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I know it was for both wild card spots and not just one, but how would last year has been determined if all 3 teams that were chasing the NL Wild Cards had finished tied?
Just do the normal 3 way tie breaker and that team advances to NLDS?
I think the excitement of <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/player_search.php?search_name=Billy+Hamilton">Billy Hamilton</a></span> and the like being on base would influence the score whether it leads to winning or not. I know I get nervous when a base stealer gets to 3 balls.
As a Cubs fan, I'm fine with 2014 being on the list twice. Reading this site was the only thing that got me through the lean years.
Was thinking the same. <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=SB" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('SB'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">SB</span></a> are pretty exciting
I generally agree with you and as a Cubs fan the Pirates scare me the most of any other division team.
I would quibble about Marte being a "bit part" though unless you are just referring to his year and his supension.
Giants may as well just give them Bumgarner now. Gotta have the whole set.
I see end of year awards as rewarding results and <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=DRA" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('DRA'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">DRA</span></a> more of a predictive tool. Hendricks taking advantage of his good idea absolutely provided value. If a hitter goes crazy with a high <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=BABIP" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('BABIP'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">BABIP</span></a>, they may have provided MVP value without necessarily being predictive.
All that said, Scherzer is still a worthy choice given his innings advantage, higher strikeout rate and <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=ERA" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('ERA'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">ERA</span></a> in the same general ballpark.
Thanks for the article, Mauricio! As a Cubs fan this doesn't affect me much, but as a baseball fan in general it's devastating. By all accounts he seemed to be a good guy who legitimately enjoyed playing the game. He will be missed in MLB. He'll even be missed by this Cubs fan who saw his team always get ground into dust when he's pitching.
Condolences to his family and friends. As much as the baseball world weeps, his relatives and unborn child are going to have much more to deal with than just losing a superstar.
It's not like the Reds are good. Let's put Hamilton in the lead off spot every day and make it interesting. If he continues to <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=OBP" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('OBP'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">OBP</span></a> .300 it's just a better draft pick to go along with the steals.
I would argue it is somewhat need based. Montero sure seems like he's hurt. He's walking and framing, but he's not hitting the ball with any authority and his arm is a huge liability late in games.
Ross has been solid, but it'd be nice for him not to be ground into a pulp when October roles around which means less regular duty.
Giving Contreras a taste of the big leagues while trying to keep the other two healthy and productive into October seems like a good idea.
The fact that he managed to morph into <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=523">Carl Pavano</a></span> for a year makes his career even more impressive.
I think the write-up on the D-Backs is a bit harsh in comparing him to Preller. I don't like what he's done and I see very little way that the Miller deal doesn't hurt in the end.
That said, he seems to have a team construction plan (however bad we may think that is) which is something Preller lacked. He actually seems to have positions in mind instead of building a fantasy baseball outfield. Also they were better than the Padres during their spree and taking advantage of Goldschmidt's prime isn't a horrible idea.
I'm not sure Arizona's plan is a winner and they especially gave up too much for Miller, but at least they seem to have a plan which automatically puts them as 3rd best org in the NL West by default.
I'm not sure Cespedes' limited market was due to looking at his right now flaws, but more of how he would age.
I'm pretty sure most teams in need of outfield help would sign him to a short term deal especially to play in a corner. Right or wrong the perception seems to be that he is a risky bet on a long term contract because of a higher than normal bust risk.
To be fair, it's Donaldson for Zach Erwin, JB Wendelkne, <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=102106">Franklin Barreto</a></span>, <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=102077">Kendall Graveman</a></span>, <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=65982">Sean Nolin</a></span> and a year of <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=60009">Brett Lawrie</a></span>, but yeah even with that you're point still stands.
Hard to see this one working out for the A's in the long run.
I kind of agree, but Hammel does have more upside and has the soft factor of being with the team longer (which I don't necessarily care about). Either way, it's probably not worth fussing over. Hopefully Maddon goes to Cahill/Wood early if he's struggling at all.
I think you mean Arismedy Alcantara, not <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=102667">Billy McKinney</a></span>. While it seems they call up a top prospect every few months, he's been solidly rooted in the minors all year.
So who will inherit top spot on prospect list next year after all Top 101 prospects get called up?
I doubt Schwarber ends up exhausting eligibility, but it really looking like a pitching heavy prospect list since it seems every hitter is being called up this year. Most likely the top 5 prospects on the list will all graduate.
I think they would've still taken Bryant. This front office m.o. is best value regardless of fit. They had plenty of advanced hitting prospects last year and still took Schwarber who no one thought could stick at catcher.
How does PECOTA estimate playing time? I feel this is generally off more than the slash lines most years. For example, if Kris Bryant and Kyle Hendricks hit their PECOTA stats, they will be getting considerably more playing time than estimated barring injury. Is their low projection just based off the fact they saw little (or none in Bryant's case) MLB time last year?
I'm sad. Amazon said mine was supposed to be delivered yesterday and it was not. Hopefully it comes today. I need to tear into it this weekend.
I tend to agree with the last few comments. For 2015 I think this benefits the Jays more than the A's, but into the future this may not be the case.
Donaldson is a stud right now, but the track record for players turning into studs this late in their career is mixed. Is he Jose Bautista? The Jays certainly hope that is the case. It's much more likely he's a player who is an asset from age 28-31 than a true star. Even at this if the Jays win the next few years then they'll still be happy with the exchange.
Houston definitely botched this up in a big way, but make no mistake that MLB (and the player's union) is very complicit in this due to the most recent CBA and the ridiculousness of the draft $ pool.
If there weren't limit, does anyone really think Houston would've gone through all of this just to save $1.5 mil or so?
I agree there is some PR perspective, but they could've at least waited until next year to do this at the least to at least have a little more info.
The last years will most likely be an albatross, but what does it really matter in the long run? The Tigers have a couple more years probably then they'll be very bad for the latter part of the contract anyway.
This seems to make intuitive sense. There are more players to choose from at the lower end of the spectrum, so players are shuffled out as soon as they decline.
Look at players such at Brendan Ryan and Clint Barmes. They can't hit and haven't for years, but it's hard to find a good shortstop so they linger in the league. The minute a guy like Richie Sexson stops hitting, it's a short path to forced retirement.
Is there any reason the O's shouldn't try to sign Stephen Drew to fix their Flaherty sized hole since the cost will only be a third rounder?
If Schoop proves ready Drew could slide to third next year with Machado going to short.
I think if the Cubs could've traded Soriano in the off-season, they would have. They've been trying to trade him since Theo/Jed took over.
This article was phenomenal.
Enlarged hearts are a serious condition. If they saw that in Sergio Romo, they should have recommended he see a doctor.
I'd argue Gregor Blanco is a sign they do use statistics. He's a speed guy who plays good defense and gets on base at a decent rate despite lack of power.
Great article, Len! As a Cubs fan who got into sabermatics a year or so before you hit the booth, it's refreshing to have an anouncer that doesn't spout the same cliches. Keep up the good work.
I'm curious how suspensions and playoffs work. Since he'll only miss 45 regular season games, will he get to come back after 5 playoff games if the Giants qualify and move on to the NLCS?
I don't think he'll straight replace Betemit. Betemit will DH or play 1B pushing Reynolds or crappy Orioles LF out. Betemit is a bad defender, so even replacement level is a step up all things considered with a big upside.
Sometimes even the best players make mistakes. This article makes me question Bobby Valentine much more. Ciriaco DH?
I don't really get it. I have no problem with the Marlins getting rid of Hanley as he has regressed, but surely there was a better deal out there.
I believe he waived these rights in order to have a no-trade clause (or at least a partial one) during the first 5 years of the contract.
Can't quibble with too much on the list although I may consider Frank Thomas over Edgar and Maddux over Clemens, but no wrong choices there.
The one that surprises me is Pee Wee Reese over Ripken, Jeter, etc. Care to elaborate on that one?
What a completely pointless article and that's not a dig at all. I love all this quirky stuff and greatly enjoy all of Sam's articles. Keep up the good work!
Love these articles.
In the true spirit of the question, wouldn't using ERA+ instead of FRA+ be better?
More likely than not, a pitcher who wins the Cy Young has some luck factors on their side. While some do improve their underlying statistics, how many of them truly improved enough to overcome regression to the mean the next year?
This does seem like an overpay to me, but with some of the new catcher studies he may be worth it.
Still when I heard news of the extension for 5 years without dollar values attached I imagined around $10M or so, 12 on the high side.
So according to reports, he recognized he was in a bad situation and called a friend to help him? This sounds like a pretty responsible thing to do.
Not a horrible comp, but Patterson actually got significantly worse. In '03 before he got injured he was having a great season.
Jackson while frustrating has still showed marginal improvement the past 5 years.
There are still 2 players hanging around on minor league contracts that were still around the first year I watched baseball to prevent me from feeling too old. Bless you Jamie Moyer and Omar Vizquel.
I'm fascinated to know about the outlier point of Lopez that looks like he may have thrown the ball with his right hand.
Not that the Tigers have the prototypical team to do this, but doesn't this make sense if you have a K heavy fly ball staff. Verlander and Scherzer definitely will be hurt less by this and it's probably a good tradeoff when they are on the mound.
Pity Rick Porcello. If Santiago doesn't start somewhere during his starts, his stats could look uglier than they have been.
I think it's absolute fair to view this from the Sox point of view as they were almost certainly the initiator of talks. I doubt Dan O'Dowd is around cold calling teams to take a player for nothing but salary relief and if he is, please place a call to Jed Hoyer re: Soriano.
As of now Moyer and Omar Vizquel are the only players still active the year I started watching baseball and Vizquel was a rookie.
I'm disappointed Major League didn't make the list. I burned out my first VHS copy of this from watching it too many times and still often quote it at inappropriate times.
I'd like to see the numbers for the oldest teams that finished under .500. I think that's more the point as relates to the Astros. I don't hear many Phillies fans complaining that they keep winning the NL East with an old team.
Fans don't mind as old team as long as they win. Fans don't mind a losing team as much if there are young players to dream on. Fans absolutely hate having a bad old team. The Astros were going to bad bad no matter what, so they chose young and bad rather than old and bad.
I guess I disagree with your point. 5/$65m isn't a huge financial outlay and it's not like they have any farm system right now. They do need to field 25 players for the upcoming seasons.
If he were older, I'd be against it, but if KW decides to trade him two years from now, 3 years of a 28 year old pitcher making $13m a year is still going to be a valuable commodity.
That doesn't matter though. The Phillies are definitely a win right now team. They are already all in for the next couple years so they may as well do everything possible to be good in that timeframe. In a few years once everyone is old and Howard is still making way too much money, they'll be bad no matter what. Might as well get Rollins back in the fold now to make another run or two.
I know there is a caveat saying the table is off the cuff, but one that stood out to me was Berkman. You can't count his value to the Cards this year against HOU because he would've been a FA anyway.
I like the changes. It takes a little bit of position bias out of it in calculating where players fall. 3B should not be punished because the BBWAA has shunned their position only letting in the all time greats while letting in less than stellar 1B.
Yeah I found this even more ridiculous than most of his big moves. The part about keeping Fielder as a back up plan is especially ridiculous.
If Pujols leaves signing a hefty slight inferior 1B to a huge long term contract is about the last thing they'd want to do especially with other holes and Allen Craig available to fill a corner spot.
I disagree. I think it was a poor move no matter what. It's not like Hamilton is Ryan Howard and Rhodes is a vintage Billy Wagner.
Motte is a better pitcher and Hamilton has a slight platoon split, but still slugs over .500 against lefties.
The situation was pretty much a no-win anyway, but your goals in that situation are.
1) Strikeout or pop-up
2) Preventing at least the guy at 2nd from scoring. Getting out of the situation tied would be considered a good thing given the run expectancy.
I'd rather have my fastball pumping closer up there than an ancient lefty with a strikeout rate below 6K/9 any day regardless of confidence.
This is expanded by keeping in mind even if you get Hamilton you then have to get out at least 2 right handed hitters after him. If there are two outs, this would be defensible. With none out and the heart (all righties) of the order left to contend with, La Russa put them in the worst position possible and necessitated another pitching change after Hamilton PA no matter what.
As a Cubs fan though, I approve of this move.
Wow amazing stuff and glad to see you back here at BP. Intuitively this seems right and I personally use this theory when playing Baseball Mogul without ever thinking about why.
Maybe he'll be good, maybe he'll suck. Better than hiring a retread you know is bad. He played (and played well) for a long time in the big leagues. It's not like hiring someone who has no idea of the job description.
IF 'Team needs first basemen'
then IF 'team has money'
then 'Sign Prince Fielder'
else 'Trade for Yonder Alonso'
else 'Make something else up'
I love I wake up and there's a Steven Goldman article.
I agree that Fielder's importance to the Brewers is overhyped a bit. They have more problems beyond this though.
In assembling their core, they have completed gutted their farm system. I think Gamel can be an adequate 1B for them, but they have room to upgrade on SS, 3B, C, possibly CF, etc without spending money as they have no minor league assets left.
Their core is still young enough to stay competitive for a few years, but I feel they are going to have too hard a time complementing it to actually win enough for the playoffs every year.
The blackout rules really are the most ridiculous thing ever. I live more than 4 hours away from Chicago and at one point did not have the option for access to CSN so I couldn't watch most Cubs games. Even when I lived with my parents in southern Indiana an additional two hours away our zip code was still blacked out for Chicago.
I've noticed Zack DeVoss in the updates a few times recently. Will his lack of power kill the on-base percentage as he climbs or does he develop enough to be a useful player and take advantage of the plate discipline?
I think I've heard of that Greinke kid drafted 6th in 2002. You may want to change that sentence to read top 5.
I'll forgive Barnwell a bit as he does support sabermatics and as seen on FO sometimes speaks/writes before he really thinks, but the article today was just total bs.
I'll agree that basketball and football require a little more chemistry to fit players together, but I'm sure as you pointed out, Cuban's guys have a way of analyzing whether for example a shoot first, poor rebounding SF will fit into the current team set up or not with reasoning a lot more sound than "He's a good glue guy"
I like this article. I definitely watch baseball now at 30 differently than I did when I was 7, but I still think I enjoy it the same. It's just hard to be as optimistic as then knowing what I know.
I loved watching Shawon Dunston fly around the bases even though I didn't understand at the time the woeful percentage he was actually on the basepaths. I loved watching Dawson and Grace hit even if the former never drew walks and the latter was underpowered for a first basemen. Sometimes I miss that childlike naivity.
To me the Pittsburgh start sums up Garza's early season so far. No extra base hits and very few hard hit balls, but a ton of single many of them really cheap. The two that stood out.
1. 50 hop dribbler that got through the right side because Pena was holding the runner on.
2. Runner going on the pitch. Hitter grounds it right to where Castro was standing before he went to cover the base.
Sometimes badly hit balls find holes.
I don't think many Cubs fans (and I hope not Jim Hendry either) think Wells is a 3.05 ERA pitcher. If he continues to make 30 starts a year at his current peripherals, there's still a lot of value there.
While I mostly agree with what you say in this article, I think you are looking at this from a 2011 perspective a little too heavily.
Their outlook this year looks bleak, but 2012-13 look better.
1. They've got a ton of money coming off the books after this year, so a Garza extension is very probable. Would they be able to sign a comparable starter at below market rates the next two offseasons?
2. The Brewers gutted their farm system and will probably lose Fielder. They'll be better than the Cubs in 11, but afterwards who knows.
3. The Cardinals may lose Pujols. If they don't, they'll essentially be reduced to Pujols/Holliday/23 scrubs to oversimplify.
Granted this still leaves a good young Reds teams to deal with, but the outlook beyond 2011 is better.
Congratulations Jay! I always enjoy reading your HOF takes and think you are well over qualified to finally have a vote with the BBWAA
Love this series. Definitely helps me get through the off-season.
Despite reading about him for a while now, I have no idea how Taillon is pronounced. Is it (Tie-on) or (Tail-on)? That'd be something great to add to these as I often hear most about prospects in print-only format.
The more I look at it, the more I like what the Jays did.
In direct contrast to the previous GM, Anthopolous realizes playing it safe won't catch the Yankees and Sox (and now Rays).
Brett Wallace will be a fine playable first baseman, but not a star. The Jays need to strive for players that have potential to get them to 95 wins someday, not settle for known non-star quantities that only push them to 88 or so.
Hendry generally goes year to year on arbitration cases, although very rarely actually goes to arbitration.
He only signs mediocre outfielders to multi-year deals.
I do like the Nady move for some depth. He'll step in with little to no drop off when Soriano's yearly injury hits. What a horrible contract.
I still don't understand why the Cubs simply didn't re-sign Edmonds last year when trying to get more lefty. Nifty pickup for the Brewers. As much as I hated him on the Cards, he's a fun player to watch.
While the sale of the team may have had something to do with it, it's way too much of a crutch to cover up absolutely horrid moves by Hendry over the offseason.
Also not being able to afford DeRosa is a crock with or without the Bradley signing.
Kevin Gregg - $4.2M
Aaron Miles - $2.2M
Aaron Heilman - $1.6M
Chad Gaudin - $1.6M
Luis Vizcaino - $3.2M
Total - $12.8M
I just afforded two DeRosa's by eliminating worthless offseason moves, two of whom aren't even on the team anyway. Not to mention trading away a cost-controlled Wuertz who is better than any bullpen option listed above.
The funny thing is signing Bradley was probably the best move Hendry made this offseason which is very damning. I'm not really sure why he was so hyped. He's stayed fairly healthy delivered a solid OBP and played an acceptable right field. I still don't like the signing, but all the little things above were much more detrimental than Bradley to this year's disaster and worse yet none of the failures were really surprising given the personnel involved.
I love how, when you have a strong opinion about something you keep pushing with it. That's what make Prospectus Today my favorite (and sometimes least favorite) article to read, but it seems as if you are using this article to springboard another ethics argument.
Whether a baseball columnist or a guy in Indiana reading him agree with the structure or not is not the point. In the real world, if he doesn't get signed it's a lose-lose situation for both parties involved and they both know it, which is why it'll probably be hammered out in the 11th hour.
I understand in a perfect world Strassberg would sign a CC like contract, but in the real world, there's a very small chance that he makes more entering next year's draft and a monumentally larger chance that his stock drops or even worse he gets hurt and has no leverage.
I've heard talks of him pitching independently if he can't reach an agreement. Wouldn't he go back to SDSU for his senior year in this case or has he stated somewhere he's done with that?
This was my favorite article this week. Lots of good data, but didn't get bogged down in stats and graphs too much.
This (and the Pudge signing) are exactly what a team like the Astros should do. They are bad and have a horrible farm system, but they do have some valuable pieces. Why not try and catch lightning in a bottle at the tail end of Oswalt and Berkman's peak? Chances are it won't work, but it's not like it hurts to try.