Monday, October 29, 2012

Hitter vs Pitcher matchups don't mean a thing. 2012 Playoff version

About a year ago I wrote this post in which I referred to the work of other smarter and better writers on the topic of hitter vs pitcher match ups.   They, and I, concluded that past performance of a specific hitter facing a specific pitcher doesn't predict future performance.

Still, plenty of baseball "experts" cited past hitter/pitcher matchups during the 2012 playoffs.  I recorded as many of these as a I found on Twitter (I did not record the statements made on air, since I'd have no linkable proof that the statements were made) and tracked the outcomes during the playoffs.

Here are the statements for hitters who had had success against the pitchers they were facing:
Meanwhile, Werth, Harper, Morse, Desmond & Espinosa are a combined 17 for 43 (.395) lifetime vs. Jaime Garcia.
Combined batting average of ' position players on today's roster against' Lohse: .331. Chipper 6-13, HR. Prado 6-14.
Delmon Young, who leads off 2nd inning for, is a career 11-for-19 (.579) against Andy Pettitte. 

The hitters mentioned by name combined to hit .500 (23 for 46) against the named pitchers.  How'd they do in the playoffs?

2 for 14.  That's a .149 batting average.  

Hitter vs Pitcher past performance DOES NOT predict future performance.  

Friday, October 12, 2012

2012 Free Agent Team - Review

Back in November I gave myself an imaginary $100 million and challenged myself to construct a team from free agent players.

Here's the team that I picked

You can read about my reasoning here.

Now that the season is over it's time to see how I did.

First, we need to see how well I read the market.  Did I offer contracts anywhere close to what the players actually received?

I don't think that I did too badly.  I estimated the players to sign for a total of $97 million for 2012 and they actually signed for $71 million.  I over paid by $28 million.

My biggest mistakes:
Offering both Jason Marquis and Joel Piniero 2 year $15 million contacts.  Both signed minor league deals.
Offering Jeff Francis $6 million.  He signed a minor league deal that paid him $1.5 million for playing in the majors.
Offering Rich Harden $4 million.  He was injured and did not sign a contract for 2012.
Offering Ramon Hernandez $11 million for 2 years.  He signed for closer to half of that.

Other than those mistakes I was pretty spot on.  And, in defense of my misses on Marquis, Piniero and Harden, there were medical issues of which I don't have nearly the access to information that actual GM's do.

There's also my 6 year $140 million offer to Prince Fielder.  I offered Prince the kingly sum of $23 million per year.  He signed for $23.5 million per year, but for 9 years.  About $70 million more than I offered.  I wouldn't have gotten him.

Now, how'd the players that I wanted to sign actually perform?

Not that well.  Using Wins Above Replacement (WAR) my team would have won about 70 games.

Where'd I go wrong?  The pitching staff.  None of the pitchers that I gambled on worked out.  I expected Harden to give 1.5 - 3 (or more) WAR.  He didn't throw a pitch, neither did Joel Piniero.   Eric Bedard threw a few pitches, but I was hoping for more than 1.3 WAR.  Marquis survived most of the season, but wasn't productive.  Only Jeff Francis pitched well.  Then, Doug Davis.  He didn't get to the bigs this year, but his minor league numbers indicate that he wouldn't have been a disaster if he had.

Battery mate Ramon Hernandez didn't live up to expectations either.  From 2009 - 2011 he hit .372/.368 (OBP/SLG) which was a league average hitter.  In 2012 he only managed .247/.353 which was less than half as productive as an average hitter.

I had felt terrific about getting Matt Antonelli.  The Orioles had signed him to a major league contract.  A player I'd long thought deserved a big league chance was about to get it.  Didn't work out and Antonelli's career looks finished.

Max Ramirez and Esteban German didn't play in the bigs this year.  Ramirez hit .374/.474 in AAA and German hit .344/.345 in Japan indicating they had something left in the tank.

Who worked out?
The outfield performed well - DeJesus, Crisp and Willingham combined for almost 9 wins and 4th outfielder, Dwayne Wise, was his normal underrated self providing value with his glove.

With Antonelli giving nothing, having Hairston at 2B (at least until he got injured) would have helped soften the blow.

Prince Fielder did exactly what one would expect Prince Fielder to do.

Luis Ayala provided excellent value on a minor league contract.

So my $100 million team wasn't very good.  That should be somewhat expected considering that it was made up entirely of players who's teams decided that they weren't worth the contract that they were expected to sign (or they couldn't afford that contract).

Another crop of free agents are about to be let loose.  I'll see if my next incarnation does better