This article, by Fangraphs' Dave Cameron, is the best explanation for why Mike Trout was more valuable, offensively, than Miguel Cabrera.

It uses a stat called RE24, but it isn't all that hard to understand. Statisiticiams look at all games played by all teams over a long period of time (at least a decade - I can't remember exactly how long), and measure how often teams score in each of the 24 different "base-out states." Man on first, two outs, how often on average does a MLB team score? And so on, for every single possible situation. Then, they measure how much the difference in the probability of a team scoring is from the time before a hitter's AB, and after it is over. The example used in the article is an AB where Cabrera came up with two outs and runners on 1st and 2nd - a situation in which, on average, a team is expected to score .33 runs.*

*[Contrary to what has been suggested earlier in this thread, this is not "speculative" either - it is based on real world averages over huge sample sizes. And these expected run values are at the very heart of all "linear weights" based sabermetric stats, which form the basis - in one form or another - of WAR, or at least the offensive part of it.]

Instead, Cabrera hit a three-run home run, so under the stat "RE24" Cabrea is credited with the difference between the runs actually socred and the runs they are expected to score (+2.67).

This stat is entirely based in the real world, and gives players credit for context (even outs) that advance the probability of scoring in an inning. Every single offensive play a player was involved in is logged - either as a positive, or a negative value. Offense only.

The article links to the leaderboard, but for the sake of simplicity, here's the Top Five:

1. Mike Trout: +56.52 runs
2. Edwin Encarnacion: +54.44 runs
3. Prince Fielder: +48.12 runs
4. Joe Mauer: +46.51 runs
5. Miguel Cabrera: +45.18 runs

The biggest single reason for the difference? Double plays. Cabrera had more "big" positive plays than Trout did, but Trout had more overall positive plays and far fewer negative ones (where the result of your AB is a reduction in the probability of your team scoring from what was expected before your AB).

Of course, this matters. Cabrera supporters can't point just to the big positives but ignore the big negatives. [For that matter, they shouldn't be allowed to ignore defense, or going first-to-third, or stealing almost 50 bases at a 90%+ clip, but that is another story.]

Just offense. Give credit for context when it is earned, but count the negatives when those are earned, too. As Cameron puts it,

quote:
"You can go through each player’s play logs and see exactly where they earned and lost credit. There’s no replacement level here. We’re not dealing with defensive metrics that require some subjective inputs and can’t be easily replicated. This is just pure offense, and the total value of all the plays that both Trout and Cabrera were involved in.

And Trout still comes out on top. Ignore defense. Ignore things like going first to third on a single, or taking the extra base on a fly ball. Ignore WAR. Trout still wins. This is how amazing his season actually was. Even if you strip away the things that make Mike Trout special, he was still the best offensive performer in the American League this year, even while starting the season in the minors. This isn’t just the best performance of 2012 – it’s one of the best individual performances in the history of baseball."
Last edited by EdgarFan
Well, I'm a HUGE Mike Trout honk, but I earlier posted that I favored Cabrera for the MVP award, but what you presented is a very compelling argument. What is also surprising to me is how high Joe Mauer ranked in this analysis. Great information, thank you!
BTW, EdgarFan, I just sent you a PM on another topic.

Thanks.
Got it, like2rake. Thanks for the kind words.

Believe it or not, despite everything I've written, I won't be THAT upset if Cabrera wins, because he did have a fantastic, historical year. We've had many worse choices for MVP.

I just think that, *even just offensively,* Trout has been a little bit better. Enough so that it is significant, and when you start looking at things like defense and baserunning, it just becomes less and less defensible to pick Cabrera - particularly if based on an argument as weak as "if he won the Triple Crown, how can you NOT give him the MVP?" If they were really close offensively (all offense, good and bad, not just BA, RBI and HR), I would probably give it to Cabrera based on the historical significance of the Triple Crown. But they're not that close - and the "other stuff" (defense, baserunning) is pretty significant, too.

I've said way too much on this subject.... LOL
EdgarFan,

If your name means what I think it means... What makes you a fan of things like great defense or stolen bases? Just kidding!!!

I've really enjoyed reading your posts in this thread. More importantly, I've learned a lot from your participation.

Who said you can't teach an old dog new tricks! Thanks!
I always thought that the MVP should go to the player that was a gamechanger, the one that made a difference in a teams winning or losing.

I say give it to them both!
Agreed. Give it to both if possible. Heck I was rooting for Posey but he did not get the BA lead. No stats is perfect as it leave out a lot of things. Pitchers faced, velocity, type of pitch, altitude, error call vs a hit, umpire strike zone call, first base umpire call, catcher skill level vs base steal, steroid vs non steroid, weather, grass condition, wind, pitching mound height, etc etc.
quote:
Originally posted by PGStaff:

"EdgarFan,

If your name means what I think it means... What makes you a fan of things like great defense or stolen bases? Just kidding!!!"

LOL.... Yes, the name means what you think it means. I dunno. In the years Edgar actually played third base regularly (and better than Miguel Cabrera, I might add), there was a kid to his left who could pick it a little bit, and I definitely enjoyed watching him. In fact, that kid just retired...I think. Turned out he could hit a bit better than we thought, too (if he *does* retire, he'll finish 123 hits short of 3000).

But since you brought him up, and because Edgar is one of those 55 guys in the last 50 years who lead MLB in offensive WAR (6.9 oWAR in the strike-shortened 1995 season), I'll shamelessly take the opportunity to talk about Edgar, because there are some parallels between his 1995 year (which was much better than Cabrera's 2012) and Cabrera's 2012.

Going into those two seasons - 1995 for Edgar and 2012 for Cabrera - both were thought to be sub-par defensive players, though with Edgar this was more a function of injury than ability (Martinez was actually +23 fielding from 1989-1994 when he was more or less a full-time 3B, but had struggled when injured) whereas Cabrera has never been considered a good fielder (-61 career, never has had a season where he has not been a negative contributor defensively; had been a whopping -29 fielding at 3B the last two seasons he played there, in 06-07, and hadn't fared much better after moving to 1B over the course of the next four seasons, going -19 there). Both were considered slow, though perhaps Cabrera more so (Martinez's 162-game average for baserunning through 1994 was a dead-even "0" or neutral/average, as he was for double plays (total of -2 runs in each category over 8 seasons), while Cabrera's 162 game average through 2011 for baserunning (-1) and double plays (-1) were slightly worse, though his totals in each category (-14 baserunning, -16 double plays) were quite a bit worse). Both had teammates who were thought to be better options defensively at the two positions they might reasonably play - Mike Blowers at 3B and a young Tino Martinez at 1B for Edgar, and an in-his-prime Prince Fielder at 1B and an aging Brandon Inge at 3B. Inge was slipping offensively (and had never been particularly *good* offensively), but as recently as 2010 had hit a league average-ish .247/.321//.397, good for +0.9 oWAR, and was a very good, +10 fielder at 3B.

So both teams had probably better defensive options at both 1B and 3B. Edgar was, going into that year, a better defender (by a not-insignificant margin) and a better baserunner (also by a not-insignificant margin), though nobody was going to really call either man a great defender or baserunner any time soon. Cabrera makes it known he doesn't want to DH, while Edgar grudgingly but willingly accepts the role. To this day, Edgar is routinely knocked for taking that role (both in the 1995 MVP discussion, and now in HoF discussions), while some in baseball circles want to give Cabrera *credit* for "unselfishly" moving back to 3B (where he had previously been, and would continue to be, horrible) as part of his 2012 MVP case. I don't get that, but anyway, tuck that away for a second, because I want to make a point about Cabrera's offensive case by comparing the two players' offensive campaigns.

Which of these seasons is the better offensive season?

1995 Edgar Martinez: 145 games (led the league in a strike-shortened year), 639 PA, 182 hits, 81 XBH, 116 BB, 87 K, 11 GIDP. 121 runs scored, AND 103 RBI. Was on base 306 times, compared to 347 outs made, and had 161 runs created. .356/.479/.628 BA/OBP/SLG, good for a MLB-leading 185 OPS+, as well as leading the AL in BA and OBP (3rd in SLG behind Belle & McGwire). Lead MLB in virtually every advanced offensive metric, including oWAR (6.9 over 145 games, which projects to 7.7 over 161 games). Led all of MLB in the RE24 statistic I described above, with a ridiculous +80.33 (14.3 better than the next best guy). But he didn't lead in two of the three Triple Crown categories - finishing 4th in RBI (13 off the pace), and 13th in HR (21 off the pace, 11 behind 2nd).

-OR-

2012 Miguel Cabrera: 161 games, 697 PA. 205 hits, 84 XBH, 66 BB, 98 K, 28 GIDP. 109 runs scored, 139 RBI. Was on base 274 times, compared to 452 outs made, and had 139 runs created. 330/.393/.606, good for a 166 OPS+ (3rd in MLB). Was no better than 2nd, and often as far down as 4th or 5th in the league in virtually every advanced offensive metric, including oWAR (7.5, 2nd), and the afore-mentioned RE24 (+45.18, 5th). But managed the historically fortuitous feat of finishing first in each of the three Triple Crown categories.

There's no question which season I would "choose" if I could do so. Edgar Martinez in 1995 was quite a bit better offensively than Miguel Cabrera in 2012. Yet, Edgar Martinez in 1995 was never given serious MVP consideration. He finished a distant 3rd in the voting behind those noted defensive whizzes Mo Vaughn (3.6 oWAR, -0.2 dWAR) and Albert Belle (6.8 oWAR, -0.6 dWAR). An afterthought, largely because of "defense" he was not asked to play, and his main competitors played poorly at worst (and neutral at best). Tell Edgar Martinez "defense doesn't matter" in MVP voting. Sure it does.

Yet somehow this year, a guy put in the same position Edgar found himself in in 1995 but who instead forced his team to play him in the field rather than DH and cost his team runs as a result now needs *credit* for his "unselfishness" and wants to dismiss the defensive side of the candidacy of a player (Mike Trout) who was not only BETTER offensively but also a legitimate, Gold Glove caliber defender at a premimum position, and the best base runner in the league? How does that work?

Offensively, 1995 Edgar Martinez > 2012 Miguel Cabrera (and defense shouldn't be a consideration because Cabrera cost his team runs defensively). Offensively, 2012 Mike Trout > 1995 Edgar Martinez, though that's a much closer call (see RE24). Defensively, 2012 Mike Trout blows away Edgar Martinez or Miguel Cabrera even if they could somehow replicate their best day defensively for 162 games.

I have yet to see anybody offer a reason why the historical but ultimately fortuitous (since it so depends on the performance of others, as well as yourself) achievement of leading the Triple Crown categories changes any of the analysis of their "value" to their team. To me, it is enough that Miguel Cabrera's achievement will be noted in the Hall of Fame, and he will be long-remembered as one of only 16 (so far) players to win the Triple Crown. That's a terrific achievement, but it does NOT necessarily mean he was the "best" or "most valuable" player in his league this year.

quote:
"I've really enjoyed reading your posts in this thread. More importantly, I've learned a lot from your participation."

Thank you very much, PG. I'm flattered...but I have to say, I am positive I have learned far more from your participation here than you will ever learn from mine. That you (and to be fair - the many wise and experienced "old-timers around here, as well) continue to give so generously of your time here is one of the things that makes this place special and valuable to those of us right in the thick of HS Baseball.

quote:
"Who said you can't teach an old dog new tricks! Thanks!"

You're welcome! Thanks for providing me the opening to indulge a little Edgar-pushing!
Last edited by EdgarFan
Let me be the devil advocate for a moment. Given the recent unemployment number, is the economy on the mend or on the tank? If you were a campaign manager for Obama, you will say the cup is half full. If you were a campaign manager for Mitt Romney, it will be the cup is half empty. They can manipulate the stats to their own needs. If you were an ordinary folk like me, which would be the case, half full or half empty? There are thousands of PhD thesis on all kinds of statistics and economic indicators, so there you go. Tell me which is the true economic situation at present?
I agree with others who have suggested that an award for MVP is difficult to define no matter what analytical system you apply.

Why not; Rookie of the Year, Pitcher of the Year and Player (position) of the Year?
I don't buy into the WAR arguments. WAR is subjective. There are three seperate sets of standards for WAR. None of the three are accepted across the board by baseball. I accept there is some value to using WAR if a standard can be set and eliminate as much subjectivity as possible. Right now WAR is no less subjective than any debate between two people arguing over Trout versus Cabrera and vice versa.

While I recognize Trouts fielding and baserunning advantage over Cabrera, the MVP is usually thought of as a hitting award for a player on a winner. While there are newer Sabermetric stats of some value Caberea accomplished something that had not been done in forty-five years. These three stats are the hallowed stats of baseball. Second, Cabrera's team is in the post season. If this wasn't enough to turn me to Cabrera I would add in the sentimental value of Cabrera has been putting up numbers for years while flying under the radar screen while Trout should have many more opportunities to win.

Stats I look at to help decide the productivity of hitters is total runs and rbi's, OPS and Avg w/RISP. Cabrera's OPS is thirty-six higher than Trout. His Avg w/RISP is thirty-two points higher than Trout.
Last edited by RJM
If you ask me 6 months ago why coaches and managers do not believe in stats, I would said they are nuts. Now I get to understand why they would like to see baseball players live in action before drafting them. They are so many factors going into it, what stats do we take? How many base steals are equal to a base hit? How many base hits are equal to a HR? How many strikeouts(pitchers) is equivalent to a base hit(hitter), to compare a pitcher to a hitter? How many passed balls is equivalent to a dropped fly-ball? How many HR is equivalent to a walk-off HR? How many sacrificed flies are equal to a base hit? How many steal first bases are equal to stealing a third base? And etc etc. By manipulating all these weighted statistics, you could get what you want. Winning a triple crown is not easy. If you are a HR king, you might be a power hitter and always swing big; then you tend to strikeout more since you always go for the big hit. To maintain a good BA, you got to be disciplined and know when and how to hit. If you could win the HR and BA in the same year, that itself is a big accomplishment. Adding to the factor you got to drive someone home when there is a person on base; do you swing big or go for a base hit when you have a person on base? Now if there is a pitcher that has 20-wins, an ERA of say 1.90 and did a perfect game and he is still playing in October, then he might beat out Cabrera simply because it is an amazing feat for the pitcher.
quote:

"Batting average isn't relevant" seems to be uttered mostly when the average is low, relatively speaking. So, if we ever have another .400 hitter, that stat won't matter? "Home Runs are only relevant to those that don't understand." Perhaps, certainly they are relevant to those playing the game, and PAYING those that play the game.

Moreover, if we get a pitcher next year that wins more than 30 games (hasn't been done in over 45 yrs., akin to the current TRIPLE CROWN accomplishment) he may NOT be worthy of the Cy Young Award? I guess so, right. I mean really, we all know that wins aren't really an accurate measure of a pitchers performance. Wins, like batting average, see to become meaningless to those that want to support the performance of a player that doesn't have either many wins, or a high batting average, or not many home runs, or few RBI's??

If we ever have a .400 hitter, that will be an amazing accomplishment. But the fact is, a .400 average doesn't = best hitter. Bonds has a career OBP of .444 (6th highest all time), but an average under .300. On the other hand, people are in awe over Jeter's season this year because he's hitting .320. He has a .362 OBP. It's pretty obvious that batting average isn't a telling stat in terms of value.

If a pitcher wins 30 games with a 3.00 ERA, why would he deserve to win the Cy Young if another pitcher went 10-20 with a 2.20 ERA? Pitchers are supposed to give up the least amount of runs possible.

Instead of looking at the whole picture, people are referencing stats that obviously don't even come close to accurately describing a player. "Oh, he's a 20 game winner while the other guy isn't.. he should win the Cy Young." 50 years ago people judged pitchers by wins. 50 years ago people judged hitters by the simple Triple Crown stats. Is it impossible for people to recognize that these aren't the best ways to judge players anymore..?
Last edited by 2013LHP
Ok, so according to some; W.A.R. is one of the many metrics can be used today to better measure a players worth? The old stats and process of "just seeing players play" are no longer relevant. Who could really accurately evaluate how Willie and Joe moved in the OF? How was it done before the "arbitrary, somewhat nebulous, defensive parameters where set (garbage in, garbage out).

I wonder if that thinking applies elsewhere? Like Spouses perhaps? Just where does my Bride of 29 years (today) fit versus "an average replacement wife?" Can I apply defensive metrics to value her range, her wifely skills? If so, versus exactly which measure of "average replacement value would be standard?" My determination, or perhaps Tom Brady (married to Giselle B.) or Roddick (married to Brooklyn D.)?

You new age guys; there must be an improved way to measure her true worth other than what I used 30 years ago, or my Dad used, or my granddad or his dad? Isn't that obvious?
I guess I'm too simple...
When the argument is somewhat close for these guys, I think the first Triple Crown in 45 YEARS is a decent swing vote.
Once again, people think that WAR is some statistic that was just made up out of thin air, without actually researching what it is.

I'm sorry that you will not open your mind up to something more advanced than 50 years ago, and are just resorting to irrelevant sarcasm to try to make your point.

The old stats measure one thing. HRs measure how many HRs were hit. RBIs measure RBIs. As soon as these statistics are broken down, valued and/or combined (WAR), they are just written off as some nerd in a basement making stuff up.

Again, I'm truly sorry that you will not even give it a chance, considering that advanced stats are simply the old-school stats put in perspective.

It's not rocket science or a fairy tale, so I'm not sure why people treat it that way.
Last edited by 2013LHP
quote:
Originally posted by 2013LHP:
quote:

"Batting average isn't relevant" seems to be uttered mostly when the average is low, relatively speaking. So, if we ever have another .400 hitter, that stat won't matter? "Home Runs are only relevant to those that don't understand." Perhaps, certainly they are relevant to those playing the game, and PAYING those that play the game.

Moreover, if we get a pitcher next year that wins more than 30 games (hasn't been done in over 45 yrs., akin to the current TRIPLE CROWN accomplishment) he may NOT be worthy of the Cy Young Award? I guess so, right. I mean really, we all know that wins aren't really an accurate measure of a pitchers performance. Wins, like batting average, see to become meaningless to those that want to support the performance of a player that doesn't have either many wins, or a high batting average, or not many home runs, or few RBI's??

If we ever have a .400 hitter, that will be an amazing accomplishment. But the fact is, a .400 average doesn't = best hitter. Bonds has a career OBP of .444 (6th highest all time), but an average under .300. On the other hand, people are in awe over Jeter's season this year because he's hitting .320. He has a .362 OBP. It's pretty obvious that batting average isn't a telling stat in terms of value.

If a pitcher wins 30 games with a 3.00 ERA, why would he deserve to win the Cy Young if another pitcher went 10-20 with a 2.20 ERA? Pitchers are supposed to give up the least amount of runs possible.

Instead of looking at the whole picture, people are referencing stats that obviously don't even come close to accurately describing a player. "Oh, he's a 20 game winner while the other guy isn't.. he should win the Cy Young." 50 years ago people judged pitchers by wins. 50 years ago people judged hitters by the simple Triple Crown stats. Is it impossible for people to recognize that these aren't the best ways to judge players anymore..?
There are many ways to interpret stats. A good example was Jim Merritt pitching for the Big Red Machine. He won 20 games with a 4.00 ERA. At that point in time 4.00 was considered way below average. But an argument could be in the concept of the makeup of the team, the bottom line is the team won when he pitched.

Going the other way with stats I remember once reading an article Matty Alou's league leading .342 was a very ineffective .300 hitter. On a Pirates team that scored a lot of runs he only scored 86 and drove in 27. The following year he hit .332 with only 59 runs and 52 rbi's.

What this all does is allow for debate. It adds to the fun and interest of baseball.

I do believe if someone hits .400 chances are he'll be an excellent hitter. He'll probably be a fast contact hitter than a masher. It probably won't be a player who strikes out 140 times. That said, it's possible someone who hits .280 with 50 homers and 140 rbi's may be helping his team more.
Just out of curiosity... Who has led the leagues in WAR over the past several seasons? How often has it been the MVP? That might tell us what the actual voters go by.
quote:
Originally posted by PGStaff:
Just out of curiosity... Who has led the leagues in WAR over the past several seasons? How often has it been the MVP? That might tell us what the actual voters go by.

That's a good question as Verlander was the MVP last year, and he doesn't hit.
What was his WAR over the other considerations?
quote:
Originally posted by PGStaff:
Just out of curiosity... Who has led the leagues in WAR over the past several seasons? How often has it been the MVP? That might tell us what the actual voters go by.
Who led may depend on which WAR criteria is used. There are three seperate calculations of WAR created by three different entities.
quote:
Originally posted by PGStaff:
Just out of curiosity... Who has led the leagues in WAR over the past several seasons? How often has it been the MVP? That might tell us what the actual voters go by.

There is no doubt in my mind that many of the voters do not consider WAR at all. But based on offensive WAR (as discussed before, the defensive one is unreliable for the most part):

2011 NL - Ryan Braun (2nd in oWAR)
2011 AL - Verlander (2nd in WAR for pitchers)

2010 NL - Votto (1st in oWAR)
2010 AL - Hamilton (3rd in oWAR)

2009 NL - Pujols (1st)
2009 AL - Mauer (1st)
I am curious how the world tennis ranking is done? Do they break down defensive versus offensive, how many aces a person get, backhand versus front strokes win? Grass versus clay? Or just the fact that one wins and the other person loses? I heard that the world tennis ranking is sometimes controversial too. I still would stay with KISS. If it smell like a fish, taste like a fish, it is a fish. Or the Supreme Court Justice once said about pornography, 'I know it if I see it', or something like that, when he was asked to define pornography.
2013LHP,

Thanks, wow, Verlander was second for pitchers in 2011. Who was #1? BTW, didn't Verlander get the triple crown for pitchers in the American League last year? I thought it was fairly unanimous among the experts that he was the best pitcher in baseball last year.

Someone mentioned earlier that Zobrist was first in WAR in the National League last year. I would never have guessed that. Should Zobrist been considered the MVP last year if he did that? After all, he hit .269 with 20 HRs and 91 RBI that year. His stats are arguably better this year. Maybe he is underpaid.

Very good player, no doubt, but is he considered the best or most valuable player in the game by anyone? In fact, wouldn't most people think Longoria is the best player on that team?
quote:
I am curious how the world tennis ranking is done? Do they break down defensive versus offensive, how many aces a person get, backhand versus front strokes win? Grass versus clay? Or just the fact that one wins and the other person loses? I heard that the world tennis ranking is sometimes controversial too
bball123,

In tennis, the WTA (woman) and ATP (men) have a calculation on wins and tournaments entered to rank players. It is purely a math exercise. The only thing controversial is sometimes the ranking can favor someone who plays more torunaments to skew their numbers.

Baseball is much more subjective. In baseball, we have the pleasure of baseball writers (typically old guys) voting for these awards. Not the best system IMHO..
Last edited by fenwaysouth
Here is from Washington Post:
--
The Triple Crown is no guarantee, either. Since the Baseball Writers Association of American began voting on league MVPs in 1933, 10 players have now won the triple crown — and four of them (Chuck Klein in 1933, Lou Gehrig in 1934 and Ted Williams in 1942 and 1947) did not win MVP.

The credentials (stats in bold italics indicate league leader):

Cabrera: .330 average, .393 on-base percentage, .606 slugging percentage, 109 runs, 205 hits, 40 doubles, 44 home runs, 139 RBIs, 66 walks, 4 steals, .966 fielding percentage (697 plate appearances)

Trout: .326 average, .399 on-base percentage, .564 slugging percentage, 129 runs, 182 hits, 27 doubles, 8 triples, 30 home runs, 67 walks, 49 steals, .988 fielding percentage (639 plate appearances)

Cabrera is also still playing after he led the Tigers to another AL Central crown while Trout’s Angels finished four games out of the final wild-card spot. But Trout’s speed and standout defensive play are impossible to ignore. And like Cabrera, the 21-year-old has the utmost respect for his main competition.

“When he’s over the plate, he can do anything,” Trout said of Cabrera Wednesday night. “He’s the best hitter in the game. I think his approach, the way he battles with two strikes – you leave one pitch over the plate that at-bat and he’s going to hit it. He had an unbelievable year.”
-------
Main jarring contrasts:
Cabrera HR = 44, steal = 4, double = 40
Trout HR = 30, steal = 49, double = 27

The fact that RJM pointed out there are at least 3 versions of WAR out there and nobody is in agreement said a lot about the weighted statistics. I could go ahead and create a fourth WAR and made Posey the clear winner. So how many steals are equivalent to a HR. How many doubles are equivalent to a steal? How many HRs is equivalent to a double? And on and on. As the saying goes, 'there are lies, d*mn lies, and statistics".
quote:
Originally posted by RJM:

"Who led may depend on which WAR criteria is used. There are three seperate calculations of WAR created by three different entities."

I am aware of two - Baseball-Reference, and Fangraphs. What is the third? If you are referring to Rally WAR, that is the same as what Baseball-Reference uses, exactly.

WAR is not a stat, it is a framework. It is designed to properly value all aspects of the game in judging performance *retrospectively* (not prospectively) - offesne, defense, baserunning, and the relative ease and value of playing certain positions defensively versus others. If you don't like the components of a particular variation, you can sub in something you like better. Neither variation is perfect, but the key is they both attempt to answer questions about value of performance CONSISTENTLY, WITHOUT BIAS, and COMPLETELY, whatever the parameters are. And the big point to WAR "opponents": if not WAR, what do you replace it with that you that achieves similar consistency and completeness? Looking just at offense, or just selected offensive stats (while selectively omitting others as it fits our pre-conceived notions of who was "best") doesn't co that.

The differences between Fangraphs' WAR and B-R's WAR are relatively minor but do lead to some differences. I will attempt to actually answer PG's question later, as I get some time. I suspect the answer is that most of the time, WAR predicts the winner very accurately.
quote:
bball123,

The WTA (woman) and ATP (men) have a calculation on wins and tournaments entered to rank players. It is purely a math exercise. Baseball is much more subjective. In baseball, we have the pleasure of baseball writers (typically old guys) voting for these awards. Not the best system IMHO..

I have heard that there are some cases where a 2nd ranked player beat the top rank in a grand slam and still stay 2nd behind the top rank. And there are cases where a player never win a major tournament all year and is still ranked within to top ten.
quote:
WAR is not a stat, it is a framework. It is designed to properly value all aspects of the game in judging performance *retrospectively* (not prospectively) - offesne, defense, baserunning, and the relative ease and value of playing certain positions defensively versus others. If you don't like the components of a particular variation, you can sub in something you like better. Neither variation is perfect, but the key is they both attempt to answer questions about value of performance CONSISTENTLY, WITHOUT BIAS, and COMPLETELY, whatever the parameters are. And the big point to WAR "opponents": if not WAR, what do you replace it with that you that achieves similar consistency and completeness? Looking just at offense, or just selected offensive stats (while selectively omitting others as it fits our pre-conceived notions of who was "best")

If it is not a stat, then it is even worse - too subjective and open to too much interpretation. Going back to my point, how to do values the jarring contrasts between the two:
-----
Main jarring contrasts:
Cabrera HR = 44, steal = 4, double = 40
Trout HR = 30, steal = 49, double = 27
-----

There must be some values, or weights, placed in each category. Every time you place a weight, as a economist will tell you, you are comparing something to another. It opens up to too much interpretations. I am looking at triple crown not as a stat or framework, but more from a historical point of view. As I said before, if a pitcher has a 20-win and ERA below 2.00 and throw a no-hitter or perfect game, then I might consider him over Cabrera. The fact that Cabrera made history, and lead in 3 major categories, it is a great accomplishment. He might be slow, so does Prince F., Pablo S., Barry B., etc. does it deminish their performance because they are big guys who are slow and could not steal a base or two? What is the main characteristic of baseball, hitting or base stealing? What framework or weights do you place on them? All the triple crown winnings have gone on the be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Cabrera has an excellent chance to be in HOF. Trout, he is still young need to prove himself year in and year out.
Ok, to resolve the issue, let's vote for Posey to be the mvp. He's the comeback kid of the year
Bball, you are right. It comes down to what value you place on each statistic.

So the choice is:

1. Use the values that people have put in countless of hours researching, using extensive sample sizes, statistics, and actual results. For these people, assigning values to statistics is their JOB. They have dedicated years to figuring out things such as how valuable a double is compared to a home run, how much a SB truly helps a team, and how on-base percentage leads to runs.

or..

2. Use your own values, made up based off of purely being a fan of the game. No research involved. You decide, based on no evidence, how valuable home runs, batting average, and RBIs are.

Is option 1 perfect? No. Is option 2 (what you're opting for) even close to how accurate option 2 is? Absolutely not.

When the choice is relying on my own limited knowledge or relying on knowledge from people who know infinitely more than us, the choice is obvious.
In a post above I noticed that the Washington Post is quoted with a comparison of Trout and Cabrera. Once again my point is proven that a source that ought to know better uses outdated erronious statistics trying to prove a point. The Post used fielding percentage which is idiotic when comparing a gold glove type center fielder and a slug of a third baseman. Fielding percentage being used in virtually any argument shows that the arguee is a true dinosaur in his statistical thinking. Some of the worst position players in the history of baseball have held fielding percentage records or led the league in fielding percentage at their positions due to the fact that while they didn't make many errors, they also didn't get to any balls that required a step or two in any direction. Yet here we go again with a useless stat being used like it proves something. This is the whole basis of the sabermatic argument. THERE ARE NOW BETTER WAYS TO FIGURE VALUE in fielding, hitting and baserunning! By the way someone arguing for the Triple Crown all of a sudden was saying that we sabermetric defenders discount HRs and we NEVER said that. It is batting average and RBI's that are the problem. Anyone who wants to bring fielding percentage in this type of discussion really shows a lack of knowledge and credibility .
What you fail to notice in the Post is that even Trout is giving respect to Cabrera as a baseball player. Trout, like Posey, is a class act, humble and give credit where is due. He will go far as he put in more years. Every generation has a new age index, thinking they have figured out baseball.
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Originally posted by bball123:
What you fail to notice in the Post is that even Trout is giving respect to Cabrera as a baseball player. Trout, like Posey, is a class act, humble and give credit where is due. He will go far as he put in more years. Every generation has a new age index, thinking they have figured out baseball.

And every generation of scientists think they have figured out the universe. Are they always right? No. Does that mean we should never attempt to progress? Come on.
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And every generation of scientists think they have figured out the universe. Are they always right? No. Does that mean we should never attempt to progress? Come on.

I have no problem with that, in fact I spent my whole life in math and science. As long as you can prove with mathematically certainty how things are, I am 100% with you. Show me your maxwell equations, your theory of relativity of baseball, predict the past and then the future with your model, then I will be 100% with you. A half baked model is the most dangerous. Attempts are good, but know and acknowledge your limitation and corner cases. I am still insisting that a triple crown winners have the highest probability of being inducted to the Hall of Fame. Prove me wrong.
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Originally posted by bball123:
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And every generation of scientists think they have figured out the universe. Are they always right? No. Does that mean we should never attempt to progress? Come on.

I have no problem with that, in fact I spent my whole life in math and science. As long as you can prove with mathematically certainty how things are, I am 100% with you. Show me your maxwell equations, your theory of relativity of baseball, predict the past and then the future with your model, then I will be 100% with you. A half baked model is the most dangerous. Attempts are good, but know and acknowledge your limitation and corner cases. I am still insisting that a triple crown winners have the highest probability of being inducted to the Hall of Fame. Prove me wrong.

I have, on multiple occasions, stated that sabermetric stats are not perfect. Neither is the theory of the Big Bang, evolution, etc. That doesn't mean these theories aren't useful..

Also, I'm not sure where your last sentence came from, I don't think anyone was even talking about Hall of Fame probability.
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I have, on multiple occasions, stated that sabermetric stats are not perfect. Neither is the theory of the Big Bang, evolution, etc. That doesn't mean these theories aren't useful..

Also, I'm not sure where your last sentence came from, I don't think anyone was even talking about Hall of Fame probability.

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e

Well, there were claims that triple crown is obsolete, not a good measure. So far, it is the best predictor (past and future) of how good and valuable the baseball player is if he wins the crown. A model that does not predict accurately what the past was and the future is, is not worth the ink it is written on. The theory of big bang does and the evolution theory does as well.
Your argument makes no sense whatsoever. A Triple crown in and of itself doesn't predict anything about the Hall of Fame. You talk about theories that that don't mean anything and then you come up with something like this. It certainly isn't the likeliest predictor of Hall of Fame election. If Cabrera had fallen one HR short of the Triple Crown, he would be just as likely to make the Hall. Dick Allen just missed a Triple Crown and he isn't a Hall of Famer and had he won , he still wouldn't be. Heinie Zimmerman was actually called a Triple Crown winner for his 1912 season until the sabermaticians found thet the RBI titles were off slightly. He isn't anywhere close to a Hall of Famer.Take away their Triple Crown season and every winner except Chuck Klein would have been in the Hall regardless. A lot of people feel Klein fattened his stats by playing in Baker Bowl with it's 280 foot rightfield fence for most of his career in the hit happy late twenties and thirties. He is an extremely borderline Hall of Famer.

Play a team of nine Cabrera's against nine Trout's and it would be a joke. It would be like the fat little neighborhood kid against the future high school four sport athlete. Trout's team would run Cabrera's into the ground at every position. Cabrera IS having a Hall of Fame career as a hitter and the Triple Crown isn't needed to certify that.
All the winners have gone on to the Hall of Fame, it's 100% prediction so far. If you accept this piece of statistic then it is pointless to argue further. Note that I did not say no winning it would not get you into the HOF, that is a big different. It must be something about winning the crown that made it so difficult, such as experience, temperament, approach etc and etc. It does not appear to be like some unknown all of a sudden threw a perfect game one night and you never heard of him again. IF I have 9 Cabrera and 2 Justin Verlander, I can shut you out and score 10 runs, invoking mercy rule at 6 innings
Ok, in case someone takes it too seriously, there is no mercy rule in mlb, I was just kidding.
What does the Hall of Fame have to do with the MVP Award?

Your argument holds no water whatsoever. There is no connection.