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Monday, March 03, 2008

VORPies and Scrappers

Here are a couple of by now dated but still interesting articles...

  • Cubs' Theriot measures success in different ways. Bruce Miles talks about Ryan Theriot and how he's never been a numbers guy and how numbers don't tell the entire story etc. Personally, I like this article and couldn't agree more with the author. Miles mentions that Baseball Prospectus PECOTA has Theriot projected for an OBP of .330 and quotes Theriot as saying:

    I'm going to give everything I've got. And I'm not afraid to fail. I think I'll do what it takes to do something great and help the team win. I take pride in my defense. Either you've got to drive them in or you've got to save a run.

    I think it's easier for me to save them than drive them in. I'm realistic about my game. I think I know what I can and can't do. I know my limitations.

    Offensively Theriot played very well until a September slump which could be attributed both to a little fatigue in his first full season or an indication that the league has caught up with him. It'll be interesting to see if either of those play out in 2008. Defensively SFR had Theriot at +4.8 at short in 2007 (399 balls assigned) and +2.3 at second base (100 balls). At third he was -0.8 in a really small sample (15 balls). SFR also had him at +0.7 in 2006 at second base (101 balls) and so overall defensively, and although Theriot's not a number's guy, I'd have to say that the numbers agree that he can help the team win with his glove. Incidentally, SFR had Brian Roberts at +7.6 in 2007, +1.2 in 2006, and -1.2 in 2005 at second base.

  • VORPies?. I'm still trying to figure out just what a "VORPy" is but Jon Heyman tweaks them a little in discussing Jimmy Rollins and his MVP award in 2007. But again, this article to me makes some good points including the ideas that Rollins should get a little boost over David Wright because of his defense (and playing a more difficult position) and baserunning but of course all of these things can be quantified. Wright's VORP was 81.1, Rollins was 66.1 and these numbers as Heyman rightly points out are park adjusted. So was Rollins 15 runs better on defense and baserunning? SFR has Rollins at +5.0 and Wright at +3.2 and so Rollins makes up a little there. On the bases Rollins was at +7.2 and Wright at +2.5 and so there's another few runs which when combined with his defense essentially allows Rollins to make up about half the difference. But the MVP is not all about numbers either and winning and leadership, I think, should definitely matter. In the end, when you factor these things in it seems to me like these guys are in the same vicinity and so it's not as if Rollins was a really poor choice. Matt Holliday, with his 75.0 VORP and pretty decent defense in 2007 should no doubt also have been considered. And by the way, Heyman talks about Hanley Ramirez a little whose 89.5 VORP led all National Leaguers. I had him at +1.8 in baserunning but at -17.5 runs with the glove in SFR. By all accounts his defense really is poor and so it comes off as kind of disingenuous for Heyman not to mention that. But on the topics of the Gold Glove and Rookie of the Year...well, don't get me started.