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  #106  
Old 04-26-2013, 02:03 PM
Domeshot17 Domeshot17 is offline
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Again, I don't think Harrelson was talking about players being crappy but having the will to win.

The point being glossed over is that free agents who are signed to big contracts after posting numbers often never come close to posting those numbers again. If Adam Dunn is crappy after his signing initially excited people who liked his pre-signing numbers, it's either that the numbers didn't provide enough information about Dunn to justify the signing and he should have been scouted more thoroughly during his last season in Washington or he was playing to get the big contract and after signing it lacked the will to win (or perhaps a combination of both). Complaining about Dunn having crappy numbers, career bad by a wide-margin into his third year after signing a huge contract is the sort of thing I think Harrelson was talking about when he was talking about the will to win. Really, I thought that was obvious.

Because Harrelson didn't call out any players, and I believe it would have been wrong for him to do so, people seem to think he was talking about taking about wanting to go into the season with a bunch of Rodney McCrays running through walls. I think it is more inaccurate to read a defense of the White Sox philosophy into his statements, as if the White Sox signed Adam Dunn because they believed he was put up crappy numbers that didn't matter becuase he has the will to win.

Harry Caray, the White Sox Harry Caray, not the one who lacked the will to be an honest and even entertainingly offensive broadcaster after signing for the big bucks with the Cubs, would have said the same thing. But he would have named names and left no room for ambiguity.
Is this a joke? Look at Adam Dunn's Numbers throughout his career before the Sox, he was one of the most consistent hitters in all of baseball. Every year was about 260-40-100-900.
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  #107  
Old 04-26-2013, 02:15 PM
kittle42 kittle42 is online now
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Is this a joke? Look at Adam Dunn's Numbers throughout his career before the Sox, he was one of the most consistent hitters in all of baseball. Every year was about 260-40-100-900.
C'mon, Dome - people should have obviously seen in that last year in Washington that little hitch in his swing that indicated that he would be lazy and not have TWTW if someone signed him to a big free agent contract! This is why you can't just look at numbers - you have to see his eyes!
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  #108  
Old 04-26-2013, 02:20 PM
DSpivack DSpivack is offline
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C'mon, Dome - people should have obviously seen in that last year in Washington that little hitch in his swing that indicated that he would be lazy and not have TWTW if someone signed him to a big free agent contract! This is why you can't just look at numbers - you have to see his eyes!
He's not completely wrong. Many free agents don't live up to the contracts they signed. That's not because they lack the will to win or some such nonsense, but because after 7 years of MLB service it's more likely than not that they are on the downsides of their career. Dunn with the Sox isn't putting up the .260-40-100 lines that he did earlier in his career, and that much isn't exactly shocking.
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  #109  
Old 04-26-2013, 02:29 PM
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doublem23 doublem23 is offline
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He's not completely wrong. Many free agents don't live up to the contracts they signed. That's not because they lack the will to win or some such nonsense, but because after 7 years of MLB service it's more likely than not that they are on the downsides of their career. Dunn with the Sox isn't putting up the .260-40-100 lines that he did earlier in his career, and that much isn't exactly shocking.
That's true, but Dunn's struggles with the Sox are still nothing short of stunning. The idea that SABR folks think that stats alone can 100% predict the future is another one of these ridiculous strawmen arguments anti-SABR people make to try and justify their old school methods. Past performance is never a guarantee of future performance, but the question is which way is better? Even if you hated Dunn and don't think his approach to baseball is good, I would wager to bet that anyone who relies solely on the eye test would be stunned to know that in nearly 300 games with the Sox, Dunn's slash line is .179/.307/.377.
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  #110  
Old 04-26-2013, 02:35 PM
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I find WAR to be a very unwielding way of assessing how a player is playing at the current time. It seems like the sabermetricians reject players ''getting hot'' and assume all production is completely random. I disagree. They do not value ''clutch'' hitting or believe certain players are better than others in those situations. They do not believe that RBI is a valid stat,because it is all random....this is why I reject some of their hardline beliefs.
WAR is a counting stat, no different than any other. It is not intended to be used as "who is the best player right now?" It's supposed to define one's entire body of work. Just in the same way a guy with 20 career HR might homer in the same guy a guy with 500 career HR might now. That doesn't mean the guy who hit 20 career HR was a more prolific power hitter than the 500 HR guy, it just means that in that one day, he was.

And RBIs are not viewed as invalid because "they're random," it's because they're so heavily dependent on your teammates. Last year there were 9,629 RBIs recorded in the AL and 2,500 HR hit. That means that 7,129 (almost 75%) of the RBIs were scored by another player than the guy at the plate. That's too much dependence on players other than the one being guaged. There are MANY, MANY better stats, even for the dubious "clutch hitting" argument, that do not depend on your teammates.
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  #111  
Old 04-26-2013, 03:06 PM
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That's true, but Dunn's struggles with the Sox are still nothing short of stunning. The idea that SABR folks think that stats alone can 100% predict the future is another one of these ridiculous strawmen arguments anti-SABR people make to try and justify their old school methods. Past performance is never a guarantee of future performance, but the question is which way is better? Even if you hated Dunn and don't think his approach to baseball is good, I would wager to bet that anyone who relies solely on the eye test would be stunned to know that in nearly 300 games with the Sox, Dunn's slash line is .179/.307/.377.
And the drop in numbers coincides with Dunn signing his big contract. It also coincides with going to a team that was supposed to be his first true contender. It also corresponds with him going to the American League and DHing regular for the first time and appendicitis. Indeed Dunn's numbers were historically bad. But free-agency baseball is full of players who sign big contracts after great years and never come approach their numbers after they get their big contract, going back to Richie Zisk and Oscar Gamble, two 30-home run hitters who played home games in Old Comiskey, left as free agents and never came anywhere near 30-home run seasons again.

Maybe Dunn's contract has nothing to do with him being so bad at baseball (although I would love to see him turn it around), but many of us have to wonder with so many players underachieving after signing free-agent contracts if Dunn were in a contract year and playing for money and not just to win if he would have had such a dismal second year with the White Sox. If a 1970s Harry Caray were calling last season's White Sox games, how do you think he would have treated Adam Dunn, shattering the AL strikeout record while constantly failing with runners in scoring position in the thick of a diviison race?

When you sign a free agent, you want him to have a strong will to win because they are no longer playing for money.
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  #112  
Old 04-26-2013, 03:15 PM
Stanley Stanley is offline
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Remember when Ricciardi called out Dunn? "Do you know the guy doesn't really like baseball that much?" "Do you know the guy doesn't have a passion to play the game that much?"

It's interesting to watch Dunn flop while Alex Rios, another Blue Jays castoff has done nothing but do and say the right things for the past 2 years, and perform pretty well off and on before that. Watch Rios embracing #TWTW on Twitter and read recent interviews with him. He talks about being a changed man basically, and how that positively affects his baseball career.
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  #113  
Old 04-26-2013, 03:20 PM
kittle42 kittle42 is online now
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Originally Posted by TDog View Post
When you sign a free agent, you want him to have a strong will to win because they are no longer playing for money.
A strong will to personally succeed would be enough for me. A will for team success is even better. You can find many a free agent who has continued to be wonderfully successful after a big contract. Adam Dunn was never considered a headcase. He played on sucky teams, as well.
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  #114  
Old 04-26-2013, 03:44 PM
DSpivack DSpivack is offline
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A strong will to personally succeed would be enough for me. A will for team success is even better. You can find many a free agent who has continued to be wonderfully successful after a big contract. Adam Dunn was never considered a headcase. He played on sucky teams, as well.
Paul Konerko and Jake Peavy come to mind, though they didn't change teams.
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  #115  
Old 04-26-2013, 03:50 PM
Harry Chappas Harry Chappas is offline
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Seems like this thread is chock full o' straw men. Other than maybe - maybe - Billy Beane, are there any GMs that have ever remotely suggested that the human element should be removed entirely from scouting/player analysis?

I'd be shocked if Hahn doesn't have his own stat-heads pouring over data as I type this.

Every front office is using Sabermetrics to some extent.

So really, this boils down to the fact that Hawk - an announcer who doesn't have any input in scouting/drafting - hates numbers. What's the big deal? It's idiotic but it doesn't impact the Sox in any way other than it's mildly embarrassing.
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  #116  
Old 04-26-2013, 03:54 PM
amsteel amsteel is online now
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Originally Posted by Domeshot17 View Post
Is this a joke? Look at Adam Dunn's Numbers throughout his career before the Sox, he was one of the most consistent hitters in all of baseball. Every year was about 260-40-100-900.
He didn't start seeing the extreme shift in almost every AB until he came to the Sox. The way he hits, that's probably 30-50 BA points right there.

That doesn't account for the power numbers, though.

I'd much rather have my team posses TATW, the ability to win, than TWTW.
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  #117  
Old 04-26-2013, 04:10 PM
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doublem23 doublem23 is offline
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Originally Posted by TDog View Post
When you sign a free agent, you want him to have a strong will to win because they are no longer playing for money.
This isn't the ****ing company beer league softball team, this is the Major Leagues. These guys are the top 1% of the top 1% of the top 1% of people in their field. They have overcome odds greater than anything probably any of us can even imagine. The idea that a guy with no will to succeed could have appeared in 1,500 MLB games before coming to Chicago is utterly laughable.
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  #118  
Old 04-26-2013, 04:22 PM
Domeshot17 Domeshot17 is offline
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Originally Posted by amsteel View Post
He didn't start seeing the extreme shift in almost every AB until he came to the Sox. The way he hits, that's probably 30-50 BA points right there.

That doesn't account for the power numbers, though.

I'd much rather have my team posses TATW, the ability to win, than TWTW.
Well yes and no, but the shift has been going on for a long time. Back when Travis Hafner was good, he faced a shift, David Ortiz shift, Giambi.

And the truth is, the Shift is a result of..... BUM BUM BUM..... Stats... Spray Charts showing where hitters hit the ball.

There was a debate on the radio the other day how hitters who make hard outs into the shift don't have bad luck, they have a stubborness and inability to learn to hit the other way. Its like in basketball, when teams realized Shaq shoots 70% inside the paint, and 40% from the free throw line, so just keep fouling him. Well, Shaq was not unlucky, he just did not learn to make free throws.
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  #119  
Old 04-26-2013, 04:22 PM
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This isn't the ****ing company beer league softball team, this is the Major Leagues. These guys are the top 1% of the top 1% of the top 1% of people in their field. They have overcome odds greater than anything probably any of us can even imagine. The idea that a guy with no will to succeed could have appeared in 1,500 MLB games before coming to Chicago is utterly laughable.
I think he is referring to a WTW relative to the competition.
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  #120  
Old 04-26-2013, 04:26 PM
TDog TDog is offline
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A strong will to personally succeed would be enough for me. A will for team success is even better. You can find many a free agent who has continued to be wonderfully successful after a big contract. Adam Dunn was never considered a headcase. He played on sucky teams, as well.
There are players with stronger wills to win who do well after signing big contracts. I don't know if anyone has figured out who they will be based on their pre-free agency numbers. But if your numbers are solid (I would argue, have argued that Dunn's high strikeouts were a red flag, but many disagree so this discussion assumes Dunn's numbers were solid) on non-contending teams and you fail miserably for multiple seasons after going to a team expected to contend, you run the risk of being accused of not having the will to win.

I don't see where the controversey is. This isn't some archaic concept from a man stuck in the past. This mainstream thought among people who follow and cover sports. As much as I dislike Ken Harrelson, I find myself defending him. The only reason this is being debated here is that he seems to have insulted some sort of sabermetric dogma.
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