Monday, November 7, 2011

Will Aroldis Chapman be worth it?

Aroldis Chapman has come over with a lot of fan fare. He throws very very hard, and has reached around 103 rather consistently. Chapman had a .3 WAR in 2010, and a .6 WAR in 2011, when he made 3.835 million dollars. This is a pretty terrible WASP of 6392. In 2012-2013, he will make 2 million a year, meaning he will just need to register .67 WAR a year to meet the Halladay Standard (He will make 3 million in 2014, meaning he will have to register a 1 WAR). However (his 2010 salary was not released according to Baseball reference, so we will assume it was 2 million), for the Reds to meet the Halladay Standard for his contract, he will need to amass a 4.28 WAR overall. To do that, he needs to get about 1.13 WAR each year for the final 3 years. There is two ways to look at this: 1. That was a lot of salary and expectation to put on one unproven Cuban (where there are certainly no reliable metrics)-defecting player, or 2. The above WAR expectation is very realistic. Just as a reliever, Brandon League, who hardly has the hype of Chapman, registered a 1.2 WAR in 2011, and Mike Adams registered a 2.9 WAR in 2011 and 2.2 WAR in 2010. In 63.1 career innings, Chapman has a stunning -6.703 PE, Adams had a -5.033 PE in 73.2 innings, and League had just a -.344 PE. So there is no reason Chapman cannot put up that kind of season. Chapman is currently in the Arizona Fall League trying to convert into a starter. This is important, because they throw so much more innings, starters are much more valuable. For example, Bruce Chen, despite having a very pedestrian 2.083 PE, had a 2.6 WAR in 2011, and Joe Saunders had a 3.147 PE and a 2.4 WAR. For Chapman, it is admittedly a small sample, but his TR is really good at 11.39. It is hard to tell how exactly the transition to starter will work, but it is certainly the right decision. He has pitched 101 innings in AAA for the Reds in the International League, so we can perhaps use the metric to help project how he will do. In AAA he had a -4.328 PE, according to the International League metric I mapped out, Chapman would have a -1.789 PE. Of course, so far in the Majors his PE has been much better. There are two ways to react to this, it could be because Chapman made some starts in AAA, or we can argue that his success in the Majors will not be what we can expect for the long haul (or the metric could be faulty, or Chapman has above average success in the Majors over his AAA numbers). Either way, it would be a big disappointment and surprising if Chapman can't live up to his contract for the Reds.

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