Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Rangers, Cliff Lee, Beltre, and Napoli

Around the World Series, I heard a member of the Dallas media say that the Rangers used the money they would have spent on Cliff Lee and spent it on Beltre and Napoli and that is why they were in the World Series. So I wanted to look at the numbers.

They lost: 
Cliff Lee: 6.8 WAR 11 million dollars (will make 21.5 million in 2012)
Frank Francisco: 1.1 WAR 4 million dollars.

They gained:
Mike Napoli: 5.5 WAR 5.8 million dollars
Adrian Beltre: 5.2 WAR 14 million dollars.

The Rangers lost 7.9 WAR (at 15 million dollars), but gained 10.7 WAR (19.8 million dollars). So by signing Beltre instead of Lee and trading Francisco for Napoli (the most lopsided trade of the year), they gained 2.8 WAR at 4.8 extra million dollars, a 1714 WASP, meaning they got good return for the extra money they had to spend. Cliff Lee and Frank Francisco put up a 1898 WASP, while Beltre and Napoli put up a 1850 WASP, meaning the Rangers gained a slight efficiency with these moves.

In this article, I wanted to see if the Angels had any reason whatsoever to trade Mike Napoli. His 2011 .414 OBP, and 1.046 OPS were clearly career highs, and it is hard to imagine anyone would have predicted this. But how was he as an Angel? A .346 OBP, .831 OPS, and 2.14 WAR average in his 5 years in LA is nothing to sneeze about. In fact, every single one of those numbers are better than Vernon Wells numbers in Toronto. Just a straight up trade would have been a loss, and the Angels also sent Juan Rivera to Toronto. I know a big reason for the trade was Napoli's defense, but Vernon Wells also has a career negative D-WAR. Every year in LA, Napoli had an offensive winning percentage of over 50%, and he had a 2.61 PAPP. You just don't find catchers like that. He also had a really impressive 102.73 PPS.

As far as Adrian Beltre goes, he is a hard one to figure out. He has been a notorious contract year player, which made his 2011 season that much more surprising. In 2004 with the Dodgers, he put together one of the alltime great seasons, posting a 10.1 WAR. The next year, his first year in Seattle, he posted just a 1.9 WAR. He then followed up his last year in Seattle with a 1.1 WAR, then had a 6.1 WAR with the Red Sox the next year. One thing you notice about Beltre, a mediocre OBP at .329 on his career. A lack of patience becomes apparent, only walking 6.8% of the time, and seeing a league average 3.76 pitches per plate appearance (leads to about a league average 89.95). When this happens, BABIP and power becomes even more important.  In 2004, he had a 1.79 PPG, in 2005 it was 1.14 PPG. In 2009 he had a 1.07 PPG, but in 2010 was 1.4. You wouldn't think power would fluctuate that much, but in 2004 he hit a homer 7.3% of the time, but in 09 it was just 1.7% and for his career it is 3.9%. We saw this when we looked at Vernon Wells in a previous post, impatient hitters tend to be inconsistent, and I think that is what we see with Beltre.

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