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The Jones debate


Fishfan79
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This is from the blog for the atlanta braves. After the book was scheduled to come out Boras it seemed got pissed for the Mays things. He wrote a scolding post on a blog defending andruw (whom I think isnt over-rated but that is a personal opinion). Here is the response by Stark.

 

Hi Dave,

 

I just got a chance to read our pal Scott Boras' retort

 

to my book, which I found highly entertaining. And, as usual, Scott distorted what I wrote and what Ive been saying about Andruw publicly since the book came out. So Id like the chance to respond if you could find any room in your little sector of cyberspace for me.

 

First off, I knew when I wrote this book there was a 100-percent probability that Scott would disagree with this assessment of Andruw. I knew lots of people would. This book is about perception. Its about one of the great debates in sports - whos overrated, whos underrated. So were SUPPOSED to disagree.

 

Ive said from the beginning that this book wasnt intended to settle any debates about these players. But it looks as if it has STARTED about 100,000 debates. And that was the whole idea.

 

It wasnt written to make people angry. It wasnt written to call attention to me. It wasnt written as some misguided attempt to throw a bunch of names out there for the shameless sake of (in Scotts words) stirring up controversy. It was supposed to make people think, and to raise questions about why we perceive players in certain ways, when in lots of cases, the facts dont quite match the perceptions.

 

But when Scott Boras starts accusing ME of manipulating the numbers in the name of profiteering, I have to laugh. Isnt Scott the number-manipulation champion of the world? And when he does it, his ONLY motivation is profiteering. All I did was write a book.

 

And whats that book about? Its about whos overrated and whos underrated. So it was bound to hit a few nerves - unless Id confined it to the most overrated and underrated players in the Federal League or something. But the whole point of the book was to explore the myths and illusions that surround recognizable players.

 

Scott just happens to represent one of those players, whom hes now openly comparing to Willie Mays so he can inspire some team to pay him 100 zillion dollars next winter.

 

Speaking of Willie Mays, if Scotts line about how Andruw was the first centerfielder since Willie Mays to record five straight seasons of 400 putouts sounds familiar, it might be because ITS IN THE BOOK. (Actually, the factoid Scott threw out to you was wrong. Mays isnt the ONLY centerfielder to do that. Richie Ashburn did it right before Mays, in fact. Mays was just the most recent before Andruw. But Ill take the high road and not accuse Scott of failed research on that one.)

 

The reason that fact is in the book is that I didnt set out to overrate Andruw, or hurt his market value, or go out of my way to demean him. I included that fact because I wanted to make clear that the Andruw who ripped off that string of 400 putouts WAS the greatest defensive centerfielder I ever saw play. If I just wanted to manipulate facts in this book, why would I have spent so much time - in Andruws chapter and all the overrated chapters - giving him and all those players credit for why weve come to believe they were so great in the first place?

 

I did my best in this book, and certainly in this chapter, to avoid being mean-spirited. I specifically said Andruw is still highly employable. I specifically said Andruw is sure as heck still better out there than, say, Brian Asselstine. Ive said in about 1,000 interviews since the book came out that Andruw is still a tremendous player.

 

But was he exactly the same player over the last few

 

years that we perceived him to be? No. And Scott can manipulate his own numbers and indexes all he wants. But he cant explain away those 100 balls a year that Andruw used to catch that he wasnt catching anymore - until, by some remarkable stroke of fate, he got himself back in A-1 shape this year in a contract year (and now is magically catching them again). Do the math. If the guy was down 100 putouts a season, thats four balls a week he used to catch that he wasnt catching anymore.

 

I said in the book that I was surprised to see those numbers myself. But I didnt make them up or manipulate them. Theyre real. And Scotts trashing of Zone Rating is purely his way of discrediting research he doesnt agree with.

 

I only looked at Zone Rating because my initial inclination, as I wrote in the book, was NOT to believe the raw numbers. I wanted to factor out variables like whether the Braves staff had more ground-ball pitchers than it used to, etc. The defensive stat that does that best, in my opinion, is Zone Rating.

 

I've asked plenty of sabermatricians about Zone Rating.

 

And they sure characterize it differently than Scott does. It doesnt assign wider zones to players like Andruw because hes so good. All centerfielders are assigned the same zone. So how does it penalize players with more range?

 

Andruw's Zone Rating dipped in exactly the way his

 

other numbers dipped. He used to lead the league. Last year, he finished at the bottom of the league. Any attempt to explain that away is an attempt to make the conclusion differ from the facts - which was the opposite of the way I went about it.

 

Now one more thing, and Im done. Scott suggests that I made up that old scout crap in which I said a scout I knew was the first to steer me toward Andruw as a player who - while still good - wasnt what people perceived him to be anymore.

 

Im not sure if Scott is suggesting that I made up the quote or made up the scout. But let me assure you, this scout is not just real, hes a guy who has been scouting for many years and is one of the sharpest people Ive ever met in baseball. And heres the other thing: Hes not alone.

 

Scott would be shocked, apparently, to hear what other

 

scouts say about Andruw. And what other general managers say about Andruw. And what even some guys who spent years working for the Braves say about Andruw.

 

In fact, the scout I originally quoted happened to read Scotts quotes in your blog this week. And he checked in to tell me that if Scott thinks Andruw is the same outfielder now he was when he was younger, he should visit (a prominent sports ophthalmologist who shall remain nameless).

 

If I were out to get Andruw or to rip Andruw, I could have used lots of quotes much stronger than the ones I used in this book. But that isnt my style. And it isnt the tone I hoped to set in this book.

 

Lots of people, I think, have gotten the wrong idea about what I meant by overrated in Andruws context. I even suspect youve gotten the wrong idea. It was never supposed to mean, Aw, hes not that good. I never, EVER suggest hes turned into some kind of washed-up stumble bum, because thats ridiculous. Even before he whipped himself back into shape, he was still a terrific player, even though he wasnt the same player.

 

Did I ever say he couldnt carry Torii Hunters wristbands? Why would I? Scott and I are in agreement on the fact that if I could sign either Andruw or Torii, I would sign Andruw - assuming I had 100 million bucks in my checking account.

 

But that doesnt mean Andruw hadnt changed as a player over the last few years. And thats all overrated means in his case. Lots of people were out there, assuming he was as good as ever, when clearly, if youre willing to take a rational and impartial view of this, he hasnt been. Thats all I was trying to establish. When whats taking place on the field differs from our widely held assumptions and perceptions, thats exactly the kind of theme I tried to explore in this book.

 

I know Ive practically written a whole nother chapter just in what Ive written to you. But Im not big on having people like Scott challenge my credibility. Ill be happy to stack up my body of stats and research over the years with Scotts any time. And Ill let the world judge for itself which of us has been the real manipulator.

 

Thanks for giving me the opportunity to give my side of this.

 

 

 

http://www.ajc.com/blogs/content/shared-bl...s_at_1b_st.html

 

 

 

I thought it was a pretty good read so figured would share (found it on mlbtraderumors.com link to the newspaper sight). I wanna find boras take as well so I can get both perspectives.

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Stark is full of crap. He wrote a book to make a boat load of money. The more controversial stuff he fills his book with (no matter how idiotic) the higher the book sales. To base his Jones is overrated argument on Zone Rating (and supposedly one scout??) is idiotic and I'm sure he knows it but he doesn't really care because his purpose is to make a buck.

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stark is the one that's looking for more cash. many people have compared andruw to willie mays, not just boras. even though boras is a greedy you know what, he's right. stark just wants to stir up trouble. i think i'm done with stark.

 

:lol :lol

 

So, you're going to side with the guy who's synonymous with greed and hyperbole?

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I personally dont see what Stark said was so bad. Jones is still good in his opinion, just not what he once was 10 years and 1000 big macs ago.

 

 

I think that's the main problem with people's perception of overrated; most people can't understand that a player can be overrated, but can still be a very very good player.

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