Studeman: What’s a most valuable player?

From SABR member Dave Studeman at The Hardball Times on September 15, 2015, with mention of SABR member Tom Ruane:

Let’s say you play in a baseball simulation league, something like APBA or Strat-O-Matic, and you have a choice between two batter cards. The first batter, let’s call him Joe Slugger, will put up amazing slugging stats—the best in the league. His On-Base Percentage (OBP) and Slugging Percentage (SLG) will be at the top of the charts, perhaps historically great.

The second batter, Eddie Situation, will post very good numbers but not as good as Slugger’s. The difference is that he will excel in key situations. According to his card, his performance will increase with batters on base while Slugger’s performance will get worse with runners on base.

This is a very sophisticated game you play, and Situation’s card also shows that he will perform best in close games, while Slugger’s stats are more likely to be accrued in runaway contests. You know that a home run in a one-run contest is worth more than a home run in a five-run contest, so you’re even more intrigued by Situation’s card. When you run all the numbers, you find that Situation’s contribution to your team’s wins will be higher than Slugger’s.

Which batter will you choose?

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Originally published: September 15, 2015. Last Updated: September 15, 2015.