December 11, 2013
And here's the full roster.
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Monday, December 29, 2008
Christopher Davis seems to be a trendy pick of sorts for 2009. In fact, he has been picked in the top eight rounds in a few mock drafts that I have seen. After a breakout season in 2007, Davis had no problems with Double-A or Triple-A in 2008. His success did not stop in the majors as Davis put up a .285/.331/.549 line with Texas along with 17 home runs and 55 RBIs in only 295 at-bats. Davis, a first baseman in the minors in 2008, played 32 games at third base while with Texas. This third base eligibility only makes him a more attractive pick for 2009. Let's take a closer look at Davis and see if he's worth the hype.
YEAR AGE TEAM PA CT% UBB% ISO GB% FB% LD% BABIP HR/FB% 2008 22TEX 317 70.5 6 0.264 34.6 39.925.5 0.353 20.5
You can see why Davis had so much success last year. When he made contact with the ball, he was doing incredible damage to it. About 21 percent of his fly balls went for home runs and about 26 percent of his batted balls were line drives. He showed a similar profile in the minors where he struggled to make contact at times but the ball went a long way when he did make contact.
A few of Davis' stats look unsustainable. While his BABIP wasn't out of line given his line drive rate and isolated power last year, expect a regression there. Even though Davis has shown a tremendous ability to knock the snot out of the ball when he makes contact, it will be tough for him to keep his line drive rate and BABIP up to his 2008 numbers. With expected regression with his BABIP and a poor contact rate, Davis has a lot of batting average downside. Despite showing the ability to hit for average with a poor contact rate in the minors, expect this to catch up with him next year in the batting average department. Also, don't expect much help with steals from Davis.
The biggest plus for Davis is clearly his power. Scouts have raved about his power and his minor and major league stats back this up. Given a full season in the majors, Davis should hit at least 25-30 homers with the potential for more. While Davis batted towards the bottom of the order during his stint in the majors, expect him to move up next year, increasing his potential for RBIs. Davis should be one of the top powers sources for third base next year. The question is, can you deal with his risk?
Experience: Very high risk. While Davis had a great track record throughout the minors, we still haven't seen a full seasons worth of performance from him in the majors. What happens when pitchers adjust to Davis? You'll have to wait and see how Davis adjusts in 2009.
Playing Time: Medium risk. Davis likely won't play much third base in 2009 given that Texas has a few options for third base. The main playing time concern for Davis would be if Texas decides to give Jarrod Saltalamacchia some time at first base. There is also the possibility that he gets sent to the minors if he struggles out of the gate.
Skill Risk: Medium risk. As mentioned before, Davis' strikeout rate means that he has a lot of batting average downside. However, he does have his power to fall back on. He can not afford to have his contact rate get any worse.
Age: Medium risk. Davis is still developing as a player which means that despite plenty of upside, Davis' development could still take a turn for the worse. His development with his plate discipline and how he adjusts to big league pitching will ultimately determine what you get from Davis.
Burnout Risk: Low risk. Davis had back problems while pitching in junior college. He hasn't had any serious injury problems in professional baseball and nothing suggests that he should have injury problems in the immediate future.
Overall Risk: Medium risk. The biggest concern I would have with Davis is with his batting average. In fact, I wouldn't be that surprised if he put up a 2008 Mike Jacobs line for next year. Davis also has his risk spread out over a few factors, meaning there are a couple of different areas where things could go wrong for him.
If you are looking for power, Davis will be an attractive target after the early rounds. However, you have to ask yourself if you can deal with the batting average downside. Personally, I'm a little too risk averse to go for a guy like Davis in the seventh or eighth round. While I can see that his power potential is very appealing, I think he's a little overhyped right now. Feel free to take a chance on him, but there will likely be safer options in the spots where Davis has been going so far.
Posted by Victor Wang at 1:07am (2) Comments
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
I am not going to pretend this time that you do not who the article is about because, well, it says so in the title. Adrian Beltre gets talked of solely in terms of his contract and not much is discussed about his future.
Beltre has been extremely consistent the past three years:
+------+-----+----------+-----+-------+----+-----+-----+----+ | YEAR | AGE | TEAM | AB | BA | HR | RBI | R | SB | +------+-----+----------+-----+-------+----+-----+-----+----+ | 2004 | 24 | Dodgers | 657 | 0.334 | 48 | 121 | 104 | 7 | | 2005 | 25 | Mariners | 650 | 0.255 | 19 | 87 | 69 | 3 | | 2006 | 26 | Mariners | 620 | 0.268 | 25 | 89 | 88 | 11 | | 2007 | 27 | Mariners | 595 | 0.276 | 26 | 99 | 87 | 14 | | 2008 | 28 | Mariners | 556 | 0.266 | 25 | 77 | 74 | 8 | +------+-----+----------+-----+-------+----+-----+-----+----+
Before those three years, we see the downer season Beltre had in his first year of the new contract that spurned much criticism of the Mariners front office and a lot of "I told ya so." And we see the career year Beltre experienced in 2004 that led to that five-year, $64 million contract.
So now that we know what Beltre is capable of, let's look at what we can expect of him in 2009, the final year of his contract.
If you're new to THT Fantasy Focus and are unfamiliar with True Home Runs (tHR) or any of the other stats I'm using, check out our quick reference guide. These stats provide a much clearer picture of a player's talent, so it's well worth taking a couple of minutes to learn them.
+------+-----+----------+-----+----+-----+-------+--------+--------+-----+--------+ | YEAR | AGE | TEAM | AB | HR | tHR | HR_FB | tHR_FB | nHR_FB | RAW | OF_FB_ | +------+-----+----------+-----+----+-----+-------+--------+--------+-----+--------+ | 2006 | 26 | Mariners | 620 | 25 | 14 | 14 | 8 | 8 | 3.3 | 36 | | 2007 | 27 | Mariners | 595 | 26 | 24 | 15 | 13 | 16 | 3.9 | 36 | | 2008 | 28 | Mariners | 556 | 25 | 7 | 15 | 5 | 8 | 0.0 | 34 | +------+-----+----------+-----+----+-----+-------+--------+--------+-----+--------+
Anything catch your eye? I hope you answered yes, because that is a tremendous drop in True Home Runs (tHR)! Before we place the toe tag on Beltre, though, let's examine why his tHR figure dropped so much in 2008, and why he still was able to hit 25 homers. To do that, we first have to understand how the True Home Runs system works.
True Home Runs likes players who hit the ball far. I would not consider it a bad thing; players who can hit the ball really far can also hit home runs for shorter distances even when they do not make optimal contact. Meanwhile, a player who cannot hit the ball as far must make perfect contact to hit a home run; if something is a little bit off, the ball will fall short of the fence as an out.
So tHR does a good job of taking into account how far a ball is hit, but does not attempt to determine how often a player reaches his maximum fly ball distance (if that is even possible to determine). Perhaps there is a player who has the ability to only squeak the ball over the wall, but does a great job of reaching his max distance often. True Home Runs would most likely underrate that player.
What I am saying is that while Beltre did see his average home run distance fall by 13 feet, which is concerning, there are ways for him to overcome his loss in power ability and still blast 25 home runs. Obviously Beltre has the potential to do that because that is exactly what he did in 2008!
Beltre's home run total in 2009 is going to be tough to predict so we will revisit the home run issue after looking at his contact skills.
+------+-----+----------+-----+-----+------------+------+-------------+----------+ | YEAR | AGE | TEAM | AB | CT% | JUDGMENT X | A/P | BAT CONTROL | BAD BALL | +------+-----+----------+-----+-----+------------+------+-------------+----------+ | 2006 | 26 | Mariners | 620 | 81 | 89 | 0.52 | 87 | 58 | | 2007 | 27 | Mariners | 595 | 83 | 85 | 0.57 | 85 | 63 | | 2008 | 28 | Mariners | 556 | 84 | 101 | 0.49 | 88 | 68 | +------+-----+----------+-----+-----+------------+------+-------------+----------+
From the chart, we see Beltre showed tremendous improvement in his plate discipline in 2008. In past years, he had poor judgment of pitches (Judgment X) and in 2008 he bumped that up to league average. Beltre is also league average at handling pitches inside the strike zone (Bat Control) and has become above average with pitches outside the zone (Bad Ball).
This improvement in his discipline—if sustained—figures to have a positive impact on his batting average in 2009. Speaking of which:
+------+-----+----------+-----+-------+-------+-----+-------+--------+-----+--------+---------+ | YEAR | AGE | TEAM | AB | BA | tBA | CT% | BABIP | mBABIP | LD% | BIP/HR | BIP/tHR | +------+-----+----------+-----+-------+-------+-----+-------+--------+-----+--------+---------+ | 2006 | 26 | Mariners | 620 | 0.268 | 0.258 | 81 | 0.296 | 0.306 | 21 | 20 | 36 | | 2007 | 27 | Mariners | 595 | 0.276 | 0.273 | 83 | 0.297 | 0.298 | 17 | 19 | 20 | | 2008 | 28 | Mariners | 556 | 0.266 | 0.239 | 84 | 0.279 | 0.288 | 22 | 19 | 78 | +------+-----+----------+-----+-------+-------+-----+-------+--------+-----+--------+---------+
Before you begin to place that toe tag on Beltre again, know that True Batting Average takes into account his expected power output, or in other words his tHR totals. So, if Beltre hit only seven home runs in 2008 (as tHR expected), he would have posted a 0.239 average. If we take out the home run factor, Beltre's tBA would be 0.271.
Everything seems to be hinging on what I decide Beltre's home run total to be, so I am going to refrain from throwing an expected average out there until I make that decision.
One thing I can say for certain is that Beltre's power skills have worsened while his contact skills have increased. I do not believe Beltre will hit 25 home runs next year; I am not sure he will hit even 20—15 is what I would expect. By what means he was able to sustain his power totals in 2008 is a mystery. I believe is was more luck than anything else and his diminished power ability will show in 2009. I am not predicting the complete collapse tHR does because I believe partially in the optimal contact theory I mentioned before, but I do not think Beltre will continue to "beat the system."
If Beltre's power totals were to have remained the same, I would have expected a slight rise in his batting average because of his improved plate discipline and slightly unlucky BABIP. However, because of the predicted home run drop, his batting average figures to take a hit, although not as bad a hit as tBA expects because we are expecting a less dramatic drop in home run totals. Somewhere around .255 seems about right.
Expect Beltre's runs and RBI totals to decline in 2009 too, as a result of the home run and batting average drops. Overall, I would expect his 2009 season line to look like this: .258 average, 15 home runs, 70 RBI, 65 runs, and five steals. Like Aramis Ramirez, it is a good thing we checked up on this "consistent producer."
Posted by Paul Singman at 1:38am (9) Comments
Wednesday, December 31, 2008
A natural issue when it comes to designing your league is how to value players’ stats—should home runs be worth more than wins, and so forth. This problem is apparent in points leagues where you have to designate how many points each chosen stat gets: five points per home run, 10 points per win, etc…. Actually, though, rotisserie leagues just face a special case of this problem, where each stat that is chosen gets the some (non-linear) weight while all those not chosen get zero points.
There are many candidate systems to “optimally” value stats. Better systems will lead to more competitive and/or more baseball-like (I called this verisimilitude in a previous article) fantasy leagues. In this article, I will discuss a few. For convenience sake, I will mostly discuss them within the context of a points league, since it makes examples easier.
The most popular method for valuing stats is most likely the “ad hoc method”. Basically, the league chooses points in the hope that they get the outcome they desired. If giving five points for a win and three points for a save turns out to overvalue relievers relative to some desired outcome (too many teams stock their roster and start mostly closers and Brad Lidge is drafted before Johan Santana), then the league adjusts the points the following year. In a league like this, if singles, doubles and triples are each valued, then it is pretty common to for them to have one, two and three point values respectively.
The good thing about this system is that league has an at least rough sense of what it is trying to accomplish: they kind of know what they want. The bad thing is that the league has a fairly stumbling and drawn out way of getting what they want.
A different method that was recently mooted in the comments section of some previous THT Fantasy Focus articles is to use a “sabermetrics” based value system. For instance, you could use some sort of marginal win share (MWS) for each stat and then use relative MWS (ratios, that is) to assign relative points. For example, you could compute the relative value of one run scored by some baseline player for some baseline team in terms of wins for that team (or fractions of wins) to the same value of an RBI or .01 points of batting average.
The good thing about this system is it has an elegant and precise way of computing things. The bad thing is it isn’t clear what this system is trying to accomplish—it isn’t clear how it makes a league more competitive or baseball-like because it doesn’t take in to account the other parameters of your league. For example, who and what should those baseline player and teams be? To decide this, things could get absurdly complex, since the average player or the replacement player in MLB is not the same as the average starting or replace player in your fantasy league.
Instead, I suggest a sort of middle ground. Take a candidate value assignment like five points for a win and three for a save. Get the stats for last year’s pitchers (or use some projections for this year like Marcel). Compute the point value of each pitcher and then sort by value. Eyeball it. If there are 10 closers in the top 15 pitchers by value, then perhaps you want to adjust things. Do the same for pitchers versus batters and so forth.
This system isn’t as numerical ambitious as the “sabermetric” method and it doesn’t correct for risk, but it should help you avoid really big mistakes in valuation. It is also fairly easy to personalize the system to your league. For instance, if you have a 12 team league with two catcher spots, you can take a look at the 24th most valuable catcher. If it is a catcher with 60 at-bats and five steals, rather than a .265 batting catcher with 30 runs and 250 at-bats, then perhaps you want to adjust things. If you decide that the best balance between competitiveness and verisimilitude is that rosters should have about seven starting pitchers and five relievers, then you can take a look at the top 144 pitchers by point value in the league would be and see how many of them are relievers, and so on.