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 Mattsuch a shame to lose Choi...I thought he was the most mature hitter in our system...the most likely to succeed immediately.23 min 21 sec ago
GrumpyUgh. Worst case scenario for Choi. Other than breaking his back again at the same time.2 hours 37 min ago
Tacoma RainDutton says the Mariners expect Choi to miss at least 4 to 6 months... thus this is a lost year for Choi. And unfortunately for Choi, he will have a tough time getting attention with all the others coming behind him. I was really hoping for better things for Choi.9 hours 17 min ago
Gordon GrossVery true bat. I meant that it didn't affect Choi at all, but it is the smarter roster move for staying alert and able to be active in Spring Training.9 hours 27 min ago
Bat571But it does give the Ms a 40-man spot. The 60-day would also, but it doesn't start until ~ the week before Opening Day. But if Olmos is back, that's the roster spot they need for him until he officially clears waivers and can be outrighted to Tacoma. At that point the Ms would have a spot for Baker or a pitcher if they need it.9 hours 38 min ago
Gordon GrossChoi is not out of options, so it's effectively nothing. They designated him to go to the minors, using an option year they would have had to use anyway, and that way he's not clogging the roster. No big.10 hours 9 min ago
GLSWhat is the significance of the DFA move in this situation?10 hours 15 min ago
Bat571Apparently the Mariners have DFA'd Choi rather than wait to 60-day DL him.10 hours 20 min ago
Bat571Montero has 1 option left of 3. Ackley and Hultzen, who signed MLB/40-man contracts have a 4th option each. Erasmo is the only one out of options.10 hours 46 min ago
MtGrizzlyThe sports writers have all been talking about how Montero is headed to Tacoma. I guess they could be wrong.13 hours 7 min ago
moethedogKiv-le-mashing-han! Dustin whom?13 hours 34 min ago
mojicianOn further review, I think that restricted list time does not affect option years as long as the player actually spent 20 days in the minors while on the 40 man roster.14 hours 23 min ago
mojicianI don't think that Montero's 2012 option year counts because he never went to the minors during that year. I'm not sure how the 2014 restricted list stint factors into option years as well. Montero should be protected for 2015.14 hours 40 min ago
SpectatorStill with the M's from Bravai drafts? Mark Lowe ... ha! full circle, but he's not on the roster yet. Forrest Snow was drafted by both Bavasi out of HS and Jack out of UW. Didn't know that. Nate Tenbrink maybe still holding on by his fingernails. Everyone else has been flushed I think.15 hours 8 min ago
Gordon GrossAssuming we can get Montero there. He's out of options.15 hours 17 min ago
SpectatorAll coming off of Shawn Kelley. Amazingly, with Kelley, Morrow and Maurer, I think the Pods have more Bavasi draftees than the M's. In fact, that might be half of the Bavasi draftees left in the majors. (Though I think there was a Anthony Varvaro sighting recently ...) (Aumont maybe?) (OK Tillman, Fister and Josh Fields I guess + Condor of course.)15 hours 17 min ago
MtGrizzlyKivlehan, DJ and Montero in middle of that Tacoma lineup aught to be something.15 hours 21 min ago
Gordon GrossRomero walked! That's about as impressive for him as a HR would be. Do more of that, son.15 hours 26 min ago
Gordon GrossDJ grabs a single up the middle, much like Kivlehan was doing yesterday - seriously, with one of Taylor/Miller relegated to the Rainiers, and the returning Blash to join DJ, Kivlehan, Marte, Hicks, possibly Pizzano or Paolini... that lineup should hit. Whoever has Tacoma tickets might wanna go take a peek. Dunno how their starting pitching will be (depending on who makes the Ms rotation), but the offense shouldn't let you down.15 hours 28 min ago
Gordon GrossGlad you're on board, Matt. Kivlehan and DJ are both verrry good prospects. They just need to separate them positionally so that both of em can stick around. Kivlehan can replace Seth Smith shortly, and DJ can be in line to take over for LoMo. And if LoMo steps into being a full-time stud, then either of the two prospects can be traded. We'll see where that goes - but man, Tacoma should be an interesting lineup.15 hours 32 min ago