Archive for November 2009

Clearing the Bases: Seattle Mariners

November 28, 2009

2010 Seattle Mariners:


With a new front office led by general manager Jack Zduriencik the 2009 Seattle Mariners made one of the quickest turns into a winning, defensive oriented team we have seen in recent memory. With spectacular defense lead by Franklin Gutierrez, Jack Wilson, and perhaps the best pitcher in the game today Felix Hernandez, the Mariners seem well on their way to competing. The challenge of course for Seattle is to take the next step in a division that has the always competitive LAA Angels and the young and talented Texas Rangers. We will take a look at a few moves that would keep the Seattle Payroll fairly static going forward and push them into the driver’s seat in the AL West.

Moves:
* Sign the best arm on the free agent market. This may seem like a no brainer and well it is. John Lackey has spent his career on the west coast, the Seattle Mariners have money to spend and a need for a #2 behind Hernandez. Although his perforamce has been better then AJ Burnett over his career, starting his season in May the last 2 years gives some cause for concern. Sign John Lackey 5 year/$90 million.

* Rumors about the Athletics not tendering Jack Cust a contract gives the Mariners an opportunity to find a discount DH that adds power to an otherwise powerless offense. Sign Jack Cust 1 year/$4-5 million.

* Signing 1B off a career year may not seem like the best move, but unless the Mariners want to increase payroll more then needed and put their faith in the oft hurt guys like Delgado or Nick Johnson on the FA market, re-signing Russell Branyan seems like a safe bet. Re-sign Russell Branyan 2 year/$10 million.

* Boston has an aging 3B with one year left on a big contract. The Red Sox also seem very willing to trade Mike Lowell for nothing in return and eat a good deal of his salary. With Adrian Beltre likely on his way out, Lowell would fit in nicely as 1 year player. Trade for Mike Lowell and take on $4 million.


* Although the rumors of Curtis Grandersons movement have subsided for the time being a move to Seattle still seems logical here. An average to above average CF, Granderson would slide into an OF with Ichiro in RF and Gutierrez in CF. A defensive juggernaut would be born. Although no real rumors of propsed trades have been leaked all over, a deal involving Seattle OF prospect Michael Saunders who hit .310/.378/.544 at Triple A Tacoma in 2009 before struggling in very brief appearances in the major league level, SS Carlos Triunfel who had a rough year at the plate but has been a highly touted prospect very early in his career seems like a deal that could work. The Mariners may have to include another player, perhaps one of their many hard throwing bullpen arms, but a deal here seems like it could get done. Trade for Curtis Granderson $5.5 million in ’10.

Those 5 moves would leave the Mariners with the Following Lineup and rotation:

(Slash Lines and UZR are projections from baseballprojection.com and beyondtheboxscore.com, Links found below)

C – Adam Moore                    .248/.304/.379
1B – Russell Branyan           .247/.338/.503 +0
2B – Jose Lopez                     .280/.311/.466 -1
3B – Mike Lowell                  .268/.324/.433 +1
SS – Jack Wilson                   .257/.301/.362 +6
LF – Curtis Granderson     .267/.344/.469 +2 (as a CF)
CF – Franklin Gutierrez     .268/.325/.418 +16
RF – Ichiro Suzuki               .305/.338/.400 +7
DH – Jack Cust                       .231/.366/.430

SP – Felix Hernandez
SP – John Lackey
SP – Ian Snell
SP – Ryan Rowland-Smith
SP – Fister, Morrow*, Olson

CL – Aardsma

Bench – Bill Hall, Ken Griffey Jr., Jack Hannahan, Tuiasosopo, FA backup catcher

Bullpen – Lowe, Batista, White, Kelly, Morrow*.

Notes:

*This would leave Seattle with a payroll at just below the 2009 figure of $98,904,166.

*Brandon Morrow should be given another shot in the rotation, however if he fails being placed back in the bullpen where has had success seems logical.

*Granderson/Gutierrez have horrible splits, Granderson unable to hit LHP and Gutierrez unable to hit RHP. Having them in the same OF, provides spectacular defense, but also for Seattle to fluctuate their lineup based on the opposing SP.

*Milwaukee is paying $7+ million of Bill Halls remaining contract in 2010, in case you were attempting to compute the payroll

*Jack Cust not being tendered a contract by Oakland is not currently a fact but an idea that has been expressed in many places.

*Ichiro has only once come within .17 points of putting up the projected OBP, it is unlikely his OBP drops .48 points from ’09-’10

*Projections for pitchers are not currently available, when they are this article will be updated.

*This lineup projects to a .263/.328/.429 line in 2010 with increases Seattle’s production across the board the 2009 line of .258/.314/.402.

UZR Projections

Baseball Porjection

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Funny NL MVP voting

November 24, 2009

The 2009 MLB award season has come and gone at last. The always dumb BBWAA had a surprisingly good season, but they couldn’t resist going out with a bang. Click here to see the ridiculousness that was the NL MVP voting results.

I mean, they were so close, SO CLOSE, to having a good season. They got both Cy Young’s AND MVP’s right. While there were some mistakes (i.e. Ben Zobrist not even making the top five), the mistakes weren’t so bad. That is, until, today.

Where oh where should I begin? How about with Chase Utley. He finished eighth. Let me repeat- he finished eighth. EIGHTH! Eighth. Eighth. Not second. Not third. Eighth. What a joke. Seriously. That’s all I can say. If there was ANY NL player that could even remotely challenge Pujols, it was Utley.  His 7.6 WAR was second best in the NL to Albert Pujols among position players. He won the Gold Glove and Silver Slugger. Outside Pujols, only three players were within a win of Chase Utley. His UZR/150 was also the fourth best in the NL. Some guy voted him tenth. It’s sad that while Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard got MVP’s, Chase Utley was only the second best player in the NL the past few seasons and still gets no recognition from the media.

Other jokes:

– Yunel Escobar got a fifth place vote. This is the worst vote of all time. Well, almost the worst of all time because…

– Jeremy Affeldt got a vote. This is not a typo. I mean it.

– Ryan Zimmerman was 27/30 with just one more vote than Jeremy Affeldt. I mean, he only had the best UZR/150 in the NL along with the fourth best WAR among position players.

– Tim Lincecum won the Cy Young but finished behind Chris Carpenter AND Adam Wainwright for MVP voting. Huh?

Just how similar are Kevin Garnett and Dirk Nowitzki?

November 20, 2009

Here is a basketball post from someone named “ASJ”.  Enjoy the change of pace.

Kevin Garnett is widely regarded as a top 10 player of all-time, and one of the best PF’s of all-time as well. Dirk is usually put somewhere in the top 20, and known by many as the best international player the NBA has ever seen. I felt like comparing these two players, as they seem quite similar on paper.

Dirk Nowitzki: 7’0″, 237 pounds — 9th overall in the 1998 draft
Kevin Garnett: 6’11”, 220 pounds — 5th overall in the 1995 draft

Nowitzki’s Per Game Career Stats:
22.8 ppg, 8.6 rpg, 2.7 apg, 0.9 stl, 1.0 blk, 1.9 TOV in 36.6 mpg.

Garnett’s Per Game Career Stats:
20.1 ppg, 11.0 rpg, 4.3 apg, 1.4 stl, 1.6 blk, 2.5 TOV in 37.5 mpg.

At first glance, it’s easy to tell whose strength is what. Nowitzki is the more talented scorer, having a 2.7 ppg advantage, while Garnett is obviously much better defensively (more blocks and more steals). Garnett, however, does turn the ball over more.

So let’s look a little bit more in depth, shall we?

Nowitzki’s Advanced Career Stats:
23.9 PER, 117 ORtg, 103 DRtg, 58.0 TS%, 51.0 eFG%, 13.3 TRB%, 13.0 AST%, 1.3 STL%, 2.1 BLK%, 26.8 USG% with a total of 140.3 Win Shares

Garnett’s Advanced Career Stats:
23.8 PER, 111 ORtg, 99 DRtg, 54.7 TS%, 50.1 eFG%, 17.1 TRB%, 20.5 AST%, 1.9 STL%, 3.2 BLK%, 25.5 USG% with a total of 159.7 Win Shares.

So again, we see that both players have their own individual strengths. Dirk is minutely more efficient (but that small of a difference is not really much at all). He’s the quite superior offensive player, as he is a much better shooter and his ORtg is a full 6 points higher than KG’s. However, it is also seen that KG is absolutely dominant when it comes to defense and rebounding, posting a sub-100 DRtg (regardless of the teams he has played on), and better rebounding, steals, and block percentages.

Dirk has a higher USG%, as he is, and always has been, the main scoring threat on his team. KG, on the other hand, has seen his USG% decrease during his tenure in Boston, as he is probably the 3rd or 4th option on that team (Pierce and Allen….even though Allen sucks this year, and the emergence of Rondo).

Also, it should be noted that KG is responsible for about 20 more win shares in his career, but that doesn’t mean much, considering he played 3 more seasons than Dirk did.

So what’s the point of all these stats? It just shows that both of these players are so similar, and yet nearly the exact opposite of one another. Dirk’s style of play is much different than KG’s, in that Dirk usually roams the perimeter more, not going down into the post as much as KG. His European style of play, despite being 7 feet tall, allows him to be one of the best shooters in the league today. KG, on the other hand, is usually pounding the ball inside, fighting opposing PF’s and C’s for rebounds and what not.

Dirk’s defense is really not that good at all. he has played on average defensive teams, and posted an average DRtg. KG is obviously a dominant defensive force, having won DPoY before.

Dirk’s offense is better, as KG is not as versatile. KG has range on his shot, but he’s not as mobile, and does not have the handles that Dirk does. At a certain point, KG’s mid-range jumper just does not work!

I do think it’s quite obvious that right now, KG is the better player. However, this year, Dirk has proven himself to be better. If this continues, I do believe Dirk may be able to pass KG in the all-time rankings.

I said “MAY BE”. Don’t get your panties in a bunch, Boston fans 🙂

So what do you all think?

Upcoming schedule

November 18, 2009

Busy, busy, busy time of year. Here are some plans- if time is on our side.

– We have a young kid who wants to show off  his baseball smarts and challenge Bill James by creating a top 100 players of all-time list

– We plan on doing a series of posts concerning players who should be in the Hall of Fame- most of them will be probably be the obvious cases

– We plan on doing a post addressing each MLB franchise, whether it is something current or something historical within that franchise.

– We will try to follow the upcoming Hot Stove season

– We will get some B-ball related posts going with some articles by our brethren at WNR4HL (who are M.I.A. lately)

Stay tuned!

And remember- Wu Tung Clan ain’t nothin’ to fuck with.

A letter to MLB coaches and managers

November 13, 2009

Dear MLB coaches and managers,

About an hour ago, the AL and NL Silver Slugger Awards were announced. The winner of the Silver Slugger for second base in the AL was Aaron Hill. This angers me deeply. Aaron Hill had a good season, but he was not the best hitting second basemen in the AL. That title, for 2009, belongs to either Robinson Cano or Ben Zobrist.

Before I make the case for Cano or Zobrist, let’s take a look at where Hill ranks among AL second basemen. Aaron Hill was 6/10 in BA, 8/10 in OBP, 3/10 in SLG, 4/10 in wOBA, 4/10 in wRAA, and 3/10 in EqA. He had a good power season, which is why he was middle of the pack in terms of wOBA and wRAA, but he has a below average OBP which kills a lot of his offensive value. For his OBP alone he shouldn’t be able to win the Silver Slugger.

Robinson Cano was 1/10 in BA, 5/10 in OBP, 2/10 in SLG, 2/10 in wOBA, 2/10 in wRAA, and 2/10 in EqA. He was BETTER than Hill in every category. Just look at them head to head:

Hill: .286/.330/.499/.357wOBA with 17.0 wRAA and .277 EqA
Cano: .320/.352/.530/.370wOBA with 23.1 wRAA and .287 EqA

There is no comparison. Cano was clearly better in BA, OBP, SLG, wOBA, wRAA, and EqA. And if you look at statcorner’s wOBA and wRAA calculations, the difference is even more pronounced. Hill’s wOBA and wRAA according to them was .361 (106 wOBA+) and 12.5 bringing his hitting WAR to 3.3. Meanwhile, Cano’s wOBA and wRAA were .381 (112 wOBA+) and 22.9 bringing his hitting WAR to 4.2.

There is only one AL second baseman that can challenge Cano for best hitter and that is Ben Zobrist. Zobrist was the second most valuable player in the AL on a per 150 games basis according to WAR and his line was:

Zobrist: .297/.405/.543/.408wOBA with 39.3 wRAA and .317 EqA.

However, he only started 81 games at second and only played in 91 games at second. So if he won the award, he would clearly be deserving. But since he only started 53% of his games at second, then the only other choice for AL Silver Slugger at second base this year is Robinson Cano.

Please coaches and managers, get your facts straight. You just deprived a good, young player of an award he can put on his resume, that bogus writers in the BBWAA will check at the end of his career.

With love,
Disco

PS- Other AL second basemen who had a better or nearly identical offensive season compared to Hill:
>Dustin Pedroia
>Brian Roberts
>Ian Kinsler
>Alberto Collaspo

EDIT: In our awards post I did vote for Zobrist as the Silver Slugger. Either Zobrist or Cano deserved it, depending on if you don’t want to vote for Zobrist because he only started 53% of his games at second base.

AL Gold Glove Winners

November 10, 2009

1B: Teixeira

2B: Polanco

3B: Longoria

SS: Jeter

OF: A. Jones

OF: Ichiro

OF: Hunter

C: Mauer (He’ll win this until hes no longer a catcher, you can write that down)

P: Buehrle

Guitierez doesn’t win. Super Duper Failure on the voters part.

I think Andrus should have been the SS choice for GG, but these choices aren’t “horrible” like some years.

Hall of Fame or no Hall of Fame, that is the question

November 9, 2009

I’ve been reading Tom Tango lately, and recently he’s talked about a trick or shortcut in determing if someone is worthy of the HOF. So he’s an extended quote:

As I’ve talked about in the past, the best way to get a sense of someone’s place in history is to compare the player to his peers.  And typically, you get about 20-25 players elected to the Hall of Fame for every decade of birth years (with about one-third of those pitchers).  Seeing that the best of the new crop of eligible players were born between 1963-68, I decided to list the best players born between 1961-1970.  Here are the best non-pitchers, in alphabetical order, by position class (all have at least 50 WAR according to baseballprojection.com):

WAR born retroID player

Catchers:
59 1968 piazm001 Piazza Mike

Infielders (2B, SS, 3B):
64 1968 alomr001 Alomar Roberto
66 1965 biggc001 Biggio Craig
59 1968 kentj001 Kent Jeff
69 1964 larkb001 Larkin Barry
56 1967 ventr001 Ventura Robin

Outfielders:
172 1964 bondb001 Bonds Barry
67 1970 edmoj001 Edmonds Jim
80 1969 grifk002 Griffey Ken
65 1967 loftk001 Lofton Kenny
64 1968 shefg001 Sheffield Gary
60 1968 sosas001 Sosa Sammy
67 1966 walkl001 Walker Larry

Firstbasemen/DH:
80 1968 bagwj001 Bagwell Jeff
58 1964 clarw001 Clark Will
67 1963 marte001 Martinez Edgar
51 1963 mcgrf001 McGriff Fred
63 1963 mcgwm001 McGwire Mark
57 1968 olerj001 Olerud John
66 1964 palmr001 Palmeiro Rafael
76 1968 thomf001 Thomas Frank
66 1970 thomj002 Thome Jim

How many of those should (or will) make the Hall of Fame (based on your criteria, or those of the Holy Writers)?  If we look at every 10yr birth class, the high was the 36 players born from 1898-1907.  The low was the 13 players born 1924-1933.  More recently, there were 21 players born 1938-1947 elected to the HOF.  It’s fair to say that every ten year birth class should have somewhere between 20-25 players, more or less, with about 30% of them being pitchers, more or less.  So, somewhere around 15 non-pitchers.  The above list contains 22 non-pitchers.

If you can knock off about 7 players, the rest are likely to make the Hall of Fame.  Is there anyone out there that is knocking out Alomar or Larkin?  And how many of you are knocking out Edgar from the above list (and if you are, how many players are you left with)?  Fred McGriff would seem to me to be the cusp-player.

UPDATE: Here are the best pitchers:


born WAR retroID player
1962 128 clemr001 Clemens Roger
1963 92 johnr005 Johnson Randy
1966 97 maddg002 Maddux Greg

1965 65 browk001 Brown Kevin
1966 67 glavt001 Glavine Tom
1968 75 mussm001 Mussina Mike
1966 70 schic002 Schilling Curt
1967 65 smolj001 Smoltz John

1967 50 appik001 Appier Kevin
1963 58 coned001 Cone David
1962 55 finlc001 Finley Chuck
1964 48 goodd001 Gooden Dwight
1961 46 key-j001 Key Jimmy
1962 47 moyej001 Moyer Jamie
1964 47 rogek001 Rogers Kenny
1964 55 sabeb001 Saberhagen Bret
1963 51 welld001 Wells David

1969 47 rivem002 Rivera Mariano

So who am I leaving off?

Jeff Kent, Will Clark, Fred McGriff, John Olerud, Sammy Sosa, Gary Sheffield, and Robin Ventura. For the pitchers its Kevin Appier, David Cone, Chuck Finley, Dwight Gooden, Jimmy Key, Jamie Moyer, Kenny Rogers, Brett Saberhagen, and David Wells.

I just want to say what an amazing generation of players. This will probably go down as the best HOF generation in baseball history’s. To have this many great pitchers and hitters grouped into one generation at a single time is amazing. Steroids? Sure, but that shouldn’t tarnish the general amazingness of the generation.