Posted tagged ‘Carl Crawford’

Yankees Sign Jacoby Ellsbury

December 4, 2013

WOW. I am nearly speechless. Waiting in line for dining hall take out and I got the ESPN text saying the New York Yankees signed Jacoby Ellsbury. This is huge news with a lot of implications.

The contract is 7/$153mil meaning an AAV of nearly $22mil. Ellsbury will be 30 for most of the 2014 season and will be 37 when the contract is over. Ellsbury has had some fantastic seasons but has also had some maddeningly poor seasons. In 2011 he had a phenomenal 9.1 fWAR season. But that dipped to 1.4 in 2012 as he battled injuries and saw his wOBA drop from .400 to .300. He rebounded in 2013 to post a 5.8 fWAR with a .343 wOBA.

Year

Age

xWAR

$/WAR

Value

Salary

2014

30

3.9

5

19.5

~22

2015

31

3.4

5.25

17.85

~22

2016

32

2.9

5.51

15.98

~22

2017

33

2.4

5.79

13.90

~22

2018

34

1.9

6.08

11.55

~22

2019

35

1.4

6.38

8.93

~22

2020

36

0.9

6.70

6.03

~22

Total

16.8

93.74

153

Steamer projects a 3.9 fWAR for Ellsbury in 2014 and as he ages I decreased his WAR by 0.5 each season while adjusting 5% for inflation each season.

3.9 might be a low forecast for 2014 but I think it’s realistic so that’s what I went with. All things considered it seems like the Yankees have much higher expectations for Ellsbury. And I hope so because this deal looks TERRIBLE even if you factor in the Yankees win curve and other additional factors that go into analyzing the Yankees unique position in the market.

The Yankees will pay Ellsbury $153mil for an estimated $94mil in value- a difference of $59mil! This is why long term contracts are bad. It’s very hard to get full or even good value on a contract that goes over four or five years. It’s even worse when you aren’t even projected to get good value after four or five years.

With the additional news that the Seattle Mariners will pay Robinson Cano $200mil or more it looks like his days as a Yankee will come to an end. My forecasts have Cano being worth about $162mil over seven years. Robinson Cano is the player worth $150mil+ not Jacoby Ellsbury. It’s even more head scratching when New York has a center fielder for cheap already- that player being Brett Gardner who has arguably been just as good as Ellsbury over their past few full seasons.

Maybe New York is going to go past their self-imposed $189mil budget and can still sign Cano. But all indications seem to be that they will now focus on Hiroki Kuroda and Masahiro Tanaka while signing Omar Infante for cheap to play second and/or third. As stated I think the smarter move would be to pony up a little bit more to keep Cano than grossly overpay for Jacoby Ellsbury. Even if you think Ellsbury will be better than I project- which the Yankees seem to be doing- it won’t make up nearly the $60mil difference between value and actual salary.

I think this contract will play out similar to the one Carl Crawford signed after the 2010 season. He was going to enter his age 30 season. He got a 7/$142mil contract from the Red Sox (then under different leadership). He had similar K rates, BB rates, and ISO to Ellsbury. He was also a fantastic defender much like Ellsbury. Crawford has posted 3.0 fWAR in the three seasons since. Granted he has missed time to injuries, but the contract is turning into an albatross. I fear the same will happen to the Yankees.

Crawford is just one example of many. To use him as the sole example would be poor analysis, especially when other speed players have aged well. But it does show how risky a deal of this magnitude can be, especially for a player with similar skill sets (BB, K, ISO, speed, defense).

To conclude. Poorly done New York. I am curious to learn whether Brian Cashman approved of this or whether this idea is that of Randy Levine or Hal Steinbrenner, which would continue to show the lack of structure in New York’s front office. There is a reason why a well-run team, the Boston Red Sox, let go of their starting center fielder. He isn’t worth nine figures. As long as the Yankees continue to operate this way the gap between them and their rival to the north will continue to grow.

EDIT:

This Dave Cameron article looks at the decline of speedy outfielders. He notes that from age 30-36 this pool of comparable players to Jacoby Ellsbury averages 17 WAR, which isn’t bad. That’s right round the forecast I have for Ellsbury. He will age well, don’t get me wrong. But that’s not $153mil well. And THAT is my problem with the contract- not that Ellsbury will be a poor performer. Heck, he’s still worth almost $100mil over seven years!

Moreover, FanGraphs Crowdsourcing, which is pretty accurate, had a real life expectation of 6/$112mil and a fantasy expectation of 5/$83mil. Although older and not as productive, I think at 7/$153mil it would even make more sense to bring back Curtis Granderson at 3 years and a whole lot less money (although I am against that as well).

Jorge the Baby

May 15, 2011

As you probably know by know, after being placed ninth in the lineup last night, Jorge Posada asked out of the game. Not because he was mad at hitting ninth, but because he’s been struggling. Oh, and he claims his back his hurting him. Yet he didn’t go to team doctors or tell anyone. What a mess.

Do I believe his back is a problem? A little bit. I’m sure at his age it aches a little bit. But do I believe it’s why he took himself out of the lineup? No. He said he saw his own chairopractor. Bullshit. If his back was hurting, he would have told Joe Girardi. He would have gone to the medical staff. I mean, he said he used his back as an excuse. So why make it a mystery and not tell anyone until he told the media after the game. If you’re not going to get it treated, it at least makes sense to tell the manager. That way people will say “oh, he had a back problem” and not say “oh, he quit on the team”.

I think the real reason he dropped himself is because he is a baby- mind the kindergarten level language. That simple. He’s been struggling this season and the move down to ninth was too much for him. He’s a proud man and is taking his struggles to heart. He knows he deserved the drop in the lineup and couldn’t handle it mentally.

But despite struggling, he is easily overhyping his slow start. A .165/.272/.349/.276/69+ line is bad. But it’s not even the worst in the league among good hitters. Carl Crawford has been almost twice as bad. If anything Crawford should be the one pouting since he has been worse, is a lot younger, and making BANK. Yet it’s Jorge who is the one acting like a spoiled Little League kid. That’s not even mentioning the fact Jorge has been hitting better in May, raising his OBP and BA. Plus he does he six home runs, which do count for something. Many players have had worse starts and/or slumps. They never publicly quit on themselves and the team in this manner. And the fact the Yankees are sliding and Boston is in town makes this a lot worse. Jorge is supposed to be a leader and an example in the clubhouse- but I guess not.

This all incident has been extremely embarrassing, especially as a fan, and Jorge’s reputation took a major hit in my book.

Orioles trade for Mark Reynolds

December 6, 2010

In return, the Orioles are sending relievers David Hernandez and Kam Mickolio to the Arizona Diamondbacks.

This is just a ho-hum trade. Mark Reynolds will not be a difference maker in Baltimore. Reynolds will make $5mil this season and $7.5mil next season. If Reynolds can be a 2 WAR player over that time, he will bring value to Baltimore above his contract and be a solid everyday player. But he is not a difference maker or a young kid, so he is just a short term solution until the team is better positioned to make a run at the playoffs in 2013 and beyond.

In return, they gave up two relievers. So they didn’t go overboard giving up prospects or talent for an okay player like Reynolds. On the other hand, the D-Backs are continuing to solidify their bullpen, which was historically bad for much of last season. Neither trade should have a big impact on either team, but for each side the trades make sense for where they are in their development and what goals they want to accomplish.

What I do want to comment on is Adrian Beltre and how he has gotten screwed within the past 24 hours. From the rumors I’ve heard, his three biggest suitors were Boston, Oakland, and Baltimore. Boston no longer has a need for a third baseman. The same goes with Baltimore. Oakland withdrew their offer since Beltre has ignored them since he wanted a bigger deal. Other teams that might be interested are Detroit and the Los Angeles Angels, but those teams also want Carl Crawford and want him more. Moreover, Beltre no longer has leverage. At this point, his price has dropped and he will have to take what he can get. It’s been a rough day for him to say the least.

Valuing the 2011 free agent class: Manny Ramirez

November 27, 2010

Manny Ramirez is one of the more recognizable baseball faces of the past generation. Despite that, he seemingly has garnered zero interest this off-season. But that’s understandable- he’s old, has behavior issues few teams want to deal with at this stage in his career, has been hurt the past couple seasons, and “struggled” in 2010.

So who would want to sign him? If you were to ask me, I’d say the Tampa Bay Rays.

Yes, the Tampa Bay Rays. They are losing Carl Crawford and Carl Pena, two players who have bolstered their lineup for the past few seasons. Even though Pena struggled in 2010, losing those two will be a blow to the offense. Manny Ramirez is one of the best hitters of all-time and even in his injury-plagued “down year” he still had a 141 wRC+ in 320 PA and an OBP north of .400. If you let him strictly DH, so that his body can rest and not deal with the rigors of fielding, I fully believe Manny will continue to produce at a .400 OBP/.500 SLG level of production. Tampa Bay could really use that production after losing two key offensive players- especially if they want to keep up New York, Boston, and even Toronto.

Now, you might ask, isn’t Manny Ramirez too expensive? The dood was paid $20mil last season. Tampa is too frugal to pay him a similar contract. You’re right. But Manny will not be getting paid much. According to this report, the best Manny will do this off-season is 800k to $5mil with incentives. Tampa Bay can afford that.

If Manny hits like he can, at the DH position, he could be a 2 WAR player. So that’s about $9mil-$10mil worth of value. Tampa Bay, as cheap as they are, will and can afford to pay someone that much if they will help the club. Manny can help the club. So if he is paid $2mil-$5mil, he could be a bargain. The best part for Tampa is that Manny will not cost them a draft pick, but when he leaves after 2011, he could net them a pick or two in return. It’s a win-win for Tampa.

Manny is looking for a new home and Tampa Bay is looking for a hitter. I think the two should get together for a little bit.

Valuing the 2011 free agent class: Carl Crawford

November 14, 2010

Alongside Cliff Lee and Jayson Werth, Carl Crawford is the biggest name on the free agent market. So far he has been linked to the Los Angeles Angels, Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, and Detroit Tigers.

2010 was Crawford’s best season as a professional, as he posted a line of .307/.356/.495/.378/141 and 6.9 WAR over 663 PA. His OBP, SLG, wOBA, wRC+, and WAR were all career highs, and he was phenomenal with the glove once again.With a season like that, it’s quite obvious why a lot of teams are licking at the bit to sign him.

However, he will turn 30 during the 2011 season and is a speed and defense type player. If any of those attributes goes, his overall value will take a hit. Defense tends to decline as players age, so that is the risk of paying Crawford eight figures in his mid-thirties. But if he stays athletic, Crawford could be a good player for a long time.

Although his offense will surely regress from 2010 and we may never see him hit that well again, his defense should continue to be superb. Yes, defense tends to decline as a player ages, but there are exceptions. Crawford is freakish athlete who has long been considered the best defensive outfielder alongside Ichiro by fans and defensive numbers. Speaking of Ichiro- another freakish athlete-he is someone who has not seen a dip in his defensive performance. While more fielders go the way of Tori Hunter than Ichiro, I believe Crawford keeps himself in the type of shape that will allow him to continue to be a premium defender well into his thirties.

With that said, I think Crawford will be a serviceable player going forward. I think he will only be a mediocre hitter by the time his deal is up, but his defense will make him valuable. In 2011 I think he’ll be worth about 5.5 WAR with a win being worth $4.5mil. So lets make a table to see how his value will stack up down the road.

Inflation, inflation, inflation. A 3 WAR being worth $21mil in the 2016 market? We’ll see about that, but in this type of analysis you’re supposed to increase the $ per WAR by 0.5 each year.

So yeah, Carl Crawford could be worth a 6/142mil deal or 5/121mil deal. In reality I don’t think he actually get paid that much, but he will definitely receive a nine figure contract for five or six years. And yes, I do think it’s realistic he averages about 4-5 WAR from 30-35.

I think he signs in Los Angeles. The Angels REALLY want him. Although I could see him Boston. However, I think Boston would be more inclined to sign Werth than Crawford. But that’s just a hunch.

 

MLB award winners

November 7, 2010

Sorry for the delayed post on this topic, but without further ado here are my picks for the 2010 MLB awards.

AL MVP- Josh Hamilton (.359/.411/.633/.447/182, 571 PA, 7.0 aWAR)

Hamilton was just too dominant. I concentrated on WAR to figure out my MVP, along with several other factors. Since there are two versions of WAR, I got the average of rWAR and fWAR, which is what Tom Tango recommends. On here I pretty much use only fWAR, but for better analysis, I found the average of two versions this time around. While Hamilton didn’t look at hot with rWAR as he did with fWAR, his average was still the best and I put more stock in fWAR. Granted he missed a month, a month in which he could have slumped. But it also could have been his best month. He put up an insane .447 wOBA with positive defensive value playing center field. That’s an MVP to me.

Runner-ups: 2) Evan Longoria 3)Adrian Beltre 4) Robinson Cano 5) Miguel Cabrera

NL MVP- Joey Votto (.324/.424/.600/.439/177, 648 PA, 6.8 aWAR)

Offensively, Votto was nearly the Josh Hamilton of the NL. He absolutely killed the ball en route to leading the Reds to the NL Central division. Now, while his fWAR bested Albert Pujols, his rWAR was a full win behind Pujols, giving Pujols a better aWAR. However, the difference was due to difference in defensive metrics. According to fWAR, Votto was a slightly better hitter and they were equal defenders. According to rWAR,they were equal offensively, but Pujols was much better defensively.With SSS issues of defensive metrics and the difference in defensive metrics used in each version of WAR, I feel more comfortable saying Votto had the better year.

Runner-ups: 2) Albert Pujols 3) Ryan Zimmerman 4) Matt Holliday 5) Troy Tulowitzki

AL Cy Young- Felix Hernandez (249 IP, 3.04 FIP, 3.26 xFIP, 6.1 aWAR)

For most of the season I had Francisco Liriano as my Cy Young winner. But he got kind of ill in September and faltered a little bit while Felix picked up steam. I feel bad knocking Liriano for that, but he made the starts and wasn’t his usual self. So be it. Hernandez was a boss, leading the league in innings and excelling in all the things a pitcher can control- K, BB, HR allowed.

Runner Ups- 2) Cliff Lee 3) Francisco Liriano 4) Jered Weaver 5) Jon Lester

NL Cy Young- Roy Halladay (250 IP, 3.01 FIP, 2.92 xFIP, 6.9 aWAR)

This one is not even a contest. Halladay arguably had his best season as a professional, leading the league in innings and WAR. Looking at all his full seasons, he posted the best K/9 of his career and tied his best BB/9 at 1.08 walks per nine. He absolutely destroyed the National League.

Runner-ups- 2) Josh Johnson 3) Ubaldo Jiminez 4) Adam Wainwright 5) Roy Oswalt

AL Rookie of the Year- Austin Jackson (.293/.345/.400/.333/108, 675 PA, 3.1 aWAR)

While some people  might pick Neftali Feliz, I think Austin Jackson is a no-brainer. He played a more valuable position, was an above-average hitter and played superb defense. Putting up a 3.7 fWAR as a rookie is impressive. Jackson will be a solid player for Detroit for a long time. Also, if he didn’t get hurt, Caros Santana probably would have won the award. But he was called up late, and then missed a lot of time because of his injury. I put him at #5 anyway just to recognize him.

Runner-ups- 2) Brian Matusz 3) Neftali Feliz 4) John Jaso 5) Carlos Santana

NL Rookie of the Year- Jason Heyward (.277/.393/.456/.376/138, 623 PA, 4.7 aWAR)

Jason. Heyward. Is. A. Beast. I mean for real. He was twenty years and almost put up a .400 OBP in a full season. He had 91 BB despite spending some time on the DL. The dood can hit- and field. It was tempting to pick Posey, especially after watching his postseason, but Heyward had nearly 200 more PA in the regular season and was amazing in his own right. The NL rookie class had to have been one of the best ever.

Runner-ups- 2) Buster Posey 3) Jaime Garcia 4) Mike Stanton 5) Stephen Strasburg

AL Comeback Player of the Year- Colby Lewis (201 IP, 3.55 FIP, 3.93 xFIP, 4.0 aWAR)

In a tightly contested race, Lewis just edges Francisco Liriano. Yes, Liriano had a better season. BUT I find Lewis’ comeback more amazing- and he still had a fantastic season. Sure Liriano hasn’t been relevant since 2006, but Lewis pitched in JAPAN for the past two seasons. At least Liriano was hurt and fiddling around in America.

Runner-ups- 2) Francisco Liriano 3) Vernon Wells 4) Paul Konerko 5) Alex Rios

NL Comeback Player of the Year- Aubrey Huff (.290/.385/.506/.388/145, 668 PA, 5.8 aWAR)

Call this the Year of the Comeback. Much like the AL, there was an abundance of comeback players to choose from. Of all  my picks, this one was one of the toughest. But Huff had the best years of the players I narrowed it down to, and he had the worst performance of anyway in 2009. So he slides in perfectly as the winner.

Runner-ups- 2) Brett Myers 3) Anibal Sanchez 4) Kelly Johnson 5) Rickie Weeks

AL Most Improved/Breakout Player of the Year- Jose Bautista (.260/.378/.617/.422/169, 683 PA, 6.3 aWAR)

I think this one is a no-doubter. Jose Bautista went from a utility-role player to mashing 54 home runs. His WAR reached MVP level. Using fWAR, he bested his previous WAR high of 1.9 by five wins. Wowzers.

Runner-ups- 2) Daric Barton 3) Brett Gardner 4) CJ Wilson 5) David Price

NL Most Improved/Breakout Player of the Year- Andres Torres (.268/.343/.479/.363/128, 570 PA, 5.3 aWAR)

There were a ton of breakout players, but Andres Torres had the biggest breakout. He debuted in 2002 from 2002 through 2005 he never posted a fWAR above 0. Then he went to the minors from 2006 through 2008. He posted a 2.0 WAR last year in 75 games, but really broke out this season with a 6.0 fWAR. He hit well and was a monster of a fielder. Three players I want to mention for improving, but who didn’t even make my top five are Chris Young, Martin Prado, and Omar Infante.

Runner-ups- 2) Jay Bruce 3) Angel Pagan 4) Stephen Drew 5) Chase Headley

AL Relief Pitcher of the Year- Joakim Soria (65 IP, 2.53 FIP, 2.99 xFIP, 2.1 WAR, 2.18 pLI)

Joakim Soria did his best Mariano Rivera performance this season. Not only was he among the leaders in FIP, xFIP, and WAR, but he had the highest leverage index of the players I narrowed my search down to, meaning he performed like a beast in tougher situations than the other candidates for the award. He simply was the best reliever in the AL.

Runner-ups- 2) Matt Thornton 3) Mariano Rivera 4) Neftali Feliz 5) Rafael Soriano

NL Relief Pitcher of the Year- Carlos Marmol (77 IP, 2.01 FIP, 2.95 xFIP, 3.1 WAR, 2.04 pLI)

There were a ton of great relievers in the NL this season. Brian Wilson, Heath Bell, Matt Belisle, etc. But Marmol was the most dominant. His K/9 was 15.99. You read that right. 15.99. Sure, he walked more than five batters per nine, but chances are he would strike out the side before he would walk in a run. His K-BB was a +86. Brian Wilson had 93 STRIKEOUTS. And Marmol’s K-BB was 86. Simply amazing. Plus, he was among the leaders in pLI.

Runner-ups- 2) Brian Wilson 3) Heath Bell 4) John Axford 5) Matt Belisle

AL Silver Slugger Awards-

C- Joe Mauer (.327/.402/.469/.373/136)

1B- Miguel Cabrera (.328/.420/.622/.429/172)

2B- Robinson Cano (.319/.381/.534/.389/145)

3B- Adrian Beltre (.321/.365/.553/.390/143)

SS- Alexei Ramirez (.282/.313/.431/.322/97)

OF- Josh Hamilton (.359/.411/.633/.447/183)*

OF- Jose Bautista (.260/.378/.617/.422/169)

OF- Shin-soo Choo (.300/.401/.384/.388/147)

DH- Luke Scott (.284/.368/.535/.387/143)

* AL Offensive Player of the Year

NL Silver Slugger Awards-

C- Brian McCann (.269/.375/.453/.361/128)

1B- Joey Votto (.324/.424/.600/.439/177)*

2B- Dan Uggla (.287/.369/.508/.381/140)

3B- Ryan Zimmerman (.307/.388/.510/.389/146)

SS- Troy Tulowitzki (.315./.381/.568/.408/150)

OF- Carlos Gonzalez (.336/.376/.598/.416/155)

OF- Jayson Werth (.296/.388/.532/.397/150)

OF- Matt Holliday (.312/.390/.532/.396/153)

P- Yovanni Gallardo (.254/.329/.508/.363/130)

* NL Offensive Player of the Year

AL Gold Glove Awards-

C- Matt Weiters (1060 innings/5 DRS/13 FSR)

1B- Daric Barton (1331 innings/20 DRS/5 FSR/12.1 UZR)

2B- Robinson Cano (1393 innings/7 DRS/10 FSR/-0.6 UZR)

3B- Evan Longoria (1330 innings/15 DRS/20 FSR/11.1 UZR)

SS- Alexei Ramirez (1376 innings/16 DRS/12 FSR/10.8 UZR)

OF- Brett Gardner (1211 innings/16 DRS/12 FSR/21.9 UZR)

OF- Carl Crawford (1260 innings/14 DRS/15 FSR/18.5 UZR)

OF- Ichiro Suzuki (1411 innings/12 DRS/15 FSR/14.8 UZR)

P- Mark Buehrle

NL Gold Glove Awards-

C- Yadier Molina (1138 innings/6 DRS/19 FSR)

1B- Ike Davis (1263 innings/13 DRS/3 FSR/10.1 UZR)

2B- Brandon Phillips (1311 innings/0 DRS/18 FSR/9.7 UZR)

3B- Ryan Zimmerman (1189 innings/20 DRS/16 FSR/13.9 UZR)

SS- Brendan Ryan (1127 innings/27 DSR/11 FSR/11.5 UZR)

OF- Andres Torres (1120 innings/12 DRS/10 FSR/21.2 UZR)

OF- Jay Bruce (1199 innings/17 DRS/9 FSR/20.2 UZR)

OF- Michael Bourn (1189 innings/16 DRS/8 FSR/17.6 UZR)

P- Tim Hudson

Click here to see how we did on our pre-season award predictions!



Buster Olney breaks down the awards races

August 21, 2010

In a recent ESPN article, Buster Olney handicapped the AL/NL MVP and Cy Young races. The piece was interesting enough to draw my attention. I will go through each piece of the article to share my thoughts.

There are six weeks of baseball remaining, a quarter of a season, in which a lot can change. In 2004, Vladimir Guerrero mashed his way to the American League MVP Award by hitting .363 in September and hoisting the Angels onto his back: He generated 11 homers and 25 RBIs in that late push.

There is a lot more baseball to play in 2010. But as of today, here’s how we’d handicap the races for the two major awards in each league.


AL MVP

Cabrera
1. Miguel Cabrera, Tigers. He leads the majors in OPS and RBIs and is tied for second in the AL in homers, all the while playing half his games in a pitchers’ park.

So far I have no complaints. While I believe Josh Hamilton is the MVP, I wouldn’t complain if Miguel Cabrera won the award. I know and you know OPS and RBI are junk stats, but in this case Olney is still picking a solid candidate to win the award.

2. Josh Hamilton, Rangers. He’s hitting .375 since the All-Star break, and .396 overall in home games.

No problems here. Although, saying he has hit .396 at home hurts his argument that Hamilton has been really good. Considering his BA is in the .350 range, it shows his home park has inflated his BA. Considering Olney takes a players home park into consideration- he did so with Cabrera- then Olney did not make a convincing case for Hamilton. My argument wouldn’t hinge on a stat like BA at all.

3. Robinson Cano, Yankees. The most important player in this lineup in 2010, and he has been excellent defensively.

That’s fine.

Others in the conversation: Delmon Young, Twins; Adrian Beltre, Boston; Evan Longoria, Rays; Paul Konerko, White Sox. But to be clear, there is an enormous gap between the top two candidates and the rest of the field.

Really Olney? Really? Delmon Young is in the conversation? What conversation? Young has finally put together a solid year offensively , but his defense continues to suck. His 2.0 WAR is average. Justin Morneau, Joe Mauer, Orlando Hudson, Jim Thome, and Denard Span are all Twins players with a better WAR. That’s 5/9 of the Twins starting lineup alone. Young is not in the MVP conversation.

Paul Konerko is not in the conversation either. He has been good, not great. The worst part is that while Konerko is mentioned, a player on a better team who has had a much better season is not mentioned at all- Carl Crawford. That is a poor oversight by Olney.

NL MVP

Votto
1. Joey Votto, Reds. His numbers are basically running neck-and-neck with those of Albert Pujols — and Votto’s team is in first place, which will count for something in the voting.

Agreed.

2. Adrian Gonzalez, Padres. Numbers do not fully reflect what he means to San Diego’s success, between his defense and what teammates perceive to be an extraordinarily unselfish approach

Stoopid, just stoopid. Olney thinks he is the second most valuable player in the league, when is “only” the fourth most valuable player- at all first base alone! He’s having a fine season, but it doesn’t compare to Albert Pujols or Votto. The entire pitching staff, defense, and lady luck are the MVP’s of San Diego because they are winning due to those three things. Even with A-Gonz, the Padres offense is anemic.

3. Pujols, Cardinals. He’s having another great season.

Good analysis!

Others in the conversation: Aubrey Huff, Giants; Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies; and the Nationals’ Ryan Zimmerman, who will get a lot of top 10 votes. Again, there is a major gap between the top tier of candidates — Votto, Gonzalez and Pujols — and the rest of the field.

I will give kudos to Olney. He mentioned Zimmerman, a top three MVP candidate, which I was not expecting since he is on a last place team and gets a lot of value from defense. So I will excuse him for saying there is a gap between Zimmerman and Votto or Pujols, when Zimmerman might have the best case of the three.

AL Cy Young Award

Lee
1. Cliff Lee, Mariners/Rangers. His WHIP is a major league best 0.95.

Here’s one barometer of just how good Lee has been, from Daniel Braunstein of ESPN Stats & Information:

The lowest percentage of pitches thrown on 2-0, 3-0 or 3-1 counts:

Pct. K/BB
Cliff Lee 3.53 14.50
Roy Halladay 4.21 7.20
Ricky Nolasco 4.72 4.90
Scott Baker 4.92 3.90
Kevin Slowey 4.99 3.92
Phil Hughes 5.00 3.05
Carl Pavano 5.14 3.45
Josh Johnson 5.14 4.26
Roy Oswalt 5.20 3.36
Dan Haren 5.25 4.94
For the sake of comparison, the highest percentage of pitches thrown on 2-0, 3-0 or 3-1:

Pct. K/BB
Gio Gonzalez 9.93 1.81
Tim Lincecum 9.38 2.73
Wade LeBlanc 9.15 2.11
Derek Lowe 9.07 1.87
C.J. Wilson 8.81 1.80
Joe Saunders 8.66 1.62
Jaime Garcia 8.50 1.94
Brandon Morrow 8.44 2.55
Trevor Cahill 8.43 .95
CC Sabathia 8.37 2.34

Well, Olney took a weird route to his final answer, but at least he picked this one correctly. Lee is having his best season and arguably the best season since Pedro in 2000 (or Zack Greinke in 2009).

2. Felix Hernandez, Mariners. He’s been absolutely dominant in the second half, with a 1.93 ERA.

Felix has had a great second half, but he should not be second in this race. Francisco Liriano has been filthy this season, but Carl Pavano is getting all the attention in Minny. Who does Liriano need to jerk off to get some respect?

3. David Price, Rays. Fifth in ERA and tied for second in wins with 15

We know better than to use ERA and wins, but Olney doesn’t. So it’s hard to criticize him for this pick. But what about other great lefties instead of Price? Like, lets say, Jon Lester?

3a. Trevor Cahill, Athletics

No, just no. King Luck should not be considered. I like Cahill and he does a nice job garnering ground balls. But he relies on BABIP too much. He doesn’t strike many people out. So balls are put in play a ton against him. By getting ground balls he does a good job to help himself from giving up too many base runners via hits, but a .213 BABIP is absurd. That is not his talent level at all, which is why he should not be in the Cy Young running.

Others in the conversation: CC Sabathia, Yankees; Clay Buchholz, Red Sox; Jered Weaver, Angels.

JON FUCKING LESTAH!

NL Cy Young Award

Wainwright
1. Adam Wainwright, Cardinals. He has gotten better and better and better as the season has progressed.

No qualms here, although it should be Doc Halladay or Josh Johnson.

2. Tim Hudson, Braves. Having an incredible bounce-back season.

No. See Cahill, Trevor.

3. Roy Halladay, Phillies. He has a shot at 20 wins in his first season with the Phillies.

Open your eyes and look at the numbers, Buster. Halladay, a future HOF’er at this point in time, is having his best season. He should be 1 or 2 (if you like J-Johnson). Not three. Poor effort here.

Again, who does J-Johnson need to jerk off? 5.6 WAR, 2.27 ERA, 2.45 FIP, 3.16 xFIP. Yeah, nbd I guess.

Handicapping the Awards – AL MVP Version

July 12, 2010

The first half of the 2010 season has come and gone, and the American League MVP race is starting to heat up. So far there are only a handful of contenders, but the race is WIDE OPEN. The battle for AL MVP might just be as hotly contested as the NL Cy Young race. Among WAR leaders for positional players, the top four all hail from the AL- and are separated by just six runs. The second half should be exciting as the contenders scrap it out down the stretch for new hardware on their trophy shelves.

The Comeback Kid aka The Favorite

Josh Hamilton – OF – Texas Rangers (4.4 WAR)

Leading the pack is Josh Hamilton, everyone’s favorite comeback player. If you’re reading this blog, you probably already know his past, so I’ll spare you the details. But it would be quite the story if he could cement his legacy with a MVP award. Hamilton was always a greater hitter with tremendous power, but this year he has taken things to a whole new level. Check out his stat line- .346/.390/.625/.435/172. Amazing. He is first in BA, second in SLG, and third in wOBA. His 4.4 WAR is also tied for the third best mark in the league. So why is he the favorite despite not topping the WAR leader board? He has a 4.29 WPA which is second best in all of baseball. The next closest to him in the AL is Shin-soo Choo and it’s not even close. His 0.81 clutch score is in the top ten for the AL and he hits even better in medium and high leverage situations than he does in low leverage spots (203 wRC+ in 197 medium and high leverage PA or 54% of his total PA). Hamilton has been a top three hitter the league, arguably the most “clutch player”, and has provided solid defense in left field and center field. With Texas atop the AL West standings, Hamilton truly has been the most valuable player in the American League.

FG rest of season projection: 233 PA, .308/.363/.533/.390

FG updated final season numbers: 599 PA, .332/.379/.589/.419

The second tier

Justin Morneau – 1b – Minnesota Twins (5.0 WAR)

In 2006 Justin Morneau was the recipient of a very undeserving AL MVP award. In 2010 Justin Morneau is a legitimate contender for the AL MVP award. Back in 2006 he won the hardware with a 4.3 WAR for the season- not exactly up to MVP standards. In 2010 he has a 5.0 WAR at the All-Star break, which is already a career high for the Twins first baseman. Morneau is hitting .345/.437/.618/.447/184. Dayumn. If you thought Hamilton was killing the ball, just take a look at Morneau. He is having the best season of his career by far- defensively as well. Through the SSS of a half season, Morneau’s UZR is one of the best marks of his career. Justin has a 2.69 WPA which is amongst the AL leaders, but he has hit better in low leverage situations than high leverage situations (194 wRC+ compared to 144 wRC+). Yes, the sample size of the high leverage situation PA pool is small, but it’s something to look at when choosing between candidates for the MVP award. Moreover, Morneau has an extremely high .385 BABIP compared to his career average of .295. Granted, his LD% and FB% are well above his career norms, which can explain his high average and power. But it should come down somewhat in the second half. For those last couple reasons, I have Josh Hamilton edging him out for the MVP.

FG rest of season projection: 294 PA, .304/.389/.541/.403

FG updated final season numbers: 640 PA, .325/.415/.582/.429

Carl Crawford – LF – Tampa Bay Rays (4.8 WAR)

Free agent to be Carl Crawford just seems to keep getting better and better. Last season he compiled a 5.5 WAR season, which was the best WAR of his career. He could top that by August. Crawford is a perfect blend of offense, defense, and base running which will earn him a ton of cheddar in the upcoming off-season. Arguably the game’s most complete package, Crawford has a line of .321/.380/.521/.399/151. Some fantastic numbers, but compared to the first two guys talked about, you might be asking yourselves how is in contention with them. The answer- defense. Always one of the games best outfielders, Crawford has been his usual self in 2010. In 686 innings his UZR is 15.2, which is right in line with his three year average. The same can be said of his DRS, which is currently +13. The dood can flat out field. He can also flat out fly. He has 31 stolen bases- second best in the AL- at a 78% success rate. He is in the top ten for WPA at 2.19, so he been valuable in that regard as well. His LD% isn’t spectacular, so his BABIP might drop somewhat, so expect some second half regression, but his BABIP isn’t too far above his career average so he shouldn’t suffer that much. As long as he doesn’t forget to field, he will remain a contender in the race all the way to the end of the season.

FG rest of season projection: 283 PA, .303/.354/.467/.368

FG updated final season numbers: 646 PA, .313/.369/.497/.386

Robinson Cano – 2b- New York Yankees (4.4 WAR)

While Robinson Cano has been one of the best second baseman in all of baseball since his debut in 2005, he hasn’t received national recognition until his hot start this season, which is unusual considering he plays for the most recognized team in baseball. But I guess people will start to take notice when you hit .336/.389/.556/.401/152 and lead a team full of superstars to the best record in baseball. With a new approach at the plate, “RC’ has raised his BB% to 7.1%, which is above his career average, in an attempt to recognize and drive better pitches. The result has been an increase in stats across the board as he is getting on base more and slugging more as he is driving the ball with authority, rather than chasing pitches and simply taking a base hit to left field. Many members of the media are also praising his defense, which was once his biggest flaw. Although he may not quite be the Gold Glove defender many broadcasters believe he is, Cano has worked hard to become a solid defender. Through 759 innings, he has a 5.6 UZR and +16 DRS. When it comes to “clutch” value, RC has the best WPA of his career at 2.01, a positive clutch score, and has hit well in all leverage situations. RC is considered a second half hitter, but struggled coming into the All-Star break, due to a tender back and what appeared to be a general fatigue from playing in all but one game in the first half. RC should be good to go, but if fatigue creeps up on him, he could fade out of contention.

FG rest of season projection: 302 PA, .309/.352/.496/.366

FG updated final season numbers: 676 PA, .324/.372/.529/.389

Hitting his way to the MVP

Miguel Cabrera – 1b- Detroit Tigers (3.7 WAR)

Who am I to leave out a potential Triple Crown winner? Miguel Cabrera has been the best hitter in the league and could end up hitting himself into the award. He is hitting .346/.423/.651/.448/183. Miggy has been one of the best hitters in baseball for a while now, but this is an unusually great season even with his standards. But what makes him a candidate is his “clutch” value this season. Not only has he been the best hitter, period, but he’s raised his game in the most pressure filled situations more than anyone else. His 5.00 WPA leads all of baseball by a fair margin. His clutch score is also in top the three, at 1.30 and is well above the clutch score of any contenders for the MVP award. His WPA is already better than the league leader’s in 2009 and 2007, and it could be the best mark in the AL since David Ortiz and his 8.21 WPA in 2005. If he keeps hitting and hitting in the game’s biggest moments, he may just be your American League MVP.

FG rest of season projection: 319 PA, .318/.393/.572/416

FG updated final season numbers: 675 PA, .333/.409/.613/.436

Predictions:

Personally, I see RC and Justin Morneau fading. Crawford will stay in the race, but only because of his defense. That leaves the trophy race between Josh Hamilton and Miguel Cabrera. While traditional voters may see Miguel Cabrera as a potential Triple Crown winner, I don’t think he gets it. If he doesn’t, Hamilton will win. His traditional numbers stack up well, and SABR-heads love him just as much. The fact Texas will win the division helps his case as well. For me, Hamilton is the MVP. He can hit, hit in big situations, and play a little defense.

4PARL end of season awards

October 8, 2009

It’s that time of the year again where people start mentioning their official votes for MLB season awards. If we had a vote, this is how it’d go down:

AL MVP:

Disco- Joe Mauer

Bballer- Zack Greinke

Trekker- Joe Mauer

Twaco- Joe Mauer

NL MVP:

Disco- Albert Pujols

Bballer- Albert Pujols

Trekker- Albert Pujols

Twaco- Albert Pujols

AL Cy Young:

Disco- Zack Greinke

Bballer- Zack Greinke

Trekker- Zack Greinke

Twaco- Zack Greinke

NL Cy Young:

Disco- Tim Lincecum

Bballer- Tim Lincecum

Trekker- Chris Carpenter

Twaco- Tim Lincecum

AL Rookie of Year:

Disco- Brett Anderson

Bballer- Elvis Andrus

Trekker- Jeff Niemann

Twaco- Brett Anderson

NL Rookie of Year:

Disco- Andrew McCutchen

Bballer- Garret Jones

Trekker- Andrew McCutchen

Twaco- Andrew McCutchen

AL DHL Delivery Man of Year:

Disco- Mariano Rivera

Bballer- Andrew Bailey

Trekker- Mariano Rivera

Twaco- Mariano Rivera

NL DHL Delivery Man of Year:

Disco- Jon Broxton

Bballer- Jon Broxton

Trekker- Jon Broxton

Twaco- Jon Broxton

Disco’s Silver Sluggers:

C- Joe Mauer; Brian McCann

1b- Miguel Cabrera; Albert Pujols

2b- Ben Zobrist; Chase Utley

3b- Alex Rodriguez; Pablo Sandoval

SS- Derek Jeter; Hanley Ramirez

OF- Jason Bay, JD Drew, Shin-soo Choo; Ryan Braun, Adam Dunn, Justin Upton

DH- Adam Lind

*Kevin Youkilis deserves props. He split between 1b/3b so I didn’t give him the benefit at 1b or 3b.

Bballer’s Silver Sluggers:

C- Joe Mauer; Brian McCann

1b- Miguel Cabrera; Albert Pujols

2b- Ben Zobrist; Chase Utley

3b- Kevin Youkilis; Ryan Zimmerman

SS- Derek Jeter; Hanley Ramirez

OF- Jason Bay, JD Drew, Adam Lind; Justin Upton, Jayson Werth, Ryan Braun

DH- Hideki Matsui

Trekker’s Silver Sluggers:

C- Joe Mauer; Brian McCann

1b- Miguel Cabrera; Albert Pujols

2b- Ben Zobrist; Chase Utley

3b- Alex Rodriguez; Pablo Sandoval

SS- Derek Jeter; Hanley Ramirez

OF- Jason Bay, Adam Lind, Shin-Soo Choo; Justin Upton, Adam Dunn, Ryan Braun

DH- Jason Kubel

Twaco’s Silver Sluggers:

C- Joe Mauer; Brian McCann

1b- Kevin Youkilis; Albert Pujols

2b- Ben Zobrist; Chase Utley

3B- Alex Rodriguez; Pablo Sandoval

SS- Derek Jeter; Hanley Ramirez

OF- Jason Bay, Adam Lind, JD Drew; Justin Upton, Ryan Braun, Adam Dunn

DH- Hideki Matsui

Disco’s Gold Gloves:

C- Kurt Suzuki; Yadier Molina

1b- Mark Teixeira; James Loney

2b- Chase Utley; Dustin Pedroia

3B- Evan Longoria; Ryan Zimmerman

SS- Elvis Andrus; Troy Tulowitzki

OF- Franklin Guitierez, Ryan Sweeney, David DeJesus; Nyjer Morgan, Mike Cameron, Randy Winn

Bballer’s Gold Glovers:

C- Joe Mauer; Yadier Molina

1b- Kevin Youkilis; Adrian Gonzalez

2b- Placido Polanco; Chase Utley

3b- Evan Longoria; Ryan Zimmerman

SS- Jason Bartlett; JJ Hardy

OF- Franklin Guitierez, Carl Crawford, BJ Upton; Mike Cameron, Colby Rasmus, Raul Ibanez

Trekker’s Gold Glovers:

C- Joe Mauer; Yadier Molina

1b- Mark Teixeira; Adrian Gonzalez

2b- Dustin Pedroia; Chase Utley

3b- Evan Longoria; Ryan Zimmerman

SS- Elvis Andrus; Rafael Furcal

OF- Ichiro, Franklin Guitierez, Carl Crawford; Nyjer Morgan, Mike Cameron, Colby Rasmus

Twaco’s Gold Glovers:

C- Joe Mauer; Yadier Molina

1b- Mark Teixeira; Albert Pujols

2b- Dustin Pedroia; Chase Utley

3B- Evan Longoria; Ryan Zimmerman

SS- Elvis Andrus; Rafael Furcal

OF- Nelson Cruz, Franklin Guitierez, David DeJesus; Justin Upton, Mike Cameron, Raul Ibanez