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Tuesday, December 27, 2005

The Baseball Analysts: Lederer: Pass the Trash

Jocketty in a bunch…of bad deals?  Lederer sauvages some of his moves…

On Juan Encarnacion…..Furthermore, Encarnacion has a career BB/SO ratio of 1:3 (240/724). Despite being known as a “toolsy” player, the man who will be joining his fifth team appears to have lost whatever speed he once enjoyed. To wit, Encarnacion has stolen 11 bases and been caught 9 times the past two seasons. According to The Bill James Handbook, he was successful in taking an extra base on hits 11 out of 36 opportunities (for a below-average 31%) while being thrown out twice last year. The Hardball Times Annual “credits” him with minus 2.38 incremental runs in 2005, the second-worst total on the Marlins.

Defensively, the advanced metrics suggest Encarnacion is a below-average right fielder. THT ranks him 23rd among RF in terms of runs saved/allowed per 150 games at -9.1, and Baseball Prospectus rates the soon-to-be 30-year-old in a similarly negative vein.

In the case of Encarnacion, the popular catch phrase “What’s not to like?” should be re-coined “What’s to like?”

Repoz Posted: December 27, 2005 at 01:19 PM | 51 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: cardinals

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   1. mgl Posted: December 27, 2005 at 02:23 PM (#1795543)
I'm not defending the Cards' moves. I have no reason to. But I think this piece is a bit unfair.

I was failry agnostic about the Encarnacion signing, however, I don't agree with Rich's assessment of it. He says "the advanced metrics..." Well, one of the prominent "advanced metrics" rates him as a well-above average corner outfielder, defensively (in fact, I believe he is a true CF'er). His last 4 years' UZR are: 6 (in CF), 20, 10, 16. I find it hard to believe those are the numbers of an average or below-average defender (it is possible I supose). I do agree that he is apparently a poor baserunner for a fast player, for some reason, and that decreases his value by around 2 runs a year. I don't think that his basestealing will be a detriment to the Cards, as poor basestealing is easy remedied of course.

His hitting is indeed below average for a corner outfielder, but to use OPS or OPS+ in a fairly rigorous analysis is just plain wrong. His context-adjusted lwts over the last 4 years are +1, 0, -12, +4. That is by no means terrible even for a corner outfielder. And I fail to see what his BB/K ratio adds to a projection of his hitting. I suppose it is thrown in to emphasize that he is a poor, undisciplined hitter (as I said and gave evidence for, he is not a poor hitter; whether he or anyone else is "undisciplined," I don't care).

Anyway, my assessment is that he is a more than decent corner outfielde, although I think he has more value as a CF'er. He may not be worth 5 mil a year, but darn close to it. Given what other FA's have received per marginal win, that 5 mil per year is actually a bargain. I have Encarnacion projected at almost 2 wins above replacement in RF or LF.

As far as Spivey, he is an absolute steal. Jocketty should be lauded for that move which is analogous to the Grud signing last year.

The rest of the layers mentioned (other than Looper, who is a vrey good reliever if used properly) are replacement or a little better than replacement players signed for near-replacement money. There is nothing wrong with that when you are not planning on spending a lot of money, at least at this point in time (remember that the Cards are still spending 90+ mil on payroll!).

Sure, from a fan's perspective, it would have been nice if STL spent a bunch of money and overpaid for some stars or superstars (like Burnett). There is another thing that people tend to forget, especialy zealous fans. Even if you want and can afford to sign a star player like Giles (who was signed for a reasonable, albeit large, amount given his projected value), you are generally competing aganst a dozen or more teams. How likely is it that one team can sign any given player even if they want to (especially without considerably overpaing for them)?

In any case, the Cards still have a very good team. I have not closely looked at their w/l projection, but I would guess that it is in the 92-93 win range and that they will be large favorites again to win the division (which is really all you can ask for).

If someone is going to criticize the Cards moves so far (and remember that the trading and signing season is far from over), all I ask is that they take the same amount of money already spent (it is not fair to say that a team should spend more money than they have) and tell us exactly who they should have signed or traded and why (value received in projected marginal wins). I don't think that is too much to ask, especially from an excellent website like the THT...
   2. Slinger Francisco Barrios (Dr. Memory) Posted: December 27, 2005 at 03:21 PM (#1795578)
Granting that Encarnacion has more value as a CF, it therefore makes less sense for the Cards to sign him. CF is one of the things they need least.
   3. TOLAXOR Posted: December 27, 2005 at 04:35 PM (#1795653)
DR. MEMORY-

IF YOU'LL RECALL, JIM EDMONDS IS ONLY SIGNED UNTIL 2006, AND HAS SAID THAT HE WILL RETIRE AT THE END OF THE SEASON.


MGL-

HI!!!

WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE ABOUT THE OPS PROJECTIONS FOR J-ROD??? I THINK THE SAMPLE SIZE IS TOO SMALL, AND J-ROD'S PRETTY OLD, BUT IN YOUR OPINION, IS HE A VALID CANDIDATE FOR 500 AB'S IN LEFT???

FINALLY, I DON'T DISAGREE THAT LOOPER, IF USED IN THE MOST LA-RUSSIAN MANNER POSSIBLE, IS A GOOD RELIEF PITCHER, MY THOUGHT IS THAT OTHER PLAYERS (BRADFORD COMES TO MIND) EXHIBIT THE SAME BENEFITS AND LIMITATIONS AT A MUCH MORE REASONABLE COST....

AS FAR AS SPIVEY IS CONCERNED, I AGREE THAT MOVE IS NOT GETTING THE APPRECIATION IT DESERVES... IF HE'S HEALTHY, IT'S CERTAINLY IN THE MOLD OF VINA/WOMACK/GRUDZ... IF HE'S NOT, THEN LUNA IS CAPABLE...

FINALLY, I THINK MOST OF WHAT'S DISCUSSED ONLINE ISN'T FAIR TO THE ORGANIZATION'S POSITION.... IN THAT THREAD, LBOROS, FOR EXAMPLE, PUT UP GARCIAPARRA AS A CAPABLE LEFT FIELDER THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN A BETTER SHORT TERM OPTION FOR STL - HOWEVER I HAVE A TOUGH TIME BELIEVING THAT IF WE GAVE NOMAR A CONTRACT SIMILAR TO WHAT HE SIGNED FOR, THE SAME "HALF EMPTY" CROWD WOULDN'T DEADPAN THAT ACQUISITION, AS WELL....
   4. All In The Guetterman, Looking Up At The Stargell Posted: December 27, 2005 at 04:47 PM (#1795672)
i just wish this incarnation of an OFer hit lefthanded. edmonds is all we have, and i hate having a lopsided lineup like that. another reason im hoping jrod gets the permanent lf job.
   5. greenback used to say live and let live Posted: December 27, 2005 at 04:55 PM (#1795687)
What, you don't like Bigbie?

Uh, never mind.
   6. sublime Posted: December 27, 2005 at 04:59 PM (#1795694)
caps off please :)
   7. Swan Posted: December 27, 2005 at 05:16 PM (#1795713)
I sometimes wonder if TOLAXOR is actually Owen Meany...
   8. Slinger Francisco Barrios (Dr. Memory) Posted: December 27, 2005 at 05:17 PM (#1795717)
IF YOU'LL RECALL, JIM EDMONDS IS ONLY SIGNED UNTIL 2006, AND HAS SAID THAT HE WILL RETIRE AT THE END OF THE SEASON.

O.K., didn't know that...I suppose it could be defended as a backup plan for if Edmonds follows through on that, remote as the possibility may be. And it's not like Edmonds doesn't miss games. I take it back.
   9. Slinger Francisco Barrios (Dr. Memory) Posted: December 27, 2005 at 05:18 PM (#1795720)
I sometimes wonder if TOLAXOR is actually Owen Meany...

YOU LET ME DIE!
   10. greenback used to say live and let live Posted: December 27, 2005 at 05:20 PM (#1795727)
And it's not like Edmonds doesn't miss games.

That's the big one. Everybody likes So Taguchi, but when finally given a chance to play a lot, he managed a 90 OPS+. If he were a Cub, he'd have an F as a middle initial.
   11. Cowboy Popup Posted: December 27, 2005 at 05:25 PM (#1795733)
"In the case of Encarnacion, the popular catch phrase “What’s not to like?” should be re-coined “What’s to like?""

Given Jocketty's ability to find guys who haven't performed well in the past and get good production out of them, I'm far more to trust Jocketty (and mgl of course) and assume they know a few things we don't. Harvey pointed out his improved plate discipline, mgl says he's a great fielder. Zips has him rated pretty highly. There's alot more to this then looking at his career numbers and saying "he's not worth it". Besides, playing centerfielders in the corners seems to be the new craze.
   12. cardsfanboy Posted: December 27, 2005 at 05:57 PM (#1795794)
Edmonds has never(to my knowledge) said he planned on retiring after 2006. He has said he would like to have his 2007 option picked up, and maybe negotiate a contract which would guarantee he retires a cardinal, and that he thinks if that doesn't happen that he'll retire at the end of this contract.(that isn't the same thing, as I really think it would be hard for a guy who is still damn good player to retire if his 2007 option isn't picked up)

as to the Spivey signing, have to agree with MGL on that one, that is probably going to be one of the best bargain signings in baseball this year.

as to this article. I think it's a form article for every year about the cardinals(at least the last two) effectively it is the Cardinals are top heavy and they don't have good enough players to make up for it.


One minor comment, saying that the cardinals lost 4 regulars is also incorrect, between Sanders and Larry Walker the cardinals got 600 at bats, (few more plate appearances of course) which is effectively one regular, not two. Cardinals lost their worse overall pitcher last year, and hopefully replaced him with Reyes, who should give roughly the same performance. I don't much care for Ponson, but really his contract isn't that bad, so it doesn't hurt to take a flier on a guy that the Cardinals management team have wanted for a few seasons anyway.

Encarnacion is overpaid I'll agree with that, but it is a better signing than the Cubs(I know we shouldn't judge our signings based upon a dumb signing by another team) of Jacque Jones.


about so taguchi, what is wrong with a 90 OPS+ from a fifth outfielder who plays(just guessing) above average defense at all three positions?

Before the Encarnacion/Spivey signing, I had the Cardinals as a 92 win team, after the signing, I have them up to about a 94-95 win team. Ponson, in my opinion, is the big X factor, not just because he will be given a chance, but because TLR and Duncan will probably give him More than a chance, because of their infatuation with him. If that means that Reyes isn't given a chance until Ponson wipes out in June, it could cost the cardinals a couple of wins there.
   13. TOLAXOR Posted: December 27, 2005 at 06:00 PM (#1795797)
SWAN,

WHO WOULD BE THE VIETNAMESE CHILDREN, THEN???!!!
   14. Backlasher Posted: December 27, 2005 at 06:10 PM (#1795805)
caps off ...


That's TOLAXOR.

As far as Spivey, he is an absolute steal.


The Blogpark will suffer, but I think Jeff K. is up to the challenge.

Given Jocketty's ability to find guys who haven't performed well in the past and get good production out of them


On this one, I agree with the premise that if you can find a durable OFer that can defend multiple OF positions and not embarrass themselves with the bat, then its usually a good pickup. Its not Bobby Abreau, but its also not Jack Crust.

I'd be surprised if Encarnacion is an All Star; I'd also be surprised if he were a complete waste of roster space. Obviously either one is possible, but its not like Encarnacion is going to keep you from resigning Pujols.
   15. 1k5v3L Posted: December 27, 2005 at 06:26 PM (#1795820)
I don't think that is too much to ask, especially from an excellent website like the THT...

MGL, this was posted on Rich and Bryan's personal blog. But I assume that Rich also writes for THT. Thus the confusion.

Again, I fail to see what the big problem with Juan E. is all of a sudden. Once Brian Giles signed with SD, you had JJones, JEncarnacion, JBurnitz, and that was pretty much it for RF alternatives on the market. No RFer was cheaply available in trades either. Of JJ and JE, I like Juan better. And JJ got the same amount of money from the Cubbies. As MGL wrote, it's very easy to criticize a move, the hard part is advising on an alternative move that would've given you the same value for the same money (or talent). It's not like Jocketty could've gotten JD Drew back for So Taguchi.
   16. cardsfanboy Posted: December 27, 2005 at 06:43 PM (#1795843)
the number one problem with juan e, is that they could have gotten reggie sanders for a shorter committment. Reggie is a much better hitter and has ties to the team. Problem is that he will only play 130-140 games in the season which means that you have to make up for it with someone else. I think the cardinals have enough depth with bigbie, jrod and so taguchi to afford that, but I guess the cardinals brain trust didn't agree with that.
   17. Rich Lederer Posted: December 27, 2005 at 07:49 PM (#1795969)
As far as Spivey, he is an absolute steal. Jocketty should be lauded for that move which is analogous to the Grud signing last year.

Why is Spivey a steal? He hit .204/.274/.303 on the road last year with 46 SO in 152 AB. For his career, he is .236/.314/.353 in away games.

Spivey hit well in 2002 but has been on a steady decline the past three years. If he is going to be used as a platoon player vs. LHP, fine, but I don't think he is a viable option as a full-time starter.
   18. DCW3 Posted: December 27, 2005 at 07:58 PM (#1795982)
Marcel projects Spivey for a 92 OPS+, which is slightly below average for a second baseman, and in fact is exactly what Grudzielanek did last year. A near-average offensive secon baseman for $1.2 million is a definite steal, even if the guy has injury issues. I don't know Spivey's UZRs, but I believe he's reputed to be a good defender as well.
   19. lboros Posted: December 27, 2005 at 08:08 PM (#1796002)
if st louis had achieved their stated #1 offseason priority and added a power arm to the rotation, cardinal fans wouldn't be griping about these moves. we'd understand that you have to downgrade somewhere in order to accommodate upgrades within the payroll.

instead we're getting downgrades or pushes throughout the roster; only spivey and reyes offer hope of being better than their predecessors.
   20. Slinger Francisco Barrios (Dr. Memory) Posted: December 27, 2005 at 08:12 PM (#1796006)
I really think it would be hard for a guy who is still damn good player to retire if his 2007 option isn't picked up

Plus I figure that he has to realize he's on the cusp of the HOF, and that he really needs to round out his career to get himself over the hump. Six-seven thousand PA isn't likely going to cut it.
   21. 1k5v3L Posted: December 27, 2005 at 08:43 PM (#1796062)
Why is Spivey a steal? He hit .204/.274/.303 on the road last year with 46 SO in 152 AB. For his career, he is .236/.314/.353 in away games.

Is that sort of analysis worth anything? I'm all for splitting home/road stats when they tell you something but, a) 150 abs from a guy recovering from a shoulder surgery means very little in light of his overall projection for 2006; b) almost everybody hits better at home than on the road, and having extreme hitters parks as home fields only tend to make the road stats worse; and c) as MGL (and anyone else, really) would tell you until he (anyone else) turns blue in the face, you cannot evaluate a transaction until you know how much money you're paying. Spivey at $1.2m is a steal, simply because there's NO WAY you can get anyone comparable on the free agent market who'll give you what he projects to give you at that cost. Or maybe not NO WAY, but I urge you to show me a better free agent signing. Spivey's defense is very very good; fwiw, Curt Schilling of all people called him the best defensive second baseman he's ever played with. His defense alone would make the signing a good one. And his defense, base running, etc, etc. all contribute to how you project a player. Looking at his line over 150 at bats is incomplete at best, stupid at worst. And I don't mean any disrespect here.
   22. 1k5v3L Posted: December 27, 2005 at 08:50 PM (#1796071)
if st louis had achieved their stated #1 offseason priority and added a power arm to the rotation

why was this their stated #1 offseason priority anyhow? seems dumb. all you need is replacing morris's very league averagish performance over 200 innings or so, and hope the other guys hold steady. reyes/ponson should give you that. stl didn't really need to add burnett, regardless of whether tlr gets a hardon from proven veteran winners or not.
   23. Los Angeles Waterloo of Black Hawk Posted: December 27, 2005 at 08:50 PM (#1796072)
And I fail to see what his BB/K ratio adds to a projection of his hitting. I suppose it is thrown in to emphasize that he is a poor, undisciplined hitter (as I said and gave evidence for, he is not a poor hitter; whether he or anyone else is "undisciplined," I don't care).

MGL, have you done any studies as to whether "disciplined" hitters are more likely to retain or improve their value than are "undisciplined" hitters? I believe the insinuation of mentioning Encarnacion's BB:K ratio is that he could be due for an ugly decline or return to Earth. I don't really know how true that is, though anecdotally it doesn't seem unlikely ...

... I definitely concur that the Spivey signing is great. I'm not sold on Encarnacion as a hitter, though ...
   24. Andere Richtingen Posted: December 27, 2005 at 08:57 PM (#1796085)
Looking at his line over 150 at bats is incomplete at best, stupid at worst. And I don't mean any disrespect here.

His CAREER split: .920 OPS home/.667 road, in 752/801 AB.

What that means, I don't know, but the sample size isn't all that small.

...not that I don't like the Spivey pickup for the Cardinals.
   25. 1k5v3L Posted: December 27, 2005 at 09:11 PM (#1796119)
So, Andere, the assumption here seems to be that his OPS will be .667 this year then? Ie, his overall OPS will be equal to his road OPS? Can you tell me what his home/road splits will be in 2006? .920 home/.667 road? Or are you assuming they'll be .667 home/ .crapcrapcrap road? Or something in between, you think? Like .850/.730?

People kept pointing out to A-rod's home/road splits from his time in TEX to tell us why he'll suck in New York. Luminaries as bright as Rob Neyer were lining up to tell us how Yankee stadium was going to eat him alive. Blah blah blah. Well, meet the 2005 AL MVP. Then again, in their defense, A-rod somehow played road games too.

My point is, Spivey may hit worse on the road in 06 than at home. Almost everyone does so. But that's sort of irrelevant, unless you only play him on the road, and you bench him at home. TLR has been known to do some strange things, but even he isn't that revolutionary. Jr. is NOT going to have .667 OPS in 2006, and I can bet money on that.

Anyhow, .920 at home/.667 on the road in equal at bats gives you OPS of just under .800, and Spivey is a good bet to give you that, while playing excellent defense at 2b. If that's not worth 1.2m on the free agent market, and Rich thinks he can do even better, then I'm sure a lot of GMs would like to offer him a job negotiating player's salaries.
   26. Rich Lederer Posted: December 27, 2005 at 09:50 PM (#1796228)
Spivey has had an .800 OPS once in his entire career and that was during his age 27 "peak" season. To expect him to duplicate that feat four years later in what will most likely be a much less hitter friendly environment at home is a bit of a stretch, to say the least.
   27. greenback used to say live and let live Posted: December 27, 2005 at 09:55 PM (#1796246)
about so taguchi, what is wrong with a 90 OPS+ from a fifth outfielder who plays(just guessing) above average defense at all three positions?

Nothing wrong with that for a 5th OF. In fact, considering the money and all the "little things", it's pretty darn good. It's when you expect him to get 400+ at-bats that you should start shopping.

why was this [power arm] their stated #1 offseason priority anyhow?

They need a better #2 starter in the NLCS than Mark Mulder. And, yes, that's getting ahead of themselves.
   28. Slinger Francisco Barrios (Dr. Memory) Posted: December 27, 2005 at 10:08 PM (#1796273)
But to be a decent hitting 2Bman, Spivey doesn't need an .800 OPS. .750 would cut it just fine. And for $1.2M, .700 would even be kind of O.K. if he flashes the leather like he's supposed to.

Also note that he could be very effectively platooned. He does seem to hit lefties quite a bit better. Not sure if that's in the cards (no pun intended), but from my limited view, it's an option, him and Miles, no?
   29. Andere Richtingen Posted: December 27, 2005 at 10:10 PM (#1796277)
So, Andere, the assumption here seems to be that his OPS will be .667 this year then? Ie, his overall OPS will be equal to his road OPS? Can you tell me what his home/road splits will be in 2006? .920 home/.667 road? Or are you assuming they'll be .667 home/ .crapcrapcrap road? Or something in between, you think? Like .850/.730?

I really wouldn't venture a guess. It's odd to see a split like that over a decent sample size, spread over two different teams, and I think it's got to be significantly bigger than what you would normally expect. I suppose one explanation might be that he simply loved BankOne and Miller, but if it's that or a general preference for sleeping in his own bed, it's a problem.

People kept pointing out to A-rod's home/road splits from his time in TEX to tell us why he'll suck in New York.

Well, whoever said that was an idiot. His road OPSs for Texas were .951, .927 and .961. That doesn't suck. Now, it was reasonable to predict that his performance in NY would be similar to those road numbers, and his overall OPSs for New York have averaged right around the same, so if people argued that it's been supported so far.

Spivey has had an .800 OPS once in his entire career and that was during his age 27 "peak" season. To expect him to duplicate that feat four years later in what will most likely be a much less hitter friendly environment at home is a bit of a stretch, to say the least.

I don't think he has to duplicate an .865 OPS to be a bargain. I don't think he even has to meet his career OPS of .790 to be a bargain.
   30. cardsfanboy Posted: December 27, 2005 at 10:40 PM (#1796299)
at 1.2mil, if he post a 700+ ops he is a bargain. Especially if his defense is as good as people claim.

Grudz was liked last year in st louis, not because he was great, but because he was a heck of a bargain. Same with Eckstein, Cardinals aren't saying these are all star type of players, but you are going to get roughly league average(relative to position) for these guys and at the amount of money they are paying that is pretty good.

I'm not a fan of the encarnacion signing, I'm not against it either, but would have preferred that the cardinals did something different personally (anything to get johnny gomes). But it's not a too horrible signing. I like to think of it this way if you can feel you are going to get average performance out of a starting position player, then in todays market, 5mil per seems about right. of course if you can beat that then it's even better, but If you look at average pay for starting position players post arbitration, 5mil per would probably look good.

I don't expect encarnacion to be average, cardinals do, so I'll trust their opinion.

as to spiveys splits? It doesn't seem that big of a deal to me, if you are saying 800 plate appearances over several seasons is a large enough sample size, I'm just not buying it.
   31. mgl Posted: December 28, 2005 at 03:42 AM (#1796466)
A player's H/R splits mean nothing. A player's projection when he switches teams is based on his total stats adjusted for the PF of his prior home parks.

As far as BB/K ratio, no I've never looked at that type of issue, but I doubt it has any merit (predictive value), especially for an older player like Encarnacion. You never know though.

I don't know how Tony plans on using all of the OF'ers. Encarnacion should really be platooned with someone (preferably Bigbie although J-Rod is fine), but when you pay 5 mil per year for someone (especially a RHB), neither he nor the team likes the idea of a platoon. That leaves the other corner OF spot without a capable RHB. Taguchi flat out cannot hit, even versus LHP. Remember that he is almost 37 yo. Luna in the OF is shaky at best.

A platoon of Encarnacion and Jones would have been killer (well worth 10 mil per year), but one, the Cards were not willing to invest that much is one OF position, and two, again, most 5 mil players (and their teams) do not expect to be platooned.

I am not that familiar with J-Rod and I don't have his MLE's in front of me. My hitting projection for him is very nice also. His defense is said to be pretty marginal so his overall value is not all that great.
   32. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: December 28, 2005 at 04:18 AM (#1796489)
but its not like Encarnacion is going to keep you from resigning Pujols.


If I'm correct, Pujols is signed FOR A LONG TIME
   33. ElBirdoLoco Posted: December 28, 2005 at 04:49 AM (#1796511)
New here posting

Iron Chef- Pujols is signed until 2010 with an option for 2011. yeah, I'd call that a long time too.

It has been a difficult offseason for most Cardinal fans, I have felt like it has been pass the trash. My initial reaction to most of the signings were "God no!" to "meh".

I was pleased with the Spivey signing.

Initially, just looking at Encarnacion's batting stats, I was ticked. But given the market we needed a regular. Taguchi or J Rod were not going to cut it, not when they would be opposite Bigbie. I don't think there was really an exciting option to be had out there once Giles was signed. I just wish the Cardinals pursued Giles harder, because we all knew where the Burnett deal would wind up. IMO, Giles should've been top priority. I understand Burnett's potential is very high, but more desperate teams with more $=wasted time.

I liked the Looper signing overall. He's very effective and LaRussa should use him well.

Ponson is low $ low risk, why not? He is blocking Reyes now. At least by the looks of it.

Rincon doesn't really excite me a lot. Flores should still be the go to lefty, and now Rincon is blocking Ty Johnson.

Bigbie/Miles for King isn't bad. Bigbie can hopefully "bloom" late, but if not J Rod can step in. Both to me are warming a seat for a midseason trade.

Bigbie for King is a decent move, given the fact we have
   34. mgl Posted: December 28, 2005 at 05:35 AM (#1796534)
Again, many teams wanted to sign Giles. Without offering him much more than he is worth, we had a fairly small chance of getting him, because of the competition.

Once he was gone, there literally was no one left, other than a platoon (like Jones and Encarnacion, as I mentioned), without looking for some kind of trade. We tried to get Kearns (which I would have loved), but that didn't happen for whatever reason.

Ponson is a replacement pitcher (maybe Duncan can get him back to where he was several years ago, who knows). My understanding was that he was an insurance policy and that Reyes would be starting, but I don't really know. Maybe it depends on ST. I have Reyes projected as better than Ponson. Keep in mind that a team has almost a 50% chance of losing one of their 5 starters to a significant injury sometime during the season.

I don't know if Tony is going to carry 3 lefties in the pen, but if T. Johnson is in the minors again, I wouldn't exactly call that being "blocked." Personally, I don't mind having 3 lefties in the pen, especially when you have a ROOGY like Looper. One of the lefties can also be used in middle relief in low leverage situations. A bullpen of 6 or 7 pitchers should have an "ace" to be used in as many high leverage situations as possible, another near-ace to be used in the rest of the high-leverage as well as some medium-leverage situations, one or two lefty specialists, a swing man, and two or three junk relievers.

Having 3 lefties and a righty specialist like Looper is fine. You then have your closer (Issy), a swingman (Reyes or Ponson) and another middle/long reliever for a total of 7 in the pen. The swingman, the middle/long reliever and one of the lefties can be your low leverage guys.

Too much emphasis is placed on having all quality arms in a bullpen. You simply don't need quality arms for low leverage situations. You want to have one or two crap relievers earning the min salary for mop-up duty only, if you don't mind hurting their feelings. You also don't need that many really good arms if you use your ace in more high leverage situations. The problem is that most manages wait for that 9th inning save situation to use their closer and then they need another ace or two to handle those high leverage situations in the 7th and 8th innings (and tie gamed or down by a run in the 9th). That is poor bullpen managment. Also, you can easily "create" an ace pitcher by using a fortuitous lefty/righty combination of pitchers with large platoon splits, like Looper and almost any LOOGY, certainly someone like Rincon.

Last year (and the year before), we had a beautiful pen: An ace (Issy), a near ace (Reyes and Calero), an "artificial" ace in Tavarez/Eldred and King, and a bunch of decent long/middle relievers. This year, we are short an ace, as we have only Issy and a duo of Looper and Rincon/Flores. That's not too bad, though, again, if used correctly...
   35. greenback used to say live and let live Posted: December 28, 2005 at 06:16 AM (#1796552)
You want to have one or two crap relievers earning the min salary for mop-up duty only, if you don't mind hurting their feelings.

Considering he's up for a 2,000% raise, Mateo should be willing to mop-up the bathroom, let alone major league baseball games.
   36. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: December 28, 2005 at 06:56 AM (#1796561)
You want to have one or two crap relievers earning the min salary for mop-up duty only, if you don't mind hurting their feelings.


What do you think is more likely to happen:

1) Managers misusing the bullpen
2) Getting all good arms for teh bullpen.

I'd rather have all good arms in the bullpen, so that even a Terry Francona infected with Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease coudln't F!@3 it up.
   37. mgl Posted: December 28, 2005 at 08:08 AM (#1796612)
I'd rather have all good arms in the bullpen, so that even a Terry Francona infected with Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease coudln't F!@3 it up.
Page 1 of 1 pages


It is actually interesting that there are usually several alternatives to an "optimum" strategy. One is when the "player" (say a baseball manager) has all knowledge at his disposal and the other is when he has a limited subset of that knowledge and perhaps some "anti-knowledge" as well.

In this example, if a manager used his pen optimally (and assuming we even knew exactly what that is, which we don't), then having 6 or 7 quality arms would indeed be a waste of resources, assuming that you have to pay the going rate for those arms (even if you didn't you should be able to trade your back of the pen quality arms for better value). However, it may be, as this poster states somewhat toungue-in-cheek, that if a manager is going to butcher the use of his pen, which most managers are inded prone to do, then it might be better to have more quality in the pen than is otherwise indicated (or at least a different landscape of the same overall quality).

This is the same thing we run into when evaluating transactions. If we evaluate them from the perspective of a team that can do a proper projection on a player and one that understands other aspects of "marginal win value" and the like, we might get one answer, whereas if we evaluate the same transaction based on conventional wisdom or the normal propensities of a particular (or an average one) team or GM, we might get another answer (e.g., "While this might not be the best value for monies spent from a perfect sabermetric perspective, it is pretty good for Minaya or Hendry or even an "average" major league GM, etc.")...
   38. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: December 28, 2005 at 08:48 AM (#1796632)
No RFer was cheaply available in trades either.

Milton Bradley might beg to differ. Of course Andre Ethier might agree heartily.
   39. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: December 28, 2005 at 09:50 AM (#1796644)
as this poster states somewhat toungue-in-cheek

All I am to you MGL is "THIS POSTER"?

"THIS POSTER"?

I WILL NOT BE A NUMBER! I AM A MAN, AND I DEMAND TO BE TREATED AS SUCH!!

DEATH TO UZR

j/k
   40. Mr Dashwood Posted: December 28, 2005 at 10:32 AM (#1796648)
Post #1: I'm not defending the Cards' moves. I have no reason to.

Post #34: we had a fairly small chance of getting him

Make up your mind.
   41. Andere Richtingen Posted: December 28, 2005 at 03:06 PM (#1796728)
A player's H/R splits mean nothing.

I think they mean nothing in the sense that it would be dangerous to make future predictions based on them. There has to be something to this. I don't know why Spivey has a .920/.667 career H/R split (.934/.677 in 2001, .947/.783 in 2002, .871/.618 in 2003, .984/.572 in 2004, .857/.576 in 2005), and I wouldn't dare make any future predictions based on it...but it's got to mean something.
   42. JPWF13 Posted: December 28, 2005 at 03:27 PM (#1796751)
As far as BB/K ratio, no I've never looked at that type of issue, but I doubt it has any merit (predictive value), especially for an older player like Encarnacion. You never know though.

It has predictive value if a batter's batting average is out of synch with his k/bb

Batting average strongly correlates with k/bb-
someone like Soriano circa 2002 whose k/bb (157/23) and batting average (.300) are out of synch that badly will likely see his average slip.
2005: (k/bb: avg/Obp/SLG)
less than 1: 291/383/446
1.5 to 1.0: 277/357/435
1.5 to 2.0: 275/346/445
2.0 to 2.5: 262/326/420
2.5 to 3.0: 260/317/414
3.0 to 4.0: 261/310/416
4+: 243/280/380

Encarnacions's #s are not badly out of synch with his k/bb 2.54-
The players (250+ ab) whose K/bb are most out of synch with their BA are: Francoeur, Cano, Taveras and Cantu.
(but they were rookies- many times young rookies show dramatic improvement in K/BB their SECOND years)- but unless they do I think it will be very difficult for them to maintain their 2005 performance levels in 2006.
   43. cynic Posted: December 28, 2005 at 04:51 PM (#1796864)
Especially if his defense is as good as people claim.

For what it's worth, Spivey's 00-03 UZR is +5. He wasn't mentioned in MGL's best/worst of 2004 and 2005, so factoring in a slight decline, I think it's reasonable to guess that he's average or slightly above. I have no idea what his baserunning lwts are, but the range is small anyway.

Average defense plus average or even below-average offense at 2B for 1.2M is a laudable signing, especially for a team that already has plus-plus offense at several positions. As a Mets fan, I'd have been willing to pay much, much more (of someone else's money, granted) for the priviledge of having anything close to a league-average player at 2B. But that's what two seasons of Kazuo Matsui will do to a man.
   44. cardsfanboy Posted: December 28, 2005 at 05:38 PM (#1796936)
MGL, I'm guessing you have no faith in thompson becoming the Ace reliever? I see him as being Calero like eventually and think he will be the Al Reyes of this season.
   45. mgl Posted: December 28, 2005 at 05:43 PM (#1796943)
but it's got to mean something.

I am sure it does in some metaphysical or philosophical sense it does. In my world, if something has little or no predictive value, it "means nothing."

I would have loved to have had Bradley rather than Enc. for the same money. Again, you can't assume that just because one team was able to sign a player for X dollars that any other team could have done the same thing or could have signed him for X+1...
   46. Kyle S Posted: December 28, 2005 at 07:31 PM (#1797181)
k/bb correlates negatively with batting average because strikeouts correlate negative with batting average and k/bb for the most part is driven by strikeouts. someone who strikes out 150 times will not generally hit for a high average because they'd need an insanely high BABIP to do so.
   47. b-ball23 Posted: December 28, 2005 at 07:44 PM (#1797209)
But then using the averages JPWF13 produced above, using K/BB with AVG can be predictive in a way.
   48. salvomania Posted: December 29, 2005 at 05:30 PM (#1798699)
MGL, I'm guessing you have no faith in thompson becoming the Ace reliever? I see him as being Calero like eventually and think he will be the Al Reyes of this season.

I'm not MGL, but I have little faith in Thompson turning into the "Ace" like Calero and Reyes, for one simple reason:

K/9

2004...Calero.... 9.34
2005...Reyes..... 9.62
2205...Thmpsn.. 4.75

Two of these guys can dominate, one can't.
   49. b-ball23 Posted: December 30, 2005 at 04:16 PM (#1799961)
Kyle, What is K/BB correlation (exact number) with AVG? Just curious.
   50. b-ball23 Posted: January 02, 2006 at 08:10 PM (#1803105)
?
   51. b-ball23 Posted: January 07, 2006 at 01:27 AM (#1809930)
Does anyone know then?

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