Is McLouth a fourth outfielder?

From a recent BPro chat by Joe Sheehan:

Nate McLouth is still a fourth OF masquerading as a starting CF.

Is this really so? JC Bradbury doesn’t think so, and marshalls the evidence that says otherwise. He does a decent job and seems much more invested in the particular outcome than I do so I’ll leave that to him.

But in that very same BPro chat, McLouth’s name links to his DT card. Do the DTs support what Sheehan is saying?

In short, no. WARP1, by year:

2007: 2.1
2008: 5.1
2009: 4.0

As far as I can discern, a league-average position player gets about 3 WARP in 650 PAs (putting the replacement level baseline for WARP1 a bit lower than for, say, Fangraphs/Baseball Projection WAR, assuming that a league average pitcher with full playing time also gets about 3 WARP – this isn’t a full “what’s wrong with WARP1” study so I’m not going into detail on this.)

McLouth played a partial season in 2007 and proceeded to put up above-average seasons in ’08 and ’09 – by BPro’s own metric!

If Sheehan thinks that WARP1 is wrong or somehow flawed he should probably speak up about it. But looking at the WAR figures on Fangraphs (where an average player is worth about 2 WAR a season in 650 PA) it seems that WARP1 is basically right about McLouth from where I sit; the only point the two measures seem to disagree upon is where to put the replacement level. (Which, again, really needs its own “what’s wrong with WARP1” post to deal with all those issues. It’s just that its evaluation of McLouth relative to his peers really isn’t one of WARP1’s problems.)

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Pat Andriola
12 years ago

I was just about to post one of these, but thanks for beating me to it, Colin.

The guy had WAR of 3.6 in 08 and 3.2 this year. 4th outfielder? Huh?

Dan Novick
12 years ago

Well this is just awkward now…I was also planning on writing the same post later tonight. It would have been a whole lot funnier and more informative than this was, but you got the job done wink

Colin Wyers
12 years ago

I’ll be honest – I’m bored by arguements as plain as, “Is Nate McLouth good at baseball?” The answers are really straightforward, as far as I’m concerned, and most of the relevant points (errors bad! UZR good!) have already been hashed out a million times.

I’m more interested in the conflicting worldviews that lead to those arguements. But I don’t know if one is at work here. Sheehan’s previous writings on the topic don’t shed any light on the matter. (Shane Victorino = Eric Byrnes? What?) None of us can really tell Sheehan he’s wrong because the definition is so amorphous at this point.