"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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MtGrizzlyThe guys on one of the pre-game shows indicated that Harvin refused to go back into the Dallas game and that was what sealed his fate.5 hours 49 min ago
misterjonezFrom reading tweets (I know, I know) and articles at Fieldgulls I came away with the overwhelming impression that he was becoming a clubhouse cancer. I generally think that when an organization (and league) made up, primarily, of Alpha Males complains of a person's personality, there's a serious problem. good on the 'Hawks for sticking to their guns and the 'program first' mantra.6 hours 41 min ago
DaddyOStory of the Seahawks this season: In contrast to last year, this season the Hawks's defense is not generating sufficient pressure on the quarterback, and they are not taking the ball away (turnovers).6 hours 47 min ago
Cool Papa BellThey went out of their way to get him the ball trying to make him happy. Now they will have a lot more freedom. He's not as big a loss as it may seem on paper.1 day 15 hours ago
misterjonezWow, DaddyO...that's, well...shocking. Not sure what that means for the offense going forward; they had pretty much built the machine around him stretching the field laterally.2 days 56 min ago
DaddyOAnd so it becomes clear that the Percy Harvin era in Seattle is over before it ever really got going. One can't help but wonder what changed since their decision to forgo resigning Golden Tate. Continuing physical issues?2 days 9 hours ago
Tacoma RainGo wash your hands with soapy soap Bat for writing such blasphemy... May Montero never don the tools of ignorance again!!!3 days 4 hours ago
Bat571The beauty of signing VMart is being able to occasionally DH Zunino, knowing VMart could put the gear on if needed. Technically, Montero could as well, but ...3 days 5 hours ago
Bat571I like Sucre, but he hasn't hit his weight. Hicks also is a good baserunner who can steal a base as well. I expect Hicks will start in AAA, but will swap with Sucre after 200 or so ABs of the same .750 OPS and continuing to show he can handle catching duties, especially balls in the dirt. He's considerably better than Marlette at catching, but Marlette has the better bat, but Marlette is still a year or so behind. But I can see Hicks and Zunino leading a championship staff AND contributing with the bat each is his own way. And if Zunino can catch 100-120 games and stay fresh, all the better.3 days 5 hours ago
GLSHicks developing into a legit backup option for Zunino could be one of those under the radar non-moves that really helps this team in the next few years. Zunino played in 131 games this year, and he was basically out of gas in September. Having a legitimate backup that can play the position defensively and also contribute a little bit with the bat could easily be worth a couple more wins each year.3 days 6 hours ago
Bat571Hicks is turning out to be the anti-Zunino at the plate -- .294 BA, .400 OBP, but a .353 slugging. Looks like they might be a dandy combo. And Hicks is getting nice reviews for his pitch-calling and general defense.3 days 7 hours ago
Bat571And, by the way, Patrick Kivlehan was 2-3 today with a 2B, HR, and a walk. Deej was 0-3, and Hicks 1-3 with 2 runs scored.3 days 7 hours ago
Bat571The Venezuelans have even talked about ending the heating oil subsidy plan that the Kennedy family administers in New England and selling Citgo! Maybe the sign at Fenway will be worth hitting again!4 days 2 hours ago
Bat571Maybe Raul Castro has hit the point where a change is needed to get investment in the country. The dire straits the Venezuelans are in due to the boom in North American oil production means they have to cut the subsidies they've been giving Havana. I've also heard that the Cuban government is considering making the ministry of sport into an autonomous organization (something like PBS, I suppose). Very interesting. Cuban prestige might be enhanced if their athletes could play in other countries, and both Europe and the U.S. are lobbying for reducing travel restrictions. Where will it lead ? .....4 days 2 hours ago
Bat571Just in the past few days there have been a number of editorials (including the NY Times) suggesting that the time has come to modify the embargo. The Cuban government has apparently indicated to the Europeans they are ready to meet some of the conditions set by the U.S. Now Cuban players have apparently been allowed to leave, with at least one flying out and arriving in Mexico with his passport. I just find this all very interesting - I remember the China breakthrough started with ping-pong.4 days 2 hours ago
SABR MattThere is no chance that any change will happen with Cuban players that compensates Cuba. None. Zero. There could be rules changes here at home limiting how much ballclubs are allowed to pay Cuban defectors...but Cuba is off limits to meddling with finances.4 days 3 hours ago
mojicianAre there some signs the Trading With The Enemy Act might be repealed? It's currently a crime to travel to Cuba or buy Cuban stuff unless you are there for academic reasons. I don't know what the Feds would do if someone worked a deal with the Cuban Government. Treason charges? But, on the flip side of that, the U.S. Government knows where it stands in relation to baseball in the hearts and minds of most Americans. People don't send their Congressmen to Washington to mess with baseball.4 days 4 hours ago
Bat571Make Ted Turner special U.S. Ambassador to Figure-It-Out. He's a liberal democrat and knows how baseball works (the only owner-manager since Connie Mack?), but also has a big enough following in the South to get some sort of system worked out so the best Cuban players don't have to deal with smugglers and other low-lifes to get here. They'll just have to deal with Boras or the Levinson brothers and avoid Miami "medical" clinics.4 days 5 hours ago
Bat571What's interesting is these last few guys are leaving Cuba seemingly much easier - apparently some are even keeping their passports. I still expect a posting system is not far away. The embargo wouldn't allow payment to the government directly, but Angelos or somebody will figure out a fudge (making the Cuban League a charitable sports foundation like the Olympics?). Then the Cuban Leagues will become like the Mexican League - an AAA/AA league recognized by MLB, but with their own acquisition/trade rules.4 days 6 hours ago
Bat571From what I've read, he's expected to be in the tier just below Cano/Pedroia/Altuve. Expect one again for the Yankees to be involved in the rebuilding by cashbox method of roster construction Their outfield is ~crowded, but they can use MIFers. Moncada or Fernandez? Only Hal knows for sure.4 days 6 hours ago