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Thursday, December 12, 2013

Janish: Why Curtis Granderson Could Be the Next Jason Bay After All

kl

The Homerun Length Argument

...So, in addition to Granderson’s batting average taking a 30-point nosedive (.262 to .232) in his age-31 season, his homerun distance and balls-off-the-bat speed dropped by almost one MPH. And, according to the overlay, about 8 of his 43 homers would have been swallowed by Flushing Cavern. Maybe closer to a dozen, as I’m not sure whether outfield wall height is factored into the overlay? In fact, although “true distance” takes into account atmospheric conditions, I don’t know exactly how that translates in regard to the park overlays — anyone else? Also, HitTrackerOnline only tracks homeruns, so we don’t know how many long fly balls that remained in the park hit by either player would have drifted over one of Citi Field’s walls.

But again, I present this because the defense of Granderson is shaping up so eerily similar to that of Bay. If you remember, the big to-do was that the Mets chose Bay over Matt Holliday because of all kinds of extensive research suggesting that Bay had a better chance than Holliday of hitting homeruns at Citi Field — at least some of it had to do with Bay’s tendency to pull (as well as his homeruns’ distance).

Conclusion

Though no one necessarily expected Jason Bay to be an MVP candidate after being signed by the Mets, there wasn’t much concern that he’d completely fall off a cliff the way he did. And there’s already been discussion in the comments there that Bay was an outlier, and Granderson couldn’t possibly sink to such depths in his next four years. Honestly, I’m not so sure. With Bay, there were little signs here and there prior to his arrival that became more noticeable upon seeing him every day. Further, in my opinion, many of his eroding skills were inflamed by being in an unsupportive situation — there wasn’t much talent around him, the coaching/management wasn’t helpful, and the fans turned against him immediately. Will there be more support for Granderson? Maybe, but what bothers me are the parallels I see between he and Bay at similar ages, and the fact that Bay came in with similar if not better skills, and a few years younger. What really jumps out is that Granderson’s current value came mainly because he was in a lineup full of All-Stars and tailored his swing and approach to fit Yankee Stadium like a glove — much like Bobby Murcer did back in the 1970s. It wouldn’t surprise me to see his homerun total drop to something below 20 per season as a Met. If Granderson becomes a guy who hits 15-19 HRs, bats .230, and posts a .310 OBP, would that be considered a success?

Repoz Posted: December 12, 2013 at 06:40 AM | 37 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: mets, sabermetrics

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   1. Rants Mulliniks Posted: December 12, 2013 at 08:25 AM (#4616489)
I've found Granderson's contract to be the most shocking of the off-season so far, given his probability for completely tanking. The recent trend hasn't been good.
   2. Mickey Henry Mays Posted: December 12, 2013 at 08:44 AM (#4616492)
I agree, in fact I see Granderson trending into Mark Reynolds territory. He's a class act but as a Yankee fan, I'm glad we cut bait.



   3. Avoid running at all times.-S. Paige Posted: December 12, 2013 at 09:11 AM (#4616496)
Given the deals so far, the most shocking contracts are the ones given to Josh Johnson and Corey Hart. That said, the Yanks clearly soured on Granderson. They were reportedly hesitant to give him a qualifying offer lest he accept it, which seems odd.
   4. Ray (RDP) Posted: December 12, 2013 at 12:44 PM (#4616688)
I wouldn't be surprised to see Granderson tank either. A 33 year old non-star CF/RF whose batting average has cratered and who always struck out a lot to begin with.
   5. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: December 12, 2013 at 12:50 PM (#4616694)
I agree, in fact I see Granderson trending into Mark Reynolds territory. He's a class act but as a Yankee fan, I'm glad we cut bait.


I was actually surprised he didn't accept the qualifying offer, thinking that the $14 million would at least top any AAV, even if he could get two years elsewhere. Shows what I know about the market.
   6. fra paolo Posted: December 12, 2013 at 12:54 PM (#4616703)
I kept quiet when everyone was applauding this deal, but I put Granderson through a Brock2 spreadsheet and got the following RunsCreated for the duration of this contract:

2014: 65
2015: 49
2016: 53
2017: 50

His numbers aren't park-adjusted in any way. What I did next was to put his previous three seasons into an NL context, with the Mets, put that data into the Brock2 spreadsheet, and got the following RC numbers:

2014: 60
2015: 44
2016: 48
2017: 20

So maybe that's one year too many, but even so I would be disappointed if my $15m OF was stuck averaging 50 Runs Created per season.
   7. thetailor Posted: December 12, 2013 at 01:20 PM (#4616744)
This argument drives me nuts: "Let’s get another thing straight: for all of the reasons above, and many more, the Mets HAD TO sign Curtis Granderson. It was absolutely, positively, the right move, right now. Beyond an uptick in ticket sales, the Mets will benefit greatly from Granderson’s presence. He lifts the image of the organization, he makes it appear (for now) that the Mets are players in the free-agent market, he will serve in a leadership role for the club’s young players, and he will bring with him the habits of a winner."

No. No. Nonononono. Nobody is out buying season tickets to see Curtis Granderson. I don't care what people think of me, or think of us as an organization. I want to win. All that matters is winning. These "credibility signings" make me feel like a guy wearing a toupee and buying a mid-level sports car.
   8. Best Regards, President of Comfort Posted: December 12, 2013 at 01:24 PM (#4616748)
These "credibility signings" make me feel like a guy wearing a toupee and buying a mid-level sports car.


I mean, you *are*, but you don't like to *feel* like that guy.
   9. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: December 12, 2013 at 01:59 PM (#4616785)
What I did next was to put his previous three seasons into an NL context, with the Mets, put that data into the Brock2 spreadsheet, and got the following RC numbers:


What happens in 2017? That's an amazing Mets effect.
   10. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 12, 2013 at 02:06 PM (#4616793)
What happens in 2017? That's an amazing Mets effect.

Eaten by wolves.
   11. formerly dp Posted: December 12, 2013 at 02:07 PM (#4616795)
What I don't get about the Granderson signing is that for an extra $5M/yr or so more, they could have very likely gotten Choo, who is a little younger and significantly better. The Mets have so little payroll on the books that the $5M shouldn't be a big deal for them.
   12. Buck Coats Posted: December 12, 2013 at 02:59 PM (#4616864)
What happens in 2017? That's an amazing Mets effect.


Yeah, that must be a typo, right? The Mets context costs him 5 runs each year and then suddenly costs him 30?
   13. SG Posted: December 12, 2013 at 03:04 PM (#4616870)
What I don't get about the Granderson signing is that for an extra $5M/yr or so more, they could have very likely gotten Choo, who is a little younger and significantly better.


Four years vs. seven or eight? And Granderson probably makes up some of the offensive difference with Choo on defense.
   14. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: December 12, 2013 at 03:11 PM (#4616878)
Eaten by wolves.


Was he delicious?
   15. Benji Posted: December 12, 2013 at 04:42 PM (#4616982)
I fully expect Granderson to tank (despite the almost inevitable 2 HR Opening day) for all the baseball reasons and also because of the bad Karma of all the pundits and fans calling him "a perfect fit". The last Met that phrase was bandied about so pervasively was ....Bobby Bonilla.
   16. formerly dp Posted: December 12, 2013 at 05:08 PM (#4616998)
Four years vs. seven or eight?
I did not realize Granderson was only one year older when I made my comment. Still, Choo has further to fall, and it's not at all a sure thing that he's going to get a seven or eight year contract. I can see the Mets cutting bait if it just didn't look like a deal would be plausible and just nabbing Grandy-- very possible that was the case.
   17. BDC Posted: December 12, 2013 at 05:59 PM (#4617034)
Am I nuts for thinking that Michael Choice is as good a bet to produce over the next six years, and as cheap as they come in the bargain, as either Granderson or Choo? Of course they are established players, if not getting any younger, and are as good a bet to produce as much as he will. I just like the idea that the Rangers have swung into a bit of a youth movement (even Prince Fielder won't turn 30 till May), instead of bidding high on these aging stars.
   18. thetailor Posted: December 12, 2013 at 06:03 PM (#4617037)
For what the Mets are paying Granderson and Colon, they could have had Cano.

For what they are paying Granderson, Colon, and Young, they could have front-loaded the Cano deal so that it wasn't an albatross in the middle when they may actually be in a position to contend.

Or, they could have had Cano + 8M to spend on a free agent starter other than Colon, or added $2M to payroll and have Cano AND Colon.
   19. Nasty Nate Posted: December 12, 2013 at 06:09 PM (#4617046)
For what they are paying Granderson, Colon, and Young, they could have front-loaded the Cano deal so that it wasn't an albatross in the middle when they may actually be in a position to contend.


For a long guaranteed contract, having the salary of individual years match up with those specific years' performance isn't actually better for the team. It only nourishes some irrational need.
   20. Swedish Chef Posted: December 12, 2013 at 06:12 PM (#4617051)
For a long guaranteed contract, having the salary of individual years match up with those specific years' performance isn't actually better for the team. It only nourishes some irrational need.

However, it can be a pretty bad idea to defer salaries decades into the future at 8% interest.
   21. Mickey Henry Mays Posted: December 12, 2013 at 06:27 PM (#4617057)
I fully expect Granderson to tank (despite the almost inevitable 2 HR Opening day) for all the baseball reasons and also because of the bad Karma of all the pundits and fans calling him "a perfect fit". The last Met that phrase was bandied about so pervasively was ....Bobby Bonilla.



And Grandy doesn't have the sweet disposition of Bobby Bo, nor will he "show you the Bronx motherfvcker".
   22. bfan Posted: December 12, 2013 at 06:32 PM (#4617060)
Won't the Mets still be paying Bobby Bonilla after the Granderson contract has run its course?
   23. Arbitol Dijaler Posted: December 12, 2013 at 07:24 PM (#4617101)
For what the Mets are paying Granderson and Colon, they could have had Cano.


$80MM? I seem to recall Cano's deal being somewhat more money than that.
   24. Lassus Posted: December 12, 2013 at 07:32 PM (#4617106)
I kept quiet when everyone was applauding this deal

Fra, that is a rather poor use of the word "everyone".
   25. Ray (RDP) Posted: December 12, 2013 at 07:41 PM (#4617109)
$80MM? I seem to recall Cano's deal being somewhat more money than that.


Yeah, but I'd take Ellsbury at 7/150 over Granderson/Colon at 6/80.
   26. Benji Posted: December 12, 2013 at 07:59 PM (#4617118)
One of the great selling points of Bonilla was his personality and "megawatt smile". That's why it was so ironic that he turned into a crybaby and a jerk.
   27. ptodd Posted: December 12, 2013 at 08:19 PM (#4617130)
My theory on Bay is he was juicing and then got off due to health concerns once he landed his big contract (not as big as he expected). Or maybe he just slacked off in his offseason workouts out of complacency. Never did see such a sudden turnaround in a player where injury was not an issue. His bombs in 2009 were out in any park. In fact, Fenway took away some of his HR which was why he had more of them on the road.

Granderson may actually be a better hitter outside the Bronx. He was getting too pull happy at the end and was cheating to do so. As a result he was easier to fool, and his performance against LHP'ers dropped off.
   28. Ray (RDP) Posted: December 12, 2013 at 08:25 PM (#4617134)
My theory on Bay is he was juicing and then got off due to health concerns once he landed his big contract


This theory is faith based, no different from a religion.
   29. AJMcCringleberry Posted: December 12, 2013 at 08:36 PM (#4617145)
Since they moved the fences in Citi has been above average in allowing HRs.

I like this deal, I'm sure it's partly because I like Granderson and partly because the Mets have no OFers.
   30. Walt Davis Posted: December 12, 2013 at 10:09 PM (#4617196)
For a long guaranteed contract, having the salary of individual years match up with those specific years' performance isn't actually better for the team. It only nourishes some irrational need.

I think the point he was making is that the Mets wouldn't contend over the first few years of a Cano deal so they might as well pay him $30 M (and everybody else $0) for those years. Then, in a couple of years when some of the youngsters have developed, they can pay Cano $10 M freeing up $20 M to fill in gaps elsewhere and contend.

i.e. no point paying Cano $20 M and some other schlub $10 now when that schlub won't make any difference, pay Cano $30 now and then $10 with $20 left for schlubs when they might matter.

The major problem with that idea is that the Wilpons would choose option (c) of sticking the schlub money in their pockets.
   31. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: December 13, 2013 at 12:24 AM (#4617240)
My theory on Bay is he was juicing and then got off due to health concerns once he landed his big contract (not as big as he expected).

Yes, he was juicing from ages 22 through 31, and all the while he was longing for the day when he could stop and suddenly revert to his true nature as a useless player universally loathed by his team's fans.

Or maybe he just slacked off in his offseason workouts out of complacency.

So you admit it, it is possible to develop one's baseball skills through means other than "juicing".

Never did see such a sudden turnaround in a player where injury was not an issue.

Didn't he have multiple major concussions?
   32. fra paolo Posted: December 13, 2013 at 10:53 AM (#4617362)
What happens in 2017? That's an amazing Mets effect.

Sorry not to get back to this promptly, but the demands of non-baseball life got in the way.

Now, start from the fact that I'm just a 'monkey-see, monkey-do' operator of this spreadsheet I found on the Internet. After playing around with entering the imaginary Mets' Granderson data in place of the real-life Yankees' Granderson data, what appears to happen is that the offensive performance in 2012 declines sufficiently (it's all of six hits) that his consequent poor performance in 2017 affects his playing time. So the playing-time bulk he builds up in the first three seasons vanishes, crushing his overall RC total.

This is his 'Metsified' RC/27 for the years of the contract:

2014: 4.59
2015: 3.87
2016: 3.47
2017: 3.32

versus his 'Yankee'd' RC/27:

2014: 4.74
2015: 4.11
2016: 3.74
2017: 3.54

As a Met, the year-to-year 'Amazins' deduction is fairly stable after 2014.

One thing I did not look at was how much 50-60 RC outfielders were being paid in 2013. Here is a list of some:

Carl Crawford $20m, 3rd year of 7
Matt Joyce $2.45m, arb player
Jason Heyward $3.65m, arb player
Ichiro! $6.5m, 1st year of 2
Michael Saunders, $0.5m, not-arb player
Gregor Blanco, $1.35m, arb player
Andy Dirks, 0.505m, non-arb player
Josh Willingham, $7m, 2nd year of 3
David DeJesus $4.25m, final year of 2
Drew Stubbs $2.825m, arb player

I'm not sure that I've overlooked anyone. Granderson's salary would be the second-most-expensive on that list, but there are only four players with FA rights.
   33. Nasty Nate Posted: December 13, 2013 at 12:04 PM (#4617433)
For a long guaranteed contract, having the salary of individual years match up with those specific years' performance isn't actually better for the team. It only nourishes some irrational need.

I think the point he was making is that the Mets wouldn't contend over the first few years of a Cano deal so they might as well pay him $30 M (and everybody else $0) for those years. Then, in a couple of years when some of the youngsters have developed, they can pay Cano $10 M freeing up $20 M to fill in gaps elsewhere and contend.

i.e. no point paying Cano $20 M and some other schlub $10 now when that schlub won't make any difference, pay Cano $30 now and then $10 with $20 left for schlubs when they might matter.

The major problem with that idea is that the Wilpons would choose option (c) of sticking the schlub money in their pockets.


Well, a sensible organization would just have a lower overall payroll in the early years and use the savings plus interest to have a higher payroll in a couple of years.
   34. neonwattagelimit Posted: December 13, 2013 at 01:21 PM (#4617505)
because the Mets have no OFers.


This is the key to accepting this deal. I wouldn't be shocked if Granderson tanked, and I certainly don't expect him to live up to the contract. But the Mets need three OFers, and you can't keep running Mike Baxter out there. Sometimes, it makes sense to overpay for a guy just because you need a credible option. And if you are going to have to do that, I'd rather it be for four years than seven or eight.

(Now, if the Mets really could've had Choo for 5/20, I'd have taken that over Granderson. Still, this deal isn't a great franchise-changer, but it makes sense given the context.)
   35. Sleepy supports unauthorized rambling Posted: December 13, 2013 at 03:01 PM (#4617594)
Never did see such a sudden turnaround in a player where injury was not an issue.

Didn't he have multiple major concussions?


And knee issues.
   36. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: December 13, 2013 at 04:05 PM (#4617637)
Apparently, the Mets have been talking to Ervin Santana. I'm not sure how I feel about that.
   37. Walt Davis Posted: December 13, 2013 at 09:31 PM (#4617755)
Anyway on Curtis ...

I wouldn't be that worried about his BA -- it's stunk for a while. And I wouldn't expect 40 HR out of him again anyway. What's worrying is last year's big drop in ISO. His ratios last year look like age 26-27 ... which would be fine except I'm pretty sure the days of 23 triples are behind him.

Looking at some Q&D comps, it doesn't look promising for ages 33-36:

C Pena 210/339/394 (2013 Granderson minus some BA plus walks)
G Vaughn 232/339/465, 105 HR (that's what you're hoping for)
G Thomas 198/324/395
Cameron 251/340/459, 92 HR (good comp I'd not thought of)
Burnitz 250/324/463, 111 HR
Gant 252/345/466, 79 HR
Deer tharn
Monday 277/382/496 (< 700 PA)
Mondesi pining for the fjords

That's actually better than I expected. Some obvious disasters but Vaughn, Cameron, Burnitz, Gant would all be OK outcomes. In WAR terms

Vaughn 9 WAR
Cameron 14 WAR, 13 oWAR, even about 9 WAR if you made him an average corner defender
Burnitz 4.5 oWAR and terrible defense (Granderson should be fine-good in a corner)
Gant 6 (height of sillyball those numbers were kinda pedestrian)

OK, that's more depressing and 9 WAR for $60 M is no bargain. And that looks like the upside. Still some indicators that upside is reasonable -- he's near the top of this group in 30-32 WAR, has a significantly better ISO 30-32 except for Pena and Vaughn. Granderson still seems to be an average CF so he should be positive in a corner for at least a couple of years. He's got to maintain that 200+ ISO though or he's toast.

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