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.

Comments

1
M's Watcher's picture

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.

2

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.

5

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).

6

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.

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

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 .....

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Shoutbox

Chat: 8/28/15 1:16pm
Interests: Environment Money Technology Baseball Politics (212680)
    Shouts update every 10 seconds.       
2015-08-29 18:00

What about Jerry DiPoto? What do we think of him...he is reportedly a candidate in #Seattle.

2015-08-29 17:24

That said, having a good personality makes Mather way better than any other M's exec in a long time. Hoping that the evident humility he consistently displays will indeed lead him to consult someone wise to help him find a combo great #Baseball mind and strong leader. And then get out of the way and let that person fix this damaged org.

2015-08-29 17:11

IMO the best way to understand the Mariners as an org is that they're a case study of the Peter Principle in action. Every significant person is above their level of competency (minus one now that Jack is gone). So they all just sit there year after year and do...stuff. Mather admitting that he's "not a #Baseball guy" but don't worry because he has other people who he will talk to about how to find a good GM... Peter Principle. The only difference between him and the other PP poster boys #Lincoln and Chuck is that he's got a pleasant personality. -bsr

2015-08-29 16:40

And now the box is back...either something was really wonky on my end or the admins made a change. Apologies if the former...thanks if the latter. :)

2015-08-29 16:34

I'm sorry...but why on Earth did the admins here think it was a good idea to force you to open a pop-up window to shout? That is extremely #Mobile un-friendly, and, even on my desktop computer, is a major disincentive for me to post. The extra click, the pop-up window that deadens the rest of the site behind a gray wall, and the tiny box to type in...seriously...what were you thinking?

2015-08-29 14:32

One emphatic suggestion. The new Shout entry box is much too small both vertically and horizontally. It's suddenly as constricting as the old site's box.

2015-08-29 14:30

To me one of the really damning aspects of Jack's tenure has been the collapse of our top farm talent that was supposed to be the next wave. There were supposed to be some serious hitters in there, and NONE of them have panned out so far as I can tell. It's one thing to have a badly disappointing MLB season that was supposed to validate your regime. It's another to have that happen the same year your future base proves to not necessarily be the future base.

2015-08-29 14:27

Here's some things that we have now that we didn't have on the previous site.

1. Fairly quick load times (this was a MAJOR problem before)
2. Much longer shouts available.
3. Something I tend to forget, but the ability to edit shouts.

2015-08-29 13:52

Why is the open window to submit a shout right from the main screen now gone and I have to click this stupid reply arrow and bring up a pop-up window to shout now? Really...not cool.

2015-08-29 13:35

No blame until this season from me, grump. I've actually supported the guy, for many of the same reasons you've laid out. I think he's made one good managerial decision and that was in hiring Wak, who I liked. That ended quickly when he chose Figgins over his manager. That was a fruit loopy decision, I felt. But we're 7 years into his reign and we're nowhere, right where we were. He had a good shot. He made some good callas and some poor ones. But in the end...he didn't get it done.

2015-08-29 11:58

Playing Guti regularly in Tacoma through May on a minor league field while he was crushing the ball was a real headscratcher. We saw what happened to Flores.

Why management wouldn't let Jack sign Cruz last season was another head scratcher. Ffor steroids violation? We're talking the Mariners here. Boone, Monahan, half the minor league system, it's part of our glorious heritage! For all we know, Guti was juicing, but how would anyone know? He was inactive for so long there was probably no chance to test him. With all his maladies, it would have been a cruel joke as well.

2015-08-29 09:30

There is a lot of talent assembled here for 2016. Definitely find someone who knows how to establish order and confidence right off the bat. But we're going to have to really luck into it.

Failure to sign Cruz last season was the telling blow. Give Jack authority to do the move and we're talking something completely different this season. At worst, we're discussing how hard it is to maintain top level success. Jack learned from the Leuke fiasco (heck, he got us Jaso out of it). But ownership freaked on him - stupidly.

But leaving Gutierrez to marinate in Tacoma (playing in a AAA field no less) while we shuffled through Weeks, Ackley, and traded our catcher stoploss to pick up Trumbo, etc. - I didn't get that. We waited too long and the answer of what to do while Cano went through his thing was a short drive away - and freely available.

2015-08-29 08:56

Looks like they will be looking for youngish, analytical, super nerd brainiac to fill the void. luckily they are in #Seattle. This should help in the quest.

2015-08-29 08:14

OTOH I really didn't like the way he handled:
-The Morrow trade
-The Fister trade
Nor can I really speak to the interoffice #Politics Baker comments on.

2015-08-29 08:10

I don't get the Z hate (maybe hate is too strong but you know what I mean). He's been terribly unlucky.
-Guti woukd have been a multiple allstar at at glove position if not for illness.
-Really at least one of Ackley/Smoak/Montero should have worked out. These guys were universally recognized as top flight prospects (well Taro did have his doubts about Smoak). If even one had worked out or if a couple of them had become ML average we'd be in good shape.
-He tried to bring in Cruze in 2014. That would have put us in the playoffs last year.
-He brought in role players like Morse and Morales that picked their time with the Ms to have career worst/injury years sandwiched between years where they were solid contributors to playoff teams.
-Yes you can expect pitcher injuries, but *all three* of Hultzen/Walker/Paxton have spent significant time down which has also hampered their development.
-In a make or break year Cano has a career worst illness impaired 1st half. Back to normal now but too late.

Reply - anonymous - 8/29/15 8:13am
Ya, I'd day this goes far beyond 2014 though. Definately has had bad luck, but not the first year the team underperformed
2015-08-29 04:57

“I expect a better brand of #Baseball accountability, acceptance of young players" That's from Z's letter to Wak, a month before he canned him. Yet in '09 the only young (less than 26) fulltime players we had were Lopez (who had a very nice year in 613 AB's) and Wlad, who was given a chance and didn't come through. 22 year old Saunders came up late and had a 45 OPS. BTW, we were 10 games over Pythag that year. In '10, Saunders had LF handed to him, we got Smoak late and even Tui had 138 AB's. It was the veterans Figgins and Bradley who were deadly! Fister was youngish at 26 that year. I suppose Wak mishandled him, Z?

2015-08-28 18:55

Baker weighs in. Wow. http://www.seattleti...

Reply - Browns8625 - 8/29/15 8:16am
Really outlined the issue.. constant changes within regimes will not lead to prolong success
2015-08-28 16:52

Ah, thanks for clarifying, okdan. I understand what you're saying.

My take? Doc has his reasons for going this route. We just don't know what those reasons are. Perhaps if we DID know we would understand, perhaps we would even understand that it's best we don't know.

And there are real people behind the creation and maintenance of this site who you've gotta figure are doing the best they can. Admittedly they face some challenges.

2015-08-28 15:52

That was me - okdan.

2015-08-28 15:52

I am as big of a supporter / fan / devotee / reader of Doc as anyone. SSI has been one of my top 5 websites for nearly a decade. It makes me sad to see how the site has deteriorated. The frustrating part is that the quality of the #Technology and infrastructure doesn't do justice to the effort and quality content that Doc churns out. If anything, my frustrations with this site are *because* I respect Doc so much. There is no shortage of free website templates out there, that with simple configuration would be light years better than this one. And when you're talking about a simple blog, the hosting costs per month are not significant. I bet just between the frequent posters here we could easily cover it.

2015-08-28 14:48

And we both recognize that Doc is not following the dominant model. It's part of what makes Doc...Doc.

I agree with you that the new Klat site has brought some frustrations and unexpected complications. But to me (and to many, I hope) those hiccups are worth enduring because of the unique offering that is SSI. Of course, everyone has to decide that for themselves, and it's reasonable for someone to make a different choice.

I'm not trying to pick on you, just sticking up for a friend who I've never met but much appreciate.

Reply - Browns8625 - 8/29/15 8:19am
Well put daddyo, I have not been on here long to see the changes and hiccups you are all outlining, but I'd stick with and see what happens
2015-08-28 14:40

DaddyO, when I say "free" I mean free to users. That's the dominant model. Even if ads are part of the financial side and pay for the operating cost of the service, users mostly don't pay on the internet. There are some exceptions here and there, but mostly that's how it works.

2015-08-28 14:36

And they have a big Netflix banner ad at the top. My "notice things" skills are definitely deteriorating!

2015-08-28 14:35

Well now that I scroll further down on SB pages they do have ads buried down there.

2015-08-28 14:34

Well, now that I look at SB Nation it looks like they do provide ad-free service. More power to 'em. More power to Doc too.

2015-08-28 14:32

All I'm sayin' is, Doc pays good #Money out of his own pocket to provide this place. No ads to offset his costs, or his labor. He provides his insightful and unique commentary for free. And it's a good thing he does, because I couldn't afford it if he did! I can't imagine anything appropriately called a "social media service" doing that.

Reply - Browns8625 - 8/29/15 8:21am
Sounds like, from what I'm reading, I should read more Doc articles. Still learning ins and out of site.
2015-08-28 14:15

Almost all social media services are free. I don't think SBNation would just delete people's comments at random.

2015-08-28 14:11

HEY! Some really high class commentary by superior minds like us (heh heh!). Just GONE!

'Tis the WORLD's loss! 'Tis a cruel fate! 'Tis...'Tis...(DaddyO composes himself)...Aw, it's just some stuff we wrote off the top of our head that will be forgotten tomorrow anyway.

We have a RIGHT to demand more from a site where ... where ...umm ...uhh ...we don't pay ... a nickel...for so much...enjoyment. Hard to complain bout that!

Last evening in the sixth inning of a crucial game in the LLWS our cable went out for a few hours. And we pay a BUNCH for that service.

It's all good! Thanks Doc for the #Environment you provide for all us. For nuttin'.

2015-08-28 14:04

SSI used to be my first stop every morning, even before checking my email. Now, well... this site has made me not want to visit nearly as much as before. And that is saying a lot, considering how much I love Jeff's writing. I thought the initial clunkiness might be resolved, but apparently I was mistaken. Sorry to be so negative, and I realize that it is a free site and I am not entitled to anything, but seeing so many of today's shouts vanish sort of pushed me over the edge.

Reply - Richard - 8/28/15 3:52pm
Thank you for letting us know about the issue(s). We are working hard to improve performance and remove the clunkiness... I hope that you'll continue to let us know how we are doing.
2015-08-28 13:16

You can bet things will speed up.from here now that he is gone

2015-08-28 13:16

Yeah right today's shouts vanished.. was excited to see reaction to the Jack farewell tour

Reply - Richard - 8/28/15 5:32pm
The "lost" shouts are in the previous conversation - they were accidentally moved to last year. Sorry sports writers - we will try to not have this happen again!

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