CSS Button No Image Css3Menu.com

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

Vote in the Internet Baseball Awards for a chance at a free copy of Dollar Sign on the Muscle
Voting ends in 15 days and 23 hours

<< Previous Article
PITCHf/x Profile: Diss... (08/14)
<< Previous Column
BP Unfiltered: The Met... (08/13)
Next Column >>
BP Unfiltered: Garbage... (08/15)
Next Article >>
Premium Article The Prospectus Hit Lis... (08/15)

August 15, 2012

BP Unfiltered

Melky Cabrera, PEDs, and the Giants' Playoff Odds

by Ben Lindbergh

When news of Melky Cabrera’s 50-game suspension for taking testosterone broke this afternoon, the Giants had 45 games remaining, were tied with the Dodgers atop the NL West, and were half a game worse than the Braves and Pirates, the two teams tentatively holding the two NL Wild Cards. Shortly after that, they lost to the Nationals, 6-4, but let’s pretend that never happened. (Who knows, maybe with Melky they would have won.) This morning, with Melky, the Giants had a 60.5 percent chance of making the playoffs: 53.2 percent from winning the division, and 7.3 percent from winning a Wild Card. How much did losing Melky for the rest of the regular season affect their odds?

To find out, I distributed Melky’s playing time among other players, re-ran the odds, and compared them to this morning’s. Our depth charts had him projected to play 90 percent of the time. I gave 60 percent of that time to Gregor Blanco (who was already projected for 40 percent) and 15 percent each to Brett Pill and Justin Christian. The difference? A whopping 2.9 percent reduction in playoff odds, with most of that decline reflected in the team’s chances of winning a Wild Card. To put that into perspective, the Giants' trade for Marco Scutaro a few weeks ago improved their playoff odds by 2.5 percent.

 

Playoff%

Div%

WC%

With Melky

60.5

53.2

7.3

Without Melky

57.6

52.5

5.1

There is a caveat here: because it takes several years of past performance into account, PECOTA isn’t quick to believe in breakouts. As a result, the system had Cabrera projected for a .270 TAv over the rest of the season, which would have made him worth an additional half a win. However, PECOTA doesn’t know Cabrera was taking testosterone. If—and this is really a stretch—you think that either all or some portion of Cabrera’s improvement in 2012 stemmed from his use of a banned substance, then presumably he would have outperformed that projection had he continued to play, and the percentage change should be bumped up accordingly.

Even assuming Cabrera wouldn’t have regressed at all, though—which is an even bigger stretch, regardless of whether his performance was actually enhanced—his loss couldn’t have moved the needle by much more than a few percent. Forty-five games just isn’t enough time for most personnel changes to make a major impact, and it’s rare that the addition or departure of a single player makes or breaks a season. Given the closeness of the race, Cabrera’s absence could come back to bite the Giants, but unless they miss out on a playoff spot by a single game, it probably won’t be worth wondering what might have been. As demoralizing as the suspension news might be for fans of Melky or San Francisco—and for those of us who can look forward to having an even tougher time persuading people that future career years could be clean—the Giants’ playoff push isn’t in much worse shape than it was this morning.

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

Related Content:  Giants,  San Francisco Giants,  Melky Cabrera,  Testosterone,  PED,  PEDs

24 comments have been left for this article.

<< Previous Article
PITCHf/x Profile: Diss... (08/14)
<< Previous Column
BP Unfiltered: The Met... (08/13)
Next Column >>
BP Unfiltered: Garbage... (08/15)
Next Article >>
Premium Article The Prospectus Hit Lis... (08/15)

RECENTLY AT BASEBALL PROSPECTUS
Premium Article Playoff Prospectus: NL Wild Card Game Previe...
Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: Edinson Volquez
Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: Are Elite Pitchers Becomi...
Premium Article Pitching Backward: In Love With Lohse
Premium Article Playoff Prospectus: ALDS Preview: Angels vs....
Premium Article Playoff Prospectus: NL Wild Card Game Recap
Premium Article Playoff Prospectus: ALDS Preview: Orioles vs...

MORE FROM AUGUST 15, 2012
Premium Article Sobsequy: What Your Team's Choice of Radio B...
Premium Article Punk Hits: The Fabulous Major-League Basebal...
Transaction Analysis: Mathis for Smart Peopl...
Fantasy Article Value Picks: Relievers for 8/15/12
Premium Article Collateral Damage Daily: Wednesday, August 1...
Premium Article The Prospectus Hit List: Wednesday, August 1...
What You Need to Know: Wednesday, August 15

MORE BY BEN LINDBERGH
2012-08-15 - BP Daily Podcast: Effectively Wild Episode 2...
2012-08-15 - BP Unfiltered: Ben Sheets' Dead Body
2012-08-15 - BP Unfiltered: Garbage In, Guthrie Out
2012-08-15 - BP Unfiltered: Melky Cabrera, PEDs, and the ...
2012-08-14 - Premium Article Overthinking It: Anthony Gose is Not Ready R...
2012-08-14 - BP Daily Podcast: Effectively Wild Episode 2...
2012-08-13 - Premium Article Overthinking It: The Adam Jones Extension Re...
More...

MORE BP UNFILTERED
2012-08-16 - BP Unfiltered: Forever Young
2012-08-15 - BP Unfiltered: Ben Sheets' Dead Body
2012-08-15 - BP Unfiltered: Garbage In, Guthrie Out
2012-08-15 - BP Unfiltered: Melky Cabrera, PEDs, and the ...
2012-08-13 - BP Unfiltered: The Mets' Bullpen Doesn't Blo...
2012-08-13 - BP Unfiltered: The Archetypal Aroldis Chapma...
2012-08-13 - BP Unfiltered: Jose Goes Back to the Future
More...

INCOMING ARTICLE LINKS
2012-08-16 - BP Daily Podcast: Effectively Wild Episode 2...