1. Welcome! Please take a few seconds to create your free account to post threads, make some friends, remove a few ads while surfing and much more. ClutchFans has been bringing fans together to talk Houston Sports since 1996. Join us!

The Epic of Craig Biggio

Discussion in 'Houston Astros' started by Furious Jam, Feb 25, 2008.

  1. The Cat

    The Cat Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2000
    Messages:
    20,802
    Likes Received:
    5,255
    If any statistic that isn't batting average, home runs or RBI is cited in any kind of critical fashion (even though, as you said, the article wasn't harsh at all) toward a liked player, you can count on a segment of the baseball fan base to come out and effectively call the person a nerd. Clockwork.
     
  2. msn

    msn Member

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2002
    Messages:
    11,726
    Likes Received:
    2,093
    Sorry to be so predictable; it's just fun to push the buttons. :D
     
  3. The Cat

    The Cat Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2000
    Messages:
    20,802
    Likes Received:
    5,255
    True. And while I strongly disagree with the actual thought process behind it, I have to admit that I laugh my ass off at the new acronyms Major Mal always comes up with. :D
     
  4. Hammer755

    Hammer755 Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2002
    Messages:
    1,494
    Likes Received:
    106
    Just because you don't understand it doesn't mean it's hocus-pocus. I'm not saying that I think it is easy to comprehend, nor that I necessarily understand the decisions completely. But there are a lot of things that I don't understand, that I accept because somebody who knows a lot more about a subject tells me so.

    Also, I personally don't think that Win Shares is the be-all end-all of value calculations, but James has been doing statistical analysis for 25 years, so his opinions on the topic mean more to me than yours or mine even.
     
  5. msn

    msn Member

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2002
    Messages:
    11,726
    Likes Received:
    2,093
    That's all fair.

    Speaking frankly, I think that statistical analysis is very valuable in its proper context. I see it (ab)used incorrectly so often, that I resort to grade-school button pushing just for the fun of it. Though, I must admit, I'm not nearly as good at it as the guy who referenced AEIOU+ earlier!
     
  6. Hammer755

    Hammer755 Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2002
    Messages:
    1,494
    Likes Received:
    106
    I agree that it is often used incorrectly - many statheads will argue until they're blue in the face that a guy who has 41 Win Shares is far better than a guy with 39 Win Shares when James himself would say that that kind of argument is stupid.

    My biggest gripe is with the 'mom's basement' crowd. I consider myself a stathead, but I also get out to MMP as much as possible and watch tons of baseball on television. Most people assumes that a sabermetricians goal is to replace games with spreadsheets, when in my experience, the spreadsheets only serve to enhance the games.
     
  7. MaxwellsTemper

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2007
    Messages:
    413
    Likes Received:
    1
    This is all just my interpretation, so feel free to rip me for it - I feel like he tries to use the fact that Bidge always busted his ass as a negative, to prove that he was never really that good. And that because his numbers declined as he got older, he was never really that good.

    James calls him an overachiever. How is it overachieving if he always gave 100% and got the most he could out of his talent?? That is not "over"achieving, that is reaching your full potential. You can overachieve for one season maybe, you don't overachieve for a career. That's a bunch of BS.
     
    13 in 33 likes this.
  8. Hammer755

    Hammer755 Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2002
    Messages:
    1,494
    Likes Received:
    106
    I don't think that's what he's saying at all. My take was that he loved Biggio when Biggio was doing the things that few people understand the immense value of (BB, HBP, 2B, defense, High SB%). But when Biggio started getting national recognition for reaching 3k hits, he was no longer doing any of those things, and was simply hanging on to get a number.

    He also included something about his split stats of good pitchers vs. poor pitchers. I've never seen any kind of a similar analysis, so I have no idea if his theory is correct or not. Inherently, most batters perform better against poor pitchers than good pitchers, but I don't know if he's arguing that Biggio had an extremely large split or what.
     
    13 in 33 likes this.
  9. Buck Turgidson

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2002
    Messages:
    88,775
    Likes Received:
    87,669
    Don't see anyone really "hating" on James; this is just a poorly researched and argued article, especially by his standards.
     
  10. MaxwellsTemper

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2007
    Messages:
    413
    Likes Received:
    1
    I think most fans, even Biggio fans, will admit that he benefited hitting mediocre pitching. I don't think that's something new.

    What I don't like is that I feel as if James wouldn't have written the article that Biggio "overachieved" for his career if he hadn't stuck around for two extra seasons or so. Its like James was upset that his favorite player, who was an under-the-radar guy was becoming more of a household name.

    So because he wasn't stealing as many bases and his defense slipped, he had overachieved his entire CAREER? To me, that's just a bunch of BS. This is all my opinion of course.
     
  11. rrj_gamz

    rrj_gamz Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2002
    Messages:
    15,595
    Likes Received:
    197
    Not a bad read...I agree with most (except for the reason going to CF)...I think he did benefit for mediocre pitchers, but so did everyone else in his era...

    Did he stay too long, maybe, but he did get 3000 hits, no matter how you slice it...HOF 4 sure...
     
  12. The Cat

    The Cat Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2000
    Messages:
    20,802
    Likes Received:
    5,255
    Yeah, he's arguing that Biggio's split was particularly large. It would be an interesting observation and speak a lot if it included Biggio's entire career, but I'm not sure why he didn't crunch the research before writing this article... makes it come off as very amateur.

    As I said earlier, my guess is that his theory wouldn't really apply to Biggio in his prime -- the specific split he's talking about is something I noticed (eyeball only, of course) becoming more pronounced with age and declining bat speed (and to a lesser extent, MMP, although the two kind of coincided). I don't think it was indicative of Biggio's hitting approach in the 90's.
     
  13. RunninRaven

    RunninRaven Contributing Member
    Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2000
    Messages:
    15,080
    Likes Received:
    2,775
    Seems kind of weird that a guy who usually reaches for stats to make in depth arguments basically lists one of the reasons he soured on Biggio was because his popularity got more mainstream as he neared 3000 hits. That's not when you sour on a player, that's when you tell all the follower sheep b****es that ignored him for the better part of 2 decades that you were there first.
     
  14. Buck Turgidson

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2002
    Messages:
    88,775
    Likes Received:
    87,669
    "His clutch hitting record is miserable." -- Bill James

    Craig Biggio, career OPS+ in Late & Close situations, relative to his career OPS (tOPS): 87

    Derek Jeter, clutchiest player in existence, same criteria: 90

    Most players are less successful in these situations, due to their usually facing the other teams' best bullpen arms. And yes, his playoff struggles are well documented: he had a couple of good series, he had more bad. So did Willie Mays & a whole, whole bunch of other players.

    "He couldn't hit a good pitcher—never could, really."

    He's got an OPS of around .900 against Pedro Martinez & Carlos Zambrano; he's hit others like Greg Maddux, Chris Carpenter & Livan Hernandez pretty well. And yeah, he's struggled against a bunch of great pitchers; most players do, that's why they're great pitchers. (and these are just the guys currently playing, which would skew the available pool in favor of guys Craig was facing when not in his prime.)

    James is using dubious stats & stats he hasn't even bothered to research fully to prove his main thesis that Craig Biggio was an "overachiever", as if that can be proven, or has any meaningful import even if so. Just a strange, sloppy article.
     
    13 in 33 likes this.
  15. Win

    Win Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2002
    Messages:
    1,745
    Likes Received:
    111
    I've liked (loved, really) Biggio for many of the same reasons the author did. The fact that he was a 'HOUSTON ASTRO' made it so much the better. However, I do not believe he wore out his welcome as a valuable player up to the end. He made it to 3000 hits with far more dignity and ability than the author suggests. He writes it akin to Johnny Unitas in a Chargers uniform.
     
    #35 Win, Feb 25, 2008
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2008
  16. Jugdish

    Jugdish Member

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2006
    Messages:
    8,473
    Likes Received:
    8,445
    lol advancement of knowledge sux
     
  17. Major Malcontent

    Major Malcontent Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2000
    Messages:
    3,177
    Likes Received:
    211
    Thanks for the love on the made up stats. I really don't have a problem with SABRmetric stats, some of which I even almost understand. I see The Cat in the Press Box some, when they let me out of my TV production room dungeon..and between that and reading him on here he sounds really cool.

    If I ever have anything resembling a bitter taste in my mouth its from the few folks who just won't give up unless you acknowledge they are right and you are wrong. Me, I just love the debate. I remember a particularly disheartening discussion with a guy who I thought was gonna firebomb my house unless I admitted that if you had 8 Morgan Ensbergs you would win 135 games. And I would try to make a point and he would be. "No you don't understand...there is no debate...its been empirically PROVEN." Now, last I checked no one ever trotted out a all CloneBerg lineup...so I don't know how it could be proven. So then I said, that may be true...but when he stops doing classic 3rd baseman stuff like hitting for power and driving in runs...no one is gonna walk him, no reason to. Anyway...by the time Mo lost his stroke...the guy had moved on to the rank injustice of Craig Biggio blocking Chris Burke. When Burke didn't do much it was "Why has no one appointed Luke Scott God/King"...etc.

    Even Bill James who probably IS a genius and probably HAS revolutionized baseball forever, when he says stuff like "Very few people at that time saw him as a special player. I liked that, too—I liked people thinking I was out on a limb about something when I knew I was right." that attitude makes me inclined not to like him...even when he is supporting MY guy.

    I also am tired of all the hand wringing by certain people when a player doesn't choose to retire at the absolute apex of his career. The way baseball salaries go its just not realistic for baseballers to retire at the absolute height of their powers. Cause by the time a guy with a 15 year career comes to that point where his skills are declining a little...lefthanded #4 starters are making more than he was making in his all star years. Maybe in some dreamworld an athlete with the kind of ego needed to excel as Craig did will not feel entitled to some of that big money.

    Put my name on the list of being one of those who is glad an "over the hill" Biggio got WS at bats in 05 and 3000 hits in a season that would have been putrid even if we had Jackie Robinson in his prime at 2nd.
     
  18. msn

    msn Member

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2002
    Messages:
    11,726
    Likes Received:
    2,093
    Awesome post, MM. I shall quote several parts just because I can, and just to underscore them (and just to waste Clutch's bandwidth).
    Indeed. The evidence is statistical, but it's about as empirical as hell is frozen.

    Same here. The only arrogance I am willing to tolerate is my own. :D

    This is the part I really wanted to quote. Word on, brotha.

    My name, too.
     
  19. MadMax

    MadMax Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 1999
    Messages:
    74,329
    Likes Received:
    21,501
    you had me at hello. great post.
     
  20. leroy

    leroy Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2002
    Messages:
    26,517
    Likes Received:
    9,832
    That's an awfully intelligent post for someone that went to Oak Ridge.

    ;)
     

Share This Page

  • About ClutchFans

    Since 1996, ClutchFans has been loud and proud covering the Houston Rockets, helping set an industry standard for team fan sites. The forums have been a home for Houston sports fans as well as basketball fanatics around the globe.

  • Support ClutchFans!

    If you find that ClutchFans is a valuable resource for you, please consider becoming a Supporting Member. Supporting Members can upload photos and attachments directly to their posts, customize their user title and more. Gold Supporters see zero ads!


    Upgrade Now