Archive for the ‘Free Agent Signing’ Category

Despite the St. Louis Cardinals and the Albert Pujols camp breaking off talks until the off season,  the speculation about where the games best hitter will be sign will continue throughout the season. The White Sox GM Kenny Williams has already told everyone what he thinks of Albert’s salary demands.  He is by far the best hitter I have seen. Even though he has not been at 100% health wise the past few years,  he has still performed at an elite level . Just take the Quad which takes into account both counting stats in Times on Base, and Total Bases and the rate stats in On Base Percentage, Slugging average.

Times on Base
Albert Pujols  290
Prince Fielder 286
Rickie Weeks 276
Joey Votto 275
Adrian Gonzalez  271
Matt Holliday  263
Aubrey Huff 257
Jayson Werth 253
Ryan Braun 250
Dan Uggla 249
Kelly Johnson 247
Jason Heyward 245
Carlos Gonzalez 239
Andrew McCutchen 238
David Wright 237
Ryan Zimmerman 234
Hanley Ramirez 234

Total Bases (BABIP)
Carlos Gonzalez 351 0.384
Albert Pujols 350 0.297
Joey Votto 328 0.361
Matt Holliday 317 0.331
Ryan Braun  310 0.331
Rickie Weeks 302  0.332
Adrian Gonzalez 302 0.322
Dan Uggla 299  0.330
Adam Dunn 299 0.329
David Wright 295  0.335
Jayson Werth 295 0.352
Corey Hart 293  0.324
Kelly Johnson 290 0.339
Aubrey Huff 288 1 0.303
Hunter Pence 283 6 0.304
Casey McGehee 283  0.306
On Base Percentage (BB%)
Joey Votto 0.424 14.04%
Albert Pujols  0.414 14.71%
Prince Fielder  0.401 15.97%
Carlos Ruiz 8   0.400 12.7%
Jason Heyward 0.393 14.61%
Geovany Soto  0.393 16.02%
Adrian Gonzalez  0.393 13.48%
Matt Holliday   0.390 10.22%
Josh Willingham  0.389 14.89%
Ryan Zimmerman 0.388 11.44%
Jayson Werth  0.388 12.58%
Chase Utley  0.387 12.33%
Aubrey Huff  0.385 12.43%
Troy Tulowitzki  0.381 9.09%

Slugging (Contact Rate)
Joey Votto 0.600  77.15%
Carlos Gonzalez  0.598 77.00%
Albert Pujols 0.596  87.05%
Troy Tulowitzki 0.568 83.40% 0
Adam Dunn 0.536 64.34%
Jayson Werth 0.532  73.47%
Matt Holliday 0.532 84.40%
Corey Hart 0.525 74.91%
Adrian Gonzalez 80.71%
Ryan Zimmerman 0.510 81.33%
Dan Uggla 0.508 74.70%
Mike Stanton 0.507 65.74%
Aubrey Huff 0.506 84.01%
Ryan Howard 0.505  71.45%

The funny thing in all of these numbers is that Pujols is near the top in all the categories. But, his batting average with balls in play is below .300. This means he has gotten some bad luck and might be a better hitter than his numbers indicate. With Pujols slimmed down, and healthy there is no telling what he is capable of in 2011!


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There is not a single way to prepare for a NL or AL only keeper league draft.  In these type of leagues, its important to get a good read of who came over from the other league in the off season, and figure out how their skills will do in the new league. As, they go directly to the new player pool that will be available for bidding on in the draft. Each owner in evaluating the players coming over to a new league should consider :

  • the ball park the player is coming from/to
  • the playing time the player may receive with the new team
  • with pitchers coming from AL to NL, the lack of DH in NL suggests better results

The list goes on, but lets take a look at the movement with the NL teams this off season.

The Braves bullpen is remade with the Wagner and Saito signings, but one of their best pitchers Javier Vazquez traded away. The Doctor is in for the Phillies, but sent Cliff Lee packing for Seattle pitchers Philippe Aumont and Juan Ramirez and outfielder Tyson Gillies. The Marlins traded away Jeremy Hermidia for Boston prospects Hunter Jones and Jose Alvarez.  The National brought in Matt Capps, Pudge, Miguel Bautista, Adam Kennedy, and Chris Duncan. Along with Jason Bay, the Mets signed Hisanori Takahahi From Japan. The Diamondbacks blew up the team with starters Ian Kennedy and Edwin Jackson coming over in blockbuster deal. They remade the left side of the infield in Adam Laroche and KellyJohnson/Tony Abreu. Their bullpen was upgraded with Bob Howry and Aaron Heilman. The Cubs took on Carlos Silva, and obtained pitcher Jeff Grey in trades. Chad Tracy and Kevin Millar were signed as possible backups. The Brewers added Randy Wolfe, Doug Davis, and outfielders Jim Edmonds Carlos Gomez. The Pirates traded with Rays for Aki Awamura, they signed Ryan Church, and added pitcher RHP Chris Jakubauskas.  The Reds shocked people by signing the Cuban defector Chapman, along with SS Orlando Cabrera, reserves Miguel Cairo and Josh Anderson. The Astros Ed Wade overspent for a new back end of bullpen. The Cards signed Brad Penny and Fellipe Lopez. The Rockies brought in Tim Redding and Melvin Mora. The Giants signed Mark DeRosa, 1B Aubrey Huff, and pitcher Todd Wellemeyer. The Padres stayed busy with additions of both the Hairston brothers, Aaaron Cunningham, John Garland,  Catcher Torrealba, and P Radames Liz. The Dodgers stayed busy with divorce issues and only signed Josh Towers, Jamey Carroll, and Nick Green.

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Over the Christmas holidays, the N.Y. Mets unwrapped their Bay City Rollers gift.  When one looks back at Jason Bay’s resume, you have to like his numbers.

  • HR: 2nd in AL 36
  • TOB :13th in AL with 245
  • TB 15th in AL with 285
  • OPS: 8th in AL: 921

On the defensive side of the ball, Jason Bay’s defensive number show he had started to decline , and continues to be an issue .

The sabermetric chronicles on Inside the Book : with Mike Silva vs the Tangotiger

TrueBlue LA has Better Know a Stat OPS+

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It is well known that Ryan Howard is one of the power hitting offensive forces of the past 4 years in the National league.  The Phillies have 18 million reasons they like the lefty slugger coming into the 2009 season. But, one thing I touched on a few weeks ago about Ryan Howard:

Every now and then you hear the whispers that Howard is simply just a good platoon hitter.

So, lets take a look at Howard’s track record with the righty lefty splits.

Name Year vs Lefty (AB) vs Righty (AB) vs Lefty  (HR) vs Righty (HR) vs Lefty (AVG) vs Righty (Avg ) vs Lefty (SLG) vs Righty (SLG)
Howard 2008 237 373 14 34 .224 .268 .451 .601
Howard 2007 209 320 16 31 .225 .297 .493 .644
Howard 2006 197 384 16 42 .279 .331 .558 .711
Howard 2005 61 251 1 21 .148 .323 .246 .645

So,  in the red columns we see Ryan Howard’s production against left handed pitching. In his three full seasons, in the rate categories against lefties he has continued his decline in batting average and slugging. His home run production against righties just about doubles his production against lefties.  To be fair, the Phillies are aware of the situation and he has received less at bats against lefties. The question remains though, would the Phillies be better off platooning him at first base.

I am certain they could find a right handed batter who could do better than a .224 batting average  against the southpaws.  Better yet, in fantasy leagues that allow for daily transactions, would you be better off sitting Howard against lefties.

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After weeks of waiting, several players finally made up their minds and signed on the dotted line with new teams.  Fransisco Cordero the top closer on the free agent market signed a 3 year deal at a figure around 37 million with the N.Y. Mets. This deal is significant because he signed at a reduced price, making it clear that this is a soft market for free agents.  CC Sabathia is still sitting with a 140 million dollar offer in his back pocket which he almost certainly will throw out in the next few days.  As, the former Cy Young Award winner seems hesitant to join in on the N.Y. , where the media scrutiny can be intense . Now, he’ll have his pick of several offers that won’t have as much money on the table, but will be better fit for him.

The Mets did well finding a closer with a good track record. As their bullpen has caved on them the past two seasons. They now have a replacement for the injured Billy Wagner who wore out his welcome in Flushing. From here,  they need to find a reliable setup man as Omar and his crew attempt to refurbish the bullpen.

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We are already past “Pitchers and Catchers”, and the exhibition games for the 2008 baseball season are underway. Its that time of the year that baseball fantasy owners are monitoring very closely what is going on in the Cactus League in Arizona, and the Grapefruit league in Florida.

One of the better blogs I came across this off-season is called Greener On the Other Side where they offer Objective Insight to Sabermetrics and Strategy In Fantasy Baseball. Brett Greenfield and I participated in a blog exchange of questions and answers. My responses to his questions appear at Greener on the Other Side. Brett’s responses to my questions appear below in bold.

1. Just like in Major League baseball, after a while you can recognize
the type of players or strategies certain GMs favor. In fantasy baseball keeper leagues, what type of patterns among other fantasy owners do you see pretty often?

Many owners fail to realize mistakes they’ve made. We all do it. For example, those who drafted or kept guys like Alex Gordon or Delmon Young last year are highly likely to keep them again this year.

An intelligent owner cuts bait on his these players and goes for the certain thing. Nobody knew Ryan Braun would be as productive as he was last year and become a first round pick this year. Sometimes it takes guys like Young and Gordon time to develop and other times they never do.

So a trend I see all too often is holding on to a player just because you thought highly of him in the year before. I also see rosters that have players in common. There is usually the owner who drafts all young players and not enough proven veterans to contend. Every team needs a Todd Helton. Other teams only take the older guys who have “slipped” to them because other owners think they are too old to draft in a “keeper league.”

Finding a happy medium usually results in success. While in a keeper league everyone needs to remember that your primary goal is to win this year not in 2010.

2. The saves and stolen bases always seem to be the hardest categories
to fill out on your fantasy roster with. Do you suggest going after the high fliers in those categories and having to pay for it, or go after with several cheaper players that get you the stats collectively?

Saves and stolen bases are the hardest to fill out. This is the case mainly because the players who provide these two categories don’t provide you with any help in other categories. Closers for example help your ERA and WHIP yet only give you that help in about a third of the innings of a starting pitcher.

Even the best closers who strike out 100 still give you a total as low as Chien-Ming Wang. I prefer landing cheaper sources of saves such as Todd Jones and Kevin Gregg. In such a volatile position I hate to use a high draft pick on a player who only provides me with 3 categories at most. Stacking up on high-end SP’s who can get you help in four categories and then drafting late closers works best in my opinion.

The same can be said for stolen bases when a large majority of your SB guys include Figgins, Pierre and Taveras. They rarely provide you with much help elsewhere.

That being said for my first two rounds in the draft I try to target players like David Wright, Carl Crawford, Grady Sizemore, Brandon Phillips, Alfonso Soriano, etc.

A guy like Ryan Howard in the first round gives you zero SB and his .261 AVG is a lot more real than his .300 AVG from the year before.

In targeting SB I prefer to get an all-around player and when targeting saves I prefer to wait until rounds 17-20 and grab lesser values closers much like Al Reyes and Kevin Gregg last year.

3. It seems you always hear to spend a certain percentage of your team
on offense and certain percentage on pitching. Why is it that offense is always at a premium percentage of your overall budget when both offense and pitching both contribute to five categories?

Generally speaking, offense usually comprises a larger portion of a fantasy roster. In addition, hitters suffer far less injuries than pitchers and are more reliable because of that. Lastly, even the best pitchers like Peavy and Santana don’t provide you with 5 categories since they won’t be getting any saves. A hitter like David Wright provides above average assistance in all 5 categories.

So in rotisserie leagues, its always worth spending the big bucks on the guys who provide you with help in the most categories as possible.

4. We have seen some teams make bold moves with a player they acquired
this off-season either through trades or free agent signings. Which move in particular strikes you as a move that we can call the “Fools Gold” transaction of 2008?

The fool’s gold transaction of the 2008 offseason was the White Sox and A’s trade involving Nick Swisher and Gio Gonzalez. Last year, Gio led the minor leagues in strikeouts and sported a 3.18 ERA to go along with a 1.15 WHIP. He was blocked in Chicago by a slew of pitchers that they’ve had including Vazquez, Garland, Contreras, Buehrle, Danks and Floyd. Now moving from an extreme hitters park to a pitcher’s paradise with a great chance to log 150+ innings, expect him to be the “Fools Gold” of 2008 as Billy Beane has done it again.

5. The Houston Astros Roy Oswalt was one of the top pitchers in many
draft boards last season. Tell me why I should avoid or go after
Houston Astros Pitcher Roy Oswalt in 2008?

Roy Oswalt has seen his stats decrease over the last few years. His strikeouts have decreased at a clip of 20 per year over the last 4 seasons and his strikeout rate dropped to a career low 6.5/9. His ERA, while still at 3.18 has risen over the last three years and his WHIP was a career high last year. For those interested in Sabermetrics, Oswalt’s Component ERA was 3.72 and his DIPS ERA was 3.51, both higher than his 3.18 ERA looks on the surface. His two back to back 20-win seasons are in the past as his run support has dwindled over the last two seasons. Avoid Roy Oswalt.

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Well, I have to say I agree with Shyster about Ken Rosenthal. The baseball insider at Fox think Bonds is bad for the game, but is fine with Giambi, Roberts, et al. I wonder what his thoughts are about Brett Boone and if drinking heavily while as a player is ok? These Nats are sure taking their chances with these cast of characters.

This blog at stats.com was exactly my thinking early on about Bonds:”Signing Bonds would be an odd move after the Rays dealt both Delmon Young and Elijah Dukes over the winter. Tampa Bay left fielder Carl Crawford hasn’t been shy in saying how they were bad for the clubhouse and how he appreciates their departures.”

More in the thread why John Heyman should be stopped thread version 12.

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