After a discussion with some other LLers I wanted to do a comment poll/discussion with the LL community about how they view defense and defensive metrics. There has been a lot of discussion recently about some of the potential problems with UZR, including posts by Matthew, and I have let my own feelings on the topic be known probably far too often, but after discussing this with JY, Kermit, and a few others, I realized that people all seem to view how they value defense differently - both using those stats and ignoring them. So I wanted to pose a few questions while they're fresh on my mind and see what people's thoughts are:
1) Based on what you know about defense and assuming the in zone and out of zone evaluations of current players are accurate, do you believe that a team of 9 healthy 2007 Jack Wilsons (2.7 WAR) would be able to beat a team of 9 2009 Manny Ramirez's (roughly 2.7ish WAR if healthy) 50% of the time assuming an equal pitcher.
2) Ignoring UZR and all defensive metrics completely (forget everything you know about current defensive calculations), do you cognitively believe it is possible for a player that has hit as poorly as Gutierrez all year to provide enough defense to make up for their complete lack of offense. If so, do you believe it is possible, cognitively, for a player to be a net positive with a .534 OPS.
3) UZR is a counting stat. When people say UZR takes 3 years to stabilize, they are not saying that a one year UZR is inaccurate for what a player did, only that it in accurate for a player's true talent. It's one of the reasons it is included in WAR, which is also based on how a player performed, not how they will perform or whether they are skilled enough to do that well. With that in mind, it is difficult/impossible to say that a 5.5 win player is better than a 5.2 win player, and few - if any - LLers ever do. So how much do two players need to diverge before you can clearly call one player better than another using WAR, knowing the flaws and variability of UZR? Are you comfortable calling a 5.5 win player better than a 5 win player? A 4.5 win player? A 4 win player?
If there is little participation or the mods would like this removed I'll clear it out in the morning. But these questions created a lot of discussion and I thought it would be worth seeing the community's thoughts.