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Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Angels agree to 7-year deal with Rendon

Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: December 11, 2019 at 10:46 PM | 81 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: angels, anthony rendon

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   1. JimMusComp likes Billy Eppler.... Posted: December 11, 2019 at 10:54 PM (#5907987)
Can he pitch?!?
   2. JimMusComp likes Billy Eppler.... Posted: December 11, 2019 at 10:55 PM (#5907988)
Time to change my handle.

Idiotic.

He’s a fine player, but they have NO starting pitching depth. At all.
   3. Lars6788 Posted: December 11, 2019 at 11:06 PM (#5907992)
If they sign a Bumgarner or Ryu with Rendon - they might be in a better shape to contend than just signing Cole.
   4. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: December 11, 2019 at 11:24 PM (#5907995)
Go Angels! They had that $280 mil burning a whole in their pocket after missing out on Cole and had to spend it somewhere! I like this signing. Dude gives you 140-150 games a year and produces 4-6 WAR. I think he'll out produce Cole over the next 7 years. Of course NY didn't need a 3B, so there is that.
   5. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: December 11, 2019 at 11:26 PM (#5907997)
You know who has made good money over the last 7 days? Scott Boras. What is the usual graft for an agent? 10%? Did he just make like $82 mil over the last several days?
   6. The Yankee Clapper Posted: December 11, 2019 at 11:32 PM (#5907999)
What is the usual graft for an agent? 10%?
4-5% seems to be the going rate, according to a quick Google scan.
   7. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: December 11, 2019 at 11:38 PM (#5908001)
4-5% seems to be going rate, according to a quick Google scan.


Thx. I'm at work and too lazy to take 5 to have a look at it. Still at 5%, Boras made about $40 mil in the past few days. Holy cow!
   8. Walt Davis Posted: December 12, 2019 at 12:12 AM (#5908003)
apparently back on Oct 1 I was sufficiently inspired to create 2 sets of Rendon comps and save them for my PI. Not sure I know what all of the differences are.

Set 1 has 34 players who played at least some 30-36. It doesn't strike me as a particularly Rendon-ish list, certainly not limited to 3B or even IF or even 2B/3B/CF (somewhat similar Rpos). Anyway, the median of this odd list is around 21-22 WAR for ages 30-36 (Granderson and K Hernandez). The king of the pile is easily Clemente. Plenty of believable Rendon comps here -- Edgar (34 WAR), Whitaker 32, Boyer 31, Grich 28, Tejada 25, Peraz 24, Harrah 23, Da Evans 21. Those last few wouldn't be great outcomes but wouldn't stink. Then things get pretty sketchy -- Mauer 16, Braun 13, McAuliffe 9, Petrocelli 4. Some of those comps might be a bit more promising -- e.g. Harrah was not much of a defender even at 3B ... give him average defense and that's 28 WAR.

I'm guessing that led to comp list 2. It's a much different list, seems limited to 2B/SS/3B and just for ages 27-29 to pick up on current good performers. Set 2 has 33 players (Rendon 10th in WAR 27-29), a median of 23 WAR (Yount) for ages 30-36. Beltre tops it with 42. I've somehow lost Boyer but gained Nettles, Kinsler, Zobrist, Sandberg and Brett all 29-31. There's a pretty big drop to that median group that adds Cey (26), Bando (24) and DeCinces (21) as pretty obvious comps. Then another big drop to Matt Williams at 16 then things fade fast to a group around 10 then around 5.

These AAVs we're seeing suggest to me that $/WAR has gone up (maybe just at the top end) so I'll WAG that break-even would be around that median WAR, maybe a bit higher at 25. Frankly the lists, especially the more position-appropriate second one, are probably better than I expected. Fine player but I wouldn't have guessed that DeCinces put up 21 WAR for 30-36 or Cey 26. Obviously whatever happened to Nomar or John Valentin could happen to Rendon but there's no obvious reason to think he should turn out worse than Harrah, DeCinces, Bando or Cey and some reasons to think he'd age better.
   9. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: December 12, 2019 at 01:07 AM (#5908005)
He’s a fine player, but they have NO starting pitching depth. At all.
They still desperately need starting pitching, no question, but this signing makes an infield left side of Rendon and Andrelton Simmons, and David Fletcher gets to move to 2B. That's probably the best infield defense in baseball. That'll help any pitcher... which they now have to sign at least one of. A catcher would be nice too.

But Rendon's awesome. I'm very, very excited to get him on the Angels.
   10. Khrushin it bro Posted: December 12, 2019 at 01:44 AM (#5908006)
I'd take the A's infield defense (depending on who plays 2b). Olson at 1b and Murphy at catcher are both elite.
   11. Meatwad Posted: December 12, 2019 at 01:48 AM (#5908007)
HOW WILL THE ANGELS LOSE TODAY?
   12. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: December 12, 2019 at 01:51 AM (#5908008)
That was yesterday.
   13. Bote Man Posted: December 12, 2019 at 02:38 AM (#5908011)
Dude gives you 140-150 games a year

Don't count your hatches before they chicken out. Rendon was insanely good this year, but I fear he is a ticking time bomb, what with his history of various leg problems and other nagging injuries. I wish him well and am glad the Nats will only see him 3 times next year so he won't have much chance to hurt them.

He will finally realize his dream of toiling in obscurity on the west coast, as he once noted that if he could be anything he'd prefer to be Bigfoot, because then nobody could ever find him.

I guess Mark Lerner was right: they really couldn't (wouldn't) sign both Rendon and Strasburg. Now the Nats have a gaping hole in the vicinity of 3B.
   14. Zonk didn't order a hit on an ambassador Posted: December 12, 2019 at 08:28 AM (#5908015)
I guess Mark Lerner was right: they really couldn't (wouldn't) sign both Rendon and Strasburg. Now the Nats have a gaping hole in the vicinity of 3B.


Watch me make my fellow Cubs fans mad....

Kris Bryant is available!
   15. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 12, 2019 at 09:07 AM (#5908026)
He’s a fine player, but they have NO starting pitching depth. At all.

Canning, Heaney and hope it gets rainy?
   16. Zonk didn't order a hit on an ambassador Posted: December 12, 2019 at 09:20 AM (#5908032)
A gaggle like Bundy, lose by a hundy....
   17. PreservedFish Posted: December 12, 2019 at 09:34 AM (#5908039)
Heaney, Ohtani or pray the weather's nae bonnie
   18. Rusty Priske Posted: December 12, 2019 at 09:35 AM (#5908041)
Kris Bryant is available!


Apparently so is Nolan Arenado. If the Rockies are dumb enough to trade him, some team should be all over that.
   19. rconn23 Posted: December 12, 2019 at 09:40 AM (#5908043)
I'm happy that Mike Trout finally has some protection in that lineup.
   20. Nasty Nate Posted: December 12, 2019 at 09:40 AM (#5908044)
Andrew and Griffin, after that the hitters ain't whiffin'
   21. eric Posted: December 12, 2019 at 11:19 AM (#5908080)
Fletcher should for sure be the everyday 2B. Where does La Stella now play? Does he become 1B, is he just IF depth, or is he now a trade chit? (or, I guess, all of the above?)
   22. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: December 12, 2019 at 11:24 AM (#5908083)
Heaney and Canning, and pray that the weather is unsuitable for tanning?
   23. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 12, 2019 at 11:24 AM (#5908084)
Fletcher should for sure be the everyday 2B. Where does La Stella now play? Does he become 1B, is he just IF depth, or is he now a trade chit? (or, I guess, all of the above?)

How sure are we that Fletcher's a starter? Steamer projects a 94 wRC+, which is OK if the D's good. LaStella projects to 106, though.
   24. Rally Posted: December 12, 2019 at 11:26 AM (#5908087)
Where does La Stella now play? Does he become 1B


I sure hope so. They might try and offense/defense platoon. Start La Stella and then just take him out after his 2nd or third AB for Fletcher. If you bat him leadoff it might mean you can have 3 AB of La Stella and 4 defensive innings of Fletcher, which isn't a bad combination.

But they really should just let Fletcher play full time and turn first over to Tommy. That improves the defense and does not hurt the offense, since Fletcher was as good a hitter as Albert last year anyway, and a far better offensive player since he can actually move from base to base.

They probably aren't going to release Albert, but it's time to make him a part time DH, let him play a few games against lefties or when Ohtani is not available for the role. Or a pinch hitter if Maddon lets Ohtani pitch and hit at the same time, then you'll need a pinch hitter for the bullpen after Ohtani finishes his day.
   25. Adam S Posted: December 12, 2019 at 11:26 AM (#5908089)
Andrew and Shohei - and then help from the sky.

On the infield defense, the A's are better without a question with Neuse playing second. With Pinder or Barreto I might take the Angels.
   26. Moses Taylor, glorified meat shield Posted: December 12, 2019 at 11:27 AM (#5908090)
Watch me make my fellow Cubs fans mad....

Kris Bryant is available!


Something no one has been able to tell me is who plays 3b for the Cubs when they trade him?

Where does La Stella now play?

You mean the bad defender who had a fluke half year? He's a bench player, like he always was.
   27. Rally Posted: December 12, 2019 at 11:31 AM (#5908094)
An OOTP aside on Ohtani, two years ago I created a similar player for my OOTP league. He signed with Chicago and stayed healthy, and in his second season went to the world series. His team lost in 6, but not before a big highlight. He started at pitcher, hit a homerun, and when he was getting worn out moved to left field. He became the first player I'm aware of in real or fake baseball to start on the mound and win, hit a homerun, and throw out a runner from the outfield in the same world series game.
   28. PreservedFish Posted: December 12, 2019 at 11:32 AM (#5908096)
Something no one has been able to tell me is who plays 3b for the Cubs when they trade him?


Don't they have Bote?
   29. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 12, 2019 at 11:33 AM (#5908098)
You mean the bad defender who had a fluke half year? He's a bench player, like he always was.

Still projects as a significantly better hitter than Fletcher, or Pujols. LaStella should probably just start at 1B.
   30. PreservedFish Posted: December 12, 2019 at 11:38 AM (#5908101)
Believe it or not, but Fangraphs projects the Angels to have the 20th best rotation, just barely behind the A's and Phillies and Rockies, and ahead of the Brewers and Twins.

Maybe it's not all so dire after all.

Or maybe Fangraphs is nuts.
   31. Zonk didn't order a hit on an ambassador Posted: December 12, 2019 at 11:40 AM (#5908104)
An OOTP aside on Ohtani, two years ago I created a similar player for my OOTP league. He signed with Chicago and stayed healthy, and in his second season went to the world series. His team lost in 6, but not before a big highlight. He started at pitcher, hit a homerun, and when he was getting worn out moved to left field. He became the first player I'm aware of in real or fake baseball to start on the mound and win, hit a homerun, and throw out a runner from the outfield in the same world series game.


Brendan McKay is 1B/#4 SP in my current league... He's basically John Olerud offensively at 1B and Terry Mulholland on the mound. I used him as swingman 2 years ago (about a dozen starts + 20 relief appearances). He was strictly a reliever last year. He's been rock solid in the rotation this year (12-3, 2.91) even as he's hitting 320/390/480.
   32. JAHV Posted: December 12, 2019 at 11:43 AM (#5908107)
How sure are we that Fketcher's a starter? Steamer projects a 94 wRC+, which is OK if the D's good. LaStella projects to 106, though.


Fletcher's a starter. He was a 4-win player last year. He's a good fielder everywhere including the outfield. His pitch selection improved by leaps and bounds from his rookie year. He was never going to hit a bunch of homeruns, even with the juiced ball, but he hits line drives all over the field. So this may be a case where a non-juiced ball helps him relative to other players - his OPS might drop a tiny bit if he hits two homeruns instead of six, but his OPS+ will actually increase as other guys come back to earth. I think we'll see him mostly at 2B, but he could fill in the outfield or on the left side of the infield if guys are hurt.

I predict they either trade La Stella and cash in on his last season or they'll move La Stella to first base when Pujols is DHing. La Stella is a butcher with the glove and gives back more than the excess value with the bat. I think La Stella probably has more value to another team than Rengifo, who is useful as a utility backup. Matt Thaiss and Taylor Ward don't have much value left, but those guys might be throw-ins in a deal for a pitcher.
   33. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 12, 2019 at 11:49 AM (#5908112)
Fletcher's a starter. He was a 4-win player last year.

3.4 or 3.8 depending on your source. Of course that relies on +10 D in small sample sizes across a number of positions.

He's probably an OK bat/good glove starter at 2B, but his bat is suspect enough that he could easily put up an 85 wRC+ and not be a starter anymore. His only actually good offensive performance was in 275 PA in AAA. The rest of his minor league hitting record sucks.
   34. JAHV Posted: December 12, 2019 at 11:53 AM (#5908119)
Believe it or not, but Fangraphs projects the Angels to have the 20th best rotation, just barely behind the A's and Phillies and Rockies, and ahead of the Brewers and Twins.

Maybe it's not all so dire after all.

Or maybe Fangraphs is nuts.


I think this is a tad optimistic, but it's not crazy. Heaney has good underlying numbers, but has been hurt by the long ball and by injuries. If they can get 175 innings out of him, he can be a bit above league average. Canning has good stuff that he should be able to command better as he develops. We have no idea how Ohtani will look after Tommy John, but he should be back to pitching once a week. Bundy has a history of being a solid, 2-win pitcher. After that they have a bunch of young guys who have some promise but were not coached up well last year under the brief Doug White regime; there was stuff that came out after White was fired as the pitching coach that he used all sorts of strange methods that weren't necessarily bad, but complicated things a lot for the young pitchers. Jaime Barria, for example, went completely in the tank, and could see a bounce back under a new pitching coach. Jose Suarez and Patrick Sandoval also have upside.

They definitely need at least one more starter, since Ohtani is a mystery and Heaney's injury history is too extensive to ignore. I'd like to get two - maybe one established guy like Keuchel or Ryu and one cheap reclamation project, similar to Gio Gonzalez last year (heck, I'd take him this year).
   35. JAHV Posted: December 12, 2019 at 12:08 PM (#5908133)
3.4 or 3.8 depending on your source. Of course that relies on +10 D in small sample sizes across a number of positions.

He's probably an OK bat/good glove starter at 2B, but his bat is suspect enough that he could easily put up an 85 wRC+ and not be a starter anymore. His only actually good offensive performance was in 275 PA in AAA. The rest of his minor league hitting record sucks.


I'm going to guess you didn't watch many Angel games last year. Fletcher's line drive rate was the best in the majors by 2%. He was second in the league in strikeout rate to go along with a league average walk rate. His pitch selection was excellent. Maybe if you think all of those things were flukes, but the only major improvement in the underlying batting profile was in his walk rate, and that doesn't strike me as fluky - no one is purposefully pitching around David Fletcher to get to Mike Trout. He was not reliant on power, so a reversion to the old ball isn't going to affect him at all - a few of his six homeruns will turn into doubles.

Also, other than his first short stint in AAA, he consistently put up slightly above average offensive numbers in the minors, so I'm not sure where you're seeing that the rest of his minor league hitting record sucks. Unless you think that hitting for power is the only legitimate way to hit. He was always a high average guy, but he has developed the patience to go along with it. You can never rule out a slump, but I'd be really surprised to see less than 90 wRC+.
   36. PreservedFish Posted: December 12, 2019 at 12:15 PM (#5908139)
Anyone with a career OPS+ of 94 can easily sink to 85 in any one year.

However, even if you ding him 10 rBat and 5 rField, he remains an average starter at 2B. So the Angels should be happy to go to war with him.
   37. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 12, 2019 at 12:20 PM (#5908141)

Also, other than his first short stint in AAA, he consistently put up slightly above average offensive numbers in the minors, so I'm not sure where you're seeing that the rest of his minor league hitting record sucks. Unless you think that hitting for power is the only legitimate way to hit. He was always a high average guy, but he has developed the patience to go along with it. You can never rule out a slump, but I'd be really surprised to see less than 90 wRC+.


2017 AAA 217 PA 254/285/322 56 wRC+ dreadful
2017 AA 272 PA 276/341/354 103 wRC+ fair at best for a good prospect
2016 AA 83 PA 101 wRC+ too small a sample to draw conclusions
2016 A+ 355 PA 275/321/346 83 wRC+ poor
2015 A 135 PA 114 wRC+, R 180 PA 120 wRC+ pretty good

Put another way, his milB total line is 294/345/398/743, and he was never really young for his level. That's not the milB performance of a good, or even average MLB hitter.
   38. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 12, 2019 at 12:21 PM (#5908143)
However, even if you ding him 10 rBat and 5 rField, he remains an average starter at 2B. So the Angels should be happy to go to war with him.

Agreed. He should be the starting 2B opening day, and should keep getting chances as long as he's cheap.

I just would be shocked if by June he's platooning with LaStella or on the bench.
   39. JAHV Posted: December 12, 2019 at 12:36 PM (#5908159)
I just would be shocked if by June he's platooning with LaStella or on the bench.


I would also be shocked by that.
   40. Rally Posted: December 12, 2019 at 12:55 PM (#5908170)
He was not reliant on power, so a reversion to the old ball isn't going to affect him at all - a few of his six homeruns will turn into doubles.


We don't know that for sure. For a non-power hitter, the difference between a juiced ball and a normal one might be singles not being hit quite so hard and finding gloves.

If Fletcher falls apart at the plate, Rengifo will probably get next crack at the position. He was about league average overall last season, was only 22, and had better minor league stats.

For second base, I'm not too concerned about how it shakes out, Fletcher, La Stella, and Rengifo all hold some promise. I'm a lot more worried about the team sticking with the idea of running Pujols out there for as much time as he can physically handle. There are two years left on his contract - please don't let those two years be an obstacle to getting Trout and Rendon to the playoffs. The clock is ticking. Both Rendon and Trout have passed the standard peak age for ballplayers. It is unlikely they will collectively give you more in 2022 than they will this season. Don't waste their efforts.
   41. Benji Gil Gamesh VII - The Opt-Out Awakens Posted: December 12, 2019 at 01:49 PM (#5908190)
Sooooo...Mookie (3 years younger and his worst year in the last 4 is pretty equal to Rendon's best) is definitely going to get $40+ mil per then?

I mean I guess I already knew that deep down but damn.
   42. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: December 12, 2019 at 01:51 PM (#5908193)
Put another way, his milB total line is 294/345/398/743, and he was never really young for his level. That's not the milB performance of a good, or even average MLB hitter.
Weird. It's almost like he was a young player who got better or something.

Snark aside, Fangraphs has been pumping Fletcher up for two years now. Last year, Fletcher ranked #1 among position players on their Fringe Five scoreboard because he showed that excellent hard contact skill and zone control, apparently a product of a series of mechanical changes he made to his swing before the 2018 AAA season. Fletcher's now had two seasons where his line drive % was over 30% in both AAA and the big leagues. He's not some junky fluke, and his defense will play regardless. He showed more than enough defense last year to show up as a GG finalist at 3rd, a position he only played 8 games at the year before. He's not an All-Star, but he's a legit big league second baseman.

If La Stella isn't a total fluke and can handle 1B, that's a really good infield. Still need that starting pitching, tho.
   43. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: December 12, 2019 at 02:04 PM (#5908200)
You know who has made good money over the last 7 days? Scott Boras.
I suppose it's good for baseball as a whole that the top FAs are getting paid a lot (if not for the individual teams that may well end up with Pujols Regret), but man...I hate that this buttmuch is being rewarded for his buttmunchery.
   44. PreservedFish Posted: December 12, 2019 at 02:10 PM (#5908207)
He didn't seem to engage in buttmunchery this offseason, at least not the public, flamboyant buttmunchery of the past. Less talk of binders and presentations and red carpets and mystery teams placing mystery bids. All three guys signed quickly, Strasburg with his home team, Cole where it was expected, and Rendon apparently after about 24 hours deliberation by the Angels.
   45. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: December 12, 2019 at 02:21 PM (#5908216)
Eh, he was still munching some butt with his usual preening, self-aggrandizing media presence. He clearly thinks being an outlandish media figure helps him.
   46. jmurph Posted: December 12, 2019 at 02:30 PM (#5908221)
Eh, he was still munching some butt with his usual preening, self-aggrandizing media presence. He clearly thinks being an outlandish media figure helps him.

Given the week he's having, I'm not sure any of us are in position to criticize his methods.
   47. JAHV Posted: December 12, 2019 at 02:31 PM (#5908222)
If La Stella isn't a total fluke and can handle 1B, that's a really good infield. Still need that starting pitching, tho.


This is the biggest question mark. I'm sure Fletcher's improvement is real; I'm worried that La Stella's power surge might not be. And he's going to have more trade value than Rengifo.

But if they can find pitching some other way, Rendon - Simmons - Fletcher - La Stella is a fantastic defensive (and offensive) infield. And then you have Rengifo, who can play anywhere albeit not all that well, and Thaiss as bench players.
   48. Joe Bivens, Slack Rumped Rutabaga Head Posted: December 12, 2019 at 02:40 PM (#5908229)
The Yankees have Urshella at 3rd. Andujar is a DH. I'm surprised they didn't sign Rendon.
   49. alilisd Posted: December 12, 2019 at 02:41 PM (#5908230)
Canning, Heaney and hope it gets rainy?


It never rains in Los Angeles of Anaheim, California
   50. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: December 12, 2019 at 02:43 PM (#5908232)
But if they can find pitching some other way, Rendon - Simmons - Fletcher - La Stella is a fantastic defensive (and offensive) infield.
And that's why the Angels needed to get Cole, and why they still need pitching. They're at least decent at 7 lineup positions (catcher is death, and 1B is iffy), so one great pitcher could have been a franchise-defining move. They can still improve greatly at SP (which wouldn't be hard), but there won't be any possibility of a top five ace on the roster now.
   51. Bote Man Posted: December 12, 2019 at 03:22 PM (#5908249)
Heaney and Canning, and pray that the weather is unsuitable for tanning?

That's the Giant's new mantra.
   52. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: December 12, 2019 at 03:33 PM (#5908253)
Given the week he's having, I'm not sure any of us are in position to criticize his methods.
I'm not saying he's ineffective. I'm saying he's a buttmunch.
   53. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: December 12, 2019 at 03:35 PM (#5908254)
It never rains in Los Angeles of Anaheim, California
That's the second-best classic song about the area, right behind the Doors' "L.A. Woman of Anaheim."
   54. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 12, 2019 at 03:42 PM (#5908259)
I'm sure Fletcher's improvement is real;

I just don't get this certainty. It's like penciling Gio Urshela in as a 3-WAR 3B. Could be, but nowhere near certain.
   55. JAHV Posted: December 12, 2019 at 03:46 PM (#5908262)
That's the second-best classic song about the area, right behind the Doors' "L.A. Woman of Anaheim."


Also up there: Randy Newman's "I Love LA (of Anaheim)" and The Missing Persons' "Walkin' in LA of Anaheim"
   56. JAHV Posted: December 12, 2019 at 04:17 PM (#5908277)
I just don't get this certainty. It's like penciling Gio Urshela in as a 3-WAR 3B. Could be, but nowhere near certain.


Nothing about Fletcher's major league career to this point has been fluky, and it's a continuation of adjustments he made at the minor league level a couple years ago. He's averaging 3.5 WAR over a full season of play, he hasn't been lucky in terms of batted balls, his contact rates and line drive rates are elite, he raised his walk rate last season to league average (and based on his plate disciple that doesn't seem like a blip), his defense has always been good, and he's 25. He profiles in no way similarly to Gio Urshela who is 28, had a BABIP way above career and league norms, has below average plate discipline, and took full advantage of the change in the baseball to boost his power numbers, which is where the vast majority of his value originates.

If I came to you last offseason and said Fletcher will be a 3.5 win starter, your points would be valid. But he's done it at the major league level for a season and a half and the WAY he's done it is completely sustainable.

Nothing is certain from one season to another in baseball. But I'd bet on Fletcher maintaining or improving his production next season before anyone on the Angels not named Mike Trout.
   57. PreservedFish Posted: December 12, 2019 at 04:24 PM (#5908282)
Me, I'm betting on Pujols. Regression to the mean, baby.
   58. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 12, 2019 at 04:25 PM (#5908283)
Nothing about Fletcher's major league career to this point has been fluky, and it's a continuation of adjustments he made at the minor league level a couple years ago. He's averaging 3.5 WAR over a full season of play, he hasn't been lucky in terms of batted balls, his contact rates and line drive rates are elite, he raised his walk rate last season to league average (and based on his plate disciple that doesn't seem like a blip), his defense has always been good, and he's 25. He profiles in no way similarly to Gio Urshela who is 28, had a BABIP way above career and league norms, has below average plate discipline, and took full advantage of the change in the baseball to boost his power numbers, which is where the vast majority of his value originates.

If I came to you last offseason and said Fletcher will be a 3.5 win starter, your points would be valid. But he's done it at the major league level for a season and a half and the WAY he's done it is completely sustainable.

Nothing is certain from one season to another in baseball. But I'd bet on Fletcher maintaining or improving his production next season before anyone on the Angels not named Mike Trout.


I have no faith in any hitter that has effectively no power. It's too easy for pitchers to adjust. A little deterioration in the BB-rate, K-rate, or BABIP and he's a 85 wRC+ player, and I don't ever want a 85 wRC+ hitter in my lineup unless he's an elite defensive SS.

LaStella's peripherals were just as good as Fletcher, with much more power, a lower BABIP, and more hard contact. It makes no sense to me to be dead certain on Fletcher, but sure LaStella's a fluke. Steamer projects them to about equal value, which I buy.
   59. eric Posted: December 12, 2019 at 04:28 PM (#5908285)
And that's why the Angels needed to get Cole, and why they still need pitching. They're at least decent at 7 lineup positions (catcher is death, and 1B is iffy), so one great pitcher could have been a franchise-defining move. They can still improve greatly at SP (which wouldn't be hard), but there won't be any possibility of a top five ace on the roster now.


I agree that getting Cole would have been huge. However, are we sure they sign Rendon if they'd signed Cole? I'd rather have Rendon+Keuchel+MadBum than Cole, for example. Really, I'd rather have any two of those than Cole. And none of them will still be getting paid in 2028. He would have been a great fit, but at the price he went for...easy pass.
   60. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: December 12, 2019 at 05:09 PM (#5908302)
If they had signed Cole, there'd be no chance that they'd sign Rendon. The Angels would have likely just gone with Fletcher, Simmons, Rengifo, and La Stella/Pujols on the infield. As much as I like Fletcher, and as good as his defense was there, he doesn't have anywhere near the power numbers of good 3rd baseman. Rengifo probably hits enough to play 2B, but doesn't play any defense. The ~5 WAR upgrade from Rengifo to Rendon is massive, but it's not as massive as the upgrade would have been from Matt Harvey + Trevor Cahill to Cole. Sure, that contract's a long-term problem, but the Dodgers and Yankees have shown that you can carry massive contracts if your farm system is productive.
   61. alilisd Posted: December 12, 2019 at 05:13 PM (#5908304)
53: golf clap

55: Sorry, but you went too far with Missing Persons. ;-)
   62. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: December 12, 2019 at 05:20 PM (#5908307)
LaStella's peripherals were just as good as Fletcher, with much more power, a lower BABIP, and more hard contact. It makes no sense to me to be dead certain on Fletcher, but sure LaStella's a fluke.
The shape of La Stella's production last year was like nothing he'd ever done before as a professional. You can't point to a total outlier season from a 29-year-old and equate it with that of a 25-year-old who's shown major league skills over his first two seasons. Fletcher's had more big league PAs in his two seasons than La Stella's had over his last five combined, but La Stella more than quadruples his career HR% over less than 300 ABs, and you think that's sustainable? Fletcher's got more of a body of good work than La Stella.
   63. JAHV Posted: December 12, 2019 at 05:25 PM (#5908310)
I have no faith in any hitter that has effectively no power. It's too easy for pitchers to adjust.


Fair enough, but I'll just disagree at this point. Baseball history has shown that there are hitters who can be average without power, and Fletcher hasn't been all that bothered by any adjustments to this point.
   64. Bote Man Posted: December 12, 2019 at 06:24 PM (#5908326)
I don't get all this love for Fletcher all of a sudden. I mean, his best offensive year was 105 OPS+ for Texas in 1986. Do you really want to run him out there every day at this point??? Dude's older than I am!
   65. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: December 12, 2019 at 06:49 PM (#5908328)
What are you talking about? Fletcher had a 115 OPS+ as recently as 2000. As a catcher, no less.
   66. Sunday silence Posted: December 12, 2019 at 07:02 PM (#5908329)
that's why the Angels needed to get Cole, and why they still need pitching. They're at least decent at 7 lineup positions (catcher is death, and 1B is iffy), so one great pitcher could have been a franchise-defining move.


WHy are you so bent on this one position?

If you upgrade a black hole by 5 WAR say, at P or C or 1b. What the hell difference does it make? 5 WAR is 5 WAR, it doesnt have some sort of magical synergism if you upgrade pitching. Or say you upgrade 2 or 3 positions marginally for that same 5 WAR. WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE?

I dont get the obsession here with one position.
   67. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: December 12, 2019 at 07:14 PM (#5908332)
Because the Angels actually have, at the very least, replacement level options for second and third base. They have next to nothing as starting pitcher, not in the majors, not in the minors. That weak rotation exacerbates the problem that is the weak bullpen. I love Anthony Rendon, don't get me wrong, but signing him doesn't address the Angels biggest problem.
   68. eric Posted: December 12, 2019 at 08:43 PM (#5908346)
They have next to nothing as starting pitcher, not in the majors, not in the minors. That weak rotation exacerbates the problem that is the weak bullpen. I love Anthony Rendon, don't get me wrong, but signing him doesn't address the Angels biggest problem.


I agree 100%. However, Cole is only one person. If he goes Max Scherzer over the next five years then he'd be worth that contract. But if he goes David Price...

By solidifying their infield and their offense, the Angels have a very attractive team both offensively and defensively with which to entice pitchers. I think they'll be big players in the pitching FA market. And as you noted, they don't have anything whatsoever, so getting a few bodies is much more important that overpaying for one. And by not overpaying they still have options for the coming couple of free agent classes, when their core is likely to still be quite productive.
   69. Moses Taylor, glorified meat shield Posted: December 12, 2019 at 09:26 PM (#5908352)
But if they can find pitching some other way, Rendon - Simmons - Fletcher - La Stella is a fantastic defensive (and offensive) infield

TLS will absolutely not hit enough to play 1b regularly. He's also 3 feet tall so you don't want him playing defense there and I don't think he's close to a plus defender anywhere.
   70. puck Posted: December 12, 2019 at 09:45 PM (#5908354)
Aren't they paying Rendon just a little less per year than Cole?
   71. eric Posted: December 12, 2019 at 10:18 PM (#5908359)
Aren't they paying Rendon just a little less per year than Cole?


They're obligated $79MM less over the life of the contract than what Cole signed for.
   72. A triple short of the cycle Posted: December 12, 2019 at 10:56 PM (#5908367)
Missing Persons' "Walkin' in LA of Anaheim"

55: Sorry, but you went too far with Missing Persons. ;-)

It is a great song and it is called NOBODY Walks in LA of Anaheim.
   73. Sunday silence Posted: December 12, 2019 at 11:13 PM (#5908370)
Because the Angels actually have, at the very least, replacement level options for second and third base. They have next to nothing as starting pitcher


Well OK sure. If you want to say that Pitching has the biggest hole that can be improved that would be logical argument to me.

BUt the bottom line still comes down to how efficiently you can use your resources. If they were to improve say 2 or 3 positions, for say 5 WAR and at a cost less than Cole then they're winning the war yes?
   74. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: December 13, 2019 at 12:57 AM (#5908378)
But the bottom line still comes down to how efficiently you can use your resources. If they were to improve say 2 or 3 positions, for say 5 WAR and at a cost less than Cole then they're winning the war yes?
Definitely. I just don't think that the remaining starters are going to worth the money they're asking for. Plus, I think the Dodgers are going to work hard to keep Ryu now, and Keuchel seems to be ready for a wicked decline. Of course, either of those guys would be improvements on the existing arms, but I don't think it'll be a substantial enough difference to help the Angels win the division this season, and both will probably decline sooner rather than later.
   75. manchestermets Posted: December 13, 2019 at 10:33 AM (#5908422)
BUt the bottom line still comes down to how efficiently you can use your resources. If they were to improve say 2 or 3 positions, for say 5 WAR and at a cost less than Cole then they're winning the war yes?


I'd agree with it making no difference whether you sign a 5 WAR pitcher or a 5 WAR hitter, but I'd think there's added value to adding those 5 WAR in a single player because it leaves more opportunities across the rest of the roster to improve. I'd accept that the difference is marginal, but I think it's real.
   76. eric Posted: December 13, 2019 at 11:43 AM (#5908474)
I'd think there's added value to adding those 5 WAR in a single player because it leaves more opportunities across the rest of the roster to improve. I'd accept that the difference is marginal, but I think it's real.


I agree 100%. However, the additional consideration is that you have to actually get that five WAR. Concentrating it in a single player also concentrates the risk. If that one player gets injured or becomes ineffective then you go from 5 to 0 just like that. Having, say, two 2.5-WAR (or additional WAR, however you want to count the baseline) players is a less risky, that is, less volatile, position. One could under-perform, but one could over-perform. Both could do either, but that's less likely than just one. So you are more likely to get your 5 (or +5)-WAR performance.

Obviously, you are also less likely to see extreme over-performance, as well, with the WAR gain spread out among multiple players rather than concentrated in one. But I think this concept is why teams like the '98 Yankees and '01 Mariners performed so well. They didn't have a lot of super-duper-mega-stars. They had deep teams with strong players up and down so they weren't SOL if any one or two players went down.
   77. Greg Pope Posted: December 13, 2019 at 11:51 AM (#5908478)
I'd agree with it making no difference whether you sign a 5 WAR pitcher or a 5 WAR hitter, but I'd think there's added value to adding those 5 WAR in a single player because it leaves more opportunities across the rest of the roster to improve. I'd accept that the difference is marginal, but I think it's real.

Signing a 5 WAR pitcher will most likely move a 0 WAR player to the bullpen or AAA. In the case of some teams it will move a negative WAR player. Signing a 5 WAR position player has a greater chance of moving a positive WAR player to the bench. Unless you have the exact need that the guy is replacing.
   78. Walt Davis Posted: December 13, 2019 at 05:25 PM (#5908591)
Having, say, two 2.5-WAR (or additional WAR, however you want to count the baseline) players is a less risky, that is, less volatile, position. One could under-perform, but one could over-perform. Both could do either, but that's less likely than just one. So you are more likely to get your 5 (or +5)-WAR performance.

Actually this isn't clear mathematically and probably trivial whichever way it works out. Skipping over mathematical stuff I'd probably explain badly anyway, we've got two cases where we are adding together two random variables. Since they are random, there is a "standard error" of some sort attached to it such that each estimate can be thought of as having a 95% confidence/credible/prediction interval of (V +/- 2*S_V) where S_V is this error ... so for example 5 WAR +/- 4 WAR. Note we are assuming the interval is symmetric which isn't realistic in this case but I'm just trying to make the case that it's hardly clear which is more stable.

Case #1: Player A has a projection of 5 WAR +/- 2*SA WAR; Player B has a projection of 0 WAR +/- 2*SB WAR
Case #2: Player X and Player Y both have projections of 2.5 WAR +/- 2*S2 WAR

In both cases, the expected outcome is 5 WAR. The variables are likely independent -- i.e. how well Player A does likely has no effect on how well Player B does (and same for X and Y). Under independence, the variance of the sum is the sum of the variances (which are the S values squared) ... to get back to standard units, take the square root of that variance.

This is simplest in case #2 where they have the same standard error of S2. The resulting standard error for the sum is then 1.4*S2 (or square root of 2). For Case #1, the resulting standard error is the square root of (SA^2 + SB^2). For variables like this, the mean and variance are usually related so chances are that SA > S2 > SB

EDIT: Sorry, accidentally hit submit ... still, while we can plug in various numbers to make case #1 much more variable, chances are these two errors are going to come out quite close.

An issue is the projection is not likely symmetrical, especially for player A. A 5-WAR projection is almost certainly more likely to produce, say, 1 WAR than 9 WAR -- i.e. the median (as opposed to mean) projection might be more like 4.5 WAR and the 95% prediction interval might more realistically be something like 1 to 7.5 WAR rather than 1 to 9. The 2.5 WAR projections are probably pretty close to symmetric (say 0 to 4.5 WAR) and the 0 WAR projection is probably perfectly symmetric (-2 to 2 WAR say) except obviously it's unlikely they'll let him get the PT to accumulate -2 WAR. That likely works in favor of the reliability of case #2 but at the loss of the chance for that crazy 9+ WAR season out of Player A.
   79. Walt Davis Posted: December 13, 2019 at 06:02 PM (#5908598)
Adding on, in a slightly different direction, #78 is about a single season. But of course Rendon will be around for a while (albeit in decline). Even if you currently have two replacement-level positions of which Rendon fills one, the longer-term projection for that second replacement-level position is to be league average, not replacement-level. One implication of that is that those two 2.5 WAR players you signed, assuming you signed them for a few years each, are taking the place of (over the longer-term) two 2.2-WAR players, barely an improvement at all. Or, more realistically, assuming the only other available options for year 1 are replacement-level, they provide a big boost in year 1 but the projected production of those positions after year 1 is to be average and, since these 2.5 WAR guys are presumably declining with age, they aren't adding anything or might even be hurting a small bit in years 2 and 3. So Rendon alone keeps you even in year 1 then as position #2 moves to average, Rendon gives you a big boost.

In a standard $/WAR sense, that extra boost from Rendon probably isn't worth it at $35 per year (and years 6 and 7 probably really not worth it) but if his extra wins push the Angels over the line a time or two, that will be huge.
   80. Sunday silence Posted: December 13, 2019 at 07:08 PM (#5908606)

I'd agree with it making no difference whether you sign a 5 WAR pitcher or a 5 WAR hitter, but I'd think there's added value to adding those 5 WAR in a single player because it leaves more opportunities across the rest of the roster to improve


It may be even better w/ pitchers. If say a 5 WAR pitcher can reduce the workload of the bullpen that might improve a few guys in the bullpen a little bit. I dont know if anyone's ever studied that..
   81. alilisd Posted: December 13, 2019 at 07:20 PM (#5908608)
It is a great song and it is called NOBODY Walks in LA of Anaheim.


Fair enough!

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