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Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Two Baseball Statistics I'd Like to See

Unless, of course, you can convince me that they're not all that telling.

I know that the Baseball Prospectus guys have all sorts of stats to measure all sorts of things. My biggest issue with them is that they speak in a type of code normally reserved for experts in, well, codes, such as the Internal Revenue Code, healthcare reimbursement codes, the Uniform Commercial Code and the like. So, if you dial back the clock a bit, they can sound like either Cliffie the Mailman from Cheers or, worse, the Dave Meyer character (the direct mail guy) from LA Law (where, on one show, he had a memorable string citation to all of the small cities outside Los Angeles that his direct-mail efforts could reach). I can't really tell you the difference between BABIP and WXRL and some of the rest, and I do have an advanced degree (then again, perhaps I'm just too lazy to read the introduction, which has a Rosetta Stone to help you decipher the metrics; then, then again, perhaps they make all this stuff up to dazzle you with their brilliance, make you want to join the bandwagon, and then get you to stay mute with your questions because if you were to raise them, you might risk humiliation from the smart guys because, well, they're smart and obviously, from your questions, you're not). Being a celebrant of the better aspects of human nature, I'll credit the BP writers for their brilliance but will suggest that they could become better explainers.

That said, why don't we calculate two numbers for pitchers -- on-base percentage yielded and total bases per nine innings yielded. The former will mirror the OBP stats for hitters that are so valuable, and the latter will go further than OBP by telling you how many bases that are yielded. The reason I think the latter is compelling is that you might have a pitcher with a decent OBPY (on-base percentage yielded) but a worse-than-average TB/9 (because the guy, when he yields baserunners, gives up a bunch of extra-base hits). For what it's worth, I think that it might be fun to examine these numbers both separately and then in concert with the other metrics that the stat wonks examine to determine if there's anything that we can learn from them.

Or not.

Food for thought.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

OBP against (which I call OBPv for "OBV versus") is available on, but for reasons I don't understand, it's not part of the regular list of stats. To see career OBPv on a pitcher's page, click on the "Splits" link, then choose "career." You can see the OBPv for a career about 10 times from the left on the "Career Totals" line. You can also see IP and Total Bases against, and can do the math yourself if you want to know TB/9.

3:53 PM  

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