Mookie Betts appreciation thread

Al Zarilla

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He is tied for 5th all time in OPS+ with some guy named Mike Trout. The 4 guys in front of him are named Ruth, Williams, Bonds and Gehrig. There is an easy case to make for Hornsby being a top 10 positional player of all time.
I don’t think the guy many consider to be the greatest right handed hitter of all time can be called underrated. Aaron and Mays camps will argue that their guy is the best RHH of all time. Maybe you could knock down Hornsby a bit because, for example, .400 seasons were relatively “cheap” when Hornsby played. I didn’t look up any overall league hitting averages back then though. Now, it’s one in 1930 by Bill Terry and Ted of course in 1941. Not that long from now, Ted’s will be the only one in the last 100 years.
 

sean1562

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Just looking at Willie Mays career stats is aw inspiring. I give more weight to post segregation players and I imagine Mays had a really rough go of being a black superstar in the 60s. Cant even imagine what hecklers screamed at him, what an amazing talent/player. Glad I am alive to see Mike Trout and be able to appreciate what a singular talent that man is.
 

Savin Hillbilly

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Mays is also a great ultra-ceiling comp for Betts in that while he was an outstanding hitter, what really made him the best CF in history was being elite at everything: hitting, baserunning, defense. Mookie probably isn't quite that good, though FWIW they will be tantalizingly close in WAR after their age 25-year: Mays 31.1 fWAR, 32.5 rWAR; Mookie probably about 30 fWAR and 34.5 rWAR.
 

SirPsychoSquints

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Mays is also a great ultra-ceiling comp for Betts in that while he was an outstanding hitter, what really made him the best CF in history was being elite at everything: hitting, baserunning, defense. Mookie probably isn't quite that good, though FWIW they will be tantalizingly close in WAR after their age 25-year: Mays 31.1 fWAR, 32.5 rWAR; Mookie probably about 30 fWAR and 34.5 rWAR.
Important caveat - mays missed nearly two seasons at ages 21 and 22, and came back and immediately had a 10 WAR season.

Edit: drafted into the Korean War.
 

Max Power

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This is why this place is amazing. Thank you all.

Sir, where are those numbers from? The JD worth 56 at the plate. Thanks
It's important to remember that while WAR stands for Wins Above Replacement, it's really Expected Wins Above Replacement. It doesn't care about the actual runs that were scored or knocked in, or situational hitting/defense of any kind. As such, it's a blunt tool to determine who should be MVP if you believe the award should be given to the guy who helped his team win the most actual games on the field last year.

Bill James goes into detail about it for last's year's MVP race.

https://www.billjamesonline.com/judge_and_altuve/

It's strange to me that we live in a time when we can get pretty much any stat for any situation we want, but people are more interested in ever in just boiling it all down to one number. What's the fun in that?
 

Savin Hillbilly

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Important caveat - mays missed nearly two seasons at ages 21 and 22, and came back and immediately had a 10 WAR season.

Edit: drafted into the Korean War.
Right, though Mookie only played the last third of his age-21 season, and Mays started a year younger, so it balances out a bit. The difference in playing time between him and Mays through 25 is not going to be enormous -- he'll finish the year with 650 games max, and Mays had 610.
 

DeadlySplitter

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tweaked something on his left side again when making a throw home. something to watch with only two weeks left and a previous DL stint for the same reason.
 

simplicio

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That previous DL stint was May 29th (retroactive) to June 11th. The same length here and he could potentially see a game or two in the final MFY series to tune up.
 

Sampo Gida

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Having Betts play while not 100% with an 11 1/2 game lead is dumb. Abdominal/oblique injures are tricky and probably not going to help him at the plate as DH. Shut him down till he feels well enough to play the field.
 

The Needler

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He's hit .471/.609/.647 since this post and his lead in fWAR over Trout has been cut to .3 (9.2 to 8.9).
Mookie and Trout are now tied in fWAR at 9.1. Thank jeebus, it looks like Mookie won't miss any significant time, but even a few games at DH hurts wrt the defensive adjustment (just ask Trout). Fortunately, the Angels are out of it, so Trout is likely to get several more days off (like yesterday) and DH assignments of his own.

Between vote-splitting with JD and the problem of the best player in the game having what is probably his best season, I'd guess the MVP vote is going to be very close.
 

bosox79

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Mookie and Trout are now tied in fWAR at 9.1. Thank jeebus, it looks like Mookie won't miss any significant time, but even a few games at DH hurts wrt the defensive adjustment (just ask Trout). Fortunately, the Angels are out of it, so Trout is likely to get several more days off (like yesterday) and DH assignments of his own.

Between vote-splitting with JD and the problem of the best player in the game having what is probably his best season, I'd guess the MVP vote is going to be very close.
Ramirez struggling in September really helps Mookie's cause.
 

Al Zarilla

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Mookie and Trout are now tied in fWAR at 9.1. Thank jeebus, it looks like Mookie won't miss any significant time, but even a few games at DH hurts wrt the defensive adjustment (just ask Trout). Fortunately, the Angels are out of it, so Trout is likely to get several more days off (like yesterday) and DH assignments of his own.

Between vote-splitting with JD and the problem of the best player in the game having what is probably his best season, I'd guess the MVP vote is going to be very close.
BBREF has Mookie ahead of Trout still, 10.0 to 9.4. Baseball Prospectus has Trout ahead 8.57 to 8.16 (in BWARP). Man, there is no standardization in this industry for WAR type definitions and calculations. At least in the “old” stats, everybody agreed what BA, HR and RBI were. Not advocating going back, but these guys should form committees and hammer out one standard.
 

SirPsychoSquints

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BBREF has Mookie ahead of Trout still, 10.0 to 9.4. Baseball Prospectus has Trout ahead 8.57 to 8.16 (in BWARP). Man, there is no standardization in this industry for WAR type definitions and calculations. At least in the “old” stats, everybody agreed what BA, HR and RBI were. Not advocating going back, but these guys should form committees and hammer out one standard.
I disagree. TangoTiger invented(?) WAR and always talks about it as a framework. Evaluate how much better than the average hitter a player is, evaluate how much better than the average baserunner he is, how much better than the average fielder he is, add those up and apply an adjustment for replacement level.

The different websites are explicit about how they determine each component differently from each other. Defense is typically the widest disparity, as they're all estimates and using different systems. I think they will sometimes use different replacement levels from each other, too.

I think it's good to understand that these aren't certain numbers, that there are different ways to come to the conclusions, that there's a debate, etc.
 

Al Zarilla

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Maybe it’s because I spent my career in the computer industry where if you didn’t have interface protocol agreements hammered out, the internet, for example, never would have gotten off the ground. Baseball isn’t that complicated and doesn’t need to have multiple standards or calculations for players performance to confuse sports writers/MVP voters.
 

Savin Hillbilly

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Maybe it’s because I spent my career in the computer industry where if you didn’t have interface protocol agreements hammered out, the internet, for example, never would have gotten off the ground. Baseball isn’t that complicated and doesn’t need to have multiple standards or calculations for players performance to confuse sports writers/MVP voters.
But the obvious difference is that nothing really depends on a universally accepted version of WAR except our comfort level as baseball stat nerds. There's no Internet to get off the ground here.

And as I suggested, it's kind of useful for WAR to continue confusing people, because this makes it harder for us to fall into the trap of thinking that WAR is the infallible answer to every question about player value. If there were one WAR to rule them all, then you'd get people saying that X player is clearly better than Y player because his WAR is 0.1 higher. (You already do get that, but you'd get more of it, from smarter people.)

WAR is a fun and useful blunt instrument for comparing players, for answering the question "just how good is/was So-and-So" in a rough but not meaningless way, and to serve as a starting point for predictions about/evaluations of player contracts. But it's not a precision tool, and agreeing on a single version wouldn't make it one. So it's probably just as well there's no such agreement.
 

Pedroia's Itchy Nose

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How do you all feel about whether WPA has merit as an element of the MVP discussion? While I'm generally wary of the stat, it seems to me like this is one place where it might actually be quite relevant. By that metric, Betts has a substantial lead over Trout (4.83 to 3.82). This is largely a result of Trout being quite anti-clutch this season while Betts has been clutch-neutral. Bregman and Martinez have both of them beat on WPA, but Martinez's lead over Betts is small and both have substantially lower WAR than either Betts or Trout.

If the WAR calculations basically end up with a tie between Betts and Trout, might WPA be a good tiebreaker as it shows that Betts helped his team more with the contributions that he made?
 

richgedman'sghost

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I think WAR is a useful tool in discussing the value and impact of a player's season but it does have its limits. Unlike some people, I do not think .5 or .1 or whatever the tenth of a decimal that seperates Betts from Trout in WAR is much of a difference. It is a wash in my opinion.
To me, I have to penalize Trout for the fact that the Angels were nrver really in the race post All Star Break. I normally do not like to use team performance when considering the MVP vote but there has to be a tie breaker catorgory and that is mine.
 

CaptainLaddie

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(I think JD deserves MVP, especially if he gets the Triple Crown, which is entirely possible.)

THAT BEING SAID, I think if Mook can come back and have a nice last six or seven games, he should carry it over both of them. He's clearly the best player (when healthy) on the best team in baseball. And he plays great defense. Trout's probably the best non-steroid position player since Aaron, so he's always going to be a top 3 MVP guy so I can't be mad if he won.
 

Max Power

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How do you all feel about whether WPA has merit as an element of the MVP discussion? While I'm generally wary of the stat, it seems to me like this is one place where it might actually be quite relevant. By that metric, Betts has a substantial lead over Trout (4.83 to 3.82). This is largely a result of Trout being quite anti-clutch this season while Betts has been clutch-neutral. Bregman and Martinez have both of them beat on WPA, but Martinez's lead over Betts is small and both have substantially lower WAR than either Betts or Trout.

If the WAR calculations basically end up with a tie between Betts and Trout, might WPA be a good tiebreaker as it shows that Betts helped his team more with the contributions that he made?
You can argue whatever you want for MVP. WPA is kind of a weird stat that you can't really follow in real time, but it does give you an idea of how clutch someone was over the course of a season. Coming up small in high leverage situations should absolutely be counted against you when you're looking back at who helped their teams win the most games.

I took a quick check of the percentage of runners scoring during the at bat for each of the three, and the difference is stark. Mookie is around 17%, Trout is under 14%, and JD is at 21%. JD has a bit of an advantage with good runners like Benintendi, Mookie, and Jackie hitting in front of him, but I don't think a bit of speed could possibly explain the entire difference.
 

SirPsychoSquints

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How do you all feel about whether WPA has merit as an element of the MVP discussion? While I'm generally wary of the stat, it seems to me like this is one place where it might actually be quite relevant. By that metric, Betts has a substantial lead over Trout (4.83 to 3.82). This is largely a result of Trout being quite anti-clutch this season while Betts has been clutch-neutral. Bregman and Martinez have both of them beat on WPA, but Martinez's lead over Betts is small and both have substantially lower WAR than either Betts or Trout.

If the WAR calculations basically end up with a tie between Betts and Trout, might WPA be a good tiebreaker as it shows that Betts helped his team more with the contributions that he made?
I think it's worth considering. Again, WAR is a framework - so you can take the Baseball Reference WAR, subtract the component related to Rbat and add in WPA instead. It should do the trick, most of the way. Just divide Rbat by 10 (close enough).

I'll try to come back and do it more comprehensively later, but Mookie/Trout/JD go from bWAR of 10/9.4/5.9 to bWAR adjusted for WPA of 9.6/7.1/5.6
 

SirPsychoSquints

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I think it's worth considering. Again, WAR is a framework - so you can take the Baseball Reference WAR, subtract the component related to Rbat and add in WPA instead. It should do the trick, most of the way. Just divide Rbat by 10 (close enough).

I'll try to come back and do it more comprehensively later, but Mookie/Trout/JD go from bWAR of 10/9.4/5.9 to bWAR adjusted for WPA of 9.6/7.1/5.6
I took the top 10 in bWAR and the top 10 in WPA and recalculated their bWARs to use WPA instead of Rbat:
  1. Mookie 9.6
  2. Bregman 8.0
  3. Ramirez 7.4
  4. Chapman 7.2
  5. Trout 7.1
  6. Lindor 6.8
  7. Haniger 6.1
  8. Lowrie 5.9
  9. Benintendi 5.9
  10. Simmons 5.8
  11. JD 5.6
  12. Bogaerts 5.2
  13. Judge 4.6
  14. Davis 3.7
My conclusion - WPA is a good way to separate Mookie & Trout, but it's not a good argument for JD (in my opinion, there is no good argument for JD, because baserunning and defense matter).
 

Savin Hillbilly

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How do you all feel about whether WPA has merit as an element of the MVP discussion? While I'm generally wary of the stat, it seems to me like this is one place where it might actually be quite relevant. By that metric, Betts has a substantial lead over Trout (4.83 to 3.82). This is largely a result of Trout being quite anti-clutch this season while Betts has been clutch-neutral. Bregman and Martinez have both of them beat on WPA, but Martinez's lead over Betts is small and both have substantially lower WAR than either Betts or Trout.

If the WAR calculations basically end up with a tie between Betts and Trout, might WPA be a good tiebreaker as it shows that Betts helped his team more with the contributions that he made?
I think WPA definitely belongs in the MVP discussion. It balances WAR's more context-neutral information nicely.

One thing that's going to hurt Trout is that the Angels' 1 and 2 hitters (except when he's hitting #2) have been pretty bad this year. They have a .300 OBP out of the leadoff spot. They moved Simmons into the #2 spot and Trout to #3 just in time for Simmons to go ice cold. This means that Trout has gotten very little of the main advantage #3 hitters should have in WPA -- coming up in high-run-potential situations. He's actually had runners in scoring position less often than Mookie, per PA (Trout 21%, Mookie 28%)--and when he does, he's often been IBB'd (an MLB-leading 23 times this year). And he's had even fewer PA than Mookie, because both have missed the same number of games.
 

SumnerH

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I think WPA definitely belongs in the MVP discussion. It balances WAR's more context-neutral information nicely.
The first time I recall WPA being popularized on SOSH was when people started using it to make the case for Big Papi over A-Rod in 2005. It's tailor made as a retrospective value measure, which fits the MVP concept nicely.
 

drbretto

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The first time I recall WPA being popularized on SOSH was when people started using it to make the case for Big Papi over A-Rod in 2005. It's tailor made as a retrospective value measure, which fits the MVP concept nicely.
I remember this. And IIRC, it was all in vain because ARod's WPA was still higher. If I'm thinking of the right year.
 

SirPsychoSquints

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I remember this. And IIRC, it was all in vain because ARod's WPA was still higher. If I'm thinking of the right year.
In 2005, ARod's WPA was 6.2 vs. Ortiz's at 8.8. If you replace ARod's 1.6 win advantage in Rbat with Ortiz's 2.6 win advantage in WPA, then they're basically in a dead heat in WAR.
 

The Needler

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Mookie's fWAR rose to 9.2 last night while he rested his side. So did Trout's, as he went 2-5 with a HR and a SB.

The Angels announcers last night offered a pretty obscure statistic that I thought was interesting only for the "other guy."

Trout became only the second AL player to have at least 35 HR, 20 SB, and 100 BB in a season. The first...Carl Yastrzemski in 1970.
 
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Al Zarilla

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Mookie's fWAR rose to 9.2 last night while he rested his side. So did Trout's, as he went 2-5 with a HR and a SB.
And Mookie stayed at a perfect 10 for BBREF, while Trout climbed to 9.6. To my totally unscientific eye, it seems that fangraphs (fWAR) reruns the numbers now and then and players move up or down. I noticed it during the all star break, no games being played of course, and guys’ numbers changed anyway. Hope Mookie gets back out there 100%.
 

judyb

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Fangraphs doesn't make all their changes immediately after each game or even day, I think fielding in particular takes them extra time.
 

bellowthecat

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I believe Fangraphs defensive numbers are updated every Sunday morning. Player stats are updated daily. Game stats and standings are updated in real time. Players who don't play can still see changes to their stats that are based on league average values. If the league as a whole has a really bad offensive day, dropping the league average slash line, then it would make sense that a player who doesn't play will see their wRC+ tick up since their contributions are now weighed against a lower baseline.
 

canyoubelieveit

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How has this thread not been bumped yet tonight? Mookie may have won the MVP tonight. Every one of his 4 hits tonight were huge and beautiful to watch. Seriously, it's worth watching the video of his two doubles, the two-out two-run line drive opposite field single, and his monster HR off Chapman...all of them are perfect swings with perfectly squared up contact.

Love me some JD, but Mookie is our MVP.
 

santadevil

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My youngest was coming to say goodnight right as Mookie was coming up to bat.
He's become a huge Mookie fan this year.

So he see's Mookie is up and hops on my lap to watch the AB against Chapman.
Bam, 30th HR of the year. My little guy gets all excited and runs over to my wife and says, "30 homeruns. Can you hang my Mookie up now!"

He just got a Mookie Betts fathead decal for his 4th birthday on Monday. So away we went to hang it up.
It looks great

 

John DiFool

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How has this thread not been bumped yet tonight? Mookie may have won the MVP tonight. Every one of his 4 hits tonight were huge and beautiful to watch. Seriously, it's worth watching the video of his two doubles, the two-out two-run line drive opposite field single, and his monster HR off Chapman...all of them are perfect swings with perfectly squared up contact.

Love me some JD, but Mookie is our MVP.
WPA for last night: .346.
 

SirPsychoSquints

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Mookie now leads Trout by a half win in bWAR. took the lead (basically tied) in fWAR and is 3/4 of a win behind Trout in BP WARP.

BP is saying they're basically tied on offense & baserunning, with Mookie 7 runs better on defense (including positional value).

FG is saying Trout is nearly a win better on offense, and Mookie is nearly a win better on defense (including positional value).

I have more trouble parsing BP's numbers, but they're saying Trout's True Average is .381 vs. Mookie's at .351, which is presumably where the difference is coming in. They're rating Mookie as about 1.5 wins better than Trout, but I think that's vs. a positional average.

Mookie continues to have around a 1.5 win lead in WPA.