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View Full Version : Tippett Says Valentin Gold Glover


poorme
12-20-2003, 08:32 PM
Tom Tippett, who occasionally does analysis for ESPN, claims Jose Valentin was the best defensive SS in the AL last year.

http://www.diamond-mind.com/articles/gg2003.htm

(scroll down a fair bit)

doublem23
12-20-2003, 08:38 PM
Errors are the only way to judge defense. Not observing. Bah!

FoulkeFan
12-20-2003, 09:28 PM
This article also has some pretty interesting stuff about Carlos Lee's defense as well if you keep reading.

Gumshoe
12-20-2003, 09:45 PM
I've said for a while that Jose is a good shortstop. I wouldn't say that he is the best in the league, or even top 5 ... but he is among the top in making big time plays. Yes, he makes errors, but no one seems to remember those times he goes in the hole and makes a STRONG throw. Sox fans expect everything goes right. If his arm gets him in trouble or he tries to do too much because of his strenghts, they'll just remember those bad plays. He was awesome from June - end of season last year, awesome. No one said anything about his D. I salute Jose. I'm glad others back him too.

Gumshoe

RKMeibalane
12-20-2003, 11:19 PM
I think Valentin is a better defensive player than most people give him credit for. His detractors like to point out the large number of errors he commits each season, but what those people don't realize is that many of his errors are the result of his trying to field balls hit into the hole, or to make a difficult throw across the diamond.

I would much rather have Valentin playing shortstop than that fool Jerry Manuel insisted on giving playing time to.

:hitless

"Fielding percentage is the one true judge of one's ability."

jeremyb1
12-20-2003, 11:30 PM
Originally posted by FoulkeFan
This article also has some pretty interesting stuff about Carlos Lee's defense as well if you keep reading.

Furthermore, using objective tools, Tippet refers to Rowand as a very good fielder.

Gumshoe
12-21-2003, 04:17 PM
That EVERY guy that I have said is above average or better on this message board that is disputed by others (obviously inferior judges), has turned out to be objectively viewed as similar in defensive prowess. Carlos, Aaron, Jose, etc.

I've said all these guys are good.

Hmmm ... maybe Gumshoe IS right about all this stuff. I've been to the games, I watch, I KNOW what I'm talking about. Cheers to the other objective sources that verify what I'm seeing. I'm sure Randar will play the subjective card on this .... OOPS, sorry,

I win

MRKARNO
12-21-2003, 04:19 PM
The thing about Valentin is that everyone remembers his errors in 2000 and whenever he makes an error, everyone thinks "Jose Valentin made ANOTHER error" and all they think about is the errors.

Deadguy
12-21-2003, 04:45 PM
I agree with Tippett, and am very happy to have Jose back. He's always had great range, and been a clutch performer.

FarmerAndy
12-22-2003, 01:23 PM
Originally posted by Gumshoe



Hmmm ... maybe Gumshoe IS right about all this stuff. I've been to the games, I watch, I KNOW what I'm talking about.



Whoa...... Don't get ahead of yourself.

Don't think you have a clue, just because you found one article that agrees with you.

Nobody ever said you were the ONLY idiot out there.

SoxOnTop
12-22-2003, 01:23 PM
Great article. I've always thought of C-Lee as a great hustler, but it is quite another to see an independent source saying he is an exceptional fielder.

Perhaps I was too hasty in saying we should trade him... :o:

boog_alou
12-22-2003, 01:31 PM
I think Tippett's analysis shows the inherent flaw in ALL fielding statistics (and those stats are the only basis on which he came to his conclusion). Fielding stats are poor, and entirely insufficient to describe or evaluate fielding.

kempsted
12-22-2003, 02:18 PM
Originally posted by boog_alou
I think Tippett's analysis shows the inherent flaw in ALL fielding statistics (and those stats are the only basis on which he came to his conclusion). Fielding stats are poor, and entirely insufficient to describe or evaluate fielding.

Did you actually read the article? Did you go to the link about the fielding analysis used? You say all stats are poor and insufficient to describe etc. What do you propose instead? The point is if you just look at errors an fielding percent - which is what they do for the Gold glove you don't get a very good assessment of defense. The point made about Jose is an interesting one - yeah he makes more errors but he gets to a lot more balls than other shortstops. How is the irrelevant? Yes it is insufficient but any one thing taken in isolation is insufficient.


Did you read further - for evaluating Carlos Lee he looked at plays in addition to the statistical analysis.


Maybe we should throw out all the offensive stats too. They also are insufficient to describe or evaluate. Maybe we should just watch tape and say - Hey I know Jose is the best hitter because he hit this one home run ....

poorme
12-22-2003, 02:25 PM
We'd be a lot more successful that way!

Gumshoe
12-22-2003, 02:25 PM
Originally posted by kempsted
Did you actually read the article? Did you go to the link about the fielding analysis used? You say all stats are poor and insufficient to describe etc. What do you propose instead? The point is if you just look at errors an fielding percent - which is what they do for the Gold glove you don't get a very good assessment of defense. The point made about Jose is an interesting one - yeah he makes more errors but he gets to a lot more balls than other shortstops. How is the irrelevant? Yes it is insufficient but any one thing taken in isolation is insufficient.


Did you read further - for evaluating Carlos Lee he looked at plays in addition to the statistical analysis.


Maybe we should throw out all the offensive stats too. They also are insufficient to describe or evaluate. Maybe we should just watch tape and say - Hey I know Jose is the best hitter because he hit this one home run ....

Couldn't have said it better myself. Which one is it guys? Choose. If you are ALL about stats, then be about all stats. If not, just say so. Don't be picky and choosy.

I realize that my judgments must be $ because there are LOADS of objective evidence behind them --- and I've been watching the game for a long time. What bias does this diamond guy have? None. Neither do I, I call it as I see it. This includes, but is not limited to stats.

Gumshoe

boog_alou
12-22-2003, 02:32 PM
Originally posted by kempsted
Did you actually read the article? Did you go to the link about the fielding analysis used? You say all stats are poor and insufficient to describe etc. What do you propose instead? The point is if you just look at errors an fielding percent - which is what they do for the Gold glove you don't get a very good assessment of defense. The point made about Jose is an interesting one - yeah he makes more errors but he gets to a lot more balls than other shortstops. How is the irrelevant? Yes it is insufficient but any one thing taken in isolation is insufficient.


Did you read further - for evaluating Carlos Lee he looked at plays in addition to the statistical analysis.


Maybe we should throw out all the offensive stats too. They also are insufficient to describe or evaluate. Maybe we should just watch tape and say - Hey I know Jose is the best hitter because he hit this one home run ....
Yes, I did read the article. I saw the analysis. Certainly Fielding Percentage alone is insufficient. But adding things like RF and ZR don't add much. Unlike with pitching and hitting, fielding just doesn't lend itself to statistical description. Do you know where those stats come from? They are simply awful.

They are right about his range, but I think the overall analysis is flawed. He isn't that good. You can make a solid argument that he's not horrible, but when you look at fielding stats alone and you don't watch a whole season of a player on the field, you really don't know how good of a fielder he is or isn't.

By the way, I think his analysis of Lee is similarly flawed. I watched him all year. He was improved, but still not very good in the field at all. He didn't get good jumps on the ball. He didn't have particularly good closing speed to get to balls. And, he often made poor judgments on the angle he took to get to a ball, and similarly on throws.

boog_alou
12-22-2003, 02:35 PM
Originally posted by Gumshoe
Couldn't have said it better myself. Which one is it guys? Choose. If you are ALL about stats, then be about all stats. If not, just say so. Don't be picky and choosy.
Do you know where fielding stats like FP, ZR and RF come from? If you did, you'd probably understand why I say that they are inherently flawed stats. There are NO GOOD DEFENSIVE STATS. Hitting and pitching are inherently different. They have tons of good, meaningful stats. Defense doesn't. Not all stats were created equal.

idseer
12-22-2003, 02:54 PM
Originally posted by kempsted
The point made about Jose is an interesting one - yeah he makes more errors but he gets to a lot more balls than other shortstops. How is the irrelevant?

this is pure garbage. why do people insist this is true? show me ANY proof he gets to more balls than most anyone else.
it's a crock perpetuated by people who hated the choice grabbing for any thing they could think of to up jose's fielding,
there's an easy way to determine how many balls a guy gets to. fielding chances! and jose never has had any more chances than anyone else. unless you think all the balls hit to ss when jose is playing are harder to get to than anyone else, PLEASE stop insisting he 'gets to more balls than anyone else.

poorme
12-22-2003, 03:00 PM
I don't see what's wrong with STATS' zone ratings. It's just charting every batted ball. Either a guy gets to balls in his territory or he doesn't.

poorme
12-22-2003, 03:02 PM
Originally posted by idseer
this is pure garbage. why do people insist this is true?

Because the numbers support it.

But Valentin has also been consistently better than the league in range during his career. In 2003, he led all major-league shortstops in net plays made and adjusted range factor, and he was second (behind Eckstein) in the STATS zone rating. Depending on which of these measures you prefer to go with, Valentin made somewhere between 20 and 56 more plays than the average shortstop. Taking the strengths and weaknesses of each of these measures into account, I'd put his contribution somewhere in the range of 30-35 plays.

maurice
12-22-2003, 03:04 PM
The difference is that fielding stats are mostly subjective. It's one thing to count how many times a fellow walks or homers during a season. It's quite another to determine whether a play is a hit or an error, or whether a ball was hit into a player's "typical defensive zone." Reasonable minds can differ, and I've never seen a player get an error when he turns an easy double-play ball into only one out, or turns a fielder's choice into a single out at first. Also, while a biased groundskeeper can reduce a favored player's error total, he can't really increase his BB or HR total. Finally, counting a SS's put outs and assists doesn't tell you much, since a SS with a thick grass home infield and a staff full of ground ball pitchers has an inherit advantage that doesn't reflect his defensive prowess.

Besides, what would we do with ourselves if we couldn't argue the relative merits of Jose Valentin and Crash Rowand?

poorme
12-22-2003, 03:06 PM
The physical location of a ball is not subjective.

maurice
12-22-2003, 03:20 PM
Originally posted by poorme
The physical location of a ball is not subjective.

Sure it is. Zones have borders, arbitrarily established by the stat keeper, which vary by park. An individual's determination of whether a ball is inside the "line" or outside of it is frequently subjective, which is apparent to anybody who has seen a number of foul ball calls in baseball games. Somebody is counting how many balls they think fell inside the zone. Nobody runs out to measure the divets after every major league AB.

Also, the mere location of the ball does not account for how hard the ball was hit, or how the defense was playing, or whether the 2B was running to cover second on a hit-and-run, or whether the SS fielded the ball but failed to turn an easy double play, or whether the ball skipped off of old astroturf or thick, natural grass, etc., etc.

This is not remotely the same as counting the number of times a player walked.

boog_alou
12-22-2003, 03:27 PM
Originally posted by poorme
The physical location of a ball is not subjective.
Whether the ball was in the player's "zone" is very subjective. And the nature of the zone itself is also fairly arbitrary.

poorme
12-22-2003, 03:59 PM
So you are saying STATS has some sort of pro-bias for Valentin? They call every close call in his favor? I find that hard to believe.

There are like 80 zones, established by STATS. A STATS employee makes the judgement, not a scorekeeper assigned by the White Sox.

boog_alou
12-22-2003, 04:12 PM
Originally posted by poorme
So you are saying STATS has some sort of pro-bias for Valentin? They call every close call in his favor? I find that hard to believe.

There are like 80 zones, established by STATS. A STATS employee makes the judgement, not a scorekeeper assigned by the White Sox.
No, I'm saying that the entire process is horribly flawed. You've got a number of different employees making a series of subjective judgments about whether this ball in this given camera angle appears to be in or out of the player's zone. You don't see the inherent problem with judging range by that???

poorme
12-22-2003, 04:20 PM
Well, I've given my opinion. I trust that STATS does a reasonable job in analyzing these things. Maybe they are completely incompetent.

jeremyb1
12-22-2003, 10:30 PM
Originally posted by boog_alou
Whether the ball was in the player's "zone" is very subjective. And the nature of the zone itself is also fairly arbitrary.

You're misunderstanding zone rating. There are numerous predetermined zones on the field and based on the number of balls the fielder various in the different zones, a zone rating is calculated. Determining whether a ball was fielded in a predetermined zone is not particularly arbitraty.

Do you have any knowledge of the exact methods used to determine the zone the ball was fielded in or what camera angles STATS has access to? How do you know they don't have access to an overhead camera angle of the infield for every play? Even if they don't do you really think making a visual determination of where a ball is fielded is that arbitrary?

Gumshoe
12-23-2003, 01:44 AM
Also, why don't we start making categories for "close ball 4's or strike 3's" ... or better yet, "questionable rulings for base hits by the official scorer"

Oh, ok, I see, these stats are cut and dry too. Find out about them, as Jeremy says. You probably know NOTHING about them, really.

Gumshoe

maurice
12-23-2003, 11:01 AM
Originally posted by jeremyb1
You're misunderstanding zone rating.

I don't see where boog's message indicates that he misunderstood zone rating. Somebody determined the number and parameters of the "zones." They are not based on a Platonic ideal or a bright line (e.g., whether the ump actually called ball four). Thus, boog is correct when he says that "the nature of the zone itself is also fairly arbitrary." He's also correct that, at least on plays near the border of the zone, a STATS employee sometimes has to make a subjective judgment. Whether a play was in or out is not always clear, even if numerous camera angles are available, which also is a major problem with the NFL's instant replay system.

Do you have any knowledge of the exact methods used to determine the zone the ball was fielded in or what camera angles STATS has access to? How do you know they don't have access to an overhead camera angle of the infield for every play?

Well, we can rule out several of the most accurate measures. For example, we would notice if somebody were running out onto the field after every play and measuring divets, or if a team of surveyors were triangulating each hit, or if there were a series of cameras hovering over the playing field at the Cell. Even the imperfect QuesTec system is not installed in every park. Surely, you're not suggesting that STATS has a superior method for gauging every ball in play in every major league ballpark (including the one in San Juan), but we just never heard about it.

Finally, as mentioned in my previous posts, numerous (most?) aspects of good defensive play are not accurately measured by any defensive statistic. Frankly, I'm surprised anybody disagrees with this statement.

poorme
12-23-2003, 11:08 AM
I agree defensive analysis is the most difficult to do. It's useful though. Good enough to verify that Valentin isn't a terrible fielder.

idseer
12-23-2003, 02:27 PM
Originally posted by poorme
I don't see what's wrong with STATS' zone ratings. It's just charting every batted ball. Either a guy gets to balls in his territory or he doesn't.

it's funny ... when i used to use zone ratings to show clayton was much better than jose, everyone told me zr is practically meaningless.
zr at best is an infant science and has been so erratic from year to year that i don't have much faith in it. this past year jose's was 43 points higher than his lifetime average.
i still say chances is the real determining facter when it comes to judging range. over a period of 4 or 5 years when 2 ss's handle about the same number of balls, they have very similar range. jose has shown himself to be average in range. end of discussion.

then look at his errors per chance and he's a subpar fielder.

poorme
12-23-2003, 03:45 PM
OK. So he's average in range. The average fielding % of the 24 "full time" shortstops is .974. Given Valentin's 641 total chances, the "average" number of errors would be 16.6. Valentin made 20, or 3.4 more errors. How many runs does the equate to?

jeremyb1
12-23-2003, 04:55 PM
Originally posted by maurice
I don't see where boog's message indicates that he misunderstood zone rating. Somebody determined the number and parameters of the "zones." They are not based on a Platonic ideal or a bright line (e.g., whether the ump actually called ball four). Thus, boog is correct when he says that "the nature of the zone itself is also fairly arbitrary." He's also correct that, at least on plays near the border of the zone, a STATS employee sometimes has to make a subjective judgment. Whether a play was in or out is not always clear, even if numerous camera angles are available, which also is a major problem with the NFL's instant replay system.

Well, we can rule out several of the most accurate measures. For example, we would notice if somebody were running out onto the field after every play and measuring divets, or if a team of surveyors were triangulating each hit, or if there were a series of cameras hovering over the playing field at the Cell. Even the imperfect QuesTec system is not installed in every park. Surely, you're not suggesting that STATS has a superior method for gauging every ball in play in every major league ballpark (including the one in San Juan), but we just never heard about it.

Finally, as mentioned in my previous posts, numerous (most?) aspects of good defensive play are not accurately measured by any defensive statistic. Frankly, I'm surprised anybody disagrees with this statement.

Boog made a comment about the arbitrary nature of determining whether or not a ball is within a fielder's defensive zone, seemingly indicating he believed that was one zone not many different predetermined zones.

I don't know the exact methods used by STATS or Diamond Mine but I do know that precise methods for determining the location of a ball do exist. In Moneyball, a system implemented by the A's which uses radar or some similar technological method to measure the precise velocity and location of every ball in play. I don't belive STATS or Diamond Mine use methods that technologically advanced but at the same time I believe both institutions have a certain amount of credibility.

Regardless, even if there is someone using MLB's television feeds to determine which zones balls are fielded in, while that undeniably infuses some subjectivity into the process, that doesn't automatically make zone rating a completely subjective statistic. There is a level of subjectivity there and its entirely possible that level of subjectivity only alters zone rating by a very slight margin. Personally, I don't believe deciding which predetermined zone a ball is fielded in involves all that much subjectivity.

jeremyb1
12-23-2003, 04:57 PM
Originally posted by idseer
it's funny ... when i used to use zone ratings to show clayton was much better than jose, everyone told me zr is practically meaningless.

I think it needs to be noted that Diamond Mine was relying first and foremost on their own zone rating which they claim differs substantially from STATS zone rating and avoids certain problems with STATS' methods. Diamond Mine only used STATS zone rating to have something to compare their own zone rating too so that they could develop a more complete picture of fielding.

maurice
12-24-2003, 01:07 PM
I agree that ZR is not "completely subjective," but ZR and other defensive stats do have a number of significant limitations, several of which are listed in my previous posts. For this reason, it's impossible to accurately estimate, for example, how many more balls Player A reaches than Player B. By contrast, stats can be used to accurately determine how much more frequently Player A walks than Player B. The estimates re. balls reached are conjecture or, at best, an informed opinion. They're not math.

jeremyb1
12-24-2003, 07:20 PM
Originally posted by maurice
I agree that ZR is not "completely subjective," but ZR and other defensive stats do have a number of significant limitations, several of which are listed in my previous posts. For this reason, it's impossible to accurately estimate, for example, how many more balls Player A reaches than Player B. By contrast, stats can be used to accurately determine how much more frequently Player A walks than Player B. The estimates re. balls reached are conjecture or, at best, an informed opinion. They're not math.

Well, the Diamond Mine study goes to great lengths to eliminate many of the problems with zone ratings and range ratings. Subjectivity may exist to a certain degree in the zone ratings depending on how they're determined but there isn't much subjectivity in determining which fielder fields a ball.