Thursday, January 31, 2008

Your Projections: Magglio Ordonez

Today, I'll continue with the community projections. This week, I'm asking you to give your projections for Magglio Ordonez. Let's see if you guys can do better than PECOTA, Bill James and ZIPS. Please put your projections for Magglio in the comments. These are the categories:

AB
BA
OBP
SLG
HR
RBI

Last week, I invited you to project Pudge Rodriguez's 2008 season. That projection is still open if you wish to participate. I'll tally up the results for both players once I get enough responses.

Giarratano, Total Zone and other links

Here is a roundup of some interesting items on the net today:

The Tigers have released once promising infield prospect Tony Giarratano. This happened after the oft injured shortstop had a setback with his surgically repaired shoulder earlier in the week. this is what Dave Dombrowski had to say about the move:
“Unfortunately, Tony has not be able to recover from his previous surgery and it does not appear feasible for him to continue his career at this time,” Tigers President, Chief Executive Officer and General Manager David Dombrowski said.
Sean Smith at The Hardball Times has come up with a new defensive statistic called Total Zone. There are already a bunch of new defensive stats which I've already covered this month so why do we need another one? Well, those stats were derived using detailed play by play data which has only been available the past few years. What do we do when we want to evaluate players from earlier eras? Smith has developed a system using retrosheet play by play data and has applied it to players going back to 1956. He provides rankings of players from 1956-1986.

I will surely have more to say about his system after I've had a chance to look at the data more carefully. For now, I'll point you to Billfer who has listed the best Tigers fielders, according to this system, from 1956-1986.

Potthole has an interview with Pedro Cotto at the Surge. Cotto is not a big time prospect but he has been a popular player among Tigers minor league fans the last couple of years.

Kevin Goldstein at Baseball Prospectus lists his top 100 prospects. It's not premium content so check it out. Rick Porcello is ranked #11. Keith Law at ESPN also has his top 100 list up. Porcello is number #22 on his list.

Mike McClary continues his series on obscure former Tigers by saying happy birthday to Dave Stegman.

SG (Replacement Level Yankee Blog) has done Diamond Mind Simulations of the 2008 season using his own CAIRO projections and has the Tigers winning 91 games (the average of many simulations) and winning the AL Central.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Base Running 2007: Stolen bases,etc

This is the fourth part of my series on base running in 2007. The table of contents for the entire series is listed below.

Taking the extra base
The ground game
On the fly
Stolen bases, etc.
Who was the best Tigers base runner?
Best base runners in baseball

In my previous posts, I presented charts showing how many times the Tigers took extra bases on hits, advanced on infield grounders, and moved up on balls caught by outfielders in 2007. Today, I'll look at how many times bases were taken on plays where the ball was not hit anywhere.

The most obvious case of a base taken on a ball not hit is a stolen base, a stat which has been tracked for a long time. Runners can also move up on wild pitches(WP), passed balls (PB) and balks (BK). It is questionable whether base runners should get credit for moving up on these events but I believe that they are caused, in part, by base runners distracting pitchers and catchers and that good base runners will cause more of them.

Runners can also make outs on pitches that are not hit anywhere. They can be caught stealing, picked off or thrown out attempting to move up on a wild pitch or passed ball. The latter two events are not common. In the previous post, I gave a weight of 3 to outs made trying to advance on hits, ground outs or air outs. Being caught stealing or picked off is a usually a little less damaging because it most often happens when a runner is attempting to get into scoring position as opposed to already being in scoring position.

Most analysts believe that The break even point for stolen base success rate is somewhere between 63% and 70%. Using the 70% figure, that means you need to get 7 stolen bases for every 3 times caught stealing in order to make a positive contribution to your team's offense. Thus, I will penalize a runner 2.3 bases for each out. For example, Curtis Granderson took 35 bases (BT=35) in 2007 (26 on stolen bases, 7 on wild pitches, 1 on a passed ball, and 1 on a balk). He was thrown out 3 times so his net bases gained (BG) was 35 - 2.3 x 3 = 28.

I also wanted to take number of opportunities into account. As a proxy for true opportunities, I used times on base (TOB) not including home runs. The statistic in the final column - BGA (or Bases Gained Average) is BG/TOB. Granderson had a .120 BGA which means he gained a base 12.0% of the time he was on base.

The table below shows that the Tigers took 194 bases compared to MLB average of 180. In 2006, they took only 146 bases. That 33% improvement can be attributed to more times on bases and probably more aggressive base running.

They were also thrown out less often (41 in 2007 versus vs. 50 in 2006). The resulting BG (100) was more than three times higher than in 2006 (31). It was also quite a bit higher than the 2007 MLB average (81). Their BGA (4,5%) was also higher than the MLB average (3.8%).

The Tigers individual BGA leaders were Curtis Granderson (.120), Gary Sheffield (.075), and Brandon Inge (.068). The BGA trailers were Craig Monroe (-.073), Carlos Guillen (-.012) and Pudge Rodriguez (.015).

Next time, I will construct an algorithm which combines all base advancement into one base running measure.

The information used here was obtained free of charge from and is copyrighted by
Retrosheet. Interested parties may contact Retrosheet at "www.retrosheet.org".

Table: Bases Gained on plays where balls were not hit

Player

TOB

SB

WP

PB

BK

BT

Outs

BG

BGA

Granderson

235

26

7

1

1

35

3

28

0.120

Sheffield

222

22

9

1

3

35

8

17

0.075

Inge

179

9

7

2

1

19

3

12

0.068

Renteria

221

11

7

1

0

19

2

14

0.065

Ordonez

280

4

9

2

1

16

1

14

0.049

Polanco

266

7

10

1

2

20

4

11

0.041

Jones

183

6

5

3

0

14

3

7

0.039

Cabrera

245

2

6

0

0

8

1

6

0.023

Casey

179

3

7

1

0

11

3

4

0.023

Rodriguez

164

2

5

0

0

7

2

2

0.015

Guillen

216

14

2

2

0

18

9

-3

-0.012

Monroe

95

0

0

0

0

0

3

-7

-0.073

Team Totals

2195

105

68

13

8

194

41

100

0.045

MLB Averages

2134

98

62

15

6

180

43

81

0.038

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Base running 2007: On the fly

This is the third part of my series on base running in 2007. The table of contents for the entire series is listed below.

Taking the extra base
The ground game
On the fly
Stolen bases, etc.
Who was the best Tigers base runner?
Best base runners in baseball

In my previous posts, I presented charts showing how many times the Tigers took extra bases on hits and advanced on infield grounders in 2007. Today, I'll examine advancement on balls hit in the air to outfielders. There are three situations which present opportunities to move up on pop ups, fly balls or line drives to outfielders other than hits or errors:
  1. runner on first base only with less than 2 outs.
  2. runner on second base (but not third) with less than 2 outs.
  3. runner on third base (other bases may be occupied) with less than 2 outs.
If the lead runner advances to the next base in any of these scenarios then he gets credit for taking an extra base. As with hits and grounders, the probability of advancement depends on where the ball is hit. In the case of balls hit in the air, batted ball type and ball park are also factors. Dan Fox at Baseball Prospectus explains this in detail. For now, I'm just going to count the number of times they moved up. I believe the best base runners will advance successfully most often throughout the course of the season.

Looking at the bottom row of the table below, we can see that the Tigers (as well as other Major League teams) almost never moved up from 1st to 2nd on balls hit in the air. The Tigers had 96 opportunities to go from 2nd to 3rd and made the advancement 24% of the time. They had 57 opportunities to go from 3rd to home and were successful 75% of the time. Overall, they had 301 opportunities to advance on outfield outs and they made the advancement 23% of the time. This success rate was a little lower than the league average of 27%.

Just as I did for base hits and grounders, I penalize a player for making an out while attempting to advance on a ball hit in the air to an outfielder. Again, I use a weight of three for outs in recalculating the percentages. The Tigers as a team were out 5 times trying for an extra base so 68 total advancements becomes 53 which is 18% of the 301 total opportunities. This is slightly lower than the league success rate of 20%.

Individually, the most successful Tigers in advancing on balls caught by outfielders were newly acquired Edgar Renteria (29%) and Carlos Guillen (27%). The trailers were Miguel Cabrera (0%) and Placido Polanco (6%).

In a future post, I'll look at stolen bases and other events not yet covered. Then, I'll combine all the base running information into one base running performance measure.

The information used here was obtained free of charge from and is copyrighted by
Retrosheet. Interested parties may contact Retrosheet at "www.retrosheet.org".

Table: Advancing on outfield flies - Tigers versus MLB average

Player

Opp 1

Adv

Opp 2

Adv

Opp 3

Adv

Opp Tot

Adv

Outs

Adj %

Renteria

9

0

12

1

7

7

28

8

0

29%

Guillen

13

0

5

2

12

9

30

11

1

27%

Jones

14

0

7

3

4

3

25

6

0

24%

Casey

12

0

5

1

4

4

21

5

0

24%

Rodriguez

11

1

10

2

2

2

23

5

0

22%

Ordonez

13

1

11

3

5

2

29

6

0

21%

Sheffield

14

0

10

2

5

4

29

6

0

21%

Monroe

3

0

2

1

0

0

5

1

0

20%

Granderson

26

0

17

6

13

11

56

17

2

20%

Inge

14

0

14

2

5

4

33

6

1

9%

Polanco

19

0

9

2

7

3

35

5

1

6%

Cabrera

10

0

10

2

1

0

21

2

2

0%

Team Totals

148

2

96

23

57

43

301

68

5

18%

MLB Averages

129

2

90

26

60

47

279

74

6

20%



Monday, January 28, 2008

Inge to join catchers in Lakeland

According to Danny Knobler, Brandon Inge has agreed to join the catchers in Lakeland when they report on February 13. General Manager Dave Dombrowski made it very clear a couple weeks ago that he would like to have Inge on the roster and that he wanted him to catch. However, there had been some doubts as to whether Inge, who earlier requested a trade, would agree to catching again. The Tigers have tried to trade him but his contract (3 years $19 million) and poor year offensively have made it difficult to get a good return. Now, it appears that he will be on the Tigers roster again in 2008.

This is good news as he can be a very valuable supersub filling in at catcher, third base and outfield. With his athleticism, it's also possible he could occasionally play other other infield positions. He would be especially valuable if Vance Wilson is not ready to return from Tommy John surgery at the beginning of the season. With this possibly being Pudge Rodriguez's last year as Tiger and with no replacement ready, it is also conceivable that Inge could become the team's starting catcher in 2009.

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

Stat Counter

Site Meter