Friday, September 14, 2007

National League MVP Race

Fielder: 41
Wright: 42
Hanley: 30
Utley: 46
Pujols: 38
Chipper: 40
Byrnes: 22

Fielder: 4.50
Wright: 4.40
Hanley: 3.7
Utley: 4.42
Pujols: 3.44
Chipper: 3.73
Byrnes: 1.69

Fielder: 142
Wright: 143
Hanley: 138
Utley: 116
Pujols: 142
Chipper: 118
Byrnes: 146

Defense and position
Fielder: negative
Wright: small plus
Hanley: small negative
Utley: plus
Pujols: neutral
Chipper: neutral
Byrnes: neutral

My current thinking is that the above categories are the ones I mostly care about, I also consider how important a players wins are to his teams chances of making the playoffs. Not all things "count" the same, but I think it's important to keep all of them in mind.

I think it's pretty clear Chase Utley has been the best player in the national league this year when he has been on the field. But I'm not comfortable supporting him, based on how much PT he has missed. The same can be said for Chipper, though not to the same degree.

I'd also remove Hanley from contention, as replacement level is not the correct baseline for this discussion and he gets a pretty big hit when switching from replacement to average. Couple that with well his team being not good enough to leverage his wins enough to put him in the running with the other candidates, and of course his defense/position which I don't think is as bad as many do, but certainly isn't a plus.

Puljos looks to have a better case than I thought. His batting both in context neutral and context specific situations are only a step behind Wright and Prince. A good month, coupled with a Cards surge could put him right up their with the other two.

Wright and Prince are neck and neck offensively at this point, with a very small edge to Wright. Wright gets the head to head checkmark in terms of defense and positioning which puts him ahead of Prince, though Prince has advantage in terms of the value his wins are providing his team. If one player out hits the other by a considerable amount down the stretch that could sway things, the other factor is the Brewers playoff hopes. If they make it, and both players continue to play as is, then I THINK I would give Price a very small nod, but it would be extremely small. If the Brewers don't make it and both players continue to play at the same pace relative to each other then it's Mr. Wrights in a decision that isn't nearly as close.

This is a really interesting season in terms of NL MVP candidates. All stats from fangraphs.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Projected Standings

In the early 80's Bill James in one of his Baseball Abstracts unveiled what is called the Baseball's Pythagorean Winning Percentage. Baseball's Pythagorean Winning Percentage is a model which attempts to estimate a teams winning percentage by using runs scored and runs allowed as the inputs.

The formula is simple yet accurate:

Pythagorean Winning Percentage = Runs Scored^2 / (Runs Scored^2+Runs Allowed^2)

Using retrosheet data I have confirmed what many people speculated previously, that Pythagorean Winning Percentage is a better estimator of a teams future winning percentage than actual winning percentage. To do this, I looked at all major league teams from 2000-2006:
1. Calculated WP% and Pythagorean Winning % as of July 1st of every year, as a proxy for first half of the year.
2. From the above data I was able to derived the post July 1st WP% and Pythagorean Winning %.
3. I then calculated the correlation coefficients comparing 1st half winning % with second half winning percentage.
4. I then calculated the correlation coefficients comparing 1st Pythagorean Winning % with second half winning percentage.

The data can be found here.

The correlation between first half winning percentage and second half winning percentage was 0.47. The correlation between first half Pythagorean Winning % and second half winning percentage was 0.93.

With that out of the way, you can predict final standings for the season:

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Roger Angel - New Yorker World Series Writeups

Someday I'm going to get all of Angell's World Series write ups for the New Yorker. Until then I'll have to satisfy myself with the 3 that are online.

2003 - Gone South
2004 - Long Voyage Home
2005 - White Sox Nation


Tuesday, December 19, 2006

More D-train...

Anyway - I reran the same data except instead of looking at players who were better than Dontrell, I looked at guys who were slightly worse. The second selection of players won between 40-60 games by the end of their age 24 season and who prevented between 40-60 runs above above average.

Jim Abbott 47 41
Dan Petry 60 43
Steve Carlton 47 43
Kevin Millwood 40 43
Steve Barber 57 47
Britt Burns 48 47
Jim Palmer 59 52
Ismael Valdes 52 53
Scott Erickson 41 53
Ferguson Jenkins 48 59
Freddy Garcia 44 59
Dontrelle Willis 58 60

How this list isn't nearly as impressive obviously but we have 3 hall of famers, two active pitchers, medical marvel and these guys:

Erickson - definition of an young peak pitcher. No injuries really, but a guy who was consistently better when young than when old. With the exception of 97-98 when he was pretty good.

Valdes - A guy who was only consistently healthy after two years after his age 24 season. Though similar to Erickson in that he was never as good as he was when he was young. Who knows how much was due to an early peak and how much was due to injuries?

Burns - Injury casualty. Looked like he was going to be a fantastic pitcher around 1981.

Steve Barber - Consistently very good through age 26, but then the injury bug.

Petry - Similar to Erikson, in that he peaked early except he never really was any good every again.

Garcia - This is probably more like what Sam is thinking about... big early career then above average but rarely as good as when he was young.

Millwood - Very similar to Garcia.

So to conclude... on this list of guys who through age 24 weren't as good as Dontrell. We have 12 guys.

3 hall of famers.
1 medical/heart marvel, who I won't compare anyone to EVER.
3 Injury flameouts.
2 Early peak guys who were lousy.
2 Active guys who been 7 runs better than average per year since.

You couple this level of production, with Willis's drive I think you have a chance to have a fantastic pitcher on your hands. Assuming he stays healthy.


Dontrell Willis

I got into a conversation today about how special, from a historic standpoint Dontrell Willis is. Not only the charisma, and flamboyence, and ear to ear grin - but the results. At his age only a handful of pitchers have won as many games and prevented as many runs relative to average.


Dwight Gooden100116

Bert Blyleven95171

Frank Tanana84101

Fernando Valenzuela7879

Dennis Eckersley77112

Gary Nolan7697

Bret Saberhagen6986

Ken Holtzman6571

Dean Chance6272

Roger Clemens60105

Dontrelle Willis5860

Not proof of future greatness, but a pretty impressive list to be on.


The Cardinals Running game...

I saw this link on BBTF about the value of the Cards run game in 06 - it was a really well written article. According to the Bill James 2007 handbook, the Cardinals were also bad at running the bases beyond caught stealing and picked offs.

Name Rating

Preston Wilson -3

Jim Edmonds -9

Albert Pujols 13

Scott Spiezio 2

So Taguchi 0

Aaron Miles -8

Skip Schumaker N/A

Hector Luna -6

Jeff Suppan N/A

Sidney Ponson N/A

Yadier Molina -12

Ronnie Belliard 4

Scott Rolen 11

David Eckstein 5

Juan Encarnacion -6



Mets Zips projections

Dan Szymborski has posted his Mets projections at BBTF.

Here are the outliers relative to Chone projections:

First Last Chone OPS ZIPS OPS Difference Abs

Michael Tucker* 0.67 0.732 0.062 0.062

Moises Alou 0.807 0.856 0.049 0.049

Paul Lo Duca 0.75 0.707 -0.043 0.043

Jose Reyes# 0.763 0.802 0.039 0.039

Ramon Castro 0.724 0.686 -0.038 0.038

Chris Woodward 0.65 0.62 -0.03 0.03

Edgardo Alfonzo 0.686 0.659 -0.027 0.027

Julio Franco 0.7 0.721 0.021 0.021

Anderson Hernandez# 0.615 0.594 -0.021 0.021
Why is this important? Because it shrinks our sample size of players to be concerned with. For example, both Chone and Zips project almost exactly the same results for Beltran and Wright so both think they will each be .860 and 900 OPS players respectively. If they turn out to be .800 and .970 OPS players they both are missing the mark. By focusing on just these guys it's easier to eyeball the accuracy.

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Tigers lock up Bonderman

Last night the Tigers extended Jeremy Bonderman:

One of baseball's most promising young pitchers, Bonderman agreed to a $38 million, four-year contract on Monday -- passing up a chance to become a free agent after the 2008 season...Bonderman gets $4.5 million next year, $8.5 million in 2008 and $12.5 million in each of the following two seasons.

This looks like a tremendous deal for the Tigers as Bonderman, 24 has dynamic stuff and a fantastic projection. Tremendous deal for Baseball America's executive of the year Dave Dombrowski.

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Reds Off Season

I got this link for baseball musings

So with all this competent pitching floating around in big league baseball's trade market, where were the Cincinnati Reds? They were announcing the re-signing of 37-year-old David Weathers.

Often times when teams are on the fringe of the playoffs the previous year they are tempted to get ahead of themselves. Sometimes, that is the correct move when you teams improvement was real, or sustainable. Other times it isn't as wise. I tend to think the Reds would be getting ahead of themselves if they have up some young arms for a Freddy Garcia, or Jason Jennings.

Well done Wayne Krisky.


Lou Piniella Talks to Baseball America

Alan Schwarz has a good interview with Lou Piniella up at Baseball America. If you don't subscribe you should.

Piniella... With Kerry Wood, I talked to Kerry personally about the possibilities of moving into the bullpen. We felt he could stay healthier. We thought he could be more dominant. We told him we'd give him all the time in spring training he needed to make those adjustments. He was very pleased with that. So we're really not counting on Kerry as a starting pitcher.

So it looks like Kerry Wood will be a reliever, I can't imagine he is willing to step into a middle role. That could be trouble, for Ryan Dempsters job security.

SCHWARZ: What about the kids who have come up through the system recently, the Rich Hills and Sean Marshalls? The Tigers resurrected themselves largely by developing guys like Justin Verlander, Jeremy Bonderman and Joel Zumaya--that young injection.

PINIELLA: Remember, Detroit brought in Rogers also. That experience. And they brought in the closer, Todd Jones, who had experience. They added some experience to their young mix. You can't just put it on young pitchers, the full load.

That's an interesting quote, I think it's something we could study, but I'll need to think of the correct design.

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Igawa: Signs for 5 years 20 million

Kei Igawa, signed with the Yankees last night for 5 years, and 20m total. Igawa, who was posted last month for $25m, is the 3rd Japanese posted player to come to the states this year.

Igawa, is the favorite to be the Yankees 5th starter this year after Tiger Wang, Mike Mussina, Andy Petite and Randy Johnson. Igawa's, translated projection is pretty good, Chone checks in with him showing an above average K rate, and walk rate. With average hit and home run rates.

The deals NPV is $43m.

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Sunday, December 17, 2006

Chone... more blogging...

Good old Chone Smith at Anaheim Angels all the way was blogging a bunch today.

The Limits of a Projection System
- He determined the best possible correlation showed an r of 0.770

Batted Ball Charts
- He talks about Dan Fox's batted ball charting application. I was planning on playing around with it more than I have so far, but BR-PI has taken all my distraction time away.


New Rob and Rany on the Royals...

Talking about the transaction I just posted about:

Wow, you know what's really interesting about this transaction? I had no idea there are two Ross Gloads. The only Ross Gload I ever heard of is going to be 31 soon, and has a bright future as a first baseman in Class AAA. Exactly the sort of player the Royals have little (if any) use for.


Andy Sisco traded for Ross Gload

Interesting trade yesterday as Royals made an inter division move sending lefthanded giant (6'10") Andy Sisco to the White Sox for bench player Ross Gload. The reason the trade is interesting is because the Royals organization is a very light on upsiCheck Spellingde arms, but relatively deep in terms of depth of corner types. Alex Gordon, Mark Teehan, Mike Sweeney, Emil Brown, Billy Butler, Justin Huber, Ryan Sheely, and Reggie Sanders - all are under control for next year. Now Sweeney, Sandersm and Brown won't be part of the next good Royals team, but will the 31 year old Ross Gload? Even if Gload projects to be the third best hitter on the Royals? Which he does.

Gload makes a lot of sense for a lot of teams, but I'm not sure if the Royals are one of them. I guess, the Royals may hope that by giving him his first shot at a full time job he will play well enough to be able to traded for a greater return than Sisco? Or maybe they are tired of Sisco 10 cent head screwing up million dollar arm? Or maybe they think the Sisco we saw last year, with the 90 mph fastball and the rolling slider was the real Andy Sisco... and the Sisco of 05, with the 95 mph heater and sharp slider is gone to parts unknown.

One thing worth pointing out is that the Royals have traded away two guys (Sisco and Ambriox Burgos)with very live arms over the last week for two guys (Gload and Brian Banister) without a ton of upside, who will likely help them more in the upcoming year or two but who won't ever be much more than what they currently are. These are the deals where we get a handle of how good at talent evaluation Drayton Moore is.

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Baseball Reference: Play Index

Baseball Reference just went live with it's newest toy, Play Index. A searchable index which allows you to cull game level data rather than just season level data. The data was of course obtained from retrosheet. This is also the first part of baseball reference, that you need a subscription to fully use. I'll likely subscribe, as it's cheap and I've sponsored pages in the past.

I've been playing around a bit with some data and here are the top game scores for each year since 1990.

2006: John Lackey

2005: Chris Carpenter
2004: Randy Johnson
2003: Randy Johnson
2002: Curt Schilling
2001: Hideo Nomo
2000: Pedro Martinez
1999: Eric Milton
1998: Kerry Wood
1997: Roger Clemens
1996: Roger Clemens
1995: Frank Castillo
1994: Bobby Witt
1993: Randy Johnson
1992: Randy J0hnson
1991: Nolan Ryan
1990: Nolan Ryan

Whats a game score? A stat invented by Bill James in one of the mid 80's abstracts designed to measure how dominant a starting pitcher was in a given game. Start with 50 points. Add 1 point for each out recorded, (3 points per inning). Add 2 points for each inning completed after the 4th. Add 1 point for each strikeout. Subtract 2 points for each hit allowed. Subtract 4 points for each earned run allowed. Subtract 2 points for each unearned run allowed. Subtract 1 point for each walk.

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Saturday, December 16, 2006

Vernon Wells signs 7 year $126m contract

Yesterday, Vernon Wells signed a 7 year 126 million dollar deal with the Blue Jays:

The extension calls for a $25.5 million signing bonus, payable in three $8.5 million installments each March 1 in 2008, 2009 and 2010. He will receive a salary of just $500,000 in 2008 and $1.5 million in 2009, but his salary jumps to $12.5 million in 2010 and $23 million in 2011. Wells receives $21 million in each of the final three seasons.

In Net Present Value terms that works out to be worth about $83 million., or $10 million cheaper than the NPV of the Daisuke Matsuzaka deal for one more year.

Wells is a good player, according to PM-SLWTS, he was the 22nd best player in baseball last year, and third best centerfielder. Wells who will be 28 next year was far better with the bat last year 29 runs better than average, than he was in the previous two years. However, he was a heck of a hitter in 2003 as well when he was 31 runs better than average.

Going forward, Chone likes him, projecting him to hit .282/.340/.501 for a wOBA of .364 or about 20 runs better than average.

Seems like a very good move, as Wells is the face of the Jays franchise, and as the organization tries to rebuild and expand it's fan base this is the type of move they need to make. They can't allow young Star talent to walk away, and expect the fans to have an emotional attachment to the next guy at that level, if they just expect him to walk out that door as well.

I'll say this, I don't think JP Richardi is a very good GM - but he is very good at spending money. Brian Cashman would be proud.

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Red Sox add Relievers Donnelly and Romero

Yesterday, the Red Sox added a couple of additional arms to their bullpen trading for veteran Brenden Donnelly and signing JC Romero.

Romero, signed a 1 year deal for $1.5m, and Donnelly was acquired from the Angels for minor league veteran Phil Siebel. Siebel is actually a some what interesting arm. One year off of TJ surgery he locked very good in the minors, and his CHONE projections aren't bad. He is an interesting guy to have stashed, and with the Angels track record for finding arms out of no where he might end up as something. Donnelly is likely a better and safer bet though, for a team like the Red Sox who have major issues with their pen.

Here is the Red Sox projected bullpen and CHONE projections:

K Rate +BB Rate +HR Rate +Hit Rate +

Brendan Donnelly107%92%104%96%

JC Romero113%131%80%94%

Mike Timlin80%70%75%110%

Manny Delcarmen118%119%77%101%

Julian Taverez83%94%86%109%

Nick DebarrRule 5 - No Projection

Hideki OjajimaImport - No Projection

Devern Hansack97%93%101%105%

Craig Breslow113%108%80%96%

Craig Hansen98%126%77%103%

Now, pitcher projections aren't great, and the fact that these all of these pitchers are relievers, and all of them have limited MLB experience so they are being translated, makes the error bars even larger. But none the less that is an ugly set of projections, so it makes sense that the Sox are adding pitchers. Though I'm not sure if Romero is the right guy to add unless he is used strictly as a Looguy. Donnelly is a good addition to this pen, but it makes sense for the Angels to drop him for a guy with options who has some upside, since their pen is much better defined than the RedSox pen.

Geeknote: The pitcher stats listed are K+, BB+, HR+, Hit+, are projected stats based on Chone Smiths projection system called Chone and adjusted and expressed as a percent of league average. So you want K+ numbers above 100% and BB+, HR+, and Hit+ numbers below 100%. They are not park adjusted.

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Friday, December 15, 2006

Team Ages

Clay Davenport has a great article titled: Team and Organizational Ages on baseball prospectus today.

The methodology is sound, and the findings are:

Youngest Org to Oldest org. I'm cutting out the data, since it is a pay article.

Clay also posts the ages of the MLB teams. Personally I'd like to see it broken out so that we can also just see the aggregate minor league data.

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Rays sign Akinori Iwamura - 3 years $7.25m

Yesterday the Devil Rays came to terms with 27 year old Akinori Iwamura, a gold gloving winning thirdbase man who looks to be the Rays the starting starter for next season at the hot corner. The dollars are reasonable, and Iwamura projects according to CHONE to be around a league average thirdbaseman with the stick, which will be a nice addition to the Devil Rays.

In Japan, his typical line looks a lot like what Garret Atkins posted last season for Colorado - .300/.390/.550, translated to the American League in 2007 that looks something like: .270/.330/.430, which by itself isn't great but if the glove is good, and it's a position of need (which it is) then its a good pickup.

The only concern would be if this blocks Evan Longoria, at all. Longoria is a hard hitting thirdbaseman drafted out of Long Beach State who tore through the minors last year, and might be one of the 5-10 best hitting prospects in baseball. I'm not too concerned with this potential conflict as Longoria isn't likely going to be ready until opening day 2008, and because Iwamura has positional flexibility, since he can supposedly play passable secondbase and centerfield.


What are the odds?

Bodog has released early odds on who wins the world series. Without doing the math, my early thoughts are that anything better than 12-1 is a suckers bet. The Rangers, Indians, Twins, Marlins, Brewers and the NL West look attractive, though I need to think about the collective odds of the AL central.

Team Odds
New York Yankees 4/1
New York Mets 6/1
Boston Red Sox 8/1
Chicago White Sox 8/1
Los Angeles Angels 10/1
Detroit Tigers 10/1
St Louis Cardinals 10/1
Chicago Cubs 12/1
Los Angeles Dodgers 15/1
Oakland Athletics 15/1
Toronto Blue Jays 15/1
Philadelphia Phillies 15/1
Cleveland Indians 20/1
Minnesota Twins 20/1
San Diego Padres 22/1
Houston Astros 25/1
Florida Marlins 28/1
Atlanta Braves 30/1
Cincinnati Reds 33/1
Milwaukee Brewers 45/1
San Francisco Giants 50/1
Texas Rangers 50/1
Diamondbacks 60/1
Colorado Rockies 70/1
Seattle Mariners 70/1
Baltimore Orioles 80/1
Pittsburgh Pirates 80/1
Kansas City Royals 90/1
Devil Rays 100/1
Nationals 150/1