Who is the Oakland Athletics' best oufielder?

Is it Cespedes? - Otto Greule Jr

Who's the A's best outfielder? I wanted to visualize each of their strengths today, so I created a set of charts and graphs pitting each OF against each other in 5 different category's in 2012-2014. It's A's outfield idol, Athletics Nation style.

Who is the Oakland Athletics's best outfielder?

The A's have had one of the better outfields in the game the last few years. In 2012, the A's were 5th in total OF fWAR ( the fangraphs version of wins above replacement) behind the Angels and Cardinals. In 2013, they slipped to #11 behind the Red Sox and Angels. So far in 2014, the A's are #9 behind the (you guessed it) Angels and Rockies. They have been very good but not great.

Unlike most teams known to have a great OF, the A's do not employ a stars and scrubs approach. They employ a mix and match approach. With the addition of Craig Gentry, the A's are projected to be 5th in CF WAR, 6th in RF WAR and 7th in LF WAR in 2014. No one is a big star. No one is a scrub.

Athletics 2014 OF WAR
CF projected to be #5 in MLB
Link
RF projected to be #6 Link
LF projected to be # 7 Link

Each player has different strengths that work together, and the A's use that approach to gain advantages beyond what will ever show up in WAR totals. Josh Reddick, Brandon Moss, Craig Gentry, Yoenis Cespedes and Coco Crisp all should do certain jobs at certain times. Sometimes that job is to be the DH so I include that in this breakdown.

But who's the A's best outfielder?  I wanted to visualize each of their strengths today, so I created a set of graphs pitting each OF against each other in 5 different category's in 2012-2014. UZR/150, OF vs R, OF vs L, DH vs R and DH vs L.  Of course there will be a poll.

I will mainly be using and combining two stats today. wRC+ and UZR/150.

In there essence, they do the same thing. Count runs created or count runs prevented. If you see that a player has an UZR/150 of ten (10), he saved ten more runs than average over a year. If you see a wRC+ of 110, he created 10 percent more runs (about 10 runs) than average over that year.  These numbers have already been adjusted for league, park and position.

I will also be using a version of wRC+ splits that have been (base running enhanced)* today to help compare A's outfielders offensively.  With speedy players like Josh Reddick, Coco Crisp and Craig Gentry in the Oakland outfield, there was way too much offensive information being missed by using strait wRC+ alone.

*  base running enhanced. More on wRC+BsR at the end of this article.  When you see "wO+B" on the graph , think wRC+.

For now, let see how individual A's outfielders compare to each other with creating runs.  First off in the battle will be Josh Reddick vs Craig Gentry.

Each years adjusted wRC+ by handiness. wTotal 2012-14 is the weighted average of the three.

Josh Reddick (red) vs Craig Gentry (green)

Rez__reddick_vs_gentry_vs_l_medium
Rsz_reddick_vs_gentry_vs_r_medium

vs left-handed pitching...................................vs  right-handed pitching

wRC+ and therefore wO+B, is set to 100 as league average. A  wRC+ of 120 is 20% better than league average and one of 80 is 20% below league average.

Craig Gentry (green)  vs Coco Crisp (red).

Rsz_cocogentryvsl_medium
Rsz_cocogentryvsr_medium

The first things we see from the four graphs above is Gentry has been far better vs left-handed pitchers ( LHP). The next thing we see is Gentry and Reddick are roughly equal vs right-handed pitchers (RHP), with Gentry better the last year or so.  Last, Crisp is hands down best vs RHP.

Coco Crisp (R)  vs Brandon Moss (G)

Rsz_cocomossvsl_medium
Rsz_cocomossvsr_medium

They are interchangeable at DH. Speed or power gets it done.


Cespedes (R) vs Gentry (G)

Rsz_cespedesgentryvs_l_medium
Rsz_cesgenr_medium

Pretty equal here as well. Cespedes has a slight edge vs LHP and also RHP (thanks to 2012) at creating runs over Gentry.  Gentry has been better vs RHP lately.

All five outfielders on one graph
Rsz_of_vs_l_medium
Rsz_of_vs_r_medium

The above graphs are strictly offense. So it shows us who should DH vs what hand. In Moss' case he will be at 1B much of the time, so just go down the line to the next best player.

Ok, now that we have compared all the OF by runs created,  lets see how they do on defense.  This is the last 2.2 years of OF UZR/150 on the left.  I include the individual player vs player UZR/150 graphs at the end.  One of those graphs is included now on the right.

Rsz_of_uzr_350.250_medium Rsz_redgenuzr_medium


Finally, lets combine ( base running enhanced wRC+) and UZR/150 from 2012-2014 to give an idea of who should play where in the OF.  100 is still average.

As far as the A's are concerned, a solo home run robbed is equal to a solo home run hit.  To help keep it simple*;  one (1) point of UZR/150 ( one run saved) equals one (1 ) point of wRC+ ( one percent created). (* this isn't saber metrically clean and exact, but me making it more exact will take 2000 more words and only get us 5% closer and still not exact.)

Image_medium

Image_15__medium

The two charts above show the total offensive and defensive contribution by handiness. This is what all the other charts are feeding into.  These two are the main two of this article. Look it over again. There may be just a few surprises.



I now want to use this to get a general idea of each players total strengths vs each of the other players on this team. In the chart below, Players that are better vs RHP get more points than those who are best vs LHP,  because they will face RHP 60-70% of the time on average. This isn't the most rigorous of point systems, but it ought to ball park it for our purposes. We need to pick our OF idol.

UNIQUE PLAYER POINTS
Best at or equal DH vs L .5 points
Best at or equal DH vs R 1.0 points
Best OF vs L 1.0 points
Best OF vs R
1.5 points
Equal OF to Best player vs R
1.5 points
Equal OF to Best player vs L

1.0 points




The best of Josh Reddick:
Reddick is equal to Gentry at DH vs R 1.0
Reddick should OF vs Crisp vs L 1.0
Reddick should OF vs Moss vs L 1.0
Reddick should OF vs Cespedes vs R 1.5
Theme: Reddick should 4th OF 4.5 points



Yonesis Cespedes best spots:
Cespedes should OF/DH vs Reddick vs L 1.5
Cespedes should DH Reddick vs R 1.0
Cespedes should OF/DH vs Moss vs L 1.5
Cespedes should DH vs Gentry L and R 1.5
Cespedes should OF/DH vs Crisp vs L 1.5
Theme: Cespedes should OF vs L and should DH vs L & R 7 points

Coco Crisp best spots:

Crisp/Gentry OF are equal vs R 1.5
Crisp should DH vs Gentry vs R 1.0
Crisp should OF vs Moss vs L 1.0
Crisp/ Moss are equal at DH vs L 0.5
Crisp should OF/ DH vs Cespedes vs R 2.5
Crisp should OF/ DH before Reddick vs R 2.5
Crisp should DH before Reddick vs L 0.5
Theme: Crisp should OF/ DH vs ( L & R ) 9.5 points


Brandon Moss best spots:
Moss should OF vs Crisp vs R 1.5
Moss/Crisp are equal at DH vs L 0.5
Moss should OF vs Reddick vs R 1.5
Moss should DH vs Reddick vs L and R 1.5
Moss should OF/DH vs Cespedes vs R 2.5
Moss and Gentry are equal in OF vs R 1.5
Moss should DH vs Gentry vs R 1.0
Theme: Moss should OF/DH vs R 10 points


The best of Craig Gentry:

Gentry should OF/DH before Crisp vs L
1.5
Gentry/ Crisp OF are equal vs R 1.5
Gentry should OF/DH vs Reddick vs L 1.5
Gentry should OF vs Reddick vs R 1.5
Gentry/ Reddick are equal at DH vs R 1
Gentry should OF vs Cespedes vs L 1
Gentry should OF vs Cespedes vs R 1.5
Gentry should OF/DH vs Moss vs L 1.5
Gentry / Moss are equal in OF vs R 1.5
Theme: Gentry should OF/DH vs L, AND "equal OF vs R" 12.5 points

Chartgo.v_medium

Free Craig Gentry !

Regardless of what pitcher is on the mound, a case can be made for Craig Gentry to start in the OF.  All things considered, a case can be made for Craig Gentry to be the best OF on this team.

Moss is also surprisingly valuable. A case could be made that with a better 1B, Moss still plays most days in the OF. Move Moss to 1st as usual, and it may become apparent Gentry wins today's OF idol.  It's easier to see it if reversed. There are only three obvious places to not play Gentry.  And they are all at DH.

1. Cespedes should DH vs Gentry L and R

2. Crisp should DH vs Gentry vs R

3. Moss should DH vs Gentry vs R

What do you think Nation, has Gentry done enough? Who is your choice for "the best" ( not just your favorite) OF on the A's?

-OmahaHi

Extra's

Edit: I have added WPA (win probability added) and "clutch" graphs covering 2012-2014. Cespedes leads both. On the whole team. I also added 2012-2014 playoffs wRC+ in the reader comments.

Image_medium

Image_medium

The two graphs above show Cespedes is who you want up at the critical time.

Notes:

  • Extra graphs and notes I used to help me with this article.
  • A more detailed explanation of base running modified wRC+.
  • Billy Burns Bonus.

Coco (red) vs Gentry (Green) .....2012-2014 UZR/150....Reddick (red) vs Gentry (green)

Rsz_crispgentryuzr_medium
Rsz_redgenuzr_medium

Cespedes (red) vs Gentry ( green).....................................Cespedes (red) vs Crisp ( red)

Rsz_cesgenuzr_medium
Rsz_cescrispuzr_medium

Coco vs Moss...........................................................................................................Final

Rsz_cocomossuzr_medium
Rsz_of_uzr_250_medium


2012-14 WAR per plate appearance * 100......................How will Burns compare?

Rsz_1rsz_war_per_pa_250_medium
Rsz_burns_medium

Above: Slow down Craig!  Craig being a late inning replacement / pinch runner helps him too much here so I never used this chart. However, even taking that into account, Gentry would lead by a large margin.

Assumption: Billy Burns wob modifier will be 10, his UZR/150 will be 10 and he will have around an 90 wRC+ vs both L and R.  This would make Burns most valuable to the A's as an OF vs LHP in place of Crisp/Moss/Reddick. He could also hold his own as an OF vs Cepedes and Reddick vs RHP at times.

Rsz_future_of_vs_l_medium
Rsz_future_of_vs_r_medium




*wRC+BsR.  I am calling this Beta version "weighted offense including all base-running"

Or (wO+B) or "wob" and it is still a work in progress. As one quick example, Josh Reddick's 2013 wRC+ was 92.  Adding his wob enhancement raised it (4) points to 96. I will explain the exact formula at the end.

wO+B (weighted offense including all base-running) or wO+B or "wob" is a modifier equation put together to capture not only the stolen base/caught stealing aspect of a player that wRC+ misses, but also any extra bases (score on a sac fly, 1st to 3rd,...) that a player provides that help create runs.

When wRC+ was first created, it included SB/CS information, but it has since been modified to measure only offense created with the bat. It has never captured other runs created by speed.

Wob is used the exact same way as wRC+ and is based on the exact wRC+ number.  In a speedy players case, the base running enhancement can add up to 10 points of wRC+ to a players original wRC+ number.  A plodder will be penalized.  Moss had a negative (-3) modifier in 2013.

the equation is this:

500 / PA * BsR = wRC+ modifier

example:  Craig Gentry.  2013.

BsR 5.8 wRC+ 108 P.A. 287

wRC+ vs L is 119, wRC+ vs R is 95

(500/287) * 5.8 = +10

+10 is Gentry's modifier

108+10 = wRC+BsR or wob of 118

95+10 = wob of 105 vs RHP

119+10 = wob of 129 vs LHP

Bsr_medium Wrc__medium


To find a players BsR and wRC+, go to fangrapsh.com and look on the right side of a players stats. The reason wob is a work in progress is that wRC+ is a rate stat and BsR is a counting stat. It's a bridge. The 500/pa gets us ~90% of the way to accurately capturing this BsR value. The other 10% is the really hard part.


-OmahaHi

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Athletics Nation

You must be a member of Athletics Nation to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Athletics Nation. You should read them.

Join Athletics Nation

You must be a member of Athletics Nation to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Athletics Nation. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9351_tracker