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Crash course(s) to learn new fancy stats...


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Well, since I can't read an article any more anywhere on the interwebs, I guess I need to start learning which "fancy" stats I need to start looking at to try to evaluate batters and pitchers better...  I have been trying to avoid this as much as possible and still using the more basic ones, but alas it appears that those days are gone forever...

Anyway, what would be a good thing to look at and read up on...  I mainly want to know why this newer stat is worth looking at over this other new stat and so on...

Please and thank you for any help that is supplied...  I know that I have complained about these "fancy" stats for many many years but like I said, I don't think articles can be written by anyone without these being included in said article...

Again, thank you in advance for your time and any help...

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39 minutes ago, posty said:

  I mainly want to know why this newer stat is worth looking at over this other new stat and so on...

 

I mean what are you looking at prior to this? The main point of "fancy" stats as you say is to either validate or invalidate the performance of a player and/or find players who are showing strong skills but getting unlucky in traditional 5x5 or slash line stats.

Edited by brockpapersizer
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2 minutes ago, brockpapersizer said:

I mean what are you looking at prior to this? The main point of "fancy" stats as you say is to either validate or invalidate the performance of a player and/or find players who are showing strong skills but getting unlucky in traditional 5x5 or slash line stats.

Other than the normal 5x5, I usually only looked at OBP and OPS over the last couple of weeks...  It has served me quite well and still does, but like I said above, articles don't talk about those much any more and only care about these other ones...

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I'd like to take a crack at this and I hope I'm on target for what you're asking.  I personally like baseball savant and that's what I'll be talking about and giving an introduction on.  Let's use Aaron Judge as an example.  If you go to https://baseballsavant.mlb.com/savant-player/aaron-judge-592450?stats=statcast-r-hitting-mlb.  One of the first windows you'll see is this one:

image.png.44a16431e10e3ff5bd3ff84aac27b855.png

This gives you a great snapshot of what type of player they have been for the selected season.  Each category includes a number which tells you what percentile they rank in comparison to the rest of baseball for that season.

Now I'll go over these categories, not in order that they're shown but in a way that logically connects them, and tell you what they mean and how you should interpret them.

Avg Exit Velocity: tells you on average how hard they hit the ball

Max exit velocity: gives you a kind of ceiling on how hard they can hit the ball

Hardhit%: tells you how frequently they hit the ball hard

Barrel%: With what frequency do they hit the ball hard and hit the ball with an optimal launch angle. (Square up the ball)

These are the foundational elements along with launch angle and sprint speed that the expected statistics are generated

xBA is the expected batting average

xSLG is the expected slugging

K% BB% Whiff% Chase Rate: Help you evaluate the batter's discipline and contact ability. I usually look at this to help decide if a player's success is sustainable. As a free swinger is probably not going to continue to get pitches to hit for very long.

wOBA is an aggregating metric used to measure a player's overall offensive contributions per plate appearance but xwOBA is the expected value generated off of the previous statistics. So good if you just want to look at one number.

I find this information incredible helpful as I've been able to find undervalued hitters or breakout hitters long before any of the other managers in my league.  

I can go over more if you find it helpful.

 

 

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54 minutes ago, brockpapersizer said:

I mean what are you looking at prior to this? The main point of "fancy" stats as you say is to either validate or invalidate the performance of a player and/or find players who are showing strong skills but getting unlucky in traditional 5x5 or slash line stats.

The term you are looking for is "predictive."

Fantasy players want to make the best guesses as to what a player will do in the future and past performance is often terribly misleading.  The more predictive a stat is in regards to fantasy categories in your league, the better it is for fantasy purposes.  

One obvious example:  if a guy steals two bases the first day of the year, but you look up his statistical footspeed and realize he is the slowest person in all of MLB, you can safely assume something flukey happened and the player is not a good candidate to continue stealing bases at a high rate.

A real life example from this season:  Jake Arrieta came out this year on fire with 3-4 excellent starts.  Looking at his SIERA and xFIP, he was actually performing like a 5+ ERA hurler.  To summarize: he was getting lucky and it would be incredibly unlikely for that to keep happening for an entire season. 

Edited by Overlord
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28 minutes ago, Overlord said:

The term you are looking for is "predictive."

 

I'm aware, you're explaining to the wrong person. As I always say "what you think a player does tomorrow >>> than what he did yesterday"

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It depends on what you're wanting to use them for.  Some advanced metrics are used to be predictive.  Basically, anytime there's an x in front of a stat, that means it's an expected outcome.  So, xERA, xWOBA, xAVG.  That will just tell you, based on how this player is performing, this is what you should expect their result to be.  You can get more granular and get into things like BABIP, exit velo and barrel percentage.  That basically just tells you how hard and how often a guy hits the ball.  BABIP indicates whether a guy has been lucky or not.  For pitchers, that might be looking at things like swinging strike rates and contact rates and hard/medium/soft contact rate.

I like to think of these as stats that just tell you what you could probably observe if you were able to watch every single game.  You might see an 0-4 in the box score, but if you were at the game, you might have seen this guy hit 4 screaming line drives right at fielders.  That's all stats like EV and BABIP are telling you.

There are also weighted stats. This is basically just taking a players performance and measuring it against the run environment of the league that particular year.  Essentially, how did this guy perform compared to everyone else in the league.  This is going to be stats like wRC+, ERA+ and even WAR.  These are useful if you're trying to compare players of different eras.  How does Jacob deGrom's season compare to Walter Johnson or Christy Matthewson?  Kind of impossible to compare without weighting the stats for the era.

Fangraphs is my go to for most advanced metrics.  They have a definition for each of their stats.  You'll probably find there are a handful you like for different reasons.  There's still a lot I don't understand and don't use very often.

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For simplicity, I’d start learning the stats on baseballsavant.com (ie statcast) cause those are what is being referred to the most and their definitions are at the bottom of the page. The most popular fantasy categories on that website to learn are the Exit Velocity & Barrels and expect statistics.  XWoba, EV, LA, xEra and barrel rates alone should keep you up speed. If you want to dig deeper than fangraphs is for you and will add more meaning. 

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