"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 daily Jackson report is really good: DJ with two hits including a homer. Pizzano with three hits, he's clearly found his stroke or isn't getting bad luck BABIP'ed anymore. Kivlehan with 2 hits, a double and a triple. I'm willing to bet that two of those three guys make an impact in Seattle. At least one will be Paolini only had one hit but it was his 26th double. Landuzuri gives up 5 hits in 7 innings. Now 5-2.7 hours 28 min ago
moethedogMatt, I'll disagree. The guy is rusty, clearly not in mid-season form and yet he just allowed two hits, no more. Young pitchers figure out the walk deal. They rarely lose the stuff deal.7 hours 40 min ago
merksLooks like the M's won an additional draft pick next year after the 2nd round from the competitive balance draft today. It's the type of draft pick that can be traded which is pretty cool in theory.9 hours 48 min ago
tjmThe Colon comp isn't Chris Young, it's Greg Maddux - same pitch mix, same late movement. You can pitch approximately forever with this stuff. And, if it escaped our attention, Baker was compltely insane. As Doc sez, I mean that in a good way. Guy's a bad dog working a bone. don't go near him.9 hours 57 min ago
MtGrizzlyDivish wants to be a sportswriter. Baker wanted more. And got it because he worked his toosh off while on the M's beat.10 hours 1 sec ago
DaddyObsr, I COMPLETELY agree re: Baker. Divish simply does not produce the quantity or quality of content that Baker did. I can't figure out why, cause he shows at TNT that he had the chops. Apparently he just doesn't work as hard as Baker did.10 hours 14 min ago
IcebreakerXJudging from the shoutbox, Walker is sounding like a Rafael Soriano redux. Which must also mean we'll trade him for Jason Hammel.10 hours 18 min ago
mojicianI can't take many more of these recklessly tweeted rumors that are loosely based on anonymous triple hearsay connecting and disconnecting the Mariners to good baseball players: "Sources say that a rival exec thinks that Stanton would be a good fit for the Mariners and Seattle might be interested.".............Can some one PM me if the Mariners sign someone? @Wentmlbrumorinsane10 hours 47 min ago
bsrMan do I miss Baker on the M's beat. I know I for one took for granted his incredible productivity as a writer and analyst. It's like a sleepy ghost town over at the ST M's blog since he left. Dutton and Drayer put out the occasional analysis piece but it's mostly just the daily facts. There's nowhere to get much insider M's analysis these days.10 hours 57 min ago
DaddyOColon, of course, was working the edges.11 hours 29 min ago
DaddyOYou know, that's my impression too. When guys like Smoak and Ackley get meatball fastballs, center cut, they mostly flat out miss 'em. I'm sympathetic when I see a guy who's struggling get rung up on a pitch well off the plate, but if you can't hit centered fastballs with at least average regularity you have no business being at the plate.11 hours 30 min ago
MtGrizzlyI can't remember a team that hits the FB worse than this M's team. Really pathetic.11 hours 52 min ago
phxterrySince 7/3/14, M's are 6-10, losing 4 out of 5 series, including series losses to the White Sox, the Twinkies, and the Mets. In that 16 game stretch, the M's are scoring runs at the rate of 2.16 runs/9 innings. The M's play games on 17 out of the next 18 days, with 13 of those games against teams with records above .500. Before tonight's games, the M's lead in the second WC race is down to 1 game, and it could shrink tonight. If the M's continue their current losing ways over the next 2.5 weeks, they will be out of the WC race.12 hours 46 min ago
DaddyOA-NOTH-er game where we finished a buck short because of pathetic offense. A-NOTH-er season of offensive frustration. A-NOTH-er season where obvious position player holes have been allowed to just continue and continue. This is ridiculous. And yes, rick82, it was clear that Taijuan's beaning of that Mets hitter threw him off his game. He was sailing after the first inning until that moment.13 hours 10 min ago
rick82Happy Felix/Kuma weekend...I pray.13 hours 15 min ago
rick82I didn't see the game, but looking at the details, it looks like Taijuan started rough, really righted the ship, and after he hit Tejada really struggled with his control. I wonder if hitting the guy threw him off his game and made him tentative. Also, yeah, he's still struggling, but Hart is giving good at bats in late game situations the last two days. I've seen enough Smoak, tiring of LoMo but we need a left handed bat not owned by Chavez on the bench. Hart at first, Montero DH, LoMo as situation calls for it, and then see what Santa brings for August.13 hours 16 min ago
jemanjiOne thing a game like today's -- oops, a 2 weeks like today's -- is create an unpleasant buzz around baseball, that the Mariners are ineptly wasting a good season …. driving them to "get across the finish line" for a couple bats. Or not ...14 hours 35 min ago
jemanjiChris Young has been doing this shtick to everybody else for about 20 starts … don't dish it out if you can't eat it … :- )14 hours 37 min ago
SABR MattA gem?? The guy walked 6, struck out 5 and needed 96 pitches to get throguh 5 innings. The Mets aren't very good offensively, Walker isn't very good at pitching, and the Mariner offense is completely pathetic. I have no returned full circle to my global feeling of absolute disgust at this team.14 hours 46 min ago
moethedogI suppose watching Colon (who I like) throw a perfecto at this point should be exciting. Alas, watching a gem by Taijuan get wasted by our set of bats that haven't been added to is even more depressing. The lack of addition more than the lack of hits.14 hours 59 min ago