Results tagged ‘ Stats ’

Built on Bonds

All wheeling and dealing for Luc Longley and Bobby Hansen aside, former Bulls GM Jerry Krause never got much credit for bringing Chicago six NBA titles in the 1990s. With Michael Jordan on his roster, fans figured, how on earth could Krause and the Bulls not win?

San Franciscans might start asking such a question of Giants GM Brian Sabean.

He’s enjoyed winning seasons in eight of his nine years pulling strings for the Giants, but he hasn’t brought home a World Series crown, despite having the MJ of MLB on his roster all the while. Sabean’s Giants have been good and have gotten very close, even winning the National League in 2002. But Baseball isn’t horseshoes, and players as talented as Barry Bonds– as good as Mays, Mantle, and the rest of them– don’t come around but once every few decades.

These days, with their star on the decline, the Giants struggle to keep their record above .500. Watching this fizzle, while ex-Giants Manager Dusty Baker flails in Chicago, it’s fair to ask where these guys’ careers would be if Barry Bonds hadn’t ever decided to come home.

That was in 1993, ten years into his major league career, when Bonds returned to San Francisco from Pittsburgh and Baker became the team’s manager. Sabean arrived in town that year as well, taking the assistant GM position after seven years with the Yankees.

Thirteen years later, all three are viewed separately as men of great baseball accomplishment. Now we’ll see if two of them really deserve it.

Mound Serendipity

The Associated Press says P Matt Clement, he of a 6.68 ERA in 12 starts this season for Boston, is “scuffling through the worst of his eight major league
seasons.” Manager Terry Francona chalks it up to a bad shoulder; he’s put
the veteran on the 15-day disabled list, hoping the time away will help
Clement relocate his mojo.

Perhaps. But PROTRADE’s Moneyball Scoring system suggests Clement might be
better served hunting down a four-leaf clover or scoping pennies on a Beacon
Hill sidewalk. That’s because all luck, bad bounces, and mispositioned (or
range-challenged) fielders aside, the 31-year old has in reality pitched
himself within a few percentage points of his career-best season ERA.

According to our numbers, Clement’s “real” ERA is 3.62, more than three runs
better than the official number that besmirches his performance in Boston
sports pages. He is, in fact, PROTRADE’s reigning leader in bad luck among
major league pitchers this season. It’s a calculation we can manage because
we break down every baseball
play into its component parts, comparing what did happen to what usually
happens as a means of allotting appropriate credit or blame.

Most unique, it lays bare those non-errors that really should be. We’re
talking about those myriad cases when that lumbering right fielder cannot
get a glove on the ball and thus, doesn’t earn a demerit for failing to
achieve the routine.

So for pitchers, the difference manifests itself in little, unnoticed
fielding moments. Consider the third inning of a Red Sox-Rangers matchup at
Fenway Park on May 12, when 2B Mark Loretta doesn’t get to two separate
balls he should have caught, saddling Clement with two earned runs in the
team’s 6-0 loss. Or in an 8-6 loss to the Yankees on May 24, when Alex
Rodriguez and Robinson Cano led off the fifth inning with singles that
should have been outs, then New York OF Terrence Long drove in what would
prove the game-winning run with another routine grounder somehow out of the
reach of Loretta.

Clement has two weeks of R & R to find a way to reverse the after
effects of whatever mirror he broke or ladder he walked beneath. Maybe
easier — call Padres P Scott Cassidy, his serendipitous opposite. The
journeyman is strutting around San Diego with a 2.37 ERA from the team’s

Rumor has it, Cassidy pitches with a horseshoe in his glove.

PROTRADE’s Unlucky
  Player PT ERA Actual
1 Matt Clement (BOS) 3.62 6.68 -3.06
2 Francisco Cordero (TEX) 2.88 5.63 -2.75
3 Doug Waechter (TB) 4.33 6.62 -2.29
4 Mark Redman (KC) 3.97 6.06 -2.09
5 Odalis Perez (LAD) 4.86 6.90 -2.04
6 Brian Moehler (FLA) 4.66 6.68 -2.02
7 Keith Foulke (BOS) 3.84 5.63 -1.79
8 Jorge Julio (ARI) 3.35 5.06 -1.71
9 Jason Johnson (CLE) 4.06 5.70 -1.64
10 Taylor Buchholz (HOU) 4.53 6.06 -1.53
PROTRADE’s Lucky Ten
  Player PT ERA Actual
1 Scott Cassidy (SD) 5.23 2.37 2.86
2 Geoff Geary (PHI) 5.00 2.78 2.22
3 Sidney Ponson (STL) 5.54 3.54 2.00
4 Oscar Villarreal (ATL) 6.92 4.99 1.93
5 Luis Vizcaino (ARI) 4.39 2.59 1.80
6 Scot Shields (LAA) 2.95 1.30 1.65
7 Aaron Sele (LAD) 3.72 2.32 1.40
8 Ryan Franklin (PHI) 5.77 4.40 1.37
9 Mike Maroth (DET) 4.93 3.56 1.37
10 Woody Williams (SD) 4.62 3.27 1.35

Altitude Sickness

Humidity makes baseballs moist and heavy. That’s the drill in Colorado, according to published reports, where the Rockies stick them in a humidor, vying to keep hits in Coors Field, the ball park once notorious for its batter-friendiness.

To be sure, the reputation was warranted.

As measured in total combined runs scored per game, Coors topped the majors in three of the past four seasons, placing second to Texas in the other. Teams averaged some 12 runs per in the high-altitude venue, where the ball is widely-believed to travel 8-10% farther.

We even accounted for the hit-happiness of Coors in devising PROTRADE’s Moneyball scoring system, ratcheting up run-scoring expectations for any situation playing out in Colorado. The net over nine innings is significant– 2.25 runs extra, when compared to a “normal” ballpark.

The question this year is how and why Colorado suddenly became so “normal” itself. Teams are averaging a measly 8.85 runs at Coors so far this 2006. Only the Yankees, White Sox, Twins, Tigers, and Royals home fields have been stingier.

So how has Coors suddenly gone from worst to close to first?

“People don’t want to accept the fact that maybe we’re pitching better,” explained Colorado’s Jason Jennings to the Colorado Springs Gazette.

It figures that Jennings, whose 4.94 ERA this year has been a hint better than his career 5.02, would give credit to himself and the Rockies staff. No major leaguer would readily admit that their success is thanks to a crafty team equipment guy.

Colorado started using the humidor in 2002, and the team saw 12.21 runs scored per game at its new field. That number has stayed relatively constant since, jumping from 11.94 to 12.69 to 11.09.

At less than nine runs, 2006 is, so far, a major anomaly.

Then again, so has been the Rockies performance across the board. Their team ERA is 4.35– a world better than their last two woeful seasons (5.13 & 5.54), over which they managed 67 and 68 wins, respectively.

At 22-19, Colorado is on pace to win 88 this year.

For a franchise that hasn’t cracked .500 in six years and hasn’t sniffed the postseason in a decade, it’s only natural that such new-found success would be met with conspiracy theories. It always pays to be skeptical, but this Mile High mystery isn’t quite ready for Rod Serling.

Say It Ain’t So, Wily Mo

Red Sox Manager Terry Francona says that while CF Wily Mo Pena hastrouble with the glove, he more than makes up for it with his bat.

"He’s not a prototypical centerfielder," Francona said when asked how
Pena would fill the void left by injured starter Coco Crisp. "I do think
his offensive production will outweigh the tough chances in center

Francona didn’t say anything about horseshoes, as he might not be aware
that his husky outfielder has been the luckiest hitter in baseball this
season. Hitting .308, PROTRADE’s Moneyball Valuation system says he
should be hitting just .173.

Keep in mind that playing in Fenway puts Pena in the best position to be
"lucky" as 350 yard fly balls to left aren’t hits in many other parks
but clearly the Sox will need Pena to step up his performance even more.

Last week, we showed you how fans can figure out which players really
should be feeling lucky. Here’s our second installment of PROTRADE’s
lucky/unlucky Top Ten.

PROTRADE’s Lucky Ten
  Player PT AVG   AVG 
1 Wily Mo Pena (BOS) .173 .308
2 John Rodriguez (STL) .292 .380
3 Trot Nixon (BOS) .224 .307
4 Ben Broussard (CLE) .328 .400
5 Hanley Ramirez (FLA) .244 .315
6 Willy Taveras (HOU) .216 .286
7 Eric Hinske (TOR) .245 .311
8 Willie Bloomquist (SEA) .261 .327
9 Omar Infante (DET) .212 .268
10 Gerald Laird (TEX) .269 .325
PROTRADE’s Unlucky Ten
  Player PT AVG   AVG 
1 Aubrey Huff (TB) .263 .156
2 Yadier Molina (STL) .265 .165
3 Edgardo Alfonzo (LAA) .208 .114
4 Barry Bonds (SF) .329 .236
5 Juan Uribe (CWS) .267 .178
6 Tony Clark (ARI) .236 .149
7 Eric Young (SD) .295 .209
8 Russell Branyan (TB) .262 .179
9 David Bell (PHI) .330 .252
10 Luis Matos (BAL) .196 .119

Meet baseball’s $36 million man

What’s a player really worth?

Stuck with traditional statistics, that depends upon how you feel. Are homers the key? How about hits? Is batting average most important of all? Should pitchers be judged on ERA? Or is all about wins?

They’re all great questions that, posed to your average fan, will result in an inevitable range of subjective answers. We value different skills– and, accordingly, different players–for different reasons, none of which have quite everything to do with winning, and all of which should be consumed only with a healthy dose of dollars-and-cents perspective.

Regular readers and active traders know how PROTRADE’s Moneyball Valuation System offers clarity, objectively measuring a player’s total game. But in sports, better performance means more dollars. That’s why last week, we started calculating MLB Moneyball Salaries, converting those performance ratings into cold, hard currency.

Yankees SS Derek Jeter is hitting .339 this season, playing like a $5 million per year major-league superstar. Problem is, he’s actually a $20.6 million per-year major-league superstar. He’s been good this season, but not good enough to earn his considerable keep.

Meanwhile, $20.4 million per-year Bronx superstar Jason Giambi is outplaying his pay grade. PROTRADE values his season-to-date performance (extrapolated through 162 games) at $25.6 million.

Yankees P Mike Mussina is just about earning his $19 million per-year salary, exactly. And newbie CF Johnny Damon– he’s been worth about $18 million thus far, $5 million better than the $13 million Boston wouldn’t pay.

In rejecting Damon’s hefty salary demands, the Red Sox proved the point that even "big market," wealthy teams care deeply about value. Boston could have afforded the All-Star, and he might have even proved a better CF option than anyone the team might recruit to fill his void. But at $13 million per-year, they made the decision that Damon wasn’t worth it.

Browse our Moneyball numbers, position-by-position, and it isn’t hard to see why. Among CF, only the Mets’ Carlos Beltran ($13.6 million), the Braves’ Andruw Jones ($13.5 million), and the Cards’ Jim Edmonds ($12.1 million) earn in that range. This season, Beltran ($16.8 million Moneyball Salary) and Jones ($15.4 million) are outperforming their salaries. But Edmonds–  he’s playing at but a $2 million clip.

1B Albert Pujols is more than making up for his St. Louis teammate. The slugger is performing at a $36 million pace– tops in baseball and enough to make him, at $14 million per-year in contract salary, one of the league’s five most underpaid players.

Who are the others? How about overpaid? On your team? Check out our Moneyball  section today, and root and cheer with perspective.