Archive for January 2010

Clearing the Bases: Oakland Athletics

January 19, 2010

Baseball in Oakland has been rather tedious the last couple of years. The last time the Athletics made the playoffs was in 2006, which was also the last time that they finished a season with a winning record. Billy Beane has been known for having a relatively low team payroll and is not usually known for going after star players. Instead, he prefers to produce his best players through the farm. The Athletics offer to build a new ballpark in Fremont, California recently got turned down so there is not a whole lot of things to be optimistic about if you are an A’s fan, or is there?

Meet the newest ace in the making in the Bay Area, and no, im not referring to Tim Lincecum. I am referring to a pitcher named Brett Anderson. He arrived in Oakland via the Dan Haren trade in December of 2007. Anderson spent 2008 in the Athletics minor league system. In 2008, he was absolutely superb for being just a young 20 year old. After starting just 13 games, he was promoted to AA Midland and he pitched even better in his six starts there. He showed the ability to have great control as he walked just under two batters per nine innings in his minor league career. He also proved that he can be a dominant strikeout pitcher at a very young age by striking out 9.7 per nine innings throughout his minor league career. He had a very respectable ERA of 3.36.

After he proved to be such a disciplined pitcher in the minors, he was called up to the Athletics rotation this past season where he started 30 games and continued his success. His strikeout numbers regressed a little bit to 7.7 strikeouts per nine innings, but this is still above the A.L. average of 6.9 per nine innings. He also showed that his command of the strike zone was no fluke. He walked only 2.3 batters per nine innings and most importantly, he was able to sustain an above average ground ball rate. Approximately 51% of balls in play were ground balls, which is good for 12th best among major league starters. He has done basically everything that a young pitcher must do in order to be successful so we know that his performance last year is absolutely no fluke. He was one of the most valuable players on the Athletics last year by posting a WAR of 3.8, second to Mark Sweeney.

Now lets look at his pitch f/x data, which is basically tells us everything we need to know about where his pitches are located, how they move, their velocities, etc. I think Brett Anderson’s slider is by far his best pitch, even though he goes to his curveball awfully frequently. His curveball and his slider are two good secondary pitches to his fastball, but I think he should use the change more so he can be more deceiving. He only goes to his slider about 10% of the time but he had about 2.5 runs above average when throwing the slider last year. That was more than any of his pitches. He makes batter whiff 12% of the time when pitching his slider. I also like the movement of his slider because it moves down and in to right-handers and down and away to left-handers. His slider also has about 3.5 inches of break to it. That is not seen very often with the slider, but nonetheless, it is a good pitch. Anderson seems to make a habit of pitching on the left side of the plate from the catchers perspective on most of his pitches. He must do a real good job of jamming right-handed batters which is indicated by his splits here.

So A’s fans, enjoy the ace in the making that you have. He pitched like at an elite level after the all-star break last year with an ERA of 3.48 compared to 4.64 in the first half, allowing 7 HR’s in one more inning pitched compared to 13 in the first half, and lastly, a K/9 of 8.8 and a SO/BB ratio of 4.3 compared to 6.6 and 2.67 in the first half respectively. I think he will be a dark horse AL Cy Young candidate this year. Okay, that might be giving him too much credit.


The Chapman deal looks like it’s a good deal for both sides now.

January 13, 2010

The deal is five years at $25 million with a player option for a sixth year that would make the total deal $30 million. At first this deal looked bad for the Reds. We, then, found out that this deal will be paid out over ten years. Now this deal looked like a steal for the Reds and Chapman and his agents looked like idiots. Yesterday, it was made known that “Chapman can choose to go to arbitration if he’s eligible after the 2012 or 2013 seasons”. This deal looks like it favors both sides now. The Reds have hedged their bets while offering Chapman the most money and Chapman can make even more money if he lives up to expectations.

Trekker says at 12:50: Why didn’t this deal look good for both sides before this random caveat?

Twac00 says at 12:58: Because $5 million a year is a lot to pay a guy with a lot of question marks and hasn’t pitched an inning of major league ball.

Trekker says at 1:04: A bad deal in these situations is shelling out a 100 million (ala the Red Sox) for a guy who hasn’t pitched in the Major Leagues.

I mean how many chances would the Reds have of getting the potential of Chapman. Even if he flames out, I fail to see how taking a risk like this is a bad thing.

We complain that teams the like Marlins, Reds, Royals, A’s, etc. aren’t willing to spend money on players, then when a player with obvious natural gifts, a loose arm, and the potential too put a young core in contention in a year or two, we critique that too?

I just don’t get it. I thought from the moment I heard that the Reds signed him for that money it was a win for everyone involved no matter the results.

Twac00 says at 1:19: The difference between the 2 deals is that Dice-BB didn’t have as many question marks surrounding him at the time.

The risk isn’t what’s bad and it’s not a bad deal once all the details of the contract were made known.

I’m not criticizing the fact that they’re willing to spend the money. It’s what they were spending it on. Now they’re not spending much at all. He’s going to make $1 million dollars this year.

They were going to pay a guy who should start and spend the year in the minors $5 million.

Trekker says at 6:05: Dice-K also didn’t have nearly the upside that Chapman did and doesn’t come with nearly the financial burden.

You want to criticize what they were spending it on, correct? Then do tell exactly what you thought the Reds should be spending their money on exactly. They weren’t going to find an arm with that kind of upside in the draft this coming year. Did you want it spent on veterans? Maybe give that same money to Randy Wolf so you could win 82 games instead of 79 in 2010.

The Chapman signing does many things for that organization.

1) It shows a willingness to spend money to improve the team, which for many mid market teams is a big deal to the fan base.
2) It gives them 5 big time arms in the organization who are all under control for at least 4 years. 3) It gives them the pitching to go along with the Votto/Bruce/Alonso/Phillips/Stubbs core that could be excellent in 2 years when Chapman is ready to be a full time starter.

I actually am not sold on the back loading of the deal making the greatest amount of sense in the world. The Reds could simply ship off Harang or Arroyo to some suitor for nothing but financial relief and pay Chapman his AAV yearly instead of 1 million this year and increasing amounts over the next decade. I mean we would be looking at 4-5 million dollars of the 2017 Reds payroll tied up to a player that won’t be there.

So anyways, if not on an arm like Chapman with true dynamic, front line, organizational changing potential, where would you have liked him to land and what would have liked the Reds to do with that money?

Twac00 says at 6:45: The financial burden that came with Dice-BB is a completely different situation from Chapman because the Red Sox had to pay just to negotiate with him. Therefore, it’s not really fair to say his contract is $100 million when comparing his contract to another player’s. If you want to compare their contracts Dice-BB’s is 6/52 and Chapman’s is 5/25 with an option for a 6th year. Even then it’s not fair because Chapman’s deal is technically 10/25 or 10/30.

Spending money on the draft is a separate thing. They’re going to do that either way. I’m not debating the contract now that we know the details. I was saying that it was not smart spending $5 million a year, the way the deal was originally reported, on a guy that is likely to spend a year or 2 in the minors.

1) They need a 3B. They could have signed Beltre or Figgins. They need a LF. They could sign Damon. Chapman is a bigger asset than these guys because it gets people excited about the future, but at what cost. I don’t think the way we thought the deal was originally constructed was worth it. Now it looks like a great deal and I wish the Yankees thought of it.
2) Their pitching could be real good if Chapman pans out.
3) That team could be really good if the pitching works out. I thought of that the second they signed him.

The thing is $4-5 million today will be less in 2017. I’d really like to see how exactly the deal is structured.

If not Chapman, I wouldn’t have done anything this offseason except looking to trade Arroyo and/or Harang like you said.

Trekker says at 6:49: Its fairly obvious they didn’t have 10 million in free money to spend in 2010 on a 3B, not to mention what would signing a middle aged 3B do for that club when their ace is out for the year, their young players are still developing. Win 82 games and finish 3rd?

A player in development now is also worth vastly more to the organization then sitting on 30 million and waiting for someone like Chapman to fall in their laps at a later date.

Twac00 says at 7:20: I’m not saying they should have. I don’t see anyone that’s worth signing for them outside of Chapman this season. I guess Holliday would have made some sense and the deal he ended up getting was worth spending on him.

I’m not saying that Chapman isn’t worth the total deal. I didn’t like how we thought it was initially being distributed. Now that we know it’s being distributed over 10 years it’s a great deal from the Reds perspective.

Top 100 players of all-time: Recap

January 11, 2010

Over the past month we let guest author “YC” post his version of the top 100 players of all time. Here is the full list, 100-1:

100. Roberto Alomar
99. Willie Stargell
98. Carlton Fisk
97. Ron Santo
96. Carl Hubbell
95. Robin Roberts
94. Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez
.93. Reggie Jackson
92. Sam Crawford
91. Derek Jeter
90. Roy Campanella
89. Mariano Rivera
88. Bob Feller
87. Harmon Killebrew
86. Steve Carlton
85. Al Simmons
84. Willie McCovey
83. Ozzie Smith
82. Larry Walker
81. Jim Thome
80. Luke Appling
79. Kid Nichols
78. Tim Raines
77. Paul Waner
76. Bill Dickey
75. Mike Piazza
74. Edgar Martinez
73. Jim Edmonds
72. Nolan Ryan
71. Al Kaline
70. Mark McGwire
69. Mordecai Brown
68. Craig Biggio
67. Manny Ramirez
66. Juan Marichal
.65. Fergie Jenkins
64. Frank Thomas
63. Robin Yount
62. Tony Gwynn
61. Cal Ripken Jr.
60. Warren Spahn
59. Duke Snider
58. Chipper Jones
57. Pete Rose
56. Ken Griffey Jr.
55. Joe Jackson
54. Arky Vaughan
53. Roger Connor
52. Rod Carew
51. Johnny Mize
50. Ernie Banks
49. Dan Brouthers
48. Charlie Gehringer
47. Jeff Bagwell
46. Carl Yastrzemski
45. Roberto Clemente
44. Wade Boggs
43. Eddie Mathews
42. George Brett
41. Frank Robinson
40. Hank Greenberg
39. Jackie Robinson
38. Johnny Bench
37. Yogi Berra
36. Gaylord Perry
35. Cy Young
34. Nap Lajoie
33. Cap Anson
32. Sandy Koufax
31. Bob Gibson
30. Ricky Henderson
29. Joe Morgan
28. Christy Mathewson
27. Pete Alexander
26. Jimmie Foxx
25. Mike Schmidt
24. Mel Ott
23. Albert Pujols
22. Greg Maddux
21. Alex Rodriguez
20. Tom Seaver
19. Eddie Collins
18. Hank Aaron
17. Joe DiMaggio
16. Tris Speaker
15. Mickey Mantle
14. Randy Johnson
13. Lefty Grove
12. Pedro Martinez
11. Stan Musial
10. Roger Clemens
9. Rogers Hornsby
8. Ty Cobb
7. Honus Wagner
6. Lou Gehrig
5. Walter Johnson
4. Willie Mays
3. Barry Bonds
2. Ted Williams
1. Babe Ruth


76 (100). Roberto Alomar
75 (99). Willie Stargell
74 (98). Carlton Fisk
73 (97). Ron Santo
72 (94). Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez
71 (93). Reggie Jackson
70 (92). Sam Crawford
69 (91). Derek Jeter
68 (90). Roy Campanella
67 (87). Harmon Killebrew
66 (85). Al Simmons
65 (84). Willie McCovey
64 (83). Ozzie Smith
63 (82). Larry Walker
62 (81). Jim Thome
61 (80). Luke Appling
60 (78). Tim Raines
59 (77). Paul Waner
58 (76). Bill Dickey
57 (75). Mike Piazza
56 (74). Edgar Martinez
55 (73). Jim Edmonds
54 (71). Al Kaline
53 (70). Mark McGwire
52 (68). Craig Biggio
51 (67). Manny Ramirez
50 (64). Frank Thomas
49 (63). Robin Yount
48 (62). Tony Gwynn
47 (61). Cal Ripken Jr.
46 (59). Duke Snider
45 (58). Chipper Jones
44 (57). Pete Rose
43 (56). Ken Griffey Jr.
42 (55). Joe Jackson
41 (54). Arky Vaughan
40 (53). Roger Connor
39 (52). Rod Carew
38 (51). Johnny Mize
37 (50). Ernie Banks
36 (49). Dan Brouthers
35 (48). Charlie Gehringer
34 (47). Jeff Bagwell
33 (46). Carl Yastrzemski
32 (45). Roberto Clemente
31 (44). Wade Boggs
30 (43). Eddie Mathews
29 (42). George Brett
28 (41). Frank Robinson
27 (40). Hank Greenberg
26 (39). Jackie Robinson
25 (38). Johnny Bench
24 (37). Yogi Berra
23 (34). Nap Lajoie
22 (33). Cap Anson
21 (30). Ricky Henderson
20 (29). Joe Morgan
19 (26). Jimmie Foxx
18 (25). Mike Schmidt
17 (24). Mel Ott
16 (23). Albert Pujols
15 (21). Alex Rodriguez
14 (19). Eddie Collins
13 (18). Hank Aaron
12 (17). Joe DiMaggio
11 (16). Tris Speaker
10 (15). Mickey Mantle
9 (11). Stan Musial
8 (9). Rogers Hornsby
7 (8). Ty Cobb
6 (7). Honus Wagner
5 (6). Lou Gehrig
4 (4). Willie Mays
3 (3). Barry Bonds
2 (2). Ted Williams
1 (1). Babe Ruth


23 (96). Carl Hubbell
22 (95). Robin Roberts
21 (89). Mariano Rivera
20 (88). Bob Feller
19 (86). Steve Carlton
18 (79). Kid Nichols
17 (72). Nolan Ryan
16 (69). Mordecai Brown
15 (66). Juan Marichal
14 (65). Fergie Jenkins
13 (60). Warren Spahn
12 (36). Gaylord Perry
11 (35). Cy Young
10 (32). Sandy Koufax
9 (31). Bob Gibson
8 (28). Christy Mathewson
7 (27). Pete Alexander
6 (22). Greg Maddux
5 (14). Randy Johnson
4 (13). Lefty Grove
3 (12). Pedro Martinez
2 (10). Roger Clemens
1 (5). Walter Johnson

(): Number in paranthesis indicate ranking in the top 100 list

Things of Interest:

– Mariano Rivera is the only reliever on the list

– Albert Pujols and A-Rod are both top 20 hitters of all-time

– Hank Aaron, the home run king, is not in the top ten for hitters

– Pete Rose, the all-time hits leader, is “just” the 44th best hitter

– Tim Raines and Roberto Alomar both make the top 100 list, but both players did not get elected to the Hall of Fame this past voting season.

Click on the following to view each individual post:











If you have any questions or observations regarding the list, either comment or contact me at:

Top 100 players of all-time: 10-1

January 11, 2010

These next ten players are the best to ever step on a baseball diamond. They have had amazing careers and achievements. They are the best of their own era’s and of all-time. They are my top ten baseball players of all-time.

10. Roger Clemens

1.17/74.6 %/3.09/128.4

Clemens was a pitcher who was dominant for a long time and was also effective. Clemens was fiery on the mound. He once almost hit Mike Piazza with a piece of a broken bat in the 2000 World Series. He’s the all-time leader in strikeouts for the American league and he has won seven Cy Young awards. In 1986 he won the MVP. He led the AL in ERA six times, won twenty games six times, and racked up five strikeout titles. “The Rocket” won two Triple-Crowns and made eleven All-Star games.

9. Rogers Hornsby


People often wonder who the greatest Cardinal of all-time is, but without a doubt it is Rogers Hornsby. He took good care of himself, especially his eyes. He never read the newspaper or watched movies because he wanted to take care of his batting eyes. He hit over .400 three times, won seven batting titles, and retired with the second highest batting average in baseball history. He won two Triple-Crowns and two MVP’s.

8. Ty Cobb


Cobb was a player who played with any kind of injury. He would get seriously cut up in one of his games where the flesh was coming off of him and he still went onto play the next day. Cobb was one of the best hitters ever. He had over 4,100 hits. In twenty-four seasons he had a batting average of .367, the highest in the history of the game. In 1936 he became the first man inducted into the Hall of Fame. He had 222 out of 226 votes. That is more than Babe Ruth. He won the 1909 Triple-Crown and 1911 MVP.

7. Honus Wagner


Some consider Wagner to be the greatest all around ball player in MLB history. It was said that he could be the best player at any position. At the end of his career Wagner retired with more hits, runs, RBI, doubles, triples, games, and steals than any other National League player. Wagner had over 3,400 hits.

6. Lou Gehrig


Overshadowed by Babe Ruth, Gehrig was considered the greatest player who was not the best on his own team. For more than a decade he shared the spotlight with Babe Ruth and then Joe DiMaggio. He set the record for most consecutive games played. He owned the Yankees all-time hits record until Derek Jeter broke it last year. He might have had over 3,000 hits if he did not suffer from ALS. He was the first player to have his uniform retired. Gehrig won six World Series titles while batting clean up. Gehrig won two MVP’s and a Triple-Crown. He was a seven time All-Star.

5. Walter Johnson

1.07/72.2 %/2.36/127.7

Johnson is the greatest pitcher of all-time. He was the hardest thrower of his time. He and Christy Mathewson were the first pitchers to ever be elected into the Hall of Fame. He was a successful pitcher on some terrible Washington Senators teams, and he still managed to win 417 games. Johnson won two MVP’s and three Triple-Crowns.

4. Willie Mays


To an entire generation Willie Mays is the best baseball player they have ever seen. He had power, speed, and a great glove. His most known play is “The Catch” from the 1954 World Series. Mays had eleven Gold Gloves and two MVP awards. Mays hit 660 home runs, and had over 3,400 hits, while batting .302. He went to twenty All-Star games.

3. Barry Bonds


Forever Bonds will be surrounded by talks of steroids and Balco, but what he did on the field was simply amazing. In 2001 he hit seventy-three home runs in a single season to break the record. He also broke the all-time home run record a few seasons ago with 756 home runs. He stopped at 762. He won a record seven MVP awards and they were much deserved. Bonds once had a stretch of eight seasons with an OBP over .400. Bonds won eight Gold Gloves and went to thirteen All-Star games.

2. Ted Williams


Williams lost some years by going to war twice, but he is still considered the best hitter ever. He was the last man to bat over .400. He had over 2,500 hits and over 500 home runs. He hit for power, average, and had a great eye. He won two MVP’s and two Triple-Crowns. Williams was a seventeen time All-Star. Williams had a higher career OBP than Babe Ruth.

1. Babe Ruth


Ruth is the greatest player of all-time. Ruth played in a time when baseball was recovering from the 1919 Black Sox scandal. The sport was lacking attendance, but the Babe’s bat helped to save baseball. He was a great pitcher and hitter. In fact, Ruth was the home run king. He held the record with 714 until Hank Aaron broke it. He retired as baseball’s all-time leader in home runs, runs batted in, and walks. He is one of America’s biggest icons. Ruth was also apart of the greatest rivalry in sports. When Ruth was traded to the Yankees, the Yanks had instant success that barely went away. While the Red Sox struggled for many years, going through tough losses and heart break until 2004. He won the MVP in 1923.

This project was very difficult, but it was also lots of fun. It was cool to look back on some of the games greatest players ever. I put in tons of time and research to finish this project. It was like putting a puzzle together. Some rankings may differ from mine, but that is what makes it cool. I put up my rankings and had a little explanation showing why they belong there. I hope you enjoyed reading this series as much as I did creating it. Thank you to everyone who read and thank you the staff of 4PARL for giving me a chance to make “The List”.

Aroldis Chapman signs

January 10, 2010

While nothing is official yet, it appears Aroldis Chapman has signed a 5 year deal worth thirty million dollars to play for the Cincinnati Reds.

Interesting choice by Chapman. A few of us here are big on him and wanted the Yankees to go after him. But he wanted money and Cincinnati (supposedly!) will not only give him money, but a fast track to the majors.

More deets and thoughts to come.

Matt Holliday and Adrian Beltre sign

January 5, 2010

Today Matt Holliday signed with the Cardinals for a deal worth $120 million over seven years.

This is a very good move for the Cardinals. Over the past few years Holliday has proved he is one of the best hitters and defensive left fielders in the National League. Here are his numbers from the past four seasons including 2010 projections:

Baseballprojection doesn’t have projections for wOBA through WAR and I chose not to use the projections from fangraphs for that, since it would skew from baseballprojection for Games through SLG.

Either way, this is a good deal for St. Louis. He’s just about been a 5+ WAR player the past four seasons, and projects to top that mark again in 2010. Over the life of the contract he’ll average just over $17mil a season. For the next few seasons, he should be able to live up to that contract. The contract is even more favorable for St. Louis when you factor in Holliday really increases their chances of making the playoffs. The NL Central is a weak division and the Cardinals now bolster a lineup with two stars to match their rotation which bolsters two stars. I give the signing a thumbs up.

In other news, Boston continued to get better by signing Adrian Beltre to a one year deal worth $9 million. This deal has a ton of positives for Boston.

1) They signed a quality player for less than his true value. Beltre is about a 3-4 WAR player being paid similar to that of a 2 WAR player. Beltre is a fantastic fielder who can sport an average offensive line.

2) No more Lowell. Lowell has had a solid career, but he is cooked. He has hip problems and now a thumb problem. His offense has declined and is a black hole in the field. Not to mention he is supposed to make $12mil this season. Boston will just have to eat that contract and play Beltre.

3) Beltre helps Boston get better at defense. They already added Cameron who gives them one of the better defensive outfields in baseball. Now they are putting Beltre in an infield that already includes Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis at first base, and Marco Scutaro, giving them a very good defensive roster that can also hit.

4) The way the Yankees have handled their off-season, Boston knows that any additional wins they can pick up will be extremely valuable. Getting Beltre at $9mil is a no-brainer and a great deal.

Top 100 players of all-time: 20-11

January 5, 2010

20. Tom Seaver

1.12/76.7 %/3.04/105.3

Seaver is the best player in Mets’ history. Seaver was a great strikeout pitcher. He won over 300 games and had over 3,600 strikeouts. Seaver qon the Rookie of The Year award in 1967 and won three Cy Young awards. He also made twelve All-Star games.

19. Eddie Collins


Collins was the best second basemen of his time while playing twenty-five seasons in the MLB. He led his league in fielding nine times and also was one of the best World Series performers ever. Collins won one MVP.

18. Hank Aaron


Aaron was the home run king until Barry Bonds came along. He was a good hitter who won two batting titles. Aaron won one MVP award and three Gold Gloves. In his MVP season he helped lead the Braves to a World Series Title. He made twenty-one All-Star appearances.

17. Joe DiMaggio


DiMaggio’s fifty-six game hitting streak might be the hardest record to break. He was an American hero at the time. DiMaggio won three MVP’s and went to thirteen All-Star games.

16. Tris Speaker


One of the games greatest outfielders was also one of the best hitters. Speaker batted .344 in twenty-two seasons. He helped the Indians win their first World Series and also was one the best doubles hitters ever. He was also a key member of the Red Sox 1912 and 1915 World Series teams. He had over 3,500 hits and he won one MVP award.

15. Mickey Mantle


Mantle was the greatest switch-hitter in Major League Baseball history. Some say it might have been hard to surpass a Yankee legend like Joe DiMaggio, but he did it. He hit 536 home runs and won three MVP awards. He also played in twelve World Series and won the triple crown in 1956. Mantle won one Gold Glove and made the All-Star game sixteen times.

14. Randy Johnson

1.17/74.7 %/3.19/91.8

Johnson was one of the most dominant pitchers ever. He won four straight Cy Young awards from 1999 through 2002. His height intimidated opposing batters and gave his a slight advantage. In 2002 Johnson won the pitchers triple-crown. He helped the D-Backs win their first World Series in just their fourth season in 2001. He went to ten All-Star games.

13. Lefty Grove

1.28/71.8 %/3.36/98.3

He was twenty-five years old when he came into the Majors, but he made up for his lost time. He won over 300 games. Grove was an intense competitor and is considered one of the greatest left handers ever.

12. Pedro Martinez

1.05/75.9 %/2.91/75.9

Martinez had two of the best seasons ever by a pitcher in 1999 and 2000. He won three Cy Young Awards and four ERA titles before the age of 31. In 1999 he won the pitchers triple-crown. He also appeared in seven All-Star games.

11. Stan Musial


In his first four seasons the Cardinals won four pennants and three World Championships. Stan “The Man” won seven batting championships and three MVP awards. He had over 3,600 hits. Musial made twenty All-Star games.