Let’s compare J.J. Hardy and Bobby Crosby:
Player Age EqBA/EqOBP/EqSLG
Hardy 20 .240/.316/.380
Crosby 23 .273/.356/.490
Adjusted for park and league context, Crosby’s numbers were much, much better. How to balance that against the age differential? I think the question becomes: How likely is it that Hardy will post a line of .273/.356/.490 or equivalent by the time that he’s 23? It’s possible, certainly, and it’s also possible that he’ll post a line even better than that. But I don’t think that it’s *probable*. That’s a lot of improvement to make. PECOTA would put the possibility at somewhere around 25%, I’d think, and I think that’s enough to render Crosby the stronger prospect.
If Joe Torre gets to write the above lineup on his card 130 times this season and gets 30 starts from each of his five starters, it will be a long season in Boston, but the odds of this happening look more like Powerball than baseball. I’ll be interested to see if any other team has as many red lights this season. It’s odd to see, but the most recent addition to the team–the misplaced third baseman–looks like the best bet for a healthy season.
After some 28,000 words of spirited debate in Parts I through IV of the Top 50 Roundtable, Baseball Prospectus unveils its Top 50 Prospects list. Rany Jazayerli will be along tonight to discuss.
The Dodgers’ hiring of Paul DePodesta inspires a partial conversion. The Pirates sign Raul Mondesi to ensure that Craig Wilson again has nowhere to play. Damon Minor returns to San Francisco–or at least Fresno. Albert Pujols cracks nine figures in St. Louis. These and other happenings in today’s Transaction Analysis.
Dayn Perry explained why various statistics–like batting average (AVG) and runs batted in (RBI)–were not as reliable as you’ve always been told, and why we at Baseball Prospectus don’t use them in our analysis terribly often. Today, we’re going to look into one of the statistics we do use: Equivalent Average, or EqA. In its rawest state, EqA is a simple combination of batting numbers, not so very different from OPS.
Compared to OPS, it counts walks and HBP a little higher (at 1.5 instead of 1), it has stolen bases, and hits and extra bases are counted a little less (since they are divided by plate appearances, not just walks). What, then, makes EqA different from the other statistics? Simply put, its more accurate, its unbiased, and it models the scale of batting average, so it’s easy for a new fan understand.
In just four short years, the White Sox have gone from Pride of Chicago to second fiddle. The Cardinals look to improve a bit in 2004, if only because they’ve managed to shed some dead weight. And the Rangers, once again, looked to be a weaker sister of the AL West. All this and much more news from Chicago, St. Louis, and Texas in your Tuesday edition of Prospectus Triple Play.
At the end of Friday’s column on the Cubs, I tacked on a line about how the team wasn’t clearly better than the Astros and Cardinals. No one questioned the inclusion of the Astros, with their revamped rotation, in that sentence, but I got a few questions about the Cardinals.
I’ll admit that the I didn’t think too carefully about them while writing the column; over the past half-decade, I’ve just gotten used to considering the Houston and St. Louis ballclubs as the teams to beat in the NL Central, and it seemed natural that the trend would continue.
Are the Cards really deserving of comparison to the Cubs? Or is the Central down to two reasonable contenders?