Monday, April 21, 2008

Why Ryan Howard will be the next Big Free Agent Bust

Ryan Howard is a 28 year old slugger who only walks, strikes out and hits for power.  He doesn't run so well, he's plays replacement level defense at 1st base having only 2 FRAR(Fielding Runs Above Replacement) and strikes out a ton correlating to a low AVG.  This guy becomes a free agent in the 2010-11 offseason when he turns 31.  Hitters with "old player"(a Bill James term for a player that only hits for power and walks/one dimensional) skills, show decline much earlier in their careers than other kinds of players(i.e. speed+power, power+average and a good eye+average).  

These different categories of players have to do with predicting their future and proven that when a hitter has more than one asset, they prove to decline later and at a slower pace than a one tool player.  A power hitter that walks a lot and strikes out a lot, an "old player", peaks on average at the age of 26(roughly two years before other players) and stay pretty steady until the age of 31.  After 31 they are truly done.  This is what is happening to Carlos Delgado, this is what happened to Mo Vaugn and this is what's happening to Jason Giambi.  You could say, but these guys have hit for high average!  But this doesn't matter because average has a 43% chance of staying the same from year to year and also since there is such a high correlation between strikeouts and AVG, players that strike out a lot tend to never recuperate their average once their batting average starts to plummet.

So, you can see two things from the facts I've laid in front of you.  
1) Players with "old player" skills tend to decline at a faster pace than an average player would
2) Ryan Howard and therefore all "old player" skilled players should be avoided in Free Agency and not given the big bucks

As many of us can see Ryan Howard will get the big money contract and long term security similar to what A-Rod got, so I'm just priming you for the 2010-11 offseason where a team in baseball will loose close to $200M to a bad "old player" skilled player.