Wednesday, December 12, 2007

It's Nice to See Professional Sportswriters using VORP

... I just wish they'd get it right.

I don't have a lot of big bones to pick with David Pinto's article, and he's actually making a decent effort to use sabermetrics. Bully on him.

He does get tripped up here though, when comparing the Tigers of 2006 with the Tigers of 2007:

The Tigers must make up a sizable gap, 76 runs, to overtake the Yankees. The offense of Cabrera, Renteria and Jones in '07 would have made up that difference.

Value Over Replacement Player (VORP), invented by the crew at Baseball Prospectus, measures the number of runs a player produces above or below a replacement player. These three are replacing the offense of first baseman Sean Casey, third baseman Brandon Inge and the leftfield platoon of Craig Monroe and Marcus Thames. (Renteria replaces Casey, since Carlos Guillen moves from short to first.)
Old vs. new Tigers, 2007 VORP
Old player VORP New player VORP
Casey 9.6 Renteria 47.5
Inge -3.3 Cabrera 71.4
Thames and Monroe -11.6 Jones 7.6
Total -5.3 Total 126.5

Guillen's VORP was measured as a shortstop. Defense is taken into account in VORP, as is Guillen's production measures against a replacement level shortstop, not a replacement level first baseman. Ergo, his VORP when measured as a first baseman will be much, much lower. Shortstops, catchers and second baseman usually get the biggest positional "boosts" in VORP - the baseline replacements usually just aren't that good at hitting baseballs. First basemen, positionally, usually receive the least positional help as they're generally hitters first and defenders second.

So kudos to David Pinto in his attempt to introduce sabermetrics to the masses, but he may just want to brush up a bit on what he's trying to sell.

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posted by Mr. Faded Glory @ 11:20 AM   0 comments


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