Posted tagged ‘Ichiro Suzuki’

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 peopleĀ  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 allĀ  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!

The World Series-less team

June 14, 2010

Recently I was reading an issue of Sports Illustrated and under the scorecard section they had an all-time team comprised of players who never won a World Series in their playing career in honor of Ken Griffey Jr’s retirement. While looking at the lineup, I realized they picked Ryne Sandberg as the second baseman. I thought to myself, “that can’t be right. Nap Lajoie mos def did not play in a World Series and he is MUCH better than Ryne Sandberg”. Well, I was right- Nap Lajoie did not ever win a World Series and it’s safe to say he is better than Ryne Sandberg.

So that got me thinking about what lineup I would build. And that’s just what I did with one tweak- my lineup consists of players who never reached the World Series. Let’s get at it!

C, Joe Torre (1960-1977):

Although he is well known for winning four World Series as former manager of the New York Yankees, Joe never even played in a World Series during his stops in Milwaukee/Atlanta, St. Louis, and New York. In fact, despite winning more postseason games as a manager than anyone else in history, he never even reached the postseason as a player. As a player, Torre had a stat line (BA/OBP/SLG/wOBA/wRC+) of .297/.365/.452/.363/135+. Not too shabby. In fact, his fangraphs WAR of 70.8 (5.6 per 700 PA) suggests he is a borderline HOF’er. Obviously though, catcher is a “weak” position on this team with other all-time greats such as Mike Piazza, Yogi Berra, Johnny Bench, and Roy Campanella all having played in at least one World Series. No other catcher challenged Joe so this is one team he wish he hadn’t made.

Other notables: None

1b, Rod Carew (1967-1985):

First base was one of the hardest positions to select for two reasons. 1) Most of the legends who have manned this position- from Lou Gehrig to Hank Greenberg and Johnny Mize to Frank Thomas- have played in the World Series. 2) Of the three players I narrowed it down to, two of them were not first basemen throughout their careers.

The three players I had to choose from were Rod Carew, Dick Allen, and George Sisler. Sisler was the only one who was a full-time first baseman, but he was also statistically inferior to Allen and Carew. So although Sisler played nearly 800 more games at first than Carew, I gave Carew the nod. Carew had a better wRC+, a better WAR (5.3 per 700 PA compared to 4.9 per 700 PA) and had the longevity factor going.

Now, Dick Allen has better numbers than Carew. But he played just over 800 games at firstbase. I had to draw the line somewhere. Plus, the fact that Carew never got to play in a World Series is more impressive. Mainly because he played for nineteen seasons and played in 2469 career games accumulating 10550 career PA. During that timespan he collected 3000 hits and a line of .328/.393/.429/.370/136+ with a career 80.3 WAR. I mean just think about that. A player that good who played that long and he never reached a World Series playing for the Twins and Angels. The closest he got was the ALCS in 1969, 1970, 1979, and 1982. Close, but no cigar.

Others notables: Dick Allen, George Sisler

2b, Nap Lajoie (1896-1916):

Nap Lajoie is the obvious pick here. He is a Hall of Famer and consensus top five second baseman of all-time. It really is inexcusable that SI did not include him on their team. Lajoie only has a line of .338/.380/.467/.399/148+ with a career WAR of 108.2 (7.2 per 700 PA) and his total fielding according to fangraphs is +83. Yeah, I mean, that’s only okay SI. It also sucks that such a great player was stuck in Cleveland durinig the bulk of his career and jumped aboard Connie Mack’s A’s the year after they made a World Series- but just in time to come in last place twice before retiring.

Other notables: Ryne Sandberg, Bobby Grich

3b, Ron Santo (1960-1974):

Poor, poor Ron Santo. Not only is this legitimate HOF’er continually denied entry into the HOF, but he never even got to play in a World Series either. SI has George Kell as their third baseman, which is another bad pick. Honestly, while Kell was a good ballplayer, there is no comparison between him and Ron Santo. Ron Santo could rake (.277/.362/.464/.366/131+) and was one of the best defensive third baseman in the games history. All in all, he had a career WAR of 79.3 (5.9 per 700 PA) which is the eighth best total for a third baseman. Santo’s peak from 1964-1967 where he had four consecutive 9+ WAR seasons is one of the best consecutive peak seasons in baseball history. Unfortunately, Santo never even played in a playoff game, playing in Chicago his entire career.

Other notables: Dick Allen, Buddy Bell

SS, Ernie Banks (1953-1971):

Much like fellow Cub Ron Santo, Ernie Banks never got to even play in a single playoff series, let alone the World Series. Banks is the clear choice for shortstop though. As a shortstop, Banks won consecutive MVP’s in 1958 and 1959, and then went on to win the Gold Glove in 1960 before moving to firstbase later in his career. Overall, Banks hit .274/.330/.500/.358/124+ with a total WAR of 74.1 (5.0 per 700 PA) and was an outstanding defender. While his numbers don’t look all that impressive, most of it was due to a poor latter half of his career when from 1962-1971 he never posted a WAR above 4.0. But in his prime, few players during his era were as good as him.

Other notables: Luke Appling

LF, Billy Williams (1959-1976):

Surprise, surprise, another Chicago Cub is on the team. Williams, a teammate of both Santo and Banks, also never played in a World Series but did play in the 1975 NLCS. Looking back on the Cubs in the mid-sixties to the early-seventies, it’s amazing they never reached the postseason. Those teams had four* HOF’ers in Banks, Santo, Williams, and Fergie Jenkins. From 1967 to 1973 they had a winning season in all but one, yet they only won 90+ games once.

* Santo should be a HOF’er

Williams was another player who had a fantastic prime, but a poor back portion of his career spoiled his career averages. At the end of the day Williams hit .290/.361/.492/.376/138+ and despite being a terrible defender, his career WAR was 69.7 (4.6 per 700 PA).

Left field also was a tough pick. Two other candidates were Minnie Minoso and Ralph Kiner. Ralph Kiner by far had the best numbers, but he didn’t even play ten years in the bigs, so it wouldn’t have been too impressive that he never reached a World Series. Minoso, while having a long career, played around 600 fewer games than Williams. He might have had better numbers, but Williams’ chance of not playing in a World Series was more impressive considering he played longer and had some really good players on his teams.

Other notables: Minnie Minoso, Ralph Kiner

CF, Ken Griffey Jr. (1989-2010):

Obvious pick here, so not much to discuss. While all other legendary center fielder’s played in a World Series- DiMaggio, Mantle, Mays, Snider, Cobb, Speaker- and good ones did as well- Puckett, Edmonds- Griffey was the one who never did. While he played in postseason games in Seattle in 1995 and 1997, and in 2008 with the White Sox, the big one eluded him. His Seattle teams are considered the biggest disappoint in recent baseball history with players such as Edgar Martinez, Alex Rodriguez, and Randy Johnson on the roster. As for the rest of his career, you know the story.

Other notables: None

RF, Harry Heilman (1914-1932):

Heilman is one of the more forgotten stars in baseball history. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that he toiled away in Detroit for most of his career while he raked in the batters box. Even though he was a crap fielder, he amassed a career 78.1 WAR (6.1 per 700 PA) thanks to a line of .342/.410/.520/.426/152+. Yes, he played during the liveball era but that is remarkable nonetheless.

It’s worth noting that other candidates included Ichiro Suzuki and Vlad Guerrero. Despite having played only a decade in America, Ichiro posed a quasi-threat to Heilman for the right field job. The same goes for Vlad, who was one of baseballs best hitters during his prime (seven out of eight seasons with a .400+ wOBA). Had it not been for Heilman, I probably would have started both Vlad and Ichiro in right.

Other notables: Ichiro Suzuki, Vladimir Guerrero, Andre Dawson

DH, Edgar Martinez (1987-2004):

Considering the short history of the DH, Edgar is pretty much the only choice here. Not only is he the best DH in baseball history, but other good ones such as Paul Molitor and David Ortiz have played in a World Series. Edgar reached the postseason four times, including 2001 when the Mariners won 116 games. For his career Edgar hit .312/.418/.515/.405/151+ and amassed a career 71.8 WAR (5.8 per 700 PA) despite being a DH.

Other notables: None

SP, Fergie Jenkins (1965-1983):

Pitching was tough to find since most World Series caliber teams have an ace on their staff. But some legends fell through the cracks. One of them is Fergie Jenkins, making him the fourth Cub on the list. He might also be the best pitcher to never appear in a postseason series as well.

Over the course of his career Jenkins pitched for Philly, Chicago, Boston, and Texas. With those teams he compiled 4500 career innings with a 3.34 ERA, 3.28 FIP, 6.38 K/9, 1.99 BB/9, and 81.3 WAR (3.6 per 200 IP). It amazes me that despite throwing 4500 innings at such a quality level, he never made the postseason let alone the World Series. Simply amazing.

SP, Gaylord Perry (1962-1983):

Perry is another head scratcher. He played for twenty-two seasons. He threw 5350 career innings en route to a career 96.3 WAR (3.6 per 200 IP). He had a 3.11 ERA, 3.06 FIP, and won over 300 games. Yet over his playing career in San Fran, Cleveland, Texas, San Diego, Atlanta, and Seattle he could never pitch his way into a World Series. Even more amazing is that the only postseason appearance of his career was the 1971 NLCS. He played for TWENTY-TWO seasons and made the postseason once. How about that?

Phil Niekro (1964-1987):

Last on the staff is Phil Niekro. Niekro played for twenty-four seasons and compiled 5404 career innings- moreso than Perry. I didn’t think anyone could top Perry, but alas, someone has. Niekro finished with a career 3.35 ERA, 3.62 FIP, and 96.8 WAR (3.6 per 200 IP). Remarkably, all three pitchers I have choosen have a 3.6 WAR/200 IP. Niekro pitched the great majority of his career for the Braves, and then shipped among the Yankees and Indians to finish out his career. Phil pitched in the 1969 and 1982 NCLS’.

Other notables: Roy Halladay, Jim Bunning, Ted Lyons, Johan Santana

RP, Billy Wagner (1995-present):

From Mo Rivera and Trevor Hoffman to Dennis Eckersley and Hoyt Wilhelm, most of baseballs dominant relievers have made a World Series. Not Billy Wagner though, who is also the only player on the team still currently playing. Wagner pitched for Houston, Philly, the Mets, Boston, and now Atlanta. In each city, he has made an appearance in the postseason (except Atlanta obviously) but never could quite make it to World Series. The closest he got was the 2006 NLCS with the Mets, when the Mets went to a game seven against the Cards before losing in the ninth inning. Wagner has a career 2.36 ERA, 2.78 FIP, and 23.1 WAR (1.9 per 70 innings) in 859 innings. He also boasts a dazzling 11.84 K/9 rate in his career. Unfortunately, he can’t boast that he’s ever been to a World Series.

Well, there’s the team that nobody wants to be on. Yay!