Archive for December 2010

Is Andruw Jones a Hall of Famer?

December 31, 2010

Fangraphs asks the question. My answer is a resounding, YES, YES, YES!

I believe to be eligible you need to have a 10+ year playing career.

Jones was a great player for about 10-11 consecutive seasons. There are several players in the HOF who have had less consecutive and less total great seasons.

He should be in.

From 1998-2006, nine seasons, he had 7 seasons where his WAR was above the MVP level of 6.0. The other two years? 5.4 and 5.8. Yeah, so he essentially was an MVP caliber player for a straight nine seasons. In 1997 and 2007 he was in the 3 WAR range, which is good.

A center fielder who hit .338/.488/.353(OBP/SLG/wOBA) with a career fielding score of 274! 274!

You can’t judge players on recent performance, which is what you’d be doing with Andruw Jones if you don’t vote him in.

Sure, it would have helped his cause had he been productive in his thirties, but he did more than enough during his twenties.

Even if you use rWAR, he still has a career 60 WAR and 240 defensive value. People don’t think his offensive numbers are too great, but for a center fielder they are good (if not as good as contemporaries in Griffey and Edmonds) and his defensive numbers are INSANE.

The HOF median WAR for hitters is 58. The median WAE is 21.5. The median WAM is 2.6. Jones has an fWAR of 70.5, well above the HOF median. His WAE is 35.5, well above the HOF median. His WAM is 7.6, well above the HOF median. And WAM wouldn’t include two seasons of exactly 6.0 WAR.

If this doesn’t persuade you, then I don’t know what will. So I will end with two graphs to summarize everything. The graphs compare Jones to fellow center field contemporaries, who I also believe are HOF’ers: KGIII, Jim Edmonds, and Kenny Lofton.

 

 

San Diego Padres on the verge of signing Brad Hawpe

December 24, 2010

Sorry Padres fan.

Brad Hawpe is a good hitter. But he is a TERRIBLE fielder. His defense is so bad that it practically erases any value his offense gives him. For his career, his fielding value according to FG is -86. In just 831 games. His UZR is -87.4. He is like almost historically bad.

Okay. So Petco Park is like supposedly some really big and spacious park with a ginormous outfield. As a result, you need good defenders with lots of range to cover ground in Petco and the Padres built their success in 2010 off a superb defense.

If they sign Hawpe, they now have baseball’s biggest outfield liability manning right field for them. So a strength of theirs is now becoming a weakness because of one player. They better hope for a lot of ground balls in 2011. But none of their projected starters are big time ground ball pitchers. Moreover, while a good offensive player, Hawpe did receive a boost playing in Coors Field. Now he is going to an offensive wasteland in San Diego. If it affects his offense like I think it will, then I wouldn’t be shocked if Hawpe produces a negative WAR because of his atrocious defense.

To justify the potential signing, the Padres better be paying him minimum wage to be a pinch hitter/inter-league DH or Hawpe better be paying the Padres for a job.

Or maybe San Diego plans on playing him at first base to lessen his defensive burden and because as of now they don’t have a first baseman. In which case it’s just a whatever move and they shouldn’t play him more than a couple mil.

 

My 2011 Hall of Fame ballot

December 22, 2010

Going off what The Yankee U did earlier today, I will be posting my hypothetical Hall of Fame ballot. Obviously I don’t have a vote, but if I did this is what my ballot would look like (in no order)

1. Bert Blyleven (4970 IP, 3.19 FIP, 87.6 rWAR)

Can we give the man his due, BBWAA? He was an extremely consistent, durable, and GOOD pitcher for a LONG time. If that is not Hall of Fame worthy than I don’t know what is.

2. Roberto Alomar (10400 PA, .300/.371/.443/.365/125 and 68.2 fWAR)

He just missed the 75% mark last year so I strongly believe he gets in this year and deservedly so. He was a phenomenal hitter for a second baseman and could bring it with the glove.

3. Barry Larkin (9057 PA, .295/.371/.444/.366/124 and a 69.8 fWAR)

Larkin is a contemporary of Alomar and arguably a better play than Alomar was. Barry was one of the first shortstops to the revolutionize the offensive side of the position, was a great fielder, and had seasons that were above the 6 WAR MVP threshold.

4. Edgar Martinez (8672 PA, .312/.418/.515/.405/151 and a 71.6 fWAR)

He only got 36.2% of the vote last year which is quite pathetic. And you know it’s because he was a DH. The BBWAA recognizes he was an all-time great hitter, but because he only “played half the game” they are gonna penalize him which is bullshit. The fact is, he was a .300 hitter, .400 OBP guy, and .500 power guy. That is exceptional. Moreover, despite being a DH and incurring a large positional penalty, he still accumulated an fWAR over 70. The man is a Hall of Famer.

5. Tim Raines (10359 PA, .294/.385/.425/.374/137 and a 71.0 fWAR)

Tim Raines is the poster boy for SABR-heads everywhere. The BBWAA shoots him down since he lacked power, was overshadowed by Rickey Henderson, and was a part-time player by the time he retired. But he was an on-base god in his prime. Moreover, he was arguably the best base stealer of all-time as he not only stole a high volume of bases (808) but did so at a super efficient rate (85%). He may never be voted into the Hall of Fame, which truly would be a shame.

6. Mark McGwire (7660 PA, .263/.394/.588/.415/161 and a 70.6 fWAR)

The only reason and I mean ONLY reason for leaving him out of the Hall is the whole steroids issue. When it comes to his on-field production, there is no way around the fact he is a Hall of Famer. I mean, just look at the stat line I posted.

7. Alan Trammell (9375 PA, .285/.352/.415/.434/115 and a 69.5 fWAR)

Trammell is another player who will probably never be recognized by the BBWAA. Why? Because they don’t understand context. Nowadays his offensive numbers don’t seem so great but during the era he played in, for a shortstop, those were some crazy good numbers. He was Cal Ripken before Cal Ripken. Also, the MSM fails to properly weight defense and Trammell was a defensive whiz. He and Lou Whitaker were arguably the best DP tandem in baseball history and yet neither is in the Hall of Fame. Something is wrong with that picture.

8. Jeff Bagwell (9431 PA, .297/.408/.540/.406/152 and an 83.9 fWAR)

Yeah, this one is a no-doubter. Bagwell is one of the best players of his generation and one of the best first baseman of all-time. Not even the BBWAA can screw this one up.

9. Larry Walker (8030 PA, .313/.400/.565/.414/145 and a 72.2 fWAR)

Walker should be another no-doubter. Yes, his offensive numbers were aided by Coors Field. BUT he put up great numbers before he got to Colorado, so he wasn’t just a product of Coors Field. Moreover, he was a remarkable defensive player. He was a career .300/.400/.500 guy which is quite impressive.

10. Kevin Brown (3256 IP, 3.33 FIP, 77.2 fWAR)

K-Brown is just the second pitcher on my ballot and a kind of close call for me. Dominant may not be the first word that comes to mind when you think of him, but that’s because, like Mike Mussina, he was overshadowed by other dominant pitchers such as Pedro Martinez and Randy Johnson. The fact remains that Brown has a phenomenal ERA, FIP, and xFIP. His 77.2 fWAR is well above the Hall of Fame threshold and he had 7 MVP-esque seasons according to WAR. He is a Hall of Famer in my book.

 

So I used up all ten spots, but that’s okay since there was no one else I wanted to elect. If only the BBWAA could read this.

Florida Marlins extend Ricky Nolasco

December 21, 2010

The Marlins have signed pitcher Ricky Nolasco to 3/$26.5mil deal that will take him through two arbitration years and one year of free agency as well as his age 28-30 seasons. Great deal for Florida, great deal.

Supposedly he will be paid $6mil in 2011, $9mil in 2012, and $11.5mil in 2013. So how did they fare in the arbitration years? Well using the 40/60/80 scale, he would have made about $6mil in arbitration in 2011. He would have then made about $11mil in 2012. So they come out ahead there by a couple mil. Then in 2013 they are paying him $11.5mil. That is about what we would expect a 2-2.5 WAR pitcher to earn in the year 2013.

So that’s about $9mil per year they are paying him. Using a pay scale of $4.5mil per WAR, that means Nolasco needs to be about a 2 WAR pitcher per year to earn his money. I’d say the odds of him being that are high. In 2008 he had a 3.9 fWAR, a 4.3 fWAR in 2009, and 2.5 fWAR in 2010 when he missed September. So his talent level is probably around a 3 WAR. So let’s say in 2011 he is a 3 WAR pitcher, a 2.5 WAR pitcher in 2012, and a 2 WAR pitcher in 2013. We will increase $ per WAR by .5 each season. Doing that, I have his total value at $37mil.

Good job Marlins! You lock up a good pitcher for three years, a solid length for pitchers. Considering the high injury risk associated with pitchers, going longer than four years can be risky. So they save money compared to his market value, are not handicapped by years, and keep a quality starter in their rotation during his late twenties, when he should be peaking. He will probably be gone after 2013, right when he is entering his thirties so the Marlins could be cutting ties with him at the right. And if everything goes right, he should return a draft pick or two or prospects in a trade during the 2013 season.

 

Milwaukee Brewers acquire Zack Greinke

December 19, 2010

What a crazy off-season. The next piece of shocking news is that the Kansas City Royals have traded ace pitcher Zack Greinke to the Milwaukee Brewers for Alcides Escobar, Lorenzo Cain, Odorizzi, and a PTBNL. Wow. I know the Brewers name came up in trade rumors, but this is still shocking. I didn’t think a trade would happen this fast and I didn’t think Milwaukee would actually land him.

This is a real good deal for Milwaukee, imo. Despite having a stud in Yovanni Gallardo, their starting pitching sucked in 2010. But within a matter of weeks they picked up a solid #3 starter in Shaun Marcum and now add Zack Greinke, who is in the running for best pitcher in all of baseball. A trio of Greinke, Gallardo, and Marcum is quite good. Now, the back-end of the rotation still isn’t good, but if they can add a “project” pitcher, they could have a very good overall rotation. They have a lot of pitching depth, but the pitcher’s aren’t very good. So I would take a risk on a Jeremy Bonderman, a Ben Sheets, etc. If they don’t work out, it’s not like you don’t have someone else who can step in. It may not be a good pitcher, but it’s better than no pitcher.

The Brewers, right now, are my favorites to win the NL Central. Their starting pitching matches up with St. Louis, and the Brewers still have a good lineup. Prince Fielder is still at first. Rickie Weeks is at second. Ryan Braun and Corey Hart are still patrolling the corner outfield. Milwaukee has a good team that should compete with St. Louis and Cincinnati.

As for Kansas City, I am underwhelmed with their return. They got some solid players, but it was in return for Zack Greinke. They could have done better. Alcides Escobar could be a solid player for the Royals down the line. He isn’t much of hitter, but he is a defensive star. His glove should make him a capable everyday player and contribute to a solid KC defense. Lorenzo Cain is an athletic center fielder and a good fielder, but is not a star player in the making. I do think he has a small probability of becoming a star, but I don’t think he’ll get there. He’ll just be an okay, everyday player for KC. Now, Jake Odorizzi is a very good prospect. He’s young and has dominated the low levels of the minors so far. He could become one of the Royals best prospects in a very short time.

So yeah, Kansas City did get good players for Zack Greinke, but they could have done better. I mean, from the Yankees they wanted Jesus Montero. None of the players KC got from the Brewers is on Montero’s level as a player/prospect. The Brewers came out really good in this trade, and Kansas City’s return is just “eh”. I mean, they trade two, relatively cheap years of an All-Star pitcher in his prime, for two okay players and one good prospect (plus a PTBNL). But at least they got rid of Yuniesky Betancourt. So I guess it’s a win.

 

Yankees sign Russell Martin

December 14, 2010

No word on the details yet, but I’m sure it’ll be for less than he’s worth, making it a good deal.

I am a big fan of this deal. He is under team control for two seasons and is a cost-effective option at catcher. At worst, he is still the 2 WAR player he has been the past two years, which is pretty good for a catcher. At best he regains his power and becomes an All-Star caliber player again. Moving to Yankee Stadium and getting more days off could go a long way towards him discovering his old swing. If not, he can get on-base at a good clip. The signing also allows the Yankees to take their time with Jesus Montero, or even trade him for a quality pitcher if the deal is right. Plus, he isn’t a Boston Red Sock. They need a catcher and Martin would have the icing on the cake for the super team they have built up.

While this off-season has sucked for the Yankees, it got a little bit better this morning.

 

Cliff Lee is a Philadelphia Phillie

December 14, 2010

WOW. This might be the biggest off-season news story in baseball history. For real.

 

5 years and $100mil. $20mil per year. Yeah.

 

Not only is this out of left field, but it’s a STEAL for Philadelphia.

 

If you recall, I thought he could be worth as much as $147.5mil over five years or around $29mil per season. So Philly is saving ~$9mil per year in projected value or $47.5mil total. This is groundbreaking.

Does this give Philly the best rotation of all-time? Maybe, maybe not. The 1990s Braves had an okay staff. But we’re looking at three Hall of Fame pitchers, still pitching as if in their prime, and a fourth pitcher who could be a Hall of Famer one day. Simply amazing.

I thought Boston was going to be clear World Series favorites, but if Philly doesn’t win it all, they should all have to retire. But for real, I will myself when Boston and Philly play in the World Series.

The thing is, it’s such a good deal. If he signed in Philly for 7/$161mil or whatever deal the Yanks offered, it wouldn’t be so great. But it’s 5/$100mil. That is well below his market value. Wow.

Cliff Lee needs to enter the Witness Protection Program. He is the most hated person in the MLBPU. They  might hire people to do bodily harm to Lee.

 

As for the Yanks, sell sell sell on 2011. Stock up for 2012 and beyond when the Killer B’s and other top prospects are ready. Trade Nick Swisher while his value is high. 2011 is a lost cause.

We better get Russell Martin so this off-season isn’t a total lost cause. He could regain his past power and become an All-Star again. If not, he is the perfect person to split time with Jesus Montero and since we won’t compete in 2011, it allows us to take it slow with Montero.

Worst off-season ever.