Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Reviewing the Iannetta-Chatwood trade

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

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

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

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

Should the Orioles sign Renyel Pinto?

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

How much value does Maicer Izturis have?

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

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Diamondbacks (maybe) sign Jensen Lewis

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

The Royals sign Jonathan Broxton

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

How we did: Week 12 NFL Picks

Big D in Bold. I in Italics

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

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

Nationals sign Carlos Maldonado

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

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Rays sign Jose Molina

The Rays finished a deal that had been in the works for over a week, by signing Jose Molina to a 2 year 1.5 million dollar deal. Molina had a .342 OBP, 103 OPS +, and 1.783 O4S in 2011. This was done in a relatively small sample (55 games), and with a BABIP of .363. That is so distorting that it makes most of his 2011 offensive statistics absolutely useless (his career BABIP is .293). His career high .9 O-WAR should probably be dismissed (not in the sense that he didn't actually earn it, but in the sense that you cannot rely on this in the future). His walk rate was even distorted, as he walked 7.9% of the time, versus his normal 5% (both are below league average by the way). He homered around average at 1.6% of the time (versus his 1.5% norm), below league average (which is like 2.7%). As he has never seen 300 Plate Appearances in a season (he has played in 12 seasons), looking at individual seasons aren't real helpful. Russell Carleton has argued and shown that OBP and SLG usually stabilizes around 500 PA, so anything smaller than that is, well, small. So it really only makes sense to look at his career statistics. He has just a 3.4 WAR in his 12 years, worth all of 850,000 a year. He actually has a -.3 O-WAR (obviously meaning he has a 3.7 D-WAR). However, there was a recent interesting study that suggests he may be worth more defensively than WAR lists. This Mike Fast Baseball Prospectus piece showed that a catcher's ability to frame strikes vastly changes from catcher to catcher. According to his study, Molina was the most valuable and actually saved 35 runs every 120 games. If this is true, then that is worth 3.5 wins according to WAR formula, but not necessarily worth 3.5 WAR. WAR implies a .320 winning percentage, not 0 wins, so how could we convert that into WAR? Out of the catchers (basically all the catchers that have had major playing time in the past few years) that Fast surveyed, they had a total of 5 runs saved over 120 games. So it does seem fair to just ignore the .320 winning percentage and say that a replacement catcher would not be negative (as many starting catchers are) but neither positive. However, we can't just tack on 3.5 WAR on Molina, because it is for 120 games, which Molina most certainly won't play. Let's assume he plays half of that (60 games), which would put it at 1.75 WAR. This alone would be worth way more than the contract. He is about replacement level on offense, but is a good defender and if Fast is right, an amazing catcher. It appears overall that this is a good deal, and they have went all in with this by the recent John Jaso trade (which I recently graded).

Should the Cubs trade Randy Wells?

Randy Wells had just a .6 WAR in 2011. However, he had a 2.27 WAR average over the past 3 years (his only 3 full years in the big leagues). He is arbitration eligible, and is projected to make about 2.25 million dollars. This would be a very good 1101 WASP. 2011 was not a very good year for Wells, as he had a 3.57 PE and 3.69 adjusted PE. He did this despite only having a .275 BABIP. He had a TR of just above 6.5, and struggled with the longball at 1.53 HR/9IP. In his career, he has a PE of 2.03 and TR of 8.79. Neither of those numbers are impressive, but he is a groundball pitcher that has a mediocre SIERA of 4.33. He is probably about a 3 or 4 starter in a rotation, but, at least according to the WAR he has been putting up, he is underpaid. The Bill James protections have him putting up a 1.83 PE in 2012, which may be a little kind, as it gave him more strikeouts that usual. Wells is basically an average pitcher that isn't very impressive, but not bad at all as his ERA - (97) and FIP - (102) show. I don't see him having a lot of trade value, and with the problems the Cubs have had with pitching, I don't see the reason for them trying to move him.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The John Jaso Trade

The Rays have traded John Jaso to the Mariners for Josh Lueke and a player to be named later (or cash). Jaso had a .2 WAR in 2011, and 2.4 career WAR in 687 PA. This would be about a 2.1 WAR in 600 PA (a full season, although a catcher would probably have much less). Jaso is not even arbitration eligible and should make minimum salary. He has a -.8 D-WAR, and well below average Range Factor at 6.4. Offensively, he has a .340 OBP, 99 OPS +, and 1.725 O4S. He has done this despite having a .266 BABIP, even though he is an average line drive and flyball hitter. It is not crazy to suggest he is due for some BABIP luck or at least normalcy. His Secondary Average is pretty poor at .266, and he has an ISO of just .119. His offensive winning percentage is .466, with 4.3 Runs created per game. He is an under average home run hitter at 1.5% and hits extra base hits at a low percentage as well. He is a above average walker, at 12.2%, a very solid number along with a good PPS of 98.4. The Rays received Josh Lueke. Before we can look at Lueke's statistics, I have to provide a disclaimer. Lueke was accused of rape in 2009, it appears that is basically over and he won't be serving any kind of time for it, but it is still a question an organization must ask. Should an organization acquire players with criminal pasts? How scared should they be that the player will repeat offend? Or is it a case by case basis? I don't really know the answer to it, and this is a baseball statistics blog, so you probably don't care what my opinion is anyway. So now on to the fun stuff: what kind of pitcher is Lueke? He pitched in the Majors for the first time in 2011, appearing in 25 games and had a -.4 WAR. He had a bad PE of 2.15, but his adjusted PE was -.67, pretty solid. His TR wasn't really impressive at 8.27, but his SIERA was 3.58. For what it's worth, Bill James protections have him with a -2.8 PE next year, which would make him not quite an elite reliever, but a very good one. In his AAA career, he has pitched exclusively in the PCL, a much more hitter friendly league than the International League. There he had a -2.24 PE, or an expected PE of .29, unimpressive for a reliever. However, with the numbers being PCL, you have to argue that his expected numbers should be better than that. One could also dismiss the statistics as small sample size, as it is just under 60 innings. Either way, I think a lot of this trade is going to depend on the Player to be named later. Jaso is a player who can have a 2 WAR season on minimum salary, and as solid of a reliever as Lueke should be, it is not extremely likely he will rack up that kind of WAR. This doesn't  mention the factor of the criminal record, which I don't know how to measure (there is a reason I haven't written a Carlos Zambrano article). At least initially, I would say the edge goes to the Mariners.

Free Agent Watch: Luis Ayala

Rumors are now swirling that teams like the Rays and Red Sox are interested in reliever Luis Ayala, who pitched for the Yankees in 2011. Ayala had a 1.4 WAR in 56 innings, worth 4.2 million dollars according to the Halladay Standard. Even though his 2011 ERA was 2.09, his FIP was 4.19. To give you an idea of how that might affect WAR, his teammate Hector Noesi had the exact same amount of innings pitched (actually 1/3rd of an inning more) with an ERA of 4.47. His WAR was .4, so Ayala's 1.4 WAR has holes in it, but it would still be better than a .4 WAR (FanGraphs gave him just a .2 WAR, but I don't think thats fair, and I trust Baseball Reference more). He didn't even pitch in the Majors in 2010, after a -.7 WAR campaign with the Twins and Marlins in 2009. This was after a horrible 2008 season where he had a -1.3 WAR. This makes projections really tough, but first we should look at his 2011 numbers. He had a solid -.45 PE, but his adjusted PE was 1.65, pretty bad for a reliever. His SIERA was a pretty good 3.77, and his TR was awesome at 10.82. Even in the little bitty Yankee Stadium, he only gave up .8 HR/9IP. He did this by getting groundballs (1.64 GB/FB), and not really by strikeouts (6.27 K/9IP). But what about projections? I find the Bill James' projections interesting, as it has him with an ERA of 4.43 and a PE of 2.47. In short, he won't be very good. It is most probable that he will be vastly overvalued, and probably shouldn't be given much more than minimum salary.

Toronto trades for Valbuena

Toronto has traded for Luis Valbuena from the Cleveland Indians for cash considerations. Valbuena has a -.7 WAR in parts of 4 seasons (806 PA). He is a bad defender, with a -1.1 D-WAR for his career. His career offensive statistics look like this: .286 OBP, 72 OPS +, and 1.488 O4S. He isn't arbitration eligible yet, so he will play for the new minimum salary of $ 480,000. Just 25, so he could still improve as he hasn't hit his prime yet. Secondary Average of just .197. 3.3 Runs Created per Game and .326 Offensive Winning percentage. One could point out that he has just a .272 and could be due for a progression. He is a below average walker at 7.3%, as well as a below average home run hitter and extra base hitter. His Pit/PA is at league average, and with his dismal OBP, he has a PPS of just 88.66. However he does have good minor league numbers. In 2011, with Cleveland's AAA team, a International League team, he played 113 games, getting a .372 OBP, 2.45 PAPP, 1.43 PPG, and 3.35 Simple WAR. Through the AAA metric, we can expect Valbuena's numbers to be something like this in the Majors: .326 OBP, 3.02 PAPP, 1.03 PPG, and 1.86 WAR. These aren't overly impressive, but these numbers are much better than what he has shown in the pros so far. Since he is not quite in his prime yet, someone could argue rather convincingly that we can expect those numbers. However, he does have over 800 PA, so there is at least a good chance that he is a AAAA type player. Toronto didn't give up hardly anything for him, so this could actually turn out to be a good depth move. Even if turns out that Valbuena can't play, its not as if they have poured a big investment into him. So certainly this is a low risk low reward move.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Free Agent Watch: Wei-Ying Chen

Japanese pitcher Wei-Ying Chen pitched just 16 innings in 2011 due to injury. So we will instead look at his 2008-2010 statistics. In that time, he had a -2.14 PE.
Through the metric we used in the original Yu Darvish article, we can project Wei-Ying Chen to have these Major League numbers: 1.162 WHIP 3.02 ERA and 6.072 K/9IP. This would be roughly a .32 PE. To give you an idea of starting pitchers with these kind of numbers, this would be in the territory of Jeremy Hellickson, C.C. Sabathia, and Hiroki Kuroda's 2011 campaigns. Perhaps this is why teams like the Orioles, Yankees, and Cubs are foaming at the mouth to bring in Chen. Perhaps the best news is that the expected contract would be about $20MM over four years. Getting a very quality starting pitcher for 5 million dollars a year (look at how much the Yankees are paying Sabathia) is quite a bargain. I would sign him for that, and probably even go a little more if the bidding goes up.

Hong-Chih Kou: Arbitration

MLB Trade Rumors projects Hong-Chih Kuo getting 2.5 million dollars in arbitration. All Kuo would need to do is get a .83 WAR to meet the Halladay Standard. In his 7 seasons, he has a 4.1 WAR, or 1 WAR every 71 innings. So one would think if he pitches normally, he will get that .83 WAR in about 60 innings. In his 5 real seasons (excluding his first year, where he pitched just 5.1 innings), he averages about 57.1 innings, meaning that is very doable. However, 2011 was hardly a normal year for Kuo. He had a WAR of -1.4 despite only throwing 27 innings. He had a PE of 1.161 (which is not good for a reliever, gave up a .395 OBP, and a horrific TR of 3.3. It is hard to get by these numbers and it is tempting to scream "get rid of him". However, like most things in life, things are more complicated that this. His adjusted PE actually sits at -3.899, which is late inning type efficiency. He strikes out a ton of people at 10.62 K/9IP. He struggled with BABIP in 2011 at .323 (career .289), and that didn't help things. The big problem he had in 2011 was walks. He walked 7.67 BB/9IP, compared to his career average of 3.91. This is really strange. Very rarely do walk rates jump like this. Before the season ended, he went in to have elbow surgery. This is probably the best explanation, but it also makes health a serious concern going forward. When someone has an ERA of exactly 9, it is hard to tell people that he didn't actually pitch that bad. He did have a SIERA of exactly 4. He wasn't that bad I promise. The Bill James projections have his numbers returning to some kind of normality in 2012, giving him a -4.22 PE and a FIP of 3.2. I would pretty much agree, as long as Kuo is healthy and that is a big question. We have to realize that Kuo has basically no trade value after his terrible ERA 2011 and elbow problems. This is why it is smart for the Dodgers to hang on to him.

Free Agent Watch: David DeJesus

David DeJesus was a big disappointment for the Athletics in 2011. He came into the year having a .360 OBP, with a .384 OBP in 2010. He rewarded the Athletics by posting a .323 OBP for his 6 million dollar salary. Despite having a WAR average of 3.27 from 08-10, he had a WAR of just .6 in 2011 (a horrible WASP of 10000). So what happened? His walk rate stayed about the same (actually a slight improvement) at 8.9%, but he hit less extra base hits than usual (just 6.9%). One could say he made up for that by homering 2 % of the time (instead of his normal 1.7%). As one would expect, he was a pretty big victim of BABIP, as it sat at .274 instead of his normal .316. Even though he hit more flyballs, he hit a lot less line drives. He saw exactly the same amount of pitches per plate appearance he  saw in 2011. This is all leads me to believe that 2012 should be a bounce back season for DeJesus. This usually means, although free agency season has been pretty wacky so far, that he will be undervalued. DeJesus Secondary Average and Isolated Slugging are both pretty terrible, as his career numbers are .233 and .137 respectively. With that said, he has 5.3 Runs Created per Game and a .528 offensive winning percentage. He has a career PPS of 93.73, and could be valuable in any lineup. The way he played in 08-10 was worth over 9 million dollars, and while I would hesitate to pay that much, he is a free agent worth considering.

How much is Yonder Alonso worth?

The rumor mill states that the Reds are shopping Yonder Alonso around for pitching help. Alonso has a career WAR of .5 in 127 PA, a 2.36 WAR when adjusted to 600 PA. This is easily worth the 1 million dollars he will make in 2012 (even the .5 would be worth the million dollars). Defensively, at all 3 positions he has played, he is below average according to Range Factor. Offensively, some of his numbers are pretty impressive, such as his .354 OBP, 124 OPS +, and 1.961 O4S. However, his Secondary Average is very unimpressive at .265. Despite this, his Offensive Winning Percentage is .653 and has a 6.3 Runs Created per Game. He has homered nearly 4% of the time, which is very good, but has walked slightly below average at 7.9%. He is also below average at seeing pitches, with a 3.73 Pit/PA, giving him about an about average PPS of 90.9. However, we have to put these statistics in the context of a .370 BABIP. With that high of a BABIP, and such a small sample size, his Major League statistics are basically worthless. He did play 192 games in AAA Louisville, an International League team. There, he had a .364 OBP, 1.29 PPG, 2.5 PAPP, and 2.89 Simple WAR. According to our international league metric, he should have a 1.4 yearly WAR, .318 OBP, 3.07 PAPP, and .89 PPG. So his minor league numbers show that his Major League success is fluky. Players that put up the statistics that he is projected to put up are really common and not worth a whole lot. He will have more value that the 1 million he will be paid next year, so in that sense he will be undervalued. However, as far as a trade chip, he is clearly overvalued, especially if some people are saying there could be a straight up trade for him and James Shields. That is absurd.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Athletics hire Chili Davis

The Athletics have hired Chili Davis as hitting coach. The Athletics offense has been pretty anemic the past couple of seasons. There is no way to tell if someone will be a good hitting coach or not besides looking at past experiences (and that can be misleading, give me the Yankees and I will look like an excellent hitting coach). However, Chili Davis was just the kind of hitter sabermatricians love. Despite an unimpressive batting average of .274, he had a career .360 OBP and 120 OPS +. He sported a .320 Secondary Average and 5.6 Runs Created per game. He saw a decent amount of pitches at 3.79 Pit/PA, and walked 11.9% of the time. Of course, just because one is good at a craft (and Chili Davis was good at the craft of hitting) doesn't mean he can teach it.

Pirates sign several

The Pirates signed several different players to minor league and non-roster invite contracts. This is, of course, the lowest risk type of signing you can have, so you don't expect to find the next Albert Pujols or Roy Halladay in these kinds of signings. The question is whether or not you can find players of value to sign to these kind of contracts. First, Jake Fox, who has a -.8 career WAR in 534 PA, which would be about a full season worth of plate appearances. Most of this is his poor defense, a -.6 D-WAR, with hardly any real position, playing everything but SS, 2nd, and CF. There is a reason he plays all those positions, he is below average at every single one of them according to Range Factor. But his hitting is also below replacement level at a -.2 O-WAR. His OBP is just .288, with a OPS + of 87, and a Secondary Average of .243. He does have an Isolated Slugging of .188, which is decent but he is a way below average walker and has an offensive winning percentage of .413.
Next is Brandon Boggs. In 382 PA, he has an even 0 WAR. He plays every outfield position, but under league average according to Range Factor and Fielding Percentage. His OBP is .315, with an OPS + of 83. He has a good Secondary Average of .328, with 4.4 Runs Created per game (but just a .449 Offensive Winning Percentage). He is a great walker at 12.8%, an average home run hitter and an above average extra base hitter. He sees a very high Pit/PA of 4.33, giving him a PPS of 102.49, which is very good. There is certainly value there.
They also added Kyle Cofield, but I profiled him when he was released by the White Sox.
Shairon Martis had 2 years of experience with the Nationals, throwing 106.1 innings, basically all as a starter. He has a WAR of .1, PE of 4.38, adjusted PE of 4.59, and SIERA of 5.49.
Stefan Welch has been exclusively a minor league hitter, spending 5 different seasons in different levels of A ball. He has had a .337 OBP, 1.76 04S, and 2.99 PAPP. He walks just 7.6% of the time, and homers just 1.9%. A profoundly mediocre A ball player.
Lastly, Jose Diaz has pitched just 7.2 major league innings, and at least as far as I can see, didn't pitch in 2011.

Is Boxberger ready to be a big league closer?

With the Free Agency of Francisco Cordero, there are rumors that the Reds may promote a closer from within. I like this strategy a whole lot better than overpaying a big name like the Rangers did with Joe Nathan and the Phillies with Papelbon. This strategy has worked for teams like the Rangers with Neftali Feliz, and even the Red Sox with Papelbon several years ago. The prevalent name in circles that follow the Reds is Brad Boxberger. So with only minor league statistics to guide us, can we see tell if he will be a good Major League reliever? He has spent 2 seasons in the minor leagues and in 153.2 innings, and has a -4.71 PE (with BABIPs of .233, .241, .392, and .329). More importantly, he threw 27.2 innings for the AAA affiliate of the Reds, an International League team. This means we can use the metric previously formulated here. Boxberger had a -6.03 PE and -5.8 Adjusted PE, predicting that he would have somewhere between a -3.5 PE to -3.27 PE in the Majors. Of course, negative is good, but for comparison, Madson had a -3.44 (adjusted) PE in 2011, Marmol a -4.65, and Papelbon has a career -5.3 PE. So Boxberger projects to be among some of the elite closers/relief pitchers in the game. There are a couple of questions though, the above is a very small sample size, and his BABIP was extremely low at .233. FIP still has him at a 3.16 (that is why there is much of a change in adjusted PE), but he walked nearly 5 batters every 5 inning. This makes you question the validity of many of the AAA statistics. However, his overall minor league statistics (a decent sized sample), and his success in the very hitter friendly Arizona Fall League (-5.68 in 13.1 innings, obviously another small sample size) lead me to believe that it would be much smarter to use Boxberger as a closer than spending a bunch of money on a free agent closer (frankly, the market seems to set up to overpay closers). If Boxberger doesn't work out during the season, you can always try to trade for one (if the Reds are in contention). But even if Boxberger is only half as effective as Papelbon in 2012 (he projects to be better than that), he will still be making 3.8% of Papelbon's salary.

Should the Padres trade Orlando Hudson?

The Padres, a team that doesn't spend a lot of money (this seems to be by choice rather than by ability), is reportedly thinking about moving Orlando Hudson. He is scheduled to make 5.5 million in 2012. That is quite a problem, because he had a 4000 WASP (over the Halladay Standard of 3000) with a 4 million dollar salary. Over the past 3 years, he has had a 2.23 WAR, which would be a 2466 WASP for his 2012 salary. So was he poor 2011 season (1 WAR) an aberration, or is that what we should expect from Hudson from now on? For one, he had a career worst D-WAR in 2011, at -.7. I don't find defensive statistics very predictive, but at age 33, it is very likely that his defensive skills has diminished (his Range Factor was certainly poorer). So we will assume a -.7 D-WAR for 2012 to stay on the safe side (he has a 1.6 D-WAR in his 10 year career, so we will keep the number .16 around for theoretical purposes as well). In his 10 year career, he has a 20.1 O-WAR, so an average of 2.01 O-WAR (for the record, his Simple WAR is 1.42 for his career). In 2011, his O-WAR was 1.7 (His Simple WAR was .35). At his 2012 salary, Hudson will be about 12 percent of San Diego's salary. This means that, to justify his percentage of salary (assuming the Padres are trying to win 95 games), he would have to have a WAR of 5.23 according to my (sometimes shaky) math. Of course, Hudson has never come close to this. He would actually only need 1.83 WAR to meet the Halladay Standard, and it would be doubtful he could even reach that (if we look at his career Offensive WAR and assume a -.7 D-WAR). I thought it was slight insanity that the Padres didn't move him during the season, and it would be pure insanity if they didn't move him now.

20/20 hindsight on Carl Crawford

Carl Crawford had an awful year in his first year of his huge contract with Boston. He played like a replacement player, with a 0 WAR and .289 OBP. Before the season he signed a 7 year 142 million dollar contract. Now it is quite obvious that his 2011 season was not deserving of that, that doesn't even merit an article. Because I wasn't blogging at the time the contract was signed, I want to look at his stats before 2011, and see if they merited the contract. 2010 was his best career season at a 6.1 WAR, worth 18.3 million according to the Halladay Standard (Crawford will get an average of 20 million a year with this contract). So even with his best year, it doesn't seem he is quite worth the contract. Another thing that should be mentioned is that in 2010, he tied his career high for BABIP, affecting his season for the positive, but making the season not very predictive. That is why we usually look at WAR average over the last 3 years. From 2008-2010, Crawford had a 12.6 WAR, or 4.2 WAR a year. This is worth 12.6 million according to the Halladay Standard. So certainly Crawford was worth big money, but not the big money the Red Sox paid him. However, when one starts looking at his offensive numbers, we start to realize just how profoundly average Crawford is. His OBP is just .333, matched with a very pedestrian Secondary Average of .266, and an Isolated Slugging of .148. Sure his OPS is + is 105, but his O4S is average at 1.773. These are hardly numbers that warrant a huge contract. It is quite clear that a good portion of his recent WAR is due to defense (for example, he had a 1.8 D-WAR in 2008). However, in 2011, even his defense wasn't very good, as he had a -.3 D-WAR. 2011's poor offensive season can hardly been blamed on BABIP, as it was .299 (that is a drop from his career average of .328, but .300 is league average). So what are the statistical explanations for his down year? He was never much of a walker (just 5.3% in his career), but he walked just 4.3% of the time in 2011 (compared to 7% of the time in 2010). As far as he swinging percentage breakdown, not much really stands out. He did swing at the first pitch just 25% of the time, compared to normal 36% of the time. There could be a couple of explanations for this, but I don't think this is really that big of a deal. He was actually more patient in 2011, earning an average 90.02 PPS compared to his very poor career number of 84.94. As far as his groundball/flyball breakdowns, the only thing that really stands out is that 15% of his flyballs stayed in the infield in 2011, way too many. Other than that, there isn't one thing you can point to and say "this is why he was bad". But in the end, the Red Sox gave way too much money to a player that wasn't all that good offensively to start with, and so far it has blown up in their face.

Why did the Phillies want Ty Wiggington?

The Phillies traded for Ty Wiggington from the Rockies. They only gave cash considerations or perhaps a player to be named later, but still I feel myself asking why the Phillies would do this. Wiggington is going to make 4 million dollars in 2012 (not to mention whatever amount of money the Phillies end up giving), which would necessitate a 1.3 WAR according to the Halladay Standard. The problem is that he has only done that once, in 2008, where he had a 2.4 WAR. In 2011, he had a -1.1 WAR, in fact, over the past 3 years, he has averaged a -.93 WAR. So the Phillies have decided to trade for a below replacement player and give a whole bunch of money for him. Wiggles is an awful defender, with a career -11.2 D-WAR, and below average Range Factor at every position he has ever played (and he has played nearly every position). His career offensive numbers look like this: .325 OBP, 100 OPS, 1.743 O4S, and 2.84 PAPP. These are all profoundly average numbers, and certainly not the cure to a struggling offense. His offensive winning percentage is .490, with 4.8 runs created per game. His PPS is just 87.05, and he is an below average walker at 7.3%. He is a bit of a masher at a 3.5 home run percentage and 8.9% extra base hitter, but his overall inefficiencies probably wash this out. When one wonders why the Phillies can't finish things out despite having such an amazing pitching staff, one needs to look no further than moves like this. They pay tons of money for an average hitter and horrible fielder.

The Leblanc-Baker trade

 The Marlins shipped catcher John Baker to the Padres for pitcher Wade Leblanc.

With Florida, Baker had a 1.7 WAR in 4 seasons and 760 PA. Adjusted for 600 PA, this would be a 1.34 WAR, worth 4 million according to the Halladay Standard. Baker made just 417,000 in 2011, but is arbitration eligible. Baker has a .356 OBP, OPS + of 99, and 04S of 1.825. His Runs Created per Game metric is 5.1, earning a .525 Offensive Winning Percentage. His Secondary Average and ISO aren't that impressive at .254 and .130 respectively. While being an under average home run hitter (1.8%), he is an average extra base hitter and a far above average walker (10.8%), with a decent PPS of 93.48.

Leblanc has a .4 WAR in 4 seasons as a starter, pitching 293.1 innings. Adjusted for 200 innings, this is a .27 WAR, worth $818,275. He should make minimum salary in 2012, which is now $480,000. However, when he first broke into the Majors in 2008, he had a -.8 WAR in 21.1 innings. Since then he has obviously had a 1.2 WAR in 272 innings, which is .88 WAR adjusted to 200 innings. He has a career PE of 2.35 (adjusted PE of 2.66), and SIERA of 4.62. It is really clear that the Padres won this trade over the Marlins.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

NFl Picks: Week 12

Big D in Bold. I in Italics.

Cowboys versus Dolphins
Packers versus Lions
49ers versus Ravens
Falcons versus Vikings
Texans versus Jaguars
Patriots versus Eagles
Steelers versus Chiefs
Saints over Giants

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Why its time for the Rangers to trade Michael Young

Yes, you read that right, The Rangers should trade Michael Young. Despite making 16 million dollars (he will also make 16 million for 2012 and 2013) in 2011, he had a 2.4 WAR. This is a WASP of 6667, over twice as much as the Halladay Standard. This means, at least according to the Halladay Standard, his salary is over twice is much as his production is actually worth. In 2011, the Rangers had a payroll of about 92 million dollars. This means that, according to WAR calculations that I have used before on this blog, for every 1 Win above Replacement (assuming the Rangers want to make the playoffs by winning 95 games), they can pay 2.13 million dollars. This means that Young's 2.4 WAR is worth 5.11 million dollars, about a third as much as Young makes. According to his WAR average of the past 3 years, he is worth slightly more to the Rangers at 5.68 million. These simple calculations show that Young is hurting the Rangers with his gigantic salary and low production, and that it is quite obvious that the Rangers need to trade him. However, let's look at other numbers to see if they tell the same story. In 2011, some of his basic metrics looked pretty good, as he had a .380 OBP, 124 OPS +, and 1.994 O4S. He had an Offensive Winning Percentage of .666 and 6.7 Runs Created per a game. These are very good numbers, but there are a couple of concerning ones that I think shouldn't be ignored, such as Secondary Average (just .217), ISO (.136), walk percentage (6.8%), HR percentage (1.6%), and pitches per plate appearance (3.61, with a PPS of just 89.67). So many essential metrics suggest that Young was not all that great offensively. He was also 5th in the league in BABIP with a .367. This most likely means that his positive 2011 season statistics were probably very fluky. He actually has an above average BABIP at .338 for his career, but it is still a .029 difference. If that BABIP was adjusted to his career average, his OBP would have been .350, less impressive, but also exactly his career OBP. Along with that career OBP, he has a 106 OPS +, 1.851 O4S (about .100 above average), .554 Offensive Winning Percentage, 5.6 Runs Created Per Game, and .229 Secondary Average. Again, most of these are pretty good numbers. His PPS is 91.15, and this is a microcosm of Young, just above average offensively. On defense, there is a different story. In his 12 year career, he has a -7.9 D-WAR. Much is made about his ability to play several different positions, but it appears he plays none of them very well. In 2011, he had a -.9 D-WAR, despite playing 69 games at DH. At first base (a position he hadn't played before), he was very poor, with a Range Factor of 7.78 (league average is 9.24), and fielding percentage of .989 (league average is .993). He also had below average range factor at every position he played in 2011. "Runs Saved" metrics also showed that he was a well below average defender. To give you another idea of just how poor of a defender Young is, when at third, 85% of balls hit to him turned into outs (89% is league average), and at first 86% of balls hit to him were turned into outs (94% is league average for first basemen). Much is written about Young's leadership skills and team attitude (and in following the Rangers for almost all of Young's career, I can say that a lot of this is true. However, Young ran to the press to blast Ranger's management after both his move to 3rd base and 1st base/DH, and even demanded to be traded. His team attitude is probably overrated, he is, after all, making 16 million dollars), but these immeasurables are just that, immeasurable. In the face of numbers that clearly show that Young is not even close to worth his 16 million dollar salary, and the fact that he has no real position, it simply doesn't make any sense to say "he is a good leader, and therefore he is valuable". With the Rangers stupidly deciding to give a whole bunch of money to Joe Nathan, and players like Cruz, Hamilton, Feldman, and Uehara all making big money or due big money, it is obviously time for the Rangers to move on.

Russell Martin: Arbitration

The Yankees catcher Russell Martin made 4 million dollars in 2011 while posting a 1.3 WAR, a 3076 WASP, close to the Halladay Standard. Over the past 3 years, he has averaged a 1.33 WAR, worth around 4 million dollars. In 2011: Martin had a .324 OBP, 92 OPS +, and 1.704 O4S. He did this despite having a .252 BABIP, much lower than his career average of .295. For Martin, there really is a story of two careers. His first three years, he had a .311 BABIP, .373 OBP, OPS + of 109 and .554 offensive winning percentage (averaging a WAR of 3.33). His last 3 years, he has a BABIP of just .275, .341 OBP, OPS + of 88, and .434 offensive winning percentage. There are two ways to look at this I believe, so before looking at some of his other metrics I will lay out two possible theories: 1. Martin, Catching in 142 games a year for 3 years, simply wore down, like we have seen with Joe Mauer (and as I argued, will happen to Alex Avila if the Tigers don't change how they manage him, and with the signing of Gerald Laird as the backup, I don't have much hope) or 2. Martin has just been unlucky with BABIP over the past 3 years. If 1 is true, then it is time to run away from Martin as fast as you can before his salary increases, but if 2 is true, then Martin may be due for a breakout and may actually be undervalued. In the first 3 years of his career, he had a 3.9 Pit/PA, while it dropped to 3.81 Pit/PA in the last 3 years. So he went from above average to about average, a relatively dramatic shift in Pit/PA. He walked 11.6% of the time and homered 2.4% of the time in his first 3 years. Over the last 3 years, he has homered .3 % less and walked .1 % less, hardly dramatic changes. His GB/FB ratio over the last 3 years has been .98, and hit line drives 19% of the time, while he actually had more groundballs and less line drives his first 3 years. So it would appear that Martin is somewhere in between his first 3 seasons and his last 3 seasons. That is, he is better than he has been over the last 3 years, but not quite as good as he was when he first broke into the majors. Why this happens to be is hard to say, and could have several explanations. With that in mind, he is probably worth around 4 million dollars, and perhaps a little more. He will probably get more than this in arbitration, and even though the Yankees are by far the most inefficient team in baseball, they should try to move him.

How we did: Week 11 NFL picks

Big D in bold, I in italics

Broncos played a little less terrible than Jets
Ravens down Bengals
Cowboys survive Redskins
Bears beat Chargers
Eagles bashed Giants
Patriots dismantle Chiefs 

Big D: 4-2, 35-21 overall
I: 4-2, 33-23 overall

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Will the Cubs trade Marmol?

Rumors are now swirling that the Cubs may consider trading closer Carlos Marmol. Marmol had a .9 WAR in 2011, with a WAR average over the past 3 years of 1.8. This is worth 5.4 million, but he is scheduled to make 7 million dollars in 2012. So certainly according to WAR, it is definitely time for the Cubs to move on. As one would expect for the type of pitcher he is, he registered a very good -4.65 PE, and an adjusted PE of -5.12 in 2011. In his career, his PE is -5.33, with an adjusted PE of -4.95. In 2011, his TR was 9.54, while it is 9.48 for his career. According to his career statistics, 2011 was a pretty good window, that is what you are going to get. The Bill James Projections don't give him quite the credit, but still have him at a -4.74 PE.

It is always nice to have a pitcher who misses bats, but Marmol has gotten too costly. Frequent readers of the blog know where I stand on this, bullpens should be built with relatively little money, with former starters and prospects. It simply doesn't make sense to give someone 7 million dollars to pitch 60 innings.

Free Agent Watch: Laynce Nix

Laynce Nix made $700,000 in 2011, and it seems unlikely he will see that kind of money in 2012. He had a 3.7 WAR in 2 years with the Reds in 09 and 10, which is worth 5.6 million dollars according to the Halladay Standard. In 2011 with the Nationals, he had a .8 WAR, worth 2.4 million according to the Halladay Standard. While he had a 0 D-WAR with the Nationals, his D-WAR with his 2 years with the Reds was 2.6. In 2011: he had an OPS + of 103, a .299 OBP, .451 Slugging, and 1.647 04S, which is just under average. He had a .272 Secondary Averae, .201 ISO, and 2.925 PAPP (since he was used a lot as a pinch hitter, averaging just 2.83 PA per games played, citing his .81 PPG probably isn't fair). This gave him a 4.9 Runs Created per Game, and .542 Offensive Winning Percentage. In his career, he has an OPS + of 85, a .288 OBP, an average .430 SLG, and 1.582 O4S. This leads to a 3.11 PAPP, .84 PPG, and 4.3 Runs Created Per Game (.447 Offensive Winning Percentage). His Secondary Average is .248, and his ISO is .185. He does then with a .294 BABIP. In 2011, he actually had a .284 BABIP, so his 2011 season, while better than his career averages, could have been better. He walks well below league average (6.6% in 2011) at 5.7%, but homers and hits extra base hits well above average. He is a flyball and linedrive hitter, but sports an under average Pit/PA. In fact, his PPS is quite terrible at 83.69 for his career and 79.97 in 2011. Nix is not very attractive as a hitter, as the key metrics show above. He isn't someone you plug into your lineup everyday and have success. However, according to WAR, he may be slightly undervalued. As a bench player, that can come off and play some defense and the ball hard occasionally, he can be worth something. Not much, I wouldn't go to a million dollars or anything, but at his 2011 salary,  would definitely try to bring him in.

Free Agent Watch: Jorge Cantu

Jorge Cantu had just a .1 WAR in 2010 (0 WAR for Texas), and a horrifying -1 WAR in 2011. His career O-WAR is 6.3 in 8 seasons, followed by a putrid -5.7 D-WAR. A career .316 OBP (under average), 97 OPS + (under average), 1.703 O4S (around average), and .474 Offensive Winning Percentage (4.6 Runs created per game). His last two Major League stints have been disasters, with Texas after the trade deadline in 2010 and with the Padres in 2011. In the former, he had just 2.7 runs created per game and .264 Offensive Winning Percentage. He did this despite having a reasonable .282 BABIP. His OBP was just .279, OPS + of 59, and O4S of 1.443. This is miserable, and he had about an average PPS of 90.7. I find this interesting, because his Pit/PA has actually gone up in recent years. This gets even weirder when you realize his walks haven't gone up, and may have actually gone down: 2008: 3.77 Pit/PA 5.8 BB%, 2009: 3.95 Pit/PA 7.3 BB%, 2010: 3.89 Pit/PA, 5.6 BB%, 2011: 3.9 Pit/PA 4.5%. Those are strange numbers, but they are explained by Cantu swinging at more pitches than league average and having a good amount of foul balls. For Cantu 2011 was miserable, as he started the season with the Padres and had that awful WAR and a .180 Offensive Winning Percentage, and then was released and spent the end of the year in Colorado's minor league system. His awful Padres .232 OBP was heavily affected by his miserable .216 BABIP, but even if his BABIP was .300, he would only have had a .279 OBP according to the ratio of BABIP/OBP. This is not good either obviously. As the career stats above show, Cantu was never that good of a player anyway, and has seemingly regressed. For the Rangers, the good news is that the two minor League pitchers they gave up for Cantu in a trade with the Marlins in 2010 don't seem to be very good. Evan Reed, despite being in the Minors for 5 seasons, split the 2011 season between Rookie ball and A+ ball. He registered a -.963 PE and -2.508 adjusted PE. So at the lower levels, he had a good season, but at 25, time is ticking for him to make it to the larger levels by his prime. Omar Poveda spent 2011 in AA, registering a 1.45 PE and 1.27 adjusted PE at age 24.

Shaun Marcum: Arbitration

Marcum had a 3.3 WAR in 2011, and that his average WAR for the past 3 seasons played. According to the Halladay Standard, that is worth about 10 million dollars. Marcum made almost 4 million dollars in 2011. So according to WAR and WASP, he is very undervalued. In 2011, Marcum had a .22 PE, and an adjusted PE of .41, pretty solid. He had an excellent TR of 10.05, and a FIP - of 98. However, his SIERA argues he is due for regression at 3.91, and at first look his BABIP (.261) looks like Marcum was very lucky. However, he has a career BABIP of .269, and with such a large sample size, it is hard to argue that he should give up a higher one. He does give up more flyballs than grounders, but a large percentage (16.2% in 2011 and 11.7% in his career) of those stayed in the infield. Bill James' projections have his BABIP going up to a .284 and he also has him giving up more home runs in 2012 (he gave up .99 HR/9IP in 2011, but has given up 1.23 HR/9IP in his career). James has Marcum actually improving overall, racking up a -.11 PE, and .38 adjusted PE. So if James is right, and I think he is being mean to Marcum if anything with the higher BABIP etc., then Marcum would be worth over 10 million dollars in 2012. Since it seems unlikely that Marcum would get that much in Arbitration, it would be absurd for the Brewers to trade him.

NFL Picks: Week 11

Big D in Bold. I in Italics

Jets versus Broncos
Ravens versus Bengals
Cowboys versus Redskins
Bears versus Chargers
Giants versus Eagles
Patriots versus Chiefs

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Free Agent Watch: Ryan Doumit

Ryan Doumit has a .43 WAR average in the past 3 years, and had a 1.2 WAR in 2011. -2.7 Career D-WAR. Reports are that he turned down a 3 million dollar deal from the Dodgers. According to his WAR average, this deal would actually have made Doumit overpaid. In 2011, Doumit had a .353 OBP, 1.889 O4S, and OPS + of 128. However, his Secondary Average and ISO were not impressive at .243 and .172 respectively. He also received the benefit of a .331 BABIP, much higher than his .304 career BABIP. This calls into question the validity of his 6.1 Runs Created per Game and .641 offensive winning percentage. He homered over average at 3.4% but walked well below average at 6.8%. He saw 3.88 Pit/PA, which is strange, because overall in his career he has seen less than average at 3.71 Pit/PA. This made his PPS a solid 94.49. For his career, Doumit has been much more inconsistent as he has a .334 OBP, 106 OPS +, and 1.778 O4S. These aren't exactly amazing, and he can't play catcher any better than any random baseball player could. He is an above average offensive player, with a 5 runs created per game metric, and an offensive winning percentage of .523, but with no position, the value of those numbers goes down. It appears Doumit believes he should get more than 3 million dollars, but I sure wouldn't give it to him.

Matt Treanor: the Newest Dodger

The Dodgers have signed catcher Matt Treanor to a 1 year 1 million dollar deal. Treanor had a .2 WAR in 2011, and a WAR average over the past 3 years of -.07. So he has actually been playing under replacement baseball over the past 3 years. Over 8 years, he has posted a grand total of .2 WAR. Perhaps when thinking about WAR, Matt Treanor should be envisioned as the "replacement player". He is not good behind the plate, with a -.8 D-WAR. In his offensive career, Treanor has a .315 OBP, OPS + of 67, and O4S of 1.567. These are terrible numbers, and his more basic metrics are no better, as his PAPP is 3.31 and his PPG is .57. His Secondary Average is .195 (under .200 is considered very poor), his ISO just .082, explaining why his BABIP is just .272, he doesn't hit the ball hard. He has just a 3.4 Runs Created per Game metric, and an Offensive Winning percentage of .346. The only good thing you can say about him is that he is an above average walker and he sees 3.94 pitches per plate appearance. His PPS is above average at 93.26, but this one metric is not good enough to cancel out all the other really bad things about Treanor. Usually a 1 year 1 million dollar deal on a veteran is a great deal, but not this time.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Should the Mets trade David Wright?

2007 was David Wright's best year, when he registered a 7.8 WAR. Since then, he has fallen with a (144 games) 2.5 WAR in 2009, a (157 games) 3.9 WAR in 2010, and a (102 games) 1.4 WAR in 2011. He made 14.25 million in 2011, putting his WASP at 10179 WASP, which is horrible. He is a horrible defender, with a -5.6 D-WAR for his career, and a -1.2 D-WAR in 2011. He has a below average fielding percentage and an about average Range Factor. In his career, he has a .380 OBP, .887 OPS, 2.31 PAPP, and 1.59 PPG. He sees 3.99 Pit/PA, has a .668 Offensive Winning Percentage, and 7.1 Runs Created Per Game. He does this by getting a .340 BABIP, .222 ISO and .362 Secondary Average. He has been an above average power hitter, above average slugger, as well as an above average walker. In 2007, he had a .356 BABIP that helped him get a .416 OBP, .963 OPS, 2.04 PAPP, and 1.775 PPG. He had an ISO of .208, a .425 Secondary Average, and saw 3.98 Pit/PA. All this got him a mind boggling 9 Runs Created Per a Game Metric, and a .742 Offensive Winning Percentage. In 2011, the numbers were less impressive. He had a .345 OBP, .172 ISO, .334 Secondary Average and .602 Offensive Winning Percentage. These numbers are all good, as well as his 2.54 PAPP, and 1.45 PPG. His BABIP fell to .302, as did his Runs Created per Game at 5.6. David Wright is still a good offensive player. Every team would love to have 2011 David Wright in their lineup. However, not with his salary and not with his defense. This would certainly point to the obvious choice of the Mets trading Wright. There is something to consider though. Wright could return to his 2007, or even career self. If this happens, even with his gigantic salary, he would be worth it. So are the injuries Wright has suffered hampered his future performance so he will never be the same? Or are the injuries going to be something that continues? Or will he return to his old form? This is the question the Mets will have to think long and hard about. It would be hard to critique them going either way.

Free Agent Watch: Gustavo Chacin

Gustavo Chacin registered a 3.5 WAR in his first full season in the majors in 2005. He never repeated that success though, as in 2006 he dropped down to .6 WAR, then -.1 WAR in 2007. In 2010, he made it back to the Majors, only to register a -.1 WAR. In his good year in 2005, his PE was not very good at 2.43, and his adjusted PE was even worse at 2.97. His TR was 8.44, and his FIP - (FIP adjusted for ballpark factors etc.) was slightly under average (of course, you want lower numbers) at 96. His SIERA was awful though at 4.76. Even though SIERA kills him, he had a BABIP of .296 which is about average, and he gave up less than a homer every 9 innings at .89. He got more groundballs than flyballs, but the biggest complaint, and this is why the metrics hated him, was that he didn't strikeout many batters. So lets fast forward past his melt down in Toronto and his stint with the Phillies organization (and they never felt compelled to use him in the Majors) and look at his 2010 season in Houston. He was used only as a short inning reliever, averaging less than an inning an appearance. He had a PE of 2.34, and an adjusted PE of 1.68. His TR was just 7.45. However, he was the victim of a horrible Astro team and that really screwed with the metrics. He suffered through a .364 BABIP (giving him a BAA of .301 and WHIP of 1.85. Those who claim WHIP usually stays the same for a pitcher over a career are at the very least simplifying things, because BABIP can screw with that too), so even with the pedestrian TR and PE, he still had a just above average 103 FIP -. SIERA was still not impressed, as he had a 4.42. Again, he didn't give up the longball, at .7 HR/9IP, but he no longer got the groundball at .82 GB/FB. He also had major walk problems at a 4.7 BB/9IP. He didn't pitch in the majors in 2011, and pitched for the Astros and Mets AAA teams. He pitched just 15 innings for the Mets, so we will throw that out and instead look at his Astro AAA numbers, where he threw 66.2 innings as both a reliever and starter. He was miserable there, with a 4.67 PE and 4.5 adjusted PE. Uncharacteristically, he struggled with the long ball, with 1.08 HR/9IP. Even though his BABIP was a little high, at .319, that wasn't the problem. He didn't pitch well, and that was in AAA. Chacin really doesn't have any value, I don't see the point of bringing him in even to Spring Training.

The New Matt Kemp Contract

A Barry Bonds type 10 (!) WAR in 2011. This is worth an A-Rod type contract at 30 million a year according to the Halladay Standard. Over the past 3 years, he has averaged a 6 WAR. This is worth 18 million dollars, but he got a 8 year 160 million dollar deal, worth about 20 million dollars a year. So if you take his average over the past 3 years, the Dodgers overpaid him. However, according to his 2011 season, he is being underpaid. So which is it? Kemp has a career OBP of .350, but in 2011 that number soared to a .399 number. In fact, before 2011, his career OBP was just .336, very unimpressive. His Secondary Average jumped from .296 in 2010 to .434 in 2011, and his ISO went from .201 to .262. In 2010 he had a Runs Created per Game of just 4.4 to 8.6 in 2011, as his Offensive Winning Percentage rose from .478 to .771. These jumps are staggering enough (I could go on, for example his OPS jumped from .760 to .986) that if they happened 10 years ago, there would be serious accusations of steroid use. So why were 2010, where he was an okay offensively and bad defensively (according to D-WAR) outfielder, and 2011, where he certainly deserves the MVP, so different? Our old friend BABIP. In 2010, his BABIP was a touch lower than league average at .296, while in 2011 it was a monstrous .380. So obviously a big key to his success in 2011 was BABIP, but was it BABIP luck or was he just legitimately hitting the ball harder? One important thing to look at is walks of course. For the first time in career, he walked above league average. There are two ways to look at this: 1. Because he was either hitting the ball harder or experiencing some mad BABIP luck, pitchers pitched him more carefully, giving him more walks or 2. He has changed as a hitter and is more patient. There is a lot of belief, and I admittedly think this thinking has a lot of merit, that number 2 is not possible. As a fully developed adult playing at the highest level of baseball possible, one does not change the way one sees the ball and develop more patience the thinking goes. This is shown by pitches per plate appearance, probably the most predictive and consistent offensive statistic. To confirm this kind of thinking, Kemp's Pit/PA was 3.96 in 2011, while it was 3.91 in 2010. This is above average, but certainly not a drastic change. So now on the issue of BABIP, Kemp has always been a flyball hitter, but it was slightly more so in 2011 (.62 GB/FB to a career .73). His line drive percentage was the same as it has been his whole career, as was his infield flyballs. However, a greater percentage of his flyballs left the yard at 14.8%, compared to his 10.8% career average. Since he played in the same ballpark the whole time (his OPS +, an Adjusted OPS that accounts for ballpark factors where 100 is average, jumped from 106 in 2010 to a league leading 171 in 2011), one simply has to conclude that he is at least hitting his flyballs harder. However, he only hit 11 more home runs in 2011 than 2010, even if all those 11 less HRs turned into outs in 2010, it would not affect OBP all that much. So one has to conclude that there was a lot of BABIP luck to go along with him hitting the ball harder. Paying a player after an amazing season is always risky, one cannot rely on Kemp putting up these awesome numbers (a PAPP of just 2.04). However, Kemp has a shot of at least being good enough to meet the Halladay Standard in his 20 million dollar a year deal (he needs a 6.7 WAR a year) most years. It is just really risky, especially for a team that is supposed to be bankrupt.

How we did: Week 10 NFL picks

Big D in bold. I in Italics

Raiders stomp Chargers
Excuse: Wow the Chargers stink. Norv Turner has to be gone, and the questions about Phillip Rivers have to start coming in. That offensive line looked really exposed. 
Cowboys crush Bills
Excuse: Well the Bills can probably be counted out as playoff contenders. The sad thing is that the mediocre Cowboys, with their easy schedule, can make a serious run at the playoffs.

49ers intercept Giants
Excuse: First of all, for some reason on the previous post I said Big D picked the Giants not me, that was a mistake. To quote the esteemed Governor of Texas: "oops". I had confidence in the Giants after they had been playing so well recently. Eli Manning made some really dumb mistakes in this one. The 49ers are really good, and I am going to quit picking against them.
Patriots embarrass Jets
Excuse: After losing two straight by picking the Patriots, they finally come through. Of course, it happened after I picked against them. 
Packers destroy Vikings  

Big D: 2-3, 31-19
I: 1-4, 29-21

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Twins sign Jamey Carroll

According to all the sources that usually report all this stuff, the Twins have signed Jamey Carroll to a contract worth 7 million in 2 years with an option year. Even if this turns out to not be true, like the Madson deal, this article still would be useful (if any of my posts are useful) as an evaluation of how much Carroll should get and his value. First of all, it should be noted that Carroll is 37, and could diminish greatly at any given time. Giving multiple year, multi million dollar contracts can be risky, but can also turn out to be steals because some teams will overvalue the risk. In 2011, he had a 1.8 WAR, worth 5.4 million according to the Halladay Standard (remember, he is making 3.5 million dollars a year under this new deal). Over the past 3 years, Carroll has a 2.13 WAR average, worth 6.4 million according to the Halladay standard. So according to WAR, this is a great deal for the Twins. However, WAR is not predictive, it is just an evaluation of how good the player was. So we must comb through the offensive statistics and see if there are any signs that he will drop off. According to the defensive statistics, there has been a drop-off as Carroll registered a negative D-WAR for the first time in his since 2003 in 2011. On offense the real key statistic is OBP, and Carroll registered a .359 OBP in 2011, slightly better than his career average of .356. His slugging was almost identical to his career norms at .347. In fact, his career runs created per game is 4.6, while his 2011 number was 5. His BABIP was slightly higher, but not enough of a difference to really give you any concern. His ISO was a terrible .058, but his career ISO is only .070. He certainly isn't going to fool anybody into thinking he is a power hitter. In fact, he hasn't hit a homer in 2 years. You would always love a power hitter, but he walks more than average and hits more line drives than average. He is a groundball hitter, and he hit even more groundballs than usual in 2011, and that is concerning. One would think he would be due for a horrible BABIP season. One great thing about him is his ability to take pitches, seeing 4.27 pitches per plate appearance in 2011, giving him a PPS of 104.45. Overall, I think this is a pretty good signing by the Twins, who have made a ton of bad ones recently.

Looking back at the Hanley Ramirez trade and should there be another one

After the 2005 season, when Theo Epstein was in that contract dispute, the Marlins and Red Sox made a huge trade. Often considered the brain child of Larry Luchino, here is how the trade has panned out.

Red Sox Got:

Mike Lowell: 12.3 WAR 55.5 million 4512 WASP
Josh Beckett: 19.3 WAR 61.2 million 3171 WASP
Guillermo Mota: Never played for Red Sox, was involved in a complicated deal to Indians

Marlins Got:
Jesus Delgado: Threw 2 innings, 0 WAR
Harvey Garcia: .1 WAR in 8 innings $390,000
Anibal Sanchez: 10.9 WAR 6.1 million 562 WASP
Hanley Ramirez: 29.3 WAR 24.7 million 843 WASP

So the Marlins (has) racked up a 40.3 WAR from the trade, while the Red Sox registered a 31.6 WAR from the players they received. To add insult to Red Sox nation, the Red Sox had to spend 116.7 for that 31.6 WAR (3693 WASP, over the Halladay Standard), while the Marlins only had to spend 31.19 million, for an amazing 774 WASP.

Now for the question the Marlins front office today: Should they trade Hanley Ramirez?

Ramirez' salary is about to go up to 15 million dollars in 2011. Over the past 3 years, he has a 3.7 WAR average including an extremely frustrating .5 WAR season in 2011. This is worth 11.1 million according to the Halladay Standard. So certainly according to WAR, it is time to cut ties with Hanley for the Marlins. Ramirez has a career .380 OBP, but in 2011 it was just .333. His Slugging was also laughably low below career average at .379 (career average of .506) and a PPG of 1.41 (1.64). However, as one would expect, he suffered from a low BABIP at .275 (when his career BABIP is .339). He certainly didn't hit the ball as hard as he previously had, as his ISO was just .136 (his career average is .200), he hit an extra base hit just 6.8% of the time, and homered just 2.6% of the time (around league average, his career average is 3.6%). Certainly there was something wrong with Hanley in 2011, he wasn't the same player that he had been. So this leads to a bunch of hard questions like: What role did his injuries play? Will he recover from these injuries? Is he now more injure-prone? Is this just the new Hanley? Won't he actually be undervalued in the trade market because of 2011, making it smarter to just hang out to him and hope for the best? I don't know the answer to these questions, but at his salary, the Marlins have to at least shop Hanley. If they don't get a good offer, they can keep him, but moving him would probably be best (they probably should have done it at the deadline).

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Chase Headley: Arbitration

Chase Headley had a 2 WAR in 2011 and a 2.03 WAR average over the past 3 years. This is worth around 6 million dollars according to the Halladay Standard. He made about 2.3 million in 2011. Not a good defender, -1.1 D-WAR for his career, but had a 1.5 D-WAR in 2010 (since this is the outlier, we have to basically throw this out). Has a career OBP of .343, .392 Slugging (1.764 O4S, or On Base Percentage time 4 plus slugging, giving OBP the importance over Slugging that Paul Depodesta gives it, an average O4S would be about 1.69, while Prince Fielder would have a 2.1 O4S for his career), and a 97.42 PPS. In 2011, his numbers were even better, with a .374 OBP, .399 Slugging, (1.895 O4S), and 102.14 PPS. So are his better numbers, specifically his better OBP, something we can expect from now on, or are they fluky in any way. Since he has a good OBP and is an under average home run hitter, his BABIP for his career is pretty high at .339. In 2011 it was even higher at .368. He did this despite having a lower ISO than career average at .110, and hitting about the same amount of groundballs and extra base hits. This clearly shows that you cannot count on the BABIP of 2011, and in turn you cannot count on Headley's very good OBP and career high Batting Average (I don't care about Batting Average but other teams do) for 2012. This means that he is probably valued more than he is actually worth. This means that, if all possible, the Padres should trade him. His salary won't get ridiculous in arbitration, so the Padres can decide to keep him if the package isn't there, but it makes a lot of sense (and if the rumors are true, they are at least thinking about it) for the Padres to move Headley and make a team overpay.

Australian Baseball League: Mike McGuire

Mike McGuire became the first pitcher in the Australian Baseball League to strikeout 14 people in one game. McGuire spent 2011 in the Phillies organization (he has also spent time in the Indians organization) and has never been above A ball. As mainly a reliever, he has a PE of -.294, mainly because of his great strikeout ration 9 K/9IP. In 2011, despite only giving up .3 HR/9IP, he had a terrible 3.38 PE basically all in relief. Along with a pretty small sample size (29.2 innings), he was destroyed by a BABIP over .400. Despite his ERA over 8, his FIP was less than half than that, under 4. Certainly this would fix his terrible PE. He does walk a little bit too much at 4 per 9 innings, but one would expect that from a strikeout pitcher. It is really difficult to judge the quality of play of the ABL, and considering McGuire's numbers, it seems easy to say it is below A ball (although that would be anecdotal). However, strikeout pitchers always can find jobs in the Major Leagues, so McGuire could be a guy to look out for in the next few years.

Correction: I want Jonathan Papelbon's job

The Phillies GM went on the MLB Network's Clubhouse Confidential the other day and told the baseball world that the Phillies are more interested in scouting than analytics in baseball. Perhaps they have shunned some analytics so much that they don't understand simple mathematics. I prematurely posted on the Ryan Madson contract with the Phillies (that deal end up falling through, I will keep the post up because it still has relevancy for teams considering Madson), and mocked the Phillies for that deal, but this Papelbon deal is even worse. They are giving a 4 year $50 million deal to a pitcher who throws about 60 innings a season. He will make 12.5 million a year (although probably not that exact number every year, but that will be the average), or about 1 million dollars every 5 innings. In 2011, Papelbon's WAR was all of 2. Teammate and fellow reliever Alfredo Aceves had a 2.9 WAR in 2011, while the set-up man Daniel Bard and 4th outfielder Josh Reddick both had 1.6 WARs. Over the past 3 years, Papelbon has a WAR average of just 2.1, worth 6.3 million dollars according to the Halladay Standard. So according to the most important and encompassing metric, Papelbon is being paid twice as much as he is worth. His -5.3 PE and 14.03 TR show that Papelbon is an incredible pitcher, and I am certainly not arguing that he is not, but with the small number of innings he actually pitches, he certainly isn't wort even close the the amount of money he is getting paid.

Free Agent Watch: Adam Kennedy

Adam Kennedy had just a .4 WAR in 2011 with Seattle and a .83 WAR Average in the past 3 years. This is worth 2.5 million dollars according to the Halladay Standard, but with such a low WAR, he could only really be considered as a bench player, because you need about 1.4 WAR per player to make the playoffs, so Kennedy would be way below average needed. In 2011, he had a .277 OBP, .632 OPS, 3.33 PAPP, and .78 PPG. His career line is better but not impressive at .92 PPG, 2.9 PAPP, .326 OBP, and .711 OPS. He has been a serviceable offensive player in his career, but he wasn't even that in 2011. At 35 years old, it is tempting to argue that Kennedy is just washed up. BABIP is certainly a big factor though. For his career, he has a .306 BABIP, but in 2011 his BABIP was just .266. So was he hitting the ball less hard or was he just unlucky in 2011? His ISO was actually slightly above his career average at .121 and he homered at a slightly better rate than his career, but still below league average. He hit slightly less groundballs than usual, and had more extra base hits than usual. However, there are a couple of things that give a different story, he hit less line drives than usual, and he had a shocking 15% of his flyballs stay in the infield. So one could certainly make the argument either way on whether his BABIP was earned. Which ever way you fall on this argument (I believe that it is luck and you can expect some rebound in 2012), it is not like Kennedy is some offensive force. He is a below average walker, below average power hitter, and has a career Secondary Average of just .206. He has a PPS of just 89.5, and I really don't see the benefit of having Kennedy in your lineup unless your just dying for defense (6.5 D-WAR for his career).

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Ryan Spilborghs: Arbitration

The Colorado Rockies' Ryan Spilborghs has a -1.2 WAR in 7 year career, with a -1.8 WAR in 2011. He did that while making nearly 2 million dollars. His career O-WAR is 1.8, while his D-WAR is -3.0. For his career, he has a .345 OBP, .768 OPS, 2.72 PAPP, and .83 PPG. In 2011, his numbers weren't near as good, he had a .283 OBP, .588 OPS, 3.48 PAPP, and .5 PPG. Why exactly was 2011 so bad? His BABIP absolutely killed him at .260 in 2011, compared to his career .319. However, there is a larger story than just BABIP luck. He hit way more groundballs than usual at a 1.34 GB/FB ratio. His ISO was also down drastically at .095, because he hit way less extra base hits than usual at 5.8% and homered just 1.4%. This makes you think that his bad BABIP was earned, and something is clearly not right for Spilborghs. He hit just 16% line-drives instead of his normal 20%. The most steady offensive statistic did stay steady, as his Pitches per plate appearance was 3.95 compared to his 3.97 career number. This is above league average and even with his terrible OBP, he still had a 91.22 PPS (he has a 96.11 PPS for his career). That is decent, but not overwhelming or good enough to make you ignore other numbers. Spolborghs simply was not the same player in 2011 as he had been in other years, and was one of the worst players in the league. At 32, it could be that his skills are just diminishing. With a salary that is going to be at least 2 million dollars, the Rockies have to see if they can move one would think, but there may not be anyone who wants him.

Justin Masterson: Arbitration

Justin Masterson registered a 4.1 WAR in 2011, worth 12.3 million dollars according to the Halladay Standard. However, he had a -.7 WAR in 2010 and a .6 in 2009. This was after a 2.3 WAR in 2008, so he has been all over the place. His career PE is .73 (adjusted PE of .65), mostly as a starter. He has given up just .49 HR/9IP. In 2011, his best year, he had a .45 PE, with an adjusted PE of .52, basically all as a starter. He gave up just .46 HR/9IP, and had an awesome TR of 11.34. In 2010, he gave up .7 HR/9IP, with a PE of 1.94. However, his adjusted PE was 1.17, and he suffered through a .324 BABIP. If we knocked off the extra .020 percent from his BAA because of his BABIP, his adjusted PE would be under 1, which is solid for a starter. His TR was a decent 9.32, a drop-off from 2011 (or I guess to get our chronology right, his 2011 TR was a big upgrade). There are also other reasons for the difference. He had more walks in 2010 than 2011, and it led to a higher WHIP and lower K/BB ratio in 2010. 2011 was actually the outlier in his career, he walked 2.71 per 9 innings compared to his career 3.49 ratio. In his successful in 2011, he actually had more balls put in play, he walked less people and struck out slightly less. With his league average BABIP, 2011 really gave us a window into who Masterson is and the results are good. The big question is whether walk rates are predictive like strikeout rates are believed to be. I really don't know, and 2011 was a large enough sample size to convince us that it wasn't fluky. But, his career averages suggest it should go up in 2012. No other metric suggests Masterson has changed majorly as a pitcher. This means he should probably walk more in 2012, and not be quite as effective as 2011 but still be better than 2010 as he was mercilessly unlucky then. He is a big time groundball pitcher at 2.07 GB/FB, and he has a career SIERA of 3.86. The Indians have a pretty good pitcher here, and they should hang on to him.

Free Agent Watch: Livan Hernandez

Livan Hernandez is rumored to have interest from a couple of teams. This surprised me, and I wasn't going to write an article on Hernandez, because I assumed he was retiring. Either way, Hernandez had a -.1 WAR in 2011, a 3.3 WAR in 2010, and a .2 WAR in 2009. These are quite scattered. One must figure out who Hernandez is, the 2010 version or 2011 version. His 2011 PE was very poor at 3.677, while his 2010 PE was 2.883. His FIP for the two years was basically the same at 3.95 and 3.96 respectively. In 2010, his BABIP was slightly low at .287, and it was slightly high in 2011 at .313. His strikeout ratio was about the same and unimpressive, in fact it was a little higher in 2011. His OBP against was actually lower in 2010 and 2011 than his career average. The big thing one notices is that in 2011 his slugging was much higher, at .434 instead of .393 which was what it was in 2010. He gave up slightly more extra base hits in 2011 at 7.7% (7.1% in 2010). In both 2010 and 2011 he gave up a smaller percentage of home runs than league average. His 2011 TR wasn't great at 8.32, while in 2010 it was slightly better at 8.75. He is a groundball pitcher, which can somewhat make up for the lack of strikeouts. However, his career Skill Independent ERA is 4.72 (4.47 in 2011), hardly very good. He wouldn't be more than a back of the rotation starter and in Washington last year he was pushed all the way out of the starting rotation. I can't imagine giving this guy more than a 1 year about $500,000 deal. If he is willing to play for that, it may be worth it, but nothing more.

Disappointing Yankee Prospect? Melky Mesa

The Prominent Yankee blog, LoHud ranked Melky Mesa as the most disappointing AA player for the Yankees in 2011. The Outfielder had just a .329 OBP, .733 OPS, 1.25 PPG, and 2.95 PAPP for AA Trenton. In his entire 6 year minor league career, Mesa has a .313 OBP, .737 OPS, 2.89 PAPP, and 1.36 PPG. I am not sure where the expectations were. His fielding statistics aren't particularly good either, with a .977 fielding percentage, and a 2.07 range factor. At age 24, he still has some time to develop. For their to be disappointment, there must be expectation, and for their to be expectation, their must be some kind of previous success. With Mesa there really isn't that. His Secondary Average was just .259, and he actually had a very high BABIP at .353. So even with his 2011 AA season being "disappointing", it is actually due for regression. Mesa appears to not be anything more than a decent AA player, at age 24, he could still develop and I am sure that is what both the Yankees and Yankee blogs are banking on, but right now there isn't anything statistically that makes any sense to call 2011 disappointing, you know what you have in Mesa.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Nfl Picks: Week 10

Big D in Bold, I in Italics

Chargers versus Raiders
Bills versus Cowboys
Giants versus 49ers
Jets  versus Patriots
Packers versus Vikings

Astros newest outfielder: Travis Buck

The Astros signed Travis Buck to a (reportedly) minor league contract. He had a 0 WAR in 2011, -.5 WAR in 2010, and -.1 WAR in 2009. He did have a 2.2 WAR in 2007, his first year (his career high in PA and Games). Travis Buck has a great Fielding Percentage at .997, however, his Range Factor is well below average. So is the whole "he doesn't get to many balls" game. Fielding statistics have tons of problems and aren't always reliable, but it does help to look at other metrics. His total zone runs have him in the positive, meaning he saves more runs than average. A similar result is found in Baseball Info Solutions defensive runs saved. So it seems safe to say he is at least above replacement at defense (he has a .4 D-WAR in his career). In 220 major league games, he has a .320 OBP, .727 OPS, .95 PPG, and 2.98 PAPP. However, even though it has been a relatively short career, it has been a tale of two different Bucks. So we will look at his 2007 season and his 2011 season. In 2007, he had a .377 OBP, .850 OPS, 2.55 PAPP, and 1.05 PPG. In 2011, his line was .275 OBP, .617 OPS, 3.64 PAPP, and .78 PPG. So why are these two years so different, can it be explained statistically, and can we project how 2012 will turn out. One of our very familiar friends, BABIP, helps explain a lot. In his good 07 year, he had a .347 BABIP, and in 2011 his BABIP was just .271. His career BABIP is under league average at .290 so it could come up. In both in 2011 and his career, he is an above average extra base hitter. This, along with being a flyball and linedrive hitter, leads me to believe that the BABIP and the OBP will come up from his 2011 and career numbers. He is an about average walker, and slightly below average home run hitter. His career Secondary Average is unimpressive at .266, as is his .166 ISO. Even though his Offensive winning percentage is .472, his Runs Created per game is above average at 4.6. His PPS is pretty poor at 87.67, and that can further explain inconsistencies. Overall, Buck could be a decent hitter, and for the price and no risk situation the Astros got him for, it is a good deal.

Wait. Why did the Diamondbacks resign Willie Bloomquist?

Willie Bloomquist was given a two-year deal worth $3.8 million dollars. Bloomquist had a -.2 WAR in 2011, -.1 WAR in 2010, and .1 WAR in 2009. This hardly warrants the kind of contract the Diamondbacks gave him. In his career, he has a .317 OBP and .654 OPS (those numbers were basically identical in 2011). This means he is below average at getting on base, and a terrible slugger. More basic metrics show this as well with a 2.85 PAPP and .74 PPG. His offensive winning percentage is a measly .384 with a 3.8 Runs Created per game. His Secondary Average is .185 and ISO of just .073. He is a groundball hitter with basically no power. He is also under average at seeing pitches at just a 87.48 PPS. Add to this, he is a bad defender, with a -.8 D-WAR in his career. This really leads us to ask what the hell this is all about. Bloomquist is, at best, a replacement player (WAR suggests he is worse). IF (!) he deserves anything, it is a minor league contract. Instead, the Diamondbacks insist on giving Bloomquist multiple million dollars. I really don't understand this one.

The Marlins newest reliever Beau Jones

Beau Jones has signed with the Marlins. As a reliever in AAA Round Rock (PCL), Jones posted a -.353 PE, and an adjusted PE of .507. A reliever with a positive PE is usually pretty poor, and one would assume that his numbers would be even worse in the Majors. In his entire minor league career (mainly as a reliever), his PE is -1.41, with an adjusted PE of -1.52. Those are decent minor league numbers, but they are nothing impressive. He has a pretty good strikeout ratio, striking out over 20 percent of batters faced, but he has given up a bit too many hits and walks. His FIP in AAA in 2011 was a very unimpressive 4.49, and he gave up 1.16 HR/9IP. He is only 25, so he still has a couple more years until he peaks, but there isn't anything impressive about his minor league numbers. The Marlins expect Jones to compete for a position in the bullpen for 2012, but I really don't see how.

I want Ryan Madson's job

So it appears the Phillies have offered closer Ryan Madson a 4 year 44 million dollar deal. Madson had a 2.2 WAR in 2011, with a 1.7 WAR average over the past 3 years. The latter is worth 5.1 million, while the former is worth 6.6 million. You could probably end the article right here, but just for fun, I want to include this quote from Keith Law's twitter account: "The Phillies are now set up to pay $11MM to a guy who threw just over 4% of their innings in 2011, which is great on a $500MM payroll." So it is quite obvious that Ryan Madson is being way overpaid by the Phillies. All the reports I am hearing is that they are going to keep him as a closer. The only real way to redeem this contract is to make him a starter. He had a 2.2 WAR in 60.2 innings, and if he pitched 200 innings at the same success, he would have a 7.3 WAR which would be worth about 22 million a year, which would actually be a deal for Philly. However, that would be assuming the same success that he has as a reliever to a starter. This is no slam dunk, and in fact reliever's PEs are much lower than starters on average. For Madson to meet the WAR neccessary to earn 11 million dollars, he would need to throw 100 innings at the same effectiveness he threw 60 innings in 2011. This most certainly won't happen. Madson is a very good reliever, he had an adjusted PE of -3.44 in 2011, but he certainly isn't worth 11 million unless he is a top of the rotation starter, and the Phillies have a few of those.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Free Agent Watch: Ryan Rowland-Smith

Ryan Rowland-Smith spent 2011 with the Astros organization, and as bad as the Astros were, he was never brought up. In his Major League career (all with Seattle), he has a -.2 WAR. This is all because of his awful 2010 season where he had a -3.5 WAR. Previous to that, he had a 3.3 WAR in 253.1 innings. In 2010, his PE was as putrid as his WAR at 7.582. In his 3 previous seasons, he had a PE of 1.353, not great but not bad. So what was the difference? Many baseball stats people will say that ERAs will change, but strikeout totals and WHIP usually doesn't change much for a pitcher year to year. With Rowland-Smith, that isn't true, as he had a 1.303 WHIP in his first 3 seasons and then changed to a 1.692 in 2010. Similarly, he went from a 6.1 K/9IP in his first 3 seasons, and then dropped to a 4 K/9IP in 2010. This, and the fact that his BABIP (.304) was around league average in 2010, points to something fundamentally changing in Rowland-Smith. For his career,  his TR is a pitiful 6.86, and in 2010 it must have set some kind of record for futility at 2.84. This really leaves us to throw up our hands and ask what kind of pitcher Rowland-Smith actually is. Just looking at his overall Major League numbers, it seems that he really wasn't all that great anyway, and the house of cards all came crashing down. However, it does make some sense to look at his AAA PCL numbers with the Astros organization in 2011. He threw 104.2 innings, so it is a good sample size. His PE was 3.38, and his adjusted PE was 2.03. Both of these numbers are pretty bad. His ERA was 6.19, and even though he suffered from a .350 BABIP, his FIP was still 4.84. So even if the world was fair, his AAA ERA would still nearly be 5, absolutely unacceptable. Incidentally, his SIERA (skill independent ERA, mainly just another formula for FIP) is 4.84 for the Majors (his FIP is 4.97). This isn't very good, but the eternal optimist would argue it is not irredeemable. Certainly it is worth bringing guys like this in to spring training on a low risk type basis, but I don't think you can really expect much of anything from Rowland-Smith.

Free Agent Watch: Winston Abreu

In just 44.1 Major League innings, Winston Abreu has a -.1 WAR. He has a miserable PE of 4.434 in the majors, along with a horrific TR of 3.41. Even though he had a high BABIP, it is impossible to pin his struggles on this, as his terrible groundball to flyball ratio (.56) and HR/9IP (2.03) shows. A good student of baseball statistics or the Winston Abreu fan might scream "Small Sample Size". They would certainty be right, so it may be helpful to look at his last two seasons, both spent in AAA. I am going to split these two seasons, because 2010 was spent with the Rays AAA, in the international league, while 2011 was spent in the Blue Jays AAA, in the PCL. These are two much different leagues, and we can use the AAA metric on his 2010 season, but not with his 2011 season. In 2011, he threw 66.1 innings and had a nice PE of -2.51, but his adjusted PE is less impressive at -1.21. His FIP was 4.96, hardly good enough to be brought up, and his BABIP was a low .265. Not to mention he struggled with homers at 1.63 HR/9IP. He also walked 12% of batters faced, which is way too high. In 2010 with Durham, his adjusted PE was an incredible -8.91, and his PE was -8.29 in 55.1 innings. These amazing numbers come with a rather normal .293 BABIP. There, he did not struggle with walks (9.5%) or HR's (.16 HR/9IP). He also put up numbers in 09 in AAA for the Rays. According to the AAA Durham metric, his Major League PE should be -5.76, which would put him with some of the more elite relievers in the game. There is an obvious discrepancy here. Either our metric is flawed with not enough sample size, Abreu is a AAAA pitcher, or he is due to break out. The pedestrian 2011 season makes it really hard to believe he is due to break out. At age 34, one would think his best baseball is behind him. It is still hard to ignore those numbers, and his small sample size makes it hard to insist that his major league numbers are what Abreu is. Surely Abreu is at least worth a minor league contract or minimum salary.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia: Arbitration

Salty made $750,000 in 2011,  and posted a .7 . WAR (worth 2.1 million according to Halladay Standard). He had a career high in Plate Appearances, and his other real full season was in 2007 where he had a .1 WAR. It would be a pretty big jump in arbitration to go from 750,000 to 2.1 million but I am certainly no expert at guessing how much a player will get in arbitration. In 2011 for the Red Sox, he had just a .288 OBP, with a .737 OPS. The good news is that he was a pretty good slugger at .450 slugging percentage. He also had a 1.21 PPG, but a 3.088 PAPP. He was horribly inefficient but had some pop. His secondary average was .285, while his PPS was 91.85. In his career, his Runs Created per game was just below average at 4.2, and his offensive winning percentage is .434. He has a .307 OBP, .712 OPS, and 91.99 PPS. He hasn't consistently had the power he had in 2011, with a career PPG of .98 and a .161 ISO (he had a .215 in 2011, it is hard to tell if that is fluky or whether he just loves Fenway. The Ballpark in Arlington where he used to play is a very great hitters ballpark, so the latter seems unlikely). He has a .322 career BABIP, even though he had a 2011 BABIP of .304, there is perhaps hope it will return to form. More likely, this career BABIP was fluky anyway. His Secondary Average is mediocre at .246. Salty is a horrible defender with a -1.4 D-WAR in his career and a -.6 WAR in 2011. He also had that weird incident in 2010 where the Rangers couldn't bring him up because he suddenly couldn't throw it to the pitcher. We should probably not read too much into that, but it gives you concern about his mental makeup. In 2011, Salty was absolutely terrible at the start of the year and picked it up as the year went along. He is an above average power hitter, but a way below average walker. The strikeouts will irrationally turn away people as will the low batting average. Because of this it is hard to know what his trade value would be, but certainly some team would see a catcher with some power and ignore the flaws. And there are flaws, the low OBP and high PAPP is very concerning. He is under average overall. The only hope is that his solid pitches per plate appearance (3.91 in his career, 3.95 in 2011) and slightly above average PPS will turn into a better OBP (read more walks). This is possible, but probably unlikely considering the decently large sample size of Salty's career. I don't think you can count on Salty and (obviously if he gets the 2.1 million or more) I would try to trade him.

Free Agent Watch: Jimmy Rollins

The Phillies Shortstop Jimmy Rollins put up a 3.7 WAR in 2011, and has a 2.23 WAR average in the past 3 years, worth 6.7 million dollars according to the Halladay Standard. In his career, Rollins has a mediocre .329 OBP and .761 OPS. His PPG and PAPP are better at a 1.44 and 2.6. He has 5.2 runs created per game, and a .532 winning percentage. His ISO sits at .160, while his secondary average is .286. None of these stats are impressive, but he is an above average extra base hitter, and a flyball hitter. His career BABIP is .289, which is under average and sort of a head-scratcher. He only sees 3.67 pitches per plate appearance, and his PPS is under average at 87.79. In 2011, his line looked like this: .338 OBP, .736 OPS, 1.38 PPG, and 2.65 PAPP. His offensive winning percentage was .550, with 5 runs created per game (the reverse correlation between these two numbers is puzzling). Win Probability had him as a negative hitter, considering all the other numbers, that probably says more about Win Probability than Rollins. His Secondary Average was .272, while his ISO was .131. He actually walked above average (he usually walks below average), and was a below average extra base hitter. He had a BABIP of .275, and in 2010 had only a .246 BABIP. He saw slightly more pitches (3.77) and had about an average PPS at 90.8. Quite frankly, Rollins is really overrated. Many key offensive metrics show that he is just above average. I would be surprised if he didn't get the 6.7 million the Halladay Standard suggested. A team certainly should not pay more, but a team probably will. He is certainly not an undervalued player that could end up being a steal. This notion that Rollins is a good leadoff hitter is really laughable according to OBP, PPS, and Walks. It seems that the common wisdom says "if he steals a lot, he is a great leadoff hitter". It does seem, at least his 2011 numbers support this narrative, he is becoming more efficient as his power wanes. Again, I am not a reporter or someone that knows how GM's are valuing Rollins, but if my guess is right, Rollins should be avoided.

How we Did: Week 9 NFL Picks

Big D's picks in Bold, mine in Italics

Cowboys run over Seahawks
Giants stun Patriots'
Excuse: The good Giants showed up this week, but my confidence in the Patriots is definitely shaken after back to back losses.
Broncos make less mistakes than Raiders
Excuse: I think we can rule out the Raiders being a playoff contender, and that Carson Palmer trade looks really really bad.
Ravens shock Steelers
Bears finish off Eagles
Excuse: I kept faith in the Eagles, and it proved to be dumb. They are done.

Big D: 3-2, 29-16 overall
Me: 2-3, 28-17 overall

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Giants New Lineup

After the Melky Cabrera-Jonathan Sanchez trade (I wrote a post just a couple days ago saying it would make sense for the Giants to trade Sanchez), MLB Network projects this to be the Giants lineup in 2012:
 Melky Cabrera 2.9 2011 WAR, .331 Career OBP, .729 Career OPS
Freddy Sanchez 1.1 2011 WAR, .335 Career OBP, .748 Career OPS
Pablo Sandoval 6.1 2011 WAR, .356 Career OBP, .857 Career OPS
Buster Posey 1.5 2011 WAR, .353 Career OBP, .815 Career OPS
Aubrey Huff -.9 2011 WAR, .342 Career OBP, .808 Career OPS
Brandon Belt -.3 2011 WAR, .306 Career OBP, .718 Career OPS
Jeff Keppinger .6 2011 WAR, .332 Career OBP, .720 Career OPS
Nate Schierholtz 1.6 2011 WAR, .318 Career OBP, .727 Career OPS

League Average in 2011: .318 OBP, .711 OPS.
Giants: Career Averages of .334 OBP, .765 OPS. 2011 Average 1.575 WAR Average, 12.6 overall.

This means that while the Giants' lineup has better than average OBP and OPS, their 2011 WAR is only 1/3.43 of the WAR needed to win 95 games. This could suggest a couple of things, both of which I think are partly true. 1. Players like Aubrey Huff were once good hitters, but are clearly washed up and 2. Players like Sanchez and Posey were injured and didn't put up a good WAR, despite putting up good OBP and OPS. Another pretty obvious reason the WAR doesn't match up would be bad defense, which is certainly the case for guys like Huff and Belt.

Miguel Montero: Arbitration

Miguel Montero is coming off a career year in which he registered a 4.5 WAR, which would be worth 13.5 million according to the Halladay Standard. Over the past 3 years, he has averaged a 2.4 WAR, worth 7.2 million dollars. In 2011, he had a .351 OBP, .820 OPS, and 1.21 PPG. Even though he is a catcher, he played in 140 games in 2011. In his career, he has a .338 OBP, .789 OPS, and 1.02 PPG. So while 2011 was above his career norms, they weren't crazy or abnormal. His BABIP reflects this as well, as in 2011 it was .317, and .306 in his career. This means that overall you can't expect the year he had in 2011, but he is still a good hitter, especially for a catcher. His Secondary Average is .273, and his ISO is .179. He brings a .558 Offensive Winning Percentage to the table, and walks about league average. He has a 92.48 PPS, is a flyball hitter, and an above average power hitter. He is an under average catcher, but his offense more than makes up for it. He made 3.2 million dollars in 2011, which is obviously quite a deal for the Diamondbacks. Of course, it all depends on exactly how much he will make in arbitration, but more than likely there is no reason to move him.

Free Agent Watch: Fred Lewis

Fred Lewis is coming off a frustrating year with the Cincinnati Reds in which he had a -.1 WAR (he made $900,000). Over the past 3 years, he has a .57 WAR average, which would be worth 1.7 million dollars according to the Halladay Standard. In his career, he has a .345 OBP, .751 OPS, .92 PG, and 2.74 PAPP. He is an under average home run hitter and has an ISO of just .139. His secondary average is .266, and he has an offensive winning percentage of .529. Despite not having impressive metrics in many areas, he is a patient hitter, seeing 4.05 pitches per plate appearance, walking 9.6% of the time, and owning a PPS of 98.05. In his career, he is a slightly above average extra base hitter, but in 2011, he was below average. In 2011, he had a .321 OBP, .638 OPS, .54 PPG, and 3.28 PAPP. His Offensive Winning Percentage was just .384, and he had as many positive plays as negative plays according to win probability. His groundball hitting was extreme in 2011, at 1.64 GB/FB ratio. This is perhaps more concerning than any other statistic (he also hit less line-drives than average). He still walked 10.5% and had a 92.26 PPS. His Secondary Average was just .191, and his ISO .087. He suffered from a .273 BABIP in 2011, and he strangely has a .339 career BABIP. On defense, his fielding percentage of .979 is below league average of .985 for outfielders. His Range Factor is also below average. One could very easily argue that since Lewis is now over 30, he is on the downhill slope, and that the very little power he did have has left him. If this is true, he has probably dropped below a serviceable Major League player as 2011 shows. However, it seems much easier to argue the other way, that 2011 was due principally to things like BABIP luck and relatively small sample sizes, and that his ability to see pitches and walk makes him more valuable then most teams believe. It is not like he is going to be valuable in free agency. He could be a very nice 4th outfielder for a team, especially if he returns to form.