Saturday, June 20, 2009

Field Value - The Most Controversial Component

Well, let's just get right into it. In this 5th installment of Explaining PEVA, we're going to try and tackle the questions surrounding Field Value, the DEFENSIVE component for Position Players, and how it works in context with the other five categories.

Is Field Value equal to the other components of the index (i.e. the 2 DURABILITY Factors and the three DEPENDENT and INDEPENDENT production factors discussued earlier) or does it have special value like that of Run Production?

Field Value is one of the six components and in its original incarnation counted the same as any of the other five factor components, however, it became apparent, perhaps one third of the way through the development process, that that would not be accurate. As most sabermetrics fans or proponents know, the position you play has an awful lot to do with your value, and should be weighted differently. But then another question popped into play.

Okay, so a 1st baseman with a gold glove year isn't nearly as valuable as a Shortstop with a gold glove, but what about a 1st Basemen who's pretty bad in the field, but nobody cares because of how valuable he is with the bat? How would the Field Value of that player be adjusted to reflect his true value to a team?

That's where the RPR (Run Production Factor) adjustment comes into play, raising the level of a poor fielder with exceptional production in the overall PEVA factor. While he actual Field Value will remain what it is, when calculating the overall PEVA Player Rating, it will be moderated according to the level of RPR.

Okay, I'm lost. How is the Field Value calculated in the first place, and which positions does the system value the most highly?

Field Value is calculated in the same manner as the other factors, placing a top factor for the player with the MAX value in a category and grading all players between that MAX, the AVERAGE, and the MIN. The MIN is not 0, but a MINIMUM grade we have determined as appropriate within the PEVA system. Unlike other categories, the MAX and AVE change with each position, and the final PEVA Field Value is calculated using the Field Value for each position a player plays and weighted to how many innings a player plays that position.

The system weights the MAX in this way: Catcher 2.10, Shortstop 1.75, Third Base/Outfield 1.70, Second Base 1.50, 1st Base 1.40. The value for a pitcher can be as high as 1.00, depending on the amount of Innings Pitched, but not his value in the field.

I understand why Catcher and Shortstop would be that high, but why is an Outfielder MAX higher than Second Base?

For an outfielder to reach the 1.70 figure, he would most likely have to be a Gold Glove level centerfielder. We don't really know why the Second Base figure calculated with such a low MAX, but suffice it to say, that is how Payroll values the position with a top level fielding 2nd baseman. And you know, just from a subjective point of view. 2nd base is the position many infielders default to in their careers, but it's unlikely that a poor fielder ends up in center field. He may end up in left, but not center.

But what are the components that make up those MAX/AVE/MIN factors for each position? Do you get into Range Factors and newer Zone Ratings, etc? We do use Range Factor due to its objective stats, and even though we think Zone Ratings and other such data is valuable, we have not included it in the calculation for two reasons; its subjectivity and the fact that such data does not have a long historic past for comparing older era players.

Field Value Component Factors (Position, Stat, Weight)

Catcher -
IP/GP 25%, Fielding PCT 25%, Range Factor 25%,Caught Stealing % 25%

Infield - IP/GP 33%, Fielding PCT 33%, Range Factor 33%
Outfield - IP/GP 25%, Fielding PCT 25%, Range Factor 25%
Assists Per 9 IP (or Games Played) 25%

Note 1: Prior to 2000, using Games Played.
Note 2: For Catchers, the Caught Stealing Percentage used from 1960-2006. Prior to 1960, other factors reflect 33%.

So there you have it, an overview of the most controversial aspect in the PEVA factor universe. But while it is controversial, and requires that deviation away from a static max, it is important, and allows a light hitting shortstop with spectacular defensive abilities to warrant the salaries they earn while allowing that lunk hands 1st baseman with the RBI potential to warrant the multi-year $100 million dollar contract.

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