Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Email Fun with Chuckie Hacks' Bloggers

After I saw Brad the Dinosaur's post yesterday making fun of VORP...I felt an email was in order to him explaining a few things. After writing a long email...I realized that I write for a blog...so I might as well throw it up as well for the masses to see.

I never have proclaimed to be a stat wiz, but I do understand the basics of all this new age stuff. And yes, from what I've read, VORP is already outdated to some other crap that I haven't learned yet. But it still doesn't diminish what the number represents, or the basic conclusions that you can draw from said numbers. Enjoy the exchange...Brad did.

Woz to Brad (Matt & Goldy CC'd)
http://www.baseballprospectus.com/team_audit.php?team=MIL
Brad,

Here, read up on VORP...this is last year’s team all ranked based on their VORP. Obviously Braun and Prince were 1 and 2 for hitters, while CC & Sheets were 1 & 2 for pitchers. Looking at stats like this is another reason why I’m a fan of Mike Cameron. He’s a big part of this team this year and was a huge part last year. We’ll need him to match last year’s production. His value cannot be overlooked.

The reason this stat is useful is that it tracks overall offensive value of any player across the whole league. That’s why you can compare Pujol’s VORP to Braun’s, or Hanley Ramirez’s to Lance Berkman. The point is not to factor who a potential “replacement player” would be on each team. Obviously some teams have a better guy they can bring up at 3b or RF in case one of their guys goes down. But that doesn’t mean that since that “replacement player” is better, the current guy in the position should have his VORP calculated based on that or whatever. Again, the replacement player they are referring to is a guy who has a VORP of 0…he brings nothing to the team. It’s an imaginary guy with stats that overall don’t contribute to a single run…which is the unit that VORP is measured in…runs.

And Yes, Bill Hall had a negative VORP. He literally cost the team runs this past year. If you would bring in some chump from Triple AAA or whatever (the “replacement player” , some guy that got the same number of plate appearances as Hall and would have had a VORP of 0, they are saying the Brewers are better off with that chump getting the at-bats instead of Bill Hall. Again, forget the replacement player. The stat is there to intuitively prove that Bill Hall is absolutely terrible.

Here’s the final ranking of NL VORPS from last year. http://www.baseballprospectus.com/statistics/sortable/index.php?cid=309868

Note how ridiculous Albert Pujols is. That’s why I scoffed at people saying he wasn’t the MVP. Dude was the best. Period. Without him, the Cardinals would have been a joke.

A final thing to point out is that sabremetrics states that roughly every 10 runs that a player contributes (based on VORP) is worth 1 win. I think there may be a stat for that called WARP or something…but I’m not sure about that so let’s just ignore it.

So basically you can say from looking at these year end stats that both Braun and Prince single-handedly accounted for about 4 wins each for the team. If you read Keith Law or Rob Neyer or other stat guys that say stuff like, “He’ll probably be worth 2-3 wins for the team this year” this is what they are talking about.

Finally, add up all the VORPS of all the Brewers from their offensive stats. Unless my math is wrong, I came up with 198. So using the whole “roughly 10 runs equals a win thing here” we can project the Brewers should have been around 19.8 games over .500 last year based on these stats. Lets say 20 games to round up. Well…they went 90-72. 18 games over. Again, this is ridiculously crude, because I’m sure the stat nerds convert VORP into something else and go from there to calculate winning percentages and what not. But to start, they always try to project VORP, because it’s the basic value of what a player is worth, and it’s used in comparison to every other player in the league.

So while I enjoyed your other acronyms on your last post (quite funny indeed), hopefully this will help you understand VORP a little better. I can send you a couple of books if you’d like it to be explained in more detail or better than what I just did.

Goldy to Woz, Brad, & Matt
I like the fact that Woz has a library of VORP
books.


Brad to Woz, Goldy, & Matt
Hmmm, interesting. Is it possible for someone to have like a great OPS, but a bad VORP? Or vice versa?

Woz to Brad, Matt, Goldy
I can’t comment on any direct correlation, but on the surface a guy with a high OPS would have a “higher” VORP…but again, VORP is also the measure of runs provided based on PA’s, so a lot of it depends on how much the guy plays. Two great examples for the Brewers last year were Gabe Kapler and Russell Branyan.

Russell actually had the highest OPS (920), but his VORP wasn’t as high because he didn’t play enough. Kapler’s figures are similar.

But our top 4 guys in terms of VORP (Braun, Prince, JJ, Cameron) all had OPSs over .800. As far as I’m concerned, by any quantifiable measure, these 4 guys were our 4 best offensive guys last year.

On the flip side, check out Counsel and Kendall’s OPS…and compare then to the VORPs. Both guys VORP’s were around 0, and their OPS were around 650 (which is incredibly weak).

But Counsell and Kendall’s value goes beyond their offensive contributions (obviously)…anyway I don’t think anybody is saying these guys are on the team for their offensive contributions.

I like the Counsell signing BTW.

Matt to Brad, Goldy, Woz
But Mike Cameron strikes out too much!!!!!! I hate him!!!!!

And...that's where the thread ended. I actually had to work at that point.

Point? VORP ain't bad. It helps you understand what you should already know. Just another stat for the arsenal.

5 comments:

Quagmire said...

Woz's VORP library is right next to all his Peterotica as spoken by Betty White.

graf said...

i had no idea you had so much passion for VORP. that was very educational, thanks.

Anonymous said...

you guys are nerds

Charlie Marlow said...

You're right about WARP, woz, although the 10 can be adjusted (presumably based upon league averages).

Also, WPA is an interesting metric that calculates how much an individual player contributed to the possibility of a win for his team.

Also, Fangraphs estimates player value based on fielding, batting, pitching. Interesting stuff.

AP said...

Yeah, the fangraphs stuff is fantastic. I love being able to pinpoint the exact moment when a game went to shit, and then having the mathematical proof of why I am pissed at a particular Brewer that morning.

They include Leverage Index too, which is cool to look at.