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They should have named it willie O' Bloomquist Average


I finally published another highly anticipated article on quantifying the "Little Things" at Driveline... Features my usual Mechian efficiency in getting to the point, but if you want to understand this spreadsheet I've linked here, you should at least take a look at it... That's right, Jose Guillen really did do something. That's what he's getting 3/36 for -- not getting on base, or playing defense, or being able to hit right-handed pitching, but doing the "Little Things." Royal #2 is shocking, but maybe not so much when you think about what this stat means. I actually did the Royals calculations a while before I started writing for Driveline, and it turned into this... which ended up a lot longer and more inconclusive than I had hoped, but maybe it will go somewhere. I hope that if you find it interesting, you'll discuss the conceptual side of things over there, although I'm willing to learn here, too. If nothing else, it prominently features a classic example from the late 70s-early 80s Royals dynasty. And just for the record: +0.43 -0.03 +0.06 Figure it out.

wOBA Positional Averages 2008


At the request of a party who shall remain anonymous, I have constructed a spreadsheet to give pseudo-Fangraphs-style positional wOBA averages by position for 2008 MLB, AL, and NL. I still think the best general model for such averages is something like this (see my related FanShot here), but it is interesting to see how closely the empirical data from last year matches up. I've even included a silly wOBA-fied version of baseball-reference's OPS+. Since I'm guessing Fangraphs' version of wOBA will become the most frequently cited, I've used a formula that I think they are using -- that is, one that excludes reached base on error (this makes sense for them, since I assume they are using the baseball databank data, which doesn't include that information). They also use custom linear weights for each year, which I don't use here. However, Tom Tango (the creator of wOBA) notes that the weights since 1956 don't stray all that far from the generic formula. I think Fangraphs is great, and is quickly becoming the best source for sabermetric data on the internet -- free or pay. Personally, I prefer that ROE be included in wOBA, since I do think it at least partially reflects player skill. Stat Corner does so (and they also have park-adjusted wOBA*). I would also prefer that both sites includes stolen bases and caught stealings in the formula (I don't think they do -- but correct me if I'm wrong). But they have their reasons. I have a sheet ready with SB/CSs and also one with ROEs if people are interested. Update: Thanks to the coment below, I now realize that Fangraphs does include SB/CS in their wOBA figures, and have corrected the spreadsheet.

Average wOBA by Position


Yes, the dastardly Sox site has done something that was asked about last week when Fangraphs added wOBA -- the offensive stat we should all be using. Thanks to Sky for pointing it out and also for agreeing with me that Colin made a mistake with the 3B adjustment. The methodology isn't perfect (to be more precise one would need to judge each position in relation to league average wOBA year-to-year) but it isn't meant to be. It's rough. He has a little chart that includes adjustments for defense, but I'm not going to deal with the headache of arguing about that here (the positional adjustment thing is bad enough, sometimes). So... here are the averages Colin has, and then how some Royals (and new Royals) did in relation to those averages in 2008 -- this is retrospective, not predictive. I'm using StatCorner's version of wOBA because, among other things, it's park-adjusted (wOBA*). Some guys are listed in more than one position for obvious reasons. C .306 Olivo .313 (+.07) Buck .300 (-.06) SS .326 TPJ .189 (-.137) Avilanche .364 (+.038) 2B .335 Grudz .345 (+.010) Callaspo .341 (+.06) German .294 (-.041) CF .335 DDJ .361 (+.026) Gathright .277 (-.058) Crisp .334 ( -.01) MITCH .288 (-.047) 3B .335 Gordon .351 (+.016) Teahen .315 (-.020) RF/LF .354 Teahen .315 (-.039) Guillen .329 (-.025) DDJ .361 (+.07) 1B .364 Gload .304 (-.060) Butler .326 (-.038) Jacobs .342 (-.022)

Fangraphs, now with wOBA


Fangraphs has added wOBA (weighted On-Base Average), one of the stats that improves on OPS by essentially weighing the relative value of on-base and slugging more accurately and scaling it to league average OBA (.335 is average, .400 is awesome, .300 is virtually replacement value). The link above explains the basics in more detail. The Fangraphs version of wOBA does incorporate SB/CS. The Royals last year were 25th in MLB with a team wOBA of .314. Mike Aviles led the Royals (100 PA min.) with a .360 wOBA, with only David DeJesus (.355) and Alex Gordon (.344) also above average.

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