Friday, February 22, 2008

Average Saves, by team win total

A rough approximation for the number of saves a team should expect by their win level would be 30 + (Wins-60) * 0.5. It wouldn't work for teams under the 60 win mark, but there aren't many of those anyway. I have the lowly Orioles projected at 65 wins, and nobody else less than that.

Keep this in mind for fantasy drafts. There isn't too much of a difference in save opportunities for pitchers on bad teams. The good teams tend to win blowout more often, and take the save out of the equation.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

National League, Projected 2008 Standings

NL East

Mets 92-70
Phillies 87-75
Braves 83-79
Nationals 70-92
Marlins 70-92

Getting Johan Santana is enough to make the Mets the clear favorite. Overall, the Mets are pretty close to being able to compete with American League teams, probably the only NL team that can be said about. Marlins take a step back after dealing Willis and Cabrera, Nationals have an improved system but are not quite ready to take a step forward.


Cubs 87-75
Brewers 84-78
Reds 78-84
Astros 75-87
Pirates 75-87
Cardinals 75-87

Looks like a 2 team race. The Cubs improved a bit by signing Fukudome, they could improve a little more and make themselves clear favorites if they can pull off the long rumored Brian Roberts trade. Brewers have improved over 2006 mostly by re-aligning their defense, with Billy Hall going back to the infield and Ryan Braun to left field. They won't get see any improvement from having Mike Cameron in center though, until at least May due to his suspension. Cardinals will run away with last place if Pujols really does miss a season with Tommy John surgery.


Diamondbacks 85-77
Dodgers 84-78
Padres 84-78
Rockies 77-85
Giants 72-90

Diamondbacks are unlikely to overperform their runs scored and allowed numbers this year, but my numbers say they won't need to. Adding Dan Haren to the rotation will reduce their runs allowed, and a year of experience for Young, Drew, Jackson, Upton, and Reynolds will add to their runs scored. Knock a win off the Dodgers if Juan Pierre is really going to play fulltime in left, with Ethier and Kemp platooning in right. You'd think it would be more than that, and it is offensively, but Pierre in left would cover more ground than any other left fielder in the league.

My numbers don't like the chances of the Rockies getting as good pitching as last year, other than Jeff Francis. It was a good run while it lasted. Giants have no chance, but at least they aren't going to allow many runs. They'll get a full year (hopefully) from Lincecum and Barry Zito is a better pitcher than the way he pitched last year.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

AL projected Standings

Using the CHONE projections, and what I currently assume will be each team's lineup. All trades, signings up to today are considered.

AL East
Red Sox 92-70
Yankees 92-70
Rays 89-73
Blue Jays 83-79
Orioles 65-97

Right now I'm assuming that Curt Schilling does little for the Red Sox in light of his injury concerns. If Schilling were 100% they'd be 94-95 wins. They are unlikely to push Buchholz and Lester for 180-200 innings each, so I'm assuming significant innings for some not so good pitchers. Devil Rays? WTF? My projections are kind of boring for the AL, not much different than last years, except for this. I'll have to explain in more detail in another post sometime. Orioles are the worst team in the league, I have little doubt about that.

AL Central
Indians 92-70
Tigers 91-71
White Sox 76-86
Twins 76-86
Royals 70-92

Nothing to see here, looks like last year. Should be a pretty good fight with the East teams for the 3 available playoff spots.

AL West
Angels 91-71
Mariners 83-79
Athletics 75-87
Rangers 72-90

Here's hoping nothing unexpected happens.

I hope the National League has a few more bold prediciton opportunities.

The Bedard trade

Over at The Book Blog, its turned into a bit of a war between MGL and Studes. I'm not going to vote in that as I don't really have an opinion on the issue at hand.

MGL thinks its a horrible trade for the Mariners. Jones is an outstanding prospect, and he's now under Baltimore control for the next 5 years (they'll trade him after the 2012 season as they attempt yet another rebuilding), and the first 3 of those years should cost them less than 2 million dollars.

Bedard is an outstanding pitcher, and I happen to agree with his estimate of 4 wins over replacement. Bedard will make 8 million this year if he wins his arbitration case, 6 if he loses. Let's call it 7, since we don't know the outcome and its possible the 2 sides will settle for around that amount.

Orioles got more value over a longer time period (they also get a good reliever and 3 so-so pitching prospects), but the trade clearly makes the Mariners better for 2008. At this point, that's all I'm concerned about. I'll worry about 2009 when we get there.

The Mariners former options at #5 starter were replacement level pitchers. Bedard is now the ace, and everyone else slides back one spot. They now have a formidable rotation. Bedard improves the team by 4 wins.

As fine a prospect as Jones is, he's not quite arrived at superstardom yet. For 2008, I have him as 2 runs above average as a hitter, another 5 above average defensively in a corner OF spot. Without Jones on the roster, the Mariners paid 3 million dollars to bring in Brad Wilkerson. I have Brad as a -1 hitter and +4 defender, or 4 runs worse than Jones. So its a total 4 run dropoff, this year, from keeping Jones. Losing George Sherrill and having to use another reliever hurts them by only about 1-2 runs, according to the CHONE projections.

The Mariners pay about 10 million extra bucks and improve their team by 3.5 wins, not a bad immediate return. Yes, its going to look worse for the Mariners 3 years from now, but they have solidified their spot as our biggest divisional threat. Instead of a 79 win team, I've got them now at 83. We still should have no trouble beating them, it just won't be as easy.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Hardball Times Season Preview

Time to call in some favors. If you've ever found anything I've written on this blog to be interesting or enjoyable, please go to Acta Sports and buy a copy of the Hardball Times Season Preview. I did the Angels section for the second year in a row. The team questions are in the same format as last year's, but we added player comments for about 30 players per team.

Here's a preview of the preview (warning: the team featured as a sample isn't going to be popular in these parts), and a little more on what's in the book.

One more reason to buy the book: any proceeds that go to me will go straight into my daughter's college fund. Yes, I'm laying out the guilt trip here. We don't know for sure when she will be born, but if things go as planned I'll have my own little Angel on opening day.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Super Bowl

The 1972 Dolphins are probably celebrating as much as anyone.

Eli Manning's 4th quarter, 32 yard pass to David Tyree has to go down as own of the greatest, and luckiest, in NFL history. It looked like Manning was completely surrounded, but somehow escaped from a sack that would have brought 4th down, stumbled a bit, recovered, and made the pass. Tyree caught the ball between his hand and his helmet, and amazingly held control and avoided letting the ball hit the ground.

The Giants defense, except for the 4th quarter drive that briefly gave New England a lead, did a great job on Tom Brady. To stop him, you need to make him and the ground become friends. Easier said than done, as the Patriot defensive line is one of the best ever. They couldn't protect Brady tonight though, sacking him 5 times.

Belichick got a cheap one against the Giants by winning the 12 men on field challenge. The guy would have absolutely had no impact whatsoever on the play, but the call was technically correct. It could have been huge, if instead of punting New England had scored, they would have won this game. If they were to pull off a perfect season, I'd rather it be because of play on the field than stupid mistakes baltimore*cough*ravens. Not sure why he passed on a 47 yard field goal though, instead he went for it and came up empty.

Eli Manning had as good a game as you could have under the circumstances. Even his one interception was right on the money, and if Smith had just dropped it instead of losing it up into the air, it would have been no worse than an incomplete pass. He was aggressive, making long passes to move the ball instead of safe, short passes, and was usually right on the money. Tonight he was pretty much everything you want your franchise QB to be. In other words, he looked like Tom Brady out there.

Congratulations to the Giants on their fine season, and congratulations to the 1972 Dolphins, the only undefeated team in NFL history.

First Basemen and Saving Errors

I've run the data for 1st basemen preventing errors, using a similar method as Tom Tango used for shortstops in this year's Hardball Times Annual. I looked at how many throwing errors (retrosheet gives you error type of field, drop, or throw) each infielder made, and how many throws were completed. Then I compare, for each infielder, how the first baseman did compared to how that infielder did with other 1st basemen.

I only looked at years 1985-2007, because I wasn't confidant in the data before that. While retrosheet still gives you error type, there are far fewer throwing errors in the 60's and 70's. Most likely its incomplete data, and errors are considered fielding errors by default if information is not complete.

Todd Helton came out the best, saving an estimated 71 errors, which is worth 57 runs. I used a run value of 0.8 runs per error saved. According to The Book, an error is slightly more harmful than a single, as sometimes the batter gets more than one base.

Others rating very well were Wally Joyner, Travis Lee, Steve Balboni, Pete O'Brien, Keith Hernandez, Richie Sexson, John Olerud, and J.T. Snow. Sexson is not a skilled defensive 1st baseman, but he is the size of an NBA power forward. Seattle infielders faced with a difficult throw can chose to err on the side of throwing it high, knowing that Sexson will come down with the rebound.

Down at the bottom there are people you'd expect, such as Mo Vaughn and Frank Thomas, some that are a little surprising, such as David Segui and Eric Karros, and at the very bottom of the list is a real surprise, Tino Martinez, who was considered a good defender.

Martinez is a fluke. He's -47 errors overall, and -38 of that is from his second basemen. Which second baseman in particular? Chuck Knoblauch. Tino was just unlucky enough to play the position when Knoblauch forgot how to throw.

Data for all 1B with 1000 or more throws received is here.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Fielding Runs for Minor League Infielders

Dan Fox has been doing very similar work to what I've been doing with the retrosheet data. Results are pretty similar to what I came up with, but he takes it a step further - the minor leagues. Its pretty cool. For infielders just knowing rough hit location gets you very close results to the best of the play by play systems.

Here's some highlights:

Angels have some good defensive shortstops on the way. Sean Rodriguez is +7.4, Brandon Wood +2.8 in limited time, and Hainley Statia +21. I have no idea how that translates to the major leagues. Is a +7 shortstop in AA a good major league shortstop? Average? Useless? We'll need to see more years of this data to figure it out. Wood (-3.5) did not do so well at third base, a position he was playing for the first time.

The only shortstop ahead of Statia was a guy in the Mexican league, Ivan Cervantes. Matt Sweeney (-17.5) was a terrible 3B and if he has a future, it will be at first. He wasn't the worst though. Mat Gamel was -24 runs for the Brewer's FSL affiliate. He did this by making 53 errors in 113 games, an .826 fielding percentage.

If the Brewers set a goal of proving that Ryan Braun is not the worst defensive 3rd baseman in the history of the galaxy, I think this guy can help their case.