Friday, August 28, 2009

Fill out your scouting report

Check out the scouting report by and for the fans. This is a great resource, really every bit as good as having access to the scouting reports teams keep secret.


Kazmir is an Angel?

In what looks to be mostly a salary dump, the Angels pick up Scott Kazmir, who was one of the better young pitchers in baseball from 2005 to 2008. I knew he was having a down season, but didn't realize he was 5.92 ERA bad. He missed a month due to injury. Since he came back, he's made 11 starts, 65 innings, 61 hits, 21 walks, 56 strikeouts. I think we can work with that. He'll make 20 million over the next two years, and should be worth it unless he's injured. His strikeout rate is 7.4 per 9 innings. That's well down from where he was 2005-2008, but that is still a good rate.

Unlike most pitchers having down years, he can't blame it on unlucky balls going for hits. His BABIP is .310, almost exactly his career rate of .311. I think what we have traded for is a guy who was hurt, maybe has lost a bit of zip on his fastball, but still has lot of ability, and the Angels get him without committing for more than 2 years or giving up premium talent. Another thing: He's made 23 starts in his career against the Red Sox, 9 more than he's had against any other opponent, and comes out of it with a 3.59 ERA. Considering that's who the Angels would have to face in the playoffs if the season ended today, I like having Kaz on our side.

Edit: Now I see some reports that the deal fell through. I have no idea if he's actually going to be an Angel.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Angels Come to Camden

I went to see the Angels and Orioles play on Saturday night. It was a well pitched game by John Lackey and a solid Angel victory. I met Matt Welch and his dad at the game, along with a friend of mine from college who's also an East Coast Angel fan, and attended the game with his wife. Strangely enough, while my friend did not know Matt going into the game, they just so happened to have tickets in the same section, and I was able to get a seat there just walking up to the box office half an hour before the game. It worked out well, our small section became Anaheim Stadium East for the game.

The Number of the Beast

Woe to you oh earth and sea
for the devil sends the beast with rath
because he knows the time is short
let him who hath understanding reckon the number of the beast
for it is a human number
its number is six hundred and sixty six

-Iron Maiden

This is not the first time I've quoted Number of the beast on this blog, and probably won't be the last, because I like it. Yesterday the beast that the Angel offense has become waited until the 13th inning to send its rath. When the carnage had subsided, the earth shook, many thousands lie dead, and 9 Angels had scored. They now sit atop the American League's offensive leaders with 666 runs scored.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Updated Angel Projections

I did this on Halos Heaven.


Tuesday, August 04, 2009

How to Evaluate Catcher Defense

At least part of it. I remain agnostic as to how much impact a catcher's game calling has on pitchers. I use retrosheet, though you can make a reasonable approximation with data from Baseball-reference, Fangraphs, or Hardball Times.

Data needed: Innings caught, Stolen bases allowed, caught stealing, passed balls, wild pitches, errors, and pickoffs. I have totals of these data for each catcher by pitcher handedness, one total for lefties and one for righties.

1. Find the league averages per inning caught for each of the data elements above, by pitcher hand.

2. Compare each catcher's totals to the league average prorated to his innings. If a league allows .12 steals per inning with RHP, a catcher has 1000 innings and allows 80 steals with RHP, then he has allowed 40 steals fewer than average. Do this for all data elements.

3. Apply run value. For recent years I use:

SB -0.20 ....CS/Pick 0.47 ....WP/PB/Err -0.275

Sum up the run values for all events and both righties and lefties, and you've got catcher runs. Modify as you wish (Don't believe a catcher can have any impact on preventing wild pitches? Leave that out).

Monday, August 03, 2009

Minor League Defensive Stats

I've worked with Jeff Sackmann from Minor League Splits to apply the TotalZone defensive calculations to the minor leagues. We've done all the full season leagues through July 31st. Jeff provides the raw data, which he gathers from MLB gameday files, and I run the calculations.

Some highlights are offered at Hardball Times. All the player data can be found on minor league splits. The numbers are not park adjusted, and I have my doubts about the consistency of the scorekeeping, but the results are interesting nonetheless.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

No Roy Halladay

I really like Roy Halladay. I would have loved to see him add to the Angel staff, and I still hope to one day see him win his 300th game in an Angel uniform for real, as he has already done in one of my MLB the Show video games.

But I can't complain about the Angels holding on to prospects. The reason this team is in first place right now is because they have resisted trading prospects in the past. You can't win on the backs of a few 12-15-18 million dollar players alone, unless you are the Yankees. There isn't enough room in a moderately large market payroll in the 100 million range to pay enough of those guys to field a winning ballclub. Especially when you choose poorly in who to pay those contracts to, like Gary Matthews Jr. The Angels certainly have not seen all of their prospects pan out, nobody does, but they get enough solid contributions at a below market value to fill out the winning team.

It's tough to tell which prospects will wind up showing the most value. A few years ago the Angels probably would have surrendered Mike Napoli in a trade before Casey Kotchman or Brandon Wood, but Napoli is the one delivering the most value now. It seems wise to play the numbers game with unsure prospects, believing that some will turn into solid big league regulars but not knowing exactly who.

It will hurt to not have Halladay in the rotation. At the rumored offer of Wood, Saunders, and Aybar, Wood is no loss for 2009 since they won't play him, Halladay is an obvious upgrade on Saunders, and Aybar could be replaced by Izturis. What does that give us? A slightly better chance at winning a best of 5 series. As Mark Teixiera showed, getting a big time upgrade in one player, and having that player come through in the postseason, still is no guarantee for success.

I think the Angels passed on upgrading their chances at first round advancement from say, 48% to 52%, or something like that. But they are in better shape to keep turning out the winning seasons in 2010 and beyond, as Wood, Aybar, and Saunders will combine to make less than Halladay, and probably leave room for a decent free agent as well.