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I didn't say it was.
Sorry, meant 2 or 3%.
80+ speed is like saying someone gives 110% effort. I don't really know what it means.
Ideally, saying someone has "80 speed" would mean they're in top 2 or 3 fastest players in baseball.
Interesting points, and I agree that HRs on contact is the best measure of "power".
However, in the context of the argument you're trying to debunk, the chief concern is not to evaluate the power of players, but the changing nature of the game. So it seems that measuring the prolificacy of HRs is a better measure.
"I just looked at it per PA, and while obviously the numbers all change, you still see incredible stability in home run rates"
Well, I'm suggesting that HR per contact rate would actually inflate the trend (if it's true that K rates have been increasing slightly), and that doing it on a per PA basis would actually show an even more level trend.
Regardless, you said it's insensitive to changes in the denominator, so it's not really important.
Why use HR per contact instead of the usual HR per Plate Appearance?
After all, more HR hitting (in absolute terms) usually means less contact and more strikeouts, so filtering out the strikeouts from the denominator may make the HR increases seem faster/larger than it really is.
Your method would seemingly mean that Adam Dunn and Ryan Howard were more prolific HR hitters than Albert Pujols in 2009, which isn't true.
The Fangraphs info is found in individual player pages, by clicking on the "splits" tab. Hopefully, this link works and sends you directly there: http://www.fangraphs.com/statsplits.aspx?playerid=1857&position=C&season=
They have stats for each batter for balls hit "As L to R", meaning how many balls the batter hit as a Lefty to Right Field and what happened on those balls. So Joe Mauer went to Left Field on 160 plate appearances, went to Center Field on 152 PAs, and went to Right Field on 153. Very even. But more importantly, he had his best stats went he went to Left Field (his opposite field), when the vast majority of hitters suck going opposite field and are far better pulling the ball.
It's easily the best part of their site, but, as you mentioned, a lot of the best use of this data is in aggregation and they don't offer that. You need to have the actual Play-by-Play and reconstruct what they have to get the aggregate info and "type every number in for each individual player." And their play-by-play data comes from BIS, I think. Which costs $$$
I know fangraphs has splits info for all batters and one of their splits is outcomes on balls in play hit to Right, Center, and Left. I believe they use baseball info solutions, and I'm guessing you have access to similar info.
I've been trying to replicate what they have using Retrosheet's info (because it's free!), but not finding much success so far.
I can't speak for all of your top 10, but at least Jeter, Suzuki, Mauer, and Votto are very good at using all fields.
Mauer and Votto especially not only have good BABIPs to all fields, but also have good power to the opposite field, a trait not shared by very many big league players.
I would guess that this is just another indicator of superior bat control that also helps them maintain solid BABIP rates.
Another thing Dusty shares with Wright: adjusting to new hitting environment, and perhaps adjusting his swing in over-compensation (Dusty was moving from the launching pad to Dodger stadium).
Using a quick, simple (and bad) scoring system where Strasburg=101 points, Heyward=100 points, Espinosa=1 point, etc. here are the ranking.
Red Sox 230
Blue Jays 144
White Sox 118
So PECOTA is THAT broken, huh? J/k.
Always good to feed Ozzie's ego (re: twitter followers). Anything we can do to increase the crazy quotient, Ozzie. We need you at your best this year.
I trust BP will eventually get it right and it'll be better off for the long term, but yea I'm planning on using CHONE or Marcel (or a mix of the two) this year.
I still appreciate the work you guys are doing though, it's just getting pretty close to opening day, all things considered.
Hey Matt, I hate you bother you with more questions, so feel free to ignore if you've already gone over this:
I went on fangraphs (just easier to export and work with than BP's stats, I'm sorry!), and pulled batted-ball info for all the pitchers with at least 700 IP from 2002-2009 (128 pitchers in total). When I look at this sample, I find a correlation of -0.35 between GB rate and LD rate, and a correlation of +0.16 between FB rate and LD rate; seemingly indicating that over a large sample size, pitchers who force more GBs will allow fewer LDs, though the effect is not strong. (Correlation of -0.98 for GB rate and FB rate)
There is the very real possibility that I'm making some fundamental mistake in my reasoning here.
Thank you. I have to keep thinking about this before it sinks in completely, heh.
At least, that would be my explanation for why Derek Lowe and Brandon Webb have had such low LD rates.
Correct me if I'm wrong: There is pitcher skill in LD rates so far as a GB cannot ever be a LD, and thus GB pitchers will generally allow fewer line drives. This is generally why GB rate doesn't increase BABIP (since FBs offer much lower BABIP than any other batted ball) .
I like the Hamels observation, though to be honest it feels like all the other guys could be pinpointed for bounceback/regression without SIERA (or FIP, or any of the other stats).
I mean, precious few pitchers have posted ERAs below or around 3.00 in consecutive years; no one would project guys like Jurrjens, Happ, and Wolf to be in that group.
Oh, and I think the moral of the Chipper story is that you don't tell a guy who swings at only 15.2% of pitches outside the zone what to swing at.
To be fair, VORP is a fairly useless tool for player evaluation.
Boog, Braves are going to miss you next year. I watched maybe 130 Braves games last year, and the ones you did with Joe were a delight.
Maybe you can impart some of your knowledge on Chip before you go.
With his defense, that line for Nyjer Morgan wouldn't be too disappointing.
He doesn't become a FA, he just becomes arb-eligible and the structure of his contract changes (some money is converted to bonus and they then go year-to-year with arbitrage). So they don't lose team control.
I do agree that they probably won't bring him up this year, however.
To be fair, those 3 guys together are more like 1.75 players put together.
"However, he throws very hard and the Braves think he can be one of the primary set-up relievers for Billy Wagner."
Between Saito, Moylan, and probably Medlen, I'm not sure Chavez is expected to have much of a role in the bullpen this year-- especially as all 3 of those guys are righties (O'Flaherty is probably the LOOGY).
Though I guess you could say that Saito is ancient, Moylan has had arm problems in the past, and Medlen doubles as the 6th starter; so an opening could happen for Chavez down the road.
Heh, I was just thinking it might be fun to measure the the HR/FB ratio in the HR Derby as an upperbound for how much of it could possibly be due to pitcher skill. :)
That's not quite what is being shown here. The ultimate goal is to figure out how much a pitcher's performance is his alone and how much of it is defense/luck. ERA will always measure both, but we want to separate the two. Over the long run, defensive and luck-based contributions should be zero and thus pitchers' ERA should be close to their fielder and luck independent ERA.
He just picked out 3 players whose ERA were consistently being mis-estimated by other metrics and who (un-coincidentally) had "extreme" skills-- Johan with the high K-rate and high fly ball rate, and Webb/Pinero with the high GB rates.
For these 3 pitchers (and especially for Santana and Webb, who have 4-5 years of data), the other metrics are consistently underestimating their contributions. SIERA, presumably, does a better job of measuring their skill-based contributions than the other metrics.
The probability of a single doesn't change significantly with a man on. Obviously if you have a guy on first who attempts a ton of steals, you may increase ground ball BABIP a bit since the SS or 2B may be forced to cover, but this difference is probably not significant, and will likely be caught by the regression anyway.
All the authors are saying is that a ground ball with men on is preferable to a fly ball, because it will score fewer runners (doubles and triples and HRs will score more runners than a ground ball) while offering a greater chance of erasing runner via the double play.
The interesting question then, is whether a ground ball is ever preferable to a strikeout in this regression. It shouldn't be, as a strikeout will always be more run-preventing than a ground ball regardless of men on base (because, as you say, it can always be a single and advance/score runners), but it would be an interesting test of the regression to see if it breaks down at some point.
I'm slightly embarrassed to have waited until part 5 to ask this, but what does "PU" stand for in the ground-ball calculation?
I had thought it was pop-ups.
It seems like taking an effective continuous regression and making it non-continuous for no real reason.
Cool stuff. Just a thought I had-- Have you tried using (BB-IBB)/PA as your walk rate variable (and maybe using another variable that is (IBB/PA)? Presumably all intentional walks are done to reduce the number of runs allowed, while in your regression all walks will increase ERA equally. Then again, I assume the scarcity of intentional walks will make this addition insignificant.
On a somewhat related note, I'm sitting here at work where we have various TVs tuned to different news networks (I work for a media company), and I just saw Nate Silver discussing politics on MSNBC. From QERA to senatorial elections; what a career path.
Good point on the defense. I'm sure Andruw Jones made a ton of those FBs look lazier than they were.
There's a guy who actually researched this: http://quirkyresearch.blogspot.com/2006/07/pitchers-who-played-other-_115381633653637031.html
As a huge Braves fan throughout Glavine's career, I don't ever recall him being an extraordinary groundball pitcher-- at the very least, not on Maddux's level. He got his share of GBs, but mostly he just seemed to coax a lot of lazy fly balls to CF and LF.
There is speculation among Braves fans that his circle-change (for which he was famous) behaved somewhat like a knuckleball, which is a pitch that is known to outperform many ERA predictors (I'm assuming that Wakefield probably outperforms SIERA as well). But that's all anecdotal evidence, obviously.
By the way, now that we've seen what SIERA can do for Santana, do we find out Wednesday if it solves the "Tom Glavine is not subject to FIP" phenomena?
I like the work the new(er) BP writers are doing. This was great.
More batter HBP craziness-- Jason Kendall (his career started in the mid 90's), Carlos Delgado (his HBP numbers started going up in '98), Jason Giambi (HBP rate spiked during his contract year with the A's), Alex Rodriguez (spiked during his first year with Texas), and David Eckstein (he just came into the league getting hit by pitches left and right).
All of these guys either raised their HBP rate at some point in their careers or, like Kendall and Eckstein, are "scrappy" guys who just try to get on base however they can.
Meanwhile Chipper Jones has never been very spry, has given pitchers plenty of reasons to bean him, and has had periods of zero lineup protection. Yet hardly ever gets plunked.
Anecdotally, it does seem that the general HBP rise is more on the batter than the pitcher. We all know about Craig Biggio's HBP ways, and how it was at one point an integral part of his game (he got on base 34 times one year just by getting plunked!).
But did you know that Chipper Jones has gotten hit only 17 times his entire career? That's .1% of all PAs.
Biggio started accumulating a ton of HBP in the mid 90's, well into his career. He was league-normal before that. Similarly, Barry Bonds and Gary Sheffield (just two guys I thought of who wore a ton of armor at the plate) "discovered" the HBP in the mid 90's.
You're thinking about it backwards. Given two equal 85 win teams in competition for the same 2-win player, it makes more sense for the Yankee GM to win the auction. The extra 2 wins could be worth $8M in revenue to the small-market GM, but $14M to the Yankee GM.
So the Yankee GM pays $5M per marginal win to outbid the small-market GM (who can only pay a max of $4M without actually losing money per marginal win). If you do strict "expenditure per marginal win", then the Yankee GM comes out weaker every time even though he's succeeding in making money for his team.
To equate the injury loss of the '09 Mets to the '09 Red Sox would be unfair. Any team that lost its starting 1B, SS, CF, 3 starting pitchers, and top reliever for significant amounts of time is going to feel it.
No, I very clearly meant Schuerholz.
You mean John Scheurholz, I'm assuming.
One thing about the '90s Braves: a lot of the foundation of that team was done during the '80s, under Bobby Cox. Javy Lopez, Ryan Klesko, David Justice, John Smoltz (trade), Jeff Blauser (defensive wiz), Mark Lemke (another defensive wiz), Tom Glavine, Steve Avery, and Mark Wholers were all '80s draft picks/international signings.
Of the '90s draft picks, Chipper was the #1 overall pick in '90, and Andruw Jones was an awesome international signing in '93. Schuerholz did a good job of plugging in holes where he had to (especially in the bullpen and 1B), but he should still share the '90s success with Cox.
Considering what you said about football players not being able to get the procedure, I wonder why they let Brian McCann get it, and if a collision at home plate was potentially a reason for his lasik problems last year.
How appropriate that you have Joe Shlabotnik playing behind "The Machine".
Or am I the only one who saw a Dr. Robotnik reference there?
Lincecum has the advantage of precedent: Ryan Howard got $10M in 2008 after winning the MVP award one year and finishing in the top 5 another year. How could they possibly select $8M for Lincecum when he has 2 Cy Youngs? I'd have to think that they'd rather go up to $13M rather than $8M, hence destroying the 50/50 split possibility.
In this case, I think the Giants settle closer to Lincecum's $13M, maybe $11.5-$12M.
Jack Zduriencik is a man after my heart.
And congrats on the 10K.
Then again, if he's Nick Johnson pre-2007 I guess he does.
Still, I'd think if a guy projects as Nick Johnson, maybe he's not quite a 5 star guy.
Yes, control is a prerequisite for command, but command implies something greater than just control.
This looks like great stuff, Colin. I'm excited.
Just out of curiosity, where does angle of batted ball data come from?
Jon Lester's career path is skewed by his cancer ordeal.
As for Yook, I want you to find me all the players in MLB history who suddenly found .550 SLG-type power (from .450 before) at age 29 and how long they kept it. First, I'm not sure there's many players who have ever had that kind of radical shift that late in their careers. And I bet there's very few who sustained it.
I speak only in terms of PECOTA, which for some reason doesn't like Mike Cameron's defense as much as others. Or Marco Scutaro. Still projected to be good, but not as good as Seattle, overall. I think.
Consider the park, but especially the defensive projections. Jack Cust and Aaron Miles are the only ones with negative defensive projections, and Aaron Miles isn't expected to play much.
At 1B Daric Barton is +8 runs, 2B is Mark Ellis with +13, SS is Pennington at +1, and 3B is Kouzmanoff is at +0 (though UZR says he's the best defender of the group). Corner OF you have Ryan Sweeny at +9, Travis Buck (+5), and Jack Cust (-1); Rajai Davis (+4) and Coco Crisp (+5) are splitting CF.
They're going to rival Seattle for best defense in the league next year.
Or perhaps I'm thinking of B-Ref.
I believe all stats are adjusted by the running previous 3-year average of park factors.
A crappy OBP (.316) and 70% of his playing time is as a DH, which is an offensive rich position-- while the other 30% is as a 1B, the next most offensive position.
Speaking of Damon, is it just me or is he not on the spreadsheet? I know he doesn't have a team yet; are we to wait till he does to see his projection?
The Nationals will win 82 games? Wow.
I think Bengie and Sabean probably deserve each other.
Adding onto what Andrew said above, one of the features I especially love about B-Ref is the ability to accumulate stats over a set number of years. If, for instance, I wanted to see Chipper Jones's OPS (and games played, batting average, HRs, etc.) for his age 32-35 seasons, I can just highlight those rows and see it.
I want to see this same functionality, in the same easy-to-use way for your advanced stat. So I can at once see Chipper's WARP, FRAA, etc. over his age 32-35 seasons.
If this was bundled with advanced breakdown of Cot's data and all the other stuff in a very convenient player page, I would definitely pay double what I'm paying now.
The point is that Colorado pitchers allowed 4.68 Runs/game at home last year, so Joe Consistency's 5.15 Runs/game (while absorbing 7 innings a start in normally bullpen-chewing Coors Field) would be a plus if he were the 4th or 5th starter.
Moreso than if he'd been surrendering 5.15 Runs/game in San Diego or SF.
Jay brought it up, but I'm surprised that no one expanded on the idea that such a player would undoubtedly be signed by Colorado or Arizona (in the NL) and maybe Boston/NYY in the AL if they weren't so pitching stacked already.
Then again, I suppose using park/league factors seems like it's cheating the meat of the question.
Fine, Pagan takes Beltran's spot. So who take's Frenchy's spot if he opens 2010 like he did 2009? Or if Bay needs a short stay on the DL? And like you said, he's probably an improvement over Jeremy Reed and Cory Sullivan-- and I doubt the Mets want to try bringing up Frenando Martinez as a fill-in again.
This move was undoubtedly a reaction to Beltran's knee operation, and a team like the Mets probably have the money to spend a cool million on a Jeremy Reed upgrade. Not to mention the marginal revenue impact of being able to sell more tickets based on the ability to tell less knowledgeable fans "hey, we're going to replace Beltran with someone who had 50 RBI last year, makes more than $10M a year, and we're only paying $1M for it!"
Trust me, I live in NY, all the calls into the talk radio stations on Monday will be about A) the Jets and B) how maybe the Mets season isn't yet lost because they got a guy who can get 100 RBI in a full time role.
To me, it seems like a low risk, low reward, high public relations move.
I'm surprised that Mycal Jones made the list and Dimaster Delgado didn't.
Heyward isn't up the middle talent (he could take over in CF in a pinch, but he's not a starter there) and Scafer is in "need to prove something" mode.
Escobar is going into his age 27 season next year, putting him squarely in his prime years and far from a young gun.
"Vizcaino's ceiling tops that of any other pitcher in the system, by a significant margin."
Copy pasta alert!
Heh, the more I think about what I was saying, the more I'm realizing how misleading my thinking is. So feel free to ignore at this point; I understand what you're saying.
That seems to pretty much the definition I had in mind, though Bonifacio was a bad example since he was traded for.
I would still technically consider Bonifacio to be "free available talent", as he was acquired for a 29-year-old Jon Rauch and later a throw-in along with prospects for Willingham and Olsen-- the prospects being the "real" part of the deal. But I understand why you can't include guys like him in that bucket.
Could you clarify this statement: "but there certainly does seem to be a talent level that is common among teams who replace players"
Specifically, are we talking about stuff like the Florida Marlins in 2009 replacing the outgoing Mike Jacobs at 1B by shifting Jorge Cantu over to 1B, and employing Emilio Bonifacio at 3B? So then Bonifacio's production would be in this talent level bucket?
(I suppose since Bonifacio in 127 games accumulated -19 runs below average, he'd be the perfect example).
13 million! I was close; was going to say 13.0M actually, but it was taken.
Actually, I guess Beckett signed his extension after joining the Red Sox. But I think the concept applies.
Josh Johnson's contract: 10:$3.75M, 11:$7.75M, 12:$13.75M, 13:$13.75M
Is there any doubt that the Marlins will be flipping him to a contender for prospects after the 2011 season, a la Beckett?
Well, the all-Pirates outfield was performing worse.
I'm disappointed you didn't use David Wright's ultra-large concussion helmet pic.
Also, BP's annual is one of the best-organized books I've had the pleasure of reading, you probably didn't need an index. I guess it wouldn't hurt though. Then again, I'll be even more embarrassed to be the guy reading the now-700 page book on the subway.
(And no, I refuse to kindle. Real readers kill trees.)
SNES Mario Kart owns.
Kotchman just feels like the kind of player that GMs are going to dream on for a while: in his prime years, cheap, and talented enough defensively that if he could just become a league-average bat at 1B, he'd be valuable.
But at some point you have to recognize that he's been traded by 3 times now by teams with decent enough front offices that could have used him but decided to go in another direction.
Sure, you could say the Angels "sacrificed" him to make a run with Tex. But the Braves, an increasingly cost-conscious team, knew they weren't to extend LaRoche and yet didn't hesitate to give him up for a half year of LaRoche-- essentially giving Kotchman the same treatment they gave Francouer.
And now we have the Red Sox who could have put Youk at 3rd and used Kotchman at 1st, but decided to spend $14M on Adrian Beltre. Kotchman at 1st/Youk at 3rd vs. Beltre at 3rd/Youk at 1st could probably be a wash defensively (actually you lose about 7 runs with Kotchman over Beltre, if you use career UZR/150 of the three) while saving millions, which tells me that they think Kotchman in his prime might not even amount to Beltre-level offense.
Joe's a great writer, but I'll still be subscribing and reading BP with or without him. Just thought I'd put that out there in sea of pro-Sheehan thoughts out there.
Robin Ventura once got thrown out by BJ Surhoff at 1B on a hit to RF. And I don't think he was dogging it either.
I'm assuming that people in San Diego know who the Padres are and don't care. The goal here is for them to know what PetCo park is, and want to go there.
Personally, as I said before, I think it's all small potatoes. The best way to build a juggernaut revenue machine in pro sports is to win and gain local (as well as national) exposure.
Just get Ron Burgandy to talk about what Adrian Gonzalez is going to do in the NLCS vs. the hated LA Dodgers, and they will come.
The difference being that the Twins were on the verge of world series contention but were letting players like Santana go for pennies. The Padres weren't even close to the playoffs when they turned their one chip (Peavy) into something that could help down the road.
That said, I do like the Twins baseball management and will reserve judgment until we see what they do when they move into their new stadium.
In the end, it's all small potatoes compared to the effect of having a playoff team. Investing in the product on the field is far more effective in the long run than any marketing campaign or fan experience initiatives.
Well, I guess Glaus is the guy for 1B. That still leaves payroll and space for one more bat in the outfield. If it's Nady (the Braves like that he can play 1B), does this make Liberty a villain? Or does Damon indicate greater commitment?
Or is it Bay-or-bust? I'm not really sure.
As always, an interesting take. I've been trying to sell my fellow Braves fans on a similar angle all day, though I haven't exactly believed it myself.
My one quibble is in calling Vazquez is somehow a high variance pitcher. Take away his recent career year and his 2 year slump in the Bronx and in Arizona, and we know exactly what he is-- a 3.5-3.7 FIP fly ball pitcher who will eat upwards of 200 innings a year.
For what it's worth, the Braves have basically confirmed that they will not be offering contracts to Holliday or Bay. Some beat writers close to the team seem to think that they're going to go with short term replacements like Damon/Nady to fill the offensive roles that are still empty (OF, 1B).
Apparently, Ted Turner pitched for the 1920 Chicago Cubs. A very talented man indeed.
I'm a huge Braves fan. I hate Liberty Media for their cheapness and I hate Ted Turner for "bailing" on the team.
My biggest hope is that all this short-term thinking is a sign that Liberty Media is trying to increase the sale value of the team-- though by that token, no prospective owner that I would approve of would view these moves as value increasing.
Heyward for sure is ahead of him. I'd say Freeman and Teheran as well. It'd be a surprise if Delgado was ahead of Vizcaino, so I'd say at most he's 2nd, but probably 4th.
That does give the Braves 4 prospects that are either 5 or 4 star though, which is impressive. And Schafer was a 4 star prospect last year but a wrist injury washed out his first season in the majors.
I know Cardinals fans are loyal, but I had no idea they'd be singing over Brandon Lyon.
Kelly Johnson's non-tendering reminds many Braves fans of Marcus Giles' non-tendering.
Not that it effects his value much, but I've never seen Kelly Johnson play 3B.
Probably obvious, but 'Price Point' is likey derived from economics usage, where there are specific price points on graphs and such that one could refer to. So it makes sense in the context of "at what price point along this curve are we at equilibrium." It is vastly overused however.
DL: Have you found that the media rarely asks you about your craft, and mostly just looks for sound bites?
What an awesome, awesome question after those first few answers he gave you. Great job, David. Always love your work.
Lowe is a class act.
I don't know why it's so exciting to talk about the Pirates, but it is. Everything they do seems so questionable, but in a good way... like "hmm, lets figure out why they did this" rather than "why the hell did they do this?" kind of thing.
They're at $69M with their 2 best relievers being free agents, no first baseman signed, and with 5 arb-eligible players. Finding/resigning at least one reliever, a first baseman, and paying at least Moylan, Boone, and Diaz (assuming they non-tender Johnson and Church) will take them within $10M of their ~$95M payroll goal.
Completely agree with you concerning the Braves' pitching situation.
I've been trying to convince my fellow Atlanta fans that trading Jurrjens makes the most sense, but he has a lot of fan support. Most remain convinced that the Braves can somehow flip Vazquez into something pretty, but that seems increasingly remote.
The lone somewhat interesting possibility, which may be more "wishcasting", is if the Cubs would consider swapping bad contracts-- taking Lowe for Bradley, or Lowe for Soriano+cash.
Good research into all the different situations where pitchers were used in other positions.
Screw both of your filthy rich franchises! We built our dynasty the real way!
A Braves fan reliving the good years
(Now we need a Minnesota/Oakland fan to jump in)
I think my memory will be sitting and watching Andy Pettite throw over to first 5 times per batter.
I agree that their real ambition is to contend in 2011 or 2012, but I don't think they can time it so well as to say "we'll wait till we get to X time and then spend money."
They didn't give up any pieces for Iwamura and he's likely not a part of the 2011 plan either. At the very most, they likely hope that he has a good year and they can get some arbitration compensation (or flip him at the trade deadline), though that would just be a bonus.
More likely, they saw an opportunity to obtain a 3-win player at a 2-win price (totally making up those numbers up, but the idea holds). That 4.8 million for Iwamura and whatever else they have to spend (within reason) to get to 75 wins may make good business sense.
Long story short, it's bad managing to take a 65-win team and make them into a 75-win team by signing aging vets to long, expensive, flexibility-killing contracts. But it's good managing to acquire aging vets on a short-term deal to improve the product on the field until you get better talent to the majors.
To use a non-baseball analogy, it's kind of like how Bill Parcells operates every time he switches organizations. He always bring along a few key aging vets (hi, Vinny Testeverde!) who are way past their prime to provide an immediate lift while he builds the bulk of the team's talent through the draft.
Also, I said Moss had a down year at the plate because he put up a Major League Equivalent .281 EqA in Pawtucket last year, .253 in Pittsburgh and a .265 in Boston. He regressed and put up a .237 EqA this year, but was still a 0.7 WARP1 player due to his defensive value.
If he can maintain the defensive value (and for whatever reason, the Pirates seem to be able to get the a lot out of their players defensively) and "rebound" offensively, he could be a nice piece in the outfield.
I was using their age as an indicator of regression/progression. Duke and Ohlendorf put up better than league-average production last year while Maholm and Morton were just below league average. As these guys are all entering their primes, I don't expect regression and it's probably fair to predict that they improve next year as a group.
Obviously the guys you named are better pitchers and will likely continue to be better, age notwithstanding.
I love strikeouts. What I hate is watching a guy with a .600 OPS against lefties this year have 17 of his 26 plate appearances (approx.) come against lefties and look pitiful in most of them.
It's either horrible roster construction by the Phillies or horrible lineup management by Manuel.
Are we sure that the Pirates are gearing up to make a run at relevancy as soon as this year?
They've got a pitching staff of 4 useful pitchers (Duke, Ohlendorf, Maholm, and Morton), all of whom are hitting their primes right now (they are all either 26 or 27 years old). Beyond that, they have a fairly strong group of defensive players to support that non-power armed pitching staff.
Andy Laroche (a 3 win player last year), Andrew McCutchen, and Garrett Jones (barring regression) make an ok core. Jose Tabata and Pedro Alvarez aren't too far away from the big leagues. Iwamura adds another solid piece to the puzzle there and you're not sacrificing any future payroll flexibility there. Brandon Moss had a down year at the plate, but he's a plus-plus defender and may be due for a rebound next year. And on top of all that, they've got a big-league payroll of just 17.6 million this year (with Iwamura's 4.8 mill), so they may try to fix the bullpen and add some additional bats this offseason.
Ok, so it's a stretch to say they'll be playoff contenders. But if they can get to 75-80 wins on the cheap while maintaining future payroll flexibility, I'd say that makes good business sense.
What you call the best pitcher of the last 20 years, I call an over-the-hill guy who obviously had nothing last night.
Also, it doesn't help that I have to watch AL-style baseball, which is pretty bad baseball in its own right. (4 hour games with DHs... please)
Now if only teams that don't win like the Royals could do the same!
Wait, what's that? Carlos Beltran's always been a Met, dude! Johnny Damon a Royal? When was that again?
For most teams, making it to the playoffs is a victory. Just consider yourself spoiled.
I'm a Braves fan, and a huge Maddux fan, so I'd say he was the most entertaining. It's a subjective measure, obviously.
Anyway, since Pedro's prime was slightly after Maddux's (Clemens' prime is interspersed weirdly on/off through both player's time), I would feel comfortable saying Pedro was the best pitcher of his generation.
Joe if they did as you prescribe, then they're essentially staying pat with the same group next year and looking to make a run at some quality FAs in 2010. In fact, that seems like exactly what Epstein is suggesting here, especially in that last paragraph.
I think an Ellsbury-for-Dunn trade is just silly, even if you were find yourself a defensive CF to take over there. He had a down year defensively and improved his offense a bit this year. He'll be a cheap producer for a few years yet, let him prove to you what he can do.
Improving defensive efficiency and resigning Bay are probably mutually exclusive. Then again, he is also one of the guys on the team who hits well on the road.
Obviously I meant Batting and not Battering. I hope Heyward doesn't lead the league in battering, that would be disappointing.
I agree. It looks like (eye-balling it here) PECOTA will give non other than Chipper Jones as a comp to Heyward, and I think (as far as battering go) that they would be more similar than Strawberry.
Hopefully this accounts for the "unexpectedly" low BABIP rates for players like Greg Maddux who have very high ground ball rates (average K rate and very low BB rate).
Still hard to explain a guy like Tom Glavine though.
As a Braves, it would actually be refreshing for once to head into the postseason as the hard charging underdog "team of destiny" rather than the stately, consistent boring favorites.
Then again, after 3 years of non-playoff action, it'd just be nice to get back into the postseason.
Then again, Jones was still worth a half game over replacement over those 31 games (113 PA), because he was still 4 runs above average defensively.
Matt Diaz has been worth .9 WARP over 268 PA.
I now like Felix Pie.
I'm positively giddy for the Heyward era in Atlanta.
He was part of an intimidating Ethier-Ramirez-Kemp triumpherate this weekend against the Braves. I have to say it was a pretty formidable middle of the lineup, though both he and Ramirez struggled all weekend long.
Ground balls: .234/.234/.254 (488 OPS)
Fly Balls: .220/.215/.587 (801 OPS)
I would say that it's always better to get a ground ball than a fly ball, unless it's a situation like 2 outs, man on 2nd or 3rd.
If you look at successful fly ball pitchers like Johan Santana, they are able to limit SLG% on fly balls more than most, but even they appear to benefit by allowing ground balls rather than fly balls.
Santana's splits, career:
Ground balls: .214/.214/.234 (448 OPS)
Fly Balls: .191/.188/.477 (665 OPS)
Agreed. I love theory-based articles with instant application.
Great job on this, Matt.
Irrespective of age, but correlated to age.
And the bit about Christy Mathewson is just ridiculous.
Yea, sorry perhaps I was too circumspect. What I meant to say is that physical maturity is not meant literally to mean just the formation of skeletal structure and musculature, but also the ability to exert force in a more reliable, less damaging way.
Most people hit their physical peak in their early 20's, yet a baseball player's prime is not until the late 20's. This has often been said to due to the immense amount of good knowledge, practice, and skill development does for a player.
Similarly, a pitcher's mechanics at age 21 will usually not be as refined, regular, and disciplined as it will be at age 25. It's as much about the experience as the age of the body.
I regret... I don't regret... I mean to say that I regret the place... but I don't regret...
It was painful.
RE: Jurrjens and Cain
It's interesting to note that Jurrjens' top PECOTA comp is Greg Maddux and Cain's top comp is Jim Palmer: both guys in their prime (and actually, Palmer throughout his career) were able to consistently outperform their FIP on a year-by-year basis.
I haven't seen Cain as much, but I've watching almost every single one of Jurrjens' MLB starts, and he's got some of Maddux in him (a young late 80's Maddux, not prime mid '90s Maddux). I wonder if the two of them will continue to consistently outperform their FIPs, and if the PECOTA comps will predict as much going forward.
Don't worry PECOTA, most Braves had written off Chipper's career back in 2004/2005.
I'm quite impressed at the correct usage of jetsam, where most would have incorrectly used "flotsam".
Obviously, this is why I read BP.
At least for the CFs who were wildly divergent between the two systems, BP's measures agree with UZR on Kemp and Cameron and split the difference between the two on Upton.
BP and UZR both generally use play-by-play data though, so it's natural that they would agree more than the Plus/Minus system.
What does Jair Jurrjens have to do to get some respect?
Nelson Cruz, Josh Hamilton, Ian Kinsler, et. al did not come from the Teixera trade. Of the current solid contributors they have, Elvis Andrus and Matt Harrison are the only ones that stem from that trade.
"and there is of course the value that might add to a pitching staff so used to getting nailed you'd wonder if they weren't escorts."
I'd love to hear scouts' take on Jordan Schafer. He's back in AAA putting up decent numbers, but he's still striking out more than you'd like (at the pace that would have got him the Major League record if he'd stayed in Atlanta).
Unfortunately if he spoke English, the press would lambast him as a hot dogging, surly, media insenstive douche.
Or um... Milton Bradley.
No, Will he's right it wasn't that funny. But I agree with your assessment only because you included pics.
Believe it or not, if all the Braves get is 2nd half 2008 Nate McLouth, that .781 OPS is about a 150 points higher than what they've gotten from any of their OF positions this year. Or they get the guy that's hit .819 OPS so far this year and that's nearly 200 points of upgrade. Now consider that his speed on the bases has some value and he's a massive upgrade for this OF anyway you look at it.
In return for a prospect that I've always liked (Gorkys), a fringe MLB pitcher (Morton), and a long-term project (Locke)-- that's not a bad deal for the braves even if they get the worst we've seen of McLouth over the past 2 years.
I have to say that your analysis of the Brave's OF situation showed a deeper understanding than Sheehan's.
(What, this isn't baseball idol?)
I'm not so sure about Harrison. That leaves 3 players who thus far look like good players.
Sheehan is saying that this is the best deal the Pirates could get for McLouth, and since it appears to be close in value to his "actual" value rather than the public perception of his value, the market is very efficient.
An efficient market therefore means that this is the "age of reason" where there aren't teams willing to overpay for a player of McLouth's caliber just because he made the all-star team and won a gold glove last year.
I think there's some merit to that argument, though it's easy to take it too far.
Didn't hurt Texas to break that rule =/
Morton can join the pitching staff tomorrow, and Gorkys has weak power, but great speed and the possibility of becoming a top-flight defensive CF. McLouth is only an average CF despite the Gold Glove, though you'll miss his power.
Next year you could trot out an OF of Gorkys/McCutcheon(at a corner OF spot)/Morgan that'll be even better defensively than this year's OF.
Morton is 25, but lighting up AAA and showed flashes of talent last year when called up. Anything you get out of Locke will not be realized for a couple years at least.
I don't see McLouth playing LF for the Braves. For one, Garrett Anderson has been terrible, but some of that is the slump he was mired in to begin the season. He's up to a 775 OPS over the last month and has hit a couple homer runs.
Meanwhile Gregor Blanco had a .259 EQA last year and his defense in CF is basically a wash with McLouth's. Decent, but nothing to write home about.
Early slump aside, the question is: would the Braves really think Nate McLouth's defense in LF is worth the difference in batting between Blanco and Anderson (who has a .238 EqA this year, but was around .275 the last two, and is hitting better lately).
Ideally, they'd let Francoeur find a new home, play Blanco in Center, McLouth in RF, Anderson/Diaz platoon in LF. More likely, they would just play McLouth in CF and let Francoeur continue to try to hack his way back into relevancy.
If Verlander is a throw-in for your league, I think you could win it easily without sweating the small stuff anyway.
If you got to custom reports in the statistics section, there's stat categories for LD%, GB%, FB%, etc.
Where do you get those "Spray Zone" chart stats?
NVM, I was looking at PECOTA WARP.
RE #1: I don't know what you're talking about. Wright in WARP over the past 3 years= 20.8; Chipper=20.9
The last 2 years, the difference has been greater (15.8 vs. 16.7). It's very close, and I think I lean Chipper.
You're missing the point. You're supposed to pick the best baseball players alive. No one is better at 1B than Albert Pujols, so even if Adrian Gonzalez were to outhit him for a couple months we could safely still say "If I had to win ONE game tomorrow, I'd pick Pujols."
And since the All-Star game is ONE game, we'd pick Pujols.
It happens to be that body of work over the last several years is a pretty good indicator of how good a player is (luck factors aside), but you'd be hard pressed to find anyone to say Barry Bonds is one of the best OFs alive today.
I think there's no way Peavy will accept this trade... they're a 80 win team even with him like you said, and he'd have to leave a pitcher-friendly NL stadium for a hitter-friendly AL stadium.
Well, you're right that you won't see many Teixera-like offers anymore, but if anyone will make such an offer it'll be for this guy due to contract and ability.
I have to say though, that trading Vazquez for Tyler Flowers and a bunch of also-rans, and then trading Swisher for maybe-prospects doesn't really go with the "trade our big prospects for Peavy" thing. What's the plan here, ultimately?
I could easily see someone making a Teixera-like offer for Gonzalez. And if they do, I think the Padres have to take it.
Right, so if they're trading one, why keep the other unless your plan is to aim for perpetual mediocrity.
Better to trade him while he's a hot commodity and put together a good team 3 years from now with cheaper players.
A) Keep Gonzalez. 3 years from now you finally get the other pieces in place to contend. At age 30, he'll command 15 million a year if he's still as good.
B) Trade Gonzalez while he's one of the hottest commodities on the market. He'd command a steep price in prospects with his cheap contract and being in his prime. In 3 years, you'll (most likely, unless all the prospects flame out) have productive players who are still under their rookie contracts and you'll have ~15 million available to spend on another veteran to make you into an elite team.
I have to admit it worked. I was pretty excited for no reason reading this article.
"arguably the greatest pitcher of our era"
Chipper implying that Clemens might have been a better pitcher than Maddux? Blasphemy! :P
"The Yankees are still the undisputed, crowned jewel of the area as far as sports venues"
Well, if the Knicks weren't the worst run basketball team in the nation for nearly a decade, Madison Square Garden would be the crown jewel. And they will be again, if they can get a winning team back.
I'm pretty sure that Schafer's approach at the plate will prevent him from achieving any sort of "star potential" at CF.
"Since we don't have any in-season examples, we really have only anecdotal evidence to go on."
Greg Maddux underwent in-season eye surgery (I think it was the '90s, but I'm not sure) and didn't miss a start. It's not the same as correcting a complication stemming from an earlier mishap, but it's something.
Over 3 games and not that many Batters Faced, it's not too significant-- about 5 hits separate Wang from Mussina
It seem fairly obvious that his velocity being down (averaged 91.0 MPH on his FB against Cleveland, compared to 93.4 MPH at this same point last year) and his sinker not sinking, have lead to way more fly balls and his usual "pitching to contact" style not cutting it anymore.
Is there something I'm missing with the Mike Scott/Greg Maddux question. Why are we comparing the two and how can Mike Scott possible come out on top?
That's a pretty silly way of putting it. If learning to take a walk was that easy, then anyone could do it.
I grew up listening to Skip Caray's nasally dry wit balanced with Kalas' hypnotizing baritone (when the Braves were playing the Phillies and the TBS broadcast was blacked out for me in NJ).
To lose them both in the space of less than a year is tough. And with Bob Murphy's death in 2004, that's three voices of the NL East and of my youth gone in a pretty short amount of time. I love how all three worked right up till they couldn't anymore; they really did enjoy the game as much as the fans did.
That Nationals quote is the second saddest baseball-related thing I've read this week.
And yes, Papelbon is quite the jerk.
It's "Hear Hear"
Oops... I totally missed this line in my first read-through: "that a team has more time to make up a deficit in April, doesn't weight the games any differently."
Which kind of gives your argument a different flavor and somewhat negates what I wrote. So never mind.
"Just because we don't know if a two-game swing will be important doesn't mean that we can't behave as if it will. Sure, these teams are going to play another 15 games, and there's plenty of time for story lines to develop."
But that's really the point, isn't it-- it's what really makes September baseball more exciting.
It's true that rhetoric like "win when it counts" is misleading and mostly just wrong, because all games count.And yes, all games have the same value when it comes to overall standings.
But the reason that September games have more importance in most people's eyes is that the time frame for "making it up" grows ever shorter. A 2 game swing in April is much easier to erase as the season moves on than a 2 game swing in September. The math backs that up as well-- a 2 game deficit with 10 more to play impacts your playoff probabilities much more than a 2 game swing with 160 games left to play. Thus each game means more in September than it does now.
That's what most people mean, I think, when they talk about September baseball "counting for more".