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With 39.7 bWAR, he quite literally just missed the cut for the eight-team guys. He's a weird one for me, as I always remember him as a Padre despite him only spending the '99 season with the team.
Maybe? He's got quite the pedigree from his big-money international signing ... but it sounds like he's two years away from being two years away.
I love these stories. Thanks for sharing!
My hatred for the Padres is only eclipsed by the loathing I have (via secret dig) for San Francisco in <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=455">Kenny Lofton</a></span>'s table.
For the record, there's an episode of our podcast that should go up today ... and on that episode, one of BP's writers agrees that they do not particularly love the trade for the Cubs. So no, you're not entirely on an island.
If I'm the White Sox, I'd probably rather take Jimenez over Schwarber, thanks to the length of team control, the upside potential, and the timing of his MLB advent. (Not a prospect guy, but I trust in Jeff and co.'s analysis.)
I certainly don't mean to be dismissive of the south–or Georgia, for that matter–but rather I was looking to reinforce the significant change in geography. (I also don't see moving to Triple-A to try and hang on as "punishment" in the slightest.)
Yep, that's definitely a fair point! In the first draft of the article, I actually inserted Young's name in place of Saunders', so great minds think alike!
This is true, but I think the argument is: during most of the seasons in which Trout was a huge contributor, his award status would've been bolstered by "leading" a team to the playoffs. The combo of "normal" Trout + playoff team is pretty tough to top.
I'd guess <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=59660">Enrique Hernandez</a></span> is Joc's ballast in a rough platoon there. Otherwise, maybe #PuigYourCenterfielder?
Gun to my head, the <span class="teamdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/team_audit.php?team=CHA" target="blank">Chicago White Sox</a></span>. Not based on sources, just combo of fit and cost.
Last year with Texas, he was worth -3.4 <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=BRR" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('BRR'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">BRR</span></a>. (FanGraphs put him at -5.2 BsR.) So, nope.
Back when he was with Boston, he was a consistently negative baserunner, but not to the same extent. His instincts might mitigate his lack of speed, but not enough to make him a good or average baserunner, especially today. He bad.
Sorry if that was unclear! It's a $2 million buyout.
Yup, that's a lot better -- apologies for my placeholder mistake.
Smart grab ... no player has more 82s than Hocking! <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=1139">Willie Bloomquist</a></span> has 3, and *maybe* so does Solly Hoffman, who played in 1905-1907 but we can't confirm which outfield positions he played just yet.
It's called the McEwing Score because Super Joe was one of my favorite players as a teenager, and certainly had a reputation as a guy who had his job due to his versatility.
And as currently constructed, Gonzalez certainly does deserve the same score as Goins and Baez. This just measures how versatile, not how good a player is. That will (hopefully) come later!
His best McEwing Score came in 2001: a score of 82 for hitting six outta seven (no catcher eligibility).
There's no standard for career-long McEwing Score, but it is something to consider for the future.
They can be difficult sometimes, but it's unpredictable. Sometimes the big moves are tough and the little ones are easy, sometimes the <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=50255">Michael McKenry</a></span> deals are just as rough as you might imagine.
I very much appreciate your comment, Scott! It helps when Patrick jumps in, as he's terrific.
Don't forget the Marlins adding <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/player_search.php?search_name=Carlos+Gomez">Carlos Gomez</a></span> and <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=53004">Yoenis Cespedes</a></span> to flank, uh, Ozuna, Stanton, Yelich, and Ichiro!
(I like to imagine that in that circumstance, they move Ichiro to the rotation, Cespedes to third base, Prado to second,, and Gomez to first.)
That's what happens when you post this well before lineups are announced! I assumed, incorrectly, that Maddon would prefer to have Coghlan's left-handed bat off the bench, rather than Heyward's.
I don't think so. When judged on process, I think the process at the time (wipe out a middle-of-the-pack farm to grab a superstar for a year and a half) was okay. Maybe they get dinged for misjudging the talent of the Phils and Mets, but if you're going to deal, deal for an extraordinary player. From a player results process, they accurately assessed Tex's likely future performance–and most of the players going the other way didn't create insane value–so they get a lot of credit for that.
The Tex-for-Kotch deal is separate from this one, and has no effect on how *this* trade should be judged. (Note: it was very bad.) And that's another reason why it's important to look at any other possible Andrus trade–all the ones they didn't make because he wasn't on the team–and keep in mind that a bad trade was always a possibility. Sure, he was a valuable asset, but they could've wound up dealing him for someone like ... <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=31601">Casey Kotchman</a></span> in the future. What they DID do was deal him–an expendable part–for a star player who filled the hole the Braves wanted to address. The opportunity cost for the Braves was much smaller than it could have been due to their depth and talent.
Not too much of an anomaly, given that Bryant and Rizzo are pretty comparable in terms of pure hitting this season. The difference between his RE24 and his WPA ... that's a lot more interesting, and a neat fact.
See that "Statistics" tab up at the top? You can click on that, then select under the "Team" heading the "Team Baserunning" option. Your initial inclination about the Indians is correct! They're fourth in baseball–12.6 <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=BRR" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('BRR'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">BRR</span></a>–on the strength of a remarkable 6.84 runs added due to stolen bases.
This is a good question. Typically, what happens is that bad hitters have low WPAs over a season, and good hitters have high WPAs. If you look at seasonal leaderboards, it's almost always guys with bad overall offensive numbers in the position where Saunders is.
To put it in perspective, you can use Baseball-Reference's Play Index to look up all players since 1988 with an <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=OPS" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('OPS'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">OPS</span></a>+ over 115 (Saunders' is 117 so far), and sort by WPA. (Though, B-Ref WPA is a bit different than FG WPA, which I used in this article.) Here's a link to that search: http://bbref.com/pi/shareit/Q5FyE
There are two guys with no WPA at the top (read: bottom) of that leaderboard and third is ... <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=48766">Michael Saunders</a></span>. He has the worst WPA of anyone who hits as well as he does, since 1988. You can see a few top-notch seasons in there (Cano's '09, <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=16748">Albert Belle</a></span>'s '97 <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=GIDP" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('GIDP'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">GIDP</span></a> odyssey, etc.), but if you hit well, usually your WPA is higher.
Everything has a touch of bad luck and small sample size. Consider this as well: Jeff Sullivan wrote up Saunders in August (I didn't see it until now) and how bad he is in the clutch. No one is quite like him. http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/michael-saunders-has-helped-or-killed-the-blue-jays/
Thanks, Adam! (Most especially for your insights on the Rays's shortstop shuffle.) I wonder how motivational a move like this would be for the Rays' younger players–saving Robertson for next year makes sense, I suppose–but I'd be real interested to find out whether it would have a positive or negative effect on those four players.
Glad you liked it! I'll work on more.
This seems exactly like something I would do.
I try to hoard these, but I'll throw out a few.
* How much of an effect light in the ballpark actually affects a hitter's ability to pick up the ball.
* Whether or not players incur small injuries more frequently when playing on a wet field.
* How much the uniform (size, material, color, name on the front) affects player performance.
* Would hitters / pitchers be more effective in a <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=PA" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('PA'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">PA</span></a>, if they had literally no context for runners on base / score / inning (a perfect blank)?
Interviewing experts doesn't mean you take their word for everything, and it certainly doesn't mean *only* working with former players. Coaches and statistical analysts could provide worthwhile feedback as well.
I'm not saying it'd be easy, but getting good information in the analysis stage is better than possible–it's likely. And it can always be improved through rolling evaluation.
The Pirates are Kuhl for the summer.
/backs slowly out of the room
That's absolutely crazy. I mean, I know that Espinosa is hitting okay these days, but if they're THAT in love with his glove, move Murph to first and put Espinosa at second.
Thanks for the note! I make the mistakes.
Time and space are slowly deteriorating. This is fine.
Well, <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=60931">Chris Owings</a></span> is pretty awful, but so is <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=45394">Michael Bourn</a></span>. YMMV, but I'd still rather have Brito in play than either one of them.
This is a possibility, but Brito (in my eyes, and I'm not a scout) doesn't have much left to prove in the minors.
He really didn't. 0% for Schwarbs. The only four to crack 5% were Bryant, <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=100736">Matt Duffy</a></span>, <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=102282">Jung-ho Kang</a></span>, and <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=67132">Noah Syndergaard</a></span>. The other three to get votes were <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=59603">Justin Bour</a></span>, <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=67072">Joc Pederson</a></span>, and Stephen Piscotty
This comment is extremely important. Thanks!
Really!? I was the opposite of discouraged -- I was actually quite surprised to see that so many of the teams with multiple good rookies did as well as I showed. Sure, the Marlins seem to lean closest to the Twins, but so many other teams managed to crack .500! This exercise led me to feel like I've underrated the Twins a little, even with the AL being such a flat league.
I'll take the opposite opinion here: I think Bour is overrated, and potentially one of the worst starting 1Bs in baseball. I *love* when guys come out of nowhere to be good, regular contributors, but his defense is suspect even for the position, and he could use a few more hits. Then again, I've been wrong on him before.
Yup! This is basically what I was referring to.
You're welcome, and thanks for the kind words.
Thanks, and bonus points for using one of my all-time favorite guys (McEwing Score!) in your username!
As is to be expected, Sam's right on the money here. I'd put Syndergaard's chances at/below Ross's, thanks to the potential for limited innings this season. The other two guys (Harvey and deGrom), I'd say absolutely have better cases than Tyson. Both pitch in NY for a competitive team ... and of course, they're better than Ross is. Well, at least by <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=PECOTA" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('PECOTA'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">PECOTA</span></a>, which is very, very high on Harvey especially due to his walk rate (1.9 BB/9) and really tiny <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=WHIP" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('WHIP'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">WHIP</span></a> (1.03). I'd personally lean more towards deGrom even than Harvey ... his performance last season was great.
But yeah, I only had so much room to write up the candidates. I could've done several more sections on other guys, there's so many candidates for all of these awards.
No problem. Glad you got something out of it!
Going to throw this out there: perhaps there's also an issue with hiring so many smart, former GMs if they're likely to move on to another org, perhaps taking what they learned with them. That's always a risk with hiring anyone into a smart, forward-thinking front office, and I'm not talking about specific information rather than general knowledge ... but I'd think there's a not-insignificant risk they're training their future competition in doing this.
I like that, but how about pre-tending?
Joke's on you, as I'm pretty sure <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/player_search.php?search_name=Greg+Smith">Greg Smith</a></span> was a collective hallucination, not a left-handed pitcher.
My thoughts on Blevins have been added since your comment. I think it's a pretty reasonable low-risk add for a team that definitely needed another lefty in the 'pen.
Can't take the credit -- editors here are brilliant.
Instructional design is a missing link in baseball at this point, and I'd love to be able to research it more intently. Would be fascinating to see what big league teams are doing from an ID and human performance technology standpoint, as there's lots of room to implement learning design in orgs.
Just wanted to check real quickly -- I haven't missed this yet, have I?
Seconded. I'd buy that book.
Really enjoyed this piece, Ben.
Phenomenal piece, and thank you.
From earlier: "Anyone in the Hall who is revealed as a user should be immediately thrown out."
You're just messing with people, right? It seems obvious that now you're just trying to be confrontational rather than make a coherent argument.
I'm not making a morality argument here. I'm making an argument about what it means to break a rule, and how some players are held to different standards than others.
So, no, it's not relevant in the slightest.
Er, no. We actually don't know what steroids did to baseball, because we can't say with CERTAINTY what steroids did to the players themselves, let alone how it affected the skills that they apply to the game.
We can guess, we can assume, we can imagine ... but we can't know. Saying we can is sheer arrogance.
Huh? What does that have to do with anything at all related to rule-breaking in baseball?
So you're saying that breaking the rules isn't the problem, it's breaking them in a way that provides *what you see as* a large enough performance advantage?
I call bull.
If someone can show me scientific data that shows that steroids DEFINITELY improve practical baseball performance AND amphetamines DEFINITELY don't (or it's "marginal" compared to steroids ... which is ludicrous), that's the only way your point makes any sense at all -- and then it's still a bad one. Otherwise, it's about the rules, and whether people care about rule-breaking.
And please. The 'amphetamines don't matter because "everyone" was doing it' defense applies just the same to steroids, if you listen to the people who say "everyone" was on steroids in the 90s-00s.
So, just for clarity's sake, that should include Hank Aaron / Mike Schmidt who've admitted to using amphetamines, right?
I *really* like this article. And the image of the Lincecum pitch crossing the plate while Crisp is almost at third is pretty amazing.
You'd almost think Crisp belongs on a team where he can play every day, based on his unbelievable running ability. At the very least, if he's going to be a reserve on the A's, they should use him as a pinch-runner as much as possible.
The whole article is great, but the pictures are definitely the best part.
The non-twist ending tugged at the old heartstrings.
Thanks for the reminder about Bobby Bonilla.
Dude, neither of those articles *supported* that argument, they merely mentioned that those arguments EXIST. In that second piece, the term "incidental" is even used.
Thanks for sharing all of these. I'd love to see the reasoning behind some of the more off-the-beaten path choices (Rodney for Cy, Rosario #1 for RoY, the no-Cabrera ballot, the no-Harper ballot, Adam Jones for MVP, etc.), because I'd love to hear the different viewpoints.