Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Baseball Newsstand > Discussion
Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand

Tuesday, December 08, 2020

How Come the Mets Gave a Major League Deal to a Lifetime Minor Leaguer?

Who is Sam McWilliams? And why in a slow free-agent market during a pandemic did half the teams in baseball engage in a bidding war for a 25-year-old pitcher with no major league experience and an 8.18 ERA in Triple A in 2019, when he last pitched competitively? And why did the New York Mets hand him a major league roster spot and more money than they paid Pete Alonso after his historic rookie season?

The answers are more than just interesting. They reveal insights about what is going on with analytical data, pitching trends, scouting trends, the reputation of the Tampa Bay Rays and how new Mets owner Steve Cohen and president Sandy Alderson are changing how the team does business.

They also reveal how McWilliams, a six-year minor league free agent on his fifth organization, landed at the intersection of these changes with perfect timing.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 08, 2020 at 05:45 PM | 24 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: mets, sam mcwilliams

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

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

   1. John DiFool2 Posted: December 08, 2020 at 07:43 PM (#5993227)
Should his nickname be Sudden Sam McWilliams? [if he pans out]
   2. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: December 08, 2020 at 08:40 PM (#5993232)
How Come the Mets Gave a Major League Deal to a Lifetime Minor Leaguer?

Because #lolmets.
   3. "bothsidesism" word 57i66135 Posted: December 08, 2020 at 09:08 PM (#5993236)
isn't this the guy the phillies drafted a while ago?


*edit*

answering my own question: yes, he is. he's "only" 25 years old, which makes the phrase "lifetime minor leaguer" pretty misleading, imo. especially since he might have been able to play well enough to break into the major leagues this year, if there had been a minor league season.


this guy is basically just an extra rule 5 draft pick.
   4. Rally Posted: December 08, 2020 at 10:23 PM (#5993248)
Am I the only one who saw the headline and was surprised the player was not Tebow?
   5. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: December 08, 2020 at 10:51 PM (#5993250)
Lots of snark here, but I found the article very interesting with regards to how pitching, and evaluation of pitchers, has changed.
   6. depletion Posted: December 09, 2020 at 12:40 AM (#5993263)
It's a little hard to see that the fact that he's getting 750K to Alonso's 650K is so shocking. In a $150M player salary budget isn't 100K down in the noise? The Mets don't have a set of remarkable pitchers at AAA so Sludging Sam should add some needed depth, if nothing else.
   7. The Yankee Clapper Posted: December 09, 2020 at 01:34 AM (#5993270)
McWilliams may not make it, but RTFA to see how he was evaluated. Could be a good move for not much money.
   8. Der-K's emotional investment is way up Posted: December 09, 2020 at 08:39 AM (#5993278)
1) article is interesting
2) i've been mildly intrigued by this guy for awhile - kept thinking he was this close to turning the corner. trying him in the pen (and switching to a four seamer) makes sense, though i was also surprised they gave him 750k (which isn't that much of a bump, as noted).
---
better than a r5 pick, as you can (and they assuredly will) option him.
   9. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 09, 2020 at 08:57 AM (#5993283)
He actually was a Rule 5 pick, two years ago with the Royals, but didn't make the team out of spring training.
   10. Rally Posted: December 09, 2020 at 09:59 AM (#5993292)
It's a little hard to see that the fact that he's getting 750K to Alonso's 650K is so shocking. In a $150M player salary budget isn't 100K down in the noise?


Might be noise to the owner and front office in charge of that budget, but for players not yet making a million bucks that's a big chunk of change.

To put it into an office worker's perspective, say you are a top performer in your department. You get a new employee fresh out of college. And find out he's starting at 20k higher than your salary. You complain to your boss and he tells you it's no big deal. This is a billion dollar corporation. A 20k difference is just noise. I think you'd want some of that noise.
   11. Adam Starblind Posted: December 09, 2020 at 10:27 AM (#5993302)
To put it into an office worker's perspective, say you are a top performer in your department. You get a new employee fresh out of college. And find out he's starting at 20k higher than your salary. You complain to your boss and he tells you it's no big deal. This is a billion dollar corporation. A 20k difference is just noise. I think you'd want some of that noise.


Then imagine you find out the employer is paying someone they fired in 1999 a pension of $1,000,000/year, when you get no pension at all.
   12. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 09, 2020 at 10:50 AM (#5993305)
Then imagine you find out the employer is paying someone they fired in 1999 a pension of $1,000,000/year, when you get no pension at all.

We really not to get off this issue. Deferring Bonilla's comp was a perfectly reasonable decision at the time, and they used a perfectly reasonable discount rate given the then prevailing interest rate.
   13. Adam Starblind Posted: December 09, 2020 at 10:54 AM (#5993308)
We really not to get off this issue. Deferring Bonilla's comp was a perfectly reasonable decision at the time, and they used a perfectly reasonable discount rate given the then prevailing interest rate.


One correction: Not the prevailing interest rate, but the dependable 11% annual return on investments from Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities.

I wasn't debating the merits, obviously.
   14. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 09, 2020 at 11:04 AM (#5993314)
One correction: Not the prevailing interest rate, but the dependable 11% annual return on investments from Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities.

Bonilla's payouts were calculated using a reasonable interest rate. I looked at it once and it was like 6.5% when the 10-year Tsy was at ~5.50%.

The Madoff return only comes into play because that was where they put the money. They didn't need Madoff level returns to justify the deferral, they were just greedy and crooked.

If they had taken the money saved on Bonilla and bought a portfolio of Investment Grade Bonds, they would have done fine.
   15. Adam Starblind Posted: December 09, 2020 at 11:21 AM (#5993319)
Bonilla's payouts were calculated using a reasonable interest rate. I looked at it once and it was like 6.5% when the 10-year Tsy was at ~5.50%.


That's why the deal made sense *for Bonilla*.

If they had taken the money saved on Bonilla and bought a portfolio of Investment Grade Bonds, they would have done fine.


If my aunt had a dickandballs, she would be my uncle. It's silly to think the Wilponzis didn't have their actual portfolio in mind when they agreed to this.

The Madoff return only comes into play because that was where they put the money.


Well, yeah.
   16. Nasty Nate Posted: December 09, 2020 at 11:48 AM (#5993322)
To put it into an office worker's perspective, say you are a top performer in your department. You get a new employee fresh out of college. And find out he's starting at 20k higher than your salary. You complain to your boss and he tells you it's no big deal. This is a billion dollar corporation. A 20k difference is just noise. I think you'd want some of that noise.
Should we factor in the $900,000 draft bonus that Alonso got from the Mets?
   17. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: December 09, 2020 at 12:48 PM (#5993342)

Alonso seems to be loving life and has expressed no discontent with his compensation as a Met. He knows how the game works and that he’ll get paid eventually. It’s funny to read people here trying to imagine that he’s super pissed about $20k.
   18. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: December 09, 2020 at 12:52 PM (#5993344)

The most bothersome thing to me is the use of “How come?” in the headline of a respectable publication. Is this Barstool Sports or SI?

And yes, get off my lawn.
   19. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 09, 2020 at 01:05 PM (#5993350)
   20. Walt Davis Posted: December 09, 2020 at 03:27 PM (#5993401)
The comp to Alonso of course tells us more about how underpaid Alonso is than it does "how dare the Mets pay this guy more?" If a minor-league FA can get a better deal than ML minimum then the ML minimum is clearly too low.

You get a new employee fresh out of college. And find out he's starting at 20k higher than your salary.

Happens all the time in academia and I assume many other professions. Happens all the time with sports draft picks. Happens all the time with sports FAs (well, not compared to the newbie player but compared to the newbie FA class).
   21. Walt Davis Posted: December 09, 2020 at 03:40 PM (#5993404)
Also it used to be common to give draft picks multi-million dollar ML deals and we've seen guys like Luis Robert and Jon Singleton sign long-term deals before their debut. So the notion that somebody with no ML experience would make above the minimum is not anything new. It is obviously weird, maybe unprecedented, for a minor-league FA. Not that anybody cares enough to negotiate about it but I find it odd that minor-league FAs should still have options. But it might very well help them that they do.
   22. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: December 09, 2020 at 03:55 PM (#5993409)
So the notion that somebody with no ML experience would make above the minimum is not anything new.


The weird thing is that this is for a player who didn't pitch last year and who had a 8+ ERA in AAA the year before.
   23. Walt Davis Posted: December 09, 2020 at 04:45 PM (#5993425)
The weird thing is that this is for a player who didn't pitch last year and who had a 8+ ERA in AAA the year before.

For sure. But most minor-league FAs aren't posting stellar numbers ... and almost nobody officially pitched in 2020 (esp among minor-league FAs) so that's not really telling us anything. Anyway, I'm not aware of a previous minor-league FA who got an above-minimum guaranteed contract regardless of their numbers ... I can't recall one getting a guaranteed deal at ML minimum. Most of these guys are brought to camp on a NRI with no sort of guarantee. Some are good enough to sign for, say, $100 K guaranteed which is what they'll make at AAA while not on the 40-man roster then will make minimum if they make the 25-man. Historically those were usually "vet" SPs who were decent 7th-8th starters but also the occasional Ernie Young. Obviously sometime those guys make the opening day roster or, if they have options left, the 40-man.

From the article on 2-seamers:

Why has the pitch fallen out of favor so fast? Follow the numbers. Last season batters hit .286 against two-seamers and sinkers and .236 against all other pitches. If you are going to throw a pitch that adds 50 points to hitters’ batting average, it had better be an exceptional one—or don’t throw it at all.

In isolation, this sort of information is nearly useless. "BA on a pitch type" is an odd concept in isolation. It is "BA, conditional on contact and not being the third strike, by pitch type" which immediately tells us that we at least need to know the contact rates (and really called sttrike, missed swings, fouled, ball rates) for that piece of info to do us any good. That's different than looking at the results by PA where Ks are factored into BA and BBs into OBP. BA by pitch type also should be expressed as on-contact BA -- i.e. when the pitch is hit, how hard is it hit.

(Note: 2020 MLB "fair territory" split, the closest we get to an on-contact split I don't have to calculate by hand, was 338/583 so the notion that any pitch type has a BA as low as 286 is immediately problematic and tells us that third strikes are being added in the denominator. To be useful in a summary fashion and compared with other pitch types, "BA by pitch type" needs to be something like H/swing or H/strike or H/pitch. At the moment, it's not clear if that 286 BA is telling us anything other than 2-seamers didn't generate a lot of third strikes.)

Secondly, where's SLG? The whole point of the 2-seamer historically was to reduce power and generate GBs. If BA goes up 50 points but ISO comes down 50 points then you've got essentially the same on-contact production. (And again, really needs to be XB or HR per swing/strike/pitch.)

I'm not saying the folks doing the actual analytics are coming to the wrong conclusion -- these are pretty obvious points and I assume they are all part of their analysis that's behind the reduction in 2-seamers. But the article does a poor job of making the case. That wasn't the main point of the article of course but one of it's points is to clue us into the new analytics but then gives us BA by pitch type.
   24. Ron J Posted: December 09, 2020 at 05:36 PM (#5993438)
#1 Given his career path, if he does make it I think "Eventual" would make a better nickname.

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

BBTF Partner

Dynasty League Baseball

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
Dock Ellis
for his generous support.

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogEmpty Stadium Sports Will Be Really Weird
(12738 - 5:09am, Apr 19)
Last: Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB)

NewsblogLast-place New York Yankees off to worst 15-game start since 1997
(3 - 1:23am, Apr 19)
Last: The importance of being Ernest Riles

NewsblogYahoo Sports Braves' Sean Kazmar Jr. makes it back to MLB after 12 years in minor league
(1 - 12:21am, Apr 19)
Last: Cooper Nielson

NewsblogNew York Yankees' Jay Bruce to retire after Sunday's game against the Tampa Bay Rays
(17 - 12:17am, Apr 19)
Last: Perry

NewsblogOMNICHATTER for the weekend of April 17-18, 2021
(54 - 10:16pm, Apr 18)
Last: Brian C

NewsblogPete Rose to sell picks for baseball, other sports through website
(43 - 9:50pm, Apr 18)
Last: Greg Pope

NewsblogMinnesota Twins, Timberwolves postpone games in wake of police shooting of Daunte Wright
(264 - 9:08pm, Apr 18)
Last: "bothsidesism" word 57i66135

NewsblogBlindsided Joe Girardi mum on player's sudden decision to take leave from team
(8 - 8:07pm, Apr 18)
Last: vortex of dissipation

NewsblogOT - Soccer Thread - Spring is in the Air
(152 - 7:48pm, Apr 18)
Last: AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale

NewsblogHow Fernando drew thousands of extra fans
(22 - 7:35pm, Apr 18)
Last: AndrewJ

NewsblogMLB salary down 4.8% in 2 years; top 100 earn half
(16 - 5:01pm, Apr 18)
Last: John Northey

NewsblogWhy the Cubs' awful offense could trigger full rebuild if downward trend continues this summer
(23 - 1:12pm, Apr 18)
Last: Brian C

NewsblogNBA 2020 Season kick-off thread
(2692 - 11:14pm, Apr 17)
Last: "bothsidesism" word 57i66135

NewsblogThe Athletic: Communication failures, poor decisions and messy breakups: How it all went wrong for the Colorado Rockies [$]
(79 - 11:03pm, Apr 17)
Last: Lowry Seasoning Salt

NewsblogIn the minors, a major change as the Atlantic League plans to move the mound back a foot
(84 - 10:23pm, Apr 17)
Last: Lowry Seasoning Salt

Page rendered in 0.3495 seconds
48 querie(s) executed