Arthur: Revising history with DRC+

From SABR member Rob Arthur at Baseball Prospectus on December 6, 2018:

Nearly every season ends with a ritual battle between two fierce, opposing teams to crown baseball’s champions. Tempers flare, fighting words are exchanged, and fan bases nearly come to blows. No, no, not the World Series; I’m talking about the annual debate between the sabermetricians and the old-school baseball fans about who should be MVP.

Part of the fire and fury of these contests springs from the clean certainty of Wins Above Replacement. The all-inclusive value metric gives fans and writers an unreasonable confidence that one player is better than another. But the release of DRC+ reminds us that in assessing the most valuable players in baseball, we ought to be circumspect rather than certain.

The debate tradition goes back decades in some form, but began to escalate in earnest in 2012, when Mike Trout blew past Miguel Cabrera in Wins Above Replacement, but failed to match Cabrera’s Triple Crown. The 2012 debate was particularly acrid. One prominent national writer called Trout “the only rational choice”; another likened Cabrera voters to 9/11 Truthers. The opposite camp coined the phrase “vigilante sabermetric brigade” to describe people they thought of as never even watching the games. (Out of an abundance of respect for the people involved, I’m declining to name names.)

Read the full article here:

Originally published: December 6, 2018. Last Updated: December 6, 2018.