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Wagner/Mays: Who Do You Rank Higher as Historical Players?

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  • #46
    Originally posted by Minstrel
    Nobody's taking "Mays' D over Cobb's O." Defense is never more valuable than elite offense, by itself. Many people would take Mays' combination of offense and defense (plus baserunning) over Cobb's combination of offense and defense and baserunning.

    It's not like Cobb has great offense and zero defense, while Mays has zero offense and great defense, so it's a defense versus offense comparison. This isn't Manny Ramirez versus Ozzie Smith.

    Mays had exceptional offense himself. Just a bit below Cobb at most...they had similar peaks (Cobb slightly higher) and similar career EQA over similarly long careers.

    So the question is not whether Mays' defense is more valuable than Cobb's offense. It's whether Mays' great defense is more valuable than a slight difference in offense.
    Cobb was a fine CF himself, he wasn't Richie Ashburn, Tris Speaker, or Andruw Jones...but he wasn't exactly 2005 Bernie Williams (sorry bro )...Mays on the other hand was a top ten defensive CF of all time. However Mays at the dish I wouldn't say was a top ten hitter of all time, Cobb I think an argument can be made that he was a top five hitter. Mays on the basepaths was good but highly overrated, GIDPed a ton of times, stole at a good rate but not a great rate, oddly enough most metric guys will tell you that Mantle was the better baserunner. Cobb on the otherhand was no worse than the second best baserunner of all time; Bill thinks that he was the best of all time, I say Henderson has a case...but that's another story, like I said you can take what Mays brought to the table (sirloin in this case) and I'll take what Cobb brought to the table (prime rib in this case)
    "he probably used some performance enhancing drugs so he could do a better job on his report...i hear they make you gain weight" - Dr. Zizmor

    "I thought it was interesting and yes a conversation piece. Next time I post a similar story I will close with the question "So, do you think either of them have used steroids?" so that I can make the topic truly relevant to discussions about today's game." - Eric Davis

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gqul1GyK7-g

    Comment


    • #47
      Originally posted by Minstrel
      Nobody's taking "Mays' D over Cobb's O." Defense is never more valuable than elite offense, by itself. Many people would take Mays' combination of offense and defense (plus baserunning) over Cobb's combination of offense and defense and baserunning.

      It's not like Cobb has great offense and zero defense, while Mays has zero offense and great defense, so it's a defense versus offense comparison. This isn't Manny Ramirez versus Ozzie Smith.

      Mays had exceptional offense himself. Just a bit below Cobb at most...they had similar peaks (Cobb slightly higher) and similar career EQA over similarly long careers.

      So the question is not whether Mays' defense is more valuable than Cobb's offense. It's whether Mays' great defense is more valuable than a slight difference in offense.
      Nice breakdown. And necessary too. Very deftly nuanced. I like it a lot. Keep it up, good friend.

      Comment


      • #48
        Originally posted by ChrisLDuncan
        Cobb was a fine CF himself, he wasn't Richie Ashburn, Tris Speaker, or Andruw Jones...but he wasn't exactly 2005 Bernie Williams (sorry bro )...Mays on the other hand was a top ten defensive CF of all time. I'd put him in the top 4, after McAleer, Lange, Ashburn. However Mays at the dish I wouldn't say was a top ten hitter of all time, We elected Willie our 10th best hitter ever. Cobb I think an argument can be made that he was a top five hitter. We elected Ty our 3rd best hitter ever, after Babe/Teddy, ahead of Hornsby. Mays on the basepaths was good but highly overrated, GIDPed a ton of times, stole at a good rate but not a great rate, oddly enough most metric guys will tell you that Mantle was the better baserunner. Cobb on the other hand was no worse than the second best baserunner of all time; Bill thinks that he was the best of all time, I say Henderson has a case...but that's another story, like I said you can take what Mays brought to the table (sirloin in this case) and I'll take what Cobb brought to the table (prime rib in this case)
        Nice posting, Chris. I also enjoy your food analogies! hmm hmm good!

        Comment


        • #49
          Originally posted by [email protected]
          Nice posting, Chris. I also enjoy your food analogies! hmm hmm good!
          Thanks

          Few questions, I assume that Speaker is your best defenisve CF? Also 10th for Mays is way too high IMO. I'd also say that Speaker was along the lines of Rib Eye, and Mantle was Filet Migon.
          "he probably used some performance enhancing drugs so he could do a better job on his report...i hear they make you gain weight" - Dr. Zizmor

          "I thought it was interesting and yes a conversation piece. Next time I post a similar story I will close with the question "So, do you think either of them have used steroids?" so that I can make the topic truly relevant to discussions about today's game." - Eric Davis

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gqul1GyK7-g

          Comment


          • #50
            Originally posted by ChrisLDuncan
            Thanks

            Few questions, I assume that Speaker is your best defenisve CF? Also 10th for Mays is way too high IMO. I'd also say that Speaker was along the lines of Rib Eye, and Mantle was Filet Migon.
            Here's how I rank my defensive CFers:

            1. Jimmie McAleer (If you've never met Jimmy, please allow me to introduce you to him. http://baseball-fever.com/showpost.p...3&postcount=75
            2. Tris Speaker
            3. Richie Ashburn
            4. Willie Mays
            5. Bill Lange (Have you met the amazing Mr. Bill yet? If not, please allow me to introduce him to you! http://baseball-fever.com/showpost.p...2&postcount=73
            6. Max Carey

            Today's defensive CFers:

            1. Andrew Jones
            2. Tori Hunter
            3. Mike Cameron
            4. Jim Edmonds
            5. Mark Kotsay
            Last edited by Bill Burgess; 03-21-2007, 01:37 PM.

            Comment


            • #51
              Originally posted by ChrisLDuncan
              Cobb was a fine CF himself, he wasn't Richie Ashburn, Tris Speaker, or Andruw Jones...but he wasn't exactly 2005 Bernie Williams (sorry bro )...Mays on the other hand was a top ten defensive CF of all time.
              You're virtually alone in how poorly you rank Mays (saying he's "top ten" implies the low end of it, otherwise one would say "top five" or "top three."

              Cobb was not a great defender in center. All evidence suggests he was excellent as a corner outfielder but merely competent in center. Which is fine...still very valuable. But almost everyone would agree that Mays has an enormous edge on defense. The only player who really rivals Mays' center field defense is Tris Speaker.

              However Mays at the dish I wouldn't say was a top ten hitter of all time, Cobb I think an argument can be made that he was a top five hitter.
              Wherever you rank Cobb, Mays is not far behind. Let's look at EQA (which counts in stolen bases and success rate, so we can dispense with baserunning, and also is era- and park-adjusted).

              Here are Cobb's and Mays' top ten full seasons:

              Code:
              Cobb .............. Mays
              ---- .............. ----
              .357 .............. .352
              .354 .............. .345
              .348 .............. .344
              .347 .............. .343
              .345 .............. .343
              .344 .............. .342
              .341 .............. .341
              .341 .............. .337
              .338 .............. .337
              Cobb was clearly better, though only one year of his prime was he significantly better (his second-best season versus Mays' second-best season). It's clear, though, that Cobb wasn't far greater offensively.

              Also, look at their career EQAs.

              Cobb: .326 (in 19 full seasons and pieces of five others)
              Mays: .328 (in 19 full seasons and pieces of four others)

              So, for a career they were basically dead even offensively in virtually the same number of seasons.

              Therefore, does Mays' consensus large advantage on defense overcome Cobbs' consensus but small advantage on offense (and entirely limited to prime)?

              I don't think it's an injustice to call it either way, though I lean towards Mays, because I think fielding value is quite significant, even if it's not close to equal to offense.
              "In the end it all comes down to talent. You can talk all you want about intangibles, I just don't know what that means. Talent makes winners, not intangibles. Can nice guys win? Sure, nice guys can win - if they're nice guys with a lot of talent. Nice guys with a little talent finish fourth and nice guys with no talent finish last." --Sandy Koufax

              Comment


              • #52
                Originally posted by [email protected]
                Nice breakdown. And necessary too. Very deftly nuanced. I like it a lot. Keep it up, good friend.
                Thanks Bill. I greatly respect all the greats we talk about, so I hate to be considered "arguing against" someone. It's just really difficult when you get to slight degrees of difference in greatness and it's no fun to toss up one's hands and say, "They were all pretty equally great!"
                "In the end it all comes down to talent. You can talk all you want about intangibles, I just don't know what that means. Talent makes winners, not intangibles. Can nice guys win? Sure, nice guys can win - if they're nice guys with a lot of talent. Nice guys with a little talent finish fourth and nice guys with no talent finish last." --Sandy Koufax

                Comment


                • #53
                  Originally posted by [email protected]
                  Today's defensive CFers:

                  1. Andrew Jones
                  2. Tori Hunter
                  3. Mike Cameron
                  4. Jim Edmonds
                  5. Mark Kotsay
                  IMO, these are some of the most astute defensive rankings of CFs I've seen. I find that Cameron and Kotsay are often very underrated.
                  "In the end it all comes down to talent. You can talk all you want about intangibles, I just don't know what that means. Talent makes winners, not intangibles. Can nice guys win? Sure, nice guys can win - if they're nice guys with a lot of talent. Nice guys with a little talent finish fourth and nice guys with no talent finish last." --Sandy Koufax

                  Comment


                  • #54
                    Originally posted by ChrisLDuncan
                    The RC chart IMO does not really speak to the difficulty of second base but more to the great second basemen that played in yesteryear. Charlie Gehringer, Eddie Collins, Nap Lajoie, and Rogers Hornsby. Yes second base was different then, but I'd still say that it was more of a 'value' position as you like than CF was in Mays' game. So the PA should favor the Rajah in this case...also the huge lead that he has on Mays offensively should give him some points too.
                    No, I don't feel that PA should go in either one's favor necessarily with Hornsby vs. Mays. I think they both played positions that were about neutral for their time. You say that you don't think 2B went through a transformation in its importance since the 1920s. I would like to know why you feel this is true. You point out that you think there were more good hitting 2Bmen prior to the 1930s, but this does not answer the question of whether the position's defensive importance has changed. I think the evidence with the increasing importance of the double play and the decreasing importance of fielding bunts from third base has led to those positions switching places on the defensive spectrum. Your point above makes no argument with that being true.

                    Comment


                    • #55
                      Originally posted by [email protected]
                      Here's how I rank my defensive CFers:

                      1. Jimmie McAleer (If you've never met Jimmy, please allow me to introduce you to him. http://baseball-fever.com/showpost.p...3&postcount=75
                      2. Tris Speaker
                      3. Richie Ashburn
                      4. Willie Mays
                      5. Bill Lange (Have you met the amazing Mr. Bill yet? If not, please allow me to introduce him to you! http://baseball-fever.com/showpost.p...2&postcount=73
                      6. Max Carey
                      Bill, I assume you include arm strength, throwing, in your evlauation of defensive ability. If you don't, ignore this. If you do however, be well advised that while Ashburn was a whiz with the glove he had a dishrag for an arm. 'Whitey' could not throw out runners. For that reason I generally downgrade Ashburn in my CF defensive rankings.
                      I won't even mention that you have Ashburn ahead of Willie Mays. I already know you are eccentric.

                      Yankees Fan Since 1957

                      Comment


                      • #56
                        Originally posted by Minstrel
                        You're virtually alone in how poorly you rank Mays (saying he's "top ten" implies the low end of it, otherwise one would say "top five" or "top three."

                        Actually I rank Mays I think about 7th or 8th for all time defensive CFs

                        Cobb was not a great defender in center. All evidence suggests he was excellent as a corner outfielder but merely competent in center. Which is fine...still very valuable. But almost everyone would agree that Mays has an enormous edge on defense. The only player who really rivals Mays' center field defense is Tris Speaker.

                        I'd say he was better than competent...but hey that's just me. I'd also say that there are for more people that rival Mays' defense than just Speaker. However there is no one IMO that rival's Speaker's D.

                        Wherever you rank Cobb, Mays is not far behind. Let's look at EQA (which counts in stolen bases and success rate, so we can dispense with baserunning, and also is era- and park-adjusted).

                        Here are Cobb's and Mays' top ten full seasons:

                        Code:
                        Cobb .............. Mays
                        ---- .............. ----
                        .357 .............. .352
                        .354 .............. .345
                        .348 .............. .344
                        .347 .............. .343
                        .345 .............. .343
                        .344 .............. .342
                        .341 .............. .341
                        .341 .............. .337
                        .338 .............. .337
                        Cobb was clearly better, though only one year of his prime was he significantly better (his second-best season versus Mays' second-best season). It's clear, though, that Cobb wasn't far greater offensively.

                        Also, look at their career EQAs.

                        Cobb: .326 (in 19 full seasons and pieces of five others)
                        Mays: .328 (in 19 full seasons and pieces of four others)

                        So, for a career they were basically dead even offensively in virtually the same number of seasons.

                        Therefore, does Mays' consensus large advantage on defense overcome Cobbs' consensus but small advantage on offense (and entirely limited to prime)?

                        I don't think it's an injustice to call it either way, though I lean towards Mays, because I think fielding value is quite significant, even if it's not close to equal to offense.

                        Well then I guess that would suggest that there is a problem with EQA on the all-time scale then. Because I know Cobb was a better baserunner than Mays, and I know he was a far better hitter. Bill has done more work than anyone man should on this topic.
                        "he probably used some performance enhancing drugs so he could do a better job on his report...i hear they make you gain weight" - Dr. Zizmor

                        "I thought it was interesting and yes a conversation piece. Next time I post a similar story I will close with the question "So, do you think either of them have used steroids?" so that I can make the topic truly relevant to discussions about today's game." - Eric Davis

                        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gqul1GyK7-g

                        Comment


                        • #57
                          Originally posted by ChrisLDuncan
                          Actually I rank Mays I think about 7th or 8th for all time defensive CFs
                          Yes. That would be the "low end" of a top ten. And, as I said, an evaluation of Mays' defense that you are essentially alone in.

                          I'd say he was better than competent...but hey that's just me. I'd also say that there are for more people that rival Mays' defense than just Speaker. However there is no one IMO that rival's Speaker's D.
                          There are probably more people that consider Mays the greatest defensive center fielder ever than those who consider Speaker to be. That doesn't make it definitive, but there's no question that Mays is on the shortlist for best center fielder defender ever, along with Speaker.

                          And, regardless, Mays was pretty obviously a far better defensive center fielder than Cobb.

                          Well then I guess that would suggest that there is a problem with EQA on the all-time scale then. Because I know Cobb was a better baserunner than Mays, and I know he was a far better hitter.
                          Feel free to point out the methodological problems in EQA that bother you and lead you to worry about its conclusions. Saying, "EQA doesn't agree with what I think so it must be wrong" is a poor response.
                          "In the end it all comes down to talent. You can talk all you want about intangibles, I just don't know what that means. Talent makes winners, not intangibles. Can nice guys win? Sure, nice guys can win - if they're nice guys with a lot of talent. Nice guys with a little talent finish fourth and nice guys with no talent finish last." --Sandy Koufax

                          Comment


                          • #58
                            Originally posted by [email protected]
                            I have a suggestion for you, Sir Christopher. Instead of inviting us to peruse your system (which few to any of us will do), why not simply show the numbers of your system for us. You could do that infinitely better than we could.

                            If you claim that each of them were processed in the same identical way, why not show your numbers, and assuage our fears.
                            That is a good idea, and I will do that. Just keep in mind while I do this that the components I refer to are explained here. Anyway, here is the full calculations for how Mays and Cobb end up in my system, to show you that they are put through the same positional adjustment. First we'll look at Mays:

                            Willie Mays

                            1. Mays' career OPS+ was 156. He was a CF, so he gets a positonal adjustment of +/- 0 and he played in the 1950s/1960s NL mostly and a little in the 70s NL, mostly in the 60s, so in total he gets +6 for league quality. His OPS+ after these adjustments is up to 162. Divided by two that is 81. So, his score for part 1 is 81

                            2. The next part is peak OPS+. We take the player's average of OPS+ in his three and five year peaks and average those two averages. Mays' three best OPS+ seasons were 185, 176, and 175 for an average of 178.67. He also gets a positonal adjustment (+/- 0), and a leauge quality adjustment (+6) added to that to make it 184.67. His five best OPS+ seasons were 185, 176, 175, 175, and 173 or an average of 176.8, again with LQ/PA that goes to 182.8. The average of his 3 year (184.67) and 5 year (182.8) peaks is 183.735, which divided by 2.25 is 81.66. His score for part 2 is 81.66

                            3. Mays had 642 career Win Shares. That is then put through leauge quality adjustments (+6%). 642 increased by 6% is 680.52, which divided by 5 is 136.1. His score for part 3 is 136.1

                            4. Next is peak WS. Like peak OPS+, we average 3 year peak and 5 year peak and then add the two averages. Mays' three best WS seasons were 43, 41, and 40. The average is 41.33, which when adjusted for LQ with the plus 6% goes up to 43.81. Mays' five best WS seasons were 43, 41, 40, 40, and 40. The average of that is 40.8, which plus the 6% LQ adjustment is 43.25. Now we add the 3 year (43.81) and five year (43.25) peak averages. 43.81 plus 43.25 is 87.06. His score for part 4 is 87.06

                            5. Next are the subjective fielding ratings. A CFer can get between 20 and 40 points. 20 would go to a very bad CFer and 40 to those among the best of all time. Mays was one of the best center fielders of all time, he gets 40 points here.

                            6. Next is baserunning. To find the number here you multiply career SBs by SB% divided by 50 and then add a number that can be more in some cases to compensate for contributions made on the paths outside of SBs or taking into account that the player's era was not one where many bases were stolen. Mays stole 338 career bases at 76%, 338 times .76 is 256.88, which divided by 50 is 5.14. I give Mays 19 points on the other part, he played in an era which was very low in SBs (he led the league 4 straight years in SBs with numbers that look pedestrain compared to other eras), and he was known as an extremely fast, astute, and smart baserunner. He was known to take extra bases on the paths (when the "generic" move was only to go to second he would often go to third, etc.). Mays' score for part 6 is 24.14

                            7. The 7th part adds five points for each season the player was the best in his league. By WS Mays was the best player in the league 7 times (1954, 1955, 1958, 1960, 1962, 1965, 1966). So, he gets 35 points for part 7.

                            8. Part 8 adds two points for each season the player is above 20 WS, plus seasons where he would be over 20 with the LQ. This is somewhat of a way to measure a player's year to year consistency, how many "good" years he had. Mays topped 20 WS 17 times (1954, 1955, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1970, 1971). So, he gets 34 points for part 8. Mays has no seasons where he would be above with LQ.

                            9. This is the "intangibles" part, every player is given a number 1-25 to give them credit for how they may have helped their teams outside of their numbers. Most players get 15 points. I'm giving Mays 15 points here.

                            We'll leave the 10th part out for now because that deals with where a player rates at the positon they played and we're discussing disputes in rankings between two players at that position here. In total through these 9 components, Mays totals 533.96 points.

                            Now, Cobb.

                            Ty Cobb

                            1. Cobb's career OPS+ was 167. He was a CF, so he gets a positional adjustment of +/- 0, and he played mostly in the 1910s AL, with some in the 00s AL and some in the 20s AL. His league quality adjustment is -8. 167 minus/plus 0 (for positioinal adjustment), and minus 8 is 161. 161 divided by two is 80.5. Cobb's score for part 1 is 80.5

                            2. Peak OPS+. Cobb's three best OPS+ seasons were 209, 206, and 200, which averages out to 205. Plus/minus 0 for PA and minus 8 for LQ that goes to 197. Cobb's five best OPS+ seasons were 209, 206, 200, 196, and 194. That averages to 201. Plus/minus zero for PA and minus 8 for LQ and that is 193. The average of 3 year peak (197), and 5 year peak (193) is 195. 195 divided by 2.25 is 86.67. Cobb's score for part 2 is 86.67

                            3. Cobb had 722 career WS. Applying the minus 8% LQ adjustment that goes to 664.24. 664.24 divided by 5 is 132.85. Cobb's score for part 3 is 132.85

                            4. Next is peak WS. Cobb's three best WS seasons were 48, 47, and 46, for a 3 year peak average of 47. With the minus 8% LQ adjustment that is 43.24 His five best WS seasons were 48, 47, 46, 45, and 44, for an average of 46, with the minus 8% LQ adjustment that is 42.32. His three year peak average (43.24), plus his five year peak average (42.32) equals 85.56. His part 4 score is 85.56.

                            5. Next are the fielding ratings. Cobb was a CF with quite a bit of play in the corner OF, so he gets between 17 and 37 points. Cobb was a solidly above average but not great defensive player over his career, better in corner OF and stayed in CF for too long. He gets 30 points here.

                            6. Baserunning. Cobb stole 892 bases in his career. In prime years where we have data he was a 72% basestealer. 892 times .72 divided by 50 is 12.84. For the subjective number I give Cobb a 20. That's about as big a number as I give anyone. I feel that Cobb may have been the best baserunner of all time in terms of value outside of his SBs and he also is shortchanged by his SB% because he played at a time when SB percentage were very low due to lots of hit and runs and agressive baserunning styles. Cobb's score for part 6 is 32.84

                            7. 5 points for each year the player was the best in his league. By WS Cobb was the best player in his leauge 5 times (1907, 1910, 1911, 1915, and 1917). That is 25 points for part 7.

                            8. Two points for each season above 20 WS, unless LQ adjustments bring you below that. Cobb was above 20 WS with LQ 19 times (1907, 1908, 1909, 1910, 1911, 1912, 1913, 1914, 1915, 1916, 1917, 1918, 1919, 1921, 1922, 1923, 1924, 1925, 1927). That's 38 points for part 8.

                            9. Intangibles part. 15 points. Both Mays and Cobb are equal in this part, no one can say there's anything unfair going on here.

                            In total, that's 526.42 points for Cobb.

                            Comment


                            • #59
                              Originally posted by Minstrel
                              Yes. That would be the "low end" of a top ten. And, as I said, an evaluation of Mays' defense that you are essentially alone in.

                              7th isn't the low end 9 and 10 are IMO

                              There are probably more people that consider Mays the greatest defensive center fielder ever than those who consider Speaker to be. That doesn't make it definitive, but there's no question that Mays is on the shortlist for best center fielder defender ever, along with Speaker.

                              And, regardless, Mays was pretty obviously a far better defensive center fielder than Cobb.

                              Did I ever deny that?

                              Feel free to point out the methodological problems in EQA that bother you and lead you to worry about its conclusions. Saying, "EQA doesn't agree with what I think so it must be wrong" is a poor response.

                              Not just what I think...but what everyone thinks is there one person who feels that Mays was the better hitter than Cobb over their careers? OPS+ would suggest that they are wrong, also baserunning in Cobb's day was a lot different than it was in Mays' day, so was offense. That's why I feel that using EQA in this case is flat wrong. Also if you look at Cobb's RC/27 it's over a run higher than what Mays produced. Those are my problems with the way that you are using EQA
                              "he probably used some performance enhancing drugs so he could do a better job on his report...i hear they make you gain weight" - Dr. Zizmor

                              "I thought it was interesting and yes a conversation piece. Next time I post a similar story I will close with the question "So, do you think either of them have used steroids?" so that I can make the topic truly relevant to discussions about today's game." - Eric Davis

                              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gqul1GyK7-g

                              Comment


                              • #60
                                Originally posted by ChrisLDuncan
                                Not just what I think...but what everyone thinks is there one person who feels that Mays was the better hitter than Cobb over their careers? OPS+ would suggest that they are wrong, also baserunning in Cobb's day was a lot different than it was in Mays' day, so was offense. That's why I feel that using EQA in this case is flat wrong. Also if you look at Cobb's RC/27 it's over a run higher than what Mays produced.
                                This is not a legitimate counter argument to Minstrel's using EqA in this case. Saying that there is no one who agrees with it isn't giving any reason to disagree with it. Bringing up OPS+ and RC/27 is at least some sort of defense, but the real reason that makes Mays' and Cobb's EqAs basically the same over their career is that EqA includes an adjustment for quality of competition, which neither OPS+ or RC/27 (RC/27 isn't even adjusted for league context) do. If you dispute the EqA numbers it has to be either in 1. The specific way offensive statistics are put into EqA, or 2. The league difficultly adjustment, which is determined through performance of how players do in league X when they have also played in league X, basically differences in performance between players who have played in different leagues, adjusted for age.

                                Comment

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