Saturday, December 31, 2011

NFL Picks: Week 17

Big D in Bold, I in Italics

Texans versus Titans
Saints versus Panthers
Falcons versus Buccaneers
Broncos versus Chiefs
Giants versus Cowboys 

Grading the Carlos Quentin trade

The WhiteSox traded Carlos Quentin to the Padres for pitchers Simon Castro and Pedro Hernandez.

Quentin had a 3.2 WAR in 2011, but had an even 0 WAR over 2009-2010. The difference was his defense, as he had a 2.4 O-WAR in both 2010 and 2011. However, his D-WAR was -2.8 in 2009-2010, but .8 in 2011. He simply played much better in the field in 2011, with a horrible .959 fielding percentage in 2010, but a .994 fielding percentage in 2011. However, his range factor stayed about the same, and it is well below average. His career D-WAR is -.7, and he should still be considered a below average fielder. Offensively, Quentin has a .346 OBP, 116 OPS +, and 1.874 O4S. He has pretty monster power, with a .238 ISO, and a good Secondary Average of .344. In the end he is a pretty good offensive player, with 5.8 runs created per game and a .581 Offensive Winning Percentage. He homers 5% percent of the time, about double the average player, and is an above average walker and extra base hitter. However, due to a poor Pit/PA, he has a PPS that is not very good at 86.98.

Castro spent 2011 split between AAA and AA. His 8 career AAA starts in the PCL have been extremely poor, but at 36 innings, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to judge him by that alone. As a starter n AA, 39 starts, he has a PE of -.343, which translates to about a 3.23 PE in the Majors. This of course would be horrible, so Castro can't be expected to contribute in 2012. He could, of course, improve and be part of the future, but there isn't a lot to suggest he will, and he doesn't offer any kind of immediate impact. He does keep the ball in the ballpark and has a good K/BB ratio.

Hernandez has just 4 AAA starts, and he struggled there as well, his 8 AA starts were better, but not a big enough sample size. Overall in his minor league career, he has split between both a starter and a reliever. In that time he has a PE of -.55, nothing impressive. However, he has had a FIP lower than his ERA in every stop he has made. Therefore, it makes some sense to cut him some slack and adjust his PE to about -.9. This probably projects to about a 2.4 PE, which isn't good as a starter or a reliever. He doesn't hardly walk anyone, and doesn't give up very many homers, so there is always that for the future, but it doesn't seem like Hernandez will have a 2012 impact.

Of course, the WhiteSox are in rebuilding mode, so as it is quite obvious the Padres win the trade for 2012, that really doesn't matter to Kenny Williams. With that said, I think that you would want to get a little bit more for the type of player Quentin is. There is the injury and defensive concerns with Quentin, but the Padres definitely need the bat.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Pitches Per Plate Appearance: Reliever Edition

Now we saw with Starting Pitchers that their was a slight positive correlation between pitches thrown per plate appearance and pitching efficiency. Here, I do the same survey with relievers. I used the NL West, with the requirements that the pitcher had no starts, at least 10 relief appearances, and tried to only use pitchers who had at least 2 years of MLB experience. Click on the images to enlarge.


12 of the relievers had a negative correlation for the more pitches per plate appearance, while 10 had a positive reaction. 17 had no real correlation. This means, as we saw with starting pitchers, it is basically worthless to argue that a change in Pitch/PA had any kind of effect on a change in effectiveness in a pitcher. However, like starting pitchers, pitchers who throw more pitches on average are more efficient. Pitchers that had at least 4 pitches per plate appearance had an average PE of -2.44. Relievers that averaged less than 3.7 Pit/PA had an average PE of .88. This probably is best explained by the fact that pitching efficiency relies heavily on strikeouts and to strike people out, you usually have to throw more pitches. However, it does seem that all the elite relievers are heavy strikeout pitchers. So while Pit/PA can't be an explanation for why a pitcher is good or bad one year, it seems that the larger Pit/PA a pitcher (both for starters and relievers)
has the better he is (at least on average).

Nationals add Mike Ballard

The Nationals have signed Mike Ballard to a minor league contract. In 4 years in AAA (in both the International League and the PCL), and has a miserable 4.06 PE, mostly as a starter. In 2011, he pitched in both AA and AAA, in AA he had a -2.83 PE as a starter, and in AAA he had a 2.93 PE as a starter. It seems that although his AA numbers suggest that just maybe he can make it in the big leagues, he has absolutely hit a wall in AAA. If he can't get AAA hitters out, it is unlikely that he can magically get MLB hitters out. He really struggled with homers in AAA, giving up 1.1 HR/9IP, he has a decent SO/BB ratio, because he doesn't hardly walk anyone (even though he doesn't have a standout strikeout rate). He has had a better FIP than ERA over the last two years, but not drastically better. Every year there are inconsequential minor league signings used to just fill out rosters, and this is another one of those.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Evaluating the Andrew Bailey trade

The Oakland Athletics sent Andrew Bailey and Ryan Sweeney to the Red Sox for Josh Reddick, Miles Head, Raul Alcantera

Andrew Bailey has a 7.2 WAR over his 3 year career, a 2.4 WAR average. He will be in his first year of arbitration in 2011. He has a sparkling -4.096 PE and -3.426 adjusted PE.  He has a spectacular TR of 13.52, and FIP - of 67. So for the past 3 years, Andrew Bailey has been one of the elite relief pitchers in the game. There is some cause for concern though. It seems there has been some regression. In 09 he had a WAR of 3.9, then a 2.4 in 10, and just a .9 in 2009. His PE was -2.37 in 2011, -2.75 Adjusted, and a FIP - of 73, and a SIERA of 2.99. These numbers are hard to complain about, and as long as the regression doesn't continue, they are still really good. There is also the point of small sample sizes, he pitched just over 40 innings in both 2010 and 2011.

Ryan Sweeney had a .8 WAR in 2011, with a 1.53 WAR average over the past 3 years. He is also arbitration eligible. In his career, he has a 1.5 D-WAR, with an above average Range Factor and Fielding Percentage. He did struggle in 2011, costing his team 3-5 runs above average. Offensively, he has a .342 OBP, 1.746 O4S, 95 OPS +, .196 Secondary Average, and .096 ISO. He has 4.5 Runs Created per Game and a .461 Offensive Winning Percentage. He made 1.4 million dollars in 2011.

Josh Reddick has a 1.9 WAR in 403 PA, not quite a full season. Adjusted for 600 PA, it is a 2.86 WAR. He isn't arbitration eligible yet, so he will make around half a million dollars in 2012. While proving to be an excellent defender, his offensive statistics are very poor so far. He has an O4S of 1.576, OPS + of 86, and .464 Offensive Winning Percentage. However, he has better Secondary Average and ISOs then Sweeney, at .227 and .168. This certainly gives you hope (along with his WAR projection) that he will be better than Sweeney. On the other hand, his AAA statistics are very unimpressive in over a full season of work, with just a .748 OPS, projecting to a poor .682 OPS in MLB.

Miles Head has never been above A ball, and has decent but not over impressive statistics at a .351 OBP, 1.85 O4S, and .172 ISO. He does walk almost 10 percent of the time. At first base, he is about average, perhaps a little bit better according to Range Factor.

Raul Alcantara is a similar story, he hasn't played above A-ball, but he is a starting pitcher. In 26 starts, he has an unspectacular .0369 PE, although his FIP is lower than his ERA. But even if his PE is an even 0, that doesn't translate well, and his lack of strikeouts (6 K/9IP) is concerning. However, his ERA is nice, and his K/BB ratio is a very very good 4.2. He is just a contact pitcher. Some have been very successful, and he can be if his HR/9IP stays at .1.

I give the nod to the Red Sox in this trade, it appears that Reddick is the best player in the trade according to WAR, but his poor offense concerns me for the A's. Sweeney is almost certainly a downgrade (especially with declining defense) from Reddick, but they add Bailey, who is a (although declining) solid closer. Although prospect gurus seem to like Alcantara and Head, their numbers make it hard for me to fall in love with them. Of course, who wins the trade will depend on how they do, but I still think the Sox have a slight edge.

The Yankees sign Hideki Okajima

The Yankees have announced that they have signed reliever Hideki Okajima to a minor league deal. In his 5 Major League seasons, Okajima has a -1.164 PE and -.414 Adjusted PE. However, his last full year in the big leagues was 2010, and it wasn't near as good, as he had an awful 2.96 Adjusted PE. He struggled big time with BABIP, as it was .344, and homers with 1.17 HR/9IP. His FIP - was 106, and a 4.39 SIERA. He put up a 6.2 WAR in his first 3 seasons, and then just .1 WAR in his last 2. In 2011, he spent most of the year in AAA, and he had a very nice PE of -3.19, which would translate to about a -.63 PE in the majors. The big questions are whether his low groundball rate and sometimes high home run rate will cripple him in Yankee Stadium. However, at least the way he pitched in AAA last year, it appears Okajima can still pitch in the Majors, and seems to be a steal for Brian Cashman and company.

For those curious, Okajima had a PE of about -5.02, or a projected PE of -2.974. Okajima certainly performed under that level, and some of it could be explained by difference of age. Hideki was certainly past his prime age by the time he came to America.

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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Lastings Milledge goes to Japan

The Yakult Swallows of Japan have signed Lastings Milledge to a $570,000 (converted to American currency) dollar contract. The average NPB salary is $420,000. According to Gen Sueyoshi (you can see the post here: http://yakyubaka.com/npb-salaries/2011-yakult-swallows-salary-report/ and follow him on twitter @gwynar), the Swallows had a payroll of 2491.1 Million Yen, or 32 million dollars in 2011. The NPB season is 144 games, so a "replacement team" (0 WAR players would win 32% of their games according to the official WAR calculus) would win 46 games. To win the Central League (the league that Yakult belongs) in 2011, Chunichi won 75 games. That seems like a goal-line, so a team expecting to win their league needs 29 Wins Above Replacement. So the Swallows have 32 million dollars to get those 29 Wins, so they can spend 1.1 million dollars per WAR. Therefore, at a salary of 570k, Milledge would need about a .5 WAR. So we will use Milledge's MLB statistics (along with his 2011 AAA numbers) and the metrics we have designed for NPB baseball to project Millddge's success. Milledge is a horrible defender, earning a -3.3 D-WAR in 6 seasons, or -.55 D-WAR a year. Depending on whether you trust BaseballProjection or BaseballInfoSolutions, Milledge cost his team 44 or 10 runs more than an average fielder in his career. With the bat, Milledge had a .328 OBP, .723 OPS, .94 PPG, 2.96 PAPP. This translates to a .361 OBP, .789 OPS, 1.43 PPG, 2.22 PAPP according to our Japanese metric. This is a 2.68 Simple WAR, and even with subtracting his -.55 D-WAR, you still get a 2.13 WAR, well worth the 570k the Swallows will give him. In 2011, he spent basically the whole year in AAA. He had a .364 OBP and .805 OPS there. Converted to Major League Statistics, this is a .318 OBP and .713 OPS, pretty replacement level, but it is a .351 OBP and .779 OPS projection for the NPB. This is pretty similar to what his MLB numbers stated. All in all, expect Milledge to make a pretty nice impact offensively in the NPB and turn out to be a nice signing for the Swallows.

Does Pitches per Plate Appearance tell us anything about a pitcher?

I wanted to see if pitcher's pitches per plate appearance had any bearing on whether a pitcher is successful or not. I am dividing it up between starters and relievers. For starters, I am using all the pitchers in the AL Central that had at least 5 starts and 2 or less relief appearances. Click on the Photo to enlarge and see the results.

Verlander, the best pitcher on the list and the Cy Young winner in 2011, was over 4 pitches per plate appearance and helped carry the over 4 pitchers to a -.059 average. Personally, 12 pitchers got better when they threw more pitches per plate appearance, 8 got worse, and 10 had no real correlation. There are a couple ways to take this. The more aggressive would be to say that pitching to contact is not a desired approach and that is better to go for the strikeout even if it takes more pitches. The more conservative would be to say that there doesn't seem to be any real relationship between pitches per plate appearance and success (more specifically, PE, which awards strikeouts, measuring WHIP or FIP may yield a different result). The 10 pitchers that threw less than 3.7 Pit/PA on average had a horrible PE average of 3.746. If you only have 3 and half pitches per plate appearance it is hard to have any strikeouts, but that wouldn't hurt your PE as much if you kept a low ERA, WHIP, and BAA. If your PE is almost 4, you are giving up a bunch of runs and hits. So it certainly seems, for starters, that there is a positive correlation between pitches per plate appearance and success. This leads to an interesting question, is a high Pit/PA for a hitter bad? The answer seems to be no. I wrote an article on here where I showed that all the top hitters in the game, beside Miguel Cabrera, had an above average Pit/PA. So perhaps paradoxical, the best pitchers and the best hitters have high Pit/PA. In Part 2, I will do relievers and see if we get the same result.

How we did: Week 16 NFL Picks

Big D in Bold. I in Italics
Colts shock Texans
Excuse: The Texans look pretty bad now, the Yates magic is going away, they miss Andre Johnson, and are becoming one dimensional. The Colts are starting to look better, Dan Orlovsky is playing good enough, and is an easy upgrade over Painter.

Giants dismantle Jets
Excuse: Jets defense looked very vulnerable up the middle. This is not the 2011 or 2010 Jets.

Bills destroy Broncos
Excuse: I have been on the side that doesn't believe Tebow is a quality quarterback (30th best in the league according to ESPN's QBR), and this week he gave the Broncos no chance to win, even against the terrible Bills. The special teams was awful, even though the defense didn't play terrible.

Eagles bruise Cowboys
Packers roll over Bears
Saints break records against Falcons

Big D: 2-4, 55-34 overall
I: 3-3, 55-34 overall

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Comparing Korean Baseball to Japan and America

I wanted to compare the difference between baseball in Japan and baseball in Korea. Big hat-tip to my friend Yusuke Ueno (@inter_ueno on Twitter) for compiling basically all of this data, which you can view here: http://d.hatena.ne.jp/ueno0726/20111218/1324221826
Of course, KBO stands for the Korean Baseball League, while NPB stands for the Japanese.

Karim Garcia: KBO: .341 OBP, .850 OPS, 2.56 PAPP, 1.58 PPG
NPB: .327 OBP, .804 OPS, 2.69 PAPP, 1.2 PPG

Cliff Brumbaugh: KBO: .414 OBP, .940 OPS, 2.19 PAPP, 1.52 PPG
NPB: .322 OBP, .744 OPS, 2.79 PAPP, 1.04 PPG

Tyrone Woods: KBO: .393 OBP, .967 OPS, 2.18 PAPP, 1.83 PPG
NPB: .391 OBP, .964 OPS, 2.19 PAPP, 1.65 PPG

Byung Kyu Lee: KBO: .370 OBP, .831 OPS, 1.43 PPG, 2.52 PAPP
NPB: .290 OBP, .676 OPS, .92 PPG, 3.23 PAPP

Jong Beom Lee: KBO: .371 OBP, .832 OPS, 1.54 PPG, 2.27 PAPP
NPB: .334 OBP, .741 OPS, 1.14 PPG, 2.81 PAPP

Seung-Yeop Lee: KBO: .407 OBP, 1.021 OPS, 1.92 PPG, 2.18 PAPP
NPB: .324 OBP, .818 OPS, 1.28 PPG, 2.69 PAPP

Tae Kyun Kim: KBO: .410 OBP, .938 OPS. 1.43 PPG, 2.24 PAPP
NPB: .346 OBP, .724 OPS, 1.18 PPG, 2.67 PAPP

Here are the averages:
KBO: .386 OBP, .911 OPS, 1.60 PPG, 2.31 PAPP
NPB: .333 OBP, .781 OPS, 1.2 PPG, 2.72 PAPP
Difference: -.053 OBP, -.130 OPS, -.4 PPG, .41 PAPP

Some Korean Players to look out for:

Dae-Ho Lee is going to Japan next year (according to Ueno on the link above)
KBO stats (career, big thanks to Jason Coskrey of the Japan Times, you can follow him at @jcoskrey):.396 OBP, .924 OPS, 2.36 PAPP, 1.44 PPG, 4.83 Simple WAR
NPB projection: .343 OBP, .794 OPS, 1.04 PPG, 2.77 PAPP, 1.46 Simple WAR
MLB projection: .310 OBP, .728 OPS, .55 PPG, 3.51 PAPP, -.9 Simple WAR

Sok-min Park: KBO stats (2009-11, big thanks to Dan, @MyKBO on Twitter, his site is my.kbo.net): .411 OBP, .911 OPS, 1.39 PPG, 2.42 PAPP, 5.4 Simple WAR
NPB projection: .358 OBP, .781 OPS, .99 PPG, 2.83 PAPP, 2.03 Simple WAR
MLB projection: .325 OBP, .715 OPS, .5 PPG, 3.57 PAPP, -.33 Simple WAR

Seong-heun Hong: KBO (2009-11): .413 OBP, .925 OPS, 1.47 PPG, 2.31 PAPP, 5.64
NPB projection: .360 OBP, .795 OPS, 1.07 PPG, 2.72 PAPP, 2.27 Simple WAR
MLB projection: .327 OBP, .729 OPS, .58 PPG, 3.46 PAPP,  -.09 Simple WAR

Tae-wan Kim: KBO (2009-11): .398 OBP, .851 OPS,1.2 PPG, 2.37 PAPP, 4.47 WAR
NPB projection: .345 OBP, .721 OPS, 2.78 PAPP, .8 PPG, 1.1 Simple WAR
MLB projection: .312 OBP, .655 OPS, 3.52 PAPP, .31 PPG, -1.25 Simple WAR

As you can see, the best KBO hitters would be decent NPB hitters, but below replacement Major Leaguers. I was a little surprised that the difference (especially in OBP) between KBO and NPB is larger than NPB and MLB. Then again, I don't think Americans respect the high level of play that the NPB exhibits.

Now for Pitchers:
This is interesting because Chan Ho Park is making the transition from Japan (he already went from MLB to NPB) to Korea (reminder for those not familiar with PE, the lower the number the better, a good reliever has a negative, an elite reliever is below -3, and anything under 2 is desired for a starter).

Gary Rath: KBO: (as a starter) 1.28 PE
NPB: (starter) 4.31 PE
AAA: (as a starter) 3.16 PE
MLB Projection (from AAA stats): 5.69 PE

Seth Greisinger: KBO: (as a starter) -.99 PE
NPB: (starter) .45 PE
MLB: (starter) 5.29 PE, -.2 WAR

Narciso Elvira: KBO (as a starter) -.88 PE
NPB: (starter) 2.62 PE
AAA: (starter) 2.51 PE
MLB Projection (from AAA stats): 5.03 PE

Brandon Knight: KBO (mainly a starter) .76 PE
NPB: (mainly a starter) 2.65 PE
AAA: (starter) 1.01 PE
MLB Projection (from AAA stats): 3.54 PE

Ken Kadokura: KBO (starter) .64 PE
NPB: (both, but more starts than relief appearances) .31 PE

Dong Yeol Sun: KBO (mainly a reliever)  -5.58 PE
NPB: (reliever) -4.45 PE

Sung Min Cho: KBO (mainly a reliever) 5.8 PE
NPB: (mainly a reliever) -.73 PE

Sang Hoon Lee: KBO (mainly a reliever) -2.13 PE
NPB: (mainly a reliever) -.16 PE

Dae-Sung Koo: KBO -3.16 PE
NPB: -1.16 PE

Chang-Yong Lim: KBO (mainly a reliever) -.54 PE
NPB: (reliever) -3.7 PE

Dustin Nippert: MLB: (mainly as a reliever) 2.44 PE, .1 WAR in 268 innings

KBO: (starter) -1.28 PE
NPB projection: -.786 PE
KBO total: -4.8 PE. KBO average: -.48 PE
NPB total: .14 PE. NPB average: .014 PE
Difference: .494 PE added from KBO to NPB
From NPB to MLB about 2.046 PE is added
From KBO to MLB: 2.54 PE is added according to the KBO-NPB-MLB metric, averaging with the above with Major League experience (or AAA projections) gives us a 4.27 addition of PE from KBO to MLB

Chan Ho Park: NPB (Starter): 3.79 PE
MLB: (Starter and Reliever) .546 PE .96 WAR per year (However, he has clearly regressed, and it makes sense to throw his MLB numbers out for projection).
MLB projection: 5.836 PE
KBO projection: 3.296

Mario Santiago, a member of the Royals organization, has decided to go pitch in the KBO instead.
AAA (mainly as a reliever): 3.66 PE
MLB Projection: 6.19 PE
KBO Projection: 3.65 PE
 
Byung Hyun Kim: MLB: (reliever) -.344 PE, .94 WAR a season
NPB Projection: -2.39
(this is interesting because he actually signed a deal with the Rakuten Golden Eagles, but never actually pitched in any games)
KBO Projection: (most people believe he will pitch there in 2012) -2.884

Some KBO pitchers to watch

Seung-hwan Oh: KBO (2011): (reliever) -9.3 PE
NPB Projection: -8.81 PE
MLB Projection: -4.6 PE

Dae-hyun Jung: KBO (2011): (reliever) -1.45 PE
NPB Projection: -.956 PE
MLB Projection: 3.314 PE

Won-jun Jang: KBO (2011): (starter) .96 PE
NPB Projection: 1.454 PE
MLB Projection: 5.23 PE

Suk-Min Yoon: KBO (2011): (starter) -3.57 PE
NPB Projection: -3.076 PE
MLB Projection: .7 PE

Dong-seop Shim: KBO (2011): (reliever) -5.04 PE
NPB Projection: -4.55 PE
MLB Projection: -.77 PE

As we can see, there is a much smaller difference in pitchers between KBO and NPB. Some of the better KBO pitchers can have success in the MLB according to the projections, unlike the hitters, who were all below replacement.

Friday, December 23, 2011

The Angels sign Langerhans, Hurley, and Diaz

The Angels have singed Ryan Langerhans, Eric Hurley, and Robinson Diaz to Minor League contracts.

Langerhans had just 64 PA in 2011, so those numbers are useless. In his career he has a .333 OBP, 86 OPS +, and .301 Secondary Average. His ISO is just .146, but he has 4.5 Runs Created per a Game and .456 Offensive Winning Percentage. He walks a stunning 13 % of the time, and is just below average at extra base hits and homers. He hits more line drives than average and has more flyballs than grounders. His PPS is a very solid 95.5. He is also a good defender with a career D-WAR of 3.0. This is a very good pickup for the Angels.

Hurley has very little Major League experience. In AAA, he has a 2.66 PE as a starter. This translates to a 5.19 PE in the Majors. He has struggled mightily with homers, there doesn't seem to be anything here.

Diaz also has meager MLB playing time. He does however, have tons of AAA time. There he has just a .296 OBP, and .664 OPS. He doesn't help himself defensively by being a very poor catcher. At least 1 of these signings will help the Angels, but I don't see how the last two will, but they are just minor league contracts.

The Travis Wood-Sean Marshall trade

The Cubs traded Sean Marshall to the Reds for Travis Wood, Dave Sappelt and Ronald Torreyes.

Marshall had a 2.5 WAR in 2011, and a 1.7 WAR average over the past 3 years. This is a bargain at a 3.1 million dollar salary for 2012, but he is a free agent afterwards. In 2011, he had a -3.75 PE, and -4.15 Adjusted PE. For his career, his PE is .33. In 2011 he pitched like a closer-type, but for his career, he has not very good reliever numbers. That is because earlier in his career, he was used many times as a starter. The Reds are probably not going to use him in this role, so it makes sense just to look at 2010 and 2011, the two years where he only pitched as a reliever. Those two years, he put up FIP - of 55 and 46, and SIERA's of 2.34 and 2.20. This is much better than their previous 9th inning man, Francisco Cordero, and is slightly better than Jonathan Papelbon and Ryan Madson.

Wood has a 1.5 WAR in 208.2 innings, which is about a full season. Fangraphs actually gives him a 3.3 WAR, as his PE is .99, but his adjusted PE is .56, virtually all as a starter. This is pretty solid. His FIP - is 94 with a SIERA of 4.22. He is a flyball pitcher, but he hasn't been bitten by the longball. He has given up a lot of line drives, but seems to be a pretty average starting pitcher that doesn't cost anything and is under club control for quite a while.

Ronald Torreyes is 19, and has never played above A ball. However, he has been pretty good, earning a .419 OBP and .935 OPS. He doesn't walk much, at just 5.3%, and he isn't a home run hitter.

Dave Sappelt has played in 38 games in MLB, so it is more helpful to look at his minor league statistics. He has 451 PA in AAA, so we should look there. There he had a .374 OBP, .838 OPS, and 3.16 Simple WAR. This translates to a .328 OBP and 1.67 Simple WAR. He is below average at Center Field however.

It appears to me that the Cubs won this trade. Even though the Reds got an under the radar elite relief pitcher, they gave up a cheap average starter, and a center fielder that is a good hitter and major league ready.

Jason Marquis signs with the Twins

The Twins signed Jason Marquis to a 1 year 3 million dollar deal. At the end of the trade deadline, I wrote something kind of silly. I wrote that the trade for Jason Marquis by the Diamondbacks for minor leaguer Zack Walters was a pretty obvious win for the Diamondbacks. This turned out to be quite dumb, as Marquis had a -1 WAR before getting hurt with the Diamondbacks. Walters has never played about A ball, but has a .357 OBP and .807 OPS. When looking at Marquis statistics, there has obviously been some regression in his 12 year career. In the first 3 years of his career, he had strikeout rates of 6.6, 6.8, and 6.6 K/9 IP. The last 3 years have looked like this: 4.8, 4.8, 5.2 K/9 IP. This means that looking at his career numbers would be extremely misleading and pointless. So instead, lets look at his last 3 years. In that time, he has a 1.5 WAR, or .5 WAR a season. This is only worth half of the 3 million dollars the Twins are going to give him. His PE was a terrible 3.933, but he walks less batters than average, and throws less pitches per plate appearance than average. But his FIP - has been worse than  league average over the last two years, and he had an average TR of 9.09 in 2011. He does get plenty of groundballs, and is spotty with homers, but his SIERA's over the last 3 years are 4.15, 4.76, and 4.61. 3 million dollars seems to be a lot of money for Jason Marquis.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Analyzing the Gio Gonzalez trade

The Athletics traded Gio Gonzalez to the Washington Nations for A.J. Cole, Brad Peacock, Derek Norris, and Tom Milone. Gio had a 5 WAR in 2011 (despite making just $420,000) and a 4.6 WAR average in his 2 full seasons. His career PE is -.86, with an adjusted PE of -.73. However, his career FIP - is average at 100, and his SIERA is 4.05, hardly impressive. His TR was similarly unimpressive at 8.74. In fact, the only really good thing you can say about Gio is that he has a very good strikeout rate for a starter. Other than that, he seems pretty average.

Cole has never pitched above A ball, but was phenomenal there, earning a -3.16 PE as a starter. To give you an idea of just how good that was, in the league he pitched in (the South Atlantic League), the average PE was .281. Even better was his adjusted PE at -4.63. He didn't walk many batters and he didn't give up many homers either. Even better, he is just 19, when the average pitcher in the league was 22. He is certainly AA ready.

Peacock has 9 AAA starts under his belt, and earned a -2.54 PE. This projects to about an even 0 PE in the Majors, pretty good for a starter. However, his adjusted PE is a full run higher, meaning he would adjust to a 1 PE, which would be solid but nothing special. However, since it is only 9 starts, it makes sense to look at his AA numbers as well. There (mostly as a starter) he registered a -4.7 PE. Even though we don't yet have a pitcher's AA metric, we can assume that a regression for a pitcher from AA to AAA would be very similar to a hitters. According to Simple WAR, hitters put up just 67.7% of the numbers in AAA than they do in AA. This would lower Peacock's PE to -3.18, better than he actually pitched in his 9 starts in AAA. This would adjust to a -.65 Major League PE, almost as good as Gio.

Norris spent 2011 in AA, playing in 104 games. There he had a .367 OBP, .813 OPS, 2.4 PAPP, 1.48 PPG, adding up to a 3 Simple WAR. This means that already, at age 22, he projects to be a .64 O-WAR player. This is while being a catcher who throws out 40% of base runners, and an above average range factor. It is not crazy to believe that he could already step into the Majors and put up a 2 WAR if given enough playing time.

Milone spent 2011 in AAA, posting a -2.75 PE as a starter. This projects to a -.22 PE in the Majors. In 2010, he spent the year in AA, and had a PE of -2.2. This obviously doesn't project near as well.There are a couple ways to explain it, he could have improved, and his FIP is better than his ERA in both AA and AAA. For what it is worth, the Bill James projections have him earning a very nice -1.22 PE.

I think it is pretty obvious that the Athletics won this trade. Even though Gio is a decent starter with a low salary, the A's got 4 players who project to be good in the Majors.

The Royals sign Jose Mijares

The Royals signed reliever Jose Mijares to a 1 year $925,000 deal. He had a -.1 WAR in 2011, but a .77 WAR average over the past 3 years. This would be a good 1201 WASP. In his career, he has a PE of .32 and Adjusted PE of 1.29, as a reliever, which isn't very good. In 2011, it was a terrible 3.49, with an Adjusted PE of 3.78. Even more alarming, he walked as many batters as he struck out. His career FIP - is 100, but his 2011 was 122, and he had previously never had a SIERA of more than 3.71, but had an alarming 5.28 in 2011. The only real positive thing you can say about Mijares 2011 season was that he only gave up .73 HR/9IP. He gives up more flyballs than groundballs, but has average overall career numbers. Before 2011, he was above average, but he has only thrown 153.2 career innings. It could be the simple case of hitters figuring him out, which would mean that the Royals are in trouble. The biggest difference I can find is his difference in walks. He never had a walk rate close to that previously, so there were obviously control problems in 2011. It is hard to predict control and walk rates, but he did strikeout less batters and he threw far less strikes (less than 60% strikes in 2011). This has all the symptoms of either regression or lack of health. Is this something that is going to repeat in 2011? If it does, then the Royals basically flushed a million dollars down the toilet. If it doesn't, then I think this is a decent little move for the Royals.

NFL Picks: week 16

Big D in Bold. I in Italics

Texans versus Colts
Jets versus Giants
Broncos versus Bills
Eagles versus Cowboys
Packers versus Bears
Saints versus Falcons

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Orioles sign Endy Chavez

The Orioles continue to grab all the fringe players for the Texas Rangers as they signed Endy Chavez to a 1 year 1.5 million dolllar deal. Chavez had a .7 WAR with Texas in 2011, which would be a decent 2143 WASP with his new contract. So according to his 2011 performance, this is a good deal for the Orioles, but can they expect this performance again? It is hard to compare his 2011 season with previous seasons, because he suffered a pretty devastating knee injury and didn't even play in 2010. Because of this, I will operate under the assumption that his pre-2011 statistics are useless in predictive terms. In 2011, Chavez had a 1.718 O4S, 96 OPS +, and .184 Secondary Average. Despite a .321 BABIP, he had a 4.4 Runs Created and a .483 Offensive Winning Percentage. Assuming BABIP stabilizes at .300, expect most of those numbers to drop some, but not massively. Even with the hitter friendly Ballpark in Arlington, he was a below average home run hitter with a significantly low walk rate. He is a groundball hitter that doesn't hit many line drives and had a poor PPS of 82.87. He had a 0 D-WAR in 2011, despite once being a very good defender. If Chavez is able to repeat his 2011 season, then this is a pretty good deal for the Orioles. However, I don't think this is very likely.

A Double A minor league metric

I chose everyone who played for the Columbus Clippers (the Indians AAA affiliate) in 2011 (as long as they had a decent amount of PA in both AA and AAA).
All AAA is International League (or at least partially International League). The AA league is listed in () after AA. I may revisit this and see if there is a substantial difference between leagues.

Bubba Bell: AA (EL): .353 OBP, .794 OPS, 1.44 PPG, 2.52 PAPP, 2.19 Simple WAR
 AAA: .328 OBP, .667 OPS, .83 PPG, 2.84 PAPP, .07 Simple WAR

Jordon Brown: AA (EL): .421 OBP, .906 OPS, 1.44 PPG, 2.49 PAPP,5.82 Simple WAR
AAA: .352 OBP, .821 OPS, 1.19 PPG, 2.71 PAPP, 2.09 Simple WAR

Travis Buck: AA (TL): .376 OBP, .847 OPS, 1.34 PPG, 2.43 PAPP, 3.49 Simple WAR
AAA: .366 OBP, .789 OPS, 1.25 PPG, 2.7 PAPP, 2.61 Simple WAR

Luke Carlin: AA (SOUL): .349 OBP, .668 OPS, 2.84 PAPP, .6 PPG, .93 Simple WAR
AAA: .369 OBP, .738 OPS, 2.66 PAPP, .9 PPG, 2.42 Simple WAR

Lonnie Chisenhall: AA (EL): .333 OBP, .772 OPS, 1.53 PPG, 2.8 PAPP, 1.11 Simple
AAA: .353 OBP, .784 OPS, 1.47 PPG, 2.86 PAPP, 2.02 Simple WAR

Ben Copeland: AA (EL): .331 OBP, .752 OPS, 2.7 PAPP, 1.23 PPG, .84 Simple WAR
AAA: .359 OBP, .767 OPS, .99 PPG, 2.54 PAPP, 2.15 Simple WAR

Trevor Crowe: AA (EL): .349 OBP,.724 OPS, 2.57 PAPP, 1.39 PPG,1.66 SimpleWAR
AAA: .346 OBP, .740 OPS, 2.61 PAPP, 1.32 PPG, 1.55 Simple WAR

Jason Donald: AA (EL):.384 OBP, .863 OPS, 2.33 PAPP, 1.42 PPG, 4.05 SimpleWAR
AAA: .358 OBP, .753 OPS, 2.72 PAPP, 1.21 PPG, 2.05 Simple WAR

Shelley Duncan: AA (EL): .325 OBP, .814 OPS, 2.74 PAPP, 1.47 PPG, .94 Simple
AAA: .368 OBP, .883 OPS, 2.41 PAPP, 1.67 PPG, 3.45 Simple WAR

Tim Fedroff: AA (EL): .367 OBP, .764 OPS, 2.7 PAPP, 1.05 PPG 2.45 Simple WAR
AAA: .370 OBP, .732 OPS, 2.67 PAPP, .98 PPG, 2.42 Simple WAR

Jared Goedert: AA (EL): .337 OBP, .765 OPS, 2.83 PAPP, 1.13 PPG, 1.07 Simple
AAA: .346 OBP, .857 OPS, 2.56 PAPP, 1.38 PPG, 2.13 Simple WAR

Jerad Head: AA (EL): .355 OBP, .845 OPS, 2.72 PAPP, 1.36 PPG, 2.4 Simple WAR
AAA: .336 OBP, .857 OPS, 2.76 PAPP, 1.43 PPG, 1.61 Simple WAR

Michel Hernandez: AA (EL): .344 OBP, .706 OPS, 2.91 PAPP, .78 PPG, .92 WAR
AAA: .340 OBP, .694 OPS, 2.94 PAPP, .74 PPG, .65 Simple WAR

Wes Hodges: AA (EL): .342 OBP, .797 OPS, 2.73 PAPP, 1.26 PPG, 1.55 Simple WAR
AAA: .304 OBP, .704 OPS, 3.09 PAPP, 1.05 PPG, -.86 Simple WAR

Chad Huffman: AA (TL): .377 OBP, .799 OPS, 2.61 PAPP, 1.18 PPG, 3.16 WAR
AAA: .355 OBP, .789 OPS, 2.69 PAPP, 1.12 PPG, 2.05 Simple WAR

Nick Johnson: AA (EL): .528 OBP, 1.070 OPS, 2.04 PAPP, 1.64 PPG, 14.9 WAR
AAA: .377 OBP, .794 OPS, 2.49 PAPP, 1.09 PPG, 3.15 Simple WAR

Jason Kipnis: AA (EL): .385 OBP, .887 OPS, 2.45 PAPP, 1.56 PPG, 4.17 SimpleWAR
AAA: .362 OBP, .846 OPS, 2.45 PAPP, 1.57 PPG, 2.88 Simple WAR

Matt LaPorta: AA (SOUL): .402 OBP, .978 OPS, 2.5 PAPP, 1.71 PPG, 5.41 Simple
AAA: .400 OBP, .953 OPS, 2.37 PAPP, 1.55 PPG, 5.19 Simple WAR

Matt McBride: AA (EL): .336 OBP, .819 OPS, 2.86 PAPP, 1.35 PPG, 1.35 Simple
AAA: .267 OBP, .645 OPS, 3.41 PAPP, .88 PPG, -3.04 Simple WAR

Thomas Neal: AA (EL): .359 OBP, .799 OPS, 2.7 PAPP, 1.18 PPG, 2.3 Simple WAR
AAA: .343 OBP, .734 OPS, 3.01 PAPP, 1.09 PPG, 1.1 Simple WAR

Paul Phillips: AA (TL): .324 OBP, .698 OPS, 3.08 PAPP, 1.07 PPG, .03 Simple WAR
AAA: .309 OBP, .672 OPS, 3.17 PAPP, .84 PPG, -.76 Simple WAR

Argenis Reyes: AA (EL): .313 OBP, .673 OPS, 2.87 PAPP, 1.02 PPG, -.51 WAR
AAA: .342 OBP, .702 OPS, 2.84 PAPP, .84 PPG, .87 Simple WAR

Josh Rodriquez: AA (EL): .348 OBP, .709 OPS, 2.79 PAPP, 1 PPG, 1.27 WAR
AAA: .364 OBP, .827 OPS, 2.5 PAPP, 1.24 PPG, 3.01 Simple WAR

Grady Sizemore: AA (EL): .376 OBP, .858 OPS, 2.63 PAPP, 1.5 PPG, 3.52 WAR
AAA: .361 OBP, .802 OPS, 2.68 PAPP, 1.47 PPG, 2.55 Simple WAR

Luis Valbuena: AA (SOUL): .335 OBP, .751 OPS, 2.73 PAPP, 1.15 PPG, 2.13 WAR
AAA: .387 OBP, .855 OPS, 2.37 PAPP, 1.45 PPG, 4.15 Simple WAR

AA average: .362 OBP, .802 OPS, 2.69 Simple WAR
AAA average: 1.82 Simple WAR
Average difference: -.87 Simple WAR
AA to MLB difference: -2.36 (average player above, according to their AA statistics projects at a .33 Simple WAR a season)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Casey Blake signs with the Rockies

The Colorado Rockies have signed Casey Blake to a one year 2 million dollar deal.  Casey Blake had a .6 WAR in 2011 (which would be a WASP of 3333), with a WAR average of 3.23 over the past 3 years. This includes his 5.9 2009 WAR his career best both offensively and defensively. It is not surprising that 2009 also included his best fullseason BABIP as well. So we have to put some skepticism into his 2009 O-WAR (4.0), and it makes sense to just take his average D-WAR (.26, but 1.1 over the last 3 years). So how do we project him offensively? In 30 games at Coors Field (Colorado's stadium), he has a .368 OBP and .999 OPS, 2.48 PAPP, 1.47 PPG (a 3.85 Simple WAR). However, we can certainly argue that this is a short sample size and he won't be facing most of those pitchers because they will now be his teammates. In the past 3 years, he has a .342 OBP, 108 OPS + (.767 OPS), 2.85 PAPP, and 1.1 PPG, a 1.28 Simple WAR. If we average his career WAR with his WAR over the last 3 years along with his Coors numbers and Simple WAR over the last 3 years (along with his WAR last year), we get a 2.16 WAR, worth over 6 million dollars. He has a career offensive winning percentage of .510 with 5 Runs Created per Game. His Secondary Average is .277 and his ISO is .178. He is an above average home run hitter (which should serve him well at Coors), along with an average walker, and sees a whopping 4.18 Pitches Per Plate Appearance, giving him a 100.52 PPS. Free Agency can be a tricky way to build a team as most big name players are massively overvalued, however, there are always good deals out there. This is one of them, I really like this deal for the Rockies.

How we did: Week 15 NFL picks

Big D in bold, I in italics

Falcons destroy Jaguars
Cowboys run over Buccaneers
Redskins shock Giants 
Excuse: The Giants have proved to be a tough team to pick. They are so inconsistent, the Redskins are playing better, but this looks like a Tom Coughlin collapse
Bengals are less ugly than Rams
Patriots embarrass Broncos
Chargers route Ravens
Excuse: Well the Chargers are finally looking like the team they were supposed to be, even though it may be too late. This loss was the first real loss against a competitive team for the Ravens this year, so it is concerning.
49ers knock the lights out of Steelers
Excuse: A bad offensive line and injured quarterback is not a good combo.  

Big D: 4-3, 53-30 overall
I: 4-3, 52-31 overall

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Cardinals sign J.C. Romero

The Cardinals signed reliever J.C. Romero for a 1 year $750,000 deal. Romero had a .1 WAR in 2011 (he split the season between the Phillies and the Rockies). He threw just 24 innings though, so it hardly seems to be a adequate sample size. Over the past 3 years, he has pitched 78 innings and has a .7 WAR over that time (.23 WAR a season, worth about $700,000 a year). Over this time, he has a .861 PE, pretty poor for a reliever, and has walked almost as many batters as he has struck out. His career PE (he has played in 13 seasons), is .852, almost exactly the same. So it is not as if there has been a regression. His career FIP - is 100, and his SIERA is 4.36. His TR fits in with the averageness of Romero at 8.31. The overall reaction to this deal should be a shrug of the shoulders. Romero is average at best, and $750,000 may be a little bit much for him, but its not like the Cardinals are shelling out big money for him.

Brewers sign Travis Ishikawa

The Brewers have signed Travis Ishikawa to a minor league deal. In 665 PA (about a full season), he has a .8 WAR. This is because of his defense, where he has a 1 WAR. At first base, he has an above average fielding percentage (with a warped Range Factor because he often came in as a defensive replacement in many games). In his career, he has saved 14 runs above an average 1st baseman. Offensively, he has a .327 OBP, 91 OPS +, and 1.708 O4S. His Secondary Average is .224, and he has an ISO of .134, neither very impressive. He does have 4.5 Runs Created per Game and a .475 Offensive Winning Percentage. These numbers are pretty average, and one concerning thing is his .330 BABIP. One would expect that to flatten out a little with more plate appearances. He does have slightly more line drives than average hitters, but also hits more groundballs. He homers and walks less than average, which is odd and concerning for a 1st baseman. By no stretch of the imagination is this going to be a high impact signing, but it could be a decent little signing for the Brewers.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Ryan Perry swapped for Collin Balester

The Tigers traded Ryan Perry to the Nationals for Collin Balester

Balester had a -.3 WAR in 2011, and a -.6 WAR for his career. He has a 2.22 PE for his career, with a 2.34 Adjusted PE mostly as a reliever with 22 starts mixed in earlier in his career. His FIP - is 128 with a BABIP of .295, and he has struggled massively with homers at 1.67 HR/9IP. SIERA is a little nicer to him with a 4.28 career number, and he has slightly more groundballs than flyballs. He isn't arbitration eligible yet.

Perry had a -.4 WAR in 2011, but has a .7 career WAR. He has a .76 PE, with an adjusted PE of .97, all as a reliever. He has a career FIP - of 99, and SIERA of 4.28 (mysteriously the same as Balester's). He has done a good job avoiding the long ball, with a .78 HR/9IP. He has a higher walk rate that Balester and a very similar groundball rate. He is arbitration eligible. Perry is, according to most metrics, the better pitcher. Even though his salary will probably be higher than Balester's, I think the Nationals win this trade.

NFL Picks: Week 15

Big D in Bold. I in Italics

Falcons versus Jaguars
Cowboys versus Buccaneers
Giants versus Redskins
Bengals versus Rams
Patriots versus Broncos
Ravens versus Chargers
Steelers versus 49ers

The Jed Lowrie trade

The Red Sox traded Jed Lowrie and Kyle Weiland to the Astros for Mark Melancon.

Melancon is coming off his best year in his short career, with a 1.2 WAR. He isn't arbitration eligible, meaning he will make minimum wage for 2 more years. He threw 74.1 innings (more than all other years combined) in 2011, and had a -1.68 PE and -1.21 Adjusted PE as the Astros 9th inning man. Most "closers" (whatever the 9th inning man should be called) have much better PEs than this. He has a career SIERA of 3.26, gets lots of groundballs, and doesn't give up many homers.

Lowrie had a .3 WAR in 2011, and has a 3.8 WAR in 4 years, a .95 WAR average. He is arbitration eligible and is projected to make 1.2 million dollars according to MLB Trade Rumors. This is a very solid WASP of 1263 if Lowrie puts up his Average WAR. He is an under average fielding shortstop, and had a pretty poor fielding 2011. He has a career OBP of .324, 92 OPS +, and .267 Secondary Average. His Runs Created per game is 4.7, even though his Offensive Winning Percentage is .494. He walks above average, but homers below average. All things considered, Lowrie is a pretty average shortstop at a very reasonable salary.

Weiland has just 24.2 career major league innings. However, he had 24 AAA starts in 2011. He had a -1.71 PE and -1.57 Adjusted PE. Through the AAA metric, this translates to a .82 PE and .96 Adjusted PE. This is pretty solid for a starter. He didn't give up a bunch of homers (.7 HR/9IP), and had a reasonable walk rate.

I like this trade for the Astros. They trade away a decent cheap reliever, but they get a pitcher who should quickly be pretty good in the rotation, and a decent shortstop at a low price. This seems to be another example of late inning relievers being overvalued.

The Tyler Colvin-Ian Stewart Trade

The Cubs traded Tyler Colvin and DJ LeMahieu to the Rockies for Ian Stewart and Casey Weathers.

I have a write up on DJ LeMahieu already, and noted that his college statistics weren't impressive and thought it was interesting the Cubs drafted him in the first round anyway. He struggled in the small sample size in the Majors, and had just a .328 OBP in 58 AAA games.

Colvin has really struggled in 221 Major League games with a -.5 WAR, .274 OBP, and 84 OPS +. There are some positive things though, he has only had a .250 BABIP, one expects that to improve, has a decent Secondary Average of .294, and a very nice ISO of .207. While he doesn't really walk, he hits more extra base hits than average. One concerning thing is his lack of line drives, but his .447 Offensive Winning percentage and 4 Runs Created Per Game could improve. His defense has been spotty, he was good in 2011, but horrible in 2010.

Stewart had a terrible 2011 with a -1.2 WAR, but had a 1.3 WAR in 2010. Defensively, he has played under replacement level for the past 3 years. Offensively, it makes a lot of sense to throw out his 2011 season, as he just had 136 PAs, and a BABIP of .224. This is a pretty corrupted statistical sample. So what about 2010? He had a .338 OBP, 97 OPS +, and .308 BABIP. This was a much more reliable sample size (441 PA), and he had a .560 Offensive Winning Percentage and 5.2 Runs Created per Game. His Secondary Average and ISO are both solid, and he is an above average home run hitter and walker. Many don't like him because he strikes out a bunch, but I think strikeouts for hitters can be overrated.

Weathers is a minor league pitcher who hasn't pitched above AA. But in his minor league career, he has a -3.72 PE, all as a reliever. He looks to be far away, but he gets nearly 12 strikeouts per 9 innings. He does walk a whole lot of batters (he has a .190 BAA but has a WHIP of over 1.4), so in that sense he is sort of a Marmol type. He doesn't give up many HR/9IP, and he is a possible future closer option. I like this trade for the Cubs because I like Stewart over Colvin and Weathers over LeMahieu.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Rays trade for Badenhop

The Rays traded Jake Jefferies to the Marlins for Burke Badenhop

Jefferies has never made it past AA, and has a career .318 OBP, 1.615 O4S, and .174 Secondary Average. He walks just 7.2% of the time, and homers less than 1% of the time. According to range factor, Jefferies is above average, but has a below average fielding percentage, and catches just 23% of runners.

Badenhop pitched 63.2 innings all in relief in 2011 and earned a .5 WAR while making $750,000. Over the past 3 years, he has had a .53 WAR average, worth over 1.5 million dollars. He has a career PE of 1.48, with an adjusted PE of .83. He has a FIP - of 89, and a 3.57 SIERA. He is probably undervalued because of an inflated ERA that is not all his fault (although his BABIP is reasonable at .305). His HR/9IP is at .65, with a great groundball ratio. Badenhop is a decent middle reliever, while Jefferies doesn't seem to be a very formidable minor league catcher, so I think the Rays win this trade.

The Casey McGehee trade

The Brewers traded Casey McGehee to the Pirates for Jose Veras.

Casey McGehee is coming off a terrible season where he had a .280 OBP and 69 OPS +. He had a -1 WAR, despite having a 3 WAR in 2011. He is projected (by MLB Trade Rumors) to make 3.1 million dollars in 2011, meaning he needs to have a WAR over 1 (or perhaps more for the low payroll Pirates). In 2011, he had a disastrous .223 BABIP, obviously a huge reason for his poor season. Overall, McGehee has a .320 OBP, 1.706 O4S, and 99 OPS +. These are pretty average, as well as his 4.5 Runs Created Per Game with a .494 Offensive Winning Percentage. His Secondary Average is .242, and his ISO is .161. These are about average numbers, the only thing that concerns me offensively is that he hit more groundballs in 2011 and less line drives. Maybe that is an anomaly, but this could partially explain the BABIP. Defensively, he isn't very good, with a -.2 D-WAR in his career, and a below average range factor and fielding percentage in 2011.

Jose Veras has been a career reliever, with a .7 WAR, with a .23 WAR average over the last 3 years, worth about $700,000. He had a PE of -2.95 in 2011, and an adjusted PE of -3.25. This is not quite with the elite relievers of the game, Veras is a very solid one. The ball is rarely hit hard off him with a career .257 BABIP, but he gives up about 1 HR/9IP and more flyballs than groundballs. He has a FIP - of 103, and a SIERA of 3.83. He is a decent reliever, but it is hard to argue that he is worth a decent position player. This is why I give the edge to the Pirates on this trade, as long as Casey McGehee bounces back in 2012.

The Dodgers versus the Angels

The Dodgers announced that they were giving Tony Gwynn (Jr!!!) a 2 year 2 million dollar deal. He had a 1.1 WAR in 2011, and a .9 WAR average over the past 3 years. This is worth 2.7 million a year according to the Halladay Standard, so this is actually a good deal for the Dodgers. However, there was something that caught my eye:

Jim Bowden of ESPN tweeted
Dodgers will pay Harang,Capuano,Ellis, Hairston,Gwynn,Treanor,Kennedy,Rivera,Uribe more than Angels pay Pujols this year
So here are their 2011 WARs:

Harang 1.9
Capuano 1.7
Treanor -.2
Kennedy .4
Rivera -.5
Uribe -.1
Ellis .9
Hairston 1.6
Overall: 7.6 WAR (including Gwynn above)

Pujols 7.1 WAR average over the past 3 years

I wrote a few months back that Pujols was worth about 23 million dollars, and that it doesn't even make sense to invest that much money in one player. So obviously the Angels paid too much money, and giving a player 10 years is ridiculous. However, it just shows the two totally different directions the two LA teams are going.

Monday, December 12, 2011

How we did: Week 14 NFL Picks

Big D in Bold, I in Italics

Steelers concuss Browns
Giants ice Cowboys
Excuse: Great game, thought it would be close and it was. Thought Fiammetta and Austin would put the Cowboys over the edge, but that horrible secondary made Eli Manning look like Warren Moon. 
Seahawks use skittles to defeat Rams 
Packers destroy Raiders
Texans knock off Bengals
Saints survive Titans

Big D: 3-3, 49-27 overall
I: 5-1, 48-28 overall

The Ben Francisco trade

The Phillies traded Ben Francisco to the Blue Jays for Frank Gailey.

Francisco had a -.9 WAR in 2011, and a .2 WAR over the past 3 years, meaning he averaged less than .1 WAR a year. Despite this, he made over a million dollars in 2011. Offensively, he has a .332 OBP, 1.758 O4S, and 103 OPS +. This is with a Secondary Average of .276, and an Isolated Slugging of .171. These are average/decent numbers. It is interesting to note that there was a discrepancy between offensive WAR and offensive winning percentage. While WAR rated him as a replacement hitter (0 O-WAR), offensive winning percentage had him at .479, above replacement level of .320. Normally I would take WAR over the winning percentage statistic, but it is hard to call a .340 OBP and 93 OPS + (his 2011 numbers) replacement. He is a slightly above average home run hitter, and walks around league average (as well as seeing about as many pitches as average). There isn't much impressive about Francisco on offense, but he is about average. Defensively, he is pretty bad, with a below average range factor (although an above average fielding percentage). According to "runs saved" he cost the Phillies 11 runs on defense last season.

Frank Gailey is a 26 year old pitcher who has never pitched about AA, and he wasn't very good there with a 2.9 PE, and a 1.8 Adjusted PE as a reliever. He struggled big time with homers giving up 1.2 HR/9IP. However, he was very good at the lower levels, earning a -3.07 PE for his minor league career. Overall, he hasn't struggled with homers, and for the Phillies, they have to hope that the AA numbers were because of a small sample size (30 innings).

Not a huge trade here, the Blue Jays get an average hitter that is a poor fielder, while the Phillies get a nice minor league pitcher who is old (for the minors). For salary reasons, I give the Phillies a slight edge.

The Astros resign Humberto Quintero

The Astros, the same day they received news that catcher Jason Castro is out at least 3 months with another injury, resigned Humberto Quintero to a 1 year 1 million dollar deal. In 2011, Q earned a -.1 WAR, and has a .07 WAR average over the last 3 years, obviously not worth a million dollars. He has been a terrible offensive player, with a -2.1 O-WAR, .268 OBP, and 58 OPS +. His Secondary Average is just .120, and just .087 ISO. His offensive winning percentage is just .247, further solidifying him as a well below replacement hitter, and he is a liability in the lineup as well with a 76 PPS. Defensively, he is much better, with an above average Range Factor and average fielding percentage. He throws out 32% of runners, above the league average of 28%. His defense makes up for his offense enough to make him replacement player. However, he still isn't worth a million dollars, and for a team that is lacking in both talent and money one wonders exactly what the Astros (and their interim GM) are thinking.

The Royals and Pirates trade minor leaguers

The Royals traded Yamaico Navarro for Brooks Pounders and Diego Goris from the Pirates

Navarro has just 112 Plate Appearances in the Majors. That makes his AAA sample, 309 PA, more reliable. In AAA, he has a .343 OBP, .797 OPS, 1.2 PPG, and 2.73 PAPP. Through the AAA metric, this is a .297 OBP, .705 OPS, .8 PPG, and 3.3 PAPP. This is a Simple WAR (which measures purely offense) of -1.39. Defensively, he has played mainly at shortstop, but is pretty bad there according to both Range Factor and Fielding Percentage.

Pounders is a pitcher (which is unfortunate because of his name, he should be a hitter) who has never pitched above A ball. Mostly as a reliever, he has a -.81 PE. Not bad, but not overly impressive. He very rarely walks anyone as a 2.7 BB/9IP, but gives up a homer every 9 innings.

Goris has stayed in rookie ball for 4 seasons, which is weird, but he has a career .338 OBP and .756 OPS. However, he improved in 2011, getting a .387 OBP and .898 OPS. So he has gotten better, but he doesn't walk much and is still way off.

The trade of awesome names is a trade of not very consequential players. However, we basically know who Navarro is, while Pounders and Goris may have some promise ahead of them. I give the Royals the slight edge.

Dana Eveland trade

The Dodgers traded Dana Eveland to the Orioles for Jarret Martin and Tyler Henson.

Eveland had a .6 WAR in 2011, but had a WAR average of -.17 over the past 3 years and a -1.1 WAR for his career (360 innings). As both a starter and a reliever, he has a PE of 4.23 for his career, with an adjusted PE of 3.09. His career SIERA is 4.79 and his TR is equally unimpressive at 7.4. His FIP - is 104, further cementing him as below average, although it is worth noting that Fangraphs has his WAR at 3.9 for his career, which I can't really figure out.

Tyler Henson has 123 games in AAA, and has a .313 OBP, .634 OPS, 3.13 PAPP, and .84 PPG. So he is a below replacement AAA player with no real defensive position.

Jarret Martin has never pitched above A ball, and has a career -.174 PE, mainly as a starter. Although this is in A ball, he has the most potential to do anything positive in the Majors out of the 3 it seems. So for this mostly inconsequential trade, I will give the Dodgers the slight edge.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Trevor Cahill trade

The Athletics have traded Trevor Cahill and Craig Breslow for Jarrod Parker, Collin Cowgill, and Ryan Cook from the Diamondbacks.

Cahill had a 3.5 WAR in 2011, and a WAR average of 3.13 over the past 3 years. He did this all at 440,000 and under a year. However, he will make 3.5 million dollars in 2012, a still really nice 1118 WASP. He had a PE of 1.86 in 2011, with a .302 BABIP. His FIP - was 105, and his SIERA was 4.02. This is hardly impressive, but he did have a decent 9.27 TR. Cahill is an above average starting pitcher at a decent salary, but his value can be overstated.

Breslow had a .5 WAR in 2011, but has a WAR average of 1.07 over the past 3 years. He is arbitration eligible, but you can expect him to make more than the 1.4 million he made in 2012. If theoretically we said he would make 2 million dollars, he would have a 1869 WASP, a good number. So the Diamondbacks get two underpaid players according to WASP. He is a reliever and had a really poor PE of 1.54, with a BABIP of .342. While that high BABIP is part of the explanation it is not all of it. He doesn't have a very good strikeout rate for a reliever, but did have a FIP - of 91. His SIERA of 3.95 for a reliever is not overly impressive, but he is above average.

Cowgill has just 100 Major League plate appearances, so it only makes sense to look at his minor league numbers. He has 456 PCL plate appearances, and had a .430 OBP, .984 OPS, 2.12 PPG, and 1.97 PAPP. When converted into International League numbers, they look like this: .400 OBP, .906 OPS, 1.82 PPG, and 2.22 PAPP. This is a very nice 5.36 Simple WAR. Converted to the Majors, this is a 3.87 Simple WAR (worth 11.6 million dollars according to the Halladay Standard, and thats just his offense), with an OBP of .354. Defensively, he had an above average Range Factor and a below average fielding percentage. So we could say he is average at defense (but above replacement). He will make the league minimum $480,000 in 2012.

Jarrod Parker has pitched in just 1 Major League game, and has not pitched even in AAA. However, in 209 AA innings, Parker has a -.43 PE as a starter. He has a reasonable walk rate, and doesn't give up very many homers. His AA FIP is also lower than his ERA, which is a good sign.

Ryan Cook has also just pitched 7.2 innings in the Majors and 22 innings in AAA. In his minor league career, he has pitched both as a starter and a reliever. His PE isn't very impressive at .11. He too has a reasonable walk rate and doesn't give up very many home runs.

The Athletics are able to dump some salary and get a very good hitter in Cowgill, but the Diamondbacks get two underpaid pitchers. Most of this trade is going to depend on how Parker and Cook turn out for the A's, but at this point, I think it is pretty even, the Diamondbacks playing for the present, while the A's are playing for the future.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Tigers sign Octavio Dotel

The Tigers signed Octavio Dotel to a 1 year 3 million dollar contract with an option year of 3.5 million with a $500,000 buyout. I will assume here that they will buy him out, so the contract is 3.5 million. Dotel had a .6 WAR in 2011 (a 5833 WASP with the new contract) and a .7 WAR average over the past 3 years (a 5000 WASP). He had a -4.04 PE and -4.31 Adjusted PE in 2011, so in that sense he pitched like one of the elite relievers in baseball. He had the lowest WHIP he had since 2003, but also had his lowest BABIP since 2005. However, he also had his lowest FIP since 2002, so its not like he was just really lucky. He pitched really really well. His TR also reflected that with a 10.42, along with a SIERA of 2.67. He did throw the lowest amount of pitches since 2007, but with no that could simply be how he was used. On the other hand, 54 innings (his 2011 total) is hardly a large sample size. The HR/9IP rate as well as the groundball rate are things that do concern me. Comerica Park can somewhat mask those rates, and Dotel has shown that those rates aren't that important as he has been dealing with them his whole career. Although this is more than I like to pay for relievers, this deal might not be bad at all. 

Pirates sign McLouth and Morales

The Pirates have signed Jose Morales and Nate McLouth.

McLouth signed a 1 year, 1.75 million dollar deal. In 2011, he had a .7 WAR, and a .6 WAR average over the last 3 years (a terrible 2010 plays into this). This is worth (according to the Halladay Standard) nearly exactly his new 1.75 million dollar deal. He is a terrible defender, with a -3.7 D-WAR for his career, and nearly half of his career O-WAR (7 seasons) came in 2008 (not incidentally, with the Pirates). In that year, he had a .356 OBP, .287 BABIP (his terrible 2010 season was tainted by a .221 BABIP and a relatively small sample size of 288 PA), and .497 SLG. It is hard to poke holes in those numbers, with a 125 OPS +. He has a nice career Secondary Average of .324, 5.3 Runs Created Per Game, and .542 Offensive Winning Percentage. However, the last two years, he has not Slugged very well with a .322 and .333 in 2010 and 2011. This could certainly be attributed to some of the injuries he has suffered, and a healthy McLouth would be expected to have a better Slugging. He is a flyball hitter, although he has less line drives than desirable. Overall, I think this is a decent deal, he was probably undervalued a bit in the market because of his health issues.

Morales got a minor league deal with a spring training invite. He has a career WAR of .6 in 252 PA. In this small sample, he has a .365 OBP, 89 OPS +, and .183 Secondary Average. His Offensive Winning Percentage is just under .500, even though he has a 4.8 Runs Created per game. All the positive statistics are really called into question by a .360 BABIP despite being a groundball hitter. He did walk above average, but most of his Major League Statistics are simply unreliable. Thankfully, Morales has 295 games worth of AAA games in the International League. There he had a .367 OBP, .772 OPS, .8 PPG, and 2.74 PAPP. Through the metric, he has an expected .321 OBP, 3.31 PAPP, and .4 PPG. This is an expected Offensive (Simple) WAR of -.6. Along with his -.1 D-WAR in his brief Major League career, it is doubtful that Morales will turn out to be anything. It is basically no risk though.

Was it time for the Rockies to give up Huston Street?

The Rockies gave up Huston Street for a player to be named later from the Padres. The Padres will reportedly pick up almost all of Street's salary. This is curious because the Padres are always toward the bottom in league payroll and Street will make 7.5 million in 2012. Can the Padres afford to pay that much for a reliever? The obvious answer is no. The Padres had just 45 million dollars in payroll in 2011, meaning they can only afford just above a million dollars per WAR if they expect to make the playoffs. So Street would be expected to make a 7.5 WAR in 2012 right? It is impossible for a reliever to put up that kind of WAR, and only the elite starting pitchers accomplish this. In fact, over the past 3 years, Street has a WAR average of 1.13, worth just over a million dollars to the salary (and 3.4 million according to the Halladay Standard). There has also been some regression on Street's part as these statistics show (hattip to High Heat Stats, the order is 09/10/11):
ERA+:      154 / 129 / 117
K/9:      10.2 / 8.6 / 8.5
WHIP:    0.908 / 1.056 / 1.217
HR/9:      1.0 / 1.0 / 1.5
This is further shown by PE: in 2011, his PE was -.07 compared to a career PE
of -2.75. The latter is much closer to the elite relief pitchers, but he pitched like an 
average competent reliever in 2011. One may scream "Coors!", but that doesn't 
explain the smaller strikeout rate. He did have a SIERA of 2.76 in 2011, and in the
Padres very spacious park, there is a chance he could have an ERA of even lower 
in 2012. However, he certainly isn't worth that kind of money. 
 
Along with being able to dump salary, the Rockies also got Nick Schmidt as the 
player to be named later. Schmidt has never even been to AA, so it is hard to
project where he will be according to our metrics, but he has had a serviceable
.66 PE as a starter in his minor league career. He is a little old though at 26, 
but the big thing is that the Rockies got rid of that terrible contract, and that is
why they are winners in this deal. 
 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

NFL Picks: Week 14

Big D in Bold. I in Italics

Steelers versus Browns
Cowboys versus Giants
Seahawks versus Rams
Packers versus Raiders
Texans versus Bengals
Saints versus Titans

Andres Torres-Angel Pagan trade

The Giants traded Ramon Ramirez and Andres Torres to the Mets for Angel Pagan.

Ramon Ramirez had a .8 WAR in 2011, and a WAR average of 1.2 in the past 3 years. He is arbitration eligible this offseason, so his salary for 2012 is not updated. However, WAR suggests he is worth 3.6 million according to the Halladay Standard (he made just over 1 million in 2011).

Andres Torres had a 1.3 WAR in 2011, and a WAR average of 2.57 over the past 3 years. He is also arbitration eligible, who made 2.2 million in 2011. According to the Halladay Standard, he is worth 7.7 million, which is certainly more than he will receive in 2011.

Angel Pagan on the other hand, had a .2 WAR in 2011, and a WAR average 2.87 over the past 3 years. He made 3.5 million in 2011, and is arbitration eligible for 2012. He is worth about 8 million according to the Halladay Standard.

So just according to WAR (and salary), the Mets seem to have won this trade.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Sergio Santos-Nestor Molina Trade

The White Sox have traded Sergio Santos to the Blue Jays for Nestor Molina


Sergio Santos has a 2.9 WAR in 2 seasons (115 relief innings), 1.45 WAR a season. This is worth 4.35 million according to the Halladay Standard. Santos has a rather interesting contract situation, he will make 1 million in 2012, 2.75 million in 2013, and 3.75 million in 2014. That is not terribly strange, but him having 3 option years afterward of 6 million, 8 million, and 8.75 million. One would think if Santos stays a relief pitcher, the first option should be declined. However, the first 3 years seem to be a bargain. In his 2 years in the Majors, he has a -4.82 PE, and -5.14 PE. This is obviously quality end of the bullpen stuff. He has a career SIERA of 2.81 and a FIP - of 70, putting him in pretty elite territory (these numbers aren't quite as good as Papelbon or Rivera, but much better than Madson). His TR is also a really good 11.05, further solidifying him as a very good reliever (at a very affordable price).

Nestor Molina has just 5 starts in AA, but has a -2.96 PE in his minor league career, coming mainly out of the bullpen. He walks just 1.4 BB/9IP, and gives up just .4 HR/9IP. Other than that, there isn't much to say, Molina is a pretty good prospect. However, it seems pretty obvious that the Blue Jays won this trade. Molina is not even established in AA yet, while Santos is a very accomplished Major League reliever that is underpaid.

The Dodgers spend more money: Aaron Harang edition

I really thought the Dodgers were bankrupt. They seem to be the second biggest players in the Winter Meetings so far (behind the Marlins), now with a 2 year, $12 million dollar deal with starter Aaron Harang. Harang had a 1.9 WAR in the pitcher friendly Petco Park in 2011, worth 5.7 million dollars. So his 2011 season doesn't seem to be worth his 2012-2013 contract, especially when you factor in Petco Park. When looking over the past 3 years, things get worse, as he has averaged a .43 WAR (thanks to a horrible 2010 season in the very hitter friendly Cincinnati park). Of course, this is just worth 1.3 million dollars according to the Halladay Standard (and one would think even less to the "bankrupt" Dodgers). Harang had a 1.13 PE in 2011, with an adjusted PE of 1.66. These are not impressive numbers at all, and the help of Petco Park is further illuminated by his 119 FIP - and 4.25 SIERA. SIERA further highlights this as his was 4.40 in his terrible 2010 season, and his FIP - of 113. He basically pitched the same in 2010 and 2011, just different ballparks bred different results (a .338 BABIP as a Red didn't help his 2010 season). This is why Fangraphs actually gives him a higher WAR in 2010 than 2011. The Bill James Projections give him a 1.3 PE for 2012, and I think that is probably right, if not too kind. I really don't get what the Dodgers have been doing the past few weeks. Giving 12 million dollars to a barely above replacement pitcher at the down side of his career is really laughable. He is a flyball pitcher that gave up more than 1 HR/9IP with San Diego last year. That is a real problem, and the Dodgers have completely ignored it.

How we did: Week 13 NFL Picks

Big D in Bold, I in Italics

Seahawks intercept Eagles
Excuse: (I know I have been forgetting to put this part lately). I really need to stop picking the Eagles. What dumb GM thought it would be smart to have such terrible safeties, offensive line, and linebackers. Vince Young is proving to not even be a serviceable NFL backup.


Texans shut down Falcons 
Excuse: I really thought the Texans offense would be horrible, and it was, but their defense made Matt Ryan (who is overrated anyway) look like Blaine Gabbert (okay that's still probably not true). Great job by the front office to improve the secondary and getting Wade Phillips as D-coordinator.

Steelers dismantle Bengals
Cardinals outsmart Cowboys
Excuse: Jason Garrett went to Princeton right? Just making sure. Also, when you win a bunch of close games, the percentages show that you will eventually lose a bunch of close games. The Cowboys are who we thought they were. 
Saints stomp Lions
Chargers destroy Jaguars

Big D: 3-3, 46-24 overall
I: 3-3, 43-27 overall

Twins resign Matt Capps

The Twins have resigned reliever Matt Capps to a 1 year 4.5 million dollar deal (with a 6 million dollar option). Capps had a WAR of .8 in 2011, and a WAR average of .47 in the past 3 years. It doesn't take a genius to realize that this isn't worth 4.5 million dollars. In fact, its worth about 1.41 million (he was worth 2.4 million in 2011). He actually was awful in 2011, getting a 3.36 PE as a reliever, which makes things worse (also worse was his adjusted PE at 3.86). His FIP - was 119 and his SIERA was average at 4.13. His TR in 2011 was a solid 9.19 and in his career its a great 11.37. His other career numbers include an adjusted PE of 1.04, FIP - of 92, and 3.64 SIERA. Some metrics are decently positive, but some are really poor, such as his home run rate, and his mediocre groundball/flyball ratio. Capps doesn't walk hardly anyone, and thats positive obviously, but it certainly doesn't outweigh all the other bad metrics. 4.5 million dollars is an absurd amount of money for a reliever, especially for a pedestrian reliever like Capps. If this is the way the Terry Ryan Twins will operate, expect the Twins to have tons of losing seasons.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Evaluating the Dodgers' signing of Jerry Hairston

The Dodgers have given Jerry Hairston a 2 year 6 million dollar deal. Hairston has a .7 WAR average over the past 3 years. This is worth 2.1 million dollars a year, and even less for the Dodgers who are supposed to be cutting payroll soon (one wouldn't know by their recent spending spree on bad players). On offense, Hairston has a .326 OBP, 86 OPS +, 1.675 O4S, and .219 Secondary Average. None of those are impressive, but isn't horrible. Numbers that are pretty bad are a .430 Offensive Winning percentage and .113 Isolated Slugging. He is an under average walker and hits much less homers and extra base hits than league average, but his PPS is just above average at 91.89. In 2011, despite having the 3rd best BABIP in his long career (for his career, he has a .282 BABIP, suggesting that he doesn't hit the ball hard), he had just a .344 OBP, 99 OPS +, and .214 Secondary Average. The Dodgers have to most likely expect worse numbers. That hardly seems worth 3 million dollars. His defense doesn't really redeem him either, as he has had a -.4 D-WAR in the past 3 years. His versatility is very overrated, because every position he played last season (after being traded to the Brewers) was played under average, besides Center Field. I am just not getting what the Dodgers are doing, and it is more apparent every day that they pulled the plug on Paul DePodesta too quickly.

The Rockies claim Jamie Hoffman

The Colorado Rockies have claimed Jamie Hoffman off waivers from the Dodgers. His Major League statistics are worthless, since he has played in just 14 games. However, he has played 344 PCL AAA games. There he has a .363 OBP, .822 OPS, 1.49 PPG, and 2.55 PAPP. He has a .270 Secondary Average, .159 ISO, and 1.935 O4S. These numbers are really anything special, especially when it is factored in that this is the PCL. When converted to the International League, his numbers are changed into: .333 OBP, .744 OPS, 1.19 PPG, and 2.8 PAPP. This adds up to a simple WAR of .83, hardly impressive. When converted to the Major Leagues, it is just a .287 OBP, .652 OPS, .79 PPG, and 3.37 PAPP. This is well below replacement level. Defensively, he is also poor with a well below average Range Factor and below average fielding percentage in the outfield. There is nothing to see here, move along.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Jeff Mathis for Brad Mills, The Toronto and Angel trade

I have already looked at Jeff Mathis and his value on this blog (in short, he is terrible at baseball, both defensively and offensively), so I will basically use this post as an evaluation of Brad Mills, the new Angels pitcher.

In parts of 3 seasons (but just 14 appearances and 9 starts) Mills has a -1.4 WAR. He has an awful 4.9 PE and a 2.33 Adjusted PE. He has an awful TR of 2.79. I am not sure I have seen a TR that low. His SIERA is 4.83, which is bad, but not as bad as a lot of his other numbers. He gives up almost 2 homers every 9 innings, and has a FIP - of 142. He has struggled with a .331 BABIP though. This obviously isn't a large sample size, so we should check out his AAA numbers. He has made 58 AAA starts in the PCL, and had a .503 PE with a slightly better FIP than ERA. Once adjusted for the difference in ERA between the PCL and International League, Mills PE is a -.597. According to the AAA metric, he has an expected Major League PE of 1.933 PE, which is serviceable, but by no means good. I guess he would replace Tyler Chatwood, who was just sent to the Rockies.

Rangers make minor league signings.

The Rangers signed 3 minor league players to minor league contracts:

Dusty Brown doesn't have enough major league statistics to be meaningful, so we will look at his AAA stats instead. All of his AAA time was spent in Pawtucket, an International League team, where he put up a .346 OBP, .92 PPG, and 2.78 PAPP, adding up to a 1.37 Simple WAR. According to our AAA metric, his expected offensive output in the Majors should be .300 OBP, .52 PPG, 3.35 PAPP and an O-WAR of -1.58. So obviously Brown isn't even a serviceable major leaguer.

Luis Hernandez has more major league experience than Brown (290 PA). There he had a .286 OBP, 56 OPS +, and .5 WAR (.8 D-WAR). He is slightly below average at second base, but is very solid at SS. His Offense has been poor though, with a .264 win percentage, 2.8 Runs Created per Game, and .121 Secondary Average. There seems to be nothing redeemable about his Major League Statistics, but what about his minor league numbers? He has spent parts of 6 seasons in AAA, mostly in the International League. His offensive numbers looked like this: .284 OBP, .604 OPS, 3.53 PAPP, and .81 PPG. So these are clearly below replacement offensive numbers. The only hope for Hernandez is that his defense will be good enough (as it has so far in his major league career, but D-WAR is terribly unpredictable) to make him a replacement or above replacement player.

Lastly, Yangervis Solarte has not played in the big leagues or even AAA. So we have no metric for Solarte, but it is still somewhat helpful to look at his numbers. Defensively, he plays just about every position (except 1st and Catcher), but isn't very impressive at any of them. In his 6 seasons in the minors, he has a .340 OBP, 1.752 O4S, and walks just 6.3% of the time. Nothing stands out here. I don't see any of these 3, besides maybe Hernandez's defense, helping the Rangers at all.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Looking at the Taylor Teagarden trade

The Texas Rangers traded Taylor Teagarden to the Orioles for Randy Henry and a player to be named later.

Teagarden has a 1.5 WAR in 392 PA according to Baseball Reference. I found this quite surprising actually, especially because of his .286 OBP. Fangraphs actually has him slightly better at a 1.7 WAR. (Back to Baseball Reference) His O-WAR is actually 1.3 WAR. However, he has just a 1.561 O4S, 81 OPS +, and 4.2 Runs Created per Game. On the other hand, he has a .425 Offensive Winning Percentage (which, if you think about it, is above replacement), .280 Secondary Average, and .197 ISO. He walks below average, but has homers at a stunning 4.1%. He also has hit extra base hits at a larger percentage than average, and is a flyball hitter. He also sees a lot of pitches, evidenced by his 96.06 PPS (despite having a really poor OBP). However, Teagarden doesn't have a season's worth of Plate Appearances (even though he has appeared in parts of 4 seasons), so one could argue that the positive or the negative statistics are because of small sample size. It may be helpful to look at his overall AAA numbers, even though they are PCL numbers which is more offensively friendly than IL numbers. In 2011, the PCL had a .030 OBP advantage, .078 OPS advantage, .3 PPG Advantage, and .25 PAPP lower (and 1.10 higher ERA, for future reference when looking at pitchers). So we should take Teagarden's relevant numbers, which are .339 OBP, .807 OPS, 1.12 PPG, and 2.65 PAPP. This would be adjusted to .309 OBP, .729 OPS, .82 PPG, and 2.9 PAPP. These aren't very good numbers at all, and is even worse once ran through the AAA metric: 3.47 PAPP, .42 PPG, and .263 OBP. These are worse than his Major League statistics, and would certainly be below replacement. So someone arguing that Teagarden's Major League statistics will be worse once the statistical size gets larger has a very valid point. Even though he is out of options, he is not even arbitration eligible yet. So even though he won't be very good most likely, he won't cost any money.

For the Rangers' side of the deal, Randy Henry hasn't pitched above A ball, but has a -1.16 PE in 75.2 Innings. He has only given up .6 HR/9IP and has only walked 1.7 every 9 innings. So he looks to be a very solid A reliever, but who knows how that will work out. The player to be named later will probably be announced after the Rule 5 draft, and it seems a lot of the merits of the trade will be determined after that. I don't really know how to evaluate this trade to say who "won", but I thought that the player evaluations (as with a long at the difference between the PCL and International League) would be helpful.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Free Agent Watch: Hiroyuki Nakajima

Reportedly the Rays are interested in Japanese shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima. In 2011, he had a .354 OBP, .787 OPS, and 1.849 O4S. From 2007-2010, Nakjima had a .389 OBP, .880 OPS, 1.49 PPG, and 2.39 PAPP. This means that his simple WAR per season was 4.32. Through the Japanese hitting metric (a rough calculus using previous players who have come from Japan to the majors. This is supposed to give us an estimate of how good the player will be in the MLB), Nakajima would have a .356 OBP, 1 PPG, and 3.13 PAPP. This would be about a 1.96 Simple WAR, worth not quite 6 million dollars. He walks about 9.4% of the time, and homered 3.2% of the time. That is very impressive for a shortstop. His Isolated Slugging is all that impressive at .178, but he does have a nice Secondary Average of .306. That is him offensively, but what about defensively? Well defensive statistics from Japan are always tough to find, and Baseball Reference only has his 2007 defensive statistics. In that season, he had a .968 fielding percentage and 4.30 Range Factor. In 2011 in the Majors, league averages for shortstops were .971 fielding percentage and 4.39 Range Factor. So if Nakajima's statistics on defense are reliable, he (at least that season) is a bit under average defensively. However, this probably shouldn't affect his value too much, as one could quickly say he is a replacement fielder. Either way, it appears Nakjima is a SS that can give you a WAR close to 2, so if someone signs him for 4 to 5 million dollars a year, it would make a lot of sense.

NBA Salaries: which players are underpaid and which are overpaid

I don't really watch basketball, in fact, I don't even like basketball. However, since all my attempts at statistically understanding football have been on hold (just an interesting note, I did find that there is no correlation between running the ball and winning. In fact, the correlation seems to be negative.), I wanted to look at the efficiency of many basketball contracts (my interest was perked up by the claim by many in the NBA CBA negotiations that the mid-level players were vastly overpaid. I was also interested because the Dallas Mavericks have 5 players, not including free agents Chandler and Barea, scheduled to make over 7 million dollars in the upcoming season). I was a little surprised (again, I don't pay attention to basketball) that basketball seems to have some good sabermetric statistics. These include PER (Player Efficiency Rating), VA (Value Added), and EWA (Estimated Wins Added). These, especially the latter two, work like WAR (Wins Above Replacement) in baseball, in fact VA is basically Runs Created above Replacement (instead its points in basketball), and EWA is just WAR. So we will use EWA here.

In 2010-2011, the top 10 players according to EWA (according to ESPN) was (listed with their 2011-2012 salary, in millions):

1LeBron James, MIA



$16.0225





25.7
2Dwight Howard, ORL



$17.8854





22.7
3Dwyane Wade, MIA



$15.512





21.3
4Kevin Durant, OKC



$13.604





19.9
5Derrick Rose, CHI



$6.993707





19.0
6Kobe Bryant, LAL



$25.244





18.6
7Chris Paul, NO



$16.359805





18.3
8Russell Westbrook, OKC



$5.082415





17.9

Pau Gasol, LAL



$18.71415





17.9
10Kevin Love, MIN



$4.609,704





16.7

Using WASP formula (check the pages above if you don't know what that is), Westbrook (284), Love (276), and Rose (368) are the best deals above. Because of the difference in EWA and WAR in baseball, one cannot simply import the Halladay Standard that we use to evaluate baseball contracts. If we did, Lebron James would be worth an absurd 77 million dollars. Lebron James is probably not the right example to hold to a standard, since it is widely understood that James took less money to join the Heat. Instead, I think Kobe Bryant (1357 WASP) is probably a better measuring stick. For convenience sake, we will round the Bryant standard to 1400. The other 9 players are all below the Bryant standard. The median EWA for NBA players is about 2 to 2.1, worth about 2.8 million. The average NBA salary is just over 5 million. So according to the Bryant Standard, the Median player is probably overvalued (this is simply fact, I am not arguing that the billionaire owners have a point in that the players are overpaid. The owners are, after all, the ones that signed the contracts, and it is pretty obvious that the new CBA really hurts the players. Because their are fewer players on basketball rosters than baseball rosters (usually about twice as much), basketball players deserve to be paid more it would seem (since their are half as many games in a basketball season, the ratio should probably be 1.5)). Along with the Bryant Standard, we also now have what I will call the Median Standard, which is 5 million dollars for 2 EWA, a 2500 WASP. Any contract that is above this standard is a bad contract for the team (again, its the teams fault if they pay a player more than he is worth, not the player).

So who are some notable undervalued players?:

Blake Griffin: 355
Dirk Nowitzki: 1266
Eric Gordon: 451
Ramon Sessions: 500
Luis Scola: 1035
JaVale McGee: 333
Greg Monroe: 412
Dorell Wright: 528

So there are plenty of good deals out there. Most of the above are what we would call upper middle class type players (excluding Dirk), but  they are (for the most part, excluding Dirk of course) making under average salary. Of course there are overpaid players as well, here are some:

Brenden Haywood: 10892
Antawn Jamison: 3015
Richard Jefferson: 3867
Brandon Roy: 6791
Marcus Camby: 3560
Carmelo Anthony: 3367
Chauncey Billups: 5462

I found this interesting, let me know what you think.

NFL Picks: Week 13

Big D in Bold. I in Italics

Eagles versus Seahawks
Falcons versus Texans
Steelers versus Bengals
Cowboys versus Cardinals
Saints versus Lions
Chargers versus Jaguars

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Reviewing the Iannetta-Chatwood trade

 The Colorado Rockies have shipped Chris Iannetta to the Angels for Tyler Chatwood.

Iannetta had a 2.6 WAR in 2011, and a 1.27 WAR average over the past 3 years. Iannetta is scheduled to make 3.55 million in 2012. Iannetta has a -.5 D-WAR for his career, along with a below average range factor. He does have an above average fielding percentage, but he doesn't seem to be the defensive catcher that the Angels usually go after. Offensively, he is above average, with a .357 OBP, 99 OPS +, and 1.858 O4S. His 5.5 Runs Created per Game, and .568 offensive winning percentage is probably ignored because of his .235 Batting Average. He has a .365 Secondary Average and .195 ISO, along with a 3.6% home run rate. He walks at a great percentage (13.9%) and is very much a flyball hitter. He also has an excellent PPS of 101.61. He has received quite a bit of benefit from the hitter friendly Rockies ballpark, as Baseball Reference says his OBP would drop to .343 (1.785 O4S) in a neutralized run environment. These are still decent numbers, especially for a catcher.

Chatwood had a -.6 WAR in 25 starts in 2011, his first year in the Majors. He also just has 5 career AAA starts, so it is hard to pull anything from that. So we will have to go by his meager sample size in the Major Leagues. His PE was awful at 4.72, with an adjusted PE of 4.86. His FIP - was 122, and he walked nearly as many batters as he struck out. He did suffer from a high BABIP of .325, but that can't explain away his horrible TR of 6.71. So obviously Chatwood was horrible in 2011, so the Rockies have to believe he projects to be better. Speaking of projections, the Bill James projections has him turning out a 4.73 PE. So no real movement there, but he did give up less than a homer every 9 innings, and gets slightly more groundballs than flyballs. That has to be what the Rockies see in him (as well as the fact that he is under club control for a few more years).

Chatwood appears to be a below replacement pitcher that should be in AAA in 2012. On the other hand, Iannetta is one of the few catchers that can mash and get on base. The Rockies do cut some payroll, but only like 3 million and it was a very underpaid and undervalued offensive tool they let go. Unless Chatwood turns into an all-star type pitcher, the Rockies look very dumb here.

Should the Orioles sign Renyel Pinto?

The Orioles, reports show, are interested in reliever Renyel Pinto. Pinto didn't pitch anywhere in 2011. In his major league career, he had a 2.1 WAR in 5 seasons, .42 WAR a season, which is worth $1.26 million a year. However, this is with a FIP over a run higher than his ERA as shown by his -.87 PE but an Adjusted PE of .24. His career FIP - is 109, and while he gets slightly more groundballs than flyballs, he has a career SIERA 4.46. He has really struggled with walks, walking nearly 6 hitters per 9 innings. His TR is actually about average at 8.41. I know the Orioles have had real pitching problems, but getting a pitcher who was average in the first place, and didn't pitch at all last year doesn't make a lot of sense.

How much value does Maicer Izturis have?

Their are rumors that the Tigers are going to try to trade for the Angels infielder Maicer Izturis. In 2011, he had a 3.3 WAR, giving him a very good WASP of 990. Over the past 3 years, Izturis has a WAR average of 2.6, worth 7.8 million (he will make just 3.8 million in 2012). He is coming off his best year defensively at a 1.4 D-WAR. As far as I can see, D-WAR is not predictive. For example Carlos Lee went from a -2 D-WAR in 2010 to a NL leading 2.1 D-WAR in 2011 (this could be partly explained by Lee playing more first base in 2011, but that can't explain all of it).That is not to say that D-WAR is useless, I think the basic formula for runs saved is solid. It is just not predictive. He has a 2.9 WAR in his 9 year career, which is .3625 D-WAR average per year. That defense alone is worth over a million dollars. So what is his offense like? His OBP is not real impressive at .339, and his OPS + is just 95 (with an O4S of 1.745). His Secondary Average and Isolated Slugging are perhaps more disappointing at .226 and .114, but he has an offensive winning percentage just short of .500 and 4.8 Runs Created Per Game (the American League scored 4.46 runs per game in 2011, so according to that metric he is above average). He is by no means a home run hitter, and he walks about average, but he does have a decent PPS of 92.07. All around he seems to be a very average offensive player. However, once you add his good defensive play, and reasonable salary, he becomes pretty valuable. However, knowing the Angels (at least professed) emphasis on defense, it would probably take a lot to pry away Izturis from them.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Diamondbacks (maybe) sign Jensen Lewis

The Diamondbacks (it was originally reported that the Rangers made the signing) have signed reliever Jensen Lewis to a $675,000 deal. His last year in the big leagues, 2010, he actually had a .6 WAR which would be a nice WASP of 1125. He actually has a 2.1 WAR in 4 seasons, worth 1.575 million dollars a year. However, he spent all of 2011 in AAA, and didn't pitch all that well with a 3.43 PE and 3.49 adjusted PE. However, it was a small sample size (28.1 innings) and he had a BABIP of nearly .400. It is more helpful to look at his 5 seasons in the International AAA League, where he had a -2.36 PE in 110 innings. According to our AAA metric, this projects to be a .17 PE. For a reliever, that is not very impressive, but its not exactly horrible. In his Major League career (198 innings), he has a -.6 PE and an adjusted PE of -.02. His TR is about 8.77, further cementing his role as an average relief pitcher. He gives up a little bit too much homers at 1.05 HR/9IP, and is more of a flyball pitcher than groundball pitcher. However, he has a nice strikeout ratio, and doesn't walk very many batters. He was somewhat lucky and benefited from good defensive play in Cleveland, but he isn't a bad pitcher and with the crazy money relief pitchers are getting, this was a pretty solid pickup by the Diamondbacks or the Rangers or whoever actually picked him up.

The Royals sign Jonathan Broxton

The Royals have signed relief pitcher Jonathan Broxton to a one year 4.4 million dollar deal. Due to injury, he pitched just 12.2 innings in 2011, so we will throw those numbers out. However, in 2010, his WAR was just .1 in 62.1 innings. From 2008-2010, his WAR was .9, worth 2.7 million. This appears to be an awful deal for the Royals. Especially once you factor in the fact that the Royals had the smallest payroll in 2011 at around 35 million. So Broxton, who (if healthy!) will throw around 60 innings (about 4 percent of the around 1458 innings that the Royals will play), will make about 12.3% of the Royals payroll. The closer market is really ridiculous right now. So obviously this is a horrible move by the Royals, but lets look at Broxton's statistics anyway. Broxton has a career -4.95 PE and -5.43 Adjusted PE, both very very good. His TR is also excellent at 11.87 and the Bill James projections have him putting up a -4.43 PE in 2012. If he is healthy, which is quite a question, he is a very good reliever. However, it simply doesn't make any sense to sign him for this amount of money, especially if you are a small market team.

How we did: Week 12 NFL Picks

Big D in Bold. I in Italics

Cowboys survive Dolphins
Packers figuratively stomp on Lions
Ravens sack 49ers
Falcons beat Vikings
Texans fire Jaguars
Patriots embarrass Eagles
Steelers knock off Chiefs
Saints run all over Giants

Big D: 8-0, 43-21
I: 7-1, 40-24

Nationals sign Carlos Maldonado

The Nationals have resigned Carlos Maldonado, a catcher who played almost exclusively in AAA in 2011. He has played 336 AAA games, almost all of them in the International League. His offensive statistics look like this: .324 OBP, 3.05 PAPP, .76 PPG, and -.46 Simple WAR. So he is a below replacement AAA player offensively. However, he is above average at catcher according to Range Factor (a 7.95 Range Factor, league average for catchers is usually around 7.4 or 7.5). However, you would think that no matter how great defensively he is, it couldn't make up for those terrible offensive numbers. Just how terrible are his offensive numbers, according to our AAA metric, they would look like this in the Majors: .278 OBP, 3.62 PAPP, .36 PPG, and -1.95 O-WAR. So just to become a replacement player, Maldonado would need about a 2 D-WAR. In the National League, 2.1 D-WAR would have been a share for the leader in D-WAR. Now even if we assume his above average catching, it is impossible for us to project him to be the best defensive catcher in the league. This means that he will be a below replacement player. For the Nationals sake, I hope they have other serious plans at catcher.