Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Assorted Nerditry

I've got something cooking for later (today, hopefully) on Scott Downs, but for now I'll point out a few awesome things I found in the internets today. Firstly, my hatred of football knows no bounds. Because I'm an irrational lunatic, I've never been quite able to articulate how and why football turns me off. Luckily, Craig Calcaterra of Shysterball is learned yet of a similar mind. I'll let him explain:
...there's a basic humanity about baseball that is almost nonexistent in modern football's, robotic, gladiatorial culture, and I just can't look past it and enjoy the game.
The context is, Craig himself says, silly but that doesn't change the sentiment. I'm insanely jealous I couldn't put it that way first.

Sky Kalkman of Beyond the Boxscore does what any good nerd herdman does: finds a new angle or perspective on an established norm. Sky gets the "who's the MVP?" discussion started early but with an awesome twist: using not just Wins above replacement but his own version of WAR, with win probability added subbing for base runs above average. A nice twist especially in an MVP context.

First interesting thing is the non-pitching WAR leader: Franklin Gutierrez. Alarming, no? The formula includes defense and clutchness as stated above, two things F-Gutz does really well. Something else I find interesting: Alex Rios and F-Gut are almost the same guy. The only real difference is 16 points of wOBA (.343 v. .327.) and Rios having a down year in the field as a right fielder rather than center. Strange, but on the whole they're very similar. Anyway, it is an interesting (though not bulletproof) way of calculating the MVP. I've used Sky's formula to calculate the WAR* for your Toronto Blue Jays. Clutch dreams!

Blue JayWPA RunsFieldingReplacementPositionalWAR*Clutch (1)
Marco Scutaro1261653.9-3
Aaron Hill1731613.74
Scott Rolen (2)1631213.35
Adam Lind19-115-92.3-3
Alex Rios9015-42.010
Rod Barajas0N/A1071.68
Lyle Overbay4311-71.1-4
Jose Bautista-407-20.1-5
Kevin Millar-5-17-5-0.50
Vernon Wells-18-20151-2.1-10

(1)Clutch is the difference between the batting runs above average and WPA runs. It isn't included in the calculation, it's simply included for reference.

Click here to see the standard WAR rankings for your 2009 Toronto Blue Jays.

Interesting and vomit-inducing stuff. Because UZR isn't yet able to quantify catcher defence, Rod Barajas gets a N/A. I'm hardly the man to judge but many people have positive things to say about his receiving skills. If you add handful of runs for defense and suddenly Rod isn't quite as disposable as I thought. He, as well as Alex Rios, benefit by their ability to hit in the clutch with 100% boosts to their WAR.

The sweet irony of Marco Scutaro being thought of as the team MVP in 2008 once again comes full circle by him being the non-Halladay MVP in 2009. His excellent defense and reliability (listed here as replacement, a reward for playing every day thus keeping a "replacement" level player on the bench) make up for his relative lack of clutch hitting.

Which brings us to Vernon Wells. Poor, poor Vernon. So unclutch in 2009 it doubles his negative value, to 2 wins BELOW replacement. That doesn't make it okay to boo him though. I think. Kevin Millar kills the Jays too, though it is on a much less frequent basis. Jose Bautista does exactly what he's supposed to do: fill in. He can't really play but he'll do it whenever you'd like. Other Jays not listed don't count because the fuck difference does Raul Chavez make? Well Snider matters, now that he's on his way back. He's worth a little less than Millar (-0.6), penalized for struggling under pressure. Unlike Millar, he's 21 fucking years old with the world his oyster. I'll cut him some slack.


  1. Does this mean I should stop hating mercilessly on Rod the Bod?

  2. Well, his .280 OBP is easily to hate, but he's better than I thought for what that's worth.

    If his defense turns out to be just average or worse, then let the hate flow freely.

  3. Maybe I'm in the minority here, but Zooey Deschanel really doesn't do a lot for me. I think her acting is sub-par and that clouds my judgment, including her looks. Like, for example, Rios' apparent "lackadaisical" attitude, which clouds most people from seeing how well he's hitting with RISP w/2 outs (.340 AVG, .997 OPS).

  4. Vernon's RAR is -10.9. No other regular comes close to that number. Even Millar, that bastard, comes in at -4.5.


    Back to the bong we go.

  5. I'll pretend I didn't hear that comment about the doe-eyed starlet who uttered the immortal "one day you'll be cool."

    /polishes up banhammer


  6. Good news! According to one man's math Rod Barajas is an above-average catcher, worth 8 runs above replacement. That bumps his value up some more, save your hate.

    Also, Raul Chavez would rank as the second best albeit in a small sample.

  7. You're not alone Drew, I can't stand football either.

  8. 8 defensive runs would make Barajas almost average overall, which of course isn't really very good since you have to be above average to be an average starter. Think the Pirates are willing to part with Doumit this offseason, since they've been willing to part with everyone else?

  9. I love football. It's a natural fit for a Blue Jay fan. Allstar break, season essentially over, except for trading deadline.....which is immediately followed by Training Camp....Football season ends, pitchers and catchers report two weeks later. Oh how my wife hates it.

  10. I mistyped in my previous comment. Barajas is 8 runs above average, not replacement. So he's pretty good, upper third in the league anyway

  11. The replacement player is assumed to be an average defender, so it's the same.

  12. But in real life the replacement player is probably not an average defender, making barajas not bad


Send forth the witticisms from on high