Thursday, December 9, 2010

Contract Reach Back No More

Well, that title is an odd one, I realize, and it hasn't really gone completely away, but if the trends seen in the early free agent contracts are any true indication, the days of the full reach back four years to find a good year to justify a high contract are on the downside. Now what do we mean and what are we talking about? We mean. Very few contracts are now being given out to players who were good four years ago, but haven't done much in the last three, at high "former glory" dollars. And this trend, that only existed for about five years up to last years, is now returning to a last three year look.

Now, there's still some of the "he used to be good and might be again" dollars thrown into these contracts. But it is significantly diminished. And it should be. SPRO projections currently include the look back provision, even though we disagreed with it when it came into play about the year 2005. And if trends continue, when the mid off-season adjustments are made, it will be diminished.

And who are we thinking proves this point. Look at the contract of J.J. Putz. In some past years, he would still be rewarded as if the Seattle days of 2006 and 2007 were the basis for his contract, i.e. being payed as if he were a dominant closer, but while the 2 year $10,000,000 contract recently signed throws some respect toward those years, it is predominantly being based on his good 2010 campaign and poorer two season before. It's even more noticeable with a pitcher like Aaron Harang. Using the former logic of reaching back to a year like he had in 2007 when he was a dominant force, his recent contract acknowledges that he has that possibility, but is not paying him at a rate that thinks he'll probably get there. With the SPRO RAVE lookback, he'd be worth north of $9 million per year; without it, you're looking at $2.4 million. The Padres are paying him $4 million, more than his recent years say he deserves, but not nearly what past glory has in the reach back days of contracts would compute.

Now maybe this will change back again as more contracts become signed for 2011, but we just wanted to note the trend we're seeing today, and applaud it. Finally, general managers and the economy have come together to ask the question; if he hasn't been very good for the last three years, let's make him prove he can get back to the former level again, instead of paying him as if he will.

Of course, that doesn't explain the $10,000,000 contract given to Carlos Pena, now does it?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Not Jeter Again, the Gold Glove Debate

Let's start right off here and put some things to rest. No, we don't think that Derek Jeter should be given a gold glove, but, as much as we think that's a mistake, we don't think he's the worst fielding shortstop in MLB as some others have stated and some statistics, i.e. UZR, seem to suggest. But, come on, folks who vote for the Gold Glove awards and witness game after game from the manager's bench, you had to have seen others in your league you think we better, even if you've never seen a UZR or even the more traditional, and one we favor, Range Factor stats.

Our Fielding Metric, Field Value, values Jeter as the 11th best shortstop in Major League Baseball in 2010. (For more discussion on this, you can visit the Bleacher Report article, which we thank them for mentioning us.) He's durable, he's reliable, he's sure-handed and accurate with his throws, but he just doesn't get to enough balls to justify the highest mark. We think #11 is a pretty good rank for this Yankee. There is a lot of value in having a shortstop that makes the plays he gets to; would you rather have Rafael Furcal and that cannon arm, plus all those errors. We wouldn't. But the fact that Jeter is amongst the worst in Range Factor, which calculates, with no interpretation, the amount of balls a player gets to that turn into outs (and you can interpret beyond that to ones he gets to, but don't). His Range Factor of 3.78 is amongst the lowest of those with enough innings to be ranked, #50 of 54. We agree, that's not good, and when you compare it to the Gold Glove winner in the National League, Troy Tulowitski, at 5.06, it really means that Jeter gets to 25.3% less balls that Tulowitski does. When compared to Alexie Ramirez of the White Sox, who we would have given the AL Gold Glove to, he gets to 22.7% less balls. That's too many for us to overlook, and while the numbers speak to not denigrating Jeter to the lowest of the low levels of shortstop fielding, it does yell out "Not Jeter Again."

Our Silver Mitt Awards pointed out a few other curious selections, although at least from the National League standpoint, there were very few that we have issue with. Six of the eight winners of our awards (we don't rank the pitchers) and the Gold Gloves are the same; Pujols, Phillips, Tulowitski, Victorino, Bourn, and Molina. We would have chosen Placido Polanco over Scott Rolen at third, but it's perfectly understandable why the voters didn't choose a first year thirdbaseman without a cannon arm for the Gold Glove. Still think his numbers say he deserved it. Polanco is more sure-handed and with better range at this point in Rolen's career. The main discrenpency on the NL side is with Carlos Gonzalez winning the third outfield spot. Look, Gonzalez is not bad, for a left fielder, but there's few major league managers, if they had the choice of selecting another outfielder for defense, who would choose Gonzalez over folks like Andres Torres, Drew Stubbs, or Marlon Byrd. For a left fielder, his 1.96 Range Factor is good, not Brett Gardner good, but good.

In the American League, it wasn't just the Jeter selection that had us perplexed, as our awards only agreed 37.5% of the time with Teixeira, Cano, and Franklin Gutierrez those three of eight. And we can live with selections such as Longoria and Mauer at their positions, even though we believe there were better candidates and think that those two profit from great offensive numbers when voters think of fielding. At #7 in our rankings, both are good defensive players, we just think A.J. Pierzynski and Matt Weiters were better in the AL catching ranks, and that Jose Lopez was the best third baseman in both leagues. Yes, he had a slightly worse fielding percentage, but was 12.8% better with range. But it's in the outfield where our biggest disagreement would come.

Brett Gardner is one of the best fielders in baseball, and that's even with the fact that he's relegated to playing left field, because Granderson is patrolling center. With a Range Factor of 2.22, a strong arm, and good hands, he's just a bit better fielder than his counterpart in left who won the award, Carl Crawford. But it's close. With Ichiro, we think the numbers show that he might have won his award this year on past performance. He's still good, maybe still great, and makes highlight plays, but Vernon Wells does this as well. Now, we have to admit, that with Ichiro playing predominantly in right field, this adds to his luster, and we have no Jeter problem with his selection, we just would have gone a different way. And maybe in that selection, would have been wrong. There's no way we would suggest No Ichiro Again as the title. That's reserved for Mr. Yankee, ... again.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Bill Hall Free Agent Analysis


Okay, here's the consternation with Hall. Just what are you getting here? He's only 31 years old, so the wane really shouldn't have taken over his career, but it seems like it might have. At one time, back in the days of 2005 and 2006 in Milwaukee, Hall had plus starter written all over him, with years of 17 HR and 62 RBI followed by 35 HR and 85 RBI, with that last year added up to a very respectable PEVA rating of 11.905. Pretty good stuff at 27 years of age. But now it's four years later and what we're seeing is a platoon player, and one, we're not real sure whether a playoff contending team should want.

Whoa, there, ... maybe we're jumping to the wrong conclusion and are just plain wrong about that. Sure, Hall is a low batting average and low OBP guy at this point in his career and someone you're not looking at as an everyday starter, but he did hit 18 HR for Boston in 2010 and played every outfield and infield position except first base (and he can probably do that). Perhaps this is just the type of hitter/fielder a contending team needs, as long as the price is right.

But what about that price. And just what role would that contending team be talking about? Let's assume he's a platoon player again, one who will be getting 300 to 400 ABs.

Bill Hall Year
4.538 2007
3.733 2008
2.459 2009
3.093 2010
3.031 RAVE

Last year, Hall was paid $8,525,000, but he's looking at a significant drop from that number in 2010. SPRO Salary Projections state that he's looking like a $3,000,000 player now, and that's only because there's still a bit of a look back five years quality and hope that he can repeat some of those headier days.

Personally, we're still a little conflicted on whether Hall's worth those numbers and might be more comfortable in the $2.5 million range. But SPRO is holding out hope. It will be interesting to see just what type of team, a playoff contender or just one looking for production from a cheaper alternative, will take that risk, and whether it will pay off.


2011 - $3,021,000
2012 - $3,127,000
Total Contract - 2 years @ 6,148,000

Friday, November 5, 2010

Jason Werth Free Agent Analysis

Jayson Werth 2010-11 Free Agents

There's a pretty good consensus around baseball circles that Jayson Werth will gain a pretty fine payday this offseason and the bellweathers for his services is likely to be a contract between that of Jayson Bay and Matt Holliday. And that's pretty good territory, but is it territory that a baseball general manager should play in, and which of those two players does Werth really compare better to.

Jayson Bay signed a four year $66 million contract ($16.5m per season) with the New York Mets in 2009 that included a fifth year option at $17 million in 2014. Bay had been pretty darn productive in the years prior to this season, but had a poor first season with the Mets mainly due to injury.

Matt Holliday signed a seven year $120 million contract with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2009 that included an eighth year option at $17 million as well. Holliday was the preeiminent position player out there last year and this contract, at an annual rate of $17 million per season, reflected that.

With those two contracts, it seems as baseball was saying that these were two players with similar skills and value. Bay was 31 years old at the end of 2009; Holliday was 29 years old, two years younger. Werth will be 31 years old at the end of this year.

For the four years prior, Bay had accumulated 123 home runs and knocked in 413 runs, all with a 3 Year RAVE of 17.062; Holliday had bashed 119 home runs, and knocked in 448 runs, all with a 3 Year RAVE at the end of 2009 of 19.057. (RAVE is a 3 year adjusted number taking the most recent year at 50%, 1 year back 30%, and 2 years back at 20%.)

22.511 2006 18.861 2007 4.523
7.133 2007 25.713 2008 9.727
18.155 2008 15.333 2009 19.511
20.378 2009 18.627 2010 20.813
17.062 RAVE 19.056 RAVE 18.205

Now what about Jayson Werth. For the four years prior to this offseason, Werth had hit 95 home runs and knocked in 300 runs, and had a 3 year RAVE of 18.205. So yes, he does seem to have a value in between those two players. Now Werth had other abilities that some say will add to his value (i.e. defense, baserunning), and all those are true, but are held within the PEVA rating.

So Bay got $16.5m and Holliday $17m per year. That means Werth should be worth $16.75m, right? And what about those who are theorizing that he should be paid $18m to $20m per season.

SPRO projections show that Werth is very close to Jason Bay per contract value terms, and should be paid $95,399,000 for six years of service. Yes, that's a long contract, and it's value of $15,900.000 per year is lower than both.

Personally, we believe that Werth will be paid in the Bay to Holliday per year territory, and not be quite worth it.


2011 - $14,564,000
2012 - $15,074,000
2013 - $15,602,000
Total Contract - 6 years @ 95,399,000

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Monday, October 4, 2010

The Felix vs. C.C. Debate

Let's get into the Felix vs. C.C. debate, or Cy Young American, if you'd rather refer to it that way. First off, at first glance, and even after looking at the statistics, if I had an actual ballot, I'd have to vote for C.C. Sabathia for Cy Young. Hernandez has just too few wins for me to consider him when Sabathia and Price had at least 20. If Felix had won 16 or 17, that would be a different story. So right off the bat, I'll state that I'd vote for C.C. But I probably would be wrong.

The case for Felix is so strong on most other categories that the numbers guy in me sees a stronger case for him, even though my paper ballot says otherwise.

Complete Games - Felix 6, C.C. 2
Innings Pitched - Felix 249.7, C.C. 237.7
ERA - Felix 2.27, C.C. 3.18
Strikeouts - Felix 232, C.C. 197
SO to W Ratio - Felix 3.31, C.C. 2.66
WHIP9 - Felix 9.52, C.C. 10.72
HR/9 IP - Felix 0.61, C.C. 0.76

In every category listed, Hernandez is out in front. So I'd vote for C.C. if I had one, but probably be wrong. At least I wouldn't be wrong in the National League, as the consensus candidate, Roy Halladay, is both the pitcher I'd vote for and the one who has the best stats, and the one who should and will win.

Halladay had the best season of any pitcher in either league, totalling a PEVA of 43.916, good enough to be the 4th best season in Philadelphia Philly pitching history and rank in the Top 50 of All-Time. His closest competitor in the race, Adam Wainwright, had a phenomenal year, as well, the 2nd best season in 2010 according to his PEVA ranking. At 20-11 W-L, 2.42 ERA, I'd have chosen Wainwright ahead of both Felix and C.C. if he'd been an American League hurler. But he wasn't.

For a list of the Top 40 pitchers according the PEVA, Stat Geek Baseball comparative index of All-Time player rankings, go to the Top 40 Pitchers of 2010 page at

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Gold Glove Prospects

Okay, we're at the midpoint of the season and everybody is talking about who has made the All-Star team, or who was dissed, or who will be traded at the trading deadline. But we're going to talk about fielders. Yes, fielders! And even Prince Fielder, too. We're going to discuss who is fielding their position well at the half way point of the year and should be in the discussion for winning a Gold Glove (or Silver Mitt to us) if they continue their prowess til October.

We're using our Field Value rating system to do this and not discounting those who haven't played a ton of innings at their position, which we'd do if this was an end of the year yammer, but we're going to give some love to the under innings guys, too. Field Value takes into account a number of factors, and like much in the baseballevaluation universe compares those factors to the maximum value and the average value to determine where the player sits amongst his peers. There are different maximums, as far as Field Value goes, for each position. The categories include Innings Played, Fielding Percentage, Range Factor, and Catching Caught Stealing Percentage plus Assists per 9 Innings Played for Outfielders.

So, here goes!

There's a changing of the guard at some positions, most notably at shortstop due to the injury to Rollins in Philadelphia, but for the most part you'll recognize the names involved. So let's start out at catcher. Those Molina's do a great job, and at the midpoint of 2010, it is not Yadier who lands at the top of the list (he's #3), but Jose. No, Jose, has not played a ton, only 211.7 innings thus far, but his perfect fielding percentage plus 0.647 Caught stealing percentage is just fantastic! Now, if this were the end of the year, Yadier would have to take the cake (yes, he should be Gold Glove, just not the All-Star starter), but we're giving the nod right now to Jose.

There's nothing much to say about the position at first, but when you're talking about first sackers, not only at the plate, but in the field, the conversation really does start with Albert. He has range, 10.628 per 9 IP, picks it clean, an is durable. Notable right behind him is his counterpart in the American League, Justin Morneau. Kinda shocking to us, because we don't think of him in this fielding light, is #3. But Prince Fielder is having a good season in the fields of Milwaukee, picking it at a 0.999 clip, although his range does not measure up to the other two.

You could be looking at an MVP candidate and Gold Glove winner in Robinson Cano. Yes, he's really that good, although grand fielder Brandon Phillips will make the case for himself and steady Eddie, David Eckstein, does lack range, but gets the job done.

There are fielders at third base many think of as the head of the class. For the young, they think of David Wright, Ryan Zimmerman, and Evan Longoria. For the veterans, it might be Scott Rolen. And all four are very good. However, this year, two unlikely fielders, relatively new to their position, are making claims for Gold. Jhonny Peralta is fielding at a 0.995 percentage and just below 3.000 Range Factor. (I know, that seems to small, but there are only 27 outs in a game and nine positions to claim those Assists, Putouts, and Errors). Placido Polanco, Gold Glove worthy at 2nd base for years, may not have the strongest arm of the bunch, but he gets to a lot of balls and handles them clean.

Troy Tulowitski has been one of the best fielders in the game since he came on the scene several years ago, but for some reason, is thought of as a good fielder, not great. We disagree. Perhaps it's his size, lack of spectacular quickness, or fielding humidor balls, but with a Range Factor of 5.420 and steady glove, he's Gold Glove worthy. This might be the year with Rollins on the Disabled List for part of it. And although many disagree, including players, about Rollin's range. We think it's okay; most think it's great. There's no denying that a Colorado masher might just gain a little bling sometime soon.

Outfielders who roam the tarmac of grass and win Gold Gloves usually do so from centerfield, and that's the case this year for the top three. Franklin Gutierrez, Michael Bourn, and Torii Hunter all posess the speed and glove to win Gold this year as Hunter has done for many in the past. We think Torii might even be doing this better than he has in the past. Bourn adds a solid arm dimension to the position. Gutierrez might just have the best range of the bunch.

So there you have it. One small discussion in July about Gold while others talk about Cliff Lee moving to New York.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Best Ever Batters by Teams, Week 9 Countdown

The final week of the countdown starts with the St. Louis Cardinals and spans the back of the alphabet through the many incarnations of the Washington Nationals. It's been a good ride, and we hope you enjoyed the journey, plus bought a Stat Geek Baseball, the Best Ever Book or two. Thanks for joining in and following along, plus those sales. We'll end the Bonus Coverage with a look at five of the best players from the Washington Nationals of today, plus those old Montreal Expos. And we'll leave you with some final guesses to just who are in the top spots.

Part of the Top Twenty
8. Larry Walker. He played for the Montreal Expos when it was still cool to be one, ending his career there in 1994 before moving on, as almost all of them did, to other pastures, particularly one that now has a humidor. But over those six seasons north of the border, he would have 56.370 PEVA position player points while batting 0.281. That average would rise once he made it to Colorado, think 0.334 and the #2 spot on their list.

9. Larry Parrish. Back one more decade and you get the 56.177 PEVA career of Expo Parrish. Parrish played eight seasons there through 1981 and might just have played some of them in Jerry Park, we think without checking.

10. Warren Cromartie. One of the troika of great outfielders who came up in the Expo system at the same time, including new Hall of Fame electee Andre Dawson, Cromartie played nine seasons in Montreal and collected 1,063 hits for a PEVA total of 56.137. Anybody remember the name of the third guy?

11. Jose Vidro. At one time, Jose Vidro looked like a lock to be one of the best players to play for this franchise, well above the #11 spot, but things waned once he got to Washington. Still, with that 0.301 average and 55.678 PEVA, he became one of the few bridge players between the two cities, adding to the trivia that will mark the franchise going forward, in what looks to be better days.

12. Ryan Zimmerman. Now we've reached the best position player of the Washington Nationals era and before he end of his career, a potential #1 player on this list in years to come. Lots of time before that will happen, but with 55.064 PEVA through his first 5 years, and seemingly better seasons ahead, we surely wouldn't be surprised if Zimmerman ends up in the top three at least.

So what does that Top Seven look like. Try two Hall of Fame players in Andre Dawson and Gary Carter, add in some flavor with Rusty Staub and Vladimir Guerrero, and fill it out with Bob Bailey, Tim Raines, and Tim Wallach. Put them in order for some fun and check out the final rankings in Stat Geek Baseball, the Best Ever Book at Google Books or

Best Players by Team (Cardinals, Rays, Rangers, Blue Jays, Nationals)
Week Nine Countdown Sample

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Monday, June 28, 2010

Week Eight Countdown

Where does the best pitcher in baseball over the last two seasons sit on his historic team's list of best pitchers ever, even though he's barely started his career. That's just one of the questions answered in the Week 8 Countdown of the best pitchers in team history sample list. And yes, since we're talking about the San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants, and Seattle Mariners as the three current teams on this list, it's not too hard to figure out we're talking about Tim Lincecum. Just where does he sit? Sit back and check out the bonus coverage of the Giants, both New York and San Francisco versions.

In the Top Twenty
11. Mickey Welch. The year was 1892 and Victorian days were part of the present, not the quaint past for this New York Giants pitcher who would win 238 games in his Giants career, in only ten seasons, while losing only 146, all with an ERA of 2.69. And he wasn't thought of as the best of his time, when folks like Cy Young were pitching for other clubs. It still adds up to a great careers for the New York hurler with 89.061 PEVA points.

12. Jason Schmidt. We're only a couple years removed from the time when Jason Schmidt was one of the best pitchers in baseball, although I get the feeling we're already starting to forget it. Over six seasons in San Francisco, he won 78, lost only 36, and pitched to an ERA of 3.36, some of which was accomplished in the steroid era, although to be fair, with his teammates in SF and a big ballpark, he might have had some advantages, too. 86.771 PEVA.

13. Sal Maglie. 78.428 PEVA in seven seasons for the New York Giants brought them 95 wins and only 42 losses in a career that ended for the Giants in 1955.

14. Tim Lincecum. Small of frame, huge in arm, and already in the #14 position for a historic franchise even though it spans only three seasons. With 77.848 PEVA already counted and a per year figure of 25.949, how high can Tim go? Well, that per season average is already higher than Amos Rusie. So pretty high, we'd say. 40-17 career record and a 2.90 ERA tell a good part of the tale. It's more than possible he moves into the top ten after this season.

15. Mike McCormick. He pitched in the 1960s for the San Francisco version and accumulated 71.854, winning 104 games.

Some of the names that Lincecum is trying to catch ... Carl Hubbell, Tim Keefe, Juan Marichal, Christy Mathewson, Gaylord Perry. For the full top twenty in both pitching and hitting, check out Stat Geek Baseball, the Best Ever Book at Google Books or

Best Players by Team (Padres, Giants, Mariners)
Week Eight Countdown Sample

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Monday, June 21, 2010

Week Seven Countdown

Back to batters for teams who started out in Philadelphia and stayed, or started out in Philly and left. Yes, the A's, plus the Phils, and thrown in a Pirate. It's Pennsylvania connection week for those current squads, plus the old-timers in the bunch, think Philadelphia Keystones for one or Philadelphia Centennials for another. For the bonus coverage below, we're going to focus on the western part of the state, in Pittsburgh, starting out with the #4 man on the totem pole. One, two, and three shouldn't be too hard for you to figure out, but in what order? Yes, there's a Clemente, Stargell, and Wagner among them.

Some of the Top Ten
4. Paul Waner. Yes, that's Waner, not Wagner sitting at number four, and during this man's 14 year playing career in Pittsburgh that ended in 1940 he would accumulate 2,868 hits and a batting average of 0.340. Pretty heady stuff. Adds up to 228.401 PEVA Ratings Points.

5. Max Carey. We'll go back two decades earlier to capture the career of the number five player in Pittsburgh position player history. With 2,417 hits and 183.198 PEVA, the 17 year career of Carey didn't produce alot of power, only 67 Home Runs, but it did produce a good amont of valuable years.

6. Ralph Kiner. Only eight years for the Pirates, but what a great eight years. His 21.955 average PEVA points is the 2nd highest in club history, behind only the overall number one, and those 301 HR and 801 RBI added up to 175.644 PEVA total points despite the short tenure.

7. Arky Vaughn. He'd bat 0.324 over ten season in bucco gear, adding up to 162.788 PEVA rating points and the #7 spot on the Pirate list.

7. Fred Clarke. Final season 1915, this dead ball era player had 1,638 hits for the Pirates over his 15 seasons in town and 159.569 PEVA points.

Some key names also in the Top Twenty include Barry Bonds, Jason Kendall, Dave Parker, Bill Mazeroski, and Pie Traynor. For more on the batters and pitchers on the Pirate list, check out Stat Geek Baseball, the Best Ever Book at Google Books or

Best Players by Team (A's, Phillies, Pirates)
Week Seven Countdown Sample

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Monday, June 14, 2010

The Week 6 Baseball's Best Countdown

It's starting to get hot out and the days of summer are beginning in earnest. Just the right time to break out another best pitcher in franchise history sample list, and this time include the most storied franchise of them all. No, I'm not talking about the New Haven Elm Citys, although they are included, I'm talking about Bronx Bombers, those New York Yankees, as well as the Minnesota Twins, those Mets across town, and the Milwaukee Brewers. But for one team in bonus coverage, the Minnesota Twins, aka the Washington Senators in past years, we're going to start with with the list at #3, the man most discussed during Hall of Fame balloting right now and whether he has the merits to make it (better hurry, not many writer's ballot years left) and count down five from there, then you can try and fill in the blanks about who sits at the top.

Some of the Top Twenty
3. Bert Blylevin. Let's stop with the bickering and put Bert in the Hall already. Yes, we know that win loss percentage is lower than we'd like, but hey, he wasn't playing for the Yankees, or even the current Twins. Over his Twin career, Bert won 149 games, about half his career total, and accumulated 144.556 PEVA Rating Points. Only two pitchers in Minnesota, and Washington Senator, history did better than that.

4. Brad Radke. Radke spent twelve seasons pitching for the Twins with a baggy behind him. Much like Blylevin, he didn't have a great won loss percentage at 148-139 and an ERA over 4.00, but his 130.309 PEVA Rating Points lands him at the #4 spot in Twin/Senator history from the pitching side of the equation.

5. Jim Kaat. The big, quick pitch, lefty won 190 in Minnesota, with an ERA of 3.34, all totaling up to 128.252 PEVA.

6. Frank Viola. Another lefty in the eightees won 112 games for the Twins and lands at the #6 spot in the countdown. 115.982 PEVA pitching.

7. Camilo Pascual. His last year in Minnesota came in 1966 and the 110.796 PEVA points were part of a career there, and in Washington, that saw 145 wins, 141 losses, and 10 saves over 2,465 innings.

Okay, now for the Top Two, and the rest of the Top Twenty. It's pretty easy to guess who's number one, but just where did some other Twin favorites end up? Match the pitcher with his rank ... Rick Aguilera, Firpo Marberry, Joe Nathan, Jim Perry, Johan Santana, and Walter Johnson. Check out Stat Geek Baseball, the Best Ever Book at Google Books or

Best Players by Team (Royals, Dodgers)
Week Six Countdown Sample

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Monday, June 7, 2010

Week Five Countdown - Best Batters

They broke the hearts of their fans in Brooklyn when they trotted west in the late 1950's and made Chavez Ravine home and they are more known for the best pitchers than best batters, but the Los Angeles Dodgers and Kansas City Royals are the two current franchises listed in the sample countdown of best batters for their teams ever, along with ten other teams that have gone into the anals of baseball history. We'll list the top five for the Dodgers, and yes, we were surprised Jackie wasn't in the Top Five, although he only played ten seasons, which explains more than a bit.

The Top Five
1. Duke Snider. It's hard to imagine how he could have been the third best outfielder in the city where he played most of his career, but during the Brooklyn Dodger days, he was third behind Mantle and Mays in New York. But that's a great third, now isn't it! Snider comes out on top as the best Dodger player ever, accumulating 246.786 PEVA points while hitting 386 HR, knocking in 1271, and getting 1995 hits. And there are only two Dodger players whose per year PEVA average are better over shorter careers, the man at #5 in Roy Campanella, and the catcher of recent vintage, Mike Piazza.

2. Zach Wheat. Talk about a player with a name just made for a cereal box, Wheat played 18 years for Brooklyn through 1926, batting 0.317 and garnering 2804 hits. At 211.353 PEVA rating points, that comes in just behind Snider as the second best player in Dodger history. Now back to the endorsements.

3. Gil Hodges. There's always a campaign to get Hodges into the Hall of Fame, but those measures come up just short despite a grand career. He hit 361 HR, 1254 RBI, 1884 base hits over 16 seasons for Brooklyn and LA. Pretty darn good, even if just shy of some Hall of Fame standards. All toll 168.075 PEVA.

4. Pee Wee Reese. The slick fielding shortstop from the Dodgers is in the Hall, and over sixteen years plied his trade for the Dodgers. And although his prowess at the plate was less stellar than his time in the field helping those Dodger teams of the 1950s win a whole lot of games, it all adds up to the #4 spot in Dodger batter history and 166.690 PEVA rating points. Yes, fielding does count.

5. Roy Campanella. In a short career, Campanella caught and hit his way to the #5 position in Dodger history. His per year PEVA average of 16.266 in 2nd best, behind only Mike Piazza, and totals 162.658 for the ten seasons in Dodger blue.

For some, the more interesting list of Dodger greats sits on the mound side. For were greats like Koufax, Drysdale, and Newcombe sit, plus Valenzuela and Hershiser, too, get Stat Geek Baseball, the Best Ever Book.

Best Players by Team (Royals, Dodgers)
Week Five Countdown Sample

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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Organizational Depth

Just wanted to step away from the best player countdown for a moment and discuss something most baseball fans, and I'm guessing more than a few execs, seem to discount. Organizational depth. Now I'm not talking about pure "next superstar" type players, but I am talking about a player who can come up when injuries happen, a young player with the potential to become everyday players in the future.

And why am I bringing this up now? Well, as a Phillies fans, we're starting to see the downside of trading that organizational depth at the upper minor league levels for a pure stud, Hall of Fame, caliber player.

There have been three eras of Phillies baseball just within the time, last ten years, when they began to compete for division titles. Let's call them Ed Wade, Pat Gillick, and Ruben Amaro. Now all three men have to be given some credit for the three division titles, two World Series appearances, and one World Series title. It was under Ed Wade that most of the home grown talent were drafted and nurtured through the minor leagues. It was under Pat Gillick that his stand pat attitude, for the most part, put together the additional pieces in predominantly minor moves (I'm thinking moves like Matt Stairs, Jason Werth, J.C. Romero, and Jamie Moyer), just to name a few. Now we've moved forward into Amaro time. And that's the time I'm speaking of.

Amaro seems to favor the "striking while the fire is hot" scenario. He likes the bold move, the stud player, and even the older player to fill out a roster. And that's the gamble now playing out. There is a Hall of Fame caliber pitcher in Roy Halladay who is capable of pitching a perfect game. There was an All-Star level pitcher in Cliff Lee traded for last year that pitched so well through the remainder of the season and postseason that they had a chance to win title number two in a row. There was the older outfielder, Raul Ibanez, who was given a large paycheck to form a formidable lineup meant to win now. There were the Ramon Castros of the world to fill in the blanks and the roster in place of the organizational depth that had to be traded to gain some of the former three.

And we have seen the positives and negatives play out in just the first two months of the 2010 season. Month one, most players healthy, with notable exceptions in Lidge and Rollins, and the lineup that pounds the ball to the tune of 5.5 runs per game. Month two, more players get hurt and you're left with playing Ramon Castro and Wilson Valdez for more than a day or two, and your lineups starts to sputter, and the wins slow to a drought induced trickle.

But now, why is organizational depth important in this scenario? Because there's no way a team as good as the Phillies should be relying on never beens to be more than the last player on the bench. The two trades made to acquire the top level pitchers over the last two years raided the upper minor leagues of the backup catcher, backup infielder, backup outfielder, and backup starting pitchers who would have come to the potential rescue. Yes, we're talking Lou Marson, Jason Donald, Michael Taylor, and Kyle Drabek.

Now both Marson and Donald are starting in Cleveland with middling results, but they have potential. You really can't say the same about Castro or Valdez or even Brian Schneider, who we think was a good sign, but still past his prime.

Now we believe players will get healthy and the Phils will rebound, hopefully to the World Series again. But if they don't, and the struggles continue, without a plus minor league player (beyond Domonic Brown) to fill in the gap. You're going to find a lot of managers of other teams who were really glad they had to pitch to Castro, Valdez, Gload, or Schneider, during the injuries, and not take the chance that the organizational depth might have provided a spark of potential to get you through bad times. Of course, to be fair, they weren't going to pitch a perfect game either.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Week Four Countdown

We're back to pitchers now in franchises from one old franchise, the Detroit Tigers, two recent expansion teams, the Colorado Rockies and Florida Marlins, one team that's been around forty years or so in the Houston Astros, plus eight teams that no longer play major league baseball, but used to. And it's only fitting that we give a taste of the Houston squad and some of their best pitchers in history, because, of course, it include the no hit wonder, Nolan Ryan, although he's not at the top of the list, actually #4, which has more to do with his relatively short stay there and stints in New York, Anaheim, and Dallas.

The Top Five
1. Roy Oswalt. He may be mad about players who cheat him and explore the PED usage to gain an advantage, but through the first nine seasons of his career, it does not seem to have affect his prowess. Currently averaging 18.440 PEVA points per season, with a total of 165.964, and with some talk that this could be his last year in an Astro uniform, Oswalt ranks as the top pitcher in franchise history. 137-70 wins to losses and a 3.23 ERA pitching a large amount of time in a park where a train can be hit by a batter, and there's a short porch in left. Maybe they should keep him.

2. Mike Scott. Another one of those pitchers that baseball fans seem to shortchange, he won 110 games for Houston, a Cy Young, and did so to the tune of a 3.30 ERA and 131.199 PEVA Rating Points. Yes, many of those came in a short time span, but, oh, when he was good, he was certainly good.

3. Joe Niekro. Joe, the other brother, lands here at #3 due to 11 seasons, 144 wins, and 122.547 PEVA points while pitching in the Astrodome for 2,270 innings and a 3.22 ERA until his last season in Houston in 1985.

4. Nolan Ryan. Ryan spent his career in New York, Houston, Anaheim, and Texas and did not land at the top for any team, although in the minds of many, he was the best pitcher Houston, Anaheim, and Texas ever had. Ranks #6 in Houston, #2 for the Angels. For his Astro career, he won 106 games and 110.250 PEVA.

5. J.R. Richard. At his best, he was stellar, and dominating. For the ten seasons he played in Houston, there were 107 wins and a PEVA rating of 99.479.

Fill in the blanks of the Top Twenty in Houston Colt 45s and Astro history. Where do they rank in the list? ... Roger Clemens, Jim Deshaies, Larry Dierker, Ken Forsch, Mike Hampton, Pete Harnisch, Darryl Kile, Bob Knepper, Jose Lima, Andy Pettite, Shane Reynolds, Joe Sambito, Dave Smith, Billy Wagner, Don Wilson.

For the full list, plus the Top Twenty batters, too, get Stat Geek Baseball, the Best Ever Book. Check sample pages at Google Books.

Best Players by Team (Cubs, Reds, Indians)
Week Four Countdown Sample

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Monday, May 24, 2010

Week Three Countdown

Week three and we're back to batters, including those from some long suffering franchises, i.e. the Chicago Cubs, and current teams in down years like the Reds and Indians, but who've won their share of titles in the past. Who can forget those Big Red Machines. And as the summer starts to heat up in earnest soon, let's count down five of the mid-level exceptions (oh, no, a basketball reference) in the Top Twenty of the best historical Big Red batters, and yes, there are two Big Red Machine player among them, and four more above them, too.

Five of the Best
8. Vada Pinson. There's more than a few old-timers who consider Pinson Hall of Fame worthy and one of the most exciting players of his era. For the eleven seasons he ran the outfield and bases for the Reds, he garnered 159.183 PEVA Career Points, 186 HR, 814 RBI, 1881 Hits, while batting 0.297. Not too shabby for the #8 player in franchise history.

9. Charley Jones. You have to reach back to the pre-1900 baseball era to get the #9 player in Reds history, with the last of his nine seasons coming in 1887. This was a time of short seasons, many years about half of the current 162 game schedule, but even with this limitation, Jones held his own with career stats of 839 hits and a 0.301 batting average. When compared to his peers, this added up to a PEVA Career in a Reds uniform of 152.276 and an average season of 16.970 PEVA.

10. George Foster. Here comes one of the Red Machine, who shook the stadium with a lean frame and thunder bat. Always thought it was amazing he could hit the ball that far; it was like steel was in his arms. And his 1977 season, the 4th best year in Reds history, was a year of pure amazement; 52 HR and 149 RBI in a pre-steroid year. Foster didn't have as many of those years as others, so he's ranked down at #10, but it still added up to a PEVA Reds Career of 151.263.

11. Edd Roush. This Reds player from the Babe Ruth era was a hits machine with 1784 of them and a 0.331 career average with the Reds. All totaled to 139.644 PEVA in a Cincinnati uniform.

12. Dave Concepcion. There's always an argument among baseball fans, and particularly Reds fans, on whether a player like Dave Concepcion, or perhaps the more recent a better version of him in Barry Larkin, deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. We don't think so, but that shouldn't diminish the fact that Concepcion was an integral part of a great era in Reds history. He played a ton of seasons there, 19, and collected a lot of hits, 2626. Career PEVA with Cincy of 130.003.

Okay, we won't let you guess who was in the top seven, but we will let you ponder what position they are in; Top Seven Batters in Reds history are ... Johnny Bench, Barry Larkin, Bid McPhee, Joe Morgan, Frank Robinson, Pete Rose, and Tony Perez.

For the full list, plus the Top Twenty batters, too, get Stat Geek Baseball, the Best Ever Book. Check sample pages at Google Books.

Best Players by Team (Cubs, Reds, Indians)
Week Two Countdown Sample

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Monday, May 17, 2010

Week Two Countdown

The countdown clock continues with a focus on pitchers in the second week for the franchises from Red Sox nation to White Sox lore, plus a bunch of teams in between. And what you begin to see when you start comparing the best better and best pitchers in the PEVA career totals is, ... geez, some teams were much better at hitting than pitching over their history, and for some, it's almost glaring. We're getting ahead of ourselves here, but the Philadelphia Phillies were so bad at pitching over their history that current players with limited years and accomplishments are already in the top ten, i.e. Cole Hamels and Brett Myers. And that's kinda true, in many ways, for those from Red Sox nation and explains why it took so long to get those championship seasons going again. In Red Sox history, only four pitchers have reached the 100 Career PEVA mark, while 19 hitters have done the same. But we're not focusing on that franchise today and those four pitchers mentioned, we're going to look at the second franchise in many Chicago hearts, the Chicago White Sox, where it's a bit more even with 11 batters and 7 pitchers reaching that rarified territory. And we're going to keep the suspense going a bit at the top and let you guess later who might top the pinnacle.

#3 - Red Faber 1933 177.153 20 8.858 254 213 28 4086.3 3.15
#4 - Billy Pierce 1961 163.992 13 12.615 186 152 19 2931.0 3.19
#5 - Wilber Wood 1978 140.663 12 11.722 163 148 57 2524.3 3.18
#6 - Mark Buehrle 2009 139.037 10 13.904 135 97 0 2061.0 3.80
#7 - Eddie Cicotte 1920 122.749 9 13.639 156 102 21 2322.3 2.25

Five of the Top Ten
3. Red Faber. He last pitched in a White Sox uniform in 1933 and he had been pitching there for awhile, twenty seasons in fact. And during those twenty seasons, he would win 254 Games, pitch over 4,000 innings, and all to the ERA tune of 3.15. There were two pitchers in White Sox history who were better, but not much, as the 177.153 PEVA Career Points are only 36 points behind number one. Can you guess who that is yet?

4. Billy Pierce. His career was shorter in Chicago than Faber, but more recent, ending in 1961. For thirteen seasons, he would toil on the mound at Comiskey Park and tally 186 wins, a 3.19 ERA, and 163.992 PEVA ratings points. The top two pitchers in franchise history would win more games, although the man in the number one spot only nine more.

5. Wilbur Wood. He won games, he saved games, he pitched alot a knuckle balls. And all that added up to the #5 spot in the career pitching list for the Chicago White Sox in a career that lasted twelve seasons, ending in 1978. Wood's a pitcher people remember. He was interesting to watch. And with those 163 victories and 57 saves, it added up to 140.663 PEVA for his White Sox playing days.

6. Mark Buehrle. Let's get current! Let's get loud! Let's trumpet the man who can pitch a no hitter and give the current White Sox team a chance to win almost every game he pitches. There are some in baseball today who dismiss Buehrle as one of the game's best, because not every game does he dominate. But he pitches innings and wins, pretty darn important stuff. In only 10 seasons, he has 135 wins and 139.037 PEVA. In an era of relief pitchers, that's pretty heady stuff, and if his career on Chicago's White Sox side last another five years or more, you could be looking at the #1 or #2 pitcher in their history. Okay, the ERA's a bit high, but that's a function of the DH and today for a large part, isn't it?

7. Eddie Cicotte. A bit of the antithesis to Buerhle in the fact that his career in White Sox land was short, under ten years, but his record great. He won 156 games and lost only 102. And his ERA can not be questioned at 2.25, although it certainly was affected by the dead ball era he played in for a good portion of his career. In the end, Eddie accumulated 122.749 PEVA Career points in a White Sox uniform, coming in at #7 in the countdown list.

Now, have you guessed who the Top Two are or their mates in the Top Twenty below those listed. Here's the remaining list of Top Two and Twenty players. Listed alphabetically, they are ... Dick Donovan, Richard Dotson, Alex Fernandez, Jon Garland, Joe Horlen, Ted Lyons, Jack McDowell, Gary Peters, Jim Scott, Frank Smith, Tommy Thomas, Ed Walsh, Doc White, Hoyt Wilhelm. For the full list, plus the Top Twenty batters, too, get Stat Geek Baseball, the Best Ever Book. Check sample pages at Google Books.

Best Players by Team (Red Sox, White Sox)
Week Two Countdown Sample

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