The $64,000 Q on "Sample Size" for INDIVIDUAL PLAYERS

Where is this guy going to end up? Will 100 more feet tell you?

 

I've never understood why people referred to Doug Fister's July 2010 as a "sample" of any kind.  How could Fister's performances in July 2010 relate in any way to the pitcher he was going to be in 2012?  ... yet Fangraphs insists on casting a player's MONTH as a type of 2% REPRESENTATIVE SAMPLE of his career.

If Nick Franklin comes up and takes 100 AB's for the Mariners, that's not going to be a "sample" of ANYTHING, except a very small sample of Franklin's skill level AT THE MOMENT.

It really is like watching a motorcycle zoom around through mountain passes, and you "sample" him going around one curve, and project his overall direction from that.  Is it not?

.........

Here's where we run into Gaffney's "moving target" problem.  He was careful to specify that he was most dubious about pop sabermetrics as they apply to roster construction issues.

James (and I) couldn't agree more.  You won't see Bill James casting much of an opinion on whether Nick Franklin should be called up or not.

Industry trends?  Sure, you can conclude that pitchers with 8K per game are better bets than pitchers with 4K per game.  Industrywide tendencies, those you can capture.  Roster construction?  Different animal, scientifically.

This isn't a quibble.  Sabermetricians' job seems to be to "sample" that motorcycle going around one corner, and then to forecast where he'll be in 4 minutes and 30 seconds.  Can we agree that another 15 seconds' worth of "sample" is useless?

.............

Sure, PECOTA will tell you that the last 10 motorcycles taking this turn ended up "averaging" a NW direction.  

You want to know that.  The problem comes when Rany Jazayerli insists you "correctly value" the path as NW'erly.

..............

... how were you supposed to use "sampling" to project Kyle Seager, one day before his ML callup?  His career arc took an unexpected direction when he collided with MLB pitching.

How would "wider sampling" have helped you project Raul Ibanez when he was 26, or Jason Varitek when he was 24, or Jesus Montero when he's 23?  Rauuulllll's career arc took an unpredictable turn in his late 20's.  No amount of high-speed photography, of his mountain turns, at age 25, would have helped you.

But we see pop sabermetricians, all the time, see a ballplayer called up for one month, and then start gravely discussing his future based on their "sample."

We don' have a sample of Jesus Montero's career, gennlemen.  His 2012-13 is not providing a certain fraction of data as to his 2016 outcomes.

Matt, I'd like your comment on this, if you're so inclined.

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Comments

M's Watcher's picture

M's Watcher

What I am confident about in projecting Franklin, should he get 100 MLB-TM at bats, is that if he does well, his trade value will increase. It still may not predict his future performance, though it may more likely be with another team. Until he's promoted, he'll be just another AAA prospect, a top one, but untested in the bigs. He's worth more with MLB success. If he fails, he's just not ready yet, but it shouldn't hurt his value. It's not like a cup of coffee compares to Smoak's 1500 PAs.

1

Suffice to say, the Yankees face enough media scrutiny that if you are an employee and you're saying anything that could be construed as a comment on a player of "interest"...on the industry trends, or especially on the Yankees...the media here in NYC will quickly pounce on it as a comment from an unidentified team source.

The unethical conduct of the media has gotten so bad now that the Yankees have a hard rule against blogging, tweeting, or public commenting to the press. It also suffices to say that I can't really do that and still enjoy being a Mariner fan. I am looking for alternative (less public) means of conversing with my friends in the Seattle blogosphere. I'm pretty miserable with this particular rule. So if anyone wants to talk baseball over Skype or another chat service...or through email if you lack the patience for that sort of thing...I would greatly appreciate the chance to stay in touch and talk Mariners and baseball philosophy. Doc...I don't want to post my email address here...you have my email address that I used to register with...can you pass it along to anyone asking for it?

I am sorry about this, all. Trust me...I'm not happy with it at all.

2

If you're interested in an old guy's views, get my e-mail from Doc and we can skype during key games - I have premium, which allows conference skype, so we could get more guys involved (up to 5, I think, but my bandwidth allows ~4).

5

I don't have a good address to reach you and I am hoping you can be a go-between here while I try to establish some connections during the games. Sorry to bug you...don't have another good way.

6

Maybe you can set up an incognito name at MC or something.  That totally BUMS me OUT, dude.  Grrrrrr...

At least we have confirmed what we always suspected about "unknown org sources" ... not that any bloggers around here would do that .....

7

You'll always be a part of the Mariners community. Hope the Yankees gig takes you where you want to go, though. Just make sure if we ever meet in the playoffs you drop some bad sushi on the pre-game buffet table. That'll make up for the umpiring we'll get.

8

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SABR Mattwell this is a dog of a game. Mariners playing like the bad news bears again.1 hour 15 min ago
mojicianFollowing Pax on Gameday: He can't control his curve ball, his first hit in the third was from a changeup that was both hanged and tubed, the Phillies aren't swinging at any of his off speed, and Pax's pitch count is at 59 at the end of the third. The fast ball is located at both sides of the plate and velocity is topping out at 96. This start has one run five n' dive written all over it. What's wrong with that? Puzzling Pax is still better than most teams' number two starter. We haven't seen enough of the Bartender in a while anyway.2 hours 7 min ago
SABR MattPhilly is considered by many in the game to be the dumbest organization, from top to bottom, in all of baseball. Lots of folks heavily criticize their manager for not using his brain, for picking favorites, for ruining quality starts, etc. And of course, we all know what people think of Ruben Amaro.5 hours 34 min ago
moethedogWas checking out the Southern League batting leaders to get an idea of how Kivlehan rates in that league (very well, thank you) and the year that Cubbies farm hand Kris Bryant is having jumps out at you. He's the #2 pick in the draft from '13. Between AA and AAA this year (40% of his PA's at AAA) he's .333-.441-.678 with 34 2B's and 40 HR's. He does K in 27% of his PA's but he walks in 14% of them, too. One scouting report gives his extrodinary power with the most explosive rotation sine Stanton. Plays 3B with a plus arm and quick reactions, so you can add him to Addison Russel + Javier Baez and the Cubs may have a heck of an IF pretty soon.5 hours 59 min ago
moethedogMinor league report: Romero is pretty amazingly hot! In his current 12-game hitting streak he is 26-53 with 4 2B's/2 3B's/4 HR's. In his last 21 games he has had 8 3-hit games and 5 more 2 hit games. His K rate is dropping. AAA #'s for the year: .371-.405-.716.... Nice! And with Blash in AA, Kivlehan played CF last night. Don't you get the idea that the M's are really high on him? Oh, Deej whacks two more homers as Bat pointed out.6 hours 11 min ago
OBFHaving watched Chris Taylor for a while... Brad Miller is not a very good defensive SS... :( Hopefully he refinds his bat...18 hours 21 min ago
OBFHe had looked... uncomfortable... that whole inning, doing more stretches than even usual... :/ Including some weird box squaty things... hopefully just a cramp or something...18 hours 24 min ago
MtGrizzlyI hope Iwakuma didn't hurt anything on that last play18 hours 46 min ago
OBFMean while Detroit storms back from down four to tie it up... :( :( :( come on Rays!18 hours 58 min ago
OBFWhy'd they leave Burnett in so long? He did a nice job getting them into the 8th only giving up 3 runs, but then they made him pitch the eighth (or most of it ) while already over 100 pitches (ended at 125) and he gave up two more runs, which against tonight's Kuma seems like an insurmountable lead... I am not complaining... just wonderin' ;)18 hours 58 min ago
OBFWhat's with all the steals tonight?19 hours 11 min ago
Bat571Tyler O'Neill with another HR tonight. Talk about doing penance - that's 3 this week and 7 since returning.19 hours 12 min ago
OBFKuma is just MOWIN' em down tonight! 10 k's now... Also Zunino needs some sort of award... I have lost track of how many borderline or plain old balls that he has gotten called strikes on tonight...19 hours 16 min ago
Bat571Blash with a HR, Deej with 2 HRs, Kivlehan 2-4, Lara 1-3. Brewers former #1 pick Jed Bradley lasted 3.2 IP. Again, that lineup must be fun to face....not!19 hours 47 min ago
merksJim Callis @jimcallisMLB · 6h New @MLBPipeline Perspective: Who's baseball's best corner OF prospect? I say it's Alex Jackson. http://atmlb.com/VDIGCU @Mariners Which is nice. Also DJ Peterson with 2 HR's tonight giving him a total of 28 on the year.20 hours 24 min ago
OBFGlad to see Ackley proving his little mini slump was just that... mini :) single and 2 doubles yesterday a walk (SB and run) and a double already today :)20 hours 35 min ago
Bat571Wouldn't surprise me to see the M's DFA Bawcom and Leutge as soon as the post-season roster line passes - they won't be as valuable to teams who can't use them in the post-season, but, who knows, relievers are always in-season.21 hours 36 min ago
Bat571Absolutely right, TR. The 2011 draft signees not on the 40-man are the main part of the Rule 5 draft pool this year if they were >19 at the time of signing. Hicks is part of that class, as is CSmith and Paolini. Marlette was <19, so he has 1 more year. Of the 2010 draft <19s, Littlewood and Landazuri are in there. Kelly was a 2009 draftee who will need to be protected, as well, while Blash slipped through last year as a 2010 pick. The IFAs I'm more fuzzy about - but those signed in 2010 would be the cadre. As to who drops off at the end of the season, I count Hart, Morales, Denorfia, Chavez, Beimel and Young as guys who don't have 2015 contracts - though some of those guys will likely re-sign as soon as the R5 draft is over. But to me, Hicks and Kelly seem like automatics for the September run, as they fill positions of need right now.21 hours 40 min ago
Bat571Jabari Blash playing RF for Jackson tonight, batting 5th between Kivlehan and Lara. AA pitchers must really enjoy facing Jackson - Landry-TySmith-Deej-Kivlehan-Blash-Lara-2 of Pizzano/Paolini/Hebert-and then Marlette. Interesting lineup to pitch through ;-) !21 hours 58 min ago
Tacoma RainCorrect on Bloomquist. The BIG question is who do the Mariners HAVE to put on the 40 man to protect them from the December rule 5 draft... because you can not use the 60 day DL for that draft.22 hours 3 min ago