Friday, November 30, 2012

HOF Game in the Steroid Era, Rationale and Personal Preference

That's what it's going to come down to, after all, as the baseball writers make their first really difficult votes for the players of the steroid era.  Rationale, and individual rationale, at that, and personal preference.  Do they think of steroids in this era as just part of the game, one that the bosses of baseball turned their back to when they could have stopped it, so they'll turn their back to it now, hold their noses, and vote for anyone?  Do they say, no way, we won't ever vote for anyone who cheated the game like that, and if there's a whiff of probably to a player, they'll never get their vote?  Do they take a hybrid approach, trying to discern whether a player would have gotten in had they not taken a PED in their professional life?  It will come down to some rationale on their part, and it won't be pretty or logical all of the time, and it will come down to personal preference.

And where do we stand, as if anybody really wants to know?  We're in the third category, pending other information, with a penalty of exclusion for a period of time.  What time is that?  Definitely not voting for a PED rumoured player in their first year of eligibility, maybe not their second, third, or fourth.  Definitely not voting for a PED rumoured player when other players who are worthy sit on the ballot that we think should go in first.  But, I get the feeling, we'll eventually, if we had a vote, vote for them if we think they would have gotten in otherwise.  And we'll take it on a year to year basis.  Is any of that logical, or rational?  Probably not, but it is personal preference.

So let's take a look at this year.  First off, let's knock out the players who don't deserve grand consideration and focus on those who may or may not deserve it.

First Timers: Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa, Curt Schilling, Craig Biggio, and Mike Piazza.  For us, these are the only players in this group deserving of discussion.

Holdovers: Jack Morris, Jeff Bagwell, Mark McGwire.

And we'll start from the bottom and work our way up.  And give our criteria right up front.  If a player would be in the Top Half of the Hall of Fame at their position, we will vote for them, at a maximum of three per year.  Why, three?  Well, we think this is an exclusive club and would have made it more exclusive in the past.  We think every year two players is a good number to enshrine, but are okay with three, and think, no matter what, at least one player should be voted in.  Okay, once again, personal preference and justification.

Mark McGwire - PED allegations and we believe a career that would not have been Hall worthy had he not taken them.  Not getting our vote, and that's our position every year.

Jeff Bagwell - Okay, popeye arms, but not really embroiled in the controversy.  We're going to say his numbers deserve inclusion.  He's ranked #39 in PEVA in history among all position players and is above the 275 PEVA number of which every player above it, who is eligible, is in the Hall already.  We're voting YES.

Jack Morris - His ERA is just too high for us and doesn't have the automatic inclusion number of 300 wins.  Very good pitcher, but just below Hall caliber to us.  We vote NO.

Mike Piazza - In the Career Position Player PEVA ratings for the regular season, he is the second rated catcher in history, only behind Johnny Bench.  We vote YES.

Craig Biggio - He has one of those automatic inclusion number that still ring true, 3,000 hits, but we don't like voting in too many players all at once, and this year (yes, we're voting for someone else), we vote NO.  But will be voting for him in another year and think he deserves inclusion.

Curt Schilling - It's doubtful Schilling gets into the Hall of Fame in his first year and there's logic to that opinion, plus a bit of dislike by some from a personal standpoint.  Plus his win total is not too impressive.  But Schilling dominated games at his prime and pitched great in the postseason.  And overall, he's #20 in the Best Pitcher PEVA Rankings,  We vote YES.

Sammy Sosa - No way, Jose.  We don't think, without steroids, that Sosa would have the numbers for inclusion.  Same reason as McGwire.  We vote NO, and do so every year.

Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds.  These are two players who we do believe benefited from PED use, but even without them, would have the numbers to make the Hall of Fame.  Clemens is rated as the #3 pitcher in history and Bonds as the #2 batter.  Diminish their numbers and they're still probably in the Top 40.  We think they deserve inclusion eventually, unless some other allegations and proof pops up, but are voting NO this year.

So to recap our rationale and personal preference.

Our Ballot This Year
YES - Bagwell, Schilling, and Piazza.

For more on the rankings and ratings of Stat Geek Baseball and baseballevaluation.com, buy our Stat Geek Baseball, the Best Ever Book, now updated through the 2012 season, although it is possible that Amazon still has a couple copies of the old version laying around.  Now available in a Kindle ($3.99) edition at Amazon.com and Paperback edition at Amazon and other retailers.  Stat Geek Baseball, the Best Ever Book 2012 has been ranked in the Top 10 of all baseball stat books since its first week of publication, currently ranked #1.

For more info: http://baseballevaluation.com/besteverbook.html

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Was Mike Trout the Best Rookie Ever?

That's what people are talking about, and is being written, on Sportsline.com, where they compare rookies via WAR, and elsewhere.  Well, we're not proponents of WAR, in either definition, but we are the originators of PEVA.  And how do they compare on the subject of Mike Trout?  Was this past 2012 season the best rookie season by any player ever?  The answer for us was no, but oh, boy, was it close.

Comparing WAR to PEVA, Best Rookies Ever

PEVA Rank, Name Year, WAR, PEVA
1. Joe Jackson 1911, 9.7 WAR, 34.179 PEVA
2. Mike Trout 2012, 10.0 WAR, 33.373 PEVA
3. Dick Allen 1964, 8.7 WAR, 30.770 PEVA
4. Al Rosen 1950, 7.6 WAR, 29.097 PEVA
5. Ted Williams 1939, 7.9 WAR, 28.548 PEVA
6. Tony Oliva 1964, 7.5 WAR, 26.344 PEVA
7. Fred Lynn 1975, 7.3 WAR, 25.825 PEVA
8. Mike Piazza 1993, 7.6 WAR, 22.963 PEVA
9. Albert Pujols 2001, 7.7 WAR, 20.378 PEVA
10. Tommy Agee 1966, 7.2 WAR, 18.187 PEVA

* Players listed per CBS Sportsline comparison; there may be others within the PEVA Top 10 Rookies not listed.

And for a quick look at the stats within WAR and PEVA.

Mike Trout
Trout 2012 - 30 HR, 83 RBI, 0.326 AVE.
MLB Max 2012 - 44 HR, 139 RBI, 0.336  (MLB Average 0.255)

Joe Jackson
Jackson 1911 - 7 HR, 83 RBI, 0.408 AVE.
MLB Max 2011 - 21 HR, 127 RBI, 0.420  (MLB Average 0.266)

Gotta admit, it's hard to choose between them, but they seem to be the Top Two, no matter whether you are a proponent of the WAR formula, or our own.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Hall of Fame Veterans, Should Any Get In?

This December, at the Winter Meetings, the formerly called Veterans Committee, now with some other similar name, will choose among 10 candidates from the 1871-1946 era and decide whether any of them should earn a place in Cooperstown after all these years.  It's a collection of executives, managers, umpires, and players in this now once every three years for certain era format that get considered and voted on.  Now, we'll admit right up front, we're not real keen on adding lots of players to the Hall, and with the current incoming crop of potential current era players coming onto the regular ballot, including some of those PED cases, plus others, we're probably even less inclined to add.  But, that's probably unfair, so we'll take a look at the ten candidates offered and try to decide, without too much prejudice, if any deserve a spot.  So here goes.

Okay, we'll put our prejudice out with the first statement.  Too many real players who'll be entering soon, so we can't reach too far into the executive, manager, or umpire field.  So, right off the bat, we'll say no to good men Samuel Breadon (Executive), Hank O'Day (Umpire/Manager/Player), Al Reach (Executive/Player/Baseball Publisher), and Jacob Ruppert (Owner/Executive).  Some day when baseball's HOF discussion is less busy, we'll revisit their merits.

As for the six predominant players on the ballot.
Bill Dahlen - Shortstop, 1891-1911.  When he retired, he was the active career leader in Home Runs, even though hitting just 84, and is still the active leader in Games Played.  Had 2,457 hits and 1,233 RBI's.  But beyond those stats, how good was he.  Pretty darn good.  With a career PEVA of 216.119, he'd come in at #6 on the Hall of Fame list for shortstops..  And where would he sit overall, #99 in baseball's position player history, right behind Jim Rice, Goose Goslin, Willie Keeler, and just ahead of Tony Perez.  Based predominantly on how high he ranks of historic shortstops, he's in for us, and we'd vote for Dahlen to enter Cooperstown.

Wes Ferrell - Pitcher, 1927-1941.  Won 193 games.  Career PEVA of 128.949.  ERA of 4.04.  Only 8 players below him in PEVA that are in the Hall and 54 above him.  Our rule of thumb with this, pending some special circumstance of achievement, is that we vote for folks above the median line of those already in the Hall of Fame.  Ferrell's nowhere close to that.  So we vote No.

Marty Marion - Shortstop, 1940-1950, 1952-3.  NL MVP in 1944.  Under 100 career PEVA.  Only 1 shortstop, Travis Jackson in Hall under 100 PEVA.  Not for us.  Vote No.

Tony Mullane - Pitcher, 1881-1894.  Won 284 games, and 468 complete games.  Pitcher whose numbers were inflated by the era and only reached 109.564 PEVA Career Points while compatriots in his years were putting up higher.  For same reason as Ferrell.  Vote No.

Bucky Walters - Pitcher, 1934-1950.  198 wins, 3.30 ERA.  Career PEVA of 182.990, which would rank him #61 overall.  On the already in the Hall list, he'd be 35 out of 63.  Below the half way line, so we should and will vote no.  And before you say, that's unfair, consider the other pitchers near him on the PEVA list.  He's David Cone, not in the Hall.  He's Rick Rueschal, not in the Hall.  He's Dwight Gooden, not in the Hall.  We'll still vote No.

Deacon White - 3rd Base, 1871-1890.  977 RBI and 0.312 Batting Average.  PEVA of 274.720, which ranks him as the highest rated player eligible for the Hall of Fame who's not in.  Sometimes he's hard to categorize, due to the era of rare home runs and because he played so many positions.  We're listing him as a third sacker, because that's where he played the most, 827 games out of 1,622, but he also played at catcher for 458.  On the Hall of Fame list, he'd be the #5 third baseman behind Schmidt, Matthews, Brett, and Boggs, and will get passed in the future by Chipper and ARod, pending their inclusion.  There are only 11 third baseman in the Hall of Fame right now, the rarest amongst the positions.  We vote Yes.

Two new names into the Hall of Fame from the veterans for us, but we're unsure if that many will get in, or whether they'll prefer some of the non-players on the list we just can't consider right now.  Guess we'll know in December.  For more information on how Stat Geek Baseball ranks the already in Hall of Fame players, visit our Hall of Fame Ranking pages.

Hall of Fame PEVA Position Ranks





Tuesday, October 23, 2012

PEVA Picks World Series Participants

Okay, it doesn't always happen this way, within this mixup of a playoff format where you could be the Wild Card participant and get to the series ala the Cardinals of last year and almost the Cardinals of this year.  But, this year, it did.  The San Francisco Giants, who were the 41st best team in regular season history this year, and number one for the season will play the number two team, the Detroit Tigers.  Yes, we said that, about the Giants.  When you total up all of the PEVA values for individual players and get a team number, they were the #41 team in baseball history.  Are they that today?  Probably not.  It includes the PED first half of Melky Cabrera, who was on his way to the MVP award through the All-Star break, but it also includes a pitching staff and batting squad that is surprisingly potent, all while playing in that pitcher's park which makes the batting exploits and numbers seem less stellar.

So what makes them so good, even if you discount the Cabrera boost.

Batting
Buster Posey, 3rd best catching season in history, and the upcoming MVP of the whole season for players, hopefully, that didn't take PED, and #2 in PEVA this season at 39.383.
Angel Pagan, at #32, an under the radar type of player who'll garner a significant contract in free agency this offseason.  Pablo Sandoval, #95, and whose old school line of 12 HR, 63 RBI, and 0.283 looks a lot better outside that ballpark.  Overall, and including part year players like Melky and Marco and Hunter, they had 6 Top 100 players, when an average team should have 3.3.

Pitching
They also had 6 Top 100 pitchers, with Matt Cain heading the list at #9, Bumgartner at #26, and Vogelsong at #42.  An average team should have 1.4 pitchers in the Top 42.  When you add in Sergio Romo in his part-time closer role and the comeback of Barry Zito, #82, and the fact that a down year from Tim Lincecum is still in the mix, the pitching side of the equation almost kept pace with their batting teammates.

And their opponent.  Well, this isn't nearly as balanced a squad, but oh, when you talk about their top line players that everyone knows about and could win both the MVP and Cy Young Awards, this year with two different people, Miguel Cabrera and Justin Verlander, it could be one great World Series to watch.

Batting
Miguel Cabrera, #1 PEVA
Prince Fielder, #8 PEVA
Austin Jackson, #28 PEVA

Pitching
Justin Verlander, #1 PEVA
Matt Scherzer, #35 PEVA

Check out the PEVA Team and Individual Power Rankings for 2012


Monday, October 8, 2012

MVP 2012, Who Should Win and Who Will Win

I don't know, but it seems like no brainers to me when we're thinking about who should and will win the Most Valuable Player awards in each league for 2012.  The fact that there's any debate over that question in the American League after Miguel Cabrera wins the Triple Crown just goes how far the advanced SABR stats have entered the universe.  But folks, and we're all about advanced stats here, let's not short shrift the stats in the Triple Crown either.  Okay, so Home Runs are more sexy than important, but they are still important.  The impact they have on the game, besides the run production value, creates intangibles up and down the lineup in how a team pitches another team, on how many pitches and walks are given out, and it is that home run which drives that debate.  Just ask the Philadelphia Phillies how their lineup dynamic changed in the second half of 2012 when a gimpy and marginally effective Ryan Howard entered it.  All of a sudden, there was a balance and rythmn in the lineup as pitchers feared the #4 hitter again.  Oh, but we digress.  And Runs Batted In, ... it's still the most important stat on the batting side, even for all those OPS lovers out there.  Remember, OPS does not tell us anything about durability and how often that player is important.  But if you've led your league in RBI, even on a team with table setters, it means you've played in a whole bunch of games and impacted most.  It's why we're not all up in the Josh Hamilton is great sweepstakes.  He just doesn't take the field often enough for us.  Think the Texas Rangers might have been a division winner and not had to take the chance of losing that wild card knockout game if Hamilton had appeared in more than 148 games in 2012, or 121, or 133, or 89 as in the previous years.  Oh, but we digress again.

The American League MVP
Most of the reason, even beyond the Triple Crown argument, that we can't, or they shouldn't select Mike Trout as the MVP of the American League, no matter how spectacular a rookie season he had, and there's no doubt that he had one of the best rookie years ever, is the same argument against Josh Hamilton, albeit for a totally different reason, ... he wasn't on the field for 23 games.  I know, some say that's an argument for the other side, that if he'd played the full season and come up from the minors earlier, his stats would have been even more redonkulus.  They would have been, but he didn't.  And for those 23 games, his MVP status was nill, and nill meant Angel losses, and those losses meant a loss of a playoff berth.  So for that reason and the opening paragraph reasons above, Miguel Cabrera is our MVP for the 2012 AL season.  And he's gonna win it with the writers, too.

Who Should Win - Miguel Cabrera, Detrot Tigers
Who Will Win - Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers
Top Five - Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers; Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim; Prince Fielder, Detroit Tigers; Robinson Cano, New York Yankees; Edwin Encarnacion, Toronto Blue Jays.


The National League MVP
It's a much closer race here and there would be no real argument against either, with one caveat.  The writer's are likely going to reward the player whose team made a splash in playing well down the stretch, and making the playoffs.  The other, sorry Andrew McCutcheon, because you were the best of the best for most of the season, played on a team that collapsed down the stretch and didn't make it to 0.500.  So, Buster Posey, you with the Batting Title won from your colleague, are the Most Valuable Player in the National League over a well-deserved second place contender.  You batted 0.336, were on-base 0.408, and slugged at a clip of 0.549.  Add to that the fact you're a catcher on a team going to the playoffs, and that spells MVP to us.  And it's gonna spell that to the writers, as well.  Oh, no, we agreed on both.


Who Should Win - Buster Posey, San Francisco Giants
Who Will Win - Buster Posey, San Francisco Giants
Top Five - Buster Posey, San Francisco Giants; Andrew McCutcheon, Pittsburgh Pirates; Chase Headley, San Diego Padres; Ryan Braun, Milwaukee Brewers; David Wright, New York Mets.


Top 40 Batters 2012



Friday, October 5, 2012

Cy Young Award 2012, Who Should Win and Who Will

It's that time of year again.  The playoffs are in bloom, now with an extra wild card game to boot, and award season will soon enough follow.  And in a season where one player won the Triple Crown on the batting side.  Congratulations Miguel Cabrera.  There wasn't really one outstanding season in the pitching realm, although there sure were a number of pretty good ones, particularly on the relief side.  Now, don't get us started.  The fact that some of the relief pitching seasons were sensational doesn't mean we think they should or will win the Cy Young in either league.  But just that they were among the best seasons ever by a relief pitcher.  We're talking top ten for one guy nobody seemed to be talking about.  Sorry, Greg Kimbrel, it wasn't you, although you're in the Top 40.  But we'll get to him, that other guy later.  For now, we'll start with the who we think will win ...

The American League Cy Young
There's going to be some push back, we think, when the voting begins, from some writers who awarded him both the Cy Young and MVP prize last year (didn't think he should win the MVP last year), but to us, there's no doubting that this season, for Justin Verlander, while not quite as special, is the best of the bunch.  No, he didn't win those 20 games that Price and Weaver did, but his peripheral stats, and a number that we think is pretty darn important, the most innings pitched, put him over the top.  Now, all three candidates were pretty darn good.  ERAs below 3.00 for all, but Verlander did this in 27 innings more than Price and more than that of Weaver.  Three full games worth of great pitching, instead of the sixth starter or that sixth inning reliever is what I'd want from my starter, so the nod, for us, goes to Justin.  However, it might be in the fifth place finisher that you have the most underreported story of the year.  Sure, we heard lots of Kimbrel and Jim Johnson noise from the relief side, but it was in Tampa Bay Ray land that the best season of the relief pitching year was occurring.  How many times have you heard of an ERA of 0.60, but that's what Fernando Rodney put up.  Along with 48 saves.  And pitching 74.7 innings, too, which is a ton for a relief pitcher these days.  All that adds up to a relief pitching season that with a PEVA of 20.292, ranks 10th ALL-TIME in the history of the game.  Somebody explain to me why that hasn't gotten more Baseball Tonight and media attention.

Who Should Win - Justin Verlander, Detrot Tigers
Who Will Win - David Price, Tampa Bay Rays
Top Five - Justin Verlander, Detroit Tigers; David Price, Tampa Bay Rays; Jared Weaver, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim; Chris Sale, Chicago White Sox; Fernando Rodney, Tampa Bay Rays.

The National League Cy Young
He won twenty games, lost fewer than the guy most think he has to beat out, pitched more innings, and had a lower ERA, all pitching for a bad team.  So, okay, we hate to admit it, but we think R.A. Dickey, the knuckleballer who pitches for the Mets, should and will win the Cy Young Award in the National League.  We know the talk these days has Gio Gonzalez in a two man race for the award with Dickey, but Dickey was just a bit better, and being consistent with our rational from the American League, pitched over thirty innings more at those ratios.  We actually think the second place finisher should be Clayton Kershaw, although we doubt he finishes in that position.  The loss of a couple starts in September, coupled with the way the Dodgers played down the stretch, not making the playoffs after all those trade deadline deals, will likely push Kershaw down to three or maybe five in the voting.  And no, we just don't see Kimbrel making a run for this title, not with three starting candidates who are as worthy as they are.  But we wouldn't be surprised if he finishes third.

Who Should Win - R.A. Dickey, New York Mets
Who Will Win - R.A. Dickey, New York Mets
Top Five - R.A. Dickey, New York Mets; Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers; Johnny Cueto, Cincinnati Reds; Gio Gonzalez, Washington Nationals; Kyle Lohse, St. Louis Cardinals.

Top 40 Pitchers 2012
Best Relief Pitching Seasons in History

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Payroll Value Index 2012

Team Payroll Value Index - 2012

It's that time of year.  Baseball's are flying around ballparks, ... not as many out of them, but, it's early.  Contracts have been given, rosters are opening day set, and extensions are being sought, and paid, some at levels that were surprising, but perhaps shouldn't be given the increase in cable rights fees.  But let's not get too far into the baseball payroll weeds. Let's get into value.  Which teams are doing a good job of getting value for their money spent.  Oh, I know that seems an oximoron, with values that high, but here goes, the baseballevaluation.com Team Payroll Value Index for 2012.

The Team Payroll Value Index from baseballevaluation.com compares the actual money spent with the Salary Projection model estimates (SPRO), in order to come up with an index that takes stock of the salaries handed out, ranking them in the order of their effectiveness.  This does not represent who is the best team.  Low payroll or high payroll, you can spend your money well.  Good team or bad team, you can do the same.


Top Five
1. Tampa Bay Rays - In most years it's a bad team with a low payroll that gets this honor, but not so with the Tampa Bay Rays.  This young team, predominantly built through the draft with young players emerging onto the scene, without veterans they just let fly to other clubs.  Think Carl Crawford to Boston with that overpaid contract.  The Rays are a good club, one that should fight for a playoff spot, and might even win it all.  And they're doing this with a payroll that ranks #25 at $64,173,500, more than $100 million less than three clubs.

How are they getting this done?  Who are their best bargains?  Well, we've touched on how.  They are building through the draft.  They are young.  They don't overpay their veteran players once reaching free agency and let them go to other teams if they want too much.  A couple examples of who is a bargain.  Just start at the top of their payroll schedule.  James Shields gets paid $8 million; he's worth $12,031,000.  Carlos Pena was brought back at $7,225,000; he's worth $9,226,000, and has started off the year playing well.  And the best of them all, Evan Longoria.  Signed early in his tenure, Longoria is getting paid $4,500,000 in his first arbitration year, but he's worth $11,114,000.  Now that's bang for your Tampa Bay buck.

2.  Arizona Diamondbacks - In many ways, it's the same story, although they do have the tendency to raid the Oakland A's for pitchers once they reach an arbitration number the A's don't want to pay.  Just a couple examples of what's working out really well for them, beyond paying appropriate salaries to their young players as they move up the ladder, are two veterans they've acquired on the cheap.  J.J. Putz was one of the best relievers in baseball last year, they're paying him $4.5 million.  Lyle Overbay may not be the best first baseman in baseball, but he's pretty good in a pinch, and being paid $1 million.

3.  St. Louis Cardinals - When a Cub fan of some repute, Michael Wilbon of  Pardon the Interruption fame states that he wasn't worried about the Cardinals losing Albert Pujols, because somehow they'd figure out how to put together a good team without him, he was right.  The Cards know how to gather talent and spend wisely.  At over $110 million in actual salary, this is not a cheap team.  They just spend prudently.  And sometimes they put out contracts that seem too high.  We still don't get the $15 million per year extension for Yadier Molina, the great defenese catcher with one good offensive year, but so far this year he's proving us wrong, and is a bargain this year at $7 million.  But the biggest bargain of all is Chris Carpenter, signed at $8.5 million, but just about as good, when healthy, as the $20 million pitchers other teams are paying. 

4.  Toronto Blue Jays - An emerging team that once saw itself near the bottom of this list, they have let go players such as Vernon Wells and now get bargains with players such as Jose Bautista, now the surprising slugger who once was more average, but has done the good deed for several years in a row.  He's paid $14,000,000, but worth $20,000,000.

5.  Los Angeles Dodgers - We wish we could say that the prudence of the last couple years, done mostly due to outside financial woes of its owners, and not really the baseball club, had anything to do with a $2.1 billion offer the new owners are going to pay for the team.  In a down economy.  But we still can't get our heads around that number.  From the baseball perspective, the contract have just been well paid.  With star player Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, and Clayton Kershaw being paid below their value due to good to great seasons last year.  They'll certainly test the payroll boundaries going forward, and we'll see how that billions dollar pricetag for the team impacts payroll.  My guess is it's going to go up and get less value fromt he money spent.

Bottom Five
26.  Baltimore Orioles - The Orioles are doing some good things on the offensive side of the equation, but the contract of Brian Roberts is costing them in value.  Add to that the numbers given to Kevin Gregg and Matt Lindstrom and you get to the #26 spot in the Value for Money Index.

27.  Boston Red Sox - It's not Bobby Valentine's fault.  The Red Sox are overpaying players who are not producing enough for them.  Who? John Lackey, Dausuke Matsuyama, Josh Beckett, and the poster child Carl Crawford.  When you're willing to pay $20 milion per year to a player who'se former team is doing just fine without him and perhaps knew that his value was about half the number given, you know there's trouble in beantown.

28.  Chicago Cubs - Let's give the new regime time to make changes and get their financial house in order.  Until Alfonso Soriano is not being paid the initial Carl Crawford contract, they Cubs won't be at the top of this list.

29.  New York Mets - Been doing and making poor contract decisions for awhile and are in the Cubs boat that it will take time to recover.  They really couldn't have foreseen the Johan Santana situation, he was a good pitcher, but it does point out the problem with paying many year $20 million contract to pitchers.  That doesn't seem to be stopping others from doing it though.

30.  Houston Astros - Off to a better start than most thought, despite this ranking and due mostly to young players.  The former contracts of Carlos Lee and Brett Myers are driving this last place bus.  Lee paid $19m, but worth $7.4m.  Myers paid $12m, but worth $7.7m.

For salary projections and player ratings for every player in Major League history, in current player or history version, get Stat Geek Baseball PRO12.

And to answer a quick question we first posed in the last post.  Just where do salaries seem to be headed.  Well, looking at the bottom of the scale, the new minimum salary is $480,000 versus last year's minimum of $414,000.  That's an increase of 15.9%.  And when looking through the salaries above that mark, particularly with an emphasis on the new extensions given, we're seeing, at first note, an increase somewhere in the range of 18.75%.  It will take time to see how accurate that number is, as those extensions and new free agent contract of the offseason get tested and others signed, but it does seem that we're seeing an increase in the 15-20% range.  Hope that doesn't jump into ticket prices, but ... it probably will.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Contract Escalation, How High Has It Gone?

All you have to do is read the headlines in the baseball pages of your favorite online website to know that despite an economy in the tank for many people, that's certainly not true of the baseball community.  With exceptions of Oakland, stands are filled, cable tv ratings up, and more importantly, rights fees are going through the roof.  And how has this impacted the salary structure of baseball?  Well, just look at the recent contracts of Matt Cain (5 years $112.5m) and Joey Votto (12 years $251.5m or 10 years $225m for the most recent extension), not to mention Ian Kinsler (5 years $75m).  We're thinking, and working on the actual number as we update the baseballevaluation.com projection system, that it's climbing near 20% from a year or two ago.  Now, some of the contact are out of line, just as they always were.  But we're not here to debate whether the overall structure is correct, ... if industry revenue increases, it should filter down to the talent.  But the dynamic has changed.  Just wait to see what Cole Hamels will get.  The thought of Jered Weaver money has now been changed to Matt Cain money plus.  Now we think Hamels is a very good pitcher, in the Matt Cain territory of contracts, but it will be interesting to see just where that contract lands.  As Philly fans, we're just hoping it lands in Philadelphia.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

New Chapter to Stat Geek Baseball 2012

It may have taken us awhile to get to this, and we're not sure whether everybody's been hankering for it or not, but yes, this year, Stat Geek Baseball, the Best Ever Book 2012, includes it's new chapter on the Best Hitting, Pitching, and Overall Teams in baseball history, all powered by the PEVA rating system from baseballevaluation.com.

And while we won't get into all of the lists here in a blog post, we're going to talk about one specific item, one team that showed up very high on one of those lists.  The pitching staff of the Philadelphia Phillies, which came in at #8 all-time.

A lot of talk got bandied about during the preseason of 2011 and the season of 2011, too, that what fans of baseball and the Phillies were witnessing was one of the best staffs in baseball history.  Some of that luster got taken off in the postseason when talk of not winning a round predominated, but that doesn't change the fact that it was true.

Now they weren't the best of the best.  But when you're comparing staffs over the course of 1871-2011, that's a whole lot of mound presence to beat.  The starting staff of Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, Roy Oswalt, and Vance Worley (who subbed for the intended and injured Joe Blanton) through most of the year,

And who beat them out.  Well, we won't give away too much of the drama, but will say that the Atlanta Braves fans of the 1990's will be pleased (although they aren't at the top), as well as a couple really old staffs, including one of the Cubs.

But where's the staff of the last 60's and early 70's Orioles.  It's in the Top 50 somewhere, as well as a variety of teams from all generations.

Check out Stat Geek Baseball, the Best Ever Book 2012, for updated lists of not only the best teams, but the best seasons, careers, postseasons, etc. of All-Time, plus every team in history.  It's now for sale at all major online bookstores in paperback, and you can buy the ebook (pdf) from baseballevaluation.com for only $5.95.

http://baseballevaluation.com/besteverbook.html