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Geoff Baker covers the Mariners for The Seattle Times. He provides daily coverage of the team throughout spring training, and during the season.

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February 2, 2008 7:51 AM

Wilkerson and luck

Posted by Geoff Baker

Came across this interesting blog item on newest Mariners outfielder Brad Wilkerson. It was penned by Brett Miller, a regular contributor on one of our favorite sites, Lookout Landing, and who I had the pleasure of meeting while giving a talk to the local Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) chapter at Safeco Field during FanFest last weekend.

It essentially argues that Wilkerson was a victim of simple bad luck throughout most of last season, attributing his mediocre statistics to one bad month and a terrible rate in his batting average on balls in-play (BABIP). For those of you who don't know what that is, it's exactly what it sounds like. Regular batting average takes into account things like strikeouts. BABIP does not. It measures the number of at-bats in which a hitter makes contact on a ball -- minus strikeouts -- that wind up being hits. It also excludes home runs. Average line drive hitters tend to get a .300 batting average.

One thing I disagree with in the post is that you have to view this deal as being a downgrade from what Adam Jones would have brought in 2008, as opposed to whether it's a downgrade from Jose Guillen last year. I don't think you can look at next season and measure from there before a game has been played yet. A team looks at the previous season and how it can improve. So, you ask yourself, can I help my starting rotation try to take a giant leap forward while keeping last year's corner outfield situation roughly the same? That's what you base your future team designs on. You know last year earned you 88 wins, or a better than .500 season if you don't want to narrow it down too much, and now you figure out how to best keep that model and move forward. In my opinion, anyway.

We'll let Miller take it from there. In the interest of balance, because many of you know where I stand on feeling the Wilkerson signing was a decent one and he can come close to replacing Guillen, we bring you the "Wilkerson stinks" argument from another favorite site, U.S.S. Mariner. (OK, fair enough, it doesn't say he stinks. It's just not as rosy.)

One more thing. No matter which side of this debate you fall on, it's time to stop the personal attacks and mudslinging. I'm pretty sure the vast majority of you all have the common goal of seeing the Mariners win games beyond the regular season. It doesn't matter whether you are statistically inclined, or more tradition-based. Stop trying to bash one another over the head and maybe start, as I've seen Merrill and some other commenters do, trying to listen to what the "other side" is saying. You don't have to agree but you might learn a thing or two for a future argument.

I've said it before. This is not going to be a stats-centric blog. That said, there is no reason we can't start looking at some sabermetric stats. Time to get real, folks. Sabermetrics are not going away any time soon. They are here for the long haul. I know some of you are afraid of them. Some of you are skeptical of their value. Heck, so am I at times. Not so much at others.

We can all pretty much agree that OPS (on-base-plus slugging percentage) is one of the most effective tools out there for measuring the value of a hitter. It falls short on guys like Ichiro, who don't hit for power but make up for it in other areas. But every stat has exceptions.

Yesterday, I used OPS+ to make a pro-Wilkerson argument.

We've used that one before. It sounds complicated, but all it does is factor in ballpark differences around the league. The great part is, you don't even have to do any math. All the scientific ballpark equations have been factored in for you by other people much smarter than me when it comes to this stuff. An OPS+, like its ERA+ cousin, is measured on the idea that 100 is "league average".

So, a hitter with a 104 OPS+ is four percent above league average, as Wilkerson was last year.

Someone with a 75, like Jose Guillen in 2006, would be 25 percent below league average. Guillen was a solid 116 last season, in case you were wondering.

You can find OPS+ stats for every player on the Baseball Reference web site. Just go to Google and type in "Brad Wilkerson" + "Baseball Reference" and it pops right up. Here's the Wilkerson stat line from the site, with his OPS+ down on the far right side of numbers. You can look up ERA+ stats just as easily. Once again, no stat is the be-all, end-all, but these make for easier, more true reference points for comparing players because they factor in the differences in ballparks. So, if a player goes to the M's and plays home games at Safeco Field and his regular OPS drops, you can see what that number really looked like when its considered he faced an unfair situation playing 81 games in a pitcher-friendly park.

It beats using things like batting average in arguments. Try it. Once you get used to looking this stuff up, you'll see how easy it is. And you won't get a headache or heart palpatations whenever someone like our commenting dynamo, Adam, comes at you with some numbers.

No Erik Bedard updates for now. It's been a week since GM Bill Bavasi phoned Adam Jones to tell him the trade was going down. This is getting close to a record for delaying the inevitable.


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Posted by Adam

9:12 AM, Feb 02, 2008

Wow - what a compliment, Geoff. Sounds like I need to get away from the computer. It's so easy when I do a lot of my work on the computer so just pop over. I'm just fascinated by this whole Bedard-Jones debate.

Anyway - Wilkerson's BABIP does give some hope, but I'm still concerned about a guy who, in the last two years, has a K every three ABs. I don't know if a better BABIP will give him the production to make up for that K rate. Hope so.

Also, examining BABIP would show that Vidro, who hit more than 30 points over league average, is due for a pretty decent drop from his 2007 numbers. Meanwhile, Sexson had a horrible BABIP in 2007, and we can expect a healthy rebound from him.


Oh - and I know I'm going to get killed for defending USS Mariner, but to be fair, that article doesn't say that Wilkerson stinks. What it does say is that if Wilkerson can stay healthy (a legitimate concern), he could be a good value.

Posted by scottM

9:17 AM, Feb 02, 2008

The Besmircher doesn't get heart palpatations when Adam comes at him with numbers.

The Besmircher thinks that it's Frankie who gets heart palpitation's standing on the ledge.

The Besmircher remembers when ERA stood for the equal rights amendment. He thinks ERA+ is a hot women's libber who is burning her bra.

The Besmircher bought a six-pack yesterday. He thinks that if you drink too many six-packs it'll ruin your six-pack.

The Besmircher's six pack is flexible. (It's taken a lot of years to get that way). It includes opening day to see Bedard pitching.

The Besmircher hopes that when Bedard joins the team, it won't be Adam we have to talk off the ledge.

The Besmircher also picked the first game against the Angels in April and one for the last Angel's series in late September.

Despite his name, this shows that The Besmircher is an optimist.

However optimistic, The Besmircher isn't expecting Mr. Bavasi to invite him down to the G.M.'s box seat.

The Besmircher's tickets are in the nosebleed section directly behind Home Plate.

The Besmircher likes it in these seats because he can besmirch the plate ump--loudly--when the bum calls a strike on a ball that's thrown too far inside or outside. However, being in the nosebleed section, the ump can't hear The Besmircher when he yells.

The Besmircher also chose a ticket for the Botox, because he loved the way the M's besmirched the RedSox Nation last season at Safeco. The Besmircher thinks it's really dumb to call a bunch of baseball fans a "Nation". Imagine if the new team in Washington, D.C. did that: it would be the Nationals Nation. "The National's Nation is coming to town." The Sox, Celtics and Patriots all need a good besmirching. The Besmircher hates all those Bean Town teams.

The Besmircher thinks he hears a helicopter about to land on Safeco's mound. The Besmircher bets that the chopper is black and is about to deliver Sir Erik. Shhhhhhhhhhh. Except for the rotor blades, it's all hush, hush!!!!

(Angel-O can hoist himself on his own petard)
The Besmircher likes the sound of Sir Erik, The Bedard!!!!!!

Posted by The Besmircher

9:21 AM, Feb 02, 2008

That last post is by The Besmircher. That other guy must be impersonating him. ;=) (Dang)

Posted by Basebrawl

9:25 AM, Feb 02, 2008

OK, the 2 most positve aspects of this signing are that it is only 1 year and next yeats FA class is worth keeping doors open for. If Wilk finds hes stroke, or at least a decent one, this year, there are lots of possibilities. Raul gets injured, move wilk to left and bring up wlad. Anything happens with richie (trade, dfa, dl) wilk to 1st. He might even redeem himself and earn an extension. At worst its only a one year deal. Its a head scratcher (not as big of one as this trade situation), but I can live with it.

Posted by Tom

9:38 AM, Feb 02, 2008

Geoff, I read that USSM post you linked to--it never makes the argument that Wilkerson stinks. Mostly it worries about his health, based on past seasons, but argues that he would be a cheap, effective plug-in if healthy. I have to chuckle that in the same post you lecture others about mudslinging, you decide to distort someone else's thoughts on the matter.

Posted by scrapiron

9:48 AM, Feb 02, 2008

Keep in mind too that Wilkerson is a decent first baseman. So if at mid-season you evaluate that Balentien is ready and Sexson is still stinking up the joint, then you can slide Balentien in right and Wilkerson in at first.

Posted by Klatz

9:54 AM, Feb 02, 2008

While Wilkerson is likely to reproduce Guillen's production both offensively and defensively, he has to stay health to do so. He's coming off a relatively recent knee surgery.

Your idea that a team just looks at what it did last season to improve, is well shortsighted. The big question is whether the Ms were an 88 win team last season. The run differential argues that we got lucky.

But the biggest flaw I see in your argument is that you seem to be hung up Adam Jones as an unproven "prospect". By most estimates he'll provide most of Guillen's offense and much more defense.

And we're not just losing AJ either, Sherrill was amazing last year. The loss of AJ and GS will make up for the improvement in the rotation. Not only that we're reportedly losing Tillman and Butler, our next likely replacements for the rotation.

We're mortgaging the future to stay in the same place in the standing.

Posted by scrapiron

10:00 AM, Feb 02, 2008

Jason Churchill of Prospect Insider is reporting that Adam Jones passed his physical in Baltimore on Friday and that a deal could possibly be announced on Monday.

The Mariners allegedly offered Barry Zito 6 years, $99 million as a free agent last year. I wonder if Bedard would take that same offer to stay long term with the Mariners. Compared to the 6 year, $137.5 deal that Santana received it seems like a fair offer. A great PR move by the Mariners would be to sign Felix to an extension and announce both of them on the same day.

My stance has always been that I am for the Bedard trade, but only if they sign Bedard to an extension. If they trade away this package of prospects for 2 years of Bedard, I think we'll rue this trade.

Posted by scrapiron

10:11 AM, Feb 02, 2008

Wilkerson was a good signing at the time. However, I'm still lamenting that they couldn't get the Bedard deal completed sooner, so they could have signed the ideal free agent outfielder, Geoff Jenkins.

Left-handed hitter with power
Born in Olympia, so wouldn't mind playing here
Has an OPS+ over 100 every year he's played

Signed with Phillies for 2 years, $13 mil

Posted by Bellevue Rob

10:19 AM, Feb 02, 2008

One major plus for Wilkerson, he bats LEFT! In all your discussions, factor in 82 games in SAFECO where the ball jumps out to right field.

Posted by Tanner829

10:23 AM, Feb 02, 2008

I think signing Brad Wilkerson will end up being a great move as he can play 1B and the OF. Also this guy can run down some balls in the outfield which is a big plus.

Anyone Mariner's fan who wants to read on how every Mariner's front office move is bad one including the Bedard deal (if it does eventually happen, I suggest you reading the ussmariner blog. I use to like their statistical views but now it is just annoying to read how they are die hard Mariner's fans but the blog is full of negativity and pessimistic views.

Posted by shortbus

10:24 AM, Feb 02, 2008

Bellevue Rob:

The best case scenario is that, for a lefty, Safeco will play about the same as the Ballpark in Arlington, which is a pure hitter's park. Wilkerson isn't a pure pull hitter, but it looks like you can expect he won't be hurt too badly by Safeco. But don't expect Safeco to actually help him at all.

I think the USSMariner's take on Wilk is accurate. It's similar to last year's stop-gap deal with Guillen and could turn out about as well. Wilkerson can play backup and adds a lefty bad off the bench if nothing else.

Posted by Lance

10:27 AM, Feb 02, 2008

Are we really to believe all this hold-up on the deal is due to sorting out language in the event two of the Mariners fail to pass their physical? I don't (yes, I'm still wishful thinking here, of course).

I believe this is all about Angelos trying buy time to negotiate a deal with his star pitcher (agent denial notwithstanding).

In the end one of two things is going to happen: 1) O's sign Bedard to some kind of long-term deal 2) they fail to sign him now, but decide to hold onto him, anyway, and readdress it during or after the season. There'll still be time. Either way, the deal doesn't happen.

Nothing else about this nuttiness makes any sense. I mean, Mets deal for Santana, pending signing him to a long-term contract. They do. It's all official PENDING A PHYSICAL. What's the big deal? That's how it always works (I also think O's used Buster Olney to create the smoke screen. Real conspiracy theorist, aren't I?)

As to Wilkerson, all I've got to say is better hold on to Jeremy Reed. They'll need him as soon as Wilky goes on the DL. Probably the 60-day DL, at that.

Posted by flyaway24

10:44 AM, Feb 02, 2008

Geoff,

I am more inclined to believe you on all matters Bedard related, but prospectinsider.com is reporting that Adam Jones has passed a physical yesterday (Friday), and that leads them to believe Sherill has as well. To top it off, they say the deal will most likely be announced in the next 48-72 hours...but to expect the unexpected. This i'm aware of, but what I really want to know is, has Adam Jones really taken that physical??

Posted by scottM

10:51 AM, Feb 02, 2008

If it's true that Angelo was pissed off at Jones's leaking of this trade, then both sides are probably making sure that every "T" is crossed and "I" dotted before an announcement, (or leaking any more hints). I see Bavasi acquiescing to this condition, but as for the players included, I suspect that Butler AND Mikilio (sp) will be part of the transaction, making it a five for one deal. I would be very surprised if the deal is sweetened beyond this on the Mariners' part unless some surprise player is coming back the other way from the O's.

If the deal was on the verge of being scrapped, I think we would have heard more scuttlebutt.

As for the announcement, I fully expect MacPhail to make a personal call to Geoff Baker, so that this blog can have the story first.

Posted by OlyOle

10:54 AM, Feb 02, 2008

rumor has it that Adam Jones was also seen at Macy's shopping for the customary "Juiceman II" juicer that all traded property must present Angelos with as a gift. The source said Jones has a 72 hour window to give the juicer to Angelos and make him carrot juice to his satisfaction.

http://marinerlog.com

Posted by Lance

11:02 AM, Feb 02, 2008

I just don't believe Wilkie's BABIP is reallu relevant. The guy strukeout a third of the time! Are we just supposed to ignore that? People don't seem to what to extend the same courtesy to Sexson.

A stat I'd be interested in knowing is a hitter's AON. That's all-or-nothing rate, i.e. what percentages of his RBIs come as a result of home runs versus those that don't.

The premise is that runs win games, not necessarily home runs.

You could even extend such a stat further and create a HRF+AON, or HPA. That would be a hitter's frequency of hitting home runs per AB plus his AON.

That would measure a hitter's home run frequency along with his productivity as a home run hitter. Then, you could have a HPA+, comparing it against the league average. Such a stat would help to measure the true value of a hitter's power.

I suspect Arod would lead the league in such a stat. But, who would the Top Ten be? Also, what would be Wilkerson's HPA.

Make any sense. I'm not going to spend the time analyzing it, but some stat freak might.

Posted by shortbus

11:17 AM, Feb 02, 2008

The basic premise of the "all-or-nothing" stat is flawed since a hitter has no control over whether there are guys on base in front of him or not. And statistically there's little evidence that hitting well with guys on base is a repeatable skill. The stat wouldn't tell you much of anythin about how the hitter would perform season to season, team to team.

Posted by JI

11:20 AM, Feb 02, 2008

I don't think you understand the stat or the argument.

Posted by Resin isn't Cheating

11:23 AM, Feb 02, 2008

Let's use common sense. Was Wilkerson unlucky his entire career? Like most players during their prime years he had a career year and hit 32 home runs (.872 OPS for sabreheads) at 27 years old in a full season.

Wilkerson then came back to earth in 2005. You can blame injuries for 2006 and 2007 if you want to believe that. There's still no changing the fact that players don't improve at age 31 unless they are using flaxseed oil or vitamin B shots. Brad's skill set is still a terrible contact guy with a skill set similar to Richie Sexson. Thus would you pay add another Sexson to the batting order if it was your choice?

Posted by Z-Bo

11:27 AM, Feb 02, 2008

This is an awful argument by "Klatz"

"But the biggest flaw I see in your argument is that you seem to be hung up Adam Jones as an unproven "prospect". By most estimates he'll provide most of Guillen's offense and much more defense."

Jones hasn't proved he can supply Guillen type numbers at the major league level. Just because he "Estimated" to provide those numbers doesn't mean he has proven he can.

Thats a bad argument...

Posted by Bretticus

11:30 AM, Feb 02, 2008

Wow Geoff, thanks for the kind words. I woke up shocked to see that. As an aspiring journalist, I really appreciate it.

Also, a few notes about that info...

--Many people contest that if I removed Wilkerson's .200 BABIP month of June that I also have to remove his .424 BABIP month of August. Even with that, his season long BABIP is .278, about 12 points lower than you'd expect given his line drive rate. His average should rise to .240 or so even without my adjustment.

--I took the liberty of removing Wilkerson's really hot .424 BABIP month like many people were saying I should do. He still manages an OPS over .800 with a .230/.327/.475 line. It's not as prolific as the one if you just take out his worst month, but it's still an above average corner outfield bat.

--Wilkerson had 3 "unlucky" BABIP months (.250 or below) one "normal" month (.300) one "below average" (.273) and one really lucky month (.424) So on the whole, he spent more time last year being kind of unlucky. .274 is not the BABIP you'd expect from a guy who hits an average amount of line drives like Wilkerson.

--A more mathematical approach finds that including June and August, his outlier months, he is still unlucky. To find the amount of balls in play he had you his AB's-K-HR (balls that can't be fielded) and you're left with how many balls he put in play. From there, you just change a few outs into hits to regularize for the luck until his BABIP is about .290, where you'd expect based on how hard he hits the ball. That's good for a .242/.324/.479 line. By adding just 3 hits that he should've had.

So really, my overall point here is that you can complain that I'm leaving certain pieces of data out. I heard those complaints and did the rest of the research to see what would happen if I took more time to find more accurate results. Of the three ways you can analyze Wilkerson's luck (take out the bad month, take out both the bad and good month, or just leave them all there and regress based on balls-in-play data) he still checks out as a better hitter than his stat line showed last year.

Thanks for the shout-out once again Geoff. Now that people are aware of my blog, I guess I have to start writing more....haha.

And for the record, despite these last few posts, I'm not strictly a stat guy. I'm most a stat guy, yes, but I realize you can't run a good franchise unless you use both statistical analysis and scouting to evaluate players. It's a balance...but I feel this statistical evidence is relevant to the 2008 Mariners, and proves Bavasi has more of a clue than most of us give him credit for.

Posted by shortbus

11:37 AM, Feb 02, 2008

JI:

Any stat based on RBI is not a good stat for evaluating hitters, period. I guess I don't see what Lance is driving at with his proposal of AON beyond holding a mistaken belief that RBI is a valuable stat, so please enlighten me. Basically I think home runs per plate appearance is what he's looking for...AON doesn't seem to add much.

Posted by shortbus

11:45 AM, Feb 02, 2008

Isn't it possible that Sexson's low BABIP is due to a slowing bat causing more weak grounders, combined with his glacial pace on the basepaths? I didn't see a lot of bad luck last year...I saw a guy that was making terrible contact and hitting slow grounders a lot...a guy that couldn't beat out an infield hit if his life depended on it.

If McLaren weren't the manager I would not expect Sexson to finish the season on the team. But with the management we have I'm sure he'll carry his ~.220 average through the entire, tedious season like last year.

Posted by rowlfdog

11:48 AM, Feb 02, 2008


No one has yet commented on Wilkerson's PTG/STBP, which I think cemented this deal for the M's. PTG/STBP refers to whether a player "Plays The Game the way it's Supposed To Be Played." For basketball fans, this is analogous to ScR+ (or "scrappiness") when describing certain players with limited athleticism, but who look like John Havlicek when they put on the uniform.

This is a key cliche for Mariners Manager John McLaren who intoned PTG/STBP twice in the span of ten days when describing his roster. Unfortunately, the player with the highest PTG/STBP on the Mariners is Willie Bloomquist.

I'm not sure we can stand seeing the game played the way it's "supposed to be played" throughout the line-up, but we're headed in that direction:


McLaren said, "He plays the game the way it's supposed to be played. He has a great presence in the clubhouse, and he's not afraid to take that role and run with it. That's Willie."

Jan-21-08 Kitsap Sun.

McLaren said, "He's such a gamer. He plays the game the way it's supposed to be played. I am really looking forward to having Brad."

Jan-31-08 Seattle P-I.

Posted by Mr. X

11:50 AM, Feb 02, 2008

"Oh well - what I was going to say was that I and others have actually put up some pretty in-depth analysis of why this trade won't get us past the Angels.

The numbers show the Angels are better in the rotation, defensively, offensively, and possibly in the pen, now that Sherrill is gone."

Wookies, hobbits, and klingons. Now that the fantasy talk is over, let's talk some reality.

1995 Mariners division record:

versus Angels, 6-7
versus A's, 6-7
versus Rangers, 10-3

Losing records against 2 division opponents, went to the ALCS

2000 Mariners division records:

versus Angels, 8-5
versus A's, 4-9
versus Rangers, 7-5

Couldn't "beat the A's", but went to the ALCS

2007 Boston Red Sox

versus Yanks, 8-10
versus Toronto, 9-9
versus Tampa, 13-5
versus Baltimore, 12-6

Couldn't beat the Yanks during the regular season, won it all in the playoffs.

2006 St. Louis Cardinals

versus Cubs, 8-11
versus Houston, 7-9
versus Cincy, 6-9
versus Milwaukee, 9-7
versus Pitt, 9-6

Had losing records against 3 division opponents, won the World Series.

This alone proves that we don't have to be better than the Angels. We just have to beat other teams and be in a position to make the playoffs. Real baseball.

Posted by Resin isn't Cheating

11:50 AM, Feb 02, 2008

Flyaway-I believe Geoff over some alleged insider that is consistently feeding the media and fans bad information ie:Hargrove being fired, Kei Igawa a frontline starter, Justin Thomas and Blackley top prospects, Kenji Johjima a defensive liability, drafting Morrow over Lincecum was the right move by the front office, etc..

Posted by Resin isn't Cheating

11:55 AM, Feb 02, 2008

Wookies, hobbits, and klingons. Now that the fantasy talk is over

LMAO! I lost my entire cup of coffee on that statement.

Posted by John

12:00 PM, Feb 02, 2008

I'm curious. How many people would trade Jones for Bedard straight up?
Just wondering.

Posted by scottM

12:10 PM, Feb 02, 2008

And what about the idea that the M's/O's want to wait until Monday or Tuesday to announce this trade (after those I's are dotted and T's are crossed)? Why announce it this weekend and get drowned out by the Superbowl press? Or why announce it late last week and be drowned out by the Santana deal? Early next week will optimize the media exposure for both clubs.

Opening day is going to be a blast with Bedard on the mound.


As for batting averages and OPS+, I remember living in NYC and rooting the Mets during their great run during the mid-80s with Gooden/Strawberry/ et. al. Keith Hernandez was a solid .300 average guy who always seemed to come up with the big hit in the clutch. Key word is in the clutch, because, after a 55 HR season with the Reds, the had Met acquired George Foster for Left Field. George was HORRIBLE in the clutch, but always managed to get a big hit when the team was up by six runs or down by six runs.

My question for the stat guys, is what, statistically, accounts for this, very important variable?

It's not unlike how we can't underestimate the value of JJPutz in shortening the game and winning the close ones.

Posted by shortbus

12:11 PM, Feb 02, 2008

Jones for Bedard straight up is almost conceivable given that it's just really costly to acquire true #1 starters. But with the entire package we're giving up it's a tragically stupid deal.

Here's USSM's take: http://ussmariner.com/2008/01/08/adam-jones-and-erik-bedard-quantified/

Excerpt:
"I’m all for acquiring Erik Bedard, and I’d give up practically the whole farm system to get him. But Adam Jones is the kind of player that good organizations just don’t trade. He’s one of the most valuable players in the game, and by himself, more valuable to the club than Erik Bedard."

Posted by scottM

12:12 PM, Feb 02, 2008

should be: "the Met's had acquired"

Posted by shortbus

12:19 PM, Feb 02, 2008

scottM

"Clutchness" is typically based on anecdotal evidence and is demonstrably not a skill that players can repeat season to season. Essentially we tend to remember what players do in clutch situations, especially if it reinforces a belief that they are, or aren't "clutch." But looking at the actual numbers for most guys shows they don't consistently perform better or worse than their overall performace level in clutch situations.

As for what Putz brings to the team...I think we can't OVERestimate it. It's the biggest reason the M's outperformed their Pythagorean win expectation based on runs scored vs. runs allowed.

Posted by MONTE

12:34 PM, Feb 02, 2008

Flyaway-

Also don’t forget the Insider’s now infamous July call-up, “M's calling up Jones…shuffling the outfield”, that was picked up by the PI, AP, ESPN and on… (But NOT the Times!)

Posted by Chris from Bothell

12:35 PM, Feb 02, 2008

Mr. X - In your opinion, do you think it is more likely that the 08 Ms as we understand them (i.e. with Wilkerson, likely with Bedard) will:

a) Beat the Angels (and obviously A's and R's) to take the West.
b) Obtain the Wild Card (assuming Red Sox take the east, Tigers the central and Angels the west), which would include being better than the Indians, Yankees and Blue Jays.

My guess is that a) is more likely, given the unbalanced schedule. I'm curious to see what you think, given the data and opinion you put forth in your previous post. Not a leading or rhetorical question, I honestly want to know. I can't tell.

(Note the distinct lack of imaginary creatures mentioned above. You do realize, Mr. X, you'e setting yourself up for receiving quite a number of action figures at the blogger meet-n-greet, if you're going to that. ;) )

Posted by Chris from Bothell

12:38 PM, Feb 02, 2008

By the way, in reference to Geoff's stats mention above:

http://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/SEA/2007.shtml

That's the direct link to their stats page for the 07 Ms. OPS+ is the rightmost column. You can swap out a couple people on the roster to see that yeah, Wilkerson DOES make a dent, assuming that going from 116 (Guillen) to 104 (Wilkerson) is significant, and assuming that Wilkerson contributes at least as much as last year. I don't know enough about OPS+ to say whether someone with Wilkerson's history / record can jump from OPS+ of 104 to 116 in one year. Same for whether the rest of the team can pick up the slack so to speak.

Posted by Chris from Bothell

12:41 PM, Feb 02, 2008

Last thing (sorry to be Posty McWritesALot this morning...), I think I have a theory on the comment rejection thing. It's a timeout. The CAPTCHA is unique to every post, and you don't want that value floating out in the aether to be used for malicious purposes.

So to avoid getting stung by that, all you need to do is guarantee that you submit your post within a certain amount of time. Don't know if the clock starts from when you start commenting, when you loaded the page, etc. The webmaster could probably dig out that value somewhere. If my theory is true. which it might not be. Anyway.

Posted by john

12:43 PM, Feb 02, 2008

Adam Jones struck out 21 times in 65 MLB at-bats last season. He also walked just four times. I know THOSE stats mean nothing to anyone, and clearly come as the result of him being mishandled, mistreated, or someone not giving him enough love as a child.
What I see is a guy with potential who will probably take two or three years to really develop. He has a long swing, and still seemed confused by good breaking and off-speed stuff (.246 ba).
In the end, I think you get two good years out of Adam, and then you have to pay him a bunch of money and convince him not to leave - something I have yet to see this organization do.
Because I believe this team can make it to the playoffs with Bedard in 08 and/or 09, particularly if Bedard and Felix combine to win 35-40 games (not including the games the team wins after they leave tied), I think this trade is a good risk.

Posted by Donovan

12:48 PM, Feb 02, 2008

John - Jones for Bedard in a heartbeat, but I'd also trade Jones, Sherill, Tillman, Butler, and/or Mickolio for Bedard in a heartbeat. Jones will be a fine all-around player, but I doubt seriously that he will ever be a franchise player. In the end, Jones' career stats are irrelevant to me in this matter though. No OF'er who ever played the game is enough to put the M's over the top, but one Cy Young season by a pitcher could (especially when he's bumping somebody as ineffective as HoRam from the current rotation). Bedard is in that category, so he's worth the gamble, even for two years. I actually see his contractual status as ideal. You don't have to re-sign him immediately (until he proves his health and form), but you have at least two years if you want them, and at bargain basement prices. Two years is a long time in baseball terms these days. Much longer than I'm willing to wait for contention, that's for sure.


If anybody is likely to regret their big signing, it's the Mets. I love Santana, but nobody should give any TOR pitcher a 6-yr. deal. The Mets are crazy. Also, I just don't see the downside of the Wilk deal. 3 mill is chump change. At worst, he's a low cost insurance policy for Raul, Wlad, and Richie. Just upping the competition in ST justifies his salary.

Posted by Donovan

12:58 PM, Feb 02, 2008

Adam - I know you were busy playing wack-a-mole last night with everybody who wanted a piece of you (some of whom were downright nasty), so I forgive you for not weighing in on my post challenging your selective review of Jayson Stark's column yesterday. But what about the part where he called Bedard one of the 6 best pitchers in the sport and Bedard-Hernandez arguably the best 1-2 duo in the AL (which means the sport)? Is Stark only good at evaluating lanky outfielders or what? What if Erik really is a monster this year, and Felix comes of age? Ain't anybody excited about that possibility? I always thought you had to be at least a closet optimist to be a baseball fan, since the odds are always on the side of failure.

Inspired by the Besmircher, I bought my opening day tix this morning. It is the one game where I have an absolute guarantee that my team will be in first. Given that we are playing the Rangers, I'll even go out on a limb and suggest that we'll still be on top of the league come April Fool's Day.

I'm looking forward to the end of speculation.

Posted by John

1:01 PM, Feb 02, 2008

I agree with you Donovan. I don't see Jones as a franchise player. I see him as a Mike Cameron, possibly topping out as an Andruw Jones - both guys with great defensive skills, up-and-down bats. He'd be fun to watch in Seattle, and I think he'd lead us to the same number of World Series that Jr. did.

Posted by MONTE

1:27 PM, Feb 02, 2008

On 7/12/06 - Dave of USSM wrote the following:

((“But no one, not Bill Bavasi, not you or I, actually knows if Adam Jones has permanently implemented the things that have caused his run since June 1st into his repertoire, or if they’re going to dissipate the moment he sees a major league curveball.”

“Almost every player with Jones’ skillset who has been called up to the majors has struggled, sometimes for several years. It is rare for a player with Jones’ offensive skillset to come up and dominate immediately.”))

So are the criticisms above still valid or not?

How did 65 mediocre MLB ab’s somehow move AJ from zero to mythical in so short of time frame?

Posted by scottM

1:36 PM, Feb 02, 2008

Thanks for the response, Shortbus. However, with all the fairly new statisticizing, I do think that CLUTCH is more easily measurable than it has been.

To me the George Foster/ Keith Hernandez example is textbook. I would bet my nosebleed tickets that if you looked at two seasons of the Mets in the mid-80s when both played, and only looked at games in the late innings where the Mets were ahead or behind by one run, as opposed to late innings (sixth inning plus) where the Mets were either ahead or behind by more than two runs, that the batting average or OPS+ would verify that Hernandez was a clutch hitter, and Foster a major choke artist. I'll bet Hernandez's OPS+ is higher in those "clutch" at bats than his other At Bats. Likewise, I bet that Foster's OPS+ in that same situation would be lower in the "clutch" and higher otherwise.

This example, of course, is broad stroked, because if a player hits a grand slam in the bottom of the ninth with the team down by three runs, that, too, is a clutch hit.

Bottom line, what a player does when the pressure is on, is far more valuable as an assessment, than when the game has been all but decided.

This is why, those two plus drops in the outfield by Adam Jones last season, when he was first called up, loom large. So many fans were clamoring for Jones to be the starting Left Fielder over a then slumping Ibanez. With the spotlight beaming on AJ, he choked a few times. He was not a "clutch" performer when he needed to be.

Adam, wasn't that you heading up the FreeAdamJones contingent last season?

Looks like he's about to be free.

GET BEDARD!!

Posted by Lance

1:58 PM, Feb 02, 2008

"I don't think you understand the stat or the argument." ---JI

Who was this comment directed towards and what stat were you refering to?

"Any stat based on RBI is not a good stat for evaluating hitters, period. I guess I don't see what Lance is driving at with his proposal of AON beyond holding a mistaken belief that RBI is a valuable stat, so please enlighten me." --- shortbus

I can see why some would feel that RBI is not as useful a stat as others, but I don't totally agree with that. I'm not going to simply say it's a matter of luck. To do so would be failing to recognize a hitter's being able to hit in the clutch with runners on, as opposed to simply tagging an occasional pitcher mistake, which occasions caould also be a matter of luck (for most hitters, anyway).

Remember, AON is not about how regularly a player hits a home run. It's simply about the situations in which they do. Or, even more, how often they rely on a home run to knock in RBIs versus using other means to do so. I'm not going to atribute all that to the luck of the situation in which they come to the plate. Those things even out, I believe.

Especially when trying to evulate power hitting, aside from a lead-off hitter (where such a stat is pretty meaningless anyway, because most leadoff hitters aren't expected to hit with any kind of power).

Of course, with my AON one could make the argument that a hitter could be penalized for hitting a home run at the start of an inning, but I also feel that over the course of an entire season that that evens out for everyone, as well.

In fact, one could make a further argument that it's more helpful for his team to simply get on base to begin an inning to start a rally, putting added pressure on a pitcher, then to simply lead off an inning with solo shot for a single run (a single run that could be totally meaningless) then to do so with runners on base. My AON would consider such situations, giving added value statiscally to power hitters that can do their damage in clutch situations when there is added pressure on a pitcher.

That's my reasoning, anyway. Regardless of how many home runs a player hits, to average 3 runs per homer is better than 1.25 per homer, or whatever the case may be. I would be much more hesitant than most to simply attribute such a stat to luck. In believe there's something to be said for clutch hitting, including clutch home run hitting.

I don't know how well I'm articulating my position. I hope I am getting across what I'm trying to say.

Posted by scottM

2:37 PM, Feb 02, 2008

You're definitely onto something, Lance. How to best quantify these "clutch" performances over time is the key.


The other factor not discussed in this Bedard/Jones trade is the role Ichiro plays. Remembering how much persuading it took to convince Ichiro to move from Right Field to Center Field, no one has said anything about asking him to move back to RF in 2008 or 2009.

If Adam Jones was as Showtime-ready as so many profess, then wouldn't there be talk of asking Ichiro (with the utmost delicacy) to get his butt back over in Right Field.

Two seasons ago when Reed struggled in Center and then Choo struggled in Center, and then Adam Jones ALSO struggled in center, Ichiro solidified the position by, finally, agreeing to give the position a try. It has been an often overlooked move by the M's that has been very successful. Asking him to now make room for Adam Jones in center would be an affront.

The upshot of this situation is that Adam Jones's value to the M's is less than it could be if he were to be our long-term center fielder starting now instead of in 2011. To the O's, they can afford for him to sprout wings and reach his potential in his most valuable position--Center Field.

And, as many have rightfully pointed out, acquiring solid corner fielders through FA is much easier than getting a TOR pitcher, such as Bedard.

Someone has said it before, but I think we need to:

GET BEDARD!!!!

Posted by Klatz

2:41 PM, Feb 02, 2008

Mike Cameron is an apt comparison for Jones, high strike-out good power, (although Cameron has a bit more patience), and good defense.

I don't think anyone at in the baseball blogosphere thinks Jones is the second coming of Griffey. But Jones is good and more than likely to get better.

The clincher though is that Jones is much cheaper than Bedard and that is certain.

Bedard is good, really really good. But not good enough to be worth the cost of the trade.

The Mariners are giving away a pair of 10s in the hopes of getting a flush (ie make the playoffs with their "Ace").

If we don't make the trade we're not likely to make the playoffs BUT we lose payroll flexibility and the room to make changes in the future to add to the rotation more cheaply than this.


Posted by shortbus

2:41 PM, Feb 02, 2008

Lance

I think you'd find that guys who come to the plate with men on base more frequently would have a higher AON. So A-Rod on the Yankees has a higher AON than A-Rod on the Royals...even if he hit the same number of home runs. Your stat would need to control for the average number of men on base when the player came to the plate.

Posted by shortbus

2:55 PM, Feb 02, 2008

scottM

There's an entire chapter in Baseball By the Numbers which details the statistical search for a "clutch" factor and, if I remember correctly, there just isn't much consistency or repeatability. One problem is that clutch situations represent a relatively small sample size, year to year. And so players' clutch performance fluctuates...just as you'd expect. But even taken as a whole players just don't perform differently in those situations from their performance in other situations.

Now you may be completely right about Foster and Hernandez in the mid-80's...statistics don't tell you what WILL happen over a short run like that.

Oh,and KEEP JONES!!

Posted by Lance

3:11 PM, Feb 02, 2008

shortbus, I think that could simply be accounted for by creating a AON+ factor. Simply measure their AON versus the league average.

Remember, again, AON would not measure a player's ability to knock in runs. It simply would reflect what they rely on primarily to knock in runs, homers versus other means.

That's why combining it with their HFA (home run frequency) would be so helpful, creating a hybrid statistic. It would combine how often a player hits a home run with how often they rely on home runs to get their RBIs.

A HPA+ would only make such a stat even more of a hybid. You could even factor in things like strikeout ratio. It's all a matter of how far someone wants to drill down. Then when an acceptable formula is devloped see how everyone stacks up against one another.

It's really the HPA (home run frequency + all-or-nothing) stat I'm really proposing to measure a hitter's UPI (useful-power-index).

Posted by Resin isn't Cheating

3:12 PM, Feb 02, 2008

I hate trading Tillman and Butler in the deal because I am of the belief pitching prospects are a high risk. So in order to improve your odds of getting a pitcher into the big league rotation from the farm you need to keep your arms. Yes, it can backfire on you in public opinion of "win now at all costs" if the arms don't pan out.

In 2 years, Washburn and Bastista are gone and won't be worth re-signing as declining #5 starters.

Looking at the positive, not losing Clement, Triunfel, and Balentien is great. It allows the next GM to finally rebuild the core of the team the right way, when Bavasi allows McLaren to ruin any chance we have of beating a weak division.

Posted by MONTE

3:13 PM, Feb 02, 2008

((“Bedard is good, really really good. But not good enough to be worth the cost of the trade.”))

First of all, nobody knows what the trade actually is yet, or if it ‘is’ - at all.

Secondly, Mike Cameron at similar age 22, and experience, was traded to the Reds for Paul Konerko - 1998

nuff said?

Posted by Zach C

3:21 PM, Feb 02, 2008

they way I look at it:

which player is more valuable (winning games) when playing at their highest level...Bedard has the ability to win 20 games probably for the next 3 to 4 seasons...jones can't compete with that.

Posted by bt

3:29 PM, Feb 02, 2008

Mike Cameron didn't put up anywhere near the same minor league numbers as Jones has at a younger age and higher levels. The two aren't remotely comparably as prospects.

Posted by Lance

3:37 PM, Feb 02, 2008

One thing I should clarify. My theoretical AON would be calculated by using RBIs/(RBIs minus HRs) so as to reflect a higher factor for players who DON'T rely on home runs to get their RBIs. It WOULD NOT simply be RBIs/HRs. That would reward a hitter for trying to get his RBIs by just swinging for the fences.

Of course, something would have to be used to give it equal weight when related with a player's HRF to arrive at any meaningful HPA.

Posted by shortbus

3:54 PM, Feb 02, 2008

Lance

Ok, I think I understand the stat now: RBI driven in via Home Run divided by Total RBI. It sounds like the kind of stat that wouldn't be a repeatable skill...just as hitting with men in scoring position is found to fluctuate pretty wideley year to year and is not, apparently, repeatable for a player. You should sort through the stats for a home run hitter and see if, year to year, it's consistent.

Posted by shortbus

4:02 PM, Feb 02, 2008

So it seems very clear that the people posting here that favor the trade simply don't see Jones as a valuable player. You seem to think he's easily replaced. Do you have anything other than anecdotal evidence to support this belief? Is it all just "look at Jose Cruz, Jr.?" Statheads have verifiable reasons for believing Jones will be a very valauble player and there is also significant scouting data to back that up. Just typing with lots of exclamation points that "Jones hasn't done anything in the majors yet!!11one!!" isn't in the least bit convincing to me.

One point of reference is that the Mariners as an organization don't seem to pay much attention to what the stats tell them and to go off of the same kind of anecdotal, common wisdom reasoning that says "Jones hasn't proven anything yet" and "Ibanez is the kind of veteran we need down the stretch" and "We need to stick with Richie until he gets out of his slump." How's that been working out for them? I can't recall a pennant race in this town for some time now.

Posted by MONTE

4:12 PM, Feb 02, 2008

bt's - your Myth -- (("Mike Cameron didn't put up anywhere near the same minor league numbers as Jones has at a younger age and higher levels. The two aren't remotely comparably as prospects. "))

NO - Both drafted at the same age - both called up at the same age.

-Strike One

Last two year minor leagues OPS -
Cammy had .992 - .993
Jones .892 - .968

-Strike two

In each of their respective final (near) full year in the minors Cammy edges in HRs in his last half year 28 –25.

-Strike three – Go Sit Down!

BTW – Cammy wasn’t MY analogy - but many several others have stated the comparison before, because they do compare. I’m sure the books are full of many other comps as well and ‘bust’ along side.

Posted by bt

4:24 PM, Feb 02, 2008

"NO - Both drafted at the same age - both called up at the same age."

Ok ... I guess they're comparable in that sense - though that has absolutely nothing to do with how they compare as players.

"Last two year minor leagues OPS -
Cammy had .992 - .993
Jones .892 - .968"

Where are you getting those numbers from? Baseballreference shows Cameron posting a .992 at age 23 in AA (and then a .903 at age 24 in AAA, but he only played 30 games). Age and level matter when comparing players. Jones put up his .968 at a YOUNGER (baseball age 21 season) age and HIGHER level. If the two were both the same age and both in the M's system currently, Jones would be the much better prospect due to how he's performed against better competition.

"In each of their respective final (near) full year in the minors Cammy edges in HRs in his last half year 28 –25.

-Strike three – Go Sit Down!"

Cameron, once again as an older player (2 years older as far as baseball age is concerned) at a lower level, hit 3 more HRs in 22 more games and 53 more ABs. So yes ... someone needs to sit down.

Posted by MONTE

4:25 PM, Feb 02, 2008

I butchered the English there.

Should have read as: "in each players respective final (near) full AAA season - Cammy edges AJ in HRs 28-25."

Posted by bt

4:30 PM, Feb 02, 2008

"Should have read as: "in each players respective final (near) full AAA season - Cammy edges AJ in HRs 28-25."

As I've already stated ... Cameron was in AA there, not AAA, and he was older.

And actually, as far as I can tell Jones' first minor league season was at age 17, while Cameron was age 19 (again, using baseballreference.com). Furthermore, Cameron made his MLB debut in his age 22 season, whereas Jones' did so in his age 20 season. So throw your first point of 'comparison' out as well.

Posted by scottM

5:04 PM, Feb 02, 2008

Shortbus,

Thanks for the reference to the Baseball by the Numbers book. My instincts, though as a baseball fan (non-Stathead) for many years is that some players DO rise to the occasion and handle pressure in CLUTCH situations much better than others. If the current statistics are not showing this to be true, then its possible that optimal statistical differentiations are not being employed to ascertain this.

I'm not suggesting that stat geeks manipulate the data until they find the conclusion that meets the hypothesis, but that we more clearly define what is, and what isn't a clutch situation.

There could also be a choke statistic. This talk about stats to show fielding ability vis-a-vis a player's range, also applies to competitive/critical game situations. For example, all players should be able to field a ball hit straight at them. When Bill Buckner let a grounder go between his legs failing to help the BoTox's clinch game six of the 1986 World Series against the Mets, it was a choke play of the highest measure. It should be considered, statistically, a far bigger CHOKE than Adam Jones's dropped balls in left when he was called up last year. Stats just don't fine tune things that well, which is why scouting is critical in assessments.

Finally, you and I obviously disagree on the merits of this trade, but I don't think anyone on the pro-trade side believe that Adam Jones will fail at the major league level. How good he will be is the big unknown. The pro-traders simply don't believe that the downside of giving up a very good corner fielder for a proven Ace is enough to nix the trade. IMHO, it's been a great debate on both sides. I just hope to hell that both Bedard and Jones stay healthy so we can judge the true merits of this trade (or non-trade) in five years. I also truly hope that, along with this trade with the O's, Bavasi has been in side negotiations with Bedard's agent to announce a simultaneous contract extension of our new ace. (Maybe, just maybe, this is the real reason for the delay). But first,

GET BEDARD!!!

Posted by Klatz

5:09 PM, Feb 02, 2008

I threw out Mike Cameron as a simple example of the kind of skill-set that Adam Jones has. AJ has way more upside, given that he's performed at such a level for one so young. MC and AJ's minor league records are quite different.

Take for example their age 21 seasons

AJ (420 AB) .314 .382 .586 .968 (BA, OBP, SLG OPS)
MC (468 AB) .248 .333 .391 .724

\

Posted by Scott

5:10 PM, Feb 02, 2008

Zach,

So, is Bedard going to catch all those fly balls in LF while he is winning those 20 games? Will he be scoring runs? While he is playing every 5 games, will he be single handedly giving us wins? I like Bedard, he is awesome, and I will be glad to have him if we get him, but to say Jones can't compete is just silly. Also, how many 20 win seasons did Randy Johnson have in his career as a Mariner? Answer, 1, so don't act like it is a given that Bedard will have 3 or 4.

Jones may not be Griffey, but I'll bet he is plenty valuable and we would have him for the next 6 years. He has the opportunity to impact every game, with his glove, his bat and his legs.

I guess what I just don't understand is why all of the pro-trade people want to bash Jones. Obviously Jones is a phenomenal talent that is highly thought of, or the O's wouldn't be giving up an "ace" for him.

Posted by Lance

5:26 PM, Feb 02, 2008

"It sounds like the kind of stat that wouldn't be a repeatable skill..." ---shortbus

SB - The stat really wouldn't have to do with a "skill" as much as it quantifies and exposes a hitter's tendencies, a reflection of his approach to hitting and how it effects his team, good or bad.

As such, I think it wouldn't fluctuate as much as hitting-with-runners-in-scoring-position would. Hitters' approaches don't tend to vary so much from year to year. So, although there may be some variation per season, I'd think it wouldn't vary that much.

But, I'm not going to do the math. Let some Microsoft Access whiz take a crack at it if they choose to. I think the results would be interesting though.

In the end a hitter's UPI (useful power index) figure could be used to determine how much a hitter's power as reflected by his home runs helps his team as opposed to hurting it. Certainly, Richie Sexson would be a case in point.

Posted by flyaway24

5:29 PM, Feb 02, 2008

yeah, I consider prospectinsider.com to be more speculation than anything. They sure have a lot of "sources" that they like to throw in your face though. I listen to KJR on the internet and it seems as though they often treat Churchill from over there as though he's God, and if anyone knows about the M's, it's him. I understand that sports radio is a bit more at liberty to discuss speculation on a minute-by-minute basis than the front page of the Times, it's just funny how Jason Churchill and co. seem to be wrong more than they're right, but still considered to be an "industry insider" by many outlets well above them.....

just my thoughts

Posted by mistadoc

5:37 PM, Feb 02, 2008

Man, do you dorks ever stop arguing stats? The least you guys can do is give wilkerson a chance then argue your mindless mathematical theories.

Posted by Zach C

5:47 PM, Feb 02, 2008

he has the potential for 20, i never said he is gonna get 20...there is a big difference.

Posted by MONTE

5:48 PM, Feb 02, 2008

Last post. I just lost my text and pull it back and re post – AND the second time it failed again. I had to clear my cashe – and re post again. At least that time I saved my text – it’s stupid.

Abbreviated. I am not sure why you say slightly younger = better prospect, I almost think it should be the reverse. But I really don’t care, because Cammy would not be my first analogous prospect… the books are full of even closer matches - as I stated above.

But the Cammy analogy is an old one and I just pointing out who the Sox got for him (Kanerko). Btw, Kanerko is another "good" comp.

We could go on and on about what similar age and minor league / major league experience means, and in the final analysis it means nothing - because ANY prospect is only worth what the market will bare and history indicates that this amount is usually not great.

Posted by Zach C

5:55 PM, Feb 02, 2008

and yea, when bedard is on the mound he is pretty much winning single handedly...DOMINATION. He consistantly gets around 9k's in a game...thats 3 innings of just Bedard. most of the other stuff is on the ground and not hit hard.

Posted by Lance

6:56 PM, Feb 02, 2008

In defense of Churchill, who of these so-called expert bloggers AREN'T wrong most of the time? Hey, who is even right a fair percentage of the time? SI, other major periodicals, major newspapers, radio guys. They're all wrong most of the time.

At times Churchill has gone against the consensus views and he turned out to be the one right. He said the M's were going to hire Chavez when others reported it would be Roger McDowell or Stottlemyre.

Even in the past week and a half he said a Bedard/Jones deal was going to be made that week-end or it wasn't going to be made at all. Had it not been for AJ's gaffe he would have been right.

Churchill doesn't just look at things as a sabermatrician. He once did, but he's past that now. He's trained himself with scouts to look at things that scouts look at. He uses scouts along with other sources to formulate his reporting. I like him overall (he still remains rather touchy on his blog and awfully arrogant, I believe, however), but more than that I respect what he says. I don't see him as the final word, but I don't see anyone as the final word. I don't always agree with him. But, I respect what he says.

Funny that Geoff doesn't furnish a link to his blog like he does with the others. Probably because he does some writing for the PI.

Posted by Joe Rudi

6:57 PM, Feb 02, 2008

Churchill claimed the deal would be announced last Thursday or Friday. Now he claims it will be Monday? *yawn*

Posted by bt

7:04 PM, Feb 02, 2008

"I am not sure why you say slightly younger = better prospect, I almost think it should be the reverse."

Seriously? You can't see why a younger prospect playing against tougher competition and putting up better numbers is the better overall prospect?

As an aside - Konerko's numbers are similar, but he plays a non-premium position at 1B (easier to find a 1B who can produce like he did in the minors than it is to find a CF) and he played at Albuquerque - one of the best offensive parks in the minors. My guess is that adjusting the stats for ABQ vs TAC, Jones would even come out on top offensively.

Posted by Frankie

7:20 PM, Feb 02, 2008

Can this deal happen already???

I think i've pulled all my hair out already....

Posted by Frankie

7:45 PM, Feb 02, 2008

scottM = The Besmircher

I would have never guessed it....

Posted by The Besmircher

8:11 PM, Feb 02, 2008

The Besmircher besmirches the fact that Frankie is trying to blow his cover just 'cuz he uses that other guy's computer and happened to hit the wrong dispay name. The Besmircher still loves Frankie, though, 'cuz ledge-dwellers make for such hot, besmirchable copy.

The Besmircher was invented because of this blog, for reasons he's not quite sure, but he finds it besmirchably shameful that Mariner Dave works, in his words, "to uphold the USSM virtues of pessimism, pessimism, and pessimism."

The Besmircher thinks that GEOFF should feel very, very, very lucky that The Besmircher, with his optimistically acerbic wit, belongs to his blog, instead. Lucky, lucky, GEOFF.

The Besmircher believes that Bill Bavasi is bargaining with Bedard's baseball agent to get an extension signed at the same time the deal is announced.

The Besmircher thinks that this is why the deal is taking so long to consummate (you know, "consummate", that thing couples are supposed to wait for their wedding night to do).

The Besmircher believes that BB isn't waiting until the wedding night to get an extension. ;=0.

The Besmircher surmises that BB, the hard bargainer ;=0, insisted on extra time to extend Bedard, once Angel-O insisted on more time for the physicals.

The Besmircher thinks that even BB saw that it took the Amazing Mets only 74 hours to reach an extension with Santana, so that the M's could do the same thing in 24 hours X 8 or more days (help The Besmircher out you saberoids) in...in...192+ hours.

The Besmircher thinks that Sir Erik, the Bedard, is much nicer than Alex "the Ultimate Team Player" Rodriguez, and wouldn't dare think of upstaging the Superbowl by announcing his signing on Superbowl Sunday. ("We interrupt this overtime game-winning drive by Eli Manning to announce the trade of Baltimore Oriole Ace Pitcher, Erik Bedard, to the Seattle Mariners for...")

The Besmircher thinks that the black helicopter will come with Sir Erik on Monday or Tuesday. Sir Erik will be all stretched out, like a good Ace should be, for the next five or six years as a Seattle Mariner!!!

The Besmircher besmirches Bavasi if he's not working on an extension right now, otherwise, how can The Besmircher besmirch all the anti-trade folks when only a two year deal is announced in exchange for two sure fire prospects, a helluva lot better lefty prospect than the M's got from the O's with Parrish, and two tall wannabe pitchers.

If Bavasi is really doing what he should be doing, The Besmircher will besmirch all those who dared question Bavasi's impeccable tradesmanship this offseason.

The Besmircher will have two nosebleed tickets to sell for opening day, if he has to besmirch the fact that Sir Erik is not the M's starting pitcher against the Rangers.

Posted by drlo

8:18 PM, Feb 02, 2008

Strongly agree with comment by Scrapiron. Wilkerson gives a solid replacement for Guillen, and possibly more importantly can also provide competition, or replacement, for Sexson. This move makes a lot of sense and quibbling about getting Wilkerson vs. someone else (Lofton?) is hardly worthwhile. Moreover, to the comments that Wilkerson doesn't provide enough value to replace Guillen, even if taken at face value, the argument misses the Bedard vs. HoRam or Weaver side of the debate, and is therefore irrelevant.

Posted by Resin isn't Cheating

9:43 PM, Feb 02, 2008

I agree Flyaway. I enjoy listening to KJR while on the road sipping coffee then I get nauseated if I have to listen to that person change his position over and over on topics. He defended Bavasi for years and supported trading prospects who are blocked that makes your big league club better.

Now he is against trading prospects to make the big league club better. He constantly posts bad information and it really made other people look foolish when they rely on his alleged inside connections. Which is hard to believe since in order to get any information out of the Mariners organization you have to go through Tim Hevley.

Posted by Merrill

9:46 PM, Feb 02, 2008

About posting here, I'll repeat what I said before, which a couple of others have figured out, one of whom posted it on this thread:

The page "times out," so to speak, and I'm pretty sure it's the Captcha code that does so, for the very good reasons stated by the person who posted on it on this thread (sorry, am too lazy to look up your handle, but I've just waded through all the comments and can literally feel my lifeforce oozing through my chair).

I don't think this is the kind of Website that has real-time interaction, so I'm pretty sure the countdown starts from loading, not from the moment of beginning to write. My experience in making quick comments after a lot of reading bears this out.

Of course, I don't have the stats on that. Sorry.

Actually, I love stats and all the new stats, although I'm sometimes sarcastic and sometimes lampoon them. I just think some people are swallowing whole the usefulness of a few very select stats (defensive and dERA) which are still in their formative stages (defensive) or fundamentally philosophically flawed (dERA).

They don't tell the whole story, though, and I think making arguments about a player's value using raw stats without assessing the overall situation (i.e., in this case, Wilkerson's injuries the past two years) is a bit disingeuous at worst and not-well-thought-out at best.

That's why I like Resin's comment that he fell off the table in 2005 even though he wasn't hurt.

But, about stats, I'm open to people's arguments about them. I think I've been proven wrong on the idea of the usefulness of BABIP. This application, although it seems obvious on the face of it, is one I hadn't considered.

Adam, from the last thread, I do understand that you're looking at the evidence, coming to a conclusion, and expressing your opinion. And of course, you are not the only one to state your conclusions as certain outcomes. Sorry to pick on you. Anyway, I know you can take it.

My point, on both sides of the debate, is that we are all expressing opinions. Presenting our opinions with a little less tone of certainty might influence a more respectful, less adversarial response.

But again, I think I mentioned that I realize some of you might be doing that on purpose. I don't really have a problem with that, not that it matters to anyone if I do. I was, as I said...

...just sayin'...

O, and I'd like to add, I really don't think anyone is or has been "bashing" Jones. I think people differ over the certainty level of his future stardom, that's all.

I would add that some others, like myself, differ over the usefulness of defensive stats used to quantify Jones' value. On the face of it, I'm not a big VORP fan, either, although I admit I haven't looked into it as closely as defensive stats or dERA. I'm open to changing my opinion about it and to looking into it more carefully.

And one last comment to add, again a rehash: Putz may be a big reason for the M's Pythag anomaly, but I'm sure Ramirez and Weaver were bigger contributors to it. Too lazy to look it up, though... This point has been made by me and others before.

(I hope The Besmircher keeps up his good work.)

Posted by Resin isn't Cheating

9:50 PM, Feb 02, 2008

Lance- the difference between that idiot and us bloggers is that we aren't used as major sources for stories on radio or by the national media. We don't quote anonymous baseball executives or scouts and make a living out of it like he does.

Posted by Maui Mariner

9:59 PM, Feb 02, 2008

Good reality check Merrill..................

I hope this deal gets done or not soon so we can dispense with the handwringing and pontificating.

Now let's

PLAY BALL!

Posted by Merrill

10:19 PM, Feb 02, 2008

Thanks, MM; I should add that I'm not trying to accuse statheads of being focused solely on stats. Many have stated (particularly Faceplant, if I remember correctly) that they use a balance of elements. But then some of them turn around and make an anti-Wilkerson argument without considering all the facts.

For example, I think the revelation that Sexson was injured last year significantly changes the percentage chance that he perform at any given level next year. And I think that significantly affects the contention that we can't compete with the Angels next year.

I also am not willing to buy the contention that the M's won't be able to compete with Detroit, Cleveland, Boston, or New York. I think the Royals, Twins, White Sox, Blue Jays, and Devil Rays will all bring a load next year. That leaves only the O's in the East as walkovers.

I know the point has been made to debunk idea of competing well within the division is necessary. But I don't think it debunks the idea that we can reasonably expect more victories from playing the A's and Rangers than the Central and East teams can expect playing their second-tier teams.

And I like the way Geoff proposed an idea, then later got around to actually doing the research, came up with a different conclusion than the one he proposed, and offered it up without apology. That's intellectual integrity.

Posted by Mr. X

9:38 AM, Feb 03, 2008

Chris, I would have to agree with you about that being the most likely outcome, but anything can happen.

At the beginning of last season, nobody and their slide rule would have picked Colorado to win the wild card over the Mets, Braves, Cardinals, Padres, Dodgers, Astros, etc. That's why they play the games.

Posted by Mr. X

9:55 AM, Feb 03, 2008

Truthfully, I'd almost rather win the wild card, for the simple reason that wild card teams start the "playoffs" weeks earlier than the division winners (in most cases), and bring that mentality once they make it to the real playoffs.

Posted by tugboatcritic

9:59 AM, Feb 03, 2008

Apologies for directing too much vitriol towards Adam. I re-read my statements and they go too far.

Merrill brings up some good points, along with Geoff, about the neccessity of acknowledging some of the new stats to better understand play on the field. From what I have seen, though, defensive stats not based on outright observation leave quite a little bit to be desired.

Several threads ago, someone brought up a new pitching stat, fairly complex in its system and came up with a list of the 10 or so best performers for last season. That's great, however it almost exactly matched the top 10 ERA leaders for that same season.

What I object to is the almost evangelical nature of local bloggers w/r/t making statements such as "ERA is useless", coming up with a new and more intelligent way of describing value that yields pretty much the same result.

Offering up many of the new stats as proof in arguments is a little mis-leading. Many of those stats seem to contradict the baseline philosophy of trying to weed out things that a player can't control. BABIP is a good example.

However, neither side of the debate ought to resort to name-calling, and I was guilty of such in the last thread. Sorry for that.

Posted by Faceplant

6:19 PM, Feb 03, 2008

"NO - Both drafted at the same age - both called up at the same age."


That's just completely untrue no matter how you look at it. Cameron made his major league debut at the age of 22, Jones at the age of 20. Cameron was promoted for good at the age of 24. Jones is expected to come up for good at the age of 22.


Lance,


The problem with your AON stat idea is that there is no evidence at all that "clutch" hitting is any kind of a repeatable skill. Over time players who are good hitters are going to drive more people in, than inferior hitters who have a reputation for being clutch.

Posted by Faceplant

6:27 PM, Feb 03, 2008

"Many of those stats seem to contradict the baseline philosophy of trying to weed out things that a player can't control. BABIP is a good example."


I think the problem is that you are missing the point they are trying to make with BABIP. The reason BABIP is usefull is BECAUSE a hitter generally has little control over it. If a player is posting a low BABIP compared to his career average then he is likely getting unlucky.

Posted by Faceplant

6:29 PM, Feb 03, 2008

"Remember, again, AON would not measure a player's ability to knock in runs. It simply would reflect what they rely on primarily to knock in runs, homers versus other means."


The problem is that there isn't any evidence that hitting HR's with people on base, as opposed to hitting HR's with the bases empty is a skill. You might as well just look at how many HR's the guy hit period, it would tell you the same thing.

Posted by tugboatcritic

12:46 AM, Feb 04, 2008

BABIP uses hits to get to its #'s. Hits are subjectively given by the offical scorer. Therefore, its a subjective stat masked with objective origins. Same goes for many new pitching stats, and thats my point. Complicating matters for its own sake does not make better analysis, it just makes more complex analysis. We can go way down this road if you would like to.

Posted by Scottish Mitch

10:25 AM, Feb 04, 2008

I think people are looking too deeply into what this Wilkerson trade is all about. I also think people look too deeply into what baseball stats are all about nowadays. BABIP? This is even a new one for me.

I remember a few years ago seeing a statistic about Jim Thome being a .400-plus hitter when he put the ball in play. When strikeouts were also considered, however, he was a .250 hitter. As far as his effectiveness goes in the lineup, he's a .250 hitter. Strikeouts cannot be ignored.

Brad Wilkerson is a similar player in this line of thinking. He's not going to hit .300, or probably anything close to that. He will have the possibility of putting one out in right every time he steps to the plate in Safeco Field though. That's what the M's are banking their 3 million on. Taking Wilkerson for what he is fits with what the M's are looking for...at least that's what I think.

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