UZR and Teixeira

This is a post worth reading: David Appelman of Fangraphs responds to Tyler Kepner’s criticism of UZR and other advanced fielding stats. I don’t think fielding stats are perfect, by any means, but I go nuts when mainstream writers just dismiss them out of hand. I took Buster Olney to task for this a few years ago. Some things never change.

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  1. Nick Steiner said...

    Here is what I wrote in the comments of the FanGraphs article:

    There is a convincing argument that defensive metrics are more accurate than offensive ones. For example, the “bins” that offense is measure by, namely singles, doubles, triples and homers, are subject to a HUGE amount of luck. I you have a guy who gets robbed at the wall, and a guy who gets an infield hit, the latter will be rated better by linear weights, even though the former is a much better hitter based off of that sample. Often, that doesn’t even out over the course of a season, which is why we see such variation in BABIP.

    UZR actually does a better job of making more realistic bins, based on location and how hard the balls was hit with some pretty solid adjustments to smooth out measurement errors. The only reason UZR doesn’t appear to correlate as much as wOBA, is that UZR deals with a much smaller sample size per season.

    Of course, I don’t have the data to back up that claim, but it seems like a reasonable hypothesis.

  2. Nick Steiner said...

    Dave, I was responding to this quote from Tyler Kepner:

    “But how can that statistic be valid when it says Teixeria has had a negative defensive impact?”

  3. Dave Studeman said...

    Nick, I don’t think the two are comparable.  If you’re trying to measure what actually happened (which is what MVP arguments ought to be), offensive stats are what they are.  There’s no need for bins or anything like that. Who cares if there is luck involved?

    For MVP voting, we’re interested in actual performance and results, not estimates of “true talent”

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