Archive for April 2011

Josh Beckett- I never left

April 17, 2011

One of the more annoying media narratives of the past year has been the “decline” of Josh Beckett. After posting three consecutive seasons of 5+ fWAR and being one of the best pitchers in baseball, Beckett sucked in 2010. He was hurt, and his ERA imploded to 5.47. So naturally the media thought Josh Beckett fell apart and was no longer the stud that he was. Which makes no sense to me, considering he had ONE bad season. For real, from 2007-2009 he was monster accumulating 16.7 fWAR. Has no pitcher ever had a bad season before? Hell, after posting six straight seasons of at least 7fWAR, Randy Johnson “only” had a 2.7 fWAR the next season. And the season after that- it was 9.9. I’m not saying Josh Beckett is Randy Johnson, but the “oh noes what’s wrong with Beckett?!!?!!?” storyline is one of the more ill-conceived notions the MSM has constructed in a while. And it took was a simple look at his 2010 numbers to see why.

As far as strikeouts go, Beckett had a 8.18 K/9, which was in line with his career rate. However, his HR/9 skyrocketed to 1.41 despite the fact his FB% was in line with his career average. So what happened? BABIP. It was .338, a career high for him. As a result, home runs against surged and his LOB% fell to a lowly 65.3%. Ouch. Despite all that, his FIP was still 4.54 and his xFIP was 3.86. Naturally one would expect his BABIP, resulting in less homers and more runners stranded. Assuming his K rate stays the same, he would be back to his old.

So, Josh Beckett would like to say, “F-U” to the MSM. Granted he has a very SSS of 20 innings this season, but his K/9 is 10.35 and he has a 1.97 FIP. After dealing with injury most of last season, Beckett seems to have finally got his strength and mechanics back. And fortune has been on his side.

Carlos Delgado and the Hall of Fame

April 15, 2011

In other recent news, Carlos Delgado has officially retired. He was a big time player at his peak, but is he a Hall of Famer?

Looking at his basic line, one might assume so. He hit .280/.383/.546/.390/135+. That’s pretty damn good. HOWEVER…he wasn’t a good fielder. He racked a negative 60.8 fielding runs according to fangraphs. Yikes! Moreover, he was a first baseman in baseballs biggest power era. So yeah, without context his line looks extraordinary, and it still is a good line, but relative to his era, it’s not Hall of Fame.

WAR also disagrees with Delgado’s HOF candidacy. According to fWAR, his career total was 49.1- and it’s even lower according to B-R. His WAR/700 is 3.97. That’s not cutting it. He only had 1 MVP level season (6+ WAR) and his WAE was “just” 14.3. He was an excellent player for a good bit, but he wasn’t special.

So while he enjoyed a good career, it was not quite on a Hall of Fame level. Sorry Carlos.

The Adrian Gonzalez and Clay Buchholz extensions

April 15, 2011

The big news of the day is that the Red Sox inked star first baseman, Adrian Gonzalez, to a 7/$154mil deal, the largest in Red Sox history. So let’s take a look at it, shall we.

Gonzalez will make $22mil per season, starting in 2012, his age 30 season, and it will last through his age 36 season.

So let’s hypothesize. Let’s say he posts a 6 WAR season as a thirty year old. We will decrease that by 0.5 wins as we move into future seasons. The $ per WAR will start at $4.5mil and go up by $.25mil. So…

It looks like a good deal for Boston. Adrian Gonzalez is a monster hitter who should thrive at Fenway, and is a good defender as well. However, I do think my WAR forecasts are a bit too high. It’s ambitious to think an aging 1b would decline so gracefully. But it is likely he does age well, especially because of his talent.

So nice extension Boston.

Now onto Clay. He signed a 4/$30mil deal with two options (it’s really 4/$29.7, but whose to argue?). In 2012 he will be paid $4.5mil including his signing bonus. That bumps up to $5.5mil in 2013 and $7.7mil in 2014 for his last arbitration season. 2015 is also bought out for $12mil. It also covers his age 27-30 seasons.

I believe the deal is a steal. In arbitration, he would make around $3.5mil his first year, but he would make way more than $5.5mil and $7.7mil in the subsequent years. Boston is not only saving on money they would have paid out in arbitration, but they save money compared to his market value. And Clay can now afford a laptop.

One week and two good deals for Boston.

Trevor Cahill is worth the money

April 13, 2011

Recently, he signed a 5/$30.5mil extension with Oakland. So it will buy out three arbitration seasons, and another year of free agency. The deal will run through his age 23-27 seasons.

I like this deal. Look, Cahill may not be as good as his ERA and other basic numbers suggest. He had an ugly 5.33 FIP in 2009, and the difference between his FIP and ERA in 2010 was 1.22. But he is still a young pitcher, who was considered a top prospect. Not all pitchers turn into Cy Young out of the gate. He is a ground ball pitcher, which is always a plus. His career GB rate thus far has been 51.9%. That is key since he is not a strikeout pitcher- yet. So far in the majors he has never had K/9 above 5.4. BUT, in the minors he had some very high K rates. Does that mean he will become a strikeout king one day? Probably not- but it does show he has the potential and skill to develop into a pitcher who can strikeout a fair amount of batters. Once he does that, assuming he keeps a good GB rate, he could be a very good pitcher, especially since he pitches in a pitcher-friendly ballpark.

Cahill posted a 2.2 fWAR in 2010, which meant his value was $8.7mil. For a 22 year old, that’s pretty damn good.

The payout of his contract looks like this:

2011- $1.5mil

2012- $3.5mil

2013- $5.5mil

2014- $7.7mil

2015- $12mil

So, he was originally making $440K this season, but that bumps up to $1.5mil. However, he will certainly be worth more than $1.5mil this year, so that’s a good saving for Oakland. For his arbitration years, I think Oakland will not be saving too much in terms of what he would have made through arbitration. $3.5mil was a realistic number for his first year of arbitration and using the 40/60/80 scale, he would have made $5.6mil in 2013 and $10mil in 2014. So there is some saving there. HOWEVER, if he continues to develop as he matures, Cahill would be worth more than a total of $16.7mil from 2012-2014.

Looking at his free agency year, he would have been 27 years old, and I would assume a good pitcher who made between $8-$10mil in his last year of arbitration. I can only imagine $12mil per year would have been a starting point for his services.

So yes, I like this deal for Oakland. Cahill is not a star yet, and may never be a star, but Oakland is locking up a quality pitcher for less than his market value.

My one concern is what this means for the teams other young players. It’s not secret the A’s are a frugal and if this potentially keeps them from locking up a Daric Barton or Gio Gonzalez as well, then I may re-question this deal. Until then, it gets a thumbs up from me.

4PARL 2011 (Belated) Season Predictions

April 10, 2011

Very late. School happens.

 

Disco Playoffs:

Boston over Texas
Minnesota over NY
Boston over Minnesota

Phillies over Reds
Braves over Giants
Braves over Phillies

Red Sox over Braves

ES:

Red Sox over White Sox
Rangers over Yankees (This comes down to who acquires a pitcher or whose young gun develops, Hughes v Felix/Holland)

Phillies over Brewers
Braves over Rockies

Red Sox over Rangers
Braves over Phillies

….I refuse to put the last one.

Twaco:

Yankees over Tigers
A’s over Red Sox

Reds over Phillies
Brewers over Rockies

Yankees over A’s (Game 7 walk-off HR from Eric Chavez)
Reds over Brewers

Reds over Yankees

Disco’s awards:

AL MVP: A-Rod
NL MVP: Pujols
AL Cy Young: Jon Lester
NL Cy Young: Roy Halladay
AL ROY: Jeremy Hellickson
NY ROY: Aroldis Chapman
AL COY: AJ Burnett
NL COY: Matt Kemp
AL Fireman: Joakim Soria
NL Fireman: Aroldis Chapman
AL Offensive POY: Manny Ramirez
NL Offensive POY: Albert Pujols
AL Defensive POY: Evan Longoria
NL Defensive POY: Troy Tulowitzki
AL Most Improved: Brian Matuz
NL Most Improved: Seth Smith
AL Breakout: Max Scherzer
NL Breakout: Pedro Alvarez
AL Player to watch- Shin-coo Choo
NL Player to watch- Jayson Heyward
BOLD ASS Predictions
Cubs win the Central
Mike Morse wins the MVP (or at the HR crown)

 

 

AL EAST preview STILL to come. I don’t care if we put it up in September. It’s coming. Oh yeah, not even two weeks in and my Manny for AL Offensive POY is looking real good.

 


Manny Ramirez retires

April 8, 2011

WOW! This is HUGE news.

When I get a chance this weekend I will post my reactions, my AL East preview, and my season predictions- albeit a week and a half late.