Amongst the 'math' guys in the regular RR community (and by math guys, I mean the extra nerdy guys that not only like to argue about statistics as they relate to players, but also like to argue about the formulation of the statistics themselves), I've had a few pet causes on the comment boards. I've probably spilled the most keystrokes arguing in favor of skepticism of UZR, but a distant second might be my hammering away over the offseason that Sal Perez was already a good MLB player.
The "Is Perez an above average MLB catcher?" discussion played out in at least 5 threads by my count. Check out:
The argument against Perez typically went something like this:
The odds of success are long for even top prospects, Perez was never a top prospect, nobody outside of the Royals organization seemed bullish on Perez, his bat didn't really stand out in the minors, and a hot streak in a September call-up is borderline meaningless.
The argument in favor of Perez went along these lines:
#1: He plays catcher, and reportedly plays it very well. If you can handle the catching position, you don’t have to hit well at all to be a deserving MLB starter.
#2: He makes contact. He only struck out about 10% of the time in the minor leagues, and his MLB K% so far [was] 13%. Unless you’re on the 2011 Mike Moustakas IFFB plan, it’s hard not to hit for average when you put the ball in play that often.
#3: He has some pop. The guy is huge, and it [showed in his September] debut as he’s hit a couple booming HR’s, and he’s also shown HR power to the opposite field. Unless MLB pitchers find some hole in his swing and he really starts struggling, he seems like a safe bet to maintain at least a .100 ISO.
By my logic, if you put those factors together, you had a 1.5 WAR floor with potential for 3.5 WAR. Yet we still had smart people like Jim Callis doubting Perez's viability as a MLB regular.
Now, it's still way way way too early for me to declare victory, but in light of Perez's triumphant return to the Royals line-up and his 3rd home run in 8 games last night, I thought it might be fun to look back on our Perez discussions and reevaluate where we stand with him.
And updating a conversation between Scott and I that I found in one of those comment threads, Perez has returned and his RoS ZiPS projection is back on Fangraphs. It projects him at 1.4 WAR over 58 games the rest of the way. That prorates out to 3.1 WAR over 130 games. God I hope his knees hold out through his Royals career.