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Saturday, February 09, 2019

We Put Bryce Harper And Manny Machado On A Bunch Of Different Teams

We are now less than a week away from almost all pitchers and catchers reporting, and the two biggest free agents on the market — Manny Machado and Bryce Harper — have yet to sign. The rumor mill around them continues to swirl, but we’re tired of not knowing for sure where these two will play this year. So we thought we’d take matters into our own hands, instead of simply waiting around for the latest hot-stove updates.

To that end, we called on our friends at Out of the Park Baseball (OOTP), a strategic simulation game that allows players to put on their general manager hats and run their own teams. We asked them to simulate out the careers of Harper and Machado a bunch of times under scenarios where they sign with a bunch of different teams. Think of it as the multiverse of MLB possibilities that still could play out, depending on where these two superstars end up signing.

The topic that has dominated the hot-stove season, as fed through a computer program.

QLE Posted: February 09, 2019 at 06:18 AM | 13 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: bryce harper, manny machado, ootp

Reader Comments and Retorts

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Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. Jacob Posted: February 09, 2019 at 09:20 AM (#5813908)
In this universe, Machado would have an incredible initial campaign in Southern California, putting up 7.5 WAR and winning the National League’s MVP in 2019. His team, though, would only improve from 66 to 76 wins, good for third place in the NL West, and Machado would later struggle to repeat his amazing debut season.


I'll take it!
   2. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: February 09, 2019 at 10:28 AM (#5813920)
If you’re ever feeling dumb, just remember that somebody wrote this article, then publicly shared it with the world.
   3. Walt Davis Posted: February 09, 2019 at 04:34 PM (#5813984)
It is weird in that they don't see what he does for every team but rather let the OOTP AI decide where he signs and for how much -- predominantly the White Sox, sometimes the Padres, rarely the Phils, Yanks and Twins (?). Generally 8/$200 with opt-outs.

The sims all seem to put him at 30-35 WAR over the next 6 seasons and continuing to be a 2-3 WAR player for a few seasons after that. Even 30 WAR in 6 years at $240 M in value ... at 8/$200 the team comes out a solid $40 M ahead even if he produces no more value; at 10/$300 they'd have to get 4 WAR over the last 4 years to break even. Golly, sure is a mystery why Machado isn't overly eager to sign at 8/$200.

I don't know what was going on with the sims (or the presentation is awful ... probably more likely) but it seems that OOTP projects Harper to a 6-year WAR of only 20 if he signs with the Giants but 30 with the Cards and 35+ with the Dodgers. With the Giants he's injured a lot ... apparently not with the other two teams? Something very weird went on there. OOTP has him signing for substantially less than Machado (7/$175 and even 6/$150 with the Cards). With StL and LA, he ends up finishing with over 90 career WAR ... with the Giants ... he gets better after leaving the Giants and ends up a borderline HoFer (another weird thing about that sim ... maybe OOTP knows something about the Giants training staff we donn't :-).

   4. Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle Posted: February 09, 2019 at 05:05 PM (#5813990)
The sims all seem to put him at 30-35 WAR over the next 6 seasons and continuing to be a 2-3 WAR player for a few seasons after that. Even 30 WAR in 6 years at $240 M in value ... at 8/$200 the team comes out a solid $40 M ahead even if he produces no more value; at 10/$300 they'd have to get 4 WAR over the last 4 years to break even. Golly, sure is a mystery why Machado isn't overly eager to sign at 8/$200.

I wouldn't uhm.. necessarily take OOTP sims as ironclad projections. But yeah, 8/200 would be seriously low for a player of Machado's talent. On the flip side, he is a psychopath though.
   5. crict Posted: February 09, 2019 at 07:04 PM (#5814000)
Decent idea, terrible execution (for 538).

Somehow, it looks like they've done a bunch of simulations (no idea how many), as they report the % of time Machado and Harper sign with each team. But somehow the numbers/text look to be from a single simulation.
   6. Jose Canusee Posted: February 09, 2019 at 10:07 PM (#5814015)
#3: According to B-R https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/split.fcgi?id=harpebr03&year=Career&t=b Harper has played 19 games at AT&T and stroked a mighty .588 OPS so that is likely a data point causing his SFG projections to be so underwhelming. That is his worst showing in the NL, ahead of only AL teams Houston and Cleveland, who generally have had better pitching than SF.
18 games at Dodger Stadium increase the OPS to just .688 (.912 in Washington) but 19 games in St. Louis are 1.047. This is his #5 NL OPS park behind Atlanta, San Diego, Denver and Chicago.
   7. Bote Man Posted: February 09, 2019 at 10:25 PM (#5814017)
We can't dismiss the Hunter Strickland factor in San Francisco.
   8. Walt Davis Posted: February 09, 2019 at 11:31 PM (#5814025)
Well I don't take anybody's projections as "ironclad" for one season much less more than that. Confidence intervals are huge and injury risk is at best WAG. Whether OOTP is substantially better or worse than ZiPS/Steamer et al I have no idea but I'd have thought that they'd all get the mean projection about right (at least over ages 26-31 as done here). But I wasn't throwing it out there as bible truth ... the author thought it was good enough to comment on and QLE thought it good enough to post so blame them.
   9. Tin Angel Posted: February 09, 2019 at 11:40 PM (#5814028)
Machado just spiked #4 while he was getting groceries.
   10. SoSH U at work Posted: February 09, 2019 at 11:52 PM (#5814030)
#3: According to B-R https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/split.fcgi?id=harpebr03&year=Career&t=b Harper has played 19 games at AT&T and stroked a mighty .588 OPS so that is likely a data point causing his SFG projections to be so underwhelming. That is his worst showing in the NL, ahead of only AL teams Houston and Cleveland, who generally have had better pitching than SF.


He's also played two playoff games at China Basin, going 3-6 with a double, two homers and two walks.
   11. QLE Posted: February 10, 2019 at 04:04 AM (#5814040)
QLE thought it good enough to post so blame them


Point of order! This commentary assumes that my submissions indicate endorsement, whereas in fact my approach is to submit in the hopes of stimulating interesting and on-topic discussion!
   12. Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle Posted: February 10, 2019 at 07:02 AM (#5814042)
Well I don't take anybody's projections as "ironclad" for one season much less more than that. Confidence intervals are huge and injury risk is at best WAG. Whether OOTP is substantially better or worse than ZiPS/Steamer et al I have no idea but I'd have thought that they'd all get the mean projection about right (at least over ages 26-31 as done here). But I wasn't throwing it out there as bible truth ... the author thought it was good enough to comment on and QLE thought it good enough to post so blame them.

Part of the problem is that simulations intentionally have a lot of rng built in. It's intentional variance. If you want to base a projection off of that, you need to rum thousands of simulations per team (ideally even more). Otherwise, randomness can have a pretty huge influence over the outcome. And I highly, highly doubt that they have done that in OOTP.
   13. Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle Posted: February 10, 2019 at 07:03 AM (#5814043)
Machado just spiked #4 while he was getting groceries.

You know, I honestly just got back from getting groceries, when I read this. Must have gotten lucky.

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