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Wheat
05-03-04, 04:05 AM
On Baseball Tonight this weekend, Harold Reynolds was disputing some of the value of OBP to some players. Basically, he looked at the % of times that a player scored when they got on base as an indicator of how productive that time on base was. His premise was that slower players (he singled out Jason Giambi and Jason Varitek) clog up the basepaths and do not score as readily as a quicker baserunner so walks are not as valuable as they would be for a Derek Jeter who he said scored a greater % of the time.

Now I know that this logic is somewhat flawed because based upon line-up position, you would expect that Derek would have more opportunities to score once he is on base due to the fact that he has better hitters following him; however, it is an interesting theory. I was wondering if there is anyway to correct for this and see if there is some valid basis for this theory?

Rich
05-03-04, 05:05 AM
The argument makes no sense. If a batter fails to get on base, it's because he has made an out (except for a solo HR), which harms a team's ability to score runs.

Runs scored:

Giambi

1999: 115
2000: 108
2001: 109
2002: 120

Jeter:

1999: 134
2000: 119
2001: 110
2002: 124

Except for 1999, the numbers are quite close, especially when you consider that Jeter batted in front of more prolific run producers.

2002:

Giambi had 176 hits and 109 BBs. If you subtract his HRs (41), he got on base 244 times, and scored 120 runs.

Jeter had 191 hits and 73 BBs. If you subtract his HRs (18), he got on base 246 times, and scored 124 runs.

(leaving aside errors and HBPs)

In sum, at least for this admittedly small sample, the theory is disproved, and that is without taking the position in the batting order into account.

Dave in MD
05-03-04, 06:45 AM
Harold Reynolds went on a diatribe against obp last night. It was completely hideous. He basically said it was unimportant unless you had speed. And low obp guys like Rollins were more valuable because they scored more runs. No mention that that would be because of where they bat in the lineup. Then they made fun of ops. I actually felt dumber for having watched it.

AngelAstro
05-03-04, 07:36 AM
I didn't see BBTN, but I feel dumber for reading your post.
Maybe he was kidding.

OilCan
05-03-04, 08:42 AM
That was pretty bad. Think how much more valuable Rollins would be if he got on base more. Not to mention he's about to lose his job to Placido Polanco.

Harold Reynolds lifetime OBP is .327, btw.

Also, when he was talking about Varitek, he said something like "he has a .429 OBP and only scored 63 runs last year." Umm, last year he had a .351 OBP. So he used this years OBP and last years runs scored, obviously negating whatever point he was trying to make.

Dave in MD
05-03-04, 08:48 AM
Originally posted by OilCan
That was pretty bad. Think how much more valuable Rollins would be if he got on base more. Not to mention he's about to lose his job to Placido Polanco.

Harold Reynolds lifetime OBP is .327, btw.

Also, when he was talking about Varitek, he said something like "he has a .429 OBP and only scored 63 runs last year." Umm, last year he had a .351 OBP. So he used this years OBP and last years runs scored, obviously negating whatever point he was trying to make.

Let's also remember that he batted ninth, which limited his plate appearances. Also, as a catcher he played less. That show really pissed me off last night.

Wheat
05-03-04, 09:49 AM
I don't think that he absolutely blew off OBP, just perhaps cited that not all OBP should be created equally. I ran an Excel file over the past three years and found that Jeter has scored 39% of the time he is on base, while Giambi has scored 26% of the time that he was on base (adjusted for HR's).

I'm not saying that I agree with what he is saying. I just think that it is an interesting angle. It would be interetsting to see if you can adjust for batting order and see if speed has significant impact.

AngelAstro
05-03-04, 10:16 AM
Originally posted by Wheat
I don't think that he absolutely blew off OBP, just perhaps cited that not all OBP should be created equally. I ran an Excel file over the past three years and found that Jeter has scored 39% of the time he is on base, while Giambi has scored 26% of the time that he was on base (adjusted for HR's).

I'm not saying that I agree with what he is saying. I just think that it is an interesting angle. It would be interetsting to see if you can adjust for batting order and see if speed has significant impact.

Interesting spreadsheet. Scoring runs is definitely going to depend on who is hitting behind in the order. For example, if Giambi hadn't been in the lineup the past 2 years, would Jeter have scored as often? Also, if Giambi could bat behind himself, would the Giambi on base scored more often?

The one good point that Reynolds makes with that statement is that it's good to have speed if you're on base. The problem being that it is tough to find players with all the skills of a Giambi packaged with the speed of say Henderson in his prime. That's what makes players like A-Rod very rich men.

Basically, what I'm saying, if I had to choose between Harold Reynolds with speed and a OBP of .326 and Giambi with no speed but an OBP of .430 I think that most people would pick Giambi everytime. Why? Because on offense the #1 goal of the batter should be to not make an out (situation pending of course).

Dave in MD
05-03-04, 10:18 AM
Reynolds did completely blow off obp. But they then proceeded to off hand mock ops. What a bunch of idiots.

Wheat
05-03-04, 10:59 AM
Originally posted by Dave in MD
Reynolds did completely blow off obp. But they then proceeded to off hand mock ops. What a bunch of idiots.

Dave-To play Devil's Advocate, regardless of how it was presented...what role does speed play if any at all. Obviously placement in batting order means a lot...but how much of that argument holds water?

Dave in MD
05-03-04, 11:40 AM
Originally posted by Wheat


Dave-To play Devil's Advocate, regardless of how it was presented...what role does speed play if any at all. Obviously placement in batting order means a lot...but how much of that argument holds water?

Speed can be helpful if you steal bases at a high percentage. This is what makes Jeter very valuable. A high obp guy who steals at a high rate is great. Beltran is very good in this regard as well. The problem is that most speed guys don't get past 360 obp. To discount obp because the guy doesn't run is stupid. Speed presents an additional value when the person is a good baserunner.

Wheat
05-03-04, 01:19 PM
I think his point was more 1st-3rd type running rather than stealing.

Dave in MD
05-03-04, 02:32 PM
Originally posted by Wheat
I think his point was more 1st-3rd type running rather than stealing.

It was hard to figure what his point was it was so incoherent. He cherry picked stats to make it suit his view and it was extremely unprofessional. How come he didn't show Giambi's runs scored.

Irony Of It All
05-03-04, 11:57 PM
Originally posted by Dave in MD


Speed can be helpful if you steal bases at a high percentage. This is what makes Jeter very valuable. A high obp guy who steals at a high rate is great. Beltran is very good in this regard as well. The problem is that most speed guys don't get past 360 obp. To discount obp because the guy doesn't run is stupid. Speed presents an additional value when the person is a good baserunner.

Exactly. If I had to choose between Jeter or Giambi being on base, of course I'm going to choose Jeter. But for him to basically say Giambi on base is a bad thing, is just plain dumb.

To bad they don't put Rob Neyer on BBTN. I'd love to hear an intelligent look at statistics once in a while.

justin32099
05-04-04, 09:08 PM
This rant put me at a cross between cursing and laughing. Laughing because it was so nonsensical....cursing because it really, really angers me that this is the standpoint way too many people "in baseball" have. They like to claim that sabermetricians think speed is worthless, that you can understand baseball by adding up numbers and filling out equations. (Of course, equations HELP you answer questions, but only when using real-life baseball data.) This is a strawman argument. Of course speed matters. But if you can't get on base, speed don't mean a thing.