Monday, August 22, 2011

Jered Weaver: Contract Analysis

The California Los Angeles Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim locked up their ace, Jered Weaver, for 5 years and $85 million over the weekend.


Jered Weaver flys a bit under the radar, but he's one of the top pitchers in the league.

Since he debuted in 2006, Weaver is tied for tenth in the league in ERA with Roy Oswalt (minimum 700 IP).  ERA isn't a great way to judge a pitcher though.  But, Weaver stacks up no matter the metric:
Innings Pitched - 20th
Strikeouts - 15th
Strikeout Percentage - 18th
Strikeouts per Nine Innings - 20th
Walk Percentage - 23rd
Walks per Nine Innings - 21st
WHIP - 7th
FIP - 17th
tERA - 9th
SIERA - 26th
Wins! - 10th
Runs Saved - 9th
Wins Above Replacement - 8th

Using FIP-, Weaver has been 16% better than the average pitcher over the course of his career.

He's been ever better the last two seasons.  FIP-has him over 25% better than a league average pitcher in 2010 and 2011.

A look at Weaver's FIP, tERA and WAR numbers shows his ascent.
2006 3.90, 3.68, 2.6
2007 4.06, 3.76, 3.1
2008 3.90, 4.12, 3.4
2009 4.04, 3.96, 3.9
2010 3.06, 2.79, 5.9
2011 2.84, 2.78, 5.2

Weaver has jumped into the stratosphere of major league pitchers.  Since 2010 Weaver is:  10th in FIP, 3rd in tERA, and 4th in WAR


So, what's he worth?

I've looked at a few other new contracts (Clay Buchholz, Jamie Garcia, Adrian Gonzalez, Ryan Braun). Using the same parameters, I come up with the following chart:

I expect Weaver to be worth approximately $135 million over the course of the contract.  He's getting paid $85 million so the Angels are coming up $50 million in the roses.

There are a couple of other things to consider though.  First, the $85 million is guaranteed.  Weaver could (insert random accident, injury or other debilitation here) in the next 5 seconds and never pitcher again.  In that case the Angels would be getting zilch for their money.  This is the reason that players rarely get paid their full market value for multiple-year contracts.  The team is assuming most of the risk. Weaver's only risk is that he pitches even better than expected and is leaving money on the table.

The other thing to consider is the market.

Two recent contracts for similar starting pitchers were Justin Verlander (5 years $80 million) and Felix Hernandez (5 years, 78 million).  Weaver's deal looks pretty much in line with those.  Verlander signed his deal two years ago, and with an extra year of team control left.  Hernandez signed his the same time as Verlander, and with the same service time, but at the age of 24 instead of 27.  That should allow Seattle to pay for his increase years instead of a few of his decline years.

Taking that into consideration, Hernandez' deal looks amazing for the Mariners.  The Verlander and Weaver deals are coming to be what we expect for these types of pitchers.

If you're still young enough, go out and learn a curveball.

*Cot's Baseball Contracts

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Andre, the Giant

So, apparently this is funny.

I really didn't think so.

But, when paired with this video and the phrase, "Luis Ayala has apparently stolen Andre Either's glove"...

...It's still not that funny.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

White Sox: Quintuple Triples


The Chicago White Sox hit 5 triples against the Cleveland Indians last night.

There have been 43 games with 5 or more triples. 35 games with exactly 5 triples, 6 games with 6 triples, 1 game with 7 triples and...

Most triples ever in a game was 8, by the Pittsburgh Pirates against the St. Louis Cardinals on May 30th 1925. Glenn Wright, Kiki Cuyler, Clyde Barnhart (2), Max Carey (2), Pie Traynor, and Eddie More hit the triples. St. Louis also had a triple by Bobby O'Farrell. The Pirates' 105 triples that year, lead the league.

On October 6th 1929 the White Sox gave up 5 triples to the Tigers as they did on June 4th 1978 to the Royals.

Twice, the White Sox have hit 6 triples in a game.
May 20th 1920 against the Senators. Happy Felsh (2), Fred McMullin (2), Joe Jackson, and Eddie Collins.
Then again on September 17th 1920 against the Yankees. Swede Risberg, Happy Felsh (2 again), Joe Jackson (again, 2 this time), Eddie Collins (again).

Those 12 triples represent almost 1/3 of the 37 triples the White Sox hit that year.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Yakety Sax: Dodger Baserunning (8/15/2011)

As usual,

Play the music

and play the plethora of videos featuring Dodger base running mishaps.

Kemp thrown out at home (aka...a triple play).  The Dodgers had runners at 1st and 2nd.  James Loney grounds up the middle into a double play.  Using The Win Probability Enquirer at The Hardball Times we find that the Dodgers Win Probability with Kemp being thrown at at home was .447.  If Kemp had held at 3rd, with two outs the Dodgers WP would have been .485.  The play cost the Dodgers 4.2 points of WP.

Dioner Navarro thrown out at home.  Navarro was on 2nd after a ground rule double.  Justin Sellers singled to CF.  Navarro being thrown out left the Dodgers with a WPA of .518.  If Navarro had been held at 3rd the Dodgers would have had 1st and 3rd no outs, a WPA of .633.  The play cost the Dodgers 11.5 points of WP.

Andre Either doubled off of first base.  Ethier was on first after a walk.  Kemp lines to CF and Jerry Hariston made a diving catch.  Ethier was thrown out scrambling back to 1st for the 3rd out of the inning.  The Dodgers' WP at that point was .438.  If Ethier had stayed up, LA would have had a runner on 1st with two outs, a WP of .467.  The play cost the Dodgers 2.9 points of WP.

And, to top it off, the final play of the game, Matt Kemp doubled off of first base.  With the game being over, and the Brewers up 3 - 0, the Dodgers had 0 WP.  If Kemp had not been doubled off the Dodgers would have had a WP of .013.  The play cost the Dodgers 1.3 points of WP.

4 plays decreased LA's chance of winning by 19.9.

Trade Analysis: Delmon Young to Detroit

The Detroit Tigers acquired OF Delmon Young from the Minnesota Twins today in exchange for P Cole Nelson and the oft-traded PTBNL.

Young will likely take playing time from Magglio Ordonez.  How have they stacked up this season:

Young: .292 wOBA and 0.6 fWAR in 325 PA
Maggs: .260 wOBA and -1.0 fWAR in 289 PA

The Tigers have 42 games remaining.  If we replace Ordonez's expected production with Young's for the rest of the season at 4 PA's per game (and give 2 games off for math's sake), we get Young having 160 PA's remaining.  Over that many PA's Young will be worth about 8 more runs than Ordonez (at their current level's of production), about a full Win Above Replacement.

Detroit currently has a 2.5 game lead over Cleveland so, each and every win is important.

One thing to consider though, is that Young's defense has been worth 3.9 runs this year per UZR.  Young's UZR the preceding 3 seasons:
There has been some improvement there, but it is entirely possible that Young is still a negative defender; most scouts would agree.  If we change Young's defense runs to assume he's actually a -10 defender then Young projects to be worth only about a third of a win better than Magglio over the rest of the season.

According to Cot's, Young is being paid $5.375 million this season.  That's means about $1.4 million remains on Young's contract this year.  If 1 WAR is $5 million then 1/3 of 5 WAR is $1.6 million.  Can't argue with the economics of the deal.  Though, I wouldn't argue with them anyway.  'Flags fly forever', they say, and making the playoffs brings a lot of money into an organization.  Teams in contention need to make these type of upgrades.

The player, Cole Nelson, going the other way is a big (6'7") live left-throwing-arm who strikes out a few guys and walks more than a few.  That describes a lot of guys who pitch in A-ball like Nelson does.  He doesn't appear to be anything to get too excited about.

*Stats from FanGraphs

Santiago Casilla is afraid to bat

The Giants' Santiago Casilla had his first major league at bat against the Florida Marlins.

Video here

He managed a 4 pitch walk.  But he certainly didn't look very comfortable in the box.

According to baseball-reference, Casilla had 14 minor league plate appearances in his career.  In those appearances he drew 1 walk, had 6 hits, 3 doubles, a triple, 5 RBI, a stolen base and a single strike out.  That's a career minor league batting line of .462/.500/.769.  

Friday, August 12, 2011

CC See ya later!

CC Sabathia gave up 5 home runs to the Tampa Rays tonight.

Here they are:

Top of the third, no outs, Casey Kotchman
Top of the third, no outs, Kelley Shoppach
Top of the third, two outs, Johnny Damon

Top of the fifth, no outs, Eliot Johnson

Top of the eighth, no outs, Evan Longoria

Prior to the game Sabathia was giving up .39 home runs per 9 innings.
This game Sabathia gave up 5.6 home runs per 9 innings.
Or 14 times as many home runs as the rest of the season.

Prior to the game Sabathia was giving up home runs on 4.9% of his fly balls.
This game Sabathia gave up home runs on 71% of his fly balls.
Also 14 times as many home runs as the rest of the season.

Batted Ball FIP says that pitching as Sabathia did today he'd be expected to give up .79 runs per 9 innings.

Probably more bad luck than anything, but as a non-Yankee fan, it was enjoyable to watch, over, and over, and over...

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Royals release Kyle Davies: Worst pitcher of all time?

The Royals released Kyle Davies today.

Davies has the worst ERA in the history of major league pitchers with more than 100 career decisions - 5.59.

However, he does not have the worst adjusted ERA.  Davies' ERA+ of 77 is 2 points better than Phil Ortega's.

Ortega is 46 - 62 4.43 in 952 innings pitching for the Dodgers, Senators, and Angels.
Davies is 42 - 65 5.59 in 768 innings pitching for the Braves and Royals.

The era in which a pitcher plied his trade makes a big difference.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Return of Wang

Nope, not a viagra commercial, though the following graphic may be appropriate for that as well.

Former Yankee and current National Chien-Ming Wang is fresh off of his best major league start since July of 2009.

Wang went 6 innings against the Cubs, giving up just 1 hit, 2 walks, and 0 runs while striking out 1.

So far on the season Wang has faced 64 batters.  Of those he has generated 32 ground balls while walking 4 batters and striking out 3.

Wang's ability to get ground balls looks to be intact.  Wang induced grounders about 60% of the time before his injury (closer to 55% of the time his last few seasons).  Thus far 32 of the 53 (60%) balls hit off of Wang have been of the worm burner variety.

He's not striking anyone out though.  For his career Wang had been striking out about 10% of batters and that number was steadily increasing.  This season he's only struck out 5% of the batters that he's faced.  His fastball velocity is down a full mile per hour since 2009, and 2 MsPH since 2006.

Only 5 pitchers this season have K% lower than 10% (minimum 50 IP): Sean O'Sullivan, Aaron Cook, Brad Penny, Joel Pinero and Carl Pavano.  O'Sullivan's in the lowest at 7.2%.  It'll be difficult for Wang to survive with such a low K-rate.  Even if they are mostly ground balls, too many balls in play will lead to too many hits which will lead to too many runs.

Wang has to pick up the K-rate to be successful.

*All stats from FanGraphs

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Yakety Sax: Oakland A's (8/2/2011)

The latest yakety sax play comes from the Oakland A's infield who managed to turn a Brendan Ryan ground ball into a Brendan Ryan infield triple.

Fire up the music

and watch the video