Julien's Faster than Light Blog

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Thursday, June 19, 2003
here we go!
we are online. i sit around watching baseball, and i accumulate opinions. these opinions---til now---have been foisted upon my friends, well past their threshold of tolerance. no more! now i can absentmindedly scatter them (opinions, not friends) all over this blog. if anyone is stupid enough to read this (looks like somebody is!), they will find many (opinions, definitely not friends).

i've got this idea that i'm going to push. the idea is that the important stats to consider in evaluating a player's talent are these:

walk percentage (wal), contact percentage (con), power percentage (pow).

not normal stats, you observe. quite right! that's my unique angle that i present to the world . . . my niche. i love this blogging shit.

there will be plenty of time to discuss why i do things (lucky you). ok let's start now. what do hitters like to do? get on base and move runners over (this is the starting point for this blog). the former is adequately measured by obp, the latter by slg. the thing is, both include a substantial ball-in-play component. balls in play are highly random. therefore, it takes a long time before the statistics have meaning (at least a whole season).

the idea here is to find meaning in smaller sample sizes. in contrast to balls in play, walks, strikeouts, and home runs quickly converge to a level representative of players' abilities. thus our three stats, based on walks, strikeouts, and power.

basically we took the batting average out of obp and slg. obp without batting average gives you walk percentage. slg minus average is isolated power, a similar idea to our power percentage.

wait a minute isn't batting average important? yes, but we can interpolate it based on contact and power. this is where contact percentage comes in. you see, there are two aspects to hitting for average: making contact, and hitting the ball hard. these things are measured by con and pow. thus, if you know these numbers, you can predict what the player's average should be, given a significant sample size.

here's the cool thing: you can use the same numbers for pitchers. this time you want the numbers to be low. walk percentage measures control, contact percentage measures strikeouts, and power percentage measures the ability to keep the ball in the park.

baserunning and fielding are important aspects that are not taken into account by our method. they will be added to the discussion.
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