Foot in Mouth Mazeroski

Foot in Mouth Mazeroski

Post by David M Ta » Wed, 28 Feb 1990 04:41:50


Well, I've been browsing the team previews in Bill Mazeroski's Baseball '90,
and I can't believe some of the things I'm reading.  The authors clearly have
not looked at the stats in their own magazine.

Example: "Defensively, [Eddie Murray] appears to have lost interest.  He
        catches what he gets to, which is not much."

        Murray led the NL in assists and DP, as well as fielding average.
        He was second to Mark Grace in assists/game.  He just doesn't *look*
        like he's working hard, even now.

Example: "Templeton still can field and has a strong arm, but his range is
        gone."

        Templeton led all NL shortstops in assist/game and chances/game, the
        usual measures of "range".

Example: "Defense?  Well, he [Jack Clark] is better than Pedro Guerrero."

        I could make a good case that Clark had a better defensive year
        than Andres Galarraga, who won a Brass Glove.

Example: "Last year, [Andres] Thomas was horrible.  He ranked second among
        major league shortstops with 29 errors, and would have won the 'title'
        if he hadn't missed 21 games..."

        So what?  He also led the league in PO/G and DP/G, was second in TC/G
        (ahead of Ozzie Smith), and was third in A/G.  When are people going
        to get off this error kick?  Dave Bancroft, consensus "best shortstop
        before Ozzie Smith", led the league in errors a number of times.  It
        was the price he paid for getting to balls that other shortstops waved
        bye-bye to.  Thomas is the same way.

Example: "[Jim] Gantner isn't pretty (stiff defensively) but has always found
        a way to get the job done."

        Leading the league in DP/G, second in A/G and TC/G, is just "getting
        the job done"?  This guy is a *superb* fielder; if he were younger,
        he'd be the best in the league.  Who cares if he's pretty or not.

As you can see, all of these have to do with defense.  I haven't studied the
offensive stats enough to criticize.  As for defense: well, it's clear from
the tone of the previews that the authors consider defense to be of marginal
relative value.  Still, if they're going to discuss it at all, they could at
least be accurate.

--
        David M. Tate       | "It made the basses of their being throb in    

                            |  pizzicati of Hosanna..."
 "A Man for all Seasonings" |                     -- Wallace Stevens

 
 
 

Foot in Mouth Mazeroski

Post by Sherri Menees Nicho » Thu, 01 Mar 1990 05:55:10

<David rags on the Mazeroski preview rag for not having a clue about
defense.>

I wouldn't be too *** the Mazeroski preview rag...they're no worse than
any of the others.  They're just spouting the what most people in the
baseball establishment believe: (1) Errors are the most important statistic in
measuring a player's defense.  (2) If a guy can't hit, he must be good
defensively. (3) If a guy is old, he must be below average in range.

Occasionally, a player like Ozzie will be so spectacular that the baseball
establishment will be forced to set aside rule number 1.  There are great
defensive performances out there going virtually unnoticed.  Templeton,
despite his age, continues to be an above average shortstop by any sane
measure of performance.  Keith Hernandez ceased to be great quite a few
years ago.  Sid Bream, who really is the best defensive first baseman in
the league, never gets any mention because he doesn't hit.  Yet, in 1988,
he turned almost 80% of all ground balls hit to the first base area into
outs (led the league) compared to say, Galarraga (who has the reputation of
a good defensive fielder) at 67%.  Since first baseman tend to get over 300
ground balls hit to their areas in a season, you aren't talking
insignificant differences.  Try adding the difference in hits to Sid's
batting average, even making them all singles, and you'll be surprised at
the result.

For more on defense, particularly on the "defensive average" I show above
for Bream, check out the Philadelphia Baseball File.  It's a periodical
published by Pete DeCoursey, and it's of interest to anyone interested in
sabermetrics, regardless of whether you're into the Phillies or not.   It
costs $15 for 5 issues (which come out a little sporadically; this is
self-published).  The address is:

The Philadelphia Baseball File
1510 Harrison Street
Philadelphia, PA 19124
215-533-5776

Tell Pete Sherri sent you.

Sherri Nichols


 
 
 

Foot in Mouth Mazeroski

Post by LASCOLA ROBERT J » Fri, 02 Mar 1990 06:49:46


Quote:
>                                             When are people going
>    to get off this error kick?  Dave Bancroft, consensus "best shortstop
>    before Ozzie Smith", led the league in errors a number of times.  It
>    was the price he paid for getting to balls that other shortstops waved
>    bye-bye to.  Thomas is the same way.

I definitely agree with the last statement, and can remember when that used to
be the standard line with respect to Templeton.  BUT.....when was ANYBODY
"consensus best shortstop before Ozzie Smith"?  You'd find just as many people
who think the "title" of BSBOS went to Marty Marion, or even Mark Belanger
(just making a point, don't get e***d).  Certainly, you'll probably find a
consensus that Ozzie's the best ever, but until he came along it was up for
grabs.  (I presume we're talking about defensive ability here.)

Quote:
>                                      As for defense: well, it's clear from
>the tone of the previews that the authors consider defense to be of marginal
>relative value.  Still, if they're going to discuss it at all, they could at
>least be accurate.

I find this pretty ironic (not that I doubt David here) since it is the
*Bill Mazeroski* (read: god of 2nd base defense) magazine.  Now, if Rod Carew
or Steve Sax sponsored it... :-)