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A similar issue was raised when Christina Kahrl wrote about Junichi Tazawa's signing with the Red Sox: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=8344
Sure, KBA/ KBO may be within their rights to set rules about who can play in their league and who can watch their games, but you said that "the Orioles went a step too far when they brought in 17-year-old amateur lefty Seong-Min Kim" and that "there is no question that the Orioles overstepped their bounds and were inexplicably negligent in their investigation (or lack thereof) into Kim’s rights as a free agent." I completely disagree with these statements. Just because KBA wants to monopolize all the Korean amateur baseball talent doesn't mean they get to. If MLB agrees not to sign Korean amateur baseball players,it only serves to reduce the earning power of these players and may be illegal under competition clauses of international trade agreements. What's wrong with Seong-Min making a few bucks? Why should we care if the KBA is annoyed that he isn't playing for them? Why shouldn't Duquette sign the best talent he can find?
Did Kim sign this agreement between KBA and MLB? Are agreements between employers that limit the employment options of prospective employees legal?
What gives KBA the right to tell Seong-Min Kim who he can work for? Do they own him just because he's Korean?
I haven't read your article but I did scan it for the following names: Mike Leake, Johnny Cueto, Aroldis Chapman, Homer Bailey, the omission of which seams like a problem for your thesis.
Garza throws like 6 mph faster than Marcum, 2 mph faster than Bumgarner and 1 mph faster than Hudson. That has to be some sort of harbinger of future success, right?
I think Marcum is getting dinged for being an injury prone junk-baller, while Bumgarner and Hudson are getting dinged for not having long track records of health and success which all seems fair to me.
I think he means that Randy Wells's 2009 SIERA of 4.33 was more representative of his true ability than his 2009 ERA of 3.05. Wells's 2010 ERA of 4.26 could be construed as evidence that his 2009 SIERA was more predictive than his 2009 ERA.
Gee, for one, is a short righty who doesn't throw hard and who had a FIP higher than 4.00 in over 200 AAA innings, so that doesn't exactly scream "top of the rotation".
That's hessshaun who's wrong, just to be clear.
Wrong. Your forgetting the option of keeping Lee at a reasonable rate for one season. Not doing this was a huge mistake. You don't have to lock up up Lee, you just have to keep him for one more season and go for the World Series win.
...or they were right along that Wood wouldn't be able to handle major league pitching.
Hi Matt, I'm interested in your thoughts on xBABIP which was formulated by Dutton and Bendix and described here:
xBABIP was calculated off of batted ball data and other variables including plate discipline, contact rate, power, speed and handedness. Is it helpful to include such things or unnecessarily complicating?
No disagreement from me on Manny's birthplace, but he did move to Washington Heights, New York when he was 13, so I thought he might have something in common with other players who grew up in poor, urban areas with large minority populations like Elijah Dukes, Gary Sheffield, and Dwight Gooden who grew up in Tampa, and Milton Bradley (L.A., CA), Lastings Milledge (Bradenton, FL) and Delmon Young (Montgomery, AL). Barry Bonds was born in Riverside, CA, but later moved to the Bay Area after his dad made the majors.
No one is accusing the Nationals of racism. No one is saying that the Nationals would rather have white players than good players. They're saying that the Nationals cut Elijah Dukes because he didn't fit in with their culture and although their decision may have made sense for them, it raises the issue of why Elijah Dukes didn't fit in with their culture. And why Milton Bradley didn't fit in with the Cubs culture. And why Manny Ramirez didn't fit in with the Red Sox culture. And Why Lastings Milledge didn't fit in with the Mets culture. And why Barry Bonds and Gary Sheffield and Albert Belle had so many problems with the fans and media. The fact that so many of the players who have trouble fitting in are African-American implies that there may be something structural or cultural at work.
In 2008, when Elijah Dukes was 24, he hit .265/.389/.498 with 13 homers and 13 steals in 334 PA. He also had a +11 UZR/150 in RF. He put up 3.3 WARP and 2.8 WAR in 81 games. He clearly has the potential to be "excellent".
I don't think Christina is saying that the Nationals dumped Elijah Dukes because they're racist a organization. As she stated, they made a good/ defensible decision that worked for them on a several levels. I think she's saying instead that there might be something cultural going on that makes it more difficult for African-American players to fit in and succeed in MLB. There are innumerable examples from the flak Lastings Milledge took for his over-exuberant celebration of a home run to the trouble Manny Ramirez was always in with ownership and the media in Boston. Not being privy to all of the details, we don't know, as Christina says, whether it's on the player or the team, but there does seem to be something going on.
Hey Will. You mention evidence piling up that pitch counts and the the Verducci Effect cause injuries. It makes a lot of sense but I haven't read any good, hard studies that prove it yet. Can you point me in the right direction?
I'm not too confident that Dave Bush will be able to improve upon his 2009 performance by much if he's still throwing 88 mph in 2010.
Thanks for the thoughtful responses.
One final note:
Most of the pitchers on the first list of recent elite pitchers with career BABIPs below .290 demonstrated a multiple-season-long period of even lower BABIPs that coincided with their statistical and physiological peak seasons. Most of them also had a few, non-peak seasons at the tails of their career where they posted merely average BABIPs. To me, this implies that when these elite pitchers were at their physical best, they could do something sustainable to suppress hits on balls in play.
Compare Greg Maddux's peak years' BABIPs (1991-1998) to his non-peak years' BABIPs (1986-1990 and 1999-2008).
His peak years' BABIPs are outstanding while his non-peak years' BABIPs are merely slightly better than average. The other pitchers on the list show the same pattern of seemingly suppressing BABIP for a sustained period during their peak years.
I agree that you have to adjust for defense, but over the course of these pitchers' long careers, wouldn't the changing defensive allignments behind them and the affects of luck even out? I find it hard to believe that some of these guys had BABIPs .040 points below league average over the course of their careers due only to luck and consistently good defense, but maybe they did.
The DIPs formulas work as predictive tools for the general population of MLB pitchers so they're definitely useful and sound, but maybe something interesting is going on with a few elite pitchers.
It might also be interesting to note that some of the worst pitchers to have enjoyed long careers recently (or suffered through them as the case may be) appear at the other end of the list:
Glendon Rusch .334
Esteban Loaiza .316
Brian Moehler .315
Jason Jennings .314
Julian Tavarez .314
Carlos Silva .313
Mark Hendrickson .313
Sidney Ponson .312
Livan Hernandez .311
Nate Robertson .311
Of course I'm cherry picking by omitting good pitchers like:
Shane Reynolds .323
Charles Nagy .316
Aaron Harang .316
Andy Pettitte .315
John Lackey .311
...but these last few are the best of the pitchers who had long recent careers with BABIPs above .310 and they aren't as good as the ones listed in the previous post who had BABIPs below .290. There seems to be a trend of elite pitchers beating the league average and less than elite pitchers being beat by it. I may be seeing a non-existent trend in what is just a normal distribution around the average BABIP or the difference might be explained by team defensive efficiency. I don't know what the explanation is or if there is even anything to explain.
This is great stuff and I completely agree that line drive rate, and therefore BABIP, are mostly out of the control of the pitcher, but one thing bugs me whenever I think about DIPS. There are some pitchers (exceptions?) who seem to be able to sustain below average BABIPs over the course of long careers. Here's a thoroughly unscientific list of a few from the not-too-distant past:
Catfish Hunter .251
Jim Palmer .255
Charlie Hough .258
Sid Fernandez .259
Warren Spahn .265
Tom Seaver .267
Barry Zito .275
Nolan Ryan: .275
Mariano Rivera .276
Phil Niekro .277
Bob Gibson .278
Trevor Hoffman .278
Ferguson Jenkins .278
Carlos Zambrano .280
Tim Wakefield .281
Dan Quisenberry .282
Orel Hershiser .284
Dennis Eckersley .284
Tom Glavine .286
Johan Santana .287
Oil Can Boyd .288
Bret Saberhagen .288
Tim Hudson .289
Greg Maddux .289
Bert Blyleven .289
...and a few who I expected might make my arbitrary .290 cut but didn't:
Roger Clemens .294
Jake Peavy .294
Randy Johnson .302
I don't know what this list means, but if a player is above average over the course of 10 or 15 or 20 years, then it can't be a fluke, right? Knuckleballers are well represented but so are curveballers, power pitchers, control artists and change-up specialists. I'd be interested to know what Matt thinks.
Sorry about the extraneous question mark.
Felipe Lopez wouldn't look too bad at third in Minnesota?
Are you calling Andruw lazy?
Surely you aren't implying that Jeff Francoeur is the one blocking Fernando Martinez.
Quick note: Jake McGee is also left-handed.
Why note gracefully transition Griffey off the roster and onto the coaching staff making his senior statesman role official.
Is it possible that the Red Sox have not been aggressive enough? Seems like it would have been worth it to make LaPorta and Alvarez offers they couldn't refuse but then again they didn't know how those guys would turn out back then.
If you think that Brackman will become a Hall-of-Fame pitcher because he walked a lot of people in the minors when he was 23 just like Randy Johnson did, then I don't know if that logic is sound...
Detroit has done pretty well picking up pitchers that drop due to signing demands.
Jose Guillen, right?
Clearly these two are both good pitchers. You could prefer Harden's K's or Sheets's combination of skills but the key in evaluating these two contracts is to know which pitcher is healthier and to know that we would need access to medical records and physical that we don't have.
In 2009 Tejada walked in only 2.8% of his PA's. That's the second lowest among qualified batters right in between Bengie Molina and Cristian Guzman.
With regard to Alonso, the word, "Escaped" is a little bit loaded. I think, "defected" or "emigrated" are preferred among journalists.
Cristian Guzman had the procedure done after the 2005 season and (like Peralta) immediately showed a dramatic and sustained increase in both his O-Swing and O-Contact rates as well his ISO.
I wouldn't call Carlos Gonzalez a middling defender. He was +12 in center in 2008 and +14 in the same position in 2009. I know there's not a lot of innings to back up those numbers, but consider that he was also +42 in right in 2008 and +19 in left in 2009 and there's not a lot to suggest (other than two bad games in right) that those plusses wont keep coming in future center field innings.
Couldn't a significant b2 value also be explained by a nonlinear market for wins?
Regardless of how the Dodgers may value the uncertain potential draft pick compensation, they still should have offered Wolf arbitration if only because they could really use him on a one year deal. They have only three starters and two of them have serious Verducci Effect considerations to consider. Wolf on a one year deal looks a lot better than taking chances with Smoltz, Bedard or Sheets and even more better than employing back-end filler like Garland, Looper or Redding.
95 MPH fastball and 87 mph slider and more than a K per IP over his career and he hasn't started his age-25 season yet.
No way man, ephemera are fun.
Ultra-minor note, but Marc Rzepczynski spells his first name with a "c".
Choosing Baez over Park could be construed as a wash, but dealing Cliff Lee in order to afford Baez and other mediocrities makes for a more holistic and less Phillie-flattering comparison.
That should be a .386 OBP for Braun.
Maybe using some rate statistics and WARP totals to backup your ballot instead of old-fashioned hit, home run and stolen base totals would help. If you substantiated your ballot with meaningful stats then you wouldn't have to read all these comments.
What about Dusty Ryan? He had some reasonably impressive power and patience numbers at the upper levels over the last couple years during his age 23 and 24 seasons. Is there any chance he could have an impact in San Diego?
Especially when one considers they already had another similarly skilled Anderson in Josh.
Bengie Molina has a .280 OBP so catcher would be a great place for the Giants to upgrade their offense.
Aaron Poreda was their second best prospect.
The correct move would have been to start running toward right field sooner than he did.
He was taken out of the game in the middle of his next at bat. Not the one in which he was hit.
I guess you could make an argument that Rios looked like he was becoming a superstar in his age 26 season, but he had had only two very good years up to that point. He also had a mediocre K/BB rate of 55/105. Beltran, on the other hand, had a string of four very good seasons in a row starting when he was 24 and had improved his K/BB rate to 92/101 in the year prior to signing with the Mets. He also had a pretty good year playing everyday for the Royals in his age 22 season in which he hit .293/.337/.454. Rios was in the minors when he was 22 and then did very little in the majors when he was 23 and 24. We can go all the way back to their age 21 seasons when Beltran destroyed the Texas League while Rios was doing nothing special a level below in the Florida State League. Here are their stats for the year prior to their signings:
Rios (age 26) .297/.345/.498 .201 ISO 7.9% BB rate
Beltran (age 27) .267/.367/.548 .280 ISO 13.3% BB rate
The other main difference besides Beltran's better power, patience and track record is that Beltran was a free agent so the Mets had to bid against all other teams to get him while the Blue Jays had the option of taking Rios to arbitration twice more before deciding whether or not to give him 70 million dollars.
The guys you list could have been predicted to have better seasons in their late twenties than Wells and Rios did based on their track records up to that point. They showed more power and patience at younger ages and on a more sustained basis than either Wells or Rios. The signs you are looking for were that Rios developed slowly and never really had great plate discipline or power and Wells was inconsistent and also lacked discipline.
True, but he has a .307/.370/.483 line in 2193 minor league at bats and a power/ speed/ patience skill set that leads me to believe he could perform better than quite a few players on an Oakland offense that has outscored only Baltimore, Kansas City, and Seattle.
Hey Kevin. Thanks for these informative daily updates. I know you already put a ton of work into them, but one thing that would provide more context and make them even more useful (for me at least) would be adding each players age and vital 2009 stats to the heading section where you already indicate their position and level.
Slugworthy is close, but I think Colonel Klink is closer:
Brackman is 23 and walking 6.37 batters per game in "A" ball, so that doesn't look too promising.
The idea that major league pitchers can best be judged on their peripheral stats rests on the assumption that they all possess roughly the same ability to prevent batted balls from turning into hits. They have this ability to a similar degree because those that don't have it have been culled out in the minor leagues and are not allowed to accrue many innings pitched in the major leagues. De La Rosa appears to have slipped through the cracks as his ERA is consistently higher than his FIP due to an inability to prevent hits.
Year ERA FIP BABIP
2006 6.49 5.88 .301
2007 5.82 5.27 .330
2008 4.92 4.06 .325
2009 5.14 3.81 .329
De La Rosa is not a 4.00 ERA pitcher who has come into a little bad luck on balls in play; he is a 5.00 ERA pitcher because he can't prevent hits.
I don't see the similarities between Victorino and Byrnes. Victorino is solidly in his peak years at age 28 and has never experienced a severe decline like Byrnes did. In fact Victorino has been consistent since he made the big leagues hitting .760, .770 and .799 OPS over the last three years.
Regarding the Keppinger/ Sutton swap: beyond Ed Wade's good will, the Reds also get three options and three pre-arbitration years with Sutton, whereas they had no options and only one pre-arbitration year remaining with Keppinger. The options seem valuable to the Reds, because they elected to place Sutton in AAA. They would have risked losing Keppinger had they tried to send him down.
Bonds played a tougher defensive position and also posted some excellent FRAAs until he turned 34 and even after that he remained about average until he turned 42.
He posted excellent UZR/150 ratings until he turned 41. Let's not knock his defense just because he was so old when he finally stopped playing.
As best I can tell they have identical career OPS of 1.051. Amazing coincidence. Bonds career average was brought down by four merely good years in his age 21-24 seasons in the mid to late '80s whereas Albert got going right away at the beginning of the new millennium.
I'm not exactly sure what Breed meant when he used the terms, "went down" and "went up" but here is the data on K/9 and HR/9 for the pitchers in question in each of the two seasons that Eric looked at.
K/9' K/9'' HR/9' HR/9''
Cabrera 9.5 7.3 0.7 1.1
Lee 6.1 6.9 1.6 0.5
Villanueva 7.8 7.7 1.3 1.5
Lee improved his strikeout and home run rates, while the others did not.
You're drawing the wrong conclusions from your data. Your data does not indicate that it is very rare for pitchers to sustain large improvements in their groundball and walk rates, it simply indicates that it is very rare for these improvements to occur in the first place. Once the improvements occur, they are fairly likely to be sustained. Out of the pitchers you identified as improving their ground-ball rate significantly, 39% (99/254) were able to sustain that success. Out of the pitchers who you identified as improving their unintentional walk rate significantly, 46% (60/131) were able to sustain that success. These high rates indicate that ground-ball rate and walk rate are sustainable skills. The rare occurrence that you noticed (but mischaracterized) is pitchers ever significantly improving these rates in the first place. Pitchers exhibited large improvements in their ground-ball rates in only 6% (288/5031) of the seasons analyzed. Pitchers exhibited large improvements in their unintentional walk rate in only 3% (143/5031) of the seasons analyzed. These low rates of improvement further indicate that ground-ball rates and walk rates are relatively stable skill indicators.
Here is a link to a diagram that compares the dimensions of the two fields:
Are you referring to Jacoby Ellsbury? I only see him having slugged .394 (if "slugged" can be applied to Ellsbury).
Schafer walked in 14.2% of plate appearances last year, so maybe we should not be quite so pessimistic about his ability to take a walk. http://www.fangraphs.com/statss.aspx?playerid=paO05006&position=OF
We've hear Kevin and Christina decry the decision to demote David Price, but what does Will Carroll have to say about it from a workload management perspective?
This is some great stuff from the past. The linear dollar/win ratio that Tom Tango and his disciples at FanGraphs use always strikes me as wrong because, much like Nate's original paper on Christian Guzman, its application indicates that teams are getting great bargains whenever they sign a utility infielder for a million bucks. This study contradicts that and seems more in line with what actually goes on in the real world and what should go on when assembling a playoff team. I'd love to see this study redone with the new WARP figures.
Where did you get the Cuban stats? I\'ve been looking all over.
Jason Bay is not a defensive improvement over Manny Ramirez. Bay had a UZR/150 of -11.6 in 2007 and -15.9 in 2008. He had a FRAA of -12 in 2007 and -15 with Pittsburgh in 2008. He hasn\'t been league average since 2006. Manny Ramirez had just a -6.7 UZR/150 in 2008 and a -1 FRAA with Boston in 2008 and a +2 FRAA with LA in 2008.
Yankees, 7/192.5, 12/5
It would be interesting to see whether the same guys are at the top of the list each year or whether a pitcher\'s nibble number fluctuates.
OK, these are all fair points, but my bottom line is that there is a big difference between Manny\'s 1.031 OPS this year and Bay\'s .895 OPS. Even the Sox acknowledge this by batting Bay sixth whereas they used to bat Manny fourth. I\'m not sure how good Bay\'s defense would need to be to make up the gap. I guess I\'m a little sensitive to criticism of Manny being that I hear so much of it on all the Sox-owned media outlets in Boston though I know you\'re not part of all that.
Joe states, \"the Red Sox got a little better by trading Manny Ramirez for Jason Bay. Bay matched Ramirez’s production for the Sox, and he’s a much better defensive outfielder than Ramirez is. Forget all the off-field concerns, even forget that Bay comes in at half the price of Ramirez; just know that Jason Bay is just as good a player, all things considered, as Ramirez is at this stage of their careers.\"
But what I can\'t forget is that Manny\'s season line of .332/.430/.601 dwarfs Bay\'s line of .286/.373/.522. Joe is engaging in cherry picking by comparing Bay\'s Red Sox stats to Manny\'s Red Sox stats and ignoring the rest of the season when the players performed vastly differently from each other. Let\'s also not forget that the Red Sox are still paying Manny\'s salary when evaluating the value of Bay\'s lower salary. Lastly, Joe\'s closing caveat, at this stage of their careers\" seems to indicate that Manny is in decline. A quick check of his OPS per season indicates that this is not so. Except for last year, Manny\'s OPS has been right around 1.000 since he came to the Red Sox in 2001 and this year is no different as he finished at 1.031. Bay however may be in decline as his OPS has fallen from .961 in his first full season in 2005 to .928 in 2006 to .746 in 2007 to .895 in 2008.