"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. 


  • 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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SpectatorSo dead Daddyo that no one's even using the shoutbox. Well here's some news: with the final signing of a player with a qualifying offer, the 2015 draft order is now set. Due to signing Nelson Cruz the M's have no 1st round pick & won't pick until No. 60. Pretty much a crap shoot there, though last time we lacked a true 1st round pick we ended up with Taijuan.10 hours 21 min ago
DaddyOFebruary. The deadest sports month. Since Sonics left, Pro basketball means nothing to me. UW hasn't had a significant men's BB team in years, so the NCAA's don't interest me. The three hardest parts of late winter are when pitchers and catchers report...but there's nothing really going on, and the full squad report date...but there's still nothing really going on, and the start of spring training games...but there's STILL nothing really going on until the Spring Equinox..1 day 19 hours ago
mojicianCaptain America is the king of strategy, but I thought that might be Kuma.3 days 13 hours ago
SABR MattPaxton is clearly thor. Felix is more like a matter of deception...who would qualify Asia that on the avengers?3 days 13 hours ago
mojicianAlso, Felix is like Thor because he has long absences in other dimensions, and only appears every fifth episode or so, but when he does show up he takes over. Of course, you could say that Paxton is Thor, because his trademark is an unstoppable hammer that he smashes guys with.3 days 13 hours ago
mojicianThere is a strong case to be made for Wilhelmson as Hulk. He's the strongest Avenger but he doesn't deal well with everyday pressure, and they don't call him into battle except for the most serious jams. This is probably because the plot would be broken if he were used all the time. Also, Wilhelmson is a nice guy, but you wouldn't like him when he's angry. Plus, he doesn't believe in elaborate pitch sequence strategy. He only knows SMASH.3 days 13 hours ago
mojicianI think Felix should be Thor because his changeup seems to warp space time like one of Thor's Asgaardian artifacts. Not Avengers, but I think Medina should be Superman. This is because the battles are a lot closer of a call than you would guess by looking at his scouting report. Joe Beimel would be Batman, as he packs a lot of swagger for only having a grappling hook and a right cross.3 days 14 hours ago
jemanjiAvengers … Farquhar is more muscle than brain, so Hulk maybe?, though he doesn't physically look it, it's probably the Hulk who'd run his peripherals. Furbush as that guy who fires arrows from rooftops? Sort of an assassin-sling guy who stands out there rather detached from retribution, hard to see from where you stand, and whose pitches are rather pointy and stingy as they come in. Bullpen Taijuan as Thor? Leone as Black Widow, a character of reasonable effectiveness you don't see coming? :: shrug :: y' got me. No idea :- ) Mojo could take this stuff into hyperspace ...3 days 14 hours ago
jemanjiMatt, we pray that your career (and Gordon's, and Jonez') will be blessed up to and including NYT bestseller list. Go get 'em bro'. … Gordon, if and when SSI hits your priority / spare time bar we'll be looking' forward to it. Here's to your return from the netherworld. :: daps ::3 days 14 hours ago
MtGrizzlyGood luck, Matt! Kindle?3 days 15 hours ago
SABR MattI just completed the second novella-length story going into my first ever self-published novel...throwing myself into the writing junket full time and feeling quite inspired...wish me luck!3 days 16 hours ago
Gordon GrossUpdate from beyond: remember when I said my hours were coming back down and I would be posting a lot more. Yeah... moved to a different department thanks to someone quitting abruptly, so my hours are back up to 65+ a week. That said, we've convinced them to hire another person so I'm still trying to get down to Spring Training next month, and my work schedule should be lightening the load in a couple weeks. Fingers crossed. Pitchers and catchers report soon!3 days 22 hours ago
SABR MattHelp me out here, guys - I'm not a Marvel expert, but I want to take Doc up on his challenge to match Mariner relievers to their best-fit Avengers. I already placed Rodney as Hawkeye (shoot that arrow into the sky), Wilhelmson as Iron Man (off-color lifestyle as the bartender, self-made comeback story), and Dominic Leone as Captain America (kind of a golden boy - unassuming figure, but a ton of unexpected power). what else you folks got?4 days 47 min ago
SABR MattI see Olivera as a HUGE piece for us...if we get him...he replaces Zobrist as the guy who play around the diamond...i want that4 days 15 hours ago
jemanjiBaseball America comes out with its Handbook and Dr. D scanned the list to see if there were any major tweaks he'd make. None jumped out until he hit the #30 slot.4 days 16 hours ago
jemanjiGuys - there's a chat thread up for yer. :: tight smile that doesn't reach the eyes ::4 days 16 hours ago
SpectatorBA ranked Ibanez as the No. 6 Cuban player and Olivera as the No. 8. Olivera is 6-2, 220 and has "above-average power" -- http://www.baseballamerica.com/international/hector-olivera-showcase-report/ Ibanez is 5-10, 183 and is a "promising young hitter" -- http://www.baseballamerica.com/international/dont-sleep-andy-ibanez-next-cuban-bonus-pool-buster/4 days 16 hours ago
SpectatorBaseball America via MLBTR ... both Jack Z AND Kevin Mather fly to Dominican to watch Cubans Hector Olivera and Andy Ibanez work out. Both primarily play second. Olivera is 29 and could play third or corner OF (per BA). Ibanez is 21 and BA sez he's likely to fit best at 2b. So they wonder why Mather and Z are there after signing Cano and Seager to long-term deals. Gotta wonder if they had other business there. http://www.baseballamerica.com/international/mariners-president-gm-scout-hector-olivera-andy-ibanez/4 days 16 hours ago
GLSIs it the third world poor you're concerned about? What to do about third world development in the era of climate change is a sinkhole of muddy, unclear policy prescriptions. The problems in those countries are often a mixture of social/political and economic and adding increased resource scarcity to the mix is like adding gasoline to a fire. As an example, there's a strong case to be made that the problems in Syria started because of drought.4 days 17 hours ago
SABR MattDoc - it's alright. Terry was just trying to tick me off and I said everything I needed to say in reply. :) If y'all want to have a larger discussion about Catholicism, I'd be happy to chime in, but I don't feel a particular need to start said discussion. :)4 days 17 hours ago