Thursday, August 30, 2012

Dickey Dependent Pitching

Nerd alert! Fangraphs released some new pitching stats this week and I could not be more excited. Obviously my first idea was to look at how my favorite Met R.A. Dickey fared in these pitching stats. All of the stats fall under the category, Defense Dependent Pitching. They are essentially the opposite of my beloved Fielding Independent Pitching stats which measure solely how a pitcher performs on strike outs, walks and home runs allowed. These new stats paint the picture of how a pitcher outside of those three components. You can read the Fangraphs explanation here.

The first new stat we will look at is RA9-WINS. This stat assigns a number of wins to a pitcher based on all runs allowed while he was pitching adjusted for league and park factors. This basically shows you what happened on the field when the pitcher was on the mound regardless of whether or not he had anything to do with it. In this category Dickey comes on with an impressive 5.1 wins. Good to put him a three way tie for third place along with such aces as Matt Cain and Clayton Kershaw. No Mets even come close, Jon Niese is in second with a 2.8. So what does this mean? Do the Mets play better with Dickey on the mound? My guess would be no, despite the fact this stat credits all runs to Dickey I think he is just so good he makes up for poor defense, errors etc.

A second stat I found very interesting was LOB-Wins. Left on Base Wins is pretty much what it sounds like. It assigns a number of wins to a pitcher based solely on how they strand base runners. This is a stat that I assumed Dickey would excel in, he is known for his crackerjack management of base runners and has not allowed a steal all year. Surprisingly Dickey was solidly in the middle of the pack here with a paltry 0.1 LOB WIN. Frankly I am at a loss at the moment to offer an explanation , any readers have a good solution to what has led to Dickey's poor showing?

Ultimately we get to FDP which is essentially the opposite of FIP, it is calculated by using the above two stats and another I won't go into here today. Here again, Dickey falls a bit short with an FDP of 1. Which means that he added 1 win to the Mets through his pitching not related to K's, homers or walks. The league leader is Kyle Lohse with 2.8 wins added. I know what your saying, who cares? Dickey excels in pitching categories that he actually has control over. This is true but the fun of new stats is that helps paint a picture of what is happening in each game in different ways. We know Dickey is a great pitcher but now we can examine him through a new prism and learn even more about the game.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Phillies Preview

This season is not over. The Mets will not make the playoffs but one thing we can do is still beat the Phillies. I have a lot of friends in Philly and all the buzz is about how the Sillies are poised to make a Cardinals esque run at the WC starting with a sweep of our beloved Metropolitans. We may have had a second half collapse, we may have dropped a series to the Rockies but it will be all be OK if we can beat the Phillies, regain third place and stuff down the drain any hope that they might make a magical playoff run. Let's get to work.

Tonight we face Vance Worley who Sillies fans were calling their 4th ace when the season started. Assuming the definition of ace in Philadelphia is one who has an ERA over 4 and 6 wins. Worley has pitched to a remarkably consistent ERA/xFIP of 4.06/4.05, certainly not horrible but a big dip from his fantastic 2011 ERA of 3.01. He has respectable k/9 of 7.20 but couples that with a high walk rate of 3.29. Worley is a pitcher the Mets should be beat but then again so was Jordan Lyle.

Next up is Cole Hamels. I miss baseball villains. My brother and I were watching Mets classics recently and musing how much we missed the late 90's early oughts Braves. Chipper Jones and John Rocker were such awesome villains and the rivalry was so much fun to watch. Chipper hated the Mets so much he mocked us through the naming of his own child. As much as I hate the Phillies they just lack the villainous players the Braves had. Cole Hamels is often the guy I point out to as a good Sillies black hat (especially since he broke up Dickey's no no against the Phillies last year) but at the end of the day I just can't muster the hate for him that I once held for Braves of the past, maybe I'm just getting old. Anyway, Hamels is unfairly good this year. He has an ERA of 2.99, 14 wins and a k/9 of 8.73. It's really remarkable the Phillies have been as bad as they are considering the team features this guy as well as Halladay and Lee. Our one hope is that Cole is an absolute home run giving up machine, letting up an average of at least one dinger a game.

Phillies fans love Kyle Kendrick right now and will be quick to tell you he has only let up 2 runs in his last 22 innings. I will be quick to remind them that he has a 4.62 xFIP, a low K rate (6.41) a high walk rate (3.13) and gives up just about a home run per game. Kyle Kendrick is by no means a good baseball player, sometimes he was able to trick you into thinking he was but it was always a thinly veiled glamour of low ERA and wins. In 2007 Kendrick's ERA and k/9 were...wait for it...only .23 away from each other. This is game we should win.

On the offensive side the Phillies have struggled. The now injured Carlos Ruiz was having a career year but has been out of the lineup for over a month now. After him the offensive star of the team has been, improbably, Jimmy Rollins. J Roll has hit a paltry .244/.307/.407 which isn't even very good but still about the best the Phillies have managed. That being said they still have players who despite being old and riddled with injury are still capable of brilliant games (Utley and Howard) so we shouldn't get over confident.

As a team the Phillies are 61-67 they have scored 530 runs and allowed 554 runs. The Vegas line has the series price at Mets +160.

We will close with a few thought on today's game from Metsrospectus Phillies corespondent Mark: "Both the Mets and Phillies are out of it, and neither will make the playoffs. The only thing to be settled in this series is respectability, who will play good baseball for the last month and maintain some level of dignity, and who will spiral out of control into the bottom depths of the major league to the shame of their fans." Well said.
 

Monday, August 27, 2012

A tale of two teams

The Mets are a week into what was to be the easy section of our schedule. Over that week we went 2-5 dropping a full series to the Rockies and a game to the Astros who in a more fair world would be relegated to AAA so a really good college team or the Columbus Clippers can get a shot. The most amazing thing about this losing streak? The Mets pitched really well during it. In 5 of their last seven games they gave up three or less runs. Over the last 7 days they have a team ERA of 2.43, good for 4th best in the league. Surely good enough to beat the two worst teams in baseball?

Unfortunately it was not when your offense is completely incapable of simple tasks such as actually scoring runs. They managed to score only 10 runs in the last seven games against two teams with absolutely no pitching. The team BA was a barely Mendoza high .201 for that stretch. We lost to Jordan Lyles who spent most of this year in AAA and had an ERA over 5 with10 losses. For reasons beyond my knowledge the Mets seemingly forgot how to hit.

Most likely this is just an aberration and they will play closer to their typical offensive capabilities. Picking out stats over a week is almost meaningless but it is interesting to see the numbers behind a team that is losing while playing one half the game very well and the other half phenomenally poorly. We start a series with the hates Sillies tomorrow, let's hope we can remember how to hit by then.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Astros Preview

You know it has been an all time bad Mets day when I found myself vehemently agreeing with Mike Francesca and blogging about why the Mets need to be more like the Yankees. In my defense the Mets had just gotten swept by the bottom of the barrel Rockies in a four game series which improbably featured two excellent starting pitching performances that both resulted in losses. Worst of all, the Sillies won today which puts us back in fourth and behind Philly, honestly that hurts worst of all. What could possibly make me feel better after all that? Getting to play the Astros should do the trick. Yes, Mets fans there is a team out there who is much, much worse than us. Our class of '62 pledge brothers are the only team in baseball not crack 40 wins yet, they are 7 for 43 over their last 50 games. Wow.

Friday night we face Jordan Lyles, who is to put it politely, absolutely atrocious at pitching. His ERA is 5.70, but wait! Isn't this a blog that loves to look at more advanced analytic and divine true value? Well rest assured young Jordan your xFIP of 4.30 shows a player who is just a really bad pitcher and not a really, really bad pitcher. Young Mr. Lyles has also allowed 1.67 HR's per 9 innings pitched, that has got to be close to a league high stat (upon further research, it is tied for 3rd worst). Mets win this game easy.

The Stros starter for Saturday is not listed yet so I am going to take this opportunity to talk about Dickey, who is starting for us Saturday. I would never be so bold as to predict a no hitter and I won't do so now. I am just going to take a minute to talk about the nature of no hitters. No hitters are typically accomplished by pitchers who have high strike out rates (Dickey leads the league in K's) and who can comfortably go deep into games (Dickey is second in the league in innings pitched and first in complete games). It helps even more when said pitcher is facing a team who hits poorly (the Astros have a league worst .238 team batting average) and strike out a lot (the Astros have K% of 22.3, second worst in all baseball).  Dickey threw two one hitters this year and has taken several no hit bids into middle innings, you may choose to interpret the above information in any way you wish.

On Sunday we face Lucas Harrell who is in his first full MLB season and pitching pretty OK considering the circumstances (being an Astro) and pitching downright good compared to some of his teammates.  He has an ERA/xFIP of 4.04/3.91. He isn't much of a strike out guy with a k/9 of 6.30 and he gives up way more walks than is reasonable with a bb/9 of 3.45. He has been the beneficiary of a ridiculously high GB% of 56.1%. If you are the kind of person who thinks pitchers can reliably induce ground balls, you should dig him, if not you should expect a big regression. All I expect is for the Mets to beat him.

Offensively the star of the team is Jose Altuve who is not just good compared to other Astros, he is actually good. His slash sits at .302/.356/.456, he has 5 homers and 25 stolen bases. This is Altuve's first full season and he as been the lone bright spot in the Houston lineup, second basemen who can hit are always in demand, if he can keep it up Altuve is going places.

As a team the Stros are 39-85. They have scored 458 runs and given 636 up runs. The Vegas price for the series is Mets -220.

And if you get tired of watching the Mets beat up on Houston remember to cheer for West Ham over Swansea Saturday morning, the game will be shown at 7:30 on ESPN 2. If you really want to be bold you can also catch the All Blacks wallop the Wallabies at 3:30 AM Saturday morning in week 2 of the Rugby Championship, you haven't seen sports until you have seen a Haka.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Mets are quitters

The Mets just dropped a four game series to the Rockies, arguably the second worst team in baseball. I am sorry faithful readers I have no jokes or stats to offer you today just a deep abiding frustration that can only be felt by Mets fan. The Rockies have been an absolute joke this year but took a relatively easy four game sweep over us. Frankly I think it is obvious at this point that the Mets have quit this season. I am not saying they like losing and that they don't probably feel bad now but they clearly are not putting in the effort required to win games. Sometimes teams get beat, but poor fielding, bad base running, defensive mistakes and mental blunders are all a sign of a team who no longer gives a shit.

The worst part of all this? Coming into this series the Mets were not even out of it. Last year the Cardinals were 10 games out of the wild card in late August and went on to win to the World Series. The Mets were certainly a long shot but we have been about 9 games out of the WC for weeks now. It is not unrealistic to start getting hot and hope you catch a few breaks, but alas not the Mets. It was the same thing last year, we were back in August but not insurmountably so and instead of fighting to stay in the game, we just gave up.

Talent wins games but in addition to talent is the desire to win. People who know basketball will tell you that the number one reason players like MJ and Bird were so good is that they absolutely fucking despised losing. They were psychopaths about it, nothing in life mattered to more to these guys than winning, it was an obsession. Can you say that about the Mets? Do you think a team could go 0-15 with runners in scoring position today if each player came to bat and wanted to get a hit more than anything else in the world and was gonna fight tooth and nail to get one? After the game TC informed us that Dan Murphy was getting a few days rest because he is tired, "he's gassed" said Terry. Is he serious? You're team is imploding and you need to relax for a few days. I can't believe I am saying this but can you imagine a Yankee doing this? When was the last time you heard Robbie was getting a few days to rest because he was real tired. The desire to play through fatigue, the desire to win at all costs is what separates winners from losers, the Mets, are losers.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Rememberance of June's past.

I miss June. Remember when were having real conversations about how David Wright might hit .400 all season, when Dickey threw nothing but complete game, shut out one hitters, it was nothing but Johan no-no's, Valdy beating the Sillies, two out runs and good feelings all around. Man was I proud to be a Mets fan but they say that pride cometh before the fall and damn if we didn't fall, hard.

Today, after a failure to beat the Rockies, the Mets and Phillies have the same record. I never thought this day would come. The one thing I took solace in as the Mets went down the drain is that we had a solid hold on third place and that we would finish ahead of the hated Phillies. It's still possible but it just got a whole lot harder.

Looking at the ongoing fWAR race David Wright is no longer the second best player in baseball, that honor now belongs Andrew McCutchen. Wright's 6.1 fWAR is now no longer even close to the leader Mike Trout who is sporting a 7.4 Seriously that is just ridiculous.

Dickey is still in the hunt for a pitching triple crown. he continues to lead the league in k's with 181. he is tied for second in wins with 15 and his ERA is the 4th lowest in the NL. The other thing that brings me joy is to see R.A. career ERA creep closer to the 3's. R.A. had a tough career pre Mets and his high ERA showed it, his three stellar seasons with the Mets have now gotten it down to 4.07, we are gonna be sub 4 any start now.


Monday, August 20, 2012

The Mets get a break.

I started writing this blog in November of last year in the middle of a Mets off-season in which basically nothing happened or at least nothing positive. Despite that I still found things to write about, now in the August with actual baseball being played, I find it more and more difficult to blog about the Mets. Is their anything more meaningless than mid-August baseball of a team that probably won't make the playoffs. I stopped even being upset when the team loses, we dropped a series to the Nats, who cares? I fell like Bob Uecker at the beginning of Major League (or Major League 2). This is not to say that I am going to stop writing, just letting you know it's really hard.

Today is the start of our 13 game "easy stretch" that we have been waiting for. I for one am excited. I made a pre-season bet that the Mets would exceed 72.5 wins and a good showing here could really help push me closer to winning comfortably. Here is what scares me though, it's not so much an easy stretch as it is an equality stretch. Let's look at the teams records we face in the next 13 games:

Club
Wins
Losses
Astros
39
83
Rockies
46
73
Marlins
55
67
Phillies
56
65
Mets
57
64

The Mets are the winningest of the bunch but I am afraid we can longer call games against the Marlins or Sillies easy anymore. The Marlins shellacked us in our last series and our records are all close enough as to be ostensibly the exact same. My prediction for the stretch: 10-3 (sweep the Astros and Sillies, take 3 from the Rockies, drop 2 to Miami).

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Guest Expert Matt on PED's

Below is an analysis offered my friend Matt, an expert in fitness and perforamce enhancing drugs:

There are several several different kinds of Testosterone that are manufactured, for sake of argument lets say he was injected with Testosterone enanthate (one of the most common). It is true that test has the ability to increase overall muscle mass, strength, and create an "alpha male" type mentality. However, as anyone who knows baseball can tell you, those positive side effects have little to do with a players overall ability to play the game.

While added strength at the plate theoretically may help you hit the ball with greater brute force, the added muscle mass can also result in slower bat speed due to the extra bulk, water retention, blood pressure increase, as well as muscle and joint soreness caused by the drug. There are many aspects that go into hitting a baseball, that is why it is universally known as the "single hardest feat in sports". Among them are hand eye coordination (test will not help with this), technique/mechanics (test will not help with this), bat speed (as stated can be hindered), and patience... gotta wait on that curve ball (the alpha male mentality will hinder this as well).

Setting aside those factors, your average testosterone cycle, depending on the type used, is 12 to 16 weeks, followed directly by a regiment of drugs designed to counter the negative side effects of testosterone rebound. This regiment is called PCT or Post Cycle Therapy. This typically lasts 12 to 16 weeks as well, the general rule of thumb is time on cycle = time on pct = time off cycle. This brings one full cycle of test done correctly from 24 to 36 weeks, or 6 months to 9 months, plus maintaining your hard earned gains when completely off cycle. If not done properly the chances of retaining the mass and strength gains you worked for diminish greatly.

Mathematically, even if you were to start a cycle the very first day of the off season, your cycle plus pct would take you to the beginning of the next season. During which time you would need to work like a beast in the gym to maintain the added strength/mass. How many baseball players do this? Is that even possible when playing for six plus months straight?

This does not even include the negative estrogenic affects testosterone can have. It builds a negative feedback loop within the endocrine system, which then produces more estrogen as well, which clearly is counter productive to the desired result. "There is no crying in baseball".

If Melky was using, the amount of "performance enhancement" he would have gained would be negligible, and would likely only be of use in the first month or two of the season at best. In my opinion these goals could easily be reached with a solid diet, workout regiment, and legal supplements such as creatine, and amino acids. In fact, he would have been better off, the lack of side effects and ability to use those substances throughout the season would give him more of a competitive edge.

Thursday Mets Prospectus: In which I have little to say about the Mets

Allow me to begin by saying, fuck you Felix Hernandez. King Felix may have very well just cost me the season in my super baseball league (which you can read about here), Felix's perfecto gave my opponent a point in the complete game, shut outs, no hitter and perfect game categories. It also broke a crucial no hitter tie (he has Cain, I have the Weave) that I pretty much can never make up for (unless Dickey no hits the Astros later this month, a distinct possibility).

Second allow me to the 800th person to say that Melky's BABIP probably had more to do with his performance spike than PED's. Melky was hitting .346 this year with a BABIP of an outrageous .379. the 5th highest in the Majors. It's almost impossible to have a BABIP that high and not be hitting well over .300. Just below Melky is CarGo with a BABIP of .372 and a BA of .323. Right above Melky is Mike Trout with a BABIP of .387 and a BA of .340. Last year two players finished the season with BABIP of .380, they were Matt Kemp and Adrian Gonzalez, both of whom hit well over .300.

Using the simplest measure of power, the home run, Melky had his third highest career year hitting a whopping 11. He hit 18 last year and 13 in 2009. More so people talk as if Melky had some outrageous break out year this year. He played just as well last year if not better with a 2011 slash of .305/.339/.470. Look at the end of the day no one can make a rational argument based on real baseball knowledge or science that explains how PED's made Melky have a higher batting average, especially when there is a very clear statistical explanation why. Melky had a great year and he used PED's, the two are not related.

On the daily fWAR list D Wright remains in third with 5.9 but the leaders are really pulling away, Cutch is at 6.2 and the greatest baseball player literally of all time Mike Trout is at 7.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Gettin' to know Kelly Shoppach

Fantasy baseball players are all to familiar with the fact that their are basically five good catchers in the leauge at any time and if you don't have one of them you are forced into an endless series of sub par waiver wire signings. The Mets are experiencing the real life version of this as we have just acquired Kelly Shoppach.

Shop is a native of White Settlement, Texas, really that's the actual name of his hometown. Shoppach is one of those players that you probably think is better just because you know his name. He is not nearly as good as his relative fame may indicate. He is largely famous for:

a) having a unique name
b) a few outrageous high profile games including catching Matt Garza's no-hitter, hitting 2 homers in game 1 of the 2011 ALDS and once recording a 5 extra base hit game (a feat achieved by only 8 players).

His career has been marked by an alarming streak of averageness. He has a career slash of .227/.316/.422 with 64 home runs over 8 seasons played. His best season was in 2008 when he posted an fWAR of 3 and slugged for .517 with 21 homers, he never showed that level of power again. This year he is hitting .250 with 5 home runs, the Mets plan to use him primarily against lefties whom he has a career .279 average against.

I am ok with this signing. He is a perfectly serviceable catcher that will do a totally adequate job of finishing out the season for us.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Braves Preview

I was at the Mets game Wednesday night when it finally dawned on me that the Mets simply were not going to make an improbable play off run this year. I know that many of you came to this decision in July but I was holding out for quite a while. When we were only 7 or 8 games back of 1st it seemed possible. Now we are 15 games behind the Nationals and 9.5 out of the wildcard. We can't even reliably win a series from the Marlins who just sold half their team. So what do we do now? We solider on, like brits might do. Dickey has a start against the Astros and we hope for a no no, we cheer for Wright to to keep up an MVP season, we hope for 80 wins, we hope 3rd place, we hope for Jason Bay's retirement and we sleep peacefully at night knowing no matter how bad it gets, the Phillies are worse than us. On to the Braves preview.

The Mets face three M named pitcher's this weekend, I am going to dub them "The Killer M's" pass it on, it's a thing now.

Tonight we face former Pirate Paul Maholm. Maholm is one of those guys that we all casually mention as a decent, slightly above average pitcher but reviewing his numbers reveal a wholly unremarkable hurler. He has a 3.75 ERA with a 4.12 xFIP. His k/9 this year? A paltry 6.29 and that is his career high! 6.29 is the best he has ever done, his bb/9 are not great either with a 2.59. The closer your bb/9 are to your k/9 the worse of a pitcher you are and his are uncomfortably close, like movie seats without a buffer close.

Saturday we face Kris Medlen who from what I can tell has no relation to the MedellĂ­n drug cartel, so no need to worry there. Medlen has a very respectable 2.37/3.64 ERA/xFIP but like his teammate Maholm, he has a tough time striking guys out with only 6.26 strikeouts per nine. His success comes in the form of being an extreme groundball pitcher this year with a GB% of 50.5. Experts are split on wether pitches in play being grounders is a skill or just luck and I won't way in on it but in this case, it seems to be luck. His GB% the past three seasons has been 33%, 42%, 41%. 50 is a huge jump from those numbers and is likely just luck, as he pitches more innings his GB% will regress and we will see his ERA go up. Mets can beat him.

Finally on Sunday is Mike Minor. Minor was a much discussed pitching prospect for the Braves who has been absolute garbage this year. He has an ERA of 4.95 and FIP stats that aren't much better. Even better than that? He gives up home runs like it's his job, to the tune of 1.67 home runs per 9 innings pitched. Is it just me or did you just get the feeling the Mets could win this series?

On the offensive side the stars of the team have been Michael Bourn and Jason Heyward. Bourn is batting .289 with a .347 OBP and 29 stolen bags. Heyward is coming in at .269/.344/.477 with 18 dingers. The best part about these two? Absolute strike out machines with K%'s of 21.4 and 25.1 respectively.

The Braves are playing very well but their component stats are those of a team that could fall apart at any minute. Don't count out another Braves collapse this year. As a team the Braves are 64-47. They have scored 517 runs and given up 447 runs.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Dickey Triple Crown Update

Dickey picked up a complete game win today and I thought it would be a good time to check in on how Dickey is looking for the pitching triple Crown, which we explored before here.

Wins - Dickey is currently the NL wins leader with 15. However there are 3 other pitchers nipping at his heels with 14 a piece: Johnny Cueto, Gio Gonzalez and improbably - A.J. Burnett. This could be a tough category for Dickey as the Mets have not been winning many games at all lately.

ERA- Dickey is currently 4th in ERA with a 2.72 behind Cueto (2.58), Zimmerman (2.45) and league leader Ryan Vogelsong (2.27). Not much of a difference here between first and fourth, R.A. has a real shot at catching up.

Strikeouts- After today Dickey is the punch out leader in the NL with 166, 6 ahead of Stephen Strasburg. This is one category that continues to amaze, even in his bad starts Dickey continued to record a lot of K's, he is a contender as much as anyone here.



Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Have you heard about the greatest fantasy baseball league of all time?

I play in the greatest fantasy baseball league in the world. I actually play in three but one is far more to time consuming and complex than any other fantasy league I have ever been in. In my league Adrian Gonzalez remains on the waiver wire, along with Evan Longoria, Dan Haren and Cole Hamels, all judged not good enough for the competing teams. In my league I once spent a good amount of time trying to find a guy that could get me more sacrifice flys. My league has only two players... welcome to Super Baseball 5000.

Super Baseball 5000, the name of this ridiculous league was hatched by my friend and I at a diner a few months before the 2011 season. As avid fans of arguing about baseball and playing strat-o-matic we thought that it might be fun to concoct a way to play heads up fantasy baseball. After several iterations, we came up with the format that lead to funnest season of fantasy sports I have ever played.

The basic rules are this: Scoring is rotisserie style. Instead of drafting players like in a normal fantasy draft, we draft teams. (I chose the Phillies and the Yankees with the 1st and third picks, my opponent picked the Cardinals and Red Sox) you then staff your team with players from the teams you chose. Preseason you can tinker as much as you want, once the season begins you have the standard 50 move transaction limit. The catch being that you have to have at least one player from each of your teams on your roster. The constant battle to find useful Astros and Orioles being on of the toughest parts of the format.

The other key to the format is lots of categories and several totally unreasonable ones.  Their are 30 scoring categories including fielding percentage, grand slams, hitting for the cycle, complete games and triples allowed. Nothing is more maddening than trying to control categories that players have essentially no control over. What do I care if Robbie Cano hit two run home runs if his failure to turn a double play just cost me points in the double plays turned category.

The essence of what makes this league so hard and so time consuming is the choices. In a standard fantasy leagues their is only so much you can do. If you need to improve your team, the choices on the wire are usually not guys who are very good. You either cobble together bad starters or pick guys up on hot streaks and hope they don't flame out too quick. It is infinitely harder to decide who to start as my third outfielder when the choices are Ryan Braun or Josh Hamilton. It's even harder to decide who to pick up to improve my pitching when I have half the leagues aces sitting on the available player list. Not to mention trying to balance having a player from every team (Mark Melancon, I dreamed so often of how great it would be to drop you).

I am proud to say I won the first year of Super Baseball 5000. Despite a not so well thought out plan where I benched Cliff Lee for two weeks and some other ill fated strategies I came out the victor. Super Baseball 5001 is now underway and I am pleased to report I maintain a 9 point league. Updates on this and my other leagues throughout the season.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Gettin' to know Scott Patterson

The Mets have signed right handed pitcher Scott Patterson to a minor leauge contract. I know what your thinking, why would the Mets sign veteran character actor Scott Patterson to pitch? Did they think perhaps he could rekindle his early 80's pitching career with the Braves system and make a comeback as a 53 year old? Well rest assured the Mets did not sign this Scott Patterson:


 
But rather this Scott Patterson:

Scott Patterson has a career 1.93 ERA with 13.50 K/9 and 11.57 bb/9, unbelievable right!? Not so much when I tell you that he has only 4.2 career innings pitched in the minors. Patterson was signed by the Yankees in 2007 after having spent four years playing in the Frontier League an independent baseball league that features teams like the Evansville Otters and Normal CornBelters.

His numbers in the Minors were actually quite good. He has posted a sub 3 ERA multiple times in his career and has a k/9 that stays between and 8 and 10 year to year. He has pitched 28 innings with the Mariners AAA team this year posting a 2.89/4.34 ERA/FIP with 25 k's and 10 walks. He is in his age 33 season so the odds of him having a long career are low but his numbers indicate a player who could be a useful bullpen arm for the Mets this season.

Friday, August 3, 2012

The Mets bullpen improves (incrementally)

Well the Mets bullpen is getting better at about the same speed as continental drift. Allow me to provide you with some positive news:

The Mets pen is no longer the worst in baseball. We now rank 29th in ERA (4.95), suck it Astros! We also rank 28th in xFIP (4.37) and 25th in fWAR (.8) and 29th in WEPA (-5.84).

Josh Edgin is looking good so far, he has only pitched 10 innings but he has a 2.70 ERA/1.87 xFIP with 18 strike outs, this kid has some real potential.

As many people have pointed out Jon Rauch has been pretty solid lately with a 1.23 ERA over 7 innings in the last month. He still isn't getting strike outs which worries me but for now he has seems OK.

Finally Bobby Parnell is not as bad as you think he is. Watching Parnell has generally been painful this season but stats are those of a pretty good reliever. He has a 3.07/3.04 ERA/xFIP. Here is the painful part his save to blown save ratio? 4:5. Ouch.

The bottom line? The Mets bullpen remains one of the worst in baseball but they are getting better, I predict a continued upswing and a dominant August. Here's to high hopes.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Bay, Bell, Buck Bingo.

Twitter has been abuzz the last two days over the news that a deal was on the table before the deadline that would have sent Jason Bay to Miami in exchange for Heath Bell and John Buck. Obviously this deal did not happen and we don't know why but I have to assume the Marlins backed out because if it was the Mets they have completely lost their collective baseball minds.

This is literally the best deal I have ever heard of. The fact that anyone would take Jason Bay from us and offer even the slightest value is simply amazing. One thing that I think is clear is that Jason Bay has nothing positive to offer the team any longer. His simple presence in the lineup makes the team inherently worse, to the tune of a WPA of -1.66 so far, good for the bottom ten in the Majors. Jason Bay coming to bat has come to mean a sure out. Just cutting him from the team would make the team better.

Now how about Bell and Buck? Neither of them are very good either. But the big difference is that they can do something. Buck has similar offensive numbers to Bay but at least he is a Catcher and a fairly good one. Having a veteran catcher on the staff to platoon with Thole who hits as well as Bay is more useful than Bay hitting and playing the outfield. How about Bell? Bell is pretty atrocious this year but he is at least worth a gamble. He posted a 5.57 ERA this year, prior to that he has sub 3 ERA in 4 of his last 5 seasons and was good for 40+ saves each year he closed. Now what you rather take a chance on? That an elite level reliever can recover from a bad half season and be a valuable member of a team or that a once elite player who has posted three bad seasons in a row will bounce back. The smart money is Bell. We are spending roughly the same amount of money either way, let's at least have some upside.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Tejada v. Reyes Check In

In April we looked at how Ruben Tejada was doing in comparison to then slumping Jose Reyes, which you can read here. At the time Tejada was surpassing Reyes in most categories, things have cooled down a bit but Tejada still has some nice advantages.


Player
AVG
OBP
SLG
WAR
WPA
Reyes
.277
.344
.417
2.4
1.74
Tejada
.311
.356
.373
1.4
-0.92

The first thing to consider when looking at the numbers is that Tejada was injured for a significant amount of the season (played 59 games) while the normally injury prone Reyes has not been hurt at all (played 102 games). Tejada is hitting the ball well and has a clear advantage over NL batting champ Reyes although much of this is due to an extreme slump that started Reyes season that he is still recovering from. Tejada has a slight but inconsequential lead in OBP. The one place where Reyes absolutely own Tejada is speed and it shows in his greater SLG%.

The conclusion here, Reyes is clearly a better player than Tejada but not by much. The simplest measure of comparing two players is WAR, Reyes has exactly 1 win more than Tejada, which is significant but not astronomical. One area where Ruben excels is value. Tejada will make 491k dollars this year whereas Reyes will make 10 million. Tejada is putting up very close numbers to Reyes at a fraction of the cost.