Thursday, June 21, 2007

You're really giving 110%, partner.

Wait a sec: I'm supposed to trust advanced statistical analysis from a dude who thinks if the season is 43 percent over, there's still 67 percent left to play? And says it twice? Sweet Mike Schmidt on a saltine.

I've really only got one major point to make in response to your post. But first a few clarifications. (I really wish I had saved the IM conversation so I could prove you said some of this.) The argument in question arose out of a back-and-forth Diesel and I were having about Jon Lieber going on the DL (in case any of you missed it, he twisted his ankle running to back up the catcher, right after he blew the lead). The Phils just lost Freddy Garcia and Myers is both on the DL and apparently entrenched in the 'pen, which means a team that started the season with 6 starters now has 3 and a guy they just called up from AA. I mentioned that there's been a lot of chatter about trading Aaron Rowand for another pitcher, and that the good folks over at A Citizen's Blog had mentioned Carlos Zambrano.

Diesel first said how inconsistent and volatile Zambrano is, and that he'd lost velocity. The first two, sure. I don't know if that last part is true, and I doubt if he does, either. But whatever. Then Diesel said the Cubs would "never trade Zambrano."

"Why not?" I asked. "He's an inconsistent pitcher in his walk year who just beat the shit out of the starting catcher. And they're not going to make the playoffs, so why not get something for him?"

Diesel took the bait and said something ridiculous about how the Cubs were even money to win the Central.

Ding ding.

Thankfully, he's much more reasonable about it in his recent post, which makes sense save for that whole 43/67 thing, and what I think is another miscalculation. Namely, isn't it logically unsound to view the teams' current win/loss records as part of a probability of the entire season's? This is a hard idea to verbalize, so forgive me if this sounds patronizing. But here's what I'm trying to say:

1. The Cubs and Brewers already have their respective records. They are a statistical certainty.
2. The rest of the season is the only part that is still subject to statistical projection. Meaning 57 percent of the season.
3. Therefore, is it not unsound, logically speaking, to view what's already happened -- a statistical certainty, a fact -- as part of a season-long projection of performance? Wouldn't you have to treat only the remaining 57 percent as the statistical uncertainty? And wouldn't that make it even less likely that the Cubs go on a hot streak that coincides with a Brewers swoon, and that both happen to the tune of an 8.5 game margin? The certainty of the actual standings is why the adjusted standings don't matter -- if the adjusted standings were true, you'd have a much better chance of winning this argument, but they're not, so you don't. The Cubs need to be even more lucky for the rest of the year than they've been unlucky thus far. I feel like I'm not being clear, but hopefully you catch my drift.

20 percent sounds about right to me. That figure makes it less fun, because you were talking 50/50 earlier. But whatever. The Cubs are not going to win the NL Central. That's what I'm saying. Sure, I also said Freddy Garcia was going to be a valuable pitcher for the Phils this year, but what the fuck. I stick by it, and I'll stick by this. If you lose I want a Brewers hat (size 8 -- go ahead and laugh), and if you win I'll get you Dusty Baker's autograph.


Diesel said...

You truly, honestly, need to get your head checked, or start drinking ginko. Unless you're simply distorting what I wrote for comedic purposes — which would be totally acceptable, provided that's really what you're doing — it's actually kind of fucked up that you keep doing this shit about "recapping" conversations with me that involve things I didn't say. As I've said many times before, thing things I actually do say outlandish enough, on the whole, without your embellishment.

(Note: If we use the gmail chat thing, it records the conversation. But, since I enjoy chatting with my friends without reference material at hands or worrying about what snips will end up on blog posts, I wonder if the positives outweigh the negatives on that one)

Here is what I really said:

1) Zambrano's velocity has dropped. There's a lot out there that you don't know, and I admire your willingness to admit it. But it's probably not wise to assume the same level of ignorance from others. I know for a fucking fact that his velo has dropped, because I watch a lot of Cubs games at work (they're on during the afternoons a lot) and because it's been written about extensively by baseball writers, including the highly esteemed Will Carroll. So, with all due respect, shove your doubts up your ass.

1) The Cubs won't trade Zambrano for older, low-upside players like Rowand. There's really no reason. I did suggest that the availability of a younger player like Ruiz who plays a position of need for the Cubs might work, but Ruiz probably isn't the caliber of prospect the Cubs would be talking. So, my point was that the Cubs won't trade Zambrano to the Phillies. Important distinction, which you somehow missed despite your high level of literacy.

3)The word "even-money" never escaped my ... fingers? ... during our chat. Nor did I say that they were probably going to win the Central. I said they'd be contenders, and they definitely had a shot, and that I'd be willing to place a wager on their being contenders (remember the five minutes we spent trying to reach a definition of that word?). And, as I said at the end of my post, I'm not sure sure I want to take that bet anymore, because I think I'm giving up an edge. So yes! Rejoice! I made a statement that I later realized was a reach. Congrat-u-fucking-lations, I am truly shamed.

I would begin mocking the things you say with regularity, but considering the most earth-shattering thing you offered in the chat was that "the Cubs players sucked," and "The Cubs sucked in 2006," you didn't really leave me much to work with. Especially since the second I would actually reach for a measure to determine the validity of your unsubstantiated point (the 2006 record is largely meaningless because of offseason acquisitions and the absence of Juan Pierre), you'd just mock that.

You really, really should consider becoming a talk-radio host.

Diesel said...

I'm not as pissed as that comment would make it seem, FYI.

St said...

This, coming from the guy who said the Cubs were such contenders because they had "good young players." Apparently your arbitrary valuations of anonymous players are valid, but mine are way off-base. OK.

You're right though, Doyle. Everybody knows that you never say outlandish things simply for the sake of disagreeing with conventional wisdom. I must be lying and inflating things. Because clearly you never said the Cubs were even money to win the Central, never went off on long rants about how bad the Brewers were without saying why, never said Ichiro was overrated, etc., etc., etc.

Take your Ruiz/Rowand points, for example. Perhaps you can explain why it's some kind of certainty that the Cubs wouldn't trade an inconsistent pitcher with failing velocity and poor mechanics, in his walk year, for Aaron Rowand or Carlos Ruiz.

Because Rowand is "older" and "low-upside"? How so? He's 29 and he's among the best center fielders in the NL, statistically speaking, this season -- offensively and defensively. If you disagree, I'll gladly support that with, you know, evidence and shit.

Ruiz is 27 and put up excellent numbers the last two years in AAA, plus he plays a position at which offense is a scarcity. He's good enough to start over a guy they paid $3 million for in the offseason.

But neither of those is worth Carlos Zambrano, because you say so, and you don't need to justify your claims.

St said...

And am I right about the season thing or not? Because I really don't know.

Anonymous said...

holy SHIT. Why in the hell would Reid demote McNabb in June for Christ's sake? Now their best player is going to be a bench scrub. I don't understand this decision at all.