ESPN.com is having a baseball vote called Which stats do you use?
The early results are troubling:2) What do you trust more when evaluating a player?
73.6% Old-school statistics (AVG, RBIs, wins)
26.4% Sabermetric statistics (OBP, VORP, WHIP)
Note the inclusion of OBP and WHIP, pretty damn straightforward stats, into the wonky category of "Sabermetric statistics." VORP is going to remain a mystery to most people for awhile, I would think.
Congratulations, America. 73.6% of you think that in 2006, Freddy Sanchez was better than Albert Pujols (higher AVG), Raul Ibanez was better than Travis Hafner (more RBIs), and Jon Garland was better than Brandon Webb, Chris Carpenter, and Roys Halladay and Oswalt (more wins).
I'm cherry-picking, but come on. You're better than that, America.3) Which stat do you use the most when evaluating hitters?
43.6% Batting average (AVG)
25.7% On-base plus slugging (OPS)
18.2% On-base percentage (OBP)
10.2% Runs batted in (RBI)
2.4% Slugging percentage (SLG)
Whoops! No, you're not better than that. You're really stupid. No wonder you hate Pat Burrell. He batted .258! Send that guy to the minors!!!
(Pat Burrell's OBP was .388. That's better than Vladimir Guerrero's, Miguel Tejada's, Ichiro's, and AL MVP Justin Morneau's. Was he more productive than those players? No. But you have to give it to the guy: he got on base like a motherfucker.)
5) Which stat do you use the most when evaluating fielders?
69.4% Errors (E)
13.1% Range Factor (RF)
12.5% Fielding runs above average (FRAA)
5.1% Assists (A)
I'll say that on this one, there's still not a really good option. Well, no, there is: the best option is to not rely on errors
. Judging a player's defense solely on errors is like saying I'm the best firefighter in the world because I've never left a baby inside a burning building when making a daring rescue. (Because my daring rescue count is zero. Okay, one. And I got all twelve babies.)
Now, these poll numbers are already pretty bleak. But consider this: they're even worse when you take into account that the pool of people who would even think about taking an online poll on their computers about statistics in baseball is pretty fucking nerdy. My guess is that the real numbers -- ones that would represent all baseball fans -- are much, much worse.
There's a ray of hope, though.6) What do you think about the focus on statistics in baseball?
70.5% It enhances my enjoyment of the game
26.9% It doesn't affect the way I watch the game
2.6% It detracts from my enjoyment of the game
People love nerding their shit up!
Labels: batting average, sabermetrics, statistics