Friday, January 27, 2006

Defensive Metric Index

I hope to continuously update this page as I find more information...


1. Fielding Average

(Putouts + Assists) divided by (Putouts + Assists + Errors)

2. Bill James' Range Factor (RF)

RF= 9 * (Assists+Putouts) / Defensive Innings Played

3. Hardball Times's RANGE (RAA)

RAA Methodology

4. Baseball Prospectus's Rate2 (DTF derivitive?)

DTF Methodology

5. Bill James' Defensive Win Shares


1. STATS, Inc.'s Zone Rating (ZR)

2. Chris Dial's Modified Zone Rating (DZR)

Modfified ZR Methodology

3. Lichtman’s Ultimate Zone rating (UZR)

UZR Methodology - Part 1

UZR Methodology - Part 2

UZR and Beyond! An Interview with Mitchel Lichtman

4. Dave Pinto's Probablisitic Model of Range (PMR)

PMR Methodology

PMR Methodology 2

John Dewan's plus/minus System (as described in "The Fielding Bible")

The Fielding Bible


Evaluating Defense By Tom Tippett

Evaluating the Evaluators (HBT)

A Detailed Comparison of Defensive Metrics

A glove affair - New methods shed light on evaluating defense (SI)

Evaluating the Evaluators (HBT)

USS Mariner Defensive Metric Summary

On Defense: Subjective Data, Objectively Considered

Defensive Doctrine: An Interview with John Dewan

Friday, January 20, 2006

Jenkins Has a Nice Arm!

According to a small study done by Dan Fox, Jenkins has well respected arm strength and backs that up when tested. Yeh I know, tell you something you don't already know. Still, it's nice when statistics actually validates what eyes already tell ues, especially when it's a defensive observation.

Fox's article looked at all situations from 2003 to 2005 where there was a runner at third with less than 2 outs and a flyball-out was made by an outfielder.

To Go or Not to Go?

He then looked at the percentage of flyouts where the runner at third was held (hold%) and the percent of runners that, when attepting to score, did so successfully(succ%). Finally, he compliled a leader list for all outfielders with atleast 15 opportunities for a given year.

To summarize his findings with regard to the Brewer OFers, Jenkins has a great arm, Lee is about average and Clark has an arm like a wet noodle. Jenkins threw out 30% of the runners that attempted to score from third last year(3 of 10) and 20% over the last 3 years (league average is 4.6%). He also has had a very good hold percentages as well (30.6% vs. a league average of about 20%). Lee held a slightly above average percentage of runners (24.5%) but has only thrown out 2 runners out of 37 opportunities (about league average percentage).

As a RFer, Clark held only 2 of 27 runners. Anyone who's seen Clark play knows his arm is better suited to play CF.

It's important to note that, because of the small sample sizes of the data in this study, all numbers should be taken with a grain of salt.

EDIT 3/1/06: Another article on the subject, agreeing on Jenkins' fine arm.

prOPS Introduction

Earlier last year, JC Bradbury at the Hardball Times, introduced a new metric called prOPS (predicted OPS) in this article:

Introducing PrOPS

What prOPS tries to do is cut through the "luck" factor of BIP outcomes (out, single, double, etc...). Over the course of a year, "loud outs", texas leaguers and bloop singles can add up in one direction or the other, skewing a player's stats. Bradbury negates this luck by ignoring the outcomes of a BIP (ball in play) all-together. Instead, he studies the underlying statistics that generate a ballplayer's OPS.

He found 6 statistics that seamed to drive OPS the most; three defensive independant stats (K, HR, BB) and three BIP types (FB,GB,LD). He then weighed the components, in terms of their relative effect on OPS. For example, line drives result in an out only 26% of the time and are most often extra base hits. As a result, LD% has the greatest weight in the prOPS model. Weighing all 6 stats and adjusting for park factors, his prOPS metric was complete.

How does he attempt to validate prOPS? In the Hardball Times Annual 2006, he does so in two ways. First, since we attribute much of the variance in a player's year-to-year stats to luck (statistical noise), prOPS should vary less than OPS over two seasons since it cuts much of that noise out. He showed that that's indeed the case. Second, he showed that prOPS better predicts a player's future OPS than his previous year's OPS does. To illustrate this further, he constructed a table containing the 25 highest overperformers and underperformers from 2002 to 2004. He found that 20 of the 25 top overperformers regressed the following yearand 21 of the top 25 underperformers increased the following year. After noting a mixture of good and bad players on each list, I was convinced that prOPS was at the very least onto something.

Enough introduction, how did Brewer players do, relative to their prOPS?

2005 prOPS, Milwaukee Brewers
            PA  PrAVE   AVE  PrOBP   OBP  PrSLG   SLG   PrOPS   OPS    Diff

C. Hart 63 0.291 0.193 0.357 0.270 0.457 0.368 0.814 0.638 -0.176
R. Weeks 406 0.259 0.239 0.350 0.333 0.432 0.394 0.782 0.727 -0.055
R. Branyan 238 0.268 0.257 0.380 0.378 0.527 0.490 0.907 0.868 -0.039
JJ Hardy 423 0.268 0.247 0.343 0.327 0.405 0.384 0.748 0.711 -0.037
C. Lee 680 0.279 0.265 0.339 0.324 0.502 0.487 0.841 0.811 -0.030
L. Overbay 614 0.290 0.276 0.379 0.367 0.460 0.449 0.839 0.816 -0.023
D. Miller 427 0.282 0.273 0.350 0.340 0.420 0.413 0.770 0.753 -0.017
P. Fielder 61 0.288 0.288 0.310 0.306 0.468 0.458 0.778 0.764 -0.014
G. Jenkins 610 0.293 0.292 0.380 0.375 0.508 0.513 0.888 0.888 0.000
B. Clark 666 0.292 0.306 0.359 0.372 0.430 0.426 0.789 0.798 0.009
J. Cirillo 219 0.262 0.281 0.350 0.373 0.386 0.427 0.736 0.800 0.064
B. Hall 538 0.266 0.291 0.317 0.342 0.435 0.495 0.752 0.837 0.085
W. Helms 187 0.250 0.298 0.317 0.356 0.384 0.458 0.701 0.814 0.113

I broke the table into three groups: unlucky, neutral and lucky. The "unlucky" list includes two notable rookies, Weeks and Hardy. Weeks under performed by 57 OPS points (25th largest underperformance of 2005), while J.J. Hardy underperformed by 37 points. These numbers suggest that if Weeks and Hardy had identical seasons in 2006, their raw stats would increase simply as a result of luck. If there's any merit to that, 2006 could prove to be a breakout year for both.

According to prOPS, Miller, Jenkins and Clark all earned that stats they received in 2005. It's comforting to see that Jenkins' excellant 2005 season wasn't just a result of balls bouncing his way. Leading the league in line drive percent certainly didn't hurt (26.7% of Jenkins' BIPs were line drives). Of course, whether he can keep that LD% up is another topic altogether.

Who were the most "lucky" Brewers in 2005? Seeing Cirillo and Helms in the overperformer category makes me happy to know that the former will be only be used off the bench and the latter isn't even on the team anymore. I skepticle of both's stats last year and these numbers don't do anything to change that. That leaves us with savior/whipping boy, Bill Hall. prOPS suggests that Hall's gains in 2005 were much a result good luck. Could that be right? Was it just a fluke season for Hall?

Hall's 85 point over performance was the 4th highest over performance in the majors last year. It also ranks as the 13th highest over performance between 2002 to 2005 (the length of this study). While I expect Hall to continue to improve his batting skills next year, I am very skepticle that he can carry a .800+ OPS next year. His 2005 numbers just don't add up. Perhaps Melvin knew what he was doing when he aquired Koskie?

Who was the top overperformer from 2002 to 2005? None other than Scott Podsendik, during his excellant rookie campaign of 2003. As you probably know, Pods hasn't even come close to matching that season, in terms of OPS. This highlights a glaring problem of prOPS; it doesn't account for the speed of the batter. For example, prOPS simply assumes that a league average number of ground balls will result in an out (75%). For a player like Pods, who converts more grounders into base hits than the average player, groundball should have a higher weight than, for instance, someone like Chad Moeller. Common sense tells us this is wrong.

While the author makes mention of including speed in one of his online articles on prOPS, it wasn't even mentioned in the HBT Annual. As far as I can see, it's still a glaring issue and one that needs to be addressed before prOPS can be taken too seriously. Still, I feel prOPS can give you a unique and useful insight into the role the "luck of the bounce" can have on OPS over the course of a season. In Hall's case, let's hope it was wrong.

Here's a link to the prOPS for all major leaguers. Next time I'll look at Bradbury's Brewer projections for 2006, which were based off his prOPS work.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

J.J. Hardy and BABIP

Rich Lederer over at the Baseball Analysts has a nice article on J.J. Hardy's rookie campaign. While I agree with his prediction that his second half numbers forshadow a bright future for Hardy, I can't agree with part of his reasoning why.

He points to Hardy's paltry pre all-star.211 BABIP as proof that he was simply "unlucky" for the first half of the year. While that was well below the MLB average, there are plenty of players (mostly pitchers) that rightly earn their low BABIP. How do we determine if Hardy earned his? BIP types is a great place to start. Here's J.J. Hardy's BIP type (LD%, FB%, GB%)frequencies for 2005:

As you can see, for much of the first half, Hardy had a horribly low LD% and a very high GB%. For a guy not gifted with blazing speed, that is the perfect recipe for a low BABIP. Hardy's change in approach resulted in his LD% and BABIP shooting up in June, however.

Hardy earned both his low BABIP early in the season and his higher BABIP in the second half.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Hardball Times Annual Leaderboards - Part 1

The Hardball Times Baseball Annual has some unique categories in their leaderboards and I thought I'd go over some of the Brewers that showed up. Here are the categories and the NL rankings for the Brewer representatives.

C. Lee 454(4th)
Function of playing every game and having a low OBP

G. Jenkins 19(1st, tied)
Jenkins was hit 12 times in 2004 but he certainly out did himself last year. As long as he doesn't get hurt, keep on plunking!

BA on Balls in Play
Jenkins .352 (3rd)
Does Geoff always have a high BABIP? Let's take a look:


1998 0.266
1999 0.351
2000 0.353
2001 0.331
2002 0.283
2003 0.342
2004 0.311
2005 0.352
Total 0.329

He beat his career BABIP by 23 points and Jeff at Brew Crew Ball doesn't think he can keep up those gains. But as was pointed out in this THIS thread at, Jenkins' BIP% was also lower, suggesting he was simply being more selective at the plate in 2005. Personally, I think he can keep it up.

G. Jenkins 26.7% (1st)
When Jenkins made contact in 2005, he crushed the ball over 1/4th of the time. Since line drives result in a hit 79% of the time, this is a great sign, indeed. Perhaps being more selective DID allow him to make better contact!

GB/FB Ratio
L. Overbay 1.88 (6th)
I wouldn't have guessed that Overbay would show up on that list. Why a plodder like Overbay would increase his GB/FB ratio isn't the Brewers' problem anymore.

Infield Fly Per Flyball
G. Jenkins 0.07 (7th lowest)
Since infield flies result in outs almost every time, it's good to keep this as low as possible. Jenkins sure is showing up alot.

Extra Base Hits
C. Lee 73 (8th)
Lee's endurance and raw power allowed him to show up on this list in 2005.

Sacrifice Flies
C. Lee 11 (1st)
As every Brewer fan knows, Lee was an RBI machine in 2005. The fact that 10% of his RBI's were a result of a sacrifice fly is certainly testiment to that.

Pitchers to come!

Friday, January 13, 2006

What Exactly is OPS?

Dan Fox has written yet another excellant article over at the

Run Estimation for the Masses

While many know that OPS correlated suprisingly well with runs scored, most don't know exactly why it works as well as it does. I certainly didn't. While I'm familiar with maybe half a dozen run estimation formulas that are intuitive, OPS really doesn't fall into that category. While OXS (and by extension, Bill James' Basic Run Created) just feels "right", adding OBP and SLG seems like a messy shortcut. They don't even use the same scale, afterall(OBP goes from 0 to 1, SLG from 0 to 4).

In actuality, OPS simply mirrors the many run estimation equations that use linear weights. Dan Fox shows that with a little algebraic manipulation, OPS can be written in the form:

(.5 x single + .75 x double + 1 x triple + 1.25 x HR + .25 x W) x (4/PA)

The relative values given to each baseball event in OPS almost EXACTLY matches the weights usual used in linear weights based run estimation equations. Tangotiger found those relative weights (using data from 1999-2002) to be:

double: .75
triple: 1.03
HR: 1.4
non-int BB: .33

Other than slightly undervaluing HR's and walks, OPS is almost dead on. Apparently OPS is alot "prittier" than I ever gave it credit for.

Monday, January 09, 2006

3TO - R.I.P.

Russell Branyan has been designated for assignment. The Brewers have until this Friday to either trade or release Branyan.

With Koskie on the team, there really wasn't room for him. It would be interesting to see what he could do over an entire year as part of a platoon. Hopefully he'll get a chance to do that somewhere else.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Brewers Trade For Corey Koskie

Wow. I didn't see that one coming! The Brewers traded middle reliever Brian Wolfe for Corey Koskie this evening. Koskie will make $5.25 million in 2006, $5.75 million in 2007, and he has a performance-based option for $6.5 million in 2008. Toronto will be picking up a sizable portion of that contact, however (probbaly around $3 million a year).

Here's what Aaron Gleeman had to say about Koskie:

"Koskie is extraordinarily injury prone and will probably cease being a quality player very suddenly, but even in a dismal first year with the Blue Jays he managed to hit .265/.365/.437 against right-handed pitching. That's very solid production at third base and significantly better than Batista can ever hope to do.

Koskie can only be counted on for about 100 games a year at this point and needs to be platooned against left-handed pitching. However, if used correctly he can still be a key contributor to a contender both offensively and defensively. Replacing Batista with him at this stage in the game -- when the Twins' lineup appears all but set heading into 2006 -- would be a major upgrade."

Check out the thread over at for more information. I'll be adding my take on this trade tomorrow. In the mean time, I'll leave you with some studying:

Koskie - Baseball Reference

Koskie - ESPN Player Page

Koskie - Fangraphs

Koskie - Hardball Times

UPDATE: It's being reported that the Brewers are only picking up $2 million of Koskie's contract for 2006 and 2007. Toronto would also split the $500,000 buyout in 2008 with the Brewers. If Koskie gets 600 AB in either 2006 or 2007, his option for 2008 is automatically picked up. Since he'll be sat against lefties, there's probably no chance of that occuring.

For $2 million a year, Koskie is an absolute steal. He's getting older (32) and he's had alot of injuries, but $2 million is nothing in the MLB these days. A platoon of Koskie and Hall at 3B could be pretty damn good.

Another impressive move by Melvin.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Bill Hall Brewer MVP?

Chris Dial, from Baseball Think Factory, thinks Bill Hall was the most valuable player for the Milwaukee Brewers:

Who Were the REAL MVP's?

He used extrapolated runs above average at position(a linear weights type equation) to evaluate offensive value. For defense, he used a metric of his own creation (converted into runs). Here's a list of his most valuable NL players:

Player Team pos Offense Defense Total

lee,derrek CHN 1B 59.7 0.0 59.7
utley,chase PHI 2B 34.3 19.4 53.7
giles,brian SDP RF 48.5 4.3 52.8
pujols,albert STL 1B 52.6 -1.3 51.3
ensberg,morgan HOU 3B 38.4 4.3 42.7
bay,jason PIT LF 40.9 -2.2 38.7
kent,jeff LAD 2B 35.4 1.4 36.8
jones,chipper ATL 3B 31.8 4.9 36.7
edmonds,jim STL CF 32.5 3.7 36.2
wright,david NYM 3B 36.4 -5.0 31.4
lopez,felipe CIN SS 31.7 -2.2 29.5
winn,randy SFG CF 23.7 5.7 29.4
cabrera,miguel FLA LF 36.2 -7.2 29.0
furcal,rafael ATL SS 23.2 5.5 28.7
drew,j.d. LAD RF 21.8 6.5 28.3
helton,todd COL 1B 19.1 8.6 27.7
hall,bill MIL SS 23.9 2.0 25.9
floyd,cliff NYM LF 16.1 9.7 25.8
abreu,bobby PHI RF 31.5 -5.8 25.7
jones,andruw ATL CF 25.3 -0.2 25.1
jenkins,geoff MIL RF 17.2 7.1 24.3
dunn,adam CIN LF 26.4 -2.5 23.9
delgado,carlos FLA 1B 31.2 -8.2 23.0
burrell,pat PHI LF 17.9 4.7 22.6
rollins,jimmy PHI SS 18.4 1.6 20.1
valentin,javier CIN C 17.8 0.3 18.1

Hall had a better offensive season than Jenkins? In relation to the average player at their position (and assuming Hall was exclusively a SS),yes. The problem with that assumption is that Hall also played alot at 2B and 3B:

Innings Played At Position, Bill Hall, 2005
2B: 738
3B: 516
SS: 1043

Whenever Hall played somewhere other than SS, his offensive value wasn't being maximized. Relative to other NL thirdbasemen, he had a good but not great offensive year. Relative to other NL shortstops, he was amoung the best.

You would think a smart GM would try to snatch him up...

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Dan Kolb Signs For 1 Year at $2 Mil

Looks like Melvin and Boras finally came to an agreement:

Brewers re-sign Kolb for 2006

It's a one year deal with a base salary of $2 million but he can earn more through incentives. He's been penciled in as the setup guy, behind Turnow.

My initial reaction was similar to many others; Why so much? The sad reality is, however, that the cost of relief pitching as gone up drastically this off season. If Melvin felt he needed a another reliever, then $2 mil is probably the market asking price.

I wonder if Melvin has any intention of keeping Kolb for the full year in 2006? Established relievers can get quite a return from playoff hopeful teams via a trade at the deadline. If Kolb can put together a good first couple of months, Melvin might get $1 million back and a prospect or two to boot. Might be a good gamble to take.

The question is, what Dan Kolb are we getting? Was Kolb's poor performance last year the exception or the rule?

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Ben Sheets is Own Worst Enemy?

A comment from my "Run Support" post suggested that Ben Sheets has (atleast partly) himself to blame for the poor run support he's had during his career as a Brewer. I am very skepticle of that for two reasons:

1. Almost no pitcher can hit worth a lick

2. A starting pitcher is going to account for less than 1/9th of the total offense anyway.

Let's look at how many runs below average Sheets has been in his career, offensively. I'll use the very rough "basic runs created" equation:


NL P, 05 -- 288 .150 .164 .190 .354 9.0
Sheets 142 288 .083 .129 .087 .216 3.3
Diff: 5.7

So, over the course of Sheets' 149 career starts, he's been somewhere around 6 runs below average. Even if you doubled that estimate, it's pretty insignificant. The average pitcher just plain stinks offensively.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Sherman and Alvarez Leave Together

Mike Sherman is fired as coach of the Green Bay Packers today. While I was largely indifferent over him staying or going, atleast the unending speculation has ended.

Barry Alvarez is finished as coach the the Badgers, but he goes out on top. Despite being double-digit underdogs to Auburn, the Badgers dominated in the Capital One Bowl, winning 24-10

Thanks for the 16 years, Barry!