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Old 03-06-2019, 06:00 PM   #1
chazzycat
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Ratings vs Results - Avoid K Rating

DonkeyKongSr - this was inspired by our chat on Discord yesterday.

I exported the data available from the mini-whale perfect league, each dot representing a player's entire career - but with a minimum 1,000 PA threshold. Total PA represented in the sample is around 1.6 million.

First off, as I suspected, the relationship between Contact Rating and BABIP becomes much clearer with this large of a sample:




It's not the strongest relationship, but certainly there. However the next graph is more enlightening:



As you can see, the Contact rating has a much stronger relationship with batting average than it does with BABIP.

This is important because it lends some credence to the theory that strikeouts are not separated from other outs in the game's calculation until after it's been decided whether it will be an out or not. To back up for a moment, there are two competing theories that could explain how contact and "avoid K" ratings work in the game. It's basically just a question of the order-of-operations. Here are the two theories:

1) The game calculates first whether a player will strike out, by the avoid K rating. For all the PAs where the player doesn't strike out, walk, HBP etc., then those fall into a "BIP" bucket. Only then would the game apply the BABIP calculation to determine if it's a hit or not (determined by the CON rating, luck, defense, etc.).

2) The game calculates first whether a player will get out or not. After it makes that determination, it then determines a strikeout vs. other types of outs based on the "Avoid K" rating. So having a high "Avoid K" rating in effect just moves K's to groundouts or flyouts.

If theory #1 was true, then we would expect to see the CON rating have a very strong relationship with BABIP, significantly stronger than it does with AVG. AVG includes strikeouts, which don't apply to BABIP. So removing the strikeouts from the equation should show a stronger relationship between CON & BABIP, if that theory was true.

But, instead we see the opposite. To me, this alone strongly implies that it's theory #2 which is correct.

I didn't stop there though. We can also compare the "avoid K" rating to real results for more direct observations:



Ouch. Strike two. If theory #1 was correct, we should also see a much stronger relationship between avoid K and AVG. This is close to zero relationship. However, it would be going too far to claim zero correlation. It is worth noting that there may be a very small effect here.

Recall the graph above where CON and AVG have a strong relationship, with an R-squared value of .54. This is roughly ten times as strong as the relationship AVG has with Avoid K's. So we can crudely estimate that upgrading the CON rating is about 10X more effective per point than upgrading the Avoid K rating, when it comes to batting averages.

Moving on, let's see how Avoid K rating effects overall offensive production. wRC+ is the best stat to neutralize park effects etc., so that is what I will use.



Again, there is pretty much no relationship here. It appears as though strikeouts simply do not factor into overall output whatsoever.

For anyone thinking "ratings don't matter!"...well yes, they do. That's definitely not the point I am making here. For reference, here are how the other ratings correlate with wRC+:







Compared to Avoid K, the other batter ratings show very strong correlation with overall results. Of course if we looked at more precise stats for each rating (HR rate for POW, BB rate for eye, etc.) we would see MUCH stronger correlations. But it's reassuring that we still see significant correlations once the results have been watered down to a single number. And we can make logical decisions based on the R-squared values here. For example, the EYE rating has more effect on overall output than the POW rating. That may come as a surprise.

Note: I didn't include "GAP" in the graphs above because it's very confusing. For what it's worth the R-squared is .33. However I suspect that is mostly due to the fact that high-GAP players also have high CON ratings. I certainly would not conclude that GAP is more important than EYE or POW. It's hard to say for sure.

I want to say one last thing with regards to "Avoid K": just because it doesn't impact wRC+, doesn't make it useless. That stat (nor any others) don't include the benefit of moving runners over, which could potentially be quite important. Unfortunately, that is impossible to quantify.

Any feedback is appreciated!

Last edited by chazzycat; 03-06-2019 at 06:19 PM.
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Old 03-06-2019, 06:16 PM   #2
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I've been wondering about this with team construction. Would there be an effect if Avoid K's was combined with a team that all around had above average baserunning instincts?

Since a strikeout can't advance runners outside of steal attempts, wouldn't the additional balls in play be beneficial to a team that will correctly read baserunning situations (And conversely, penalize teams with terrible baserunners)?

I suppose that would be a lot more difficult to tease out of statistics, but it's something to consider.

Edit: Didn't see that last line, guess you already considered it. Would be interesting if there were any teams that would like to self identify as baserunning/avoid k specialists and if they have seen any results from it.

Last edited by DrTobiasFunke; 03-06-2019 at 06:24 PM. Reason: Oops
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Old 03-06-2019, 06:18 PM   #3
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So, the most productive hitters in PT in your view have high numbers in which categories?
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Old 03-06-2019, 06:30 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrTobiasFunke View Post
I've been wondering about this with team construction. Would there be an effect if Avoid K's was combined with a team that all around had above average baserunning instincts?

Since a strikeout can't advance runners outside of steal attempts, wouldn't the additional balls in play be beneficial to a team that will correctly read baserunning situations (And conversely, penalize teams with terrible baserunners)?

I suppose that would be a lot more difficult to tease out of statistics, but it's something to consider.

Edit: Didn't see that last line, guess you already considered it. Would be interesting if there were any teams that would like to self identify as baserunning/avoid k specialists and if they have seen any results from it.
Yeah, I think you are right on the money. Avoid K would definitely help a team focused on baserunning and contact. With the proper strategy settings, of course.
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Old 03-06-2019, 06:31 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Neezer View Post
So, the most productive hitters in PT in your view have high numbers in which categories?
Contact first, then eye, then power.
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Old 03-06-2019, 06:33 PM   #6
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The contact rating you see is a combination of avoid k, power, and an internal babip rating, so obviously makes sense that contact should correlate with average more than babip.

As to the effect of strikeouts vs "productive outs" (vs "counterproductive outs" like double plays),that's up to everyone to decide
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Old 03-06-2019, 06:57 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Arnold View Post
The contact rating you see is a combination of avoid k, power, and an internal babip rating, so obviously makes sense that contact should correlate with average more than babip.

As to the effect of strikeouts vs "productive outs" (vs "counterproductive outs" like double plays),that's up to everyone to decide
Hmmm...interesting...that does make sense. But it still doesn't change anything with regards to theory #1 vs theory #2, right?
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Old 03-06-2019, 07:13 PM   #8
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http://www.ootpdevelopments.com/boar...d.php?t=228649
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Old 03-07-2019, 04:12 AM   #9
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Hi Chazzy-Cat,

Thanks for your tremendous work.

I have a spreadsheet from some other guy from 2015, which might be helpful to you, if you drop me a mail to michael.verner@hotmail.de I would sent it to you.
Now, this spreadsheet comes (for batting) to the following conclusions:
1. There are only four values which influence batting performance: CON, GAP, POW, EYE
2. The influence is linear with GAP only, for all the other factors it is bi-linear, meaning there is a linear dependency from e.g. CON=0 to CON=50 and another linear dependency from CON=50 to CON=100
3. CON influences the number of hits if PA or AB are fixed, so it influences the BA directly and all other BA-dependend variables indirectly; the relative weight is 8 below average CON and 4 above average, CON is therefore the most important value
4. POW influences the number of HR if BA and AB are fixed, so it influences not the BA but SLG and other SLG-dependend variables indirectly; the relative weight is 1,5 below average POW and 3 above average
5. GAP influences the number of 2B and 3B hits if BA and AB are fixed, so it influences not the BA but SLG and other SLG-dependend variables indirectly; the relative weight is 1 below average GAP and 1 above average, GAP is the least important value
6. EYE influences the number of walks, so it influences the OBP directly and all other OBP-dependend variables indirectly; the relative weight is 1,5 below average CON and 2,5 above average
7. Avoid K┤s does not influence any hitting variables like BA or OBP and depend variables, but it transforms more out towards strike-outs

Hope this helps!
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Old 03-07-2019, 11:59 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KleineBiere View Post
This is an interesting thread. I wonder if the "BABIP multiplier" from avoid Ks explains the small effect I mentioned above on batting average.


But still if CONTACT rating is 10X more effective at raising batting averages, I have a hard time agreeing with his conclusion that "AvoidK is probably the most important and undervalued rating for any batter".
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Old 03-07-2019, 12:36 PM   #11
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huh. Well no wonder my strategy sucks.

Here I was thinking I was countering all the great strikeout pitchers in my league by finding hitters with great avoid Ks. As it turns out, all I was doing was getting ground outs and pop outs instead of giving my hitters more opportunities to get hits.

Gotta say, this isn't terribly realistic. If avoiding Ks is a skill, it should be considered prior to determining if an out has been made.
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Old 03-07-2019, 12:42 PM   #12
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huh. Well no wonder my strategy sucks.

Here I was thinking I was countering all the great strikeout pitchers in my league by finding hitters with great avoid Ks. As it turns out, all I was doing was getting ground outs and pop outs instead of giving my hitters more opportunities to get hits.

Gotta say, this isn't terribly realistic. If avoiding Ks is a skill, it should be considered prior to determining if an out has been made.
I'd highly prefer for ratings that are part of another rating be hidden. If avoid-k is already counted in the contact rating, then having both ratings shown does little but confuse people.

Same goes for pitch velocity and hitter type.
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Old 03-07-2019, 12:49 PM   #13
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Wouldn't Avoid K results in more foul balls, so more pitches per plate appearance and also more presence on base since there will be more errors by the defense ? This should have some value...or not?

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Old 03-07-2019, 12:49 PM   #14
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Is this still accurate/relevant? Just for OOTP? or Does it apply to PT at the higher levels because of the quality of player at every position? I would think it does not.
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Old 03-07-2019, 12:56 PM   #15
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Wouldn't Avoid K results in more foul balls, so more pitches per plate appearance and also more presence on base since there will be more errors by the defense ? This should have some value...or not?

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Probably not, because striking out often takes a lot of pitches, too. And, GIDPs.
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Old 03-07-2019, 01:23 PM   #16
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Wouldn't Avoid K results in more foul balls, so more pitches per plate appearance and also more presence on base since there will be more errors by the defense ? This should have some value...or not?
I'm not sure about foul balls, how that works. But getting on base from defensive errors is definitely a good point which I forgot to mention. That is another real benefit to the "avoid K" rating, but like moving baserunners, is difficult to quantify.
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Old 03-07-2019, 01:35 PM   #17
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striking out often takes a lot of pitches, too.
That's my point, exhausting pitchers should be valuable in theory. Let's say a team of 9 high Avoid K guys faces a team of 9 low Avoid K guys, and the result is +1 pitch per PA per player. If you add 35 pitches to the pitch count, it should have a positive effect for the high Avoid K team over time.

That is, except if they have a high Avoid K rating because they do as we did when we were kids, swinging at the first pitch to avoid the shame of striking out!
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Old 03-07-2019, 01:36 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by chazzycat View Post
I'm not sure about foul balls, how that works. But getting on base from defensive errors is definitely a good point which I forgot to mention. That is another real benefit to the "avoid K" rating, but like moving baserunners, is difficult to quantify.
And its effect is probably reduced by the double plays that result from not striking out.
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Old 03-07-2019, 02:05 PM   #19
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Wouldn't Avoid K results in more foul balls, so more pitches per plate appearance

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Old 03-07-2019, 02:32 PM   #20
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Thanks! But I imagine they all have great Eye rating. What about comparing players with the same Eye rating, would the pitch count be higher for the low or the high Avoid K player ?

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