D-Rob Is Absolutely Worth Papelbon Money

D-Rob vs CIN

Courtesy of Getty Images

The silence remains deafening on the David Robertson front.  Since he rejected the Yankees’ qualifying offer there has been little to no reported activity on the 2 sides working on a new deal, and there hasn’t been much chatter on him on the rest of the hot stove rumor mill.  It appears as though the attachment of draft pick compensation has slowed the pace of pursuit for this offseason’s top free agent reliever.

The one bit of worthwhile (depending on how you look at it) information to come out on D-Rob was the recent report that he is seeking “Papelbon money” on the open market.  You’ll remember the record 4-year/$50 million deal Jonathan Papelbon signed with the Phillies during the 2011-2012 offseason, a deal that could vest into a 5-year/$63 mil one when all is said and done.

The general reaction I saw online to this report was that D-Rob was crazy for wanting that much and he would never get it.  …

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Long term Max Scherzer is a big risk

(Syndicated from The Flagrant Fan)

Signing any player to a long term contract is a risk. Things rarely work out for the life of the deal. Sometimes the player is so good in the first few years of the deal that the back end evens out the worth of the investment. The risk seems even larger for Max Scherzer because, first, he is a pitcher and secondly, all you have to do is look at his teammate from Detroit as a cautionary tale.

Scherzer famously turned down a large offer from the Tigers to test the free agent waters. And it seems he has set himself up nicely with another ace-like season. The financial rewards of his roll of the dice will pay off handsomely. Someone will give him the money. But will they be happy with the investment?

Scherzer’s own teammate, Justin Verlander and American League rival, CC Sabathia seem to show the risks involved with signing up a talented power arm up beyond their peak seasons.…

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WAR is Wrong: Top Relievers Are Worth Double their WAR – So D-Rob Easily Merits $12-15m

Relievers are weird creatures the standard wins-above-replacement (WAR) stat doesn’t evaluate well. I’ll give the punch line first: relievers pitching high-leverage innings are worth at least double what WAR claims. I’ll get back to David Robertson, but let’s start with Greg Holland, a nice example of a consistently true-elite reliever – but you could substitute prime-years Mariano Rivera, who averaged only 3.0 WAR/yr as a closer. In 2013 and 2014, Holland logged low-1s ERAs and converted 95% of about 50 save opportunities (2-3 blown saves (BS) a year) – yet BBREF and Fangraphs call him only a 2-3 WAR player.

Wouldn’t a replacement-level pitcher giving up over a run every two innings – call him “Kawn Shelley” – blow at least 20% of save chances, or easily 10 out of 50 rather than Holland’s 2-3 out of 50 or Robertson’s 5 out of 44? Not all blown saves are fatal – lost leads may be recoverable – but about 60% of blown saves become losses.…

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The 2-Year Hangover: Comparing The 2013 And 2014 Offenses (Part III)

Cano HR vs KC

Hard to replace this guy. Courtesy of Getty Images

This one’s pretty simple.  Just a straight up position-by-position comparison of 2013 and 2014 batting lines.  I call it “The Cano Effect.”

Catcher:

2013- .213/.289/.298, 57 R, 8 HR, 43 RBI
2014- .250/.305/.415, 65 R, 22 HR, 81 RBI

First Base:

2013- .229/.292/.397, 58 R, 22 HR, 83 RBI
2014- .215/.305/.382, 66 R, 25 HR, 78 RBI

Second Base:

2013- .318/.385/.521, 79 R, 27 HR, 114 RBI
2014- .246/.303/.390, 69 R, 13 HR, 53 RBI

Shortstop:

2013- .228/.286/.312, 63 R, 5 HR, 46 RBI
2014- .233/.287/.292, 48 R, 5 HR, 55 RBI

Third Base:

2013- .231/.293/.340, 70 R, 12 HR, 52 RBI
2014- .260/.335/.392, 69 R, 15 HR, 61 RBI

Left Field:

2013- .236/.293/.399, 79 R, 27 HR, 85 RBI
2014- .249/.313/.393, 90 R, 16 HR, 62 RBI

Center Field:

2013- .280/.349/.442, 98 R, 13 HR, 65 RBI
2014- .278/.335/.452, 86 R, 23 HR, 84 RBI

Right Field:

2013- .251/.296/.358, 67 R, 13 HR, 52 RBI
2014- .253/.294/.347, 62 R, 8 HR, 43 RBI

Designated Hitter:

2013- .189/.276/.307, 64 R, 16 HR, 61 RBI
2014- .230/.290/.372, 65 R, 18 HR, 63 RBI

Takeaways:

– Good gracious!  …

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The 2-Year Hangover: Comparing The 2013 And 2014 Offenses (Part II)

Teix-Ellsbury vs BOS

Courtesy of Getty Images

On Friday I compared the basic counting statistics for the 2013 and 2014 offenses and the results weren’t pretty.  The Yankees, the team built on the “power and patience” offensive concept, had turned into a middle-of-the-pack team at best in both categories and found themselves in the bottom half of MLB in scoring in each of the last 2 seasons.  Strangely enough, despite hitting for a higher average, more power, and striking out less this year, the 2013 team scored 17 more runs than this year’s edition.  Even in an offense-starved baseball environment, there’s no reason to expect that the team that gave 2,175 combined plate appearances to Ichiro, Lyle Overbay, Chris Stewart, Vernon Wells, and Eduardo Nunez scored more runs than the team that didn’t.

Time to dig a little deeper into this mess and look at the situational hitting.  That has to be the explanation.

Situational Hitting Statistics:

2013:

Batting Line at Home-.252/.323/.387
Batting Line on the Road- .234/.292/.366
Batting Line Bases Empty- .239/.299/.381
Batting Line w/ Men On- .248/.317/.368
Batting Line w/ RISP- .255/.338/.380 (in 1,509 PA)
Home Runs w/ RISP- 32
Runs Batted in w/ RISP- 468
Batting Line “High Leverage”- .251/.336/.402

2014:

Batting Line at Home- .247/.309/.396
Batting Line on the Road- .244/.305/.365
Batting Line Bases Empty- .238/./292/.381
Batting Line W/ Men On- .256/.328/.379
Batting Line w/ RISP- .252/.324/.364 (in 1,480 PA)
Home Runs w/ RISP- 23
Runs Batted in w/ RISP- 421
Batting Line “High Leverage”- .247/.314/.369

That’s some pretty damning evidence as to why the 2014 team was so bad.  …

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The 2-Year Hangover: Comparing The 2013 And 2014 Offenses (Part I)

McCann K vs TB

Courtesy of Getty Images

The story of the last 2 seasons in Yankeeland is one of offensive disappearance.  Once the Bronx Bombers, the Yankees have fallen off the run-scoring map and they’ve found drastically different ways to make the fall.  Last year it was cheapness, plain and simple.  They tried to cobble together a half-decent lineup under the restriction of a flawed budget plan and they failed.  This year it was the exact opposite.  The checkbooks opened, the money flowed, new better players were brought in, and the lineup was completely rebuilt.  They failed again.

2 different strategies, same terrible results.  How could that have happened?  Might as well look at the numbers to try to figure it out.  First up, the basics.  The counting statistics.  How did those stack up for the 2013 and 2014 Yankee teams?

Standard Counting Statistics (Team):

2013:

Batting Line- .242/.307/.376
Runs Scored- 650
Home Runs- 144
Stolen Bases- 115
BB Rate- 7.7%
K Rate- 20.1%
Total PA- 6,045

2014:

Batting Line- .245/.307/.380
Runs Scored- 633
Home Runs- 147
Stolen Bases- 112
BB Rate- 7.4%
K Rate- 18.6%
Total PA- 6,082

Advanced Counting Statistics (Team):

2013:

OPS- .683
wOBA- .301
wRC+- 85
ISO- .133

2014:

OPS- .687
wOBA- .305
wRC+- 92
ISO- .135

The big takeaway here is how distressingly similar these numbers are.  …

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Whiffing wonders – flipping a Marlon Byrd

(Syndicated from The Flagrant Fan)

Anyone who has read my stuff for a while understands that I am not fond of strikeouts. I have often jousted against the notion that an out is an out is an out. I respectfully disagree. Strikeouts give the batter no opportunity to have anything other than an out where a batted ball will give the batter a 30% chance to get on base. One of the few scenarios where a strikeout is better than a batted ball is a double play. Knowing my predilection to this part of baseball is my discovery that Marlon Byrd has done something in 2014 no player in the history of baseball has ever done before. Marlon Byrd struck out 150 times more than he walked in 2014.

Byrd had a pretty good offensive season by most standards. He had a 110 OPS+, hit 25 homers and drove in 85. In the world of the Phillies, that’s really productive.…

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The End Of Mark Teixeira

Teix vs BAL

The perfect visual representation of Teix’s 2014 campaign. Courtesy of Getty Images

I don’t know how I missed this, but holy crap did Mark Teixeira have a terrible final month of the season.  I have no excuse for missing it, since I wrote a post at the beginning of the month about how awful his August was, but I really didn’t realize he was THAT bad in September.  82 plate appearances, a .178/.256/.301 slash line, a 28.0% K rate, only 5 extra-base hits (2 HR), 4 GIDPs, and -0.3 fWAR.  Perfectly healthy or completely beat up, that’s bottom-of-the-barrel bad.  It’s the type of production that usually gets guys DFA’d.

Obviously Teix was not going to suffer that fate, not when he has multiple years and $45 million remaining on his contract.  But looking back at those numbers, it’s fair to say he probably should have been shut down for the year much earlier in the month.  All the evidence I referenced in the earlier post that suggested his body had had enough came to even greater fruition this month.  …

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VMart and Donnie Baseball

(Syndicated from The Flagrant Fan)

Victor Martinez is having a remarkable offensive season. And it isn’t just the 31 homers and 31 doubles and the .333 batting average. What is remarkable is that in the inglorious age of the strikeout, Martinez has only struck out 40 times all season. He is on pace to finish with 43 strikeouts. When considering that remarkable number, it made me curious as to how many times since 1961 someone has hit over 30 homers with less than 45 strikeouts. So I went to my trusty baseball-reference.com and checked it out.

First of all, why did I only go back to 1961? Good question. The answer is that 1961 was right around the first time when the strikeout rate averaged five strikeouts per team per game (1959 to be exact). And even going that far back is problematic. The average strikeout rate in 1961 was 13.2% compared to it being 20.3% this season. If you go back further than 1961, then a low strikeout rate with a lot of homers just wasn’t that remarkable.…

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