Tuesday, October 30, 2007

What they are saying about the trade

And now here is what everyone else is saying about the trade:

Billfer beat all the Tigers beat writers to this story but is still trying to figure out whether or not he likes the trade.

Ian is still a little apprehensive.

Samara remembers when Edgar was a Red Sock.

Brian hopes that the good Renteria shows up.

Matt talks about Jair Jurrjens and Gorkys Hernandez.

Talking Chop wonders whether the Braves got enough for Renteria.

Chop-N-Change thinks it is a good deal for both teams.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Runs Created by AL Shortstops and Edgar Renteria

In light of today's trade, I'll continue my runs created by position series with shortstops. The table below includes American League shortstops with 300 or my PA. I also added Edgar Renteria to the list and as you can see, he ranked ahead of all American League shortstops with 6.8 Runs Created per Game in 2007. Derek Jeter and Carlos Guillen were the real league leaders at 6.2. Now, we can't expect Renteria to create that many runs next year as his career average is 5.2 RC/G but even that is above average for a shortstop.

There is some concern about the sub-par year (4.5 RC/G) he had in the American League for the Red Sox in 2005. He also had a lot of trouble defensively that year. However, I believe his problems had to do with a quiet sensitive player playing in the frenzied Boston environment and were not because he can't handle the American League. I believe he will produce as well as or better than the Sean Casey (5.1 RC/G) who he'll effectively be replacing in the line-up.

Table 1: Runs Created by AL Shortstops (and Edgar Renteria) in 2007

Rank

Player

Team

PA

RC/G

RC

1

Renteria

ATL

543

6.8

88

2

Jeter

NYA

714

6.2

108

3

Guillen

DET

630

6.2

99

4

Tejada

BAL

569

5.3

76

5

Cabrera

LAA

701

5.2

92

6

Young

TEX

692

5.2

89

7

Peralta

CLE

647

5.2

85

8

Harris

TB

576

5.0

75

9

Bartlett

MIN

570

4.7

68

10

Betancourt

SEA

559

4.6

68

11

Scutaro

OAK

379

4.0

40

12

Lugo

BOS

630

3.5

60

13

Uribe

CHA

563

3.4

53

14

Pena

KC

536

3.1

46

15

Crosby

OAK

374

3.0

32

16

McDonald

TOR

353

3.0

30

Tigers get Renteria from Braves

Just like last year when the Tigers acquired Gary Sheffield almost immediately after finishing the World Series, Dave Dombrowski moved quickly today and acquired Edgar Renteria from the Braves in exchange for two of the organixation's best prospects - Jair Jurrjens and Gorkys Hernandez. Edgar Renteria was among the best offensive shortstops in baseball last year batting .332/.390/.470 and is a pretty good defensive player. He doesn't always hit quite as well as he did this year but his lifetime .291/.349/.407 stat line is pretty good for a middle infielder. There is no question that Renteria is a solid acquisition who should help the team a lot this year. The downside is that he is 32 year old.

Given the age of their starting line-up, I think it's important that they try to win now so I'm not shocked at this trade. They gave up a heck of a lot though. Jurrjens compiled a 3.20 ERA and 94/31 K/BB ratio for AA Erie in 2007 at the age of 21. He also looked impressive over a brief stretch for the Tigers at the end of the year. Assuming Andrew Miller is no longer technically a prospect, JJ was probably one of their 2 best prospects along with 2007 first round pick Rick Porcello.

Hernandez is an exciting 19 year old outfielder who was probably their second best positional prospect (behind Cameron Maybin). He batted .292/.344./.391 with 54 stolen bases for West Michigan in 2007. He is also reportedly an excellent center fielder.

So this was a big trade, one of the biggest prospect for veteran trades the Tigers have made in recent memory. If Renteria helps them get into the playoffs the next couple of years, it will probably be worth it. It could also come back to really bite them though. I'll say more later. We'll be talking about this one for a long time.

Red Sox are champs

Congratulations to the Red Sox on their second world championship in four years. It's sometimes difficult being a Tiger fan surrounded by Red Sox fans in Massachusetts but the Red Sox deserved it this year. They had a strong well balanced team in all phases of the game and they showed it in the playoffs. The best team won this year. With a strong core of young players including Josh Beckett, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Jon Lester, Clay Bucholz, Jon Pabelbon, Dustin Pedroia and Jacoby Ellsbury, they have a great future ahead of them as well. They also have an excellent front office led by Theo Epstein as well as plenty of money to spend. Like it or not, they are going to be a tough tough team in the American League for a long time.

Congratulations also to the Rockies. They were no match for the Red Sox in the World Series but they had an amazing run just to get there. They are not a fluke team and with a core of Matt Holliday, Troy Tulowitzki, Jeff Francis, Ubaldo Jimenez, Jeff Francis and others, we should expect to see them in contention again in the future.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Batted Ball Application

Billfer was saying this morning that he likes to look at spray charts of batted balls to see where hitters have the most success. So, he was happy to find that Dan Fox has developed an easier way to do that. Fox, who is a writer at Baseball prospectus and has his own blog, recently introduced his statistical application BIPChart that can be installed on a PC and used to look at player tendencies. This includes, what kind of balls players hit (ground ball, fly ball, pop up, line drive), where they hit the ball. (left field , center field, right field) and how successful they are in each situation.

Billfer used BIPChart to gather batted ball information on Brandon Inge, Curtis Granderson and Magglio Ordonez. I will look at some other players later. The application is very easy to install and use and it's free so might want to play around with it yourself.

Before looking at individual players, I wanted to step back and look at some general tendencies. The conclusions were pretty intuitive but it was interesting to see the extent to which they were true. For example, what kind of balls are hit most often? Not surprisingly, Table 1 shows that the most common type of batted balls are ground balls, followed by fly balls, line drives and pop ups.

Table 1: Batted Ball types for all Batters

Ground balls

44.4%

Fly balls

28.5%

Pop ups

8.0%

Line drives

19.1%


We know that line drives are good but you might be surprised just how good. The question can be answered can be answered using batting average on balls in play (BABIP) for each batted ball type. The overall BABIP is .324. The BABIP for different types of batted balls are shown in Table 2:

Table 2: BABIP by Batted Ball Type

Ground balls

.238

Fly balls

.270

Pop ups

.020

Line drives

.733



We know that right-handed batters tend to hit the ball to left field while left-handed batters hit the ball right field but how extreme is the difference between the two? The difference is largest for ground balls (Table 3) with left-handed hitters hitting 60.8% of ground balls to the right side and 24.0% to left side. Right-handed batters, on the other hand hit 64.6% to the left-side and 20.9% to the right-side.

Table 3: Direction of Ground balls


LHB

RHB

LF

24.0%

64.6%

CF

15.2%

14.5%

RF

60.8%

20.9%


The tendency is less extreme on fly balls (Table 4) and line drives (Table 5). In fact, for both left-handed and right-handed batters, fly balls are hit to center field more often than to left or right.

Table 4: Direction of Fly balls


LHB

RHB

LF

39.0%

22.2%

CF

39.7%

40.1%

RF

21.3%

37.7%


Table 5: Direction of Line drives


LHB

RHB

LF

29.6%

41.6%

CF

29.5%

29.0%

RF

40.9%

29.4%


In Table 6, we can see that pop-ups are a little different. You have probably noticed that failed attempts to drive the ball somewhere often result in weak pop ups to the opposite side. The table illustrates how often this is true.

Table 6: Direction of Pop ups


LHB

RHB

LF

66.8%

28.5%

CF

8.2%

8.9%

RF

25.0%

62.5%


Finally, how good is it to hit ground balls up the middle? Table 7 illustrates that both left-handed and right-handed batters hit over .460 on those types of hits and under .230 on grounders hit to the left or right side.

Table 7: BABIP on Ground Balls by Direction


LHB

RHB

LF

.228

.202

CF

.463

.480

RF

.177

.198


There are no shocking revelations in this post but it's always nice to validate statistically what we already know to be true. Plus, these general charts should serve as a good baseline for player results which I'll explore in the future.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Runs created by position in 2007 (Part 1)

Earlier this week, I looked at how Tiger players ranked in runs created (RC) and runs created per game (RC/G) among 133 American League players with 300 or more plate appearances (PA) in 2007. Today, I will start comparing players by position. Position comparisons are often useful because some positions demand more of players defensively and thus their offensive expectations are somewhat lower. For example, catchers are not expected to create as many runs as first basemen and, on average, they don’t. I’ll start with the catchers (Table 1).

The top run producers in the league were Jorge Posada (8.4 RC/G) and Victor Martinez (6.6 RC/G). Ivan Rodriguez finished 9th with 4.0 RC/G. This was a big decline from 5.1 RC/G in 2006. Since his defense also slipped in the past year, he's going to need to improve his offense a little in 2008.

Table 1: Runs Created by AL Catchers in 2007

Rank

Player

Team

PA

RC/G

RC

1

Posada

NYA

589

8.4

111

2

Martinez

CLE

645

6.6

104

3

Mauer

MIN

471

6.0

67

4

Varitek

BOS

518

5.2

66

5

Zaun

TOR

391

4.7

46

6

Johjima

SEA

513

4.5

62

7

Hernandez

BAL

409

4.3

46

8

Buck

KC

399

4.2

45

9

Rodriguez

DET

515

4.0

57

10

Pierzynski

CHA

509

3.7

51

11

Navarro

TB

434

3.2

39

12

Laird

TEX

448

3.1

38

13

Kendall

OAK

312

2.2

20



The league leading first baseman (Table 2 below) was old friend Carlos Pena with a very impressive 9.3 RC/G. Mark Teixeira created 7.2 runs per game before getting traded to the Braves. Another familiar face, Matt Stairs, finished 3rd with 7.0 RC/G. It was a big year for ex-Tiger first basemen.

Sean Casey was 11th in the league at 5.1 RC/G. Casey will not be back next year and will be replaced by Carlos Guillen who created 6.2 runs per game as a shortstop. That would have placed him 5th in the league among first basemen.

Table 2: Runs Created by AL First Basemen in 2007

Rank

Player

Team

PA

RC/G

RC

1

Pena

TB

612

9.3

126

2

Teixeira

TEX

335

7.2

55

3

Stairs

TOR

405

7.0

68

4

Youkilis

BOS

625

6.4

92

5

Garko

CLE

541

6.2

82

6

Kotchman

LAA

508

5.9

74

7

Morneau

MIN

668

5.7

97

8

Millar

BAL

562

5.7

77

9

Konerko

CHA

636

5.4

87

10

Johnson

OAK

495

5.2

64

11

Casey

DET

496

5.1

63

12

Wilkerson

TEX

389

5.0

50

13

Gload

KC

346

4.4

41

14

Overbay

TOR

476

4.0

50

15

Sexson

SEA

491

3.9

52



Placido Polanco topped all AL second basemen with 7.0 RC/G in 2007 (Table 3 below). He was followed by Brian Roberts (6.5) and Dustin Pedroia 6.2. This year was Polanco's highest RC/G ever and his lifetime mark is 5.1 so I would not expect a repeat performance next year. If he finishes above 6.0 RC/G in in 2008, I'll be very happy.


Table 3: Runs Created by AL Second Basemen

Rank

Player

Team

PA

RC/G

RC

1

Polanco

DET

641

7.0

105

2

Roberts

BAL

716

6.5

112

3

Pedroia

BOS

581

6.2

85

4

Cano

NYA

669

5.9

99

5

Ellis

OAK

642

5.4

88

6

Kinsler

TEX

566

5.3

75

7

Wigginton

TB

417

5.2

56

8

Kendrick

LAA

353

5.1

47

9

Grudzielanek

KC

486

5.0

62

10

Hill

TOR

657

4.9

85

11

Castillo

MIN

384

4.9

47

12

Iguchi

CHA

377

4.7

44

13

German

KC

405

4.4

46

14

Lopez

SEA

561

3.2

50

15

Barfield

CLE

444

3.0

37





Sabermetrics Book

Sabermetrics Book
One of Baseball America's top ten books of 2010

Blog Archive

Subscribe

501 Baseball Books

501 Baseball Books
Recommended by Tiger Tales

Total Pageviews