Neyer on Karros and the A's
has a very interesting article on how Eric Karros probably won't help the A's as much as the A's think he's going to
. He talks about "y-t-y correlation" (whatever that is) and how you can't discount Karros' poor hitting against righties when figuring out his future hitting against lefties (Karros "mashed" lefties last year but was anemic against righties). The basic gist that Neyer is trying (and does) convey is this:
Let us suppose we've got a player -- Nathan, we'll call him (because we need a Nathan in the majors, don't you think?) -- who, last season, batted .250 in 450 at-bats against right-handed pitchers, and .350 in 100 bats against left-handed pitchers. Now, would you assume that Nathan will again bat .350 against lefties next season?
No, you probably would not. You probably would say, "Yes, .350 is impressive. But that was only 100 at-bats, so we also need to consider that he hit only .250 the rest of the time. It's not immediately apparent how he'll do against lefties next season, but I'm pretty sure he won't bat .350 against them again."
The next bit explains exactly what Neyer is trying to say:
his [Karros'] OPS against right-handed pitchers, over the course of nearly 1,000 at-bats, is a miserable (for a first baseman) 672.
That 672, we're supposed to just ignore? No, because that 672 also represents Karros' abilities, and not just against right-handed pitching. His 904 OPS against lefties and his 672 against righties are both pieces of the same puzzle, and if you separate one from the other, you'll wind up with an unfinished puzzle. Those 307 at-bats are not, and the 112 at-bats last season are certainly not, enough at-bats to prove that Karros is a special sort of creature with a crazy-big platoon split.
So, the conclusion is that, yes, Karros WILL help the A's, but only because he's replacing Scott Hatteberg and his "ineffective" bat.
Very interesting. I never really thought about the "weak" split affecting the future of the "strong" split. If that's the case, doesn't that throw all the traditional talk about splits and platoons out the window? How about someone like Houston platooning for the Yankees. We know that he hits righties well, but according to what Neyer is saying, we shouldn't expect him to hit righties as well this year. Neyer also says this:
In fact, if every player played enough games -- thousands and thousands of games, I mean -- eventually all of them would have roughly the same platoon split. There is some evidence that some types of hitters will have slightly larger platoon splits than others, but essentially they're all the same. I know, it sounds crazy. But everyone who's looked at this with any degree of sophistication has come up with the same answer. As James wrote in 1988, "It's innate. You can't get away from it."
When you think about it some, of course it makes some sense. I think I just need to think about it some more.
posted by shawn
: 2/06/2004 07:05:00 PM -