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Thursday, March 03, 2011

Drunk Jays Fans: Layin’ Down The Law: Destroying Bautista’s Deal Edition

Jojo points out Keith Law’s “Jose Bautista ripper on the ESPN Baseball Today podcast”

Welcome Keith Law haters! I’m sure you morons will have lots to piss and moan about with this one, as KLaw made his debut as co-host of the recorded-through-tin-cans-sounding ESPN Baseball Today podcast this afternoon, and punctuated it with a little analysis of the Jays’ recent big signing. It’s not anything we haven’t heard before, only maybe a little more harsh than usual. Still, you may want to cover your ears… er… eyes…


ERIK KARABELL: Mr. Law, is this a good contract?

KEITH LAW: No. Of course not. [Laughs]. You have a player with an extremely spotty track record of performance and playing time who has one wildly outlying breakout year. You do not rush to give this guy a five-year contract, because the history of players like that—particularly players—I mean, it’s not like Jose Bautista is 24 or 25 and just kind of emerged as a hitter. He’s way past that point. The history of those guys is very poor. He’s extremely unlikely to maintain that level of production.

The Rogers Centre last year played as a crazy home run park, and particularly for Blue Jays hitters, which is a very unusual split, and sure enough, Bautista was substantially better at home—another thing that I just don’t think he is at all likely to maintain. And the fact that he is pretty much a dead pull hitter, you can bet that over the course of this off-season plenty of front offices across the American League were looking at Bautista, saying, ‘why aren’t we pitching this guy differently?’ You will see that come into play in 2011.

 

Repoz Posted: March 03, 2011 at 04:32 AM | 88 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: blue jays, projections, sabermetrics

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   1. 1k5v3L Posted: March 03, 2011 at 05:39 AM (#3762128)
I've said a couple of stupid things about Keith Law in the past (and he's called me out on it), but I will gladly admit that Keith Law is a smart guy who knows his stuff - and I'm with him on the Bautista analysis/opinion. It's actually pretty shocking to see the same GM who dumped a couple of really bad contracts then go ahead and pony up crazy money for Jose Bautista. In fact, I honestly thought the Jose Bautista extension news was a fake post/joke by the same Sun Times journalist who had lobbied for it just a few days earlier. Alas, AA got cracked...
   2. Replacement-Level Primate Posted: March 03, 2011 at 06:02 AM (#3762144)
Sure, it's probably not going to be a good contract for the Blue Jays for all the reasons that we all know, but he was a lot of fun to watch last year. This video (http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=12822679) is pretty sweet: the same aggressive, dead-pull, uppercut swing over and over and over again. I was lucky enough to be at Target Field for two of his more notable shots, #53 (the grand slam into the top deck in LF) and #54 (his only opposite field shot of the year).
   3. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: March 03, 2011 at 06:06 AM (#3762147)
Bautista hit 21 homers on the road. Double that and he still would have lead the AL in homers. It's not like he was horrible on the road.
   4. Howie Menckel Posted: March 03, 2011 at 06:24 AM (#3762152)
It really was a bad idea for a contract.

Possible it works out? Of course. But the odds are terrible, as Law notes. I think the Jays grasped a little sabrmetrics - his underlying skill set was remarkable in 2010, so the results don't scream fluke - and forgot the age and previous work history angles.
   5. RJ in TO Posted: March 03, 2011 at 06:25 AM (#3762154)
His OPS on a month by month basis also don't exactly show pitchers figuring him out. You'd figure, if there was an obvious hole in his swing, they would have caught on at some point.

APR: 0.741
MAY: 1.188
JUN: 0.693
JUL: 1.183
AUG: 1.173
SEP/OCT: 0.935

Of course, I'm not going to pretend that he'll repeat last year, but 30-35 HR doesn't seem like a ludicrous total. Paired with his walk rate, and his contract seems reasonable for the next year or two.

Year 5, on the other hand, will likely suck.
   6. Jose Molina wants a nickname like ARod Posted: March 03, 2011 at 06:32 AM (#3762159)
All the same things were said of Zobrist last year.
   7. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: March 03, 2011 at 07:37 AM (#3762172)
Ben Zobrist didn't hit any 54 homers.
   8. birdlives is one crazy ninja Posted: March 03, 2011 at 07:45 AM (#3762174)
Carlos Pena seems like a better comp. His performance will decline but still be productive for a 2-3 years before falling off. Is that worth a five year contract? I'm skeptical.
   9. Baldrick Posted: March 03, 2011 at 08:42 AM (#3762183)
I initially thought this was a terrible contract but was somewhat persuaded by people here that he's not really getting paid anything close to what he would be worth if 2010 is his true talent level. Which is to say: he could suffer a significant regression to the mean and still be worth the contract.

Now, I still tend to think he'll regress even further than that and it'll be an overpay. But it's not quite as bad a deal as I thought to begin with. And if 2010 was for real, then it's a steal.
   10. cardsfanboy Posted: March 03, 2011 at 09:28 AM (#3762192)
I've said a couple of stupid things about Keith Law in the past (and he's called me out on it), but I will gladly admit that Keith Law is a smart guy who knows his stuff - and I'm with him on the Bautista analysis/opinion. It's actually pretty shocking to see the same GM who dumped a couple of really bad contracts then go ahead and pony up crazy money for Jose Bautista. In fact, I honestly thought the Jose Bautista extension news was a fake post/joke by the same Sun Times journalist who had lobbied for it just a few days earlier. Alas, AA got cracked


I've said a couple of things about Keith Law in the past and have been thoroughly backed up by logic and facts, but yes he is a smart guy and I do hold him to a higher standard because I think of him as "one of us". His review on the drafts is quite possibly the single best crap out there on baseball drafts. And I agree he is right on the Buatista signing, including the laughing bit, you do not sign this guy to a five year deal after just one great season, it's not quite as stupid as the Mathews jr signing, but it ranks up there (at least they signed a player who had a good year, the Mathews signing was inexplicably stupid)
   11. cardsfanboy Posted: March 03, 2011 at 09:36 AM (#3762194)
I initially thought this was a terrible contract but was somewhat persuaded by people here that he's not really getting paid anything close to what he would be worth if 2010 is his true talent level. Which is to say: he could suffer a significant regression to the mean and still be worth the contract.

Now, I still tend to think he'll regress even further than that and it'll be an overpay. But it's not quite as bad a deal as I thought to begin with. And if 2010 was for real, then it's a steal.


how is this a good contract, he's going on 30 years old, prior to last season he's never posted an ops+ over 99 in a full season, why in the heck would any team lock him into a longer than a three year guarantee?

I have no problem with a team giving him 3 for 30, or even 40 if that is what it takes, but c'mon a five for 64 year deal for a guy who has prior to last season played 575 games, 59hr, .238, .329, .400 .729 ops+ of 91, and it's not like he gradually got better his performance hasn't changed from 2006-2009. Last year was an aberration, sign him for two years with a team option.

heck they paid him 2.4mil last year and he was clearly worth more than that, think of the next year contract as back pay...but again signing him for five years is massively stupid.

this is a Norm Cash 1961, with the exception of not having a Norm Cash quality player to back it up, I'm thinking Brady Anderson 1996 or Bret Boone 2001.
   12. Paul D(uda) Posted: March 03, 2011 at 03:33 PM (#3762291)
Bautista is hitting 62 HRs this year, which, for this Jays fan, will make the entire contract worth it.
   13. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 03, 2011 at 04:21 PM (#3762338)

this is a Norm Cash 1961, with the exception of not having a Norm Cash quality player to back it up, I'm thinking Brady Anderson 1996 or Bret Boone 2001.


Rich Aurilia in 2001 is another one. I mean, Bautista was probably a lousy year away from being non-tendered, wasn't he?
   14. Nasty Nate Posted: March 03, 2011 at 04:24 PM (#3762343)

I have no problem with a team giving him 3 for 30, or even 40 if that is what it takes, but c'mon a five for 64 year deal for a guy who has prior to last season played 575 games, 59hr, .238, .329, .400 .729 ops+ of 91, and it's not like he gradually got better his performance hasn't changed from 2006-2009. Last year was an aberration, sign him for two years with a team option.


You can't just "sign him" to however many years you want, he has to agree. It would have been unwise for him to sign a 2-year deal at this AAV...
   15. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: March 03, 2011 at 04:41 PM (#3762364)
this is a Norm Cash 1961, with the exception of not having a Norm Cash quality player to back it up, I'm thinking Brady Anderson 1996 or Bret Boone 2001.

Brady Anderson had 11 WAR in the 5 years after 1996. This contract won't look too bad if Bautista performs that well.
   16. Jeff R., P***y Mainlander Posted: March 03, 2011 at 04:46 PM (#3762374)
You guys have to read the Wade Boggs story on that site. The story of the Boggs head. It's awesome.
   17. Cowboy Popup Posted: March 03, 2011 at 04:46 PM (#3762375)
how is this a good contract, he's going on 30 years old, prior to last season he's never posted an ops+ over 99 in a full season, why in the heck would any team lock him into a longer than a three year guarantee?

Zips projects him to post a 135 OPS+ next year. And I'm under the impression he will be playing 3rd next year as well. Anyone who thinks this is a terrible contract is either extremely risk adverse or isn't looking at his projections. The upside at least matches the downside in this deal.
   18. formerly dp Posted: March 03, 2011 at 04:49 PM (#3762381)
His OPS on a month by month basis also don't exactly show pitchers figuring him out. You'd figure, if there was an obvious hole in his swing, they would have caught on at some point.

That, to me, is the biggest thing he has going for him. He just kept slugging the whole year, and even turned it up a notch in the second half.
   19. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 03, 2011 at 04:49 PM (#3762382)

Zips projects him to post a 135 OPS+ next year. And I'm under the impression he will be playing 3rd next year as well. Anyone who thinks this is a terrible contract is either extremely risk adverse or isn't looking at his projections. The upside at least matches the downside in this deal.


Projections are most useful for normal player career curves. Bautista is clearly an outlier and I wouldn't trust any projection on him. He could hit 50 bombs again, he could go back to being a .250/.335/.420 kinda player. I'm not as certain he'll just hit "in between."
   20. Dan Szymborski Posted: March 03, 2011 at 04:54 PM (#3762395)
For what it's worth, ZiPS has Bautista's 5-year market value (with a 20% markdown for the last year of arbitration) at $65 million. And that's with ZiPS cutting off more than 40% of his 2010 HR total.

I think some of you guys are undervaluing how much a win is worth on the open market. It's at $4.5 million a year and at 5% growth (historically, it's been closer to 6-9%), a year of arbitration and 4 years of market price for a *1* WAR a year player is 5 years, $24 million.

If Bautista simply repeated 2009 over and over again and kept none of the 2010 gains, that's still a 5-year, $48 million player.
   21. Cowboy Popup Posted: March 03, 2011 at 04:55 PM (#3762400)
He could hit 50 bombs again, he could go back to being a .250/.335/.420 kinda player.

Exactly, there is a significant risk, but there is also substantial upside. If Bautista were a lock to hit 50 HRs next year while playing 3rd, he would get a lot more years and money than 5/65. I think this risk is well worth it, the Jays aren't going to have the opportunity to lock up guys capable of playing the way Bautista could for this kind of money all that often.

If Bautista simply repeated 2009 over and over again and kept none of the 2010 gains, that's still a 5-year, $48 million player.

Apparently the risk isn't even as significant as I thought it was.
   22. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 03, 2011 at 04:59 PM (#3762410)
Projections are most useful for normal player career curves. Bautista is clearly an outlier and I wouldn't trust any projection on him. He could hit 50 bombs again, he could go back to being a .250/.335/.420 kinda player. I'm not as certain he'll just hit "in between."
(To clarify here, I'm asking out of ignorance. I'm honestly interested.)

Is there any evidence that players with large year-to-year swings in production are more likely to significantly over- or under-perform their projections?

Even if that were the case, though, it wouldn't be a strong argument against the Bautista contract. The chances of over- and under-performance should, in theory, balance out. If you wanted to argue against the contract, you'd need to argue that players who have one-year spikes are actually less likely to hit up to their projections than players who have a more consistent level of production. Is there any evidence for that claim?
   23. Dan Szymborski Posted: March 03, 2011 at 05:03 PM (#3762415)
Is there any evidence that players with large year-to-year swings in production are more likely to significantly over- or under-perform their projections?

I'm running the numbers on huge HR improvements right now.
   24. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: March 03, 2011 at 05:09 PM (#3762426)
Projections are most useful for normal player career curves. Bautista is clearly an outlier and I wouldn't trust any projection on him. He could hit 50 bombs again, he could go back to being a .250/.335/.420 kinda player. I'm not as certain he'll just hit "in between."


ditto

I mean what/who is our best Bautista comp? Brady Anderson? He pretty much went back to being the same player...
Of course the 4 years pre-spike, Anderson hit 129, 108, 96, 110, and the 4 years post he hit 128, 103, 128, 106.

Bautista was far more stable, he hit 94, 96, 91 and 99... before putting up a 166

Then there is Beltre, he hit 114, 91, 97 and 163, followed by 93, 105, 112 and 108
I could go back to Jim Hickman, but naah...


Early on Bill James had said that if you see a guy who hits .225 one year and .325 the next, the best guess for year 3 was .275. I think that's true if all you have to work with is: .225 and .325, and especially true if you have .275; .225; .275.

In this case we have 94, 96, 91, 99 and 166
He'll be 30 and his career OPS+ is 109, I'd set the over/under there.
   25. Dan Szymborski Posted: March 03, 2011 at 05:16 PM (#3762436)
While Excel is working, let me put argument down in another way.

To do this, I made two scenarios using ZiPS, instructing ZiPS in the first case to assume that Bautista's baseline is exactly 2010 (I'll call this TRUE10 for now on) and in the second case, assume that Bautista's baseline is exactly 2009. ZiPS is then projecting Bautista from that point, with all the risk and decline factored in.

To make this look as *bad* as possible for Bautista (as I'm taking the pro side), I'll use his Total Zone defense, which is -16 for 2010, much worse than either BIS or UZR.

In TRUE10, ZiPS has Bautista with a market price of $108 million over the next 5 years. In TRUE09, ZiPS has Bautista with a market price of $38 million over the next 5 years.

So essentially, with the assumptions made, the Blue Jays contract represents the market value of Jose Bautista if his expectation going forward was 38% 2010 and 62% 2009.
   26. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 03, 2011 at 05:20 PM (#3762442)
JPWF - you're only selecting fluke seasons. What about the guys who had a big season and remained really good? Roberto Clemente 1960, Kevin Youkilis 2008, Cy Seymour 1903.

Dwight Evans 1981 is a good comp for the "bet on the projection". He was never as good again as he'd been in 1981, but he established a new level of production over the next decade from where he'd been in the 1970s.

I should probably just wait for Dan to do the work rather than throwing out anecdotes. (Thanks, Dan.)

EDIT: hey, I really like CP's Carlos Pena comp in the post below.
   27. Cowboy Popup Posted: March 03, 2011 at 05:21 PM (#3762452)
I mean what/who is our best Bautista comp?

How about a guy like Cecil Fielder? He was younger, but he was also in terrible shape. He posted a 120 OPS+ in the five years after his big season. And Fielder was in terrible shape. A 120 OPS+ split at 3rd/RF is going to be worth 5/65.

Pena has put up a 122 OPS+ since his big season.

Jose Guillen put up a 109 OPS+ in his five seasons after his random break out.

Edit:
EDIT: hey, I really like CP's Carlos Pena comp in the post below.

Thanks, but I stole from Birdlives in post 8.
   28. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: March 03, 2011 at 05:28 PM (#3762466)
I don't think this is a bad deal, it's just high risk, high reward.
   29. Matthew E Posted: March 03, 2011 at 05:30 PM (#3762468)
I wouldn't have signed Bautista long-term. I would have been happy if the Jays had traded him, or if they had gone to arbitration with him and brought him back for one last year and let him go as a free agent. For these reasons:

1. They just got rid of Vernon Wells and his giant contract. Wouldn't it be nice to run the team for a while without somebody signed to a giant contract? Just to see what it's like? Maybe it'd work really well!

2. Bautista, at his age, is too old to be part of the next great Jays team. So what's the advantage of keeping him around?

That said, I'm not unhappy that they did sign him. He was fun to watch last year, and I hope he can repeat his success to some extent. The contract may be unwise, but, for all the reasons mentioned above, probably isn't catastrophic. And I don't think there ever will be another great Jays team anyway. So it's fine.
   30. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 03, 2011 at 05:33 PM (#3762471)

How about a guy like Cecil Fielder? He was younger, but he was also in terrible shape. He posted a 120 OPS+ in the five years after his big season. And Fielder was in terrible shape. A 120 OPS+ split at 3rd/RF is going to be worth 5/65.


I don't think that's a good comp because Fielder's first big season was his first full season as a regular. Bautista has had several seasons of being a regular and has been very cromulent.


If Bautista simply repeated 2009 over and over again and kept none of the 2010 gains, that's still a 5-year, $48 million player.


I really have a hard time seeing a .750 OPS third basemen with above average defense getting a $48 million contract. That's pretty much Brandon Inge, and Inge signed a 2 year $11.5 million contract. Look, if you want to argue its worth paying a premium on that because of the possibility of a new level of performance, that's fine. I don't think that's worth paying for, but I get it. But there's no way he gets anything close to this deal if he simply repeats his 2009 numbers.
   31. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 03, 2011 at 05:39 PM (#3762482)
They just got rid of Vernon Wells and his giant contract. Wouldn't it be nice to run the team for a while without somebody signed to a giant contract? Just to see what it's like? Maybe it'd work really well!
There's a really big difference between 5/65 and 7/126. I don't think it makes sense to look at the two contracts as examples of the same thing.
   32. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 03, 2011 at 05:43 PM (#3762489)
I really have a hard time seeing a .750 OPS third basemen with above average defense getting a $48 million contract. That's pretty much Brandon Inge, and Inge signed a 2 year $11.5 million contract.
Inge is 33, Bautista's 29. Inge actually projects to a 700 OPS, not 750.
   33. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: March 03, 2011 at 05:46 PM (#3762495)
somebody signed to a giant contract


This is far from a giant contract. The five years is a bit long but $13 million per year should not be a limiter for the Jays. This is far from a Vernon Wells or a Jayson Werth type situation. Just off the top of my head an "ordinary" regular seems worth $13 million per. If Bautista returns to his pre-2010 level then yeah, it sucks.

I just did a quick eyeball test on BBRef. There were 11 players who have Free Agency service time in the AL last year and had between 3 and 5 WAR. The average salary for those players was just south of $11 million. Some of those guys are players likely to be better than Bautista going forward, some are a good bet to be worse but somewhere along the line an organization has to take a shot on a player.

If the Jays let Bautista walk they aren't going to replace him for less than $65 million they are paying, not with any certainty anyway. If they keep him at that number they have a fair shot at a player worth considerably more and that is what they are going to need to contend.
   34. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 03, 2011 at 05:48 PM (#3762500)
Inge is 33, Bautista's 29. Inge actually projects to a 700 OPS, not 750.


Okay, 29 year Brandon Inge, coming off .750-.790 OPS seasons didn't get a $48 million contract either - nowhere close in fact. It was a 4/$24 million deal in 2006 after he was coming off a career high HR season and a .776 OPS.
   35. Dan Szymborski Posted: March 03, 2011 at 05:50 PM (#3762505)
OK, I'm doing all this with park/league neutral numbers.

I took every player that had:

A) At least 900 PA total in a 3-year period.
B) At least 300 PA in year 4.
C) At least 300 PA in year 5.

This leaves me with 10237 5-year runs (this particular spreadsheet doesn't have 2011, so no 2007-2011 5-year periods).

I put all years in HR/600 PA (which is what HR represents going forward) and took the top 100 absolute improvements (Bautista, if he had been on this list, would be #1). I'm not using rate for this simple exercise as we'll get a lot of 5 HR guys that become 10 HR guys.

When weighted by PA, the average jump of this group in year 4 was 20 HR and the average % of new HRs from baseline retained was 31%. Of the 100 players:

- 85 had a better HR rate in year 5 than years 1-3
- 81 retained a HR rate at least 10% better.
- 70 retained a HR rate at least 20% better.
- 55 retained a HR rate at least 30% better.
- 39 retained a HR rate at least 40% better
- 33 retained a HR rate at least 50% better
- 26 retained a HR rate at least 60% better
   36. Matthew E Posted: March 03, 2011 at 05:55 PM (#3762516)
I fully agree that Bautista's contract isn't as onerous as Wells's is. I know it's a big difference. But 5/65 still really does have some size to it.

The problem is, what are you getting for that money? The Jays aren't going to contend over the next five years with or without Bautista. So what's the point?

Better to save the money, plow it into draft picks and player development and stuff, get some kind of decent young player in return for Bautista, either in trade or as a compensatory draft pick. I think the Jays' only hope is to go patient-and-young in a big way. I think if they do that it'll raise their chances of eventual success from 0% all the way to 0%. That may not sound like much, but it's better odds than they'll get from any other plan.

Still, I'm looking forward to seeing what Bautista does over the next few seasons. It took him a while to win me over, but he's a fun player to watch. I just wish they had a real third baseman so Bautista could move to right field; he's got quite a throwing arm.
   37. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: March 03, 2011 at 06:00 PM (#3762524)
The Jays aren't going to contend over the next five years with or without Bautista. So what's the point?

That seems crazy to me. The Blue Jays could easily turn into contenders as soon as next year.
   38. Matthew E Posted: March 03, 2011 at 06:18 PM (#3762553)
That seems crazy to me. The Blue Jays could easily turn into contenders as soon as next year.


Well, I'd like it if you're right. (I almost said, "I hope you're right," but in fact I no longer feel any hope when it comes to the Jays.)

But I have come to believe that this combination of owners, management, players (including future players), fans, and division will never produce a Blue Jays team that accomplishes anything worth achieving. Watch and see.
   39. Danny Posted: March 03, 2011 at 06:32 PM (#3762567)
He’s extremely unlikely to maintain that level of production.

As others have noted, this is a complete strawman. No one expects him to maintain his 2010 production, and his contract is commensurate with an expectation of a large decline from 2010.
   40. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: March 03, 2011 at 06:34 PM (#3762570)
The Jays aren't going to contend over the next five years with or without Bautista.


I just feel like, in baseball, if you're willing to write off the next five years, you might as well give up forever. In 2005, for instance, the Rockies lost 95 games and featured Matt Holliday and essentially nobody else. Seriously, their best pitcher was Aaron Cook. Two years later they were in the World Series, and they've been contenders pretty much ever since. The Rangers, Tigers and Devil Rays were all below .500 -- the Tigers & Rays significantly so -- and all three have played in the World Series since.

The only teams that should be thinking, "We won't be contending in the next five years," are the deeply stupid or cosmically ######. Everybody else can and should have a shot at it, even in the AL East.
   41. Papa Squid Posted: March 03, 2011 at 06:37 PM (#3762574)
The Jays aren't going to contend over the next five years with or without Bautista. So what's the point?


This is amazingly defeatist.
   42. Fancy Pants Handle doesn't need no water Posted: March 03, 2011 at 06:46 PM (#3762582)
The Jays aren't going to contend over the next five years with or without Bautista. So what's the point?

This is amazingly defeatist.


Must be a French-Canadian.
   43. Paul D(uda) Posted: March 03, 2011 at 06:47 PM (#3762584)
The Jays aren't going to contend over the next five years with or without Bautista. So what's the point?

What's the point of any contract if they believe this? They have to believe that they're going to contend in the next 5 years, and probably think it's more like the next 2-3 years.
   44. Matthew E Posted: March 03, 2011 at 06:50 PM (#3762590)
I just feel like, in baseball, if you're willing to write off the next five years, you might as well give up forever.


Yes.

If winning a championship, or at least making it into the postseason, is the only goal worth discussing, the Jays might as well give up forever. I agree that this is defeatist. It's still what I think.

Now: Rogers can still make money off of a Jays team that isn't going anywhere, and I expect them to continue to want to do that. I can still enjoy watching such a ballclub (just because they aren't going to win this year doesn't mean they aren't going to win today!) and I expect to continue to do so. And that's worthwhile.

But the fans won't ever come back in large enough numbers to justify the amount of money Rogers would have to spend to make this team competitive with the Red Sox and Yankees. And if Rogers doesn't know that now, they will soon. A super-genius general manager might be able to pull off a winning team under these circumstances, but Anthopoulos is, at best, a normal genius. It would also help if the Jays players could rise to the occasion, but I'll believe that that will happen only when I see it.

You just can't get there from here.

ETA:

What's the point of any contract if they believe this? They have to believe that they're going to contend in the next 5 years, and probably think it's more like the next 2-3 years.


I'm sure they don't believe it. Or at least they can't act like they do. But given the trouble these guys have with getting on base, and their scarcity of top hitting prospects in the minors, I would say that they should be aiming far enough down the road that Bautista's not that useful to them.
   45. Fernigal McGunnigle has become a merry hat Posted: March 03, 2011 at 06:54 PM (#3762597)
The Blue Jays have a solid young rotation with upside, there is upside in the offense, they seem to have smart management, and they won 85 games last year. The Red Sox are potentially bad at catcher and have a few players who could crater or get/remain hurt. The Yankees look thin in the rotation and they have some players who are old enough to go downhill pretty quickly. The Rays might be between years -- they need a few new replacements to step up and play well, and the bullpen is a mystery at this point. The Orioles aren't there and might never get there. Neither of the other divisions is a lock to produce two 90+ win teams.

Are the Blue Jays likely to make the playoffs this year? No. But it's not all that hard to imagine a scenario in which they do.
   46. Nasty Nate Posted: March 03, 2011 at 06:59 PM (#3762603)
That's insanity. Tampa had less fans than Toronto, a worse park, spent less money and rose to the top of the division (and is still there).

I remember my dad moaning in the early 90's that the Red Sox would never be able to win a world series because the park was too small and didn't have enough luxury boxes.
   47. Greg K Posted: March 03, 2011 at 07:05 PM (#3762613)
I would ask how many times since 1993 have the Jays actually gone all out and even attempted to make the playoffs? The AJ Burnett, BJ Ryan, Troy Glaus off-season is really the only time off the top of my head.

The Jays are in a tough spot division-wise, but they also haven't been all that well run (from ownership or GMs) in the past 15 years. I realize there are differences between now and then but I have a hard time looking at a team that was one of the best in baseball for 10 years (1984-1993), set attendance records, and had one of the top payrolls, and saying that team will NEVER be able to compete. 15 years is a long time, but it is by no means a permenant state of affairs.
   48. Famous Original Joe C Posted: March 03, 2011 at 07:10 PM (#3762622)
Are the Blue Jays likely to make the playoffs this year? No. But it's not all that hard to imagine a scenario in which they do.

I don't know - their chances are better than zero, but are you telling me you wouldn't be *shocked* if the Blue jays made the playoffs this year? They are pretty clearly the 4th best team in the division to me, and the other three include two of the best three teams on paper. Even in your scenario, the Jays need to have a lot go right *and* have quite a bit go wrong for two of their divisional competitors.

SG's CAIRO projections as of Feb. 10 gave the Jays about a 9% chance of making the playoffs. I think this is too high, myself, but maybe I am overstating my case. I would still be absolutely stunned if the Jays make the playoffs this year.
   49. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 03, 2011 at 07:14 PM (#3762631)
But the fans won't ever come back in large enough numbers to justify the amount of money Rogers would have to spend to make this team competitive with the Red Sox and Yankees.
$43-73M? That's what the Devil Rays payroll is, and they have just as many playoff appearances in the last three years as the Red Sox or Yankees.

From 2005-2007, each of the Twins, White Sox, Indians, and Tigers had a season in which they would have made the playoffs in the AL East. The Indians payroll was $61M, the Twins $63M, the Tigers $82M and the White Sox $75M.

I hardly think that every single one of those teams was run by a super-genius.
   50. Fancy Pants Handle doesn't need no water Posted: March 03, 2011 at 07:24 PM (#3762645)
From 2005-2007, each of the Twins, White Sox, Indians, and Tigers had a season in which they would have made the playoffs in the AL East. The Indians payroll was $61M, the Twins $63M, the Tigers $82M and the White Sox $75M.

I hardly think that every single one of those teams was run by a super-genius.


I agree with your general point. But I think this is a valid qestion: Would they still have made the playoffs in the ALE, if thy had to play about 1/3 of their games vs the Sox/Yanks/Rays troika?
That will cost you some wins...
   51. Fernigal McGunnigle has become a merry hat Posted: March 03, 2011 at 07:30 PM (#3762656)
I don't know - their chances are better than zero, but are you telling me you wouldn't be *shocked* if the Blue jays made the playoffs this year? They are pretty clearly the 4th best team in the division to me, and the other three include two of the best three teams on paper. Even in your scenario, the Jays need to have a lot go right *and* have quite a bit go wrong for two of their divisional competitors.


Oh, I'd definitely be shocked if they made the playoffs, and I expect them to have a win total in the 80s and to finish third or fourth. My scenario was just to say that they're not in a situation in which I'd abandon all hope. If I was a Jays fan I'd be looking forward to the season getting going, because this is a decent and potentially pretty good team. That doesn't work if you think that the playoffs and championships are the only reason to pay attention, but I think that a solid team and a winning season are things a fan should be proud of.
   52. RJ in TO Posted: March 03, 2011 at 07:34 PM (#3762666)
That doesn't work if you think that the playoffs and championships are the only reason to pay attention, but I think that a solid team and a winning season are things a fan should be proud of.

Since 1993, the Jays have had all sorts of solid teams and winning seasons. While those are nice, those years have included absolutely no real playoff races. At some point, having solid teams and winning seasons without ever being in playoff contention becomes not quite enough.

EDIT: While still being better than the crap that the Royals and Pirates have had to endure, of course.
   53. Matthew E Posted: March 03, 2011 at 07:36 PM (#3762668)
The Tampa Bay comparison is a good one and I don't think I have an answer for it. I mean, I know what happened; the Rays were terrible for a while and accumulated a lot of excellent prospects that they are now reaping the benefits of, and the Jays were never smart enough or bad enough to do that. And they don't seem to be doing it now, although they certainly are trying to increase their supply of young talent. So, if the Rays put it all together for a while, can't the Jays do the same?

I don't think they can, although I can't actually support that with any reasoning. Obviously it's harder for the Jays to do what the Rays did right now, because the Rays didn't have to beat the Rays, and the Jays do. But that doesn't mean that someday the Jays might not only have two teams in front of them. I still don't believe it'll happen.

As for the Twins, White Sox, Indians, and Tigers... are you looking at raw win numbers, or some kind of strength-of-schedule adjusted numbers? If it's raw win numbers, then what I say is that if they were in the AL East, they probably wouldn't have been able to see the playoffs on a clear day while standing on a phone book.
   54. Jeff R., P***y Mainlander Posted: March 03, 2011 at 07:37 PM (#3762669)

I agree with your general point. But I think this is a valid question: Would they still have made the playoffs in the ALE, if thy had to play about 1/3 of their games vs the Sox/Yanks/Rays troika?
That will cost you some wins...


Yup - Minnesota Twins 2010 records against divisions:

East: 15-21 (.417)
Central: 47-25 (.653)
West: 24-12 (.667)

The second-to-last series of the Twins' season was against the Blue Jays, and the announcers kept going on and on about what a disadvantage the Jays had because their offense was keyed around the home run, and Target Field had been such a tough place to hit home runs. Then the Jays blasted six home runs in the first game, and they stopped talking about it.
   55. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 03, 2011 at 07:38 PM (#3762670)
The Blue Jays in the last ten years have had seasons with 87 wins, 86 wins twice, and 85 wins. That's four 85 win or better seasons in a tough division. It only takes a few lucky breaks and/or smart decisions to go from 85 wins to the 92-95 wins you need to get a Wild Card berth. That's hardly hopeless.

Now the Orioles....
   56. Famous Original Joe C Posted: March 03, 2011 at 07:45 PM (#3762674)
My scenario was just to say that they're not in a situation in which I'd abandon all hope

Yeah, we're basically in agreement then.
   57. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 03, 2011 at 07:53 PM (#3762687)
I agree with your general point. But I think this is a valid question: Would they still have made the playoffs in the ALE, if thy had to play about 1/3 of their games vs the Sox/Yanks/Rays troika?
The AL East was no more difficult a division than the AL Central from 2005-2007.

The total record of all teams in the AL East from 2005-2007 was 1220-1210. The total record of all teams in the AL Central was 1227-1203.

The superiority of the AL East, as a division, was mostly a myth driven by media focus on just two of its clubs. That changed in 2008, with the emergence of the Rays. However, before 2008, there was significant parity between the AL divisions, and the teams that won 95 games in the Central were just as good as the teams winning 95 in the AL East.
   58. Fernigal McGunnigle has become a merry hat Posted: March 03, 2011 at 07:53 PM (#3762688)
Since 1993, the Jays have had all sorts of solid teams and winning seasons. While those are nice, those years have included absolutely no real playoff races. At some point, having solid teams and winning seasons without ever being in playoff contention becomes not quite enough.


Oh, I get this. I was (maybe over-)reacting though to the idea of giving up on the team for the next future at this particular point. The Jays now have better management than they had through most of the post-1993 period (worse ownership, but better management) and a pretty solid talent base to build on. There's reasonable reason to hope.
   59. Fernigal McGunnigle has become a merry hat Posted: March 03, 2011 at 07:56 PM (#3762694)

Yeah, we're basically in agreement then.


I think so. My scenario was the sort of overly-optimistic thing that every fan should indulge in around March 3. The thing with the Jays is that every individual step is reasonable, even if the cumulative outcome isn't particularly likely. It's not like the scenarios you have to invent to get the Mariners in the playoffs.
   60. RJ in TO Posted: March 03, 2011 at 08:02 PM (#3762697)
The Jays now have better management than they had through most of the post-1993 period (worse ownership, but better management) and a pretty solid talent base to build on.

I'm not sure if the current ownership is worse. Interbrew was completely uninterested in the team, and only ended up with them as a result of their acquisition of Labatts. They weren't at all concerned with the day to day or year to year operation of the team, or whether the team won or lost, and were more than happy to find a new owner on which they could dump the team.
   61. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: March 03, 2011 at 08:09 PM (#3762703)
The Jays are in a tough spot division-wise, but they also haven't been all that well run (from ownership or GMs) in the past 15 years.

8 winning years out of the past 15- Pirates or Royals fans would kill for that.

The Orioles have just 2 winning seasons.

I think the problem is, they've been mediocre, they've never geared up to go all out- they've never looked in a good position to go all out. But you did win 85 last year, and 86 in 2008 and 87 in 2006... Even if nothing changes they']ll bound to luck into a 90 win season :-)
   62. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: March 03, 2011 at 08:13 PM (#3762707)
I don't know - their chances are better than zero, but are you telling me you wouldn't be *shocked* if the Blue jays made the playoffs this year? They are pretty clearly the 4th best team in the division to me, and the other three include two of the best three teams on paper.


I, personally, wouldn't be *shocked*, for the following reasons:

1. They're the fourth-best team in the division, but probably the fifth- or sixth-best team in the league. It's not like we're talking about the Indians here.
2. Though the Red Sox made a big splash over the winter and are pretty clearly the class of the division, I think both the Yankees and Rays both regressed. The gap between second place in the AL East and 4th place in the AL East is smaller than it has been for a while.
3. I honestly think there's pretty good evidence that Anthopolous is very bright and ambitious, in a way that nobody the Jays have had since Gillick. If they're going to do interesting things in-season, A.A. is much more likely to do them than guys in the recent past.
4. Baseball is baseball. Given items 1-3, I don't think it requires any miracles or disasters for the Jays to win the Wild Card. I honestly think the fact they haven't backed into the playoffs at least once in the last 15 years is bad luck, to some degree.
   63. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 03, 2011 at 08:18 PM (#3762714)
I honestly think the fact they haven't backed into the playoffs at least once in the last 15 years is bad luck, to some degree.
I completely agree with this. This is a weird distribution of wins:

88, 84, 83, 80, 78, 86, 67, 80, 87, 83, 86, 75, 87

One or two of those teams should have gone on a couple runs and made the playoffs, or at least contended down to the wire. One sucked, it seems like a fair trade-off.
   64. Walt Davis Posted: March 03, 2011 at 08:32 PM (#3762730)
Seriously, their best pitcher was Aaron Cook

What's with the diss of Cook? From 2004-9, dude put up a 117 OPS+. Not the healthiest of pitchers but a darn good one. For starters 2004-9 (min 600 IP), he's tied for 27th in ERA+ and, in terms of ERA+ and IP, he was roughly the same as Greinke, Hudson, Verlander, Kazmir. Even using pitching wins (which will ding his lack of durability), he's 28th over that time frame.

It is amazing and hilarious that he does it with a K-rate around 4/9 in Coors.
   65. Ellis Valentine's Bright Future Posted: March 03, 2011 at 08:34 PM (#3762734)
As a Jays fan, I like the signing. I tend to lean with Dan on the math in that wins are more expensive than we like to pretend (if BTF was one collective GM we would be looking at a nearly empty roster because almost everyone is too expensive).

More importantly, I think this signing makes it more likely that we become a playoff team in the next five years. If Bautista falls off a cliff this contract will certainly hamstring us (though less than the Wells contract) but in order to make the playoffs we need some risks like this to pay off. Nice to see us rolling the dice.

For the first time in a while, I am excited. AA (which I pronounce "Double A") is fun to watch.
   66. Gaelan Posted: March 03, 2011 at 08:36 PM (#3762736)
The question, Ryan, is what are you going to do with Bautista?
   67. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: March 03, 2011 at 08:38 PM (#3762739)
What about the guys who had a big season and remained really good? Roberto Clemente 1960, Kevin Youkilis 2008, Cy Seymour 1903.

Dwight Evans 1981 is a good comp for the "bet on the projection". He was never as good again as he'd been in 1981, but he established a new level of production over the next decade from where he'd been in the 1970s.


Clemente went from 73 to 96 to 91 to 121 and he was 25 not 29, and then went to 148
Bautista from 25-28 was flatlining in the 90s.

Youkilis: went 106 to 117 to 143 (plus he had a very good minor league track record- you could argue that he was underachieving his true talent level his 1st 2 full seasons in the majors)

Seymour went 110, 134, 134, 181, 121, 132, 102- isn't he one of the Brady Anderson types in that regard?

Dewey had a 128 in 1977, and 124 in 1980 before hitting 162 in 1981

Cecil Fielder was at 108 from ages 21-24
He hit .302/.409/.628 in Japan at age 25
he had his MLB breakout at 26

Before Pena's age 29 breakout he had full years of 106, 108, 113, 112, his established talent level was some 12-15 OPS+ points above Bautista's

He went from the 90s to 166, he isn't a Roy Campanella or Mickey Vernon who had 50 point OPS+ swings due to injuries and what not, he's a guy with a clearly established performance level who just went YACHTZEE! all of a sudden...

I'll throw out another name- Melvin Mora
and another- Inge, through 26 he was at 55, then posted a 109, 100, 98....

Sure we may have just seen a radical change in Bautista's career and he's going to hit 150 next year, he may hit 130, he may also turn back into a pumpkin and hit 98
In this case, considering his track record, and the track records of "similar" late career spikes- I think the odds of him reverting to 2006-2009 are around 50%
somewher between 100-130, about 35-40%
   68. RJ in TO Posted: March 03, 2011 at 08:39 PM (#3762740)
The question, Ryan, is what are you going to do with Bautista?

I don't know but, whichever way I choose, I'm sure I'll regret it.
   69. Matthew E Posted: March 03, 2011 at 08:49 PM (#3762751)
Well, the Jays have had bad luck in the past decade or so, but it hasn't been that kind of bad luck. It's been injury bad luck, failure-to-develop bad luck, down-year bad luck.

I still think that the 2004 Jays should have cleared 90 wins. They were coming off an excellent '03 season, with great seasons by Halladay, Wells, and Delgado. They added two perfectly cromulent starting pitchers to their rotation (Lilly and Batista), and some fine relievers (Adams, Ligtenberg, Speier, de los Santos). I thought it was going to be the year.

What happened? Everybody got hurt, had a bad year, or got hurt and had a bad year. At one point they had their top four or five catchers all on the disabled list. At one point they had a starting outfield of Reed Johnson (the fourth outfielder coming into the season), Alex Rios (a rookie, up because of injuries, would have one home run in 460 PA that year), and Dave Berg (Dave Berg). The new relievers all failed spectacularly. Carlos Tosca was fired. The team finished with 67 wins in last place. Tom Cheek got cancer and retired (and died the following year), John Cerutti died, Bobby Mattick died, and Doug Ault killed himself.

Those 85, 86, 87-win seasons? That's what happens when everything comes together for the Jays. That's their high-water mark. And I do think they can have more seasons like that. Not all the time. But every now and then. Probably not this year, for one thing; they'll be doing well if they can approach .500 this year.
   70. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 03, 2011 at 08:54 PM (#3762756)
In this case, considering his track record, and the track records of "similar" late career spikes- I think the odds of him reverting to 2006-2009 are around 50%
somewher between 100-130, about 35-40%
I'm collecting bets.

Jose Bautista from 2006-2009 put up a 95 OPS+. Would you take a bet on Jose Bautista's OPS+ over/under 100? (Some minimum PA - 300? stakes a B-Ref sponsorship?)
   71. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 03, 2011 at 08:59 PM (#3762761)
Youkilis: went 106 to 117 to 143 (plus he had a very good minor league track record- you could argue that he was underachieving his true talent level his 1st 2 full seasons in the majors)
Absolutely not. Youkilis' minor league track record didn't suggest anything like the power he developed in 2008 and has maintained in the two following seasons.

At 23, Youkilis his 310/436/424 between single- and double-A. At 24, he hit 285/441/409 in the high minors. He walked all the freakin' time, but that was never going to be sustainable, and his power was barely sufficient for a corner. The comparison that always got thrown around was Dave Magadan at third base.
   72. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: March 03, 2011 at 09:02 PM (#3762763)
I'm collecting bets.

Jose Bautista from 2006-2009 put up a 95 OPS+. Would you take a bet on Jose Bautista's OPS+ over/under 100? (Some minimum PA - 300? stakes a B-Ref sponsorship?)


I never bet, plus I'm inconsistent/always changing my mind, in 24 I put the over under at 109, in 67 at 100

if I keep parsing this stuff I may say 120 next...
   73. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: March 03, 2011 at 09:02 PM (#3762764)
What's with the diss of Cook? From 2004-9, dude put up a 117 OPS+. Not the healthiest of pitchers but a darn good one. For starters 2004-9 (min 600 IP), he's tied for 27th in ERA+


There's nothing wrong with that. But if your best pitcher is injury-prone and has the 27th-best ERA+ in the league, that's not a leading indicator of a team that's going to storm to the World Series and become a perennial contender starting very, very soon. That's what happened with the Rockies, though.
   74. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: March 03, 2011 at 09:26 PM (#3762784)
Absolutely not. Youkilis' minor league track record didn't suggest anything like the power he developed in 2008 and has maintained in the two following seasons.

At 23, Youkilis his 310/436/424 between single- and double-A. At 24, he hit 285/441/409 in the high minors. He walked all the freakin' time, but that was never going to be sustainable, and his power was barely sufficient for a corner. The comparison that always got thrown around was Dave Magadan at third base.


No, the power wasn't there, but he wasn't quite as good as Magadan either - at 25-27, Magadan hit 116, 123, 141 (with no power), that's what I meant by saying that Youk was underachieving at 106-117...

In any event Youk's power spike is NOTHING like Bautista
he went from 16 to 29, his ISO went from 165 to 257,
Bautista went from 13 to 54,his ISO went from 173 to 357

Youk went from being a "good" hitter to a very good/ borderline great one
Baustista went from a bad hitter to a great one
   75. birdlives is one crazy ninja Posted: March 03, 2011 at 09:28 PM (#3762788)
The question, Ryan, is what are you going to do with Bautista?

Let him test free agency. You risk losing to a crazy bidder or his price going up after another monster year but that's a chance I'm willing to take.
   76. RJ in TO Posted: March 03, 2011 at 09:35 PM (#3762793)
The question, Ryan, is what are you going to do with Bautista?

Let him test free agency. You risk losing to a crazy bidder or his price going up after another monster year but that's a chance I'm willing to take.


This is actually a question about Gaelan's DMB league, where we use actual MLB contracts and a salary cap. I'm in the awkward position of being the owner who currently has to decide whether he wants to keep Bautista for the next five years, or to let him come up for grabs by other owners.

If I keep him, I expect him to tank, and take my team with him. If I let him go, I expect him to unleash a five-year assault on my team's pitchers.
   77. FrankM Posted: March 03, 2011 at 10:29 PM (#3762878)
If I keep him, I expect him to tank, and take my team with him. If I let him go, I expect him to unleash a five-year assault on my team's pitchers.

Then, as a fellow Jays fan, I beg of you, let him go
   78. birdlives is one crazy ninja Posted: March 03, 2011 at 10:36 PM (#3762891)
This is actually a question about Gaelan's DMB league, where we use actual MLB contracts and a salary cap. I'm in the awkward position of being the owner who currently has to decide whether he wants to keep Bautista for the next five years, or to let him come up for grabs by other owners.


Let him go. Sign Pujols after the season.
   79. Walt Davis Posted: March 04, 2011 at 03:16 AM (#3763088)
In any event Youk's power spike is NOTHING like Bautista
he went from 16 to 29, his ISO went from 165 to 257,
Bautista went from 13 to 54,his ISO went from 173 to 357


Grrr. Nobody's expecting Bautista to have a 357 ISO again. Pujols doesn't have a 357 ISO.

But if Bautista were to settle in at a 260 ISO like Youk then, using his other career numbers, you'd be talking about a guy putting up a line of 240/340/500. That's Adam Dunn lite with the possibility of non-embarrassing play at 3B or LF/RF (though Chone has him as awful so maybe it will be embarrassing). Or roughly Konerko. Or 2010 ARod.

Now I'm not predicting he'll put a 250-260 ISO over the next 5 years, just (as with many others) pointing out that he doesn't have to come close to repeating 2010 to be worth $13 M per in today's labor market.
   80. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: March 04, 2011 at 03:36 AM (#3763100)
You guys have to read the Wade Boggs story on that site. The story of the Boggs head. It's awesome.


It really is. That's up there with my favorite baseball stories, like the Ricky Henderson/John Olerud story, the Earl Weaver rain delay thing, and the Lee Elia rant. It makes me smile every time I read it.
   81. Lassus Posted: March 04, 2011 at 03:51 AM (#3763105)
To do this, I made two scenarios using ZiPS, instructing ZiPS in the first case to assume that Bautista's baseline is exactly 2010 (I'll call this TRUE10 for now on) and in the second case, assume that Bautista's baseline is exactly 2009. ZiPS is then projecting Bautista from that point, with all the risk and decline factored in. TO DESTROY ALL HUMANS, AND PETER ANGELOS.
   82. fret Posted: March 04, 2011 at 04:35 AM (#3763134)
Those 85, 86, 87-win seasons? That's what happens when everything comes together for the Jays.


Didn't they way underperform their Pythagorean record in one of those years?
(looks it up)
MCoA's list, but with pyth records.

85, 83, 77, 82, 80, 87, 71, 88, 86, 87, 93, 84, 84

I must have been thinking of 2008, where they finished fourth but had the second-best pyth record in the division (and the AL).

--

Look at the White Sox from 1996-2004. Wins, with AL Central position in parentheses.

85(2), 80(2), 80(2), 75(2), 95(1), 83(3), 81(2), 86(2), 83(2)

That's one playoff appearance and 7 second-place finishes in 9 years. In their one division-winning year they were swept by the wild-card Mariners in the ALDS. And of course they hadn't won a championship since 1917. In 2005 they won 99 games and the World Series.

I recognize that the Blue Jays have a tougher road toward winning their division than the White Sox had toward winning theirs. All I'm saying is, for many years the Sox were the team that couldn't quite put it together. Until they did. (And in a year when PECOTA had them below .500.) There's no iron law keeping the Jays from doing the same.
   83. formerly dp Posted: March 04, 2011 at 05:09 AM (#3763157)
The Blue Jays in the last ten years have had seasons with 87 wins, 86 wins twice, and 85 wins. That's four 85 win or better seasons in a tough division. It only takes a few lucky breaks and/or smart decisions to go from 85 wins to the 92-95 wins you need to get a Wild Card berth. That's hardly hopeless.

It's hard to see the Jays making the playoffs in 2011, but not so much in 2012. I think they're stockpiling talent to the extent that even if a good bunch of their prospects flame out, they'll be in good shape. They've got a ton of mid-to back end starters, all cheap. And Morrow pitched like a #1 for good stretches of the season last year, with Drabek emerging pretty quickly. I still think Snider's going to bust out big. They're in the situation they were in under JP, but better, where they have room in the payroll for a push if it looks like they're close. Dealing Marcum hurt, but they got a good return on him.

Re: Bautista-- I guess the question is who else could you spend the money on that would have even a chance of providing that kind of value? Toronto isn't a popular destination for free agents, and they can't really afford to overpay in a bidding war. I think signing him to the contract they did was the right move. But maybe I'm just an AA fanboy...
   84. Dock Ellis on Acid Posted: March 04, 2011 at 05:23 AM (#3763164)
Brady Anderson and Cecil Fielder have been mentioned as comps but what about Luis Gonzalez? He was very productive before his 57 HR outburst so he didn't exactly come out of nowhere as much as Bautisa did. But his decline was still darn good for the next three of four years.
   85. Eddo Posted: March 04, 2011 at 06:13 AM (#3763193)
this particular spreadsheet doesn't have 2011

Dan, you already have a spreadsheet with 2011's data?! I already held ZiPs projections in high enough regard, and that was when I didn't know you occasionally traveled forward in time! :P

------

The Rogers Centre last year played as a crazy home run park, and particularly for Blue Jays hitters, which is a very unusual split

I'm not as smart as Keith Law in this arena, but this strikes me as a weak argument. First, one-year park factors seem quite iffy to me. Second, the Jays' home/road split of 146 to 111 is actually less than the Rogers Centre's overall HR park factor according to ESPN (1.315 to 1.358). (Bautista's was 1.571, though.)

EDIT: Or am I way off base in my park factor methodology?
   86. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: March 04, 2011 at 04:45 PM (#3763375)
In any event Youk's power spike is NOTHING like Bautista
he went from 16 to 29, his ISO went from 165 to 257,
Bautista went from 13 to 54,his ISO went from 173 to 357


Ok 1995-2000, every player 400+ PAs, ranked by increase in ISO one 400 AP season to the next
Rk    Player    ISO increase    Year
1    Javy Lopez    .201    2003
2    Jose Bautista    .184    2010
3    Carlos Beltran    .172    2006
4    Brady Anderson    .158    1996
5    Barry Bonds    .155    2001
6    Greg Vaughn    .148    1998
7    Morgan Ensberg    .138    2005
8    Frank Thomas    .130    2000
9    Luis Gonzalez    .130    2001
10    Richard Hidalgo    .130    2000
11    Damion Easley    .123    1997
12    David Dellucci    .123    2005
13    Chad Tracy    .122    2005
14    Juan Uribe    .122    2004
15    Adrian Beltre    .119    2010
16    Troy Tulowitzki    .118    2009
17    Prince Fielder    .117    2007
18    Charles Johnson    .116    2000
19    Fernando Tatis    .116    1999
20    Carlos Pena    .114    2007 

In case you are wondering Youk's big increase ranks 65th, not reasonably comparable at all.
Anyway...
Javy- not a great comp - he tops the list because of a down year before his big year- his spike above his established level really isn't as great as Bautista, in any event he had a hell of an ISO spike- and did not sustain it.
Beltran- same story, bad year followed by good- and went back to established levels afterwards
Brady Anderson- good comp- went back to pre-spike production afterwards
Bonds- retained about 20% of his ISO spike (kept all the walks though...)
Vaughn- same as Javy and Beltran- bad year followed by good, and then return to established level
Ensberg- hard to see what his established level was- lost some but not all, but never really came close to that ISO again...
Frank Thomas, bad year, good year, return to established levels...
Luis Gone: .208, .213, .233, *.363*, .208, .228, .235

If you go a bit further down the list there are 2 guys who had clear .100 ISO jumps AND maintained those improvements- Steve Finley and Sammy Sosa- and if you go further you start getting guys like Youk who had a 92 point jump- and maintained it - but it seems to me that most one year jumps either are bad year/good year flukes (guy whose mean is .175 has a .125 year followed by a .225) or the one year spike is simply not maintained - oddly it looks like a guy with a 60 point jump is more likely to retain that 60, than a guy with a 150 point jump is to retain 60- but that could just be small sample size fluke.
   87. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: March 04, 2011 at 05:24 PM (#3763408)
He was very productive before his 57 HR outburst

But that's the problem with Bautista -- he wasn't productive before his outburst, so he needs to maintain a fair amount of his gains to be a good player. That said, I think there's a decent chance he remains productive for the next few years, and, as I said earlier, I think this contract is a good risk. But there's certainly a chance that he returns to being the player he was pre-spike, and he wasn't very good.
   88. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: March 04, 2011 at 09:51 PM (#3763646)
more, top 20 1 year gainers, 1946-2010:
Player    increase    year
1    Javy Lopez    .201    2003
2    Jeff Bagwell    .187    1994
3    Jose Bautista    .184    2010
4    Carlos Beltran    .172    2006
5    Bobby Grich    .165    1979
6    Todd Hundley    .162    1996
7    Davey Johnson    .161    1973
8    Brady Anderson    .158    1996
9    Bob Bailey    .156    1970
10    Dusty Baker    .156    1977
11    Barry Bonds    .155    2001
12    Kevin Mitchell    .154    1989
13    Rico Petrocelli    .152    1969
14    Tommy Harper    .149    1970
15    Ernie Banks    .148    1955
16    Greg Vaughn    .148    1998
17    Cito Gaston    .145    1970
18    Ralph Kiner    .143    1947
19    Carl Yastrzemski    .142    1967
20    Gary Gaetti    .141    1995 

Completely forgot about Bagwell. 1993-94 did see a big increase in context- but Bags handily outpaced that increase- and subsequently retained a good portion of the increase.
Grich- TERRIBLE 1978 followed by his career high (ISO wise) in 1979, after that went back to his pre- 1978 self (did have another spike in 1981)
Hundley- kind of a false positive caused by my 400 AP cutoff, went from .129 to .294 in successive 400 AP years- but had a .206 and .204 in 300 AP years in between- otoh it's still an impressive surge- which he held onto for a little bit
Davey Johnson- this was kind of a famous fluke year when I was growing up...
Bob Bailey- 1970 was a high offense year, and he piled on on top of that... and gave it virtually all back the next year
Dusty Baker- big gap league-wide 1976-1977 (change in baseball manufacturer), plus Baker had a HORRIBLE year in 1976, 1977- adjusted for league really wasn't much out of line with his previously established levels (pre 1976), really doesn't belong on list, FWIW 1977 was his career high ISO
Kevin Mitchell: Big surge, held onto a good chuck of it too... when he was healthy/interested in playing, 2 years younger than Bautista, but I'd say he's a good positive data point for Jose
Rico- 1968 was "the year of the pitcher" so I was waiting for a 1969er to show up - by teh raw numbers held about 1/2 his surge for 2 years... but I suspect if I league adjust his 68 to 69 surge wasn't that big, and his 1970 giveback was more than half...
Tommy Harper- bad year in 1969, big surge in 1970, his 1971-1975 ISO looks like his 1963-68
Ernie Banks- was 24, 1954 may or may not have reflected his true talent level (1st full year)- kept his 1955 power surge until he had knee problems
Cito- wasn't expecting to see him... 2nd full season... and fluke city (unless he was hurt after that- anyone know?)
Kiner, 24, same story as Banks pretty much
Yaz, spike was exaggerated by off year in 1966, 3 year sequence of .225, .153, .295, had 2 subsequent years that were close (by ISO)- but pretty much went back to pre-spike levels
Gaetti- placement is an artifact of my 400 PA cutoff, see Hundley comment

These one year ISO surges of .140+ seem to fall into 3 broad categories:

1: Surge is misleading- preceded by atypical down year, or accompanied by change in league conditions or both- and doesn't necessarily reflect even a 1 year change in ability
2: Surge is ephemeral- player gives back most of not all of the surge - immediately
3: Surge is real and largely sustained for at least 2-3 years...
1 is the most common it seems and 3 the least.

Bautista is gonna fall into either group 2 or 3... The Jays are betting a lot of $ that it will be group 3

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