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How accurate are Win Shares?

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  • How accurate are Win Shares?

    I'd like to have a conversation with respect to the accuracy of the Win Shares system.

  • #2
    Here is a chart I did, and I listed WS as one column. WS. Notice how it differs from OPS+ and Relative slugging in some cases to the extreme.

    Win Shares says that Honus Wagner had the greatest season in history. 59 WS. I beg to differ. Ruth/Bonds registered some seasons over 240 OPS+, while Wagner's 1908 OPS+ was a great 205.

    Any thoughts?


    According to Relative Slugging Average. Those in red are pre-1920.

    Code:
    ----------------Rel.SLG-Rel.OBP--Rel.BA.-OPS+-INK--PCA-----WS--TPR
    Ruth, 1920-------2.08----1.47-----1.27---256---16--28.83---51--10.0
    Ruth,1921--------2.07----1.43-----1.29---239---16--24.79---53---9.8
    Bonds, 2001------2.04 ---1.57-----1.27---262---09--20.82---54--12.2
    Ruth, 1923-------1.96----1.55-----1.39---239---16--22.2----55--11.2
    Bonds, 2002------1.96----1.77-----1.45---275---09--20.6----49--11.2
    Gehrig,1927------1.91----1.34-----1.30---221---07--17.17---44---9.1
    Williams, 1941---1.88----1.61-----1.52---235---16--22.1----42---8.8
    Ruth, 1924-------1.86----1.43-----1.30---220---16--20.8----45---8.5
    Foxx,1932--------1.85----1.35-----1.31---205---14--18.54---40---7.2
    Bonds, 2004------1.83----1.76-----1.32---260---09--21.8----53--12.5
    Musial,1948------1.83----1.35-----1.44---200---20--20.30---46---7.3
    Mantle,1956------1.78----1.36-----1.35---210---18--22.96---49---8.8
    Cobb, 1917-------1.78----1.39-----1.54---209---16--19.7----46---8.4
    Hornsby,1922-----1.78----1.31-----1.37---207---23--20.37---42---9.2
    Yaz,1967---------1.77----1.38-----1.38---195---21--16.81---42---6.5
    Wagner,1908------1.70----1.35-----1.43---205---19--18.42---59--10.2
    Cobb,1911--------1.73----1.38-----1.53---196---22--20.74---47---6.4
    Last edited by Bill Burgess; 06-28-2007, 07:37 PM.

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    • #3
      Personally...and I know this may SHOCK you guys...but I think PCA is significantly more accurate. Obviously I don't have any way of proving this beyond a shadow of a doubt aside from my own intuition when looking at my conclusions vs. James' conclusions.

      That said, I don't think WS are inaccurate...in general I think they have the right idea. Not sure how to expand on that thought.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by SABR Matt View Post
        Personally...and I know this may SHOCK you guys...but I think PCA is significantly more accurate. Obviously I don't have any way of proving this beyond a shadow of a doubt aside from my own intuition when looking at my conclusions vs. James' conclusions.

        That said, I don't think WS are inaccurate...in general I think they have the right idea. Not sure how to expand on that thought.
        No really, are you serious?
        2009 World Series Champions, The New York Yankees

        Comment


        • #5
          Win Shares includes fielding and positioning.

          At the very least, compare Wagner's OPS to other SS of his era.
          Author of THE BOOK -- Playing The Percentages In Baseball

          Comment


          • #6
            OK. YOu guys are not picking up on the many discrepancies. So, I will lead the way in showing some.


            Code:
            ----------------Rel.SLG-Rel.OBP--Rel.BA.-OPS+-INK--PCA-----WS--TPR
            Wagner,1908------1.70----1.35-----1.43---205---19--18.42---59--10.2
            Cobb,1911--------1.73----1.38-----1.53---196---22--20.74---47---6.4
            Here, Honus is shown to have a 59-47 WS lead. Would seem to be a crushing, over-whelming, level of stats. But wait. When we look at them, where's the crushing difference?

            Is somebody telling me that Wagner's being a better fielder worth 12 whole WS points? How is better fielding possible to account for such an avalanche of points?

            Can Wagner really save his team that many runs? Wagner's slight .03 point slg. edge is nullified by Ty's slight .05 point BA lead, plus better running.

            Cobb stole 83 bases, to set a short-lived record, while Honus stole 53 bases. Honus walked 10 more times than Ty. And what about LQ?

            So, where does the 12 points really come from?
            Last edited by Bill Burgess; 06-28-2007, 07:37 PM.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by william_burgess@usa.net View Post
              OK. YOu guys are not picking up on the many discrepancies. So, I will lead the way in showing some.


              Code:
              ----------------Rel.SLG-Rel.OBP--Rel.BA.-OPS+-INK--PCA-----WS--TPR
              Wagner,1908------1.70----1.35-----1.43---205---19--18.42---59--10.2
              Cobb,1911--------1.73----1.38-----1.53---196---22--20.74---47---6.4
              Here, Honus is shown to have a 59-47 WS lead. Would seem to be a crushing, over-whelming, level of stats. But wait. When we look at them, where's the crushing difference?

              Is somebody telling me that Wagner's being a better fielder worth 12 whole WS points? How is better fielding possible to account for such an avalanche of points?

              Can Wagner really save his team that many runs? Wagner's slight .03 point slg. edge is nullified by Ty's slight .05 point BA lead, plus better running.

              Cobb stole 83 bases, to set a short-lived record, while Honus stole 53 bases. Honus walked 10 more times than Ty. And what about LQ?

              So, where does the 12 points really come from?
              Bill,

              Let's see what the other Bill said about Wagner's 1908 season. This is from the NBJHBA:

              Wagner’s 1908 season ranks, by the Win Shares system, as the greatest season of the 20th century; even Babe Ruth never matched it. Why? Well, Wagner hit .354 and drove in 109 runs. This is no big deal; Wagner hit .354 and drove in 109 runs pretty much every year. In baseball history there are lots of guys who hit .350 and drove in 150 runs. What makes Wagner different is (a) defense and (b) a quite exceptional ratio of wins to runs scored.

              The National League ERA in 1908 was 2.35-the lowest of the dead ball era, the lowest ERA for a league in the 20th century.

              In modern baseball, the league ERAs are just about twice that, about 4.70. So double those numbers: if you had a shortstop, like Wagner, who drove in 218 runs, what would that be worth?

              In additon to that, the Pirates were playing in the poorest hitter’s park, which reduced scoring by 16%…In the context, where runs were extremely scarce, Wagner led the National League in hits (201), doubles (by 30%), in triples, in total bases (by 40), in stolen bases (53), in runs created (by 28%), in batting average (by 20 points), in RBIs, in on base percentage (.415), and in slugging percentage (by almost 100 points). He was second in home runs and runs scored. At shortstop, he led the league in putouts, by 40. Even Babe Ruth never had as much impact on the game he was playing as Honus Wagner did in that one season. (page 548-549)
              My interpretation of this is that WS places heavy emphasis or league context. Let's compare the 1908 NL vs the 1911 AL:

              1908 NL: .239/.299/.306. 3.33 R/G, 2.34 ERA
              1911 AL: .273/.338/.358, 4.61 R/G, 3.34 ERA

              Obviously, Cobb's league was much more of an offensive league.
              Last edited by Bill Burgess; 06-28-2007, 07:38 PM.
              Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

              Comment


              • #8
                Remember, the context for Win Shares is not based on OBP or SLG, or BA, but on runs. The context Wagner was playing in is around the lowest of all-time, that or the 1968 Dodger Stadium context. Cobb, on the other hand, was playing in what was considered a lively era at the time, as a new cork-centered ball was introduced.

                The actual wins versus Pythagenpat wins for both teams actually gives the advantage to Tyrus, the Pirates exceed their Pythagenpat by 5.89 wins, the Tigers by 6.86 wins. So Honus isn't getting any advantage there.

                So what it basically comes down to is the run context being a lot different, and Wagner being far superior defensively. In spite of Cobb leading the league in everything, his year isn't necessarily better than Wagner's offensively, and he's quite a bit behind defensively. There are some other quirks, I expect, that cause Wagner to rate so much further ahead, but those are the two most crucial reasons.
                Last edited by AstrosFan; 06-26-2007, 08:09 PM.
                "Any pitcher who throws at a batter and deliberately tries to hit him is a communist."

                - Alvin Dark

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by william_burgess@usa.net View Post
                  OK. YOu guys are not picking up on the many discrepancies. So, I will lead the way in showing some.


                  Code:
                  ----------------Rel.SLG-Rel.OBP--Rel.BA.-OPS+-INK--PCA-----WS--TPR
                  Wagner,1908------1.70----1.35-----1.43---205---19--18.42---59--10.2
                  Cobb,1911--------1.73----1.38-----1.53---196---22--20.74---47---6.4
                  Here, Honus is shown to have a 59-47 WS lead. Would seem to be a crushing, over-whelming, level of stats. But wait. When we look at them, where's the crushing difference?


                  Actually, on second glance, 20 defensive runs saved would have been 9-10 win shares in that context.

                  I am all for rating hitters relative to the hitting of their time, but when hitting changes the value of a defensive season then I am more for looking at the defensive greatness. Wagner wasn't a better fielder because fielding was particularly low that year, but because hitting was low, so the same relative defensive season is worth more in the offensive context.

                  Another thing. Cobb's league had a higher LQ for sure. If you can't make up as much value with steals and fielding then it is harder for a great all around player to separate from the league. Win shares has no league quality adjustment.

                  OPS+ scores might not have varied much in NL '08, but total value did because the value of defense and steals varied much more than usual.
                  Bill, I think that they were basically equal as hitters.

                  A great defensive SS probably saves 20 runs on an average one. That is about 7-8 win shares. A mid level positional adjustment would be another 5 win shares to the SS so that is the 12. The mid-level positional adjustment would be only about half of the difference between the offensive production of an average SS and an average CF so he was pretty conservative here.

                  That still assumes that Cobb was an average centerfielder, and that they were equal baserunners in every phase of the game.

                  Also, Wagner got a little lucky. His good but not great steal rate was actually very productive just because there was so little offense. Based on skills, he wasn't a better relative basestealer than in other years, but he gets more credit because hitters produced less which is one of the cases where I think it makes sense to look at skills versus "value."

                  It was a year where Wagner happened to put together his best realtive hitting, fielding and baserunning all at once. Cobb had better hitting years where his steals or defense were less valuable.
                  Last edited by Bill Burgess; 06-28-2007, 07:39 PM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I think WS are generally accurate but I"m not going to form my whole opinion based on them, and I've said that four times in the Morgan/A-Rod thread yet no one seems to be listening I first look at the stats myself (knowing what I know about how teams win games) and determine how good I think a player is.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Of the 59 Win Shares that Hans receives credit for under this system, how many are for offensive production and how many are for defense? Same question for Cobb?

                      I thought I read somewhere that Wagner got a big bump on the defensive end which made this season rate so high per James' system. I think that on the offensive side Wagner's season is considered great under Win Shares - but not in the same category as the best of Ruth and Bonds.
                      "Batting slumps? I never had one. When a guy hits .358, he doesn't have slumps."

                      Rogers Hornsby, 1961

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Bench 5 View Post
                        Of the 59 Win Shares that Hans receives credit for under this system, how many are for offensive production and how many are for defense? Same question for Cobb?

                        I thought I read somewhere that Wagner got a big bump on the defensive end which made this season rate so high per James' system. I think that on the offensive side Wagner's season is considered great under Win Shares - but not in the same category as the best of Ruth and Bonds.
                        Wagner got 49.21 OWS in 1908. Bonds got 52.22 in 2001, his highest. Ruth's 1923 received 48.48. Wagner also got 9.74 DWS.
                        "Any pitcher who throws at a batter and deliberately tries to hit him is a communist."

                        - Alvin Dark

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Honus Wagner Rules View Post
                          Bill,

                          Let's see what the other Bill said about Wagner's 1908 season. This is from the NBJHBA:



                          My interpretation of this is that WS places heavy emphasis or league context. Let's compare the 1908 NL vs the 1911 AL:

                          1908 NL: .239/.299/.306. 3.33 R/G, 2.34 ERA
                          1911 AL: .273/.338/.358, 4.61 R/G, 3.34 ERA

                          Obviously, Cobb's league was much more of an offensive league.
                          But Adam, I showed RELATIVE STATS, not raw numbers. They are indexed to L. avaerages, and hence they were about on par for hitting, while Ty led in SBs. Since we don't know what their CS ratios were, I assume they were about the same. Cobb was a normal 70% stealer.

                          So, the 12 WS must all come from fielding.

                          Yes, Honus was a great defensive SS, but Ty was a very, very good defensive CF. And an even better RFer. Matt Souders gives Ty a PCA gold glove in CF in 1911.

                          So, if Honus saves his team 20 runs at SS, how many does Ty save his from CF?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by AstrosFan View Post
                            Remember, the context for Win Shares is not based on OBP or SLG, or BA, but on runs. The context Wagner was playing in is around the lowest of all-time, that or the 1968 Dodger Stadium context. Cobb, on the other hand, was playing in what was considered a lively era at the time, as a new cork-centered ball was introduced.

                            The actual wins versus Pythagenpat wins for both teams actually gives the advantage to Tyrus, the Pirates exceed their Pythagenpat by 5.89 wins, the Tigers by 6.86 wins. So Honus isn't getting any advantage there.

                            So what it basically comes down to is the run context being a lot different, and Wagner being far superior defensively. In spite of Cobb leading the league in everything, his year isn't necessarily better than Wagner's offensively, and he's quite a bit behind defensively. There are some other quirks, I expect, that cause Wagner to rate so much further ahead, but those are the two most crucial reasons.
                            But AF, relative stats already take into consideration the league strengths. If anything, Cobb's L. was the stronger.

                            True, Honus had to overcome his homepark, which Bill James calls the poorest hitting park in the game. Bill says Exhibition Park reduced scoring by 16%, so that might account for some of it. And that vindicates my former argument that Honus was a better player than Mays, and some disputed that. Said it was good for Wagner to hit in a park which reduced scoring 16%! The naiveté!

                            And I didn't think Bill James used a Positional Adjustment. Am I mistaken on this?

                            PCA says that Cobb's season was the better of the two. What say ye, Mathew?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Well, if you look at career adjusted EqA Wagner's EqA was .356 for that season, so a below average season for Ruth , and Cobb's EqA in 1911 was .343, so Wagner was also better offensively by that metric too.


                              Originally posted by William_Burgess@usa.net
                              But AF, relative stats already take into consideration the league strengths. If anything, Cobb's L. was the stronger.

                              True, Honus had to overcome his homepark, which Bill James calls the poorest hitting park in the game. Bill says Exhibition Park reduced scoring by 16%, so that might account for some of it. And that vindicates my former argument that Honus was a better player than Mays, and some disputed that. Said it was good for Wagner to hit in a park which reduced scoring 16%! The naiveté!

                              And I didn't think Bill James used a Positional Adjustment. Am I mistaken on this?

                              PCA says that Cobb's season was the better of the two. What say ye, Mathew?
                              I'm not going to comment on LQ because I haven't researched it.

                              To the Honus/Mays point, that and calling him a freakishly good defensive SS is an understatement...also James articulates some other Mays/Wagner points too.

                              Bill James uses a positional adjustment in a round about way. His win shares are 52% offensive and 48% defensive and each defender can only earn so large of a chunk of the DWS. For more on his Win Shares check this out

                              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Win_shares
                              http://espn.go.com/mlb/columns/neyer_rob/42798.html
                              http://www.stats.com/store/graphics/wins_intro.pdf
                              http://www.tangotiger.net/winshares.htm
                              http://www.tangotiger.net/billjames.htm
                              http://www.tangotiger.net/winsloss.html
                              http://www.tangotiger.net/winshares.pdf this one's a lil long


                              You can also buy his book WinShares but I believe it's out of print and it costs 50 bucks from some guy on Amazon. Overall, I think Win Shares are a place to start on to what a player did, however I don't think it's the end all be all as to who was better.
                              "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

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