A very fast Stan Musial

May 25, 2020
                                                     A very fast Stan Musial



            I have wasted the entire day, and I mean the ENTIRE day, doing a study that didn’t work out, but I thought I would tell you about it for whatever the information is worth.  

            Occasionally, once or twice a year, I wake up in the morning with a fully-formed idea for a study which was not there the previous night, and I don’t know where it came from, but. . . .there it is.  This morning was one of those.   My idea was, growing out of the speed assessment by Game Lines that I did yesterday, to study the potential impact of speed on a player of a known quality.  I chose Stan Musial, because I love Stan Musial and he seems special to me, but also because his skills are close enough to common that I thought it would not be too difficult to do what I was doing.   Musial and George Brett and Hank Aaron have "common" skills, except at a higher level, as opposed to Mantle and Ted Williams and Joe Morgan, who have pretty unusual skills that would be difficult to replicate.

            So my idea was, taking the 277,000 and some Game Lines in my file, to create 10 Stan Musials.  In yesterday’s study I used 5 levels of speed, but that was a simplification; 10 is more natural.  10 Speed is the fastest players, Willie Davis and Willie Wilson and Byron Buxton; 1 is Ernie Lombardi and Steve Balboni and the aging Albert Pujols.    I thought that I could sort the data so that I could create a "player" who had stats in the exact same proportion as Stan Musial, but out of game lines by "10" runners, and a player of the same exact stats, but created out of players who were 9 runners, 8, 7, 6, etc.   I thought that I knew how to do that in a time-efficient manner.

            I didn’t. 

            My idea of how to do that didn’t work, so I tried a second approach, and that didn’t work, either, and I tried a third approach, and that eventually worked, but it took me like 6-8 hours to create just the fastest Stan Musial clone.   And then it doesn’t tell us anything about how speed influences runs scored by players because, in order to make it work, I had to scuttle the "control" on batting order position, so about 47% of the players represented in the group were leadoff men, so of course he scored more runs than expected but also drove in less.   Since I know that is mostly a batting order position effect, there is no real information resulting from the study. 

            I did succeed in creating a group of 5,587 games which have the following numbers:

















































            Numbers which are in the exact same proportion as Stan Musial’s career numbers, except for Runs Scored and RBI.   This is kind of fun, I guess, because it would allow me to create an essentially infinite number of Stan Musial seasons.  That seems like fun, but, you know. …I had work to do.   It was a wasted day.   There are a lot of those in the research business.    


COMMENTS (4 Comments, most recent shown first)

I've been wondering about what we're judging isn't so much 'speed' as it is wisdom and aggression.

A wise player isn't going to get thrown out as much, even if he isn't faster.

an aggressive player is going to get more triples.

2:09 PM May 27th
Brock Hanke
One of the reasons (I severely doubt that there is only one) that Musial had high triples and doubles numbers is his home ballpark. Sportsman's Park. Sportsman's had a pretty normal left field and center field, but was extremely short in RF. So short that, about 1930, they had to put a fence up - like the fence behind home plate - that ran from the top of the actual wooden fence to the roof over the right field seats (the area was called "the pavilion)." So, if you hit a fly ball in RF, it almost had to go out of the ballpark for you to get a homer. And everything that hit the screen just dropped straight down, so there was no factor like "playing the Green Monster." But there WERE a lot of long throws to third, and by the time the ball had hit the fence and fallen down, anybody who could run would get a double. Musial's entire career was in that ballpark; the Cards didn't move out of it until May, 1966.
4:45 AM May 27th
Thanks for sharing this even though it didn't work out. I am glad to be able to consider the common/uncommon skills concept. I see immediately what you mean, but the idea is new to me.
5:37 AM May 26th
Aw, not gonna give us nothing?
C'mon, even if it's garbage, what a "10" and a "1" Stan Musial might have done....

BTW, even though it's ridiculous to ask details about a thing that didn't work and which you don't want to say anything about, I was curious as I was going along....

I think it might have been you who wrote, years ago, about Musial having a reputation as a guy who really hustled out of the box, and that it had a lot to do with why he had so many doubles and triples (and it's a lot of why I love him as a player too).
But never mind about hustling or not hustling out of the box, though, I'm just wondering about doubles and triples.

If there were a Stan Musial with less speed, he would have had less triples for sure, probably less doubles too although that's unclear because some of the triples would have been doubles.
And he almost certainly would have had more singles.
And it would be conversely (sort of) for a Stan Musial with more speed.

Were you going to take that into account for the different-speeded Musials -- i.e. adjust their numbers of each kind of hit -- or were you going to keep those constant?
And/or, is this a part of why it wasn't going to work?
11:20 PM May 25th
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