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DH as primary position


DH as primary position

I was looking at 1995 Eddie Murray today. He was mostly a DH by that point: he played 18 games at first base and appeared in 95 games as a DH. He played nowhere else in the field.

In the game, he is listed as a DH (primary) and a 1B (secondary). This makes sense, until you realize that his fielding percentage will be reduced by .05 whenever he plays 1B. But his fielding stats from that year only came from playing 1B!

I like the fielding pct reduction for the secondary spots. I think it’s an elegant way to handle positional flexibility. But would it be possible to not include the fielding pct reduction when a player’s primary position is DH?

Re: DH as primary position

Great point Mark.

You may need to consider the circumstances for the 1.000 seasons though, like Murray's 96 where he played 9 innings at 1B, to avoid creating a loophole for small sample sizes.

Re: Re: DH as primary position

RIght - the point of the deduction in that case is that you should not be able to play a DH at 1B for 162 games and get a 1.000 FLD percentage. If you're going to play him anywhere other than DH, there should be some penalty involved, IMO. I do get that .950 is a fairly major penalty, but he was likely a DH for a reason. The intent is to encourage that player to be used as a DH.

I do think this is a legit issue when a player already has a poor FLD percentage. Like Edgar Martinez in '94 played 64 games at 3B and had a .950 FLD... so in PC he's actually going to be dropped to .900. I understand the argument he shouldn't be dropped lower, but again, 64 games is a lot different than 162... the idea is, you should be pushed toward using him as a DH.

Re: DH as primary position

I’ve never understood why playing a player at their secondary position leads to such a huge reduction in fielding percentage, but doesn’t affect dWar at all. If anything, it should be the opposite way around. Eddie a Murray was a competent 1B his entire career and never had a fielding percentage lower than .980. If you play 40-year-old Eddie Murray at 1B for a full season he’s not going to suddenly make a bunch of errors because he forgot how to field ground balls or catch throws. But hIs range will have declined to basically nothing and his ability to scoop bad throws or get to the bag on close plays will be way worse than a typical 1B, which will cost his team outs even though the *wont* show up as errors. If anything, he will make fewer errors because he can’t get to balls in the first place.

To use another example, in 2010 Robinson Cano was a spectacular second basemen, with a fielding percentage of .996 and a dWar of 2.2. So what would happen in real life if you played him at SS or 3B for a full season? Under the current rules, he is going to continue to be worth 2+ wins over replacement at the position, but also make errors (on average) on an additional 1 of every 20 balls hit to him. But this is completely opposite of what would like happen in real life. His fielding percentage probably wouldn’t drop that much, given that he has been a sure-handed fielder his whole career (also never had a fielding pct below .980 after his rookie year). But his range wasn’t good enough for SS, so he’s not going to get to balls that a good SS would get to, which will turn possible outs into hits (not errors, because he won’t get a glove on the ball). Similarly, his arm wasn’t strong enough for 3B, so runners might beat out grounders for infield hits that would have been outs otherwise. So while he probably wouldn’t make too many more errors, he would probably be worth *fewer* wins in the field than a replacement level SS or 3B, not more.

To go back to the Eddie Murray example, having the reduction be to dWar rather than fielding percentage also would be more consistent with the way progression works in this game. In a progression league, dWar declines over time while fielding percentage never changes (which is its own problem). So if Eddie Murray had a 1.000 fielding percentage and a 0 dWar at age 30, then ten years later at age 40 he’s going to have something like a -.30 dWar but will still have that 1.000 fielding percentage. So to follow the logic of the progressions, the penalty for using 40-year old DH/1B Eddie Murray as a full-time 1B should be that he will give up extra hits (dWar reduction) rather than make a lot more errors.

Re: Re: DH as primary position

@PJ don't disagree with anything you said. It's mostly a matter of Dwar came later, so to migrate the logic from FLD to Dwar will be a mini project to consider... at the time when Dwar rolled out, it was an experiment but it feels like everyone likes it and it's going to stick around so I could see making this sort of change eventually.

Re: DH as primary position

I think at 1B in particular the penalty is too high. Even a guy who played 1 game at 1B and had a 1.000 fielding percentage, drops to .950. That is equivalent at 1B to over 50 errors for a full season. No first baseman is that bad. And since essentially every error at 1B changes an out to a baserunner the effect would seem to be huge.

I am glad this discussion was here - it made me think about the games a bit and i am going to stop ever using a guy with a secondary position of 1B at first. It makes having a true backup 1B more important then having a true backup C or SS.

Re: DH as primary position

Remember, 1B (and all positions) in this game don’t make errors on throws to them, only fielding errors. 1B don’t make that many errors to be honest.