to ask a question on statistics for the sake of being educated and perhaps by being scorned. Any way here goes. There has been much discussion here on Michael Young’s lack of range. Since there are many variables (speed of infield, pitching staff predominately lefties or righties, how accurate the pitcher puts the ball where the catcher “signs” – the SS positions based on the sign, whether the staff is predominately fly ball or ground ball inducers, etc.) that to my knowledge are beyond the control of the SS and again to my knowledge are not quanified statistically how does one judge?

The opinion of those posting is subjective. Young was awarded a gold glove by judgment of baseball people. Is that for lack of range?

There is a “range factor” statistic. Baseball almanac defines it as follows:
“(Putouts + Assists) x 9 divided by Defensive Innings Played
Range Factor simply stated is the number of plays MADE per game at the fielding position. It is better than Fielding Average in several respects: It can be calculated for almost any player this century and it takes into account the fielder’s own ability to get to a batted ball.”

I am a statistical infant. What does the number of times a player makes an assist and a putout in a game prove anything about range as in reaching a hard grounder over second base and throwing the batter out?

Oh and for the record here are the 2008 records for range factor among AL SS as shown on MLB.com.

NAME/Range Factor
Orlando Cabrera, CWS
4.62
Michael Young, Tex
4.59
Jhonny Peralta, Cle
4.56
Yuniesky Betancourt, Sea
4.33
Edgar Renteria, Det
4.31
Jason Bartlett, TB
4.21
Bobby Crosby, Oak
4.17
Derek Jeter, NYY
4.05

Excuse me if I don’t get it. However I am willing to be enlightened. Thanks.

Anyone else get the feeling that Jeffrey’s mother didn’t hug him enough when he was younger?

Closed-minded, hateful, and pompous is no way to go through life, son.

Bobcat, keeping in mind that RF was developed what qualifies as quite a long time ago in any standards (25 years ago) and is eons in the statistical world, you have to be willing to cut it some slack for being a bit simplistic. You ask “What does the number of times a player makes an assist and a putout in a game prove anything about range as in reaching a hard grounder over second base and throwing the batter out?” It’s pretty intuitive, so what you’re probably thinking is the correct answer: the number of PO + A is (basically) the number of plays that a shortstop makes. You’re right in that it doesn’t normalize for a lot of things (GB/FB ratio of the staff in front of him, L/R composition, positioning, etc.) However, if this guy makes 200 plays at short and that guy makes 150, we can feel nearly positive that the first guy has more range, barring some extraordinary (and I do mean extraordinary) other factor. And really, even if Guy B has more range in a theoretical sense such that he can get to one particular ball that’s farther away than anything Guy A can get to and make a play on, Guy A has more effective range because he makes all the plays in between. Range Factor is not nearly perfect and hasn’t been in vogue for 10-15 years now for these reasons. You are probably looking for a PBP metric, one that is based on the actual balls hit in actual play, where they were hit and how hard they were hit. PBP metrics include +/- by Pinto, Chris Dial’s work, Mitchel Lichtman’s work on UZR (Ultimate Zone Rating), and others.Closed-minded, hateful, and pompous is no way to go through life, son.Uh, I’m not the one who ran down the hard work of others because I didn’t and/or couldn’t understand it. That was TR. And closed-minded? I’m not the one who has littered the comments here with homophobic remarks, that’d be your fellow Sullivanians. I don’t know why, as I’m not gay and Dan claims to have a girlfriend though I don’t know how anybody could stand him, but nevertheless it’s there. Might want to look in the mirror, boys.

Let me say this about that – Richard Nixon

Jeff – TR expressed his opinion, without any personal insults. You expressed your opinion, but make no mistake, go back and read your original post – your sarcasm was personal.

If you come on to a blog and insult the author personally, his fans and regular participants like me and others will take offense and will respond.

And my response is:

Ranger baseball fans enjoy actually watching the game and reading TR

Statheads only enjoy reading the boxscores and reading BP.

“Somebody explain what this means and why somebody would go to all this trouble. There’s no doubt this is impressive work. There is no doubt that this is the product of a beautiful mind. Euclid couldn’t be more brilliant.”That’s sarcasm that’s a personal insult. And that’s what TR wrote. As for the response, I don’t mind. Take offense at what I wrote, I intended it to be taken that way. Your last line, I hope, is a meta-joke, but if not, I’ll wager Dan or I, and we’re not even talking about Emeigh up there, watch considerably more baseball than you. And I haven’t read BP since I let my subscription lapse four years ago. Thanks for playing, though!

Wow JeffK. You are one angry person. I hope you are seeing a professional about this. Your mind is a terrible thing to waste. Who in MLB is it that recognizes your brilliance? By the way, in your range assessment would it be “extraordinary” to include field conditions like field speed due to grass thickness or weather conditions encountered? I think there are so many factors that it is impossible to predict one player based on the past statistics of another. I imagine your response will be some quip about my simple mind or perhaps a shot at my mother or my sexuality. As for looking in the mirror, you obviously do not practice what you preach. Peace brother…simma down now….simma down! And, thanks for the Sullivanian nickname. We will all wear it proudly!!!

And you guys thought i was bad! Sullivan is a good writer, i didn’t think he was being sarcastic. This is the bad thing about these blogs is people get down right nasty, because their is no fear of reprisal. I have taken to the philosophy of not writing anything that i wouldn’t say to someone in person. A lot of people just take this stuff to personal. We can predict all we want, but the human element, the players have to perform. I still want to know what the statiscal variance is for each category. Is the batting average +/- 10 pts, HR +/- 5, on an on i go, where we stop no body knows. As a person who enjoys math, the thing you learn about #’s is that they can be construed to support any argument. Say for instance and i don’t know specifically how many errors Michael Young had last year but lets assume he only had 10 and everyone else had more. Numerically and statistically he looks like the best fielding shortstop a gold glover and should not be asked to move to shortstop. But if we look at every ball that was hit in what we would consider the area that he fields we would see that he just didn’t get to a lot of routine balss that he should get to. Those balls went against the pitcher as hits. I like to call it range factor, but i don’t base it on any math. I saw a lot of games last year and Young just did not have the speed to get to balls that Andrus is going to get to. In my experience, the Short stop has to be the most athletic person on the field, #1 because he has more ground to cover. Andrus is going to have more errors than Young, becuase he is going to get to a lot more balls that would have went down as hits previously. So in essence we could have an improved infield defense and a short stop who makes more errors. But what you are also going to see is Andrus making plays into the hole and to his left that Young could never dream of making. This is going to help the defense and the pitcher. But if all you do is look at the numbers everyone is going to say Young made less errors than Andrus. Numbers lie and i don’t know who said that but it is the truth.

Final thought….we Ranger fans, as an earlier poster notes, enjoy watching Ranger baseball, sitting in the ballpark smelling the hot dogs popcorn, etc., and talking to our sons about games gone by. Congratulations on scoreboarding us. You should be proud. You and your stat cronies have “watched” more baseball than we have. No doubt you’ve done some study on bloggers that proves that. But, your bitterness reflects that you haven’t experienced the joy of being a fan. Its what allows us to cheer and whine at the same time because we know baseball is not, and never will be, an exact science. You guys could correctly predict all of your averages and percentages. But, you can never count on the intangibles that exist in all competetive sports. That’s what brings fans back. That next “miracle” team that somehow puts things together for that “impossible season”. All fans, no matter how much we whine, wish that for our teams. So, while your self esteem obviously comes from your ability to say a whole lot about nothing, you know deep down that you really don’t know who will do what or how things will pan out. You can only make an educated guess. I respect the hard work that you and your buddies put into this, but listen, there is a world out here and baseball is only a small part. Get out more and enjoy using all 5 God given senses and maybe you’ll find what you’re looking for.

Hey anthony, i am not saying we shouldn’t pitch the youngsters. What i was saying is that the “organization” stated they wanted two starters and two relievers. With this free-agent market, a chance to get Sheets cheaper than what it would have cost us in the past. We should at least go out there and get him. Especially if we are going to try and trade Millwood and Padilla at ASB. You can never have enough pitching, so to spend a few millions on Sheets who i consider pretty close to an ace then i would do it. WE HAVE THE MONEY! Don’t believe we don’t. Then you have Sheets, Harrison, McCarthy, Feldman, Diamond, Feliz and Holland thats a pretty young staff if you ask me. Padilla and Millwood are gonna get traded that is just a matter of time. So we would just be paying their contracts for 1/2 of the season. Believe me it is going to cost more to try and obtain a pitcher at the ASB, than to get Sheets now…..

I wonder if these guys were around back in 1988 when Kirk Gibson came to the plate, worked the count to 3-2 and then hit one over the right field wall? “What a team, what a team.”

Jeffk, OK if total chances is the criteria then Young still rates well among AL SS. Stats (below) again from MLB.com. Not surprising I guess since Young only had 11 errors.

Somehow I don’t believe dwidregod’s assessment that defense is improved if you have **** that can reach more balls due to speed and makes three times as many errors. In most such error cases you still wind up with a runner on first base.

NAME/Total Chances

Orlando Cabrera, CWS
730
Michael Young, Tex
669
Jhonny Peralta, Cle
658
Yuniesky Betancourt, Sea
659
Edgar Renteria, Det
578
Jason Bartlett, TB
529
Bobby Crosby, Oak
602
Derek Jeter, NYY
579

“Sullivanian”. Yup, that’s a label I’d wear with pride, although I think of myself more of a Gilbertian. And you’re quite right, d’god. Andrus will make more errors than Young because he will reach more ground balls than Young. I’ve made exactly the same point to you about Kinsler’s error rate.

Bobcat,

Indeed, total chances are the thing. Well, total chances divided by innings played. Which one should note is one reason why Young ranks so high in TC, he plays 150 games every year. That’s a plus for him to be sure, assuming he’s better than whatever his replacement would be, of course. A couple of things to note, though: last year was very aberrant for him regarding errors (11; his previous 4 years are 19, 18, 14, 19) if errors are your bag. Ditto RF, though not to the same degree. 2008 AL SS RF was 4.39 to Young’s 4.59 for a +.20 for MY. Previous are .09, .38, -.19, -.35. You could say he’s getting better, and that’s a reasonable statement. Finally, if anyone is saying Young is a bad defensive shortstop, they’re wrong. He’s not. He has turned himself into an above average defensive shortstop. Indeed, in what turned into a massive thread on Baseball Primer (the site linked by TR, though not in that section) around the article leaking that the Rangers had asked Young to move to 3b, the argument specifically came down to whether a shortstop moving left on the defensive spectrum could gain enough marginal value on defense to offset moving to a position where average offense is higher. He *does* have problems moving to his left, but those are overblown some, and offset by a few other factors more than people think. And don’t forget that there are many better metrics than RF.

In other words, can Young, a slightly above average to good defensive SS but one who is basically established (except for one fluke 131 and last year’s 96) as a 107 OPS+ true talent, translate to third base? He should be able to be better relative to position defensively, but where AL SS put up a .696 OPS last year (tOPS+ to league average of 84), 3B put up a .768 for a tOPS+ of 103. SS was 16% below a league average hitter, while 3b was 3 percent better. Can Young make up that relative difference with his glove, fielding at an easier position? Opinion there was divided somewhat, with most thinking that marginal relative differences should even out. However, moving to his left will be a much bigger deal at 3b than SS.

Where of course there was little to no disagreement is that his contract remains an absolute abomination, just like it was when he signed the extension. The extension starts this year, and he’s getting $16 million per season for the next five, his age 32 through 36 seasons. That does the term abortion injustice. $16 million for a good defensive, average or slightly below average offensive third baseman, on the beginning of the downslide, for five years? Trainwreck of a contract. Which is why I say they have to keep him at SS, which is the only place he has a chance at providing enough value to trick someone else into taking that contract on, which the Rangers should be devoting every effort to enabling. Anyway, you’re right in saying that people calling MY a bad defensive SS are wrong, because they are. You’re understanding RF correctly, and you’re welcome over at Primer/Baseball Think Factory any time, as are the rest of you. Just don’t think uninformed snarkiness won’t get called out, because it will. You can be a smartass all you want, but you’ve got to have something to back it up. Else you should try to be polite or at least respectful. Toodle-oo.

“Somehow I don’t believe dwidregod’s assessment that defense is improved if you have **** that can reach more balls due to speed and makes three times as many errors. In most such error cases you still wind up with a runner on first base.”

Whoops, meant to mention that his assessment is correct, and perfectly intuitive. Let’s say an error on a throw from SS to first base is worth 2 bases (it’s not, I’m exaggerating and making the math easier.) If Guy A reaches 50 more balls and makes 15 more errors, it’s easy to see he’s more valuable. He saves 50 bases and gives back 30 of those for a net +20. If you had the option of playing the Flash at shortstop, but he had a terrible arm, you should do so, all other things equal (and they aren’t, like turning the DP, etc.) All those extra balls won’t be offset by even 40 more errors, if he’s getting to 100 that your average SS isn’t.

Jeffk, your comments on Young not fitting at third based on a lack of power are in total agreement with my thinking. If Young is to be moved it should be a “double switch”. Move Kinsler to 3rd and Young to second. Then if the rookie is truly a flash the team is improved defensively with no loss offensively.

On the matter of SS isn’t it unlikely that Elvis will have a 100 more total chances than Young had in 2008?

Thanks mlb for saying that i was right and intuitive? The bottom line is i like Young, but he just can’t get to as many ground balls as Andrus will. I saw a lot of games last year where Young didn’t get to a ball that i want my shortstop to get to. Those ended up as hits. Andrus is at least going to knock alot of those down and may or may not make a throw to first. Those will also be hits, infield ones, not doubles. As a person who has played baseball since i was seven years old and coached my son’s in youth leagues. Sometimes just knocking a ball down, keeping it from going to the outfield, prevents runs from being scored. Washington knows this and that is why he probably mentioned that Young needed to change positions to improve our team defense. Andrus is coming, but don’t be surprised that Vizquel gets a lot of time over there. It is admirable that Young moved to short when he was asked, he made a lot of money when he did that. I personally would move him back to second and Kinsler to third. I still think Young is going to be traded if the Rangers can get someone to take his contract. Maybe Phillies, Dodgers or Red Sox. I would then put Duran at second and Kinsler at third. Smoak is gonna be here fast and Davis may be moved to outfield. These are nice problems to have. When our pitching hits, within 2 to 3 years, this team is gonna be tough. It may be this year if Millwood and Padilla put it together at the same time.

As Jamie Newberg says, “Your line-up is your line-up”. Irrespective of the defensive positions they play the combined young-kinsler offence will be the same. To say that Kinsler must play third because he has the greater power of the two makes no sense.

T.R., I hope I can talk some baseball with you sometime. Your a good guy and a good fan.

T.R., I hope I can talk some baseball with you. Your a good guy and a good fan.

Anthony, you (and Jamey) are totally right. Young and Kinsler are both going to be in the lineup regardless so why let their offense dictate their defenseive roles? It makes no sense. Young has the skills to be an outstanding defensive third baseman. His range inadequacies at SS will still be there if he’s playing up the middle at second. Kinsler, even with he relatively high error total, is an average to above average second baseman because of his range, but doesn’t have the strong arm Michael does. The defense is going to be better this season with Michael moving and Ian staying put and that’s what should matter – the defense, not Player A is going to hit 15 more home runs than player B, so player A is better suited to third base regardless of his defensive skill set.

Well now that Jamie, Anthony and hefe300 have settled the line-up issue we can discuss who has the stronger arm.

Young has a better arm than Kinsler, that’s why the defensive alignment they’re going with makes so much sense.

“Young and Kinsler are both going to be in the lineup regardless so why let their offense dictate their defenseive roles? It makes no sense.”

Because it’s not about the total offense, as I said. It’s about providing value in order to be desirable for trade. Michael Young as a 2b is more desirable than Michael Young at third. Ian Kinsler isn’t getting traded regardless, so it doesn’t matter. I don’t want to move Kinsler, I want Young staying at SS, where he’s even more valuable than he is at 2b, until they can trade him. Because in none of those three positions is he worth that horrific contract.

Ian Kinsler is an above average second baseman defensively? Um, to be polite….no. -22 UZR for the last three years as one data point. His RF is above average, but he makes a brutal amount of errors, and he makes less plays than expected outs would dictate, meaning the RF is a product of environment, not talent. He is getting better, but he is still not average, much less above.

“Statheads only enjoy reading the boxscores and reading BP.”

This is just silly. I don’t think any more has to be said about it.

As for the projection system, it’s a projection system. It isn’t perfect and it won’t generate perfect results. It doesn’t have to, as that’s not what it’s for – it is there as a tool, to provide people some reasoned and informed idea of how players are expected to perform during the upcoming season and, consequently, how the team can be expected to perform. It’s to help you, the reader, in your friendly arguments with friends over how the season will progress or how a specific player will do; whether your team should sign a particular player or trade for someone; to help your fantasy team; for fun! It’s there as a tool for all of these things and more.

It’s not some danger to baseball – it’s an aid to baseball.

I could go on about the “too much time on their hands” comments, as those are also just silly – why is one pastime intrinsically more valuable than another?

Young is being traded without eating a significant portion of his contract. His defensive skill set is great for third. You have no third baseman of the future but you do have a young prodigy at SS. Young’s range is still a problem at 2b. Ian Kinlser is intrenched at 2nd anyway. All this adds up to Michael Young being moved to third base. It’s really a common sense move.

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