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Rian Watt
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Rian Watt
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Glad to have the chance to write it.

Jul 20, 2016 9:31 AM on Seager See, Seager Do
 
Rian Watt
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New data here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/13z4T1f5vR_AzV-QlB-svQG9AsaXDw-B8Sz4VyqiP_Uo/edit?usp=sharing

 
Rian Watt
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That's a good point, Ben. I'll see if Rob might be willing to run those.

 
Rian Watt
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I concede the war (I over-thought, especially on Posey) but Bryant doesn't do especially well against top-line stuff. Over a season, he's great. I feel comfortable leaving him out of one game.

 
Rian Watt
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Yeah. I over-thought it.

 
Rian Watt
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Entirely possible I just missed the boat on him.

 
Rian Watt
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In response to 1. Totally agree, with the addendum that nothing should prevent us from using the opportunity, whenever it comes, to reflect upon how poorly the entire process has been handled. I think we agree on all counts here, haha. 2. Quite possible. I'm not inside their processes.

May 19, 2016 6:05 AM on Deck Chair Moved
 
Rian Watt
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As for your broader point: yes, that all makes sense. My concern with it was that, if these things were as you describe them (as I agree they are) then why not make the change in the offseason? What changed in 30+ days?

May 19, 2016 5:38 AM on Deck Chair Moved
 
Rian Watt
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Hi there! I agree that fans in the category you describe exist, but believe they fall into the category of fans "the Braves believe are too stupid ..." etc. The point is, there's smart fans out there, but the Braves aren't doing anything to address their concerns. If I didn't express that clearly enough, that's on me.

May 19, 2016 5:37 AM on Deck Chair Moved
 
Rian Watt
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Hi there! I think these are all very fair points, especially the first one. I will say that both samples are large enough that distributions have likely stabilized somewhat, although (as you note) that's not to say that more stabilization isn't possible. To answer your second question: yes, at least in the last five-year sample, certain hitters persistently swing more in the second situation year-to-year. That said, I'm not sure that matters, because you'll never have to choose between facing them in one situation or another---you'll just *be* in a particular situation, and know their tendencies. As to the third point: I'm not a particularly sophisticated user of game theory, so I haven't got a smart way to tackle this problem. I can dive into the pitch-mix/pitch-location data and get back to you. It's definitely worth considering. Thanks for reading, and for such great clarifications.

May 13, 2016 7:39 AM on Swing, Batta Batta
 
Rian Watt
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Yeah, I came into writing this article pretty scarred from the experience of watching him manage in Chicago for so long, but he really does seem to have something special.

Apr 27, 2016 6:26 AM on In Dusty They Trusty
 
Rian Watt
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Thank you! Appreciate it.

Apr 27, 2016 4:46 AM on In Dusty They Trusty
 
Rian Watt
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I apparently did very poorly on this one, then, because the only person I managed to piss off was you.

 
Rian Watt
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Yep, Jackson is another example, as is <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/player_search.php?search_name=Bobby+Bonds">Bobby Bonds</a></span> (Yankees), <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=879">Troy Glaus</a></span> (Diamondbacks), <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=18397">Dick Allen</a></span> (Dodgers), and <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/player_search.php?search_name=Tony+Phillips">Tony Phillips</a></span> (Angels). Just decided to stop the sample at 20 years for the purposes of clarity.

 
Rian Watt
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Yep, I think Cardinals fans are unused to this sort of thing happening. Explains a fair portion of it.

 
Rian Watt
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I mean, that presupposes that hitters specifically "go after" aces in order to achieve the desired effect, which doesn't seem to be supported in the data presented. Let's imagine that even half of the aces every year were "known" aces, as you suppose, and the adage held true for them and not for the unknown pitchers. Wouldn't the line be a lot closer to the regular population, then, than it is?

Apr 18, 2016 7:17 AM on Gotta Get 'em Early?
 
Rian Watt
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Agree with this, though I certainly get the concern from the perspective of Pittsburgh's fans.

 
Rian Watt
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Coming soon!

 
Rian Watt
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Sorry :/

 
Rian Watt
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Man. This is a disappointing (and correct) way of putting it.

 
Rian Watt
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That's awesome. Thanks for digging that up!

Mar 23, 2016 11:22 AM on Chicago Cubs
 
Rian Watt
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That's how I view it.

Mar 23, 2016 11:21 AM on Chicago Cubs
 
Rian Watt
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This is wonderful context :) Thanks for reading!

Mar 23, 2016 11:21 AM on Chicago Cubs
 
Rian Watt
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Quite welcome.

Mar 23, 2016 11:21 AM on Chicago Cubs
 
Rian Watt
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We'll miss you enormously, R.J.. You've given back tenfold. Best of luck in the new role!

Mar 16, 2016 5:06 AM on Fade to Black
 
Rian Watt
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Yes. The name you're looking for is <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=65918">Matt Szczur</a></span>.

Mar 14, 2016 4:59 AM on Not Fade Away
 
Rian Watt
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First paragraph.

Mar 11, 2016 2:12 PM on Catching Down
 
Rian Watt
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Hey there! You can find them all on the team <a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/fantasy/dc/">depth charts</a> page, here: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/fantasy/dc/

Mar 11, 2016 9:23 AM on Catching Down
 
Rian Watt
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I get that. It's one of those things that we're pretty sure means a lot, and we've only gotten much better at quantifying in the last year or so.

Mar 11, 2016 9:22 AM on Catching Down
 
Rian Watt
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Thanks, Brendan! Much appreciated.

Mar 08, 2016 5:20 PM on Seattle Mariners
 
Rian Watt
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First, I'll say that this was a very nice way of putting this question -- seriously -- so thanks for that. Secondly, though, I'm not sure where you're finding 0.15 <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=WARP" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('WARP'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">WARP</span></a> for Dickey. Is it here? http://www.baseballprospectus.com/sortable/index.php?cid=1858482 That's the sortable table for pitcher seasons in 2015, and it has Dickey right at 2.83, which puts him in the top 30 across MLB. Happy to continue to engage on this, but want to make sure we're on the same page (literally, insofar as the web has literal pages) before we do. And again, thanks for the way you put this.

 
Rian Watt
(82395)
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Oh, absolutely. Just went on the basis of the BP <a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/fantasy/dc/">depth charts</a>, for ease of comparison between teams. If you want to replace Hutchinson with Sanchez to make the case for Toronto, that's totally fair.

 
Rian Watt
(82395)
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Really like your last sentence. Disagree about the depth of the SFG lineup and the LAD rotation, but hey. This is a fair point.

 
Rian Watt
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This is a very fair point. Going to think on it for a little, but I think the nut of my response is that creating an environment where non-traditional "soft" (they're anything but) skills are valued openly *for* themselves will be helpful. But I take your broader point, and like the <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=FIP" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('FIP'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">FIP</span></a> analogy.

Feb 08, 2016 1:39 PM on You've Got Males
 
Rian Watt
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I absolutely don't think they can't. Many are. My point is that it can and does return value, and there's more room to grow.

Feb 08, 2016 6:32 AM on You've Got Males
 
Rian Watt
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Man, Maury, that's really incredibly nice. Read your stuff for years.

 
Rian Watt
(82395)
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Definitely something worth exploring. I know too little of what's inside organizations to really be able to engage with it. But I love the idea and will think on it a little.

 
Rian Watt
(82395)
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I don't think you're wrong. You've clearly engaged with Kuhn for a while. But I'm also not sure you're right. Because Kuhn was writing about hard sciences (physics, mostly), but I don't think the argument is limited to that. I think it can be extended to all fields of knowledge and discipline, including, yes, baseball writing. Perhaps that's taking liberties with his work, but then, I'm a writer. Anyway. I appreciate you reading, and engaging on this. And I agree there's advances to come in the ability of saber to pull together "old school" data in a way that's comparable and translatable.

 
Rian Watt
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I mean, I agree in general. There's a ton to learn within sabermetrics. My fundamental assertion is that the "shift" from whatever was around before saber to whatever we have now is the insight that player performance is contextual. Everything else flows from that. But the next shift might be totally unknown to us now. And I totally agree that expectations have changed. Anyway, thanks for reading.

 
Rian Watt
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Thanks for reading, Mike. A totally fair point, and one that we won't be able to engage with until we look back in 15 years and wonder what happened.

 
Rian Watt
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Thanks for reading and engaging! Much appreciated.

 
Rian Watt
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My understanding (though I could, of course, be wrong) is that both cities share the title: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jackson_County,_Missouri

Jan 08, 2016 1:35 PM on KC Accidental
 
Rian Watt
(82395)
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You're absolutely right, thank you. I've let my editors know. That's what I get for relying on my (increasingly faulty) memory.

Jan 08, 2016 6:08 AM on Spanning the World
 
Rian Watt
(82395)
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Agree in totality.

Jan 07, 2016 4:12 PM on KC Accidental
 
Rian Watt
(82395)
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I'm very glad to have gotten it right. I've only driven a portion of it, and then only once.

Jan 07, 2016 4:12 PM on KC Accidental
 
Rian Watt
(82395)
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Thank you very much, that's a high compliment.

Jan 07, 2016 1:32 PM on KC Accidental
 
Rian Watt
(82395)
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Thank you, and thanks for reading!

Jan 07, 2016 1:32 PM on KC Accidental
 
Rian Watt
(82395)
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Glad you enjoyed it!

Jan 07, 2016 1:32 PM on KC Accidental
 
Rian Watt
(82395)
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Thanks! This might help: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IhN1ExFCXNA

Jan 07, 2016 1:31 PM on KC Accidental
 
Rian Watt
(82395)
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You're entirely correct. I'm a pillock for forgetting him. Thanks for catching it, and thanks to Craig for fixing it.

 
Rian Watt
(82395)
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Hey there, and thanks for the compliment! My guess is Gordon ends up outside Cooperstown as well; I'm just suggesting he'll end up as a Royals legend. Probably wasn't clear!

Jan 07, 2016 12:29 PM on KC Accidental
 
Rian Watt
(82395)
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That's really an extremely nice thing to say. Thank you!

Jan 07, 2016 7:11 AM on KC Accidental
 
Rian Watt
(82395)
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Yeah, I like him. Thanks for reading!

 
Rian Watt
(82395)
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Morning! I wrote both posts, so I'll take this one. I take your point about catching depth, though I'd argue that it's hard to make the case that catcher, as a whole, is a position of need (since <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=45447">Russell Martin</a></span> is still good), or that catcher depth, in particular, is of greater need than left field, where Revere is about to enter his decline years as an average hitter and a defense-first player with a -7.8 <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=FRAA" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('FRAA'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">FRAA</span></a> in '15. Still, catching depth is a real need, and it wasn't mentioned, so it would have been appropriate for me to mention. The bullpen I'm less bearish on. Why move Sanchez into the rotation when there are six plausible starters already there? Stroman, Happ, Chavez, Dickey, Estrada, and Hutchinson should be fine. So yes, a few more arms would be good, but those can be had on the waiver-wire and--as with catching depth, but even more so--will be marginal contributors relative to the 600+ ABs whoever's manning left will take in '16. Anyway. The broader point isn't that there aren't a few holes (I mention that in the piece) but that, if only mentioning one, LF is a perfectly reasonable one to choose. If I was writing a longer piece, I'd absolutely include both areas you mentioned.

 
Rian Watt
(82395)
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Howdy. Yeah, after I filed this Duquette made comments to the effect that Davis *could* be back in Baltimore. I don't know how much I believe that, because I'm not sure how much more their payroll can hold, but if I was writing the piece now, I'd at least include that as a data point. I do think the roster could hold Davis in addition to Trumbo but, as you note, it would be at the cost of some defense, unless the team was willing to lose some of their DH options.

 
Rian Watt
(82395)
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Hey there! I deserve this, for making a flippant comment. Revere isn't terrible, in general, he's just middling enough to make left field a place where the Blue Jays could (relatively) easy make an upgrade with cash only.

 
Rian Watt
(82395)
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You're right, this deserves a bit more consideration. I originally had a bit in the piece questioning whether a move should be made at all -- as you point out, Mattingly seems to have produced results. But I left that piece out, because I'm unconvinced that Mattingly was much of a value add at all. The last three Dodger teams have all been behemoths on paper, and I'm not sure they wouldn't have won 90+ games even with a *terrible* manager. I'm not sure they would have, either, but that's sort of the point: I don't know. So given that I don't know about Mattingly, I figured I had no reason to see Roberts as any worse or better. Hope that clarifies things.

Nov 24, 2015 9:56 AM on Dread Hired Roberts
 
Rian Watt
(82395)
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I'm saying that I'm not left handed.

Nov 24, 2015 9:11 AM on Dread Hired Roberts
 
Rian Watt
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I agree that ownership has the right to be involved in whatever they want. I'm less sure that they should be. On mobile, so can't find other stories easily, but Rosenthal has also reported about the depth of their involvement. Also, love your use of "botherment."

Nov 24, 2015 8:46 AM on Dread Hired Roberts
 
Rian Watt
(82395)
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Wish I could claim credit for it, but that's all the editors.

Nov 24, 2015 8:44 AM on Dread Hired Roberts
 
Rian Watt
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In that case, we're in total agreement :) I agree it was a bad decision, at least by my standards.

 
Rian Watt
(82395)
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Fixed - appreciate it!

 
Rian Watt
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On a related note, I agree with you (I think) that using Familia was a bad choice.

 
Rian Watt
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If this is a serious question, then here's my answer: of course there's no set number of feet you have to be away from the field to question decisions made during the course of a game. What matters far more is your willingness to engage honestly and intelligently with the questions each decision raises. If this is a sarcastic question, intended to express disagreement with some element of the piece, then here's my answer (in the form of a question): Can you rephrase the question? I'm not suggesting my piece or my thinking are perfect--neither are--but I do think it's pretty clear that different situations call for different judgments and different ways of thinking. If you'd like to engage productively, I'm very happy to do so (honestly!). If not, me neither.

 
Rian Watt
(82395)
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Fixed, and thank you!

 
Rian Watt
(82395)
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Yeah, no real good example of a road that *exclusively* from Chicago to New York. Should've been I-80, though, of the two. Thanks!

 
Rian Watt
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Yep, it was a reference to the weirdness of Cubs baseball. But 2004 is another fun referent, if one I'm trying to avoid (too much #narrative). Hope you enjoyed the preview!

 
Rian Watt
(82395)
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Agreed. I wouldn't be shocked if the Cubs won --- they're too good of a team for that --- but if I was betting I'd take the Mets.

 
Rian Watt
(82395)
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Should be "In a word, no." Always love stupid typos that totally change the meaning of the comment. Thanks for reading!

 
Rian Watt
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In a word, yes. The 'Value' metric listed is best understood as the pitcher's total contribution to his team, above the average and in terms of runs, *after* all the component adjustments, but *before* the runs are converted to an <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> scale. So you can read the 15.73 as saying that Arrieta has been 15.73 runs better than his peers, even after context is removed. Another way of thinking about it: it's measuring the same thing as <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=WARP" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('WARP'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">WARP</span></a>, just in terms of runs, rather than wins. Hope that's helpful!

 
Rian Watt
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Not in this one, but he's No. 3 on the original list: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=26950

 
Rian Watt
(82395)
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Don't know how the hell you found out, but this is true.

 
Rian Watt
(82395)
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Hey, ended up writing the followup piece prompted by your comment. Check it out here, if you're interested: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=27021

Jul 24, 2015 7:13 AM on Ranking the Rookies
 
Rian Watt
(82395)
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I like you.

 
Rian Watt
(82395)
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Clete, thanks for pointing this out. Mistake's entirely on me, and we've added a note to reflect it. Appreciate it.

Jul 16, 2015 1:55 PM on Ranking the Rookies
 
Rian Watt
(82395)
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You know what, I don't actually know what's going on there. Let me look into it and get back to you.

Jul 16, 2015 1:25 PM on Ranking the Rookies
 
Rian Watt
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He hasn't yet exhausted his rookie eligilibity.

Jul 16, 2015 10:43 AM on Ranking the Rookies
 
Rian Watt
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Fair point, in the sense that the title is broader than the content, but I think there's a compelling case that some limitation is needed; there are, for one thing, 53 qualified rookies at this point in the season. Given that limitation is needed, it seems reasonable to focus attention on the prospects, and hold our (BP's) expectations of them up against what they've done. That said, I could definitely see running a second post, later, that covers the top performers not on this list.

Jul 16, 2015 9:12 AM on Ranking the Rookies
 
Rian Watt
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He exists, and he's been pretty darn good, but he wasn't on BP's Preseason Top 101, which was a criteria for inclusion on this list.

Jul 16, 2015 8:44 AM on Ranking the Rookies
 
Rian Watt
(82395)
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Appreciate the catch (fixed) and the kind words!

Jul 16, 2015 6:56 AM on Ranking the Rookies
 
Rian Watt
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As would I. Would've loved to swing that deal, though. Can't beat the acquisition cost.

Jul 15, 2015 10:05 PM on Johnny Cueto
 
Rian Watt
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Let's say that there's 15 starts left for the SP5 spot in the Blue Jays rotation, and the team can be reasonably expected to win seven of those games, losing eight. Do you think it's unreasonable to expect the Blue Jays to win ten of the fifteen games Cueto starts? Because if you don't, a 3-4 win improvement by adding Cueto is a reasonable expectation. He'd be replacing SP5. Just so there's actual data here, the 2015 Reds, who have a 94 wRC+, have won ten of seventeen Cueto starts to date. The Blue Jays have a 113 wRC+. That's enough a gap that projecting ten of fifteen wins for Cueto on the Jays isn't crazy. Your thoughts? Happy to be proven wrong.

Jul 15, 2015 1:59 PM on Johnny Cueto
 
Rian Watt
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Agreed it isn't a smart move, as I mention in a comment above. Tried to put myself in AA's shoes and think about the different weights he'd put on '15 and '16. I'd think opportunity to improve the big-league squad by 3-4 wins without subtracting from the roster this year would be pretty attractive to him right now.

Jul 15, 2015 10:03 AM on Johnny Cueto
 
Rian Watt
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Yep, it isn't what I'd do for my own shoes (I wouldn't trade for Cueto, or any TOR pitcher, as the Blue Jays GM), but I think it's a fair representatation of the outcome of one potential route that AA might be actually considering. I tried really hard to put myself in his shoes, aiming for job security and taking advantage of a weak division with lots of money already spent for this year. Appreciate the consideration, Russell.

Jul 15, 2015 10:01 AM on Johnny Cueto
 
Rian Watt
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I'll admit I'm not familiar to an extraordinary degree with AA's (or ownership's) thinking. My thought, though, was that he'll be extra motivated to make this season something more than a total wash, and Stroman won't be contributing this year anyway. He has solid pitching depth in the rotation, and a nice core to build around. Cueto adds 3-4 wins this year, easy, and that has a lot of value to him right now.

Jul 15, 2015 6:32 AM on Johnny Cueto
 
Rian Watt
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Can't speak for everyone, but I'm guessing part of it is that BP staff tends to favor floor over upside, if they can't get both, and college performers tend to have more of that.

Jun 15, 2015 9:53 AM on How Much Has Changed?
 
Rian Watt
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Hah, this is wonderful. I can confirm that my dentist is / was not <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=17361">Mark McGwire</a></span>'s dad, but I can't rule out the possibility that they went to dental school together / were drinking buddies / long lost twins.

 
Rian Watt
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No incentive to do so. He makes his money on the big FA contracts. Why lower the chances of those payouts and take on risk himself? The diversity of his client base already provides him a hedge against any individual player failing - why take on their risk?

 
Rian Watt
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That's a fair point. There's still a gap, though, and that assumes the Cubs would have been direct with Bryant in saying they would not call him up unless he signed an extension, which history suggests this front office would never do. It would cause way too much behind-the-scenes bad blood, and broken trust with players. Bryant could guess that the choice he's facing is the one you describe, but he wouldn't be sure.

 
Rian Watt
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Talent-wise, and in terms of his potential impact on his franchise, it's a nice comp. The positional similarity doesn't hurt. But Longoria got $3.7 mm less in signing bonus, came up in a different time for the game economically (it moves SO fast) and, perhaps most critically, is represented by Paul Cohen rather than <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=80275">Scott Boras</a></span>.