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Transaction Oracle
— A Timely Look at Transactions as They Happen

Friday, July 24, 2009

Cardinals - Acquired Holliday

St. Louis Cardinals - Acquired OF Matt Holliday and $1.5 million from the Oakland Athletics for 3B Brett

Wallace, P Clayton Mortensen and OF Shane Peterson

I’ve said that in the last year or so, the A’s long-term plan has seemed a little muddled and some of the moves a little

random (and I like the Hairston trade less with the PTBNL being confirmed as Sean Gallagher in the meantime), but I love this

trade from the perspective of the A’s.

Wallace isn’t a slam-dunk, guaranteed middle-of-the-order hitter, but he’s still a very good hitting prospect.  Wallace has

had ups and and downs in Memphis (a very poor first month with the team in May and a current slump) and he’s not ready right

at this minute to be a solid offensive player in the majors, but he’s an excellent player to have as top billing in return

for 2 months of Holliday.

Now, having said that Wallace is a great player to pick up, what makes this trade a really good one for the A’s is that the

2 “other” guys in the trade are legitimate prospects as well, not a couple of organizational player make-weights. 
Mortensen a 24-year-old starter with an OK fastball, a good sinker.  He could definitely stand to add some bulk as he looks a

little like the the tall, thin players that you could use in Ice Hockey for NES.  Shane Peterson’s a little lower on the

totem pole and looks like a future 4th outfielder on a team that has a couple legitimate centerfielders.

None of this trio is really ready right now, but it’s a very nice package.

Holliday will help the Cardinals and one can hardly call this trade an unmitigated disaster with the team thick in the

divisional race and Colby Rasmus not heading west.  However, I do think they’ll feel the costs of the trade down the road if

they don’t sign Holliday or do well with the draft pick compensation.  Holliday’s not going to hit like Manny did last year

and the Dodgers gave up less for the Manchild.


2009 ZIPS Projection - Matt Holliday
——————————————————————————————————————
          AB   R   H 2B 3B HR RBI   BB   SO SB   BA OBP SLG
——————————————————————————————————————
Year-to-Date   346   52   99 23   1 11   54   46   58 12 .286 .377 .454
Rest-of-Year   248   41   73 15   1 10   41   28   48   7 .296 .374 .482
——————————————————————————————————————
Total       594   93 172 38   2 21   95   74 106 19 .290 .376 .466

 


2009 ZIPS Projection - Brett Wallace
——————————————————————————————————————
          AB   R   H 2B 3B HR RBI   BB   SO SB   BA OBP SLG
——————————————————————————————————————
Year-to-Date   358   31   94 12   0   6   25   23   74   0 .263 .321 .346
Rest-of-Year   225   27   59 11   0   6   25   14   40   1 .264 .323 .392
——————————————————————————————————————

 


2009 ZIPS Projection - Clayton Mortensen
——————————————————————————————————————
            W   L   G GS   IP   H   ER   HR   BB   SO   ERA
——————————————————————————————————————
Year-to-Date   6   7   18 17 102.0 108   57   10   33   61   5.03
Rest-of-Year   2   4   10 10   50.7   59   31   7   23   26   5.51
——————————————————————————————————————

Year-to-date totals include minor-league translations, if applicable.

 

 

Dan Szymborski Posted: July 24, 2009 at 05:19 PM | 28 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Cabbage Posted: July 24, 2009 at 06:20 PM (#3265806)
Going into this season, the last thing I expected the Cards to pickup near the deadline was another outfielder. Looks like Stl has another solid shot at the NL pennant.

I've been waiting for their starting pitching to collapse all season, but it seems like ever few years, I wait for a Dave Duncan staff to collapse and it never does. Pinero is a classic "I have no business as a successful starter, but I'm going to drop my HR rate down to 1 every 40 IP or so for no good reason other than Dave Duncan's magic back rubs"-style pitcher.
   2. Jerk Store Posted: July 24, 2009 at 07:06 PM (#3265891)
I still think the best way to do it is one fat guy, one skinny guy and two medium guys. The skinny guy can get the puck down the ice and skate around for awhile while the fat guy gets down to the goal then pass it off and let the fat guy shoot. The two medium guys are good for passing and playing defense.

One thing I do know for certain. 4 fat guys don’t work.
   3. Doug's Hopkin off the band wagon Posted: July 24, 2009 at 07:12 PM (#3265898)
Go Sky Blue! Go Sky Blue!
   4. bjhanke Posted: July 24, 2009 at 07:36 PM (#3265946)
Cabbage says, "Pinero is a classic "I have no business as a successful starter, but I'm going to drop my HR rate down to 1 every 40 IP or so for no good reason other than Dave Duncan's magic back rubs"-style pitcher."

Duncan's "backrubs" amount to preaching sinker, sinker, sinker, two-seam fastball, which he calls "pitching to contact." The inevitable result, if the plan succeeds at all, is a drop in homer rates and a rise in ground balls.

I posted elsewhere that the trade, viewed in context, is essentially Chris Duncan, Brett Wallace and two other prospects for Holliday, Lugo, and some cash. The first key was that Duncan had to go if Holliday was coming in, because Chris would have no job. The second key is that the Cards have apparently decided that Wallace can only play first.

- Brock Hanke
   5. Dan Szymborski Posted: July 24, 2009 at 07:55 PM (#3265977)
I wonder how many Mariner fans said to themselves in 2005 "Boy, any team would be happy to have Franklin, Meche, and Pineiro in 3 years!"
   6. JoeHova Posted: July 24, 2009 at 08:32 PM (#3266019)
Going into this season, the last thing I expected the Cards to pickup near the deadline was another outfielder.

Yeah. It's funny how quickly a strength can turn into a weakness. I never thought the Cards would give up Wallace, but like Brock said, they may only view him as a 1B. Or maybe they drafted him with the idea of trading him, like the Brewers with LaPorta.
   7. Jim Wisinski Posted: July 24, 2009 at 08:45 PM (#3266038)
Holliday's not going to hit like Manny did last year and the Dodgers gave up less for the Manchild


Yeah but that's because the Pirates were involved. You don't have to give up much to get good players when they're around.
   8. Lassus Posted: July 24, 2009 at 09:03 PM (#3266062)
Was lineup protection something that has been proven around here not to exist? I forget.
   9. Mike Emeigh Posted: July 24, 2009 at 09:07 PM (#3266071)
Was lineup protection something that has been proven around here not to exist?


Like just about everything, you can't prove statistically that it doesn't exist with the coarse-grained tools that people typically try to use to measure it; there is just too much noise in the data.

-- MWE
   10. Swedish Chef Posted: July 24, 2009 at 09:12 PM (#3266079)
Was lineup protection something that has been proven around here not to exist? I forget.

Walking a guy will hurt more the better the next hitter is, pretty uncontroversial I would think.
   11. Danny Posted: July 24, 2009 at 09:14 PM (#3266083)
Walking a guy will hurt more the better the next hitter is, pretty uncontroversial I would think.

The same is true of singles, doubles, and triples.
   12. Brian White Posted: July 24, 2009 at 09:24 PM (#3266104)
One thing I do know for certain. 4 fat guys don’t work.


What? What is this nonsense? Four fat guys work just fine!
   13. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: July 24, 2009 at 09:29 PM (#3266112)
Was lineup protection something that has been proven around here not to exist? I forget.

I think the question on protection is whether Pujols will hit better with Holliday behind him because pitchers will throw him more strikes, or nibble less. In this specific case, the Cardinals are probably more worried about having the pitcher throwing Albert any strikes at all than about having Pujols hit better when he gets the chance. In that sense, I would expect Holliday to offer some protection.
   14. Swedish Chef Posted: July 24, 2009 at 10:26 PM (#3266165)
The same is true of singles, doubles, and triples.

Managers seldom contemplate giving up an intentional triple.
   15. It's a shame about Athletic Supporter Posted: July 24, 2009 at 10:39 PM (#3266170)
I think the question on protection is whether Pujols will hit better with Holliday behind him because pitchers will throw him more strikes, or nibble less. In this specific case, the Cardinals are probably more worried about having the pitcher throwing Albert any strikes at all than about having Pujols hit better when he gets the chance. In that sense, I would expect Holliday to offer some protection.

I think the protection thing is backwards, and in particular "hit better" is quite murky. Thinking about things from a game theory perspective:

Suppose the current situation is:

Albert .330/.450/.700
STL#4 .300/.350/.450

Post-Holliday, maybe we have (numbers are just for the purposes of illustration):

Albert ????????????
STL#4 .300/.400/.500

So, what will Albert's line be? Clearly the pitchers have an algorithm which yields .330/.450/.700, so it can't be true that Albert will end up with an OBP > .450 and a SLG > .700 (let's assume for simplicity that these are the only numbers that matters.) In fact, it's really the pitcher's choice: he can take .330/.450/.700, but maybe Albert's OBP is more valuable in the Holliday world than in the before world. Maybe he decides to make Albert into a .340/.430/.750 hitter instead, which would have been more valuable to STL in the old world, but now with a better hitter coming up is less valuable to STL than .330/.450/.700. This seems to be (rationally) the actual effect of protection, if there is one.


The advantage here really comes from the fact that the presence of Holliday makes Albert's production (specifically non-homerun on-bases) more valuable, not that Holliday makes Albert produce more. In fact, the modification that the pitcher makes to Albert's outcome table is good for the pitcher (almost by definition), not good for the Cardinals.

(Similarly Albert's presence makes Holliday's production more valuable -- there's a nice synergy here, which is of course the point of putting your good hitters in a row.)

Now, possibly by RC or LW or whatever the .340/.430/.750 hitter generates more runs than the .330/.450/.700 hitter, but again, this is always a choice that the pitcher has to make. To put this argument another way, Albert tends to generate high leverage situations since people tend to be on base after he bats, and so upgrading the hitter after him is more important. (Similarly, situations before Holliday bats are higher-leverage because he is likely to do something good, so Holliday's acquisition increases the actual LI of Pujols' at-bats (this won't show up in Fangraphs etc., but it's true with context-dependent LI) -- and obviously increasing the effective LI of Pujols is a good thing.)

EDIT: This does not consider the choice Pujols makes. Actually, it seems that Pujols should be more willing to take a walk with a better hitter behind him, while the pitcher would be less willing to give one, and it may just even out to have Pujols be the same .330/.450/.700 hitter as always.
   16. TomH Posted: July 24, 2009 at 10:43 PM (#3266175)
This WILL likely help Pujols a bit in the triple crown race - he was in danger of getting walked enough that he could in theory win both the HR and AVG titles and still finish 2nd in RBI to someone like Howard.
   17. Walt Davis Posted: July 26, 2009 at 03:50 AM (#3267235)
Like just about everything, you can't prove statistically that it doesn't exist with the coarse-grained tools that people typically try to use to measure it; there is just too much noise in the data.

To put that bit more accurately ...

you can't prove that something doesn't exist with statistics. There's also really no such thing as "too much noise in the data."

Statistics is about measuring the size of the effect relative to the noise. If the size is small relative to the noise, then you won't find a statistically significant effect. That there's been no evidence for "protection" while there has been evidence for other things relative to the same noise is strong evidence that the size of the "protection" effect is smaller than those other things.

Somebody should just take some time to do some proper power analysis of these things. The "fog" is perfectly estimable.

Anyway, the best way to protect Pujols is to get guys on-base in front of him.
   18. bjhanke Posted: July 26, 2009 at 07:52 AM (#3267281)
I'm with Walt on this one. I've studied the issue of "protection" a bit, but could not finish up thoroughly due to being unable to make a really coherent bulletproof definition of "protection." What seems to be the case is that a hitter who has protection behind him will hit for a bit more average and power, but will walk less. The overall value seems to stay the same, but it's distributed differently. If he has a big OBP guy in front of him, though, his own stats will remain close to constant, but he will get more RBIs because there will be more men on in front of him. The extra RBI do represent something real this time, not just an illusion. The team will score more runs as a result of the extra RBI from their feature hitter. The biggest difference in the hitter's own stats will be a drop in Intentional walks due to coming up with a man on first.

BTW, the opposite effect seems to apply to cocaine users who go through rehab ("seems to" means that the sample size of people whose rehabs were public is not large). Their averages and power drop a bit, but they make it all up in walks. I can only guess that rehab makes you a bit less wound up and a bit more patient. Check out Darrell Porter to see the effect.

Question for discussion: If you had Holliday and Pujols, which one would you hit third and which one cleanup? Pujols hits more homers, so having Holliday in front of him would help them become multi-run taters. Also, if Pujols hits cleanup, then if he comes up in the first inning, there has to be at least one runner on base. If the first three guys go out, he hits leadoff in the second. Few teams will intentionally walk even Pujols to start the second inning.

- Brock
   19. fra paolo Posted: July 26, 2009 at 01:43 PM (#3267320)
I wouldn't bat Pujols third anyway, because as The Book has shown, that's an inefficient place to put your best hitter.

I was wondering if batting your best hitter in the 3-spot was something that came to baseball out of cricket, or has persisted since the days when outs were harder to come by. Certainly, the third wicket in cricket looks to be the most important one, so the guy coming in at 3 in the batting order ought to be your best batsman.
   20. The kids disappeared, now Der-K has too much candy Posted: July 26, 2009 at 02:25 PM (#3267339)
The overall value seems to stay the same

Not to be obvious, but... when you say value, do you mean the value of their production in and or apart from the context of those appearances? Put a slightly different way, are you measuring in terms of marginal runs or wins?
   21. bjhanke Posted: July 26, 2009 at 09:43 PM (#3267671)
Der K 2 - Runs. Without an airtight definition of "protection", there was no way to even attempt the harder analysis of wins. Remember, I'm not claiming to have done anything definitive. What you're reading here is where the analysis seemed to be leading me before I decided that I could not finish because I could not rigorously define "protection." It's like "clutch situation." Do you mean "late and close" or "runners in scoring position", or any of the other definitions that different analysts use? Your results will vary depending on the definition. No one of them is really any better than any other one. They really have only one thing in common: They separate out about a tenth of the plate appearances. For protection, the question is whether you mean a big power guy or a high Runs per Game guy or something else. And what is your rigorous definition of "big power guy?" How many Runs per Game, if you choose that option? There is no consensus as to what "protection" means. You get a lot of "I can't define it, but I know it when I see it" stuff, which leads the concept to become what Bill James calls a "bulls**t dump." You can't do honest analysis with that weak a definition. You can make up your own rigorous definition, but I've found that doing that leads to endless fruitless arguments over whether the definition is right, rather than analysis of the issue at hand. And at the end of the day, you still don't have a consensus about the definition. You just have your own personal one.

Fra Paolo - The idea that your best hitter should bat third goes back so far into the 19th century (Cap Anson was aware of it in the 1880s) that it's pretty much impossible to think that it came from anywhere except cricket or rounders or town ball or one of the other progenitors of baseball. I know little about cricket, so it was news to me that the sport thinks that the third wicket is special. Thanks for the info. My guess as to why it's never gone by the wayside is that managers really like to score first, because it makes them feel that they're in control and managers love to be in control, and so they want their best hitters to be able to drive in runs in the first inning. That is, it's a byproduct of having three outs to an inning.

- Brock
   22. Mike Emeigh Posted: July 26, 2009 at 09:49 PM (#3267676)
managers really like to score first, because it makes them feel that they're in control and managers love to be in control


Well, that and teams that score first usually win.

-- MWE
   23. Jeff K. Posted: July 26, 2009 at 10:02 PM (#3267685)
Dude, there was zero reason to trick it up. Each of the outliers paid much higher a price for what they got (size/speed tradeoff) than it was worth. Four medium guys for the win.
   24. Danny Posted: July 26, 2009 at 10:49 PM (#3267700)
Well, that and teams that score first usually win.

I would guess it's also true that:
1) The team that scores second (or third or fourth) usually wins, too.
2) The team that scores first is usually the better team.
   25. asdf1234 Posted: July 26, 2009 at 11:00 PM (#3267705)
Beyond the Sherman-esque march to the sea that was the Holliday trade, today the Indians & Cardinals completed the DeRosa trade. The PTBNL was Jess Todd.

Chris Perez and Jess Todd for three months of an injured Mark DeRosa. Of the Cards' top five prospects headed into 2009, two are on the bigs (Rasmus and Motte) and the other three shipped out of town (Perez, Wallace, and Todd) for rentals. I'm afraid to even ask who the PTBNL was in the Lugo deal at this point.
   26. Sleepy supports unauthorized rambling Posted: July 26, 2009 at 11:29 PM (#3267729)
#25- agree, losing Todd for DeRosa is sickening. At least we know that it can't be hawksworth for Lugo. Boggs and Walters are still options, though.

I'll actually be surprised if it isn't craig, given the lack of consideration he's been given this year by the team despite the huge hole at 3B.
   27. bjhanke Posted: July 27, 2009 at 08:56 AM (#3268083)
Danny says, quoting MWE, "'Well, that and teams that score first usually win.'

I would guess it's also true that:
1) The team that scores second (or third or fourth) usually wins, too.
2) The team that scores first is usually the better team."

All of this is true. Pick an inning and a team that scores in that inning will usually win, just because most half-innings have no runs. But my experience in listening to managers talk about it is that they aren't focused on results-based stats like that, but on control. That's what they talk about. Or, at least, the ones I've listened to most (I live in St. Louis) talk about control rather than chance of winning. Control seems to be very very important to managers. Given their actual lack of control of most of what happens, I guess that makes sense. They want what is rare.

- Brock
   28. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: July 27, 2009 at 09:38 AM (#3268085)
Control seems to be very very important to managers. Given their actual lack of control of most of what happens, I guess that makes sense. They want what is rare.


Yes, this is why they bunt and IBB and switch relievers so damn much. 'Look at me!'

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