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What should the offensive triple crown stats be?


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#1 Idabomb333

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 05:30 PM

The MVP debate this year has been interesting largely because of Cabrera winning the Triple Crown, which hasn't been done in quite a while. I assume the 3 stats were selected because, at the time, someone thought that anyone who led the league in all 3 would clearly be the best offensive player. Cabrera won the triple crown and had an excellent year, but I think (and many others here seem to agree) that Trout was a better offensive player. So where did the triple crown creator go wrong and how could we improve on the concept?

I think part of the intrigue of the triple crown is that they're supposed to be unrelated stats. Whoever put them together (Does anyone know the history of that?) probably had in mind the fact that it's difficult to hit for average and for power. I'm not really sure why RBI would be the other stat thrown in. It seems pretty likely to me that the league leader in both BA and HR would also be the league leader in RBI. I'd love to know more about that history.

I suggest we put our heads together and come up with a new set of SoSH Triple Crown offensive stats - three stats that describe three different offensive abilities, rather than aggregated offensive abilities. Let's see if we can come up with a set such that it's unlikely, but possible, to lead a league in all of them and such that if a player does lead the league in all of them, he was very probably the best offensive player in the league.

For example, I think:
OBP, Slug, and Runs scored
OBP, Homers, and Stolen bases
or even
OBP, RBI, and RS
would be very interesting sets to discuss. They're all relatively easy to calculate, so we won't be scaring off people who hate sabremetrics. I obviously hate RBI, but I think combining it with OBP and RS would make for a very interesting combination. In these examples, I'm trying to cover the concepts of not making outs, slugging, and base running.

What do people think of these combinations? What would you suggest instead, if you could go back in time and change what the Triple Crown means using all of our sabremetric knowledge of offense?

#2 Snodgrass'Muff


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Posted 20 November 2012 - 05:38 PM

Why do we need to have a Triple Crown? If there is going to be a change made why not just stop celebrating it all together? You'll never get old school fans to agree that it should be anything other than BA, HR, and RBI and even if you could, the stats that replaced them would be just as arbitrary as the first version of the achievement.

#3 mt8thsw9th


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Posted 20 November 2012 - 06:23 PM

Why wouldn't it be BA/OBP/SLG?

Also, why wouldn't we just stop caring about it given it doesn't really measure just how good a season is?

#4 Savin Hillbilly


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Posted 20 November 2012 - 10:32 PM

Got to be BABIP, ISO, and BB%.

And yes, the whole idea of a Triple Crown is silly, but this thread is still fun.

EDIT: Went looking to see if anybody has ever led a league in all three of those categories. I searched for players who topped .350, .275, and 15% respectively, figuring that most post-1920 years you would have to top each of those numbers to lead the league in that category.

Only 11 players have ever topped all those marks in one season, for a total of 23 seasons. And apparently, only two of them won that particular Triple Crown for all of MLB (I didn't check for each league). They are exactly the guys you would expect, and if you know their careers well, exactly the seasons you would expect:

Spoiler

Edited by Savin Hillbilly, 20 November 2012 - 11:45 PM.


#5 singaporesoxfan

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Posted 21 November 2012 - 01:31 AM

RBI and HR are counting stats. I think a triple crown that was entirely rate stats would be weird.

#6 Andrew


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Posted 21 November 2012 - 04:06 AM

Sometimes I think people look a little too l negatively at counting stats. I don't value them like more advanced statistics, and I don't believe they have any predictive value, but they do tell what did actually happen. For what is essentially nothing but a feel-good achievement I don't think there is really anything wrong with it.

#7 YTF

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Posted 21 November 2012 - 04:56 AM

Why change or do away with the Triple Crown? Here's a better idea..........if people don't like that it factored into the MVP voting then come up with some guidelines for voting the award. Better yet, eliminate the vote and just feed every know stat into a computer and let it select your MVP. Clear cut winner, no discussion, no controversy. You do realise that this is essentually what many of you ("you" not being limited to those posting here) are suggesting without actually suggesting it.

Edited by YTF, 21 November 2012 - 05:02 AM.


#8 collings94

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Posted 21 November 2012 - 12:59 PM

Shoe Size, Beard Length and Number of Siblings.

#9 JimBoSox9


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Posted 22 November 2012 - 08:42 PM

Why do we need to have a Triple Crown? If there is going to be a change made why not just stop celebrating it all together? You'll never get old school fans to agree that it should be anything other than BA, HR, and RBI and even if you could, the stats that replaced them would be just as arbitrary as the first version of the achievement.

Why wouldn't it be BA/OBP/SLG?

Also, why wouldn't we just stop caring about it given it doesn't really measure just how good a season is?

Why change or do away with the Triple Crown? Here's a better idea..........if people don't like that it factored into the MVP voting then come up with some guidelines for voting the award. Better yet, eliminate the vote and just feed every know stat into a computer and let it select your MVP. Clear cut winner, no discussion, no controversy. You do realise that this is essentually what many of you ("you" not being limited to those posting here) are suggesting without actually suggesting it.


Jesus Christ. This, THIS, this right here, is why we can't have nice things. The poor dude wasn't asking if you liked the triple crown, cared about the triple crown, or thought there was a 2012 AL MVP controversy. He's like "hey, if you could put three stats together today and call it the triple crown and everyone would accept that only the best hitter in the league could win it, what stats would you choose?". It's a fun little spin to put on some basic sabermetric debates. Either you agree with that and join the chat, or you don't and maybe choose to just not participate in the thread. Instead, 50% of the replies are about getting on your own little TC/MVP soapbox.

It's just a pet peeve with me. "This thread is stupid" posts should be reserved for either P&G or really, really stupid stupid threads. It's like the semiannual "wrestling sux!!" post in the Talon thread. Why on Earth did you feel the need to get that on the record?

Edited by JimBoSox9, 22 November 2012 - 09:11 PM.


#10 JimBoSox9


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Posted 22 November 2012 - 09:06 PM

RBI and HR are counting stats. I think a triple crown that was entirely rate stats would be weird.


If you had all rate stats, you'd definitely have trouble setting a games-played/plate appearances threshold that makes sense. Too high and you could exclude a deserving candidate who didn't play 150+ games, like Trout. Too low and you could create a Palmiero-wins-Gold-Glove embarrassment.

Sometimes I think people look a little too l negatively at counting stats. I don't value them like more advanced statistics, and I don't believe they have any predictive value, but they do tell what did actually happen. For what is essentially nothing but a feel-good achievement I don't think there is really anything wrong with it.


I've been on this bandwagon for a while. There's a segment of the board that views the predictive value of a stat as the entirety of its value. There's an evaluative component as well, and if you're giving out an award instead of evaluating a free agent, that component has value too. Until the sabermatricians successfully find the invisible line between good luck and being en fuego, that will continue to be the case. I can't see how one can say that RBIs are 1000% useless and then go into the game thread and bitch about how the Sox are a squanderiffic team. It's not a repeatable skill, but someone has to do it for the team to win and someone may have just done it better over the sample size of a season.

One thing I can't decide is if I reworked the Triple Crown, would I want to define it as codifying the best hitter or the best offensive player? I think it's probably supposed to be the guy who did best with the bat in his hands, but I also think baserunning contributes as directly to scoring runs as some plate metrics and deserves a seat at the table. But 1/3 of the table? A bit much.

#11 AlNipper49


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Posted 22 November 2012 - 09:34 PM

WAR!!!!!

#12 Snodgrass'Muff


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Posted 22 November 2012 - 10:26 PM

WAR!!!!!


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E8_GVfPuw4M

#13 inoffensiv philosophy

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Posted 23 November 2012 - 06:28 AM

fWAR, WPA and height.

#14 Idabomb333

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Posted 24 November 2012 - 10:18 PM

Why do we need to have a Triple Crown? If there is going to be a change made why not just stop celebrating it all together? You'll never get old school fans to agree that it should be anything other than BA, HR, and RBI and even if you could, the stats that replaced them would be just as arbitrary as the first version of the achievement.

I don't have any illusions that we'll change anyone's mind. I just thought it'd be a fun exercise to come up with 3 stats that are what the Triple Crown was probably intended to be.

Why wouldn't it be BA/OBP/SLG?

Also, why wouldn't we just stop caring about it given it doesn't really measure just how good a season is?

I considered that, but then you're triple-counting BA. That doesn't seem right to me.

Got to be BABIP, ISO, and BB%.

And yes, the whole idea of a Triple Crown is silly, but this thread is still fun.

EDIT: Went looking to see if anybody has ever led a league in all three of those categories. I searched for players who topped .350, .275, and 15% respectively, figuring that most post-1920 years you would have to top each of those numbers to lead the league in that category.

Only 11 players have ever topped all those marks in one season, for a total of 23 seasons. And apparently, only two of them won that particular Triple Crown for all of MLB (I didn't check for each league). They are exactly the guys you would expect, and if you know their careers well, exactly the seasons you would expect:

Spoiler

Interesting suggestion. I like it, and considered including BB% and SLG. I think BABIP could probably be improved, but I like it and I'm not entirely sure how to improve it.

RBI and HR are counting stats. I think a triple crown that was entirely rate stats would be weird.

I hadn't thought of that, but I agree that it would feel weird not to have any counting stats.

Why change or do away with the Triple Crown? Here's a better idea..........if people don't like that it factored into the MVP voting then come up with some guidelines for voting the award. Better yet, eliminate the vote and just feed every know stat into a computer and let it select your MVP. Clear cut winner, no discussion, no controversy. You do realise that this is essentually what many of you ("you" not being limited to those posting here) are suggesting without actually suggesting it.

If you had put this in one of the MVP threads, where it probably belongs, you probably would have seen that I specifically suggested clarifying guidelines for voting for the award. It really irks me that people have such different conceptions of what value means, and I think the award ought to essentially be the "best player" award. I think we could hypothetically agree on what factors contribute to value, but disagree on how to weight them, and still end up with interesting discussions most years regarding who the best player was. The fact that the historic aspect of the triple crown matters to some voters and probably not to others is a bad thing, I think, no matter which side of that debate you fall into.

Jesus Christ. This, THIS, this right here, is why we can't have nice things. The poor dude wasn't asking if you liked the triple crown, cared about the triple crown, or thought there was a 2012 AL MVP controversy. He's like "hey, if you could put three stats together today and call it the triple crown and everyone would accept that only the best hitter in the league could win it, what stats would you choose?". It's a fun little spin to put on some basic sabermetric debates. Either you agree with that and join the chat, or you don't and maybe choose to just not participate in the thread. Instead, 50% of the replies are about getting on your own little TC/MVP soapbox.

It's just a pet peeve with me. "This thread is stupid" posts should be reserved for either P&G or really, really stupid stupid threads. It's like the semiannual "wrestling sux!!" post in the Talon thread. Why on Earth did you feel the need to get that on the record?


Thanks.

If you had all rate stats, you'd definitely have trouble setting a games-played/plate appearances threshold that makes sense. Too high and you could exclude a deserving candidate who didn't play 150+ games, like Trout. Too low and you could create a Palmiero-wins-Gold-Glove embarrassment.



I've been on this bandwagon for a while. There's a segment of the board that views the predictive value of a stat as the entirety of its value. There's an evaluative component as well, and if you're giving out an award instead of evaluating a free agent, that component has value too. Until the sabermatricians successfully find the invisible line between good luck and being en fuego, that will continue to be the case. I can't see how one can say that RBIs are 1000% useless and then go into the game thread and bitch about how the Sox are a squanderiffic team. It's not a repeatable skill, but someone has to do it for the team to win and someone may have just done it better over the sample size of a season.

One thing I can't decide is if I reworked the Triple Crown, would I want to define it as codifying the best hitter or the best offensive player? I think it's probably supposed to be the guy who did best with the bat in his hands, but I also think baserunning contributes as directly to scoring runs as some plate metrics and deserves a seat at the table. But 1/3 of the table? A bit much.

The offensive player vs hitter thing is an interesting question. I was kind of thinking it'd be good to cover "hitter" between 2 stats and throw in a 3rd for baserunning, but that's not what the original triple crown did, so maybe you have a point that we should only try to think of it as a best hitter thing. There's a pitching triple crown too, that people don't talk about as much. Maybe it would be interesting to come up with defense and baserunning triple crowns, but I don't think there's enough there, and both are so hard to quantify as of now.

#15 Alternate34

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Posted 25 November 2012 - 08:02 PM

Why do we need to have a Triple Crown? If there is going to be a change made why not just stop celebrating it all together? You'll never get old school fans to agree that it should be anything other than BA, HR, and RBI and even if you could, the stats that replaced them would be just as arbitrary as the first version of the achievement.


There are several reasons to establish a different triple crown.

First, as human beings, shortcuts are valuable. We all reason that way, so having a quick and dirty method of recognizing historical greatness is nice. The answer to this would be checking out advanced stats like WAR and noticing who leads there. Despite my railing in the other thread, the differences in WAR somewhat complicate this and WAR in general has no era adjustments, as one can see by looking at the single season WAR leaders in baseball-reference.

Second, JimBoSox9 demonstrates another advantage in that with multiple stats in a triple crown, one can use measures that are both descriptive and predictive. However, by making a different Triple Crown, we avoid using RBI as the descriptive stat because there are other advanced stats that do a better job describing what happened. You can also have a balance of cumulative and rate stats.

Third, it is a move that can get mainstream writers behind it, which means they start taking these things into consideration, which means less bullshit. Verducci went from insufferable to tolerable. It is just better to have those who have major press access to consider these things rather than worship at the altar of batting average, HR, and RBIs.

As to the objection, the collection of stats would not have to be as arbitrary as the first, unless you are using a very wide conception of arbitrary. You could select stats that are more tied to winning. You could select stats don't focus so heavily on power or on the situation of the player. You could do a lot of things with the stats better than BA, HR, and RBI. That would be the point of the discussion. To select three stats that are well known but do a better job representing the contribution a player makes to winning. As for getting it to replace the current triple crown with old school fans, maybe not. But they will eventually die. Our job is to implant this new triple crown into the inchoate brains of current fans and watch as it engulfs the previous archaic knowledge and expunges it from their previously feeble baseball minds.

As for proposed stats, here are a few:

OBP - Common enough that it seems like it would not be a problem to include and confuse anyone. Getting on base is the most important offensive job anyone can do.

Total Bases - A cumulative stat for power that measures more than just HR. Useful for measuring all power hitting and for providing a more accurate consideration of value for those that played before the HR was a viable offensive option.

WPA? - Probably the best measure of non-repeatable clutchness available, though not easily calculable or widely known. It is also not available for most of the history of the majors. Runs could work a bit better. It is slightly better than RBI, but not by much. I like the first two, this is difficult.

Edit - Of course, there may be no triple crown that adequately covers for position unless we start using WAR and such.

Edited by Alternate34, 25 November 2012 - 08:16 PM.


#16 singaporesoxfan

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 02:31 AM

I don't think Triple Crown stats need to account for position. They should show who hit best.

I like OBP / TB too. Accounts for the getting on base and power components of the Triple Crown. Agree with you that WPA is problematic and may also depend on your teams own pitching (eg if your pitcher gave up 10 runs in the top half of an inning, I presume the WPA change when you hit a grand slam is different from if you hit a slam in a tied game), which takes situational hitting a bit too far for me.

#17 bankshot1


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Posted 26 November 2012 - 10:46 AM

WAR!!!!!


Good Gawd y'all-What is it good for?

#18 Alternate34

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 06:20 PM

I don't think Triple Crown stats need to account for position. They should show who hit best.

I like OBP / TB too. Accounts for the getting on base and power components of the Triple Crown. Agree with you that WPA is problematic and may also depend on your teams own pitching (eg if your pitcher gave up 10 runs in the top half of an inning, I presume the WPA change when you hit a grand slam is different from if you hit a slam in a tied game), which takes situational hitting a bit too far for me.


Yeah, i don't mind positional adjustment too much, though if Trout missing the MVP is part of the impetus for a new triple crown, it would seem that a lack of positional adjustment might make it suspect.

However, more important to determining the best hitter period is adjusting for park effects, because a hitter who plays in a bandbox is not hitting better than a player who hits in a cavernous stadium even if they have a better OBP and more Total Bases. Perhaps some kind of park adjusted figure could work best, but then again, those tend to be less available and well known.

#19 Idabomb333

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 10:16 AM

Yeah, i don't mind positional adjustment too much, though if Trout missing the MVP is part of the impetus for a new triple crown, it would seem that a lack of positional adjustment might make it suspect.

However, more important to determining the best hitter period is adjusting for park effects, because a hitter who plays in a bandbox is not hitting better than a player who hits in a cavernous stadium even if they have a better OBP and more Total Bases. Perhaps some kind of park adjusted figure could work best, but then again, those tend to be less available and well known.

I didn't really intend to imply that the MVP race this year directly means the Triple Crown is flawed. I mentioned the MVP thing because I think some people cited the Triple Crown as an indication that of course Cabrera was a better offensive player than Trout. (I think that probably was part of the intention when the Triple Crown was created.) Then, people sometimes went on to suggest that we should ignore defensive metrics because they're flawed, and give Cabrera the MVP because offensive metrics are better. I think Trout was a better offensive player, at least when baserunning is factored in, regardless of positional adjustments. That's part of why I wanted to include RS or SB in the triple crown - something simple that acknowledges the value of baserunning.

I would also like to include park effects. I think if we're really looking to describe a player's offensive quality, that's important. Part of why I thought this thread would be interesting is that there are so many competing factors that should go into picking the Triple Crown - do we care more about total accuracy, or accessibility to the masses? Do we care more about covering the things that are the most important, or about trying to cover everything?

For example, I think that the suggestion I made of OBP/RBI/RS might even be accessible enough to gain some traction eventually. Relative to BA, RBI, and HR, you're still talking about things that are easy to calculate. You're still talking about 1 rate stat and 2 counting stats. But with OBP/RBI/RS, you have a clear narrative about why those three stats would be in the triple crown. OBP is the most important aspect of offense - not making an out. RBI and RS cover 2 other, clearly separate and clearly important concepts: driving in runs and scoring runs yourself are obviously valuable traits. The point of slugging is to score baserunners. The point of good baserunning is to score more runs yourself. Obviously, RBI and RS are flawed stats, mostly because of their context sensitivity. That "triple crown" wouldn't be a huge improvement over the existing one in terms of identifying the best offensive player more certainly, but it's accessible, interesting, and hard to accomplish. It might even help the narrative to note that while we're removing HR, (which have a draw because they're sexy, and people care about the HR title anyway) they do factor fairly heavily in this "triple crown" because they're counted in all 3 pieces. (One of the things I don't like about the existing TC is that HR are a piece themselves, but also factor into the other 2.)

In the original post, I was sort of aiming for a set that included base running and was improved, but still had realistic mass appeal. I think if we're going for a set that very well covers performance at the plate, Savin's set of BABIP, ISO, and BB% is a great idea. That is very different from my suggestions, because it has a different target. I think there is value in both targets, and others, and part of my intention when I started the thread was to see what everyone else's target would be.

Edit: typos

Edited by Idabomb333, 27 November 2012 - 10:34 AM.





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