Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Lastings Milledge goes to Japan

The Yakult Swallows of Japan have signed Lastings Milledge to a $570,000 (converted to American currency) dollar contract. The average NPB salary is $420,000. According to Gen Sueyoshi (you can see the post here: http://yakyubaka.com/npb-salaries/2011-yakult-swallows-salary-report/ and follow him on twitter @gwynar), the Swallows had a payroll of 2491.1 Million Yen, or 32 million dollars in 2011. The NPB season is 144 games, so a "replacement team" (0 WAR players would win 32% of their games according to the official WAR calculus) would win 46 games. To win the Central League (the league that Yakult belongs) in 2011, Chunichi won 75 games. That seems like a goal-line, so a team expecting to win their league needs 29 Wins Above Replacement. So the Swallows have 32 million dollars to get those 29 Wins, so they can spend 1.1 million dollars per WAR. Therefore, at a salary of 570k, Milledge would need about a .5 WAR. So we will use Milledge's MLB statistics (along with his 2011 AAA numbers) and the metrics we have designed for NPB baseball to project Millddge's success. Milledge is a horrible defender, earning a -3.3 D-WAR in 6 seasons, or -.55 D-WAR a year. Depending on whether you trust BaseballProjection or BaseballInfoSolutions, Milledge cost his team 44 or 10 runs more than an average fielder in his career. With the bat, Milledge had a .328 OBP, .723 OPS, .94 PPG, 2.96 PAPP. This translates to a .361 OBP, .789 OPS, 1.43 PPG, 2.22 PAPP according to our Japanese metric. This is a 2.68 Simple WAR, and even with subtracting his -.55 D-WAR, you still get a 2.13 WAR, well worth the 570k the Swallows will give him. In 2011, he spent basically the whole year in AAA. He had a .364 OBP and .805 OPS there. Converted to Major League Statistics, this is a .318 OBP and .713 OPS, pretty replacement level, but it is a .351 OBP and .779 OPS projection for the NPB. This is pretty similar to what his MLB numbers stated. All in all, expect Milledge to make a pretty nice impact offensively in the NPB and turn out to be a nice signing for the Swallows.

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