"Remember"? Can you cite this? I know that Sean Smith and subsequently baseball-reference use a defensive replacement level of straight league average. I was under the impression that this was sabermetric orthodoxy. The ~20 runs of replacement value calculation are all offensive runs.

If you don't subtract ten defensive runs from the oWAR total, Victorino's three-year totals are + 14 Bat + 4 Pos + 53 Rep = +71 RAR ~= 7.3 oWAR (minus baserunning), a little under 2.5 oWAR per season. From Fangraphs, it's +28 Bat + 4 Pos + 63 Rep = +95 RAR ~= 9.7 oWAR (minus baserunning).

I also don't see any reason to regress Victorino's baserunning value to 0 - he's stolen bases consistently at an 80% or better rate most of his career. He's obviously a significantly above average baserunner.

The risk with Victorino has basically nothing to do with his real value over the last three seasons. If Victorino can perform in line with his recent play, the Red Sox will have a good deal. The case against Victorino is all about whether something was wrong in 2012 that will continue in future seasons, and whether we should trust the Red Sox evaluators to tell us that Victorino is healthy and ready to bounce back.

I have always believed replacement value was split pretty much equally between defense and offense, and remember discussing this with some of the other presenters in the earlier baseball stat seminars I was involved in, but never actually researched it. I was wrong.

Not surprisingly, Tango has the best and most comprehensive information on this topic.

In this post he evaluates hitting and defense for starters, bench players, and the "rest"

If we focus on the “Rest”, fielding-wise, they are about .04 plays, or .03 runs, worse than average, while hitting-wise, they are .13 runs worse than average. That makes them .16 runs worse than average, per game. Multiply by 162 GP, and you get -26 runs, or roughly -2.4 wins.

IIRC, I think I said that this was exactly Willie F. Bloomquist. In short, the “26th man” is WFB, at -2.4 wins. THAT is the replacement level.

If you have 9 nonpitcher like this, that puts you at -2.4x9= -21.6 wins, or .367 team win percentage (assuming average pitching). I’ve always been using .380, so maybe I should use .370 for nonpitchers.

He is using putouts and assists for defense in the above, but includes UZR numbers from Tango in a different, less detailed

post in the thread. He further says, and I tend to agree now after reading the entire thread:

I would never talk about replacement-level hitting and repl-level fielding as two separate things.

In fact, what we have is: fielding-talent and hitting-talent of replacement level PLAYERS. That’s the model

With

further detail:

I said this:

Going back to our hitters, if 1 SD = .13 runs per 4.3 PA (one game), then per 162 GP, that’s 1 SD = 21 runs. The fielding is 1 SD = 10 runs. Combining the two we get: sqrt(21^2+10^2)= 23 runs.

At the -1 SD level, hitting is -21 runs and fielding is -10 runs. It is *not* a total of -31 runs. The total is -23 runs. SD are not additive (variances are).

If one wishes, they can then take those players at the -1 SD level and find out that their -23 runs breaks down as -20 runs for hitting and -3 runs for fielding. (For a team total of -180 runs on hitting and -27 runs on fielding for players at the -1 SD level.)

If you have the time and inclination, I strongly suggest you read the entire thread, which I found illuminating. Tango's research and arguments are forcing me to rethink my longstanding issues with the use of replacement level in evaluation, although I still feel using an average positional player as a baseline would facilitate universal acceptance. Although I am chagrined at my ignorance, I appreciate you pointing this out, Div.

Back to Victorino; as a center fielder he has been above average offensively, defensively, and as a baserunner over the past three seasons. If he were to move to right field, his offense would be closer to league average, and perhaps a touch below, but his defense "should" improve (theoretically, but he has played less than one full season in right in his career, and effectively not at all over the past 5 seasons), and his baserunning will stay a plus.

If last season was indeed a fluke, then Victorino should be a good sign for the Sox, especially in CF, which is where I expect he will play.