Saturday, July 29, 2006

We're toast.

Not the Angels. Well, the Angels too, but I had something different in mind. I am breaking my policy of not posting non-baseball items for this news item:

Boomer effect on Stocks Negligible

Lets see the facts here:

1. Employers move away from offering traditional pensions.
2. A huge mass of americans puts money in their 401K funds, resulting in a boom in the stock market over the last 25 years.
3. The possibility of these people starting to withdraw 401K funds as they retire (what a funny idea) concerns some that this may cause a stock market crash.

And now:
4. Government denies that this is a problem.

I don't know about you, but fact #4 is about as clear a "sell" signal I've ever seen in my lifetime. Sell your stocks. Buy what? Gold, MRE's, and ammo. The only safe investments for your fortified bunker.

Curtis Pride

Nice shot.

If Weaver, Shields, and K-Rod can handle the rest of this, Weaver will be 8-0.

They're playing my song on Fox. Climb aboard the Jered Weaver train, everyone.

Minor League Equivalencies

I have MLE's for all AAA and AA players. First off, I'd like to thank the creator of the site MinorLeagueSplits. I used this site to get this year's park factors. While I realize one year park factors can be fluky, the park data that I used previously was a little outdated, since this stuff is not normally published anywhere. In addition, there have been some new parks, so I made the decision to sacrifice a lrager sample size to get more current data. If minor league splits keeps up the great work, I'll have multi year park factors in the future.

Some highlights:

There isn't really anyone in the minors having the kind of year that screams "call him up now" Every year there's always some journeyman who puts up great minoe league numbers but is not a prospect. This year, that's Hiram Bocachica. He has the best MLE line for any player with a minimum of 100 at bats at 295/381/601.

He's also 30, has never hit anywhere near this well, its only 163 at bats, and he's fortunate to be a ballplayer and not in the joint (name literally translates to mouth girl).

Others hitting well are Jason Botts (276/345/536), Kevin Kouzmanoff (317/367/505), and Scott Hairston (278/347/521). These guys are not super young (25-26) and may turn into decent players, but are not can't miss prospects.

For the real prospects, 2 of the best are Lastings Milledge (265/368/458) and Joey Votto (272/339/483) Votto will wait his turn behind Scott Hatteberg. Milledge looks great, its almost his actual minor league numbers untranslated - he's playing in what has been the best pitchers park in AAA. I hope Omar keeps him, As an Angel fan I'd rather face Barry Zito for 2 more months than Milledge for 6 years.

James Loney (317/357/451) is the Dodger's version of Casey Kotchman. Howie Kendrick (292/326/471) is now a fixture in the big A.

Ryan Raburn (259/326/465) is 25, playing in Toledo, and not a hyped prospect. He plays 2B, and runs well, so he could turn out to be interesting.

Carlos Quentin's numbers look a lot better than last time I ran MLE's, mainly because Tucson has not been a hitters park this year. I have no idea if that will hold up or is a pure fluke. Quentin is at 246/359/409, with much of the value coming from getting plunked.

Cleveland now has Shin Soo Choo (279/337/423). He'll be a good one, his bat looks like Coco Crisp, he's fast, and has a rightfielder's arm. Good move by Mark Shapiro, and Choo just recently beat Seattle 1-0 with a homer.

Chris Young (Cf, not the P) is hitting 233/310/445. The next Mike Cameron.

Alex Gordon (245/326/421) is playing well for a first year player. Delmon Young (301/316/422). Where's the power? Looks like he can hit swinging at everything, but can't drive the ball that way, at least not yet.

There was an argument on about comparing Dustin Pedroia and Alberto Callaspo. Alberto's raw numbers look better this year, but translated they are amazingly similar: Callaspo (283/339/377) and Pedroia (272/340/375). Pedroia was better last year, and I think he's the better prospect, but both are good players and should be starting at 2B next season.

Steven Drew is up in the majors now, but might not be quite ready (244/289/396). I am sad to say the numbers for the Angel's #1 prospect do not look so good right now (214/281/384). Brandon Wood plays in the best hitters park in the Texas league. Its possible that the one year factors overstate how much the park helps hitters, and it should be noted that the Travelers have played a majority of their games traveling this season, and should have some good homestands coming up. My stats may be too harsh on Wood, but if I adjusted them, give him every benefit of the doubt, I can't see his MLE batting average any better than .230 at this point. He's slumped to less than .280 in AA, and strikes out in a third of his at bats. Its a good sign that he has taken more walks this year, 50 so far, but he absolutely needs to improve his ability to make contact, or the great career people think he'll have just isn't going to happen.

See all the MLE's at :
MLE 2006

Friday, July 28, 2006

Tonight's game

If the rain lets up, Escobar vs Lester tonight. Then Weaver vs Beckett and finally Lackey vs the pitcher he's been compared to a lot lately, Schilling.

I'd be happy if the Angels can avoid a sweep in this series, but I don't have a good feeling about it. If they do win any of the next 3 games, it will be especially satisfying for me. I want the Angels to win every game, but especially the A's and Red Sox.

I detest the Red Sox. Why? I'll have to borrow a tactic from the good Rev. Halofan and intentionally alter some movie quotes:

Captain Rally Tiberius Monkey: "I've never trusted Red Sox...and I never will. I can never forgive them for the death of my 1986 team."

Monday, July 24, 2006

Doom and Gloom, right here, all the time

I officially embraced doom this past weekend while the Angels lost the first 2 games against the Omaha, I mean, Kansas City Royals. The Angels are going nowhere this year, and would be best suited to prepare their youngsters as best as possible for 2007.

As I right this the Angels are 1/2 games out, and will tie for 1st assuming the A's can't come back from a 7-1 hole against the Red Sox. So I stick by the doom and gloom, the Angels have no chance. 2006 is a lost season for them.

Seriously, this is as good as its gonna get. The Angels will soon be the ones who have to face the power of Manny Ortez, and the A's will get to beat up on AAA teams. If the Angels were going to win the division, they'd have at least a 7 game cushion at this point. They don't.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

MLE's for the international league

Andy Marte: .248/.300/.410 I guess there's a reason he was traded twice this offseason. In his defense, he's been much better after a horrible start. Maybe he was recovering from an injury earlier.

Josh Fields: .289/.358/.475 Downside is he strikes out too much to keep a .289 average, about once every 3 at bats. Brandon Wood territory, but he's not as young, doesn't have as much time to grow out of it.

BJ Upton is at .228/.314/.324 I'm assuming Durham is still an extreme hitters park, but if for some reason its neutral BJ's numbers still wouldn't approach what a major league 3B needs to hit. He's regressed as a hitter in his 3rd year at AAA.

Chris Denorfia: .298/.353/.382 Not the bat that Austin Kearns provided, but looks like a pretty good player. I think David DeJesus might be a good comparison, just going straight on the stats.

Lastings Milledge: .266/.372/.432 That's damn good for his age. Mets will regret it if they trade this guy for some rental pitching help. I sure don't want to see him every time the Angels battle the A's.

Dustin Pedroia: .275/.342/.379 Not bad for a 2B, but he's capable of more than that. The Cole Hamels of middle infielders. I should start a Dustin Pedroia facts page.

Scott Thorman: .285/.347/.487 Hitting pretty well for the Braves too. He's playing LF tonight, not sure if he's good enough on D to play OF regularly, otherwise he'll have to outplay LaRoche for a job.

Angels finally lose

That sure was one ugly 5th inning from John Lackey. The streak couldn't have lasted forever. Get em next time John. I still feel very positive about the Angels for the second half of the season. That might be a problem. The Angels might have to do something to get me back into predicting doom and gloom. Only then will they be in position to take the AL West.

I did some MLE's from the PCL league today. Our second base playing hero comes in at .298/.328/.499 I'd be quite happy if he can really do that for the second half, and his playing time grow from platoon 2B to fulltimer.

Another impressive MLE is the Dodger's James Loney: .331/.369/.477 He'd be a nice option at 1B if they don't resign Nomar, but be careful before you predict future batting titles for him. His season in the PCL looks a lot like Casey Kotchman, 2004.

The Diamondback hitters are not quite what they seem. They play in the most extreme hitters park in one of the best hitters leagues. Quentin and Drew translate as .220 hitters right now. Only Scott Hairston (.264/.323/.449) looks like he could help right away.

Choo of the Mariners (.294/.356/.450) looks ready to play everyday. A's have nobody hitting well outside of a few older, AAA lifers. Nelson Cruz looks pretty good (.265/.337/.449), he'd be decent but a sizable step down from Carlos Lee.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Park Factors, single year

So far in 2006. Some weird stuff. The Coors humidor has been documented, but Texas a pitchers park? Washington a hitters park? Is Soriano to blame for this all by himself?

All factors have been divided by 2, i.e. if I say the park factor is 1.05 you can take that players RC or baseruns or whatever and divide by 1.05.

Here they are: Park Factors

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Angels acquire power hitting OF

In an effort to shore up the Angel offense, and address a long standing need for an additional power bat, the Angels acquired LF Juan Rivera in exchange for the fool's hope of Garret Anderson returning to his 2002-03 all star from.

Rivera, 27, is slugging .511, slightly higher than Vladimir Guerrero. He also brings a strong arm to the outfield and legs that, if not especially fast, are at least young and fresh. Rivera has hit righthanders as well as lefties over his career, rarely strikes out (though he'll hit into a DP or two), and should be even more productive given steady playing time.

Anderson, an old 34, should be the primary DH for the rest of the season, though Tim Salmon should still get some AB in the role.

Well, I at least hope this trade is permanant, it sure worked for the last 3 games against arch-enemy Oakland.

2 Games out!

Great game by the Magic man today. Ervin Santana has had, so far in his short career, insane home/road splits. It goes back to his first career start, where he gave up a cycle to the first 4 batters he faced in Cleveland, and his second, where he shut down the White Sox in the big A.

I don't know what it is, but Ervin may have finally found his comfort level on the road. He's won his last 6 decisions, including 4 on the road, and this week he gets 2 big wins on the road. He's got quality starts or better in 8 of his last 9, and the one where he didn't is quality in my book. Sure, he gave up 6 runs to the Mariners, but he also pitched 8 innings, allowed fewer baserunners than innings (helps my ratio), and most importantly, won the game.

The Angel starting 5 looks pretty exciting right about now as Lackey has become one of the most dominant pitchers in the league, and Bartolo appears to be back.

I'm not 100% sold on Bartolo yet, his last start he struck out only 2, and he's not throwing mid 90's heat. That's nitpicking, though, as you should never complain about a CG shutout that only takes 91 pitches. If the Mariners hadn't used a Mickey Hatcher strategy of putting the first ball into play at all costs, Bartolo would have gotten ahead of hitters and rung up a few more K's, thrown more pitches, and probably not finished the game. But the Mariners chose to give our bullpen a rest heading into Oakland and who am I to complain about that?

How is the projection system doing?

I could go over the hits and misses for all players, like the Stats and Bill James handbooks have always done when looking back at prior year projections. I could pat myself on the back for predicting Andruw Jones to have an Andruw Jones type of season, and wonder how I missed David Ross turning into Mike Piazza. But I won't. If I want to learn something here, and make better projections in the future, I think its best to see how the workings of the system treat groups of players.

Here's the summary in spreadsheet form: Projection player groups

Lessons learned:

1. For the youngest players, age 21-24, there is a fairly substantial HR boost applied to these players. So far at least, they aren't quite hitting it. I may have to tone it down a bit.

2. For older players the age adjustments may be increasing strikeouts a bit too much.

3. The projections for speedsters look right on the money.

4. The players projected to hit for the most power are hitting for more power than projected, the weakest players are hitting for less power than projected. The same thing is happening for the players who take the least and most walks. What this means is that I'm regressing walks and homers too much to the mean. If I tone down the regression and allow the player's actual HR and walk rates to have more impact, I should get better results.