Monday, October 31, 2011

Free Agent Watch: Heath Bell

The hard throwing Padres closer Heath Bell is up for free agency. In 2009 he had a 2.1 WAR, a 2.4 in '10, and a 1.7 in 2011. This is a 2.07 WAR average, which is worth 6.02 million dollars according to the Halladay Standard. In his career, he has a -2.66 PE (an adjusted PE of -2.8), with a TR of 12.12. In 2011, his numbers were still good but not quite as impressive at -1.56 PE (-.77 adjusted PE), and a 11.38 TR. When one looks at just ERA (2.44 in 2011), 2011 looks like Bell's best year ever. However, every other metric (including WAR) argues that Bell was in fact not near as good as he was in 2009 and 2010. His FIP was .31 points above his career number and nearly a whole run above his ERA, suggesting he was extremely lucky. Even his BABIP was ridiculously low at .261 and one cannot rely on this to keep happening. He also struck out less and gave up more flyballs. I don't want to paint too dire of a picture, most pitchers would absolutely love to put up the numbers Bell put up. Nevertheless, 2011 was a head-scratcher and with all the stupid money blown on relievers recently, one must figure out who Bell really is. Was 2011 just a weird aberration year? Or has he changed for the worse as a pitcher and was just really lucky in 2011? His HR/9 innings was basically identical to his career number. However, when his BAA is adjusted to his career BABIP, his BAA is .250, much different than .230 or .217. The difference in the strikeout totals (9.22 K/9IP for his career and 7.32 in 2011) is what really bothers me. Has he lost the ability to miss bats? How can one tell or even make an educated guess? I am not really sure other than he threw less strikes in 2011 than his career norms (in percentage). Is he losing his stuff? I don't know how to quantify that, but 2011 really scares me. I buy into the Moneyball/Tampa Bay Ray philosophy of not paying big money for relief pitchers, but that is maybe just me.

The Derek Lowe Trade

Derek Lowe had a -.4 WAR in 2011, and a 1.2 WAR in his 3 years in Atlanta, .4 WAR a year. This is only worth 1.2 million a year. He is scheduled to make 15 million dollars this season, and the Braves gave some cash, but they did not give 14 million dollars. Terrible 2.77 PE (adjusted PE by replacing ERA with FIP of 1.42) in 2011,and a 1.91 PE for his career. In his Career, he has a very nice TR of 11, and a still not bad 9.62 TR in 2011. So according to PE (and WAR frankly), this guy stinks, but according to TR, he is pretty good. What gives? Well to start with, his FIP was lower than his ERA all three years in Atlanta. He also was a sufferer of a .327 BABIP in 2011. He had a .280 BAA in 2011, but if his BABIP would have been at his career number (.295), he would have had a BAA of .252. He was either the unluckiest man alive, was getting the ball crushed (but not for homeruns), or had no fielding help. There was probably a combination of all 3. Lowe is of course an extreme groundball pitcher, and because of that doesn't give up very many homers. Because of this it is pretty surprising his BABIP is only .295 for his career. As horrible as he was (or at least seemed to be) in the second half of 2011, Lowe is not a bad pitcher (I would tend to side closer to what his TR says about him than his PE), with a career FIP of 3.79. But he is definitely not worth 15 million dollars. The Indians are certainly going to be overpaying him, and the main reason the Braves traded him was to relieve payroll. However, they did get minor league pitcher Chris Jones in return. Jones has never been past A ball, and has mainly pitched as a reliever. He spent all of 2011 as a reliever in A+ and that is what we will focus on here. He had a good -1.21 PE there, with an adjusted -.83 PE. His gave up just .75 HR/9IP, but his K/BB ratio was a little disappointing at 2.20. He looks to be a good reliever, but he isn't anything special and is still lightyears away. The trade was simply to free up salary for the Braves. They would be ecstatic if Jones did something, but not disappointed if he didn't. Meanwhile, the Indians simply took on too much money.

Free Agent Watch: Russell Branyan

In 2011, Branyan played in just 68 games for the Diamondbacks and Angels and registered a -.2 WAR while making 1 million dollars. His OBP was just .295 and his OPS was just .665. While his PAPP was 2.92, his PPG was just .47. However, he walked 12.32 percent of the time, well above league average, and he homered 3.4% of his plate appearances, again well above league average. Even with his awful OBP, he still had a PPS of 95.1. After having a 1.8 WAR in 09, and a 2.4 WAR in 2010, one quickly scrambles to figure out what happened. It seems to be the usual suspect, BABIP. His BABIP was just .244 in 2011, which is mindblowingly low. His career BABIP is .296. With his career BABIP replacing the his 2011 BABIP, he would have had a .359 OBP, and even if his Slugging somehow didn't change, he would have a more acceptable .729 OPS. This makes us want to look at his career numbers. He trots this line out: .329 OBP, .814 OPS, 2.63 PAPP, and 1.03 PPG. Excluding the average OBP, these are pretty good numbers. The deeper you go, the better they get, with a 5.7 Runs Created per Game, and a .565 offensive winning percentage. Even better is his Secondary Average (.394), and Isolated Slugging (.254). He walks 11.86 percent of the time and homers 5.7% of the time. Add this to a 97.36 and you have a very good offensive player. Defensively, he isn't very good at a -.7 career D-WAR. Because of his pretty bad 2011 season, Russell Branyan will be significantly undervalued. However, it seems his 2011 season was due to his lack of Plate Appearances (just 146), and his terrible BABIP luck. He doesn't have a great OBP, but he walks like crazy and is a big time home run hitter. He is a ball crusher, who is also a pretty efficient hitter as PAPP shows. It would be absolute insanity for a team to sign Prince Fielder or Albert Pujols when there are solid 1st Baseman like Branyan and Overbay laying around basically to be underpaid. Using Simple WAR and our adjusted OBP and OPS (but basically unrealistically not changing PPG or PAPP, we can predict at 1.56 O-WAR for 2012 (if we replace the PPG and PAPP with his career numbers for those statistics we get a 2.24 O-WAR).

Yankees pitching prospect Dellin Betances

Dellin Betances was named the AA starter of the year for the Yankees in 2011. In AA Trenton, he had a -2.87 PE (an adjusted -2.59 when FIP replaces ERA). He did have a BABIP that was a bit low (.288), but even when changed to average at .300, his BAA would still only be .226. Clearly a dominant AA season. He broke into the big leagues for the first time at the end of the season, but only appeared in two games, clearly too small of a sample size to be meaningful. However, he did make 4 starts in AAA, and it may be helpful to look at those numbers. Despite a high ERA, he was very good, putting up a -2.9 PE. His FIP also suggested that his 5.14 Earned Run Average was not in fact earned, as his FIP was at 4.15, a not great but a decent number. He is a strikeout machine, striking out 11.57 per 9 innings in AAA, and 9.83 per 9 innings in AA. Although he doesn't give up many homers, his walks are concerning, walking 4.7 per 9 innings in AA and 6.43 per 9 innings in AA. This makes his K/BB ratio, despite the high strikeout totals, a mediocre 2.09 in AA and 1.8 in AAA. As we saw with the Rangers in the world series (who set a record for most walks given up in the postseason), giving up so many baserunners (especially base runners that didn't have to put the ball in play) ends up biting you. He will have to clean this up before he can become a big league pitcher. In different levels of play in 2010, he showed that he could do this. The Yankees are of course good because of their ability and willingness to spend tons of money, but they also draft pretty well, and this is what separates them from other big leagues clubs that have money but not success.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Free Agent Watch: Lyle Overbay

Lyle Overbay had a -.5 WAR in 2011 (.2 WAR in just 49 PA for the Diamondbacks, would be a 2.24 WAR in 550 PA, worth 6.7 million), 2.3 WAR in 2010, and 3.5 WAR in 2009. This is a WAR average of 1.77 WAR, worth 5.3 million. Career OBP of .354, but it was just .310 in 2011 (for what its worth, he had a .388 in his short time with the Diamondbacks). His career OPS is .793, and he boasts a 2.64 PAPP, and 1.02 PPG. One thing a prospective team has to figure out about Overbay is his terrible 2011 season with the Pirates. The usual suspect, BABIP turns out to be extremely important, as it was just .269, instead of his career average of .313. If he would have had his usual BABIP of .313 with the Pirates, he would have had a .349 OBP, just short of his career average. Are the Pirates just completely ignorant to BABIP, or was there a deep concern that he simply wasn't hitting the ball as hard as he used to? There is no way to no, and not really a way to tell without going back and watching every single Overbay at bat. Some helpful things like line drive percentage and groundball to flyball ratio will give us an idea. His career line drive percentage is 22% and for the Pirates it was 20% (about league average). His groundball to flyball ratio was around his career average, and he actually had less groundouts to flyouts than his career average. So it does seem that it was "BABIP luck". In his career (as we have seen that his career numbers can be trusted for 2012), he has a .300 Secondary Average, and .169 Isolated Slugging. He has a 5.5 Runs created per game, with a .549 offense winning percentage. He walks 11.3% of the time, is an average home run hitter, and hits more extra bases than the average bear. He has a pretty good PPS (but not quite as good as I originally thought) at 93.1. Overbay is a really good player, including on defense (a 6.9 D-WAR). Teams should easily shell out 5 million dollars for him, and perhaps even more. He will probably be undervalued because of his struggles with the Pirates in 2011.

Koyie Hill: Arbitration

The Cubs' backup catcher Koyie Hill is up for arbitration. Arbitration can't take money away from a player but perhaps it should. He has a career WAR of -2.7, and a WAR of -.9 in 2011. His career OBP is just .275, an OPS of .573 and a PPG of .53. These are about as bad as numbers get. His PPS is really pitiful at 82.161, and he walks below league average, at just 8% of his plate appearances. He is a groundball hitter, which probably leads to his less than league average BABIP at .286. His Secondary Average is just .178 and his Runs created per game is just 2.7. He has a laughable Isolated Slugging at .086 and just doesn't have anything good going for him.

This is why the Cubs aren't any good. They spend a bunch of money on a few aging free agents and then have tons of holes on their roster like Hill. Surely they can find a way to just jettison him from the roster.

Chris Leroux the Pirates secret weapon

So far in the Dominican Winter League, Chris Leroux leads the league in ERA, with a .60 in 15 innings as a starter. His WHIP is just .666 and his overall PE is -5.1. In the Majors, he has played with the Marlins and currently with the Pirates. 2011 was the only positive WAR year at .5 in 25 relief innings (-.4 career WAR in 3 years). He was very solid in 2011, with a -1.83 PE (his career PE is a pretty terrible 2.076). He has given up a career OPS of .765, but in 2011 it was just .599. He didn't give up a single home run in 2011 and had an incredible TR of 13.21. To show just how dominant he was in his short time, although his ERA was 2.88, but his FIP was 2.07. He accomplished what he did while giving up a .333 BABIP. One has to expect that to go down, and that will make him an incredible pitcher. It appears that he is Winter Ball to build up strength to be a starter. At 25 innings, his 2011 was certainly a small sample size, but the Pirates obviously saw something and want to try to put him in the rotation. He isn't arbitration eligible until after the 2013 season and won't become a free agent until 2017. Leroux may be a good Pirates pitcher for a large amount of time.

Is Robinson Cano worth 14 million dollars?

The Yankees announced that they are picking up the 14 million dollar option on Robinson Cano's contract. Cano had a 4.6 WAR in 2011, worth 13.8 million. His 2010 season was worth 18.9 million with his 6.3 WAR. However, Cano has career OBP of .347, .349 in 2011, career high .381 in 2010. For a player that is heralded as one of the tops in the league, these numbers are pretty low. His Career OPS is .843, and he has walked just 5.1% in his career, far below league average (career best in 2010 at 8.2%, still slightly below league average of 8.5%. He has a Secondary Average of just .243 in his career (was slightly above .300 in both 2010 and 2011). His career BABIP is extremely high at .321 (had a .326 BABIP in 2010). He seems to have improved as a overall hitter in the past two seasons, but he seems to be profoundly overrated. I have heard comparisons to Barry Bonds, Babe Ruth, and dozens of other great hitters. He simply does not have those numbers. Those comparisons are completely unfounded. He is an above average power hitter, homering over 4% of the time in the last 4 years, with an ISO of .231 in 2011 (.188 in his career). He has a career number of 5.8 runs created per game, and a .579 Offensive winning percentage. These numbers are good for sure, but maybe not as good as Cano is hyped to be. His PPS is absolutely pathetic at 80.98 for his career. An offensive of too many Cano type hitters would be an offensive a pitcher could face all day. The lack of patience and walks truly is concerning, and one wonders if his BABIP will come back to earth. It may never, because he certainly hits the ball hard, but if it does, Cano is in serious trouble. I want to repeat that obviously Cano is a good player, but he is obviously overrated, and may soon be overpaid.

Free Agent Watch: Chris Capuano

Chris Capuano made just 1.5 million in 2011 and had a 1.7 WAR. This was after putting up a .9 WAR in 2010 in just 66 innings. He would have had 2.54 WAR if he could have went 186 innings like in 2011. Either way, his 2011 season is worth 5.1 million dollars. Surprisingly, the Mets got good value out of a player. As a starter he had a solid .43 PE in 2011, slightly better than his still pretty good .82 PE. He has a decent TR of 9.09 in his career, and it was slightly better in 2011 with a 9.46 TR. His 2011 season looked profoundly mediocre with a 4.55 ERA, but he had a 4.05 FIP, which is not bad at all. He was also a sufferer of a slightly high BABIP at .311 (his career average is about the same as league average at .300). He is a groundball pitcher, getting more grounders than flyballs. When he does get flyballs, it is not usually good news though as he gives up way to many bombs (1.28 HR/9IP). He is a pretty good strikeout pitcher for a starter, and he doesn't walk many, and with an average BAA and WHIP, you can almost stomach the home runs. With the constant need for starting pitching, sometimes decent pitchers can be given way too much money in free agency. However, if not offered more than 5 million dollars, he can be a very nice number 3 starter or a serviceable number 2 (which may be a reason the Red Sox tried to trade for him toward the end of the season).

Japanese Moneyball?

The Athletics have reportedly shown interest in Norichika Aoki, playing for Yakult in Japan. In 2011, Aoki had a .358 OBP, .718 OPS, .9 PPG, 2.8 PAPP. This all adds up to a 1.34 simple WAR. In his 4 seasons before 2011, he had a .421 OBP, 1.44 PPG, 2.23 PAPP, and .918 OPS. So there are two different sets of statistics. Which is more accurate? Certainly the 4 year career is a bigger sample, but what does BABIP say? One would think his 2011 BABIP would be low, but it was still .316. His career BABIP was .358, so while both are high (probably because he is hitting the ball hard for that level of play), his 2011 certainly was lower. Especially with the bigger sample, it seems more likely that the pre-2011 career numbers are the most accurate. According to the metric laid out on the difference between hitting in Japan and hitting in the Majors, Aoki would have a .388 OBP, .95 PPG, 2.97 PAPP, and a simple WAR of roughly 3.64. That would be worth nearly 11 million dollars. However, his 2011 numbers run through the metric would be very poor, and there is that danger. The good thing is that because of that relatively poor 2011 season, he will probably be undervalued. I would not pay 11 million for him, but he has shown an ability to get on base that is very valuable, and 5 or so million makes perfect sense, and could be a steal.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Brandon Wood: Arbitration

The Angels were so sure that Brandon Wood would become a great player. In 173 games with LA (hardly a small sample), he had an OBP of .197. He had a .51 PPG and 4.62 PAPP for the Angels. This is historically bad. So the Angels finally gave up, and the Pirates picked him up. There he had a .277 OBP in 99 games, .64 PPG, and 3.29 PAPP. These numbers are still horrible. It is not hard to figure out why the Pirates collapsed. When you run guys like Brandon Wood out regularly, you aren't going to win. He had a -.6 WAR for the Pirates and a -2.5 WAR with the Angels. His PPS was just 87.8 in Pittsburgh, and he walks an embarrassing low 4.3% of the time. His career BABIP is just .240, which at such a large sample, just shows that he does not hit the ball with any kind of authority. To get a feel of just how bad Brandon Wood is, his offensive winning percentage is just .175. To show just how pathetic that is, a team with a .175 winning percentage would be the worst in history, at 28-134. It doesn't matter how much arbitration gives this guy, it is too much. The Pirates need to let him go.

Kala Ka'aihue and the stupidity of batting average.

Kala Ka'aihue is living proof that batting average needs to die. If the name sounds familiar, his brother is Kila Ka'aihue, the former Royal that is now in the Athletics organization. As a catcher, outfielder, and infielder, he had a career .366 OBP and .817 OPS with three different organizations. Despite a 1.19 PPG, and 2.55 PAPP, he never reached AAA. Why? Not because of his fielding with a Range Factor of over 8 at both Catcher (only threw out 12% of runners though) and 1st Base. The only reason one can see why Ka'aihue would not be attractive is batting average. His batting average in his minor league career was only .244. Never-mind that he walks 14.7% of the time and homers about 4% of the time. Even the "moneyball" Oakland A's had Ka'aihue and watched him put up a .371 OBP in 23 games at A+ and let him go (he had a BA of .167 and actually had more walks than hits). Ka'aihue spent 2011 playing for the Independent Kansas City T-Bones. There he let the whole league in Secondary Average, was second in Walks per PA, had an OPS of over 1.000, with an OBP of .426. He had a 1.96 PPG, and 1.53 ABPP. These are insane numbers. However, for those in love with batting average, he had just a .286. The power of batting average still dominates baseball, and it is mindblowing.

Free Agent Watch: Cody Ross

Cody Ross registered just a 1 WAR in his overhyped 2010 season. He played better with a 1.6 WAR in 2011 (made 6.3 million, giving him a 3938 WASP, above the Halladay Standard). A 1.2 WAR in 09 gives him a 1.27 WAR average in the past 3 years, worth 3.8 million dollars. Ross has a very average career OBP of .323.  He actually had a career high in walks in 2011 (10.6%, just 7.3% in his career). .779 OPS for his career (.730 in 2011), 1.03 PPG in 2011 (1.09 PPG in his career), 2.83 PAPP in 2011, and 2.82 PAPP in his career. He is a flyball hitter, and an above average home run hitter, but has an ISO of just .195 (.165 in 2011, not really power hitting type). His career Secondary Average is .284 (.294 in 2011). He does have a career Offensive winning percentage of over 50%, and boasts an above average career PPS of 93.35, in 2011 it was even better at 95.64 (one would think it had to do mainly with his more walks). Had a .324 BABIP in 2010 (destroying any illusion that 2010 was some kind of breakout year), .279 in 2011, and .301 in his career. If he would have gotten his career BABIP in 2011, his OBP would have been .351 instead of .325, a considerable difference. This is how BABIP many times creates "inefficiencies". However, the career high in walks (going from someone who walked less than average to someone who walked more than average) is a little puzzling. Can someone change their hitting philosophy midway through their career (Ross at age 30)? Can someone go from impatient to patient? Or should we go ahead and assume that it is an outlier season, and have him marked down as walking 7.3% of the time. If we plug in a 7.3% walk ratio for Ross in 2011, his OBP falls to .312 (keeping the BABIP the same). This is the risk that one would be taking with Ross. He has that above average PPS cited earlier that one could fall back on, but is he worth 5 or 6 million dollars? No, probably not. However, the 3.8 million dollars WASP suggests seems reasonable.

Jerome Williams: Arbitration

.2 WAR (worth $600,000) in 2011 in 6 starts and 10 appearances (44 innings). Given a 150 innings, he would register a .68 WAR, which would be worth 2 million dollars according to the Halladay Standard. He has a 3.5 WAR in 6 career seasons, a .58 WAR average, worth 1.7 million. However, he was -.7 WAR in 2007 (in just 30 innings) so it has to be kept in mind that he can have flat tire seasons. In his career, he has a 2.59 PE, and in 2011 his PE was 1.99. His career TR is 7.88, in 2011 it was 8.76. So clearly 2011 was better than his career norms, but they still aren't very good numbers. This should quell any talk of a good stretch by Jerome Williams. FIP doesn't help him either as his 2011 FIP was almost identical to his career FIP (4.62-4.69). In fact, his career ERA is 4.20, while his career FIP is 4.69. That is really the difference between a serviceable pitcher and a nonserviceable pitcher. He doesn't strikeout many batters (5.48 per 9 innings), but he does get groundballs (1.42 GB/FB ratio), which can be an offset. He offsets this by giving up a ton of home runs (1.23 per 9 innings in 2011), and walks too many people. His BABIP was below league average (.291), but higher than his career average (.274). It is hard to interpret how that will play out. However, the Angels have to hope he doesn't receive anything in arbitration. If he is anything more than like $600,000, they should try to dump him. They probably won't get anything for him, but he is not worth keeping on the payroll.

NFL Picks: Week 8

Big D in Bold. I in Italics

Giants versus Dolphins
Patriots versus Steelers
Bills versus Redskins
Eagles versus Cowboys
Chargers versus Chiefs

Cleveland Indians prospect Ezequiel Carrera

Ezequiel Carerra played in 68 games for the Cleveland Indians in 2011, his first taste of Major League baseball. He had a -.5 WAR, mainly because of his terrible -.6 D-WAR. He had an OBP of just .301, .613 OPS, .75 PPG, and 3.23 PAPP, very unimpressive. He hit too many groundballs (1.21 GB/FB ratio), and walked only 7.1% of the time (league average is 8.1%). His Secondary Average was just .173, and his ISO was .069. One can't blame his BABIP, because it was almost league average at .293. However, he saw 3.91 Pit/PA (above league average), giving him a slightly above league average PPS at 91.56. In 82 games playing for the AAA Columbus Clippers (who led the International League in both runs and OBP), Carrera had a .371 OBP (the exact same as his entire minor league career), 1.52 PPG, 2.27 PAPP, walked 10% of the time, and 2.84 Simple WAR. Through the "Durham Bull Metric" his numbers would look like this .325 OBP, 1.35 WAR, 2.84 PAPP, and 1.12 PPG. According to this metric, he grades out to not be a great player, but a solid player that can be used towards the bottom of the lineup. He does grade out to be better than he was in 2011 though, and we will see if that holds true over a larger sample size.

Free Agent Watch: Coco Crisp

I wrote an article a while back pointing out that the A's signings of Willingham, Matsui, and Fuentes (especially Fuentes, as he is a pricey reliever) didn't make much sense in the context of Moneyball, as they were all overpaid in the 2011 season, The Coco Crisp signing made even less sense. A guy with an average OBP who steals bases made very little sense according to Jamesian analysis and Beane's own philosophy. Crisp has walked just 7.87% of the time in is career, which is below league average. However, WAR really likes Crisp, as he has a 1.99 WAR average in his career, which is better than the average player needed to make the playoffs. In fact, 25 players with equal WAR as Coco Crisp would win 101 games. He is worth about 6 million dollars according to this metric. For the Athletics, he was actually slightly better, with a 2.9 WAR in 2010 (worth 8.7 million), and a 2.1 WAR in 2011 (worth 6.3 million). In his career, Crisp has a .330 OBP (slightly above league average) and 87.62 PPS (below average).In 2011, his OBP dropped to .314, and he had just a 82.07 PPS (league average is around 90). He walked just 41 times and had a Runs Created per game of about 4.3, very mediocre. He did steal 49 bases, while only being caught 9 times, a 84 percentage, meaning his stealing is worth it. His Secondary Average was .267 (.255 in his career), and an ISO of .130. The good news for Crisp is that his 2011 BABIP was .284, under average. If his BABIP was league average, he would have had an OBP of about .332, which is around his career average. So teams scared of his .314 OBP (assuming they want his .332), should take comfort, and perhaps it will drive his price down. Crisp is a good player with a lot of "tools" but not a leadoff hitter. Injury problems and the fact he played for the lowly Athletics may drive his price down some, and make him a bargain.

Free Agent Watch: Gregg Dobbs

Greg Dobbs is coming off a career high in both Plate Appearances and Total Bases in 2011 (and a career high in grounding into double plays). Dobbs awarded the Marlins by playing like a replacement player, at a 0 WAR. He had a .4 offensive WAR and -.4 D-WAR. In his career, he has a -1.9 WAR, .6 O-WAR, and -2.5 D-WAR. In the past three years, he has a -.8 D-WAR, and a -.367 Overall WAR average. In his career he has a .308 OBP, .713 OPS, .6 PPG, and 3.02 PAPP. His PPS is below average at 88.53, he has an offensive winning percentage of .448, creating just 4.3 runs a game (if the lineup was made up of 9 Greg Dobbs). His BABIP is around average at .304, with a .209 Secondary average, and .143 Isolated Slugging. If this isn't enough to make you ignore Greg Dobbs, then the fact that many metrics suggest he was worse in 2011 than his career norms. Sure, he had a .311 OBP, with a .71 PPG, but his PAPP (3.07) and OPS (.701) were worse. He had a .455 Offensive winning percentage, .168 Secondary Average (which is awful, any kind of imagined "success" was clearly flucky), 88 PPS, and  .114 ISO. Even though his Runs Created per a game was 4, he was somehow lucky, with a .325 BABIP. He is an under average hitter and a terrible fielder. There really isn't anything attractive or good about Greg Dobbs. That he is in the league either shows a complete ignorance of sabermetrics or understanding of basic statistics and what makes a team win by some teams, or devastatingly poor minor league systems by those teams. 

Friday, October 28, 2011

Durham Bulls metric: Minor Leagues

 I have been extremely curious as to what the difference between AAA and the Majors is. So here, in a relatively small sample, I set out to find some answers. I will use current Tampa Bay Rays players (along with a couple former ones) difference between their Major League careers and their AAA Durham Bulls career. Since Durham plays in the International AAA league, I think it will be safe to (currently at least) use the metric for all International AAA league players.

Wade Davis: In Durham: -1.642 PE, In Majors: 2.275 PE and .77 WAR a season

Carl Crawford: In Durham: 1.69 PPG, 2.55 PAPP, .335 OBP and 1.07 Simple WAR. In Majors: 1.48 PPG, 2.5 PAPP, .333 OBP, and 2.74 WAR a season.

Delmon Young: In Durham: 1.54 PPG, 2.66 PAPP, .325 OBP, and .423 Simple WAR . In Majors: 1.17 PPG, 2.93 PAPP, .321, and -.1 WAR.

Jeremy Hellickson: In Durham: -4.86 PE, In Majors: .32 PE, and 4.2 WAR in 2011 (his only full season)

J.P. Howell: In Durham: -3.435 PE, In Majors: -.021 PE, and .45 WAR a season

Jake McGee: In Durham:  -6.713 PE, In Majors: -.986 PE, and .01 WAR a season

Jeff Niemann: In Durham: -.785 PE, In Majors: 1.3 PE, and 1.1 WAR a season

David Price: In Durham: -.699 PE, In Majors: -1.3 PE, and 3.33 WAR a season

James Shields: In Durham: -2.722 PE, In Majors: .24 PE, and 2.95 WAR a season

Andy Sonnanstine: In Durham: 1.182 PE, In Majors: 3.77 PE, and -.08 WAR a season

John Jaso: In Durham: .91 PPG, 2.74 PAPP, .356 OBP, and 1.81 Simple WAR. In Majors: .84 PPG, 2.83 PAPP, .340 OBP, 1.25 WAR a season

Reid Brignac: In Durham: 1.08 PPG, 3.03 PAPP, .316 OBP, and -.56 Simple WAR. In Majors: .63 PPG, 3.54 PAPP, .272 OBP, -.05 WAR a season

Dan Johnson: In Durham: 1.65 PPG, 2.19 PAPP, .412 OBP and 5.88 Simple WAR. In Majors: 1.01 PPG, 2.74 PAPP, .334 OBP, .58 WAR a season.

Elliot Johnson: In Durham: 1.23 PPG, 2.75 PAPP, .325 OBP, and .09 Simple WAR. In Majors: .61 PPG, 4 PAPP, .257 OBP, .1 WAR

Ben Zobrist: In Durham: 1.38 PPG, 2.24 PAPP, .416 OBP, and 5.14 Simple WAR. In Majors: 1.27 PPG, 2.56 PAPP, .348 OBP, 2.28 WAR a season.

Desmond Jennings: In Durham: 1.53 PPG, 2.3 PAPP, .375 OBP, and 3.4 Simple WAR. In Majors: 1.35 PPG, 2.488 PAPP, .351 OBP, 2.2 WAR

Matt Joyce: In Durham: 1.49 PPG, 2.19 PAPP, .404 OBP, and 5.11 Simple WAR. In Majors: 1.11 PPG, 2.58 PAPP, .345 OBP, and 1.75 a season

Justin Ruggiano: In Durham: 1.63 PPG, 2.36 PAPP, .362 OBP, and 2.53 Simple WAR. In Majors: .55 PPG, 3.39 PAPP, .262 OBP, and -.2 WAR

B.J. Upton: In Durham: 1.69 PPG, 2.21 PAPP, .391 OBP, and 4.48 Simple WAR. In Majors: 1.37 PPG, 2.48 PAPP, .342 OBP, and 2.41 WAR a season.

Pitchers: In Durham:  -2.46 PE Average. In Majors: .7 PE Average, 1.59 WAR a season. Average pitcher going from Durham (or International League in AAA) would add 2.53 to their PE. WAR is not particularly helpful because the correlation between PE and WAR is skewed, because both PE (the lower the better) and WAR (the higher is better) are lower for pitchers.

Hitters: In Durham: 1.44 PPG average, 2.34 PAPP average, .365 OBP average, and 2.67 Simple WAR average. In Majors: 1.04 PPG average, 2.91 PAPP average, .319 OBP average, 1.18 WAR average. So on average, a player loses 1.49 from there simple WAR to their Major League WAR, lose .046 from their OBP, add .57 to their PAPP, and lose .40 from their PPG. So, for now at least, this is how we judge players in the International AAA league.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Tyler Clippard: Arbitration

Tyler Clippard has a 6.1 WAR in 5 seasons. More importantly, he has a 6.4 WAR in 4 seasons in Washington, a 1.6 average. 2011 was Clippard's best campaign, racking up a career high 3.4 WAR. The best part? He made $443,000 in 2011 (a great 130 WASP). Clippard was originally traded by the Yankees to Washington for Jonathan Albaladejo, who had a -.1 WAR as a Yankee and didn't play in 2011. The Nationals payroll is $57,892,929. So they can afford 1.3 million for every 1 WAR (if they want to make the playoffs). So Clippard's 2011 season was worth 4.42 million to the Nationals. His career average is worth 2.08 million to the Nationals. His career PE is a nice -4, while his career adjusted PE (replace ERA with FIP) is still very good at -2.94. In 2011, his PE was an amazing -6.35, while his adjusted PE was -5.01, still very good. His career TR is 10.07, while in 2011 it was fantastic at 12.67. However, there are some metrics that could worry you. He is an extreme flyball pitcher giving up over twice as many flyballs as grounders, which leads to more home runs, as he has given up 1.18 HR/9IP in his career. His FIP in both 2011 and his career, is extremely higher than his ERA, and his BABIP is extremely low (.242 for his career, and .197 in 2011). Now with a pretty large sample size, this may be just who Clippard is and he can get away with it, or he could be due for a disastrous season. His strikeout totals (10 per 9 innings) would certainly suggest that this is just how Clippard is, but it can't be attractive that a late inning reliever has a weakness for the long flyball. However, he is still certainly worth 2 million to the Nationals, and since it is nearly impossible to fathom that he will receive that much in arbitration, the Nationals have no reason not to keep him around.

Free Agent Watch: Erik Bedard

Erik Bedard had a 1.7 WAR in 2011, in which he split with the Mariners and Red Sox. He has a 1.67 WAR average in the past 3 years he has played in (he did not appear in the 2010 season), and has always had injury problems. He had an incredible PE of -1.4 in 2011, and with his FIP basically identical to his ERA, it is hard to call it fluky. His TR was less impressive, but still solid at 9.61. In his career, he has a -1.33 PE, and has been a consistent strikeout pitcher in his entire career. His career TR is 9.82, almost identical to his 2011 TR. Along with his high strikeout totals, he has an average BABIP of .300, a very good combination. He gives up less than a homer every 9 innings, doesn't walk too many batters, has a pretty good groundball ratio, and has a career FIP of 3.65. This all adds up to a very valuable starting pitcher. Because of his injury problems, he may be undervalued in free agency. There are not very many differences between his lefty/rightie splits, and he is basically a fastball-curveball pitcher. I like Bedard, and the metrics like Bedard, and he doesn't throw especially hard, which means more teams will ignore him than should. He is certainly worth the 5+ million that WASP suggests he is, but I wouldn't give much more because of his lack of ability to stay on the field.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Ricardo Nanita: The Blue Jay who won't be brought up

Ricardo Nanita is the leader in OBP early on in the Dominican Winter League, so far his crude Runs Created metric is an amazing 14.46, with a 1.47 ABPP, 2.625 PPG, and 1.448 OPS. It is a small sample for sure. In Nanita's 2011 minor league season, he has an OBP of .378, OPS of .858, 1.33 PPG, and 2.18 ABPP. He has done his time in the minors, already spending 9 seasons in the minors already. In that long, large sample career, he has a .367 OBP (in 142 games in AAA his OBP is .393!), 1.16 PPG, .794 OPS, and 2.64 PAPP. This is a simple WAR of 2.66. He is about an average outfielder fielding wise it seems, so that shouldn't be the reason he is not in the major leagues. He is a slightly above average walker, and as shown above, he has pop (.192 ISO in AAA in 2011). He had a runs created of 139 in AAA in 2011, although with a .376 BABIP it is hard to expect that to continue. Nanita seems to have good numbers and metrics in the minors and winter leagues, why isn't he being brought up?

Free Agent Watch: Jim Thome

Elderly slugger Jim Thome had a 1.4 WAR in 2011, and has averaged a 1.9 WAR in the past 3 years, which is worth 5.7 million dollars. He made just 3 million dollars in 2011. He can no longer field, and is just used as only as a DH. This should rule out all NL teams, and AL teams like Mark Reynolds' Orioles, whoever signs David Ortiz, and any other team with a DH only player. However, similar to how Frank Thomas was able to stick around so long, his OBP and OPS is still good. In Minnesota, Thome had a .387 OBP, .949 OPS, 1.15 PPG, and 2.24 PAPP. These are really good numbers, and at a .266 BA, he may be undervalued. He has a career OBP of .403, so getting on base is nothing new. He had a 6.2 RC/G, .629 Offensive Winning Percentage, .386 Sec A, and .220 ISO in 2011. In 2010, his Secondary Average was .562. He has been a flyball hitter most of his career, but in 011 he hit more groundballs than league average, a concern for sure. His power has definitely waned, but he is still an above average power hitter. It is hard to believe given his size and speed but he grounds in to less double plays than average because he is a flyball hitter. If Youkilis is the Greek god of walks then Thome might be the Roman god of walks, walking 17% of the time in his career and 14.2% in 2011 (league average is like 8.7%). He saw 4.28 Pit/PA in 2011, a 104.85 PPS. In his career, he sees 4.2 Pit/PA, giving him a 106.07 PPS. One other small area of concern is that despite 2011 being a relative down year for Thome, his BABIP was higher than career average (.327 vs. .321). He was the fifth oldest player in the league in 2011, but he wants to still play and all signs point to him still being able to. If you can get him for 5 million or less, gobble him up.

Rangers' prospect Tommy Mendonca

In the Pan-American games, the leader in RBIs for the USA team was Tommy Mendonca, a member of the Texas Rangers' organization. He went to Fresno State and was drafted in the 2nd round in 09. He had a 1.99 PPG, 2.13 ABPP, and 961 OPS. The College metric suggests he may have been drafted too high at: 2.85 ABPP .93 PPG, and 711 OPS. In 3 seasons at A and AA Mendonca has a .335 OBP, and .790 OPS, certainly not impressive. He has a relatively solid 1.26 PPG, but his PAPP was poor at 2.92, giving him a Simple WAR of .7. He only walks 6 percent of the time, but homers 3% of the time (MLB average is about 2.7%). There are two ways to look at this. The optimistic option is that because of his power he will be pitched more carefully, and will get more walks and get on base more. The pessimistic view is that because of his power, he will be pitched more carefully and he doesn't have the discipline to draw walks and will become a terrible hitter. It should also be noted that a homer % of 3 is not amazing, it is just above average. There have been tons of guys that have good power that didn't turn out to be major league players because they didn't have the plate discipline. Mendonca plays 3rd and has a low fielding percentage, and below average range factor. Fielding statistics matter, but they aren't always reliable. With that said, it is hard to imagine that a team wants a impatient hitter with low fielding metrics.

Peter Moylan: Arbitration

Peter Moylan's injury problems led to just a .2 WAR in 2011. He has an average WAR of .683, worth about 2 million dollars according to the Halladay Standard. He made 2 million dollars in 2011, and one would think arbitration would give him more money. He has a career -.949 PE, gives up a .324 OBP and .652 OPS. Lets on slightly less runners on than average, and gives up quite a bit less total bases and power than average (with very few homers). He walks too many batters, but he can make up for it with all the groundballs he gets. He has a really solid TR of 11.68, but his FIP is around 3.66 in his career (if you replaced his ERA with his FIP, his PE would be a positive, which is not a good PE for a reliever). It would seem if arbitration increases his salary (as it probably will), then the Braves should attempt to unload him. With his injury problems and questions about whether he will even be ready for Spring Training in 2012, they probably won't get a very good return for him, but their really isn't much sense in keeping him around for the money he will make.

Newest A's: Evan Scribner and Cedric Hunter

The Athletics claimed two minor league players (they both have very small pointless samples in the Majors) from the Padres off waivers. First relief pitcher Evan Scribner, who also has spent time in the Diamondbacks minor league system. In his minor league career, he has a very impressive -5.012 PE. He is a pretty impressive strikeout pitcher, that doesn't give up a lot of homers. He has pitched almost exclusively as a late inning guy, finishing 152 out the 214 games he pitched. This sounds exactly like a page out of Moneyball (the book at least), getting a cheap prospect to use as a closer. If the plan works out the same, Beane will trade Scribner away before he costs any money and will get more prospects. In AAA in 2011, he had a FIP of 3.48, and gave up a BAA of .243 with a BABIP of .303. Cedric Hunter is a left handed outfielder that spent 5 years in the Padres minor league system. He had an OBP of .347 and an OPS of .739 in this time. His PPG was an unimpressive but not bad 1.24 PPG, and his PAPP was 2.75. He created a pretty mediocre .53 runs per game and has a minor league simple WAR of 1.08. This is all pretty lackluster, but it gets even worse when you look at his AAA numbers, which added up to a -.722 simple WAR. So Hunter is not even a good AAA player (he doesn't get on base either, a .316 AAA OBP). The Scribner move looks like another Beane stroke of genius, but the Hunter acquisition doesn't make much sense.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Free Agent Watch: Mitch Talbot

Mitch Talbot has a -1.1 WAR in his career. He produced a 0 WAR in 2010, and a -.6 WAR in 2011. He has a miserable 4.92 PE in his career, with an even worse 6.76 PE in 2011. He had a TR of 5.17 in 2011, and 6.3 TR for his career. His career FIP is 4.96, and he has been plagued by a high BABIP his Major League career, with a .360 BABIP in 2011. He walks almost as many as he strikes out, and that is a horrible combination. He does get a solid amount of groundballs, which further adds to the frustration of his lack of success. While he has decent strikeout totals in the minors, but that hasn't translated, and it seems there is a big enough sample size to assume that it won't. In 44.1 AAA innings in 2011, he had a PE of .17 (in both relief and as a starter. That doesn't sound impressive until you realize he gave up a stunningly high BABIP of .373. His FIP was 3.15 (even though his ERA was 4.26), showing that the Cleveland AAA team must be pretty terrible on defense (I also raised concerns about the lower level Cleveland teams ability to help their pitchers' in my article on Jason Knapp. Talbot gave up 3 unearned runs in AAA as well). FanGraphs seems so sure about Talbot's unluckiness in his Major League career that they have given him a positive 1 WAR for his career. There may still be hope for a Major League career for Talbot, but the time is running out, and he may soon find himself in Independent ball (it would seem that team would be very lucky though).

Free Agent Watch: Bruce Chen

He is coming off his second best season in his career at a 2.6 WAR (worth 7.8 million, while he only made 2 million). Only a 8.6 WAR in 13 years. He is 34 and is coming off his second most innings ever. His PE was unimpressive at 2.053. In his career, his PE is 1.718. Has about an equal BAA against and strangely, a better strikeout to walk ratio as a starter (he has significant time as both in his career). .99 PE as a reliever, 1.868 PE as a starter. He had a pretty miserable 8.43 TR in 2011, and it is even worse in his career, at 7.14. While ERA (and perhaps WAR as well, perhaps raising questions about how Baseball Reference does WAR, FanGraphs had him at 1.7 WAR) suggests Chen had a pretty good year in 2011 (even so much that the Red Sox tried to trade for him to make just 1 start), but all other metrics suggest this was either fluky, or not even good. His FIP was 4.39, hardly very good (it is a putrid 5.03 for his career). He is a flyball pitcher, and he doesn't strike out many and walks a little bit too much. IF (!) you can get him for the 2 million dollars he made last year, then it still makes some sense to sign him. However, it would seem he is going to get more than that. If that is true, he is definitely a trap and should be avoided.

How we did: Week 7 NFL Picks

Big D in Bold. I in Italics

Panthers beat Redskins
Cowboys run all over Rams
Texans destroy Titans
Saints (insert really dramatic blowout word here) Colts
Jaguars played a little less bad than Ravens

Big D: 3-2, 24-11 overall
I: 3-2, 23-12 overall

Free Agent Watch: Hiroki Kuroda

Hiroki Kuroda had a career high 3.7 WAR in 2011, which is worth 11.1 million dollars. You would think that as a rule, a team can't pay more than that, although we have seen some silly things in free agency. 8.6 WAR in 4 seasons, a 2.15 average, meaning he is worth 6.45 million dollars most years. He made 47 million dollars in his 4 years with the Dodgers, giving him a not very good WASP of 5472. A not bad at all .427 PE for his career. -.377 PE in 2011, and that is with a slightly above career average .290 BABIP (his FIP was much higher than his ERA though, at 3.78-3.07). His opponent OPS is just .673 for his career, under league average by far. Only an average strikeout pitcher, but gives up slightly less home runs than average. He gets as many groundballs as flyballs but gets slightly less double plays than average. His career TR is a very good 11.06, and in 2011 it was about the same at 11.17. Considering his age, it is very unlikely that he can command a long term deal, which separates him from guys like C.J. Wilson and C.C. Sabathia and should make him more attractive. If you can get him for around 10 million, you should probably pull the trigger, this is a very good pitcher that has been sort of under the radar (mainly because he isn't even close to being the best pitcher on a losing team), but he can be a very good number 2 starter for a rotation.

An undervalued player: Mitch Maier

Mitch Maier is a very undervalued player with the Kansas City Royals. In 2011, he had an amazing 109.43 PPS and lead the league in Pitches Per Plate Appearance (for batters with at least 100 PA) with 4.52. His OBP was .345, (with a pretty unrealistic BABIP: .344, so one would have to prepare for it to be lower). In his career, he has about an average OBP at .332. He has an Under average slugging (.68 PPG is also disappointing), but a good Secondary Average of .284 in 2011 (.215 for his career). His Isolated Slugging is just .093, and Offensive Winning percentage of just under .500. Made just $459,000 in 2011, and isn't a free agent until 2015. According to WASP and the Halladay Standard he is a good deal, and he can be a very valuable part of a lineup, especially in the bottom half. He is ignored mainly because his terrible batting average (.232 in 2011), which means he could be a steal for a team. He is a decent fielder in the outfield (.6 D-WAR), and a flyball hitter who walks more than league average. His OBP is actually slightly better against lefties (he is a lefty) than righties. Even when he gets behind (a .361 OBP when down 0-1), he still gets on base. A former first round pick, I am interested in how much of a chance the Royals give him, or if any other team will try to acquire him.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Arizona Fall League update: Terry Doyle

Terry Doyle has the 2nd best whip in the AFL at .42, and currently leads the League in innings pitched. His ERA is a microscopic 1.08. Part of the White Sox organization (He was a 37th round draft pick), he has a -4.39 PE in the AFL so far. He is getting a groundball-out ratio of 1.69. In 15 starts for the AA team in 2011, Doyle had a .2 PE. Despite being really good in many categories, he doesn't strike out a whole bunch, just over 6 every 9 innings. This number would surely be lower in the Majors. He had high strikeout totals in A ball in 2008 and 2009, but there isn't any evidence that it is translating. His BABIP was .278, he can't expect it to be this low in the majors, meaning he needs to strike out more to keep his good ERA. His FIP was slightly higher than his ERA (3.56-3.24), but not enough for the starts to be fluky. He doesn't walk very many, and he rarely gives up homers (8 in 100 AA innings). If he can keep all this up, he should be ready for big league success within a couple of years. If this ends up being the case, Doyle is a steal at the round the White Sox got him at.

Free Agent Watch: Roy Oswalt

"The Big 4" may be coming to an end (with no championships) as the Phillies have declined the option on Roy Oswalt's contract. In 11 career seasons, Oswalt has a 46.3 WAR, which is a 4.21 average, which is worth 12.6 million a year according to the Halladay Standard. 2011 was disappointing though, with a 1.7 WAR, worth just 5.1 million. In 2010 he had a 5.1 WAR, worth 15.3. This is a big range, and isn't all that helpful. In 2011, in just 139 innings, he had a TR of 10.85, nothing to sneeze at. The PE wasn't ideal at 1.76. In his career, he has a TR of 12.29, and a PE of -.46. Why the dropoff? He struck out less people in 2011, was unhealthy, and seemed to be slightly unlucky at a  .316 BABIP (his FIP was lower than his ERA though). In fact, Fangraphs has him at a 2.5 WAR, if he threw 200 innings at the same WAR ratio, he would have had a 3.6 WAR (worth 10.8 million), and a Baseball Reference WAR of 2.45 (worth 7.35 million). It depends on which WAR you trust. For the Phillies, it doesn't make a lot of sense to resign him. Especially because of the emergence of Vance Worley, who had a -1.49 PE, 2.8 WAR, and 11.05 TR in 2011. With that said, if you think he can stay healthy, Oswalt is a legitimate top of the rotation pitcher, and it would probably be unwise too say he is no longer one because of one year.

Wil Myers: Jewel of the Royals

There are several reasons to like Wil Myers, the top rater prospect of the Kansas City Royal organization. Perhaps my favorite reason is that he currently leads the Arizona Fall League in walks. He has 13 hits and 13 walks and a .500 OBP. He is a dominating hitter in the AFL, but has patience. Sometimes dominant prospects know they can crush the pitching they face and swing at everything (and are able to hit just about anything), and when they come to the Majors, they still have that approach (its worked so far), and struggle. There is no reason to believe this will happen to Myers. In 3 seasons in the minors, he has a .399 OBP and a .296 BA (I think Batting Average is the most overrated statistic ever behind Pitcher's record, but .100 difference on the OBP and BA shows a patient hitter). He also sports solid numbers in a 1.37 PPG, .876 OPS, and 2.34 PAPP. These numbers need to improve before he is ready for the big leagues, and he is yet to have reached AAA, but all the promise is there for the former 3rd round pick. He has also shown some versatility, playing outfield and catcher. He has a nice range factor in the outfield, but not so much at catcher. A lot of people hold a lot of optimism for the Royals' organization, and if Myers is any indication, the hope is warranted.

Free Agent Watch: Carlos Beltran

Carlos Beltran registered a 4.4 WAR in 2011, which is worth 13.2 million a year according to Halladay Standard. He had a 3.57 WAR average in past 3 years, worth 10.7 million. His Career offensive statistics: .361 OBP, .857 OPS, 1.65 PPG, and 2.34 PAPP. His 2011 stats: .385 OBP, .910 OPS, 1.32 PPG, and 2.38 PAPP. He is about average when it comes to pitches seen per plate appearance, at 3.78 for his career and 3.75 in 2011 (92.6 PPS and 94.24 PPS respectively). These offensive numbers don't blow you away, but they are very solid. There has been the really big issue of injuries throughout his career and that always has to be considered when giving the amount of money this guy is going to command. His 2009 and 2010 seasons combined don't add up to a full season, and was injured almost immediately in 2011 when he was traded to San Francisco. While a very solid defensive player in his career, he played pretty poorly in the field in 2011. One wonders if that will continue, with lack of trusted predictive fielding metrics, it is tough to tell. Some of the secondary metrics urge caution, especially BABIP. In his career, he has a BABIP of .303, but he had a .324 in 2011, and a .353 in San Francisco. You wouldn't be getting a poor player though, this is a guy who has an ISO of over .200 for his career, a Sec. Avg. of .373, and an Offensive Winning Percentage of .631. He will make your lineup better. The only real questions are: How much will he cost? Will he stay healthy?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Free Agent Watch: Jeff Fulchino

In 2011, Jeff Fulchino (with the Astros and Padres) had a -.4 WAR. He has a career WAR of -.2, but in 2009 he had a 1.1 WAR. However, even if he returned to 2009 form, he would only be 1/39th of what is needed for a team to make the playoffs. Clearly not worth much as a relief pitcher. The only question is whether it is worth it to bring him in as a minimum wage spring training player. His PE is unimpressive but not terrible at .724. His 4 walks per 9 innings is certainly too high. In his good year in 09, his BABIP was .276, much lower than his career BABIP of over .300. His FIP was around his ERA in 09, suggesting that, for the most part, he actually pitched pretty well in 2009 (in 2011 his FIP was 4.90, not good, but better than his ERA). His career TR is not very good at 7.93, but his career FIP isn't too bad at 4.26, while his XFIP (expected FIP) is at 4.12. IF (!) he can get that kind of production, and avoid injuries (a huge problem for Fulchino), he could be a valuable bullpen arm (if paid minimum wage). He is 31, so one can only see regression in his future, it doesn't make sense to sign this guy long term or anything but there is enough hope to take a chance in my opinion.

Money not very well spent: Bronson Arroyo

Bronson Arroyo has a 14.7 WAR in his time in Cincinnati, but had a -.5 WAR in 2011, and he made 7.67 million. Arroyo made slightly over 10 million in 09 (2.2 WAR), and more than 11 million in 2010 (2.1 WAR). This lead to the terrible WASPS of 5238 in 2010, and 4545 in 2009 (19167 WASP in 2011). Scheduled to make 12 million in 2012, he would need a 4 WAR to match the Halladay Standard. He has only matched that in 2006 (5.8 WAR). In 2006, he threw a career high 240 innings (led the league), which makes one wonder if there is some wear and tear on his arm. In his career, he has a pretty unimpressive PE of 2.336, but his 2011 PE was terrible at 4.397. In his career, his BABIP is .285, under the league average of .298. However, you cannot blame the terrible 2011 season on luck, as his BABIP was just .281. In 2010 (a mediocre year, and a terrible year considering his contract) he had a BABIP of just .241. He gave up a career high in Total Bases in 2011, and a atrocious 2.1 HR/9IP (he has a 1.2 HR/9IP in his career). His career TR is very unimpressive at 8.13, and in 2011 it was a terrible 6.72. As bad as his 2011 ERA was (5.07), his FIP was worse (5.71), career worst. According to those metrics, it is hard to predict that Arroyo will really be any better. He is a high paid flyball pitcher who struggles with the longball. The Reds are just stuck in a real bad spot right now, and there isn't much they can do about it. Certainly in hindsight, it was a terrible idea to give him so much money. I am not real sure how the Reds didn't see this coming though, his strikeout, flyball, and BABIP metrics have stayed all about the same. Did they not see that Arroyo was a pitcher who didn't strikeout a bunch of batters and gave up too many homers? Some say he had a really good 2010 season, but the Reds didn't even give him the game 1 start in the playoffs, so there was belief in the organization that he isn't that good. In 06, his best year, his ERA was 3.29, but his FIP was 4.15. Clearly it was fluky. Too bad for the Reds that they didn't get the memo.

Free Agent Watch: Edwin Encarnacion

Edwin Encarnacion had a 1 WAR in 2011 with the Blue Jays, worth $3 million according to the Halladay Standard (he made $2.5 million). In the past 3 years, he has averaged a 1.03 WAR. According to WAR, you basically know what your getting. He is a terrible defender, with a -.4 D-WAR in 2011, and a career -6.5 D-WAR. His career offensive statistics look exactly like this: .336 OBP, .789 OPS, 2.74 PAPP, and 1.17 PPG. In 2011: 2.69 PAPP, .334 OBP, .787 OPS, and 1.12 PPG. Obviously 2011 is in the norm for his career. Because he has about an average OBP in his career and an average Pit/PA, his PPS is about average at 92.1. Secondary Average is a little nicer to him at .300, and he has a mediocre .193 ISO. He "creates" about .522 runs a game (an offense of 9 Edwin's would score 5.3 runs and win 54% of its games) and he is a just above average slugger. According to WAR, he is only 1/41th of what is needed to make the playoffs (worth 853,000 to the Royals, 2.2 million to the Rangers, and 2.12 million to the Braves), but he is a solid (if not profoundly average) offensively player that can be stuck toward the bottom of the lineup, and hopefully be kept out of the field.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Emilio Bonafacio: Arbitration

Emilio Bonafacio had a 2.4 WAR in 2011 (worth 7.2 million according to Halladay Standard), he had a negative career WAR before that with the Marlins, Nationals, and Diamondbacks. Bonafacio had a career high in games and plate appearances in 2011. He put up a .360 OBP in 2011, along with a .753 OPS, 1.05 PPG, and 2.47 PAPP. In his career, he has been far less impressive: .328 OBP, .676 OPS, .94 PPG, and 2.77 PAPP. So is Bonafacio's great 2011 season an adjustment, simply the product of a full season, or pure lightening in the bottle. He had a career high BABIP of .372 in 2011, something that can't be expected to repeat. What if he reverts back to his normal BABIP of .339? It would seem (by dividing the his career BABIP/2011 BABIP and then multiplying the .911 answer by his 2011 OBP and getting .328) that he would revert back to an average OBP (which is also his career average). One would think that average would be slightly above WAR (since a "replacement player" is usually considered a minor league type player, not an average major league player). There is some stats that may go against this narrative though. For instance, he had just 1 home run through 923 PA before 2011, but hit 5 in 2011. So it would not be crazy to sit on the other side of the fence and insist that Bonafacio is simply hitting the ball harder. I think the answer is somewhere in the middle, there is no way that his 2011 BABIP is sustainable. He certainly has to be on drop-off watch. It is hard to believe he will be as successful in 2012 as he was in 2011. That doesn't mean he will be a bad hitter or anything, as his career PPS is 94.66, a pretty solid number. He is not a good fielder, but he can play any position besides pitcher or catcher. It is hard to imagine he will get tons of money in arbitration, so it still makes sense for the Marlins to keep him around, however, I would expect his trade value would be too high to be worth trying to acquire from the Marlins.

Free Agent Watch: Rafael Furcal

In his 12 year career, shortstop Rafael Furcal has posted a 33.1 WAR in 12 years, worth 8.3 million dollars according to the Halladay Standard. However, there was a clear dropoff from his Braves career to his Dodger career. In 6 years for each team, he posted a 19.2 WAR in ATL, and 12.5 WAR (worth 6.25 million) in LA. In 2011, he had a -.5 WAR in LA, and a 1.4 WAR (only 50 games, in a season of 150 games, that would average out to be a 4.2 WAR) with St. Louis after he was traded, giving him a .9 WAR overall. His career offensive numbers look exactly like this: .756 OPS, .313 BABIP, .348 OBP, .535 O/Win %, .261 Secondary Average, and a 93.66 Pitches per Starter (PPS). In 2011: .298 OBP, 646 OPS, .240 BABIP, .480 O/Win%, .213 Sec. Avg., and 85.28 PPS. 2011 in St.Louis: .316 OBP, 735 OPS, .250 BABIP, .511 O/Win %, .260 Sec. Avg., 88.59 PPS. As you can tell, even his St. Louis numbers aren't very impressive. He is supposed to be a leadoff hitter but he has an extremely poor PPS and OBP for the 2011 season. For his career he has a 1.3 PPG and 2.56 PAPP. As a Dodger in 2011: .89 PPG, and 3.71 PAPP, and as a Cardinal: 1.12 PPG, and 2.86 PAPP. His OBP (and PPS) isn't good enough for a leadoff hitter, but his production isn't good enough for a middle of the order guy. He is pretty hit or miss defensively (.2 WAR in his whole time in LA). He also has wild streaks of inconsistency, and some real flat tire seasons (perhaps because he isn't consistently patient, as the metrics show). 2011 was a pretty bad season, and the has has to be that 1) he is able to return to his 2010 .366 OBP season and 2) he is undervalued in the market because of his poor 2011 season. The uncertainty of those two questions is what makes free agency exciting, and spending a lot of money on one player dangerous (for my money, I wouldn't count on his 2010 season repeating, advanced metrics like BABIP, ISO, and Sec. Avg. were all above his career average, while his Pit/PA was barely above his career average), and one can probably find a better cheaper hitter.

NFL Picks: Week 7

Big D in bold. I in Italics

Panthers versus Redskins
Cowboys versus Rams
Titans versus Texans
Saints versus Colts
Ravens versus Jaguars

Free Agent Watch: Ryota Igarashi

Ryota Igarashi put up a -.6 WAR in his two years as a Met. He had a .2 WAR in 2011. He made 3 million dollars in the two year span. Obviously this is a typical Met free agent disaster, but at least it wasn't real big money. He threw just 69 innings in the past two seasons, all in relief. His PE was too high for a reliever at 1.42, and he walked 6 hitters an inning. He gave up a monster .366 BABIP in 2011, and combined with the walks, that is a disaster. Opponents actually got on base 40% of the time in 2011, and hit more flyballs then groundballs. However, it is not all bad for Igarashi, he had a FIP of 4.01 in 2011, and his FIP is about 1.3 less than his actual ERA. Whether it is luck or the terrible Met team, Igarashi is better than some of his standard statistics suggests. For a flyball pitcher, he doesn't give up much homers, and that may be because of the big Met ballpark. In his last two years in Japan (08-09, he was terrible in 06 and didn't pitch in 07) he just threw 97.1 innings before being coming to the United States. He had a 2.87 ERA, which through the Japanese Metric, would be a 3.48 ERA in the States. That obviously hasn't translated. His WHIP was a shiny low 1.063, and he had 8.7 strikeouts per 9 innings (about the same as he has had in the States). However, with his less than 100 innings pitched in his last two years Japan, there has to be some concern about sample size. Did the Mets jump the gun on a small sample size? Perhaps, his pre-2006 numbers were pretty solid though, as he had 5 straight seasons of an ERA under 4 and an ERA under 3 twice. If he can maintain his FIP at 4 like he did in 2011, there is no reason for someone not to pick him up, he can be a solid reliever, he just won't be worth a whole lot of money.

Toronto picks up Jesse Chavez. Why?

The Toronto Blue Jays picked up pitcher Jesse Chavez off waivers from the Royals. Chavez has not been a good pitcher in the Majors. Playing for 3 teams, he has a -1.5 WAR (he has a negative WAR with all 3 teams). In 2011, he somehow managed to get a -.3 WAR in just 7.2 innings. He has pitched exclusively in relief for in the Majors, and has a 2.87 PE. Opponents have an OPS of .835 off of Chavez (league average is .737). He has an extremely poor TR of 6.49, and gives up more flyballs than groundballs. Over 12% of these flyballs turn into home runs, which is why he gives up 1.59 HR/9IP. In recent years, he has ditched his Splitter and went to a curveball, but one would hope he would develop a sinker to keep the ball down. His splits are really bizarre, as he strikes out righties (as he is right handed) at a much greater clip than lefties, but also gives up more home runs to righties. In fact, righties are hitting .450 on him with a BABIP of .539. His FIP against righties is 8.53 (all of the split stats were from 2011)! I am really not sure why Toronto wanted this guy.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Free Agent Watch: Juan Gutierrez

In 4 seasons Juan Gutierrez has put up a -.4 WAR. In 2011, he had a -.6 WAR. Hasn't started a Major League game since 2007 with the Astros. In his Major League career, he has a .59 PE, high for a reliever. His TR is 7.92, pretty low, and at 28 with 4 years of Major League experience, it is hard to expect him to get any better. He also had Tommy John surgery toward the end of the season, meaning it will be at least mid-way through the season before he can return. While housing a career 4.79 ERA, his FIP is 4.28. He is a flyball pitcher who gives up too many homers, and with his health situation, I don't see why anyone would be dying to pick him up.

Winter League destroyer: Carlos Sosa

Early on in the Liga Mexicana del Pacifico winter league, the OBP leader is Carlos Sosa, the outfielder who is part of the San Diego Padres organization. Through 7 games in the Winter League, he has a .556 OBP, 1.234 OPS, 2.29 PPG, and 1.12 ABPP. Sosa has spent 11 years in the minors and is 28 years old. He actually spent 2 years in independent ball. After having an OBP of .389 in indy-ball, the Padres picked him up. He spent 2011 in AA and had a .375 OBP, 1.04 PPG, and 2.48 PAPP. You would certainly hope for better than a .805 OPS in AA, but it appears that is about as high as you are going to get, as Sosa is certainly in the prime of his career. One has to wonder though if his ability to get on base in both winter ball and AA will cause anyone to ponder giving him a shot in the big leagues.

Free Agent Watch: Nick Punto

Nick Punto posted a 1.5 WAR in 2011, even though he played in only 63 games.  He has a.97 WAR average over the past 3 years, worth 2.91 million according to Halladay Standard. The only year he really played full time (150 games in 2007) he had a -.7 WAR. In 2011, he had an OBP of .388, OPS of .809 (career highs), .68 PPG, and 2.63 PAPP. In his career, he has an OBP of .325, .652 OPS, .76 PPG, and 2.91 PAPP. Unless you believe that he will walk more than he will strike out again next season, his 2011 stats seem fluky. His BABIP (at .319) was one of the highest in his career and .021 points higher than his career average. For the first time in his career, he broke .100 on Isolated Slugging. At 33, it makes little sense to say that he has somehow gotten stronger. Baring banned substances, it is not really possible. It is much more likely that it is simply a small statistical size (166 PA). Instead, he is a below league average in both career OBP and career Slugging, hits more grounders than you would like, and can't hit the long ball. On the positive side, he walks more than league average, sees a lot of pitches and has a pretty good pitches per starter metric (a great 105.18 in 2011, not too bad 94.92 for his career). I don't see him playing really any other role than a back up utililty player, and he really shouldn't receive more than about a million and a half.

Free Agent Watch: Kei Igawa

Okay, "free agent watch" is really misleading. Yes, technically he will be a free agent, but it is extremely doubtful he will be picked up by a major league team. The Yankees signed him to a 5 year $20 million dollar deal, 5 years ago. The contract has finally mercifully ended. Igawa appeared in just 16 games, starting 13 for the big league club, all in 2007-2008. He was rather unimpressive, putting up a WAR of -1.This is of course, a historically bad WASP of 60,000 for his Yankee career. In that limited big league career, he had a pretty unimpressive PE of 4.738. In just 4 innings in 2008 (his last appearance in the big leagues), he had a BABIP of .542 and a FIP of 3.13 but was sent down anyway (his ERA was 13.50), never to return again. The Yankees may have given up on Igawa's major league career a little early. Igawa stuck through the Yankees minor league system through 2011, and had some success, as he had a PE of .6, mostly as a starter. That certainly isn't overwhelming, but it is solid and one wonders why the Yankees were paying him all that money (and with the Starting Pitching problems they had in 2011) and weren't giving him a chance every year. He did give up a HR every 9 innings, and that would be concerning at the very hitter friendly Yankee stadium. In 2006, his last year in Japan, he had an ERA of 2.97, 1.10 WHIP, and 194 Strikeouts. According to the Japanese Metric, he should have had a 3.58 ERA, 1.186 WHIP, and a 164 strikeouts a year. That obviously didn't work out, however, I am interested in his 2004 and 2005 stats. Both of those seasons his ERA was over 3.70 and in 2005 his WHIP was 1.5. This would suggest (once those 2 seasons were run through the Japanese metric) that he would not be a very good starting pitcher in the Majors. It is pretty apparent that the Yankees paid him for one year of success in Japanball, and made a pretty irrational choice with their money.

World Series Champion Arthur Rhodes

Arthur Rhodes was released by the Texas Rangers earlier in the year, and was signed by Cardinals. No matter who wins the World Series, he gets a ring. The Cardinals are only paying him $100,000. Rhodes has posted a .1 WAR in both Texas and St. Louis. For St. Louis, that is a very nice WASP of 1000. Texas gave him a 3.9 million dollar contract for 2011. On first blush, it would seem that he is a  victim of the home run friendly Ballpark in Arlington. In 18 games in the Ballpark of Arlington, he gave up an OBP of .367, OPS of .992, .326 BABIP, and 4 home runs in the 60 batters he faced. In St.Louis' home park, he is giving up just a .200 BAA. Rhodes certainly wasn't unlucky in Texas though, as his ERA was 4.81 but his FIP was 5.98. It certainly seems like he has been lucky and a beneficiary of good fielding as a Cardinal, as his FIP is pretty putrid at 5.68 (his normal ERA is 4.15), and his BABIP is extremely low at .182. While he gave up 2.22 HR/9IP as a Ranger, he has still given up 2.08 HR/9IP as a Cardinal (he hadn't given up anything close to that since 2004). Rhodes is certainly not the same pitcher he was in 2010 as a Red. Sometimes I guess that it is better to be lucky than good.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Free Agent Watch: Joel Zumaya

Despite injury in 2011, Joel Zumaya had a .8 WAR. He had a 3.4 WAR in 2006, and earned a 4.4 WAR in 5 seasons. This is an .88 WAR average, worth 2.64 million a year.  He actually made 925,000 in 2011. As a reliever, he earned -1.98 PE in 2011, and a -2.48 for his career. He also had a really nice TR of 11.78 in 2011. This is a really good reliever, however, one has to be very careful not to overpay relievers, as Zumaya's career average WAR would only be 1/49th of what is necessary (according to WAR) to make the playoffs. If a team has a 100 million dollar payroll (about the median of Major League payrolls), he is worth about 2 million dollars, not much lower than his worth according to the Halladay Standard. One thing that should concern potential suitors is that his career FIP is almost a full run over his ERA. That certainly has all the makings of a reliever who may turn out to be a disappointment. It is also unlikely he will repeat his 2006 (his first year) success, as his BABIP that year was a pretty unrealistic .246. The 4.94 ERA, 1.45 HR/9 2010 season also looms large. It is also unrealistic to expect that Zumaya will only give up home runs on only 2% of his flyballs. So one wonders if Zumaya will be a trap. I wouldn't give him more than 2 million dollars, and relievers have really been overvalued the past couple of years, so while he has been good, he can certainly be a trap for a big market team. 

The Koji trade, and deciphering what exactly happened to Uehara in Texas

Uehara roughly means "great control" in Japanese. For Orioles fans, this is extremely appropriate, for Ranger fans, Koji Uehara has struggled with just that. The reliever that was aquired at the trade deadline was left on the Texas Ranger's World Series roster after a mediocre last two months of the year and a horrible postseason. While he had a 2 WAR (awesome for a reliever) with the Orioles in 2011, he had just a .2 WAR with Texas (would be a .6 WAR if extended into a whole season). The Rangers traded for Uehara by shipping off two Major League players to Baltimore, Tommy Hunter and Chris Davis (Davis was technically in the minors at the time of the trade but has been in the majors for most of the last few seasons). Chris Davis was pretty pathetic with the Orioles with a -.5 WAR, while Tommy Hunter had a .6 WAR, adding up to a .1 WAR for the Orioles. This means that the Rangers barely won the trade down the stretch, but all 3 players are under contract for next season, so we will have to come back to this trade in the future. The Rangers had to pay 1 million of Koji's contract for this year, while Hunter and Davis made less than that combined. So the Rangers got slightly more production, while the Orioles got much better value. So what happened to Koji? In Baltimore he racked up an incredible -7.94 PE, while in Texas his PE was still really awesome at -6.529. In both places, he has struck out more than 11 per 9 innings. In Baltimore, his TR was the highest I have ever seen at almost 20! However, there were some things that probably should have caught the Rangers' eyes. In Baltimore, he averaged more than one homer per 9 innings, a little high. In Texas, that exploded to 2.5 HR/9IP. He is not the first pitcher to go to Texas and struggle with the longball. What should have been concerning, and I find it hard that Jon Daniels and company would have missed this, is that he is a flyball pitcher. It has been well documented that starter Colby Lewis, being a flyball pitcher, has an ERA of more than 2 higher at home. So why would the Rangers trade for a reliever that gave up 2 flyballs to every groundball in Baltimore? This doesn't mention that Uehara's great ERA was kind of fluky, with a FIP of about 1 higher than his ERA (still would be really good). We will see in the future if Uehara is able to adjust to the hitter friendly park that is the Ballpark in Arlington.

Taylor Buchholtz: Arbitration

Taylor Buchholtz has earned just a 1.1 WAR in 5 seasons. In 2011, he had a .4 WAR. Buchholtz is 30 years old, and will be a free agent in 2013 (He made $600,000 in 2011). Buchholtz is worth 1.2 million according to the Halladay Standard according to 2011 WAR. In 2010, he earned a .1 WAR with Blue Jays and Rockies. He has struggled with injuries, so perhaps this is inappropriate to calculate, but he only threw 12 innings in 2010 and 26 in 2011. If he pitched 200 innings in 2010 (with the same success), he would have earned a 1.67 WAR, and would have had a 3.08 WAR in 2011 using the same metric. It would be foolish to pay him expecting that, but it could make him underpaid, if only he can stay healthy. He had a -2.54 PE (all his appearances were as a reliever) in 2011, and a .66 in the same role in 2010. The small samples are certainly off-putting for one trying to gather statistics. As he is going into arbitration, it is hard to put a number on what would be too high for the Mets to want to keep him. It is also hard to measure what his trade value would be.

Trying to establish a college metric

There are about 350 players in the Majors that played Division 1 College Baseball. As college baseball drafting has become more important in the past decade (thanks to things like Moneyball), it seems crucial to develop a metric to measure the difference between Division 1 and the Major Leagues. I used Baseball Cube for the statistics, and they did not have most college stats before 2000, which is fine (I could have found them elsewhere), because we can stick to basically a decade of college baseball. I also did not include players that had a small number of at-bats at either the Majors or College. I excluded Rickie Weeks because his crazy numbers (3.9 PPG, .94 ABPP) would have skewed the data, and if anyone puts up those kinds of stats in college, of course you draft them. Anyone else missed is due to human error.
Alex Avila: In College: 1.95 ABPP (same as PAPP except using ABs instead of PAs for convenience purposes), 1.92 PPG, and 947 OPS. In Majors: 2.2 ABPP, .96 PPG, 815 OPS.
Matt Downs: In College: 2.25 ABPP, 1.7 PPG,and 822 OPS. In Majors: 2.68 ABPP, .65 PPG, and 741 OPS.
Trevor Crowe: In College: 1.75 ABPP, 2.19 PPG, and 1016 OPS. In Majors: 2.85 ABPP, .8 PPG, and 625 OPS
Nick Hundley: In College: 1.87 ABPP, 1.8 PPG, and 1004 OPS. In Majors: 2.71 ABPP, .9 PPG, and 734 OPS
Travis Buck: In College: 1.74 ABPP, 2.2 PPG, and 981 OPS. In Majors: 2.65 ABPP, .95 PPG, and 727 OPS.
Brooks Conrad: In College: 1.81 ABPP, 2.32 PPG, and 928 OPS. In Majors: 2.55 ABPP, .54 PPG, and 733 OPS.
Ike Davis: In College: 1.91 ABPP, 2.38 PPG, and 1015 OPS. In Majors: 2.23 ABPP, 1.19 PPG, and 817 OPS
Andre Ethier: In College: 1.68 ABPP, 2.18 PPG, and 1035 OPS. In Majors: 2.28 ABPP, 1.16 PPG, and 843 OPS.
Dustin Pedroia: In College: 1.83 ABPP, 2.1 PPG, and 1010 OPS. In Majors: 2.17 ABPP, 1.37 PPG, and 837 OPS
Brett Wallace: In College: 1.5 ABPP, 2.71 PPG, and 1197OPS. In Majors: 2.82 ABPP, .61 PPG, and 677 OPS.
Craig Gentry: In College: 2.09 ABPP, 1.57 PPG, and 846 OPS. In Majors: 2.35 ABPP, .75 PPG, and 620 OPS. 

David Murphy: In College: 1.89 ABPP, 1.85 PPG, and 967 OPS. In Majors: 2.37 ABPP, 1.08 PPG, and 786 OPS
Kelly Shoppach: In College: 1.8 ABPP, 2 PPG, and 1047 OPS. In Majors: 2.71 ABPP, .9 PPG, and 732 OPS.
Nolan Reimold: In College: 1.62 ABPP, 1.96 PPG, and 1127 OPS. In Majors: 2.322 ABPP, 1.08 PPG, and 779 OPS
Brent Morel: In College: 2.28 ABPP, 1.65 PPG, and 892 OPS. In Majors: 3.03 ABPP, .82 PPG, and 657 OPS.
Kurt Suzuki: In College: 1.68 ABPP, 1.88 PPG, and 1090 OPS. In Majors: 2.78 ABPP, .99 PPG, and 706 OPS
Justin Turner: In College: 2.2 ABPP, 1.65 PPG, and 823 OPS. In Majors: 2.76 ABPP, .85 PPG, and 666 OPS
John Baker: In College: 2.03 ABPP, 1.31 PPG, and 939 OPS. In Majors: 2.4 ABPP, .95 PPG, and 757 OPS.
Brennan Boesch: In College: 2.04 ABPP, 1.46 PPG, and 936 OPS. In Majors: 2.53 ABPP, 1.16 PPG, and 766 OPS.
Allen Craig: In College 2.11 ABPP, 1.56 PPG, and 867 OPS. In Majors: 2.34 ABPP, 1.03 PPG, and 842 OPS.
Conor Jackson: In College 1.71 ABPP, 2.01 PPG, and 1031 OPS. Majors: 2.38 ABPP, 1.01 PPG, and 757 OPS.
Xavier Nady: In College: 1.7 ABPP,  2.55 PPG, and 1074 OPS. Majors: 2.67 ABPP, .97 PPG, and 766 OPS
Tony Campana: In College: 1.84 ABPP, 1.97 PPG, and 784 OPS. Majors: 2.1 ABPP, .58 PPG, and 603 OPS.
Kevin Youkilis: In College: 1.19 ABPP, 3.14 PPG, and 1264 OPS. Majors: 2.07 ABPP, 1.4 PPG, and 883 OPS.
Jeff Baker: In College: 1.8 ABPP, 2.56 PPG, and 1048 OPS. In Majors: 2.63 ABPP, .78 PPG, and 758 OPS
Brett Gardner: In College: 1.64 ABPP, 2.36 PPG, and 963 OPS. In Majors: 2.08 ABPP, 1.14 PPG, and 721 OPS
Brian Bixler: In College: 1.65 ABPP, 2.36 PPG, and 1024 OPS. In Majors: 3.79 ABPP, .29 PPG, and 495 OPS.
Mark Ellis: In College: 2.08 ABPP, 2.18 PPG, and 914 OPS. In Majors: 2.59 ABPP, 1.05 PPG, and 728 OPS.
Matt LaPorta: In College: 1.62 ABPP, 2.25 PPG, and 1140 OPS. In Majors: 2.75 ABPP, 1.07 PPG, and 701 OPS
David Ross: In College: 2.05 ABPP, 1.41 PPG, and 916 OPS. In Majors: 2.44 ABPP, .8 PPG, and 768 OPS.
Stephen Drew: In College: 1.54 ABPP, 2.91 PPG, and 1177 OPS. In Majors: 2.54 ABPP, 1.09 PPG, and 773 OPS
Buster Posey: In College: 1.6 ABPP, 2.41 PPG, and 1113 OPS. In Majors: 2.41 ABPP, 1.18 PPG, and 815 OPS
Casey McGehee: In College: 2.16 ABPP, 1.59 PPG, and 883 OPS. In Majors: 2.63 ABPP, 1.08 PPG, and 746 OPS.
Gordon Beckham: In College: 2.29 ABPP, 2.36 PPG, and 1048 OPS. In Majors: 2.76 ABPP, .99 PPG, and 704 OPS.
Jeff Keppinger: In College: 1.68 ABPP, 2.19 PPG, and 1074 OPS. In Majors: 2.73 ABPP, .85 PPG, and 720 OPS
Mark Teixeira: In College: 1.21 ABPP, 3.26 PPG, and 1319 OPS. In Majors: 2.10 ABPP, 1.62 PPG, and 904 OPS.
Matt Wieters: In College: 1.58 ABPP, 2.19 PPG, and 1071 OPS. In Majors: 2.55 ABPP, .97 PPG, and 743 OPS.
Jason Bay: In College: 1.43 ABPP, 2.6 PPG, and 1150 OPS. In Majors: 2.06 ABPP, 1.48 PPG, and 863 OPS
Michael Bourn: In College: 1.67 ABPP, 1.81 PPG, and 802 OPS. In Majors: 2.23 ABPP, 1.07 PPG, and 694 OPS.
Rob Johnson: In College: 2.22 ABPP, 1.75 PPG and 868 OPS. In Majors: 3.17 ABPP, .57 PPG, and 573 OPS.
Chris Snyder: 1.68 ABPP, 2.04 PPG and 1035 OPS. In Majors: 2.41 ABPP, .87 PPG, and 727 OPS.
Daniel Murphy: 1.91 ABPP, 1.64 PPG, and 917 OPS. In Majors: 2.57 ABPP, .93 PPG, and 784 OPS
Emmanuel Burris: 1.83 ABPP, 1.91 PPG, and 797 OPS. In Majors: 2.74 ABPP, .64 PPG, 592 OPS.
Danny Espinosa: In College: 2.32 ABPP, 1.49 PPG, and 850 OPS. In Majors: 2.59 ABPP, 1.15 PPG, and 735 OPS.
Evan Longoria: In College: 1.92 ABPP, 1.56 PPG and 924 OPS. In Majors: 2.13 ABPP, 1.58 PPG, and 874 OPS.
Troy Tulowitzki: In College: 2.33 ABPP, 1.58 PPG and 873 OPS. In Majors: 2.19 ABPP, 1.51 PPG, and 869 OPS
Jonathan Lucroy: In College: 1.93 ABPP, 1.98 PPG and 1028 OPS. In Majors: 2.83 ABPP, .83 PPG and 674 OPS
Aaron Hill: In College: 1.81 ABPP, 2.14 PPG, and 1007 OPS. In Majors: 2.74 ABPP, 1.13 PPG, and 737 OPS.
Dan Uggla: In College: 1.74 ABPP, 2.14 PPG, and 1041 OPS. In Majors: 2.31 ABPP, 1.43 PPG, and 824 OPS
Ryan Braun: In College: 1.56 ABPP, 2.75 PPG, and 1121 OPS. In Majors: 2.01 ABPP, 1.78 PPG, and 933 OPS
Jon Jay: In College: 1.66 ABPP, 2.19 PPG, and 996 OPS. In Majors: 2.61 ABPP, .72 PPG and 773 OPS
Gaby Sanchez: In College: 2.12 ABPP, 1.94 PPG, and 881 OPS. In Majors: 2.36 ABPP, 1.07 PPG, and 786 OPS.
Danny Valencia: In College: 2.19 ABPP, 1.85 PPG, and 864 OPS. In Majors: 2.77 ABPP, .97 PPG, 720 OPS
Jemile Weeks: In College: 1.76 ABPP, 2.15 PPG, and 1000 OPS. In Majors: 2.59 ABPP, 1.13 PPG, and 761 OPS.
Chris Getz: In College: 1.83 ABPP, 1.72 PPG, and 877 OPS. In Majors: 2.59 ABPP, .86 PPG, and 622 OPS.
Michael McKenry: In College: 1.85 ABPP, 1.86 PPG, and 1016 OPS. In Majors: 3.3 ABPP, .47 PPG, and 577 OPS.
Mitch Moreland: In College: 1.92 ABPP, 1.46 PPG, and 955 OPS. In Majors: 2.46 ABPP, 1.03 PPG, and 758 OPS.
Craig Tatum: In College: 2.4 ABPP, 1.64 PPG, and 859 OPS. In Majors: 3.06 ABPP, .46 PPG and 554 OPS
Ian Kinsler: In College: 1.98 ABPP, 1.78 PPG, and 849 OPS. In Majors: 2.12 ABPP, 1.57 PPG, and 824 OPS
Alex Gordon: In College: 1.5 ABPP, 2.4 PPG, and 1140 OPS. In Majors: 2.38 ABPP, 1.18 PPG and 777 OPS
Chris Gimenez: In College: 2 ABPP, 1.77 PPG, and 1061 OPS. In Majors: 2.92 ABPP, .53 PPG, and 551 OPS
Brett Hayes: In College 2.1 ABPP, 1.99 PPG, and 903 OPS. In Majors: 2.95 ABPP, .6 PPG, and 701 OPS.
Dustin Ackley: In College: 1.54 ABPP, 2.45 PPG, and 1137 OPS. In Majors: 2.33 ABPP, .97 PPG, and 766 OPS.
Chris Iannetta: In College: 1.9 ABPP, 1.89 PPG, and 971 OPS. In Majors: 2.23 ABPP, 1.10 PPG, and 788 OPS.
Kyle Seager: In College: 1.91 ABPP, 1.81 PPG, and 968 OPS. In Majors: 2.8 ABPP, .77 PPG, and 691 OPS.
Nick Swisher: In College: 1.57 ABPP, 2.11 PPG, and 1064 OPS. In Majors: 2.16 ABPP, 1.3 PPG, and 826 OPS.
Jason Bartlett: In College: 2.29 ABPP, 1.54 PPG, and 776 OPS. In Majors: 2.51 ABPP, 1 PPG and 710 OPS.
Greg Dobbs: In College: 1.7 ABPP, 2.32 PPG, and 1145 OPS. In Majors: 2.8 ABPP, .6 PPG, and 713 OPS
Luke Scott: In College: 1.57 ABPP, 2.22 PPG and 1095 OPS. In Majors: 2.26 ABPP, 1.1 PPG, and 843 OPS.
Chris Coghlan: In College: 1.94 ABPP, 1.9 PPG, and 899 OPS. In Majors: 2.47 ABPP, 1.12 PPG, and 764 OPS.
Alex Presley: In College: 2.17 ABPP, 1.49 PPG, and 880 OPS. In Majors: 2.53 ABPP, .89 PPG, and 784 OPS.
Seth Smith: In College: 2.02 ABPP, 1.59 PPG, and 883 OPS. In Majors: 2.29 ABPP, .92 PPG and 833 OPS.
Matt Tolbert: In College: 2.26 ABPP, 1.29 PPG, and 758 OPS. In Majors: 3.01 ABPP, .61 PPG, and 607 OPS.
Darwin Barney: In College: 2.06 ABPP, 1.73 PPG, and 803 OPS. In Majors: 3.01 ABPP, .77 PPG, and 656 OPS.
Jacoby Ellsbury: In College: 1.66 ABPP, 2.16 PPG, and 985 OPS. In Majors: 2.13 ABPP, 1.58 PPG, and 807 OPS.
Eric Thames: In College: 1.78 ABPP, 2.19 PPG, and 1030 OPS. In Majors: 2.76 ABPP, 1.15 PPG, and 769 OPS
Danny Worth: In College: 2.42 ABPP, 1.39 PPG, and 803 OPS. In Majors: 3.11 ABPP, .43 PPG, and 648 OPS
Will Venable: In College: 1.93 ABPP, 1.96 PPG, and 906 OPS. In Majors: 2.37 ABPP, 1.08 PPG and 731 OPS
Mark Teahen: In College: 1.72 ABPP, 1.6 PPG, and 980 OPS. In Majors: 2.58 ABPP, 1 PPG, and 736 OPS
Tony Gwynn Jr. In College: 1.94 ABPP, 1.9 PPG, and 843 OPS. In Majors: 2.54 ABPP, .59 PPG, and 643 OPS
David Freese: In College: 1.71 ABPP, 2.4 PPG, and 1072 OPS. In Majors: 2.5 ABPP, 1.05 PPG, and 780 OPS.
Adam Lind: In College: 1.88 ABPP, 2.09 PPG, and 1039 OPS. In Majors: 2.61 ABPP, 1.25 PPG, and 782 OPS
Steve Pearce: In College 1.82 ABPP, 2.29 PPG, and 1098 OPS. In Majors: 2.8 ABPP, .63 PPG, and 668 OPS
Landon Powell: In College: 1.9 ABPP, 1.85 PPG, and 956 OPS. In Majors: 2.95 ABPP, .8 PPG, and 612 OPS
Justin Smoak: In College: 1.62 ABPP, 2.35 PPG, and 1105 OPS. In Majors: 2.53 ABPP, .94 PPG, and 701 OPS
Chris Carter: In College: 1.81 ABPP, 1.4 PPG, and 951 OPS. In Majors: 2.84 ABPP, .47 PPG, and 689 OPS
Jason Castro: In College: 2.13 ABPP, 1.5 PPG, and 857 OPS. In Majors: 3.05 ABPP, .54 PPG, 573 OPS.
Sam Fuld: In College: 2.04 ABPP, 1.81 PPG, and 874 OPS. In Majors: 2.45 ABPP, .6 PPG, and 685 OPS
Jed Lowrie: In College: 1.77 ABPP, 1.97 PPG, and 994 OPS. In Majors: 2.58 ABPP, .97 PPG, and 732 OPS
John Mayberry: In College: 2.08 ABPP, 1.84 PPG, and 908 OPS. In Majors: 2.35 ABPP, .92 PPG, and 846 OPS
Carlos Quentin: In College: 1.95 ABPP, 2.08 PPG, and 1004 OPS. In Majors: 2.41 ABPP, 1.37 PPG, and 836 OPS
Chris Johnson: In College: 1.88 ABPP, 2 PPG, and 1030 OPS. In Majors: 2.91 ABPP, .9 PPG, and 725 OPS.
J.P. Arencibia: In College: 2.02 ABPP, 1.98 PPG, and 965 OPS. In Majors: 2.9 ABPP, 1.13 PPG, and 706 OPS.
Chase Headley: In College: 1.61 ABPP, 1.7 PPG, and 1024 OPS. In Majors: 2.42 ABPP, .95 PPG, and 735 OPS.
 Omar Quintanilla: In College: 2.04 ABPP, 2.01 PPG, and 915 OPS. In Majors: 3.39 ABPP, .45 PPG, and 552 OPS.
Drew Stubbs: In College: 1.76 ABPP, 2.2 PPG, and 923 OPS. In Majors: 2.3 ABPP, 1.35 PPG, and 731 OPS.
Cliff Pennington: In College: 1.81 ABPP, 1.87 PPG, and 899 OPS. In Majors: 2.55 ABPP, .92 PPG, and 695 OPS.
Justin Ruggiano: In College: 2.03 ABPP, 1.71 PPG, and 897 OPS. In Majors: 3.2 ABPP, .55 PPG, and 621 OPS.
Mitch Maier: In College: 1.56 ABPP, 2.54 PPG, and 1118 OPS. In Majors: 2.61 ABPP, .68 PPG, and 678 OPS.
Casper Wells: In College: 1.86 ABPP, 2.1 PPG, and 1106 OPS. In Majors: 2.57 ABPP, .81 PPG, and 801 OPS.
Brian Bogusevic: In College: 2.03 ABPP, 1.72 PPG, and 896 OPS. In Majors:2.53 ABPP, .51 PPG, and 767 OPS.
Daniel Delscalso: In College: 1.93 ABPP, 1.63 PPG, and 932 OPS. In Majors: 2.73 ABPP, .48 PPG, and 683 OPS
Skip Schumaker: In College: 1.8 ABPP, 1.61 PPG, and 914 OPS. In Majors: 2.57 ABPP, .75 PPG, 724 OPS.
Ryan Spilborghs: In College: 1.78 ABPP, 2.02 PPG, and 960 OPS. In Majors: 2.4 ABPP, .83 PPG, and 768 OPS
Drew Butera: In College: 2.21 ABPP, 1.39 PPG, and 800 OPS. In Majors: 4.37 ABPP, .5 PPG, and 481 OPS
Brandon Crawford: In College: 2.08 ABPP, 1.84 PPG, and 891 OPS. In Majors: 3.06 ABPP, .71 PPG, and 584 OPS
Ben Francisco: In College: 1.93 ABPP, 2.32 PPG, and 903 OPS. In Majors: 2.51 ABPP, .93 PPG, and 762 OPS.
Chase Utley: In College: 1.83 ABPP, 2.62 PPG, and 1039 OPS. In Majors: 2.12 ABPP, 1.55 PPG, and 882 OPS.
Lucus Duda: In College: 2.23 ABPP, 1.18 PPG, and 784 OPS. In Majors: 2.42 ABPP, .98 PPG, and 815 OPS.
Hunter Pence: In College: 1.92 ABPP, 1.93 PPG, and 1006 OPS. In Majors: 2.39 ABPP, 1.33 PPG, and 828 OPS
Ryan Roberts: In College: 1.56 ABPP, 2.41 PPG, and 1182 OPS. In Majors: 2.35 ABPP, .95 PPG, and 748 OPS
Scott Sizemore:  In College: 1.86 ABPP, 2.04 PPG, and 948 OPS. In Majors: 2.48 ABPP, 1 PPG, and 711 OPS.
Mark Reynolds: In College: 2.04 ABPP, 2.07 PPG, and 900 OPS. In Majors: 2.25 ABPP, 1.46 PPG, and 815 OPS.
Ryan Zimmerman: In College: 2.1 ABPP, 1.76 PPG, and 942 OPS. In Majors: 2.31 ABPP, 1.35 PPG, and 834 OPS.
Brent Lillibridge: In College: 1.72 ABPP, 2.18 PPG, and 1028 OPS. In Majors: 2.78 ABPP, .72 PPG, and 671 OPS.
Adam Rosales: In College: 1.89 ABPP, 1.75 PPG, and 875 OPS. In Majors: 2.98 ABPP, .65 PPG, and 630 OPS.
Andy Dirks: In College: 1.67 ABPP, 2.22 PPG, and 970 OPS. In Majors: 2.88 ABPP, .95 PPG, and 703 OPS.
The 117 players averaged a 1.87 ABPP, 2.01 PPG, and 982 OPS in College. In the Majors: 2.59 ABPP, .95 PPG, and 732 OPS. On average, players add .72 to their ABPP and lose -1.06 PPG and .250 from their OPS from Division 1 to the Majors. I will use this metric to grade current college players.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Free Agent Watch: Kelly Johnson

Kelly Johnson 1.1 WAR in 2011 with the Blue Jays/Diamondbacks. 2011 was a down year though, as he has a 2.52 WAR average in his career. Made $5.85 million in 2011, which is a 5318 WASP. Traded by Diamondbacks for Aaron Hill and John McDonald. Johnson had a .9 WAR for the Blue Jays. Aaron Hill registered a .6 WAR with the Diamondbacks, and McDonald had an even 0 WAR, meaning that the Jays won the trade as far as this year is concerned. His career offensive numbers look like this: .343 OBP, 784 OPS, 2.68 PAPP, 1.17 PPG. In 2011: .304 OBP, .717 OPS, 2.89 PAPP, and 1.16 PPG. While he wasn't near as efficient as usual, he still put up the same production. He had a BABIP of just .277 in 2010, while his career is .311. His Secondary Average and ISO were slightly higher in 2011 than his career number. This certainly is promising for a bounce-back year in 2012. His numbers were considerably better in Toronto than in Arizona, as his Offensive Winning Percentage suggests (.583 in Toronto and .469 in Arizona). In his career, he has a 96.45 Pitches per Starter metric, while he still had a 94.59 in 2011. I don't think he is worth the 7 million dollars WASP for his career would suggest, but he takes pitches, 2011 seems to have been an anomaly, and he is productive. There doesn't seem to be any reason to not give this guy a couple million dollars in free agency.

Free Agent Watch: Brad Hawpe

Brad Hawpe had a -6 WAR in 2011 for the San Diego Padres. In 7 years with the Rockies, Hawpe had a 3.3 WAR. To show you just how bad his defense was, he actually had a 11.2 O-WAR. He made $17.645 million in Colorado, giving him a 5347 WASP according to his full WAR, but a 1575 WASP according to his O-WAR. This certainly makes you consider him as a DH option for an AL team. However, his 2011 season is concerning: .301 OBP, 645 OPS, .68 PPG, and 3.18 PAPP. 2010 wasn't much better: .83 PPG, 2.78 PAPP, .338 OBP, .748, which is pretty mediocre. In Colorado, he had 4 straight years of .380+ OBP. So what happened? He had the highest AB/HR ratio in his career in 2011, hit slightly less groundballs in '11 than he did in 2010, and was around career average. In 2010, he also had a career low in BABIP, while it was around career average in 2011. Remember, all his good years were in Colorado, still a notorious hitters park. 2011 was with the Padres, one of the biggest pitcher's park in the league. He struggled with the lowest career Secondary Average, Slugging, and Isolated Slugging. It would be tempting to say he is somewhere between his Colorado and San Diego numbers, but he was terrible in a small sample in Tampa in 2010. His 2011 Offensive Win Percentage was a miserable .360%. In the good news department, he has always seen a lot of pitches: 4.14 pit/PA in 2010, 4.31 pit/PA in 2011, and 4.07 for his career. This gives you hope. He actually had a 100.93 pitches per starter metric in 2011, 99.7 in 10, and 100.22 in his career. This puts him in the same class as Matt Kemp. He can make a pitcher work and that is under valued. There are two major questions to answer that are extremely important to answer. Firstly, is Brad Hawpe a Colorado Rockies' Coors Field fluke (and what does that say about Todd Helton's "Hall of Fame" career)? His last full year in Colorado was in 2009, and there was a difference between his home and road splits. At Home: .397 OBP, 917 OPS, .395 BABIP, and 1.39 PPG. On the Road: .372 OBP, .890 OPS, .320 BABIP, and 1.26 PPG. He was clearly better in Colorado, however, his numbers on the road weren't as bad as his 2010/2011 numbers. So it is hard to call it a Coors Field fluke, tons of players would love his 2009 road statistics (so maybe Helton is safe). Also, how much will Hawpe command as a free agent? Will the last two seasons make him cheap (which, if true, could be a steal and valuable) or will his previous success command a lot of money? I wouldn't go more than a million and maybe another half, and only if I were an AL team, but I think he could be valuable. Even if forced to play the field, if he returns to Colorado form, a million and a half would be right around Halladay Standard.

Twins Prospect Brian Dozier

In 10 games in the Arizona Fall League, SS Brian Dozier has a .408 OBP, .872 OPS, 1.95 ABPP, and 2.2 PPG. Has a .400 OBP against both lefties and righties, and a over 1.000 OPS against rigthies. In the minors, Dozier has had a .382 OBP, .802 OPS, 1.21 PPG, and a 2.54 PAPP. These are overwhelming statistics, but they are solid for minor league statistics. In AA in 2011, his OBP was over .380 and had an OPS of almost .900. His fielding statistics are less than ideal, and he has been best at 2nd base. In college (Southern Miss.), Dozier had a .426 OBP, .917 OPS, 2 ABPP, and 1.7 PPG. Again, those aren't dominating numbers, but they are very solid. He seems to be sort of a steal in the 8th round of the draft. He appears to be ready (or close to ready) for the Majors, and we know that the Twins need help on the
middle infield.

The Future of B.J. Upton

Rays outfielder B.J. Upton is Arbitration Elgible. In 2011, he earned a 3.8 WAR, which, according to the Halladay Standard, is worth 11.4 million. That production is about 1/11th of what is needed to win 95 games. For the Rays with a 42 million dollar payroll, they can only afford to spend 3.697 million on that kind his production. Upton made about 5 million in 2011, and will obviously make more in 2012, and he will be a free agent after the 2012 season.  Upton's career average is 2.41 WAR. That would be worth 7.24 million (but that factors in that his first two seasons were really unproductive). How much Upton actually receives in arbitration will really determine his trade value. There is a good chance he will still be underpaid and command a lot of value for teams. Upton's career numbers include a .342 OBP, .759 OPS, 1.37 PPG, and a 2.48 PAPP. These aren't overwhelming numbers, but they are solid. He has a nice Secondary Average of .334, but a not very good ISO of .159. He is really an average power hitter. His pitches per starter metric is pretty solid at 95.2. My hunch is that he is valued more than he is actually worth by many teams, because scouts have always really liked Upton. It makes sense for the Rays to trade him, if they are able to get a good package of players. He is a really nice player that most teams should want in their lineup, but the Rays are always in a pickle with these kind of players, it doesn't make sense to spend the money to keep them on their payroll. Instead, they have to try to move him to get pre-arbitration players that can contribute and make up for the lost wins. Considering that his 3.8 WAR was 1/11th of what is needed to make the playoffs, they can use 2 or 3 players to give them that production at a much cheaper price.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Are the Tigers making the same mistake as the Twins at catcher?

During the ALCS we heard all about the toll a season took on a catcher as we watched Alex Avila limp around and be totally ineffective. We also witnessed the absolute destruction of one of the games most talented, Joe Mauer, in the 2011 season. Outside of a linemen in football, it is hard to find a more strenuous and demanding position that catcher. Many teams start their best one 3 games and their backup 2 games in a row. It isn't hard to see why Mauer fell apart, look at his stats from 2005 (his first full year) on:
2005: 131 G 554 PA 3.4 WAR
06: 140 605 7
07: 109 471 4.6
08: 146 633 8.7
09: 138 606 7.9
10: 137 584 5.9
11: 82 333 1.7

Compare to Alex Avila:
10: 104 353 .2
11: 141 551 5.4

Joe Mauer now suffers from a rare kind of leg weakness and the best days of his career are already sadly behind him. The numbers above clearly show that they just rode him too much. The Tigers of all teams, division rivals of the Twins, should know not to kill their catcher like that. If Mauer is any indication, they can ride him like this for about 2 years, but then its over. Surely the front office will step in and not let this happen.