Thursday, October 25, 2012

I wanted to repost my favorite quote about 1986 in honor of today's anniversary:



"I'll always be grateful for the dream season of 1986. In a corner of my mind I will stand forever with my bat cocked, waiting for the two-one pitch from Calvin Schiraldi." - Gary Carter

Today is the 26th anniversary of the greatest day in Mets history so I decided to take a quick look at the roster for that team and where they stacked up using WAR. WAR was neither invented nor calculated in the 1980's so you not be familiar with these rankings for this team. The 1980's were like the statistical wild west, pitchers wins still reigned supreme and Keith Hernandez once lead the league in gwRBI.

Name
WAR
Keith Hernandez
5.9
Lenny Dykstra
4.6
Gary Carter
3.9
Darryl Strawberry
3.5
Wally Backman
3.2
Mookie Wilson
3
Kevin Mitchell
2.8
Ray Knight
2.8
Howard Johnson
1.4


Look at this, they have eight guys with a WAR over two (almost at three). The level of consistency here is just fantastic, having your seven and eight hitters be three WAR guys is such a huge benefit that very few current teams have had. For some comparison the 2012 Mets had one player with a WAR that would have fit in here (Wright at 7.8) with the next closer player being Ruben Tejada with a 2.1. Scott Hairston, a bench player, had a WAR of exactly two while every other player came in under that mark. The 1986 Mets were an offensive powerhouse from lead off through the eighth spot. Let's take a quick look at the pitchers:

Name
WAR
Dwight Gooden
4.8
Bob Ojeda
4.2
Sid Fernandez
4
Ron Darling
3.4
Rick Aguilera
1.6


Again the name of the game here is consistent goodness. 4.8 is not going to lead the league in WAR for pitchers but it is very good, the more important thing is that the next three guys are also excellent pitchers. These were consistent guy capable of going out every night and pitching effective, quality starts.

This was just a magical team. Mets fans may deal with a lot of pain and heartbreak but through it all there is always 1986, a moment of true greatness which no number of disappointing seasons can take away. There is always this:

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


Recently Metsblog had a poll regarding how the Mets should handle Dickey's contract extension with 53.4% of respondents voting the Mets should trade him away for two top prospects. MY only question is...WHY? WHY WOULD PEOPLE POSSIBLY ADVOCATE THIS? Dickey has been one of the very few bright spots in the Mets system over the last two years and now we are talking about getting rid of him. Let's take a quick look at Dickey's numbers with the Mets:

Year
ERA
xFIP
k/9
bb/9
fWAR
2010
2.84
3.75
5.37
2.17
2.8
2011
3.28
3.95
5.78
2.33
2.5
2012
2.73
3.27
8.86
2.08
4.6


This dude is the picture of consistency. People keep talking about his age and about how hard he throws the knuckleball and frankly this is complete nonsense. Knuckleballers routinely pitch into their 40's and as for the speed at which he throws it, we don't know how that will play out, no one has ever done it before, he is literally breaking new ground. Which is why it is crazy to start making assumptions about how it will turn out. Here is what we know, these are facts:

Dickey has been a top 25 pitcher for three years.
He was the best pitcher in the NL this year.
As a Met and as a knuckler he has never pitched badly.
He can be resigned for cheap.

Reports indicate he can be had for three years and 40 millions bucks. In the history of baseball has a Cy Young winner (you know he's gonna win) going into free agency been got for comparatively less? This is a no-brainer. Give the guy a chance, it is entirely possible his best years are ahead of him. Every year the knuckleball gets better, who knows how R.A. can make it dance in 2013, hopefully the Mets make him a deal so we can find out.

Friday, October 19, 2012

The Jays' Ricky Romero walks almost as many batters as he strikes out per game.

Readers of my game previews will often hear me talk about the difference between a pitchers k/9 and his bb/9. Obviously pitchers with large differences are striking out a lot of guys and walking few or at the very least doing at least one exceedingly well. I decided to take a look at the list of qualifying starting pitchers and see who's differences were the greatest and the closest. We can call this a pitchers Precision Index, a measurement of how precise a pitcher is with his pitches.

Below is a list of the top five worst pitchers using k/9-bb/9 differential:

Name
Team
K/9
BB/9
PI
Ricky Romero
Blue Jays
6.17
5.22
0.95
Henderson Alvarez
Blue Jays
3.8
2.59
1.21
Barry Zito
Giants
5.57
3.42
2.15
Kevin Correia
Pirates
4.68
2.42
2.26
Aaron Harang
Dodgers
6.56
4.26
2.3

The winner for least precise pitcher in baseball goes to the Blue Jays Ricky Romero with a difference of less than 1 between his k/9 and bb/9, Ricky is dangerously close to offering up as many strike outs per game as he does walks. Henderson Alvarez comes in second who doesn't actually have a terrible bb/9 but strikes out basically no one. A quick way to check our work would be to see how the low PI pitchers match up with a list of players by WAR for the season. Players on the bottom of the Precision Index list should also be at the bottom of the WAR list.

Romero
0.5
tied for 4th worst
Alvarez
0.5
tied for 4th worst
Zito
0.8
6th worst
Correia
0.9
7th worst
Harang
1.5
tied for 15th worst

Four of the five are in the bottom ten in baseball with Harang still solidly in the bottom 20. Now let's look at the players with the greatest differentials.

Name
Team
K/9
BB/9
PI
Max Scherzer
Tigers
11.08
2.88
8.2
Cliff Lee
Phillies
8.83
1.19
7.64
CC Sabathia
Yankees
8.87
1.98
6.89
Cole Hamels
Phillies
9.03
2.17
6.86
R.A. Dickey
Mets
8.86
2.08
6.78

No shockers here. In addition to demolishing the Yankees in the playoffs Max Scherzer also leads the league in strike out to walk differential. Scherzer's power is derived from his incredible leauge leading strike out ability paired with an average low walk number. Cliff Lee had very few wins but comes in second on this list and most exciting of all is that our list contains Mister R.A. Dickey, is their any list of top stat leaders that doesn't contain this man? I think not. Let's check our work again.

Scherzer
4.6
tied for 12th
Lee
4.9
tied for 8th
Sabathia
4.8
tied for 11th
Hamels
4.5
tied for 13th
Dickey
4.6
tied for 12th

This list doesn't hew as closely to the other but still has all the top PI pitchers as top 20 WAR guys. Obviously we aren't breaking new ground here, we always knew that players with a lot of strike outs and few walks were good but I do think Precision Index represents a fun and simple way to get that information.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


At about 10 o'clock on October 3rd I let out a sigh of relief, fantasy baseball was finally over. In my professional life I work on political campaigns and I can generally say that fantasy baseball stresses me out more than running for office does. I was in four leagues this year, I won two, (including which has come to mean the most) came in third in another and 15th in the fourth. The team that came in third was in my opinion the finest drafted team I have ever made but sadly they couldn't get it done in the playoffs.

Earlier in the year how Yahoo fantasy baseball, which I use for all my leagues, ranks the Mets. The table below shows the Mets and what their ranks were: O-Rank represents yahoo's projection for the player factoring in past performance while Rank shows how they finished up 2012. (Note:Rank is separate for hitters and pitchers, so Wright is not the 27th best player but the 27th best position player)


Pitchers

Name
O-Rank
Rank
Dickey
265
5
Niese
269
105
Santana
230
531
Gee
471
347
Harvey
417
272
Francisco
189
448
Rauch
419
291
Parnell
384
222

Hitters

Name
O-Rank
Rank
Thole
1124
1144
Davis
115
187
Murphy
282
231
Tejada
318
813
Wright
31
27
Bay
211
1110
Duda
162
718
Torres
961
920

The thing that makes me happiest here is Dickey's final rank of fifth. I have been saying since last year that Dickey is a top 25 pitcher and it bothered me that his pre season rank was in the 200's. But look at him now, sweet, sweet vindication. Overall 9 Mets improved their rankings on the year. Wright didn't move up very far since he was ranked higher than he should have to begin with. The biggest jump was predictably Jason Bay who dropped 899 spots. Frankly Bay should never have been ranked 211 in the first place but he definitely deserves the drop.

I can't quite figure why Tejada had such a drop since he actually had a great year and certainly a better year than he was expected to have. I was also pleased to see Niese almost crack the top 100, the only bad thing about the Dickey dominance is that no one really paid attention to a brilliant year by Niese. The overall theme of this list is that most everyone who had a reasonable ranking in the first place generally ended with one. You see the biggest jumps with guys like Frank Frank and Santana who were ranked too high to begin with. The worst part of all this? Dickey won't be the same awesome value he has been the last two years. I drafted Dickey last two years ago and in the later rounds in every league this year. Next year he will easily be a top 20 guy.