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Thursday, October 18, 2012

BtBS: Roegele: MLB’s most frustratingly, maddeningly, roller-coastery inconsistent players

Rios: The inconsistent muscle in the human body.

Alex Rios is somewhat of an enigma. Just ask J.P. Ricciardi, Kenny Williams, Ozzie Guillen or any fantasy baseball participant over the last few years attempting to assess his expected performance for the upcoming season. Over the past five seasons, Rios’ wRC+ has scored as the following astounding sequence: 110, 77, 108, 59, 125. Since wRC+ measures a player’s runs created relative to the league average, this means that Rios has toggled between being well above the league average and well below the league average in alternating seasons over that stretch.

While all players have some year-to-year variation in performance, Rios has taken his to a level far beyond most big leaguers. It would be interesting to look throughout baseball history to find other players who managed similar roller coaster rides.

...The most interesting name on this list is right at the top. Cliff Johnson not only has the longest such streak in history, but he is also the only player on this list to post at least 200 plate appearances in every season of his roller coaster sequence. His streak spanned across playing for four different teams: the Astros, Yankees, Athletics and Blue Jays. Amazingly, in the 11-year span between 1972 and 1983, the smallest year-to-year wRC+ change that he registered was 19. Johnson truly was the king of the yo-yo in MLB history. [If we include all players, pitcher-turned-celebrity-golfer-extraordinaire Rick Rhoden also matched the longest streak at seven seasons.]

... In the case of Alex Rios, over that many plate appearances it would seem that BABIP differences would not be solely “luck”, but partly quality of contact as well. Certainly his robustly higher LD% in 2008 and 2012 promotes a much better expected BABIP than in the other three seasons.

Sure, consistency is a virtue. But variety is the spice of life, right?

Repoz Posted: October 18, 2012 at 05:51 AM | 9 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: sabermetrics

Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. Walt Davis Posted: October 18, 2012 at 06:33 AM (#4275070)
While (nearly) consistently good, here are Cano's WAR (and WAR changes) for each year:

.5
2.9 +2.4
6.3 +3.4
-.2 -6.5
4.1 +4.3
7.8 +3.7
5.2 -2.6
8.2 +3

His year-by-year changes in Rbat and Rfield

+10 +18
-3 +27
-28 -35
+33 +12
+14 +16
-9 -15
+17 +14
   2. Rants Mulliniks Posted: October 18, 2012 at 08:42 AM (#4275112)
I don't think anyone ws happier than I when the Jays dumped Rios, but I would have loved to have had him this year. I'm willing to concede now that he just might have been one of those players who rubbed Cito the wrong way, or vice versa, for no particular reason.
   3. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: October 18, 2012 at 10:20 AM (#4275176)
Can't believe a story about year-to-year ping-ponging would not mention Saberhagen
   4. Tim Wallach was my Hero Posted: October 18, 2012 at 12:30 PM (#4275345)
Can't believe a story about year-to-year ping-ponging would not mention Saberhagen

I had the exact same thought.
   5. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: October 18, 2012 at 01:22 PM (#4275403)
Can't believe a story about year-to-year ping-ponging would not mention Saberhagen


Or Josh Beckett.
   6. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: October 18, 2012 at 01:29 PM (#4275412)
I was absolutely certain Rios' career was over after that terrible year.
   7. Booey Posted: October 18, 2012 at 03:25 PM (#4275573)
I was thinking of Prince Fielder, who had MVP caliber years in 2007, 2009, and 2011, with mediocre (for him) seasons in between. His very good 2012 bucked that trend, though.
   8. Dave Spiwak Posted: October 18, 2012 at 05:37 PM (#4275777)
129
85
123
86
125
84

Vernon Wells' OPS+ from 2006 to 2011.

Of course in 2012 he heroically bucked the trend with a 91.
   9. Ryan Lind Posted: October 18, 2012 at 11:31 PM (#4276314)
Reggie Sanders's SLG alternated from below .500 to above .500 for every year from 1994-2006. In the last year of his career he just missed with a .493 (in 85 PA)

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