Comments on: Twins Notes: Doumit, Blackburn, Hendriks, Minier, Mauer, and Plouffe Baseball news, insight and analysis from Aaron Gleeman Thu, 02 Jul 2015 23:28:00 +0000 hourly 1 By: Pedro Munoz Mon, 09 Jul 2012 03:38:02 +0000 Heathcliff, you lost me at “regardless of what WAR indicates.” I agree that Mauer is not a power hitter, but I believe that a player can be great despite a lack of power. Do you know why? Because the statistics tell me it can be so. Because Joe Mauer’s WAR is better than a lot of “great” power hitters despite his own lack of power.

mauersania, I’m just going to let it go because unlike Heathcliff – who seems to understand sabrmetrics even if he doesn’t buy into them – you have made it abundantly clear that you don’t even understand WAR and sabrmetic analysis.

By: mauersania Mon, 09 Jul 2012 00:44:05 +0000 Pedro,

Using statistics to attempt to assess value is not preposterous–nor did I claim it was. What I argued is that no statistic can do what you suggest–i.e., demonstrate that a player is worth the money he is getting paid based on his OBP. That cannot be possible, as OBP tells us little, in and of itself. It says nothing about slugging percentage, situational hitting, or hitting with RISP, and truly does nothing to correlate a player’s salary with what that means for the rest of the team–what percentage of the team’s salary is that player’s salary and how wedded is a team to some set salary cap of its choosing, for example.

Please re-read, as well, the comment regarding experience and own eyes. As I note, that is informed, as well, by statistics. In short, while you appear willing to accept a purely statistical analysis on Mauer’s value, I am more inclined to weigh any statistic against what I see and what my experience, intuition, and other factors tell me that statistic might actually mean. As Heathcliff pointed out, such an inclination might actually compel closer scrutiny of the relevant statistic leading to a much different picture than what one might be led to believe upon first blush.

By: Heathcliff Sun, 08 Jul 2012 23:14:07 +0000 Pedro,

You make several valid points.

I went to Fangraphs and sorted by Isolated Power. Mauer ranks 113th. He’s tied with such monster power hitters as Angel Pagan and Sean Rodriguez. He’s behind hitters such as Michael Bourn, Jose Altuve, Delmon Young, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Chris Johnson, and many others.

Regardless of WAR, I think I can safely say that Mauer is not a power hitter. OBP machine, great hitter, good baserunner (I agree with you on that), solid defender – as I stated earlier, Mauer is a very good player. But without the pop, he’s not a great one (regardless of what WAR indicates).

By: Pedro Munoz Sun, 08 Jul 2012 22:09:37 +0000 “No statistic can translate dollar value as you suggest Fangraphs has done for Mauer–it is utterly preposterous.”

Why determining a player’s monetary value based on statistics preposterous? How do you think teams decide how much to pay players? The only difference is that Fangraphs uses statistics that better correlate with a player’s actual value to a team.

“More to the point, if you insist on defending Mauer blind to his short-comings, you will always reach the conclusion that you apparently favor–that Mauer is worth every penny that he is earning.”

That isn’t true at all. Last year Mauer missed a lot of time and played poorly when he did, and wasn’t worth nearly what he was paid. My feelings about Joe Mauer have nothing to do with it – his value is based solely on his statistics this year, and his statistics make him worth his salary. If Mauer’s statistics show that he is worth what he is getting paid, I will defend him. If his statistics show that he is not, then I won’t. It really is that simple.

“Mauer’s numbers suggest a prototypical lead-off hitter. Unfortunately, Mauer is a base-clogger because he has no speed. That means that he is not a prototypical lead-off hitter.”

First, the logic behind that argument is so bad it makes my head hurt.

Second, Joe Mauer is not a base-clogger. If you look at his baserunning statistics, he is and always has been an above-average baserunner. If you aren’t interested in statistics – making outs on the basepaths, taking extra bases, etc., and want to call him a base-clogger based on your “experience and [your] eyes” I probably won’t be able to convince you of that.

Third, going back to the earlier Billy Madison-esqe comments, on base percentage is not the only statistic used by fangraphs. The determination of WAR (wins against replacement) and the monetary value derived from WAR includes both a player’s power and baserunning. Thus, Mauer’s lack of power and supposed (but not actual) poor baserunning is part of the determination of his value. The fangraphs people know all about Joe Mauer, “empty OBP” and all, and they still think he’s worth his salary based on their statistical formulas.

“I will trust my experience and my eyes”

That kind of gets into the whole argument about sabrmetics. Baseball is a game that produces a ridiculous amount of data. What people like Bill James and the fangraphs creators and others have done is gone and looked at what statistics really make a difference as far as wins and losses, and it is sigificantly different from the longtime baseball conventional wisdom. On-base percentage gets talked about a lot because it is a statistic that has been really undervalued over time.

If you subscribe to sabrmetric analysis – that is, if you base your evaluations of players based on meaningful statistics, you would come to realize that your concept of what a prototypical lead-off hitter should be is just plain wrong. You would also come to realize that using your “eyes and experience” is an extremely poor way to evaluate players, as evidenced by your erroneous belief that Mauer is a poor base-runner. Its the difference between using data and anectdotes, between science and guessing.

When I started reading this site years ago, I was pretty skeptical about sabrmetrics, and over time I came to accept it. As a longtime baseball fan, it wasn’t easy for me to accept that a lot of what I thought I knew about baseball is wrong. If you aren’t ready or never will be ready to accept sabrmetrics, that’s fine, but you shouldn’t be surprised when you get shot down on a site run by a sabrmetric junkie. You really also shouldn’t be accusing Aaron of sucking up or questioning his integrity because you don’t agree with or don’t understand his arguments.

By: Mauersania Sun, 08 Jul 2012 15:23:06 +0000 Pedro,

Your comment merely confirms what Heathcliff contended.

It’s always useful to consider the statistics and precisely what they do and do not say. No statistic can translate dollar value as you suggest Fangraphs has done for Mauer–it is utterly preposterous. More to the point, if you insist on defending Mauer blind to his short-comings, you will always reach the conclusion that you apparently favor–that Mauer is worth every penny that he is earning. Mauer’s numbers suggest a prototypical lead-off hitter. Unfortunately, Mauer is a base-clogger because he has no speed. That means that he is not a prototypical lead-off hitter. I will trust my experience and my eyes, as well as the statistics, when concluding that Mauer is a very good on-base player with limited power. In my mind, that means that he is not worth one-quarter of the team payroll.

By: Pedro Munoz Sun, 08 Jul 2012 05:30:57 +0000 Mr. Madison, what you’ve just said … is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

By: Pedro Munoz Sun, 08 Jul 2012 04:59:10 +0000 Do you know the scene in the movie Billy Madison where Billy compares the Industrial Revolution to the book the Pokey Little Puppy? My reaction to the last two comments is the same as the reaction to Billy’s answer in that movie.

If you evaluate players using statistical analysis (and use meaningful statistics) you would understand that this year Joe Mauer is one of the most valuable players in baseball. He has been not just good, but great. According to the Fangraphs website, if Mauer continues this pace, his $23 million salary will be a bargain. He’s been worth $12.6M for the first half alone. The criticism of Mauer isn’t justified at all – it rightfully should be shot down.

By: Heathcliff Sat, 07 Jul 2012 17:00:40 +0000 Well said, Mauersania. While I don’t believe the Twins should bench/trade Mauer, I expect a little more offensive juice from him, especially because of his salary. It appears that anybody in the comment section of this site is shot down when the immortal Mauer is justifiably criticized. I love Mauer – he’s my favorite player. But I think he can – and should – do more. Very good player – not great.

I’d like to see Mr. Gleeman give an honest assessment on Mauer’s empty OBP and BA. But he won’t.

By: Mauersania Sat, 07 Jul 2012 16:09:50 +0000 Aaron,

It’s OK to admit you are wrong about Perkins and simply note that it was a careless reference (it was, but so what). It’s also OK to not suck up to Mauer. I usually enjoy the column (less so when it is a series of links, rather than your own insight). Please, however, strive to become something other than the homage paying suck-up that your new friend PA thrives on being. That might be a ticket to something more than what you currently are doing, but it comes at the price of integrity. When you write based on your intuition, you seem to be most on track. That might mean acknowledging that, while Mauer certainly is an All-Star at a very thin position, his on-base percentage is over-hyped given that it comes largely through singles and walks–not what you expect of a player making the money that Joe does.

By: Twins fan Fri, 06 Jul 2012 03:09:10 +0000 Speaking of pitchers getting wins, Bobby Lanigan of the Red Wings threw 3 pitches to 1 hitter in the 6th inning on Tuesday and got the win.