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Wednesday, August 07, 2019

Bryce Harper changes batting stance

In an effort to boost his offense, Phillies outfielder Bryce Harper changed his batting stance in his first at-bat Monday night in Arizona against the Diamondbacks.

In his first-inning at-bat on Sunday, Harper’s bat was just above his left shoulder.

What, no efforts to emulate John B. Wockenfuss?

 

QLE Posted: August 07, 2019 at 03:52 AM | 99 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: batting stance, bryce harper

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   1. The Duke Posted: August 07, 2019 at 08:36 AM (#5869020)
It’s going to be a long 3 year contract for the Phillies......oh, you say it’s 13 years. My oh my.
   2. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: August 07, 2019 at 11:13 AM (#5869068)
The Nats** didn't dodge a bullet, they dodged a bazooka.

** And the Yankees, thank God
   3. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 07, 2019 at 11:20 AM (#5869074)
I wonder if the people (looking at you, Fangraphs) who were banging the drum of "Bryce Harper is a Generational Talent and baseball is broken if he doesn't get all of the money" are ever going to admit that they were driven more by ideology than the facts of Harper's performance.
   4. SoSH U at work Posted: August 07, 2019 at 11:23 AM (#5869081)
I wonder if the people (looking at you, Fangraphs) who were banging the drum of "Bryce Harper is a Generational Talent and baseball is broken if he doesn't get all of the money" are ever going to admit that they were driven more by ideology than the facts of Harper's performance.


Hey, it wasn't just there. Snapper is still willing to sign him to an eleventy kajillion dollar deal.
   5. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 07, 2019 at 11:31 AM (#5869084)
Hey, it wasn't just there. Snapper is still willing to sign him to an eleventy kajillion dollar deal.

The list of guys who put up a season like Harper's MVP year before age 25 is basically all generational talents. As the Yankees the upside that he would recapture his MVP form was worth the downside that he's only a 3 win player.

You do realize that's basically what he's paid as? His contract is long, but the AAV is reasonable.
   6. SoSH U at work Posted: August 07, 2019 at 11:33 AM (#5869085)
Sure, as the Yankees the upside that he would recapture his MVP form was worth the downside that he's only a 3 win player.


That he might scrape 3 wins in his Age 26 season is not the downside.
   7. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 07, 2019 at 11:34 AM (#5869086)
You do realize that's basically what he's paid as?
Yeah, if you measure his $/WAR only against the grossly inflated numbers from past free-agent contracts.

EDIT: And what SoSH said.
   8. send the 57i66135 over with flamethrowers Posted: August 07, 2019 at 11:38 AM (#5869088)
I wonder if the people (looking at you, Fangraphs) who were banging the drum of "Bryce Harper is a Generational Talent and baseball is broken if he doesn't get all of the money" are ever going to admit that they were driven more by ideology than the facts of Harper's performance.

the problem isn't harper; the problem is the phillies.

   9. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: August 07, 2019 at 11:38 AM (#5869089)
the facts of Harper's performance

He's 26 and a career 136 OPS+ hitter. His terrible season last year was because his defense suddenly nose-dived. Early returns on 2019 strongly suggest that defensive performance an aberration and he's back to being average in the field.

Last year he hit slightly below that career average and posted 4.2 oWAR. If he hit like that again this year he would be on his way to a 4.0 WAR season.

I don't believe this offensive season was foreseeable from his past performance. His K rate is up where it was last year but his walk and home run rates tanked.
   10. Nasty Nate Posted: August 07, 2019 at 11:38 AM (#5869091)
Reaching a verdict on a contract after only the first 5% of it has elapsed? Does everyone have amnesia?
   11. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 07, 2019 at 11:41 AM (#5869093)
Yeah, if you measure his $/WAR only against the grossly inflated numbers from past free-agent contracts.

That's what you measure FA contracts against.

That he might scrape 3 wins in his Age 26 season is not the downside.

Yeah, he's not in long-term decline at 26.
   12. SoSH U at work Posted: August 07, 2019 at 11:42 AM (#5869094)
He's 26 and a career 136 OPS+ hitter. His terrible season last year was because his defense suddenly nose-dived.


And his career OPS+ is 136 primarily because of one outlier season.

Reaching a verdict on a contract after only the first 5% of it has elapsed? Does everyone have amnesia?


This is the part of the deal where the Phils are supposed to be extracting the excess value.
   13. Rally Posted: August 07, 2019 at 11:44 AM (#5869096)
The list of guys who put up a season like Harper's MVP year before age 25 is basically all generational talents. As the Yankees the upside that he would recapture his MVP form was worth the downside that he's only a 3 win player.


Also have to wonder if Harper's season would look a little different if the same staff that has worked wonders for Mike Tauchman and Gio Urshela was working with Harper.
   14. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 07, 2019 at 11:46 AM (#5869098)
Also have to wonder if Harper's season would look a little different if the same staff that has worked wonders for Mike Tauchman and Gio Urshela was working with Harper.

The Phillies do have more than their fair share of hitters grossly under-performing expectations the last few years.
   15. SoSH U at work Posted: August 07, 2019 at 11:48 AM (#5869101)
Also have to wonder if Harper's season would look a little different if the same staff that has worked wonders for Mike Tauchman and Gio Urshela was working with Harper.


Now that I can buy. Sons a #######.
   16. Nasty Nate Posted: August 07, 2019 at 11:49 AM (#5869103)
Reaching a verdict on a contract after only the first 5% of it has elapsed? Does everyone have amnesia?
This is the part of the deal where the Phils are supposed to be extracting the excess value.
5% dude.
   17. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 07, 2019 at 11:50 AM (#5869104)
That's what you measure FA contracts against.
If you want to cherry-pick an overly simplistic measure to put a free-agent contract in the best light, sure, that's what you do.
   18. Rally Posted: August 07, 2019 at 11:53 AM (#5869106)
Also have to wonder if Harper's season would look a little different if the same staff that has worked wonders for Mike Tauchman and Gio Urshela was working with Harper.


I said that before I looked at the Yankee stats. Those 2 are unknowns, older than prospect age, putting up good numbers. Even weirder is Cameron Maybin. He's not an unknown, we know the guy can't hit. And he's got a .900 OPS for the Yankees. As for ballpark, Yankees are doing even more damage on the road this year.

If the season ended today, the wild cards would be Washington and Philadelphia. Game would be played in DC. That would be cool.
   19. SoSH U at work Posted: August 07, 2019 at 11:56 AM (#5869110)
5% dude.


I thought it was crazy deal when it was signed, and said so. Should I change my mind now that I'm 5 percent closer to being right?

   20. rconn23 Posted: August 07, 2019 at 11:57 AM (#5869111)
I'm not even remotely close to calling Harper's contract a bad one, but I feel pretty comfortable saying Machado's will work out better for the Padres. Petco has taken a bite out of his power, but he's been pretty excellent. And his defense has continued to be stellar. It's going to be fun watch him at Tatis Jr. the next several years.
   21. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: August 07, 2019 at 12:00 PM (#5869112)
I wonder if the people (looking at you, Fangraphs) who were banging the drum of "Bryce Harper is a Generational Talent and baseball is broken if he doesn't get all of the money" are ever going to admit that they were driven more by ideology than the facts of Harper's performance.


Can you link to some of the examples of this drum once in a while? I do not remember this at all, amid the much larger number of people alarmed by how there were like fifty other mid-level players who were established MLB producers but still free agents as of mid-March because teams thought they could get 70% of the production from young players making 20% the salary.
   22. Nasty Nate Posted: August 07, 2019 at 12:01 PM (#5869113)
I thought it was crazy deal when it was signed, and said so. Should I change my mind now that I'm 5 percent closer to being right?
No of course not. And I wasn't referring to you in my original post.
   23. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: August 07, 2019 at 12:02 PM (#5869114)
And his career OPS+ is 136 primarily because of one outlier season.

Primarily? Come on, that's 14.6% of his PAs. Coming into this year he has four seasons with OPS+ above 130 and three seasons below:

198
156
134
133
118
114
111

His ZiPS projection (and all the other Fangraphs-listed projections) was for him to hit BETTER than his career norms.
   24. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: August 07, 2019 at 12:05 PM (#5869116)
Like stiggles I am surprisingly unalarmed by Bryce Harper's performance this year because every hitter on the Phillies plays worse for the Phillies than he did for his previous team, and every hitter who leaves the Phillies plays better for his next team. Also, every Phillies prospect turns out to be unable to hit (except Rhys Hoskins). It's a short-term problem! We just need to replace the whole coaching staff!

Also, his bad defensive stats last year have been replaced by good defensive stats. Has anyone written about this? I am just saying "stats" because I know nothing about it.
   25. SoSH U at work Posted: August 07, 2019 at 12:07 PM (#5869118)
Primarily? Come on, that's 14.6% of his PAs. Coming into this year he has four seasons with OPS+ above 130 and three seasons below:


He's had two of seven seasons above his career number, one of which was in just 111 games. That 198 is doing a lot of heavy lifting, regardless the percentage of his PAs it totals.

We just need to replace the whole coaching staff!


Or trade him.
   26. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: August 07, 2019 at 12:13 PM (#5869121)

He's had two of seven seasons above his career number, one of which was in just 111 games. That 198 is doing a lot of heavy lifting, regardless the percentage of his PAs it totals.


If his best season had been somewhat worse would you think more highly of him?
   27. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: August 07, 2019 at 12:14 PM (#5869124)
If his best season was 30 points worse and his three worst seasons were 10 points higher I would think more highly of him.
   28. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: August 07, 2019 at 12:18 PM (#5869128)
If his best season was 30 points worse and his three worst seasons were 10 points higher I would think more highly of him.

Well, so would I. But if we throw out his 198 entirely then he's more like a... 127 I guess? But if we knock it down to equal his second best season he's more like a 132 coming into this year. Anyhow, I don't see either career number presaging this failure at the plate at this age. I thought the risk with Harper was his defense had tanked. Thus far the Phillies seem to have guessed correctly there.
   29. SoSH U at work Posted: August 07, 2019 at 12:23 PM (#5869130)
Well, so would I. But if we throw out his 198 entirely then he's more like a... 127 I guess? But if we knock it down to equal his second best season he's more like a 132 coming into this year. Anyhow, I don't see either career number presaging this failure at the plate at this age. I thought the risk with Harper was his defense had tanked. Thus far the Phillies seem to have guessed correctly there.


I think the risk with Harper is he's not a great player, however you get there.
   30. My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: August 07, 2019 at 12:27 PM (#5869134)
His OPS+ since that season is 129, and is OBP-heavy. I doubt he'll be worth anything near his contract, but he's a good offensive player.
   31. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: August 07, 2019 at 12:29 PM (#5869136)
I think the risk with Harper is he's not a great player, however you get there.

I think the contract can be fine even if he does not have a HOF career.

There's risk of any FA going Jason Heyward at the plate and downward spiraling during what should be his prime. I didn't see any (particular) risk of that with Harper. I did see a risk that his defense would swallow his value at the plate which has not happened.
   32. Tom Nawrocki Posted: August 07, 2019 at 12:38 PM (#5869144)
Even in the midst of a season a lot of people consider a disaster, Harper is still the sixth-best rightfielder in the league, slightly behind Jason Heyward. This is why you sign great players, as opposed to average ones. Even when he has a bad year, you still want him in the lineup.

   33. SoSH U at work Posted: August 07, 2019 at 12:41 PM (#5869149)
Even in the midst of a season a lot of people consider a disaster,


Why would people consider this season a disaster? He's been more valuable this year than 2 of his previous 3.

   34. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: August 07, 2019 at 12:52 PM (#5869153)
I don't believe this offensive season was foreseeable from his past performance. His K rate is up where it was last year but his walk and home run rates tanked.

There were definitely concerns about his K rate, which had been creeping up in recent years. He's gone from 19% to 20% to 24% in the last three seasons, and is now at 26%. He's okay with walks. It's the Ks and the decrease in homeruns (despite moving to CBP) which are cause for concern. This also isn't a case where his slash line is depressed by a fluky BABIP (.316, which is just about his career average).

Harper's season has been saved to some degree by hitting really well with RISP. He's got a 1091 OPS with RISP compared to 630 with the bases empty. He's also been better in high leverage spots. He should get to 100 RBIs this year, which he's actually done only once before (last year).
   35. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 07, 2019 at 01:00 PM (#5869160)
There were definitely concerns about his K rate, which had been creeping up in recent years. He's gone from 19% to 20% to 24% in the last three seasons, and is now at 26%.

Wouldn't we expect that, given the league-wide trend?
   36. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: August 07, 2019 at 01:24 PM (#5869175)
Wouldn't we expect that, given the league-wide trend?

It's increased for sure, but it hasn't gone up that much. In 2016 the NL K rate was 21.5%, and Harper was at 18.7%. He's now at 26.4% against a league average of 22.8%.

Meanwhile, the NL HR rate has gone up from 2.9% in 2016 to 3.5% this year. Harper is at 3.8% this year and was the same in 2016, but in between he was at 5.9% and 4.9%. I think the power will come back, but if I were the Phillies I'd be more worried about the strikeouts.
   37. The Duke Posted: August 07, 2019 at 01:49 PM (#5869187)
32. Maybe it’s me but using Jason heyward as the example on why you should throw 200 million at someone doesn’t seem like a compelling argument
   38. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: August 07, 2019 at 02:50 PM (#5869232)
Or trade him.

Not easy when he has $300 million left on his contract and a full NTC.

I don't believe this offensive season was foreseeable from his past performance. His K rate is up where it was last year but his walk and home run rates tanked.

Whenever you sign a guy with a career 139 OPS+, the possibility that he might decline to 120 or something like that (I see he's actually a bit worse this season) isn't what you'd predict, but it's certainly one of the possible outcomes. Especially when his K rate has been moving in the direction that noted in #34. They gave him a $330 million contract, a number of us saw that this was a risk.

For his deal to be worth it, even if you assume something like an $8M/WAR price, he basically needed to be a 5-WAR player this season, improve for a year or two, and then have a normal decline phase. There was very little, if any, cushion built in. So the Phillies are already in the hole, so to speak, even if this year was just the result of random variation and he's still a true talent 5-WAR player.
   39. DanG Posted: August 07, 2019 at 03:29 PM (#5869260)
Posted this in the wrong thread.

Similar corner OF to Bryce Harper at ages 23-26, past hundred years:

Player          WAROPS+   PA From   To
Leon Durham     10.5  137 1921 1981 1984
Don Baylor      10.3  126 1969 1972 1975
Ken Singleton   10.3  127 1877 1970 1973
Michael Conforto 9.7  125 1873 2016 2019
Adam Dunn        9.6  130 2504 2003 2006
Frank Howard     9.6  131 1776 1960 1963
Danny Litwhiler  9.4  122 1843 1940 1943
Austin McHenry   9.4  126 1831 1919 1922
'Bryce Harper    9.2  129 2311 2016 2019'
Willie Stargell  9.2  134 1902 1963 1966
Albert Belle     9.1  133 1865 1990 1993 

Perhaps the ideal outcome for the Phillies is if Harper takes after Austin McHenry.
   40. Rally Posted: August 07, 2019 at 03:43 PM (#5869267)
All this talk of bad contracts makes me think of Albert Pujols, but at least there's good news on that front. After years of decline, Albert is improving!

OPS+ for last 3 years: 80, 90, 93

If he keeps that up he'll be back to above average hitting in 2021, the final year of his contract. So Trout can win the MVP, Ohtani wins 20, strikes out 250, and hits 30 homers, Albert hits 265/320/460 or something like that, and Trout finally gets his second shot at the postseason.

I can see it now. Arte will be so happy he'll offer Pujols another 5 years and 125 million to keep him from retiring.
   41. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: August 07, 2019 at 04:21 PM (#5869284)
Mets better sign Michael Conforto to a $200 million bargain contract before his agent sees that table.
   42. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: August 07, 2019 at 05:10 PM (#5869296)
He's had two of seven seasons above his career number, one of which was in just 111 games.


Or, if you say it like a normal person, he's had two seasons that were significantly above his career average, three seasons that were significantly below it, and two that were within three points of it.
   43. SoSH U at work Posted: August 07, 2019 at 05:31 PM (#5869302)
Or, if you say it like a normal person, he's had two seasons that were significantly above his career average, three seasons that were significantly below it, and two that were within three points of it.


That would be a much worse way of saying that the full-season OPS+ of 198 was doing a lot of heavy lifting on his career average. Your way doesn't really tell you anything.

   44. Sunday silence Posted: August 07, 2019 at 05:34 PM (#5869305)
Last year when we discussed his defense, one of the main theories was that he was sort of dogging it or saving himself in order to cash in. Which is kind of weird when you think about it, cause that's not what most players do in the last year of a contract. They tend to go all out.

Would it might be a better theory: that he was playing through some sort of injury or ailment in order to get a full season in and then cash out? Does that seem a more reasonable explanation of what happened there? Cause he looked bad in the field, he didnt dive for anything and he was tentative going back and running forward. Just not good all around. Taking himself out of the lineup would have been disasterous for his free agency, hence...
   45. Sunday silence Posted: August 07, 2019 at 05:36 PM (#5869306)
That would be a much worse way of saying that the full-season OPS+ of 198 was doing a lot of heavy lifting on his career average. Your way doesn't really tell you anything.


I just dont get the whole concept of "heavy lifting" here. Its an average right? so every data point is equally valued. At least if you're talking career numbers.
   46. SoSH U at work Posted: August 07, 2019 at 05:41 PM (#5869307)
I just dont get the whole concept of "heavy lifting" here. Its an average right? so every data point is equally valued. At least if you're talking career numbers.


I don't understand the confusion. Bryce Harper didn't reach a career OPS+ of 136 because of Adam Dunn-like consistency. He got there with some solid seasons around that figure, one excellent season in limited playing time, some lesser seasons and one absolutely spectacular season.

Davey Johnson averaged 15 homers a season. His 1973 was a big reason it was that high.

   47. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: August 07, 2019 at 05:42 PM (#5869309)
I just dont get the whole concept of "heavy lifting" here.


(It's an attempt at special pleading - the really good season shouldn't "count" because it contributes to the numbers that make people think Harper is better than SoSH thinks that he is.)
   48. PreservedFish Posted: August 07, 2019 at 05:45 PM (#5869311)

I don't understand the confusion. Bryce Harper didn't reach a career OPS+ of 136 because of Adam Dunn-like consistency. He got there with some solid seasons around that figure, one excellent season in limited playing time, some lesser seasons and one absolutely spectacular season.


But so what? Does that make him less likely to put up a 136 OPS+ in the future? If so, how much less likely?
   49. SoSH U at work Posted: August 07, 2019 at 06:15 PM (#5869319)
(It's an attempt at special pleading - the really good season shouldn't "count" because it contributes to the numbers that make people think Harper is better than SoSH thinks that he is.)


I've said nothing of the kind.


But so what? Does that make him less likely to put up a 136 OPS+ in the future? If so, how much less likely?


I don't know. I wasn't making a value judgment, just an observation. I haven't said it doesn't count.

Essentially, Pops said his WAR last year was dragged down by an outlier defensive season. I noted that his career OPS is being pulled up by an outlier offensive season. How that affects his projection I couldn't tell you, other than the fact that the more years he puts between it and now will obviously lower its worth.
   50. Sunday silence Posted: August 07, 2019 at 06:20 PM (#5869323)

I don't understand the confusion.


OK here's the confusion: the term "heavy lifting' is usually referencing someone spouting off some statistic or some anecdote to support some position, and the argument heavily relies on such statistic or anecdote. Look at the following statements:

1. Big Papi is a certain first ballot HoF because he was a pretty good hitter and starred in 3 WS.

...His world series heroics is doing a lot of heavy lifting.

2. Phil Niekro was one of the greatest pitchers ever w/ 318 wins in the modern era and 3342 KOs.

..well whether you strike people our or they fly out its still an out; using KOs to justify this is doing a lot of HEAVY LIFTING.

3. Nolan Ryan was the greatest pitcher no one has 324 modern wins and 7 no hitters.

.. those no hitters are doing a lot of HEAVY LIFTING>

Right. Do you understand now? How can one single season of OPS+ do any more heavy lifting than any other single season OPS+ when talking about career OPS+? ITs an average they're all weighted pretty much the same (assuming similar total AB). How is that 193 any more relevant than his 118?
   51. Captain Supporter Posted: August 07, 2019 at 06:43 PM (#5869328)
The Nats** didn't dodge a bullet, they dodged a bazooka.

** And the Yankees, thank God


The Yankees did not dodge a bullet. They never even considered signing Harper. It was Yankee fans on sites like Pinstripe Alley that were absolutely incensed that Hal Steinbrenner would not spend the money to get the 'generational talent.' But the Yankees have made it very clear that they are now focused on making numerous incremental improvements to both improve their team and maintain roster flexibility rather than giving very long term contracts to players they don't really need. To me, its the best thing that could have happened.

The Phillies made a bad mistake and it will probably hurt their team now, and will certainly hurt it mightily in years to come. Harper may (or may not) have several decent years left, but that money could have been better used to improve other areas of the team. And the 7 or 8 years of that contract have disaster written all over them.
   52. SoSH U at work Posted: August 07, 2019 at 06:57 PM (#5869332)
ITs an average they're all weighted pretty much the same (assuming similar total AB). How is that 193 any more relevant than his 118?


The same way it works for Davey Johnson's HR average.

They're both equally relevant to his total. But the outlier season is going to do more to pull the average up or down.

For math simplicity, let's assume that Bryce Harper's OPS is just the full average of his eight seasons - 135.

If you remove the 118 OPS+ from that set, Bryce Harper's career OPS+ increases by 2 points.

On the other hand, if you remove the 198, his career OPS+ decreases by 10 points.

That's what I mean by heavy lifting.

And, just to stave off any comments, I'm not advocating removing his 198 OPS+ or pretending it doesn't count. Just noting the effect that any outlier season (especially in his case, since it was also one of his few full seasons, so the effect would be greater) can move the average.
   53. Tim M Posted: August 07, 2019 at 07:17 PM (#5869335)
I don't like OPS+, because it undervalues the O, and overvalues the S. The most accurate weights are 1.6*OBP + SLG or something. And I like O guys better than S guys anyway. Please adjust.
   54. Baldrick Posted: August 07, 2019 at 07:40 PM (#5869341)
Please show me evidence that players with good outlier seasons are less likely to match their career numbers than players with equivalent averages which are more evenly distributed.

If you can, great. I will be excited to read it. If you can't, then this is a bunch of hot air and no one should pay it any attention.
   55. SoSH U at work Posted: August 07, 2019 at 08:19 PM (#5869344)
Please show me evidence that players with good outlier seasons are less likely to match their career numbers than players with equivalent averages which are more evenly distributed.

If you can, great. I will be excited to read it.


I would be too. But I didn't suggest or say such a thing, and in fact noted just the opposite a few posts back, so I don't think I'm the best source of that information.

   56. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: August 07, 2019 at 08:25 PM (#5869346)
That use of "heavy lifting" is appropriate both mathematically and linguistically. The shape of a distribution adds interesting and relevant information, including the obvious effect of increasing the yearly standard deviation. It may provide very little in the way of foreceasting the value of a 13-year contract--I really don't know, but I would also be interested to know if it does.
   57. rconn23 Posted: August 07, 2019 at 08:31 PM (#5869348)
"But the Yankees have made it very clear that they are now focused on making numerous incremental improvements to both improve their team and maintain roster flexibility rather than giving very long term contracts to players they don't really need. To me, its the best thing that could have happened."

This is not a stance the Yankees should always take when it comes to long-term deals. They should be in on any elite player that ever comes available under the age of 30.

For instance, they should go after Gerrit Cole with all their might in the offseason. He fits an obvious need and it will take a long-term contract. I think they should have been clear players for Machado. Obviously, DJ has had a year that I'm sure not even the front office thought he would have in their wildest dreams.
   58. Walt Davis Posted: August 07, 2019 at 09:52 PM (#5869385)
On "outlier" seasons ...

1. I tend towards putting less weight on them (i.e. they are doing heavy lifting) ... though that depends on how stable the player has been in other seasons, how big the outlier is, etc.

2. Years ago, Tango looked at "outlier" seasons (it might have just been HR outliers but I think it was wider than that) and found that players usually retained a good bit of that change (not really relevant to Harper).

3. Years ago, MGL did basic work around "trends" and found that it didn't matter how a player got to a projected OPS of X, he would still (on average) produce X. That is, if you project to a 130 OPS+, you'll hit 130 OPS+ whether your OPS+ has trended up or down the last few years.

4. But key to all of that is that projections already include a strong time/trend component (e.g Marcel gives a .5/.3/.2 weighting to the last 3 seasons) ... so Harper projected better for 2016 (159 OPS+) than 2018 (152) despite having a slightly higher average OPS+ for 2015-17 than 2013-15 (just 2 points). (That's the "heavy lifting.") At this point, Marcel would ignore the 198 entirely. The fancier projection systems I think all give at least some weight to the 4th year back, maybe even the 5th but it is starting to not matter at all for projection purposes (i.e. no more lifting at all). They would also weight by playing time which Marcel doesn't. Still, as luck would have it, a simple Marcel projection for this year put him at 136, exactly where his career average currently is (139 if we go back to pre-2019). If his season were to end today, his Marcel for next year would be 128.

None of that quite answers the question but you can piece it together into a reasonable approximation -- (1) it all counts; (2) but it needs to be weighted properly meaning it counts less over time; (3) but there's no real evidence of substantial "heavy lifting" (i.e. over-projecting) if properly weighted. I'll add the caveat: but I doubt we have a sufficient number of extreme cases to rule out some small but important residual effect.

FWIW, coming into 1973, Marcel would have projected Johnson to about 10 HR; about 27 for 1974. Then he went to Japan and all bets are off. Campaneris is probably a cleaner example -- 9 HR total the previous 3 years then he hit his 22. The Marcel for 1971 would have been 12 (hit just 5); the projection for 72 would have been 9 and he hit 8; the projection for 73 would have been 10, hit 4. So that's some pretty heavy lifting. Coming into 96, Brady Anderson would have been projected for 14; the next year 32 (18); the next year 27 (18); the next year 24 (24); the next year 21 (19). Add in an aging effect for Brady and you can cut each of the projections by 5-10% which wouldn't make much difference. So, based on those three examples, there is evidence for "heavy lifting" of outliers when it comes to HR projections. (Note, I don't know if Marcel was ever intended for HR projections.)
   59. Baldrick Posted: August 08, 2019 at 01:48 AM (#5869419)
I would be too. But I didn't suggest or say such a thing, and in fact noted just the opposite a few posts back, so I don't think I'm the best source of that information.

Wait, what? Then...what is the point of anything you're saying? Who cares if it was an outlier season?
   60. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: August 08, 2019 at 08:30 AM (#5869449)
The list of guys who put up a season like Harper's MVP year before age 25 is basically all generational talents. As the Yankees the upside that he would recapture his MVP form was worth the downside that he's only a 3 win player.

Harper's WAR in 112 games: 1.8

Combined WAR of Mike Tauchman and Cameron Maybin in 110 games: 2.7

Their combined salaries: $1.148 million.
   61. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: August 08, 2019 at 09:03 AM (#5869459)
The Nats** didn't dodge a bullet, they dodged a bazooka.

** And the Yankees, thank God


The Yankees did not dodge a bullet. They never even considered signing Harper.


I realize that, and I admit the implication was a bit misleading. I should've added that Harper was never really under their consideration. Thank God.
   62. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 08, 2019 at 09:07 AM (#5869460)
Harper's WAR in 112 games: 1.8

Combined WAR of Mike Tauchman and Cameron Maybin in 110 games: 2.7


And Ketel Marte has more WAR than Judge and Torres combined.
   63. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: August 08, 2019 at 10:10 AM (#5869478)
Not sure what a Diamondbacks SS has to do with either Bryce Harper or any current Yankee, unless the Yankees are paying Marte's salary.
   64. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 08, 2019 at 10:57 AM (#5869495)
Not sure what a Diamondbacks SS has to do with either Bryce Harper or any current Yankee, unless the Yankees are paying Marte's salary.

I'm saying random #### happens in baseball all the time. No one saw Marte coming, and no one saw this performance coming from Tauchman or Maybin. The Diamondbacks and Yankees both got super lucky, nothing more than that.
   65. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: August 08, 2019 at 12:39 PM (#5869554)
Maybe so, but the Yankees sure seem to have had quite a number of "lucky" performances from previously unheralded players. Maybe give their scouts and analysts a bit of credit for seeing what others didn't.

As for Harper, his struggling was entirely predictable to anyone not wearing blinders. He's got holes in the strike zone that you could drive a truck through, and he compounds the problem by chasing pitches that aren't even in it. He's obviously still a semi-star player, but that contract would've been a giant albatross around the Yankees' neck.
   66. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 08, 2019 at 12:42 PM (#5869557)
He's obviously still a semi-star player, but that contract would've been a giant albatross around the Yankees' neck.

Much better than Stanton's. Where were the vaunted scouts and analysts there?

And why does every pitcher they acquire get worse?
   67. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: August 08, 2019 at 02:49 PM (#5869601)
He's obviously still a semi-star player, but that contract would've been a giant albatross around the Yankees' neck.

Much better than Stanton's. Where were the vaunted scouts and analysts there?


I see you're now equating injuries to subpar playing performance. Keep up the good work.

And why does every pitcher they acquire get worse?

Bad as they've been, they're still 6th in AL team ERA.

   68. billyshears Posted: August 08, 2019 at 03:21 PM (#5869612)
I think the issue is that Harper is at the confluence of a couple potentially disturbing data points. For one, from what I recall, players that debut at a particularly young age tend to peak earlier (some of this is the A-Rod effect that if you're historically great at 22, it's hard to be that much historically greater by 27). Also, and obviously, players who are merely good to very good hitters at their peak and have little defensive value tend not to be productive major leaguers for another 12 seasons. No matter how good Harper actually is right now, I think there's real risk that this is as good as he ever will be, and that the decline isn't far off.
   69. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 08, 2019 at 03:44 PM (#5869615)
I see you're now equating injuries to subpar playing performance. Keep up the good work.

What's the difference? Harper's sup-par performance is likely influenced by injury. And it's not like Stanton's injury issues were unknown before they acquired him.

It just seems like Yankee fans react to every success with "Cashman et al are brilliant" and every failure with "They just got unlucky".

As much as the team should get get credit for having the depth to withstand injuries (caveated with the good luck involved in some of the fill-ins performance), they should be blamed for not being able to keep anyone on the damn field.

If this wan't the Yankees, we'd be "LOL-Yankees" all over their medical and training staff. Why do they get a pass on that?
   70. RoyalFlush Posted: August 08, 2019 at 03:45 PM (#5869617)
I'm saying random #### happens in baseball all the time. No one saw Marte coming, and no one saw this performance coming from Tauchman or Maybin. The Diamondbacks and Yankees both got super lucky, nothing more than that.


A few out there (Jeff Sullivan, Michael McDermott) had been pimping Marte as a breakout hitter based on some advanced stats (largely exit velo and "barrels", if memory serves). I grabbed him in my two fantasy leagues based on that, and he's been killing it. So.. maybe a few people saw that coming and it's not just "super luck".



   71. Do Not Touch Fancy Pants Socially Distanced Handle Posted: August 08, 2019 at 03:47 PM (#5869619)
Much better than Stanton's. Where were the vaunted scouts and analysts there?

FWIW, as a Red Sox fan, when the Marlin's were shopping him, I said I would not want to take his contract straight up for free. Much less throw in any prospects.

And why does every pitcher they acquire get worse?

Same reason all the hitters suddenly get better. NYS park factors are completely wack right now. So all the stats are categorically overvaluing hitters and undervaluing pitchers. Been banging that drum for months now.
   72. Do Not Touch Fancy Pants Socially Distanced Handle Posted: August 08, 2019 at 03:48 PM (#5869620)
Much better than Stanton's. Where were the vaunted scouts and analysts there?

I see you're now equating injuries to subpar playing performance. Keep up the good work.

Stanton missed 40+ games four out of six seasons before the trade. At some point, you have to bake injury risk into the expected outcomes.
   73. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 08, 2019 at 04:06 PM (#5869625)

Same reason all the hitters suddenly get better. NYS park factors are completely wack right now. So all the stats are categorically overvaluing hitters and undervaluing pitchers. Been banging that drum for months now.


That can't be it. The over/under-performance exists in the raw stats. LeMahieu and Urshela have .900+ OPSs, park factor has no impact there. Paxton has an ERA over 4.40, Happ of 5.24.

Unless you're hypothesizing that Yankee Stadium is playing like Coors field (and the Yankees and their opponents have scored much higher on the road), it can't be the park factors.
   74. Nasty Nate Posted: August 08, 2019 at 04:18 PM (#5869632)
and the Yankees and their opponents have scored much higher on the road
Yeah the Yankees are slugging .500 on the road.
   75. Do Not Touch Fancy Pants Socially Distanced Handle Posted: August 08, 2019 at 05:47 PM (#5869659)
That can't be it. The over/under-performance exists in the raw stats. LeMahieu and Urshela have .900+ OPSs, park factor has no impact there. Paxton has an ERA over 4.40, Happ of 5.24.

Erm, if you have a park that massively favours batters, it inflates raw totals, and makes your OPSs, and your ERAs higher. That's why you need park adjusted factors to account for them.

and the Yankees and their opponents have scored much higher on the road
Yeah the Yankees are slugging .500 on the road.

That's why the park factor is a joke right now. It is based on a completely unsustainable road record (which includes a couple of super high offense London games).

Here are the past 4 seasons worth of Yankee Home/Road performances. NYS played as a huge hitters park 2016-2018. This year, OPS and ERA are in line with past seasons (ERA is slightly low). But the road numbers are just unsustainably crazy. Crediting NYS as a pitcher favourable park makes zero sense. You are not convincing me that Yankee hitters suddenly OPSing 100 points higher on the road than any previous season, and suddenly allowing almost 2 runs a game more on the road than previous seasons, has any material effect on how much of a hitters park NYS is.
OPS   YH   YA  + / -  LH   LA  + / -  Diff
2016 .752 .689 
+.063 .752 .726 +.026 +.037
2017 .817 .755 
+.062 .769 .732 +.037 +.025
2018 .819 .744 
+.075 .738 .718 +.020 +.055
2019 .806 .857 
-.051 .765 .747 +.018 -.069 


ERA   YH   YA  + / -  LH   LA  + / -  Diff
2016 3.97 4.37 
-0.40 4.02 4.37 -0.35 -0.05
2017 3.54 3.69 
-0.15 4.13 4.60 -0.47 +0.32
2018 3.93 3.62 
+0.31 3.98 4.33 -0.35 +0.66
2019 3.35 5.46 
-2.11 4.40 4.59 -0.19 -1.92 
   76. Zach Posted: August 08, 2019 at 08:07 PM (#5869697)
I thought the risk with Harper was his defense had tanked.

When you're signing people to 13 year contracts, offensive tanking is much worse than defensive tanking.

It's much easier to stay in the lineup with good hitting and no defense than ok defense and bad hitting. And defense declines with age anyhow.
   77. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 08, 2019 at 08:16 PM (#5869701)
Erm, if you have a park that massively favours batters, it inflates raw totals, and makes your OPSs, and your ERAs higher. That's why you need park adjusted factors to account for them.

Based on your own numbers, you're talking maybe 30 points of OPS. The Yankees backups are exceeding expectations by 200 pts. That's not park. Hell, LeMahieu was coming from Coors.
   78. Rally Posted: August 09, 2019 at 07:56 AM (#5869761)
Based on your own numbers, you're talking maybe 30 points of OPS. The Yankees backups are exceeding expectations by 200 pts. That's not park. Hell, LeMahieu was coming from Coors.


To be honest, I find this kind of dominance from the Yankees scarier than if they were winning 2/3 of their games because Stanton and Judge were on pace for 110 combined homers. At least if they were dominating with front line talent and spending power, you could see that coming.

This team takes Cameron Maybin and turns him into Harry Heilmann. How do you fight that? What's next, they take on the corpse contract of Zack Cozart and he turns into Honus Wagner? At least they haven't figured out the pitching side.
   79. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 09, 2019 at 08:42 AM (#5869766)
This team takes Cameron Maybin and turns him into Harry Heilmann. How do you fight that? What's next,
Storm Troopers that can shoot accurately.
   80. Rally Posted: August 09, 2019 at 09:08 AM (#5869769)
Wouldn't matter if they could shoot. Cheap imperials going with the lowest bidder results in "body armor" than can't even stand up to a rock thrown by a Teddy bear.
   81. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 09, 2019 at 09:14 AM (#5869771)
Wouldn't matter if they could shoot. Cheap imperials going with the lowest bidder results in "body armor" than can't even stand up to a rock thrown by a Teddy bear.

Yeah, that was ridiculous in Rogue 1 where the guy hits the Stormtroopers with a stick, and they go down.

No actual soldiers would continue to wear that armor. It would be thrown away, like the gas masks were in WW2.
   82. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 09, 2019 at 10:33 AM (#5869799)
Cheap imperials going with the lowest bidder
Also, you'd think they would fire the contractor who keeps putting fatal flaws in their Death Stars.
   83. Do Not Touch Fancy Pants Socially Distanced Handle Posted: August 09, 2019 at 02:14 PM (#5869896)
Also, you'd think they would fire the contractor who keeps putting fatal flaws in their Death Stars.

I mean, they literally put him in front of a firing squad.
   84. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 09, 2019 at 02:32 PM (#5869904)
When was this? Was I not paying attention?
   85. PreservedFish Posted: August 09, 2019 at 04:03 PM (#5869939)
Rogue One is the story of how the fatal flaw in the original Death Star came to be, and how its secret was smuggled out to the rebels. It's terrific.
   86. Do Not Touch Fancy Pants Socially Distanced Handle Posted: August 09, 2019 at 04:05 PM (#5869942)
When was this? Was I not paying attention?

Galen Erso, played by Mads Mikkelsen in Rogue 1.

*spoiler alert*








Admittedly, the firing squad did get interrupted, but he had a bomb dropped on his head 2 minutes later, so...










*end spoilers*
   87. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 09, 2019 at 04:13 PM (#5869946)
Aha. Didn't see Rogue 1. Just wasn't all that interested for whatever reason. It didn't strike me as being "real" Star Wars. Maybe I should revisit.
   88. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 09, 2019 at 04:15 PM (#5869947)
Aha. Didn't see Rogue 1. Just wasn't all that interested for whatever reason. It didn't strike me as being "real" Star Wars. Maybe I should revisit.

You should. It's better than anything since Empire Strikes Back.
   89. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: August 09, 2019 at 04:17 PM (#5869949)
That's what Rogue One is about?!?
   90. Do Not Touch Fancy Pants Socially Distanced Handle Posted: August 09, 2019 at 04:22 PM (#5869952)
You should. It's better than anything since Empire Strikes Back.

It has some flaws, but overall it is a very good movie. Definitely worth a watch, if you are even a little bit interested in the original trilogy.
   91. Misirlou cut his hair and moved to Rome Posted: August 09, 2019 at 04:22 PM (#5869953)
You should. It's better than anything since Empire Strikes Back.


I very much agree with this.
   92. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 09, 2019 at 04:25 PM (#5869954)
They ayes have it, motion carries. I will watch Rogue One - most likely one night when my wife is out of town in a couple weeks.
   93. Misirlou cut his hair and moved to Rome Posted: August 09, 2019 at 04:25 PM (#5869955)
It has some flaws, but overall it is a very good movie.


Yes. There are some silly plot devices, but the last 15 minutes or so are the best 15 minutes in any Star Wars movie.
   94. PreservedFish Posted: August 09, 2019 at 04:29 PM (#5869960)
You should. It's better than anything since Empire Strikes Back.


I also agree with this. Loved it. I didn't love any of the other Star Wars sequels/prequels, and haven't even bothered to see Solo.
   95. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 09, 2019 at 05:05 PM (#5869972)

I also agree with this. Loved it. I didn't love any of the other Star Wars sequels/prequels, and haven't even bothered to see Solo.


Solo was much better than I expected. I'd say better than The Force Awakens, or The Last Jedi.

Of course, that's not a high bar to clear. It's solidly mediocre.
   96. Do Not Touch Fancy Pants Socially Distanced Handle Posted: August 09, 2019 at 05:08 PM (#5869975)
They ayes have it, motion carries. I will watch Rogue One

Obligatory.
   97. Chokeland Bill Posted: August 09, 2019 at 05:14 PM (#5869978)
Eh, Rogue One is the best of the prequel movies, but it is still pretty mediocre. The characters are all kinda bland (particularly the two leads), and a large part of the third act is dedicated to distracting fan service that doesn't contribute to the film itself. If it were stripped of the Star Wars setting, no one would remember it. It is at least a well made film, unlike the Lucas Prequels; its faults lie in the screenplay more than anything.

Return of the Jedi and Force Awakens are clearly superior, despite their own flaws. The big contrast to me was that I really liked Finn, Rey, and Han, so I could get over the similarities to ANH. I found it difficult to care at all about Jyn and co. The Vader/Luke stuff in Jedi blows away any of the material from the Disney films, so I don't care that Han is sleepwalking through a forest of teddy bears.
   98. Zach Posted: August 09, 2019 at 05:55 PM (#5869987)
I think public opinion tends to trail the quality of the movies in that series. Rogue One followed Force Awakens, and got a halo effect. Solo followed Last Jedi and did not.

I'm definitely suffering from franchise fatigue, but I'd give either standalone film a solid 2.5 stars.
   99. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 09, 2019 at 06:10 PM (#5869990)
Return of the Jedi and Force Awakens are clearly superior, despite their own flaws. The big contrast to me was that I really liked Finn, Rey, and Han, so I could get over the similarities to ANH. I found it difficult to care at all about Jyn and co. The Vader/Luke stuff in Jedi blows away any of the material from the Disney films, so I don't care that Han is sleepwalking through a forest of teddy bears.

Return of the Jedi, yes. Last Jedi, no.

The Force Awakens was the third remake of the first movie. Enough already.

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