With the continued growth of sabermetrics, baseball has a way of quantifying nearly everything that lends itself to being broken down to a single number. UZR, TZR, total runs saved, dWAR, and even to a certain extent fielding percentage provide what some might consider empirical data-driven tools for evaluating a players performance in the field. ISO, wOBA, oWAR, and OPS+ create a statistical image of a player’s performance on offense. Finally, ERA+, xFIP, BAbip, game scores, and different split data sets tell us more than we ever need to know about what pitchers do when throwing a round ball at relatively high speeds.
None of these tools in the analytical tool box can tell you about the most important factor in baseball, and that just happens to be the “sCRAP” factor. To fully understand and appreciate the sCRAP factor, you must be familiar with the qualitative, albeit subjective components which constitute sCRAP.
- The basic component for sCRAP is the amount of dirt that appears on a player’s uniform. Since the sCRAPpiest players on a team tend to be oft-injured or bench players, the percentage of the uniform covered in dirt is divided by the number of innings a player plays in a given game. If a player has 90% of his uniform covered in dirt and plays exactly half the game, then the dirt component = .2.
- So “dIRT” = (% of uniform covered / IP)/100. The dIRT component is technically a cumulative one used later to help calculate sCRAP
- “E” equals the number of true errors made during a season. This encompasses both errors scored by the official scorer as well as mistakes made in the field that should not be made by a sCRAPy player. In this way the “true error” deviates from the traditional error in that the “true error” allows the assumption of the double play.
- Another component for sCRAP is the “GRIT” component which is a “counting stat”. This means that the final value is arrived at by adding the following together: Unnecessary slides for any reason + running out a line drive all the way to 1st base despite the ball being caught by an infielder + headfirst slides + hit by pitch + collisions with another player + crotch grabs per at-bat.
- As is the case with WAR, the sCRAP factor includes a poorly conceived and completely arbitrary position adjustment (POS). If the number of games started is greater or equal to the number of pinch hit appearances, then the player’s position adjustment is set to “1″. If the number of games started is less than the number of pinch hit appearances, then the player’s position adjustment is set to “1.000001″.
- The final piece of the sCRAP puzzle is the “tough out” or “TO” component which is equal to the number of plate appearances in which the player fouls off 5 or more pitches. Ideally, this would only count foul balls that an average hitter would be expected to put in play. The problem most frequently associated with this ideal case primarily consists of a really detailed discussion about the concept of “BA+” which is loosely defined as the points below the league average that a player with a high sCRAP factor is hitting. This necessarily must include both a park factor and a dynamic league factor value broken into slices based on position played. The calculation of BA+ becomes quite tedious, so naturally the laborious process of putting random numbers together for a “TO” component in complex form becomes non-trivial.
In basic form: sCRAP = dIRT * E * TO * GRIT * POS
While this relatively simplistic approach to evaluating sCRAP has not gained substantial traction with mainstream baseball people, it has several groups of regional supporters. Eventually, sCRAP may gain widespread acceptance as a way of differentiating “sCRAP” from “CRAP” which post altogether.