Lincecum Avoids Arbitration for Good

Tim Lincecum and the Giants have agreed to a 2 year, $40.5M deal to avoid arbitration.  Lincecum is set to make $18M this year and $22M in 2013, plus a $500K signing bonus.  Lincecum had put a $21.5M figure in for arbitration, and the team put in $17M, so the Giants get a bit of a deal for this year and likely next year.  The past 2 years, Lincecum has been a 4-5 win pitcher, after a couple 6-8 win seasons in ’08 and ’09.  If he continues to pitch at the same level, this is essentially a market-level deal. Continue reading

Prince Fielder Cashes in

Today, it was announced that the Detroit Tigers and Prince Fielder agreed to a 9/$214 million dollar deal. First thought that comes to mind is that’s a lot of money to give a future full-time DH. Fielder is really, really good, don’t get me wrong but in the end this could really blow up for the Tigers in the end. The Tigers recently lost  C/1B/DH Victor Martinez to a torn ACL and desperately needed to make a move, for the immediate future they may have made the right one but for the future it doesn’t look good.

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Projecting Platoon Splits for Pitchers

When a team is looking for pitchers, especially starting pitchers, they are looking for the ability to get both left and right handed hitters out.  There have been plenty of LOOGY/ROOGY’s who have had long careers, but their value to the team is not impactful, due to lack of innings.  There are two major factors which usually show the divide in results against lefties and righties: repertoire and ballpark factors. Continue reading

Anatomy of an Underrated Player

Over the past seven seasons, Albert Pujols has been, by far, the best position player in baseball.  That should be no surprise to anyone with some sort of baseball knowledge.  While the experienced sabermetric crowd knows who #2 is, this player exhibits many skills that are vastly underrated by the mainstream media.  He’s also not the great 5×5 fantasy type.  The only major category he’s ever led the league in is runs scored one season. Continue reading

Rays Outfield: Cheap, but Extremely Productive

Despite losing Carl Crawford to free agency last year, the Tampa Bay Rays had one of the best outfields in all of baseball. For the first part of the season, Matt Joyce, B.J. Upton and Sam Fuld manned the outfield. During the second half, top prospect Desmond Jennings took away most of Fuld’s time. At first glance you wouldn’t think that a combination of these four would be a top outfield. If you dig a little deeper you will notice that they combined for a total of 13 WAR, which was good for 8th overall in all of baseball. Offensively, they had the 7th best wRC+. Defensively, the Rays came in second in UZR and first in DRS.

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Panda Eats Up Arbitration Years

The Giants and Pablo Sandoval agreed to a $17.15M, plus incentives, contract over Sandoval’s arbitration seasons.  Sandoval was projected to earn around $3.2M in his first year of arbitration, according to MLBTradeRumors.  The common rule for arbitration value is the 40/60/80 rule, where a player generally gets 40% of his market value his first arbitration year, 60% his second, and 80% his third.  By this standard and the MLBTR projections, Sandoval would have earned a total of $14.4M over the three seasons, so the Giants seem to have overpaid a bit, respective to the system. Continue reading

Hunter Pence and BABIP

Heading into the 2012 season Hunter Pence is coming off of his best season in the big leagues. He had 4.7 WAR,  and a 141 wRC+. Both areas were career highs. Pence was also a key member during the Phillies run to make the playoffs. In August, Pence had a 173 wRC+ and during September/October he had a 151 wRC+. At first one may think it was a career year, but if you look a little closer at the numbers you will see that Pence was helped a lot by his high BABIP. For the season Pence’s BABIP was .361. That was his second highest total, in 2007 he had a .377 BABIP in 484 PAs.

There are four main factors that played a role in his unusually high BABIP this season. They are his GB/FB and his LD%. In this spreadsheet we can see how two of those statistics from this past season compare with his career statistics.

The first thing we notice is the 2% difference in his LD% for his career and 2011. Line drives tend to fall as hits much often than groundballs or flyballs. In 2011 alone line drives had a league-wide BABIP of .713. Pence also had a 2% drop in FB%, the drop in his flyballs tells us that he didn’t get as many outs, resulting in more hits. His GB% was relatively the same, so that doesn’t tell us much. Looking more in depth at his batted ball profile we can tell that Pence 2 groundballs and 8 flyballs into 10 extra line drives. If we do a little math we find out that Pence had roughly 6 more hits than 2010. Pence also has above average speed, so naturally he’s going to get more hits than someone who is slower.

All those factors put together we can come to the conclusion that Pence was really lucky last season. In reality Pence is probably closer to a .310-.320 BABIP player. With his  average defense he’s probably closer to a 3-3.5 player than a 4.5-5 WAR player. Pence will still be a big part of the Phillies line-up the next couple of seasons but he may not be as good as his BABIP indicates.