Morrison: DRC+ and observables

From Kate Morrison at Baseball Prospectus on February 5, 2019:

Anyone who watches baseball on more than the most casual basis has formed an opinion about a player—and formed that opinion based on their observations of the game. Maybe your favorite player hits long home runs, maybe they seem to double every time you’re in the park, maybe they were part of a crooked-number inning against the opponent’s ace—or maybe it’s the opposite, that they seem to pop up or ground out in every important at-bat.

You can develop an opinion or perception of a player based purely on observation, particularly if you see that player over very long periods of time. On some level, this is what the most traditional type of scouting is: the manual development of a rating over time based on weighted inputs. Scouts will take into account whether someone is hitting well against a good pitcher, or a series of poor ones; if the parks they play in are hitter-happy or have dead air in the outfield; if someone has a streak of poor at-bats but a history of better ones behind them.

In a way, that is what Deserved Runs Created (DRC+) is. It strives to bring together the things that can only be detected through numerical study (such as a batter’s success or failure) with what we might more commonly consider “observational” considerations—the ballpark, or the pitcher faced.

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Originally published: February 5, 2019. Last Updated: February 5, 2019.