Does consistency or streakiness create more value?

bosox79

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How or why?

Not disputing you; just curious to know.
I can't find the article but it suggested the streaky player has a bigger positive impact on individual games than the consistent player when things are going well and not much worse of an impact when things aren't.

Basically the player who gets 4 WAR in 30 games and 0 the rest of the way would end up impacting more games in a significant way than the player who put up a .025 WAR every game.
 

Rough Carrigan

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I can't find the article but it suggested the streaky player has a bigger positive impact on individual games than the consistent player when things are going well and not much worse of an impact when things aren't.

Basically the player who gets 4 WAR in 30 games and 0 the rest of the way would end up impacting more games in a significant way than the player who put up a .025 WAR every game.
But why? I'm in the same boat as OCST. It's not self-evident why this would be true.
 

azsoxpatsfan

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But why? I'm in the same boat as OCST. It's not self-evident why this would be true.
I haven’t read the article, so this could definitely be wrong, but my guess is that not that many games are so close that the .025 WAR has an affect on the outcome. OTOH, a streaky hotter might put up .2 WAR in a single game, which is more likely to be the difference between a win and a loss.
 

bosox79

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I haven’t read the article, so this could definitely be wrong, but my guess is that not that many games are so close that the .025 WAR has an affect on the outcome. OTOH, a streaky hotter might put up .2 WAR in a single game, which is more likely to be the difference between a win and a loss.
That was their argument.
 

dhappy42

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Oct 27, 2013
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I haven’t read the article, so this could definitely be wrong, but my guess is that not that many games are so close that the .025 WAR has an affect on the outcome. OTOH, a streaky hotter might put up .2 WAR in a single game, which is more likely to be the difference between a win and a loss.
There must be a way to model this. Take the extreme cases of two .250 hitters. Player A consistently gets one hit every game. (Assume 4 ABs/game.) Player B gets zero hits for 120 games, but 4 hits/game in 40 games. Which player produces more runs? (Assuming all other things equal, like Ks BBs and the proportion of XBHs.)

My guess is both extremes are suboptimal, but that max value lies closer to the streaky end than the consistent end.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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There must be a way to model this. Take the extreme cases of two .250 hitters. Player A consistently gets one hit every game. (Assume 4 ABs/game.) Player B gets zero hits for 120 games, but 4 hits/game in 40 games. Which player produces more runs? (Assuming all other things equal, like Ks BBs and the proportion of XBHs.)

My guess is both extremes are suboptimal, but that max value lies closer to the streaky end than the consistent end.
This whole theory seems pretty faulty. A guy hitting the .250 consistently could be pushing a run across the plate if every time there's a hit, there's 2 outs and a guy on 2nd base. The guy beating the snot out of the ball could be hitting a lead off single and scratching his ass standing on 1st base the rest of the inning.
Context needs to applied to these extreme examples to provide content.
 

dhappy42

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Oct 27, 2013
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This whole theory seems pretty faulty. A guy hitting the .250 consistently could be pushing a run across the plate if every time there's a hit, there's 2 outs and a guy on 2nd base. The guy beating the snot out of the ball could be hitting a lead off single and scratching his ass standing on 1st base the rest of the inning.
Context needs to applied to these extreme examples to provide content.
I agree. You’d have to average out the situations in a simulation. Plug the A and B batters into an otherwise ordinary lineup and crunch the numbers over 150 or so games.

I wasn’t pretending to know the answer. My intuition tells me that being somewhat streaky might be better than being predictably consistent. Intuition is often wrong, though, that’s why it’d be interesting to see the question run through a sim.
 

Savin Hillbilly

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The wrong side of the bridge....
I wonder if part of the reason that streakiness is more "valuable" than consistency is that streakiness brings with it power bursts. And those power bursts bring more value.
But why do they bring more value? So far this portion of the thread has been an exercise in argument by assertion. Why is it more valuable to hit 30 home runs by hitting 10 a month for 3 months out of the season than to do it by hitting 5 a month for all 6 months? How does this amount to more wins?
 

bosox79

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This has all been discussed on the forum before but I can't find any of it.
 

Hawk68

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But why do they bring more value? So far this portion of the thread has been an exercise in argument by assertion. Why is it more valuable to hit 30 home runs by hitting 10 a month for 3 months out of the season than to do it by hitting 5 a month for all 6 months? How does this amount to more wins?
Observation: reading the sports page for daily MLB box scores dating back to my youth, big innings win games. By observation, about 70% of the time, the team having the highest scoring inning in the game goes on to win the game.

I do not have numbers to back up the assertion, but the observation matches expectations. My expectation is that professional baseball is highly competitive, and individual event success or failure hinges on very small differences such as effective slide, positioning to make a throw, hitting the ball true vice a little too high or too low...

In the context of highly competitive contest, a lot of runs at one time usually becomes a discontinuity that makes a winning difference.

There must be data bases of box scores that could quantify this observation and hypothesis.
 

effectivelywild

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But why do they bring more value? So far this portion of the thread has been an exercise in argument by assertion. Why is it more valuable to hit 30 home runs by hitting 10 a month for 3 months out of the season than to do it by hitting 5 a month for all 6 months? How does this amount to more wins?
My guess is that a guy on a hot streak can turn in a bunch of 3+ and 4+ RBI games that massively swing win expectancy (though I just vomited a little bit about using RBIs to make a advanced stat argument, so the WAR swings could also be used) whereas multiple single games of very low RBI/WAR games may not swing the needle much unless there are a bunch of 1-run games. I mean, there is at least an overall statistical consensus that a team's record in 1-run games is less predictive of future success than their overall RS record. I guess that having a player concentrate his production in fewer games may help turn the 50/50 scenarios into more definite wins. I feel like this is a situation where you would almost need to calculate a new state like xWAR (for every player) and then compare in to actual number of wins. If a streaky player was often involved in teams that outpaced xWAR over actual wins, you could maybe make an argument.
 

nattysez

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My math skills are probably not good enough for this, but assuming your teammates get on base at a steady rate, you'd be more likely to get a hit with runners on when you get 3 hits per game rather than one. So then the question is how much better the odds are that you'll drive in a run when you get one hit a game for 162 v. what they are when you get three hits in (let's just say) 54 games and get no hits in the rest of your games.
 

EricFeczko

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But why? I'm in the same boat as OCST. It's not self-evident why this would be true.
I think this is more math than anything else. No sims truly needed. In fact, the relationship between fWAR to runs generated doesn't even really matter here. Let's assume 1 fWAR is equivalent to 10 runs.

Player A achieves 3 fWAR in 30 games (1 run per game) and 1 fWAR in the following 120, averaging 0.1 run per game in the final 120.

A player creating 0.025 WAR per game, is only creating 0.15 more runs per game in the final 120, which is pretty meaningless when you think about it.

In any case, I suspect that most position players produce the majority of their fWAR in a minority of games (or wRC if you want to strip away defense). Because we often assess players by rate statistics, we fall into the "Flaw of Averages" and are biased in thinking their "true talent" is a straight line. Rather, player performance follows a trajectory.

The problem with JBJ isn't that he has peaks and valleys. It's that he's an average-at-best hitter in decline. His peaks are ok, but his valleys are awful.

24908
 
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Hank Scorpio

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What are we qualifying as streaky versus consistent?

Player A: 4-4, 0-4, 0-4, 0-4, repeat forever... .250 hitter
Player B: 1-4 every single day... .250 hitter
Player C: 4-4 for 40 games, 0-4 for 120 games, misses two games with back spasms... .250 hitter

I'd think Player A and Player C are equal value on paper - but team performance plays a big role too. Are they hitting their hot streaks/games at the right time, or are they going 0-4 in crucial, close games, while going 4-4 in blowouts?

Regardless, if you have a guy going 4-4 for a month and a half on an otherwise average team, you're probably going to reel off something like a 30-10 record (ass-pulled numbers/wild-ass guess).

Conversely, a guy going 0-4 on an otherwise average team isn't likely to impact the overall performance, that much... He's not going to cause them to go 30--90 in his 120 game suckfest. Maybe he costs them a few games, and they go 57-63 - but they still come out with an 87-73 record. Maybe pushing for a wild card play-in.

For the average team with a Player B - I don't think he moves the needle much. If they're an 81 win team without him, they're probably an 81 win team with him, give or take a couple of games - unless he's especially lucky or unlucky hitting in crucial situations.

In short, a guy going 4-4 typically means you're winning that game.

A guy going 0-4 or 1-4 does not mean you're winning the game. It also doesn't mean your losing the game. Usually it doesn't mean much at all.