Boyd's World-> Breadcrumbs Back to Omaha-> AOPS 2004 About the author, Boyd Nation

AOPS 2004

Publication Date: September 7, 2004

The Power of a Name?

At one level, what you call a statistic wouldn't seem to matter much in the long run; I mean, it's just a name. On the other hand, there is power in names. For example, there's been an average of one college a year to change names since I started doing this (the latest is Troy State, which recently changed to Troy University). While I generally refer to these dismissively as MBA-driven, it is true that a name change can shake up the image of a place, both internally and externally. Likewise, regardless of their merits, "Runs Created" gets its point across much better than "Value over Replacement Player". Having created the worst-named metric in history (I mean, who uses the word "iterative" in a publicly-available system?), I'm aware of the benefits of a good name.

One side effect of this is that there's a tendency within the analytical community to cling to a name once it's given, even though the statistic it describes may have been modified or evolved as more information became available. Bill James, for example, has released at least six different versions of the RC formula by this point. A variation of that is to add a number to the end and then forget about it, the way the Baseball Prospectus authors did with PAP and PAP3.

A couple of years ago, based on the best information I had, I created a statistic called Adjusted OPS, or AOPS for short. This year, because I have better information, I'm adjusting the formula. Given the above, I think it's reasonable just to keep the name the same -- I don't think there are lots of folks sitting around out there tracking AOPS. The new formula includes park factors, which I now have and didn't then, and some thinking on the difference in run factors and on-base factors:

                   TPF     SoS
AOPS = OPS / SQRT( --- ) * ---
                   100     100

OBP = On-base percentage
SLG = Slugging average
TPF = Team park factor
SoS = Strength of Schedule

The team park factor is the average park factor for all parks the team played in during the season. Park factors are computed based on runs; the square root represents the normal relationship between on-base percentage and run scoring.

This formulation works, to the extent I can prove it. For example, these factors produce statistics which correlate best to minor league stats for the same players in the same year.

The Players

So, if we do all this work to take out the context, who actually performed the best last year? Here's the top 100:

East Carolina            Ryan Jones               1.425
Stanford                 Jed Lowrie               1.422
Cal State Fullerton      Kurt Suzuki              1.375
Florida State            Eddy Martinez-Esteve     1.366
Clemson                  Brad McCann              1.360
Nebraska                 Alex Gordon              1.354
Florida State            Stephen Drew             1.349
Mississippi State        Brad Corley              1.346
South Carolina           Steve Pearce             1.338
Arkansas State           Brad Hayes               1.298
Louisiana-Lafayette      Dallas Morris            1.291
South Carolina           Landon Powell            1.286
The Citadel              Chip Cannon              1.282
Coastal Carolina         Mike Costanzo            1.281
Louisiana-Lafayette      Rhett Buras              1.280
Miami, Florida           Jim Burt                 1.278
Vanderbilt               Warner Jones             1.271
Georgia Tech             Mike Trapani             1.269
South Carolina           Brendan Winn             1.265
Louisville               Mark Jurich              1.264
Northern Colorado        Patrick Perry            1.260
Stanford                 Danny Putnam             1.259
Mississippi              Stephen Head             1.256
Georgia                  Josh Morris              1.254
South Alabama            Adam Lind                1.238
Florida                  Ben Harrison             1.235
North Carolina           Marshall Hubbard         1.234
Tulane                   Scott Madden             1.230
Louisiana State          Jon Zeringue             1.219
Florida State            Ryne Malone              1.213
North Carolina-Charlotte Jamie Rusco              1.213
Long Beach State         Jason Vargas             1.212
East Tennessee State     Caleb Moore              1.211
East Carolina            Ryan Norwood             1.211
Cincinnati               Steve Pickerell          1.210
Southern                 Darren Clark             1.207
Vanderbilt               Cesar Nicolas            1.203
Georgia State            Tim Burgess              1.202
Miami, Ohio              Mike Ferris              1.200
William and Mary         Chris Rahl               1.200
Florida Atlantic         Jeff Fiorentino          1.199
Stanford                 Jr John Mayberry         1.198
Fresno State             Richie Robnett           1.191
Wichita State            Drew Moffitt             1.189
North Carolina           Chris Iannetta           1.185
Texas-Arlington          Hunter Pence             1.183
Clemson                  Lou Santangelo           1.179
Central Florida          Matthew Lafleur          1.179
Louisiana-Lafayette      Phillip Hawke            1.177
Missouri                 Cody Ehlers              1.175
Gonzaga                  Bobby Carlson            1.174
Miami, Florida           Ryan Braun               1.174
Louisiana State          J. C. Holt               1.172
Arkansas State           Brad Burkhead            1.171
Arizona State            Dustin Pedroia           1.171
Washington               Zach Clem                1.171
Miami, Florida           Erick San Pedro          1.167
Texas                    Curtis Thigpen           1.167
UC Irvine                Jaime Martinez           1.160
Jacksonville             Donald Brickle           1.159
Notre Dame               Matt Macri               1.159
Miami, Florida           Paco Figueroa            1.156
Nicholls State           Anthony Hatch            1.154
Washington               Kyle Larsen              1.154
Florida                  Matt Laporta             1.153
Texas Christian          Chad Huffman             1.152
Northeastern             Jeff Heriot              1.151
Rutgers                  Jeff Frazier             1.150
Stetson                  Chris Westervelt         1.149
Tulane                   Matt Barket              1.149
North Carolina-Asheville Sherman                  1.147
Pittsburgh               Pj Hiser                 1.146
James Madison            Mike Butia               1.146
Pepperdine               Steve Kleen              1.146
Bowling Green State      Nolan Reimold            1.145
Eastern Michigan         Brian Bixler             1.145
Florida                  C. J. Smith              1.143
College of Charleston    Brett Anderson           1.139
George Mason             Shimer                   1.138
Cal State Northridge     Michael Paulk            1.138
Kentucky                 Caleb Stewart            1.138
Texas Tech               Josh Brady               1.136
Gonzaga                  Kiel Thibault            1.129
Southern Mississippi     Ryan Frith               1.129
Lamar                    Jordan Foster            1.127
Birmingham-Southern      Adam Tucker              1.127
Southern                 Andrew Toussaint         1.126
Stanford                 Brian Hall               1.126
Elon                     Gary Morris              1.125
Belmont                  Jason Warpool            1.125
Oregon State             Mike Lissman             1.125
Miami, Florida           Brian Barton             1.124
Southern Mississippi     Jarrett Hoffpauir        1.124
Oklahoma State           Josh Fields              1.122
Tulane                   Greg Dini                1.120
Baylor                   Josh Ford                1.120
South Carolina           Michael Campbell         1.117
Houston                  Kevin Roberts            1.117
Arkansas State           Chris Rich               1.117
Tulane                   Brian Bogusevic          1.116

While I won't read the list to you, I will point out that Jones is apparently coming back for his senior year, so MLB will get another chance to get it right.

Next year, I plan to run AOPS on a real-time basis in the Filing Cabinet, so hopefully you'll be able to track it as the season unfolds.

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Boyd's World-> Breadcrumbs Back to Omaha-> AOPS 2004 About the author, Boyd Nation