Reese Kaplan -- Lying (to Yourself) with Statistics

One of the more confounding ways people seek to make arguments is to use small sample sizes.  Anyone can have a hot few days or a cold few days, but if you cherry pick those numbers as representative of someone’s worth (or lack thereof) then you’re probably a fan of Darrell Huff’s 1954 seminal tome on the subject, How to Lie With Statistics

This topic arose when I read the plethora of articles on the Mets’ new “solution” to the David Wright injury in the form of one Ruben Dario Tejada.  I laughed out loud when I read several writers tripping all over themselves to heap new found praise on Tejada for his hot weekend against the Miami Marlins which resulted in (just in case you’ve forgotten) 2 losses out of 3 tries against one of the weaker teams in the league.  During that three-day trial at 3B Tejada delivered with the bat to the tune of a 5-12 weekend with 4 RBIs.  Wow, those numbers are indeed impressive but they’re also unsustainable. 

In the interest of larger sample sizes, let’s take a look at what Mr. Tejada has done since 2013.  For 2.25 seasons he has batted a rather tepid .226.  Allow me to remind you that Tejada was given the 3B gig due to the failure of Eric Campbell to hold down that position.  Since the beginning of 2014 he has hit .237.  He also provided 4 HRs, 23 RBIs and 5 SBs during that 274 AB span.  In 620 ABs, in addition to the inferior .226 AVG, Tejada hit fewer home runs, drove in proportionately fewer runs and stole fewer bases.   Yet to read these articles now he’s being hailed as some kind of offensive force to hold down the fort until Wright returns.

What’s even more bizarre is the handling of Danny Muno.  Through this weekend and TWO stints in the big leagues the manager has given him exactly 14 ABs to show what he can do.  Wow, even Chin-Lung Hu, Brad Emaus and Taylor Teagarden got more chances than that, yet many respectable writers including Michael Baron are writing off the Mets 3B alternatives as failures when juxtaposed to Wrecker Ruben. 

With only 3 big league games on his resume, it’s probably fairer to do a minor league to minor league comparison of he and Tejada.  Across parts of seven seasons in the minors, Ruben batted .271 with 16 HRs, 189 RBIs and 51 SBs spread over 1929 ABs.  Muno in about ¾ of the number of ABs hit .277 with 32 HRs, 204 RBIs and 55 SBs.  Extrapolate those numbers over the same 1929 ABs and the margin of victory becomes even more dramatic in Muno’s favor.  Throw in the fact he’s also a switch hitter and it boggles the mind that people would write him off after fewer than 3 big league games in favor of a guy who’s generated 4.6 WAR not in a single season but in aggregate over parts of 6 MLB seasons.  

Hey, if I’m wrong about Tejada and he somehow morphs into Tommy Herr with the bat (who once drove in 110 runs in a season for the Cardinals with just 8 HRs), that’s great for the Mets.  However, it’s a safer bet to project the future based upon more than 2.25 seasons of stats (or an entire 6 year MLB career) than it is to perch precariously on a bandwagon after one hot weekend.  Me, I roll the dice on someone with greater potential.  


eraff said...

Danny Muno is NOT a Major Leaguer. I repeat.......... .

Reese Kaplan said...

Well, not since he was demoted...

But I could say the same thing of Anthony Recker, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, etc. The difference is they at least got opportunities to prove themselves (and failed). Muno, Monell and others have not.

Anonymous said...

No one on the 25 man roster of the Mets have done more to lose his spot than Tejada. But lets face it, Collins has a man crush on him and as long as that love affair lasts, Tejada will always get one more chance to prove he belongs.

But with enough exposure, he will eventually turn into the Ruben Tejada we have seen time and time again. Lets not forget that even while failing last year, Collins still started Tejada over Flores because "he had to get him going". Eventually it was Sandy who had to tell Collins to play Tejada much to Collins dislike. There are rumors that Collins cried himself to sleep while hugging Ruben's picture.

But hey, lets enjoy it while it lasts and see if the Capt. ever makes it back this year. If that's not the case, I would just keep Murphy for the year while sending Herrera down to Vegas. Herrera like Plawlecki are not yet ready for prime time.

Why keep Murphy? because the potential "B" prospect the Mets would get for him would only replace the potential A or B prospect the Mets would have to part with in order to get a Zobrisk type player.

The Mets are better off moving Murphy to 3B, Tejada to SS and Flores to 2B or just swap Flores and Tejada while leaving mindless Murphy at 2B.


Tejada has hit .280 in the majors before. Then he crashed and burned but maybe he needed that to mature and we'll see what we can get out of him

Thomas Brennan said...

I'd say that Mets' call-up subs have hit 2 standard deviations below the mean when one considers how you'd think they might have hit in the majors based on what they were hitting in the minors. Reese, you can translate that into English! Sample sizes have been small, but none are seizing the opportunity - puzzling.

Terry remembers the .280 Tejada year, hoping he can do it again.

Poor Plawecki. Let's hope for seeing eye hits or 60 foot rollers. He' s probably fixated on his average, given this is the first time he has ever not hit.

eraff said...

Jim-- TC doesn't love Tejada NEARLY to the degree that you Hate Tejada.

Ruben IS a Major League middle infielder... a starter?.... not right now. The difference between Ruben and Monell, Muno, etc. is that Tejada put up "prospect Numbers" as a 19 and 20 year old---- he didn't "get" a chance--- he was enough of a prospect to force a chance.

As for Collins playing him---Collins has been playing the guys he's given. Monell and Muno are 23-25th roster spot guys---at the very best. Ruben is a 2nd tier starter or BU MIF on virtually an MLB team.....he's gonna have a career...and it might even get better.

Mack Ade said...

All -

Successful bench players are rare things.

Most are 35+ players that have had their best years but still can produce when called upon on a limited basis.

Marlon Byrd some say is going to make a great bench player.

Bobby Abreu was a good bench player.

John Mayberry was a good choice for a bench player and may still pan out

The Mets miss the whole point by promoting kids that simply don't have the developed talent to handle this kind of assignment, either through talent or their emotions. The Danny Muno's of the world should never have been put in this position.

Teams pick up players on waiver wires very day... Sandy doesn't. He just keeps saying he will handle this problem internally when he knows he doesn't have the players to get this done.

IBfromWhitePlains said...

Arguing that Tejada sucks doesn't make Muno a major leaguer. I like Muno's OBP and run producing in the minors, but the Mets just needed a body on the bench. Maybe Muno's got a future, maybe not. We all root for these kids.

Tejada will be back on the bench as soon as Herrera's off the DL.

Reese Kaplan said...

I'll take that bet. Herrera will return to AAA so that the manager can continue to trot Tejada out there on a daily basis.

Mack Ade said...

IB/Reese -

My guess...

1. Alderson knows in his heart that David Wright is NEVER coming back as the Wright he hoped to have when he signed him to that extension

2. Alderson also knows that its nice to see that Tejada is playing/hitting well on 3B, but he also knows in his heart that this isn't going to last forever

3. And lastly, the last thing Alderson wants to do is turn Herrera into a bench player at this point in his career.

No... I think this whole situation will be defused with a deal for someone like Ben Zobrist, who gives the Mets 2015 relieve from the infield problem. Zobrist can finish 2015 as the Mets second baseman, Murphy moves over to third, and Flores remains at short. Tejada goes back to the utility role he has become comfortable in and Herrera goes to AAA and plays every day.

That's my take.

ZachBoyer said...

Just for the record … Tejada's playing a lot better than Herrera had at any point this year.

Herrera just didn't look ready. (And neither has Plawecki.)

Herrera obviously has a higher ceiling, but I'm concerned about winning now. He needs more AAA time.

Mack Ade said...

I just saw where Boston cut deal with the Orioles for 31-year old OF Alejando De Aza who they DFAd earlier this month... for cash... where is our team when these potential great utility players come available?

Thomas Brennan said...

Hopefu)y Ruben gets on a real roll, Herrera can get a month back in AAA to get going again. It might take more.

Matt Reynolds is missing his chance with his prolonged slump (or return to normal?)

Since May 9, in a span of 22 games, he's hit just .200 (18-90), 4 Walks, 19 Ks, 3 RBI. Those numbers don't grab a decision maker to say " let's call Matt up, since other call ups are not getting it done." He's picked the wrong time to not get it done there.

Mack Ade said...

Tom -

No one has stood by a player more than you have with Reynolds since Hobie did with Angel Cuan.

The Mets need to stop trying to solve their MAJOR LEAGUE problems with MINOR LEAUGE players, especially ones that have recently hit .200. You can't reward a player with that kind of promotion.

The offense is getting better:

Michael Cuddyer has an eight-game hitting streak after going 3-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI on Tuesday night. He is hitting .387 with two home runs, three doubles and six RBI during his streak. In addition, he is hitting .351 with ten RBI over his last 15 games.

Ruben Tejada is 10-for-21 during his five-game hitting streak after going 2-for-4 with a run scored on Tuesday.

Wilmer Flores is also enjoying a modest hitting streak – he has hit in four straight and is hitting .353 during his streak. He has nine RBI in his last nine games.

Juan Lagares has a four-game hitting streak of his own – he’s hitting .333/.333/.467 during that stretch after enduring an 11-for-78 stretch from May 5 through May 29.

Lucas Duda has hit .320/.433/.693 in his last 21 games with 14 extra-base hits, 10 walks, 13 RBI and 16 runs scored.

Daniel Murphy saw his 11-game hitting streak end on Tuesday with an 0-for-3 at the plate. However, he has reached base in 12 straight games and is hitting .422/.469/.556 with seven RBI during that span.

I would leave this team alone right now, work on a deal for Ben Zobrist, and wait for Travis d'Arnaud to come back June 9th.

Thomas Brennan said...

Zobrist would be great to get. I was Reynolds' strong advocate, but no hit, I stop advocating, He stopped hitting.

Maybe some pen arms would entice a Zobrist deal. Mack, what would you suggest we offer in trade?

Also, de Aza was doing poorly in 2015, but has been a valuable player before this year, wonder why we did not pursue him.

Wondered about Kirk...on Angels major league squad...2 for 9, 2 walks so far.

Mack Ade said...

Tom -

Too much NYC pressure on Nieuwenhuis... perfect example of what we talked about in the past.

I really wouldn't offer that much for Zobrist. The main thing is I would be offering to pick up the remainder of his $7.5mil 2015 contract.

That + a bid range prospect... Reynolds, Michael Gsellman, or Jayce Boyd... someone like that

Anonymous said...

FYI, several people post under "anonymous."

When I do, I sign my name. So Eraff, you are not replying to me. I have not posted on this thread.

James Preller

Thomas Brennan said...

Zobrist for that works for me.

Anonymous said...

When it comes to prospects, I can't imagine anyone I agree with less than Reese and Tom.

I think Muno sucks, frankly (apologies to his parents and fans). He can't field.

The idea that he should be given "a chance" is just ridiculous. He's been in the system for years. He can't play. As a 2B, he's behind Murphy, Flores, Herrera, Mazzilli, Tejada, Reynolds, Rivera, and likely some other guys. He's a fantasy.

He's only been in the majors because he's NOT a prospect. Because he's a guy who can sit and you won't hurt his development, because there isn't any development. Just because a guy hasn't got "a chance" in the majors is not a reason to give him a chance.

If you want the Mets GM to upgrade the bench, tell him to go get some real players. But that you think Muno is some kind of answer, or that he deserves some sort of "try out" period, well, to me that's just absurd. Sorry.

As for now, I move Murphy to 3B and Tejada to 2B. Once Herrera is back, I give him 2B and move Tejada to backup infielder, where he belongs. Once Wright comes back, if ever, I keep Murphy as a super-sub of great value.

James Preller

Mack Ade said...

James -

You're so shy.

Sandy Alderson can not put a 2015 plan together with David Wright being part of it. If he comes back, great, but I don't expect him to be more than a part time player, especially this year.

The Mets are committed to "Jhonny Peralta Lite", Wilmer Flores, to staying on SS. I'm beginning to sign off on that also. He could be, at least, a 2-year keeper until it could be determined if Gavin Cecchini is for real.

I wish I could crystal ball Herrera if he was to stay in Queens this year. I don't think there is an question of his talent long term.

One plan could be Herrera to 2B, Murphy to 3B, Tejada and Campbell to utility IF (Campbell also doubles as utility corner outfielder) and... Wright be first PH off the bench.

I don't know...

Reese Kaplan said...

I never said Muno was a panacea. I'm trying to make chicken soup out of the chicken shit roster options. I've seen Tejada fail. I've seen Campbell do better and get benched. I haven't seen enough of Muno to draw a conclusion one way or another.

In another thread I asked if there was a decent outfielder available, what would be the viability of playing Cuddyer at 3B? Again, I'm thinking offense, not defense.

I also maintain Herrera will be sent back to AAA regardless of what happens with Wright's health. He should be the long term solution but looks somewhat overmatched.

Thomas Brennan said...

Hey Reese, save me some chicken soup.

I'd not write off Muno myself. He might never be good enough, but 500 more minor league at bats might have gotten him more ready.

Last year, Anthony Seratonin took a lot of Muno's at bats. Why? Who knows? Seratelli had no future, Muno might have (and as it turned out they did call him up). Another 150-200 ABs in 2014 certainly would have helped Muno.

He only got called up and used in early 2015 because Wright went down and so did Mr. Dilson. That happened very early in this season. I am not saying Muno succeeds regardless, but with another 300 AAA at bats, and some chances to play while here, maybe he hits .200+, which this year to date is MVP production if you're a sub.

Had his chance, may not get another, time to trade for a sub that can hit.

eraff said...

JIM P... i am sorry!

Mack Ade said...

Now Seattle acquired Mark Trumo from Arizona...

Why can't Alderson be in on one of these great potential 4th outfielders?

Mack's Mets © 2012