|Bullpen Pitchers||2008 FIP**||2008 ERA||2008 K/BB Rate||2008 BABIP||Career K/BB Rate||Career BABIP|
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
At bats were created in an attempt to uncouple all of the hitter's options from those of the manager and pitcher. Meaning, everything that the batter has control over(hits, strikeouts) is isolated from everything he doesn't have control over. This was unsuccessful in the eyes of many. There are huge flaws in this concept and it's problems have been well spread through books and blogs. Therefore in this article I'm going to try and say something a little different from what people usually say.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Thursday, October 16, 2008
The Yankees(Hank and Hal Steinbrenner) have to learn that signing free agents doesn't work and that they now have to let Brian Cashmen do his job without them butting in. In my opinion the Yankees don't need much work at all but I'm almost positive that the Yankees will at least sign two big name, expensive free agents to bad contracts. The free agents that the Yankees already dished their cash out to aren't worth trading for three reasons: a)no one will take on their tremendous salaries, b)they are producing and getting on-base so you might as well keep them and c)for lack of better options to play at their positions. So without further ado your 2009 New York Yankees(if I was at the helm):
Part I - Impending Free Agents
Part II - Free Agent Market Free agents are overpriced and old. The Yankees don't really need help at any of the positions with top free agents 1B(Teixeira), LF(Manny) and SP(Sabathia/Burnett). They're also very deep in the bullpen(K-Rod) so they could look to add a couple cheap high ceiling guys for the bench like the Rays did(Hinske, Pena) and he all know how that turned out(cough, World Series, cough). The Yankees should instead invest their money in long-term contracts for Joba, Hughes, Wang and others down the road(Austin Jackson a top 50 prospect who plays CF). They could also use the extra money to further develop their international and amateur scouting along with their player development.
Part IV - Overview The Yankees have almost every spot up for grabs in their bullpen along with the 5th starter spot. I would set up competitions for each of these spots along with a few others(bench spots) heading into spring training and wait and see which players come out victorious; the journeymen, the rookies or the veterans. This is what the Yankees '09 roster should look like:
C: Russell Martin
1B: Jorge Posada
2B: Robinson Cano
3B: Blake DeWitt(If he can’t handle the offensive production for a 3B, him and A-Rod could flip-flop)
SS: Alex Rodriguez
LF: Johnny Damon
CF: Andruw Jones
RF: Xavier Nady
DH: Hideki Matsui
C: Chad Moeller(not really needed, Russell Martin only misses a game or two per season)
IF: C.J. Henry/Cody Ranson(could use a new backup IFer)
1B/LF: Shelley Duncan
OF: Melky Cabrera/Brett Gardner(I would start Melky out in AAA to refine his swing)
SP: Chien-Ming Wang
SP: Joba Chamberlain
SP: Phil Hughes
SP: Andy Pettitte/Mike Mussina(If both leave McDonald becomes the #4)
SP: James McDonald(frontrunner)/Darrell Rasner/Ian Kennedy/Alfredo Aceves
LOOGY: Damaso Marte
Darrell Rasner, Ian Kennedy, Mark Melancon, Jose Veras, Edwar Ramirez, Brian Bruney, Alfredo Aceves, Dan Giese, Phil Coke and Humberto Sanchez.
This is how the Yankees roster would look if I were in charge. To bad I'm not(it would be a really hard job for me). I have to say, the Yankees are based around young pitching and OBP which is what teams need to reach the playoffs(look at the Boston Red Sox). If Wang, Hughes and Joba didn't all get injured last season we might've been seeing a Yankees-Phillies World Series, no just kidding, but they would've been much better with those three atop their rotation. Anyways all this virtually has 0% chance of happening and instead the Yankees will probably sign CC Sabathia and Teixeira to monstrous contracts and in 2018 they'll come crying to me asking for help because they'll be stuck paying two 40 year olds $25MM a year.
Editor's Note: Sorry about the messed up format, I was experiencing some technical difficulties that have now hopefully been resolved(these problems always start from having a crappy technician). Not to mention that I'm my own technician.
Saturday, October 11, 2008
I once wrote a post about outcome and causation in postseason play. I mentioned that the only regular season stats with any significant causation to winning in the postseason are a team's closers WXRL(this isolates the amount of wins a closer has saved for a team over what a replacement player would've), Defensive Efficiency(a stat which measure the percentage of balls in play that are converted into outs), and K Rate(the amount of K's your team averages every 9 innings).
The Chicago Cubs are a unique case because they were second in the majors in DE, 5th in WXRL and first in K%. How does this follow? How does a team that is supposed to win a World Series get swept in the first round by an inferior team? How is it that the Cubs haven't won in 100 years?
This is all very puzzling but there is always an answer to everything. First off DE, WXRL and K% only cause about 15% of a win while the other 85% is all luck and variables. So even if the Cubs finished first in all three categories they could still have lost the series because if you for sure win 15% of the time in a short series you'd win a total of .75 of a game which doesn't help. So the first reason is that anything can happen in a short series between two of the four best teams in the NL(it never really is but just for the sake of argument). Reason two is that the Dodgers are motivated. They would've lost the division without Manny. Correction: Manny's motivated. He wants to prove to baseball that he doesn't have to be a headache, while playing like an MVP in a new league and leading another team besides the Red Sox to the World Series(along with making a ton of money this offseason). The point is an unmotivated Manny is scary, a motivated Manny could have a 1.200 OPS(On-Base% plus Slugging%). Joe Torre wants to prove to everyone that he doesn't need a $200MM payroll to succeed. By winning this year that's what he's doing.
The Cubs had so much pressure on them that they couldn't succeed. The Cubs need to play in a stress free environment and pretend like the playoffs are just a continuation of the regular season, Piniella being their makes this hard. The Cubs never really hit a dry spot the whole season, their longest losing streak was 6 games and that was at the beginning of September when Aramis Ramirez and Alfonso Soriano were injured. They were slowing down a bit in September and they were do for a losing streak sooner rather than later and the season was ending. Who better to face than the streaking Dodgers. The Dodgers finished off the slumping Cubs in 3 games. A combination of a mental disadvantage, a slump well overdue, the Dodgers motivation and just plain luck overrode the best team in the MLB this year. All this probably meant that the Dodgers had an 80% to 20% advantage with 77% luck going to the Dodgers and 8% going to the Cubs. With that big of an imbalance it's easy to understand why the Cubs failed to beat the Dodgers.
The '96 yanks built themselves up by grooming a few top prospects, making a few nifty trades but most importantly signing expensive free agents to huge contracts. This catapulted baseball into a new era, an era loaded with monstrous contracts, steroids and drugs. The Yankees showed to the rest of baseball that the right way to win is by signing top free agents.
The Red Sox were one of the first teams to disobey the era change and decide to let Theo Epstein run his own ingenious plan. This was to create the image of the ideal baseball player in his mind and to acquire as many as he could. This is what he did. He first signed a bunch of cheaper free agents like Kevin Millar, Bill Mueller, David Ortiz(waiver wire pickup) and Mark Bellhorn all similar type players who fit his mold. These players mixed with the core of Pedro, Manny, Nomar and Johnny Damon to form a great team. This team failed the first time around in '03 by losing to the Yankees in extra innings of game 7 of the ALCS. He then decided to take a risk the next year by trading away their second most productive offensive player and their star Nomar Garciaparra. Theo Epstein realized that his player mold wasn't sought after and therefore was cheaper and easier to attain in free agency but more importantly the baseball draft. Younger players are under team control for 6 years, are cheaper and less injury prone than veterans. So this is what Theo did. He kept on signing cheap free agents mixing in a few nice trades(Nomar, Schilling) while most importantly developing top prospects. By signing the older players Theo was basically giving his 2007-08 team time to develop. Now that he's got this young talent he's pushed all the older players out of town(the players mentioned above, Lugo, Manny). His method was to utilize his flow of cash, but once his draftees are ready to play you get rid of the grizzled veterans.
The Rays are the most unique because this team rebuilt itself in a way that's unheard of today. Usually when a team rebuilds they trade all their better and older players for top prospects and develop the prospects, this doesn't always work. When the Rays rebuilt they didn't trade any veterans because they didn't have any of them to trade. This is what I find amazing. Andrew Friedman simply started rebuilding his farm system from scratch without receiving a boatload of prospects to help out from outside of the organization like what most teams do(Orioles, A's). Mr. Friedman just compiled a bunch of prospects and cheap pickups while dumping salary to form one of the best teams in baseball if not the best. This process is the hardest and takes the longest although Andrew managed to do it in 3 years time.
What we see here is that although both the Yankees of old and the Red Sox weren't/aren't afraid to hand out the cash these teams built their teams in different fashions. Theo Epstein took risks(i.e. trading 4 prospects for Schilling, trading Nomar and Manny) while the Steinbrenners always played it safe. The Yankees weren't smart they just compiled enough expensive veterans that some of them had to pan out. Since more teams have taken part in free agency since 2000 the Yankees haven't been able to do what they used to. This is why Theo's plan is more efficient because all his players have come from the farm system with a few exceptions(Mike Lowell, J.D. Drew and Josh Beckett). The Rays, playing in a pressure free area and situation had the luxury of "not trying to compete" for two years while developing this years team. As you can see these three methods all work it just depends on the team and the situation. The Yankees wouldn't of been able to use the method the Rays used because of their fan base's demands and the Rays wouldn't have been able to use the Red Sox or the Yankees methods because they don't have enough money, resources. I think just like the Yankees did in the 90's the Rays have started a new era. An era of homegrown talent and player development. Because of this free agency is going to go into a state of flux, look for baseball to try to work this out someway.