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Celebrating Adequacy: The 11 Average-est Position Players in Baseball at the Moment


Everyone likes to talk about the best and worst players in baseball... but what about the guys in the middle? This is a look at the 11 average-est position players so far in 2009.

Dollars to DHs: Money is the Currency of Baseball, Part XXXVI


How well does a player have to hit to be a full-time designated hitter? Going team-by-team through the American League, this article takes a look at the players who are DHing and checks to see how...

Position Adjustments Across the Decades


How has fielding talent at each position changed over the past fifty years? Beyond the Box Score takes a look and provides a nifty graph.


Question: More fun with BINOMDIST

Okay... this is probably easier than I think and I just suck at math, or I'm so bad at math that it's a lot more complicated than I think it should be... Basically, I'm trying to figure out how...

2008 Gold Gloves for Designated Hitters


At the risk of being called out for spamming, here is my first "official" post at Driveline Mechanics. You can read the full explanation there, but basically, I use Justin Inaz's field+positional adjustment numbers (balanced with bUZR) to see what players would have actually helped their teams more by DHing than by playing the field. Another way of looking at it is as a sabermetric approach whether or not a players is a "natural born DH." You'll have to go there to see the stunning results! Maybe I'll post a poll, as suggested to me by a someone else, as to what the trophy should be: A Gold Glove with hole in the middle? A bust of Greg Luzinski? I personally think each year's winners should get a Hall-of-Fame style bronze plaque based on one of their great fielding moments, as ampled by the introductory picture of the post.

wOBA Positional Averages 2008


At the request of a party who shall remain anonymous, I have constructed a spreadsheet to give pseudo-Fangraphs-style positional wOBA averages by position for 2008 MLB, AL, and NL. I still think the best general model for such averages is something like this (see my related FanShot here), but it is interesting to see how closely the empirical data from last year matches up. I've even included a silly wOBA-fied version of baseball-reference's OPS+. Since I'm guessing Fangraphs' version of wOBA will become the most frequently cited, I've used a formula that I think they are using -- that is, one that excludes reached base on error (this makes sense for them, since I assume they are using the baseball databank data, which doesn't include that information). They also use custom linear weights for each year, which I don't use here. However, Tom Tango (the creator of wOBA) notes that the weights since 1956 don't stray all that far from the generic formula. I think Fangraphs is great, and is quickly becoming the best source for sabermetric data on the internet -- free or pay. Personally, I prefer that ROE be included in wOBA, since I do think it at least partially reflects player skill. Stat Corner does so (and they also have park-adjusted wOBA*). I would also prefer that both sites includes stolen bases and caught stealings in the formula (I don't think they do -- but correct me if I'm wrong). But they have their reasons. I have a sheet ready with SB/CSs and also one with ROEs if people are interested. Update: Thanks to the coment below, I now realize that Fangraphs does include SB/CS in their wOBA figures, and have corrected the spreadsheet.

Average wOBA by Position


Yes, the dastardly Sox site has done something that was asked about last week when Fangraphs added wOBA -- the offensive stat we should all be using. Thanks to Sky for pointing it out and also for agreeing with me that Colin made a mistake with the 3B adjustment. The methodology isn't perfect (to be more precise one would need to judge each position in relation to league average wOBA year-to-year) but it isn't meant to be. It's rough. He has a little chart that includes adjustments for defense, but I'm not going to deal with the headache of arguing about that here (the positional adjustment thing is bad enough, sometimes). So... here are the averages Colin has, and then how some Royals (and new Royals) did in relation to those averages in 2008 -- this is retrospective, not predictive. I'm using StatCorner's version of wOBA because, among other things, it's park-adjusted (wOBA*). Some guys are listed in more than one position for obvious reasons. C .306 Olivo .313 (+.07) Buck .300 (-.06) SS .326 TPJ .189 (-.137) Avilanche .364 (+.038) 2B .335 Grudz .345 (+.010) Callaspo .341 (+.06) German .294 (-.041) CF .335 DDJ .361 (+.026) Gathright .277 (-.058) Crisp .334 ( -.01) MITCH .288 (-.047) 3B .335 Gordon .351 (+.016) Teahen .315 (-.020) RF/LF .354 Teahen .315 (-.039) Guillen .329 (-.025) DDJ .361 (+.07) 1B .364 Gload .304 (-.060) Butler .326 (-.038) Jacobs .342 (-.022)

Offensive Replacement Level By Position


Sean Smith has an interesting article up at The Hardball Times about replacement level. The whole thing is worth reading, but I want to highlight one cool table: REP POSITION -32.5 Catcher -27.5 Shortstop -22.5 2B, 3B, CF -12.5 Corner Outfield -7.5 First base -2.5 DH* The number listed for each position is how many runs below average a player must be offensively to be considered replacement level (assuming average fielding ability). So, at -7.5, first basemen have to hit just worse than major league average just to provide any value. On the other hand, catchers can be more than 30 runs worse than average and still deserve a spot in the majors. That's a 25 run difference between the two positions, which should explain why first basemen are extremely overrated. * Added by Sky, not in Sean's article.

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