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Thread: is war underrating catchers?

  1. #1

    is war underrating catchers?

    What do you think? there are very rarely catchers with high WAR numbers.

    I think the biggest problem is the adjustment for playing time. of course it is good that a player who plays more games has a higher WAR (you can only help your team if you play).

    however you can't play every day as a catcher. one off day per week is absolutely normal. I would consider 140 games for a catcher equal to 162 for an infielder.

    I think it would be better if WAR would consider this just like WAR doesn't punish starting pitchers for only pitching every 5 days.

    To me because of this catchers are very underrated by WAR. A SS will receive the same positional adjustment but unlike the catcher he can easily play 160 games. that means a catcher can never reach the same WAR unless he really hits A LOT better.

    So why not normalize a catchers season to 140 games?
    I think walks are overrated unless you can run. If you get a walk and put the pitcher in a stretch, that helps, but the guy who walks and cant run, most of the time hes clogging up the bases for somebody who can run. Dusty Baker.

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    I have seen people add in a catcher adjustment - and it passes the sniff test better than WAR alone.

    Ans WAR does "punish" modern starters for pitching every 5th day instead of every 4th. This is why despite never finishing higher than 3rd in his league in IP, Tom Seaver received more replacement value during his prime seasons than did Maddux, who led his league 5x. This is why Jim Bunning's best WAR seasons look like Randy Johnson's best WAR seasons and why Phil Niekro's peak seasons don't look much different than Pedro's peak seasons. Pitchers from earlier eras were allowed by the conditions and mangers to accrue WAR value that modern pitchers are not allowed to.
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  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew C. View Post
    I have seen people add in a catcher adjustment - and it passes the sniff test better than WAR alone.

    Ans WAR does "punish" modern starters for pitching every 5th day instead of every 4th. This is why despite never finishing higher than 3rd in his league in IP, Tom Seaver received more replacement value during his prime seasons than did Maddux, who led his league 5x. This is why Jim Bunning's best WAR seasons look like Randy Johnson's best WAR seasons and why Phil Niekro's peak seasons don't look much different than Pedro's peak seasons. Pitchers from earlier eras were allowed by the conditions and mangers to accrue WAR value that modern pitchers are not allowed to.
    That is true with the pitchers. a lot of old school guy believe that is fair though since pitching more is tougher. a lot of the old school guys hate any form of relief pitching.

    I can understand both points. on the one hand pitching less is easier. the more often you go through the lineup the tougher it becomes.

    so a pitcher who pitches less is helped in his ERA. Of course marianos ERA is pressed down by the fact that he only pitches one inning. and just like that a starter who only pitches 6.5 innings will have a lower ERA than a guy who pitches 9 innings. the last tim through the lineup is the hardest because the hitters have seen all your stuff. So I think the old school pitchers deserve to get some credit since their ERA was of course raised by pitching so many innings.

    on the other hand the relief pitcher is a fact today. 250 innings is a very big season today. we have to accept that.

    but for catching I think there really needs to be an adjustment because of the off days a catcher has to take.
    I think walks are overrated unless you can run. If you get a walk and put the pitcher in a stretch, that helps, but the guy who walks and cant run, most of the time hes clogging up the bases for somebody who can run. Dusty Baker.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by dominik View Post
    That is true with the pitchers. a lot of old school guy believe that is fair though since pitching more is tougher. a lot of the old school guys hate any form of relief pitching.

    I can understand both points. on the one hand pitching less is easier. the more often you go through the lineup the tougher it becomes.

    so a pitcher who pitches less is helped in his ERA. Of course marianos ERA is pressed down by the fact that he only pitches one inning. and just like that a starter who only pitches 6.5 innings will have a lower ERA than a guy who pitches 9 innings. the last tim through the lineup is the hardest because the hitters have seen all your stuff. So I think the old school pitchers deserve to get some credit since their ERA was of course raised by pitching so many innings.

    on the other hand the relief pitcher is a fact today. 250 innings is a very big season today. we have to accept that.

    but for catching I think there really needs to be an adjustment because of the off days a catcher has to take.
    Concerning IP and ERA (+): When comparing ERA+ or the RA impact in WAR (all set against average), all that matters is how much deeper a pitcher pitched into the game compared to his contemporaries, not compared to those from other eras. So even though Gibson may have been going an extra 1.5 innings per start compared to R. Johnson, Gibson compared to the rest of the league was not that much better than Johnson vs. rest of league. Throw in the fact that modern pitchers throw more pitchers per inning, the gap is smaller. The biggest difference between the eras is the number of games started.

    In other words, if all of the modern starters pitched an extra 2 innings per start all of a sudden, league ERA for starters would not change, but the amount of replacement level awarded sure would. Plus, if specialized relievers pitched less, all starters ERA+ in the modern era would get a lot better anyway.
    Last edited by Bothrops Atrox; 01-10-2012 at 06:37 PM.
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  5. #5
    You misunderstand WAR.

    WAR is the measure of the number of runs that a player produces on the field through his offense, defense, and baserunning.

    WAR does factor in that catcher play less games, by giving them no credit for games they don't play. A player does not produce on the field when he's not playing.

    Ivan Rodriguez is the only catcher with more than 10,000 career plate appearances. He ranks 62nd all time in plate appearances. His 74 WAR ranks 66th all time. (remember I typically use FanGraphs' WAR, not Baseball-Reference's WAR)

    If catchers caught more they would provide more value on the field to their team.

    You bring up pitchers. You mention 10 WAR in 40 games. I don't know if you had a specific pitcher in mind but in 1970 and 1971 Ferguson Jenkins put up 10.4 WAR in 39 and 40 games. In those 39 and 40 games he faced 1265 and 1299 hitters. In those two seasons the league leader in PA's for hitters were 745 and 739. He faced a lot more hitters than any hitter faced a pitcher. It's totally reasonable that he'd have more (or a similar) WAR even though he only played in 1/4 of the games.

    WAR measures the quality and quantity of what is done on the field.

    Catchers, because of the demands of the position, typically do not produce as much as other players.

    It's as simple as that.

    Where do catchers rank all time in things like runs, hits, doubles, triples, home runs, rbi, games, plate appearances, etc? Are catchers not treated 'fairly' by those stats?

    If you want to make WAR a rate stat (to normalize for playing time) you can take all players' WAR and divide by PA's. Then multiply by 500 or 600 or 700 or whatever. I imagine that you'll find that catchers' WAR per whatever number of PA's compares to that of other positions. Just as their H/PA, 2B/PA, 3B/PA, HR/PA, RBI/PA etc would.


    WAR is very accurate in measuring what it was designed to measure.

    WARvs.Wins_.jpg
    http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/ar...-war-good-for/

    If you want to use WAR to measure Hall of Fame worthiness, then instead of adjusting WAR you can adjust the standards for catchers.

    The top 10 catcher have between 86 and 56 career WAR.

    Those totals rank between 36th and 177th all time among non-pitchers.

    Grade catchers on their own scale when discussing Hall of Fame worthiness.

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    Quote Originally Posted by filihok View Post
    You misunderstand WAR.

    WAR is the measure of the number of runs that a player produces on the field through his offense, defense, and baserunning.

    WAR does factor in that catcher play less games, by giving them no credit for games they don't play. A player does not produce on the field when he's not playing.

    Ivan Rodriguez is the only catcher with more than 10,000 career plate appearances. He ranks 62nd all time in plate appearances. His 74 WAR ranks 66th all time. (remember I typically use FanGraphs' WAR, not Baseball-Reference's WAR)

    If catchers caught more they would provide more value on the field to their team.

    You bring up pitchers. You mention 10 WAR in 40 games. I don't know if you had a specific pitcher in mind but in 1970 and 1971 Ferguson Jenkins put up 10.4 WAR in 39 and 40 games. In those 39 and 40 games he faced 1265 and 1299 hitters. In those two seasons the league leader in PA's for hitters were 745 and 739. He faced a lot more hitters than any hitter faced a pitcher. It's totally reasonable that he'd have more (or a similar) WAR even though he only played in 1/4 of the games.

    WAR measures the quality and quantity of what is done on the field.

    Catchers, because of the demands of the position, typically do not produce as much as other players.

    It's as simple as that.

    Where do catchers rank all time in things like runs, hits, doubles, triples, home runs, rbi, games, plate appearances, etc? Are catchers not treated 'fairly' by those stats?

    If you want to make WAR a rate stat (to normalize for playing time) you can take all players' WAR and divide by PA's. Then multiply by 500 or 600 or 700 or whatever. I imagine that you'll find that catchers' WAR per whatever number of PA's compares to that of other positions. Just as their H/PA, 2B/PA, 3B/PA, HR/PA, RBI/PA etc would.


    WAR is very accurate in measuring what it was designed to measure.

    WARvs.Wins_.jpg
    http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/ar...-war-good-for/

    If you want to use WAR to measure Hall of Fame worthiness, then instead of adjusting WAR you can adjust the standards for catchers.

    The top 10 catcher have between 86 and 56 career WAR.

    Those totals rank between 36th and 177th all time among non-pitchers.

    Grade catchers on their own scale when discussing Hall of Fame worthiness.
    thread/

    .

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    Quote Originally Posted by filihok View Post
    You misunderstand WAR.

    WAR is the measure of the number of runs that a player produces on the field through his offense, defense, and baserunning.

    .
    Yes, WAR measures what it attempts to. People do not use WAR correctly, as they want everybody on the same playingfield regardless of replacement opportunity. Modern pitchers and catchers, based on what they do and when they did it, are given less opportunity to accrue WAR than other players throughout history. If one wants to look at those two groups based on what they actually did, WAR is fine. Others want to neutralize for those other factors. I mentioned that some adjustments could be made -but it is true that your new metric would no-longer be "WAR", but it could still tell you something meaningful. Also, using WAA neutralizes the replacement issue and provides the same baseline foe everybody. Many people in the sabermetric community are moving towards WAA and away from WAR for various reasons.

    I agree with the idea of ranking players on their own WAR scales and not against each other. It is when mixing of positions occurs that one has to decide what to do.
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  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew C. View Post
    I have seen people add in a catcher adjustment - and it passes the sniff test better than WAR alone.

    Ans WAR does "punish" modern starters for pitching every 5th day instead of every 4th. This is why despite never finishing higher than 3rd in his league in IP, Tom Seaver received more replacement value during his prime seasons than did Maddux, who led his league 5x. This is why Jim Bunning's best WAR seasons look like Randy Johnson's best WAR seasons and why Phil Niekro's peak seasons don't look much different than Pedro's peak seasons. Pitchers from earlier eras were allowed by the conditions and mangers to accrue WAR value that modern pitchers are not allowed to.
    Isn't it possible that the war value of pitchers is just getting spread around among more talent, more pitchers, and better used staffs? If that's the case then I would not mark it down to a war error per se, but rather a higher league quality in a league where staffs are used more optimally, and more arms get a chance at producing value. In fact for me the amount of innings pitched by starters is a nearly direct measurement of at least a component of league quality. There are a few confounding factors such as that pitchers can't throw as many innings in a higher offensive setting as a lower one because it takes more pitches to do so, but I'd say give Neikro 8.6 and 9.6 WAR when he throws 330 innings to Pedro's 9.7 throwing 220, but recognize that the extra 110 innings were getting often handed to fresh armed guys who could outdo the league average for the added innings.

    there also might be a slight issue that runs getting saved in games pitched will have a compound effect on winning. in a 4 run setting, saving 1 run a game for 40 games will be worth about 5.6 extra wins, while saving 2 runs a game for 20 games will be worth about 6.0 extra wins, though I am not sure whom this helps more.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by filihok View Post
    You misunderstand WAR.

    WAR is the measure of the number of runs that a player produces on the field through his offense, defense, and baserunning.

    WAR does factor in that catcher play less games, by giving them no credit for games they don't play. A player does not produce on the field when he's not playing.

    Ivan Rodriguez is the only catcher with more than 10,000 career plate appearances. He ranks 62nd all time in plate appearances. His 74 WAR ranks 66th all time. (remember I typically use FanGraphs' WAR, not Baseball-Reference's WAR)

    If catchers caught more they would provide more value on the field to their team.
    I agree that most of the issue with catchers is playing time related, and that is tough. I used to want to give them a longevity bonus, but I don't believe in that any more. If the top catchers catch 2000 games compared to 2700+ for position players then they aren't worth as much directly on the field. However there are 3 additional issues when evaluating catchers.

    1) Catchers may impact pitching, and or deserve some credit for being on the receiving side. Consider that a catcher who catches 130 games is probably catching some 1100 innings. The pitchers who threw those innings got 12-13 war just for their value UP TO AVERAGE LEVEL but the catcher gets nothing. Plus some catchers who are particularly good at framing or calling games would be above average in this regard

    2) Catchers may have to be physically involved even on days off. The immanence that they may have to go in is greater than for other players with days off. i don't know if they catch batting practice or in the bullpen at all but there is a physical toll even on days off I believe. Not sure how to quantify it.

    3) WAR gets value above average right, HOWEVER it makes assumptions about the replacement level. One of these is that a replacement for a catcher will basically be as bad below average as a replacement for another position. This MAY be wrong, in part because team's need to use at least 2 catchers minimum, so if a starter goes down, they will be using #2 and #3.

    My rough beginning estimates, based on the level of #3 catchers and how much they play when a starter goes down is that a starter is probably worth between 0.45 and 0.90 (best estimate just over 0.7) war for every 162 games extra because of the lower level performance of #3 catchers called into use. I'll agree that this is debatable, however we should definitely ask whether the definition, and evaluation of a replacement level player means the same thing at each position.

  10. #10
    I addition to the points made about WAR and its purpose generally, there is also the corrolary to filihok's points: People who rate players don't rate catchers as high as they rate players at other positions. How many catchers in your top ten? top twenty? Where do you have Berra or Bench ranked?

    Bill James has Joe dimaggio ranked 5th among center fielders. Who's your number 5 catcher? His number 30 first baseman, is Gil Hodges. His number 27 catcher is John Roseboro. Two of my favorite players as a kid and now. I think Gil is overrated, but not by James, and Roseboro is tremendously underrated, again, but not by James. But c'mon.
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    Quote Originally Posted by brett View Post
    Isn't it possible that the war value of pitchers is just getting spread around among more talent, more pitchers, and better used staffs? If that's the case then I would not mark it down to a war error per se, but rather a higher league quality in a league where staffs are used more optimally, and more arms get a chance at producing value. In fact for me the amount of innings pitched by starters is a nearly direct measurement of at least a component of league quality. There are a few confounding factors such as that pitchers can't throw as many innings in a higher offensive setting as a lower one because it takes more pitches to do so, but I'd say give Neikro 8.6 and 9.6 WAR when he throws 330 innings to Pedro's 9.7 throwing 220, but recognize that the extra 110 innings were getting often handed to fresh armed guys who could outdo the league average for the added innings.

    there also might be a slight issue that runs getting saved in games pitched will have a compound effect on winning. in a 4 run setting, saving 1 run a game for 40 games will be worth about 5.6 extra wins, while saving 2 runs a game for 20 games will be worth about 6.0 extra wins, though I am not sure whom this helps more.
    Oh yeah, it is no error - like I said it is measuring what happened. If I want to get a better pitcture of pitching quality compared to pitching quantity, I use WAA instead, or look at some combination of both, like what Adam D. does.
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    Simple answer is Yes. WAR is practically useless for catchers and should not be used to compare either catchers to other catchers or to other players. WAR simply does not measure the same things when it comes to catchers and other players nor does it measure a lot of what catchers do on defense.

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    Delete post.

    ...

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Ubiquitous View Post
    Simple answer is Yes. WAR is practically useless for catchers and should not be used to compare either catchers to other catchers or to other players. WAR simply does not measure the same things when it comes to catchers and other players nor does it measure a lot of what catchers do on defense.
    What does?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ubiquitous View Post
    Simple answer is Yes. WAR is practically useless for catchers and should not be used to compare either catchers to other catchers or to other players. WAR simply does not measure the same things when it comes to catchers and other players nor does it measure a lot of what catchers do on defense.
    I thought one of the versions did consider pitch framing - can't remember which one. I guess neither attempts to quantify staff handling, if that is even quantifiable.
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  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew C. View Post
    I thought one of the versions did consider pitch framing - can't remember which one. I guess neither attempts to quantify staff handling, if that is even quantifiable.
    This is, of course, the biggest thing that WAR is missing. There's a lot of work being done on pitch framing and pitch sequencing. Once those things can be quantified to any reliable degree they will be added to WAR and this graphs


    WARvs.Wins_.jpg
    *http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/ar...-war-good-for/




    will tighten up even more

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by filihok View Post
    You misunderstand WAR.

    WAR is the measure of the number of runs that a player produces on the field through his offense, defense, and baserunning.

    WAR does factor in that catcher play less games, by giving them no credit for games they don't play. A player does not produce on the field when he's not playing.

    Ivan Rodriguez is the only catcher with more than 10,000 career plate appearances. He ranks 62nd all time in plate appearances. His 74 WAR ranks 66th all time. (remember I typically use FanGraphs' WAR, not Baseball-Reference's WAR)

    If catchers caught more they would provide more value on the field to their team.

    You bring up pitchers. You mention 10 WAR in 40 games. I don't know if you had a specific pitcher in mind but in 1970 and 1971 Ferguson Jenkins put up 10.4 WAR in 39 and 40 games. In those 39 and 40 games he faced 1265 and 1299 hitters. In those two seasons the league leader in PA's for hitters were 745 and 739. He faced a lot more hitters than any hitter faced a pitcher. It's totally reasonable that he'd have more (or a similar) WAR even though he only played in 1/4 of the games.

    WAR measures the quality and quantity of what is done on the field.

    Catchers, because of the demands of the position, typically do not produce as much as other players.

    It's as simple as that.

    Where do catchers rank all time in things like runs, hits, doubles, triples, home runs, rbi, games, plate appearances, etc? Are catchers not treated 'fairly' by those stats?

    If you want to make WAR a rate stat (to normalize for playing time) you can take all players' WAR and divide by PA's. Then multiply by 500 or 600 or 700 or whatever. I imagine that you'll find that catchers' WAR per whatever number of PA's compares to that of other positions. Just as their H/PA, 2B/PA, 3B/PA, HR/PA, RBI/PA etc would.


    WAR is very accurate in measuring what it was designed to measure.

    WARvs.Wins_.jpg
    http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/ar...-war-good-for/

    If you want to use WAR to measure Hall of Fame worthiness, then instead of adjusting WAR you can adjust the standards for catchers.

    The top 10 catcher have between 86 and 56 career WAR.

    Those totals rank between 36th and 177th all time among non-pitchers.

    Grade catchers on their own scale when discussing Hall of Fame worthiness.
    Good summary and spot on. Catchers are not like other players on the field because the demands of their task either deprives them of playing full time, lessens their effectiveness offensively (through sore knees, tired legs, brusied knuckles, etc.) or both.

  18. #18
    I agree with your points filihok (that WAR measures actual value and catchers by that definition fo produce less).

    I also now get that my pitcher example was wrong because a pitcher faces 1000 guys a season ( did not get that there is no normalization for pitchers-some 19th century guys have seasons with like 18 WAR).

    However doesn't that mean that WAR is of limited value when comparing different position (why have a positional adustment at all then?) and eras (no one would say old hoss radbourn is better than pedro martinez)?

    I don't believe that talent is distributed equally among positions (there is not a babe ruth or ty cobb for every position) however if the best catchers have about half the WAR than most other position leaders (bench is the best at 72 at a 45th rank, then the next catchers are like 80th or so) I think we can safely say that WAR is not fair in comparing catchers to other players.

    or does this just mean catching is not as important as people think?
    Last edited by dominik; 02-12-2013 at 01:10 PM.
    I think walks are overrated unless you can run. If you get a walk and put the pitcher in a stretch, that helps, but the guy who walks and cant run, most of the time hes clogging up the bases for somebody who can run. Dusty Baker.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by dominik View Post
    I agree with your points filihok (that WAR measures actual value and catchers by that definition fo produce less).

    I also now get that my pitcher example was wrong because a pitcher faces 1000 guys a season ( did not get that there is no normalization for pitchers-some 19th century guys have seasons with like 18 WAR).

    However doesn't that mean that WAR is of limited value when comparing different position (why have a positional adustment at all then?) and eras (no one would say old hoss radbourn is better than pedro martinez)?

    I don't believe that talent is distributed equally among positions (there is not a babe ruth or ty cobb for every position) however if the best catchers have about half the WAR than most other position leaders (bench is the best at 72 at a 45th rank, then the next catchers are like 80th or so) I think we can safely say that WAR is not fair in comparing catchers to other players.

    or does this just mean catching is not as important as people think?
    2 things: 1 Radbourn has significantly fewer war than Pedro, like 69 to 84. And pitchers being able to throw 678 innings is a direct sign of lower league quality and depth. It is both possible because of less league depth, and it is a strategic CAUSE of lower depth of performance level on the field. Innings pitched is a result and cause of league quality and so using war to rank players across eras requires some kind of adjustment for LQ. (In fact Radbourn tops out at 26 war when prorated to 162 games, but the guy pitched 65% of his team's innings, and equivalent of about 75 games in a 112 game schedule so he was more valuable than Pedro ever was in his time.

    2) When we look at catchers on a per game basis they look pretty good. (In fact the average catcher is equal to an average player at another position) and Gary Carter for example would work out to over 105 WAR given Hank Aaron's playing time. However I have seen true replacement level catchers at times and I think that a replacement level catcher is about half or so a win worse than a replacement level player at another position. After all, almost any player could fill in as a replacement at first base, regardless of his position, but virtually no one at another position could fill in at catcher so you have a lot smaller pool to get someone from if your starter goes down, AND your backup catcher still can't catch more than about 3/4 of the time.

    Oh and I guess there is a point 3. I think catchers should get some credit for ERA. Whether catchers vary much in affecting their staffs' ERAs I think that a replacement level catcher can certainly directly hurt a staff's ERA. Some of pitching value up to the average level should be taken from pitchers and given to catchers. That solves another issue with WAR that we get some huge seasons, such as Neikro with 9.6 WAR with only a 111 ERA+ and like a 10-16 record.
    Last edited by brett; 02-12-2013 at 02:09 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by brett View Post
    Oh and I guess there is a point 3. I think catchers should get some credit for ERA. Whether catchers vary much in affecting their staffs' ERAs I think that a replacement level catcher can certainly directly hurt a staff's ERA. Some of pitching value up to the average level should be taken from pitchers and given to catchers. That solves another issue with WAR that we get some huge seasons, such as Neikro with 9.6 WAR with only a 111 ERA+ and like a 10-16 record.
    Interesting topic and I do believe catchers get the shaft where WAR is concerned - but I also understand the outcome of it. IIRC, somebody (maybe it was even Bill James) did study some years back on CERA and found it to be totally unreliable. It also affects a player such as Tim McCarver. Tim pretty much spent his Phillies years as Carlton's personal battery mate - while Boone caught the rest. Is it really fair to add credit to McCarver, who was catching a HOFer, and leave Boone hanging in the wind while backstopping some very mediocre pitchers?
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  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by dominik View Post
    However doesn't that mean that WAR is of limited value when comparing different position
    Nope. Not in the slightest.
    WAR tells you how much value a player produced on the field; regardless of what position a player plays.
    Catchers don't produce as much as other players because they don't play as much. It's that simple.

    (why have a positional adustment at all then?)
    Do you think the average defensive first baseman would play as well at SS as the average fielding SS?

    If we put first basemen all over the field, overall fielding would go down. That's why we have positional adjustments.

    and eras ?
    I'm not really sure about this.
    Since WAR values are first calculated as runs above average, then every player in every ERA is compared to the average player in that era.

    I don't believe that talent is distributed equally among positions (there is not a babe ruth or ty cobb for every position) however if the best catchers have about half the WAR than most other position leaders (bench is the best at 72 at a 45th rank, then the next catchers are like 80th or so) I think we can safely say that WAR is not fair in comparing catchers to other players.
    It appears that you've missed everything that was said upthread.
    WAR treats every player the same when measuring how much value they contributed on the field.
    It is totally fair.
    Catchers do not provide as much value as other players because they play less.

    This just means that catchers should be measured against other catchers and not the general pool of other players.

    or does this just mean catching is not as important as people think?
    Doesn't mean that at all.

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by brett View Post
    2) When we look at catchers on a per game basis they look pretty good. (In fact the average catcher is equal to an average player at another position) and Gary Carter for example would work out to over 105 WAR given Hank Aaron's playing time. However I have seen true replacement level catchers at times and I think that a replacement level catcher is about half or so a win worse than a replacement level player at another position.
    Show your work. If you've calculated that the replacement level for catchers is 1.5 wins less than the current replacement level and you can show it, then the 'community' would be happy to make that change.

    However, what happens to this line

    WARvs.Wins_.jpg
    http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/ar...-war-good-for/

    if catchers are given 1.5 more WAR to adjust for that replacement level?
    Does the new model better fit real world observations?


    Here's a recent article by Dave Cameron at FanGraphs that discusses replacement level. He looks at players who have been 'freely available' (available on waivers, signed minor league deals, NRI, etc) in recent seasons.
    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index...-level-player/

    There's 3 catchers on the list that Cameron identified as replacement level. Miguel Olivo, Chris Snyder and Eli Whiteside. Combined they've provided .8 WAR in 1457 PA's. That's about .4 WAR in 600 PA's. Nothing to suggest the -1.5 replacement level that you suggest.




    Oh and I guess there is a point 3. I think catchers should get some credit for ERA. Whether catchers vary much in affecting their staffs' ERAs I think that a replacement level catcher can certainly directly hurt a staff's ERA. Some of pitching value up to the average level should be taken from pitchers and given to catchers. That solves another issue with WAR that we get some huge seasons, such as Neikro with 9.6 WAR with only a 111 ERA+ and like a 10-16 record.
    Every defensive player on the field deserves some credit (or debit) for a pitcher's ERA. Not just the catchers.
    No one has been able to figure out how to distribute that credit so far.

  23. #23
    There is an assumption, and I mean an assumption in the logical sense, that the next available player at every position that a team would probably have if they lost someone would be 64% as good (32% winning percentage player) as an average player at that position. I am challenging this assumption. I do not believe it is the logical default. I think the logical default position should be that the next available likely player at different positions would have a different value relative to an average player at that position. In the development of WAR the 32% replacement player at all positions was assumed or "defined" for pragmatic reasons. What WAR says then is "IF the next available player at all positions was a 32% player, then the WAR values of all players would be the ones that we get.

    In addition to this, I am also saying that the replacement catcher might not even be necessarily lower, but that if a team had to replace its starter they would historically have to use a replacement catcher for some of the games, AND another sub-sub replacement level catcher for some of the games because no catcher can catch 162 games, and a replacement catcher is going to tend to be capable of catching fewer games than an MLB starter.

    Anyway, assigning different replacement levels to different positions would not affect the graph. If we gave catchers .4 war for a lower replacement level, then we could give other positions a net of -0.4 or -.05 per position which would keep the intercept at 52 wins.

    By the way, how were the teams selected for the graph? It looks like there were 2 outlier teams, one with 50 some wins and another with 110 or so wins that act as stabilizing points that have a big impact on the slope of the graph. A WAR should be a win, meaning that the slope should be 1.00, but it is 0.97 meaning that a WAR is only equivalent to .97 wins. That leaves .03 wins per war unaccounted for. Given that an average team produces 81 wins versus 52 for a replacement team, the average team is getting 29 WAR. .03 x 29 is 0.87 wins unaccounted for so the estimate that a replacement catcher may be 0.4 to 0.7 war lower than other positions would be within the .87 wins missed by war in the equation.

    Edit, actually teams are winning .97 per WAR, not getting 1 win per .97 war so the average team is .87 wins below what they would have with a perfect correlation. Still, I'd like to see the equation with the two outliers removed.
    Last edited by brett; 02-12-2013 at 08:26 PM.

  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by filihok View Post

    Every defensive player on the field deserves some credit (or debit) for a pitcher's ERA. Not just the catchers.
    No one has been able to figure out how to distribute that credit so far.
    I am not taking about the defense effect on ERA, but the catcher's effect on (defense independent) pitching WAR.

  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by brett View Post
    There is an assumption, and I mean an assumption in the logical sense, that the next available player at every position that a team would probably have if they lost someone would be 64% as good (32% winning percentage player) as an average player at that position. I am challenging this assumption. I do not believe it is the logical default. I think the logical default position should be that the next available likely player at different positions would have a different value relative to an average player at that position. In the development of WAR the 32% replacement player at all positions was assumed or "defined" for pragmatic reasons. What WAR says then is "IF the next available player at all positions was a 32% player, then the WAR values of all players would be the ones that we get.
    WAR is defined at that level for the reasons stated in the article I posted above and I'm posting again.

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index...-level-player/

    In addition to this, I am also saying that the replacement catcher might not even be necessarily lower, but that if a team had to replace its starter they would historically have to use a replacement catcher for some of the games, AND another sub-sub replacement level catcher for some of the games because no catcher can catch 162 games, and a replacement catcher is going to tend to be capable of catching fewer games than an MLB starter.
    Again, I think you're misunderstanding replacement level.

    Anyway, assigning different replacement levels to different positions would not affect the graph. If we gave catchers .4 war for a lower replacement level, then we could give other positions a net of -0.4 or -.05 per position which would keep the intercept at 52 wins.
    I still see no evidence that this is necessary.

    By the way, how were the teams selected for the graph? It looks like there were 2 outlier teams, one with 50 some wins and another with 110 or so wins that act as stabilizing points that have a big impact on the slope of the graph. A WAR should be a win, meaning that the slope should be 1.00, but it is 0.97 meaning that a WAR is only equivalent to .97 wins. That leaves .03 wins per war unaccounted for. Given that an average team produces 81 wins versus 52 for a replacement team, the average team is getting 29 WAR. .03 x 29 is 0.87 wins unaccounted for so the estimate that a replacement catcher may be 0.4 to 0.7 war lower than other positions would be within the .87 wins missed by war in the equation.

    Edit, actually teams are winning .97 per WAR, not getting 1 win per .97 war so the average team is .87 wins below what they would have with a perfect correlation. Still, I'd like to see the equation with the two outliers removed.
    The teams were selected 'randomly'. I don't know how.

    Here's a link to FanGraphs WAR for every player.
    Here's a link to Baseball-Reference WAR for every player.
    Here's a link to W-L records for every team.

    Feel free to re-create the graph using your own randomly selected teams.

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