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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Tacoma RainIs it time to look at back up catchers who can play RF or 1B??5 hours 47 min ago
moethedogAllen Craig, Matt. He's still there in Boston. He's likely available. There is interest. There are teams that think he's not done. It will likely be Rios, I think, but Crig will hit .300 again for somebody.Right now, however, our most pressing needs are a RF (regardless of handiness) who can play CF, too...and a COF/1B6 hours 56 sec ago
SABR MattI bet we did bid 4 years. I feel better now...can't do anything if the other side just doesn't want to play with you...Alex Rios it is.8 hours 36 min ago
DaddyO@moe ... Today, I salute you, sir. On Jan 6th, it's "Hey you!" :)9 hours 35 min ago
moethedogMuch appreciated Daddy. My last Mayoral day is Jan. 5th. After 6 terms I decided it was time to step aside. Hardest decision I've ever made. On Jan. 6th you rank me! :)10 hours 29 min ago
DaddyOMayors take precedence over retired peons like me!12 hours 3 min ago
DaddyOHah! Moe and me cross posted.12 hours 4 min ago
DaddyOhttp://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2014/12/white-sox-to-sign-melky-cabrera.html (see note at 4:24 pm)12 hours 5 min ago
moethedogBTW: Somebody was willing (according to reports) to go 4 years. Us?: 4:24pm: Cabrera rejected a four-year offer from an unknown team because his preference was to play for the White Sox, tweets CBSSports.com’s Jon Heyman.12 hours 5 min ago
DaddyONow per MLBTR an unknown West Coast team did in fact bid four years for M.Cabrera, but he decided he preferred to play for the White Sox. Seems plausible that the mystery WC team was Seattle. That would explain a lot. Perhaps Jack signaled a fourth year was doable only to be signaled back that it just wasn't going to happen. If so, then Jack did do everything he reasonably could.12 hours 5 min ago
moethedogThinking about Souza, I was scouring some Nats' sites and their Harper dissatisfaction was a topic of interest. In all seriousness I began to wonder if we were discussing the less likely Nat: If you could get Bryce Harper and change for Taijuan Walker and change would you do the deal? I don't know what to read into the Harper issue. Is it their version of our Saunders events? I love Souza, but why not make a bid for Bryce Harper. The upside is huge and you hope Cano, Seager and Mac can get him to grow up some. Young stud for young stud would get everybody's attention. Beyond that I will add this: Matt, Seth Smith is way cheap and his career vR numbers are ,277-.358-.481. He's all we hope that Ackley and Saunders would become, vR. He's doesn't hit LHP with a darn, but we could do worse with the bat. Endy for example. Alas, he doesn't play CF. Which makes him a less than likely fit.12 hours 11 min ago
Bat571But trading for a younger, faster guy is a better plan than hoping.12 hours 31 min ago
Bat571Hence my Christmas wish for Mr. Jones!12 hours 31 min ago
SABR MattRios is, honestly, not a bad fit in the 2 hole either. Get a lefty who can play some CF to help out.12 hours 56 min ago
Bat571Looks like Rios, to me. I thought he was a "for sure" 'til he switched to Boras and started laying low waiting for teams to get desperate to run up his price. Well, maybe that is working - I expect he'll get 2 years now and probably $10M a year, rather than the 1/$8.5M that MLBTR predicted. But, trying to be rational about it, a 2-year contract fits better with what's coming than a longer one. And, though his splits last year were pretty wide (much wider than his career split of .749 vR, .800 vL) , a .646 against RH wouldn't have been the worst OPS amongst Ms regulars, and the .898 vL would surely have helped! So, here's hoping for Rios, with a trade for a younger, faster guy to supplement. And a Christmas wish for Montero to be what he looked like he could be and for JJ to learn to hit the bendy stuff.13 hours 5 min ago
MtGrizzlyYeah, it's probably down to the 1-2 year contract guys with platoon issues now. Rios makes the most sense, I guess. Byrd, maybe, as a trade candidate that won't cost Walker or Paxton. One thing is for sure - the club cannot afford to go into ST with Endy Chavez as one of the top 4-5 OF in camp.14 hours 41 min ago
SABR MattIf our offseason tops out at Aoki, Viciedo or Seth Smith, I'm going on a rage spree.15 hours 41 sec ago
benihanaSounds like we weren't outbid. With nobody willing to go four years Cabrera took the offer closest to the east coast as he indicated was his preference. I would have gone 4. /shrug. Let's get Upton.15 hours 4 min ago
okdanReally want to see the M's go after an OBP guy for that #2 spot now. Zobrist, Fowler, Seth Smith, Aoki. Someone like that. Really bummed we couldn't get Melky to sign on the dotted line.17 hours 23 min ago
DaddyOAlso, if this triggers Viciedo coming to the M's--- (apodosis omitted, just like in Genesis 3:22, with the same significance).18 hours 35 min ago