2011 Reds

“Popular Gomes not a favorite of stat geeks”

That’s the headline on Fayman’s latest. I don’t really have any issue with the article; Fay is trying to straddle the line between advanced player analysis and WLW-caller mouthbreathing. As a mainstream reporter, he’s kinda required to straddle that line. That’s his job.

I’ll let you read the piece and decide for yourself. If you’ve read the Nation for any length of time, you know my position: I really, really like Gomes, but he’s one of the worst left fielders in the league by almost any measure.

47 thoughts on ““Popular Gomes not a favorite of stat geeks”

  1. “I really, really like Gomes, but he’s one of the worst left fielders in the league by almost any measure.”

    That echos my sentiments perfectly. I would go a step further and say he is an extremely serviceable platoon player.

  2. Good point. Perhaps I should have said he’s one of the worst “full-time” left fielders. In a strict platoon, he could be useful.

  3. In the print edition, the headline is “Gomes Numbers Might Lie”…and we have to remember the headlines are not done by the writer.

  4. “GOODYEAR, Ariz. – Every year, a large base of the Reds fandom will jump on one player as the guy they want out. This year, Jonny Gomes is the leading candidate for the the dishonor – well, at least until Francisco Cordero blows a save.”

    😆

    Chad’s passive-aggressive swipe at the people who don’t break out the scientific calculators and slide rules before every game aside, this quote pretty much describes RLN to the letter. Every year there is an officical enemy on this site and more nerd rage is directed at him than at the produers of ‘Enterprise’ at the average Star Trek convention.

    • “GOODYEAR, Ariz. – Every year, a large base of the Reds fandom will jump on one player as the guy they want out. This year, Jonny Gomes is the leading candidate for the the dishonor – well, at least until Francisco Cordero blows a save.”

      Chad’s passive-aggressive swipe at the people who don’t break out the scientific calculators and slide rules before every game aside, this quote pretty much describes RLN to the letter.Every year there is an officical enemy on this site and more nerd rage is directed at him than at the produers of ‘Enterprise’ at the average Star Trek convention.

      And explain why this is a bad thing? Shouldn’t the player that is the easiest in the lineup to replace be the subject of such scrutiny? Rather than talking about how “gritty” he is or how much they like his haircut? I’d prefer a good baseball player myself.

      • And explain why this is a bad thing? Shouldn’t the player that is the easiest in the lineup to replace be the subject of such scrutiny? Rather than talking about how “gritty” he is or how much they like his haircut? I’d prefer a good baseball player myself.

        I ABSOLUTELY prefer quality ballplayers over any alternative. Remember Ryan Freel? I hate Gomes’ glove and his bat isn’t far behind. I feel he’s getting hammered for things that aren’t his fault though, as strange as that must sound. A player like him should not have played as much as he did last year, exposing him to the highest degree. For ex, Heisey didn’t play as much as Gomes and the fans still love him like they loved Gomes through June. Heisey’s splits are terrible, but….

  5. I know looking at simple stats that are available on every sports site out there is such a geeky thing to do. From here on out I’ll use the eye test for Gomes. Sadly he looks pretty below average with the eye test also unless you blink a lot.

  6. Who says it’s bad? Emoting over ball players is as much a part of the game as peanuts, crackerjacks, and $9 beers.

    I would not desire to see RLN change this behavior any more than I would like to see it suddenly stop man crushing on the astoundingly mediocre Adam Dunn because his OMG&Pa+Ni% metric or whatever says he is awesome.

  7. @Jason1972: I don’t think (and I may be wrong here) that the majority of the RLN regulars want him gone. I just think that we take issue with him being an everyday LF. We would have preferred a major upgrade in the offseason, but since that didn’t happen, he is still vaulable, but as a platoon player only.

  8. Fay’s article is needlessly divisive.

    It frames the issue as one group of people against another when really the issue is two competing views Gomes’s worth.

    Do only “stat folks” care whether Gomes hit well in months other than May? I’d think all fans would care about that.

    It might be part of Fay’s job to express all points of view on the Reds, so as not to exclude a major part of the fan base. But *framing* the debate as one set of fans “stat geeks” against another, is a distraction from the real issue, and that’s the opposite of Fay doing his job.

    Evidence for that is the comments section, where many (not all) responses attack *fans* with opposing views, not advancing the dialog about JG.

    Read his article without the first two paragraphs and you’ll see what I mean.

  9. There are a lot of things about Gomes to like. BUT–here’s what is wrong with halfhearted numeric analysis like Fay’s–it looks at last year only and cherry-picks microdata that does not tell much of a story. I like to look at what we should expect from Gomes *this* year. Last year was a career year for Gomes in many ways, and Nix and Dickerson injuries contibuted a lot to that. This year, what can we realistically expect? A repeat of last year? That’s where the disconnect occurs–for if anyone thinks that if you just have the same players a year later, the results should be the same, they are in for a surprise.

    I like Gomes as the shorter half of the platoon (against lefties) and that leaves him with about half as many PAs as he got last year. Is that going to be ok with him? with Dusty? I doubt it. By all accounts, Gomes buys himself extra opps with his attitude and hustle (and you have to love attitude and hustle–who doesn’t?)

  10. Gomes is Kevin Mench but with a manager who hasn’t figured it out yet. Plenty of guys have had great careers being good at 1 thing in baseball. Most relievers are exactly that type of player, but that’s probably geeky also to suggest that also.

    Simple thing is at the end of the day is that Gomes struggles vs. RH pitching (346 ABs against them in 2010), and plays bad defense. Given that most of the time he will be facing RH pitching and playing the field, there is nothing “stat geek” about that scenario. It’s baseball, and suggesting otherwise is just bad journalism.

  11. I love Jonny too but recognize his obvious flaws. Basically, what Chad said.

    Sadly, the guy getting lost in the shuffle and getting no attention (from what I can see) is Chris Heisey. And there’s a decent chance he’s the best LF option we have.

  12. I do agree with jason1972 in that the stats guys are always coming up with reasons why good ballplayers can’t play anymore. Baseball is a numbers game, but my eyes tell me more than any formula could. Just as easily as someone came up with a mathematical formula, someone could disprove it with their own calculations. Janish is a perfect example. His defense is off the charts, and his offense is equally bad. I believe in 2009 he rated as the team’s worst player.

  13. The whole stats vs. non-stats thing is amusing to me, I think those who “hate” stats hate the implication more than the actual stats. Baseball fans, whether “serious” or not learn pretty quickly to not trust your eyes. The Reds play 162 games ever season. I may see Johnny Gomes go 0-4 and strike out three times. Does that prove he sucks? No he had a bad night. So pretty much everyone would look at the stats(of some kind.) The more “traditional” fan says to himself, “Huh he has 76 runs and 84 RBI. I must have caught him on a bad night.”
    What these fans seem to dislike about the “Statgeek” crowd is the implication that other fans believe someone else would have done better.
    In the end, they’re right to an extent game comes down to who scored the most runs. So traditional fans see Gomes’ production, and don’t want to give it away for someone with gaudier rate stats. They’d say OPS plus never scored a run.

    I can understand that objection to an extent. Johnny Gomes was responsible for 145 of the Reds runs in one form or fashion last year. That’s tangible results. A hypothetical guy with better rates may not have done more. We can project all we want, but there’s better than zero chance that a guy with a superior OPS would not have driven in or scored 145 runs.

    Whether he’s going to do it again? No one can say. The projection’s might bet against it, but it won’t be such a big difference that you’ll notice it just watching. And because the other people will have fewer opportunities, you’ll probably not notice the actual production difference. Gomes will likely put up the numbers fairly close to what he did last year, and it’s a bit of a leap to tell someone to give back 140 runs because it’s “likely” you can get someone else to produce better.

    • We can project all we want, but there’s better than zero chance that a guy with a superior OPS would not have driven in or scored 145 runs.

      Hmmm. See, I don’t think some people can draw teh correlation between OPS and runs/RBI very well. The more you’re on base (half of the OPS equation), the more chances you have to score runs. The higher your slugging (other half of the OPS equation), the more total bases and runners you move around the bases for RBI (assuming there are runners there for you). There’s a far greater than 0 chance that a higher OPS would have led to more than 145 runs/rbi.

  14. it makes more sense to me to have gomes as a platoon/pinch hitter because he does hit well with RISP.. the reason he hits well with RISP is because he gets fastballs to hit.. his use is better utilized off the bench.. i hope this goes better than everyone thinks it will

    check out my blog: http://tapthoseshinguards.blogspot.com/ for a piece on the hanigan signing.. i think there is more to this than we realize

  15. I only have a few things to add to what has already been said.

    First of all, 80 rbi and 70 runs sounds to me like someone who is a lot more than 2 percent above a replacement player. I’m a fan of using both new and old stats, but it is what it is. Lewis plays mediocre defense, has almost no pop,and is only slightly above average as a baserunner.

    Platoons can mess with a team when it changes everyones spot in a lineup. Look at the reds’ players average by position in lineup (I don’t have it handy but I’ve seen it for phillips, stubbs, and bruce on some other site) having one guy in provides a psychological boost because you know you’re job every day. It isn’t fair to ask stubbs to come in and bunt, steal second one day then lengthen his swing a drive a three run homer out the next.

    Lastly, gomes is a leader on this team. He’s a rah-rah type general that we don’t have in arroyo, votto, rolen or bruce. Do you think our awesome chemistry came from homers new take on preparation? He’s the type of leaader the rest of the guys play hard for.

  16. @secondguessingfanbase:

    So whose fault is it? Say it…say it….

    DUSTY BAKER.

    The manager who is a swell nice guy that all the players love but does not have the skills to manage a pro team to it’s best ability….

  17. 1) Does anyone think Fay actually believes this: “OPS is by far the best measure of offensive production.” I hope he doesn’t really think that.

    2) Gomes hit well above average in clutch situations, but we know that hitting in the clutch is not a repeatable skill. So this year, if he hits average (or below average) in clutch situations, his numbers will really fall off the table.

    3) I agree wtih one commentator above that it’s not really Gomes’ fault he was played everyday. But this statement: “Baseball is a numbers game, but my eyes tell me more than any formula could” is interesting. Did you actually watch every moment of Gomes’ 2010 campaign? What do one’s eyes tell you about Gomes? That he has a nice mohawk? That he hustles? What do your eyes tell you–that specifically relates to winning baseball games–that the numbers don’t?

    • 1) Does anyone think Fay actually believes this: “OPS is by far the best measure of offensive production.” I hope he doesn’t really think that.2) Gomes hit well above average in clutch situations, but we know that hitting in the clutch is not a repeatable skill. So this year, if he hits average (or below average) in clutch situations, his numbers will really fall off the table.3) I agree wtih one commentator above that it’s not really Gomes’ fault he was played everyday. But this statement: “Baseball is a numbers game, but my eyes tell me more than any formula could” is interesting. Did you actually watch every moment of Gomes’ 2010 campaign? What do one’s eyes tell you about Gomes? That he has a nice mohawk? That he hustles? What do your eyes tell you–that specifically relates to winning baseball games–that the numbers don’t?

      I seen enough, as they say. He was close to useless from June thru August. The team had no choice but to play him, and I hated every minute of it. The eyeball test (and his career line) tells me that in small doses, he can be a nice weapon for this team. His energy is valuable as well, as another poster stated, the leadership on this team is either silent or lacking.

      Heisey should be where he was last year, on the bench most of the time.

    • 2) Gomes hit well above average in clutch situations, but we know that hitting in the clutch is not a repeatable skill. So this year, if he hits average (or below average) in clutch situations, his numbers will really fall off the table.

      3) I agree wtih one commentator above that it’s not really Gomes’ fault he was played everyday. But this statement: “Baseball is a numbers game, but my eyes tell me more than any formula could” is interesting. Did you actually watch every moment of Gomes’ 2010 campaign? What do one’s eyes tell you about Gomes? That he has a nice mohawk? That he hustles? What do your eyes tell you–that specifically relates to winning baseball games–that the numbers don’t?

      Here is the issue….

      “We” (being a vast majority of those out there) DON’T know that “clutch” hitting isn’t repeatable. They haven’t seen the data and don’t care to either. It is why they don’t know about it, because they already “know” how things are and anything that says otherwise is simply wrong and you nerds need to actually watch a game because they aren’t played on computers. Of course we all know that isn’t how it works. I am about as number friendly as it gets and I don’t look at numbers at all during the game. I check all of that out after the fact to help me better understand what happened and why it happened. I sit back and watch the game like everyone else does, I just am likely much more informed than most of the masses on what could happen because of all the extra looking into things that I do.

      As for your second point, I still think its missing the boat somewhat. Even if you watched EVERY play that Gomes made both in the field and at the plate last year, you still don’t have enough to tell you much because you didn’t also watch every play that every other left fielder made. There is no baseline for comparison, so what you saw means nothing really without seeing what everyone else did. That is why stats (the right ones) are so important in telling us how good a player is, because no one can actually sit there and watch every play by 40 guys who spent most of the year at one position and then use what they saw to tell us who was better.

  18. I have never been one that believes that numbers tell the entire story when it comes to a players ability and value to a team. However, I believe that they must be respected and used with the “eye” ball test and when it comes to that i just think that not all in the Reds organization in the area of mang’t are that good.

  19. Between PEETY and royhobbs above, both sides of the general debate over counting stats versus ratings stats. Runs scored plus rbi “looks” good because it is final, not dependant on anything else. Looking at OBP isnt as easy to see results, cause it is dependant on someone already being on base, and someone hitting behind that player to get the results.

    The disconnect is that some people dont make the connection between the two. You cant get rbis without runners on base, and you cant score without people behind you getting hits. So if the 3 guys ahead of you and the 3 behind you have an ops of 0, the only rbi and runs you get come from solo homers.

  20. The “eye” test to me is very simple. The most important thing for a defense is making outs. For offense, not making outs. Which is why one fairly recent stat to get a lot of attention is obp. The opposite of making outs is getting on base, which is more valuable than just about anything.

    One of the recent pitching stats is WHIP. The fewer runners you allow to reach base, the fewer that can potentially score. Far more valuable for rating pitchers than just using era.

  21. There can be an over-reliance on stats like OBP. If the guy gets on base but can’t do anything once he’s on them, his OBP should be adjusted. Same for guys who get on base and can run. Not just steal bases, but go first-to-third. Be a guranteed run standing on second base, making it easier on the hitter because he knows that as long as that ball pokes through the infield, the team scores. When you can score with two players, one having gotten on base and the other driving him in, that is more valuable than needing 3 or 4 guys to score b/c the initial base-reacher runs the bases poorly.

    • There can be an over-reliance on stats like OBP.If the guy gets on base but can’t do anything once he’s on them, his OBP should be adjusted.Same for guys who get on base and can run.Not just steal bases, but go first-to-third.Be a guranteed run standing on second base, making it easier on the hitter because he knows that as long as that ball pokes through the infield, the team scores.When you can score with two players, one having gotten on base and the other driving him in, that is more valuable than needing 3 or 4 guys to score b/c the initial base-reacher runs the bases poorly.

      Getting on base is incredibly more important than what happens once he gets on them. As noted in the article, Gomes led the team in going first to third…. and he only did it 14 times. That means there were 173 times when he didn’t do that. Even the worst base runners on the planet are going to have 10+ times more events when they get on base and don’t have an issue (not taking the extra base, getting picked off/thrown out) than ones where they DO have an issue. What matters most is the frequency in which they are standing on a base. Once they are there, the guys behind them have to do their part because no one is stealing home anymore, so short of a HR, one guy isn’t responsible for getting a run across the plate.

      • Getting on base is incredibly more important than what happens once he gets on them. As noted in the article, Gomes led the team in going first to third…. and he only did it 14 times. That means there were 173 times when he didn’t do that. Even the worst base runners on the planet are going to have 10+ times more events when they get on base and don’t have an issue (not taking the extra base, getting picked off/thrown out) than ones where they DO have an issue. What matters most is the frequency in which they are standing on a base. Once they are there, the guys behind them have to do their part because no one is stealing home anymore, so short of a HR, one guy isn’t responsible for getting a run across the plate.

        Griffey got on base but it was hard to get him in outside of a homer b/c he couldn’t run well. The team wastes outs trying to get poor baserunners home, and ends up getting less out of an inning as they could have if anything at all.

        Scoring is more important than getting on base. The ability to score is valuable. The ability to get on base and give the defense and pitching an advantage with poor baserunning is also valuable, but overrated nonetheless.

  22. I understand what you mean now by “eye” test and I do agree: it is difficult for stats to capture certain things, like baserunning that isn’t included in steals/caught stealing. (Although: there are some numerical measures of basestealing and they generally align with what people observe.) That being said, if I had to evaluate a player and I only could use either OBP or general observations, i.e., the eye test, I’d take OBP.

    • I understand what you mean now by “eye” test and I do agree: it is difficult for stats to capture certain things, like baserunning that isn’t included in steals/caught stealing. (Although: there are some numerical measures of basestealing and they generally align with what people observe.) That being said, if I had to evaluate a player and I only could use either OBP or general observations, i.e., the eye test, I’d take OBP.

      Actually there are stats out there that factor in baserunner much more than stolen bases/caught stealing.

  23. To me with Gomes it is more then his hitting and clubhouse impact…HE STINKS in the field, there is no way to suger coat it or not. Outside of the routine ground to him that stops at his feet so he can pick and toss back in, every other hit to left field is an excersise in hopelessness…

  24. Whether you believe clutch is a repeatable skill or not, Gomes 2010 clutch numbers were heavily influenced by his hot May, weren’t they?

  25. As a realistic fan, the entire team will probably not perform as well with runners in scoring position this season. There was a lot of good luck spread around last season, and not much bad. This team needs to find new ways to score runs and win games, because getting such a high percentage of 2 out hits and winning so many games in the last at-bat will be nearly impossible to repeat.

  26. @secondguessingfanbase:
    Are you suggesting that Corey Patterson’s .292 career OBP with speed is more valuable than someone with a .400 OBP, no matter how slow that player is (provided he is an intelligent baserunner)?

  27. @secondguessingfanbase:

    Well aside from the fact that “having trouble getting someone in” is almost certainly more indicative of having bad hitters behind them than anything, the converse to your hypothetical is that a good baserunner can’t do anything for you whatsoever if they don’t *get on base.*

  28. @Brien Jackson:
    My grandfather absolutely hated when we had Deon Sanders hitting lead off. “You can’t steal 2nd base from the dugout.”

  29. I’d really love it for Jonny Gomes to have a huge year and for him to get signed for crazy money by KC or the Orioles and never have to worry about cash again. It probably won’t happen, but I would like it to happen. The guy is a bro, he just isn’t going to probably be much more than where he is at.

    I think Chris Heisey’s swoon when he was getting a bunch of playing time when Bruce went down and none of the outfielders were hitting didn’t help him. Of course, he would do good got a few starts, then Stubbs got hot in front of him. Heisey is a total K machine too, just like Gomes and Stubbs. Heisey’s hitting line in less at bats is pretty similar to Gomes and he is an upgrade on the glove, but I just don’t think the Reds believe in him. Every Gomes start should probably go with him or Lewis taking over left in the 7th and it probably will as that happened a bunch last year.

  30. @earl:
    I agree that Heisey’s line was similar to Gomes’ last year. But he has a history of hitting at every level in the minors, and should improve with age and experience. Gomes isn’t going to get any better, and his history (back of the baseball card Dusty, you like using that line when players have slow start) proves that last year is as good as it gets from him. So take the better defense and the chance to improve with Heisey.

  31. First, I don’t understand why we care one way or the other about Gomes’ hot May vs cold everything else. They all count, and overall, he stunk offensively. Many players are streaky, and I don’t think that should be held against him.

    Second, Fay is dead wrong when he says if Gomes is the worst problem the Reds have, it’ll be a good season. If Gomes puts up a .650 OPS, say, in LF, that would in fact be the worst problem, and it might cost the team the playoffs.

  32. No Red between 2001 and 2008 scored more runs or drove in more runs than the slow footed, horrible hitting with runners in scoring position dude named Adam Dunn. There might just be more to this OBP/Slugging thing, eh?

    Furthermore, how many seasons did Sean Casey hit .300 or better with RISP and never drove in 100 runs? How about Edwin Encarnacion?

    At the end of every baseball season, you can look at the top teams in OPS and find that they’re also the top teams in runs scored. That’s not because they’re all great at hitting with runners in scoring position.

    After May, Gomes was a huge issue in the lineup and in the field, and there’s no reason to believe that will change in ’11.

  33. @royhobbs:

    Casey largely didn’t get a lot of RBI because of a combination of poor OBPs in front of him and lineup position. At his peak, he was putting up an OPS in the .900’s.

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