Friday, December 23, 2011

Don Mattingly’s Peak vs. Fred McGriff’s

See HOF Story 2: The Holdovers by Joe Posnanski. (Hat Tip: The Book blog)

POZ wrote:
“Don Mattingly’s career was too short, but few would say McGriff was as good a player as Mattingly at their best. I wouldn’t.”

From 1984-86, Mattingly had an OPS+ of 158. From 1988-90, McGriff had an OPS+ of 159. McGriff’s 1988-91 OPS+ of 156 also beats Mattingly’s 1984-87 OPS+ of 155.

But in WAR, Mattingly is ahead over three years 19.6-16 and ahead over 4 years 25.3-20.6. Over the 4 years Mattingly had 0.7 more defensive WAR, so that is only a small part of the difference, meaning Mattingly’s offensive WAR advantage was 4.0. He had about 157 more PAs. It does not seem like that would give him an edge of 4.0. I can’t tell what accounts for it.

I also found Mattingly’s best 4 year period for Win Shares was 14 better than McGriff’s (122-108). Mattingly had 2.3 more fielding Win Shares, so most of the difference is due to hitting. Again, when their OPS+ is so close, this is surprising.


Devon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Devon said...

Take a look at their strikeouts. McGriff struck out 524 times from '88-'91, whereas Mattingly didn't even reach 450 in his entire career.

Also look at their TB in their peaks. Mattingly has about 350 more from '84-'87 than McGriff does in '88-'91.

I'm guessing those details have gotta account for much of the difference in WAR.

Cyril Morong said...

Thanks for dropping by and commenting.

Mattingly had 558 extra bases over the years 1984-87. McGriff had 528. Not a big difference.

Mattingly had 1048 H + BB + HBP. McGriff had 1022.

Mattingly had 842 hits and McGriff had 613. This is the big edge for Mattingly.

McGriff beats him in isolated power .243-.223 snd also in OBP .393-.381.

So it is not power or the ability to get on base that gives Mattingly such a big edge in WAR. Maybe it is total hits. He was getting singles when McGriff was getting walks. I don't know how that would accout for 4.0 WAR over 4 years.

Mattingly had a littler more playing time, 157 PAs. But that is just 6% more. If they are otherwise identical, then 6% more than, say, 20 is 21.2. That still leaves alot of the difference to be accounted for. Maybe it is in the hits vs. walks issue. Mattingly had 63 1Bs and 79 more 2Bs. I estimate that adds an extra 47 runs or 4.7 wins if we assume that McGriff was getting a walk when Mattingly was getting a 1B or a 2B. McGriff had 17 more HRs. If we assume Mattingly was getting a 1B in those cases, I estimate an extra 15 runs for McGriff. That still gives Mattingly a 32 run edge and if that means 3.2 wins, then added to the small amount for extra playing time, this might account for it.