Here's Wednesday's edition of Saber-Links:
Sam Miller of Baseball Prospectus gives us a fun way to attempt to quantify something that is considered by most to be unquantifiable, hustle: Baseball Prospectus | Pebble Hunting: Measuring Hustle
Every player has strengths and weaknesses, and some players’ weakness is they jog to first base and lose a couple chances a year to reach first base. The point is just that some players’ strength is that they run hard, every time, and gain a couple chances a year to reach first base. And it should be okay to mention that, if only there were a way to say it without just saying it.
There has always been a bridge between FanGraphs' version of WAR, based on FIP and Baseball-Reference's WAR that is based on RA9. I took a look at comparing the two's predictive abilities, last week. But today, David Appelman, Dave Cameron, and the FanGraphs' team rolled out new statistics that attempt to cross this bridge.
Cameron introduces FDP (Fielding Dependent Pitching) in this post, which primarily discusses the factors (balls in play, and strand rate) that have some pitcher control, which affect RA9:Introducing Fielding Dependent Pitching | FanGraphs Baseball
The idea for FDP was to quantify the remaining aspects of run prevention that are not measured by walks, strikeouts, and home runs. With a FIP-based WAR, we have a metric that tells us how many wins a pitcher added through success in those three key areas. What we did not have was a metric that gave us the wins added through either hit prevention or runner stranding. With FDP, we wanted to be able to break down the remaining aspects into those two categories, so that we could identify exactly where a team’s run prevention — with a specific pitcher on the mound — was coming from.
Cameron then takes it a step further, and explains why fWAR will still be FIP-based, despite the fact that pitchers have some (although we don't know how much) control over balls in play and their strand-rate. But, also points out that FanGraphs now gives their readers a chance to weight that control anyway they please: FDP and Pitcher WAR | FanGraphs Baseball
I promise that this is not because we are stubborn and refuse to admit that pitchers have some control over hits on balls in play. In actuality, the decision to leave FDP out of pitcher WAR for now was actually a difficult one, and was not our original intention when we developed FDP. The genesis of creating metrics to measure the wins added on balls in play and runner stranding was an effort to improve the way we calculate WAR, and we planned on modifying WAR to account for both FIP and FDP. Trust me, we don’t like some of the weird-looking results that a FIP-based pitcher WAR produces any more than you do.
For more discussion on this topic, and to read Tom Tango's opinion on this statistical rollout, you can follow this link to the Book Blog: THE BOOK--Playing The Percentages In Baseball
I should note there is one thing that none of this handles: actual fielder performance. Well, if you think fielder performance is entirely subsumed in BABIP, then you don’t have an issue. But, if you think that there’s yet another layer to fielding beyond BABIP (UZR, DRS, TZ, etc), then you still have one more adjustment.
Saber-Links will return tomorrow, in the mean time you can have some fun playing around with these new statistics on FanGraphs' leaderboards: Major League Leaderboards " 2012 " Pitchers " WAR Statistics | FanGraphs Baseball