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Is billy Hamilton with an 85 OPS+ really as valuable as david ortiz with a 150 OPS+?

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  • Is billy Hamilton with an 85 OPS+ really as valuable as david ortiz with a 150 OPS+?

    I'm generally not a WAR sceptic but I have a hard time getting around that. Ortiz generally was a 3 to 3.5 WAR Player (4 in some years). there is the DH Penalty but even as an average 1B he would only have been half a win better than that so basically he is a 4 win Player as an average 1B. according to UZR Billy hamilton with an 85 OPS+ is also a 4 win Player (although he Fails to reach that hitting mark in most years because he hits so terrible so he is not really a 4 win Player but you get the example).

    so if BH was a consistently bad hitter (80 to 90 OPS+) instead of fluktuating between very bad and hitting like a pitcher would he really be one of the most valuable Players in all of mlb?
    Last edited by dominik; 01-02-2017, 02:52 AM.
    I now have my own non commercial blog about training for batspeed and power using my training experience in baseball and track and field.

  • #2
    According to BBRef (DRS) Hamilton was 2.8 in 2016 and Ortiz was 5.1. According to FG, Ortiz was 4.4 and Hamilton was 3.1. No idea where you are getting 4 WAR for Hamilton from. Ortiz top seasons according to both FG and BBRef were in the 5s and 6s. Ortiz has had seven 4-win seasons and four 5-win seasons according to BBref and Billy Hamilton topped out at 2.8 in BBref and 3.7 in FG. Not seeing anything that suggests they are "as valuable" or even close. At their best, Ortiz looks about twice as valuable as Hamilton according to both WARs - despite massive gaps in position, defense, and baserunning. To me - this looks like WAR is fully embracing offense.


    Now - in a theoretical standpoint - it is certainly an extreme - but Ozzie at his best was way better as a great fielding, great running, SS than a great hitting DH would be. Hamilton, as a CF instead of a SS, can't get to 6 WAR with an 85 OPS+...but he can hit 3.5 WAR with uber-elite defense and baserunning. A great hitting DH can't get to 8 WAR, but they can, and do get to 6.

    Going with DRS here (BBR) Do you believe there is really a 17 run positional gap? Do you really believe Hamilton can be + 15 defensive runs? Do you thing a 15 run baserunning gap is possible? There is a 47 runs right there. The offensive gap between the two was 60. That is + 17 for Ortiz. WAR has him +22 so there are a few other runs out there not accounted for.

    If Hamilton were a 90 wRC+ guy I bet he could top out at 5 WAR just eye-balling it. That would be a 1.3 WAR boost from his best season on either sight when he posted a 79 wRC+.

    I don't see here what looks unreasonable.

    So bottom line - is Hamilton more valuable than Oritiz? No and neither WAR seems to be suggesting so, either. Is it possible for Hamilton to be a 5 WAR player? yes - he needs to be about a wRC+ 90 kinda guy. But he will not ever hit well enough to be one of the very best in the game.
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    • #3
      I was talking hypothetical, obviously hamilton is not an 85 to 90 ops+ hitter. Ortiz had a couple seasons above 5 but he also had years were he only was around 3.5 despite a 140 or so ops+ (fwar)
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      • #4
        Originally posted by dominik View Post
        I was talking hypothetical, obviously hamilton is not an 85 to 90 ops+ hitter. Ortiz had a couple seasons above 5 but he also had years were he only was around 3.5 despite a 140 or so ops+ (fwar)
        And those "bad" 3.5 Ortiz seasons are the highest extremes that Hamilton can get. So WAR is saying Ortiz worse is about Hamilton;s best. Give or take.

        The best Hamilton has hit so far - with AMAZING baserunning, position ,and defense - is a little more than half the WAR Ortiz got in his best seasons despite being a slow DH. If the point is WAR is overvaluing defense and position - I don;t see how these two are making that point.

        Yes - a great defensive, great running CF with a 80 wRC+ can be equal in value as a DH going 140 wRC+ - if that is your question. The bigger point, is neither is an All-Star player.
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        • #5
          If the All-Star game in question included the use of a DH, and you had to play a guy there anyway, I would think the league leader in doubles, RBI, and the MLB leader in SLG (the only player in the sixes), and OPS (the only guy over one) would make the roster.
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          • #6
            Originally posted by Bothrops Atrox View Post
            And those "bad" 3.5 Ortiz seasons are the highest extremes that Hamilton can get. So WAR is saying Ortiz worse is about Hamilton;s best. Give or take.

            The best Hamilton has hit so far - with AMAZING baserunning, position ,and defense - is a little more than half the WAR Ortiz got in his best seasons despite being a slow DH. If the point is WAR is overvaluing defense and position - I don;t see how these two are making that point.

            Yes - a great defensive, great running CF with a 80 wRC+ can be equal in value as a DH going 140 wRC+ - if that is your question. The bigger point, is neither is an All-Star player.
            I would not call 3.5 WAR a bad year for Ortiz. he had 5 seasons of a 4 or higher WAR. 7 seasons were between 2 and 4 and 2 seasons were below 2 WAR (actually more but I did not Count his bad Min years). his average during his Boston years is 3.5.

            this year his (fWAR) was 4.4 but he almost hit like mike trout.
            2013 he was 151 and 3.3, 2014 134 and 2.3 and 2015 he was 137 and 2.8. of course he still was more productive than BH but still the bar to produce is super high for a DH or even a non plus fielding 1B.

            basically as a 1B or DH you can only win a (deserved - not talking MVPs like ryan howards who got it because he hit almost 60 bombs and 150 RBI) MVP if you either hit like a juiced mark mcgwire or you are a plus Defender and good baserunner (like prime Pujols was).
            Last edited by dominik; 01-03-2017, 02:55 AM.
            I now have my own non commercial blog about training for batspeed and power using my training experience in baseball and track and field.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by dominik View Post
              I would not call 3.5 WAR a bad year for Ortiz. he had 5 seasons of a 4 or higher WAR. 7 seasons were between 2 and 4 and 2 seasons were below 2 WAR (actually more but I did not Count his bad Min years). his average during his Boston years is 3.5.

              this year his (fWAR) was 4.4 but he almost hit like mike trout.
              2013 he was 151 and 3.3, 2014 134 and 2.3 and 2015 he was 137 and 2.8. of course he still was more productive than BH but still the bar to produce is super high for a DH or even a non plus fielding 1B.

              basically as a 1B or DH you can only win a (deserved - not talking MVPs like ryan howards who got it because he hit almost 60 bombs and 150 RBI) MVP if you either hit like a juiced mark mcgwire or you are a plus Defender and good baserunner (like prime Pujols was).
              I don't think a guy who can't field AT ALL and who (typicality) is an nonathletic, poor runner, should cap out at higher than 6-7 WAR. Of course 1B or LF or DHs have to hit better than CF or SS or 2B to win MVPs. Its why Barry Larkin and Ryne Sandberg and Robin Yount, etc. can win MVP awards. If middle infielders and catchers had to hit like 1B to have high WAR seasons or be in the running for MVP - hardly any in history would be able to do so. If middle infielders had to hit like 1B to be HOFers - Craig Biggio and Robbie Alomar would have dropped off 1st ballot, etc.

              So in the end - this is just another positional adjustment thread?
              Last edited by Bothrops Atrox; 01-03-2017, 06:07 AM.
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              • #8
                Originally posted by Second Base Coach View Post
                If the All-Star game in question included the use of a DH, and you had to play a guy there anyway, I would think the league leader in doubles, RBI, and the MLB leader in SLG (the only player in the sixes), and OPS (the only guy over one) would make the roster.
                I said the hypothetical 3.5 WAR Ortiz would not likely be an All-Star (fan voting excluded). Look at the quote I copied from dominik. With the 3.5 hypothetical Ortiz, chances are very good that several DHs would be better or even 1Bmen that you could DH with as good offense. Of course 2016 Ortiz had to be on the team. It is easy to find a 1B with a 140 wRC+ that can DH and also play in the field if necessary. Finding a guy who hit like Ortiz in 2016 is much harder, obviously.
                Last edited by Bothrops Atrox; 01-03-2017, 06:13 AM.
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                • #9
                  Originally posted by dominik View Post
                  so if BH was a consistently bad hitter (80 to 90 OPS+) instead of fluktuating between very bad and hitting like a pitcher would he really be one of the most valuable Players in all of mlb?
                  Huh?

                  His OPS+ was 81 (between 80 and 90 like you say) in 2014. With his very good defense, his WAR was still only 2.5.

                  BTW, consistency means very little, if anything. I'll take an inconsistent 85 OPS+ over a consistent 81 OPS+ any day. And why do you say BH is inconsistent? What stats show that he is?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by ipitch View Post
                    Huh?

                    His OPS+ was 81 (between 80 and 90 like you say) in 2014. With his very good defense, his WAR was still only 2.5.

                    BTW, consistency means very little, if anything. I'll take an inconsistent 85 OPS+ over a consistent 81 OPS+ any day. And why do you say BH is inconsistent? What stats show that he is?
                    I tend to use fangraphs were he peaked at 3.7 war.

                    As for his inconsistency his wrc + was 79, 53 and 78. At 78 he is above average but at 53 pretty useless. I definitely prefer him being consistent at 80 and 2.5 war than him having years were he hits like a pitcher and is pretty useless
                    Last edited by dominik; 01-03-2017, 01:41 PM.
                    I now have my own non commercial blog about training for batspeed and power using my training experience in baseball and track and field.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Great defense, good position, and tremendous baserunning, with horrible hitting caps out at about 4 WAR max.
                      Horrible (or none at all) defense, bad baserunning, with great offense caps out at around 7 WAR max.
                      I don't see an issue with this at all.

                      It took Ozzie to play historically good defense at SS with A baserunninng and pushing an wRC+ in the 110s to hit Ortiz's best offensive season (2007).

                      The idea that WAR drastically overvalues defense or position is not showing up with these examples.

                      BTW - you kept using OPS+ - but does Fangraphs even use OPS+? If you are using FG WAR - why not use wRC+?
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                      • #12
                        yes my Statement probably was a Little exeggerated, BH would probably at least have to have a 95 OPS+ to be as valuable as Peak Ortiz.

                        BTW why was Ortiz WAR higher in 05 and 06 than in 2016?

                        fWAR wRC+ PA

                        2005 5.3 157 713
                        2006 5.3 157 686

                        2016 4.4 163 626

                        Was is just the PAs? he actually hit slightly better in 2016 but had less PAs.

                        EDIT: I looked it up and it seems like Ortiz lost a whole win on the basepaths this year which probably is historically bad. in his prime years it was a Little less than half a win. so it seems the one win difference is 0.5 by more PAs and 0.5 by worse running.

                        I think the running is also a Point that hurts many 1B or DHs a little. there are some good running 1Bs (Goldschmidt, Pujols in his prime) but most are slightly negative (sometimes becoming very bad if they are older). that is not a huge effect but if you lose half a win and a good runner gains about half a win (one win in a really great running season) that is a one WAR difference.

                        one win is not that much but for a slightly above average 1B (say 115 wRC+ and 2.5 WAR) that can make a big difference.

                        maybe the old dusty baker "he Clogs the bases" Argument is not THAT wrong. obviously it doesn't matter with a frank thomas or david ortiz but if you have that "moneyball" type of 1B (OK but not great power with good OBP and bad defense and running - say Billy butler before he got really bad) that can easily make a below average Player out of an otherwise average 1B (and all of a sudden a .370 OPB with 20 HRs is not as valuable as People thought in the 00s when it Comes with negative defense, running and positional value).
                        Last edited by dominik; 01-04-2017, 02:09 AM.
                        I now have my own non commercial blog about training for batspeed and power using my training experience in baseball and track and field.

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                        • #13
                          Pujols also got like 1.5-2 wins from baserunning and defense combined in his best years. that is probably an underrated Thing with first basemen.

                          I would wonder if Teams could put a very athletic guy with a 105 wRC+ instead of a lumbering guy with a 120 wRC+ and 30 HR to save Money but then again mashing first basemen who don't provide much else have become really cheap. Is that a consequence of the new metrics? Teams seem to not pay anymore for power alone when it doesn't come with good Overall value.

                          maybe it can become a market inefficiency to load up the Team with trumbos and Chris carters on the cheap sacrificing a Little defense. I mean if you put trumbo in left and carter at first you can probably get them for 25M a year combined (sounds a lot but basically is just 3 wins) on a relatively short term deal while getting 60-70 bombs (albeit terrible defense)
                          I now have my own non commercial blog about training for batspeed and power using my training experience in baseball and track and field.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by dominik View Post
                            Pujols also got like 1.5-2 wins from baserunning and defense combined in his best years. that is probably an underrated Thing with first basemen.

                            I would wonder if Teams could put a very athletic guy with a 105 wRC+ instead of a lumbering guy with a 120 wRC+ and 30 HR to save Money but then again mashing first basemen who don't provide much else have become really cheap. Is that a consequence of the new metrics? Teams seem to not pay anymore for power alone when it doesn't come with good Overall value.

                            maybe it can become a market inefficiency to load up the Team with trumbos and Chris carters on the cheap sacrificing a Little defense. I mean if you put trumbo in left and carter at first you can probably get them for 25M a year combined (sounds a lot but basically is just 3 wins) on a relatively short term deal while getting 60-70 bombs (albeit terrible defense)
                            But yeah - a guy like Trumbo would have gone somewhere for mega-bucks just 5 years ago. On a long-term deal too. like I have said - the era of dumb franchises is over.
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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by dominik View Post
                              Pujols also got like 1.5-2 wins from baserunning and defense combined in his best years. that is probably an underrated Thing with first basemen.

                              )
                              There is a name for 1B who are athletic enough to be +15 runs better defensively than other 1B and can be +5 baseruning each year. They are called third basemen.

                              A lot of people forget Pujols was a pretty decent 3B when he came into the league.

                              But yes - I am sure the Cubs got a huge bargain with Mark Grace, for example, compared to a guy like Mo Vaughan who probably made a lot more money.
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