Thoughts about the baseball world.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Pirates to deal Gonzalez to Braves for LaRoche

Pirates to deal Gonzalez to Braves for LaRoche

I couldn't believe this when I read it! The Atlanta Braves take their blossoming premier slugger, 27-year old first baseman Adam LaRoche who finally had his breakout year in his third season, and trade him away for who? Mike Gonzalez, a closer for the Pirates who barely pitches 50 innings a season, and who despite a lucky 2.17 ERA has a 1.35 WHIP!

Look at these numbers:

149 games
492 AB's
32 HR's and 38 doubles
A .285-.354-.561 line, for a .915 OPS

What does that make LaRoche. The #10 (yes, top TEN) best OPS in the NL among qualifiers, and certainly the highest on Atlanta's own team (Chipper Jones and Brian McCann had higher, but didn't play enough to qualify). And this from a guy who was showing progressive growth even month-by-month in 2006, no less. Check out his pre- and post- all-star splits:

Pre All Star 83 263 40 66 21 0 13 42 30 66 0 1 .251 .325 .479 .805
Post All-Star
66 229 49 74 17 1 19 48 25 62 0 1 .323 .387 .655 1.042

Yes, the bullpen was bad, but that shouldn't delude any team into a disproportional trade accounting for only their needs and strengths.

Mike Gonzalez isn't even a good pitcher! The classic high-WHIP reliever getting by on pure luck - as a starter, having that 1.30+ WHIP will blow huge runs over the course of the game, and eventually over the season relievers will do the same. He can't even be judged on his previous year numbers - before 2006 as the Pirates' closer he was strictly a left-handed specialist - you can't project those numbers at all if you plan to actually use him as a full-time reliever.

Bad bad move. God I wish we had a baseball general management major here at Berkeley

Friday, November 25, 2005

Guillermo Mota included in Beckett trade

Update: Guillermo Mota is also to be included in the Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell for minor leaguers trade. Absolutely ludicrous.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Marlins' Beckett, Lowell to Boston for 3 Minor Leaguers

Marlin Firesale #3

After winning the World Series in 1997, the Marlins immediately went and got rid of some of their best players, and key pieces to their championship team. Gone were Moises Alou, Bobby Bonilla, and Kevin Brown, two solid starters and undeniably their ace pitcher. After winning the World Series again in 2003, the Marlins immediately went off and traded away Derrek Lee, arguably the core of their lineup and the primary run driver, and let catcher Ivan Rodriguez go (although he, admittedly, would probably have been overpriced). Come 2005, the next firehouse sale is on hand again, and it starts with the purging of any high-salary player, apparently at any cost.

The first to go is Mike Lowell, who has two more years to go at $9 million a year. 2005 was utterly abysmal for Lowell, who went from being a fairly solid power-hitter with decent OBP to a horrible .236-.298-.360 AVG-OBP-SLG.

Their trade then? Mike Lowell and Josh Beckett to the Boston Red Sox, for three minor leaguers: shortstop Hanley Ramirez, and pitchers Anibal Sanchez and Jesus Delgado.

They must be horribly desperate to get rid of Lowell, because in this trade, they have practically given away Josh Beckett to get rid of Lowell's contract. Until Dontrelle Willis emerged this year, Josh Beckett was undeniably the ace of the staff. Though oft-injured (he's never really come close to a 200-inning season), there's no denying that Beckett definitely has the stuff when he's on, and there is no way that the Marlins could find a player of the same caliber on the market anywhere.

In return, they get three minor leaguers, none of which have any major league experience. Hanley Ramirez was one of Boston's top prospects, but even at AAA, seems about average offensively - he definitely doesn't seem like a guy who could emerge as a superstar shortstop. Their potential aside, the striking point here is that none of the players have major league experience. For a veteran third baseman and ace starter, the Marlins have not received anyone that they can depend on for the upcoming season, nor have they even received a young and rising star who is a known commodity. Neither Anibal Sanchez nor Jesus Delgado look like they can be plugged in for Beckett's spot in the rotation (which already had a hole following the imminent departure of A.J. Burnett). No one has any idea how Ramirez will fare at the major-league level, and given his minor league numbers (.271-.335-.385 in 465 AB
s for all of 2005 in AA), he appears to be nothing more than middling offensively. He has just as much chance to be a complete bust as he does to be a serviceable shorstop (or third baseman).

The Marlins, meanwhile, give up a heck of a lot just to get rid of Lowell's contract. Beckett was a dominant pitcher when healthy, and his innings have been steadily increasing every year (although, admittedly again, he's been injured every year and still has not reached 200 innings ever), and he was still under contract for several more years (his arbitration-eligible years). Cost-wise, this is really a wash - yes, Lowell was overpaid at $9 million a year, but Beckett is due only $4-5 million this year. Combined, they're making $13-14 million a year. To replicate a serviceable (and potentially good) veteran third baseman and an ace starter for that price is absolutely impossible - A.J. Burnett, who is inferior to Beckett, will likely garner that much in free agency just for himself. And don't forget that, in all the atrocity of 2005, Lowell has really only slipped up a single year - in 2004 and prior to that, he had been a fairly solid power hitter, with decent all-around OBP and SLG (much like Paul Konerko was, before having 1 abymsal year and then coming back as a powerhouse hitter the next). If Lowell can find his groove again and return to the form he was just two seasons ago, he could have been worht that $9 million (or at least close to it), and having Beckett for $5 million is an absurd steal.

So what are the implications on Boston? They're getting a starter who should become their #1, who is really their answer for losing Pedro Martinez. Although their rotatin was decent last year, no one else on the Red Sox rotation last year was near ace-quality material (even Schilling, I daresay, is on the downside of his career), and so this year's rotation should be set, with Beckett, Curt Schilling, Matt Clement, Broson Arroyo, and Tim Wakefield. David Wells, who reportedly asked to be traded, and the oft-injured Wade Miller, could/would be left out. The introduction of Lowell also pushes out former regulars Bill Mueller and Kevin Millar (whose place will probably be taken by Kevin Youkilis) - unfortunate because they were both serviceable players who were playing for cheap (Mueller was $2.5 million, Millar was $3.5 million). In truth, this was not a trade that the Red Sox needed - they already had a rotation of 5 set up, and their 3B and 1B positions were filled by decent guys - but from the standpoint of acquiring quality players, especially in Beckett, without the need to give up any starting-caliber or major-league-level players, is a no-brainer.

Josh Beckett Stats
Mike Lowell Stats
Hanley Ramirez Stats

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

M. Cameron to Padres, X. Nady to Mets

More wheelings and deelings from San Diego. This time it's Xavier Nady, their first baseman/outfielder, who they've shipped off to the New York Mets in return for centerfielder Mike Cameron. And suprisingly, this trade isn't half-bad for the Padres (excuse my anti-Towers bias).

The New York Mets get a mediocore utility player in Xavier Nady. He's not near starter-quality, not for a team like the Mets anyway, who already had 3 decent outfielders in Cliff Floyd, Carlos Beltran, and Victor Diaz, who filled in for Cameron when he he got injured. Perhaps Omay Minaya (Mets GM) is looking for younger players, but Cameron was only 32, and Nady at 27 is about-middle aged. Nady has played sparingly the past 3 seasons, mostly as a backup outfielder and getting in some starts this year at first base. In that time he hasn't really shown much at all - career numbers of AVG .261 | OBP .320 | SLG .414. They've gone up, steadily, but at 27 there's not much time left to improve, and it doesn't seem like he'll ever be anything more than a middling player - certainly not any better than their OF of the future Victor Diaz.

The Padres, meanwhile, get a very capable centerfielder in Mike Cameron. He missed a large portion of last year after an outfield collision with Carlos Beltran, which required surgery and cost him the rest of the season. Still, he was playing at a decent level - he's been known as an extremely low-average hitter (.249 career) but was hitting at a decent clip last year, at AVG .273, which would have easily been a career high. More importantly, he also gets on base at a decent rate (.342 last year, .340 career) and in the past two years has slugged in the .470-range. Factor in his Gold Glove defense, and Cameron's a valuable centerfielder that could play on any team.

This seems like outright robbery for San Diego. They give up an unproven backup utility player who doesn't look to have a real future, and in return get one of the better veteran centerfielders in the game. Why would Minaya trade Cameron? Unless Cameron still hasn't fully recovered, and the effects of the collision are more serious and long-term than we've been led to believe, Cameron is a player superior in every way to Nady. Despite the age difference, Cameron is still very serviceable, and I would venture to say would still be for several years to come (at least for the life of his current contract, which I believe runs through this year). The only other explanation that seems plausible would be the cost; Cameron made $7 million last year, while Nady was in the $400,000 range. A pretty hefty cost, but it's not as if the Mets are under strick budget woes (especially with Piazza leaving), and under today's market (which is hyperinflated from just three or four years ago), a team would find it extremely difficult to get any player of Cameron's caliber at $7 million a year.

Way behind on all this baseball news. Will update sometime in the upcoming weeks about the horrible choices for Cy Young awards, and also some thoughts on rookie of the year and MVP.

Mike Cameron Stats

Xavier Nady Stats

Friday, November 11, 2005

Analysis: 2005 Silver Sluggers - AL

That time of year again. After the postseason, the World Series winners have been annointed, all the players are settling in back at home, and the GM's are about to begin their season. And to kick it all off, MLB grants us a story that tides us fans over until March: the annual baseball awards.

The first of these to be presented are the Silver Slugger awards. For the uninitiated, a Silver Slugger is given every year to the best hitter at each position, judged purely on offensive statistics. The winners, for this year:

American League

Catcher: Jason Varitek, Boston
First Base: Mark Teixeira, Texas
Second Base: Alfonso Soriano, Texas
Third Base: Alex Rodriguez, New York (A)
Shortstop: Miguel Tejada, Baltimore
Outfielder: Manny Ramirez, Boston
Outfielder: Gary Sheffield, New York (A)
Outfielder Vladimir Guerrero, Anaheim
Designated Hitter: David Ortiz, Boston

Decent choices for the most part. Let's break it down, shall we?


Jason VaritekAB 470 | AVG .281 | OBP .368 | SLG .489 | 70 RBI | 70 R | 2 SB

Should've Been:
Victor MartinezAB 547 | AVG .305 | OBP .382 | SLG .475 | 80 RBI | 73 R | 0 SB

It's a close one, and honestly, Varitek is a decent choice. It could go either way, although the choice is most definitely between Jason Varitek of Boston and Victor Martinz of Cleveland. In my book, Martinez slightly edges out Varitek - their average numbers are the same... +.14 OBP for Martinez, +.14 SLG for Varitek, although Martinez is significantly better in AVG. I give the nod to Martinez simply because he contributed more - he hit those averages over 14 more games, 83 more plate appearances. Although on average they were the same, in terms of overall contribution for the entire season, Martinez was better.

First Baseman

Mark TeixeiraAB 644 | AVG .301 | OBP .381 | SLG .575 | 144 RBI | 112 R | 4 SB

Should've Been:
Mark Teixeira

Mark Teixeira absolutely floored all competition in this category. His .575 slugging is very high, and .381 OBP is also very good, 2nd among all first basemen, behind Jason Giambi. He looks like the premeir first baseman in the AL, although Jason Giambi had a nice bounceback and could be big next season.

Second Baseman

Alfonso SorianoAB 637 | AVG .268 | OBP .312 | SLG .512 | 104 RBI | 102 R | 30 SB

Should've Been:
Brian RobertsAB 561 | AVG .314 | OBP .390 | SLG .515 | 73 RBI | 92 R | 27 SB

Looking at your traditional numbers, you wouldn't have a doubt that Alfonso Soriano should be the silver slugger for 2B. 30HR-30SB guy, with TWICE as many HR's as Roberts. However, look into their averages, and the evidence is clear. Roberts actually surpasses Soriano's power - .515 SLG to .512; although he has far less homeruns, he hits far more triples, doubles, and singles, in 76 less at-bats than Soriano does, and boasts more than twice as many walks as Soriano too. Roberts is a complete hitter in every way that Soriano is not - Alfonso may get the big numbers with steals and homeruns, but Roberts far surpasses him in the ability to get on base, the ability to get a hit, and even matches Soriano in power-hitting ability.


Miguel TejadaAB 654 | AVG .304 | OBP .351 | SLG .515 | 98 RBI | 89 R | 5 SB

Should've Been:
Michael YoungAB 668 | AVG .331 | OBP .387 | SLG .513 | 91 RBI | 114 R | 5 SB

A classic example of voting by the status quo. Miguel Tejada is the household name, while Young is the obscure newcomer shuffled into a loaded Texas lineup. Young had an incredible season, huge batting average (led AL), as well as an OBP that far surpassed Tejada and a slugging that about matched him. Tejada, with a major off-season, has no merit at all in winning this.

Third Baseman

Alex RodriguezAB 605 | AVG .321 | OBP .423 | SLG .610 | 130 RBI | 124 R | 21 SB

Should've Been:
Alex Rodriguez

A semi-suprising turnaround, that silenced all of the A-Rod in New York naysayers (myself included). After a dissapointing first season in New York (sub-40 HR's), Rodriguez bounced back in a big way, not only hitting for over .600 SLG, but also achieving well over a .400 OBP and .300 AVG, as well as upkeeping his refound speed (21 steals). Not that they'd be much competition for A-Rod anyway, but hugely dissapointing seasons from the likes of Eric Chavez, Melvin Mora, Hank Blalock, and Adrian Beltre meant there was no competition at all in this field.


Manny RamirezAB 554 | AVG .292 | OBP .391 | SLG .594 | 144 RBI | 112 R | 1 SB

Vladimir Guerrero
AB 520 | AVG .317 | OBP .397 | SLG .565 | 108 RBI | 95 R | 13 SB

Gary Sheffield
AB 584 | AVG .291 | OBP .382 | SLG .512 | 123 RBI | 104 R | 10 SB

Should've Been:
Manny Ramirez
Vladimir Guerrero
Gary Sheffield

The right choices here. All three were good players, although Sheffield's play was considerably less than superstar. However, it was a thin year for AL OF's, and Manny, Vladdy-Pants, and Sheffield represent the best possible. Ramirez was again a run-producing machine, driving in 144 RBIs and scoring 112 runs. His average dipped a little, but his OBP remained fairly high at just below .400, and his SLG was just below .600. Another semi-injured season for Vladimir, but decent numbers all around. .397. Sheffield was a fairly good hitter, but at .291-.382-.512 is nowhere near dominant. The only other plausible candidate would be Crawford, whose 46 steals might account for something, but a quick look at his hitting numbers, with an abysmal .334 OBP (especially given a .301 AVG) and typical .469 SLG, make him a downright ordinary player with singular speed talent.

Third Baseman

David OrtizAB 601 | AVG .300 | OBP .402 | SLG .604 | 148 RBI | 119 R | 1 SB

Should've Been:
David Ortiz

A dominating season for Ortiz, who probably solidified himself as The Man in Boston (goodbye, Manny). Huge numbers for slugging, with a good .400 OBP, and his RBI numbers are massive. Another candidate of note, however, should definitely be Travis Hafner. He was a very good power hitter, and although he couldn't keep up the homerun pace with Ortiz, due to his doubles (42 to 40, in 115less at bats) his slugging percentage was on par (.595). Hafner also did extremely well with getting on base, compiling a .411 OBP that surpasses Ortiz's marginally. Alas, Hafner missed out on a large chunk fo the season, playing in only 137 games with 486 at-bats, and didn't achieve nearly as much in the overall season as Ortiz did.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Renegade Podesta, Poster Child for the Sabermetric Witch-Hunt

Enter Theo, Sabermetric Wunderkind. Enter Theo, World Series Architect. Exit Theo, and go home to play with your numbers.

And this is how logical reasoning begins to crumble in a wave of hysteria, mob-mentality and lash-back at liberal, technological intellectualism.

Ian O'Connor, of USA Today

It's not simply the criticism of Epstein. Granted, his exit was abrupt, but it's not as if his leaving the team is any worse than the multitude of teams who seasonally dump managers and players on the floor, with nothing (as Epstein is accused of doing to the Red Sox). Nor is it about internal strife within the Red Sox organization - an issue which is to be blamed on Red Sox President Larry Lucchino as much as it is to be blamed on Epstein. No, no, the problem occurs when he attempts to blast Epstein's ability, and what's he's done for the team (First World Series win, and three straight postseasons, which they've never done in the hsitory of the franchise). And when he attempts to pull the entire group of statistics-minded general managers into the same boat as Podesta.

Ahh, yes. Podesta. In the view of the general public, he is lumped in with that group. True, Podesta probably did pay more attention to statistics than the typical general manager, but he was a radical who should have never been given a shot at that GM's position in the first place, and he made idiotic and baseless moves that no competent GM, whether scout or statistician, would have made. He screwed up, and got fired. And now, the rest of the GM world is facing a firestorm because of it.

The truth is that GMs, as in any occupation, requires simple competence more than anything. One cannot write off all sabermaticians based on one radical whacko, anymore than I can write off all traditional General Managers based on the performance of guys like Cashman, Towers, the Beattie-Flanagan duo, Sabean, Garigiola in recent years. Surely, there are traditional general managers who are making it work. John Schuerholz of the Atlanta Braves is one, and Bill Stoneman of the Anaheim Angels is another. Ken Williams of the White Sox, and Jim Hendry of the Cubs, have also manuevered well in recent years, although their track records aren't as proven. But, taken as a whole, those GM's rooted into the old and conventional style of simple scouting, and clinging to traditional statistics like homeruns, steals, or batting average, aren't faring nearly as well as the newer general managers. Billy Beane, of course, has been the leader in the field. Year after year he's put the Athletics at the top of the division, and only in recent years have the Anaheim Angels, with a much-expanded payroll under Arte Moreno, been able to overtake them. J.P. Ricciardi is building a good young team up in Toronto, and after finally clearing out stalwarts of the old franchise, like Carlos Delgado, the Blue Jays are ready to be finally molded into the team that Ricciardi can build.

The element that's holding these general managers back from completely dominating the field, however, has been the conditions under which they operate. Billy Beane has been dogged for years by a payroll in the $40 or 50 million range. The Blue Jays had been downsized to a payroll of $45 million for the 2005 season. In Arizona, where Josh Byrnes has just been hired after a disastrous run by Gargiola, they have a $60 million payroll, which is only that high after last offseason's rampant spending on guys like Shawn Green and Russ Ortiz. Even during Podesta's job in Los Angeles, the payroll was taking a hit from being one of the top 4 teams, at over $100 million, to the $80 million it was this season, over a span of just two years. The only instances in which upper management have "experimented" with statistical analysis are those run-down organizations that lack payroll, and who haven't had success anyway.

Epstein, thus, was the first general manager who was given a genuine shot with an already succesful team, with payroll flexibility. And he did perform. Three straight years with a playoff berth, which only two other general managers, Schuerholz of the Braves and Brian Cashman of the Yankees and , can claim (with the latter team's success attributed more to raw payroll than any semblance of competency on the general manager's part.) He's brought in guys like David Ortiz, half of Boston's powerhouse tandem, who he's paying only $5 million a year. He is, over the past three years, one of the most succesful general managers, along with John Schuerholz, and an assett to any team. But Podesta started it off by ruining the credibility of any statistician, just as they were getting established in the larger markets like Boston and Los Angeles. And now Epstein, for whatever reason, has forfeited the only significant the position that statistics have ever held.

So with public image destroyed, status set back like it's 2001, statistics are on the defensive. And all for what? A single, radical manager who didn't know what he was doing, and baseless accusations and associations by the media and fans.

2005 Database

So for those of you who follow me and/or fantasy baseball, you may know that I do a database every year. It started out as simply a compilation of the typical stats, then progressed to sabermetrics, and, perhaps ironically, finally to the pinnacle of sophistication and utility, a fantasy baseball rotisserie database.

I've toyed around with formulas for the past few years, and last year I finally got serious, and started using some real, hard data direct from Yahoo! fantasy leagues. This year, same formula, although I hope my data set is a bit more refined and accurate this time around (data from 36 randomly chosen Yahoo! leagues).

Anyhow, the basic premise is this: Calculate the average delta between ranks for each rotisserie category. For example, take homeruns. The leader may be 240, and the last place player might be something like 150, and of course you have the middle 10. You would take the delta between each rank, so the difference in home runs between the first player and the second player, second player and third player, et. al. Finding the mean of these, you arrive at the average number of homeruns you would need to hit, to move up a rank (and one point).

Ahh, so, with that, of course then you'd simply be able to divide a player's total homeruns (or, projected totals, if you're doing predictions for next season) by that homerun per rank constant, which will give you exactly how many points that player's HR total is worth. Say that the HR constant is 9 HR/rank. If a player hits 45 homeruns, that's equivalent to 45/9=5 points. In a layman's explanation, if the average delta for rank is 9 HR, then +45 HR would signify an average rank boost of 5 (an +5 points). Thus, if a player were to add 45 HRs to your team's total, it would reason that his sole contributions would amount to 5 points, in that homerun category.

So, simply calculate such for every rotisserie category, and add them all up for each player. Simple concept enough, although I must tell you it is a mountain of work to come up with these constants each year.

For the average categories, things are a bit different, because they're not solely dependent on the raw numbers. A 2.50 ERA from your starter is worth much more than a 2.50 ERA from your reliever, because your starter may have three times as many innings. I used to calculate this by simply setting an average number of innings (something like 180), and adjusting based on that (so, if a player pitched 200 innings, his ERA value would be multiplied by a factor of 200/180). Needless to say, it was a wholly arbitrary system, and served little bearing on direct statistical calculations (although it was serviceable for pitcher-to-pitcher comparisons). Last year, I developed a formula actually based on the Yahoo! league format, where IP limit is set at 1250 innings per season. Thus, take the number of innings the player has, and remove this from the 1250. For the remainder, assume that all of those innings are pitched at the league average 4.something ERA, factor in the player's ERA and innings, and arithmetically evaluate the new cumulative ERA (with the player's innings at his ERA, and the rest of the innings at league average ERA) with the league average ERA. The difference then, divided by the Yahoo! ERA delta constant, is the points of the player. Again, in layman's terms: We assume a plain league average for a team, and then find what the ERA would be if the player is inserted. We thus find the ERA delta (or in cases like Jose Lima, the elevation) that the player contributes, and find out how many points this is worth by dividing by the (delta ERA)/(rank) constant. The same type of system goes for WHIP, and similarly for hitters, where the AVG stat is calculated assuming the other 8 guys hit at league average, and inserting the hitter at 9th.

Ahh, so the stats, the stats! And those constants, you ask? Well here they are.

HR: 9.01262626262626
Run: 23.3434343434343
RBI: 24.7550505050505
SB: 10.2954545454545
AVG: 0.00248989898989899
Win: 4.10606060606061
Save: 11.7121212121212
K: 47.0606060606061
ERA: -0.111262626262626
WHIP: -0.0193939393939394

Note that ERA and WHIP are negative, because better ranks are for lower stats.

So what does it all mean. Well, judge for yourself. The age-old questions here are answered, however. Yes, the HR is just so slightly more valuable than the SB. You need 10.295 SB's per point, while only 9.013 for a HR (Or, if it's easier to see this way, 1 SB = 0.097 point, while 1 HR = 0.111 points). And the 20-game winner is far far ahead of the 40-save closer, or even the 50-save closer, for that matter.

And so, the top players of 2005? Dominated by hitters, which seems like a bit of a shift from my old constants, which had guys like Johan Santana and Randy Johnson way ahead of the hitters, but then a block of hitters before the next pitchers showed up. But then again, there were no Santana's nor Johnson's this season.

  1. Alex Rodriguez, NYY, 3B - 20.397 points
  2. Albert Pujols, STL, 1B - 19.172 points
  3. Derrek Lee, CHC, 1B - 19.072 points
  4. David Ortiz, BOS, DH - 17.918 points
  5. Mark Teixeira, TEX, 1B - 17.482 points
  6. Manny Ramirez, BOS, OF - 16.840 points
  7. Jason Bay, PIT, OF 16.170 points
  8. Alfonso Soriano, TEX, 2B - 15.662 points
  9. Miguel Cabrera, FLA, OF - 15.587 points
  10. Chris Carpenter, STL, SP - 15.582 points
No real suprises here. Alex Rodriguez certainly takes the cake, as an absolutely complete player overall. Pujols and Lee are also suprisingly up there in the same range, with Pujols aided by an out-of-nowhere speed surge (16 SB's, after having no more than 5 in his previosu 4 years), and Lee with his breakout power season (46 HR's, compared to previous career high of 32). After those three, there is a significant drop off to the next group, although Alfonso Soriano is extremely high, which should be represented once I calculate the position constants (essentially deviation from the average of the top 12 players at that position - 12 because 12 players, for 12 teams, are needed for that position, except for OF, P positions).

The clear trend, however, is toward power hitters. The top 3 guys are power hitters, with a bit of speed, for sure, but directly after them are three straight power-only hitters. It is not until the 12th ranked player, Carl Crawford, at 15.438 points, that we find our first non-power hitter.

That's it for now. Will update later, as I get the position constants calculated, and get into predicting 2006 stats. A downloadable version (Excel file) may be posted in the future, although I'm toying with the idea of actually publishing the thing.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Player Wins

Wee, player wins!

Player wins track the number of games where the run contribution of the player single-handedly wins the game for his team. In essence, it is the number of games that the team could not have won without that player. Useless sabermetrically, but a good stat for MVP debates.

More precisely, the qualification formula for a player win is this:

ΔRuns team won by < (Runs + RBI - HR)

For the 2005 Season:
1. Paul Konerko, Chicago White Sox - 31 wins
2. Vladimir Guerrero, Los Angeles Angels - 29 wins
2. David Ortiz, Boston Red Sox - 29 wins
2. Manny Ramirez, Boston Red Sox - 29 wins
5. Utley, Teixeira, Soriano, Rowand, A. Rodriguez - tied with 26

Win% is the percentage of the team's wins which can be attributed to the player. It simply takes player wins and divides by the team's wins.

For the 2005 Season:
1. Todd Helton, Colorado Rockies - 37.37% (25/67)
2. Jeff Kent, Los Angeles Dodgers - 33.80% (24/71)
3. Richie Sexson, Seattle Mariners - 33.33% (23/69)
3. Randy Winn, San Francisco Giants - 33.33% (25/75)*
5. Teixeira, Soriano, E. Brown - tied with 32.91%

V. Castilla to Padres, B. Lawrence to Nationals

The San Diego Padres trade SP Brian Lawrence to the Washington Nationals for 3B Vinny Castilla.

More bad decisions from San Diego GM Towers, who also dealt Oliver Perez and Jason Bay to Pittsburgh for Brian Giles back in 2003. Vinny Castilla, as you all know, the aging (he'll be 38 this year), power-mashing third baseman who only power-mashes when in Colorado. At .253-.319-.403, he's a barely serviceable 3B, and at his age will only be worse next year.

Brian Lawrence, who was really the Padres #3 pitcher behind Jake Peavy and Adam Eaton, has been one of the more reliable starters that the Padres have had. He pitched 195 2/3 innings last year, just behind Peavy, and had the most starts on the team with 33. Without Lawrence, Peavy and Eaton are the only sure things on this rotation, and Eaton, oft-injured last year, only made 22 starts and 128 2/3 innings.

This move was bad for the Padres in every way. At a pitcher's park like Petco, it's futile to be trading away your only strength advantage to somehow attempt to build a power hitting team. Like a pitching-dominant Rockies, trying to build a team that plays to your weaknesses will not work, or at least will cost much more resources than building a team around strengths. Second of all, Castilla is nowhere near a decent hitter anymore, if he ever was outside of Colorado. He's aging, has never had OBP skills (His career OBP is .324 - outside Coors Field it's .297), and the player the Padres already traded for midseason at third, Joe Randa, is already at his level, if not better.

Worse than acquiring Castilla, is losing a player like Lawrence. No, he's not ace stuff, but for 4 straight years he's eaten up around 200 innings per season, with an ERA of 4.20. A lot of teams would love to have a serviceable guy like that, especially someone who's been so consistent with regards to starts. The Padres got the short end of this deal, but moreover lose one of the most consistent and vital parts of their rotation. Who's going to replace Lawrence this year? After Peavy, Eaton's been banged up, and Woody Williams/Chan Ho Park are not options.

On the other side of the continent, the Nationals have got to be feeling like they came away with a steal. This is the best kind of trade they could have possibly made. They get a solid frontline starter, and get rid of the aging players (and their accompanying salary) who can't contribute any more. Their rotation next year should be rock-solid; Livan Hernandez, John Patterson, Esteban Loaiza, and Brian Lawrence to round out the top 4. Moreover, by moving Vinny Castilla, the Nationals open up room for their 3B prospect, Ryan Zimmerman, who was the #4 overall pick in the draft this June, and already has came up in late September. In 58 AB's he went .397-.419-.569 (AVG-OBP-SLG), and looks to be a franchise cornerstone at the position. Moving Castilla frees up room for him to play full time next season.

So, a frontline starter, and playing time for their young superstar third baseman for the Washington Nats. An old washed-up 3B who'll be cut by mid-season, to the San Diego Padres. What a rout.

Brian Lawrence Stats
Vinny Castilla Stats