I have included the screenshot of the Tweet incase none of you can believe they said it. I have whited-out his picture and half of the blog name because I don't want to call anyone out. If he wants to own to it, he can. If you want to find him, search Twitter.

The Vladimir Hate is Going Too Far: Part I - Vlad = Wieters


There are very few occasions where you will find such a hate for a player who is coming off a .300 average, 29 homerun, and 115 RBI season, and such a disappointment from supposed “fans” for the team that signed him.

What is floating around the world wide web on Vladimir Guerrero is simply shocking.

Since the $8 million signing of designated hitter Guerrero, well-known Baltimore Orioles blogs have been posting nothing but hate for the hitter who finished 11th in the MVP voting in 2010.

Taking shots at them would be far too easy. I have done it before via Twitter. Nothing gets resolved. No one listens. They want to keep their own opinion. If I did take shots at them here, I would only be posting links for you to go view their blogs. No one wants that. I do feel that people need to see the other side of some arguments, though.

Two things (only two thus far) have stuck out at me.

The fuel from Part I comes from a well-known Orioles blog.

Matt Wieters = Vladimir Guerrero

I’m not even going to tell you which blog said that Matt Wieters’  .249/11/55 season was equal to Vlad’s .300/29/115 season.

To use more stats, here are the players’ advantages:

Runs: Vlad (+46)
Hits: Vlad (+67)
Doubles: Vlad (+5)
Homeruns: Vlad (+18)
RBIs: Vlad (+60)
Stolen Bases: Vlad (+4)
Walks: Wieters (+12)
Strikeouts: Vlad (+34)
Batting Averages: Vlad (+.051)
On-Base Percentage: Vlad (+.026)
Slugging Percentage: Vlad (+.119)
On-Base Plus Slugging: Vlad (+.146)
OPS+: Vlad (+33)
Average w/ Runners in Scoring Position: Vlad (+.107)
OPS w/ RISP: Vlad (+.218)

There are sixteen stats. Vlad has the edge in the series, if you will, 15-1. So how can someone with a well-read Orioles blog say that Wieters had a better 2010 than Guerrero?

He points to one stat – WAR.

He claims that since Wieters’ was at 2.5 while Vlad’s was 2.1, that Wieters had to have the better 2010.

For those of you that don’t know, WAR, standing for Wins Above Replacement, is the amount of wins that the player added to the team more than a replacement level (AAA or AA) player would.

He told me to read this article on replacement level players.

It’s not hard to tell that the stat is abstract, but the only thing that the stat proves is that a good catcher is more valuable than a good designated hitter. I don’t need a stat to tell you that. By no means does the stat say that Matt Wieters therefore had a better 2010 than Vladimir Guerrero.

If Matt Wieters drives in a run, it goes up as one on the scoreboard. If he hits a double, he still only gets two bases. If Vladimir Guerrero drives in a run, it also counts as one. A double is still also two bases.

Give me that .300/29/115 season over the .249/11/55 season any day.

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Edit:

Even though opinions vary, you should really check out Camdendepot.com. His thoughts on the Orioles stand along side with the other great Oriole blogs on the web.

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Tags: Matt Wieters Vladimir Guerrero

  • http://dempseysarmy.blogspot.com Dempsey’s Army

    I think “hate” would be a bit strong…

  • http://dempseysarmy.blogspot.com Dempsey’s Army

    And I would guess(didn’t see any of the conversation) the guy was saying that Wieters is a more valuable player than Vlad Guerrero in 2010 which I would tend to agree with. Not a better hitter but a more valuable baseball player. The fact that Vlad is a DH diminishes his value since he doesn’t play the field. Even a mediocre hitter like Wieters can be more valuable if you add stellar defense from a premium defensive position into the mix. There’s more to baseball than what you do at the plate.

    • Tim Anderson

      The tweet clearly denotes “better or equal season.” Nothing about value.

  • http://puckettspond.com Wally Fish

    I enjoy WAR as a stat and utilize it quite a bit in my analysis but I do think people rely on it far too much when they analyze players and their value to their team.

    A positional player may have more value according to wins above replacement and in the statistical sense, but when it comes to building a team in real life an AL team has to put someone down at DH on the lineup card. For the money and the position, Vlad is a hell of a choice and I too have been surprised by the generally negative reaction to his signing.

    To say Wieters = Vlad based on WAR misses the point of constructing a roster. The equation that matters here is the following: Wieters + Vlad at DH > Wieters + whoever else the O’s would play at DH in 2011.

  • http://camdendepot.blogspot.com Camden Depot – Jon

    Tim, thanks for taking the time to spell out your thoughts on this. I have a few comments:

    1) As writers, it is important for us to be able to take part in a productive and respectful dialogue. I think part of this is definitely to provide criticism to perspectives we think are invalid. To help the readers understand the argument, you should inform them that you are arguing against my perspective.

    2) I included Matt Weiters within a group that was “equal or better” than Vladimir Guerrero. If one wishes to divide it further, I would call Wieters equal to Vlad. That is my simple position.

    3) Why do I think Vlad and Wieters equal when Wieters has a greater WAR? I do not think WAR is the end all. It is however a great starting point. I am suspicious of its ability to account for defense, particularly for catchers. In these cases, I soften those numbers and think of them more as a range around those figures.

    4) Vlad is the better hitter. This is obvious. And, yes, a run is a run is a run. However, I think divorcing the bat from everything else that a player is will wind up with an improper evaluation of the skill of a player. This is a concept that is true with traditional perspectives as much as advanced statistical perspectives. If all we did was measure players by their bats, you would have maybe two or three shortstops in the Hall of Fame. Cal Ripken Jr would likely not be in there if he was a first baseman. Why is this so? It is difficult to play certain positions, so you have a subset of hitting ability within that positional grouping.

    In this particular instance, Wieters is being compared to a player who would replace him if he was injured (a replacement level catcher – think AAA) against Vlad who is compared to a replacement level DH (think best hitter on AAA squad). Those baselines are different for each player. Vlad’s production at the plate is more easily replaced at his position than it is for Wieters at his.

    Baseball is a team game and runs come from all sorts of positions. Those baselines differ between those positions. WAR is a decent estimate of that, but like I do, do not solely depend on that. Recognize limitations and the concepts that are employed with each advanced statistic.

    Tom Tango, who I think is back with the Mariners, wrote the replacement level article you mentioned in your post. He is a good guy to follow to understand this principle further. However, there are a lot of great articles out there by guys who have been pluck by professional teams. Good stuff.

    • Tim Anderson

      Vlad is easily replaced? 2010 Vlad is easily replaced?

      Look at this:
      - 26 catchers in the Major League with a minimum of 150 plate appearances had a better average than Matt Wieters in 2010.
      - 23 had a higher OPS.
      - 23 would create more runs per 27 outs.
      - 10 created more runs.

      What about Vlad?
      - No DH had a higher average
      - 3 DH’s had a higher OPS

      I just want to make clear that the blog post was not a personal attack at you, but just a discussion about the Orioles and the Vladimir news. I have no person ill-will towards you or your blog, and I look forward to working closely with you in the future (and having more twitter arguments!)

      • http://camdendepot.blogspot.com Camden Depot – Jon

        Neither would be easily replaced. That is kind of the point. It is difficult to find an average replacement for any poistion. They are equally replacable.

        Re: the Catchers you list…
        1. 150ab is a seriously low number to be basing any rate stat off of. You would need to consider the entire population of catchers which would then let you know that Wieters is average. Otherwise, we have selection bias at play.
        2. if we use 400ab, we will find Wieters right in the middle of the pack for catchers (hence, he is an average catcher). Still, it is better to compare him within a population.
        3. Oh, batting average is a poor statistic to use because it condenses all hits as equal and ignores another key out prevention event, the walk.

        re: DHs
        Comparing Vlad to players specifically limited to DHs is probably not the best way to do it. You want to compare him to hitters in general. Remember, the overriding factor for being a DH is being able to hit the ball. There is no fielding consideration.

  • Mat Germain

    Welcome to the team Tim!

    I’m not going to get into the WAR stat debate, because it’s only effective if used correctly and comparing the WAR of a C and a DH just doesn’t make any sense at all.

    As a Jays fan and writer, I’d like to congratulate the O’s for picking up Vlad! Although, I am extremely sad to see Vladdy sign in Baltimore because I am a Jays fan, and I do think he’ll be a tremendous addition to the team and clubhouse and that he’ll help everyone in the lineup relax a little more. He’s not a distraction like Manny could have become if signed instead, and he’s as close to a guaranteed 30 HR/ 100 RBI guys as you can get. What’s not ot love?

    If you guys don’t want him in Baltimore, feel free to trade him to Toronto mid-season. With him on your club, for now, I’d say the Jays will win much fewer that the 15 wins they had against the O’s in 2010. Add in your more seasoned pitching and lineup changes, and things should be much better for you overall.

    On a side not, however, how much do you think contending teams will give to have Vladdy on their squad come the trade deadline? For close to $4 million in remaining salary and in the midst of what is sure to be a tight Wild Card race and close races in all AL divisions? I’d be willing to bet that he will be dealt mid-season for a pretty nice package.

    Congrats O’s fans, you’re getting a win-win situation here. Enjoy the free swinger, he’s a lot of fun to watch!

    Mat – Jays Journal

    • http://camdendepot.blogspot.com Camden Depot – Jon

      So why do you think it is not valid to compare catchers and DHs? This point requires a bit more discussion than offhandedly tossing out there. I’d be interested in this perspective. If there is another way to compare the two positions, how would you do it?

      • Mat Germain

        I’m pretty certain you answered that above:

        “In this particular instance, Wieters is being compared to a player who would replace him if he was injured (a replacement level catcher – think AAA) against Vlad who is compared to a replacement level DH (think best hitter on AAA squad). Those baselines are different for each player. Vlad’s production at the plate is more easily replaced at his position than it is for Wieters at his.”

        And, I don’t even know why you would want to? You don’t have to compare everyone to everyone using WAR. There are a ton of intangibles that don’t even show up on the stat sheet. Will he intimidate opposing pitchers, ect.. ect.. I’m not getting into it here, as it seems that you’re really simply up for debating and I have limited time to use for writing! Busy life! Good luck with the debating with others though.

        I was here mostly to welcome Tim to the gang and to voice my opinion of Vladdy. I’m a glass half-full kind of guy, and it seems like a lot of the comments here are a little on the sour side. So I’ll go back to JJ!

        Cheers guys, and good luck in 2011!

    • Tim Anderson

      My “audition article,” if you will, to write here was actually on the benefits of signing Vlad. It was written before he was actually signed, but one of my benefits was that he could be easily traded at the deadline. There is pretty much a 90-10 chance that the Orioles deal him at the deadline (trading him being a 90). There will certainly being teams that would want him with his expiring contract.

      But there are some things that could change (the 10%). Vlad could actually have an awful season. The Orioles may actually be that playoff team that needs Vlad. The O’s could be dumb and not trade him, wanting to keep fans interested.

      I am willing to bet, also, that both Lee and Vlad are traded at or before the deadline.

      What the Orioles will get in return for Vlad though is tough. If you remember a few years ago, the Orioles were able to trade closer George Sherrill to the Dodgers for prospect Josh Bell. Bell is now seen as the Oriole third baseman of the future, a switch-hitting power bat.

      Now Vlad has a higher ceiling that George Sherrill. He is also more valuable than a situational lefty.

      If the O’s were smart they would be looking for a middle of the pack prospect who has good upside. But the question is what position do they look? They have tons of pitchers, a 3B in Bell, SS in Machado, C in Wieters, and an outfield that is pretty much filled for years to come. They seem content with signing relievers as opposed to growing them. Possibly a heavy hitting first baseman?

      It just all depends on what Vlad can do.

      • http://camdendepot.blogspot.com Camden Depot – Jon

        I do not see Vlad being that useful of a trade chip. It reminds me of Jim Thome a couple years back. The best piece found for him from the Dodgers was a C level prospect in Scott Fuller who was old for his league and not very good either.

        I would be surprised if he pulls back someone like Josh Bell (who was a B/B+ level prospects; now is probably a B- if he still counted for prospect lists).

        • Tim Anderson

          We can’t fold on Bell after a partial season in the majors. He showed us glimmers of hope. Remember the game when he hit his first Major League homerun, then proceeded to hit his second, then just missed a third his next at bat? He has talent.

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