Sabermetrics Primer for Newbies

by on December 18, 2010 · 3 comments

Please don’t be frightened.  This will only hurt for a moment.  I’m going to write briefly about the subject of sabermetrics as though you’ve never heard anything about it.  There will be definitions.  There will be new terms introduced and foreign acronyms put on display.  Do not be alarmed.  I come in peace. 

If you’ve read much of what’s been posted on PH8 here lately, you’ve probably seen a lot of references to WAR, oWAR, dWAR, Range Factor, and OPS.  These are all sabermetric measurements, but they represent just a subset of the complete group.  Over the next several months, you’ll probably notice that a few more will be used regularly as a means of comparing players.  The new ones will most likely include DIPS, UZR, VORP, and Win shares.  As they are introduced, a definition and contextual explanation will be provided.  Consider this the equivalent of wading into the pool but refusing to get more than knee deep in the statistical waters. 

In order to prepare for these new additions, I’ve done a lot of research on sabermetrics (or at least maybe spent 15 minutes doing a quick refresher on some equations).  Anyway, I’ve decided that quite possibly I have identified some gaps in the sabermetric measurement set, and I have a few potential suggestions to fill those gaps.

  • POOP (Player Ouchie Opportunity Percentage) – This rates on a scale from 0-100 the likelihood that a player will be injured by something minor (ie an “ouchie”) on a given day and be unable to play at 110%.  For some perspective on POOP, J. D. Drew has a POOP rating of exactly 77, and Chris Duncan has a rating of 50.  Duncan’s rating would be higher, but I still think he was really adversly impacted by playing through some pretty severe injuries. 
  • FUBAR – (Fielders Underhand / Backhand Arm Rating) – Sliding scale, position independent value assigned based on a fielders ability to throw both underhanded and backhanded.  Accuracy and arm strength are key, and points are lost for high, arcing tosses that result in shoulder shrugs from teammates. 
  • WMPWR (Willie McGee Pitching Wedge Rating) – Scaled from 1-10 based on player’s ability to lift pitches off of the ground.  Highest scores are reserved for players who can actually hit balls that have bounced prior to reaching home plate.  A perfect score is only attainable by players who can hit bounced balls and finish the swing with the bat held straight up in the air.  Vlad Guerrero rates a perfect 10 in this category.  Adam Dunn scores an 8.8, and Mark Reynolds scores a 7.9. 
  • SOB (Speed Of Brummer) – Measures players 3rd base-to-home speed compared to that of Glenn Brummer who is assigned the reference value of 1.0.  No current MLB player rates lower than 1.0 as of this time. 

Now, there are probably many that I’ve missed that are worthy of inclusion, but I think these 4 are highly deserving.  If I ever get to meet Bill James, I’ll be sure to mention at least POOP and FUBAR, although I suspect that WMPWR will most certainly be a dead giveaway that I’m a proud member of Cardinals Nation.

FYI – This really falls into the “Where are they now?” category, but just the mention of Chris Duncan‘s name might compel some of you to wonder where he’s been since he was last with the Cardinals.  He signed a minor league deal with the Washington Nationals on January 19, 2010, and went to spring training as a non-roster invitee, but he was unable to make the team.  He was granted free agent status on November 6th, 2010.

Cardinals fan since I could hold a fishing pole steady. Accidental blogger. Opinionated. I could care less about what you think of me. Constantly confounded, bemused, and confuzzled (ie I'm a pc and a mac). I'm an IT infrastructure analyst with a penchant for breaking tech toys. I ate a sabermetric primer for breakfast. I love playing "All-powerful GM of MLB". The 2010 Cardinals represented a good, practical definition "cognitive dissonance". The 2011 version got by on duct tape and a prayer, and I'm fine with that. They just need new tape for #12 in 12.
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Jason December 18, 2010

The storm continues…

PH8: edited for language

Jon Grammer December 22, 2010

Thanks for sharing this! I have been looking for more information on sabermetrics and this definitely helps.

Dennis December 23, 2010

Many thanks for reading, Jon.

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