The Most Important Baseball Stat?

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Old 03-07-2008, 02:05 PM   #9
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Well in real life OBP is a good starting point, but having a high OBP guy batting 4th might not be what you want. Sure he will get on base, but what if you need 3 rbi's and there is 3 runners on? Would you rather the guy walk or hit the 3 run homerun? I would take the guy who could hit me a 3 run homer because the more batters you bring up in a clutch situation the more they are destined to fail. The more I think about it the more it is personal and personnel. I would rather have one guy that I trust in to bring in runs than spread it around. Walks are good and fine if you're a 1 or 2 hitter, but sometimes you need a guy to drive in runs. I think RBI's are the most important stat, or more specifically runners left on. It just depends on how you want your lineup and what order they are batting in.
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Old 03-07-2008, 02:27 PM   #10
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OBP only tells you how much a hitter gets on base. It tells you nothing about how he got there. Any statistic that rates a walk and a home run identically is poor measure of a hitter. You can't walk around the bases, someone has to drive runners in. Also, take a look at your average singles hitter and you'll see the lack of actual run production.

Bank on your extra base hits. Doubles hitters keep rallies alive.

SLG tells you a lot more about a hitter, and correlates better with actual production. But then I prefer to use the raw numbers to make assessments, giving each possible result their own value.

The question becomes, what is the value of a a double, a home run, etc?
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Old 03-07-2008, 02:31 PM   #11
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Re: The Most Important Baseball Stat?

These two groups, for the most part, make up a club's philosophy when it comes to evaluation. You rarely find a team that does things as a combination, which to the casual observer, would seem to be the smart thing to do.
I do not agree with that all. It'd be hard to find a team in baseball that does not integrate both scouts and statistical analysis. Really hard. Maybe the White Sox.

Also, there is no one single most important statistic, though I do think every conversation about it should begin with OBP and slugging percentage, since they correlate directly with winning. I like to use the slash stats, along with OPS+, EqA, wOBA, and some others. All of those have flaws, like every statistic, but when used in unison, you can really get a good picture of a player's offensive value.

Same goes for pitching. ERA has a lot of flaws most people don't tend to see, but I still like it, especially when looking at a player's career as a whole. If you like ERA, then take it up a notch, and use park-adjusted ERA: ERA+. But, you still can't just look at ERA+ without looking at a pitcher's peripherals. I really don't like ERA when looking at relievers.

There are some really neat things been done with fielding analysis at the moment, too.

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Old 03-07-2008, 02:42 PM   #12
It's RBIs or ribbies
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Re: The Most Important Baseball Stat?

Measuring pitchers performance should fall into two main categories:

1. The direct opposite of how one should measure hitters - tendency to give up certain types of hits, equating a value with each hit. This would do a better job of replacing ERA as a measuring tool. It does rely on defense to some degree, which is why #2 is necessary.

2. Strikeout/walk ratio.

Statistics won't tell you everything. Lewis' Moneyball stressed the idea of "not trusting your eyes". I couldn't disagree more with this idea. Baseball is a game of physical competition. One must assess a hitter/pitcher's physical abilities and tendencies in assessing their overall performance.

Don't overlook the importance of good coaching. Again, this flies in the face of the Moneyball theory that you cannot change a player, that they are what they are.
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Old 03-07-2008, 03:23 PM   #13
Or should I
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From Lou Brock to Ricky Henderson to Vince Coleman to Jose Reyes. Speed can change the game because those players when on can turn a single into a triple. They make pitchers stay in the stretch and slow the game down completely making the pitchers focus on them and not the hitter. Lots of Speed in a lineup can kill a pitcher who can't work well in the stretch. Yes they have to get on but when on they change the game. Mariano with Dave Roberts on first stealing second comes to mind in that classic Red Sox - Yankees series where the Yanks choked it up and lost 4 straight.
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Old 03-07-2008, 03:27 PM   #14
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Re: The Most Important Baseball Stat?

I agree Joe. That's part of the problem i have with strict SABR folks - they completely take the humans out of the equation and instead see everything as numbers.

sure - lineups don't matter if your game plan is completely devoid of any tactics or strategy. but add those and its a different story.

The teams that are going to be successful are the teams that marry the traditional points of view with the SABR points of view. In a lot of ways this is what the Red Sox have done - taking some of the SABR teachings but applying them to more traditional beliefs.

Personally I think that's why for all their success the A's never did much in the playoffs. Their entire team was built almost like a softball team, with players who had no real skills other than being patient, working the count and having some pop in their bats.

Over a season, everything evened out and more times than not this was an advantage. But when you get into the playoffs you don't have the luxury of time. You don't always have the ability to just wait until next inning - sometimes the difference between winning and losing is manufacturing runs.

Take Game 4 in the 2004 ALCS. A strict SABR team wouldn't have won that game. Roberts never would have stolen second because stats tell you its not a safe gamble - he's more likely to score not stealing over time than he is by stealing and risking getting thrown out. Hell - a player like Roberts might not have even been on that team.
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Old 03-07-2008, 03:37 PM   #15
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Re: The Most Important Baseball Stat?

Originally Posted by MMChrisS
Operation Sports' Chris Sanner checks in today with an article that is sure to have its fair share of opinions from the baseball world as he talks about the most important stat in baseball.

Depends on what you are looking for.

Best pure hitter? OPS+

Most valuable offensive player? VORP easily.
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Old 03-07-2008, 03:37 PM   #16
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If OBP is the winner, then Barry Bonds is still by far and large the biggest threat in baseball.
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