Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Hall of Fame Candidates 2010

Hard to believe that time of year is coming soon when we discuss and rate our favorites to end up in Cooperstown, but it's coming very soon. In fact, by the end of the first week in January, we'll all know whether holdovers Dawson and Blylevin made the grade and whether first-timers McGriff and Larkin will make a dent in the voting.

For all those that like to look at numbers, check out of Rating the Hall of Fame Candidates 2010 page. There's a whole lot there to shake through, including PEVA Career Totals for the Regular Season, Postseason, PEVA-EQ stats, and where they'd stand among Hall of Famers already in if they make it, too.

But for now, we'll just ramble on and on about how we think about such things, and elaborate a bit as well.

First off, we're very stingy about who we think should make the Hall of Fame. It's a special place where only the best of the best should reside. Now, there are many already there who you could argue against inclusion, so it's probably not quite as exclusive a club as we'd like, but ... as they say, it is what it is. And it's great!

For Stat Geek Baseball and the baseballevaluation PEVA system, it's pretty apparent who should definitely get in. All players who have garnered 275.000 PEVA Ratings Points (PEVA-B or PEVA-T) or 285.000 including the postseason during their career, and eligible for the Hall, are in. So if any players on the current ballot has reached that Total, it's a no brainer. But nobody has. Now it gets tricky. When you get to a 200 PEVA level, about 75% get in, but you better be above 210 to have the best shot. There are 124 in that category (on the All Inclusive List) and 75 are in, and 16 not yet eligible.

But what about those 25% who are on the outside looking in, why are some included and some not. Well, for starters, many who are on the outside have lower PEVA per EQ year averages. This is the average PEVA value for a full season per the player's career. But there are some who have similar values and have not made it, while others have.

That's just the way the game is played. But for us this year, it comes down to the case of "are any of the players deserving" and "how many of the marginal to good candidates" should make it. We're of the opinion that every year should have at least one HOF inductee, with the perfect year 2, and the maximum three. For us, this is one year when we'd only choose 1.

Bert Blylevin has been toiling in this HOF voting for 14 years, and if he doesn't make it in 2010, he has only one more year on the writer's ballot to make it. He's getting punished for playing on bad teams that lost games, even though he did his darndest to prevent it. Bert won 287 games in his career with a 3.31 ERA. His Total PEVA score of 274.610 ranks #69 All-Time among all players and pitchers. Yes, his PEVA Per EQ average year is lower than we'd like at 13.075 when he should be around 15.000 and if there were other better options, we'd choose them. But this year, there just aren't, and it's time to elect Bert to the Hall of Fame.

For us, not too many others even deserve a mention. We'll get one out of the way before going any further. If Mark McGwire had not used or been involved in the PED allegation scandal, he'd be a lock to be in the Hall. But for us, we think his use added enough to his stats that without them, he'd be below the threshold for election. We're not saying that we'd never vote for anybody involved in this scandal; we're using the "if they hadn't used PEDs, would they still have made it" logic. We don't think Mark would have; Sammy and Rafael, too when they're on the ballot in the future.

Okay, so who are the other possible players we have considered. There are three that top our list, but fall just short of deserving inclusion. One holdover, Dale Murphy, and two newcomers, Edgar Martinez and Fred McGriff. For some reason, voters don't like Dale, preferring to toss votes more toward Andre Dawson or Tim Raines or Dave Parker last year. And he is similar to those players, but we think better. Murphy had 228.963 Total PEVA points in his career after hitting 398 HR, 1266 RBI, with a 0.265 AVE. Those numbers aren't quite good enough for us, but one number is, a 15.767 PEVA EQ. But for this year, our nod goes to Bert and leaves Dale behind. It's unlikely Murphy ever makes the Hall, and he may be just under our radar every year, too, in the future. But of the rest of the holdovers, we like Dale better than the rest.

McGriff and Martinez are interesting candidates to us. You could make the same case for Edgar that we just made for Murphy, Martinez with 227.901 Total PEVA Points and a 15.130 PEVA EQ. He had a higher AVE than Murphy, but was a DH most of his career, which will likely be counted against him. McGriff played on a ton of good teams and put up HR and RBI numbers that almost gets him to automatic inclusion (well at least past automatic inclusion), 493 HR and 1550 RBI. But his PEVA numbers were lower than those numbers suggest at 229.985, because he played on those teams and the PEVA EQ score of 13.319 does not quite cut it for us. (PEVA separates production with rate stats like OBP and SLG to segment some of the production that was dependent on teammates). We won't be surprised if McGriff actually makes the Hall someday, and that would be okay. But he'd be just on the outside looking in for us.

Well, that's about it for now, with the possible exception of not understanding why Lee Smith is thought so highly of, but that might be out penchant to undervalue the relief pitcher compared to the starter. Geez, just like we undervalue the pinch hitter versus the every day player. But that's a debate for another day.

All the best guys from Stat Geek Baseball.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Measuring the Halladay Deal

Okay, we'll get this right off our chest. We don't like the deal. Not that we don't think it could help the Phillies win a pennant or another World Series during the next two to four years, but because we just like prospects. As Phils fans, we enjoy watching the young guys develop into studs and rooting for our players from the minors to the pros. But are we wrong in that from a statistical standpoint? Is it stupid to hold onto such ideals? Should we be afraid that we'll be watching several years of great baseball, but followed by a mediocre team when the Halladays and his new teammates Rollins, Utley, and Howard age without the two talented minor league studs Michael Taylor and Kyle Drabek to help them?

Well here goes our analysis and it's gonna have a lot of conjecture in it to be sure.

Roy Halladay has been a three year PEVA RAVE average of 28.961 and a career PEVA per EQ year of 21.942. He'll be pitching those four years at 33-36 years of age. So we're going to assume some diminution is his performance, and for arguments sake, attribute his career average, not recent PEVA average, to those years.

21.942 x 4 = 87.768 PEVA.

For those not versed in PEVA, 21.942 per year is great, perhaps not Cy Young worthy, but definitely All-League.

But what about those young studs, the outfielder Taylor and the pitcher Drabek. What can we expect over their first 6 years of service before they hit Free Agency? Let's assume Michael Taylor can be Jason Werth ... and Kyle Drabek can mirror Zack Greinke. I know, a large assumption.

Werth, who started out slow in his career, had 21.823 total PEVA points in his first 6 seasons; Greinke for his first 6 seasons had 70.006 total PEVA rating points, including his stellar 2009 year.

That would mean that over 6 years, they would be worth 91.829 PEVA compared to 87.768 PEVA for Halladay. Yes, Halladay's numbers don't include the 4th option year on his new contract, or 6 seasons per the prospects, but they are a guaranteed club player prior to free agency while Halladay may not be.

But overall, you can see, that if the ifs come through, and you have Taylor/Drabek becoming some combination of Werth/Greinke, it's fairly even.

But here's where we have a problem with it. Halladay was only signed for one year prior to agreeing to Philadelphia's extension, and his value in Toronto was one year only. Combine that with the fact that Taylor/Drabek would cost you significantly less than the $75,000,000 that is due Halladay over the next four years, and that that savings could have been applied to other free agent players, and you can see how muddy the waters can be.

I wouldn't have done the trade; I like prospects. I even like contending for the playoffs better than winning a World Series then struggling afterwards. Yes, I wouldn't be a good Marlins fan. But this trade was a much larger gamble than most in the media seem to think, and it will be fascinating to see how it works out. I still think it will work out in the short term, but if Taylor/Drabek become perennial All-Stars, I'd likely choose that course, plus kept Cliff Lee for one year and two prospects ahead. But that's another story altogether.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

On Their Way Up

Up. Up. Up. Up the best ever lists for their respective franchises that is. 2009 saw a number of great performances by players like Pujols, Greinke, Prince Fielder, and others. But were they enough to crack the Top 20 Best Ever Years for the Cardinals, the Royals, or the Brewers. Were they the best ever, #1, for those franchises. We've just calculated the best ever lists for every franchise in baseball history and the new rankings are out.

Check them all @ Best Seasons Ever by Team index page.

But let's give you a preview of the new additions on that list.

1. Arizona Diamondbacks. Sure they're a relatively new franchise, making it a whole lot easier for a player to crack the best ever Top 20 season list. And this year, they got two players who made their case. Dan Haren jumped into the #11 spot in the pitching list with his 14-10 3.14 ERA season while Mark Reynolds now holds the same spot in the batting Top 20 for thsoe 44 HR, 102 RBI season.

2. Colorado Rockies. Now here's a new squad just looking for Top 20 Seasons, especially on the pitching side. And they've got a new #1. Ubaldo Jimenez and his 20.035 PEVA Rating now tops the pile or humidor hurlers in the rarified air of Colorado. And he had company, too. Jason Marquis joins at #3. Jorge de la Rosa at #11. And Huston Street at #14. We get the feeling that Mr. Tulowitski won't be satisfied with having the #9 spot on this list in years to come, but for now his 32 HR, 92 RBI, 0.297 AVE and stellar defensive season in 2009 will have to do. He had company in Todd Helton, too, who jumped into the #20 spot. That's the 8th time Helton appears on the list.

3. Detroit Tigers. Now it's not nearly as easy to jump into the list of Top 20 Pitchers for a club that's been in the American League since the early days, but that's just what Justin Verlander has done. Joining the likes of Hal Newhouser, Dizzy Trout, and Denny McLain, Verlander now occupies the #8 spot with his 2009 season of 19 wins and a 27.965 PEVA rating.

4. Florida Marlins. Okay. Another newbie. And another high ranking in the #4 spot of Josh Johnson. Hanley Ramirez. What more can you say. And if he stays a Marlin for much longer (and that's always in doubt with this franchise), he'll likely have more seasons on the list. For now, the 2009 year jumped him to the #4 spot.

5. Kansas City Royals. Yes, this is the spot for a Greinke siting and it's not too surprising that the Cy Young season of Mr. Zack has him landing in the #2 spot in Royals history behind the 1989 season of Bret Saberhagan. When you just hurled yourself in the #50 spot All-Time, that's pretty special, and his 16-8 record and 2.16 ERA garnered him the coveted runerup spot in KC pitching lore.

6. Milwaukee Brewers. It's not too easy for a relief pitcher to enter into the hallowed halls of a franchise's Top 20 list, but Trevor Hoffman has been doing that for years in a San Diego Padres uniform, and even at 42 years of age (end of season) he's not done yet for the Brewers. His 2009 season warrants a #17 spot. But the batters did a whole lot better than that with Prince Fielder coming in at #2. That's what you get with 46 HR, 141 RBI, and a 34.062 PEVA rating. Not far behind at #5 was Ryan Braun as well.

7. Minnesota Twins. We might be looking at one of the best hitting catchers to ever play the game and in 2009, Joe Mauer took his MVP award and 0.365 batting average to the #3 spot on their list, behind only Ed Delahanty in 1902 and Harmon Killebrew in 1969.

8. New York Yankees. Although it's a lot easier to join their Top 20 pitching list than the batting one (Babe has a lock on a lot of those spots), to pitch your way into the storied franchise best ever seasons countdown is no small feet. And nobody ever said that C.C. Sabathia was small. Count him big at #17 on the Yankee list, joining Guidry, Hunter, Ford, plus Spud Chandler and Jack Chesbro, too.

9. Seattle Mariners. I think most people, particularly on the East Coast, are unaware of the spectacular season that Felix Hernandez had. And at the age of 23, he joined the Mariners best ever list at #2 with his 19-5 2.49 ERA campaign. He almost took the top spot, too, just fractions of a point behind Randy Johnson and his 1995 season. And he may not be done climbing this list yet.

10. San Diego Padres. Another one of those guys whose name keeps coming up in trade, but there's really no good reason to get rid of the wonder named Adrian Gonzalez. While playing in a park better know for wide open spaces, Gonzalez in 2009 had the #2 hitting season in Padre history.

11. San Francisco Giants. There's a lot of names on this list that spark historic memories, from Carl Hubbell to Christy Mathewson to Juan Marichal, but after only two full seasons, Mr. Lincecum now has two spots in the top twenty, coming in at #7 this year.

12. St. Louis Cardinals. Carpenter #8. Wainwright #18. Right in there with Gibson and Dean. Pretty good company, don't you think. One of the best players in baseball history period through his 29th birthday, Albert Pujols now stands at #2 for his 2009 year in Cardinal history, with only the great Rogers Hornsby in 1922 standing in his way to the top. Albert already occupies 5 spots in the Top 20.

12. Tampa Bay Rays. This is the easiest list to crack, but the Rays of today are doing just that. James Shields in 2009 at #5 on the pitching list. Evan Longoria at #2, Ben Zobrist at #3, Carl Crawford at #11, Carlos Pena at #14, and Jason Bartlett at #16 on the hitting side.

13. Toronto Blue Jays. They tried to get rid of him most of the summer, but he refused to stop pitching his way into their record books. Roy Halladay took his 2009 season all the way to #6 on their All-Time Pitching Season list and now occupies 5 spots in the Top 20. Adam Lind is one of those players most baseball fans couldn't name, but should be near the top of most fantasy baseball lists in 2010. His 2009 season became the #15 best season in Blue Jay history and he can thank those 35 HR and 114 RBI and 0.305 AVE for most of that 18.508 PEVA rating that helped his join.

14. Washington Nationals. Becoming only the 2nd player to join the Top 20 since moving from Montreal, Ryan Zimmerman cracked the list at #15.

That's it, folks, but it sure was a fun ride. Now check out the other teams and seem where your favorites from the near or far past rank in their team's best ever lists in history.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Fantasy Baseball Rankings 2010

Hard to believe we're all starting to think in this direction already. It seems like the last game of the World Series was only yesterday. But here we are. It's time to think, at least in the first blush of winter, about Fantasy Baseball and where we should rank the players in 2010. Hard to do without knowing where some free agents will end up, but what the heck. That's never stopped anyone before.

Stat Geek Baseball's rankings rely on two things; 1) the previous year's PEVA rankings from baseballevaluation.com's player rating decision model, and 2) a three year relative average, called RAVE, of a player. RAVE uses a floating value system, giving 50% to 2009 stats, 30% to 2008 stats, and 20% to 2007 stats. Depends on how you think of things and trends, but for want of a better analysis. PEVA is for Current Thinkers. RAVE is for those that think more Long Term.

You can find both full lists (Top 400 Ranked) at Fantasy Baseball 2010 Cheatsheet (PEVA) and Fantasy Baseball 2010 Cheatsheet (RAVE). There's also a printable PDF available on those pages.

But lets' look at the Top Five players on those lists.

Stat Geek Baseball Fantasy Baseball Rankings 2010 (PEVA)

Rank Year Name First Team Lg Age PEVA-T
1 2009 Pujols Albert SLN NL 29 43.976
2 2009 Greinke Zack KCA AL 26 42.305
3 2009 Lincecum Tim SFN NL 25 37.546
4 2009 Carpenter Chris SLN NL 34 35.177
5 2009 Fielder Prince MIL NL 25 34.062

Stat Geek Baseball Fantasy Baseball Rankings 2010 (PEVA)
Rank Year Name First Team Lg Age PEVA-T RAVE Track
1 2009 Pujols Albert SLN NL 29 43.976 29.797 47.59%
2 2009 Sabathia C.C. NYA AL 29 26.289 29.144 -9.80%
3 2009 Halladay Roy TOR AL 32 31.554 28.961 8.95%
4 2009 Haren Danny ARI NL 29 29.954 28.056 6.76%
5 2009 Lincecum Tim SFN NL 25 37.546 26.684 40.71%

No surprise that Albert Pujols tops both lists and would be the top player that most fantasy baseball players would like to pick almost every year. This is a player who you almost can't go wrong with, at least looking at the past. Durable. Spectacular. Even better this past year, by 47.59% than his RAVE average of the past 3 seasons.

But the dilemma begins at number 2. Zach Grienke is a risk, with that one spectacular season, while Tim Lincecum now has two of them in a row. For us, that means Lincecum. But for those who favor an even longer term view, take C.C. Sabathia or Roy Halladay. If you don't have one of the top five picks in your draft, and want to start with a pitcher who has a pretty good shot at giving out good numbers, with durability and prime age in 2010, think Dan Haren. This is one of those consistently good pitchers that most people on the East Coast don't think of as in the category of the others listed, but just look at those last few years, all adding up to a RAVE rating over 28. It's not easy to have a RAVE over 25.000, folks, particularly when your team is an up and down lot.

Take a look at the rest of our list, and plan accordingly. It won't look like all the others, and take into account the defensive component for position players in the PEVA ranking, if, like most leagues, your league does not include defense in its scoring system, but the Stat Geek Baseball rankings might must help you improve your standings in 2010. Here's hoping they do!