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Updated: 2012-04-15T20:20:33.772-04:00

 



Serious Baseball: Win Value Project, Carlos Beltran

2008-04-20T13:07:38.883-04:00

Now that I don’t have to introduce the system again, as I did that in my first two articles in this series, these Win Value write-ups will be much shorter.Let’s figure the Win Value of Carlos Beltran.Beltran is the opposite of Lance Berkman (my last subject) in that he adds to his total value by fielding his position, and running the bases well.If you recall, Berkman, while a very good hitter produced at a level below what his salary called for, and probably will in the future due to this aforementioned lack of agility in the field and on the basesBeltran is a much better value…It was in the midst of his 2004 season with the Kansas City Royals when Beltran was traded to the Houston Astros where he went on to star for the them in the post-season and assured himself of a large contract that off-season—his first as a free agent.The New York Mets ended up being the team to give him that large contract when, in January 2005, Beltran signed a contract with them worth a total of $119 million over 7 years. The total value of the contract includes an $11 million signing bonus, of which $7 million was paid to Beltran in 2005, and $2 million paid in both 2006 and 2007. These signing bonus amounts are included his salary structure presented below:2005: $17 MM2006: $14 MM2007: $14 MM2008: $18.5 MM2009: $18.5 MM2010: $18.5 MM2011: $18.5 MMActually, $8.5 million of Beltran’s salaries in the 2008-2011 seasons are being deferred and paid to him after the contract expires. Even though the Mets aren’t paying him that amount in those seasons, he is being paid that amount for those seasons so we’ll use the full $18.5 million salaries for the analysis.Here is a chart showing Beltran’s season stats and win value for each season he’s played under the new contract:Beltran was a disappointment in 2005 only providing 3.56 wins while his salary called for 5.05. He made up for that in 2006, though, by providing a whopping 8.7 wins while his salary called for 3.76.While he didn’t perform as well in 2007 as he did in 2006 he still provided great value to the Mets providing 4.67 wins while only being paid for 3.41.For the years remaining on his contract Beltran is being paid for the following:2008: 4.11 Wins2009: 3.74 Wins2010: 3.40 Wins2011: 3.09 WinsCan he achieve these win totals?According to The Book Blog a player in his decline phase should be assumed to deteriorate by .5 wins per year. Beltran, being 31 this season is already in this phase, so subtracting .5 wins in each future season leaves him the following projected win values (amount of wins he’s being paid for in parentheses):2008: 4.17 (4.11)2009: 3.67 (3.74)2010: 3.17 (3.40)2011: 2.67 (3.09)It seems Beltran will be right around his perceived value for the next two years, while being slightly overpaid in the last two.A player with Beltran’s skill set (good fielder, good base runner, good patience at the plate) has a great chance to “beat the age curve” by a tad and I think for the remainder of the contract, Carlos Beltran will be “spot on” if not better than what he’s being paid for.It’s funny because at the time of this signing many people thought the Mets drastically overpaid for Beltran. Now, it seems he is actually underpaid!The entire value of the Beltran’s contract calls for him to provide 26.56 total wins to be “worthy” of his salary. Using those projected total win numbers from above (for 2008-2011) and adding them to his actual total win values from 2005-2007 would put Beltran at 30.61 total wins at contact’s end. Meaning he ends up providing about 4 wins more than he was paid for.Unless something goes drastically wrong in the next four seasons (injury?) the New York Mets definitely deserve a “tip of the hat” for this signing.I hope those who read this article will email me at frnkbndy@yahoo.com, or post a request for me on one of the message boards that I hope this article reaches and request that I figure out another players win value. I will be more than happy to do so.[...]



Win Value Project: Lance Berkman

2008-04-13T16:41:23.531-04:00

Back to the Win Value Project…I have to admit it, I love this idea, but it’s not mine in its originality. Analysts and writers far smarter than I, such as Tom Tango and Dave Studeman, have done, and are still doing projects just like this. But my study was vastly different than theirs (and inferior) in that it used different statistics, and different monetary figures.Well, after a reception to my first article that can only be called tepid at best, I decided to get to work on overhauling this puppy.One of the emails I received in response to that first article “linked” me to Tom Tango’s “The Book” Blog where I learned valuable lessons on how to figure out a player’s yearly W.A.R (Wins above replacement), found each player’s fielding runs as figured by Mitchel Lichtman’s UZR (Ultimate Zone Rating) system, and found more accurate dollar figures for my project.Just as importantly, there were studies done there to show why the stats I was using in the Varitek article (VORP, and FRAR) were wrong.I’m not going to lie; I delved right into the blog and started using Tom Tango’s numbers “digit-for-digit.” I did, though, have to calculate W.A.R. on my own. I am assuming my products are correct, but if they are not, I beg of any reader to email me and put me in my place.I have also changed my concept of a team having its “own price” for a marginal victory. This is how I stated this theory in the original article:“To do this I used a spreadsheet to figure out what each team paid for a marginal win in any given year. By using each teams total payroll, subtracting the league minimum and dividing that by the number of marginal wins they accrued (number of wins over 45) I was able to derive how valuable, in monetary terms, a marginal win was to each team…”“One advantage any team has when signing a free agent is that the money they agree to pay a free agent in, say 2005, always remains the same. Regardless of inflation, or the rise in price of a marginal win, if a team paid player X $10 million dollars for two years in the off-season of 2005, the only way they had of measuring what they were paying for was their previous seasons “Price per Marginal win.”This concept is silly in that it ignores the law of inflation, and fails to recognize that all teams, no matter how cheap, buy players in the same market. Just because the Kansas City Royals paid approximately $2.7 million per marginal win in 2004, doesn’t mean that is the number they should use to evaluate a free agent that off-season. They have to value him in a way close to what other teams would.So what is this value? Based on numbers, again shown in The Book Blog, the price per marginal win after the 2006 season was $4 million. This price goes up 10% in each successive year due to inflation and that is why this past off-season that number had risen to $4.4 million.This time around I will be using completely different dollar figures, and completely different stats, except for Equivalent Base running Runs (EqBrr) since, to date, there are no other publicly available base running metrics.After adding each players W.A.R., UZR Fielding Runs, and EqBrr I came up with a number that represented how many marginal wins any player was worth in any given season.Then I just took that player’s marginal salary, divided it by the price per marginal win, and saw if that player “earned” what he was being paid.Let’s get to it.Over on Talk-Baseball.com one of the readers of my first article asked me to figure the win value for Lance Berkman. While it took me quite a bit of time (as I was overhauling the system), here is that breakdown.In the 2004 off-season Berkman was entering his sixth year of service and would have been a free agent after the season. He had asked for an $11 million annual salary for the 2005 season in arbitration, while the Houston Astros proposed $10 million. They settled on $10.5 million.Then, in March of 2005 Berkman agreed to a six year $85 million dollar deal. The structure of the contract paid Ber[...]



Win Value Project

2008-03-19T19:59:18.504-04:00

I am the first to admit that the game of baseball is not played on computers or in a spreadsheet. There are, without question, factors in the game that cannot be measured by statistics. There can be no value assigned to the way a catcher handles a pitching staff, or the way a certain player can lead his team.But, with all that said, the facets of the game that can be measured have been assigned values by statisticians and fans alike that, I believe, are very accurate. The leader in this field of “assigning value to measurable facets of the game” is Baseball Prospectus.Their revolutionary stat “VORP,” standing for Value Over Replacement Player, measures how many offensive runs a certain player created more than a “replacement level” player, in any one season, would have that played his same position assuming the same number of plate appearances.While I believe many agree with the concept and accuracy of VORP, other stats created by Baseball Prospectus to measure non-offensive areas of the game, such as fielding and base running, aren’t so universally agreed upon.But, while the arguments about the accuracy and validity of these metrics will rage forever, they are more accurate than anything I can come up with, so I will be using Baseball Prospectus’ fielding metric FRAR (Fielding Runs Above Replacement) and their base running statistic EqBRR (Equivalent Base running Runs), combined with VORP to come up with a total amount of runs a player created over a season for this project.I’ve titled this little endeavor my “Win Value Project.” It’s really not that complicated. The goal was/is to figure how much each team in baseball currently pays its players for a marginal win, and then finding out how productive that player must be to “live up” to the contract/salary his team is paying him.To do this I used a spreadsheet to figure out what each team paid for a marginal win in any given year. By using each teams total payroll, subtracting the league minimum and dividing that by the number of marginal wins they accrued (number of wins over 45) I was able to derive how valuable, in monetary terms, a marginal win was to each team.I wasn’t that creative in coming up with a title for that final amount, thus I titled it “Price per Marginal Victory.” I believe no questions are left unanswered with that title.On a separate page of my geeky spreadsheet I figured out, using VORP, FRAR, and EqBRR, the total amount of runs that a player produced in any given season.All of the runs measured by the above metrics represent “marginal” runs—runs created beyond what a replacement player would have (except for EqBRR which represents how many base running runs a player created more than an average base runner. I decided to use this because I think defining a “replacement level” base runner is an impossible task, while defining an average base runner, while not easy, is not as hard), and therefore, correlate with each teams marginal wins.Knowing this I could, theoretically, figure out what any team was expecting from a free agent it signed in an off-season. Using that teams previous season’s “Price per Marginal Win” and applying it to a free agents marginal salary (their yearly salary minus the league minimum), what they were expecting from “free agent X” became evident.One advantage any team has when signing a free agent is that the money they agree to pay a free agent in, say 2005, always remains the same. Regardless of inflation, or the rise in price of a marginal win, if a team paid player X $10 million dollars for two years in the off-season of 2005, the only way they had of measuring what they were paying for was their previous seasons “Price per Marginal win.”So, in the end, if team X paid $2 million per Marginal Win in 2004, that player signed in 2005 will be expected to produce about 4.8 wins over those two years—even if the price per marginal win goes up through the duration of his contract ($10 million minus the league minimum di[...]



The Smart Yankees

2008-01-29T19:37:11.030-05:00

What a perfect follow-up to my last article stating discord with the Rockies long-term signing of Troy Tulowitzki!

If you read that article you are aware that I believe the Rockies should have waited to sign Tulowitzki to a six-year contract. He should have had to—at least--show he can be successful at the Major League level again before the Rockies committed so many years.

Now the New York Yankees step in and show the right way to sign players.

Who would have thought that the Yankees would be the team setting the example of how to develop and sign youngsters?!

With rumored negotiations between the Bombers and their 25 year old second baseman Robinson Cano resulting in a possible contract anywhere from a four year/$30 million to six year/$56 million deal, we now have a template of how to “be patient” and use a player’s cheapest (pre-arbitration) years as an evaluation period to help make more-informed decisions.

Cano’s “evaluation period” showed that he, indeed, is worth a commitment.

Called up in 2005 Cano has been the New York Yankees full-time second baseman since then and has accumulated the following statistics (1720 plate appearances):

.314/.347/.490, 4.24 BB%, 12.03 K%

Those are very good numbers overall, but coming from a second baseman, they are great numbers. Combine this with the fact that Cano is a very good fielder and the Yankees have, truly, found a gem.

While some may look at those statistics above and say Cano doesn’t walk enough (2007 AL mean BB% of 8.54) and therefore isn’t a good bet to stay productive, I disagree.

There is no such thing as “not walking enough.” If a player’s strength is making contact, a lower walk rate doesn’t hurt him if he uses that strength and strikes out at a lower rate than average (2007 AL mean K% of 17.31).

Cano’s K% shows that he can put the ball in play, but his batting average shows that he is very good at collecting hits on those balls in play.

One thing that some may worry some critics about Cano is his career BABIP of .337 (compared to league average around .300). This does not worry me, and it obviously doesn’t bother the Yankees. The sample size (1720 plate appearances) that is Cano’s career shows that he does has some, innate, ability to collect more hits than average when he puts the ball in play.

Cano has not been lucky. The career he has posted to this point is legit, and any worry of a severe downturn in his production over the length of his new contract should be minimal.

The Yankees used the advantages given to them by the system—unlike the Rockies. They used Cano’s pre-arb years as a “minimum wage” way of evaluating his true talent and skill level, and then made a decision. And while there are no guarantees of Cano’s continued productivity, this was a better-informed decision and holds a better chance of success than the one the Rockies made just a few days ago.



Did the Rockies unnecessarily rush?

2008-01-25T18:25:19.261-05:00

What’s the hurry?Why did the Rockies feel the need to sign Troy Tulowitzki to a six year deal now—when he has a pre-arbitration year left? (Structure of contract can be found here.)Why wouldn’t they just let him play out 2008—at minimum wage—and prove 2007 wasn’t a fluke before committing for the next six years?Now, I know Tulowitzki was great last year; both offensively and defensively. I also know he had a good season in the minor leagues in 2006, and I do understand that he projects to be a very good player in the future. Both the scouts and the numbers agree. But scouts, and numbers, are often wrong…especially in baseball.It was just two short years ago in 2006 that Tulowitzki batted .291/.370/.473 in the Texas League (AA) over 484 plate appearances. Good numbers indeed, but not great. They do get better, though, when you consider his great BB/K numbers from that season. His BB% of 9.5 was a tad better than the average for the Texas League (9.16), but his K% of 14.67 was much better than the mean (18%). ***The kid definitely showed patience and a good ability to make contact. He also posted a very good ISO (.182) for that level—Texas League average of .150—showing power was part of his game as well.It seemed Tulowitzki was on the path to stardom. All he would have to do is post great numbers in AAA in 2007 and he’d be ready. Instead, after batting .321/.379/.434 in 53 Spring Training AB’s before the 2007 season, the Rockies decided to have “Tulo” forego a season in AAA and inserted him into their every day lineup.This was definitely the wrong move, right? After all, “Tulo” would only be 22 in 2007, and as noted before, while he was very good in the minors, it was only one year, and it’s not like he was extraordinary.Anyhow, the rest is history, and apparently it was the right move. Tulowitzki went onto lead the Rockies to the World Series in 2007 while batting .291/.359/.479, smashing 24 HR’s, and fielding the shortstop position wonderfully.Should those two seasons (one at the double A level) be enough to make the Rockies commit to him for six seasons—especially when he has a pre-arb year left?It shouldn’t be. When you consider that Tulowitzki was aided by an abnormally high BABIP in 2007 (.336 vs. NL average of .301) you’d have to assume he was somewhat lucky. Shouldn’t the Rockies want to see if this high BABIP was a “repeatable” skill? Also, you’d think the Rockies would want to see if Tulowitzki’s high K% would fall. By striking out 130 times in 2007--19.2% of his plate appearances--Tulowitzki tied Alfonso Soriano for 11th in the NL in that category. While we know strikeouts aren’t deemed as bad as they was 30 years ago, I’d think it’d be in the Rockies best interest to see if Tulowitzki can lower that number before committing. Also, even though this deal make Tulowitzki’s home Coors Field for the foreseeable future, wouldn’t you think the Rockies would be a little worried about his horrible road/home splits from 2007:Home: .326/.392/.568, 15 HRRoad: .256/.327/.393, 9 HRShouldn’t the Rockies want “Tulo” to prove he isn’t just another player who, outside of Coors Field, isn’t even average?These are all things that should have prevented the Rockies from signing Tulowitzki long term when they could have—at least—used 2008 as an extremely cost effective way of deeming his 2007 season as fluke, or a barometer of his true skill.Now don’t get me wrong. I hope this deal works out. I really do. I hope Tulowitzki becomes the next Derek Jeter, and leads Colorado to the post-season for many years to come. The Rockies didn’t use the advantages that are granted to them—three pre-arb, “minimum wage” years—by the system; and I’m just scared it may come back and bite them.***Texas League averages from Minorleaguesplits.com.Frank Bundy III[...]



Carlos Pena Going Forward

2008-01-21T10:41:09.122-05:00

Draw more walks, hit more home runs.Sounds like a pretty good formula for success, does it not? After all, that is the exact formula Carlos Pena used in 2007 to win the American League Comeback Player of the Year award.The funny thing about that formula is that it is so simple. Usually, when looking at a season where a player drastically improved you can point to several things he improved upon that led to his newfound success.There are usually many factors that come together to produce a players breakout/career year. For example, you might find that a player drew more walks, struck out less, hit more line drives, had a higher batting average on balls in play, and hit more ground balls to contribute to his improvement.Not with Carlos Pena though. He only did two things significantly better to improve…and what an improvement it was!In 2007 he set career highs in HR (46), BA (.282), OBP (.411), SLG (.627), OPS (1.038), Hits (138), Doubles (29), RBI (121), and BB (103).What led to all of this improvement? Go back and read the first line of this article.Let’s take a look at some stats of Pena’s through 2006, compared with those same stats in the 2007 season:PA/HR: 22.37 thru 2006, 13.3 in 2007Here is an obvious, large improvement. Pena hit a HR once every 22 plate appearances through 2006, then exploded to hit one every 13 plate appearances in 2007.PA/K: 3.83 thru 2006, 4.31 in 2007Yeah, Pena stuck out a little less in 2007, but not by a significant amount. He pretty much struck out once every four plate appearances through 2006, and in 2007.PA/BB: 9.21 thru 2006, 5.94 in 2007Here’s another significant improvement in 2007. After only walking once every 9 plate appearances through 2006, he walked once every six in 2007.GB%: 38.11 thru 2006, 37.46 in 2007In 2007 Pena hit a tad less ground balls, but not by much at all.FB%: 42.66 thru 2006, 44.51 in 2007Obviously, in 2007 Pena turned his ground balls into fly balls. Again, though, this is not a significant difference from the rest of his career coming into the season.LD%: 19.23 thru 2006, 18.03 in 2007He actually did a little worse in this category in 2007. This one is close to being a significant, but not enough to call it an extreme difference.HR/FB: 17.62 thru 2006, 29.11 in 2007We can call this an extreme improvement. Even though Pena didn’t hit many more fly balls overall in 2007, many more of them became home runs.BABIP: .295 thru 2006, .305 in 2007One of the biggest indicators of luck doesn’t show a high degree of fortune for Pena in 2007. While his BABIP was higher than his career average coming into the season, it wasn’t that much higher, and was exactly the league average in 2007.Pena only did two things significantly better in 2007 to become the beast he was last year. But is this success something he can maintain long-term? Or even throughout the duration of the new three year, $24 million contract he just signed with the Tampa Bay Rays?One way too look at this would be to just simply look at his BABIP and say, “Well, last year wasn’t based on luck, so he can stay this productive.”While it’s a fact that Pena “legitimately” posted the numbers he did last year without the aid of a high BABIP, I think decline is in his future.Pitchers that make it to the Major League level aren’t stupid. And the employees of the teams they pitch for, that prepare scouting reports on Carlos Pena, aren’t either. They know that the key to Pena’s breakout season was the abnormally high amount of walks he had drawn.While this is somewhat a “skill” shown by Pena—to draw walks--it depends highly on the pitcher throwing the balls. A batter can be as adept as ever at taking balls, but that won’t mean anything if the pitcher isn’t throwing them.Put simply, if pitchers throw more strikes to Pena in the future, he’s going to be less productive (when I say strikes I, obviously, don’t mean meatballs down the heart of th[...]



The Playoff Predictor: The NL Wild Card

2005-08-21T15:56:59.270-04:00

Are you up late at night trying to figure out which team is going to win the NL Wild Card race? Are you losing sleep because you just can’t figure out whether the Philadelphia Phillies, Houston Astros, New York Mets, Washington Nationals, or the Florida Marlins will make the post-season?Well I’m here to stop your sleepless nights. I can tell you exactly who is going to win the NL Wild Card race.How am I going to do this?By using my brand new “Playoff Predictor.”What does the “Playoff Predictor” do?The “Playoff Predictor” is a machine that runs all playoff-contending teams through a three-layer filter to figure which of the contending teams really is the best team, and which one has the easiest road to victory.As a note, before I start the “Playoff-Predictor,” even though there is definitely a chance for the Chicago Cubs, and the Milwaukee Brewers to win the Wild Card, for this analysis the only teams I inputted into the machine were ones whose record is currently above .500This leaves us with the above-mentioned Philadelphia Phillies, Florida Marlins, Houston Astros, Washington Nationals, and the New York Mets.Before we start, here is a look at the current NL Wild Card Standings as of 8/19/05:Philadelphia: 65-57; 0 GBHouston: 64-57; ½ GBWashington: 64-57; ½ GBFlorida: 63-57; 1 GBNew York: 61-59; 3 GBThe first filter that the “Playoff Predictor” runs is done by looking at each team’s adjusted record in the “Current Adjusted Team Standings” over Baseball Prospectus.***To read more about Current Adjusted Team Standings see my last article. A team’s adjusted Win/Loss record is a team record based solely upon how my runs a team should score and allow based on theirs and their opponent’s batting line, then adjusted for strength of schedule. The adjusted record is one that is based solely on how good or bad a team has performed…therefore removing luck from the equation. ***After looking at these adjusted records and rounding each teams win/loss total to the nearest whole number, the new “adjusted” NL Wild Card standings look like so:New York: 65-55Houston: 64-57Florida: 63-57Philadelphia: 63-59Washington: 57-64As you can see, these standings are quite different from the actual standings, and tell who has actually performed the best of the teams in the hunt: the New York Mets, but not by much.The top four teams are fairly close, but the fifth team, the Washington Nationals, is too far behind to actually be considered.The “Predictor” has chosen to eliminate them based on the fact that their actual record is 7 games above .500, but their adjusted record is 7 games below .500, which is a sign of turbulent times a coming. Expect the Nationals to drop out of this race quicker than Anna Nicole Smith’s weight.Now the “Predictor” has narrowed the contenders to Philadelphia, New York, Florida, and Houston.To run the next filter the “Predictor” looks at contender’s team stats ranked amongst the NL, and then re-ranks them amongst themselves to see who is better and worse at what.First, here is each team’s NL rank in offense (runs scored), pitching (team ERA), and defense (DIPS%), this season:Team--------Offense------Pitching------DefensePhiladelphia-------4------------9--------------8New York---------6------------6--------------6Florida------------7------------4--------------9Houston----------12-----------2--------------4As stated earlier the “Predictor” uses these league rankings to make predictions by re-ranking these teams amongst themselves. The best team in a category will receive a rank of “4,” and the worst receivess a “1.” Then, it adds each team’s rankings together and the team that ends up with the most “ranking points” is declared the best (this is exactly how rotisserie baseball standings are figured).It is important to note that the “Predictor” favors pitching when forecasting teams’[...]



The Magglio Ordonez Show

2005-02-05T21:30:58.986-05:00

As the off season dwindles down towards the beginning of spring training almost all big-name free agents have been signed by one team or another. All except one, Magglio Ordonez.

For those of you unaware of who Magglio Ordonez is, he was the Chicago White Sox starting right fielder for the past 7 seasons (had been with White Sox for 8 seasons total). For those seven years Ordonez was, undoubtedly, baseball’s best kept secret. While getting very little publicity and fanfare, here are Ordonez's statistics through his career up to this point:

3807 AB, 1167 H, 240 2B, 15 3B, 187 HR, 703 RBI, 82 SB, 38 CS, 333 BB, 431 K, 34 HBP, 35 SF

.307 AVG/.364 OBP/.525 SLG--.889 OPS

***See Magglio Ordonez Stat Profile at Baseball Prospectus:

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/dt/ordonma01.shtml***


That, my friends, is a superstar.

With Ordonez having just turned 31 years old on January 28, he still has, at least, a few dominant years left in him.

At least those were the beliefs before May 24, 2004 when Ordonez suffered a severe knee and calf injury, which made him miss most of the remainder of the 2004 season.

At first the injury was believed to be one that was so bad that he could also miss some of the 2005 season. Later though, it has since been rumored that Ordonez fully healed some time in the month of December.

As you can tell, those two beliefs are polar opposites of one another, which is the main reason Ordonez isn’t already signed by a team. With the statistics he put up before the injury, he was worth top-dollar--no question.

My, oh my, how things change.

Even though it seems some teams are starting to believe that Ordonez is fully healthy, as shown by the 5 year/$55 million deal reportedly offered to him by the Detroit Tigers; it is obvious that Ordonez is a huge injury-risk for 2005 and beyond.

As much as Ordonez’s agent, Scott Boras, will try to have everybody believe his client is fully healthy and ready-to-go, it cannot be overlooked that a player of Ordonez’s quality is still unsigned in February.

If there were a “mid-level” risk involved with Ordonez’s injury problem, some team out there would have snatched him up quicker than you and say “Home Run by Ordonez.” But there haven’t been any suitors.

Now I don’t know about you, but that tells me something:

Ordonez is "high-level" risk.

With that, I wish the best of luck to whomever signs this superstar with bad timing.


Thank you for reading.

Frank Bundy III

If you have any questions, comments, concerns, or suggestions, please do not hesitate to email me at frnkbndy@yahoo.com.

Also, check out Serious Baseball at AtHomePlate.com, a baseball column authored by me, and my colleague, Matthew Souders.










Regardless of how it is obtained, Success = Credibility

2005-01-30T23:05:09.110-05:00

I know that I said that this blog was moving to At Home Plate.com, and it still is. But I couldn't just stop writing here; I love it too much. I love the comments and emails I get, and I appreciate everyone that reads my articles. So, with that being said, there will be much less articles posted at this address than before, but there will still be articles posted here for reading. So here is my first article here since the “death” of this blog. It's reincarnation!!! ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------- If you are looking for statistics, projections, and the like in this article, as I normally write about, well I am sorry. This article will contain none of those. This article is written because of a segment I listened to on ESPN’s radio show, “The Herd,” hosted by Colin Cowherd. The segment basically was about how success breeds credibility…regardless of how that success is obtained. Cowherd went through examples of people who are deemed “credible” by peers and critics alike, because of the success that they “backed into.” This got me thinking about a situation like that in baseball. It didn’t take me long to think of the perfect example of a person in baseball being deemed “credible/great” because of the success he has had, even though he “backed into,” that success. Let’s go back to the 2003 playoff’s to start the story of this “credible” person. In the 2003 playoffs the Boston Red Sox lost the American League Championship Series to the New York Yankees. It is widely believed that the reason that they lost this series was because in Game 7, then-manager Grady Little left starting pitcher Pedro Martinez in the game much too long. Because of this, Martinez wore down, became more hittable, and eventually gave up the tying run to the Yankees after his team was up by 3 runs. Then, in extra innings, long after Martinez was yanked, the Red Sox lost the game, and the series. Because the responsibility for this loss was placed squarely on the shoulders of Little, he was eventually fired. After that, the Red Sox were left with a great team, with no manager. So the search for one began. In the midst of the search, the Red Sox made a trade for a pitcher named Curt Schilling. Curt Schilling was brought in to be the “missing link” from that 2003 team; the piece that was missing from the Red Sox’s World Series Championship puzzle. Since Schilling was such a big commodity, he also carried some weight on the way the team was run. Knowing this, Schilling being the opportunist that he is, decided to recommend one of his former managers that he liked to the Red Sox as a candidate for their managerial opening. After a few weeks of negotiating, the manager that Schilling had recommended was hired. Now the Red Sox had a new ace for their rotation, and a new manager who they thought wouldn’t make the same mistake as Little did the season before. Every thing was perfect for a World Series Championship in 2004. It is hard to believe that the manager the Red Sox chose was more than anything but a favor to their new star pitcher because it was only a few years ago that he was fired from his former managerial job with the Philadelphia Phillies because of an inability to lead his team. While he was in Philadelphia, fans slashed the tires on his car because of how terrible he was. This manager was truly lucky to have had his prior experiences with Schilling in Philadelphia. Little did he know that those experiences would lead him to future “credibility” in the area of managing a baseball team. Now we all know how the 2004 season played out for the Boston Red Sox. They won the World Series for the first time since 1918. When a team does this, the manager is the person given most credit for his teams success, and rightfully so.[...]



Serious Baseball now at "At Home Plate.com"

2005-01-23T12:00:39.363-05:00

Serious Baseball will no longer be published here at this address. This web log will slowly but surely be absorbed by At Home Plate.com.

New articles will continue to be written by both Matthew Souders and I under the new Serious Baseball column there.

Please visit Serious Baseball at At Home Plate.com com to view our introduction articles.

Thank you to everybody who did visit the site, and I hope you continue to read "Serious Baseball" at At Home Plate.com.



All the Fuss Over Carlos Beltran--Ballpark Adjusted (Edit)

2005-01-19T19:54:53.386-05:00

You may have noticed that one of my previous articles, “All the Fuss Over Carlos Beltran-Ballpark Adjusted,” was pulled off the site yesterday. This was due to some errors I made in calculating the projected seasons for Beltran. It was pulled because I did not want an article containing false information on the site for any longer that it was. I apologize for the error, and have corrected it. The article you are reading is actually the correct version of “All the Fuss Over Carlos Beltran. Ballpark-Adjusted” ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- If you recall, in my prior article “All the Fuss Over Carlos Beltran,” I used a “split-the-difference” method to project a “probable, split-the-difference, and best-possible” 2005 season for Carlos Beltran. At the time of the article, Beltran was yet to be signed, and was still looking for a home. The Houston Astros, New York Yankees, and New York Mets were all reportedly close to signing the free agent. Shortly after the publishing of the article Beltran signed a seven-year, $119 million contract with the New York Mets. With this signing, Beltran’s new home ballpark becomes the very pitcher-friendly Shea Stadium in New York City. With this information, I can now project Beltran’s 2005 season, adjusted for Shea Stadium—something I was unable to do before. If you recall, I had Beltran continuing his current upward trend into 2005. As I did in the original article, I will not bore you with a step-by-step detailed explanation of how I calculated Beltran’s projected numbers, I will just present them. ***To read more about the seasons I project, and why I project them, please read earlier article “All the Fuss Over Carlos Beltran.”*** The first thing I must do before projecting ballpark-adjusted seasons though, is to ballpark-adjust Beltran’s previous three seasons (because those are the seasons used to determine the projections). Here are Beltran’s previous three seasons, ballpark-adjusted: Stats presented as so: AB, AVG/OBP/SLG-OPS, (AVG/HR/RBI), SB/CS, K/BB 2002 (Kansas City Royals—Kauffman Stadium): 617 AB--.253/.331/.446-.777 OPS--(.253/22/97)—35/7 (83.3%) SB/CS—135/71 (1.90/1) K/BB 2003 (Kansas City Royals—Kauffman Stadium): 514 AB--.295/.380/.506-.886 OPS--(.295/25/93)—41/4 (91.1%) SB/CS—81/72 (1.13/1) K/BB 2004 (Kansas City Royals—Kauffman Stadium, Houston Astros—Minute Maid Park): 602 AB--.268/.368/.511-.878 OPS--(.268/32/105)—42/3 (93.3%) SB/CS—101/92 (1.10/1) K/BB If you recall, without park adjustments, 2004 was Beltran’s best season in the previous three seasons (according to OPS); and was the season used to project 2005 by splitting the differences between that season and his previous three year averages. When park factors are included though, 2003 becomes his best season in that span (according to OPS). This being the case, Beltran’s projected 2005 season would normally be determined by the differences between that season (2003) and his previous three-year averages; but since he only had 521 AB’s in 03’, due to injury, I will still use 2004 as his best season in that span. I do this because 2004 is a better representation of a “best season,” because Beltran wasn’t injured, and had an AB total closer to his career average. Here is the “probable, split-the-difference, and best-possible” seasons that I projected in the original article. Underneath each of them will be Beltran’s ballpark adjusted season of the same name. Stats presented as so: AB, AVG/OBP/SLG-OPS, (AVG/HR/RBI), SB/CS, K/BB Split the difference 2005: 606 AB--.260/.368/.559-.927 OPS--(.260/42/105)--43/2 (93.3%) SB/CS--99/99 (1.00/1) K/BB 2005 (Park Adjusted): 603 AB--.262/.361/.508--.[...]



Blue Jays Acquire Hillenbrand

2005-01-17T11:35:42.036-05:00

On January 12, 2005 the Arizona Diamondbacks traded 29-year-old 1B/3B Shea Hillenbrand to the Blue Jays in exchange for 25 year old pitching prospect Adam Peterson. With the Diamondbacks recent acquisitions of 3B Troy Glaus and RF Shawn Green, the only position left for Hillenbrand to play, if he were to stay in Arizona, was 1B. The Diamondbacks decided to go with a cheaper alternative at that position, and chose the 24-year-old Chad Tracy, making Hillenbrand expendable. On the other end of the trade, the Blue Jays were in need of a first basemen because their former first basemen, Carlos Delgado, was not offered arbitration, leaving a huge hole at that position. Since the Blue Jays already have a fulltime third basemen in newly acquired 31-year-old Corey Koskie, Hillenbrand will play either 1B or DH. He will split time between these two positions with Blue Jays former third basemen Eric Hinske, who is also forced to change positions because of the acquisition of Koskie. Here is a look at the players both teams are receiving in the deal. Translated and actual statistics will be presented. ***For Peterson, only actual statistics will be presented, because translated ones were not available.*** Blue Jays receive: Shea Hillenbrand (Stats presented as: AB, AVG/OBP/SLG—OPS, HR, RBI, K/BB) 2004 (Actual Stats): 562 AB, .310/.348/.464--.812 OPS, 15 HR, 80 RBI, 49/24 K/BB 2004 (Translated Stats): .299/.338/.447--.269 EqA Career (Actual Stats): 2179 AB, .288/.322/.448--.770 OPS, 65 HR, 274 RBI, 275/86 K/BB Career (Translated Stats): .286/.323/.449--.263 EqA Diamondbacks receive: Adam Peterson: 2004 (AA): 28 IP, 2.54 ERA, 6.4 H/9—0.3 HR/9—3.2 BB/9—12.1 K/9 2004 (AAA): 21 IP, 12.86 ERA, 16.3 H/9—2.6 HR/9—6.9 BB/9—8.1 K/9 2004 (MLB): 3 IP, 16.87 ERA, 7 Hits—1 HR—3 BB—2 K Career (Minor League): 140 IP, 4.23 ERA, 8.4 H/9—0.8 HR/9—3.5 BB/9—8.5 K/9 Is this a joke? The Blue Jays get a very solid player in exchange for a below average minor-leaguer, who has gotten worse every level he has gone up? Did the Blue Jays really rip the Diamondbacks off this bad? Let’s look at the money side of the deal before answering the preceding questions. Peterson, as a minor leaguer, will make the league minimum. Hillenbrand, on the other hand, is due for arbitration in 2005. Knowing that he made $2.6 million in 2005, and accounting for the good season he had in 2004, I’m going to guess that arbitration grants him around $4 million in 2005. After seeing the financial aspect of this deal, the Diamondbacks still got robbed. I do understand that Hillenbrand had to go (see position scenarios above), and that the Diamondbacks save a good amount of money in this deal, but they could have gotten much better player(s) in exchange for him than Peterson. Peterson (25) is past the age where he is considered a prospect, doesn’t have very good career numbers throughout his minor league career, and has played his worst baseball at the highest levels. On top of all this, paying only $4 million for Hillenbrand is a pretty good bargain for the Blue Jays. Blue Jays general manager J.P. Riccardi deserves a huge “pat on the back” for completing this deal. He saw a team that had no room for a good player not making a huge amount of money, and then went and got him for an underachieving, older, minor leaguer. Way to go Blue Jays. Thank you for reading. Frank Bundy III If you have any question, comments, concerns, or suggestions, please do not hesitate to email me at frnkbndy@yahoo.com. [...]



Diamondbacks acquire Shawn Green

2005-01-11T21:16:00.236-05:00

On January 10, 2005 the Los Angeles Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks completed the long awaited trade sending $10 million, and 32-year-old RF Shawn Green to the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for four minor leaguers. In order for this trade to occur, Green had to waive the “no-trade” clause in his contract with the Dodgers. Green was only willing to do this if the Diamondbacks came up with a contract extension he would be content with. After about a week of negotiating, and many rumors of the trade not happening, Green and the Diamondbacks did finally agree on an extension. With the new contract extension included, Green’s salaries for each of the next three years now look like so: 2005- $10.5 million 2006- $8 million 2007- $9.5 million 2008- $10 million option with $2 million dollar buyout clause. Not including the option year of 2008, Green’s new contract essentially pays him $30 million over the next three seasons. In exchange for Green and the $10 million that Los Angeles sent with him, Arizona sent the Dodgers 20 year old minor league catcher Dioner Navarro, and minor league RHP’s William Jaurez (23 years old), Danny Muegge (23 years old), and Beltran Perez (23 years old). Here is a look at each players 2004 and career, translated and actual stats: ***For the minor league players involved, only actual statistics will be presented because translated statistics were unavailable*** Diamondbacks receive: Shawn Green: 2004: Actual Statistics: .266/.352/.459, 811 OPS, 28 HR, 86 RBI, 114/72 (1.58/1) K/BB Translated Statistics: .270/.354/.470, .280 EqA Career: Actual Statistics: .282/.357/.508, .865 OPS, 281 HR, 885 RBI, 1076/600 (1.79/1) K/BB Translated Statistics: .288/.360/.524, .295 EqA Dodgers receive: Dioner Navarro: 2004 (AA Trenton, AAA Columbus): .263 AVG/.341 OBP/.366 SLG-.707 OPS, 4 HR , 45 RBI, 61/47 (1.30/1) K/BB Career (Minor Leagues): .277 AVG/.350 OBP/.402 SLG--.752 OPS, 21 HR, 168 RBI, 198/138 (1.43/1) K/BB William Juarez 2004 (A South Bend, AA El Paso): 6-8 W-L, 3.71 ERA, 121.3 IP, 8.8 H/9—0.6 HR/9—2.1 BB/9—8.5 K/9 Career (Minor League): 27-19 W-L, 3.07 ERA, 408.0 IP, 9.1 H/9—0.4 HR/9—2.2 BB/9—7.6 K/9 Beltran Perez 2004 (AA El Paso): 2-6 W-L, 4.41 ERA, 104.0 IP, 8.8 H/9—0.9 HR/9—4.0 BB/9—6.7 K/9 Career (Minor League): 31/22 W-L, 3.98 ERA, 480.0 IP, 9.0 H/9—0.7 HR/9—2.9 BB/9—8.1 K/9 Danny Muegge 2004 (A South Bend): 14-4 W-L, 3.12 ERA, 153.0 IP, 8.8 H/9—0.9 HR/9—2.5 BB/9—6.1 K/9 Career (Minor League): 16-7 W-L, 3.32 ERA, 176.0 IP, 9.2 H/9—0.9 HR/9—2.5 BB/9—6.4 K/9 As discussed in my earlier article “Yankees acquire Big Unit,” Navarro is a very good prospect at catcher. A look at William Jaurez’s number show that he, himself, is also a very good prospect. Perez, on the other hand, struggled last season. Although he has put up good numbers throughout his minor league career, it may be a concern that he stuggled at his highest current level of competition, AA El Paso. Muegge, in essentially one minor league season, has put up very good numbers. All four of the prospects that the Diamondbacks gave up in this deal, show signs of having success in the future…which is all any team (Dodgers) can ask for out of any minor leaguer. Since the four minor leaguers essentially do not count against the Dodgers major league payroll, and will be making league-minimum salaries anyways, they are essentially not adding any money to the Dodgers total payroll; but to fully look at the financial aspects of this deal for the Dodgers, Shawn Green’s old contract with them must be looked at. Under that contract, Green was signed through 2005, and was due to make $16 million that year. After looking at that [...]



Yankees Acquire Big Unit

2005-01-08T15:01:15.440-05:00

Pending a physical, the New York Yankees and Arizona Diamondbacks recently have completed the biggest trade of the 2004 off-season. In the deal, the Diamondbacks will send the 41 year old, future Hall of Fame left handed pitcher Randy Johnson to the Yankees in exchange for 28 year old right handed pitcher Javier Vazquez, 23 year old left handed pitcher Brad Halsey, 20 year old minor league catcher Dioner Navarro, and $9 million. Here is a look at each players translated, and actual career and 2004 statistics: ***For Halsey and Navarro only actual Stats will be presented since no translated stats were available*** Yankees receive: Randy Johnson: 2004: Actual Stats: 16-14 W-L, 2.60 ERA, 245.7 IP, 177 Hits (6.5 H/9), 18 HR (0.7 HR/9), 44 BB (1.6 BB/9), 290 K (10.6 K/9) Translated Stats: 2.30 ERA, 5.7 H/9--0.5 HR/9--1.2 BB/9--9.5 K/9 Career: Actual Stats: 246-128 W-L, 3.07 ERA, 3368.0 IP, 2612 Hits (7.0 H/9), 301 HR (0.8 HR/9), 1302 BB (3.5 BB/9), 4161 K (11.1 K/9) Translated Stats: 2.79 ERA, 6.3 H/9--0.7 HR/9—2.9 BB/9—10.8 K/9 Diamondbacks receive: Javier Vazquez: 2004 Actual Stats: 14-10 W-L, 4.91 ERA, 198.0 IP, 195 Hits (8.9 H/9), 33 HR (1.5 HR/9), 60 BB (2.7 BB/9), 150 K (8.8 K/9) Translated Stats: 4.01 ERA, 7.3 H/9—1.2 HR/9—2.5 BB/9—6.1 K/9 Career: Actual Stats: 78-78 W-L, 4.26 ERA, 1427.0 IP, 1430 Hits (9.0 H/9), 188 HR (1.2 HR/9), 391 BB (2.5 BB/9), 1226 K (7.7 K/9) Translated Stats: 3.58 ERA, 7.8 H/9—1.0 HR/9—1.9 BB/9—7.0 K/9 Brad Halsey: 2004: (Yankees) Actual Stats: 1-3 W-L, 6.47 ERA, 32.0 IP, 41 Hits (11.5 H/9), 4 HR (1.1 HR/9), 14 BB (3.9 BB/9), 25 K (7.0 K/9) Career: (Minor League) Actual Stats: 34-14 W-L, 3.26 ERA, 375.0 IP, 386 Hits (9.3 H/9), 15 HR (0.4 HR/9), 90 BB (2.2 BB/9), 296 K (7.1 K/9) Dioner Navarro: 2004 Actual Stats (AA Trenton, AAA Columbus): .263 AVG/.341 OBP/.366 SLG-.707 OPS, 4 HR (45 RBI), 61/47 (1.30/1) K/BB Career (Minor Leagues): .277 AVG/.350 OBP/.402 SLG--.752 OPS, 21 HR (168 RBI), 198/138 (1.43/1) K/BB The Diamondbacks are getting a pitcher in Vazquez, who besides last season, his first in New York, has been nothing short of great throughout his career. They are also getting some very good prospects in Halsey and Navarro. While Halsey did, indeed, struggle in his brief stint with the Yankees last season, he has been great throughout his minor league career. Navarro, while not a power hitter, shows great patience at the plate (see K/BB ratio) and also has shown an above-average ability to get on base (see OBP). On the other side of the deal, the Yankees are getting the man they have coveted since the trade deadline during the 2004 season, Randy Johnson. There is really nothing I can say to exemplify how great Johnson is, just look at the numbers. The Yankees are without question receiving a first-ballot Hall of Famer, and one of the best pitchers of all time. The only question mark that comes with Johnson would be his age (41). Although Johnson is 41 and carries an injury risk with him, strictly because of his age, those risks were downgraded substantially last season when Johnson did not show any lasting effects from his injury in 2003 that sidelined him for half of the season. With Johnson being so dominant throughout his injury-free 2004 campaign, he proved to all of his critics—including the Yankees-- that injuries are a very small factor to consider when dealing with the future hall-of-famer. A look at the money side of the deal will show that money actually means nothing to the Yankees. To complete this deal the Yankees had to agree on a contract extension with Johnson, which they did; for 2 years at $32 million. Combining the new extension with the $16 million due to Johnson in 20[...]



All the Fuss Over Carlos Beltran

2005-01-05T20:27:21.326-05:00

Throughout this topsy-turvy off-season in 2004 there have been many trades and free agent signings. All of these though, will be paltry compared the signing of Carlos Beltran, the most sought-after free agent in 2004. When this signing will happen, nobody knows. There are guesses that it will happen somewhere around January 8, 2004 because that is the last day that the Houston Astros (Beltran's former team) can resign him. Those are just guesses though. There is no doubt though, that it will be a huge deal, worth a huge amount of money, when Beltran finally does sign. Why is Carlos Beltran the most sought-after free agent? Why will he make the most money of all the free agents in 2004? Because teams project Beltran to have nothing but monster years in the future, and many of them. After all, he is only 27 years old--the age when most players, if capable, start their runs of dominance--and their statistics get better. If this age theory does work out, and Beltran only gets better in the years to come, he would indeed be worth a very high salary. Here are Beltran's statistics in every year of his career in which he accumulated 300+ AB's: Stats presented as so: AB, AVG/OBP/SLG-OPS, (AVG/HR/RBI), SB/CS, K/BB 1999 KC- 663 AB--.297/.337/.454-.791--(.293/22/108)--27/8 SB/CS--123/46 K/BB 2000 KC- 372 AB--.247/.309/.366-.675--(.247/7/44)--10/0 SB/CS--69/35 K/BB 2001 KC- 617 AB--.306/.362/.514-.876--(.306/24/101)--31/1 SB/CS--120/52 K/BB 2002 KC- 637 AB--.273/.346/.501-.847--(.273/29/105)--35/7 SB/CS--135/71 K/BB 2003 KC- 521 AB--.307/.389/.522-.911--(.307/26/100)--46/4 SB/CS--81/72 K/BB 2004 KC/HOU- 599 AB--.267/.367/.548-.915--(.267/38/104)--42/3 SB/CS--101/92 K/BB Career- 3467 AB, .284/.350/.490-.843--(.284/146/569)--192/23 (89.3%) SB/CS--641/371 (1.73/1) K/BB As you can see, in terms of OPS, in the last three years Beltran is doing nothing but getting better. The big question though, is "How will Beltran perform in 2005?" Well, obviously that question has no answer, all we can do is make projections as to what he'd do--and that is what I am here to do. I will project Beltran's 2005 season using his statistics last season (his career-best according to OPS), and comparing them to his averages each of his past three seasons and "splitting the differences." I will not bore anybody with the math involved in coming up with this "split the difference" season. I will just present the results. Carlos Beltran (Split the difference) 2005: 606 AB--.260/.368/.559-.927 OPS--(.260/42/105)--43/2 (93.3%) SB/CS--99/99 (1.00/1) K/BB That is a pretty awesome season, and shows that Beltran will, in fact, to continue to improve (according to OPS). If Beltran had that season for any team in 2005, I am sure the team would be more than happy to pay his enormous salary that year. Since Beltran is only 27 though, it is entirely possible, as is for any player--but more so for a 27 year old--that he will not just have a "split the difference" season; he could have an ever better season than that. With this possibility being ever so relevant for Beltran, I will project a 2005 season, not using the 50% difference I used in his "split the difference" season, but I will use a 120% difference (actually not a "difference" since it would be adding on to his stats) to project a "best-possible" season for Beltran in 2005. Carlos Beltran (Best-possible) 2005: 615 AB--.251/.369/.576-.944 OPS--(.251/46/105)--43/1 (97.7%) SB/CS--95/108 (.880/1) K/BB This season is even better than his "split the difference" season. While this "best-possible" season is entirely possible, it is not probable. It is very probable though that Beltran WILL improve though. Since this is ver[...]



Upcoming Article

2005-01-04T21:39:41.000-05:00

There has not been an article posted on "Serious Baseball" for so long (5 days--tomorrow) because I have been working on an article which would present my own personal ballpark factors, and the factors aren't working out.

Since the factors are not working out, there hasn't been an article posted about the factors because it would make no sense.

I will continue to work on these ballpark factors though--and hope to post that article someday.

In the meantime, it will be business as usual here at "Serious Baseball." I will continue to put a new article out every 3-4 days.

If there is ever a delay on an article, leading to an extended period of time between articles, I will post a notice explaining the reason for the delay--as I have here.

I apologize for the delay.

The next article, which will be posted either tomorrow (Jan. 5, 2005) or the next day (Jan. 6, 2005), and will be about free-agent Carlos Beltran. The article will include projections for his 2005 season, and also opinions about the possible amount of money he may or may not sign for.

Thank you for reading,

Frank Bundy III

If you have any questions, comments, concerns, or suggestions please do not hesitate to email me at frnkbndy@yahoo.com.




Free Agent Left Handed Relief Pitchers

2005-02-05T21:18:02.430-05:00

Here is the final segment of “Free-Agent Scouting Reports”—“Left Handed Relief Pitchers.” As always, players are ranked by whom I believe is the best available. For anybody that reads this list and wonders why Chris Hammond is so low when in his last three seasons his ERA read as follows: 2002-0.95 2003-2.86 2004-2.68; Well the answer, in short, is that even though he has been great recently, his career numbers do not stack up well against the other free agents on the list, and, his translated ERA is actually, believe it or not, in a downward trend (see numbers below). Also, the reason Gabe White is ranked so high, after a miserable season in 2004, is because his career number are great when compared to the other free agents. 1. Steve Kline (32): Signed with Orioles, 2 years ($5.5 million) 2004 Statistics: 1.79 ERA, 50.3 IP, 37 Hits, 3 HR, 17 BB, 35 K, 19.9 VORP////2004 Translated Statistics: 2.18 ERA, 7.0 H/9—0.5 HR/9—2.8 BB/9—5.3 K/9--////Career Statistics: 3.30 ERA, 523.7 IP, 479 Hits, 44 HR, 221 BB, 407 K////Translated career statistics: 2.94 ERA, 7.7 H/9—0.7 HR/9—3.4 BB/9—6.1 K/9--////Career K/BB of 1.84/1--////In each of the past three season’s Kline’s translated H/9 (02’-8.7, 03’-7.6, 04’-7.0) has gotten better////Only counting seasons in which Kline has pitched at least 50 innings, 2004 represented a career-best ERA (1.79), Hits allowed (37), BB (17), and a tie for career-best HR allowed (3) for Kline, while representing NO career-worst////Spent last four seasons in St. Louis (moderate pitcher’s park)//// 2. Eddie Guardado (34): Option picked-up by Mariners 2004 Statistics: 2.78 ERA, 45.3 IP, 31 Hits, 8 HR, 14 BB, 45 K, 17.6 VORP////2004 Translated Statistics: 2.48 ERA, 5.1 H/9—1.2 HR/9—2.7 BB/9—7.8 K/9--////Career Statistics: 4.40 ERA, 743.0 IP, 693 Hits, 107 HR, 282 BB, 650 K////Translated career statistics: 3.36 ERA, 6.9 H/9—1.0 HR/9—2.8 BB/9—7.8 K/9--////Career K/BB of 2.30/1--////Missed part of 2004 season because of injury////In each of the past three seasons, Gaurdado’s IP (02’-67.7, 03’-65.3, 04’-45.3) has decreased; since the decline between 02’ and 03’ isn’t that great, I will use Gaurdado’s “counting” stats for figuring out any trends his statistics have followed in the last three years////In each of the past three seasons, Guardado’s ERA (02’-2.93, 03’-2.89, 04’-2.78), Hits allowed (02’-53, 03’-50, 04’-31) and translated H/9 (02’-6.4, 03’-6.2, 04’-5.1) have gotten better, while his translated K/9 (02’-9.1, 03’-8.0, 04’-7.8), and K totals (02’-70, 03’-60, 04’-45) have gotten worse////With Gaurdado’s significant decrease in IP due to injury, his “counting” stats in 2004 will not be considered for career-bests and worst, his translated statistics will be used for this though////2004 represented a career-best translated H/9 (5.1) for Gaurdado, while also representing a career-worst translated HR/9 (1.2) for him////Spent last four seasons in Minnesota (neutral park), and Seattle (severe pitcher’s park)///// 3. Wilson Alvarez (35): Signed with Dodgers, 2 years ($4 million) 2004 Statistics: 4.03 ERA, 120.7 IP, 109 Hits, 12 HR, 31 BB, 102 K, 21.0 VORP////2004 Translated Statistics: 3.71 ERA, 7.9 H/9—0.8 HR/9—1.9 BB/9—6.9 K/9--////Career Statistics: 3.94 ERA, 1723.7 IP, 1593 Hits, 183 HR, 798 BB, 1314 K////Translated career statistics: 3.50 ERA, 7.5 H/9—0.8 HR/9—3.5 BB/9—6.9 K/9--////Career K/BB of 1.65/1--////Was out of baseball in 2000, and 2001//// In each of the last three season’s Alvarez’s IP has increased (02’-75.0, 03’-95.0, 04’-120.7). Du[...]



Red Sox/Padres Trade

2004-12-27T16:41:45.263-05:00

In my efforts to report on as many trades as possible throughout this hectic baseball off season, while at the same time trying to finish my scouting reports on free agents, some reviews of trades are being written late. When I do have the time to review the trades though, and subsequently give my opinions, I have to try and rank each trade in my mind as to which is the most significant, and review them first. While this Red Sox/Padres trade is, in fact, a significant trade, I had it ranked below other trades that happened in approximately the same time period; such as all of the Oakland A's trades. This "lower" ranking led to the review of this trade getting pushed back behind the reviews of trades that I deemed "more significant." Now though, the Red Sox/Padres trade, which occurred on December 21, 2004, is up for my review. In the trade the Boston Red Sox acquired 31 year-old RH OF Jay Payton, 27 year-old LH utility IF Ramon Vazquez, 21 year-old minor league RHP Dave Pauley, and $2.65 million from the San Diego Padres in exchange for 32-year-old LH OF Dave Roberts. Here is a look at each of the involved players 2004, and career translated statistics: ***For minor-leaguer Dave Pauley, un-translated statistics will be presented because translated statistics for him were unavailable*** Red Sox receive: Jay Payton: 2004: .265/.332/.378, .251 EqA (Un-translated statistics of 8 HR, 56/43 (1.30/1) K/BB) Career: .282/.331/.439, .262 EqA {Career K/BB of 305/164 (1.86/1)} Ramon Vazquez: 2004: Only 52 Games .245/.308/.327, .222 EqA (Un-translated Statistics of 1 HR, 24/11 (2.18/1) K/BB) Career: .276/.347/.359, .254 EqA, {Career K/BB of 194/108 (1.80/1)} Dave Pauley: 2004 (Single A): 4.17 ERA, 9.1 H/9—0.5 HR/9—3.9 BB/9—7.5 K/9 Minor-League Career: 3.97 ERA, 9.3 H/9—0.5 HR/9—3.0 BB/9—7.7 K/9 Padres receive: Dave Roberts: 2004: .245/.329/.366, .271 EqA—reason for high EqA is tremendous SB/CS of 38/3 (93%), {Un-translated statistics of 4 HR, 31/28 (1.10/1) K/BB} Career: .263/.338/.349, .260 EqA—again, reason for league-average EqA is career SB/CS of 135/32 (81%)—{Career K/BB of 158/141 (1.12/1)} The best player involved in this deal is Payton, by a slim margin over Roberts. Looking at this trade from this perspective, it would be obvious that the Red Sox got the better end of this trade. While receiving the best player in the deal, they are also receiving two other players, and $2.65 million dollars. If you’re like me, you’re saying to yourself, “the Padres must have done this deal to save money….right?” To see if this is true, here is a look at the financial side of this deal. Jay Payton is signed through 2005 with an option for 2006. In 2005 Payton is due to make $3.5 million. In 2006 he is guaranteed $500,000, with a $4 million option to make a total salary of $4.5 million 2006, if his option were picked up. Now, I must take the $2.65 million that the Padres are giving the Red Sox next season and use that towards the payment of Payton’s 2005 salary. After the subtraction, the Red Sox end up paying Payton $850,000 in 2005 ($3.5 million 2005 salary minus $2.65 million paid by Padres). As for Ramon Vazquez, he is arbitration-eligible for 2005. With his 2004 salary being $340,000, I don’t see him getting that much of a raise for 2005 with the numbers he put up in 2004. For the sake of figuring out how each team made out financially in this deal, I’ll say Vazquez will make $500,000 in 2005. For Pauley, I will not even add him onto the Red Sox payroll since he will stay in the minor leagues, for now. He will be makin[...]



Free Agent Right-handed Relief Pitchers #13-24

2005-01-19T20:24:32.736-05:00

After the long wait, here are the scouting reports for free-agent right-handed relief pitchers, numbers 13-24. As I posted earlier, the reason for the long period of time between scouting reports was the flurry of trading activity that had taken place in Major League Baseball during the past few weeks that I absolutely had to report on. Anyway, without further ado, here they are: 13. Esteban Yan (30): Signed with Angels, 2 years ($2.25 million) 2004 statistics- 3.83 ERA, 87.0 IP, 92 Hits, 8 HR, 32 BB, 69 K, 17.7 VORP////2004 translated statistics- 3.54 ERA, 8.7 H/9--0.7 HR/9--3.0 BB/9--6.6 K/9--////Career statistics- 5.17 ERA, 591.3 IP, 656 Hits, 89 HR, 220 BB, 484 K////Translated Career statistics- 4.24 ERA, 8.4 H/9--1.0 HR/9--2.8 BB/9--7.0 K/9////Career K/BB of 2.2/1--////In each of the past three seasons, Yan’s Hits allowed totals (02’-70, 03’-84, 04’-92) have gotten worse////2004 represented a career best translated HR/9 (0.7), and ERA (3.83) for Yan, while representing NO career worsts////Spent last four seasons in Tampa Bay (neutral), St. Louis (moderate pitcher’s park), Detroit (moderate pitcher’s park), and Texas (severe hitter’s park)//// 14. Cal Eldred (37): Signed with Cardinals, 2 years ($600,000) 2004 statistics- 3.76 ERA, 67.0 IP, 71 Hits, 11 HR, 17 BB, 54 K, 11.4 VORP////2004 translated statistics- 3.76 ERA, 8.8 H/9--1.2 HR/9--1.9 BB/9--6.5 K/9--////Career statistics- 4.48 ERA, 1331.0 IP, 1305 Hits, 170 HR, 558 BB, 910 K////Translated Career statistics- 3.80 ERA, 7.7 H/9--1.0 HR/9--3.1 BB/9--6.1 K/9////Career K/BB of 1.63/1--////Since Eldred was out of baseball in 2002, there are no trends of his to identify////2004 represented a career best BB total (17) for Eldred for years in which he pitched 60+ innings////Spent last four seasons in Chicago White Sox (moderate hitter’s park), and St. Louis (moderate pitchers park) 15. Jose Mesa (39): Option picked up by Pirates 2004 statistics- 3.25 ERA, 69.3 IP, 78 Hits, 6 HR, 20 BB, 37 K, 17.9 VORP////2004 translated statistics- 2.72 ERA, 9.6 H/9--0.7 HR/9--2.3 BB/9--4.1 K/9--////Career statistics- 4.27 ERA, 1369.0 IP, 1442 Hits, 126 HR, 564 BB, 933 K////Translated Career statistics- 3.68 ERA, 8.6 H/9--0.7 HR/9--3.2 BB/9--6.1 K/9////Career K/BB of 1.65/1--////In each of the last three seasons, Mesa’s translated K/9 (02’-6.6, 03’-6.0, 04’-4.1), Hits allowed (02’-65, 03’-71, 04’-78), and K totals (02’-64, 03’-45, 04’-37) have gotten worse, while in the same period, his BB totals have gotten better (02’-39, 03’-31, 04’-20)////2004 represented NO career bests or worsts for Mesa////Spent last four seasons in Pittsburgh (neutral park), and Philadelphia (moderate hitter’s park)//// 16. Dave Burba (39): Signed Minor League Contract with Astros 2004 statistics- 4.21 ERA, 77.0 IP, 70 Hits, 7 HR, 26 BB, 50 K, 8.8 VORP////2004 translated statistics- 3.67 ERA, 7.1 H/9--0.7 HR/9--2.7 BB/9--5.0 K/9--////Career statistics- 4.49 ERA, 1777.7 IP, 1777 Hits, 201 HR, 762 BB, 1398 K////Translated Career statistics- 3.97 ERA, 7.8 H/9--0.9 HR/9--3.7 BB/9--6.5 K/9////Career K/BB of 1.83/1--////Missed part of 2004 seasons due to injury////Spent last four seasons in Milwaukee (neutral park), San Francisco (severe pitcher’s park), Texas (severe hitter’s park), and Cleveland (neutral park)//// 17. Elmer Dessens (33): Signed with Dodgers, 1 year ($1.3 million) 2004 statistics- 4.46 ERA, 105.0 IP, 123 Hits, 12 HR, 31 BB, 73 K, 5.8 VORP////2004 translated statistics- 3.81 ERA, 8.7 H/9--1.0 HR/9--2.2 BB/9--5.6 K/9--////Career statistics- 4.46 ERA, 914.0 IP, 1031 [...]



Happy Holidays

2004-12-25T19:34:14.736-05:00

I would like to extend my warmest wishes to all, and wish everyone "Happy Holidays."

To everybody who has, will, and is visiting the site:

Thank you, you are greatly appreciated.

Frank Bundy III



Update on Free Agent Scouting Reports

2004-12-22T21:10:56.993-05:00

For those of you who visit the site regularly and are wondering why I have stopped putting out my free-agent scouting reports, there is an answer:

There have been so many trades and such in the past few weeks that I absolutely had to report on, consequently pushing the scouting reports back.

I did not give up on the scouting reports though, I believe they are a great tool to evaluate who your favorite team signs, and for that matter, anybody that any other team signs.

If you've been following the reports, you know that my last entry was "Right Handed Relief Pitchers #1-12." Well, #'s 13-24 will be put out soon, hopefully within the week. I can only guarentee that it WILL be put out though, not the time frame. Hopefully they will be put out sooner than later.

Thank you for reading any or all of the scouting reports that you have read. I hope they have been a useful tool in helping you follow all the action that is the baseball offseason.





I Know It's A Week Late But....."A's Acquire Ginter"

2004-12-21T21:48:25.083-05:00

I know this review is a week late, but with the flurry of trading activities--mostly involving the A's--I decided this trade would come after the deals for Mark Mulder and Tim Hudson..... On December 15, 2004 the Oakland A’s, unsure about the return of Mark Ellis after missing the entire 2004 season due to injury, acquired 28 year-old Keith Ginter from the Milwaukee Brewers to play Ellis’s old position, second base. In exchange for Ginter, the A’s gave the Brewers mid-season call-up RHP Justin Lehr (27 years old), and minor league OF Nelson Cruz (24 years old). Here is a look at each of the involved player’s statistics. For Lehr, and Cruz statistics presented will be un-traslated as translated statistics were unavailable. For Ginter, translated statistics will be presented. A’s receive: Keith Ginter 2004: .257/.330/.472, .274 EqA (un-translated statistics of 19 HR, 100/37 K/BB) Career: .256/.344/.447, .273 EqA (career K/BB of 205/92=2.23/1) Brewers receive: Justin Lehr 2004 (AAA Sacramento): 37.1 IP, 2.65 ERA, 8.9 H/9—0.2 HR/9—2.4 BB/9—9.6 K/9 2004 (Oakland A’s): 32.2 IP, 5.23 ERA, 9.6 H/9—0.8 HR/9—3.9 BB/9—4.4 K/9 Minor League Career (568.0 IP): 4.23 ERA, 10.1 H/9—0.7 HR/9—2.8 BB/9—7.1 K/9 Nelson Cruz 2004 (A Modesto, AA Midland, AAA Sacramento): .326/.389/.562, 25 HR, 149/51 (2.92/1) K/BB, 16/7 (69%) SB/CS Minor League Career: .310/.373/.502, 340/120 ( 2.84/1) K/BB, 71/8 (90%) SB/CS Before making the final judgment as to who got the better end of the deal, here is a look at the financial side of the trade: Ginter is signed through 2006. In 2005 he will make only $450,000, in 06’ he will make $1.03 million. His total salary for those two seasons is $1.47 million. There are many incentives in his contract though, that could make it worth around $2.875 million. Both Lehr and Cruz will both be making their minor-league salaries with the Brewers until seven years pass from the date they were first called up. Since Lehr was called up last season, he is guaranteed his minor-league salary until at least 2010. Cruz has yet to be called up. While saving a negligible amount of money, the Brewers received help, albeit unproven and unsteady help in Lehr, for their diminished bullpen which lost set-up man Luis Vizcaino, and All-Star closer Dan Kolb through trades earlier in the off-season. Lehr had a great 2004 in AAA Sacramento, but faltered in his stint with the A’s, all while putting up mediocre numbers throughout his minor league career. The Brewers also received a great prospect in Cruz, who can steal bases and has put up great numbers throughout his minor league career. He is expected to start the season in the Brewers AA club, the Huntsville Stars. The A’s, who essentially just tack Ginter’s salary onto their payroll since they only gave up minor league players in the deal, receive a player who has shown the ability to be a very good infielder. Throughout Ginter’s past two seasons’ with the Brewers, he was a backup at 2B, SS, and 3B, and as one can see, put up very good numbers when he played. Ginter totaled 386 and 358 AB’s in 2003, and 2004 respectively. As a matter of a fact, Ginter’s career numbers are better than both Marco Scutaro, and Mark Ellis’s career numbers—the players Ginter will be vying with for a starting second base position. **Ellis, and Scutaro’s translated career statistics: Ellis: .263/.342/.390, .259 EqA Scutaro: .263/.302/.393, .241 EqA I believe the A’s got[...]



Cardinals acquire Mark Mulder

2004-12-20T19:36:35.586-05:00

On December 19, 2004, Oakland A’s 26 year-old RHP Mark Mulder was acquired by the St. Louis Cardinals to fulfill the role of pitching staff "Ace"--a position that St. Louis Cardinals General Manager Walt Jocketty believed needed to be filled after the St. Louis Cardinals were swept by the Boston Red Sox in the 2004 World Series. In exchange for Mulder, the Cardinals gave the A’s 29 year-old RHP Kiko Calero, 24 year-old RHP Dan Haren, and 19 year-old minor league catcher Daric Barton. Here is a look at each of the involved players 2004, and career translated numbers. ***For Daric Barton only 2004 un-translated statistics will be presented, as translated statistics were unavailable. For Dan Haren, both 2004 and career un-translated statistics will be presented for the same reason.*** Cardinals receive: Mark Mulder: 2004: 3.85 ERA, 8.0 H/9—0.8 HR/9—3.0 BB/9—5.1 K/9 Career: 3.45 ERA, 8.2 H/9—0.8 HR/9—2.3 BB/9—5.5 K/9 A’s receive: Kiko Calero 2004: 2.60 ERA, 4.8 H/9—0.9 HR/9—1.6 BB/9—8.1 K/9 Career: 2.65 ERA, 5.5 H/9—0.9 HR/9—2.9 BB/9—9.2 K/9 Dan Haren (Haren was a mid-season call-up for the Cardinals in 03’ and 04’): 2004: 4.50 ERA, 8.8 H/9—0.9 HR/9—3.3 BB/9—6.3 K/9 Career: 4.85 ERA, 9.8 H/9—0.8 HR/9—3.0 BB/9—5.7 K/9 Daric Barton (A-ball, Peoria Chiefs) 2004: 313 AB, .313/.445/.511, 13 HR, 69/44 K/BB The Cardinals are, without a doubt, receiving an All-Star caliber pitcher in Mulder, who has shown throughout his career that he can, indeed, fill the role of "Ace," that he was brought in to do. The A’s on the other hand are receiving hope for the future with this trade. With the 19 year-old Barton not yet called up to the majors, and Haren only being 25 years old, great potential for the future still lies within these two young players. In Calero, the A’s receive a proven relief pitcher, who has done nothing but put up phenomenal numbers for the Cardinals in the past two seasons. A quick look at the money side of this deal will show the A’s are saving a nice amount of cash. Both Haren and Barton are still making the league-minimum minor league salary, while Calero’s salary in 2005 will be determined through arbitration; and assuming it won’t be too much higher than 2004 salary of $310,000, these three players are sure to make much less money, combined, than the $6 million Mulder will make in 2005. As for the Cardinals, they now have to pick up Mulder’s contract which runs through 2005, with a club option for 2006 at $7.25 million. Obviously, with this trade, the A’s have rid themselves of having to worry about picking up this option. The role that Mulder is expected to fill with the Cardinals is very clear, and has been specified. While the Cardinals did pick up a great pitcher, it has to be in the back of their minds how Mulder struggled badly down the stretch in 2004. Mulder’s untranslated ERA by month: April: 3.00 May: 3.00 June: 2.74 July: 5.11 August: 5.14 September:8.10 October (one start): 18.00 Besides that tough stretch, Mulder has been nothing short of dominant throughout his entire career. The role that Haren is expected to fill for the A’s has been rumored to be starting pitcher. If this rumor is true, the A’s must believe he can pitch more like he has throughout his minor-league career (473.0 IP, 1.22 ERA, 8.5 H/9—0.8 HR/9—1.6 BB/9—8.8 K/9), because in Haren’s brief time in the big leagues, he has not shown the ability t[...]



Braves/A's trade

2004-12-19T19:24:59.530-05:00

On December 16, 2004 the Atlanta Braves acquired Tim Hudson from the Oakland A’s in exchange for OF Charles Thomas, minor league RHP Dan Meyer, and RHP Juan Cruz. Here is a look at each involved players 2004, and career translated statistics. For Dan Meyer, and Charles Thomas, I will present their 2004 un-translated statistics because translated statistics for them were unavailable. Braves receive: Player (Player’s age in 2005) Tim Hudson (29) 2004: 3.26 ERA, 9.4 H/9--0.4 HR/9--1.7 BB/9--4.6 K/9 Career: 3.03 ERA, 7.9 H/9--0.6 HR/9--2.4 BB/9--6.1 K/9 A’s Receive: Dan Meyer (24- combined 2004 at AAA Richmond, and AA Greenville) 2004: 2.50 ERA, 8.0 H/9--.5 HR/9--2.6 BB/9--10.4 K/9 Charles Thomas (26--was called up from AAA Richmond halfway through season, statistics accumulated with Braves are presente here) 2004: .288/.367/.445 in 267 Plate Appearances Career: SAME AS 2004 Juan Cruz (24): 2004: 2.61 ERA, 7.1 H/9--0.8 HR/9--3.4 BB/9--7.7 K/9 Career: 3.72 ERA, 7.2 H/9--0.8 HR/9--4.0 BB/9--7.3 K/9 Even though the Braves filled a huge hole by acquiring Hudson, a hole left open because of the departures of starting pitchers Jaret Wright, Paul Byrd, and Russ Ortiz via free agency, I believe the A’s got the better end of this deal, even before looking at each player’s contracts. Even though Hudson is one of the best pitchers in baseball; if one were to take a look at the ages and statistics of the players the A’s are receiving, they would find that the average age of the A’s newest players is 24.67. One would also find that two of the A's three new players have already played in the big leagues, AND have shown success. Just based on talent, I think the A’s, just barely, got the better end of this deal. Now I must take a look at the money situation. Tim Hudson is signed through 2005, when he will make $6.75 million. The Braves now own this contract. I do not know the contracts of the players the A’s are receiving, but what I do know is that they are still under their minor league contract structures. Therefore, I’m fairly sure that all three of the players combined salaries in 2005 will come out to be less than the $6.75 million that Hudson will make. I also know that once minor league players are called up to the majors, their major league team has rights to him for, I believe, 7 years. ***Again, note, that I am not completely aware of the minor-league baseball salary and contract provisions (I looked all over to get specifics), but what I do know is not so inaccurate that it couldn‘t be used for this analysis.*** Thomas was called up to the Braves for the first time last season, which would mean that his major league contract--now owned by the A‘s--will run through at least 2010, at a minor league salary! With Meyer being called up toward the end of last season for the first time, he is also under contract--now for the A’s--through at least 2010. As for Juan Cruz, his first call up to the major leagues came in 2001, so his contract--now owned by the A’s--will run through at least 2007. Each of the A's new players will be making minor league salaries throughout their contracts, which will save the A's a lot of money next season. Not to mention, now they A's do not have to worry about trying to resign perennial All-Star Hudson after the 2005 season, who is sure to ask for more than $10 million per year next season. While I cannot make an estimate as to how m[...]



Richie Sexson Signs with Mariners

2004-12-16T18:47:08.786-05:00

Steven Hanson reports on the Seattle Mariners big signing.

On December 15, 2004 the Seattle Mariners signed free-agent first baseman Richie Sexson. Seattle will be Sexson’s third team in two years, after being traded prior to last season from the Milwaukee Brewers to the Arizona Diamondbacks. Sexson, a Portland native, signed a four year deal worth approximately $48 million. He was injured for most of last year, so the big question is whether he can stay healthy and bring the Mariners back into the playoffs.

In 1997, Sexson belted 31 homers and drove in 88 runs for the AAA Buffalo Bisons (farm club of Cleveland Indians), and provided a final footnote for the American Association that year when he hit a three-run homer to give the Bisons a 5-4 win in the clinching game of the AAA Championship Series. That moment led to Sexson's first Major League call-up on September 14th, 1997 when he immediately contributed to the Cleveland Indians offense with a pinch-hit single in an 8-3 victory over the Chicago White Sox.

Sexson hit 31 homeruns in 1999, 30 in 2000, 45 in 2001, 29 in 2002, and another 45 in 2003. Not only was his homerun total intriguing to Seattle, his .270/.346/.540 translated lifetime batting line was a contribution also.

Sexson hit 9 homeruns in 29 games in 2004, before missing the remainder of the season due to injury.

The right-hander should add some pop at the beginning of Seattle's lineup, most likely hitting third in the order unless third baseman Adrian Beltre is signed.

A side-issue of this story is Sexson’s number. He's been wearing number 11 since his pro debut, but so has Edgar Martinez. Martinez played his entire 18-year career in Seattle wearing that same number, which surely will be retired. Whether Sexson will ask Martinez to use his number or find another is up to him, only time can answer that.

Steven Hanson

If you have any question, comments, concerns, or suggestions specific to this article please do not hesitate to email Steven at bravest2@yahoo.com.

If you have any question, comments, concerns, or suggestions please do not hesitate to email me at frnkbndy@yahoo.com.