MVP Baseball 2004 FAQ/Guide

System: PS2/XBOX/GC/CPU
Author: Sean Stephans, (USERID: KansasStateGrad)
Copyright 2004 Stephans Please do not duplicate or post without permission.

Version: 1.00

Title: A Concise Guide to Evaluating Player Talent and Effectiveness
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Table of Contents

1. Introduction
2. Offensive Effectiveness Rating (OER)
3. Defensive Effectiveness Rating (DER)
4. Overall Player Rating (OPR)
5. Starting Pitcher Rating (SPR)
6. Relief Pitcher Rating (RPR)
7. Interpreting the Ratings
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1. Introduction

     Many people have expressed concern in a system that evaluates talent and
provides a basic scouting service.  This guide is an attempt to use simple
formulas to disaggregate (break into separate groups) the data to get at how 
effective a player truly is.  In this guide, you will find ratings for offense,
defense and pitching.  This effectiveness rating that is the result is only to
be used as trend data.  That means that it cannot be duplicated in each attempt
but that over time, these trends should surface.  Also keep in mind that when
using these formulas, you should ONLY compare players of similar position.  It
is not fair to either player if you compare an outfielder to an infielder or to
a catcher or a pitcher.  Players of similar position can be compared, though.
For example, you can compare middle infielders to one another or corner 
infielders to each other, etc.  Also, you will find a general indicator of what
effectiveness level you should be looking for when constructing your team.
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2. Offensive Effectiveness Rating (OER)

     This is probably the most asked for type of evaluation.  The formula for 
this is simple and I will explain it.  The formula is as follows:

(Left Contact + Left Power + (Right Contact x 2) + (Right Power x 2) + Speed +
Baserunning) / 8 = Offensive Effectiveness

For example:  (75 + 82 + (68 x 2) + (74 x 2) + 84 + 82) / 8 = 75.875

We use the number 8 when we divide because there are 8 components of this 
formula.  We use right contact/power twice because batters are likely to face
twice as many righties over the course of a season as they will lefties.  Speed
is a factor as is baserunning so that we can eliminate the guys who have good
power and contact but no speed from the top of the group.  An example here is
Benito Santiago.  He has good numbers but is SLOW and doesn't stretch out hits.
He has to hit it out of the infield to get a basehit, unlike a Juan Uribe who
can leg out a slow roller.  Interpret this number as a percentage out of 100%.
A hitter with the above number of 75.875 can be expected to contribute in some
way offensively 75% of the time.  Basically, this means he will help his team
win more games than he loses.  As you can expect, guys llike Bonds and A-Rod
are at the top of this category, but some guys would really surprise you, like 
a Juan Uribe.  Remember to use this number only against other guys from the 
same position.
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3. Defensive Effectiveness Rating (DER)

     This evaluation is usually overlooked, but can win or lose more games for
you than you might think.  The formula is as follows:

(Speed + (Fielding x 2) + (Range x 2) + Throwing Strength + Throwing Accuracy)
/ 7 = Defensive Effectiveness

For example: (84 + (85 x 2) + (80 x 2) + 90 + 80) / 7 = 83.429

We use the number 7 when we divide because there are 7 components of this
formula.  We use fielding and range twice because they represent the bulk of
defense.  Guys like Johnny Damon are considered great fielders even though he
throws weakly.  This formula really separates the men-from-the-boys, so to 
speak, because it gives us our indicator of who should be put where in the 
field.  An instance is Scott Podsednik, who has good defensive numbers, except
for his attrocious range, so he should be shifted to right field whenever
possible.  Interpret this number as a percentage out of 100%.  A fielder with
the above number of 83.429 can be expected to contribute in some way 
defensively 83% of the time.  Basically, this means he will help his team 
considerably in the field.  We don't find any real happy surpirses here, but it
eliminates the Ken Harvey's of the world, who will kill you on defense.
Please see the above disclaimer and only compare players of similar position.
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4. Overall Player Rating (OPR)

     To get this rating, simply add the OER and DER and divide by two.  This
Will give some sense of who should be a starter and who should be a backup.  I
always trade for Willie Harris, an outfielder with utility qualities from the
White Sox because he is the prototypical defensive substitution.  I try to 
avoid having him start games when possible because he will kill you if left in
the lineup consistently but he is a MUST defensively and on the basepath.  When
we add the above numbers we get:

(75.875 + 83.429) / 2 = 79.652

Obviously, our example has better fielding than his bat, but he is a definite
everday guy at any position.  Here again, use the above representation out of
100% to get a grasp on his overall effectiveness.
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5. Starting Pitcher Rating (SPR)

     For me, this was the easiest to compile but the strangest in how 
topsy-turvy it made things.  EA has rated pitchers on a variety of things you 
will never use in this game, nor are they that important in real life.  A major
example is the pickoff throw.  The level of difference between the top and 
bottom pitchers in terms of how many runners they've picked off is so small 
that it doesn't warrant conversation.  Also, throw out stamina.  If the pitcher
in question has a stamina of at least 50, he will be okay.  That is why you
have a bullpen and maybe it means that you carry an extra pitcher if you carry
a bunch of lightweigth starters.  Complete games are overrated!  Here's the
formula for this rating:

(pitch 1 rating + pitch 2 rating + pitch 3 rating) / 3= starting pithcer rating

For example: (86 + 82 + 78) = 82

We divide by 3 because we are only interested in a pitcher's top 3 pitches.  He
might have more in the cupboard, but he doesn't use them on a consistent basis.
Take Roger Clemens for example.  He trhows a number of pitches but relies on 2
or 3 to get guys and the extra pitch to get you off-balance when necessary.  
You need to learn to use a 1-2, 1-2, 1-2-3 approach or any variety of the top 3
where you constantly go back to your go-to pitch, just changing the location. I
Promise you that will be amazed and pleased with this formula because it shows
that "little guys" can compete with the big boys if they have a pitch.  The 
poster boy for this so far is Rafael Soriano of the Mariners, who has an SPR of
82, which is much higher than EA has him rated.  He is a solid # 3 starter and
can even be # 2 on some weak staffs.  Use the above 100% bit here too.
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6. Relief Pitcher Rating (RPR)

     This is the same as starting pitchers except you only evaluate their top 2
pitches.  This is because relievers are brought in for specific purposes and
don't have to go to the cupboard as much since they can throw all-out!  If the
stamina is above 35, give the guy a look.  Let's look at an example:

(87 + 85) / 2 = 86

We divide by 2 since we only care about his top 2 pitches.  The guys will shock
you in this category because nobodies are suddenly worth your attention.  My
most pleasant surprise came from Ricardo Rinco of the Athletics, who actually 
has the above rating I used in this example.  He is on point as a middle-man or
you can even use him as a setup guy.  Same 100% stuff here too.
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7. Interpreting the Ratings

     This is where the rubber meets the road.  For players, you should know 
that the average player is around 65 for his OER and 70 for his DER, and a 67.5
for his OPR.  Use that as your rough baseline and you will see how the guys
compare.  

Here's a simple chart to use for OER, DER and OPR:

90 - up  (Lights out keeper!  Only a handful in the league)
85 - 90  (A star on any team)
80 - 85  (Should compete for an All-Star spot)
75 - 80  (Very good player that might pleasantly surprise you.  Possible A.S.)
70 - 75  (Good but not great.  Will start for the 2/3 teams)
65 - 70  (Average Joe!  Will start for 1/3 of teams)
60 - 65  (Good situational guy.  Should back up)
55 - 60  (Backup only)
00 - 50  (Minor Leaguer)

Here's a simple chart to use for SPR and RPR:

90 - up  (Superstar!  Only a handful around)
85 - 90  (Definite Ace or Shutdown guy!)
80 - 85  (Definite starter or setup man)
75 - 80  (Mop-up or start for weak teams)
70 - 75  (At your own risk)
00 - 70  (Minor Leaguer)

Finally, the batting order I use with all of this:

1. 5th highest OER
2. 2nd-4th
3. 1st OER
4. 2nd-4th
5. 2nd-4th
6. 6th OER
7. 7th or 8th
8. 8th or 9th
9. 8th or 9th (should have decent speed, unless in NL, then pitcher goes here)

If your batting order doesn't look like this, change it!  Trade to get what you
need to make this work!  However, you might find that a backup actually ranks 
higher than a needed starter.  Skip down to the starter that is needed for this
and insert him appropriately.  Good luck!
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Copyright 2004 Sean Stephans

Special Thanks to Bill James and the folks at SABR for giving us statistical
ratings and showing us that ballplayers can be charted through a rating
system.  Also thanks to idea of Moneyball for showing us that a team can be
constructed by looking at numbers that other teams/owners/GM's aren't 
interested in.  Finally, thanks to EA for actually providing a numerical rating
value for each player, which allows me further interpret that information.