NASA Weighs In on the UFO Issue
As we always suspected, Dept.


Inside Scoop, Dept.

We've been encouraging SABRMatt to put his own distinct fingerprints onto the Think Tank printouts.  He's a little too modest to underline the fact that he worked for the biggest team in baseball.  This is demoralizing to Dr. D, who enjoys underlining the fact that Bill James once sent him an e-mail.

Jemanji is never quite certain whether he is getting a Scoop or a SABRMatt Shovel, but here goes anyway ... kidding!  Quoth Matt,


1) Big league clubs do not use WAR. Sorry Fangraphs. Big league teams have their models and it varies club to club...and rarely do they assume the positional adjustment can be directly calculated. - See more at:

As we always suspected.  No, actually, Zduriencik has said as much.  Ax him about WAR and he'll say, dryly, "We look at it, but we have our own formula we prefer." 

By the way, we'd like to resentfully point out that Matt gave us two scoops and called it one.  OK, here's a guy who is a math major and cannot count to two.  You see why he is front-and-center on my blog.  You ever see a bride put nice-looking dresses in the line beside her?


SABRMatt relays the corollary that MLB teams don't take "positional adjustments" to the dogma bank, presumably because at Cheney Stadium no such withdrawals are allowed.    Your catcher blows his knee out, you don't get to go down and check [+60 pitch-framing runs created] out of your account.  They'll pay you off in Adam Moore coupons.  

The "Replacement Level Player" bank is not user-friendly.  Any "RLP" has to adjust to the league, and that's assuming! that said RLP is the real deal.  A certain number of Area-51 minor leaguers are not the real deal, and you wind up having Trayvon'ed yourself into a wasted 70 games.  



These 70 games are no light thing if you are a serious organization.  As Earl put it, "You don't guarantee anybody 50 AB's.  A rookie goes 2-for-50 and you're out of a job."   Not in Seattle, there, Earl.  Abraham Almonte Lives, and he'll be happy to help you finish one game back.

(Hold it:  wasn't that a second corollary?)  What you can do is compare player-pairs -- not theoretical RLP constructs, but real-life player pairs.  But we don't see much of this on foreign blogs.

The point is:  kibitzers outside baseball are just a leeeetle too quick to assume that they can build an Iron Man Boomstick, in a cave, out of scraps.  You'd think that in Seattle we'd have watched enough of these Frankenstein suits go haywire and kill their creators.


The Logo

Which means what to us?   It's nice and all, to spy-cam the MLB halls, but what do you do with the intel?

While others are pooh-pooh'ing the idea of "Brad Miller, RF" you've got Jeff Sullivan asking whether he might play CENTER field after Austin Jackson's gone this year.  

Assuming that Richard Sherman isn't available, this is also the Mainframe's prime computation.  Miller is a 1970's throwback, right down to the bare hands and untaped bat handle.  Physically he reminds me of Cesar Geronimo, who was the defensive counterbalance on the bat-heavy 1970's Reds.  

It says here that this new generation has a teeny bit of NFL Cornerback visual bias as to what makes a good modern center fielder.   But!  Miller's "statistically scouted speed" (SX) is 125-130, the same as that of Denard Span, Andrew McCutchen, and B.J. Upton.  Miller's "Doctor Detecto scouted speed" is considerably higher than Franklin Gutierrez', Randy Winn's, or Jeremy Reed's.

Thirty years ago nobody would have looked twice if you ran Brad Miller out to CF.  (Actually, nobody would look twice today, either.  Dr. D is twittered out.  An attempt to explain why the bytes were spent on such a dumb variation.)

Here is one of his triples from last year.  His stride is:

  • Marshawn-widebase when he wants to scramble 0-to-60 MPH
  • Griffey-longstroke when he wants to dream-float around 2B to 3B in two seconds
  • Powered by Shelby turbo
  • Light on the bottoms of the cleats

I flat enjoy watching Miller move around the bases.  I suspect we would also enjoy watching him move around the Safeco death valley in left-center.  If there's one thing (besides Kemp) we want to watch next year, Miller's OF glove is it.  

Willie, make sure that knee heals up real good.  Wouldn't want a setback.


Precedents and Dead Presidents

Back in the day, Robin Yount came up as a shortstop and moved to CF.  Up in the day, B.J. Upton and ... wait for it ... Adam Jones were converted to CF from short.  
Admittedly, those Upton and Jones switched positions earlier in their careers than the Logo will.  But if you can convert pitchers to hitters and vice versa, you can get a shortstop like Ben Zobrist to shag some fly balls.  Miller's own comment:  "I think any shortstop feels he can play the other positions."  
Probably any shortstop can.  But Miller more so.  He's got a center fielder's swing:  namely, Jim Edmonds'.  That's what you go by.  It's just weird to see a shortstop swing a baseball bat the way Miller can.  When Danny Tartabull came up with the M's, he was a second baseman.  His swing was wrong for second base.  Who needs the incoherency.  You put bat control at shortstop and hit it #2 in the lineup.
So, Adam Jones II, this time with a little bit of athleticism.  As Jeffy sums up, It's okay to trade Brad Miller.  But make sure it's in a good trade.
Keep it comin' Matt,
Dr D




I can't count to two, ey? I actually considered both of those to be one relevation because they tend to ignore WAR due to their extreme doubts about positional adjustment math predominantly. :) Though they also doubt the way the stat handles defense.
BTW I'm surprised you didn't tackle the question of adjacent fielder dependency - that's a classic DOV happy-maker as it confirms your general belief that the roster is a complex system of 25 moving parts and that adding players is not a matter of simply adding together wins.


An advanced hard-science degree proves little as it pertains to your ability to count to two. 
... No, I know, but then RLP would be considered part of the one revelation, right?  ;- )
The adjacent fielder dependency was simply jaw-dropping.  It hit me like Voros' BABIP.
(1) It makes me wonder how many things like that there are inside baseball.
(2) It's a DOV happy-maker, without a doubt, as was the "Scary Player / Supermargin Guy" thing.  If you hadn't minded I was going to write like a 6-parter on that point (kidding a little).
(2a) If you've got any DOV sadness-makers we'd love to hear those, too.
(3) It doesn't cramp your elbow room if I mosh off your scoops? 


I would prefer my "brand" be tied well into the community conversation here, so mosh away and take your own look at the stuff I report. It would cramp my elbow room if I had something behind my pay wall in the future and you copied it verbatim...but teaser steals like you do with BJOL would be fine after that pay wall gets established with your personal take on the stuff I said.
As to your points:
1) You'd be like a kid in a candy store your first day in a front office (I was!)...and then you'd go "all these great ideas and most of them get ignored!" The game is both fascinatingly advanced and amazingly backward when it comes to analytics. LOL
2) You can feel free to discuss the concept of the supermargin...I've been blasting away at that theory for 8 years and it isn't gaining traction...maybe you can push it forward. :) No seriously, big league clubs operate as though they do not calculate wins linearly (stars and scrubs baby...spend more for the 5 win guy than the linear model suggests you should...because the 5 win guy is proba;bly actually worth 5 linear wins and another 1 or 1.5 supermarginal wins) they already subliminally grokked my idea before I got there...I could walk through a basic thought experiment to explain why the supermargin is a real thing that matters in your evaluation of players if you're interested...)

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