I am a baseball fan who kind of likes box score stats. Not that stats say everything about a team or player but it is a natural to want to keep watching a stat like batting average or home runs or with a pitcher, earned run average, or how many times a team has beaten another team in a given year. Those are the stats that I like to keep track of and it is what has made fantasy leagues more appealing as well. Fast forward into the recent days of ‘new age’ stats, these are stats that a lot of people who are fans of baseball have never heard of. Advanced stats that use complicated methods of math to come up with numbers that are supposed to mean something. Bill James has made a lot of money each year publishing books full of numbers and stats that would make your head spin, and a lot of it seems like snake oil numbers to me.
New coined stats such as VORP, which means: (from baseballprospectus.com)
Value Over Replacement Player. The number of runs contributed beyond what a replacement-level player at the same position would contribute if given the same percentage of team plate appearances. VORP scores do not consider the quality of a player's defense.
Ok, I can sort of follow what that stat might tell me. How much better a value of a player a certain guy is over another player on offense. I’ll buy this one in a way. I’ll look at the number VORP a player has though and wonder what all went into making it up. Consider me at this point, very skeptical at what the stat and quality of it’s makeup actually means.
Then you have the ‘way out there’ ‘new age’ stats like this one:
EqA – the meaning and computation goes like this (also from Baseball prospectus.com)
EqAEquivalent Average. A measure of total offensive value per out, with corrections for league offensive level, home park, and team pitching. EQA considers batting as well as baserunning, but not the value of a position player's defense. The EqA adjusted for all-time also has a correction for league difficulty. The scale is deliberately set to approximate that of batting average. League average EqA is always equal to .260.
EqA is derived from Raw EqA, which is
Any variables which are either missing or which you don't want to use can simply be ignored (be sure you ignore it for both the individual and league, though). You'll also need to calculate the RawEqa for the entire league (LgEqA).
Convert RawEqA into EqR, taking into account the league EqA LgEqA, league runs per plate appearance, the park factor PF, an adjustment pitadj for not having to face your own team's pitchers, and the difficulty rating. Again, you can ignore some of these as the situation requires. xmul can simply be called "2", while the PF, diffic, and pitadj can be set to "1".
EQAADJ=xmul*(RawEqa/LgEqa)* ((1+1/diffic)/2) + (1-xmul)
To get the final, fully adjusted EqA, we need to place this into a team environment.
This is an average team:
The DH adjustment is for playing in a league with a DH. "Games" is the number of games played by this player.
Replacing one player on the average team with our test subject:
Get pythagorean exponent
Calculate win percentage
Convert into adjusted space, where the Pythagorean exponent is set to 2.
Fully adjusted EqR:
EQR=.17235*((NEWTM-1)*27.*Games + Outs)
Fully adjusted EqA
EQA= (EQR/5/Outs)** 0.4
Now this stat is deep, but it’s one that I wouldn’t give a second glance to, it’s too complicated and what does it prove? Do you see the computation above? This isn’t rocket science, it’s baseball. I don’t care for Algebra and am not a fan of these type of wild computations. It sells books, but in reality, it’s a bunch of useless computations that go nowhere. There are many, many, more of these zany brainy computations with names that go with them. There have been recent reports of teams that have bought into the value of some of these numbers and stats.I don't see how you can give much credence to this.
Give me a team’s press notes, some stats from the box scores, and I’m good to go, What do I care if Player A’s numbers are 1.2354789 and Player B’s numbers for the same thing is 1.2235647 – am I supposed to think less of Player B with these Sabermetrics? I don’t think so.