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Baseball Players Get Their Stats

August 27, 2014

I spent most of yesterday showing one of the sharper minds I know something weird about football: Good football CB get stats. Bad ones can get even more. Great ones don’t get any.

Let’s start with baseball. If your glove and bat are good enough to be an everyday player, for better or worse you’re getting your PA this year and the stats that go along with them. Depending on where you hit, and mildly depending on your team’s collective offence, you might get a few more than 700 PA or more like 600. Pitching’s the same: If you’re the third starter, no matter how they try and get 35 starts out of the workhorse-ace, you’re still getting the ball 30-32 times and the stats that go with that. If you’re the fifth starter, barring injury you’ll still get 25-27 starts even if you get skipped once a month.

What you do with those opportunities is at least partially up to you. Sure, there’s some luck involved. Maybe the wind was knocking the ball down. Maybe what should have been seeing-eye singles saw the second-baseman’s glove. But that stuff evens itself out. Nowadays, in  the mean time, Internet Sabrmetric geeks like me have your back.

Consider now the good NFL cornerback. Yesterday I had an inquiry: how many INT did I think Patrick Peterson might get this year? I argued for a very low number. Not because I think he’s bad, but because I think he’s very good. The opposition won’t give him the chance to make 10 interceptions.

Imagine you’re a shutdown corner flying home on the team plane and you’re looking at the game stats from a road loss you’d just as soon forget:

You: 3 tkl, 1 pass knocked down

Guy Across the Field: 7 tkl, INT-TD,  2 passes knocked down

You had the better game and it wasn’t fucking close. You held the other team’s top WR to 2-25 for one first down with no score, and (momentarily) saved a touchdown when the SLB  and SS each missed what should have been a straightforward tackle. Otherwise, the other team’s passer never looked in your direction.

Across-the-Field got his pick-six, but also got roasted for 170 yards and two TD… or was it 3? On the third one, the FS sure didn’t look like he was expecting to have to help over the top because he was pointing at the slot receiver before the snap. That was a clusterfuck, but you were on an island with an all-pro receiver who had 10+ touchdowns three of the last four years, and you covered his 15 yard out.

45-14. Jesus Christ.  

I’ve ranted about this a lot. Less since Aeneas Williams finally got in the HOF. But I still get annoyed when a football fantasy league uses IDP. (It’s not just CB: some LB get fewer tackles because they get the opposition off the field and their own team has possession 35 minutes-plus every game.)

But baseball? Whether you’re great or merely average, you’ll get your chances. Maybe that comes from baseball being the most individualistic of team sports, but I like it.

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