"Plausibility Index" & The Allegory of the Window

Our Spectometer stat to measure "Production"

This may be a very lame way of explaining what I'm getting at, or not. But I do realize now I should have found a picture of an open window.

Anyway ... imagine if you will ...

There is a little cannon, like the ones they use for practicing tennis or shooting hot dogs into the bleachers, and it shoots beanbags at the side of a house with a window.  (We wouldn't want to damage the house, so we use beanbags.)  The window is open, but the size of the opening is fixed.  The cannon has bad aim, and moves up and down and back and forth in a totally random manner.  For purposes of our thought experiment, the aim and randomness of the cannon cannot be changed, either.  The beanbags are fed into the cannon from a hopper.

But ... some percentage of the beanbags make it through the window and into the house.

Every minor league hitter will have beanbags fired at the window on his behalf, and every minor league hitter will have a "Goal" of obtaining a given number of beanbags inside the house.

At the outset, with each minor league hitter getting an identical hopper-full of beanbags (that is, plate appearances), it is equally plausible for each hitter to reach the Goal.  Some will and some won't, but that will be determined by the randomness of the cannon shots.  At the outset, no one hitter is more plausible than any other.

But then we change the ground rules in two steps.

First, each hitter takes a certain number of beanbags out of his hopper, and places them directly in the house.  These are walks, home runs and balls hit with authority (defined for measurement purposes as doubles + triples).  In other words, a number of beanbags equal to XBH + BB comes out of the hopper and into the house.  No cannon shot needed.  Each hitter will be that much closer to the Goal, in an amount equal to the number of XBH + BB.

Second, each hitter takes a certain number of beanbags out of his hopper, and throws them in the dumpster.  These are strikeouts.  These beanbags never get into the house, and can't be used to reach the Goal.

After these two events, the plausibility of each hitter reaching the Goal will be different.  Some will be very close to the Goal, and some won't.  Some will have reduced their chances by removing a load of beanbags from their hopper.  Hitters with similar-looking stats, might have very different plausibility because of very different strikeout rates.

After the two events, we've narrowed down our cannon shots to two of the six "plate outcomes."  Walks, home runs and balls hit with authority go right in the house; strikeouts go right in the dumpster.  The only "beanbags" left in the "hopper" represent "random-y" singles and "random-y" ball-in-play outs.

And ... we can calculate the conversion rate that each hitter needs to reach the Goal.  That is, once we know how many beanbags are in the house, how many are in the dumpster, and how many are left in the hopper, we can calculate the percentage of beanbags that need to make it through the window in order to reach the Goal.

That is what the stat Plausibility Index is.  The "Goal" is defined as an OPS of .890, which is the OPS that you get when you combine the threshold numbers that almost all successful major league hitters showed in the minors. 

Then:

  • given this hitter's actual rate of walks, home runs and extra-base hits [beanbags placed directly in the house], and
  • given this hitter's actual strikeout rate [beanbags placed in the dumpster] ...
  • what is the conversion rate of "random-y" singles [beanbags making it through the window] per "non-authoritative balls in play" [cannon shots out of the hopper] ...
  • necessary to produce an OPS of .890 [the Goal]?

A very low Plausibility Index indicates that the hitter needs very few "random-y singles" to reach .890.  The lowest for the Mariner system in 2012 was Mike Zunino's .112.  For guys who played the full season, it was Leon Landry at .242.  Once you get much over .350, then the likelihood of a hitter's actual success becomes less plausible (e.g., Jabari Blash at .373 and Ramon Morla at .355, despite decent-looking "regular" stats).

And, once we've set down that baseline, then we can consider that maybe some guys can "improve the aim of the cannon" or "expand the size of the window" (e.g., through speed).  But, when we do, we need to recognize that it is something other than producing by hitting the ball with authority, drawing walks and avoiding strikeouts.

 

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moethedogthe return to the interesting LoMo: I've written several times before that the most interesting Logan Morrison was the one he was as a rookie. he was an OBP 1B then, not really a slugger. Rookie numbers = .283-.390-.447. The Slg% was inflated beyond reason as he has 20 doubles and 7 trips in 287 BA's. In the last 28 days, Morrison is a .289-.379-.356 hitter. He's has 3 XB's in 103 PA's. But this is an interesting Morrison to bat near the top of the lineup. His rookie year he bated 2nd almost exclusively. Vs. RHP he is OPS'ing .809....he was at .797 in '10.2 months 1 week ago
moethedogI always said I liked that Morrison better. I would still get him some vL help in the form of Guti or Romero. Guti isn't the runaway that you might imagine....if you're going to platoon him. He's OPS'ing .776 vL in Tacoma with 1 HR in 51 AB's. Romero is at .895 and 4 in 67. (Montero, now blocked it appears is at .980 and 4 in 73: O'Malley is at .865 with a .404 OBP...He's better than Bloomquist). Guti is hitting RHP very well, but the LF position may be a platoon only deal right now. vR, you go with Trumbo, LoMo, Cruz and Smith......2 months 1 week ago
DaddyOAha. Things begin to add up. Jack is determined to keep Ackley. Brings in Weeks so somebody understands what he's going through. McClendon know that. (jk)2 months 1 week ago
moethedogWeeks and Ackley were both #2 picks.2 months 1 week ago
rick82Weeks must be real good in the clubhouse. I didn't realize what a young phenom he was, although he was a super high pick I figured he had a typical minors experience. But he skipped high A, going from the Midwest League at age 20 (and a callup in September to the big club) to AA at age 21, then half a season in AAA before settling in as the Brewer second baseman. Only 937 PAs in the minors, a hundred or so fewer than Ackley.2 months 1 week ago
GrumpyAckley rather.2 months 1 week ago
GrumpyIf he gets hurt plug-in actually back in and call up Jones.2 months 1 week ago
GrumpyYes I can't imagine what the holdup is on Gutierrez.2 months 1 week ago
MtGrizzlyCrappy thing is, there's an extreme shortage of decent catchers in the game right now. Tough and expensive position to upgrade.2 months 1 week ago
rick82Over that last week, Zunino has an .000 BA with a .214 OBP. 3:4 BB/K ratio.2 months 1 week ago
SABR MattTerry...Rodney is demoted...Smith is the closer now. Only 3 blown saves before Rodney disappeared. That's pretty fast.2 months 1 week ago
phxterryPersonally, I think that GMZ had a very good off-season, plugging several major holes with Cruz, Smith, and Happ -- without significantly down-grading the talent pool. I would fault him for being slow to react to correct deficiencies as the season has developed; however, he did make a nice trade for a back-up catcher when Sucre flopped at the plate. For me, most of the fault is with the manager and players. The Pencil's inherent stubbornness for playing the wrong players (his man-crush on Almonte has been replaced with his love for the FRE) has not been offset this year with the magical touch he had in the bullpen last year. I reckon that the Pencil's use of Rodney and Farquar is, by itself, the difference between the current record and .500.2 months 1 week ago
Gordon GrossLOL or what Matt said. Carlos is OPSing a thousand in the minors this year. Montero: .830 (and blocked by Trumbo), Marte: .830 (and injured), Romero: .820 (and currently injured), Taylor: .800 and back in AAA for a reason, Kivlehan: .760 with no walks, Jones: .690, DJ .575 in AA (!!!) and then Dario Pizzano who probably needs to move up to AAA with his current .850, good eye and slight lack of power - which is another great reason to promote Guti.2 months 1 week ago
Gordon GrossCorrea is a future monster. The Mariners were hoping Buxton or Correa got to them in that draft, and Zunino was the consolation prize. When his offense comes around in 2018 he's gonna be a great future prize - for the Yankees. Last night was Kivlehan's first walk in 2 weeks. He's hitting for power now (.305 average with a .625 SLG over his last 3 weeks) but the 4:22 eye over that time frame isn't great. I still don't call up Kivlehan, and Marte is on the DL at the moment. Montero has had his spot taken by Trumbo. That leaves Guti, who is posting a .326 /.422 /.533 /.956 line this year in AAA with a .6 batting eye. He can come back up aaaannny day now and take Ackley's spot. DFA Weeks if that makes you feel better, since they're both righties. We need Guti's D out there and his offense CAN'T be as bad as everyday Dustin.2 months 1 week ago
SABR Mattmoe...we don't have anyone with Correa's pedigree knocking down the door. Our AAA hopefuls are MLB vet retreads, guys who are hitting .210, and guys with K/BBs larger than 5.2 months 1 week ago
DaddyOIt is a little known fact that The Beatles had mystic powers, and forseeing the dreadful lot of Mariners fans in 2015 composed this song to capture their mood: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jzxdApFBBGQ2 months 1 week ago
moethedogA day off and a plane trip east......The perfect time to make some roster moves. Man, Houston just called up their 20 year old SS, after a handful of AAA games.....because he's better than their other guys. Exactly what we should be doing.2 months 1 week ago
DaddyODay off. A vacation from Mariners Fan Misery.2 months 1 week ago
MtGrizzlyThey like Weeks for some reason.2 months 1 week ago