Saturday, December 28, 2013

Hall of Fame Vote

If anyone is wondering, this is my vote to the Internet Baseball Writers Association of America.

Anyone who follows me on twitter, or has for any period of time, knows what I think about "performance enhancers". I think the whole thing is a joke. I know some used, many used. I know some didn't and to them, I tip my hat and give them a pat on the back for being good humans. Past that, it doesn't matter to me. McGwire took all kinds of stuff.  He als had a 164 OPS+ and hit 49 home runs as a rookie when he was a stick figure compared to his later days.

Bagwell may have been clean, he may have used. I don't care. Biggio the same. They were great players. As were all the players on my list. I'm sure most of them had a performance enhancing surgery at some point. Maybe they took Ibuprofen to take away some pain to enhance their performance. Hell, this miracle substance wasn't invented until the 1960's. Anyone who took this enhanced their performance more than anyone before it. You can say this about a lot of different pharmaceuticals. Now lets forget about the moral outrage and get back to good old baseball because everyone cheated one way or another. It's just about where you draw the line. Baseball is an evolving game that we all love and the players we cheered for as they dominated the sport. These are the players I feel are the most deserving. There should be no questioning many of them based on the careers they had.

Here are the players that I feel are the most deserving players currently.

Jeff Bagwell

Monday, December 23, 2013

Daily Analysis: Rookie Ball Workhorse?

Every day I read something or hear something I want to analyze to see if my annoyance is worthwhile. It's more ofen curiosity than annoyance because I want to know whether it happens as often as I think, more often, less often, ever, in what case, when, who, why or some other thing. I often do it at a later date and don't write about it. The context is gone and I'm probably the only one who cares but I'm writing this today anyway.

I read this article on Baseball America this morning and it made me chuckle. The Twins have had the "pitch to contact" brand lately, whether they like it or not. They have went after players in the draft and in acquisitions that throw hard but have yet to hit on a big one. Maybe it's coming, I would expect that it will with Meyer and maybe Kohl Stewart and others. They are trying and I appreciate that but talking about a 22 year old reliever in rookie ball that could be a workhorse is wrong. Maybe a Low A workhorse. That context is missing. I hope Phil Miller, the author of the article is to blame not the assumption by Mike Radcliff that this is a player that is likely to succeed. I'm not familiar with Miller's work, but I just googled this article about the special power hitter, Chris Parmelee, to make sure it wasn't by the same author, whew.


Friday, December 20, 2013

Six Year and Career fWAR by Debut Age and Position

I looked into this to see how valuable young players are to their team.

I've found in past research that the earlier a player debuts, the better he is. There are exceptions but speaking in generalities. I wanted to see how this played out. After six hours of data analysis, I had this. Remember, these are raw numbers based on debuts from 1990 to now. Recent hitters skew it some but not enough for me to eliminate them completely. If that bothers you, consider these conservative estimates.


I was inspired to do this because of this article by Andrew Ball. I won't go into the .31% reduction and multiplying it to assign a dollar value as he did. Please read this to get a sense as to how valuable amateur talent and prospects are.

It's interesting to see the P value spike as they debut in their early 30's thanks to Cuban and Japanese "rookies". First Baseman are slow to get to productive levels. Young third baseman do extremely well thanks to players turning into sluggers later in their career. Many of the offensive 3B end up at 1B.

There is a lot of good info here but this is just scraping the surface for my final valuation system. My goal is to have a good chart to evaluate every player in baseball. I think I am pretty close after using this information as well as other information I have compiled in the past. It will take at least one subjective value to make it work though. At this point, you will have to label a player a 4,5,6 or 7 based on below average, average, above average and star level. Once I get this done, I'm not sure what I will do with it. I may post it here or I may include it in my prospect book coming out later this year. We will see...but for now, enjoy this.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Comparing Byron Buxton

Looking back at minor leaguers to find a comparison to Byron Buxton is difficult. Looking at the fact he reached High A by the time he was 19 and did well shows unusual talent. I wanted to see if there were any other players that had similar success.

For this analysis, I looked at three skills, K rate, Isolated power and speed. Speed is determined by adding triples and stolen bases and subtracting caught stealing. It's a ballpark number just to classify if a guy can run or not. I found three similar players: Andrew Machado, Elvis Andrus and Felix Pie

The good news is that Buxton had a lower K rate than any of these guys as well as hitting for more power than any. Not by a lot though. His ISO was .147 compared to Pie's .144. Andrus and Machado didn't have much power. Machado isn't a good match. He was rushed up the ladder due to his defensive skills. He never had much for offensive skill other than making good contact.

Elvis Andrus is not a horrible comparison. Similar pedigree, similar athletically gifted player that will stay up the middle. Buxton seems to be a better offensive player and have less swing and miss. Considering the amount of polish Buxton has, a year in AA then a starting job in 2015 seems reasonable.

The tough one is Felix Pie. If that happens, it could crush the dreams of hopeful Minnesotans but when you look past the surface, it seems unlikely. While I am not one to push that players need to walk, Pie needed to walk more. I don't see walking as a skill but more of a by-product of a good approach. If you walk at a high rate and don't hit well, I see that as a detriment, as you are likely being too passive. 

Pie struck out about 5% more often than Buxton and was generally more raw in his offensive skills. Pie also walked considerably less frequently than Buxton while generating similar power numbers. This makes me think that if Pie would have improved on his approach, his offensive ceiling could have grown beyond Buxton's, but that is an unusual path. I haven't seen many players that have that type of large change in their approach. Growth and improvement, yes, but not an overall change.

Scouting the two players, Buxton probably had a slight edge on speed and power. Buxton was much more successful stealing bases and seems generally more polished offensively. Pie was slated to progress a level at a time due to his need for refinement. This isn't true of Buxton.

Reading scouting reports on Pie, it screams out that Pie was flawed but athletic, with the ability to overcome. The longer he was in the minors, the less obvious the improvements were. He just didn't have the feel for the game to go along with the skills. That happens. Some of the most skilled players just don't have that intuition that makes many of the games best who they are. I think Byron Buxton does and I would be surprised if he doesn't succeed more than any one mentioned here. I expect him to do well in AA this season and make a run at starting the season in the majors in 2015. It'e even possible he gets a september call-up this season.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Free 2013 MLB Draft Book: Great for Dynasty Leagues

Click Donate to order:
With many people having fantasy drafts over the next few months, I thought I should re-post this. Rankings change quickly with players that are new to pro ball but this is still a great asset to have to get some feel for the newest pro prospects.

The 2013 MLB Draft Book is free. You can download it here. Any donations would be appreciated and would help me continue to do this.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Jameis Winston before he was Famous Jameis

Back in May of 2011, I said this about Jameis for Tomahawk Nation, an SB Nation site dedicated to the Seminoles.

He is top 10 prospect for some based on potential and closer to 100 for others based on pro readiness. He has the potential to be a top draft pick but he is raw right now. Two sport stars are typically more raw than single sport stars, but the athleticism that he offers could allow him to vault up in the draft if someone sees him as a star, especially a team that could get him to commit solely to baseball. I don't have a set ranking for 2012 yet, but I would say he would be between 30th and 40th in the prep ranks for me.
He is playing well this season batting .475 with 4 HR's in 40 AB. He generates a lot of power at the plate with his long, lean frame. He projects as a potential 5 tool CF with time and polish. On the mound, he has a mid to upper 80's fastball and curveball that flashes signs of an above average pitch. He could be an interesting two-way player at FSU, but I think his future is in center field. Taking on playing QB, CF and pitching at FSU might be too much for one player but with his skills, I can't say that he couldn't do it.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

A Quck Reference Tool

A level players are the top tier players. They are players that would rate out as first division starters. Using scouting numbers, they are players that would be 55 or better. This is where the impact players come from. Most of these guys will be in the top 100, only a few will be left out.

B level players are players that I expect to have major league skills and could be impact level players if things break just right but are mostly just good useful major league players. Many of these guys won't make it but they have the skills that give them the chance to.

C level players are players that are likely to be second division starters, utility men, bench players, backups, 5th starters, bullpen arms and other less important role players. There may be a few that can exceed this. Many of these will never make an impact in the majors. Many will never make it at all.

d level players are those that should play in the majors this year but won't make a big impact. They are names to be familiar with if you are a big fan of your team but don't get too excited about them.

z level players are young. Under 20 for the most part. They are players I know enough about to know to mention them but not enough to place them in the B or C level. A handful will even be A level guys at some point, I'm sure, but they are a ways off.

This is a constant work in progress. I will update occasionally with rankings/rating changes. The age data isn't complete, so that will happen as I progress as well.

I plan to add other lists beyond team lists as well. Check back for information you won't find anywhere else on the internet.

Seattle Mariners Prospects

A | Taijuan Walker | P | 22
A | Gabriel Guerrero | OF | 20.6
A | D.J. Peterson | 3B | 22.6
A | Austin Wilson | OF | 22.5
A | Luiz Gohara | P | 18

Colorado Rockies Prospects

A | Jonathan Gray | P | 22.7
A | David Dahl | OF | 20.3
A | Eddie Butler | P | 23.4

Philadelphia Phillies Prospects

A | Jesse Biddle | P | 22.8
A | J.P. Crawford | SS | 19.5
A | Maikel Franco | 3B | 21.9
A | Severino Gonzalez | P | 21.8

New York Yankees Prospects

A | Gary Sanchez | C | 21.7
A | Ian Clarkin | P | 0

Chicago White Sox Prospects

A | Courtney Hawkins | OF | 20.7
A | Erik Johnson | P | 24.6
A | Matt Davidson | 3B | 0

Minnesota Twins Prospects

A | Byron Buxton | OF | 20.6
A | Miguel Sano | 3B | 21.2
A | Alex Meyer | P | 24.6
A | Lewis Thorpe | P | 0
A | Eddie Rosario | 2B | 22.8
A | Kohl Stewart | P | 19.8

Detroit Tigers Prospects

A | Nick Castellanos | OF | 22.4
A | Jonathon Crawford | P | 22.7
A | Jake Thompson | P | 20.5

Kansas City Royals Prospects

A | Raul Mondesi | SS | 19
A | Yordano Ventura | P | 23.2
A | Kyle Zimmer | P | 23
A | Sean Manaea | P | 0

Cincinatti Reds Prospects

A | Robert Stephenson | P | 21.4
A | Phillip Ervin | OF | 22

Boston Red Sox Prospects

A | Xander Bogaerts | SS | 21.8
A | Henry Owens | P | 22
A | Matt Barnes | P | 24.1

Tampa Bay Rays Prospects

A | Hak-Ju Lee | SS | 23.7
A | Nick Ciuffo | C | 19.4
A | Ryne Stanek | P | 0

A | Taylor Guerrieri | P | 21.7

Texas Rangers Prospects

A | Rougned Odor | 2B | 20.5
A | Joey Gallo | 1B | 20.7
A | Jorge Alfaro | C | 21.1
A | Nick Williams | OF | 20.9
A | Luis Sardinas | SS | 21.2
A | Jairo Beras | OF  | 18.6

Pittsburgh Pirates Prospects

A | Austin Meadows | OF | 19.2
A | Gregory Polanco | OF | 22.9
A | Jameson Taillon | P | 22.7
A | Reese Mcguire | C | 19.4
A | Tyler Glasnow | P | 20.9
A | Alen Hanson | 2B | 21.8

San Diego Padres Prospects

A | Austin Hedges | C | 21.9
A | Max Fried | P | 20.5
A | Hunter Renfroe | OF | 22.5
A | Matthew Wisler | P | 21.9
A | Franchy Cordero | SS | 0
A | Jace Peterson | SS | 24.2

Baltimore Orioles Prospects

A | Kevin Gausman | P | 23.6
A | Dylan Bundy | P | 0
A | Hunter Harvey | P | 0

Washington Nationals Prospects

A | Lucas Giolito | P | 20.1
A | A.J. Cole | P | 22.6
A | Drew Ward | 3B | 19.7

New York Mets Prospects

A | Noah Syndergaard | P | 21.9
A | Dominic Smith | 1B | 19.1
A | Travis d'Arnaud | C | 25.5
A | Amed Rosario | SS | 0

Miami Marlins Prospects

A | Justin Nicolino | P | 22.7
A | Colin Moran | 1B | 0

Cleveland Indians Prospects

A | Francisco Lindor | SS | 20.7
A | Clint Frazier | OF | 19.9
A | Ronny Rodriguez | SS | 22.3
A | Trevor Bauer | P | 23.5
A | Dorssys Paulino | SS | 19.7

San Francisco Giants Prospects

A | Kyle Crick | P | 21.7
A | Chris Stratton | P | 23.9

Los Angeles Dodgers Prospects

A | Joc Pederson | OF | 22.3
A | Corey Seager | SS | 20.3
A | Julio Urias | P | 18

Arizona Diamondbacks Prospects

A | Archie Bradley | P | 22
A | Chris Owings | SS | 23
A | Justin Williams | OF | 18.9
A | Braden Shipley | P | 22.4

Chicago Cubs Prospects

A | Kris Bryant | 1B | 0
A | Javier Baez | 3B | 21.7
A | Albert Almora | OF | 20.3
A | Daniel Vogelbach | 1B | 21.6
A | Jorge Soler | OF  | 22.4
A | C.J. Edwards | P | 22.9

St. Louis Cardinals Prospects

A | Oscar Taveras | OF | 22.1
A | Carlos Martinez | P | 22.9
A | Kolten Wong | 2B | 23.8
A | Rob Kaminsky | P | 19.9

Milwaukee Brewers Prospects

A | Tyrone Taylor | OF | 20.5
A | Orlando Arcia | SS | 20
A | Devin Williams | P | 19.8

Atlanta Braves Prospects

A | Lucas Sims | P | 20.2
A | Edward Salcedo | 3B | 23
A | Christian Bethancourt | C | 22.9

Toronto Blue Jays Blue Jays

A | Marcus Stroman | P | 23.2
A | Aaron Sanchez | P | 22.1
A | Roberto Osuna | P | 19.5
A | Alberto Tirado | P | 19.7
A | Ryan Tellez | 1B | 0

Oakland Athletics Prospects

A | Addison Russell | SS | 20.5
A | Bobby Wahl | P | 22.4
A | Renato Nunez | 3B | 20.3
A | Billy Mckinney | OF | 19.9

Houston Astros Prospects

A | Carlos Correa | SS | 19.8
A | Jonathan Singleton | 1B | 22.9
A | Mark Appel | P | 23
A | George Springer | OF | 24.9

Los Angeles Angels Anaheim Prospects

A | Taylor Lindsey | 2B | 22.7
A | Alex Yarbrough | 2B | 23
A | Hunter Green | P | 19

Updated Team Prospect Lists

The link is at the top of the page or you can click here.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Astros Shadow System Update

Looking at my roster in September, I thought about adding a few players in free agency but nothing major. I wrote up my thoughts in a previous article. I didn't plan on spending a lot but the more I looked at my roster, the more I saw a few holes.