Which baseball statistic is overblown?

BaseballJones

ivanvamp
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I know that the traditional stat of RBI is widely denounced as being fairly worthless among many baseball numbers people. If that's so, then the traditional "Runs Created" formula of RC = R + RBI - HR is also pretty worthless.

What other stats in baseball are overblown? Personally, even though I use it all the time, I think OPS is pretty overrated. It captures on-base plus slugging, but it equalizes the two, and I'm not at ALL sure that OBP and SLG should be similarly weighted. Which means that OPS+ is vastly overrated as well.

Good read here: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/mark-trumbo-and-the-relative-value-of-obp-and-slg/

"OBP is significantly more valuable than SLG — which is why we use wOBA/wRC+ and not OPS/OPS+ around here, since linear weights models correct that issue — but SLG does matter, and low-OBP sluggers can be effective offensive performers even while they make a lot of outs."

But everyone uses OPS and OPS+ because they're easy to look at, easy to calculate (well, it's easy to add OBP and SLG together; not so easy to calculate those things individually...as in, it takes a little time to do it), and easy to understand. But OPS really doesn't correctly weight those two things, so we knowingly use a pretty off-the-mark stat as regular currency in baseball metric conversations.

Are there other stats (traditional or sabermetric) that you all believe is overblown?
 

Kliq

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Probably WAR. The idea of one easy stat is sort of nice, while the idea of one uber stat is sort of terrible.
I thought WAR as well. I like it and use it all the time, but it's used so frequently in things like bWAR being used each season to show if a contract was good or bad, as you see in the off-season, that it's used probably too definitively in discussions.
 

SoxJox

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Perhaps asked from the opposite perspective, when considering performance relative to peers or cohorts, what are the more relevant or meaningful stats that convey "better" or "worse" performance? Maybe that's a countervailing thread.
 

Philip Jeff Frye

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Not exactly a stat I suppose, but I've been surprised this year by how often I see posters treating the Baseball Trade Value numbers as gospel when evaluating actual or potential trades. I'm not super familiar with their methodology, especially since some of it is a black box, but it seems like there are a large number of assumptions and projections (future performance, injury risk, the overall market for baseball salaries and so on), that go into their system, all of which presumably have wide error bars, Adding all these together must produce an extremely large range of potential outcomes which get distilled to one number.

I get why the output is interesting the way that other projection systems are interesting, but the number of times I read something like "Well, BTV rates this player as worth X but those three prospects as worth Y" seems overblown.
 

BaseballJones

ivanvamp
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Not exactly a stat I suppose, but I've been surprised this year by how often I see posters treating the Baseball Trade Value numbers as gospel when evaluating actual or potential trades. I'm not super familiar with their methodology, especially since some of it is a black box, but it seems like there are a large number of assumptions and projections (future performance, injury risk, the overall market for baseball salaries and so on), that go into their system, all of which presumably have wide error bars, Adding all these together must produce an extremely large range of potential outcomes which get distilled to one number.

I get why the output is interesting the way that other projection systems are interesting, but the number of times I read something like "Well, BTV rates this player as worth X but those three prospects as worth Y" seems overblown.
I mean....how can anyone objectively put a value on a prospect who is 19 years old and hit .287 in A ball?
 

shaggydog2000

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Probably WAR. The idea of one easy stat is sort of nice, while the idea of one uber stat is sort of terrible.
I think all stats need to be used in context. You need to understand what their limitations are. Batting average is fine at expressing something specific, it's just not telling us much in comparison to stats that include more components. But if you look at a stat like WAR and don't understand the components and how they are calculated, you can make mistakes easily. The defensive portion of WAR can be pretty non-predictive over short periods, and will vary by where the stat is coming from, etc. So using WAR over the first 2 months of a player's career to predict he will be the rookie of the year would be a bad idea, for example. Using it to compare two different player's 12 year careers is more reasonable, as long as you're using stats that are derived from the same source in the same way to come up with the WAR.
 

simplicio

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Personally, I think BTV is a fun quick tool, and likely worth as much as any other single viewpoint on evaluation, which is to say not all that much. Certainly not gospel, but maybe a decent baseline, and a good easy refutation for people who think we can get real quality prospects for Verdugo/Pivetta/Duran.
 

Seels

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I like WAR but disagree with how it adjusts for positional value and defensive metrics in general. Varsho Edman and Swanson being better than guys like Devers or Julio Rodriguez just doesn't pass the smell test.
 

LogansDad

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How many extra hits per inning does a poor defensive team give up?
So, most people I have seen reference WHIP today have mentioned it about relievers. Over 60 innings, the difference between 1.200 and 1.300 is 6 hits, or one extra hit allowed every 10 innings. I think it is reasonable to say that defense has a pretty big effect on WHIP.
 

teddywingman

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So, most people I have seen reference WHIP today have mentioned it about relievers. Over 60 innings, the difference between 1.200 and 1.300 is 6 hits, or one extra hit allowed every 10 innings. I think it is reasonable to say that defense has a pretty big effect on WHIP.
Fair point, especially amongst relievers. I'll still look at WHIP first.
 

Sad Sam Jones

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I've always thought WHIP is way too basic to be a very useful stat. Giving up a walk is the same as giving up a home run? Granted, I know John Smoltz literally said giving up a walk was worse during a playoff game this year, but...

Total bases allowed + walks (throw in HBP if you like) / innings pitched would give you the average number of bases allowed per inning which is far more telling of performance. It wouldn't skew in favor of Josh Tomlin types who don't walk anyone but frequently give up tape-measure shots. Unfortunately, you can't figure that out with paper and pencil while looking at a basic stat line. That's the thing though, WHIP is so basic, the calculation itself is really unnecessary... I can look at IP, H & BB and already tell as much or more about how effective a pitcher is and additional things like control without calculating those numbers into WHIP.
 

Minneapolis Millers

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I've always thought WHIP is way too basic to be a very useful stat. Giving up a walk is the same as giving up a home run? Granted, I know John Smoltz literally said giving up a walk was worse during a playoff game this year, but...

Total bases allowed + walks (throw in HBP if you like) / innings pitched would give you the average number of bases allowed per inning which is far more telling of performance. It wouldn't skew in favor of Josh Tomlin types who don't walk anyone but frequently give up tape-measure shots. Unfortunately, you can't figure that out with paper and pencil while looking at a basic stat line. That's the thing though, WHIP is so basic, the calculation itself is really unnecessary... I can look at IP, H & BB and already tell as much or more about how effective a pitcher is and additional things like control without calculating those numbers into WHIP.
So, B/P. Bases per inning pitched.
 

Devizier

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It's WAR (whatever formulation you choose).

We all use it; it's tempting to have an all-in-one number that creates a nice, neat, succinct summary of a player's contributions. We all know that it has limitations, we all know that it's inaccurate to some degree. But since there's no easy substitute we use it anyways. And we weight it too highly because of the lack of suitable alternatives.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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Objective stats are good.

Batting avg.
OBP
etc.

Subjective stats are not.

WAR (the worst)
Most defensive stats
BA is fine and definitely tells you something. But OBP takes that and adds walks and (I think… HbP) into account so tells a better story about an individual’s offensive production.
 

grimshaw

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I think the offensive side of WAR is fine, since baserunning to me isn't covered well with other statistics and can really make up for other shortages on offense. WAR factors in stuff like GIDP rate, 1st to 3rd, SB success rate etc. The average fan is mostly just looking at mashing numbers.

Defensive (particularly SS and catcher and figuring out the 1b/DH penalties) and pitching WAR I've given up on.