Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Player of the Day: Brian Fuentes

Angel fans, Meet your new closer.

We're actually going to have two lefties in the pen, and pretty good ones at that. Fuentes comes cheaper than expected, at the start of free agent season speculation was that he'd get 3 years and 30 to 40 million. Angels sign him for a guaranteed 2 years and 17.5 million with a 3rd year option.

A bargain in that sense, and a lot cheaper than keeping K-Rod, but I think that closers in MLB are a bit overvalued. Using the concept of leverage, Fuentes' innings are roughly twice as valuable as the average pitcher, since he's pitching in tight game situations. But why pay him for the leverage? The only reason he's getting the leverage is because the team will deliberately give it to him. The leverage could have gone to Shields, or Arredondo, just as easily. I think it would make more sense to split the leverage bonus among your top relievers, unless you have a clear dominant closer like Mariano Rivera, Joe Nathan, or Jon Papelbon. With those guys, there is no doubt you want them to have the ball with the game on the line. With the Angels, do I want Shields out there, Fuentes, or Arredondo?

Doesn't make a big difference to me.

Let's take a look at his Fangraphs page. He's a big guy, 6'4, 240 pounds. He throws a fastball in the low 90's, 91.5 last year. His data shows no loss in fastball velocity over the last four years, which is a good sign to me. He also throws a slider (15%) and change (10%).

He'll be a nice addition, probably worth an extra win. I just hope the Angels don't stop here. The 5th starter spot is a hole, and Derek Lowe could improve the Angels by 4 wins there. A slugging LF/DH like Milton Bradley or Adam Dunn could probably improve the teamby 3-4 wins as well.

Cubs trade DeRosa

Mark DeRosa to the Indians for 3 pitching prospects. In 2006 two Ranger scrubs had career years right before filing for free agency. Unfortunately, the Angels not only got the more expensive one, they didn't get the one who could actually keep up the new level of play. Last year DeRosa hit .285 with power (21 homers), patience, and solid D at multiple positions. Normally I wouldn't expect a contending team to trade a player like him, but the Cubs have another solid 2B in Mike Fontenot, and apparently need to free up some money.

For 2009 the 34 year old DeRosa projects as an average hitter at an important defensive position, which should be worth 8-10 million. He's being paid 5.5 million according to Cot's. One pitcher, Jeff Stevens, struck out a bunch of guys at the AA and AAA levels. He's worth 1.7 million by my player evaluation system, for whatever that's worth. The other two pitchers pitched in the low minors in 2008, but are worth something, essentially being lottery picks.

All in all, the trade looks like fair value for both teams. It allows Chicago to focus their resources on other positions (maybe Milton Bradley) and Cleveland to upgrade the offense in the infield and improve through defensive realignment as Peralta goes to third and Cabrera to short.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Player of the Day: Pablo Sandoval

I can't say I knew much about this kid as he came up to the majors. I knew he was on a hot streak with the Giants late last year, but figured it was just a few lucky singles. He hit .345 in 41 games, but not much power (3 HR), few walks (only 4) and as much speed as you'd expect from a 5'11, 245 pound part time catcher.

What I didn't realize is that he's only 21 years old, and with 10 AB per strikeout, he might just be the kind of hitter who can sustain a high batting average simply because he's better than almost everyone at putting the bat on the ball.

Pablo was not among Baseball America's top 30 prospects last year, and for a system not known to be overflowing with talent, that's not encouraging. Perhaps he should have been, as a 20 year old catcher he hit .287 with a .476 slugging percentage for San Jose. That's not great hitting for the California League, but good enough considering age, position if his defense was acceptable.

This year he started back in A+ and hit 359/412/597. In AA he hit 337/364/549. In the minors as a whole he threw out 30 of 68 baserunners. For the whole year, two levels of the minors and the majors, he hit close to .350 with 23 homers and 120 RBI.

On his Fangraphs page you can see the Bill James projection showing a .320 average and over 100 RBI.

As to my more conservative CHONE projections he projects as a similar hitter right now to teammate Bengie Molina, and due to his age he's likely to get much better. He's got about a 20% chance of hitting the Bill James projection, which would make him a 2009 rookie of the year candidate except for the fact he's used up his eligibility.

As a catcher, he's a solid league average regular right now, and as a 3rd baseman has a shot at turning into a solid player. Not bad for a 22 year old who was at best the Giant's #31 prospect heading into the season.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

More stuff for projections

On the right hand side of, I've added a 2009 schedule grid and two csv files.

The CSV files have all the projections in one place, so you don't have to click through every team page to find players. There are still some mistakes in data, such as players not with their current team, if I wait to post this until all mistakes are fixed then it will never get posted. So no guarantees that the data are correct.

The schedule grid shows how many games each team plays against every other team. This will be used when I'm ready to do the team projections, and see if there's another Tampa Bay surprise waiting out there (These projections were the first to call the Rays a serious contender) I predicted 89 wins for the Rays on 2/13/2008, I'll stand corrected if anyone can show me an earlier prediction for that win amount or greater.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Projection updates

I've added the latest round of player signings in, added a few players who didn't have 2009 projections (very little time in 2008, or even injured for the year), and corrected a few cases of having variant names result in 2 projections for a player (Josh Outman and Joshua Outman, for example), and in general made what corrections I was aware of.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Projected Runs Scored

Using the team pages from, I'm taking a guess at how much playing time everyone gets, making sure that all positions are covered and that outs (AB-H+CS) add up to 4100 per team. I'm not really paying attention to batting order, other than obvious stuff, like making sure Figgins has more projected PA than the catchers.

For the Angels I assume these starters:
C Napoli
1B Kowbell
2B Kendrick
SS Aybar/Izzy split
3B Wood
LF Figgins
CF Hunter
RF Rivera
DH Vlad

The west teams:
Texas 805
Angels 758
Oakland 745
Seattle 692

Since Texas couldn't win with 901 runs last year, I'm not worried about them. Their pitching is still crap. Oakland looks to have an improved offense, some of their guys just had off years and Holliday is a big plus. They only allowed 690 last year so 745 runs might make them a contender. But Oakland traded all their starters last year, and the team ERA was about a run and a half higher in the second half. They will need their young pitchers to develop quickly, and if I count them out, then they'll have 3 rookies with sub 3.50 ERA's. So, I will proclaim them a contender, and hope the reverse jinx works. Seattle's offense looks like San Francisco's last year. Scary as a baby kitten. Angels only scored 765 last year, so not much dropoff, and they'll go as far as the pitching takes them. We're not going to hand a closer 70 save opps again and beat pythag by 12 wins, but the Angels shouldn't have to - they still look to be kings of the west.

I ran the top 3 East teams as well. I get this:

Yankees 871
Red Sox 866
Rays 781

That's after Tex. The American League dodged a bullet when the Red Sox were too cheap to get the Tex deal done. He's 30 runs better than Mike Lowell or Xavier Nady, so add 30 to the Red Sox and take 30 off the Yankees and that would have been ugly. The Red Sox are still a very good team, but they can be beat. I think if they had Tex they would have run away with the American League. The Rays offense looks about the same as last year, but they have room to make a big improvement if they can add a DH/OF like Milton Bradley.

I haven't looked at the central or NL. And I don't want to get too far into this until a few more free agents fall into place.

User's guide for the Projection Site

I put this up in order to explain some of the numbers found on

Trade idea

How about Johnny Damon for Chone Figgins?

I've always loved Figgins, even named the projection system after him, but I think this makes sense. Why?

For Yankees: They have Swisher, Matsui, Nady, and Damon for 2 outfield spots and DH. This is assuming they value the superior defense of Melky, Gardner, or a trade for Cameron. Somebody has to go. They save some money on the deal as Figgins will not make 13 million. Figgins becomes a supersub on the Yankees, providing depth at every position, and since he could take over for Cano at 2B, provides motivation for Cano to make every effort to recover from last year's case of cranial-rectal inversion.

For the Angels: If they are committed to making room for their young players, 3rd base has to be in play, so Sean Rodriguez and Brandon Wood can compete for it. Figgins could move to the outfield, but Damon is a better hitter than Figgy, as well as a better defensive outfielder. In addition, Damon would replace Figgy as the leadoff hitter. Any other move that replace Figgins in the lineup would leave the Angels without a real leadoff man, as Aybar and Kendrick do not have the patience for the role.

An alternative would be for Figgins to go to Milwaukee and Cameron to the Yankees in a 3 way trade. This just makes too much sense, either move better aligns each team's talent with the specific needs of their rosters.

What are you GM's waiting for? Make it so!

Teixiera to the Yankees

I'm pretty cool with it. For one thing, my dad is a Yankee fan, so he can consider it a 180 million dollar present from my team to his. Tex is not going to the Red Sox, and that's cool too. Putting him on that team would have made them too good, and that would have been bad for my stomach.

With Tex signing in New York, the Angels will get the 26th pick in next year's draft. Red Sox would have only given us the #30 pick, and if the O's or Nats had ponied up the money, then the comp pick would not have been until the second round, probably number 50 or higher.

Had Tex signed with the Nationals, another danger is that they would have dealt Nick Johnson to the A's. Now Nick may never be healthy enough to play baseball again, but if he were able he is one of the single most talented hitters in the game. I don't want to take the chance that Oakland gets him (in his free agent walk year) and he actually is healthy for a year. That might be enough to make them dangerous, though having them miss out on Furcal eases a lot of my worries.

Next June the Angels will get back to back picks, the Mets and Yankees, at 25 and 26. Their own pick is #33, and there's also a slew of supplemental picks for losing Tex, K-Rod, and Jon Garland. The only thing that could have made things better would have been if say the Cardinals decided Darren Oliver satisfied Tony LaRussa's lefty reliever fetish before he accepted arbitration.

Tony Reagins has quite an opportunity to restock the farm system next spring. Tony, if you read this please pay no heed to MLB's recommended slot bonuses. Pick the talented, high upside guys who slip because of bonus demands. Overpay if you have to, because even spending like a drunken sailor on the draft carries far less risk, in terms of wasted dollars, than one year of a bad free agent signing. Like Matthews.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

It is Fully Operational!

The pitcher projections, and all the player pages are available on my site, Baseball

Next up on the to do list is some kind of introduction/users guide to explain some of the stats.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Juan Rivera signs

At a pretty reasonable rate too, 12.75 million over 3 years. Here's his projection page: Juan "Johnny Rivers" Rivera

He's +5 runs on offense, -7.5 for position adjustment, so he's barely below average before defense. He's not that fast, and while his UZR has been about average in left field, it is below average in right. For his career he's about -5 per season. Since he missed most of 2007 and has not played regularly, his playing time projection is not very good either, but add it all up and choose the "poor" defensive category, and he's 1.1 wins above replacement or worth 4.8 million - looks like a decent bargain.

But his throwing arm is very good, so he should pick up a few runs for that. Maybe not enough to move him into the average category, but somewhere in between. He also may have some upside in playing time. Rivera does not seem to be an injury prone player, like Kendrick has been. He just had a very bad freak injury. That was two years ago, so he should be fully recovered.

I see the Angels made at least a decent signing, and also one with some serious possible upside. If Vlad Guerrero continues to see more time at DH, then having Rivera around is much better than a generic left fielder, since his arm is more than enough for right. Welcome back Johnny Rivers!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Kevin Youkilis is a monster

About a year ago, Casey Kotchman hit .296/.372/.467 as a 24 year old. Kevin Youkilis hit .288/.390/.453 as a 28 year old. Both are excellent defenders at first base. Their value is similar, but Kotchman was 4 years older younger, so I was quite happy having him, and certainly would not have done a straight up trade.

What a difference a year makes. Youkilis had a career year, and Kotchman slipped a little in Anaheim, and after being traded for Mark Teixiera he played like crap in Atlanta. Now, I read rumors that the same Mark Teixiera could be headed to the Red Sox. This would push Youkilis to third. How does that affect his value?

bUZR, from Fangraphs, has him around +12 in 154 career games at third. Watching him in the playoffs after Lowell's injury, I don't remember him missing any play. He's a hell of a third baseman, and his defensive talents are wasted at 1st.

So I wonder what he's worth, 2 years away from free agency, at a more premium position. His offensive projection is +21 runs per 625 PA, at third base he gains 2.5 runs for a position bonus. While I use 20 runs as the gap between an average and replacement level player, all of these numbers have to be adjusted for expected playing time, which includes the possibility of missing time to injury. My projection site has a player evaluation tool that accounts for all of this, but with one missing ingredient: defense. That UZR mentioned above needs to be regressed. For valuation purposes I'll look at the row that describes him as a good, but not excellent defender, about +7 runs.

Youk will be the 6th player and first non-Angel to have a full player page posted. The chart shows that a good defensive 3rd baseman who hits like he does is worth 18.9 million per season.

Since he's arbitration eligible for 2 more years, that salary should be reduced to 60% and 80% respectively. If the team wants to sign him to a 6 year deal, he should ask for 11.3 the first year, 15.1 his second, and his free agent value after that. That's a total of 6 years, 100 million. If the team doesn't want to pay so much, he should simply wait two years and then get a contract for his full free agent value.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Projections! Free!

Sabermetric Fans and Fantasy Baseball players,

Merry Christmas.

My gift to you is a brand new website dedicated to providing free CHONE projections. The site is called

Right now the site is still under construction, but enough has been done to put the team pages up for hitters. The last column, "Expanded" contains links to very detailed projection information, such as percentiles, multi-year projections, and a dollar valuation. For a preview of what these pages will look like, check out Mike Napoli, Brandon Wood, Chone Figgins, Torii Hunter, and Vlad Guerrero.

The column "R150" is linear weights runs above average, adjusted for league and ballpark - due to the AL's superior record over the last few years, the same performance in the NL will earn a lower R150 value than in the AL.

Pitcher team links are on the front page, however no pitching projections are ready - It will likely be a few weeks.

If you blog, please help spread the word.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Uberstats for some free agents

Previous posts tell you what goes into the stat. I'll just post Wins above replacement for some of the bats on the market or who recently signed, for the last 4 years, 2008 list first down to 2005.

Manny being Manny:



Adam Dunn:

Pat Burrell:

Raul Ibanez:

Bobby Abreu:

Ty Wigginton:

Garret Anderson:

Juan Rivera:

Jason Giambi:

Total Zone 2008, 1st Basemen


+18, Albert Pujols
+18, Mark Teixiera
+16, Lyle Overbay
+10, Lance Berkman
+9, Casey Kotchman
+9, Ryan Howard

The one that sticks out like a sore thumb is Ryan Howard, who looks like an awful 1st baseman. Hard to believe this rating when he allowed 17 batters to reach on errors. While the old convenient standby, luck, might explain it, I'll try to go further. For one, TotalZone has not always rated Howard well. It saw him as about average in 2006 and -5 runs in 2007. For 2008, Howard allowed only 5 ground balls to go down the line for extra base hits. Overbay (13) and Berkman (12) had more, and even the Deity, Albert Pujols, allowed 9. Could Howard be playing closer to the line than other first basemen?

If so, we should expect the ground ball singles to right to be an above average amount, but it wasn't, probably even a bit below average. This could mean that Chase Utley covered for him, and Howard is getting credit for Utley's ridiculous range. Utley rated much higher in systems like plus/minus.

I'm confidant that I'm getting the teams rated very well here, but this is a case where the players may not be getting the credit divided properly.

And the worst first basemen:

-8, Ross Gload - KC may need to upgrade this position
-8, Jason Giambi
-11, Ryan Garko
-17, Richie Sexson
-18, Mike Jacobs (so much for an upgrade)

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Hall of Very Good

Creating a list of the best players retired for 5+ years, Willie Mays (153 wins) and Hank Aaron (148) come out on top, shouldn't surprise too much. Going down the list, every player with at least 73 wins (Gary Carter) above replacement (WAR) is in the Hall. Every eligible player that is, sorry Charlie Hustle. So 73 is the magic number for HOF inclusion.

There are 7 players between 70 and 73, but only two are in the HOF, Carlton Fisk and Eddie Murray. The other five are the the greatest members of the Hall of Very Good.

They are:
Tim Raines (72), best of the group
Lou Whitaker
Reggie Smith
Willie Davis
Ron Santo

Before I did this systematically, I thought 60 WAR was a strong qualification for HOF inclusion, but there are 23 players over 60 but under 70, and only 7 have made it to Cooperstown. They are: McCovey, Winfield, Killebrew, Stargell, Sandberg, Billy Williams, and Banks. Lessons learned: Get your counting stats, your 3000 hits or 500 homers, or be a Cub with a working pancreas.

The second tier of the HOVG:
Bobby Grich
Graig Nettles
Alan Trammell
Buddy Bell
Keith Hernandez
Mark McGwire
Jimmy Wynn
Andre Dawson
Willie Randalph
Dwight Evans
Dick Allen
Darrell Evans
Ken Boyer
Will Clark
Sal Bando
Bobby Bonds

There are 17 players in the 50-60 range. Only two, Tony Perez and Luis Aparicio, are in the hall.

Then there are 45 players in the 40-50 range. This is the lower tier of the HOVG, but three players of this group have made it to the HOF: Kirby Puckett, Orlando Cepeda, and Lou Brock. These are very questionable choices for the Hall, as there are many better players who have not received the honor. If Jim Rice (43 WAR) makes it this year, this is his group.

For now I'll settle on 40 WAR as the minimum standard for the Hall of Very Good. The dividing line is Bobby Murcer, in, Rick Monday (39.9) out. Maybe I'll have to go a bit lower to 35 or so - some players just below 40 who would commonly be described as very good: Harold Baines, Dave Concepcion, Doug DeCinces, Tim Salmon.

This is all subject to revision, there is a good chance that I'll need to adjust the position adjustments - they work for the most recent era, 2000+, but may need to be changed a bit for the past.


I've been working on a uberstat database, calculating wins above replacement for everybody in the Retrosheet era. This includes park adjusted batting runs, which are based on custom linear weights, so the team baserun total adds up exactly to their actual runs scored. It was a bit trickier than it sounds, as I needed to remove pitcher hitting, or else I'm going to rate the AL players too low. This should be similar to the results of batting runs on baseball-reference, but sometimes there are decent sized differences. If a player consistently played on teams that scored more runs that you'd expect given their batting stats, the player will get extra credit.

I also removed baserunning and GIDP runs - say a team is 30 runs above average on the bases, and scores a total of 750 runs. I don't want to double count the baserunning, so I figure the LW values of the singles, walks, homers, etc. as if the team scored only 720. That way the batting runs + baserunning = actual runs.

Baserunning includes steals and caught stealing, as well as tagging up, going first to 3rd, etc. It tries to be a comprehensive evaluation. GIDP runs is based on how many DP's you hit into, given your number of DP opportunities.

For defense, there's TotalZone, outfield arms, and infield double plays. Plus catcher runs based on SB/CS, PB, WP, and errors.

All of these are converted to wins based on a custom runs per win figure for that league.

Position adjustment, per 150 games, is as follows (in wins): catcher +1.0, SS +.75, 2b/3b/cf +.25, RF/LF -7.5, 1B -10, and DH -15.

Finally, the difference between average and replacement level. This varies by my league strength calculations, between 1.8 and 2.2 wins per 150 games. For the 50's and 60's the NL was better. In the 70's and 80's it was about even, and in the 90's and beyond the AL has taken the lead. All of this is based on relative performance of players who played in both leagues.

The biggest surprise for me was Willie Davis topping the 70 win mark, which is a level of greatness. He played in an extreme pitchers park in one of the toughest decades to put up numbers, but in his context was an above average hitter, about 100 runs worth. He stole a lot of bases, ran the bases well according to retrosheet data, and rarely hit into double plays. His baserunning was worth another 100 runs, and he played outstanding defense in center field. He was about 350 runs above average, and in the 60's the runs to win conversion was pretty low. Add in replacement level for a National League that was superior to the AL at the time, and Willie gets 71.5 wins.

Pulling out my win shares book, I see Willie had 322. Just behind Ron Santo (325) and Reggie Smith (324) and just ahead of Nettles, Trammell, Simmons, and Torre. So perhaps Willie deserves more mention among the greatest players overlooked by the Hall of Fame.

Goodbye K-Rod

Angel fans will never forget you. Especially your heroics in the 2002 playoffs where you made great MLB hitters look like they belonged in rookie ball. 2008 was quite a magical ride. How many times can a team give you a 9th inning lead that is no more than 3 runs? It must have been some kind of record for the team, and obviously was a record for Frankie. Good luck as a Met, and hopefully you can come back and face your old team in the 2009 World Series.

Saturday, December 06, 2008


I was reading this on Tango's site:

Especially this quote: "There have been occasions where I’ve been privy to some of that work that’s going on in front offices and it simply blows away things you’d call the state of the art in sabermetrics. Not a little ahead — a lot."

Oh yeah? If that's the case, how come major league teams still make so many dumb moves? I'm not talking about bad luck, like signing a superstar and seeing him get hurt, try to play through it, and wind up hitting .220 in 75 games. I'm talking about the kind of stuff where we (a bunch of amateurs commenting on Tango's blog) look at a contract, and in a few minutes classify it as an overpay, a fair deal, or a bargain, and generally wind up proven right. If MLB teams were so far ahead of us, then when we call an overpay, the teams should have had good reasons for doing so, and the player go on to establish a higher level of production. Or else when we call a bargain, there's something we're missing, and the player not play as well.

Sometimes this happens, but looking back on this thread:

Wade through that, and see how accurate our calls were. I see 10 moves where we called an overpay, and in only one case did the player exceed our expectations (JC Romero) and two others were about even (as there was some disagreement on where to call the contract). The other 7 were, predictably, disasters.

Then of the moves where we called bargains (7), it was a little mixed. Three did wind up as bargains, 2 who played about as well as they were paid, and two who flopped (especially Andruw Jones).

Here's the retro analysis on those players:

J.C. Romero – his contract implied 1.4 WAR, any Angels fan who watched the 2006 season would swear that Romero was replacement level at best. He pitched great for Philadelphia though, for the second year in a row. On this one, we were wrong and Philly looks pretty good.

Torii Hunter – His big contract implied 4.4 wins above replacement. There was some difference of opinion on him, as some thought he was worth it and others saw him as very good, but perhaps slightly overpaid. Hunter was +7 runs above average on offense. The defensive metrics are not in agreement on him, the fans still regard him as above average (including myself as I watched 95% of his games last year). Give him 2.5 runs for defense, 2.5 position adjustment, 25 runs for playing fulltime in the American League, and Hunter comes in just under 4 WAR. OK, he probably was slightly overpaid at 18 million, but he’s an outstanding player and the Angels aren’t complaining.

Aaron Rowand – There was some disagreement on him, some saw his contract, which paid for 3.7 WAR, as one of the better deals of the offseason, and others saw it as an overpay. It really came down to how good you thought his fielding was. His hitting wasn’t great (-4 runs). Add in position (2.5) and NL replacement level (20) and he’s 18.5 runs above replacement. He would have to save 20 runs with the glove to earn that contract. I can say now that he didn’t but there wasn’t enough consensus before the season to say the statheads told you so.

Piniero – paying for 1.7 wins above replacement, Piniero pitched 148 innings with a 5.15 ERA – an 83 ERA+. He was about replacement level, maybe a tick above. Calling his contract an overpay was correct, though not a disastrous one.

Todd Jones – paid for 1.6 WAR. Jones had little left, giving up a bunch of hits, walking more than he struck out, and being lucky to keep his ERA under 5 at 4.97. He also allowed 7 unearned runs. Tigers would have been better off heeding our advice and passing.

Luis Castillo – his 4 year, 24 million contract paid for 2 WAR. Castillo didn’t come close. He was injured much of the year, and when playing was below average in offense (-8 runs) and terrible in the field, overall about a replacement level player. The Mets may even consider going after a better 2B even with 3 years left on the deal.

Francisco Cordero – Paying for 3 WAR. This was a huge contract for a reliever, though Cordero is a talented one. He pitched as expected, striking out over a batter per inning, walking a bunch, and an ERA of 3.33. According to Fangraphs, his WPA was 1.4 (the best quick stat to evaluate a reliever, as it takes leverage into account). Cordero is good, but the Reds overpaid.

Jose Guillen – His contract assumes 3 WAR. While he drove in 97 runs, Guillen was a below average hitter, making too many outs with his .300 OBA and 23 GIDP. He was –5 batting runs. Throw in position adjustment for corner outfield (-7.5), and poor defense (I’ll be generous and say –5, most metrics have him worse), and he’s 17 runs below average, and less than a win above replacement. A terrible signing, and a contract the Royals have no chance of moving.

Eric Gagne – Paid for 2.2 WAR. Served up 11 HR in 46 innings, ERA over 5, lost his job as closer. He was below replacement level, and the Brewers flushed 10 million down the toilet, in addition to giving the Red Sox a gift of a draft pick.

Carlos Silva – paying for 3.2 WAR. Did anyone like this contract, other than the Mariners? 4-15 record, 6.46 ERA, the results are pretty clear, he was a disaster, one of many poor decisions that cost Bill Bavasi his job.

The moves we liked:

Adam Everett – paid for 0.6 WAR. Vastly underpaid, as he’s such a great defender. Overall, about an average regular player as his glove makes up for his bat. Everett did not deliver for us, as injuries limited him to 48 games, and his defense wasn’t up to his usual standards. Did MLB teams not know how good Everett’s glove was? Or were they unsure of his ability to deliver that defense due to lingering effects of his 2007 broken leg? End result, He didn’t deliver any extra value for the Twins last year.

Andruw Jones – paying for 4 WAR – This deal, especially the low risk 2 year length, appealed to statheads. Seemed like the Dodgers were getting a bargain because of Jones’ terrible 2007, and we all know better than to put too much faith in the results of one year. Well, maybe we should have backed off, as Jones in 2008 made his 2007 season look like an MVP campaign. He hit like an ordinary pitcher. Shame on the Dodgers, and shame on us.

Mike Lowell – paying for 3.0 wins. There was some disagreement on him as to whether it was a fair deal or a bargain, but nobody thought it was an overpay. Lowell was +2 with the bat, very good with the glove (TotalZone has +14). He only played 113 games so instead of the 27.5 position + AL replacement level, I’ll give him 18. That adds up to 34 runs, about what they paid for. Not a bargain, but he earned his money.

David Eckstein – paying for 1 WAR. Eckstein had been an underrated fielder, saving more runs than average despite a weak throwing arm. He hit as expected in 2008, 6 runs below average in 94 games, about average for shortstop, but his defense at age 33 had slipped. He’s not a bad player, a good utility guy, and worth about what was paid, but he wasn't bargain.

Milton Bradley – paying for 1.7 WAR. Ignore the temper, the reputation, and don’t freak out over the frequent injuries, we said. Bradley can flat out hit. And hit he did, he was the best hitter in the AL for much of 2008. Missed some time, but more than earned his money when he was in the lineup.

Reed Johnson – paying for 1.1 WAR. As a part-timer, Johnson hit 303/358/420, played excellent defense. I don’t know what the Blue Jays were thinking, they essentially gave his roster spot to Shannon Stewart, who was terrible. Johnson was a bargain.

Mike Cameron – paid for 1.7 WAR. One of the more underrated players of our time, he’s a defensive star who’s posted an OPS+ over 100 for 10 straight years. Last year, before considering defense, he was a bit over 2.0 WAR, and a good bargain.

So what is supposed to blow me away here? Did the teams use player fitness/health modeling to determine that Adam Everett was not going to play like Ozzie Smith last year? Did 29 out of 30 teams view Andruw Jones as a fat tub of goo who contracted a mysterious early career ending disease like the last Atlanta center fielder who once
appeared to be heading to Cooperstown?

Maybe, but we could have saved a lot of teams money had they listened to us on the disastrous contracts waiting to happen. Looking at the group of players, if we don't have the edge on the real teams in access to data, we sure still beat them in judgement.

Friday, December 05, 2008

TotalZone 2008, 2nd Base and 3rd Base

The method is very similar to that used for shortstops. Second basemen are charged with 45% of groundball hits to center field and about 50% (not sure exactly, it's on another computer) of groundball hits to right. The best players:

+11, Asdrubal Cabrera
+10, Placido Polanco
+9, Chase Utley
+9, Kelly Johnson
+8, Mark Ellis
+8, Jose Lopez
+7, Adam Kennedy

Cabrera was also the best at turning DP's, with another +4 runs. Mark Ellis (+2) was next. Brian Roberts (-3) came in last for DP's, though that may be because of the revolving door of replacement level shortstops they had.

-7, Brian Roberts
-7, Damien Easley
-11, Luis Castillo
-13, Alexi Casilla

At third base, players are charged with 61% of singles to left, and 100% of groundball extrabase hits to left. The top third basemen:

+17, Scott Rolen
+14, Mike Lowell
+12, Blake DeWitt
+11, Marco Scutaro
+10, Adrian Beltre

And at the bottom:

-7, Jose Bautista
-7, Mark Reynolds
-8, Ryan Zimmerman
-9, Greg Dobbs
-12, Chris Davis
-14, Eddie Encarnacion

For double plays, just about all the 3B turned the same number once you adjust for opportunities. Nobody was more than a run above or below average.