Pujols, Angels Agree to Blockbuster

Talk about surprising. Yesterday it was revealed that Albert Pujols will be joining the Los Angeles Angels and not the Miami Marlins or St. Louis Cardinals like many expected. The deal was for 10 years and $254 million dollars. The deal also comes with a full no trade clause so Pujols won’t be going anywhere.

We all know how good Pujols is so there really isn’t a need for a huge explanation. He’s the best first basemen in baseball and one of the best overall players. He’s coming off his worst year, posting an ISO of .242, a .385 wOBA, a 148 wRC+ and a 5.1 WAR. Not bad for your worst season. Pujols did suffer from some injuries this season so if he come’s back healthy he should easily post 6.5+ WAR.

Over the first six years of the contract Pujols should be relatively solid, more so the first four. The last four probably won’t be as good but with Pujols the good massively out ways the bad. Let’s take a look at what kind of value Pujols should provide during his tenure with the Angels. The salary is in millions.

For the most part my prediction was fairly accurate. The first five years Pujols is giving the Angels some really good value. You could say he is his sixth year as well but after that he begins to declines, which is only natural. Overall I have Pujols giving the Angels roughly $240 million dollars worth of value, a number that’s ridiculous and given the circumstances the Angels should be ecstatic to get that out of Albert. In Albert’s case overpaying for him isn’t as bad as overpaying for someone of much lesser talent because of how good he is and his potential, so in this case we can call his actual deal and his projected value a push.

Pujols does come with his share of injury concerns though. Even though he has the concerns he’s still managed to play more than 150 games per season except two and has played 140+ games ever since.

Pujols will be a massive improvement over Trumbo next season as well.

While traditional statistics may show that Trumbo had a good rookie campaign, if we dive deeper we realize that he’s essentially league average. His offensive production was only 5% better than league average, his WAR was pretty much league average as was his wOBA. Pujols was obviously much better, something that shouldn’t come as a surprise.

I could keep going on and posting statistics but it would be a waste of time, you all should know (I hope) that Pujols is pretty much a machine. The Angels are easily the winner of the off-seasons, oh yeah they also got C.J. Wilson. The Angels will be a force to be reckoned with next season and shouldn’t be taken lightly at all.

Off-Season: Washington Nationals.

The Washington Nationals are on the cusp of being really, really good. Their farm system is ridiculous but don’t be surprised if they open up the checkbook this off-season. Last season they finished in third place with an 80-82 record, a huge improvement from past seasons. Going into free agency their biggest needs are a center fielder and pitching. There’s two players you shouldn’t be surprised that aren’t pitchers or outfielders that they may go after. I’ll address that soon.

Pitching:

The Washington Nationals have two really good starting pitchers. Those two starting pitchers are Stephen Strasburg and Jordan Zimmermann. Strasburg is now over a year removed from Tommy John surgery. The time that he did pitch this season he was absolutely ridiculous. He had a 1.28 FIP and a 2.43 xFIP. He struck out 9 per 9 innings and only walked .75 per 9. He also already had a 1.1 WAR. All of this was only in 5 starts so it’s a small sample but I believe it’s safe to say that he’s back. Zimmermann also had a nice season, posting a 3.16 FIP and 3.78 xFIP. He doesn’t strike out as much as Strasburg, he only had 6.92 strikeouts per 9 innings but his walk rate was just as impressive. 1.73 per 9 innings.

After those two their starters aren’t the best. I don’t expect them to sign C.J. Wilson but some other players they may look at are Hiroki Kuroda, Roy Oswalt and possibly Paul Maholm. Kuroda would be the one out of this group that wouldn’t surprise me if he signed there. He’s a very solid pitcher, two seasons ago he posted a 3.43 xFIP and 4.1 WAR. This past season he only posted a 2.4 WAR and 3.56 xFIP. He saw a 5% decrease in ground balls and a 3% increase in HR/9. If he can get back to being a ground ball pitcher and cut back on the home runs he could easily be a 3-4 win a season pitcher for a few years.

Outfielders:

I don’t see the Nationals making a run at any of the free agent outfielders this year. After signing Jayson Werth to that contract and only getting 2.5 WAR out of him I’m not sure they want to hand out another deal to Beltran or Cuddyer.

Instead, I see them making a run at B.J. Upton of the Tampa Bay Rays. The past five years Upton has posted 20 WAR. In 2009 he posted his worse, only 2.4. Other then that he’s an exceptional player. He has power, speed, and ok outfielder. The Rays have been wanting to move him for a while but they haven’t found the right match yet. The Nationals have also wanted him for a while so it seems like this deal only makes sense. I’m not the best with prospects so I’m not sure what TB would exactly require but they could get themselves a nice little haul.

 

I got a WAR graph from Fangraphs comparing B.J. Upton with some of the young outfielders of day. Out of the three he has the highest WAR, still only 28 he’s only into his second year of his prime and should be productive for years to come.

The rest of their roster is pretty solid. Danny Espinosa had a very good rookie year posting a 3.5 WAR and Michael Morse had a break out season posting a 3.4 WAR. Wilson Ramos looks like he will be a solid catcher,  if Ian Desmond wants to start he’ll have to work on some things but it looks like Danny Espinosa may shift over to shortstop and Stephen Lombardozzi will get a chance at second base. There are two players they probably will have their eyes on though…

…and they are

That’s right. Don’t be surprised if Washington makes a run at one of these two. While I’d be surprised if they got one they have shown that they will spend money in order to improve the team. If they got one of these two and with Bryce Harper on the way the Nationals could be scary. Even if they don’t they will be much better heading into the 2012 season.

With that my off-season outlook on the Washington Nationals comes to end. Keep checking in periodically for more off-season write-ups.

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.