Off the Cobb: Baseball stats don’t have to be that hard

The greatest thing about this year’s Super Bowl is that it’s over and now it’s time for baseball. Pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training next week.

Thank you to the Kansas City Chiefs for closing the gap a little more than usual to help me survive the chasm that is the distance between the end of football and the beginning of baseball for a KC fan. I’m confident it will be even shorter next year. Thank you, Patrick Mahomes II.

I’ve admitted before that I’m a little old fashioned when it comes to my love of baseball.

I grew up on home runs and doubles and RBI, ERA, wins, complete games and so on.

So, it’s really annoying when I’m reading about baseball, which I do A LOT and I come across something that looks like you got your fingers on the wrong keys, like fWAR or VORP or BABIP or OPS+.

I’m sorry to all the newly-minted sabermetricians out there, but those stats don’t tell me squat.

Let’s take fWAR for instance: This is Wins Above Replacement according to fangraphs.com

This stat is supposed to tell you how any given player compares to what they consider would be a replacement player. There is so much room for flaw in these numbers, I don’t even know where to begin.

Baseball, like most games, doesn’t have to be complicated. … If you score more points than the other guys, you win. That’s it. 

So, I have come up with my own stat that I would like to reveal right here today for free. I should probably copyright it or something, but what the heck. I think I’ll call it simply, “points.”

How do we measure points in baseball? There are only two ways to make a point in baseball, either you score a run or you drive in a run. Add the two together and voila, you have my new stat.

If your team has more points, you win, so it would make sense that you should try to acquire the players who score the most points, right? 

That’s really all there is to it. It’s no more difficult than that.

You might say, “Well what about the guy who prevents runs? Defense is important, too.”

Yes. That’s right. If two or three guys have a similar number of points, then you turn to defense. 

It seemed too easy to be true, so I put it to the test.

If I were to play general manager and put a team on the field, made up of the top point scorers at each position, what would I come up with? 

Here’s my team:

Catcher – J.T. Realmuto, 148

First Base – Jesus Aguiar, 188

Second Base – Javier Baez, 212

Third Base – Nelson Arenado, 214

Shortstop – Francisco Lindor, 221

Left Field – Christian Yelich, 228

Center Field – Charlie Blackmon, 189

Right Field – Mookie Betts, 209

Designated Hitter – J.D. Martinez, 241

Not bad, huh?

So, then I wondered how that would stack up against the best players according to the fWAR statistic.

Here’s the fangraph.com team:

Catcher – J. T. Realmuto, 4.8

First Base – Freddie Freeman, 5.2

Second Base – Javier Baez, 5.3

Third Base – Jose Ramirez, 8.0

Shortstop – Francisco Lindor, 7.6

Left Field – Christian Yelich, 7.6

Center Field – Mike Trout, 9.8

Right Field – Mookie Betts, 10.4

Designated Hitter – J.D. Martinez, 5.9

Amazing how similar the two lists are considering all the gymnastics the WAR guys have to do to come up with their analysis. I didn’t even use a computer and it took me about five minutes on Google.

Well, what about pitching, Phil? How are you going to measure pitching?

How about the guy who gives up the fewest points? 

Let’s see which pitchers gave up the fewest runs last season and try to scrap together a pitching staff.

How does this sound for a starting rotation?

Jacob DeGrom

Blake Snell

Trevor Bauer

Aaron Nola

Justin Verlander

So, it would seem that in baseball, you should score as many points as possible, while allowing as few as possible.

That’s your sabermetrics lesson for today kids. See you next week.

Phil Cobb is the owner and publisher of The Maryville Forum and The Post.