Saturday, November 5, 2011

Free Agent Watch: Michael Cuddyer

The Twins' Michael Cuddyer had a 3 WAR in 2011, the highest of his career (at age 32), giving him a 1.73 WAR average for the past 3 years, worth 5.2 million. The obvious question is whether or not his career best 2011 at an age where he should be declining is fluky or not. His OBP was around his career number at .346 (.343 for his career), as was OPS (.805-.794). A tie for his best career batting average (.284) makes Cuddyer artificially more expensive in the free agent market. In 2011, he had a 1.23 PPG, and 2.56 PAPP (career 1.21 PPG and 2.69 PAPP). He has proved to be a miserable fielder at -5.3 D-WAR, and 2.01 Range Factor. His ISO and Secondary Averages are not impressive at .180 and .290 respectively for his career (his 2011 numbers were actually slightly lower). His BABIP was .312 (.306 for his career) in 2011, so it is hard to call his 2011 season really lucky, the numbers are real, but perhaps over-hyped. With that said, he has a career Runs Created per game of 5.2 and an Offensive Winning Percentage of .524. He is certainly an above average offensive player. He walks just above average at 9% and is an above average power hitter. The real concerning thing I see is that he hits more groundballs than average, and hits less linedrives than average. However, with such large sample sizes, it is doubtful that it will somehow catch up with him, he seems to be able to be successful with those percentages. Win Probability metrics actually go against WAR and other statistics and say that Cuddyer had as many negative plays as positive plays in 2011, making him an average hitter that doesn't help or hurt the team. I don't really know how trustworthy those statistics are, and as all the other metrics declare he is an above average hitter, I think the anomaly is probably just that. He sees just an above average amount of pitches per plate appearance, and has a PPS of 92.83 for his career. This is just above average, just as Cuddyer is as a hitter, but he is a terrible fielder, and seemingly overvalued. He isn't worth more than 5 million dollars, but it will be interesting to see how much he gets (he made 10.5 in 2011, and even with his 3 WAR his WASP was 3500, over the Halladay Standard).

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