CSS Button No Image Css3Menu.com

Baseball Prospectus home
  
  
Click here to log in Click here for forgotten password Click here to subscribe

<< Previous Article
Premium Article Spinning Yarn: Why The... (12/16)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article Transaction Analysis: ... (12/08)
Next Column >>
Premium Article Transaction Analysis: ... (12/20)
Next Article >>
Premium Article Warning Track Power: O... (12/17)

December 16, 2010

Transaction Analysis

Tiger Beat

by Christina Kahrl

the archives are now free.

All Baseball Prospectus Premium and Fantasy articles more than a year old are now free as a thank you to the entire Internet for making our work possible.

Not a subscriber? Get exclusive content like this delivered hot to your inbox every weekday. Click here for more information on Baseball Prospectus subscriptions or use the buttons to the right to subscribe and get instant access to the best baseball content on the web.

Subscribe for $4.95 per month
Recurring subscription - cancel anytime.


a 33% savings over the monthly price!

Purchase a $39.95 gift subscription
a 33% savings over the monthly price!

Already a subscriber? Click here and use the blue login bar to log in.

DETROIT TIGERS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart

Re-signed 3B-R Brandon Inge to a two-year, $11 million contract, with a $6 million club option for 2013 ($500,000 buyout). [10/21]
Re-signed INF-R Jhonny Peralta to a two-year, $10.75 million contract, with a $6 million club option for 2013 ($500,000 buyout). [11/8]
Signed RHP Joaquin Benoit to a three-year, $16.5 million contract. [11/17]
Signed C/1B-S Victor Martinez to a four-year, $50 million contract. [11/24]
Designated RHP Zach Miner for assignment (and let him depart as a free agent). [11/29]
Released RHP Alfredo Figaro. [12/14]

By way of introduction to taking a look at Dave Dombrowski's Hot Stove scorecard so far and where it puts the Tigers in the always-interesting AL Central race, first let me provide a reminder that I've already written about the decisions to retain both Inge and Peralta here. We'll revisit this.

First, let's deal with signing Benoit. It may seem like a lot of money for a guy who missed all of 2009 recovering from surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff, but Benoit provided ample reminder that his 2007 breakthrough before his injury-affected 2008 was no fluke. The other important consideration is that while the Tigers have plenty of power in the pen, they nevertheless finished just 17th in team ARP last year, and 21st in WXRL.

The outcome might be a bit of a surprise if you're a gun junkie. The names involved as far as who's already on hand are familiar enough. Jose Valverde remains an effective closer, averaging 95 on his fastball, but he was hardly a dominant relief asset within his role, finishing 31st in the majors in WXRL last year. Ryan Perry throws as hard or harder, but guys could sit dead-red on him and drop the hammer and get a base hit. And Joel Zumaya, while healthy, threw even harder still, leading the AL in triple-digit pitches per BIS before breaking down. Zumaya is supposedly going to be healthy and ready to go next spring, but it makes for a strange conjunction of results not measuring up to the regard for their stuff. Daniel Schlereth should be sticking around to give them a power lefty in what might have already rated as the hardest-throwing bullpen in baseball.

As another guy whose fastball sits in the mid-90s, where does Benoit come into a group of "can you top this?" flame-throwers? As the one with two key differences in terms of his performance record. First, when he's been healthy he does more than pour gas, mixing in effective off-speed stuff because of a slider and changeup that he can use equally effectively. Second, he was one of the game's true firemen last year, ranking in the top 10 in inherited runs prevented, which led to a top-20 finish in WXRL, not all that different from his finishing 22nd in 2007.

In short, he's a guy you want if he's sound, and he appears to be going forward. If Perry and Zumaya and Schlereth all come through, Dombrowski might think twice about necessarily picking up the clubs's $9 million option on Valverde for 2012. But if those three all come through, it'll be earlier in ballgames, because Benoit and Valverde will get most of the high-leverage situations in the eighth and ninth. The real payoffs are logistical and operational. Logistically, Leyland won't have to worry about pushing any one member of a crew this deep into many extended outings on consecutive days, and that much depth makes it easier to accept that losing any one of them to injury in-season is perhaps inevitable, without it derailing their bid at contending. And as far as in-game management, this much bullpen depth makes life with the young rotation easier, since Leyland can afford to go with a much quicker hook with the young non-Verlanders in the front five.

That much relief help means you ought to be able to protect narrow leads for longer stretches, which is a good thing, considering the Tigers' lineup selections so far suggest narrow leads might be the kind they consistently generate. To recap my take on the Inge and Peralta pickups, the short form:

Peralta is an infamous performance flake, achieving Oprah-like variations in a few too many dimensions for anyone investing in him to be entirely confident about the contents of the package just purchased. ... Getting angry over Inge is an equally reasonable response, but signing him as quickly as the Tigers did represents a confession that conjuring up an alternative for 2011 would be hard, while this was easy. Inge's merits remain much as they've always been: he's a quality fielder and he can bop a bit against lefties. Although that's a pretty penny to pay for that sort of adequacy, Inge didn't wind up that far below average in 2010, posting a .261 TAv to a third-base position average of .268. The problem is that the Tigers aren't going to get 2010, they're going to get the age-34 and -35 seasons of a guy for whom 2010 represents a highlight, because it was his best year since 2005.

In between then and now, Colin Wyers delivered his initial work on nFRAA, which confirms that even afield, Peralta has been inconsistent across the last three years, at short and elsewhere, but it also suggests he's been playable enough at short to make using him seem like a more reasonable proposition than it looked when we might have just relied upon Total Zone or Plus/Minus. By way of explanation as we look at the nFRAA interpretation of his work at short the last three years, PAA stands for Plays Above Average, MOE_P is the Margin of Error for PAA, RAA is Runs Above Average, and MOE_R is the Margin of Error for RAA:

Year
Chances
PAA
MOE_P
RAA
MOE_R
2008 3873 -3.8 18.2 -3.1 15.0
2009 1010 5.6 9.3 4.6 7.6
2010 1141 3.7 9.6 2.9 7.7

Of course, what that info suggests is that Peralta was lousy in a full season, but did all right in smaller chunks of time since. That isn't the same thing as saying he's a lock to be good over a full campaign. But let's say for the sake of argument that Peralta is a playable mediocrity afield and at the plate as their shortstop, while Inge is an unquestioned defensive asset at third. That might make for a pretty tight infield defensively, the kind that might keep close games close. But neither is going to be a major offensive asset, and the Tigers aren't loading up on boppers in traditional high-offense slots of the outfield corners. Pending any subsequent additions, if the Tigers stick with their current outfield corners mashup of Brennan Boesch and Ryan Raburn atop a pile that includes Casper Wells, Clete Thomas, and Ryan Strieby, you can hope for some productive platooning, but if Boesch's second-half slump was career-defining, I don't think we should pre-book those Gary Roenicke/John Lowenstein touts just yet.

Dombrowski's solutions to what might be an offense too weak to make good on that pen and defense and the two units' potential to turn mid-game leads in a Miguel Cabrera-led offense into wins involves something old and something new: Carlos Guillen, again, and Victor Martinez. Will it be enough? I'm a bit doubtful, on both counts.

Their latest plan for Guillen remains the same as last year's, in that once he's back from his latest injury (to his knee), he's their starting second baseman. Different metrics say very different things about Guillen's performance, with Total Zone and Plus/Minus leaning heavily negative, but nFRAA winding up mildly positive. If he can manage to play out the last year of his deal manning the keystone while hitting as well as he did last year, though, he'll be a roughly average offensive contributor at second, with a TAv in the .260s, not exactly good news when that's about what they may have to settle for from Inge and Peralta, not to mention the full outfield gaggle. And if he breaks down? The best-case scenario is that whatever combination of Will Rhymes, Scott Sizemore, and Danny Worth yields up someone capable of mediocrity.

Which puts Martinez on the spot, as their primary DH, but also doubling as their backup catcher and the guy who spots for Cabrera during the perennial MVP candidate's days off. That doesn't sound too shabby on the face of it. Behind the plate, Alex Avila will essentially get to play Spanky Lavalliere to V-Mart's new and improved Sluggo in a job split sure to improve their offensive production behind the plate, while making Leyland feel 20 years younger if he's so inclined. (Martinez's career rate against lefties is at .301/.379/.482, while Don Slaught finished at .301/.358/.446.) So the Tigers will accrue some significant offensive value over their previous reliance upon Gerald Laird.

But is Martinez enough of a major offensive cog to be Cabrera's second banana? So much of the perception of his value was tied to his being a regular catcher. Last year, he managed to produce a .292 TAv, consistent with his .289 career clip. That's awesome for a catcher, but if you use first-base production as a proxy for what you want from your DHs, Martinez doesn't look very special: last year, major-league first basemen managed a .288 True Average, so on a spectrum that runs from Albert Pujols to Casey Kotchman, Martinez is nothing more than adequate. It's cool that having him around might buy back the roster spot normally wasted on Laird or the like, but that's assuming Leyland doesn't carry a third guy who can catch. (And not Inge, so let's not start that.) Was the price right for that sort of utility? That might seem doubtful, but it's handy, and Dombrowski did also acquire the relative certainty that comes with employing Martinez instead of having to lurch from a Jim Thome season here and a Johnny Damon campaign there, and risking a genuinely bad year from an old man somewhere along the line.

So what does all of that add up to? In the broad strokes the lineup looks like it might get position-average production at the eight non-Cabrera slots. If short and catcher and left field were decidedly sub-standard last year, this year might see improvement at all three, even though I worry a bit about whether second becomes a problem or whether their current crew of corners in the outfield will fly. Last season's offense finished in a tie for fifth in the league in True Average, and set up this way, I could see how they could remain around mid-pack in the AL in 2011. Attach that to an incredibly deep pen and a young rotation with some upside potential. While I'm still not wild about Inge and Peralta, Benoit and Martinez look like depth-minded pickups who will shore up a fairly competitive team... as long as the AL Central's standards stay in the 85-win range. They should be able to renew a 2009-like bid for the division title if the White Sox don't ape the 2010 Twins and run away rom the pack, especially while the Twins seem happy to do nothing to retain their top-dog status.

Christina Kahrl is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Christina's other articles. You can contact Christina by clicking here

Related Content:  A's,  The Who,  Joel Peralta,  Year Of The Injury

27 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

BP Comment Quick Links

DetroitDale

A well written and fair minded appraisial of where the Tigers and and where they're going. There was however one glaring omission. Magglio Ordonez. The team declined his option but have voiced interest in bringing him back at less money, and Mags has voiced some interest in coming back, but nothing's happened on that front in awhile, and since then Crawford, Werth and Dunn have signed on with other teams, leaving several suitors looking for an alternative. While nothing's been reported, it's possible they might see Maggs as a consolation price. He's lost some power but still hits for a solid average. Is he worth bringing back? How does that change the lineup prognosis if they do? If another team lures him away, are there viable alternatives still available? Are there alternatives that they should consider before Maggs?

Dec 16, 2010 09:12 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Christina Kahrl
BP staff
(11)

As far as I was willing to go on Maggs was "Pending any subsequent additions," because these things are never as easy as they sound. The signing would make sense, at a certain (modest) price, because I'm among the doubters that Boesch is ever going to live up to those mighty first few months without making some major adjustments. And I've never been on the Clete Thomas bandwagon...

Dec 16, 2010 10:12 AM
 
dwinning

Of course, today they re-sign Ordonez: 1 year $10m per Jon Heyman.

Dec 16, 2010 10:40 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Christina Kahrl
BP staff
(11)

Yep, plan on filing blog posts on that and Willingham this afternoon.

Dec 16, 2010 11:08 AM
 
singledigit

I love my Tigers......but the entire team sans two guys screams "league average." That dirty word "potential" is still written on Porcello, Scherzer, Perry, Sizemore, AJax, Avila, Wells, and Boesch's jersies. Add the other word "hope" to the jersies of Inge, Peralta, Guillen, Galarraga, Coke(as a starter?), Raburn, Santiago? It appears to be a wish sandwich. Ya know, where ya got two slices of bread and you wish you had some meat.

Building around Cabrera and Verlander is a great idea. But sooner or later, some other guys have to drop the potential label and take a step forward. Hopefully, anyway.

Dec 16, 2010 09:24 AM
rating: 2
 
flyingdutchman

Agreed. For some reason, everyone has decided that Scherzer and Porcello are both sure things. How do we know this? Scherzer has never been good for any long stretch, and Porcello still doesn't strike batters out. So then it's Coke, a reliever about whom we have no idea right now and...Oliver? This looks like a .500 team to me.

Forget about Zumaya right now. The Detroit press goes crazy about this guy every time he finds himself miraculously healthy enough to pitch. He can't do it. He'll be walking off the mound before Cinco de Mayo. Sclereth has trouble throwing strikes, and Ryan Perry is inconsistent at best, though he does have potential to pull it together at some point. Benoit is an injury risk, and Valverde is almost certain to slip at least some. "Incredibly deep pen"? Not for long.

Every year we hear about how the Twins are going to falter, and then they win the Division. Maybe the White Sox will, but the Twins always cobble together a good team, and it's because they have a great system. They grow pitchers that don't kill themselves with walks, and they are able to find useful players to fill holes seemingly at will. They deserve to win. The Tigers act like big spenders most of the time, and it's always a house of cards.

Dec 16, 2010 09:55 AM
rating: 1
 
Richie

I count one 'sure thing' for the Twins (Morneau+Liriano with injury questions), the White Sox with nobody the level of Miggy and Verlander. But then, saying a projected 85-win team looks more like a .500 bunch to you is akin to saying a projected 9-7 NFL team in a weak division actually strikes you as more an 8-8 one. Not really that big a difference of opinion there.

Dec 16, 2010 10:41 AM
rating: 1
 
flyingdutchman

But that's my point. I think the perception is that the Tigers are gearing up to make a run, and I'm CERTAIN that that is the Detroit front office's perception. Like any team trying to make a run, they're thinking of a win number in the 90's. They think of themselves as the contending team that lost steam down the stretch and not the playing-over-their-heads team that showed their true colors down the stretch.

Look at the team. Look at the defense and the pitching. This is probably not a contender.

My point about the Twins and the White Sox is that you can't expect them to fold the way the Tigers do because they're not run by relative morons. People always say, "But what about 2006!?" Well, that's Exhibit A because they folded then, too. The only reason they made it to the playoffs is because of the hot start, and if the season was longer they would've fallen right out of contention.

The Twins have a system that seems to be able to churn out pitchers with decent-to-good K rates and nice, low BB rates. When one of their pitchers goes down, they replace him with something serviceable. When one of the Tigers pitchers goes down they replace him with one of two things: A) crap, or B) a big, inexperienced fire-baller that isn't ready and may never be, but is, for the time being, crap.

The White Sox make bold moves when bold moves are called for, and they even make them sometimes when they're not called for, but they don't collapse with a whimper. When the Tigers need to make a bold move for a division title, they go with Sean Casey or Aubrey Huff or Jhonny Peralta or Jarrod Washburn or Jacque Jones (not a mid-season acquisition, but still). They don't know what they're doing.

Things might go wrong for the Twins or the White Sox, but not everything will go wrong for both. In the end, one of them will step up and win 90 or so games, and the Tigers will be sitting on their thumbs, complaining about how Zumaya or Guillen or Ordonez didn't stay healthy, and they'll have paid a fortune for the privilege.

Happens. Every. Year.

Dec 17, 2010 10:49 AM
rating: 0
 
John Carter

"Velarde . . . was hardly a dominant relief asset within his role, finishing 31st in the majors in WXRL last year"

The way you nice folks are using stats isn't working for me. At least, you provide little balloons which I still need to remember what each acronym stands for. However, a) that interrupts the flow of the discussion; b) I'm generally in too much of a rush to bother; c) in this particular case (and I'm not sure how often this would be the case) I'm not getting the significance of them. How would finishing 31st among all pitchers in the Majors last year in WXRL be anything but excellent - especially for a reliever? If I understand WXRL from its balloon explanation, it represents how many wins that pitcher generated for his team compared to a replacement level pitcher. I would think a good half of the starting pitchers would finish above even the best relief pitchers in such a stat. Obviously not, but that shows how off my bearings are on this stat. Am I alone on this?

Do I have a better idea? Well, that would be a long discussion assessing the problems of overloading your readers with too many new stats to absorb. I suspect many of us look at other sites which are pushing other stats as well. It depends on our age and ability to absorb a lot of new lingo - and how important we think it is. I hate to derail the discussion of my favorite team by a very glib and astute writer, but this example shouted out to me as such a prime example of something that has been bugging me for awhile, that I felt I had to initiate this discussion.

Dec 16, 2010 10:52 AM
rating: 1
 
BP staff member Christina Kahrl
BP staff
(11)

Nothing wrong with initiating this, since I don't don't mind tangent tango. One issue here is that I tend not to sling the best superlatives around very casually, lest they come to be meaningless; there's a difference between excellent and good. Valverde was a closer who didn't wind up among the top 10 or 15 in a counting stat; maybe you want to pass out gold stars liberally, but I prefer not to.

The direct analog to WXRL for relievers that describes starting pitcher performance is still SNLVAR. Amalgamate the two--as we do in the book--and Valverde's mark made him the third-most valuable Tiger pitcher, behind Verlander and Scherzer, and a little more valuable than Galarraga. Not bad, and call me a miser for not applying "excellence" to describe it; I won't mind.

As far as new lingo, I guess the challenge here is to keep circling back; we've been using WXRL and SNLVAR for years (2011 will be the sixth year they're in the book, for example). We're planning a stats relaunch before the season, so your complaints aren't simply worthwhile or valid, they've been heard and appreciated.

Dec 16, 2010 11:47 AM
 
saigonsam

I think the confusion is that when you put the pointer over WXRL the definition says "pitcher" and never mentions that it is for relief pitching.

Dec 16, 2010 22:23 PM
rating: 1
 
saigonsam

31st of all pitchers vs. 31st among relief pitchers

Dec 16, 2010 22:28 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Christina Kahrl
BP staff
(11)

A fair point, but as I said, we use WXRL to specifically describe relief performance.

Dec 16, 2010 22:32 PM
 
John Carter

saigonsam is correct. The bubble doesn't say anything about relief pitchers only, which led to my wondering what the heck was so unworthy about Valverde being the 31st most productive pitcher? That is absolutely critical information to leave out of the bubble.

Dec 17, 2010 11:07 AM
rating: 0
 
John Carter

It worries me that Casper Wells, Scott Sizemore, and Will Rhymes are getting blocked by players who overall aren't any better: Ordonez, Inge, and Guillen. No doubt they could use the depth, but they are spinning their wheels into a rut, if they do not let their younger players develop into better players.

Dec 16, 2010 11:13 AM
rating: -1
 
dwinning

Hold on: Magglio Ordonez, who's hit roughly 310/375/475 for the tigers is no better than Casper Wells? The same Casper Wells who has "hit" .250 over 6 minor league seasons? I agree on the sizemore vs. guillen thing, but pretending that wells/boesch/clete are legitimate major leaguers, or that they have a shot to ever develop into average players, doesn't make it so.

Dec 16, 2010 11:55 AM
rating: 2
 
Rick C.

On an unrelated note... The last couple of the days the headliner articles had pictures of both Victor Martinez and Cliff Lee as Indians. Why? That really stung this suffering Tribe fan.

Dec 16, 2010 12:31 PM
rating: 2
 
serviceoutrage

This seems appropriate: http://www.onionsportsnetwork.com/articles/indians-apologize-for-not-having-ace-pitcher-to-tr,17819/

Dec 19, 2010 10:05 AM
rating: 0
 
Juris

Another nice summary of the Tigers' seemingly always complicated situation.

As for your (inadvertent) use of the term "doutful," I encourage you to locate the missing piece of the alphaet.

Dec 16, 2010 12:55 PM
rating: 2
 
DetroitDale

Update: Magglio Ordonez just signed with the Tigers for $10M over one year, declining two year offers out of loyalty to the Tigers. I have to second Dwinning's comments on Magglio vs. the the Mudhen outfielders, but I have to disagree with both him and Hotstatrat on Sizemore Vs. Guillen. The Tigers kicked Placido Polanco to the curb (even refusing to offer arbitration to get compensation if he left because they couldn't risk him staying) He got his full shot and he looked more like Chris Pittaro than Chase Utley. Whether they misjudged his talent or saw what they wanted to see because they didn't want to play PP anymore is an open question but what isn't open is Sizemore, his potential has been weighed and found wanting. He's a AAA infielder at bast and an insurance salesman at worst. Hoping that Guillen can stay healthy for one more year is remote hope but more hope than expecting anything more from SS. And having been once burned by Scotty, I don't blame them one bit for bringing back Maggs one more year and giving Wells another year of seasoning in Toledo. Agreed on Inge though. I still don't understand the organization's love affair with this guy.

Dec 16, 2010 13:02 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Christina Kahrl
BP staff
(11)

Just published my writeup of Ordonez's re-addition at http://bit.ly/dOAIFm

... and for the record, I'm a lot more skeptical about Sizemore and Rhymes as well, although maybe that's an near-adequate platoon once Guillen reinjures himself sometime next summer.

Dec 16, 2010 13:21 PM
 
singledigit

Polanco's first 150 or so PA's, his production was very close to Sizemore's. We don't know yet what Sizemore will become. Average, better than average, or an Insurance Salesman.

Some folks thought highly enough of Sizemore to place him on their Top 100 lists. Something Wells and Boesch never came close to accomplishing.

Doesn't mean Sizemore will ever accomplish anything, but 163 PAs isn't enough to make an evaluation.

Dec 16, 2010 23:26 PM
rating: 3
 
John Carter

Casper Wells has centerfield speed, a good reputation for playing smartly, and a record that suggests he should hit for a .340 OBA and a .480 Slugging. Ordonez will be 37, has below average defense and has to be getting slower. Probably .370 / .470 is what we can expect from him - in fewer at bats than what Wells could play. Is that $10,000,000 better? At least, it is a one year contract. That might be the complete amount of time it will take for Wells to be clearly better, though, it might be two years if he has to mostly sit on the bench or face another year of AAA pitching instead of Major League pitching. Frankly, as a Tigers fan, I'm OK with Ordonez as long as Wells gets 400 at bats, which he might. And I wasn't talking about any of the other Mudhen outfielders nor Boesch, who I agree with Christina is likely the latest Chris Shelton. I do think Raburn deserves to be part of this four man outfield.

You want to give up on Scott Sizemore after a 163 PA? I'm not saying he is Chase Utley, but he should hit more like .350 OBA / .440 Slugging. If you don't agree, then you must think Casper Wells is a .900 OPS stud. The Tigers were starting to try Sizemore at third as a possible replacement for the .310/.390 hitting incumbent 3B Inge. As soon as Sizemore is ready for that defensively, I would think is the right time to takeover. Inge would still have value as his back-up/defensive replacement and back-up catcher to a tandem where one catcher is primarily DHing. Perhaps, Detroit is trying to re-ignite Inge's all-star first half of 2009.

Will Rhymes is an organizational soldier who has improved each year to the point where he is a viable starting secondbaseman, although, perhaps, not a strong one. I see him hitting, at least, .340/.360 O/S. Carlos Guillen has been battered so often and so severely by the game, now at 35, I don't see him being much better than that. He has only hit .330/.420 the last couple years. Guillen is a versatile solid citizen who might provide a complementary veteran leadership and flexibility for this team. Rhymes isn't exactly a blue chip prospect, but he appears to be the late blooming overachiever who has earned a shot. Guillen's role should be supportive rather than stealing that shot from him.

Dec 16, 2010 15:34 PM
rating: -2
 
flyingdutchman

Huh? Those were Casper Wells' numbers from AA last year. So he "should" hit .340/480? That's not what usually happens.

And we can expect a .370/.470 from Ordonez? So the 37-year old will hit the way he did last year, in what was a bounce-back season?

Your estimate for Sizemore is perhaps a bit more reasonable, but it's also pretty close to the peak of what you can expect.

Rhymes is a 5'5", 155 lb 28-year old with a career minor league line of .289/.354/.374, so again, you're expecting his ceiling. If he is a viable starting second baseman in the major leagues, so are Aaron Miles and Tim Foli.

You're overrating just about everyone.

Dec 17, 2010 11:13 AM
rating: 1
 
flyingdutchman

Sorry, I meant Wells' numbers from AAA last year.

Dec 17, 2010 11:16 AM
rating: 1
 
John Carter

Sure, if something goes wrong, those estimates are high. However, if those players are all reasonably healthy and psychologically normal, that's what I think they will likely do. You're picking Wells' worse stats. He hit .370/.490 the year before in AA and was .375/.590 in another 313 AA PAs in '08. Is he getting worse? His .365/.540 looked great after his call-up to the Majors last year, so .340/.480 looks pretty reasonable to me.

Ordonez's OBA has been over .370 the last three seasons. 2009 was a down year for him. He was better than .470 Slugging in four of the last five years, so I think that is a fair projection as well.

If you go by Rhymes career minor league record, you are missing my point that he has steadily progressed. Obviously the Majors will be the biggest jump, yet, but he has handled it well so far. I stand by my projections.

Dec 17, 2010 13:10 PM
rating: -3
 
flyingdutchman

Psychologically normal? What are you talking about?

I am not picking Wells’ worst stats. I am picking Wells’ most recent stats, and they happen to be at the highest level of the minors. That's my point. That’s very likely anywhere from some to most of the reason that they are worse. Hitting at higher levels is harder than hitting at lower levels.

Wells’ 2011 PECOTA forecast as of last year was .217/.292/.410. Why is it so pessimistic, given his great AA season in 2009? Because he had very little experience in the majors, where hitting, you may be surprised to learn, is more difficult than anywhere else in the world.

So who is cherry-picking numbers? You are saying that 2009 was a down year for Ordonez, and you are treating that strictly as an outlier. Given Ordonez's age, why is it more likely that 2009, and not 2010, was the outlier? Remember what I said about hitting in the majors. Even if you have a lot of experience, as Magglio does, it gets more difficult with age. If you don't believe me, check the history of every single player with Ordonez's skill set that has EVER played the game. Very few of them stay anywhere near their peak levels at the age of 37, especially those who ground into a lot of DP's, can't play defense, and are among the worst base runners in all of major league baseball. I'm not saying I don't want Ordonez on the team. I'm just telling you why your estimate is a particularly optimistic one.

As for Rhymes, you mention that he's been steadily progressing. Well, I hope so, since he was in his third consecutive year at AAA when he was called up. I am not baseball expert, but I’ve noticed that 28-year old career minor leaguers who are 150 lbs tend to stop improving before they are good enough to become major league regulars.

Look, we never know for sure how well someone will perform. All we have is an estimated range of performances based on probabilities, and we try to make those as precise as we can. We can always strive to get better at these extrapolations, but so far we have learned that expecting a bunch of players to all perform near their ceilings is pure folly.

Now of course if they don't perform as well as you believe they will, you can always cite their lack of psychological well-being while still standing by your numbers. You never have to be wrong. Neither I nor PECOTA, however, concern ourselves with the incalculable, amorphous psychological well-being of players unless there's some extremely compelling reason for it. We concern ourselves with what is LIKELY and UNLIKELY.

Dec 17, 2010 15:11 PM
rating: 0
 
You must be a Premium subscriber to post a comment.
Not a subscriber? Sign up today!
<< Previous Article
Premium Article Spinning Yarn: Why The... (12/16)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article Transaction Analysis: ... (12/08)
Next Column >>
Premium Article Transaction Analysis: ... (12/20)
Next Article >>
Premium Article Warning Track Power: O... (12/17)

RECENTLY AT BASEBALL PROSPECTUS
Premium Article Minor League Update: Games of Tuesday, June ...
Premium Article What You Need to Know: June 3, 2015
Premium Article The Prospectus Hit List: June 3, 2015
West Coast By Us: The Barry Bonds Junior Gia...
Premium Article Rubbing Mud: Three Conversations About (and ...
Premium Article Some Projection Left: Draft Needs: National ...
Premium Article Baseball Therapy: The Credit Card Game

MORE FROM DECEMBER 16, 2010
Premium Article Spinning Yarn: Why The Yankees Need Andy Pet...
Premium Article Transaction of the Day: A Tiger Beat Addendu...
Ahead in the Count: Home Runs, Fly Balls, an...

MORE BY CHRISTINA KAHRL
2010-12-21 - Premium Article Prospectus Perspective: Giants Among Men?
2010-12-20 - Premium Article Transaction Analysis: The Greinke Trade
2010-12-17 - Premium Article Prospectus Perspective: Shorting Short?
2010-12-16 - Premium Article Transaction Analysis: Tiger Beat
2010-12-16 - Premium Article Transaction of the Day: A Tiger Beat Addendu...
2010-12-15 - Premium Article Prospectus Perspective: Cliff Lee's Choice
2010-12-14 - Prospectus Perspective: Werth and Crawford
More...

MORE TRANSACTION ANALYSIS
2010-12-30 - Premium Article Transaction Analysis: NL West Roundup
2010-12-29 - Premium Article Transaction Analysis: The Short Stack
2010-12-20 - Premium Article Transaction Analysis: The Greinke Trade
2010-12-16 - Premium Article Transaction Analysis: Tiger Beat
2010-12-08 - Premium Article Transaction Analysis: Recent Deliveries
2010-12-07 - Premium Article Transaction Analysis: Reynolds Wrap
2010-12-06 - Premium Article Transaction Analysis: Adrian Gonzalez and Sh...
More...

INCOMING ARTICLE LINKS
2011-01-21 - Premium Article Prospectus Hit and Run: The Replacement-leve...
2010-12-16 - Premium Article Transaction of the Day: A Tiger Beat Addendu...