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Monday, December 26, 2011

Goold: ‘Rarity’ Fielder remains unsigned

Inside the Boras Binder on Prince Fielder (“It’s NOT a cookbook!”...Graeme Lloyd Bochner stares in total disbelief).

The binder contains glorious statistical factoids:

• Only three Hall of Fame first basemen had as many as 200 home runs by the age of 27: Jimmie Foxx, Orlando Cepeda and Killebrew. Fielder has 230.

• Fielder is the seventh player to hit 32 home runs or more in five seasons by the age of 27. The others: Miguel Cabrera, Eddie Mathews, Pujols, Rodriguez, Foxx and Vlad Guerrero.

• Pujols and Fielder are the only players with at least 32 home runs in each of the past five seasons.

• Fielder hit a home run that reached a velocity of 119.2 mph, the highest of any homer this past season, according to ESPN Stats.

• He is the only player to average .280 with more than 40 homers and at least 100 RBIs from 2007 to 2011. (Not mentioned: Pujols averaged .324, 39 homers and 114 RBIs in that same period.)

“You see who has as many home runs by the age of 27 at first base and you see Jimmie Foxx and Lou Gehrig and the list is only four guys,” Boras explained this month. “You have to double-check. Then you start looking at what accomplishments this man has had at such a young age. You look at the game and the younger core that’s coming and you’d say there’s no one (like Fielder). You’re going to have to average 37 home runs in this period of time. Who’s going to do that?”

Repoz Posted: December 26, 2011 at 02:43 PM | 67 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: brewers, business, history, media, projections, sabermetrics

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   1. Banta Posted: December 26, 2011 at 03:47 PM (#4023473)
Does including a 280 average even eliminate anyone? Who else averaged 40 homeruns and 100 rbis from 07 to 11?

EDIT: Ryan Howard. Not sure about anyone else.
   2. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: December 26, 2011 at 04:07 PM (#4023478)
You see who has as many home runs by the age of 27 at first base and you see Jimmie Foxx and Lou Gehrig and the list is only four guys,”


Incorrect. There is also Hal Trosky and Boog Powell. Counting all positions, there are 26 players to hit 200 HR by age 27. In addition to Trosky and Powell, there are also non HOFers Strawberry, Canseco, Dunn, Colavito, and Juan Gone.
   3. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: December 26, 2011 at 04:24 PM (#4023482)
And where did Gehrig all of a sudden come from? He had 187 HR. Drop the requirement to 187 and you have 7 1B and 40 total players, including Bob Horner, Tom Brunansky, and Eric Chavez.
   4. Greg Pope thinks the Cubs are reeking havoc Posted: December 26, 2011 at 04:38 PM (#4023485)
All joking/fact checking aside, are there GM's that actually fall for this? Or is it just show for Fielder?
   5. Howie Menckel Posted: December 26, 2011 at 04:40 PM (#4023486)
At least Boras did go with what I think we can all agree is the precise standard of excellence for sluggers: 32 home runs.

"Only three Hall of Fame first basemen had as many as 200 home runs by the age of 27: Jimmie Foxx, Orlando Cepeda and Killebrew. Fielder has 230."

If you don't look closely, you might think that only 3 guys have done it, and all are in the Hall of Fame. But that would be wrong.

I'd laugh at Boras, but too many GMs seem dumb enough to fall for the contrived end points and minimums.
   6. bobm Posted: December 26, 2011 at 04:47 PM (#4023489)
[1]

Spanning Multiple Seasons or entire Careers, From 2007 to 2011, (requiring HR>=200 and RBI>=500), sorted by greatest Batting Average


Rk Player BA HR RBI
1 Prince Fielder .285 200 565
2 Ryan Howard .266 204 647
   7. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: December 26, 2011 at 05:02 PM (#4023496)
Prince Fielder weighs exactly the same as Hall of Famer Phil Rizzuto, Hall of Famer Joe Morgan, Hall of Famer Ray Schalk's hat, and Hall of Famer Mordecai Brown's missing index finger, combined. His father had more career stolen bases than all the fathers of Kyle Drabek, Brian Bannister, Adam LaRoche, and Todd Stottlemyre put together. Fielder is the Milwaukee Brewers' all-time franchise leader in National League home runs. These are facts and facts cost money.
   8. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: December 26, 2011 at 05:37 PM (#4023506)
You see who has as many home runs by the age of 27 at first base and you see Jimmie Foxx and Lou Gehrig and the list is only four guys,”


Incorrect. There is also Hal Trosky and Boog Powell


I assume Trosky and Powell are the other two guys Boras didn't mention.
   9. KronicFatigue Posted: December 26, 2011 at 05:46 PM (#4023511)
4. Greg Pope Posted: December 26, 2011 at 10:38 AM (#4023485)
All joking/fact checking aside, are there GM's that actually fall for this? Or is it just show for Fielder?

Create the illusion that Prince is an elite talent and the sports-radio fan base might by into it. A GM might then be willing to spend more on him either to put more fans in the seats, or at least keep people happy for his own job security. Three years down the road when Prince is not worth his contract is...well, three years down the road.
   10. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: December 26, 2011 at 06:01 PM (#4023516)
I assume Trosky and Powell are the other two guys Boras didn't mention.


no.

• Only three Hall of Fame first basemen had as many as 200 home runs by the age of 27: Jimmie Foxx, Orlando Cepeda and Killebrew. Fielder has 230.


That's the 4. And Gehrig isn't one of them. He had 187, fewer than Trosky, Powell, and Eddie Murray who also wasn't mentioned.
   11. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 26, 2011 at 06:10 PM (#4023524)
Under the new CBA, how many more runs does a team get for high velocity home runs?
   12. Dock Ellis on Acid Posted: December 26, 2011 at 06:28 PM (#4023534)
I would really like to get my hands on one of those binders, particularly Jayson Werth's. I'd love to see how that contract was justified.
   13. Greg Pope thinks the Cubs are reeking havoc Posted: December 26, 2011 at 06:29 PM (#4023538)
Create the illusion that Prince is an elite talent and the sports-radio fan base might by into it. A GM might then be willing to spend more on him either to put more fans in the seats, or at least keep people happy for his own job security. Three years down the road when Prince is not worth his contract is...well, three years down the road.

Well, yeah, but Boras's binders are for presenting to the teams, not for sending out as press releases. I did not RTFA, so I don't know if this one was leaked or published or what.
   14. Justin T., Director of Somethin Posted: December 26, 2011 at 06:36 PM (#4023542)
I would really like to get my hands on one of those binders, particularly Jayson Werth's. I'd love to see how that contract was justified.

Rizzo's justification at the time seemed to boil down to "We had to overpay the bejeezus out of someone in order to show other players, who are actually good, that we're serious so they will consider us in the future."
   15. The Long Arm of Rudy Law Posted: December 26, 2011 at 06:39 PM (#4023544)
Among major leaguers with "Prince" in their names, Fielder is the most recent, easily surpassing Tom Prince's record of 2003.
   16. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: December 26, 2011 at 06:53 PM (#4023547)
• Only three Hall of Fame first basemen had as many as 200 home runs by the age of 27: Jimmie Foxx, Orlando Cepeda and Killebrew. Fielder has 230.


That's different than the quote, which was:

“You see who has as many home runs by the age of 27 at first base and you see Jimmie Foxx and Lou Gehrig and the list is only four guys,”


Not sure about Gehrig. Perhaps Boras miscounted by a year. Gehrig did turn 31 on June 19, 1931, and on that day he hit his 199th home run, so perhaps Boras felt that was close enough, but that still doesn't get him to 230, which was what was quoted.
   17. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: December 26, 2011 at 07:08 PM (#4023556)
• Only three Hall of Fame first basemen had as many as 200 home runs by the age of 27: Jimmie Foxx, Orlando Cepeda and Killebrew. Fielder has 230.



That's different than the quote, which was:

“You see who has as many home runs by the age of 27 at first base and you see Jimmie Foxx and Lou Gehrig and the list is only four guys,”


Well, what it is is a quote presumably referencing the bullet point about there being only 4 firstbasemen with 200 HR by age 27. The bullet point states the 4, Fielder being one, and then a statement from Boras talks about the list being only 4 guys and mentions Gehrig. The fact is, there are 6 firstbasemen with 200 HR by age 27: Fielder, Cepeda, Killebrew, Foxx, Torsky, and Powell. Murray has 198, and Gehrig has 187.

Either Gehrig doesn't belong in the conversation, or Trosky, Powell, and Murray do as well. And FWIW, Killebrew was not a firstbaseman through age 27. he had more games at 3B and the OF.
   18. SoSH U at work Posted: December 26, 2011 at 07:09 PM (#4023558)
That's different than the quote, which was:


Actually, it's both. Boras has it right* in the fact found in the binder (presumably it wasn't cleaned up by Goold after Boras presented it). But then he screws that up in the quoted portion.

* Right being a rather weak way of describing it, since Boras presented the factoid in a way that lumps Fielder only with Hall of Fame first basemen, rather than all first sackers who hit 200 homers by age 27.
   19. Tricky Dick Posted: December 26, 2011 at 07:14 PM (#4023562)
Under the new CBA, how many more runs does a team get for high velocity home runs?


That is an odd statistic. I'm not familiar with the ESPN data on HR velocity. I suppose the question is whether "higher velocity" HRs somehow correlates with less decline in future HRs or perhaps even less age-related decline in annual HRs. I haven't seen any studies of that issue. But a hypothesis of that kind seems plausible. I have seen people use the "no doubt" vs. "just enough" category of HRs as an indicator of the liklihood that future HR totals will decrease. It seems like HR velocity might be a more precise way of measuring those categories. Then again, Boras doesn't seem to be using the data for that purpose.
   20. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: December 26, 2011 at 07:17 PM (#4023564)
* Right being a rather weak way of describing it, since Boras presented the factoid in a way that lumps Fielder only with Hall of Fame first basemen, rather than all first sackers who hit 200 homers by age 27.


Ah, you're right about that. I missed that it was worded specifically to exclude any non-HOFer who hit 200 HR by age 27.
   21. Something Other Posted: December 26, 2011 at 07:17 PM (#4023565)
What's so funny about this is that Fielder is at the peak of his abilities and has all of 2 seasons with a bWAR over 4. He has two seasons of the last 5 with bWARs of 2.1 and 2.8. You don't have to agree with bWAR to realize that Fielder has all of two excellent and one good season under his belt. Everything else, as my grandpa used to say, is bullsh!t and ribbons.

No matter how you slice the data Fielder isn't a 5 win player. Yet Boras is asking some GM to pay him not only as though he was one, but that he is going to remain one--remain something he's not-- until Fielder is is 35.

That's funny stuff.
   22. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: December 26, 2011 at 07:18 PM (#4023566)
Then again, Boras doesn't seem to be using the data for that purpose.


Boras uses data the way a drunk uses a lamppost; for support rather than illumination.
   23. Monty Predicts a Padres-Mariners WS in 2016 Posted: December 26, 2011 at 07:26 PM (#4023573)
I choose to believe he's being called "Rarity" Fielder as a reference to My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. Naturally, I support this new trend and eagerly await players being nicknamed Twilight Sparkle and Pinkie Pie.
   24. Walt Davis Posted: December 26, 2011 at 07:30 PM (#4023574)
Well, yeah, but Boras's binders are for presenting to the teams, not for sending out as press releases.

Yet, against all odds, they always fall into the hands of the media. I am shocked!

Anyway, time for the annual parade of "Boras is being silly" posts to be followed by his client getting a $150 M contract. It's one of the earliest signs of spring.

Seriously, what's the average salary of the guys Boras has done books for? I'm guessing it's around $21 M.
   25. PerroX Posted: December 26, 2011 at 07:34 PM (#4023576)
Fielder is as good as Howard - a higher OPS+ - and four years younger. So seven years, $161 million should be fair, right?
   26. TDF, situational idiot Posted: December 26, 2011 at 07:47 PM (#4023580)
Only three Hall of Fame first basemen had as many as 200 home runs by the age of 27: Jimmie Foxx, Orlando Cepeda and Killebrew. Fielder has 230.

Do you really want to use this as a basis for a long-term, high dollar contract?

Cepeda - after his age 32 season, he totalled 1095 PA, with a 114 OPS+
Foxx - after his age 33 season, he totalled 617 PA (over 3 seasons) with a 96 OPS+

Killebrew was still effective until he was 37, but as Meatloaf might have said "One out of three ain't good".
   27. Tom Nawrocki Posted: December 26, 2011 at 07:59 PM (#4023587)

Boras uses data the way a drunk uses a lamppost; for support rather than illumination.


Which is exactly his job. He's an advocate, not an analyst.
   28. Greg Pope thinks the Cubs are reeking havoc Posted: December 26, 2011 at 08:31 PM (#4023599)
Yet, against all odds, they always fall into the hands of the media. I am shocked!

I guess my point is that I only remember seeing specific "leaks" of these books for A-Rod and now Fielder. Maybe I'm either not paying attention or simply forgetting.
   29. TDF, situational idiot Posted: December 26, 2011 at 08:40 PM (#4023605)
Looking at Fielder's "most similar" from bbref, there's no way you'd commit a long-term, high dollar contract to him; take out Murray (who's a real outlier) and Tiexiera (who's still active, but wouldn't help Fielder's case) and the other 8 average just 3151 more AB at a .277/.355/.482 clip after their age 27 seasons. Only 4 of the ten (including Murray) even make it to 3000 more AB.

EDIT: I would have shown my work, if I could figure out how to post a table that doesn't take up an acre of webpage.
   30. John DiFool2 Posted: December 26, 2011 at 08:46 PM (#4023606)
I will give him credit for cutting his K rate down to 15% (vs. 19% last year and career)-that at least is a data point in his favor.
   31. LionoftheSenate (Brewers v A's World Series) Posted: December 26, 2011 at 08:50 PM (#4023608)
Prince and Boras will get more money than most expect wrapped up in a longer contract than nearly everyone believes is reasonable. This is true of most long term contracts that get discussed on this site.
   32. bookbook Posted: December 26, 2011 at 09:07 PM (#4023614)
Some of Fielder's most similar through age 27 don't feel very similar at all (Jim Rice and Orlando Cepeda). The ones that kind of appeal to my sense of it, (Luzinski, Powell, Hrbek) weren't really quite as good as Fielder.

The other interesting question: Luzinski and Hrbek each are roving along at a 130 OPS+ pace. Each has one sub 100 OPS+ year at age 33 and then is out of baseball. I know they had no defensive value but did every team just pass on the opportunity for a comeback year, or were they really done?
   33. SoSH U at work Posted: December 26, 2011 at 09:32 PM (#4023628)
I know they had no defensive value but did every team just pass on the opportunity for a comeback year, or were they really done?


I don't know about Bull, but I think Hrbek himself didn't have the interest in continuing to play.
   34. joeysdadjoe Posted: December 26, 2011 at 09:39 PM (#4023634)
32 Hrbek announced his retirement mid season. Tom Kelly let him play out the year over David McCarty . Luzinski was HUGE.
   35. just plain joe Posted: December 26, 2011 at 09:57 PM (#4023640)
Luzinski was HUGE.


Luzinski's bat had also slowed way down and he no longer had any real usefulness to a baseball team, given that he had negative defensive value. Although to be fair he could have been injured at this point, I honestly don't remember. Even when he was young and healthy all of Luzinski's value was in his hitting ability.
   36. The Long Arm of Rudy Law Posted: December 26, 2011 at 10:28 PM (#4023649)
I remember rumors about Luzinski using cocaine during his last year. They probably weren't based on anything other than that being the drug of choice in baseball news at the time and the fact that he seemed to stop hitting overnight.
   37. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: December 26, 2011 at 10:29 PM (#4023650)
Years and years ago, a vacationer from Ireland saw us watching a baseball game on TV and asked innocently, "So, what are the rules?" It didn't take long before we were trapped inside a real-life Bob Newhart routine. After a while, I was wondering how I could watch such a senseless and arbitrary sport. Fortunately, Greg Luzinski came along to hit a home run off the LF roof at Comiskey-- that was something that translated very well.

I'm fairly sure it was this game, which was televised on ABC.
   38. shoewizard Posted: December 26, 2011 at 10:33 PM (#4023653)
Player           WAR/pos OPSRfield   PA  HR RBI  BB IBB  SO   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS
Jim Thome           23.6  147    
-29 3153 163 471 519  37 711 .289 .409 .549 .958
Prince Fielder      19.9  143    
-48 4210 230 656 566 115 779 .282 .390 .540 .929 
   39. Walt Davis Posted: December 26, 2011 at 11:29 PM (#4023669)
The old school b-r comps lists aren't particularly good -- even if we assume age-based comps are destiny.

The ones for Fielder aren't bad but only one player has a higher OPS+ and that's Straw at 146. Fielder's OBP is 19 points higher than the next highest in the list and 30 points higher than the average. Although this is a high-K era, his K-rate would rank 4th. As a hitter, he might be the best player on that list.

Murray is a major outlier but I'm too lazy to figure it without him but looking just at ABs sells the career-length short as these comps average about 4000 more PA. That's 6-6.5 more seasons -- that's not shabby. Take out Murray completely and it's probably closer to 3500.

Further, each of these guys (except Tex) were still playing at age 33. At this point, except for Murray, they weren't playing very often but everybody but Luzinski and Gonzalez had at least a full season of PAs left in them and, other than Luzinski, the 33+ OPS+ range from 110 to 127 which isn't good but isn't a waste.

I'm finding it surprisingly hard to find good career comps for Fielder using P-I so I've focussed on his age 25-27 stats. This list seems reasonably promising, even after limiting it to bad fielders. Here's a nice range (not meant to be representative), ages 25-27 (1500+ PA, 145+ OPS+, 370+ OBP, 50% at 1B/LF/RF/DH):

Killebrew: 263/374/569, 149 OPS+, -11 Rfield (mostly 1B and LF those years)
Fielder: 287/409/547, 155 OPS+, -19 Rfield
Thome: 297/429/592, 159 OPS+, -19 Rfield

So he fits comfortably in the middle there.

Others on the negative fielding side are Manny, McGriff, Belle, Thomas, Luzinski and Allen. So that's 5 durables, 1 un-durable (Luzinski) and 2 head cases (one with a degenerative hip or whatever it was). Thomas (especially) and Allen were significantly better hitters 25-27 than Fielder. But he's practically the spitting image of McGriff: 282/298/517, 155 OPS+, -8 Rfield. Two contemporaries are Votto (161 OPS+, -2 Rfield) and Cabrera (149 OPS+, -7 Rfield) and nobody seems too worked up about those guys falling off cliffs. And I wouldn't have guessed that Fielder out-OPS'd Cabrera at those ages, with higher OBP.

Even looking at the worst cases from age 28-33:

Belle, 4100 PA, 146 OPS+
Luzinski, 3200 PA, 119 OPS+
Allen, 3100 PA, 154 OPS+

As worst-case scenarios go, that ain't too shabby. And McGriff: 3700 PA, 133 OPS+. Fred wasn't so good 31-33 (or 34 or 36) but found the fountain of youth for 35 and 37 (140 OPS+s).

Of course it makes no sense to sign Fielder for 10 years. It likely makes no sense to sign anybody for 10 years except maybe Mike Trout. :-) But the FA market seems to work along the basis of "if I think I'm likely to get a good 5 years, I'll sign the guy for 6-7". Yes, that seems very odd, but there it is. Based on these comps, Fielder is a relatively decent bet for a 7-year contract. Obviously makes more sense for an AL team.

The man hits. He's a good bet to hit for another 5-6 years at least.
   40. Something Other Posted: December 27, 2011 at 03:13 AM (#4023734)
The man does indeed hit, but only every other year. He doesn't hit a $25m AAV's worth every year, but if we stretch a little, project him favorably, and get him up to 5 wins a year at the plate, his fielding still has to be a concern. Since they go back several decades fielding is admittedly tougher to figure with some of the players you were comparing Prince to, but I can't ignore his glove in thinking about his upcoming contract. UZR (and my eyes, fwiw) suggests that he's entering the danger zone, where he's one step from giving away more than a win in the field. If Prince was a 7 or 8 win hitter that's not a big deal. With a guy who's not quite a reliable 5 win hitter, though, it becomes a very big deal when we're considering a 7 or 8 year contract. If in the last half of his deal Fielder's still a 3-4 win hitter, which is by no means pessimistic, but is giving back a win and a half in the field, he won't be worth even half what he's getting paid.

If a player is not a great bet to hit his contract's value, AND is turning into a liability in the field, that's not a player I want to commit to into his mid30s. He's similar to Reyes in a sense. Reyes would have to be healthy to justify his deal (if you do a BABIP adjusted WAR with something like an 8-5-3-2 four year projection base), given that his fielding is falling off--at SS he's been roughly the equivalent of Fielder at 1B. If Reyes was still an average fielding SS, though, he'd be a good bet to be worth the 6/111 he got, even WITH his health problems. His fielding, though, is what rates to make that deal all but impossible for the Marlins to break even on, which is generally the most you can reasonably hope for with the expensive guys.

Fielder on the other hand has the great health record, but his fielding is trending to the point where it's a fair bet to combine with his inevitable hitting decline to turn him into a 2 win player. He just doesn't have the fielding record to support an 8 year deal, and probably not 7, not at a 25m AAV. 6 years? Sure. It's still risky to give 6/150 to a player entering his decline phase who'd have to hold his value through his age 33 season, but you have to take risks to get upper tier FAs. Guys like Fielder don't get 6 years, though, even when the Yankees and Red Sox are out of the running. They get at least 7 with an option, and the team that signs him to that is going to regret it some.
   41. Arbitol Dijaler Posted: December 27, 2011 at 03:24 AM (#4023737)

I guess my point is that I only remember seeing specific "leaks" of these books for A-Rod and now Fielder. Maybe I'm either not paying attention or simply forgetting.


Oliver Perez was a doozy.
   42. Something Other Posted: December 27, 2011 at 03:32 AM (#4023739)
That last line should have read, "...and an NL team that signs him to that is going to regret it some."

edit: "Oliver Perez was a doozy." Hooboy. That was... something. Watching the Mets sabotage their season by running Maine and Perez out there when it was obvious they couldn't pitch was painful.

It'd be interesting to see a summary of agents, their clients, WARs, and salaries. I wonder who'd be getting teams the least bang for their buck.
   43. PerroX Posted: December 27, 2011 at 03:35 AM (#4023741)
The AL hasn't done away with the DH, correct? Plus, I don't buy the fielding data that's relied upon like gold.

Fielder will get a contract that is commensurate with the market, simple as that.
   44. Tripon Posted: December 27, 2011 at 03:41 AM (#4023743)
The thing with the binders is that does any team seriously think his stat guys are better than the stat guys that the team employs? That whatever propriety system that BorasCorp might have developed is better than their own internal systems?

Outrageous.
   45. bobm Posted: December 27, 2011 at 03:43 AM (#4023746)
[39] How much of the forecasting (by GMs etc.) should be / is being affected by (false or pessimistic) perceptions of how Fielder will age physically given his height / weight?

IIRC there have been recent studies around this issue for pitchers like Sabathia that concluded that it was a non-issue.

Here are some members of your dataset / suggested comps, sorted by body mass index (BMI), using height/weight data supplied by BB-REF. I do not know how variable the listed heights and weights were over the course of these players' careers, obviously; that is why I include Babe Ruth as an example.


Player        WAR/pos BMI OPS+ Ht Wt
  Prince Fielder 14.3 38.4 155 71 275
       Jim Thome 14.8 31.2 159 75 250
   Manny Ramirez 16.5 30.5 154 72 225

  Miguel Cabrera 14.7 29.2 149 76 240
   Greg Luzinski 13.4 29.0 149 73 220
    Frank Thomas 18.3 28.5 187 77 240
       Babe Ruth 33.1 27.6 228 74 215
      Joey Votto 16.9 27.5 161 75 220
Harmon Killebrew 12.5 26.4 149 72 195
      Dick Allen 14.3 26.1 166 71 187
    Albert Belle 12.3 25.1 150 73 190
    Fred McGriff 15.2 25.0 155 75 200
   46. LionoftheSenate (Brewers v A's World Series) Posted: December 27, 2011 at 03:55 AM (#4023748)
The fielding data is gold for the many parrots that regurgitate ideas others came up with. There are many parrots.
   47. Something Other Posted: December 27, 2011 at 04:07 AM (#4023752)
@45: bob, I think we can pretty much toss out the study of pitchers since their injury issues are so different from that of position players. The studies I've seen suppose that pitchers' extra weight might very well contribute to velocity and thereby take some of the strain off their arms. Too, since their fielding is so limited compared to other positions, a pitcher's immobility isn't much of an issue. Granted, it's not easy to become too fat to play first base, but its happened.

***

See, I actually said,
UZR (and my eyes, fwiw) suggests that he's entering the danger zone...
What is it about the mere mention of UZR, with caveats, that brings out the moron in people?

Fielder will get a contract that is commensurate with the market, simple as that.
Ya think?
   48. Tripon Posted: December 27, 2011 at 04:54 AM (#4023766)
The Oliver Perez book compared him to Sandy Koufax. The person who wrote that sure had some balls.
   49. bobm Posted: December 27, 2011 at 05:10 AM (#4023774)
[13] Well, yeah, but Boras's binders are for presenting to the teams, not for sending out as press releases. I did not RTFA, so I don't know if this one was leaked or published or what.

[24] Yet, against all odds, they always fall into the hands of the media. I am shocked!

This ESPN story clarifies that question, and has a picture of the Boras binder as described in TFA.
In conjunction with Prince Fielder's free-agent debut, his representatives at the Scott Boras Corporation produced a 73-page binder celebrating his achievements in the game. The book originally encompassed eight sections, but the Boras folks added a ninth after Fielder finished third in the National League Most Valuable Player race -- marking the third time since 2007 that he has cracked the top five.

Boras recently distributed the book to assorted general managers, team owners and media members. He also gave a copy to Fielder, who walked with an extra spring in his step after examining the contents.

"Prince is a very modest guy, but there were a few things in there he really, really loved," Boras said. "He told me, 'I don't have much in my man cave -- just my Silver Slugger [Awards] and some other things I've done. But this book is going in my man cave.' I figure if we made it into his man cave, it held high standards." [Bold added]


The same story also described their utility.

One general manager, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said it's impossible to take the historical comparisons too seriously because differences in eras are lacking and the portrayal is inevitably slanted 100 percent in favor of Boras' clients. Indeed, he thinks the binders are meant to impress Boras' players as much as potential suitors.

"I think they're a curiosity," the GM said. "It's kind of like the Sports Illustrated swimsuit calendar. You look forward to it coming out each year. But you're not really going to do anything about it.

"This is as much about client retention as anything else. This is the client saying, 'Boy, is Scott working for me or what?"'

In the end, a team without the resources to play in Boras' sandbox isn't going to chase his players with phantom cash. Clubs have their own research departments, and they're going to form their own judgments on players and stick within a budget -- unless, of course, the Boras binder falls into the hands of the owner, who's so smitten by the contents that he steps in and big-foots the process.

"There was one instance where it proved to be a very, very important part of the team's consideration," Boras said. "The general manager gave it to the owner, and he looked at it and said, 'Wow, I didn't know this guy was that good.'"
   50. Tripon Posted: December 27, 2011 at 05:15 AM (#4023776)

"There was one instance where it proved to be a very, very important part of the team's consideration," Boras said. "The general manager gave it to the owner, and he looked at it and said, 'Wow, I didn't know this guy was that good.'"


This is either the Barry Zito signing or the Oliver Perez signing.
   51. bobm Posted: December 27, 2011 at 05:32 AM (#4023784)
Just for fun, here are the Fielders' totals for their age 26 & 27 seasons. Which Fielder is which?


Player     G    PA   AB  R   H  2B 3B HR RBI SB CS  BB  SO    BA  OBP   SLG   OPS OPS+ TB GDP HBP SH SF IBB
Fielder A 323 1406 1147 189 321 61  1 70 203  2  1 221 244 0.280 0.408 0.518 0.925 149 594 29  31  0  7  49
Fielder B 321 1385 1197 206 322 50  1 95 265  0  1 168 333 0.269 0.362 0.551 0.912 149 659 32  11  0  9  23


EDITed for formatting
   52. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: December 27, 2011 at 05:39 AM (#4023788)
NY Times Bats Blog: The Book on Oliver Perez

Here Amazin' Avenue suggests some weaknesses in Boras's logic

NYTimes's Jay Schreiber revisits the book 28 months later.
   53. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: December 27, 2011 at 06:28 AM (#4023798)
Boras just wants to make it into his clients' man caves.
   54. smileyy Posted: December 27, 2011 at 07:21 AM (#4023804)
[50] If the GM thinks its crap, why did he give it to the owner without providing his analysis as well? Doesn't sound like a healthy owner/GM relationship.
   55. Good cripple hitter Posted: December 27, 2011 at 08:08 AM (#4023806)
"I think they're a curiosity," the GM said. "It's kind of like the Sports Illustrated swimsuit calendar. You look forward to it coming out each year. But you're not really going to do anything about it.


This is a hilarious and disturbing quote. I'm never going to be able to read accounts of GMs poring over scouting reports in an innocent way again.

[50] If the GM thinks its crap, why did he give it to the owner without providing his analysis as well? Doesn't sound like a healthy owner/GM relationship.

The quoted GM isn't the same as the one who gave it to the owner. There's nothing that says that the GM in that situation thought it was garbage stats work. It's possible that the GM thought it was crazy but the owner heard about Boras' binders and asked the GM for a copy.
   56. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: December 27, 2011 at 08:41 AM (#4023809)
No matter how you slice the data Fielder isn't a 5 win player. Yet Boras is asking some GM to pay him not only as though he was one, but that he is going to remain one--remain something he's not-- until Fielder is is 35.


By fWAR he's been a 5.1/year WAR player over the past 3 years, so that's one way of slicing the data to make him a 5 WAR player. By Fans projections he's going to be a 5.7 WAR player in 2012. While it's possible to argue about whether fWAR is better than rWAR or whatever, but to say that he's inarguably not a 5 WAR player isn't true.

Second, Fielder doesn't have to be a 5 Win player at age 35 to make his contract worthwhile. He just has to average enough wins over the life of the contract to make it worthwhile, and that may be a $5M/win or some other number.

Third, if he focuses say 17 WAR into 3 of the seasons and gets 4 WAR total in the other 3 the contract is still arguably worthwhile if the 17 help the team get into the playoffs, and the 4 do not prevent the team from getting in. Peak matters no matter what Dave Cameron says.

I can see $25m/year being a reasonable risk for a big budget team which projects at 88-93 Wins or something without Fielder and has no 1B. Then you have a good team turn into a World Series contender. The only such teams I can think of are the Blue Jays and Rangers, although the Rangers are a World Series contender even without Fielder. Neither has an idiot for a GM. I think he has a decent chance at approaching 6/$150 if not actually reaching it.
   57. Dr. Vaux Posted: December 27, 2011 at 08:45 AM (#4023810)
The Blue Jays project at 88-93 wins?
   58. Tim McCarver's Orange Marmalade Posted: December 27, 2011 at 12:19 PM (#4023817)
For something so rare, there sure seems to be an awful lot of him.
   59. TDF, situational idiot Posted: December 27, 2011 at 02:36 PM (#4023822)
Fielder will get a contract that is commensurate with the market, simple as that.
Only if "the market" is defined by "the highest price paid for a commodity" instead of "the average price paid in all transactions for a commodity in a defined time period" - in other words, if you look at all of the FA 1b/DH/cOF types, does Fielder's contract make sense?

Ryan Howard's contract, for instance, is certainly not commensurate with the market.
   60. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: December 27, 2011 at 03:57 PM (#4023846)
The Oliver Perez book compared him to Sandy Koufax. The person who wrote that sure had some balls.


Not at all. The young Sandy Koufax, along with the young Roberto Clemente are the shyster agent's best friends. Yeah, most GM's will laugh you out of the room, but it only takes one to bite, and agents have notoriously thick skins.
   61. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: December 27, 2011 at 04:32 PM (#4023863)
4. Greg Pope Posted: December 26, 2011 at 10:38 AM (#4023485)
All joking/fact checking aside, are there GM's that actually fall for this? Or is it just show for Fielder?


Boras does this for a lot of clients, I remember when his Damon book was leaked... the GM who leaked it told the reporter that he assumed it was done mostly to stoke the players' ego, but you never know...

Fielder will get a contract that is commensurate with the market, simple as that.


The idea that what a player actually gets is an accurate reflection of "market" value is a bizarre one.

Mistakes are always made- up and down. Let's say you have 10 equivalent 1Bs, and all are FAs, the mean average salary those 10 get is probably a fairly good proxie of the market value of any one of them - but we know that some will get more and some will get less- 1 or 2 might get a lot more or a lot less- a player or team may sign too early before really seeing how the market is going to play out- and then sign for too little or too much, or a player or team may wait too long and find their options shrink- mis-evaluation plays a roll as well- if 2 or more GMs regard a player too highly the odds are that guy is going to get too much.

Another thing, didn't anyone here ever play auction league fantasy baseball? If everyone is an FA, most everyone goes at or near market save for a few outliers- in keeper leagues where everyone is signed at or below market is OFF the market (think pre-FA players)- a concept called draft inflation kicks in- literally everyone GOOD in the market gets paid more than they are "worth." For "good" MLB FAs, the MLB FA market is a great example of draft inflation in effect.
   62. Greg Pope thinks the Cubs are reeking havoc Posted: December 27, 2011 at 04:55 PM (#4023872)
Ah, I guess I just haven't been paying attention, then. So it seems to serve 3 purposes:

1. Make the client feel like Boras is doing everything possible.
2. Leak to the media so that the fans go nuts.
3. Provide the signing GM with a bunch of good stats to throw at the media during the press conference.
   63. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: December 27, 2011 at 05:00 PM (#4023875)
I choose to believe he's being called "Rarity" Fielder as a reference to My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. Naturally, I support this new trend and eagerly await players being nicknamed Twilight Sparkle and Pinkie Pie.


Well, Braun's a natural for Derpy.
   64. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: December 27, 2011 at 05:12 PM (#4023881)
The Blue Jays project at 88-93 wins?

Sure, why not?

For something so rare, there sure seems to be an awful lot of him.

I wish the A's could find even one.
   65. Walt Davis Posted: December 27, 2011 at 09:16 PM (#4023989)
We're going with the "every other year" theory?

Over the last 3 years, Fielder's 155 OPS+ ties him for 5th (Bautista), a mere 1 point behind A Gonzalez and 8 points ahead of Braun (who's also a poor defensive player at a more athletic position). Sure, in two of those years he hit like Cabrera and in the middle year he hit like Ryan Howard (20th best). There are worse problems to have.

And if you had Matt Holliday tied for 7th with Ryan Braun at 147, you win today's BBTF Grand Prize!

I don't expect Fielder to get the kind of contract folks here are speculating about. Remember, until the Angels swooped in, nobody was offering Pujols anything better than 10/$200. I don't think anybody sees Fielder as being better than Pujols. I think, at most, he'll get a Gonzalez-ish 7/$161. Given that, and especially if it's lower, I wouldn't be shocked to see Boras go for something shorter at higher AAV so that he can hit FA again young enough or at least try to get an opt-out after 3-4 years.
   66. Walt Davis Posted: December 27, 2011 at 10:04 PM (#4024015)
And for kicks:

Perez thru 26: 999 IP, 9.2 K/9, 4.8 BB/9, 96 ERA+, BABIP 289
Randy thru 28: 818 IP, 9.0 K/9, 5.7 BB/9, 101 ERA+, BABIP 275

In his age 27 and 28 seasons, Johnson walked over 6 per 9 which isn't as bad as Perez at 27-28 but was going the wrong direction. The BABIP diff is mainly due to Johnson having a career-best 250 at age 26; at ages 24, 27 and 28 he ranged from 280 to 289. That career-best BABIP was partly due to a career-worst HR rate (gave up about 20 fewer hits, gave up about 10 more HR). But the big difference between them was HR rate (about .4-.5 per 9).

Or ..

Perez thru 26: 999 IP, 9.2 K/9, 4.8 BB/9, 96 ERA+, BABIP 289
Ryan 21 - 26: 1117 IP, 9.7 K/9, 5.3 BB/9, 112 ERA+, BABIP 259, .5 HR/9

Definitely legit reasons for the ERA+ difference and that K-rate was even more impressive in that era. Still, Ryan's walk rate went UP for ages 27-31 (5.8 BB/9).

Perez also wasn't that different than Mark Langston (though he had his breakout season at 26) or Gio Gonzalez (who just brought a nice haul in trade). Definitely a worse pitcher than Sam McDowell, definitely a better pitcher than Scott Kazmir (because Perez's arm was still attached after age 26! otherwise he was worse). Similar to Juan Guzman (frustrating but 943 IP of 105 ERA+ after 26). Similar to Chan Ho Park (again, not flattering, but 1269 IP of 96 ERA+).

Point being that the numbers aren't going to be a good guide as to which wild youngster is going to suddenly learn control and which one won't and which one simply won't survive. Perez's outcome was rarer and less predictable than we like to pretend now. Which is not to deny that lots of people were predicting disaster but lots of people predict disaster with every FA signing (and I'm usually one of them).

Would have been fun to see the debate around here if we existed and Nolan Ryan had become an FA in 1973 (that BABIP is unsustainable!)
   67. Something Other Posted: December 28, 2011 at 04:37 PM (#4024302)
Any one interested in fat position players versus low-fat position players might want to check this out, a fangraphs article on same.

Interesting (to me)--the author also plays around with the 4.5-5.0 win line.

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