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Saturday, September 14, 2019

Justin Upton Done For Season | MLBT

Already eliminated from American League playoff contention, the Angels don’t have much left to play for this season. They’ll go through their final meaningless couple weeks of the year without left fielder Justin Upton, who’s dealing with patella tendinitis in his right knee

No Trout, no Ohtani, no Upton.

Anyone want my tickets to tonight’s game?

Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: September 14, 2019 at 03:02 PM | 15 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: angels, justin upton

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   1. Don August(us) Cesar Geronimo Berroa Posted: September 14, 2019 at 03:11 PM (#5879125)
You still have the mighty Pujols Hombre!
   2. Buck Coats Posted: September 14, 2019 at 03:41 PM (#5879130)
Hey Pujols has out-hit Upton this year!
   3. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: September 14, 2019 at 04:05 PM (#5879134)
Upton is a very good player, but I have this ambient sense of being frustrated and disappointed by him a little bit. I guess it's because he's had a couple of off seasons (including this one) in which he was basically valueless, and he never quite hit the monster peak his age 23 season seemed to imply.
   4. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: September 14, 2019 at 07:19 PM (#5879165)
Upton was a fine player just two years ago. Injuries completely wrecked his season. He just turned 32, he still has three more years and $72 million on his contract. I still think a healthy Upton can post a solid 120 OPS+, but he does like the kind of player — once hyper-athletic, with a big long swing — who doesn't really adjust well to his decline phase.
   5. Walt Davis Posted: September 14, 2019 at 07:59 PM (#5879179)
He's obviously at a crossroads but he looks like a guy who should bounce back reasonably well. The offensive decline is pretty much all BABIP -- 261 this year vs career 325. He's probably not seeing 325 again but a league-average 300ish would be a nice improvement. HR/FB is the same, BBs are the same, Ks are bad but have been for a while and everybody's Ks are bad these days. However the defense from this point is likely to be poor so probably 3-WAR at best. Add in extra rest and/or more minor injuries (and the ever-present and probably increased risk of major injury) and more likely is 2-2.5 WAR and declining from there.

But of course it's possible the injuries, the defensive decline and the BABIP decline are just the early stages of the cliff-dive and he's toast.
   6. My name is RMc and I feel extremely affected Posted: September 14, 2019 at 08:21 PM (#5879186)
I love this headline.

   7. Sunday silence Posted: September 15, 2019 at 12:51 AM (#5879293)
the KOs I guess we can live with. He was at 29% KO rate a couple years ago and was very productive. But...

His def metrics have fallen catastrophically at least according to DRS/BRIS. He'd be dead last for OFers if he was full time.

And the BaBIP thing is concerning too. Again the problem with peripherals is that they like to play follow the leader, when everything is normal and you're measuring normal players, they seem to provide some added insight. But put them at the head of the line when they're in the spotlight and who knows what they mean.

when players are not performing normally its hard to say what predictive value babip has. Like if I batted a 100x in MLB my babip might be .050; would I be on track for a bounce back?

same thing we saw with those outlier numbers we had on catcher framing.
   8. Davo Posted: September 15, 2019 at 01:11 AM (#5879296)
Upton is 800 strikeouts behind Reggie Jackson on the all-time leaderboard (22nd place), so he’d need about 5 full seasons worth of playing time to catch him. I need him to stay healthy!

Remains mind-boggling that Reggie has held it for so long!
   9. Walt Davis Posted: September 15, 2019 at 03:19 AM (#5879307)
would I be on track for a bounce back?

Well no, because (no offense) even Daniel Descalso has more baseball talent in his little finger than you do.

Sure, it is distinctly possible that Upton's talent is quickly deserting him. The more likely explanation is that (a) he is suffering from standard age-based decline while (b) having his 2019 performance negatively affected by injury, lack of reps, etc. and (c) bad luck.

His ISO is the same as last year (and 2015 and 2013) and only 9 points below his career average. His secondary average (flashback) is at his career average. His HR% is at his career average. His walk rate is above his career average. His XB/H is at his career average. His K/BB and G/F are at his career averages. His HR/FB is at his career average. His LD% is at his career average (which I think is a bit below where it should be but that gets complicated). One thing that has gone way wrong is that his pop-up rate is much higher than normal -- probably explains some of the BABIP drop.

So the only things wrong here are the BABIP, an uptick in K-rate (like most everybody else) and the jump in IF/FB. We know BABIP is fluky and the fact that his BABIP is 60 points below last year and 64 points below his career average. Fluky BABIP is clearly the most likely explanation here.

But sure, he's getting older. More importantly, yes, the defense, the baserunning, the lack of steal attempts all suggest slowing down -- though hardly shocking given some knee problems. Further, to the extent those and the BABIP are the result of this year's injuries, we have to be concerned that those effects will linger. Clearly speed and defense are unlikely to return at 32 in the best of circumstance so, for sure, we assume he'll be a below-average corner OF from now on which is not gonna help his productivity (WAR).

Still, if all of the BABIP returns, he's the same hitter as usual. If he returns just to league average, this year's line becomes (give or take) 240/330/445 which would put him just in the 105-110 range. If that's the best he can do as a poor defensive corner then he probably doesn't scrape 2 WAR -- basically losing a win of offense and a win of defense relative to 2018.

None of these scenarios are particularly good. If he's toast, he's toast. If the BABIP comes part way back, he's probably only 1.5-2 WAR thanks to crap defense so maybe 3 WAR left in the deal. If he bounces all the way back offensively, he probably still loses about 1 WAR on defense relative to 2018 so a 2.5-3 WAR player so probably 5-6 over the life of the deal. There remains some hope that the rehab/rest of the offseason will limit the defensive decline and maybe he'll be around 3.3 WAR.

   10. Walt Davis Posted: September 15, 2019 at 03:31 AM (#5879308)
Remains mind-boggling that Reggie has held it for so long!

Ruth grabbed it in 1928 and didn't give it up until 1964 ... 36 years.

Mantle only held it for 14 before Stargell (I never knew). Reggie grabbed it in 1982. So he's held it for 38 years now, not much different than Ruth. As you probably know, Thome missed it by just 49. That would have held Reggie to 31 years. Without the 94 strike and the 95 shortened season ... or Thome's 2005 injury ... the record would be his.

But yes, the only question is whether any of higher-K batters in the current generation of players can make it to -- golly, this is depressing, 9000 PAs. Joey Gallo, King of Oafs, could get there in under 7,000 PAs. Another 10 years could do it.
   11. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: September 15, 2019 at 06:57 AM (#5879310)
Interesting that that particular record has belonged to the greatest player of all time, one of the 15 greatest players of all time, and two solid hall of famers. And the only guy who came close is also a first-ballot guy.

And then Joey Gallo.
   12. Sunday silence Posted: September 15, 2019 at 09:05 PM (#5879464)
We know BABIP is fluky

OK what does that mean exactly? You seem to have put some stock in the fact that his BaBiP is well below his/everybody elses norm. And I guess that suggests he's should bounce back.

If you mean it's fluky like "not a good predictor" then well that doesnt support your pt. So....I guess you mean its fluky like; "this stat fluctuates randomly" or something like that. Im not sure that really helps your pt. But then again Im not sure what you mean by fluky.

I mean lets take it further. Its not so flukey (sp?) that players like Ted Williams or Hank Aaron or someone would suddenly lose 50 pts of batting avg. just for a season and then gain it all back again. Right? Its not flukey like that..

So what does flukey mean? Its just odd enuf to use in a sentence without really committing one way or another to any point of view?

My pt. is that BaBIP like most peripheral stats has little meaning once we get outside of players who are performing outside the norm. When player perform rationaly i.e. they have normal BA and normal KO ratios etc. Then babip seems to be stable. When players arent anywhere near normal there's no real info that BaBIP can tell us.

Just like the example I gave of myself. To which you replied:

"Well no, because (no offense) even Daniel Descalso has more baseball talent in his little finger than you do."

Right. So you're making my point, arent you? If someone lacks talent BABIP means nothing. ERGO if someone's talent level is DROPPING then again BaBIP Isnt going to tell us he's due for a bounce back.

So Im not sure what your response there is really disagreeing with. Obviously you seem to agree with my reasoning, but then you still have a need to say "well no.." To what end? What is your pt there?

Still, if all of the BABIP returns, he's the same hitter as usual.

Yes of course.
   13. Greg Pope Posted: September 15, 2019 at 09:37 PM (#5879478)
Its not so flukey (sp?) that players like Ted Williams or Hank Aaron or someone would suddenly lose 50 pts of batting avg. just for a season and then gain it all back again. Right? Its not flukey like that..

Ted Williams BAbip:

1946 .319
1947 .332
1948 .368
1949 .318
1950 .274
1951 .305
1952 N/A
1953 .353
1954 .317

Hank Aaron BAbip:

1958 .316
1959 .338
1960 .265
1961 .317
   14. Sunday silence Posted: September 16, 2019 at 04:00 AM (#5879526)
can we see the rest of the career? tx
   15. Sunday silence Posted: September 16, 2019 at 02:28 PM (#5879683)
would def like to hear Walt's response or rather his opinion on what to make of BaBIP. I didnt think he took a strong stance one way or the other there.

I guess my pt is that if Ted or Hank did have BaBIP spikes, (and I guess they did some from post 13) is that random chance or was that something like an injury or change in the run environment or something else going on? Im on the side its not random, there's maybe some physical factor at work. To an extent injuries are random but it's not the same thing as hitting a line drive right to someone. That's just bad baseball luck. It seems to me. If a BaBIP spike represents bad luck, then sure maybe Upton or whomever is due.

Of course, if it is an injury and he never regains his form I guess we will never know in the end because we dont have enuf data about the guys physical condition, desire, etc. I think Walt has covered that issue well and it remains a vexing issue for trying to determine cause/effect here. I agree w/ Walt on that. Its something we never really know.

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