Saturday, August 8, 2009

Glossary of terms

Since I'm starting to post a little bit (lot of bit), I decided to take this moment of insomnia to introduce any reader to terms I like to use, in the event they do not already know them (this list will be updated as I see fit):

Statistical terms:

WARP - Wins Above Replacement Player. Used by baseball prospectus. Some weird proprietary formula crap going on there, but generally makes sense. Good way of showing anyone with a functioning brain and a willingness to learn something new how insane 80's managers were for thinking Vince Coleman was a good leadoff hitter.

FRAA - Fielding Runs Above Average. Even more weird, even more mysterious, positionally adjusted. Still way better way to evaluate defense than Errors or Range Factor alone.

EqA - Equivalent Average. Remember when you were like 3 and thought Batting average was an awesome way to tell how a player hit, and that .260 was an "average" hitter? Well, EqA is kind of like that, except this actually does. Invented by Clay Davenport, raw EqA, as shown here, is found by:


And then a whole bunch of mathy shit I'm too lazy to describe to you right now. Then it is scaled and the average hitter gets assigned a .260. Great hitters are usually around .300, replacement level hitters tend to hover around .220, etc.

UZR - Ultimate Zone Range. Probably a better stat than FRAA, or at least less mysterious. Sum of your Range runs above average, Error runs above average, arm runs above average, and double play runs above average. Needless to say, an average fielder for the position would have a "0". Unfortunately, this metric is undeveloped with catchers, clearly a huge flaw.

Last year Chase Utley led the majors in UZR with 20.2. Needless to say, he's an awesome fielder. Carl Crawford was 2nd with 19.6. Last place was Brad Hawpe at -37.2. That's really bad. That's "trade him to an AL team ASAP" bad. So far in 2009, Vernon Wells rocks a -20.1, further living up to that awesome contract he got. Jacoby Ellsbury has a -12.6, which is either a fluke or a sign that he needs to be traded straight up for Shin Soo Choo before everyone else catches on.

OPS+ - Adjusted On Base plus Slugging. Everyone knows OPS by now. Harold Reynolds, as you know, doesn't like OPS, meaning you should use it more. All seriousness, however, it is a weird, flawed metric, and meant to be replaced by numbers like EqA. However, it is an easily calculated number that can give you a general idea of how well a player:
- Gets on base
- Hits for power
OPS+, is simply era and park adjusted. The formula for it is 100*(OBP/lgOBP + SLG/lgSLG - 1) For example, if you go .280/.400/.520 for the Padres, and someone else goes .300/.410/.530 for the Rangers, everyone thinks the Phillies player is better. But then when you remember that said Rangers player plays in a little league park and the Padres player plays on fucking Jupiter, you use this knowledge and the information to verify it to come up with an adjusted number. This is why Brian Giles has an OPS+ for his career of 136, and Mark Teixeira has one of 135.

ERA+ - Adjusted ERA. Same thing, except for pitchers. ERA+ = 100*(ERA/lgERA). Pedro Martinez, surprisingly, has the best ERA+ of any starter of all time according to (think of all those < 3 ERA years in Fenway Park in the middle of the steroid era).

K/BB - Strikeouts per walk. Simple enough.

WHIP - Walks and Hits per Inning Pitched. A way better indicator going forward of a pitcher's effectiveness than plain ole ERA, especially a reliever. Essentially, WHIP tells you that while it was cool that Dice-K went 18-3 with a 2.90 ERA in 2008, his WHIP of 1.32 kind of said it was pretty flukey and he was about to at least moderately implode. Of course, my fellow Sox fans just assumed it was him being a superclutchimo, except now he's an asshole that only cares about the WBC.

The terms:

Magic aura (or aura for short) - the presense that exudes from any great player. This presense usually alternates as said lazy journalist sees fit. For example, when Carlos Beltran played for the Astros, he was a magic man who lifted himself and his team in the biggest games. Then he went to the Mets, struck out in the 2006 NLCS, and has ever since been the antithesis of magical magic aura. It was said Ryan Howard possessed this in September 2008 when he singlehandedly carried the Phillies to the NL East title. Other notable men of magic aura are Derek Jeter, David Eckstein, and Jack Morris.

Cue the band - what happens when a writer makes a particularly awesome point about something.

Awesomo - a term I use liberally to describe many things. Among them:
Barry Zito's contract
Willy Taveras' leadoff hitting ability
Jerry Manuel/Dusty Baker's managing style
95% of sports writers

Compiler - a term coined by Jon Heyman for Bert Blyleven. A way to describe a player who "selfishly" accumulates "statistics" but doesn't deserve legendary praise. Feel free to use this term for any player you dislike.

Impact - another crappy term from his Heymanist for Jack Morris. Used when there is no real substantial argument to call player A better than player B except for WS wins or AS appearances or something.

Clogging up the bases - also known as baseclogging. A bad, bad thing men like Adam Dunn and Kevin Youkilis do, rudely getting in the way of fast guys by getting on base via walks. Many managers, like Dusty Baker, Jerry Manuel, and Tommy LaSorta for historical reference, will do what they can to avoid such incidents.

True Yankee - Real description: A man who plays for the Yankees. Crappy, insane description: A man with magic aura (as noted earlier), a man with that certain something. In other words, a man who has either played on a championship Yankee team, or a man who plays baseball well and causes IQ deprived Yankee fans to long for his sweet, sweet embrace (as you can see in one highly vomit enducing blog post here (yes I am mocking another amateur. Deal with it)).

The people:

Joe Posnanski - good writer. Very good writer. Go here.

Joe Morgan - ESPN's #1 baseball analyst. You can pretty much turn everything he says into a drinking game. A great way to solicit a crazy answer from Joe Morgan on his weekly JoeChats (Tuesdays at 11 am) would be to ask him something about any of the following topics:

Concetration (typo on purpose)
No great teams
Small ball
Billy Beane

Just go here and wonder why this man has the job he does.

Jerry Manuel - Sure, he's been housed by injuries in 2009. He's also turned David Wright into a slap hitter who's due to suck once his .424 (!!!!!) BABIP goes down, he's thrown decent players under the bus, and he hates statistics. Tells Luis Castillo and his .393 OBP to bunt regularly.

Dusty Baker - The classic. Hates OBP because he's big on "driving in runs and scoring runs", and that "sometimes you get so caught up in On base percentage that you clog up the bases" (don't believe he said this? Scroll to the bottom). For this, he continues to let Taveras and Gonzalez hit 1-2 in the lineup, as OBP machine Ryan Hanigan hits 8th, to fully prevent base clogging on his team. In addition, he sends a regular cliental list to Dr. James Andrews, which includes Mark Prior, Kerry Wood, and Edinson Volquez (and soon Johnny Cueto).

Jon Heyman - possibly my least favorite writer. What's wrong with SI. Broke Bonds signing with the Giants and has rested on that since (cause you know, calling the SF Front Office is so HARD!!!!11!ONE!!). Hates VORP, will handpick his MVP by simply browsing the standings and picking whoever has a lot of Home Runs, rendering the seasons of any player not lucky enough to play on a 90 win season useless. Hates Bert Blyleven, loves Jack Morris, has invented terms just for them (compiler and impact, as shown above).

Bill Plaschke - ever need to vomit so you can get a sick day from work? Allow Billy P here to wax poetic for you. Loves Ned Colletti, yet hates the one thing he's really done right as Dodgers GM, which is sign Manny Ramirez (actually Colletti did work on getting Ethier, I will admit, but I digress). Will still credit Colletti anyway, despite the fact that most of the team's current core is either the work of Dan Evans and Paul DePodesta (Kemp, Billingsley, Kershaw, Martin, Loney), way overpaid (Pierre, Furcal), or way overrated (Blake, Hudson). Winners are champions, losers are chokers, etc.

Colin Cowherd - the namesake. Somehow gets his snotty looking face on TV now (albeit at 4 pm). No good opinions on anything, loud, and covered the Sean Taylor shooting with about as much class as OJ Simpson handled his ex-wife's possible relationship. ESPN's genius idea: give him more on-air time.

Stephen A. Smith - former terrible NBA analyst on ESPN, turned terrible political commentator on MSNBC. Next time someone bashes Fox News, remember, Screamin' A is on MSNBC.

Max Kellerman - someone actually worth listening to. Went to genius High School, graduated from Columbia, married a lawyer, now does boxing for HBO. Used to do Friday Night Fights with Brian Kenny, which ironically would've been a way, way, way better duo on Baseball Tonight than anything that ESPN throws out there right now.

Karl Ravech - tortured soul host of Baseball Tonight. There to ask his ex-jock co-workers the simpliest of baseball questions, and watch as they go on a 3 minute mangling. A local guy from Needham, MA.

Steve Phillips - former Mets GM turned terrible baseball analyst. Told Brian Kenny, as I recently highlighted, that OBP is "not the most important thing" when evaluating a hitter, something Brian Kenny repeats at least 2-3 times in fact is. Somehow turned the 2nd highest payroll in MLB into players like Mo Vaughn, old Robby Alomar, old Rickey Henderson, Bobby Bonilla, and traded Jason Bay for this and this. Even shopped Jose Reyes. Obviously this is a man you can learn a lot about baseball from.

Juan Pierre - a nice guy who tries hard, likeable. For this reason, he earned a $44,000,000 contract from crazyballs Colletti. Had one good, high-BABIP induced month in 2009 and now no one can get enough of him again.

Tim Raines - A great player who will probably miss out on the Hall of Fame for a variety of reasons. These include:

- using cocaine (for a year, when he was like 20. Paul Molitor did too, but he's white so it's ok)
- not being as good as Rickey Henderson (a standard that everyone in the HoF has obviously been held to, like this man, or this guy, or for a recent example, this guy).
- "similar to guys like Vince Coleman and I don't think he's a Hall of Famer"
How these two are "similar"
.294/.386/.425, 170 HR, 811 SB, 84.74% success rate, 232 FRAR/6 FRAA, .309 EqA, 94.2 WARP-3
.264/.324/.345, 28 HR, 752 SB, 80.94% success rate, 7 FRAR(!!)/-133 FRAA(!!!!), .266 EqA, 7.2 WARP-3 (want to know Dustin Pedroia's in 2008 alone? 8.6).
- doesn't pass the "gut check". Obviously the most important factor in HoF voting.

David Eckstein: Scrappy, gritty, mutation of True Yankeeism. Probably more likely to make the Hall of Fame than Tim Raines.

Brian Kenny's Awesome

Seriously, watch the first 1:36 of this video for 3 things
1) How much better Brian Kenny is as this than Steve Phillips
2) How straw grasping Steve Phillips gets
3) How much Brian Kenny wants to just call him an idiot and storm off the set

Monday, August 3, 2009

MVP talk? LOVE IT!

Been an interesting year in the AL. Mauer started hurt, but heated up, good God did he heat up. Derek Jeter's arguably having one of his best years ever (at what, 35?). Ben Zobrist has come out of m-fletching nowhere to be one of the best players in MLB this year. Evan Longoria continues to be awesome, and Kevin Youkilis has officially gone from the "Greek God of Walks" to a full out slugger. Needless to say, it's a pretty good 5 horse race for the AL MVP.

But I digress. Lyle Spencer of, who do YOU think is the AL MVP?

Abreu making case for AL MVP honors

Oh. Um, that's...original thinking. Abreu, who's, like, not even on the first page of player value on fangraphs. Bobby Abreu, 13th in VORP in the AL. Bobby Abreu, who is 23rd in WARP in the AL.

Let's dive further into this, shall we?

MINNEAPOLIS -- Bobby Abreu, Most Valuable Player candidate.

Okay, well, at least he's not saying the MVP. But like, is he really?

Entering Sunday's series finale against the Twins, the Angels' free-agent bargain of the decade is found all over the American League offensive leaderboard.

'talics mine.
Come on, Lyle Spencer, you know that's wrong. The DECADE?
You think this ranks higher than David Ortiz (even though I heard he may have done something, any info?), or maybe Shin-Soo Choo and his peanuts contract? Russell Branyan? Anyone on the Oakland A's from 2001-2006? Little hyperbolic?

He is tied for sixth in batting average at .320 and sixth in RBIs with 73. He is third in on-base percentage at .415. He is first in hitting with runners in scoring position at .429. He is tied for fifth in walks with 61.

Okay, baseball arguments, I'm with you here. He's probably not even the best right fielder in his division, though, since some guy with a funny sounding first name plays in that place Nirvana's from.

His impact runs even deeper internally. The Angels, feeling the Abreu effect through his actions and his words, have advanced from ninth in the American League in runs scored (4.72) to first in the Majors (5.66).

Holy shitnuts this is crazy tits.

2008 Angels:
.268/.330/.413/94 OPS+ (with 2 months of Teixeira)

2009 Angels:
.290(!)/.353(!!)/.451(!!!)/108 OPS+ (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

It isn't Mike Napoli's big season, or Kendri Morales', or Juan Rivera, or Torii Hunter, it's Bobby Abreu's magical aura k 9-wejwe0wejwe jriej9iweit ojkrtgh...

sorry, keyboard seizure. I'm back.

But jeeze, man, he's not even the MVP of LAA. Explain yourself.

The AL's best team with their 62-40 record, the Angels have gone from seventh in batting average in 2008 (.268) to first in the Majors (.289). They have gone from 11th in on-base percentage (.330) in the AL to second (.353, behind the Yankees at .358). They have advanced from ninth in slugging (.413) to third (.449) in the AL.

I just said this. Mr. Spencer clearly thinks this is from the warm fuzziness of Bobby Abreu.

Which begs the question, why did he always give Melky Cabrera wedgies? Only way I can think of Cabrera being so bad in 2008 now, thanks to Lyle Spencer.

Abreu has stolen 22 bases in 27 attempts, gone first to third like the young thoroughbreds, hit eight home runs and played solid defense in right field with Vladimir Guerrero unavailable.

Yes, you heard that right. 8 Home runs. From a corner OF. In a ballpark that's currently 3rd in HR factor. This is the MVP wagon we're hitching on.

BUT ZOMG 22 FOR 27 STEALS!!!!!!!!1ONE!!!!!!!!!!1111!!!!!!!!!! HNEFUIHEHJWE(W

If these aren't the credentials of an MVP candidate, somebody isn't paying attention.

Holy about these credentials:
365 PA, .301/.409/.578, 19 HR, 12/15 SB, +12.8 UZR, primarily 2nd baseman.

This is Ben Zobrist. He is having a far better season than Abreu.
Sure, Abreu's OBP is even more excellent than Zobrist's already excellent .409, but by 6 points. Takes a lot more than 6 points of OBP for an average defensive RF to bridge the gap to a very good defensive middle infielder with a 117 POINT EDGE IN SLUGGING HJER*(HWWEEHH.

Seizure again.

Abreu has had a lot of help, of course, but there's no denying his profound influence on this team.

"Bobby's been huge," Chone Figgins said. "You can learn a lot about hitting just by watching him. And if you want some details, he'll give you what you need to know."

Mentoring notorious hackers: MVP.

Abreu takes this, as with everything in his life, in smooth stride. He loves his new team, its aggressive style, its collection of athletes, the freedom that manager Mike Scioscia not only gives his players but demands that they take with relish.

"Mike only gets upset if you don't try to take the extra base," Abreu said...

Yes, please Mike Scioscia, run your team into more outs. Red Sox fans have loved it in the postseason.

grinning. "I really like this team, everything about it. We have a great chemistry here."

Abreu has heard how Figgins, Torii Hunter, Erick Aybar and pretty much everyone else in the cast have attributed much of their success, and the team's, to his style and approach, on and off the field.

Good guy, takes the team to TGI Fridays. Not like that asshole Joe Mauer in Minnesota who probably slashes their tires and bangs their wives.

Actually I'd let him get away with that if I were the Twins.

"I feel good to see Aybar, Maicer [Izturis], [Howard] Kendrick getting better," Abreu said. "They've got such good talent. They're starting to learn how to use it. You can see the progress they're having in being more patient, having good at-bats.

"Everybody feels the same here and works hard. Freedom -- that's the word. The way I share with my teammates, how they are [responding], that comes from the freedom we get from the manager. They're special guys who really enjoy the game.

"As a player, it's all you can ask for, what we have here."

He likes his team, cool, non-contentious point. Except when you're trying to discuss ACTUAL BASEBALLING ABILITIES, LYLE SPENCER.

The Angels are not expected to try to re-sign Abreu until after the season...

This strengthens Spencer's case, in Spencer's mind.

but they are fully aware of the impact he has had and how he has upgraded his value at age 35.

God I hope the Angels give him a 4 year / $45,000,000 deal now, and trot out on OF of Gary Matthews Jr, Torii Hunter, and Bobby Abreu for like $40,000,000 / year in 2011 when they're old and miserable fielders.

"Bobby has been everything we could have wanted," Scioscia said. "He's performed at a consistently high level all season."

Like the fine Argentine reds he'll occasionally sample, Abreu is aging gracefully, with a full-bodied excellence.

MVP candidate? Absolutely.

I have no issue with Abreu as a guy, but if he wins the MVP, I give up. I give up everything. His OPS+ is 127. Morneau's in his questionable winning year was 140, and he had a defensive reputation that Abreu lacks. Dustin Pedroia was a 122, but he was an excellent fielder at 2B and gets bonus points for being the size of a garden gnome and being fully bald at 25.

OPS+'s of various MVP candidates:

Zobrist: 154
Mauer: 173 (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) as a catcher (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
Jeter: 124 (as a SS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
Youkilis: 153
Cabrera: 142 (and probably doesn't belong on this list)
Morneau: 162 (and 28 HR)

So yeah, if you think Bobby Abreu stacks up to this, well, God bless ya. I'm just happy provides so much good analysis.

In the "Saw this coming from a mile away department":

Edinson Volquez to have Tommy John surgery

Only one song perfectly describes another young pitcher under Dusty Baker getting injured:

Friday, July 31, 2009

Trade deadline thoughts:

  • Adam LaRoche for Casey Kotchman: WTF
  • Victor Martinez to the Red Sox. Cool, Ortiz and Lowell are about to become the most expensive DH platoon of all time.
  • O-Cab to Minnesota. Apparently giving teams SS prospects for a .250 EqA'ing, .6 WARP'ing, 34 year old is all the rage these days.
  • Scott Rolen to Cincinnati. Anyone think that 200 games of Rolen and his salary for a mediocre team is worth 2 pitching prospects? I don't care if Rolen is Brooks Robinson with a bat, he's 34 and hurt a lot and the Reds still have a crazy person that's going to bat Taveras leadoff.
  • Suddenly Peavy accepts a trade to Chicago. Enjoy not pitching in an airport hangar, Jake.
  • (FWIW, career .735 OPS against, 3.84 ERA, 1.299 WHIP on the road).
  • Nationals apparently are set for the future.
  • Washburn to Detroit. Hope they enjoy losing their good pitching prospect for a guy who strikes out 5.35 per 9 innings and gives up lots of fly balls.
Now I sit back and wait for the insane praising of some of these trades to happen.

Friday, July 17, 2009

I'm sure plenty of people frequent here.

Former FJM favorite Bruce Jenkins, evidently, does not...

If the A's have any legitimate hitting prospects on the way up from their farm system, it will be a surprise to anyone who has followed the team in recent years. Just as the Giants struggled in this category for far too long, the A's can't develop a consistently hard-hitting position player to save their lives. As the Giants celebrate Pablo Sandoval, prepare for Buster Posey and carry hope for one or two others, they're pulling way ahead in the cross-bay competition.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Hey guys? Like Jon Heyman and Free Agents?

You'll love this.

Three months into the season, the best and worst free agents emerge

Yes, agreed. Among them has to be some pretty noteable people. Dunn's defense stinks, but he's killing the ball at the dish. Teixeira's been great. Trevor Hoffman's done work. But of course, who can forget Russell Branyan, and the .325 EqA he's producing for $1,400,000 this season, and one of the keys as to why the M's are shocking everyone by still being in the race. Has to be #1 for the value, at least top 3...

Best Free Agents

1. Raul Ibanez, Phillies OF. Before going on the disabled list, he was outperforming by so much that he spawned an Internet debate about whether he might be doing the juice. He has 22 home runs, 59 RBIs and a .656 slugging percentage, a bargain for $31.5 million and three years, or any price really. Here's my explanation: He's playing in a better ballpark for hitting (no letters please about his current home-road splits -- not playing in Safeco still is a plus), he's with a better team, he works hard and he's good. As for the Internet stories, I think they're unfair without a spec of hard evidence. And no, doing well is not evidence enough.

Oh, okay. Yeah, this makes sense I guess. He's kind of old, though, hurt, and paying him 8 figures when he's 39 and a terrible defender is probably not exactly super great. Whatever, though, he's been good. Bet ya Branyan's next, right?

2. Trevor Hoffman, Brewers closer. He took the chance leaving Southern California (he had an offer to go with the Dodgers) to go for beer and brats, and he hasn't missed a beat. For a bargain $6 million, his 17 saves are only three off the NL lead, and he missed the first three weeks of the season.

3. Francisco Rodriguez, Mets closer. The Mets solved their relief woes by signing one of the very best for $37 million over three years. Worries about him losing his stuff appear wholly unfounded, as he has 20 saves in 22 tries and has allowed just 19 hits in 35 2/3 innings. Plus, he's hit as high as 96 mph on the gun lately. One of only two blown saves came when Luis Castillo dropped a pop fly on the last out.

Oh, okay, going that route with the closers. Sure, both fix a hole, I guess it works. Hoffman was a pretty good deal. K-Rod's fine, but $37,000,000 for a guy who'll pitch like 210 innings over the life of the contract seems like a lot. Seems like a bunch of safe choices so far, but I'm sure you have someone awesome in mind at #4...

Orlando Hudson, Dodgers 2B.


Inexplicably ignored this winter, he's provided excellent two-way play for baseball's best team at a bargain rate $3.38 million (plus incentives). He's batting .307 with five homers and 41 RBIs. Great personality, too. If asked, he'll say he isn't upset about his low deal, at all, that he understands teams were concerned about last year's wrist injury.

All well and awesome. O-Dawg has been good. He's having his best offensive season ever, with a .281 EqA. Pretty good for a 2B making under $3.4 bills. Also does seem like good people.

But he's not the elite defender he used to be. These fine people have Hudson at -4 FRAA. 3.9 WARP-3 projected. Pretty good. But Branyan's making like 40% what Hudson is, and his WARP-3 is 5.3. So he must be next, right?

Mark Teixeira, Yankees 1B.


OK, $180 million for eight years isn't exactly a bargain basement price. But it's all good so far. The best thing isn't that he's second in the American League with 20 home runs after the notoriously slow starter turned in his usual putrid April. Nor is that he's helped the entire Yankees infield, which spent the past several years worrying about Jason Giambi's defensive deficiencies. It has to be that the signing still gets under the skin of the Red Sox higherups -- though Boston has won all its games against the Yankees thus far this year, Red Sox owner John Henry showed he hasn't forgotten, writing on his twitter page, "MT curse.'' That ill-advised tweet may in itself be its own curse.

Okay, sure, Teix is awesome. Rocking a .307 EqA. 21 Homers. WARP-3 of 6.5. But like literally 16x the price per year that the M's are paying Branyan, how about some love?

6. Brad Penny, Red Sox starter. He may not be drawing big attention on the trade market. But he's been a big plus for Boston in the rotation thus far. For $5 million, he's well worth it.

His ERA+ is 99. That's pretty average-ish. Granted he's a starter, and is on pace for 180+ innings, and has been pretty effective recently. But still, this is better than Branyan?

But maybe Heyman will finally mention him now...

7. CC Sabathia, Yankees starter. Some thought the Yankees crazy to pay $161 million over seven years for the heavy lefty. But except for his nervous debut in Baltimore, he's been well worth it. Beyond that, they absolutely had to have him. Without him, their ace is probably Joba Chamberlain, who should be in the bullpen (but that's a debate for another day).

He's going to earn $23,000,000 when he's 35. The Yankees have pretty much hinged their bets on a guy with a DERA about the same as Tim Wakefield. Wakefield earns less than 20% what CC earns.

Now Heyman, you've listed the stars, let's use some actual analysis...

8. Ivan Rodriguez, Astros C.

Oh my Christ.

Before they signed him, the Astros were practically guaranteed to get nothing offensively out of the catching position. He's hitting .254 with six homers and 29 RBIs, but consider the alternative. Rodriguez has hit better than he did with the Yankees last year. Plus, he brought a couple big moments, when he tied and broke the other Pudge's record for games caught.

His EqA is .233 right now. That guy he replaced is currently sporting a .249 in LA in 60 PA's (aren't small sample sizes fun?). But let's go through Heyman's perfectly infallable reasons:

1) He's hitting better than he did with the Yankees.

By this logic, grabbing a rattlesnake by the tail is less dangerous than wrestling a hungry grizzly, therefore, grabbing the rattlesnake is good judgment.

2) Big moments.

Just like it was probably epic when Jesse Orosco broke the record for most games pitched in a career. Wouldn't know about it, though, never watched baseball.

But I'm sure Branyan's coming, right?

9. Brian Fuentes, Angels closer. "He doesn't have closer stuff,'' one NL scout said. Well, who cares? He does have 20 saves to lead the American League. While he isn't K-Rod, he's good enough. Plus, the rest of the Angels' pen has been so awful, without him they'd be done by now.

New criticism of Heyman...WHY ISN'T THIS GUY HIGHER? First off, that NL scout probably needs a head exam, given Fuentes posted a 3.38 ERA and a 1.238 WHIP over 400+ career IP's in Colorado. The same Colorado that normally eats the careers of pitchers for dinner. His ERA+ was a sweet 143. His K rate was 10.3 in Colorado. As of right now, he's 25 for 28, so his save rate's about the same as Heyman's 2008 MVP K-Rod's was. His pay structure is a bit weird, but right now he's giving you almost everything K-Rod gave you for about 1/2 the money. Seems like a sweet sign to me.

Just like Branyan was, who I'm sure is about to appear...

10. Randy Johnson, Giants starter.


Back in his hometown, he's throwing better than he did a year ago. Amazingly effective (7-5, 4.68) at close to 46.

Ironic I'm writing this hours after Sanchez's no no - should've been perfecto. Yeah, it's amazing how he's still rolling at 46. But his ERA+ is 90. And he's earning $8,000,000. Or double what Wakefield's earning for a 112 ERA+. Technically the Red Sox "sign" Wakefield every year, why isn't he on here? Same with Tek, technically a Free Agent signing.

But of course, where's Branyan? Sure he's coming...

11. Adam Everett, Tigers SS. For $1 million guaranteed, he solidified the Tigers' infield. It's true he's not much of a hitter (though his .267 average threatens his career high of .273). But his defense has enabled the Tigers' pitching staff to get off to a great start.

BP has Everett at -8 FRAA / -0.3 WARP-1 (Fangraphs has him at +3.4 UZR / 0.9 WAR. Got to love fielding stats!). Depending on what you look at, this is either a really overrated or underrated deal.

But Branyan's earning just $400,000 more and playing way better. He must be next...

12. Randy Wolf, Dodgers starter. For $5 million, he's a bargain. He's only 3-3 but has 3.64 ERA. Jeff Weaver's an even bigger bargain, and he's 4-2 with a 3.68 ERA.

4 things wrong with this.

1) Wolf's numbers are all better than Johnson's. His ERA now is 3.45, a cool 121 ERA+ He makes $3,000,000 less. He's still just 32. Somehow RJ's deal is better. What?

2) Saying Jeff Weaver's a bigger bargain, aka a better contract/signing, in the same list where he doesn't appear. What the f***?

3) Really want to hang your hat on a 40 2/3 inning sample size to say Weaver's the man?

4) His WARP, usually inflated for a pitcher (though not so much NL ones) is 1.2. He only strikes out 6.67 per 9. Walks 2.6. Gives up 1.2 HR/9. Fangraphs has him outperforming his projected ERA by almost 3/4ths a run. Going forward, that's kind of dicey. Still forgetting Branyan, too...

13. David Eckstein, Padres 2B. Always inspirational, at least the rebuilding Padres have had moments. Hitting .268 and making just $850,000.

14. Adam Dunn, Nationals OF. He can't play the outfield. But he's providing exactly what he's paid ($20 million, two years) to do. Has 18 home runs and 50 RBIs with .258 batting average. Very consistent at bat, year to year.

Oh Christ, it's like he did this one on purpose.

Dunn is a miserable fielder. One can argue that's a bit trivial with a .315 EqA. He has 22 HR now, and a .931 OPS. He's having a great season.

Sure, you can argue I'd rather have Eckstein and his middle infielding, slightly albinoful .251 EqA for $850,000 than Dunn for $10,000,000 / year, but that's not been the rules of these evaluations. Why change it up now?

Okay, I'm sure Branyan is next, what with all the mediocre players no one cares about already listed...

15. Felipe Lopez, Diamondbacks 2B. Arizona's awful start isn't his fault. Is hitting .304.

I can't even tell you who he played for in 2008.

Cardinals, I guess.

Okay, sure. Slightly above average offense (.264 EqA) plus slightly above average defense (+1 FRAA) plus slightly above average difficulty in position (2B) makes him at $3,500,000 not too bad. But I must state again:

Lopez: WARP-1 of 1.6, $3,500,000
Branyan: WARP-1 of 2.7, $1,400,000

So, who's next, Branyan? Oh, wait, you're on to the bad, no mention of him...

Worst Free Agents

1. Bradley, Cubs OF. Who else? He doesn't always count outs. Of course, if he did, he'd know he's made plenty of them, way more than his share. An absolute train wreck, he showed his ability to get hurt in spring training, and since then, he's showed all the other myriad issues. No one should give this man a three-year deal. One good thing, if he doesn't reach 75 games, the third year is wiped off the books and the $30-million, three-year contract is only a $20-million, two-year deal (still too much for him, though).

2. Oliver Perez, Mets starter. If Mets fans look at that 9.97 ERA, their reaction would be: he's pitched that well? He's also being hit at a .315 clip. Omar Minaya liked the fact that he's young, lefthanded and talented. He's also a bit of a head case with a knee problem.

Fine. I'd argue Perez is hopeless and Bradley looked like a star after last season so they should be reversed, but yeah, they've been terrible in so many ways in 2009. If Bradley starts hitting again, though, this kind of looks stupid.

#3 was Burrell, he's been blah, too. Now take a guess who #4 is. Keep in mind #4 has an EqA of .382. Now analyze it.

4. Manny Ramirez, Dodgers OF.


That $25-million deal may still pay off big if the Man-child does anything big in the postseason (good chance of that, considering his history). But at the moment, despite the .348 start, it doesn't look too good with him working way back from 50-game suspension. Currently, a 66er.

Yeah, that much bills for Manny is pretty obscene. The 50 game suspension makes him lose appeal. But here's the thing, the Dodgers are still, like, dominating the NL. They are heads and shoulders the best in the league right now. I can assure you no one will call Manny's deal "bad" when he goes .375/.480/.700 in the NLDS and NLCS. It's cool if you don't like him. But his presense isn't exactly killing the Dodgers.

5. Kerry Wood, Indians closer. Poor ERA (5.68) and WHIP (1.62) are par for the course in Cleveland's disastrous start. Thus, both "Manny'' and "Wood'' make the list.

Just posting to ask why this disaster is behind Manny? Anyone know?

#6 is Farnsworth. Skipping #7 for now, you'll see why later.

8. Jason Giambi, A's 1B. He's a lot of fun to have around. And unlike some other ballplayers (ahem), if he ever gets called into a grand jury room, he will tell the truth. Does have 10 home runs and .343 on-base percentage, but that .204 batting average sticks out. A lot to like, just not on a ballfield right now.

Giambi has stunk, sure. Down to .195 right now, too. .258 EqA. Amazing dropoff from 2008. Seems like this list went about 5 guys too long, though; Giambi's getting $5.25 million this year in a one and done try before the A's start calling up their loaded farm system to run at the West. Didn't work. Oh well.

9. Ken Griffey Jr., Mariners OF. It's been a nice reunion. And he's beloved on the team as well as the community. But that .222 batting average isn't great. Is this the swan song?

And I am about to stun every person that reads this (approximately a dozen people, mom included).

The kid is only earning $2,000,000 in 2009. That's it. His slash stats are .215/.338/.402, EqA of .268. Not exactly superstar DH, but he's not exactly embarassing himself out there. He's a big upgrade from Vidro, too.

But more importantly, are the things that aren't showing up in the stats.

Yes, I know. I said it.
People care about the Mariners a little more now. A city that's been absolutely miserable with sports in recent history had a fan base that needed some energy. What better way to do it than bringing Griffey back? For just 2 bills, too. Improve the team a bit while you're at it.
Also, all reports say that Ichiro is, like, way happier now that he has a guy he's actually good friends with on the team. Ichiro, in case you don't watch ESPN ever, is having a wicked good year (.307 EqA, 4 WARP-1, already higher than the whole 2008 campaign). Maybe it's coincidence, since Ichiro's style lends itself to streaks and variance, but maybe there is some causation there.
Griffey's been fine in Seattle. Paid him a small ball to help the team a bit and make the fans smile. He's 2 for 2 in that. He should not be on this list.

So now I will return you to #7

7. Orlando Cabrera, A's SS. He said it himself. "I suck.'' So far, he does. A very good player at what seems like a bargain rate $4 million. Yet, he isn't playing like himself. That .612 OPS is ugly. Maybe he's depressed over what happened to the free agent market.

Jon Heyman...citing...OPS?
Folks, this means one of two things.

1) Heyman's brain actually is capable of processing new knowledge, and understanding its meaning.
2) The end of the world really is coming in 2012.

I will be sure to keep you posted, as this is a very serious, newsworthy event.



New York Mets' trade for Jeff Francoeur is change for the sake of change


My favorite player to make fun of, Jeff Francouer, and my favorite manager to make fun of, Jerry Manuel. Now wrapped up together in one dysfunctioning package in the Queens borough.

And trade deadline articles are coming up.

These are happy, happy days.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Making up for lost time, post #2

Hey, it's time to attempt to google bomb this blog again. Yay.

Surprised I'm arriving so late to this party. The keg's probably already tapped, and the sorostitutes have probably already left with random guys, and it's probably been the same fat alcoholic at the Beirut table for the last hour.

Whatever, Harold Reynolds, this is for your own good.

It's been real interesting in the last couple years as I've watched how the importance of statistics has taken over how to analyze a baseball game. I used to play for an old time manager named Dick Williams who used to tell me, "The situation will dictate what happens." He used to call me to his office and say, "I should never have to give you a sign. You should know this is a bunt situation, you should know this is a situation where you need to take a trike, you should know the situation calls for getting the man over. I should never have to give you a sign, the situation dictates what happens."

Yes, agreed. Big (sic) on trike, but other than that, nothing wrong here. Some situations call for a sac bunt, like down by 1 in the 9th with Rivera closing and Yuniesky Betancourt or something at the dish. Obvious how I feel about "small ball" as a team philosophy, but there's definitely some points where it remains relevant.

But what I've been witnessing while I've been a broadcaster is everyone using these stats to try and explain the game of baseball. Not all statistics work. Some do, some don't. And one of the stats that has become real popular is OPS. On-base plus slugging. All of a sudden, it's this stat that defines whether a guy is a good ball player or not.

Doing well so far, HR. Yes, OPS is definitely not the be all, end all stat. I mean, it's better than AVG, or OBP and SLG standing alone, but still. For one, for such a mainstream stat, it's pretty arbitary (it's literally [(Hits+Walks+HBP)/(At Bats + Walks + HBP + Sac Flies)] + (Total Bases / At Bats). D-whaaaaaaaaaaa?). Also, OPS clearly overstates slugging, as incidated in many studies. It's pretty much nutso to say Mike Jacobs's 2008 (.812 OPS) was better offensively than, let's say, Shane Victorino (.799). There are far better metrics to measure offensive production, like baseballprospectus' EqA, or fangraphs' wOBA. I'm sure this is what you'll be discussing, correct?

And the fact of the matter is, if you're a power hitter then the situation will dictate what a pitcher does with you - either walk you or pitch you real careful. So more than likely you're going to end up on base and therefore your on-base percentage goes up. This in my mind has become the stat the everyone thinks is the be all and end all. It is not. If you have a ball club that's a great offensive team then that changes everything. But if you have a guy like Adrian Gonzalez, for example, his OPS is going to be high - he's got a lot of home runs and walks a lot...because you're not going to pitch to him. Power guys like Giambi and Dunn have always had high OPS because no one wants to pitch to them. But it takes two hits to score them from first.

...*sigh* Gonzalez...walks a lot?
How many hits does it take to score Alfonso Soriano when he doesn't get on base 70.4% of the time, Harold?

Andre Dawson's career OPS is lower than Tim Raines's. Which one was the more feared "power guy"?

This is how the game has changed. Dick Williams is pulling his hair out. This is not something people have reinvented in the game. You can go all the way back to Dave Kingman. When Kingman was hot, you didn't pitch to him. If he wasn't hot, you pitched to him. Big power hitters swing and miss and strikeout. Or they hit home runs and walk. And at the end of the year their OBP is always going to be higher than most of the other guys on the team because they clog the bases.

Increased font and italized that bad boy for ya in the end. CLOG THE BASES SIGHTING.
Yogi Berra hit 358 HR in his career. Struck out just 414 times. DiMaggio his 361 and struck out 369 times. Albert Pujols currently has two more SO's (32) than HR's (30) in 2009.

Ever think, just for one second, the reason these guys "clog the bases" as you put it, do so because of their ability to hit the baseball? And not swing for the fences like new-era Kingmans?

And of course, before I forget...THE PARADE!


Yes, I just RickRoll'd you. Deal with it.

A few years ago this stat grabbed my ear when someone said that Ichiro doesn't walk enough. So I said, "What do you mean?" And they said his OBP could be so much higher if he walked more. The guy gets 200 hits a season! And he scores over 100 runs. I think that speaks for itself.

Great. Awesome. Ichiro's one in a million when it comes to contact, his career AVG is .333. His "worst" season was a .303.

But those 200+ hits are the result of 700+ PA's. His career EqA is .296. Pretty good, especially given his defense. But guess what? J.D. Drew's is a .303. Everybody hates J.D. Drew.

As great a hitter as Ichiro is, J.D. Drew still beats him in not-an-out percentage (the new name of OBP, maybe then guys like Harold Reynolds will get it), .392 to .378. The difference in slugging is .501 to .434. Drew has a 44.2 WARP-3 in 5059 Plate Appearances, or 5.24 WARP per 600 PA. Ichiro has a 60.3 in 6,250 PA, or 5.79 per 600 PA. A lot of that is right field defense, too. Remember that next time someone tries to tell you Ichiro was the best hitter of the decade.

So as the old, wise Dick Williams used to tell me, "I should never have to give you a sign. The situation dictates what happens."

Swing at pitches in the dirt, hack for the fences, cut down on the selfish walks. This is manball, people.

Making up for lost time, post #1

Where would we in the internets be without some good ole Joe Morgan lunacy?

Cubs - White Sox. June 22. NL Leaders in strikeouts pop up. Javier Vazquez appears tied for 1st in the NL in K's. To paraphrase the great Dr. Morgan:

"That's funny to see Javier Vazquez. You never really think of him as a strikeout pitcher."

Vazquez, as of July 2nd, 2009:

Age: 32
SO: 2,140 (currently 55th of all time, projects to break into top 50 by season end)
K/9: 8.1 (good for 26th for all pitchers with over 1000 innings pitched)
K/BB: 3.41 (good for 16th for all the 1000+ innings crowd)

So yes, according to Joe Morgan, the 55th most prolific strikeout artist of all time is not a "strikeout pitcher". I guess Frank Howard (55th in all time HR) wasn't a good power hitter.

For someone who claims that observation is more important than stats, Joe Morgan's either really really bad at observing, or he just does not care enough to watch. I go with the latter. How about you?

Edit: I forgot to add these factual informations in.

League SO ranking:
2005 NL--192--8th
2006 AL--184--4th
2007 AL--213--4th
2008 AL--200--4th
2009 NL--125--2nd


Sunday, June 28, 2009

I hate people who hate Moneyball without understanding Moneyball

Usually I do not look to dismantle those from the land of the internets (especially one just asking a question on yahoo answers).

This being said...really, really bad.

What kind of Dynasty could the Oakland A's have had with Zito, Hudson, Mulder, Harden, and Haren?

I think the question speaks for itself, but I'll include the details:

I was looking back at the Atheletics in the early part of this decade, and they had a minnie (sic) division dynasty with Zito, Mulder, and Hudson anchoring their pitching staff. But then as we all know of Billy Beane's "Money Ball" theory, they unloaded them off in 2004.

Well, then they had Rich Harden and Dan Haren anchoring their pitching staff and they got as far as the ALCS back in 2006.

What could they have had if they kept all five of those guys?

It's nasty and crazy to think of a team with those kind of pitchers!

Not only that, but they had Houston Street in the bullpen.

Man, I don't know how Billy Beane messed that one up.

Okay, I'll break down this guy one little piece at a time:

The initial question. Yeah, that rotation would be pretty sweet in 2005, maybe. One small issue: MARK MULDER WAS PART OF THE DAMN DEAL TO BRING DANNY HAREN TO OAKLAND.

And in trading for Mulder, the A's lost one good season. In return, they got 3 very good years of Danny Haren, the currently 23 year old Daric Barton (who's .293/.406/.448 in his minor league career, hooray) and Kiko Calero, who gave 2 useful years in the bullpen. Then upon trading Haren once he became too pricey for the A's to afford, got a deal for 6 minor leaguers, including 3 in their current top 6 prospects. HOORAY. WONDEFUL. AWESOME.

So Mulder -> lot of good young players who will be effective and cost controlled in the near future.

This crazyballs mcgee continues on by wishing he still had the other 4 pitchers.

Combined salary of Zito/Hudson/Haren/Harden: $38.8 million
Oakland Athletics payroll: $62.31 mil.

So yeah, let's just add 60% extra to the current payroll, and get these four guys:
Haren: 6-5, 2.25 ERA, 0.815 WHIP, 104 K, 14 BB, 11 HR (really good)
Harden: 4-4, 4.95 ERA, 1.400 WHIP, 67 K, 30 BB, 13 HR (not so good, kind of pricey, got Josh Danielson (23) and Sean Gallagher (23) to get rid of him).
Zito: 4-7, 4.55 ERA, 1.416 WHIP, 66 K, 40 BB, 11 HR (equally bad, really expensive)
Hudson: Yet to pitch in 2009, really, REALLY expensive.

So yeah, that'd be a not-so-awesome $38.8 million for even the Yankees and their 284 kabajillion dollar payroll (and only 1 kabajillion of that is dedicated to the R&D to clone Ruth and Gehrig). THIS IS THE ATHLETICS. Keith Law has them 3rd in farm system rankings. They have 7 of the top 100 prospects according to baseball america (this included guys like Gordan Beckham at the time).

Yes, he didn't get much awesomeness for Hudson, but once again, the man makes $15.5 mil in 2009 and has not pitched an inning.

Billy Beane doesn't trade these guys cause moneyball says sign only fat white guys who walk a lot and Jesus-loving guys with weird, underhand deliveries. IT'S CAUSE HIS TEAM DOESN'T HAVE THE MONEY TO THROW HUGE CONTRACTS AROUND.

Assuming no miracle run in 2009, the A's made the postseason 5 times in the 2000's. That would currently have them tied with the much better funded Angels and Red Sox. For a team still paying some minor leaguers in food stamps, that's not too bad.

So yes, Billy Beane has "messed up" to the tune of making some low risk, high reward one year deals to guys like Nomar, Orlando Cabrera, and Jason Giambi, and they've all performed below expectation. Matt Holliday isn't working out, but protip: they gave up a reliever for him, something I assure you they have PLENTY of in the minors, and some organization filler. Odds are, he'll spin Holliday for something nice, too.

A fanboy jumps in with this diarrhea of the mouth:

im an a's fan and i was thinking the exact same thing. you forgot blanton too. a's could have the best pitching staff in the al if billy beane hadn't traded them for minor league prospects. someones got to knock some sense into billy beane and tell him its not about the moneyball anymore obviously

First off, awesome grammar, I don't feel like (sic)ing myself to death here. Second off...

Traded by the Oakland Athletics to the Philadelphia Phillies for Adrian Cardenas (minors), Matt Spencer (minors) and Josh Outman.

Blanton, 2009: 4-4, 5.06 ERA, 83 2/3 IP, 1.422 WHIP, 77 K, 26 BB, 17 HR, $3,700,000, not getting less expensive.

Outman, 2009 majors: 4-1, 3.48 ERA, 67 1/3 IP, 1.158 WHIP, 53 K, 25 BB, 9 HR, $400,000. (serious note, why the hell is this guy not getting ROY consideration, or at least more of it?)
Cardenas, 2009 minors (AA-AAA): 320 PA, .307/.381/.423, middle infielder, 21 years old.

This, to jonesy mcjones here, is a BAD thing Beane did.

So without further wait, let's go through our superstar, superawesomo 2009 Oakland A's-in-mind-only if these guys were GM:

C: Ramon Hernandez ($7,500,000)
1B: Jason Giambi ($4,000,000)
2B: Ray Durham ($7,500,000 in 2008)
3B: Eric Chavez ($11,500,000, got hurt)
SS: Miguel Tejada ($14,811,414)
LF: Matt Stairs ($1,625,000, this would actually be good value)
CF: Johnny Damon ($13,000,000)
RF: Jermaine Dye ($11,500,000)
DH: Jeremy Giambi ($2,000,000 last go in the majors)

SP: Mark Mulder/Dan Haren
SP: Barry Zito
SP: Rich Harden
SP: Tim Hudson
SP: ?????

CL: Huston Street

And of course with the weakest farm system in the minors.

So yep, a lot of awesome money on that team. Too bad Beane traded it away.

Edit: Feel free to view a different version of my irrationally angry dismantling of this question. jdr0317.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Red Sox trade rumors for Jeff Francoeur

Short post, really all I need to sum this thought up is:

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Jon Heyman: Still hates Blyleven, still hates stats

Ah, yes, the cure to all insomnia; an article about Jon Heyman's little world view of the Hall of Fame.

I'm too tired to give a witty into, here it is.

Hall of Fame or Hall of Shame? My current votes on Steroid Era stars

Okay, so we're going to talk about McGwire, and Bonds, and Clemens, and Sosa, and maybe A-Rod, maybe Manny, right? Because I mean, we're talking about the steroid era, and these are some of the real posterchildren of it...

Hall of Fame voting is a tricky thing.

It's always been a tricky thing, and it's gotten trickier since new statistics (or even new ways to look at statistics) can suggest that different values be placed on different players. I saw Bert Blyleven in the press dining area Sunday at Yankee Stadium, and it reminded me how tricky it is. I haven't voted for Blyleven yet, and have explained my position a couple times. A few folks with blogs didn't like me not voting for Blyleven, or didn't like the way I explained it. I have been called names over this decision, and I won't detail my reasoning again here, as I don't want to incite anyone.

Wait, we're back to your pathelogical hate of Blyleven again? Seriously, I could go on and on, but check out this page, then this page, and make a real case on why player A was better. Jon Heyman's normal case for it: make lots of shit up, immediately attack those who will disagree. Works when opponents are stuck typing about Heyman on blogs.

Wait, there's more:

Blyleven has become the greatest example of a tough Hall call that has become emotional and even gotten nasty in some cases. Generally speaking, at the heart of Blyleven's case is the value one places on statistics. Those who favor him admire all his statistical achievements, which are admittedly many, and they believe that his numbers are proof of his greatness.

And his statistics are very good. Better than the already enshrined Don Sutton. Much better than Jack Morris. And his playoff statistics were great.

Those who do not vote for him make more of a qualitative judgment about his impact, and place his standing below the line for enshrinement.

Blyleven only mistake in his career was playing on too many crappy teams. Idiot should've magically willed his teams Eckstein-style to glory.

I don't want to get too deep into all the pros and cons regarding Blyleven now. I just mention him as an example of a tough call.

So to start an article on the steroid era, we take the first two paragraphs to bash Blyleven. Can anyone who reads this blog please email me or something as to why Heyman and other writers have such an out on Blyleven? Or is this just them being stubborn and hopelessly ignorant to new research? I would love to learn.

In any case, the Hall calls are about to get much trickier and much tougher than Blyleven. In fact, there is a whole era of tough calls coming. There are so many tough ones ahead that Blyleven may come to be seen as mere child's play.

There is a lot to think about when considering players in the Steroid Era. These calls won't only be about numbers. There are value judgments to be made about cheating, and possibly about how much the cheating helped particular players.

And finally, here we go.

That's all I really wanted to cover here, the rest of this article doesn't really bug me, just how the PR department of Scott Boras, Inc. always seems to be ready to lay into Blyleven's career with unsubstanciated "qualitative" reasons.

Note to Heyman: When you view men using made up facts about their "makeup", you tend to do things like:

Allow a guy who won something once in the mid 90's on a loaded team to tank your team to the tune of 1-4 in the final 5 weeks

or you

Trade your star PG for a 6' SG with a 42.5% FG rate*

or you

give a guy $50,000,000 over 5 years for one catch he made

This all being said, Jon Heyman would probably make a terrific GM for the Giants or Nationals.

*Yes I know it frees up a lot of cap room for the Pistons. But what are they going to do with the money? Sign Carlos Boozer? For $20 mil / yr?

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Why crappy closers need to never, ever blog

Hi everyone.

*crickets chirp*

Talking to myself? Well fine, SCREW YOU TOO.

But seriously, baseball is entering a dark time. A time where, thanks to recent discoveries about A-Rod and Manny, have further dealt a blow to logic, reason, science, etc. A time where part time blogging, former full time punching bag closers named Todd Jones can theorize about something so idiotic as...

The re-emergence of smallball is a welcome trend

no, no it isn't.

The research has been done over, and over, and over again. Out-ball (or as some call it, small ball) is bad. Giving up outs is bad. This is proof.


E(Runs|Runner on first, no out) = 0.93784. E(Runs|Runner on 2nd, 1 out) = .74077.
E(Runs|Runner on 2nd, no out) = 1.08644. E(Runs|Runner on 3rd, 1 out) = .97619.

Noticing a pattern? Giving up outs = giving up runs in the long term.
Do that 51 times in a season (sound like a lot? Colorado led MLB with 90 (!!!!!!!!!!!!) in 2008) and you essentially give up a win.

So no, smallball is not welcome. Smallball is why so many people had mancrushes on Vince Coleman in the 80's. And in case you missed it, the 80's weren't exactly on the forefront of offensive strategy.

But enough of me, let's get to the real entertainment:

Is there any wonder why stolen bases are up this season? Homers are down, and small ball is the new vogue thing.

Tampa Bay's Carl Crawford, who leads the majors with 21 steals, stole six bases in a game last week and had a nine-game stolen base streak that came to an end Thursday. What Crawford did let the cat out of the bag, so to speak. Guys like Denard Span, Curtis Granderson, Grady Sizemore and Juan Pierre and looking to run. And they are starting to become a more important to their offenses than ever before.

Okay, before I start...really, Todd Jones? Really?

(as of 5/14's games)
Crawford: .329/.390/.448 117 OPS+
Span: .299/.372/.380 105 OPS+
Granderson: .257/.333/.493 112 OPS+
Sizemore: .227/.308/.400 82 OPS+
Pierre (meh): .383(!)/.439(!!!!!!)/.483(!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) 139 OPS+ (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

So 4 of the guys you mentioned are top tier, young defenders having everywhere from good to very good offensive seasons using nothing but hitting rate stats. One (Sizemore) has kind of sucked so far in 2009, but a lot of that can be attributed to his .269 BABIP, compared to his career .321. He'll be fine once things normalize (and they will). And Pierre, well, his BABIP is .390, vs. a career .312. And for "small ball", he's 5 for 7 and has 1 sac hit in 67 PA's.

The rise and fall of the steroid era in Major League Baseball has shifted the interest back to bunting, baserunning, hitting and running, and even stealing home (yeah, that is a shout-out to Jacoby Ellsbury). We're on the verge of the home run -- and the home-run hitter -- not being as big a concern as the little guy.

Fear the small guys.

I really cannot believe a former pitcher would say this. Seriously, look at this:

We're on the verge of the home run -- and the home-run hitter -- not being as big a concern as the little guy.

Let that sink in. Throughout absolute HISTORY, pitchers have not thought this way. If they did, I would think that 1978 Yankee leadoff hitter Mickey Rivers would have gotten more than 3 IBB's.

*cue Luis Tiant circa 1978*

Tiant: Mi-mi-mi-mi-mi-mickey Rivers, coach

Zimmer: What's the matter, Luis?

Tiant: Can't I just walk him so I can face Reggie Jackson sooner?

Zimmer: No, you cannot.

Tiant: But what if he puts a curse on us, you know, making us pre-destined to wear pinstripes one day in the near or semi-distant future?

Zimmer: Won't happen, El Tiante. Don't worry.

And also, guess what's been the walk off play in two world series? A Home run. Guess what else was a walkoff play? A Stolen base (courtesy of Babe Ruth. Yes, Babe Ruth. One run game, 1926 WS, Ruth and his 55% steal rate in 1926 went for it. With 119 OPS+'ing Bob Meusel at the dish. With Lou Gehrig on deck. SMALL BALL).

And since we've discussed Crawford's stealing penchant, let's compare it versus the rest of his hitting statistics using Tom Tango's Linear Weights:


Player Single Double Triple HR Walk IBB HBP Sac Out SB CS RC RC/27
Crawford '09 34 10 2 1 13 0 2 0 97 22 0 26.083 7.26

As shown, Crawford's been pretty productive in 2009. In 159 PA's, he's created 26 runs according to linear weights, or a roster of him would make 7.26 runs / game.

Guess how much of that has to do with steals.


Go on.

I'll give 3 seconds.




1 1/2


1 1/4




22* .193 (the historical value of a steal according to data) = 4.246. Or 16.33% of his run value. People want to nitpick one flashy part of a guy's game and lump him into some crappy group. It's like saying Lebron James and Nate Robertson are equals because they can both perform flashy dunks. It's insane.

Where was I again? I've completely lost myself. Oh yeah.

Each and every day this season, there is more emphasis being put on each of them. Some of the best players when it comes to small ball: Granderson, Sizemore, Johnny Damon, David DeJesus, Stephen Drew, Rafael Furcal, Ian Kinsler, Nate McLouth, Jose Reyes, Brian Roberts, Jimmy Rollins, Ichiro Suzuki, Alfonso Soriano, Chone Figgins.

These guys move the ball around, hit the gaps on command and work the ball around the infield. And they all can fly.

Augh, augh, augh, augh, and AUGH.

All these players have in terms of value is the ability the ball around the infield?

Granderson's hit 73 HR's since 2006, while also playing one of the best CF's in the game.
Same for Sizemore, except he's bombed 91 since 2006. Johnny Damon's done a lot of ball moving in 2009: moving right into the bleachers. DeJesus has been awful, as has Drew and Furcal. Ian Kinsler and Nate McLouth rely on small ball, really? Are we watching the same sport?

I just don't have the energy to dissect the rest of these guys. Tell my family I love them. And not use my life insurance policy for a condo down the cape.

A bold prediction: These types of small-ball players will pass the three-run-homer guys in terms of importance over the next 12 months.

I really have no words for this statement, I think the emoticon is :O!!!!

Yes, teams without huge hitting and run output win titles, and not as rarely as many may think. But it is never, EVER, because they can put on the hit and run better than anyone else. It's usually because of some other force of awesome on their roster (2005 White Sox - pitching, 2008 Rays - defense and bullpen). These teams do not win because they score less, they win DESPITE scoring less.

There will be a bigger emphasis on speed, and it will be just like the '80s all over again.

At least that means it will be another decade before the Yankees win the series, I guess.

P.S. Part of me secretly wonders if Todd Jones just wishes he got to face more prolific out-makers in his time in MLB. That 1.413 career WHIP out of the pen isn't exactly Rivera-esque.


Pre-ASB Stolen Bases in 2008 average per team: 58
Pre-ASB Stolen Bases in 2009 average per team: 56


Friday, May 15, 2009

Joe Morgan's starting Right Fielder, Jeffrey Braden Francoeur

Just kidding, Frenchie doesn't bunt well or "make things happen on the bases".

But anyway, here's his opinion on the importance of not making outs:

"If on-base percentage is so important, then why don't they put it up on the scoreboard?"

Secondly, as provided to me from this website:

Yep, don't see OBP anywhere on that big screen.

Never mind, he'd make a perfect #8 hitter on Joe Morgan's team. That way there will never be someone clogging up the bases for his leadoff hitter (my guess: Joey Gathright).

Monday, May 4, 2009

Why Johnny Damon won't be a GM anytime soon

Hey boys and girls,

As a long time Red Sox fan, needless to say, any elitism from Yankeeland grinds me up good.
When it comes from Johnny Damon, it's worse.

But when it's just something this stupid, it can actually be comedic.

“I couldn’t believe that they were letting him walk and try to find a team, Damon told WEEI. “That’s the difference between New York and Boston…If you’re a part of New York, they’re going to keep you there: Posada, Jeter, Mariano, it’s the first time in history guys have been on the same team for 15 years. It goes to show you something about how the Yankees think, and how many Yankees players have been exclusive with one team. They keep them forever. (The Red Sox) were ready to let (Varitek) go. He’s their starting catcher. That’s how the two teams work. You know his days are going to be numbered here. But hopefully not — he deserves to be here until his career is over.”

So, from what I understand, the difference between the Yankees and the Red Sox is:

Yankees - offer aging catcher $52.4 million over 4 years, guaranteeing him $13.1 million at age 40.
Red Sox - search for younger catcher to move team forward, eventually decide Varitek is the team's best option for the near future, offer him fair market value contract.

And this is a BLACK MARK on the Red Sox.

Odds Jeter would be earning $20,000,000+ / yr at age 50 if Damon was GM: 2:5.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Small Sample Size fun with Jon Heyman

Now, in my attempt to hastily name this blog, I probably picked the wrong guy. Especially in the world where men like this are allowed to roam free and spread their crappy opinions to the masses.

And of course, the marriage between him and one week sensation Emilio Bonifacio was personified in this little write up.

Bonifacio breaks out with Marlins, aces struggle and more notes

Don't get it wrong, Bonifacio still has the capacity to become a solid major leaguer. He has great speed, and he is a rangy defender. He's also only 24.

But... .285/.341/.362 in the minors. 63.6% of those PA's came from Rookie ball to High A ball, and he's been highly volatile due to his low walk rate. But hey, let's see what the 5 star general of the anti-stats crowd has to say:

MIAMI -- When the oh-so-smart Marlins traded arbitration-eligible players Scott Olsen and Josh Willingham to the competing Nationals in November, it looked like a typical small-revenue club salary dump. But with the Marlins, typical dealings are almost always more than they seem.

Beside the obvious benefit of extricating themselves from two arbitration cases they didn't need or want, the Marlins received three younger players in the deal, including speedy infielder Emilio Bonifacio, whose value was declining fast -- at least in the eyes of others. When Arizona dealt Bonifacio to Washington straight up for set-up man Jon Rauch only last summer, many figured that the Diamondbacks had ripped off the Nats (although Rauch has turned out to be nothing short of a disaster for the Diamondbacks). And this winter most accounts of the Marlins-Nats trade involving Bonifacio portrayed the speedy infielder, who hadn't distinguished himself during his brief tenure with the Nats, as an afterthought or throw-in.

I'll bite here. Rauch has been pretty disastrous for Arizona, and I don't really know much of anything on P.J. Dean. But of course Bonifacio was considered a throw in. Smolinski is 20. He could still develop into a very good MLB'er. Bonafacio is kind of the epitome of a utility player. And it's not like the Nats were making a huge splash by dealing for Olson and Willingham.

But the Marlins knew better. And now, a week into his Marlins career, Bonifacio, who moves faster on the diamond than anyone in baseball, has moved up in everyone else's eyes. Those outside the Marlins organization once again view the 23-year-old as an exciting young player after watching him ignite the Marlins offense with a .500 batting average, exhibit the best baseball speed since Deion Sanders and lead his club to a 5-1 start.

Truths in this statement:
Bonafacio is exciting
Bonafacio is fast

Truths in my statement:
Chris Shelton had the same kind of start to his MLB career.

The Marlins' scouts seem to know things others do not, so they figured it might be worthwhile to give Bonifacio, primarily a second baseman, a look at third base.

True, but who else could they use at third in 2009? Wes Helms? Maybe the corpse of Judy Johnson? That's probably better than Wes Helms at least.

So far the slap-hitting speed demon has looked like a star at a position normally reserved for power hitters.

Kind of neutral on this statement. Most of the good ones are considered bangers, but I don't know. There are good, and have been good, third basemen that don't go for 25 HR / season. Point, nobody.

Bonifacio put together multiple-hit efforts in the Marlins' first five games of the season and produced enough theatrics to excite even the minimal crowds they draw down here. Johan Santana shut him down on Sunday, but his 0-for-4 effort only dropped him to .500 on the season. President of baseball operations Larry Beinfest, while noting that it's still very early, said, "We recognized the bat was still developing. It's not a finished bat."

Beinfest is ok here, maybe he's right on Bonifacio. But, Jonny boy, Bonifacio was 13 for 21 on Balls in Play to start the season. That's a .619 BABIP in 5 games. That's nearly double what his BABIP was looking like in the minors. That means a lot of luck. That means it's probably not a good idea to base your opinion of a player on that data.

His legs, not his bat, will make Bonifacio, but if he can make consistent contact he'll be dangerous. Scouts say he's an 80 runner (on their 20-to-80 scale), and viewers could see why during his Opening Day inside-the-park home run against his former Nationals mates, during a triple in Game 2 and then again on an infield hit that caused fellow speedster Jose Reyes, the Mets shortstop, to rush to try to record the out (he couldn't do it).

Speed is great. Speed helps players a lot. But...seriously...speed will make him? How's that working out for Joey Gathright, Heyman? 79 for 107 in career steal attempts. Willy Taveras? Emmanuel Burriss (yes I know he's a rookie. He's here anyway)? Speed's probably not the ability a player wants to hitch on for his career.

"It's a different feel for us," Beinfest said. "It's a different way to try to manufacture runs from a year ago, when we relied on the home run." The big game-changing twist came when the Marlins inserted Bonifacio, moved power-hitting Jorge Cantu from third (where he was a liability) to first and removed all-or-nothing first baseman Mike Jacobs.

"Manufacturing runs", the happy face way of saying "we don't hit well". But it's not like Cantu and Jacobs are the kind of guys you build a team around. Cantu is a crappy defender, so of course the Marlins stuck him at first, and moved out Mr. Hacker himself. The crappy Russell Branyan. Who, unsurprisingly, has cooled off big time and is now back to his nOBP ways. Bonifacio is a better option on the team than Jacobs, but that's really not saying as much as people like to think.

If Bonifacio's bat has been a revelation, his glovework has been no less so. "Our [scouts] thought he had enough arm for shortstop [when they acquired him], so they thought they'd take a look at third," Beinfest said. But there's a big difference between having the arm and playing the vastly different angles at third, and early in spring there were questions about whether Bonifacio would be able to make a smooth switch from second. (Some Marlins people believe the team would be better off with Bonifacio at second instead of power-hitting star Dan Uggla, though they do need Uggla's pop.)

Whatever Marlins person was in favor of benching Dan Uggla for Bonafacio deserve to be shot into the moon.

And once again, .619 BABIP.

But Bonifacio looks fine at third, and he has helped make the Marlins a speedier, slightly better-fielding team than a year ago, when they surprised folks by winning 84 games despite ranking 15th in the NL in fielding percentage.

Marlins really weren't all that bad...oh yeah, I forgot, Uggla made 3 errors in the All Star Game. This is obviously very important and indicative of the defensive aptitude of the club.

Florida also trots out an impressive quintet of under-27 starters this season, beginning with superb talents Josh Johnson (who looks like he's ready to emerge as a true No. 1 after outdueling the Great Santana on Sunday, 2-1), Ricky Nolasco and Chris Volstad. Nonetheless, Las Vegas odds makers posted the Marlins' over-under number at 76 wins. That's quite a slight considering they won 84 last year when journeyman Mark Hendrickson was their Opening Day starter while Johnson carried out rehab, Nolasco worked out of the bullpen and Volstad pitched in the minors. "We didn't have our pitchers lined up last year," Beinfest said when asked about the 76-win prediction. "We don't talk about rebuilding here. We try to play in October."

Don't know again. Marlins are always hard to read. The roster turns over faster than a Walmart checkout department, and is usually chalk full of high draft picks. But once again, in the fluke department, Volstad has been helped a lot by his current .182 BABIP against. Most baseball people coming into 2009 were high on Johnson as well. This kind of ebbing and flowing has just been the M.O. of the Marlins for years. Can you tell I'm not feeling well tonight? These aren't even jokes, these are just bitter comments.

That's true, even though, as always, the club made all its changes with the bottom line in mind. Beinfest delicately summed up the trade with Washington by saying, "We needed to reallocate our assets." In addition to Bonifacio the Marlins acquired two low-level minor leaguers in the deal, second baseman Jake Smolinski and pitcher P.J. Dean, two "young guys we like," Beinfest said. So far in Washington, meanwhile, Olsen has been awful and Willingham's an unhappy bench player.

Olsen has always been pretty crappy, and Willingham...well, Bowden loved him some corner outfielders this offseason. And once again, Smolinski has a .755 OPS in the minors and just turned 20. Bonafacio was not the pillar of this deal.

While the Nats deal with those players and their impending arbitration cases, the Marlins continue to maintain a payroll that, while up to $35 million this year from an absurd $24 million last year, is surely well below their revenues. (While Beinfest doesn't complain, their revenue-sharing monies alone should support a greater payroll than $35 million.)

With the Marlins, however, it's never worth looking at the payroll. No matter what they spend, they think they can compete. And by landing players like Bonifacio, they usually do.

Oh Jonny, Jonny, Jonny. Let us break down the Marlins two World Championship years, okay? In 1997, they decided to break the bank, relatively speaking. Made trades for Gary Sheffield, brought in Moises Alou and Bobby Bonilla. Their core was not young trade purges, it was established MLB stars.

And in 2003, they had players like I-Rod, D-Lee, Mike Lowell, and Juan Pierre when he sort of wasn't crappy. Actually, Bonafacio is a lot like Juan Pierre. Congrats, Heyman, point for you, Marlins will be lead to the title with a walk-impaired speedster again.

In closing, .619 BABIP. For now, I am off, and will valiantly protect the good citizens of America from more Jon Heyman keyboard-diarrhea.