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Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Diamondbacks sign outfielder Kole Calhoun to 2-year contract

PHOENIX (AP) — The Arizona Diamondbacks have signed outfielder Kole Calhoun to a two-year contract worth $16 million that includes a club option for 2022.

The 32-year-old Calhoun, who lives in nearby Tempe, Arizona, has played eight major league seasons with the Los Angeles Angels, batting .249 in his career with 140 homers. In 2019, he hit .232 with a career-high 33 homers while playing mostly right field.

“This is really kind of a dream come true, honestly,” Calhoun said. “I’m born and raised here, grew up a Diamondback fan. Anybody who dreams of playing in the big leagues and you get there, your dreams come true. But as a kid growing up, I always dreamed of playing for the Diamondbacks and now I’ve got that opportunity. I couldn’t be more excited.”

Calhoun is a four-time Gold Glove finalist and won the award in 2015. His new deal is worth $6 million in the first year, $8 million in the second and has a $2 million buyout for 2022. He played in college at nearby Arizona State.


QLE Posted: December 31, 2019 at 12:48 AM | 9 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: diamondbacks, hot stove, kole calhoun

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   1. JimMusComp likes Billy Eppler.... Posted: December 31, 2019 at 07:41 PM (#5912060)
Kole is a plus fielder. Good arm. Solid range. He’s a very good corner outfielder.

His bat came around mid-2018 after a year and a half long slump that made me think he was done.

But, he changed his stance, went on the DL for 2 weeks, and came back in July 2018 and put up a world class month. The rest of 2018 was pedestrian, but that was a huge increase to his 2017, and pre-ASB 2018.

2019 was fine. Highest walk rate of his career, more power, still a lot of K’s, but the other metrics made it tolerable. He’s a low AVG, middling OBP, power hitter with plus defense. Definitely a worthwhile signing by Arizona. His option was too pricey for an Angel team who needed (and needs) pitching, but this 2-year deal seems like a great fit. A little light on money (I’d have thought 2 years, $20 million) but it’s solid and he’s heading home.

Wish him the best of luck. He has exceeded expectations since reaching MLB. I always root for those guys.

   2. Walt Davis Posted: January 01, 2020 at 02:22 AM (#5912086)
Another one of these guys that Steamer is very down on, projecting him to just 1.3 WAR. It has some justification based on 0 fWAR in 2018 and that UZR is not fond of his defense (slightly below-average).

Following Dickerson's 2/$16, if we see one more like this, I smell a grievance. :-)
   3. Jack Sommers Posted: January 01, 2020 at 09:17 AM (#5912097)
Speaking of Dickerson, I would have preferred they signed him. 150 games of Calhoun will be "solid" enough I guess, but I just don't see any upside. With Dickerson, if you are lucky enough to get 140+ games out of him you are going to get a much better bat in your lineup. Obviously there is a gap on defense, and signing Dickerson would have required David Peralta go back to RF, (to make room for Dickerson in Left) Peralta isn't as good in RF. But Dickerson's bat could play really well in Chase field and the NL West. He's not as HR dependent to create value.

With the humidor in Chase now making that ballpark one of the lesser homer friendly parks in the league it will impact Kole's best (only ?) offensive skill. Add to that likely decline in his range as he ages, and I just don't think this is going to do much for Arizona.

   4. puck Posted: January 01, 2020 at 12:22 PM (#5912124)
I remember Walt's posts in the "cdick" thread about steamer's pessimistic 1.1 WAR projection, but had never looked at it until comparing it with Calhoun's. I thought steamer might be projecting a horrible fielding rating, but Dickerson's bat is projected to decline badly in his age 31 season:

Calhoun's 2017-2019 wRC+: 97, 79, 118. Steamer 2020 wRC+ = 99
Dickerson's 2017-2019 wRC+: 116 115 127. Steamer 2020 wRC+ = 102

I guess it's possible...Brad Hawpe was a good lefty hitter, not athletically gifted (except for his throwing arm), fell off the cliff in his age 31 season.

FWIW the bb-ref Marcels have this:

Calhoun: .229/.313/.426
Dickerson: .285/.327/.496

Are the bb-ref marcels park-adjusted in any way? Looking at some of the Rockies players, it doesn't seem to be.
   5. Jose Needs an Absurd Ukulele Concert Posted: January 01, 2020 at 12:46 PM (#5912129)
I’ve always liked Calhoun. He reminds me a lot of Trot Nixon. He’s not a great player but he’s a useful enough player to have around. If he is one of your top two hitters you probably have a problem but if he’s your 4th or 5th best hitter then you probably have a good lineup. Plus he’s got a strong arm (or at least he did). I love outfielders who can throw.
   6. Jack Sommers Posted: January 01, 2020 at 01:16 PM (#5912138)
Puck, I could be wrong, but I think some of the projection systems are trying to incorporate Statcast data that results in metrics like xBA and xwOBA.

But their predictiveness has been called into question. HERE and HERE

Since leaving Colorado, over 4 seasons he's slashed .280/.320/.490. 117 OPS+ playing mostly in good pitchers parks.

But maybe severe decline is right around the corner. Wouldn't shock me either. ]
   7. Walt Davis Posted: January 01, 2020 at 08:19 PM (#5912218)
Are the bb-ref marcels park-adjusted in any way?

Pretty sure not and I don't think they apply any age penalty either, just straight Marcel.

Yeah, I don't get the Steamer pessimism. In addition to Calhoun and Dickerson, they're well down on Smoak and Travis Shaw. In the latter two cases, they were both pretty useless (by fWAR ... Shaw by any standard) in 2019 so you can imagine that Steamer might be placing more weight on recent performance. But Calhoun had 2.5 fWAR last year. It may be a more severe age penalty when you hit 30+.

It certainly strikes me as odd. Steamer seems reasonably optimistic about Nomar Mazara for example but down on these guys. CJ Cron projects well under the circumstances but Avisail Garcia does not. 31-year-old C Grandal and 34-year-old 3B Donaldson don't decline at all while 30-year-old SS Didi loses half his (2017-18) WAR. Schwarber is basically projected to have the best year of his career while Castellanos is expected to lose half his WAR. Bryant is expected to repeat his 2019 while Baez is projected to drop substantially from 2018-19 (this may be due to heavy defensive regression though which is understandable especially with UZR).

There's an algorithm behind all of this so obviously there's some logic to it all but it's not intuitively obvious to me.
   8. Walt Davis Posted: January 01, 2020 at 08:35 PM (#5912222)
But their predictiveness has been called into question. HERE and HERE

More precisely, their added value in prediction has been called into question (esp in the first article you linked). That is, for pitchers, they did no better than stuff like FIP and DRA and not even BAA. But in that case, they wouldn't be hurting the projections, they just wouldn't be helping or at least not enough to be worth the effort. And, based on the reported margins of error, they don't seem to be adding extra noise to the projection. Still, presumably they do create differences on some specific cases so that could be part of what we're seeing here but it seems odd we'd have found so many so easily.
   9. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 02, 2020 at 03:31 PM (#5912415)
Puck, I could be wrong, but I think some of the projection systems are trying to incorporate Statcast data that results in metrics like xBA and xwOBA.

I don't see any big red flags on Dickerson's page on Savant. Exit velocity is down a hair but pretty close to his career average, and his barrel percent and hard-hit percent were both actually up a bit.

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