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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DaddyOThe nice thing about it is, if multiple people are producing at multiple positions as you move into June/July, you have some real trade opportunities, either for prospects or to further upgrade a position, rotation spot, or bullpen slot.13 hours 4 min ago
DaddyOAs stated in numerous articles by beat reporters, this shows the M's are no longer primarily in prospect development mode. A platoon cannot be good for Ackley's development if indeed he is on the cusp of reaching his potential after last year's second half. But, IMO, this is a good thing. This far into his career it SHOULD be for Ackley and all the fellow "used to be young'uns": produce or sit. No more coddling here. Let Ackley and Weeks duke it out for LF PT, and settle for a platoon if it plays out that way. Let LoMo, Montero, and Weeks duke it out for 1B PT. Give Weeks a real shot to emerge as the preferred choice for either of those two positions. Count me in. And if Weeks doesn't earn PT, Weeks sit.13 hours 6 min ago
SABR MattSo we envisioned Weeks in precisely the role he will get, mostly LF/1B to give those guys days off against tough lefties. Sounds good to me.13 hours 40 min ago
GLSThe spam filter strikes again.14 hours 25 sec ago
MtGrizzly@shannondrayer: McClendon says Ackley will play mostly vs rhp, Weeks lhp, all but confirms platoon. Also sees Weeks backing up at 1st ahead of Bloomquist.17 hours 11 min ago
SABR MattGood move...and an excellent excuse to let him hone it in AAA for a while and then call him up when someone is hurt later.1 day 15 hours ago
MtGrizzly@RyanDivish: Taijuan Walker has scrapped his cut fastball and begun throwing a slider. Feels the pitch will have better break and more depth.1 day 17 hours ago
DaddyOSome of the MLB coverage is delayed, but ROOT Sports is broadcasting live Wed/Thu of next week, and then three weekday games the following week.2 days 17 hours ago
okdanShannon Drayer has some cool video up of Patrick Kivlehan, Jordy Lara, and D.J. Peterson taking BP down in Peoria. Just BP of course, but my initial reactions are: Kivlehan looks athletic but a little jumpy at the plate. Lara looks like he could be a beast, big kid. DJ looks patient and cool as a cucumber, like a 10 year vet in the box. Check it out here: http://mynorthwest.com/374/2718894/Video-Mariners-prospects-hit-against-lefty-starter-Happ2 days 17 hours ago
SABR MattCorrect...MLB.TV's spring schedule shows us getting coverage on the 4th, 5th, 6th, 9th, 11th, 13th, 15th, 18th, 20th, 22nd etc...regional sports network new deal must have included expanded ST coverage. Usually we don't get anything until the 15th or so and then only 6 games all spring.2 days 17 hours ago
DaddyOIIRC, usually it's not 'til the middle of spring training that we begin to see TV broadcasts.2 days 17 hours ago
DaddyOOn the M's official website here: http://seattle.mariners.mlb.com/schedule/broadcast/index.jsp?c_id=sea2 days 17 hours ago
SABR MattWhere did you see that?2 days 18 hours ago
DaddyOAm I seeing this right? The M's are starting to televise spring games right away, starting with next Wednesday and Thursdays games games against the Padres.2 days 20 hours ago
SABR MattMoe...SS is a weakness until someone actually does produce. Neither Miller nor Taylor has proven anything2 days 22 hours ago
MtGrizzlyAssuming Weeks can play LF, the bench puts a pretty decent floor on the current roster. The platoon advantages can help cover for under performance a bit. It's curious - individually, I don't really llike Weeks, Bloomquist or Ruggiano but as an ensemble, I think they kind of work.3 days 7 hours ago
moethedogNo weakness at SS. One of those guys will produce.3 days 8 hours ago
SABR MattSo I see the Mariner offense as having three major ?s SS, LF and 1B. I don't much care for Zunino's chances of being awesome in 2015 either but we don't need him to kill it to be a hero. We need better than we got from SS in 2014 and we definitely need production in LF and at 1B. But of those questionmarks, we have solid possible replacements lined up at 1B (Montero, Peterson, Kivlehan) and SS (Taylor, Marte)...where we are weakest is LF (Kivlehan, Romero)...but there are a lot of teams who would enjoy that sort of weakness in depth.3 days 15 hours ago
moethedogDead on Matt. Just posted that I absolutely expect one of the Montero/Kivlehan/Deej/Romero quartet to mash there way into the lineup. Which one? Don't know. But those 4 rolls of the dice are more likely to be a natural than the one roll of LoMo (or Ackley). BTW, if one of you guys has a voodoo doll, could you get a little mojo going for a Bloomquist hammy pull?3 days 17 hours ago