Tuesday, August 02, 2005

I can see clearly now, the fog is gone...

Let's get some clarification up in this mug.

It seems that a few people (such as the ultra-cool Joe Giovannetti over at Giants Cove and Jon at sfist.com ) think that I'm knocking Randy Winn when I throw around phrases like, "replacement-level".

Well, that's not really a knock on him, it's a knock on Brian "the Brain" Sabean. Here's Joe's response to a comment I made on his site about Winn's replacement-level-ness:

Replacement level. Daniel I have to say you are way off here. Winn is above average in every facet of the game except power. His OBP and GPA are both above average while playing in a notorious pitchers park. Will he lead us to the division title? No. Is he slightly overpaid? Maybe. Be angry at those facets of the trade, but Winn has been an average player in the past.

Hm. I could argue semantics and wonder about the "way off" portion of that comment, but I'll not split hairs -- Randy Winn is average, and that's pretty much the definition of replacement-level. He's not bad, he's not good. He's replaceable, should the Giants want/need to replace him down the road. And that's, of course, my biggest point, is that since Winn can be replaced by an average player, then he wasn't worth picking up in the first place. The fact that Joe himself points out that Winn is "above average in every facet of the game except power" is, to me, an imminently arguable point, but nevertheless his lack of power is exactly what brings him back down to replacement-level. If he could SLG .470, then I'd be all for the trade, because Winn would be an above average player.

Here's my reponse to Joe's reponse:

Joe, that’s a pretty stat, but I’ve got a different way of looking at it: Among all ML OF’s with at least 250 plate appearances, do you know where Winn ranks in VORP?

Of the 80 outfielders that qualify, Winn is 53rd on the list…or slightly below the mean.

The average VORP is 20.3, and Winn’s VORP is 13.2.

I don’t know what else to tell you besides that if that doesn’t convince you that Winn is average – at best. Again, it’s not really a knock, but the Giants could find players of Winn’s caliber without a lot of trouble if they looked long enough. They certainly didn’t need to trade Foppert and Torreabla to get that kind of performance.

So, I hope we're all clarified n' stuff. I do not think Randy Winn is a bad player. Randy Winn is an average player. But he's also an average player who's performance has been slipping for three consecutive seasons now (from when he was above average). Joe also brought up Winn's hitting in a pitcher's park -- but Winn isn't exactly coming to a hitter's park in SBC/Mays Field.

With that in mind, I would much rather the Giants have stood pat. But that's why I ain't the boss, isn't it?


Aaron said...

Actually Sbc/Mays field was ranked 13th(306.3) overall last year, compared to Safeco(20th,287.2), and Tropicana (27th,273.3). To compare Coors(385) was best, and Petco(239.5) was worse. Although Sbc is worse for hr hit, but we know he's not a hr hitter anyway. Safeco was dead last in avg. so we should see his avg go up at least.

Daniel said...


Winn is essentially a doubles hitter, and as SBC is a better doubles and triples park than Safeco, that would seem to bode well for Winn in one sense.

He'll hit more doubles and a few more triples, but will hit virtually no home runs...meaning his SLG will remain the same or rise to some degree.

I am not, however, completely on board with park factors -- it's a tool to show what is possible, not to show what will happen.

Daniel said...

And by the way, Aaron, let's remember that the Trop (that you had listed way below even Safeco) was where Winn had his last bit of above average play -- so no, I'm not going to trust that it was all Safeco that was holding Winn back.

Doug said...

Randy Winn is average, and that's pretty much the definition of replacement-level.


You're using "replacement-level" and "average" interchangably when they are two different things. "Replacement-level" is the expected level of production at which a comparable player can be acquired for no cost.

By definition, replacement-level players do not have value, while average players do.

Randy Winn is averagish (depending on what position he plays), but is certainly above replacement level.

Jon said...

Hey, I'm not knocking the comment, I agree with it (I just like making fun of Moneyball-types). I actually was just using your stats to prove what I hoped was my point- it was a dumb-ass trade.

Daniel said...


Thanks for the clarification, and I've admitted to Joe from Giants Cove that it was an argument that was mostly semantics -- I was indeed using the term very loosely, as actual replacement level carries a "zero" value, and anything above that value is above replacement level.

I'm often described as a stat-head, which isn't really true. But if I want to use the terms deriving from anything SABR-orientated, I should use them by exact definition and not loosely. I apologize.

Daniel said...


Okay, gotcha. Perhaps I'm getting sensitive in my middle age...there still is a definitive lack of people who think the trade was good, or even "good".