Trout Catches Salmon: What Next?

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Almost certainly, this will only be the second time he doesn't win or finish second in MVP voting.

He had another great HR season, but in many other categories, there was a small but noticeable decline: walks, doubles, BA, OPS+ down, strikeouts up. His OPS+ was tied for his lowest ever. Which is the most likely explanation?

Poll Results

4) a slight step away from three seasons that will be looked back on as his peak; he will remain one of the three or fo 3
3) a combination of 1) and 2) 2
2) a meaningless blip attributable to something else 1
5) some version--even if it doesn't play out as drastically--of Albert Pujols, 2011 1
1) a meaningless blip caused by the freakish Pandemic Season 0

clemenza, Friday, 2 October 2020 00:27 (six months ago) link

Full version of 4): a slight step away from three seasons that will be looked back on as his peak; he will remain one of the three or four or five best hitters in the game for the next several seasons, well into his 30s

clemenza, Friday, 2 October 2020 00:29 (six months ago) link

meaningless. i bet you could find a 53-game stretch during his previous 3 seasons thats worse than this

ciderpress, Friday, 2 October 2020 00:34 (six months ago) link

2nd half of 2017 he had a 162 ops+ in 67 games, that's worse than this 168

ciderpress, Friday, 2 October 2020 00:36 (six months ago) link

worried about his defense, which both metrics really hated this year.

, Friday, 2 October 2020 00:58 (six months ago) link

yeah that's the one thing that's probably real, he's getting to the point where he should move to a corner

ciderpress, Friday, 2 October 2020 01:07 (six months ago) link

Got looking at numbers from Trout and saw that Pujol's career batting average is now below .300 at .299, which is way down from .328 when he left St. Louis.

earlnash, Friday, 2 October 2020 02:09 (six months ago) link

I really know Trout more from his stats as I never, ever really see the Angels play. It's all about the injuries, it only takes one. Trout's been remarkably durable considering his athletic style of play.

earlnash, Friday, 2 October 2020 02:12 (six months ago) link

at the risk of getting all jersey al . . . trout's defensive metrics in both b-ref and fangraphs have bounced all over the place. by b-ref, he was +2.0 dWAR in 2012 and -1.2 in 2013. last year he was +0.2, this year he's -0.8 in fewer games.

meanwhile jose abreu posted his first positive dWAR (0.2) this year. the defense is the huge difference in trout's overall WAR -- he ranks third in the AL in offensive bWAR (behind lemahieu and ramirez) but 19th in overall bWAR. i don't really find that credible?

(looking briefly at statcast it seems that he runs very good routes in the outfield but gets absolutely atrocious jumps. if that were solvable, i suppose he'd have done it by now.)

all that said, he's 29. he's probably peaked, but he's a somewhat more imposing physical specimen than pujols. some players, e.g. andruw jones, absolutely fell off a cliff at 31, but i don't expect that of trout. so i choose option 4, but make it, say, top eight

mookieproof, Friday, 2 October 2020 14:52 (six months ago) link

I was thinking 4) too. Decline at a Pujols level seems inconceivable.

clemenza, Friday, 2 October 2020 14:55 (six months ago) link

at the risk of getting all jersey al . . .

lol I know I've posted about him at least 2x but I have a close friend (well, husband of my wife's very good friend) who works as a senior data scientist for a very infamous mlb team and when I expressed to him my distrust of defensive metrics, he proposed that the difference between how his club measures defense (via 4D euclidean matrices compiled from video converting the ball and defender into vectors) vs. UZR--a "quaint" (his words) stat from 2003 which fangraphs (and I believe bref) uses to determine defensive WAR is as vast as the magnitude of relying on errors/fielding % to measure defense.

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Friday, 2 October 2020 15:52 (six months ago) link

Here's what BRef uses and you tell me if this sounds like something you'd employ in your day-to-day ops with any degree of confidence (ie, examine how apologetic and cautionary the measures are introduced with!):

Rdef. Fielding Runs

Fielding measures obviously have a lot of controversy surrounding them. Previously, Baseball-Reference used Sean Smith's Total Zone Rating for all seasons. With our 2012 update, we have switched to using Baseball Info Solutions Defensive Runs Saved for seasons since its introduction in 2003, and TZR for previous seasons.
Fielding Runs: Defensive Runs Saved

Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) is the most sophisticated public system available. It includes 8 factors:

Fielding Range Plus/Minus Runs Saved based on BIS-trained scorer observations and batted ball timing to determine the velocity of each batted ball.
Outfield arm runs saved based on exact counts of baserunner advancements and kills and the velocity of the hit ball.
Infielder double plays based on opportunities and rates they were turned based also on batted ball velocity.
Good play-bad play values which include 28 positive play types. For example: HR-saving catches, backing up a play, blocking a pitch in the dirt, and 54 misplays like missing the cutoff man, failing to anticipate the wall and allowing extra bases, not covering a base, pulling a foot off the bag, etc...
Bunt Fielding
Catcher SB/CS data (which is tweaked by the pitchers caught)
Pitcher SB/CS data (which is tweaked by the catchers behind the plate)
Catcher handling of the pitching staff via things like pitch framing and pitch calling

See the Fielding Bible Volume III for a full run-down of the system.

2011 Best: Austin Jackson 29 runs, 2011 Worst: Logan Morrison -26 runs.
Fielding Runs: Total Zone Rating

Total Zone Rating is a fielding measure developed by Sean Smith and is used in WAR for all seasons prior to 2003. Total Zone Rating (TZR) is a non-observational fielding system that relies on various forms based on the level of data available ranging from basic fielding and pitching stats to play-by-play including batted ball types and hit location. As much data as is available is used for each season.

When play-by-play is available, TZR will use information like ground balls fielded by infielders and outfielders to estimate hits allowed by infielders. It uses baserunner advancement and out information to determine arm ratings for outfielders, double play acumen by infielders and arm ratings for catchers.

From 1953-2002, Runs Saved or Cost are calculated for:

Fielder fielding range
Outfield arms
Turning the Double Play for infielders
Catcher Throwing

For seasons we lack play-by-play data (pre-1953), we use information on opposition hitting, pitcher and batter handedness, fielding stats and more to estimate fielder opportunites and outs produced.

For seasons where observational data is not available (pre-2003), we believe TZR is the best system for estimating player defense.

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Friday, 2 October 2020 15:57 (six months ago) link

xp kidnap him and make him reveal the truth to us imo

mookieproof, Friday, 2 October 2020 15:58 (six months ago) link

I’m curious, other than Mays, is there 30 years old + players that really kept hall of fame defensive stats at CF ? Seems like it’s particulary taxing position.

Van Horn Street, Friday, 2 October 2020 19:22 (six months ago) link

idk exactly what you mean by HOF defensive stats, but looking at CF JAWS . . . not really. even mays only did so until 35. kenny lofton was still at least average into his late 30s. lorenzo cain has played HOF defense through age 33. clemente did so (in RF) the whole way (through 37).

but that's just relying on b-ref's dWAR stats, so who knows really

mookieproof, Friday, 2 October 2020 20:04 (six months ago) link

man, kenny lofton really deserved better than getting dumped off his first ballot

mookieproof, Friday, 2 October 2020 20:07 (six months ago) link

Decline at a Pujols level seems inconceivable.

Did anybody predict Pujols' decline being as bad as it was though? Even the age-truthers weren't saying he would turn into a poor man's Joe Carter for a decade.

Barring something catastrophic like that, Trout's floor might be like Ken Griffey Jr second act -- a series of injuries, some good but not great partial seasons, and a gradual decline. And Griffey finished with 600 home runs and was a first ballot HOFer! IOW, Trout is pretty fucking great.

NoTimeBeforeTime, Friday, 2 October 2020 20:18 (six months ago) link

i don't think anyone predicted pujols. he was so dominant that you figured, well, maybe he loses power but can still command the zone and get hits, but it doesn't really work that way -- the edge great players have over average players doesn't seem to be as big as one would imagine.

but players developing catastrophic chronic injuries at 35 doesn't just happen to pujols or miggy -- it will come for everyone. who recently went out while still playing at a high level? i can think of beltre, who certainly had his share of injuries, and ortiz, who said he retired because he was in constant pain (and he didn't even have to play the field)

mookieproof, Friday, 2 October 2020 20:30 (six months ago) link

Automatic thread bump. This poll is closing tomorrow.

System, Wednesday, 7 October 2020 00:01 (six months ago) link

Automatic thread bump. This poll's results are now in.

System, Thursday, 8 October 2020 00:01 (six months ago) link

Intrigued by the one vote for #5...just can't envision anything that steep (conceding that no one really envisioned the magnitude of Pujol's decline, either).

clemenza, Thursday, 8 October 2020 03:37 (six months ago) link

probably morbs for daring us to consider such a thing during the Postseason

mookieproof, Thursday, 8 October 2020 03:43 (six months ago) link

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