"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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SpectatorOuch re Choi. That's a bad deal.1 min 19 sec ago
okdanFrom Shannon Drayer: "Tac 1b Ji-Man Choi has received a 50-game suspension after testing positive for methandienone, a PED."21 min 17 sec ago
Tacoma RainWhy wait til then... Get Bloomie on the mound NOW!!!38 min 10 sec ago
phxterrySure would be nice if Seager remember how to hit. As per normal, he leads the M's in stranded runners so far today.38 min 20 sec ago
Gordon GrossIsn't everyone, Grumpy? Bloomquist is gonna be our #3 starter by the end of the year at this rate.46 min 42 sec ago
Gordon GrossCorey Hart is scaring me to death with his fieldwork. Not that he's not good (he's been playing well out there) but just sliding and sprinting around. The problem with Microfracture is that is usually takes a while for knees to be able to take an everyday pounding. As long as he's not playing the field tomorrow it should be fine.47 min 42 sec ago
GrumpyErasmo must be hurt52 min 38 sec ago
Gordon GrossThank you Franklin!1 hour 28 min ago
Gordon GrossBuck is killing us. Missing throws into CF, late to miss a pickoff... can't Zunino just play all the games? To be fair, it's not like any of our other recent catchers make throws to 2nd any better. Maybe Sucre...1 hour 29 min ago
Gordon GrossARGH. Not enough of it. Angryface.1 hour 38 min ago
Gordon GrossC'mon Franklin...1 hour 39 min ago
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Gordon GrossMiller gets caught up in a double play after a leadoff double. Really? Dude, FOCUS. You're plenty fast enough... and with Hart's double you just cost us a run. Thanks again dude.1 hour 43 min ago
JDDubHarang-level. HA! Let's hope it doesn't get to Safeco Joe levels where we have to endure a full season worth.1 hour 44 min ago
Gordon GrossUGH. I really don't want to lose this game. C'mon fellas. You blew it yesterday, keep it together today.1 hour 57 min ago
Gordon GrossErasmo is killing me today. I have a ton of faith in the kid's future, but he hasn't been the same since that shoulder problem last year. I dunno if he just needs more time to relocate his accurate stuff, but he's not gonna get that change in the bigs for much longer. When your calling card is accuracy and not getting pounded, and then you turn into some mix of Beavan and Snell (thanks Grizz) then it's a joke. Your 2014 Ms have no room in the rotation for jokes.1 hour 58 min ago
Gordon GrossLike I said in the Smoak thread, Hart's not platooning. He hits righties well for his career. So you have to figure somebody else to take Smoak's spot at the plate, even if that somebody isn't playing first base. Also, I'm starting to hate Kouz. And E-Ram is roasted for the day. Terrible. Start waving goodbye to your rotation spot, kid. You can't get rocked 3 starts in a row. That's Harang-level stuff.2 hours 1 min ago
MtGrizzlyI really can't stand watching Ian Snell...err Erasmo Ramirez pitch.2 hours 1 min ago
phxterryRick has the answer on Smoak - platoon at 1B with Hart. As a LH batter, Smoak is fine. In his off days, Smoak could learn how to bunt, and then he would be even more useful if he would bunt to beat the extreme shift.2 hours 4 min ago
Gordon GrossWe're definitely a feast-or-famine offense this year. When the runs come, they fall from the sky like raindrops. When they don't come we waste away in the desert without a drop to drink.2 hours 9 min ago