A college buddy of mine used to always be the butt of the joke whenever having his picture taken. “Stand up, Rob” someone would always say. And you see that was supposed to be funny because he wasn’t sitting down, just shorter than everyone else. (You’re right, that’s not very funny.) I’m sure Marcus Giles has heard it during every team picture he’s posed for, because it’s a really old joke. Though Marcus is short in stature, he has a reputation for carrying a big bat, that is, until this year. For the previous three seasons (all as a full-time player) he’s posted OPS of .921, .821, and .826; not bad for a second basemen.
His 2006 season hasn’t gone so well. After getting off to a slow start, he’s posted an OPS of .756. Early on, some Braves fans attributed his drop-off to going off steroids (jerks). Others suggested the premature birth of his second child during spring training slowed him down. I have my own theory: Marcus is the exactly the same. Here are Marcus’s last four seasons in OPS and PrOPS.
Year OPS PrOPS 2003 .911 .825 2004 .819 .774 2005 .831 .750 2006 .756 .776 Mean .829 .781
Marcus has been a bit hit-unlucky in 2006, but his OPS is closer to his PrOPS lines of the previous seasons than his previous OPS. Also interesting is that prior to the 2006 season, I projected OPS for all MLB players. The model predicted Giles would hit .776. It’s partly an eerie coincidence that his PrOPS is exactly what the model predicted, but the point is that though Marcus Giles is a decent offensive second baseman, he hasn’t been as good as his numbers. Furthermore, he’s hitting the ball this year the same as he always has, and the on-field results reflect this even though he’s hit a little better than his numbers indicate.
What does this mean for PrOPS? Not much. I’m just screwing around with the numbers of one individual. The model isn’t nailing every player. However, when I tested the model on past seasons, it predicted reasonably well.
What does this mean for Marcus Giles? Don’t ask him to stand up, he already is.
Addendum: Jeff at SwingTraining notes that Marcus is literally standing up more now than he used to.