More on Ichiro!

Dave · September 24, 2004 at 2:34 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Nate Silver has a good free piece over at BP on Ichiro and offensive batting average on balls in play. Since we’re being inundated by a bunch of ridiculous “Ichiro isn’t as good as you think” type articles, this one is a breath of fresh air.


19 Responses to “More on Ichiro!”

  1. Troy on September 24th, 2004 2:45 pm

    That’s an amazing graph. Anyone know what Ichiros BABIP has been the last three years?

  2. Evan on September 24th, 2004 2:47 pm

    I’ve always thought Ichiro’s Similarity Score was a bit high. Maybe this will help drop it a bit.

    I mean… Damaso Garcia?

  3. Dave on September 24th, 2004 2:59 pm

    It’s pretty easy to calculate. Hits/(AB-HR-K) gives you:

    2001: .361
    2002: .342
    2003: .326

    Obviously, his 2004 looks to be a bit above what we could consider his “normal” level, but considering league average BA on balls in play is .300, he’s obviously got the talent.

  4. dw on September 24th, 2004 3:09 pm

    So, when’s Derek going to write his pro-Ichiro piece for BP? I’m really, really tired of the piling on by the statheads. Yes, he’s not Bonds or Pujols or even Hafner, and he’s not the MVP. But it’s like art-set groupthink now: Ichiro is vastly overrated because WE say so and THAT is the way it is and do NOT suggest otherwise. It’s becoming intellectually dishonest.

  5. Paul Covert on September 24th, 2004 3:10 pm

    Kind of distantly related, but here goes….

    On Dave’s “Ichiro and the MVP” thread here a couple weeks ago (, I put him third on my hypothetical ballot, behind Vlad and Santana (it would be the same today, BTW), but remarked that with so many reasonable candidates, “unless a bizarre groundswell gets going for somebody like Doug Mientkiewicz, I don’t think there can be a truly ‘wrong’ choice for AL MVP this year.”

    Perhaps I’m going to be glad I at least put in that “bizarre groundswell” exception clause, now that John Kruk is on the record saying that Chone Figgins is “the most valuable player in the game today” ( It’s not entirely clear to me what he means, since he also says “no, not the American League MVP or National League MVP.” But still….

    I guess this must be one of those things where “if you haven’t played the game, you just don’t know.” 🙂

  6. Paul Covert on September 24th, 2004 3:16 pm

    Also, a minor technicality, back on topic with Nate’s article now: He has it slightly mislabeled; Bonds’ name appears by Jim Edmonds’ point on the graph (Bonds is the rightmost of the two straddling the 40% line, with Adam Dunn on his left).

    Petty details aside, though, I do agree with Troy that it’s a very cool chart.

  7. Troy on September 24th, 2004 3:18 pm

    Okay, this is getting out of hand. Kruk needs a nickname that we can start using in place of his name. I’ll create a word and nominate Dummaza – there’s some implications in the word if you put the words “big fat” in front of it, and it also works well as a middle name – John Dummaza Kruk. I’m not really sold on it though, and I’m sure somebody can come up with something better.

    The Worldwide Leader in Stupidity might work too, but it’s probably a bit too obvious. I don’t know, I just know we need something to say x came up with another classic line today, where x = John Kruk but doesn’t say John Kruk.


  8. Troy on September 24th, 2004 3:24 pm

    Here’s another good one to debate – if Chone Figgins is baseball’s MVP, who would be the MVP of individual teams? Willie Bloomquist is a gimme, what other utility guys get the nod?

  9. Todd on September 24th, 2004 3:58 pm

    Timo Perez is the White Sox MVP. Picked up the slack when Maggs and Thomas went down.

  10. Evan on September 24th, 2004 4:01 pm

    I’m always really quantitative when it comes to my MVP voting. This year I’m leaning toward a straight ranking by EqR+FRAR.

    Ichiro’s winning.

  11. Aaron on September 24th, 2004 4:14 pm

    I thought SI had some bad baseball contributors in Verducci and Donovan, but ESPN is really giving them a run for thier money every time Kruk or Morgan opens thier mouth or writes something down. ESPN has a better supporting cast, but even that’s a little like saying The Nanny is a less annoying show than Roseanne.

    Can Baseball Prospectus TV be too far behind?

  12. Dash on September 24th, 2004 4:25 pm

    Here’s a crazy question I thought of at work today. I know in many sports (football, basketball) you’ll hear commentators say that such-n-such player really raises the level of play of the players around him. Does that ring true of anyone in baseball? Should it be a criteria for MVP? I know there is no real statistic that can quantify it, but it makes for an interesting though/arguement.

  13. Troy on September 24th, 2004 4:32 pm

    Dash, I don’t think so. Contact sports like football and free flowing sports like basketball, soccer and hockey are totally different in nature than baseball. Yes, playing alongside Magic Johnson makes you a better basketball player, because he’s hustling up and down the court, not to mention he knows how to get you the ball in a position to score. Same thing with Brett Favre on the gridiron or Ray Lewis on the defensive side of the ball.

    Playing alongisde Derek “Mr. Intangibles” Jeter isn’t going to make you any better, or at least not much. He can’t help that pitch be more hittable, or that grounder more fieldable. Maybe he can help you be more excited or energetic on the diamond, but baseball is not a game based where that makes a huge difference. It’s not based on emotion, or, in most cases, working together. It is a game of skills.

  14. shigelojoe on September 24th, 2004 4:47 pm

    John Kruk => John Crock? The Crocker? Load of Crock?

  15. Russ Queen on September 24th, 2004 5:23 pm

    I have been all over the idea of U.S.S. Mariner t.v. for a while now. I think it is an idea whose time is coming, even if it has to be Public Access at first until it catches on. I can product this, let me know if anyone is interested for next year.

  16. Russ Queen on September 24th, 2004 5:23 pm

    Um, I meant produce this. And shoot and edit, etc.

  17. The Real Fake Slim Shady on September 24th, 2004 6:10 pm

    Ichiro’s attitude towards his critics is pretty much “Not takin nuthin from noone, givem hell as long as I’m breathin, kickin ass in the mornin, takin names in the evenin.”

  18. The Ancient Mariner on September 24th, 2004 6:14 pm

    Ichiro might not be as productive a hitter as Bonds, Pujols or Hafner, but he contributes a lot more in the field and on the basepaths. Doesn’t make him as valuable as Bonds or Pujols, but that doesn’t mean it should be ignored.

  19. Paul Weaver on September 27th, 2004 11:11 am

    Baseball can have players who raise the level of play for the other players. At least in my view…..however narrow it may be.
    For example, batting requires a level of concentration and relaxation that are hard to achieve – I think Edgar discovered that in his post-94 years and I saw other players beginning to take on that persona – Griffey, A-Rod, Bone. Also, his presence in the line up made a difference, much like Bonds presence does for the Giants. Players can also mentor one another, and some times it’s that veteran pitcher giving tips to the youngsters that makes the difference.
    It’s harder to quantify these things in a sport of individual efforts, but I percieve the effect to be true.