BILL JAMES PLAYER EVALUATION TOOLS
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APPROXIMATE VALUE AND THE VALUE APPROXIMATION METHOD
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The traditional Value Approximation Method has 13 rules for non=pitchers, 5
rules for pitchers. These are:
NON=PITCHERS
------------
1. Award 1 point if the player has played at least 10 games, 2 if 50 games, 3
if 200 games, 4 if 130 games or more.
2. Award 1 point if the player has a batting average of .250 or better, 2 if
.275, 3 if .300, ... 7 if .400 or better.
3. Award 1 point if the player's slugging percentage of .300, 2 if above .400,
... 6 if above .800.
4. Award 1 point if the player has a home run percentage (home runs times 100
divided by at bats) of 2.5 or more, 2 if 5.0 or more, 3 if 7.5 or more, 4 if
10.0 or more.
5. Award 1 point if the player walks one time for each 10 official at=bats, 2
if twice for each 10 at bats, 3 if three times for each ten at bats.
6. Award 1 point if the player steals 20 bases, 2 if 50 bases, 3 if 80 bases.
7. Award 1 point if the player drives in 70 runs while slugging less than
.400, 1 point if he drives in 100 runs while slugging less than .500, or 1
point if he drives in 130 while slugging less than .600.
8. Award one point if the player's primary defensive position (the position at
which he plays the most games) is second base, third base or center field, 2 if
it is shortstop. For catchers, award 1 point if the player catches 10 games, 2
if he catches 80, 3 if he catches 150.
9. Award 1 point if the player's range factor is above the league average at
his position. Catchers and first basemen have no range factors; first basemen
get 1 point if they have 100 assists.
10. Award 1 point if the player's fielding average is above the league average
at his position.
(On points 9 and 10, if you are figuring a player over the course of his
career, you will probably want to establish period norms for fielding average
and range at the position, rather than trying to figure the league average for
each season separately.)
11. Award 1 point to a shortstop or second baseman who participates in 90 or
more double plays, 2 for 120 or more, 3 for 150 or more. Award 1 point to an
outfielder who has 12 or more assists plus double plays. Award 1 to a catcher
who is better than the league average in opposition stolen bases per game.
12. Award 1 point if the player has 200 hits. Award 1 point if the player leads
the league in RBI.
13. Reduce all points awarded on rules one through twelve for players who have
fewer than 500 at bats and fewer than 550 plate appearances. Reduce by at bats
divided by 500 or plate appearances divided by 550, whichever is better for the
player.
PITCHERS
--------
1. Award 1 point if the pitcher has pitched in 30 or more games, 2 if 55 or
more, 3 if 80 or more.
2. Award 1 point if the pitcher has pitched 40 innings, 2 if 90 innings, 3 if
140 innings, ... 7 if 340 innings.
3. Figure for the pitcher his total of 2 x (wins + saves) = losses. Award 1
point if the pitcher's total is 6 or more, 2 if 14 or more, 3 if 24 or more, 4
if 36 or more, 5 if 50 or more, 6 if 66 or more, and 7 if 84 or more.
4. Award 1 point if the pitcher has won 18 or more games. Award 1 point if the
pitcher led the league in ERA. Award 1 point if the pitcher led the league in
saves.
5. Establish a mark 1.00 run above the league ERA. Subtract the pitcher's ERA
from this, and multiply that by the number of decisions that the pitcher has
had (W+L+SV). Divide by 13. (What you are doing here is giving credit for a low
ERA. If the pitcher's ERA is more than a run above the league average, this
will result in a negative figure, a subtraction. A pitcher's approximate value
can be reduced by this factor, but no player's approximate value can be reduced
below zero.
The outcome of this point=count system is called approximate value.
ENHANCED VAM FOR NON-PITCHERS
-----------------------------
1. Award one point if the player has played in 10 games, 2 if he played 50, 3
if 100, 4 if 130, 5 if 148 or more.
2. Award points for batting average by the formula 0.028 x (BA - .235).
3. Award points for slugging percentage by the formula 0.09 x (SLG - .260).
4. Award points for home run percentage by the formula 0.039 x home runs / at
bats.
5. Award points for walks by the formula (walks / at bats) / 0.12.
6 Award points for stolen bases by the formula (steals - 10) / 30.
7. Award one extra point if the player's RBI total is at least one greater
than (0.4 x total bases). Award one extra point if the player has 200 or more
hits.
8. Same as original VAM.
9. Same as original VAM.
10. Same as original VAM.
11. Same as original VAM.
12. Reduce all points awarded under rules one through eleven by the formula at
bats / 550 or (at bats + walks) / 600, whichever is greater and not to exceed
1.00.
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THE KELTNER LIST
================
James lists this in Politics of Glory as his "favorite way of trying to
figure out how a guy ranks, but, because it involves a series of subjective
quesitons, it doesn't necessarily work as a formal methodology... Its purpose
is more to help you clarify your own thinking on the issue, by breaking the
great question down into smaller questions which have easier answers."
1. Was he ever regarded as the best player in baseball? Did anybody, while
he was active, ever suggest that he was the best player in baseball?
2. Was he the best player on his team?
3. Was he the best player in baseball at his position? Was he the best player
in the league at his position?
4. Did he have an impact on a number of pennant races?
5. Was he a good enough player that he could continue to play regularly after
passing his prime?
6. Is he the very best player in baseball history who is not in the Hall of
Fame?
7. Are most players who have comparable career statistics in the Hall of
Fame?
8. Do the player's numbers meet Hall of Fame standards?
9. Is there any evidence to suggest that the player was significantly better
or worse than is suggested by his statistics?
10. Is he the best player at his position who is eligible for the Hall of
Fame but not in?
11. How many MVP-type seasons did he have? Did he ever win an MVP award? If
not, how many times was he close?
12. How many All-Star-type seasons did he have? How many All-Star games did
he play in? Did most of the other players who played in this many go into the
Hall of Fame?
13. If this man were the best player on his team, would it be likely that the
team could win the pennant?
14. What impact did the player have on baseball history? Was he responsible
for any rule changes? Did he introduce any new equipment? Did he change the
game in any way?
15. Did the player uphold the standards of sportsmanship and character that
the Hall of Fame, in its written guidelines, instructs us to consider?
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THE BILL JAMES HALL OF FAME STANDARDS LIST
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"It is an unstated assumption of most Hall of Fame arguments that there is
a Hall of Fame standard of statistical performance
"...(The Hall of Fame Standards List) is so set that:
1. It covers the basic categories of hitting and pitching excellence, and
2. The average Hall of Famer scores at exactly 50."
The Standards list is similar to the Career Monitor list (actually, it's the
other way around), and both are extensions of the Approximate Value list.
Batters
-------
1. For career hits, 1 point for each 150 hits above 1,500, up to a limit of
10 points.
2. For career batting average, 1 point for each 5 points (.005, or five
one-thousandths) above .275, up to a limit of 9 points, plus an additional
point if the career batting average is over .300.
3. For runs scored, 1 point for each 100 runs scored in excess of 900, up to
a limit of 8 points, plus 1 point if the player has scored at least one run for
each two career games, plus 1 point if the player has scored at least .644 runs
per game played.
4. For RBI, 1 point for each 100 RBI in excess of 800, up to a limit of 8
points, plus 1 point if the player has driven in at least 1 run in each two
career games, plus 1 point if the player has driven in at least .6 runs per
game played.
5. For Slugging Percentage, 1 point for each 25 points (.025, or 25
one-thousandths) above .300, up to a limit of 10 points.
6. For On-Base Percentage, 1 point for each 10 points over .300, up to a
limit of 10 points
7. For Home Runs, 1 point if the player has 200 home runs, 2 points if he has
400, 3 points if he has 600 homers. Add 1 point if 10 percent of the player's
career hits are home runs, and another point if 20 percent of his career hits
are home runs.
8. For extra base hits, 1 point if the player has 500 total, 2 points if he
has 700, 3 points if 900, 4 points if 1,100, 5 points if 1,300.
9. For stolen bases, 1 point for each 100 stolen bases, up to a limit of 3
points.
10. For career walks, points spread the same as for extra base hits - 1 if
500, 2 if 700, 3 if 900, 4 if 1,100, 5 if 1,300.
11. For defensive position, credit the player with 20 pionts if his primary
position was catcher (in a thousand or more games), 16 points if he was a
shortstop, 14 if a second baseman, 13 if a third baseman, 12 if a center
fielder, 6 if a right fielder, 3 if a left fielder, and 1 if a first baseman.
No points for a DH.
Pitchers
--------
1. For career wins, 1 point for each 10 wins above 100, up to a limit of 25
points.
(As a way of adjusting this total for relief pitchers, figure wins plus
1/2 saves. Award one point for each 10 win/save points above 100, up to a limit
of 25 points.)
2. For winning percentage, 1 point for each 13 points (.013, or 13
one-thousandths) above .500, up to a limit of 15 points.
3. For games over .500 (wins minus losses), 1 point for each 20, up to a
limit of 10.
4. For career Earned Run Average, 1 point for each 20 points (.20, or
two-tenths) below 4.00, up to a limit of 10.
5. For strikeouts, 1 point for each 200 strikeouts over 1,000, up to a limit
of 10 points.
6. For control, figure walks per nine innings. Award 1 point for each .30
that the pitcher is under four walks per game, up to a limit of 10 points.
7. Figure hits per nine innings. Award 1 point for each .30 that the pitcher
is under 10 hits per game, up to a limit of 10 points.
8. For innings pitched, award 1 point for each thousand innings pitched after
the first 1,000, up to a limit of 5 points.
9. Give the pitcher 1 point if he pitched 200 career complete games, 2 points
if 305 complete games 3 points if 500.
10. Give the pitcher 1 point if he pitched 30 career shutouts, 2 points if
60.
11. If a given pitcher has pitched in fewer than 4 innings per game pitched, and
less than half of his career games pitched are starts, figure the pitcher's positive
decision perecentage - Wins plus Saves, divided by all decisions (Wins, Saves, and
Losses). Award 1 point for each 20 points (.020, or 20 one-thousandths) over .500,
up to a limit of 15 points. (NOTE: The adjustments for relief pitchers are my own, and
not those of James' original standards list as published.)
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THE BLACK INK TEST
==================
Called this by James because of the MacMillan Baseball Encyclopedia's habit
of listing league leaders in bold typeface.
A player gets four points for each season leading the league in Batting
Average, RBI, Home Runs, Wins, ERA, and strikeouts for a pitcher.
A player gets three points for each season leading the league in Runs
scored, Hits, Slugging Percentage, Innings pitched, Winning Percentage and
Saves.
A player gets two points for each season leading the league in Doubles,
Walks, Steals, Complete Games, and lowest Hits and Walks per 9 innings.
A player gets one point for each season leading the league in Games played
or pitched, At=bats, Triples, Starts (for a pitcher) and Shutouts.
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SIMILARITY SCORES
=================
This is a way of determining how similar a particular player's stats are to
another, usually a hall-of-famer to one not in the hall of fame.
Starting with 1000 points, you subtract points for dissimilarities between
the two players.
Sutract one point for each of the following:
* Each difference of 20 games.
* Each difference of 75 at bats.
* Each difference of 10 runs scored.
* Each difference of 15 hits.
* Each difference of 5 doubles.
* Each difference of 4 triples.
* Each difference of 2 home runs.
* Each difference of 10 RBI.
* Each difference of 25 walks.
* Each difference of 150 strikeouts.
* Each difference of 20 stolen bases.
Also, subtract one for each one-point (.001) difference in batting average.
For each two-point (.002) difference if slugging percentage, subtract two
points.
Then, using the primary defensive position of both players, consult the
Defensive Spectrum point chart below:
+----------------------------+
| C SS 2B 3B CF RF LF 1B DH |
| 20 14 11 7 5 4 3 1 0 |
+----------------------------+
Find the difference between the two players' positions (say, shortstop and
third base), and multiply that difference by 12. Subtract the resulting number
of points.
For pitchers, you also start with 1,000 points, and subtract one point for
the following:
* Each difference of 1 win.
* Each difference of 2 losses.
* Each .002 difference in winning percentage, up to a maximum of 100 points.
* Each .02 difference in ERA, up to limit of 100 points.
* Each difference of 10 games.
* Each difference of 20 starts.
* Each difference of 20 complete games.
* Each difference of 50 innings pitched.
* Each difference of 50 hits allowed.
* Each difference of 30 strikeouts.
* Each difference of 10 walks.
* Each difference of 5 shutouts.
* Each difference of 3 saves.
Then, if you are comparing a right-hander to a left-hander, subtract 10
points. If they're relief pitchers, make it 25 points.
The penalty for winning percentage cannot be larger than 15 times the sum of
the penalties for wins and losses.
For relief pitchers, the penalty for winning percentage is one-half of what
it otherwise would be. (A relief pitcher is defined as being one who makes more
relief appearances than starts in his career, and has a career average of less
than 4.00 innings per game.
If one of the pitchers in the comparison was born before 1890, and the other
one was not (or was born at least ten years after the other pitcher), there is
a 25 point deduction.
+---------------------------------------------+
| 950 - 1000 Unusually Similar |
| 900 - 949 Truly Similar |
| 850 - 899 Essentially Similar |
| 800 - 849 Somewhat Similar |
| 750 - 799 Vaguely Similar |
| 0 - 749 Forget it, they're not similar. |
+---------------------------------------------+
Similarity scores, according to James, have essentially two uses - who is
most comparable to the player in question, and is that comparable player in the
hall of fame? Also, is the player in question similar to several hall-of-famers,
or very few (if any)? Dominant players are not truly similar to any other player
(Ruth, for example, has as his closest competiton Ted Williams).
=====================================================
THE BILL JAMES CURRENT PLAYER CAREER PROGRESS MONITOR
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This is a form of Value Approximation that estimates the likelihood that a
player is a Hall of Fame candidate. The categories include various standards
that a Hall of Famer would meet in the course of a career.
James notes: "The system is structured so that a player with more than 100
points can be considered a likely Hall of Famer. The area from 70 to 130 is a
gray area; some players who are in there will go in, others will not. Players
who fail to reach 70, in general, have very little chance to reach the Hall of
Fame, while those who clear 130 can be considered virtually automatic
selections. There are exceptions."
Hitters
-------
1. 2.5 points for each season the player hits .300-.349 in 100 or more games,
5 points for each season hitting .350-.399, and 15 points for each season
hitting .400 or more. (Seasons are never double counted; the player cannot
count a .400 season as a .350 as well).
2. 5 points for each season of 200 or more hits. 3 points for each season of
100 RBI or 100 runs scored.
3. 2 points for each season the player hits 30 HR, 4 points for each season
of 40 HR, and 10 points for each season of 50 or more HR.
4. 1 point for each season of 35 doubles, 2 points for each season of 45
doubles. 1/2 points for each season drawing 100 or more walks.
5. 8 points for each MVP award. 3 points for each All-Star game participated
in. 1 point for each Gold Glove the player has won. (2 points for gold gloves
at catcher, second base or shortstop). 1 point for being the Rookie of the
Year.
6. If the player played "regularly" on a World Championship team, award 6
points (per season) for catchers or shortstops, 5 points for second basemen or
center fielders, 3 points for third basemen, 2 points for right or left
fielders, and 1 point if he was the first baseman or DH.
7. If the player played regularly on a league champion team (not a World
Champion), award 5 points (per season) for catchers or shortstops, 3 points for
second basemen or center fielders, and 1 point for third basemen.
8. If the player played regularly on a division championship team (not a
league champion), award 2 points (per season) for C or SS, and 1 point for 2B,
3B, or CF. (As an aside, I would give any C, SS, 2B, 3B or CF 1 point if they
were a member of a team that made the Playoffs, i.e., a wild-card team; James
wrote the book before the new playoff system was implemented fully.
9. If a player led the league in any of the following categories, award the
stated number of points per season: Batting avg, 6 points; HR or RBI, 4 points;
runs scored, 3 points; hits or SB, 2 points; doubles or triples, 1 point.
(Here accomplishments can be double-counted; a player can receive both the 3
points for 100 RBI and the 4 for leading the league in RBI.)
10. 4 points if the player has 2000-2499 career hits, 15 points for 2500-2999,
40 points for 3000-3499, 50 points for more than 3500.
11. 3 points if the player has 300-399 career HR, 10 points for 400-499, 20
points for 500-599, 30 points for 600 or more career HR.
12. 8 points for a career batting average of .300-.314 (in 1500 or more
games), 16 points for .315-.329, and 24 points for over .330 career batting
avg.
13. 15 points for 1200-1399 games played as a catcher, 30 points for
1400-1599, 45 points for 1600-1799, and 60 points for over 1800 games played as
a catcher.
14. 15 points for 1800-2099 games played at 2nd base or shortstop, 30 points
for over 2100 games played at 2nd or short.
15. 15 points for 2000 games played at 3rd base.
16. 15 additional points if total games at short, 2nd, and 3rd are over 2500.
17. 15 points if the player has a career batting avg of .275 or better AND has
played 1500 games at 2nd, short, or catcher.
Pitchers
--------
1. 2 points for each season of 15-17 wins, 4 points for 18-19 wins, 6 points
for 20-22 wins, 8 points for 23-24 wins, 10 points for 25-29 wins, and 15
points for 30 or more wins.
2. 2 points for each season with 200 strikeouts, 3 points for 250 strikeouts,
6 points for 300 strikeouts.
3. 2 points for each season with a .700 winning percentage (14 or more wins).
4. 1 point for each season with and ERA below 3.00 (50 games or 150 innings).
4 points for an ERA under 2.00.
5. 1 point for each season with 20-29 saves, 4 points for each season with
30-39 saves, and 7 points for 40 or more saves.
6. 1 point for pitching a no-hitter.
7. 2 points for leading the league in ERA. 1 point for leading the league in
games, wins, innings, winning percentage, strikeouts, saves, or shutouts. 1/2
point for leading the league in complete games.
8. 5 points for 150 career wins, 8 points for 175, 10 points for 200, 15
points for 225, 20 points for 250, 25 points for 275, and 35 points for 300 or
more career wins.
9. 1 point for career winning % of .550 (200 or more decisions), 3 points for
over .575, 5 points for over .600, 8 points for a career winning % over .625.
10. 10 points for career ERA under 3.00.
11. 10 points for 200 career saves. 20 points for 300 or more career saves.
12. 10 points for pitching in 700 career games, 20 points for 850, and 30
points for pitching in 1000 career games or more.
13. 10 points for 3000 career strikeouts, 20 points for 4000 career
strikeouts.
14. 2 points for each World Series start, and 2 for each World Series win. 1
point for each World Series relief appearance.
15. 1 point for each win in league playoffs, including Division Championship
Series
16. 8 points for each MVP award. 5 points for each Cy Young Award. 3 points
for each All-Star game participated in. 1 point for each Gold Glove the player
has won. 1 point for being the Rookie of the Year.
Managers
--------
1. 2 points for each season managed (100 or more games in the season).
2. 8 points for each World Championship team managed.
3. 5 points for managing a league champion.
4. 3 points for managing a division champion.
5. 1 point for each 200 career wins.
6. 1 point for each team managed to 100 or more wins in a season.
====================
FIBONACCI WIN POINTS
====================
For pitchers:
Wins x Winning Percentage + (Wins - Losses)
For hitters:
Hits x Batting Average + Home Runs
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RUNS CREATED AND OFFENSIVE WINS
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The Basic Version of the Formula
--------------------------------
(Hits + Bases on Balls) x (Total Bases)
---------------------------------------
(At Bats + Bases on Balls)
The Stolen Base version of the Formula
--------------------------------------
(H + BB - CS) x [TB + (.55 x SB)]
------------------------------
(AB + BB)
The Technical Version of the Formula
------------------------------------
(H + BB + HB - CS - GIDP) x [TB + .26(BB + HB - IW) + .52(SH + SF + SB)]
------------------------------------------------------------------------
(AB + BB + HB + SH + SF)
Outs Made
---------
AB - H + SH + SF + CS + GIDP
Runs Created Per Game
---------------------
RC x 27
-------
OUTS
Offensive Won-Lost Pecentage
----------------------------
(RC/G x RC/G)
-------------------------------------------------------
(RC/G x RC/G) + (Offensive Context x Offensive Context)
This is actually the Pythagorean Theorem, developed by James, which states
that there is a direct relationship between run scoring and won-loss percentage.
The basic theorem is that wins are to losses as the square of runs scored are
to the square of runs allowed. In _The_Bill_James_Historical_Baseball_Abstract_,
James utilizes a concept of "Offensive Context" to compare a player to the rest
of the league. Offensive Context, here, is defined as Team Runs Scored + Team
Runs Allowed.
Offensive Wins
--------------
OUTS
---- x OWLP
27
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Value Approximation Method taken from _The_1987_Bill_James_Baseball_Abstract_,
Ballatine Books.
Remaining formulae taken from _The_Politics_of_Glory:_How_baseball's_Hall_of_
Fame_really_works_ by Bill James.
Runs Created formula taken from _The_Bill_James_Historical_Baseball_Abstract_;
Villard Books.
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