Miguel Cabrera and Recency Bias

People tend  to be biased towards recent events, for instance since 2010 it`s been well established that Clayton Kershaw is the best pitcher in the world, just to give you some perspective on how that is unrefutable, since the beginning of the decade, he has compiled a 52.9 WAR total, the second in that list is Max Scherzer at 39.7, and that`s with a 20 game edge to Max, his 2.20 ERA paces starters and among those with at least 1000 IP, the second is Sale at 3.02, only Clayton has a WHIP under 1.

 

I could go on and on but you get my point, and yet year after year whenever someone puts on a great stretch everybody jumps on the bandwagon, first it was Harvey in 2013 than Arrieta in 15 then Scherzer and Sale this year and time and time again after a while, Clayton gives us a reminder, hey I’m here, 1 great year from Harper and everyone was ready to put him as better than Trout. Now here`s the player I want to talk about Miguel Cabrera, as late as 2013 most old-timers were still clinging on to the notion that Miggy was the best player in the game, now all of a sudden, one bad year and, Who is Miguel Cabrera? He`s been demoted to the Pujols category.

 

We all know the albatross that his contract is, and first, let`s take a moment to rant about the stupidity involved in his extension at the time of the deal he was pushing 31 and had 2 more years left on his deal, meaning he`d essentially be 33 by the time he hit FA, as in he would have started his new deal turning 34 right at the beginning of that season, who signs a 33-year-old 1B to a 242 Million deal over 8 years, keep in mind that money figure was even bigger relative to the market of 2014, everyone at the time knew the Tigers handcuffed themselves.

 

Now let`s give some hope to Tigers fans all around that think Miggy is done, when comparing a player`s:

xwOBA(Expected weighted on-base average) to his actual wOBA.

You can see a lot of valuable information, it can tell you Eduardo Nunez got really lucky last year given that he outhit his xwOBA by 0.073 points, which means he`s bound for some regression, now looking at the other end of the table the far and away unluckiest hitter in 2017 was one Miguel Cabrera, his xwOBA was 0.382 his wOBA was 0.322 that`s a 0.060 difference, the second  in that category was Mitch Moreland with a 0.036
His career numbers put him at a .400 wOBA, so something around .382 is more in line with what you should expect from him next year, other numbers that don’t mean as much, but back up my theory, are his batted ball stats:

 

 

2017 Soft%: 9.9     Medium%: 42.5     Hard%: 47.5.

Career Soft%: 11.3     Medium%: 49.3    Hard%: 39.4,
This shows he was hitting the ball as hard as he ever had, perhaps even more interesting are these numbers:
2017 LD%: 27.3     GB%: 39.8     FB%: 32.9.

Career LD%: 22.4     GB%: 41.3     FB%: 36.3.
While it is true that he had a downtick in FB% in the year of the Flyball, all of that and then some were turned into Line Drives, hence his career high LD%, so to all of you who have ruled out Miggy, I say not yet, he still has a lot left in that tank, and while it`s obvious he`ll never live up to that  contract you might still get some value in these next few years.

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Top 10 by position. Part 2

MLB Network has published their latest edition of Top 10 players by position, addressing the top 10 Catchers and top 10 Left Fielders.

As promised I’ll do mine, now while doing these top 10 lists, my goal is to rank right now all things being equal, salary, age, durability, who are the 10 best players in that position, it’s not about surplus value.

Like an example, Bryce Harper and Clayton Kershaw are clearly the best players at their position, but due to their contractual situation, both are not even close to the top, when it comes to surplus value.

If you were to ask a GM right now, under their current deals, who would they take Yelich or Harper, they’d all say Yelich, but ask, for 1 year at the same salary, who would they take, Harper unquestionably.

Just wanted to make that clear, and also how they performed in the past season, is a factor, but it’s not all, you have to look at the overall body of work.

With that being said, let’s begin.

Top 10 Catchers by MLB Network.

1, Buster Posey
2, Gary Sanchez
3, Willson Contreras
4, Yasmani Grandal
5, J.T. Realmuto
6. Austin Barnes
7, Mike Zunino
8, Yadier Molina
9, Tyler Flowers
10, Robinson Chirinos

My Top 10 Catchers

1, Buster Posey

2, Gary Sanchez

3, JT Realmuto

4, Wilson Contreras

5, Yasmany Grandal

6, Austin Barnes

7, Mike Zunino

8, Russel Martin

9, Salvador Perez

10, Yadier Molina

Tier 1: Buster Posey

Tier 2: Gary Sanchez, JT Realmuto, Wilson Contreras, Yasmany Grandal, and Austin Barnes.

Tier 3: Mike Zunino, Russel Martin, Salvador Perez and Yadier Molina.

As much as the last 3, Martin, Perez and Molina have declined, they still produce good value and deserved these last 3 spots.

Top 10 Left Fielders by MLB Network

  1. Marcell Ozuna
    2. Yoenis Cespedes
    3. Justin Upton
    4. Ryan Braun
    5. Trey Mancini
    6. Khris Davis
    7. Adam Eaton
    8. Andrew Benintendi
    9. Marwin Gonzalez
    10. Brett Gardner

My top 10 Left Fielders:

1, Christian Yelich

2, Marcell Ozuna

3, Adam Eaton

4, Rhys Hoskins

5, Andrew Benintendi

6, Yoenis Cespedes

7, Justin Upton

8, Brett Gardner

9, Nomar Mazara

10, Joc Pederson

I decided not to do any tiers, just because the more i attempt to do it, any tier i come up with, seems like in some way a stretch and I’m sure that there are multiple rankings that could be rearranged, it’s all very close.

First off, I put Yelich in the LF list, because he is a left fielder, played there a ton, and moved to center, due to the Marlins two great corner OF, Ozuna and Stanton, and their inability to play center, and Yelich will move back to left, with Milwaukee.

Hoskins is on the list, because he will play left field, and I’ve seen him play, there so it’s not a major question mark, whether he can or not.

No one knows exactly how much playing time Gardner is going to get in left, but he will get some and that’s his natural position.

I did not include Conforto nor Pham as both will clearly play other positions in 2018.

PS: I know, Eaton and Hoskins at 3rd and 4th, it’s bold, but looking at what i expect, based on objective analysis from what they have produced, that’s where i feel they should be.

The last 2 spots i had a tough time with, lots of players close to each other, ultimately i went with those two as they provide a similar floor to what the other candidates do and give a higher ceiling.

I’m officially on the Hoskins bandwagon, solely based on facts, i believe he will be a great player.

Regarding Eaton, if you look at his last 2 years in Chicago, the production is there and with his plus defense in left, there’s a ton of value

As always feel free to comment, suggest, subscribe and anything else you can think of, any questions you may have, i’m here to answer them.

Darvish, Where Are Yu Going?

The offseason has sucked. It’s been horrible, and the clock almost strikes February with most major free agents still on the market. Yes, there were 2 major outfielders, one traded and one signed with Milwaukee yesterday in Lorenzo Cain and Christian Yelich, but the major free agents are still available. Perhaps the best of them is starting pitcher Yu Darvish. He had a bad World Series, but besides the ERA being up he was still dominating hitters with a 1.16 WHIP, and had a 4.69 K:BB ratio since traded to the Dodgers. His stuff remains electric with 3 dominant fastball variations, a 4 seam, 2 seam, and cutter, along with his trademark slider and 12-6. Many teams  are interested in acquiring Darvish for the upcoming seasons and here are the favorites to sign Darvish.

1. Chicago Cubs

The Cubs have lost Jake Arrieta this offseason and Yu Darvish would help bolster a Cubs rotation that needs serious depth and make them a contender. They have expressed major interest and are currently the favorite to land Darvish, It makes perfect sense for both sides, the Cubs getting a top tier SP they need, and Darvish being the ace on a strong ball club.

2. Milwaukee Brewers

The Brewers have made big moves this offseason, and after narrowly missing the playoffs would love to improve a weak rotation, and give them a legitimate playoff chance in the tough NL Central with Darvish. He would become the clear ace with the Brewers and help lead them to the playoffs for the first time since 2011.

3. Los Angeles Dodgers

Dodger fans may be skeptical to bring back Yu after a tough World Series, but tipping pitches could easily be fixed and Darvish would seriously help the Dodgers in 2018. The Dodgers are trying to stay under the luxury tax of 197 million, so there penalty resets to 20% for the big 2018 offseason, but bringing back Darvish could help bring home their first World Series since 1988 and give them one of baseballs best 1-2 punches.

4. Texas Rangers

The Rangers have a weak starting rotation and are familiar with Darvish, signing him out of Japan in 2012. Darvish has shown interest in returning to Texas, making the reunion more likely even though Texas isn’t a big contender.

5. Minnesota Twins

The Twins have a strong group of young players, and made the playoffs last year losing to the Yankees in the wild card round. The Indians are the only other AL Central contender and with many games against the Royals, White Sox, and Tigers the Twins have a favorable chance at making the 2018 playoffs. Bringing in Darvish only helps those chances, and improves their shot at the playoffs.

6. Los Angeles Angels

This scenario is a bit of a wildcard, but the Angels have made splashy moves the entire offseason and why stop now. Mike Trout is one of the greatest baseball players ever, and in his prime so the Angels are going all in for 2018. Darvish would help bolster their rotation and give them a legitimate chance to dethrone the world champions Astros in the AL West, and make a deep postseason run.

Predicted Landing Spot: Brewers

AL MVP. Judge or Altuve. PS: I know i’m late


As we all know Jose Altuve won the AL MVP award, the reasons for that were many, among them there was the huge slump Judge had in the middle of the season, before that he was the clear favorite and after it he had no shot, that was the general consensus and in contrary to Judge`s rollercoaster, Altuve played at a steady nonetheless great pace, and finished the year as the best player on the best team, which bodes well for the old school voters, now I’m here to not only make the case for Judge but to prove why he should`ve won it.


While both players are superstars with tremendous upside it wouldn`t be hard to make an argument that they both just had career years, which is no cause for panic, is just very hard to post 8 WAR seasons as they both did by baseball reference, Fangraphs has Altuve slightly below at 7.5, nevertheless if you look at their projections for next year, Steamer has Altuve at 4.4 and Judge at 4.0 WAR, with significant offensive decline, so this might be their best opportunity to ever win it, especially when there`s a Mike Trout in their league.


But moving on, those who defend Altuve will say that while Judge`s power numbers are ridiculous, they get overshadowed by the fact that Altuve had a batting average .62 percentage points better than Judge all while hitting for a .202 ISO, looking at this, it’s fairly easy to pick Altuve, but here’s why you shouldn’t.


Who never heard the phrase a walk is as good as a hit, it`s a nice concept with its benefits, but ultimately it`s a flawed concept, the more accurate notion is, a walk is as good as a single with no runners in scoring position, think about it those two plays produce roughly the same outcome the only possible difference is a runner going first to third, which is not that big of a difference anyway, but who`s gonna put that on a bumper sticker.

Despite the aforementioned .62 head start on batting average (.346 to .284) the free-swinging Altuve finished with a .410 OBP which falls shorts of Aaron`s .422, but that`s a lot more Judge`s merit then you think, for a guy with Altuve`s skillset a .8.8 Walk Rate is very good but Judge`s .18.7 mark is just plain ridiculous.

Throwing aside the percentages on a matter of pure cumulative stats Altuve had a total of 67 XBH, 12 fewer than Judge`s 79, a fact that helps explain the differences in:


SLG .627 to .547

ISO .343 to .202

wOBA .430 to .405

wRC+ .173 to .160


all in Judge`s favor, but despite all of this, one may say, well you`re discounting the value of the singles, stat that Altuve had a huge lead in


135 to 73

But as I said before a walk is as good as a single with no RISP, and in situations with runners in scoring positions:

Jose had 30 singles to Judge`s 16 and yet had only 1 more hit total, 40 to 39 thanks to Aaron`s 15 HR in that situation.

And in the end Judge drove in 67 runs to Altuve`s 52 with RISP, but then again with such a higher number of overall hits, the Astros second baseman must have had a bigger impact on games, no he didn`t, if you look at WPA/LI which measures Wins Probably Added while factoring in the Leverage Index of the situation, Judge leads


6.23 to 4.59


Account for Run Expectancy then, Judge also led


52.05 to 38.51


With all that in mind and the fact that Judge both scored and drove in more runs, 128 and 114 to 112 and 81 respectively, on a worse offense,

Yankees 108 wRC+ to Astros 121

Which doesn`t really matter, but hey, why not, also that neither truly had any positive nor negative defensive value that could be a factor in this decision, unless you wanna give Altuve the prize for his 32 Stolen Bases to Judge`s 9, i don’t see it.

 

Considering all of this, Judge should’ve been the MVP, but overall this is only a testament to how great he was, in no way, i’m knocking the best 2B in baseball and I doubt that at this point, any Houston fan would care.

Cy Young voters have moved past a pitcher’s win-loss record. Or have they?

 

Perception is everything, but more often than not, it’s deceiving and it leads people into making blank statements without properly analyzing the facts, the subject I’m about to address, really represents that well.

We are in 2018, and the consensus around the MLB community is that we’ve moved past the point of using a pitcher’s win as an accurate measurement of their performance. While for the most part that is true, when you look at the data, it becomes clear that part of that is perception.

I decided to go back to the beginning of the decade (2010-18), at all the Cy Young winners for both leagues since, and analyze if the most deserving pitcher actually won it and if he didn’t, did their win-loss record have anything to do with it.

Obviously looking back at the winners of the 20th century would not be fair, as it wasn’t until the early 2000’s with the Moneyball revolution and all of the sabermetricians that this really took off and people started acknowledging it.
So let’s begin.

2010 Cy Young Award Winners:

AL: Felix Hernandez
NL: Roy Halladay

Nothing major here, analyzing that year, in the AL, Cliff Lee, Justin Verlander and “The King” were all very close, but Hernandez probably the better candidate, significantly more innings, the better ERA, ERA-, xFIP, and neither won 20 games, Hernandez and Lee at 12, Verlander at 18.

Over to the National League, Roy Halladay won the award getting every single first-place vote, and it’s understandable.

He had a 21-10 record, 2.44 ERA, 250.2 IP, highest FG WAR among NL pitchers at 6.1, highest BR WAR overall at 8.6, Josh Johnson and Ubaldo Jimenez had very good seasons, but ultimately fell short, Johnson pitched almost 70 fewer innings, Jimenez close to 30 fewer innings.

2011 Cy Young Award Winners:

AL: Justin Verlander
NL: Clayton Kershaw

In this particular season both pitchers won the Triple Crown, and while Verlander was clearly the deserving pitcher in the AL, on the other league things were interesting, or at least should’ve been.

In the NL, Kershaw was awesome but Halladay was just as awesome, and the Triple Crown gave number 22 the edge, a big part of it is the wins.

Analyze their seasons.

ERA:
Kershaw: 2.28.    Halladay: 2.35

K-BB%:
Kershaw: 21.3.    Halladay: 19.8

FIP:
Kershaw: 2.47.    Halladay: 2.20

WPA/LI (Wins Probability Added/Leverage Index)
Kershaw: 4.21.    Halladay: 3.82

FG and BR WAR respectively:
Kershaw: 7.1 and 8.9     Halladay: 8.3 and 8.6

Overall very close, and had Halladay finished with 21 wins and Kershaw with 19, no Triple Crown and i’m pretty sure Halladay wins it, just based on the 20+ wins, if voted by a complete sabermetric community, it’d be very close, my guess Halladay wins it by a vote or so, with this we found our first wins related winner, but honestly it’s a coin flip.

 

Shedding some light into the Derek Jeter-Lou Whitaker WAR debate

The baseball world has changed dramatically in these last few years, dating back to the whole Moneyball revolution that Billy Beane created in Oakland, it’s clear that the roles have changed, guys like Bill James are now respected characters in the game, more and more fans become aware and familiar with sabermetrics.

We have come a long way, but there is still so much to explore.

Today, i want to touch base on a fact, that’s merely the tip of the iceberg, but due to bad analysis and a certain lack of awareness to truly understand what is going on and why is it going on that way, becomes a factor in the analysis of certain statistics.

WAR, Wins Above Replacement is now a big part of performance evaluation and because of its formula, analyzing all aspects of the game, batting, base running and fielding it, sometimes you get results that challenge the “conventional wisdom”, which generates pushback from some people, who have been in the game for a while and are accustomed to using pitchers wins and RBI as ways to evaluate performance.

If you follow baseball closely, there is an extremely high change, at some point you heard a radio host or TV analyst, say:

Lou Whitaker has a higher career WAR than Derek Jeter, that’s obviously a bunch of nonsense, Jeter was so much better, therefore, WAR sucks.

That argument is wrong in so many ways that if presented to a person with good knowledge of sabermetrics, they will simply ignore it, knowing it is so far off, the guy probably has no clue what he is talking about.

But for the majority of fans, who rely on the media to provide them with information about the game, it becomes harder to trust and buy into the advanced stats, when they hear something like that.

Even for the analysts themselves, people who were taught to think along one line and then, out of nowhere, are told that all they have learned was wrong and this is the proper way to analyze the game, regardless of the circumstances there is gonna be some pushback, people’s default setting is to do that when threatened with radical change, especially if it messes with their way of thinking, and when you get results like that, conflicting with their belief, it’s hard to overcome it.

Because of all this, we must break it down what is actually happening, anyone can look up the WAR leaderboard, you need to learn what makes WAR, how is it calculated.

This is the WAR formula for batters.

WAR = (Batting Runs + Base Running Runs + Fielding Runs + Positional Adjustment + League Adjustment +Replacement Runs) / (Runs Per Win)

What you learn from that, is WAR attempts to measure a player’s overall value by using a formula containing the best metrics we have to evaluate all phases of the game.

To measure Batting runs, you look at the player’s wRAA Weighted Runs Above Average, which relies on wOBA arguably the best, most complete stat to evaluate hitting and you also get park adjustments.

To evaluate BaseRunning runs, you add up UBR, wSB, wGDP, that take into the account the 3 parts of base running.

wSB Weighted Stolen Base Runs: measures stolen base and costs stealing value.

UBR Ultimate Base Running: measures non-stolen base type base running, taking the extra base for instance.

wGDP Weighted Grounded into Double Play Runs: which is basically a comparison of the expected number of double plays to the true number of DP’s measured in runs.

Fielding Runs: uses UZR Ultimate Zone Rating, for every position except catcher, such stat is probably the most used stat to measure defense, for catchers it uses rSB Stolen Base Runs and RPP Runs Saved on Passed Pitches.

This right here is part of the reason why WARP is a better way to evaluate catchers, WAR struggles to evaluate catchers defensively.

Position Adjustment: basically puts each player’s defensive performance into context, based on what position they play, it’s harder to be average at shortstop or center field than first base and left-field.

Here are the positional adjustments used in WAR by FanGraphs.

Catcher: +12.5 runs (all are per 162 defensive games)

First Base: -12.5 runs
Second Base: +2.5 runs
Third Base: +2.5 runs
Shortstop: +7.5 runs
Left Field: -7.5 runs
Center Field: +2.5 runs
Right Field: -7.5 runs
Designated Hitter: -17.5 runs

League Adjustment: is a small correction to make it so that each league’s runs above average balances out to zero. The impact is pretty small, it adds about 0 to 5 runs to each player

Replacement Level Runs: it’s used to tell you the difference between replacement level performance and an average performance because average play has its value and WAR is trying to determine how much better than replacement level you are

FanGraphs and Baseball-Reference use the same formula on that  one

RPW Runs per win: the last piece of the puzzle converts runs into wins.

The 3 big parts to really focus on are the first 3, that measure batting, base running and fielding, the other ones are there mostly to make adjustments based on the context of each player’s performance, and are not affected by such.

WAR as i said it before is a culmination of the best metrics to measure all phases of that game along with a proper adjustment for factors around a player’s stat line, like what position he plays, which park is his home one, which era did he play on, that stuff.

When talking about Derek Jeter and Lou Whitaker it is true that Jeter is generally viewed as the far better player, and that Baseball Reference has Lou with a slightly higher career WAR.

74.9 to 71.8

This small text can force a bunch of fans into dismissing WAR, and it shouldn’t, so let’s see if we can explain why that happened.

Note: I used FanGraphs WAR explanations which in some subtle points differ from Baseball Reference but i’ll break it down in a way it is very understandable to everyone.

Looking at the 3 big stages we referred to, here are the stats for both players.

RBat, Runs Batting

Jeter: 353

Whitaker: 209

Rbaser, Runs from Baserunning

Jeter: 56

Whitaker: 32

Rfield, Runs from Fielding

Jeter: -246

Whitaker: 77

Rpos, Runs from Positional Scarcity, the equivalent of positional adjustment:

Jeter: 135

Whitaker: 64

This right here explains virtually everything, there has been a lot of improvement in evaluating defensive performance which definitely helps calculate WAR for players in today’s game, but when talking about legends of the past, the metrics for defense used in the WAR equation are different.

Before UZR first existed in 2002, the statistic used was Total Zone.

Derek was obviously much better in all offensive categories, but his awful stats on defense, hurt him too much, how can a five time Gold Glove winner at Shortstop have some of the worst defensive numbers ever i don’t know what to make of that, if it was today it would be easier to determine his actual value, but how can either side be this wrong

Jeter represents one of the biggest gaps between perceived defensive value and what defensive metrics show in the history of baseball,

The Yankee Shortstop won five gold gloves 2004-2006, 2009 and 2010, based on the available stats he had 2 redeemable years as a defender.

1998 Total Zone: 2

2009 UZR: 6.3.  DRS: 3

Every other year he either was bad, really bad or awful.

Career Numbers.

From 95-01

Total Zone: -71

From 02-14

Ultimate Zone Rating: -76.1

Defensive Runs Saved: -152

DRS and UZR date back only to 2002.

Jeter’s remarkable negative 152 career DRS is by far the worst ever, only Prince Fielder reached the -100 plateau and he finished at -101. The negative 76.1 on UZR is second to Jermaine Dye who played some of the worst defense ever in RF for the White Sox.

Lou was a pretty good player who benefited from high Total Zone numbers making him a contributor on every aspect, but the story here is Jeter probably is a bit underrated as a hitter by the sabermetric community, here is a guy who reached 71.8 WAR through his career solely on his offense.

Jeter got some of the worst defensive stats in history, if he gets average stats defensively his WAR number would be significantly higher,

To give an example.

Adrian Beltre has a career Rbat of 262, on slightly more games than Derek who had 353, meaning Jeter’s bat was more valuable than Beltre’s and is not that close, but with Adrian having some of the best defensive numbers ever his WAR is an astonishing 93.9.

Next time you hear someone talking about this, and ranting about WAR, know to mention Jeter’s WAR being lower than Whitaker is just a consequence of Derek getting some of the worst defensive stats ever and despite that, the difference between the two is minimum, making Jeter almost an underrated hitter based on how he is viewed and if you are sure Jeter was an average to above average defender and think the metrics (TZ, DRS, UZR) got it wrong, know that in such case, he’s clearly above Lou in the WAR leaderboard all be it in a potential scenario.

Feel free to comment, suggest, subscribe and more as always is my pleasure, apologies for dragging this one out, the subject required some context, so the text became very long.

The SD Padres and their head-scratching moves

The San Diego Padres are a fascinating case.

How many times do you see a team hire a GM, have such GM beginning his tenure by making splashy moves going all in, and in an incredibly short period of time seeing that plan fail epically, and despite it, keeping that General Manager to completely rebuild the farm system that he himself destroyed, the whole situation is very uncommon, and I did not even mention the bad reputation Preller has around the league.

For about some time now fhere has been an Eric Hosmer to the Padres rumor, and with indications it could even be a 7 year deal, San Diego signing Hosmer would be a huge mistake, in so many ways and so I thought I write about it here, then i started doing some research on the Padres and looking at some diferent things i realized that while they have done some nice moves, a lot of the times i have no idea what are they doing and/or they are doing something really stupid, which is the same as the first one, except i actually know what sort of misguided reasoning they are using to justify the move

With that in mind, i decided to put together, a list of weird moves by AJ Preller, this list doesn’t include every mistake made by the Padres, just some i felt should be highlighted.

1, The Will Myers trade.

The thing here is i don’t have a problem with trading for Myers and even now, i think he can provide a lot of value in the years to come, the problem here is, they traded Turner and Ross to Washington, who then traded Souza to Tampa which netted SD Will Myers, notable as well is that Jake Bauers went from SD to TB, to this day i have no idea how on earth Mike Rizzo convinced Preller to trade Trea Turner and Joe Ross for Steven Souza who at the time was a 25-year-old prospect who in fairness had great minor league numbers but at 25 years of age possessed a total of 26 Plate Appearances at the major league level.

 

You can evaluate the move as you are giving up these 2, to get this other one (Myers) but it doesn’t mean you should give up Myers value for Souza, you give up Souza value for Souza, at the time Souza was the best propsect out of the 3, but all 3 were top 100, and Souza wasn’t even top 20-25, plus he was significantly older, in hindsight, no one expected Turner to blossom the way he did, and Souza actually turned out to be a good player, in a 3 team deal, with quite a bit of talent, i can argue San Diego got the least amount of value, especially when considering Jake Bauers is now a top 10 prospect in the Rays system, and also they traded for CenterFielder Will Myers which is a myth he can’t play CF, it wasn’t to play RF or 1B it was to play Center, if that’s the case just don’t do it. you don’t trade for a guy you have no spot for, to put him in a spot he can’t play on, especially when your corner outfielders aren’t exactly known for their defensive skills.

2 The Will Myers extension.

Sensing a pattern here, not my intention, in this particular subject, i have zero objections towards extending Will, a nice young player could become a bargain through his first FA years, my problem is with the way such extension was constructed, before anything this was done in the beginning of last year. A time in which it was clear and clear for a while the Padres were rebuilding and had no plans of truly competing anytime soon, hs signed this extension with a team in full rebuild mode, the details of the contract are as follows

83 million dollars over 6 years.

2017: 4.5

2018: 4.5

2019: 5.5

2020: 22.5

2021: 22.5

2022: 22.5

There is something really wrong with that, teams usually do backloaded deals when they are in contentiom and trying to save money right now, money they can spend elsewhere to improve the roster, like what Washington did with Scherzer, the players seem to like that in general, now tell me why does a SD team that right now would be set to have a payroll of around 65 million dollars, backloads a deal to save around 18 mil now, money that they have no use for, only to spend 22.5 mil on Myers in the years when you are supposed to be ready to contend. Money that you could use to bulk your roster then, i am not saying front load the deal which i’d at least attempt to, just because it’s very unnusual and i don’t know if Myers would accept it, but i expect that when i sign a player for 83 mil over a 6 year span i never have to pay over 20 on a single year and if i do it would not be when i most need the money, the time i am actually contending and even if let’s say the owner wants to save money now, money he will be open to spending later, the team is rebuilding and the payroll is at 60 ish, any contracts you give short term trying to get some value you can just not give and save some bucks, the team will be bad anyway, and i myself don’t believe that to be the case.

3, The Matt Kemp trade

This one is so obvious i almost didn’t include it, all you need to know is, by the time LA traded him, his defense was so bad he managed to get only 1.4 WAR on a 141 wRC+ playing a full season, 150 games, that says it all, taking on 75 mil, big chunk of the 107 he was owed while giving up Yasmany Grandal of all people, was so bad, Friedman probably threw a party just to celebrate it.

4. Remotely considering the possibility of maybe signing Hosmer

You probably heard some people comparing this to the Werth sign, that’s just dumn, for starters Werth was a significantly better player hitting free agency, coming off a very good tenure with the Phillies, the Nationals gave him a 7 years 126 million dollars contract, during this period you know how much WAR he accumulated, 10.7, that is very expensive, in the years that they made the postseason in how many was he a factor, 1 in 2014, he had a great season they made the playoffs, got bounced by SF, all of the other 3 appearances would have happened with or without him, in a nutt shell take that signing away from Washington they are the same team right now, if anything maybe they win a playoff series, who knows, just considering how hard it is to lose 4 straight, not that it was his fault, he was a never cornerstone, he had 2 good years in 2013 and 2014, that is it, and let’s say for the sake of it, you sign Eric, it’s a given SD won’t compete this year and probably not in 2019 as well, there is just not enough talent there, it takes some time for the prospects to develop, by 2020 you’ll have upwards of 45 mil tied up over at least the next 3 years to Eric Hosmer and Will Myers, two incognites, by then, pushing 30, that so far have only shown flashes of possibilities you might never get, who combined have played 1595 games and accumulated 17.6 WAR, both have career OPS below .800, Will at .768 and Eric at .781 I mean seriously does that sound like a good core to build around at that price, does that excite you in anyway, also of note, Hosmer has never surpassed the .200 ISO, not once, i have nothing against him i swear, the numbers are just there

Anyway that is all i wanted to say, i am sure there have been other mistakes along the way but those are the ones i wanted to point out, SD has some nice prospects, and maybe one or two develop into stars, but in a division with the Dodgers, Giants, D-Backs, and Rockies i’d be concerned, the Padres need a game-changing talent, until then, just have to wait and try to avoid moves like these.

The farm in Southern California: San Diego Padres

Southern California, or SoCal as the cool kids say. San Diego, a city home to one of the best Major League ballparks in the country. Now, is home to some great ball players as well. 2017 wasn’t a year to remember for the Padres. Finishing with a record of 71-91 and fourth in the National League west behind the Dodgers, Diamondbacks, and Rockies, which all made the playoffs. The Friars have good days in the near future thou. The closing weeks of the 2017 showed us a lot of what we can look forward to in 2018.

The Padres have one of the best farm systems in the majors. With there Triple A affiliate located in El Paso, Texas. The Chihuahuas, with 3 division titles (2015,2016,2017) two back to back Conference titles (2016,2017) and one League title in 2016. Some players already called up and playing with the Padres last season, but there is much more to come. 
Hunter Renfroe is one of those players that made a name for himself the moment he got the call. Hunter played 120 games for the Padres last year, in that time, he hit 26 home runs which was second among Padres players in 2017, he added 58 RBI’s which was also among the best in the team coming in the top 3. The power is obvious with Hunter, he has the bat to be able to create runs for the Padres. While in the minors Renfroe’s batting average was the best on the team with .509. But in the majors with an average in 2017 of .231 look for him to improve on that in 2018. I have Hunter Renfroe to lead the National League in HR in 2018

Another, El Paso Chihuahuas product that Padre fans have come a custom to is Austin Hedges. He had a good 2017 with RBI’s and HR ranking in the top 5 of the team. With 115 games played behind the plate, he showed his durability. Hedges has show some flashes of offensive power with 18 home runs this season. 

If you follow winter league baseball, Padres fans should be ready excited about Franchy Cordero. A current outfielder for the Chihuahuas, Cordero has an amazing season in El Paso. With an average of .326 and 17 HR. He showed he ain’t nothing to mess with. Adding to that; 18 triples, 21 doubles and 15 stolen bases. Not only does he have power, he has speed and that’s a great asset for an outfielder. Thou Cordero did have a not so memorable 30 games with the Padres, striking out 44 times in those games. Currently in the Dominican Winter League he leads in hits with 49, third in batting average at .322 plus 9 extra base hits. Franchy would be a great addition right along side Hunter in the outfield in 2018

Late in the season, when the Chihuahuas were knocked out by the Memphis Redbirds, a 3rd basement my the name of Christian Villanueva got the call of his lifetime. He was given a date for his Major League debut. He was called up with 13 games left in the season, which he played in 9 of them. He ended up with 4 HR and 7 RBI’S. Remember this is only in 9 games. Villanueva has shown this poise. Before he made it to the show, he was leading El Paso in RBI’s with 86, the next guy? Only had 64. If the chance presents itself again. Believe Villanueva will be ready.

My player to watch in the Padres organization this year is Diego Goris. He currently plays 1st base for El Paso. Thou the Padres already have a solid 1st base men, Diego could be a solid option on the field. He was 4th in RBI’S during his time with the Chihuahuas
One player that has been improving in a decent and consistent matter is Will Myers. His RBI’s took a hit this season but his HR numbers went up. I believe he will be one of the leaders this team needs in 2018
The big question in San Diego is pitching, it always comes down to what you starters can provide and how your bullpen shuts the door. This off-season Jhoulys Chacin became a free agent and signed with the Milwaukee Brewers for a cool $15.5 million. With him gone, after probably having his best season of his career in 2017. The projected starters for the San Diego Padres for 2018 were a combined 39-53 last season, and a average ERA of 4.65. There is still some time in the off-season and maybe the Padres can make a splash
The Padres have the offensive power to overshadow horrible pitching. We won’t know until the games are played, and what better site than beautiful southern California 

By: Diego Sanchez

Pace of Play: Why I spend more time watching my favorite pastime

Pace of play has dominated the MLB news cycle over the past few weeks. As teams and sports networks try to balance the increasing time of games, bang for advertising buck, and interest of younger fans, everyone seems to have ideas on how to “shorten” the game.

There is one camp of fans (myself included) that don’t believe much needs to be done. I love the timelessness of baseball. It is a stress relief just to spend an afternoon or an evening watching what I believe to be the most beautiful game on the planet. I believe that putting a time clock in any aspect of the game, limiting mound visits, or limiting pitcher changes deeply affects the strategy of the game.

On the other side of the coin, certain fans demand more “action”. Baseball, intrinsically, happens in spurts. I understand the viewpoint of the group, however, because sometimes it can be a bit much to watch a batter step out of the box for 10-15 seconds between every pitch. It can be frustrating to see a pitcher shake off 4 pitches and make the catcher run out to the mound. People have become so dependent on being entertained that they quickly get bored with the game. A newer generation of baseball fans, especially, does not react well to the current setup.

I have heard every wild and crazy idea from implementing a pitch clock, to establishing time outs, to beginning extra innings with runners in scoring position. The general idea seems to be that the “time” of the game doesn’t matter as much as the downtime between plays. However, I’m here today to let you know that action plays are what has actually increased the overall time of a game.

In 1989, baseball games averaged 2 hours and 50 minutes. This was the generation of baseball that I grew up watching. I loved watching pitchers dominate. The late 80s and early 90s were when the Greg Maddux’s of the world could pitch a complete game on 80 pitches. Obviously, Maddux was a freak of pitching efficiency nature, but pitchers in general were more efficient.

In 2016, the average length of a game was 3 hours and 26 seconds. That is an increase of 9.4%. This definitely knocks a greater chunk of time out of your summer if you watch a lot of games. I estimate I probably watch 130-140 baseball games a year, so I spend almost 24 hours more watching baseball now than I would have 25-30 years ago. Not that I’m complaining.

The thing with this increase though is that I believe it is not derived from hitters or pitchers spending more time between pitches. It isn’t necessarily that advertisements last longer. Look at pitch counts and pitching efficiency between those two years. According to Baseball Reference, the average amount of pitches in a game in 1989 was 272. In 2016, it was 296, which equates to an increase of 9.2% which is of course directly proportionate to the increase in game time.

Strategy has evolved in baseball. Hitters are taught to take more pitches. I believe pitchers work around more batters to pick spots they feel they will succeed better in. A lot of this derives from the analytic boom in baseball. There is simply more information available, so players know each other so much better. I think the days of “rare back and fire strikes” is becoming a thing of the past. Hitters can’t simply look first pitch fastball any longer. They take more pitches, foul more pitches off, and help their teammates see more of what pitchers have.

Ultimately, while I believe there can be tweaks here and there to make baseball a more watchable product for a generation that craves action, I don’t the pace of play “problem” lies in the downtime areas that are being so heatedly discussed. Baseball has always been a smart game. It is, in my mind, the team sport that can most balance out a pure talent disadvantage that any team may have by strategizing to utilize strengths. With the onset of sabermetrics and analytics, this has been magnified.

I know I’m an old school baseball fan. I love baseball the way it is. I also know that there will be some changes in the future with the makeup of the game. I understand that, and I actually applaud it. Change is inevitable. Whatever needs to take place to ensure the health of the game, I’m on board. I just hope whoever makes those changes does it in a way to hold on to the integrity of the game.

MLB Power Rankings – Offseason Edition

As Spring Training slowly but surely inches closer and closer, the offseason is starting to heat up. It was one of the slowest yet, and many big named free agents have yet to sign including Yu Darvish, JD Martinez, Jake Arrieta, Eric Hosmer and more. Still, teams are preparing for the start of the year, with pitchers and catchers reporting in 23 days. With around a month until the first Cactus and Grapefruit league games, here are my MLB Power Rankings.

  1. Houston Astros
  2. New York Yankees
  3. Los Angeles Dodgers
  4. Cleveland Indians
  5. Chicago Cubs
  6. Washington Nationals
  7. Boston Redsox
  8. Arizona Diamondbacks
  9. Los Angeles Angles
  10. St Louis Cardinals
  11. Milwaukee Brewers
  12. Colorado Rockies
  13. Seattle Mariners
  14. Minnesota Twins
  15. Texas Rangers
  16. New York Mets
  17. Toronto Blue Jays
  18. San Francisco Giants
  19. Philadelphia Phillies
  20. Baltimore Orioles
  21. Tampa Bay Rays
  22. Chicago White Sox
  23. Atlanta Braves
  24. Oakland Athletics
  25. Pittsburgh Pirates
  26. Cincinnati Reds
  27. Kansas City Royals
  28. San Diego Padres
  29. Detroit Tigers
  30. Miami Marlins

Tier 1 – WS Contenders – Astros, Yankees, Dodgers

Tier 2 – WS Hopefuls – Indians, Cubs, Nationals, Redsox

Tier 3 – WS Longshots – Diamondbacks, Angels

Tier 4 – Fighting for Playoffs – St Louis Cardinals, Milwaukee Brewers, Colorado Rockies, Seattle Mariners, Minnesota Twins

Tier 5 – Playoff Hopefuls – Texas Rangers, New York Mets, Toronto Blue Jays, San Francisco Giants

Tier 6 – Better Luck Next Year – Philadelphia Phillies, Baltimore Orioles, Tampa Bay Rays , Chicago White Sox, Atlanta Braves

Tier 7 – Under a Rebuild – Oakland Athletics, Pittsburgh Pirates, Cincinnati Reds, Kansas City Royals, San Diego Padres, Detroit Tigers, Miami Marlins