Ben Zobrist is a Star.

Over the past 3 seasons Ben Zobrist has been really good. He’s posted 17.9 WAR, averaging a 5.9 WAR per season. He’s not only versitile, being able to play a handful positions but also plays above average defense at each position. Oh yeah, he can hit too.

In 2009 Zobrist posted a HUGE breakout year, posting a 8.6 WAR, .246 ISO, .408 wOBA, 39.3 wRAA and a 151 wRC+. All of those numbers are way above league average. Zobrist was also walking at a 15.2% rate and only striking out 17.4% of the time. His .326 BABIP was slightly high but he is posting a .318 BABIP this year so going forward a BABIP in the upper .315 seems sustainable. Zobrist was getting paid the league minimum in 2009 but his production gave the Rays $38.8 million dollars worth of value which is nothing short of incredible.

In 2010 Zobrist got hit with a low BABIP of .276 and a 10.8 IFFB%. He still had a 3.7 WAR but his ISO fell to .115 and his wOBA all the way to .323. His wRC+ also took a hit, only being 102 overall. His wRAA was 1.1, also disappointing. A few bright spots were his 14% BB% and his 16.3 K% so he still had a keen eye at the plate. He still gave the Rays $15 million dollars worth of value last year.

This year though is closer to his true playing level. He has a 5.6 WAR, a .213 ISO, .376 wOBA, 23.4 wRAA and a 141 wRC+. His .318 BABIP is a little lower then his 2009 BABIP but like I mentioned earlier it seems sustainable. Zobrist is creating runs just like he was in ’09 so it looks like last year was a fluke. So far he’s generated $25.3 million dollars worth of value for the club. B the time the season’s over he could push a 7 WAR.

One thing that makes Zobrist so good though is his defense. UZR really likes him at second base, 19.7 career UZR and right field, 24.7 UZR. Some of the innings aren’t a huge number so it may be a small sample size but he’s still a really good defender.

Based on what I’ve shown you I’m scratching my head as to why Zobrist isn’t considered a star. He can play good defense and produces on offense. Eventually though, he will get his dues.

Weekly Prospect: Miguel Sano

I was talking to one of my friends the other day about my blog and he gave me a few ideas to spice up the blog. One of the ideas that I really liked was a weekly prospect post so here it is! To kick it off I will tell you about a Twins prospect by the name of Miguel Sano.

The Twins signed Miguel Sano as an 18 year old shortstop in 2009 out of the Dominican Republic for a record $3.15 million dollar bonus. Sano is 6’5″ and weighs 195 lbs according to https://www.fangraphs.com . I imagine he won’t be a SS but rather a 3B or possibly RF when he reaches the big leagues.

So far this season in rookie ball Sano has demonstrated his power potential, posting a .293 ISO and 10 home runs. His .389 wOBA is quite impressive and he’s creating runs 34% better then league average. Sano has also produced a 9.3 wRAA. His K% is a little high, 24.9% but has a solid 9% BB%. Sano’s .336 BABIP is a little high so he should expect a slight regression as the season goes on. His numbers are much better then last year’s when he was at two different levels of rookie ball. If you are curious as to what they are follow this link because I’m not sure how to distinguish the two. http://www.fangraphs.com/statss.aspx?playerid=sa548088&position=3B/SS

If Sano keeps it up he should get the call to A ball before the season’s over and could begin to make an impact on the big league club during the 2014 season.

Jose Bautista is the Best Player in Baseball

Over the past two seasons Jose Bautista has practically taken over baseball. Last year he posted 6.9 WAR and this season he’s on pace to surpass it, posting a 6.8 WAR.

Last year most of Bautista’s value came from the long ball, hitting 54 home runs, 38 more then his previous career high. He had a .357 ISO, which is insane to go along with a .422 wOBA. His HR/FB% shows us that he was hitting home runs 21.7% of the time, a solid number that gives you a good testement of his power. All of those are insane numbers. The number that stud out to me though was his .233 BABIP which is significantly below league average. League average typically hovers between .295 and .300. Bautista also contributed 55.6 runs last year, which shows by looking at his wRAA. He was also worth $27.5 million dollars to the club last year, which is ridiculous. Let’s see what his splits have to say about last year.

Home:

BABIP: .216

BB%: 16.4%

HR/FB%: 26.2%

ISO: .438

K%: 13.1%

wRAA: 38.9

wRC+: 196

wOBA: .465

By looking at these stats you can tell that Bautista was amazing at home, most players are since you play half the year though but still. His .438 ISO is just insane and his 26.2 HR/FB% is ridiculous as well. The Rogers Centre is known for giving up home runs but Bautista went above and beyond. He was creating runs 96% better then league average at home, a 196 wRC+ is crazy wherever you play though. By looking at his BABIP though you should be able to tell that he just ran into bad luck last year even though he had one heck of a season. Let’s see how he faired on the road.

Away:

BABIP: .250

BB%: 12.9%

HR/FB%: 17.1%

ISO: .281

K%: 20.7%

wRAA: 16.7

wRC+: 138

wOBA: .381

Bautista wasn’t quite as good on the road but he still put up solid numbers. His  .281 ISO would still be one of the best in the league and his .381 wOBA would fall just below the 90th percentile. Not too shabby. He still created runs 38% above average and contributed 16.7. Again he had a low BABIP of .250 so he should have been even better then he was. One little cause of concern though was the increase in strikeouts on the road but he was so good it didn’t even matter.

You can see why pitchers feared Bautista, he has insane power and seems to create runs at will. One of the main reasons for his huge turn around is hs new swing, it’s much better then that ippercut last year. How does he compare this year? To be blunt, he’s miles upon miles better.

Home:

BABIP: .336

BB%: 20.5%

HR/FB%: 27.1%

ISO: .369

K%: 16%

wRAA: 27.3

wRC+: 217

wOBA: .489

I don’t think you can get much better then this. His BABIP is slightly high but he has a ridiculous .369 ISO, .489 wOBA and a 217 wRC+! I know I mentioned the effect the Rogres Centre has but those numbers are just sick. He’s hitting home runs at an unprecedented rate, 27.1% of the time and walking 20.5% of the time. I guess you can say pitchers have learned their lesson. The 27.7 runs he’s contributed to hasn’t been to shabby either. To reiterate what I said earlier, Bautista has just been on a tear this season and I don’t see him slowing down.

Away:

BABIP: .289

BB%: 18.4

HR/FB%: 21%

ISO: .302

K%: 14.8%

wRAA: 23.1

wRC+: 176

wOBA: .430

Bautista has been excellent on the road this year as well. His .430 wOBA and .302 ISO are both well above average and pitchers fear him on the road just as much as at home as his 18.4 BB% indicates. Bautista’s 176 wRC+ is excellent and a solid increase above his road wRC+ of 138 last year. Bautista has just been an all around stud this year. The main point of the article was to prove how Bautista has been the best player in the game the last two seasons so let’s see how he stacks up against the player most have been considering the best the past decade in Albert Pujols.

I realize Pujols has missed time this season and started off slow but he’s rebounded quite nicely.

Pujols 2010:

BABIP: .297

BB%: 14.7%

HR/FB%: 18.3%

ISO: .284

K%: 10.9%

WAR: 7.5

wRAA: 55.4

wRC+: 165

wOBA: .420

Bautista and Pujols were pretty much even last year, both posting solid numbers across the board, I would still give the edge to Bautista even though Pujols had a higher WAR because he posted excellent numbers but was still affected by an absurdly low BABIP, Pujols’ had a BABIP of .297 so he was right at his true playing level.

Pujols 2011:

BABIP: .254

BB%: 8.7%

HR/FB%: 19.1%

ISO: .255

K%: 8.7%

WAR: 3.5

wRAA: 23.3

wRC+: 144

wOBA: .382

One look at Pujols’ stats and you think obviously Bautista is better but Pujols’ started off really slow and missed time to do injury. Pujols isn’t having a horrible season at all. His BABIP indicates he should see an increase in his stats. He has a solid wRC+, his ISO is good and he could still amass a 5 WAR.

Bautista was rewarded with a 5 year $65 million dollar contract last off-season, so far he has earned $30.8 million dollars based on his play this year, the Blue Jays should easily get way more value then they are paying Bautista making that deal a steal. Based on all the facts, Jose Bautista is the best player in baseball and if he keeps it up he could reach 35 career WAR which would be crazy based on him being a late bloomer.

What’s Wrong With Carlos Gonzalez?

Last year Carlos Gonzalez had a monster season for the Colorado Rockies, posting a 6.6 WAR, .416 wOBA, 151 wRC+, 48.4 wRAA and a .241 ISO. One number that really stuck out though was his .384 BABIP which is extremely unsustainable. Now it’s no secret that Coors Field is a hitters dream so let’s look closer at some home and away splits and see how Gonzalez faired at Coors and away from home last year.

Coors:

BABIP: .391

HR/FB: 27.7%

ISO: .357

wRAA: 44.1

wOBA: .487

wRC+: 199

As you can see Gonzalez simply dominated Coors last year, posting a robust .487 wOBA, a .357 ISO among other numbers. At Coors, everytime Gonzalez is hitting a flyball it ends up in the seats over 25% of the time, to put it in perspective Albert Pujols had a HR/FB rate of 15% at home last year and 21.4% on the road and he’s one of the best power hitters in the game.  Those numbers just don’t happen. I want you to take a look at his BABIP though. It’s .391 which is absolutely ridiculous, no way is that sustainable through a whole season. Let’s take a look at what Gonzalez did last year when he was on the road.

Away:

BABIP: .375

HR/FB: 11%

ISO: .164

wRAA: 4.5

wOBA: .339

wRC+: 100

All I can say is wow. His BABIP was still high but his other numbers were awful. His wRC+ is right at league average, his wOBA is in roughly the 65th percentile, his wRAA is slightly above average and his ISO is slightly above average as well. That HR/FB is what really surprised me though. Only 11%, last year league average was 10.6%. To simply put it, Carlos Gonzalez was average on the road last season. That just shows you how much Colorado hitters gain from playing in the mile high city. Let’s take a look at Carlos Gonzalez this year.

So far he has a 2.2 WAR, .365 wOBA, 122 wRC+, 15.5 wRAA, .196 ISO and a .325 BABIP. Right off the bat his BABIP tells me he finally regressed closer to his true playing level but let’s take a look at his splits and see what we can come up with.

Coors:

BABIP: .352

HR/FB: 15.9%

ISO: .234

wRAA: 17.8

wOBA: .414

wRC+: 155

Like I mentioned before it looks like Gonzalez is experiencing natural regression this year, last year’s .391 BABIP has come down to .351 and has brought all of his other stats down with it. One thing I didn’t post earlier is his IFFB% which is infield fly ball percentage or popouts as we call them. Last year his IFFB% at Coors was a crazy 5.3% and this year it’s increased roughly 10% as it sits at 15.9% right now so that definitely hurts. On the road it’s decreased about 1%, going from 13.7 to 12.9 so not much can be taken from that. I do realize Gonzalez was hurt a little this year but to me, it just seems like Gonzalez is going through natural regression at Coors. Let’s see what we can get out of his away splits.

AWAY:

BABIP: .282

ISO: .143

HR/FB: 16.1

wRAA: -2.1

wOBA: .299

wRC+: 77

Wow. Gonzalez has been flat out bad on the road this year. His wOBA is about as bad as it gets. He’s cost the Rockies 2.1 runs and has created 23 runs below league average. His BABIP isn’t even that far below league average so that is kind of worrisome. Like I said he’s been just flat out bad.

Gonzalez has been a huge disappointment this year even though he’s in a very hitters friendly park in Coors Field. Will he rebound to last years’ success or is this the Gonzalez we will contiue to see. I guess we’ll find out next year, in the mean time he hasn’t been living up to the expectations.

Stephen Strasburg to Make Start

One of the most anticipated college players ever is on his way to returning to The Show. Stephen Strasburg is set to pitch one or two innings for the Washiongton Nationals A team today, 11 months after getting Tommy John surgery. Before he hurt his elbow he was dominating hitters left and right.

In twelve starts before the surgery Strasburg already had accumulated a 2.6 WAR, if he had pitched a whole season and remained healthy he would have had a WAR of over 6 in his first season. That’s pretty insane. Some numbers that really jump out at you though are his 2.08 FIP and his 2.04 xFIP. His FIP- was 52, meaning his FIP was 48% better then league average which is ridiculous. Those numbers are crazy for anyone but the fact that he was in his first season shows you how good ths guy is. Strasburg was also striking out a robust 12.18 batters per nine innings and walking only 2.25. Keep in mind he was only 22 years old! He was only giving up .66 HR/9, we’ll see if he can maintain that as he gets healthy but that’s a crazy number. His .319 BABIP isn’t all that concerning at all, we still don’t know what type of BABIP numbers he’ll post but a .305 BABIP would be slightly more sustainable. Besides striking batters out he’s also able to induce a good amount of groundballs, getting groundballs 47.8% of the time.

Pitch f/x data shows that his fastball was averaged at 97.3 MPH, pair that with his 82.4 MPH curve and 89.7 MPH changeup then you got one heck of an arsenal. We’ll have to see if he loses any velocity after Tommy John but he should still be one heck of a pitcher.

In those twelve starts that he made he already accumulated $10.4 million dollars worth of value. If he had pitched a whole season he would have accumulated close to $30 million dollars worth of value! That means in order for the Nationals to replace the value he supplied they would have had to pay $10.4 million dollars in free agency to get the production Strasburg gave them before the injury.

I did get to see him once, his major league debut in fact and he was flat out nasty. His fastball is sick but that curveball of his is unfair. He makes batters look like fools. Hopefully he comes back strong after the surgery because he has all the talent in the world to be something special.

It’s Time to Extend Mike Stanton

Marlins OFer Mike Stanton is putting up a solid year and just might be in line for a nice new contract. He has a 3 WAR, .1 more then all of last year but the thing that really stands out about Mike Stanton is his massive power. Last year in 100 games Stanton hit 22 home runs to go along with a .248 ISO. His wOBA of .355 was solid for a rookie and this year he’s brought that up to a .370 wOBA which is typically in the seventy fifth percentile. His strikeout rate was a little concerning last year, striking out 31.1% but if he can bring that down and still supply good power numbers, a good ISO and wOBA then it shouldn’t be too concerning.

This year he’s doing much better. He has 25 home runs in 106 games, his ISO is twenty three points higher, currently at .271 which is good for fifth in baseball and second in the National League. Stanton’s wOBA is fifteen points higher then last year, sitting at .370 like I mentioned before. He’s brought his strikeout percentage down to 27.3%, if he can bring it down to around 25% that would be ideal but again other factos make up for it. His wRC+ of 133 is fifteen points higher then last year putting him in around the seventy fifth percentile. Offensively about the only thing Stanton won’t give you is stolen bases but that isn’t a big deal.

So far he’s posted solid UZR numbers, posting a 8.7 UZR this year and a 2 UZR last year. That’s only from one and a half seasons though so the sample size is still small and not much should be taken from those numbers yet.

Based on dollar values Stanton has been worth $13.3 million this year and $11.4 last year giving the Marlins over $24.7 million dollars of value.

Based on all this information the Marlins need to give Stanton a contract similar to Longoria’s 5 year $16 million dollar deal that he signed in 2008. The contract can be worth up to 44 million dollars as it has a few uption years but it’s easily the most friendly contract in all of baseball. If the Marlins want to sign Stanton cheap they’ll need to do it before he hits superstardom.

Alex Gordon is really good.

For those that don’t know Alex Gordon is having a really good season for the Kansas City Royals. Everyone knew Gordon has all the talent in the world and expected him to be a stud right away. Obviously that didn’t happen but he finally may be starting to put it together if this year is any indication.

So far Gordon has produced a 4.9 WAR, putting him at 13th overall in the league for batters. Not only is he putting up a solid WAR, he’s also posting a .384 wOBA good for 20th overall and 10th in the American League. His wRC+ is a solid 142 meaning he’s created 42% more runs then league average, good for 22nd overall.

Gordon also has a good eye at the plate, striking out only 19.1% of the time and walking 9.4% of the time. His BABIP is a little concerning as it currently sits at .368 which is clearly an unsustainable number so he could see his numbers take an little hit but that doesn’t take away the fact that he’s been very solid. His .194 ISO is also something good to see. UZR isn’t a huge fan of him in the infield but in the outfield he seems to be better posting a 1.5 UZR last year and a 5.7 UZR this year. That’s still a small sample size and UZR is best looked at in 3 year intervals.

Overall, Alex Gordon is a very solid player and if he can keep it up as he enters his prime then the Royals will have a nice veteran presence with all of their young studs slowly making their way to the majors. The Royals future looks bright if they can put it together.

The 2011 NL CY Young Race

In the National League there are four guys who will contend for the CY Young. Three of them play for the same team. They are Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels and Clayton Kershaw.

4) Cliff Lee got robbed from the CY last year and this year he’s on a mission to get what’s his. He currently has a 4.1 WAR, not quite as good as the last 3 seasons but solid. He has an above average FIP of 2.80, the second best of his career. His .305 BABIP indicates that he’s pitching right at his talent level so he shouldn’t expect any regression. Like the others he’s doesnt give up the long ball, only .81 HR per 9 innings. He’s striking out an impressive 9.23 batters per 9 and walking only 1.86. He’s having a solid season by any standard but not solid enough for the CY unless he makes a late push

3) Kershaw is finally becoming what we all hoped he would be. He has a 4.7 WAR, .1 less then all of last year and is finally cutting down all of the walks, which was a main problem last year. He has a 2.51 FIP, .57 better then his FIP in 2009 which was 3.08. His BABIP is .278, about .12 under the league average but he’s always had a low BABIP for his career. He’s doing a very good job at keeping the ball in the park, only giving up .61 HR/9 but in his short career he’s shownhe can prevent the long ball. His 9.87 strikeouts per 9 are not only impressive but also a career best. Like I mentioned earlier though are the walks. He’s walking 2.34 batters this year, 1.23 less batters per 9 then last year. He’s making a strong push for the CY but it might not be strong enough.

2) Cole Hamels is having a career year, posting a 4.7 WAR which is already the best for his career and the season isn’t even done yet. He’s posting a 2.57 FIP which is the lowest that it’s ever been. His BABIP is a little low at .262 but for his career he has a .282 BABIP so not much regression should occur. One main reason why he’s having such success is because he’s doing such a good job at keeping the ball in the ballpark. He’s only giving up .51 HR per 9 innings pitched. He’s striking out 8.26 batters per 9 innings and only walking 1.77 which is a career best. Hamels is having a career year and is worthy of a CY Young but the problem is so is one other and that other guy is pretty good.

1) Roy Halladay. This guy is supposed to be on the downside of his career not attempting to post one of his best seasons ever. He has a 5.9 WAR and an incredible 2.20 FIP! He’s 34 and has a 2.2 FIP. Unreal. His BABIP is even .300, you won’t be seeing any regression at this rate. He’s striking out 8.45 every 9 innings and walking only 1.06. Did I mention he doesn’t give up home runs? Only .48 home runs every 9 innings! This guy is simply a horse and there’s no way he doesn’t win the CY at this rate.

How I think it should happen:

1) Doc Halladay

2) Cole Hamels

3) Clayton Kershaw

4) Cliff Lee

How I think it will happen:

1) Doc Halladay

2) Cliff Lee

3) Clayton Kershaw

4) Cole Hamels

AL CY Young Race 2011

It’s that time of year again. With roughly 2 months left in the season pitchers are starting to seperate themselves as CY Young candidates and the rest. In my opinion the top 5 candidates are C.C. Sabathia, Justin Verlander, Dan Haren, Jered Weaver and Felix Hernandez.

5) Number five is where Felix Hernandez sits at this point in time. He’s currently producing a 3.7 WAR and could see that end up at about a 5 WAR or so by season’s end. His statistics are pretty much at league norm. He has a solid 3.16 FIP which is slightly higher then his 3.04 FIP last year but nonetheless it’s still solid. His FIP- is 81 so his FIP is 19% better then league average. He’s striking out 8.51 batters per 9 innings and only walking 2.89 per 9. He has a BABIP of .296 so he’s pretty much pitching at his true talent level. Overall he’s having one heck of a year but not quite CY level worthy.

4) Sliding in at number 4 is the Angel’s Dan Haren. Haren is quitely putting together a very solid season in LA. He currently has a 4.8 WAR to go along with a 2.68 FIP. His FIP- is an incredible 68, this means his fip is 32% better then league average! He’s striking out 7.29 batters per 9 innings and only walking 1.34 batters every 9 innings. His BABIP is a little low at .267 so he could see a slight increase in his numbers. He has a .290 career BABIP so like I said the increase shouldn’t be major. Haren is putting up CY numbers but the problem is so are 3 others.

3) Dan Haren’s teammate, Jerded Weaver comes in at number 3. Weaver is sporting a 5.1 WAR to go along with an impressive 2.62 FIP. His xFIP of 3.58 shows that he could see a sligh increase in his 1.88 ERA but that remains to be seen. One look at his .245 BABIP and you might be wary but his career BABIP is .277 and FB pitchers tend to have lower BABIPs. He has a 7.62 K/9 to go along with a 2.04 BB/9 which is right around is career norms. Normally with a 5.1 WAR he’d be leading the race for the CY but not this year.

2) At number 2 I have C.C. Sabathia. Last year many thought C.C. should have won the award but he only produced a 5.1 WAR compared to Felix’s 6+ WAR, still, a solid season nonetheless. Anyway, this could be the year that Sabathia grabs the award. He has a 5.8 WAR to go along with a 2.52 FIP. Both are excellent numbers. His BABIP is .293 so no regression is expected in the near future. He’s striking out 8.25 batters every 9 innings and walking a solid 2.29. His FIP- is 62 making his FIP 38% better then league average. He’s as good as it gets but there’s been one pitcher in the AL who’s been slightly better.

1) This year the award belongs to Justin Verlander. He’s pitched one no-hitter this year and the other day he almost got his second. This guy is crazy good and unfortunetly being a Twins fan I get to see him more often then I’d like. He has a 5.5 WAR, .3 less then C.C. but he’s been simply unreal. One pitch he can throw a 92 MPH fastball, then he’ll give you a 100 MPH fastball. He’s unreal. His FIP is at 2.68 and his FIP- is 67, 33% better then league average. His BABIP is .232 but it’s been low all season, I don’t expect much of a change. He’s punching 8.85 batters per 9 and walking an incredinle 1.79. This year the award belongs to Verlander. Like I said he’s been so nasty this year and has the stats to back it up.

How I think it should happen:

1) Justin Verlander

2) C.C. Sabathia

3) Jered Weaver

4) Dan Haren

5) Felix Hernandez

How I think it’ll happen:

1) Justin Verlander

2) C.C. Sabathia

3) Felix Hernandez

4) Jered Weaver

5) Dan Haren

Tomorrow I will get the NL CY Young race up. Thanks for reading!

Ubaldo Jimenez to the…Indians?

Wow. When I first saw this I thought what can the Rockies be thinking. This is the same Ubaldo Jimenez that posted a 4.3 WAR, 5.7 WAR and a 6.3 WAR in the last 3 years. Or is it. According to pitch f/x data Ubaldo has lost an average of 3 MPH on his fastball. That could easily be a cause of concern or it could be nothing at all. That still doesn’t justify trading a starting pitcher who has an amazingly team friendly contract through 2013 with an option for 2014. By getting traded Ubaldo can either exersise or decline the option.

The Rockies did get two very nice pitching prospects in Alex White and Drew Pomeranz. This year in Cleveland’s triple A White has posted a 2.27 FIP, his .295 BABIP shows that his dominance is quite real. He’s striking out over 10 batters every 9 innings and walking only 1.9. It is a small sample size, only 23.2 innings but still very incouraging. In 3 starts in the majors this year White showed potential but still struggled, posting a 5.66 FIP. It was only 15 innings so remember thats still a really small sample size. Currently he’s on the DL with a finger injury. Pomeranz has been rediculous in A ball and double A ball this year. In 15 games in A ball he’s posted a 2.36 FIP. He struck out 11.1 batters per 9 and walked 3.74. He did such a good job that the Indians brought him up to double A and did the same thing. In 3 starts he posted  a 2.99 FIP and struck out over 10 per 9 whle walking a little over 3. Remember though, small sample size.  Both project as top of the rotation starters in the majors. I’m not sure if that is enough for Jimenez if he indeed turns out to be healthy. The other prospects, 1B Matt McBride and SP Joe Gardner are mid-level/lower-level prospects. I don’t know much about either to be honest.

While the loss in velocity is a concern all his other numbers aren’t too far off career norms. His 3.55 FIP is consistent with his career averages as is his xFIP. His K% and BB% are in line with his career averages as well. While his BABIP is a little high it’s nothing to be worried about. If Ubaldo turns out to be fine then Cleveland got a very good pitcher.