Thursday, April 26, 2007

Baseball Rubbish

Clutchiness 101

4 月 22 日在 Fenway Park 的比賽或許是近一週來張力最夠的一場比賽 (也許對部份台灣球迷而言比不上 王建民 本季的首度先發),Red Sox 難得一見的 "驚彈 4 連發" 讓 Yankees 的新人投手 Chase Wright 做了苦主。

我認為這倒是個拿來解釋 "clutch" 的好例子,以下是當天的 4 發全壘打對 Red Sox 的 WE (Win Expectancy) 的推移:

2007/04/22, Fenway Park, Bottom 3rd, 2 outs, 0-3
NameScoreLIWEWPA
M. Ramirez1-30.400.2070.085
JD. Drew2-30.470.2920.104
M. Lowell3-30.500.3960.117
J. Varitek4-30.480.5130.115
Total WPA0.628 - 0.207 = 0.421

以 JD Drew 那一列為例,這個表格的意義是:
  • Drew 完成打擊時的比分是 2-3、2 outs、Red Sox 落後 (Duh!)。

  • Drew 在此打席的 LI (Leverage Index) 僅有 0.47,顯示他這個打席對 Red Sox 本役的 WE Swing 程度為 general situation 的 47% (Not crucial)。

  • Drew 上場打擊時,Red Sox 本役的獲勝機會 (WE) 是 29.2% (0.292)。

  • Drew 此打席的結果為 Red Sox 增加了 0.104 的獲勝機會 (WPA、Win Probability Added)。

  • Mike Lowell 上場打擊時,Red Sox 的獲勝機會為 39.6%,也就是 Drew 上場時的 WE 與 Drew 該打席的 WPA 總和。

也就是說在 Red Sox 的 4 連轟結束後,Red Sox 的獲勝機會增加了 42.1%,相較於 MLB 史上的前一次 4 連轟 -- 也就是 06 年 9 月 18 日在 Dodger Stadium 上演的煙火秀:

2006/09/18, Dodger Stadium, Bottom 9th, 0 outs, 5-9
NameScoreLIWEWPA
J. Kent6-90.500.0200.025
JD. Drew7-91.020.0440.053
R. Martin8-91.980.0970.112
M. Anderson9-93.600.2100.433
Total WPA0.643 - 0.020 = 0.623

同樣是 4 連轟,但 Dodgers 賺到的 WPA 比 Red Sox 多了約 20%,LA 就是時常會發生這種 "Hollywood Style" 的表演,而這兩個例子的比較下給我們的延伸思考是:

  • Solo-shot 雖然都是 1 RBI,但 1 RBI 對球隊的價值卻可以有很大的差距。因此,單以 RISP (得點圈) 的表現並不足以代表 clutchiness。

  • 當客隊在 9 局下領先 3 分時,獲勝的機會大於 95% (closer VS 3-run save opportunity)。

  • 被稱為 "clutch hit" 的安打多半由於 high leverage situation 使然,你無法責怪有些球員天生就是英雄命。

RISP? Clutch hitter? Saves? Probably all baseball rubbish...

If there were no oxygen...

在 4 月 22 日的比賽之後,有不少人於是開始討論 Chase Wright 為何被 4 連轟的問題,當然這些討論出來的原因不外乎是 "節奏調整不佳"、"捕手配球不好"、"出手位置不對"...etc。

當要採納這些所謂的 "原因" 之前,我們應該先問問自己:假設在 A 國有紅色的水牛,那麼當我們旅行到 A 國並且看到紅色的水牛時,我們該不該說 "這個國家的水牛都是紅色的"?相信大部份的人都不會這麼做!說不定有人會考慮踏遍這個國家的每一角來確認這件事。Statistically,這就是 "做實驗"。

所以當我們想知道 Chase Wright 為什麼一瞬間成為人肉飛彈發射台的時候,如果他是節奏不佳,那就請 Wright 為你 replicate 他不佳的節奏,然後面對 4 名打者、做 100 次甚至 1000 次這樣的 trials,看看究竟連 4 轟的 odd 是如何;如果是捕手配球不好,那就請捕手幫忙配完全一樣的球路來面對 4 名打者;如果是 Wright 出手的位置不對....do the same trial for significant times。單憑印象就歸因於 Wright 的 wrong tempo 或 mechanical flaw,不僅依據不足,也相當不科學;再說,就算 Wright 給 4 位打者的全是紅中球,也未必會造成 4 連轟的結果。

同樣的理由,Juan Pierre 在季初打 leadoff 時是 8-43,Furcal 歸隊後,Pierre 打 No.2 則交出 14-32 (4 月 24 日前),這難道代表 Grady Little 在季前考慮 Furcal 與 Pierre 誰該打 leadoff 的問題得到了解答?或者這只是單純的 statistical fluke?

我們曉得,世界上如果沒有氧氣,那麼大家都活不成;反過來說,如果我們還活著,那麼世界上就不可能沒有氧氣,所以你用不著費心去找氧氣。

Mechanical flaw? Pierre a good No.2 hitter? Probably, baseball rubbish...

13 comments:

GoTribeYang said...

如果有人問我 Chase Wright 為何投不好的原因,我一定只會丟這句話:「這傢伙只是從 AA 上來做 emergency start」的。 :p

Morikawa said...

Exactly!我也認為 Chase Wright 的被 4 連轟只是 "Some bad things just aligned to happen."

And you don't have to actually look for oxygen.

Dorasaga said...

Hey, good analysis. This is one of your better articles. I never fully understood why one or four homers are significant for a game, but to prove it, I might prefer taking WE and WPA as a reference point to start.

Now, here's something I just wonder: Are you a staff member of ANN?

Morikawa said...

There's no analysis in this "better rubbish". It's just part replica of a text book all managers should have read.

And I don't quite follow what ANN is.

Dorasaga said...

Is this your "better rubbish"? Then I'm sure you have worse junkies in your pocket! Show it all!
XD

Well, maybe I'm a little off-track here, but I seriously doubt that managers don't know what's contributing to a game-win. 21st century managers most likely know both stats and hunch, a mix of field experience and baseball science. It's just how they interpret those make a difference.

ANN is an anime site. I'm surprised that you don't know.

Morikawa said...

Just because I watch anime doesn't mean I need to know what ANN is.

All articles on this site are my rubbish, or garbage, you name it. Feel free to read on.

I'm still processing some studies on how managers do and try to find some tiny evidences so that I can feel comfortable with them. Currently, you're visiting a site whose owner deems none of them are bright bulbs.

Falohmum said...

大哥,你這裡沒有留言版,有些話我也不想回在我那邊,所以借這篇講一下,亂了版面不好意思...

你講話好直(汗),我是很能接受(還看得挺過癮的),但怕別人受不了刺激,也怕有人懷恨 ^_^"

許先生我記得年紀有一把了,剛去查了一下,1937年出生的。那個年代的人,看球,應該很少人能有現代的這種數據觀念,寫球,應該都是寫抒情文或寫故事居多...這是背景和環境使然。

也不要說那個年代的人,就算十年前,我看棒球和看電影也幾乎是一樣的。

像這種媒體的「名球評」,又很容易被「現代人」當靶子鞭。但如果換個標準,似乎還好?

我做那個周報,當然有私人推薦性質在內,但更想做的是超乎個人主觀的展示平台。提供一個空間讓大家更便利的接觸更多棒球。

(我不像大哥能為我們推深推高,只好做做看能不能推廣 :P )

我在周報放他的文章,一來是有點懷舊,就像我曾放張昭雄先生的文章一樣。二是一種效果,希望認同他名字的人,會連帶去注意其他朋友的文章。當然基本上我會挑我覺得ok的。

再者,那個周報讀者的層級或偏好,我並沒有設定,所以各種文我都會放放看,再去觀察哪個連結被點閱最多(可惜被點閱最多的,都是標題最聳動的...)

對於哪一篇是好的,我有偏好,但我不要太主動的推薦,我希望大家自行比較。(是的,放上去,反而有被比較的風險..)

好像談遠了。聊一下我的想法,如果有不對請直言。也謝謝大哥的建議。

PS.這篇看完,請可以刪掉 ^_^

Dorasaga said...

Well, I related you to ANN because your tone resembles some folks there who's also from Taiwan: Critical, and not forgiving at all.

In fact, your "rubbish" might be a good reflection on Japanese baseball from a foreigner's view, such as the one by japanbaseballdaily.com - I'm wondering what do you think of that site and the opinions that this author makes of Japanese baseball?

Morikawa said...

Dorasaga,

Your ID finally rings my bell! You are the Dorasaga from "npb.club.tw", right?

I think NPB is a totally different story from MLB. If anything I write here makes you think I'm picking on NPB, that's not true! The fact is I can't give any comments on NPB managers since NPB is not a territory I'm familiar with. (Maybe I used to…) But speaking of MLB, no doubt most of the managers are on my shit list.

Due to your intro, I visit the site "japanbaseballdaily.com" and read the long commentary "A Few Modest Proposals". To be honest, it's not very impressive. Life is not that easy as the author thinks. I really, really, really don’t think the MLB experience can be well fitted in NPB.

I'd like to say the NPB teams are no more than living advertisements of big enterprise groups, not a symbol of the city they locate. Nevertheless, you can't blame they fail to associate their fans tightly because probably over 70% of baseball fans in Japan belong to Giants & Tigers.

Since it is too difficult to alter the distribution of NPB fans, most of the MLB experiences (especially those “how to run a team well” stuff) may not be very useful in Japan. Perhaps, this is the biggest reason why most of the NPB teams fail to maintain their financial condition in black. Moreover, without making money, there will be less roster moves. This circumstance causes most of teams have to keep on playing their “best 9” for, maybe more than a decade. It lowers the magnitude of competition. This cannot be solved easily by just reducing the service time for players to get their FA eligibility.

Furthermore, I feel the gap between amateur & pro in Japan baseball is very slim. Expand roster limitation, spend little money to build up "san-gun", not just "ni-gun", might be helpful to make "ichi-gun" become "real pro". When the word "soku-senryoku" disappears in draft, NPB will step into a new level of intensive. This is one of the "MLB experiences" NPB should follow in the future, at least I think so.

Oh, I forget to mention the way MLB scouts NPB players does do a lot of damage to NPB, especially when Japan baseball fans start to celebrate their players leave to challenge MLB instead of pissing on their "betray". However, with the concept of “Money ups front”, NPB is incapable of fighting this obviously.

All NPB can do is to find its own way out, and it's a tough task.

Dorasaga said...

Hi again,

Yeap, that's the Dorasaga you saw on npb.club~

I really agree with you on 2 things:
1. MLB experience is not fully compatible with NPB environment.
2. "Money ups front" might mean, in another word, economical insentives, which is the most powerful and most effective way to change NPB environment.

The problem is: Does NPB need to change "that"? Should 社会人球団 be marginalized from NPB draft system? Should Tigers and Giants decentralize their leadership for the localization of every NPB team?

I don't know. There's a good side of change, reform, 維新, you name it, but there's also the bad side.

I think in general, NPB is localizing. Fukuoka, Hokkaido, Hiroshima, even Chiba. Remember, back in the 80s, Tokyo had 7 teams, and Hanshin metro area had 4. Now, it's more spread out. And we have independent leagues like Shikoku.

Reforms had been applied, and adjustments to "newer" concepts and environment changes, such as demographic, which fundamentally means fans' voice.

NPB listens to its customers, and it will improve. The way MLB is taking over international market is not too surprising, and one day, more than hurting NPB, we might see both ways, a more cooperative exchange b/w players from MLB to NPB as well.

We'll see. 大河はいつも流れてるんだろう?

Morikawa said...

Dorasaga,

I think you're right about your point of NPB, though I'm not capable of determining any possible schemes that can be well fitted in NPB.

Couple Years ago, I was very paranoid about NPB's pigheadness that they try never something new. I deemed they should have apply those "MLB experiences". Nonethless, those thoughts are no longer in my mind.

chordate said...

只想問問Money ups front中的ups是什麼^^"

Morikawa said...

Chordate,

那只是把 "up" 當成動詞而已,這裡應該解釋為 "錢站到了面前來",也就是 "金錢至上" 的意思。