Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Homer Bailey

(image by wikipedia)


The Reds' pitching was generally mediocre last year, but they were greatly improved at the end of the season. 

Team ERA
April: 11-10, 4.11 ERA
May: 15-13, 4.08
June: 11-15, 4.02
July: 8-19, 5.58
August: 13-16, 4.13
September: 18-9, 3.04

They finished the season 15-5 in their final 20 games.  One of the biggest reasons for the turnaround was that Homer Bailey emerged after a terrible start to the season.  Bailey had struggled ever since he was first brought up in 2007 at age 21. 

Homer Bailey
2007: 4-2, 5.76
2008: 0-6, 7.93
2009 2-4, 7.53 (pre-August 20th)
6-1, 1.71 ERA (post-August 20th)

2007-August 20th, 2009: 6-12, 7.03
August 21-end of 2009 season: 6-1, 1.71

A few years ago, Homer Bailey was considered one of the top pitching prospects in baseball, but maybe he was brought up a little too soon.  After getting a taste of the big leagues over the past few years, he might have figured it out.  Some pitchers just take a little longer, like Edwin Jackson, who was also a can't miss pitcher when he was first brought up in 2003, and he didn't have a good season until 2009. 

The Reds probably aren't ready to compete regardless of what Bailey does, but Arroyo and Bailey could be a nice 1-2 punch next year, and Edinson Volquez could return strong at some point in 2010 after Tommy John surgery too.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Oakland's Improved Offense

(Image by wikipedia)

Pre-All Star Break - Bottom 6
25 - A's: 361, .246 BA, 37-49
26 - Reds: 356
27 - Cubs: 355
28 - Mariners: 348
29 - Royals: 346
30 - Padres: 334

Post-All Star Break - Top 5
1 - LA Angels: 422 Runs
2 - NY Yankees: 420
3-  Red Sox: 407
4 - A's: 398, .280, 38-38
5 - Twins: 385

Ryan Sweeney
Pre: .271 BA, 255 AB,
Post: .319 BA, 229 AB

Rajai Davis
Pre: .257 BA, 113 AB
Post: .325 BA, 277 AB

Jason Giambi
Pre: .192 BA, 260 AB
Post: .222 BA, 9 AB

Jack Hannahan
Pre: .193, 119 AB
Post: traded to Seattle on July 11th

Orlando Cabrera
Pre: playing for Twins
Post: .381, 63 AB

Mark Ellis
Pre: .210 BA, 105 AB
Post: .279, 272 AB

Cliff Pennington
Pre: Not called up until August 1
Post: .279 BA, 208 AB

They don't have anyone who can hit home runs other than Jack Cust, and he's probably not going to hit more than 30 (he had 25 last year).  They made some nice moves after their disastrous first half, especially in getting rid of Giambi and Hannahan, and they may have seen the emergence of Rajai Davis. 

It's hard to believe that they'll be one of the very top offenses in baseball as they were in the 2nd half, considering how few home runs they hit (4th worst in 2009 with 135).  They were able to score a lot of runs in the second half without hitting many home runs and are an intriguing team to watch next year.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Mike Adams

I knew that Mike Adams had a good season, but I didn't realize it was this good:

(Since 1900):  Best WHIP (Walks + Hits per Inning), 35+ IP
Mike Adams - Padres (2009): .595 WHIP, 37 IP
Dennis Eckersley - A's (1989) .607, 57.2
Dennis Eckersley - A's (1990) .614, 73.1
Mariano Rivera - Yankees (2008) .665, 70.2
Eric Gagne - Dodgers (2003) .692, 82.1
J.J. Putz - Mariners (2007) .698, 71.2
Cla Meredith - Padres (2006) .711, 50.2
Takashi Saito - Dodgers (2007) .715, 64.1
Jake Northrop - Browns (1918) .725, 40
Pedro Martinez - Red Sox (2000) .737, 217

Mike Adams' final numbers from 2009:
0-0, 0 SV, 0.73 ERA, 3.41 H/9, 37 IP, 14 H, 8 BB

It's an amazing story.  He is 31 years old and entered 2009 with only 4 career victories (actually, he left 2009 with 4 career victories too). He went to Texas A&M University-Kingsville, was not drafted and was signed by the Brewers as an amateur free agent in 2001, then made it to the majors in 2004 and had a good season: 46 G, 3.40 ERA.  He returned in 2005 with 13 G and a 3.40 ERA, but in 2006 appeared in 2 games for the Brewers, pitched horribly (11.57 ERA) and was traded to the Mets for Gerami Gonzalez. 

He never played for the Mets, was claimed off of waivers by the Indians several months later only to be traded to the Padres a few weeks later in July 2006.  In 2007, he was released by the Padres, and did not play in the Majors or Minors in 2007.  He made it back in 2008 with the Padres and appeared in 54 games with a 2.48 ERA.  In 2009, he was extraordinary, even though he didn't pitch until June.  Not surprisingly, he made about the minimum salary in 2009.  If he stays healthy and comes even close to his 2009 performance over the next few years, he could get a nice contract someday.

This was the fantasy projection from ESPN before the 2009 season:


Pitcher Mike Adams of the San Diego PadresImage via Wikipedia

The former Brewers' closing prospect turned into a nice strikeout-per-inning middle reliever with the Padres last season with 74 K's in 65 1/3 innings and a 1.04 WHIP. Unfortunately, a repeat looks unlikely after he underwent surgery in mid-October to repair damage in his labrum and rotator cuff. He could wind up missing half of the season, negating much of his fantasy value, and limiting his chance to step into the Pads' closing role if something happens to Heath Bell. There will be may other quality relievers to take a chance on who don't have the uncertainty of Adams.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Tigers have signed Jose Valverde. Good signing?

(image from Wikipedia)

The Tigers have reportedly signed Jose Valverde for 2 years to replace Fernando Rodney as their closer.  He is approximately 31 (espn.com says he is born in 1978, while baseball-reference has him being born in 1979).  He has a career conversion rate of 86%, and it has also been 86% over the past 3 years.  As a comparison, Jonathan Papelbon's is 89% and Fernando Rodney's is 72% (although it was 97% last year).   

2007-2009
116 Saves (T-4: K-Rod, Joe Nathan, Francisco Cordero, Jonathan Papelbon)
2.84 ERA
10.26 K/9
He even received MVP votes in 2007 (14th) and 2008 (24th), after recording 47 and 44 saves.

He is going to make about $7 million per season, which is significantly less than Francisco Cordero (about $12 million), K-Rod (about $12 million), and only slightly more than Fernando Rodney got from the Angels (5.5 million per year).  As long as he's healthy, it seems like a good move.  Although Todd Jones certainly had some decent (if heart-stopping) years, Valverde could easily become the best closer the Tigers have had, well, ever.

Switch Hitters - 2009

Pablo Sandoval - Throws Right
Overall: .330 (572 AB)
LHB: .314, 19 (427)
RHB: .379, 6 (145)

Kendry Morales - Throws Right
Overall: .306, 34 HR (566 AB)
LHB: .309, 30 (431)
RHB: .296, 4 (135)

Lance Berkman - Throws Left
Overall: .274, 25 HR (460 AB)
LBH: .291, 18 (326)
RHB: .231, 7 (134)

Chipper Jones - Throws Right
Overall: .264, 17 HR (488 AB)
LHB: .252, 9 (329)
RHB: .289, 9 (159)

Brian Roberts - Throws Right
Overall: .283, 16 HR (632 AB)
LHB: .278, 15 (421)
RHB: .294, 1 (211)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Andre Dawson


Congratulations to Andre Dawson on reaching the Hall of Fame.  It took him 7 years to be elected after he became eligible, but he deserves it.  He had a rare combination of power and speed, being one of only 3 players with 400 HR and 300 SB, with the other two being Willie Mays and Barry Bonds.

Career numbers can be slightly misleading, especially for players who stuck around beyond their best years, as Dawson did.  He stuck around until 1996, and wasn't terrible in those final years, but he didn't perform well either (OPS around .750 each year).   During his best years, he put up impressive numbers (in addition to winning a Rookie of the Year in 1977, an MVP in 1987 and 2nd place MVP finishes in 1981 and 1983) that compare favorably to other Hall of Famers from the era:

Ranks - 1977-1992: Andre Dawson
Extra Base Hits 932 (1st)
Total Bases 4307 (2nd) - Murray
2484 H (3rd) - Murray, Yount
2286 G (3rd) - Murray, Yount
399 HR (3rd) - Schmidt, Murray
1418 RBI (3rd) - Murray, Winfield
440 2B (5th) - Brett, Yount, Murray, Parker
1250 R (7th) - Henderson, Yount, Murray, Winfield, Brett, Molitor

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Randy Johnson


24-28 (1988-1992): 49-48, .505 W-L%, 3.95 ERA, 9.00 SO/9, 5.71 BB/9, 7.14 H/9
29-32 (1993-1996): 55-16, .775 W-L%, 3.03 ERA, 11.41 SO/9, 3.34 BB/9, 5.71 H/9
33-36 (1997-2000): 75-31, .708 W-L%, 2.68 ERA, 12.25 SO/9, 2.85 BB/9, 6.99 H/9
37-40 (2001-2004): 67-33, .670 W-L%, 2.70 ERA, 11.61 SO/9, 2.21 BB/9, 7.04 H/9
41-43 (2005-2007): 38-22, .633 W-L%, 4.30 ERA, 8.40 SO/9, 2.22 BB/9, 8.37 H/9
44-46 (2008-2009): 19-16, .543 W-L%, 4.24 ERA, 8.33 SO/9, 2.41 BB/9, 9.03 H/9

(All-Time) # of seasons with 250+ SO and .700+ W-L%
Randy Johnson 6
Pedro Martinez 3
Sandy Koufax 3
Curt Schilling 2
Roger Clemens 2
Steve Carlton 2
Bob Gibson 2
17 pitchers - 1 (most recently in 2008 by Tim Lincecum)

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Lackluster MVPs?



Former MVPs (position players only) who finished with a batting average below .300 and slugging % below .500:


1988 Kirk Gibson (Dodgers) WS
1964 Ken Boyer (Cardinals) WS
1965 Zoilo Versalles (Twins) WS (runner-up)
1962 Maury Wills (Dodgers)
1955 Yogi Berra (Yankees) WS (runner-up)
1951 Yogi Berra (Yankees) WS
1944 Marty Marion (Cardinals) WS
1928 Mickey Cochrane (A's)
1926 Bob O'Farrell (Cardinals) WS
1926 Roger Peckinpaugh (Senators)
1914 Johnny Evers (Braves) WS

Mitigating factors


  • Maury Wills had 105 SB
  • Berra, O'Farrell and Cochrane were catchers; Marion, Peckinpaugh and Versailles were shortstops, which means that less offense was expected (especially back then)
  • Johnny Evers was in the dead ball era, and a 2nd baseman
  • Boyer was a 3rd baseman who led the league in RBI (119); nobody else in the league really put it together, although Willie Mays had a pretty good year (big surprise) with 47 HR, 111 RBI and 121 R.

In 1988, offense was pretty bad (Tony Gwynn won the NL batting crown with a .313 average), and the fact that the Dodgers went from 73 wins to 94 made a difference. In retrospect, it's a little surprising that Orel Hersheiser didn't get more votes for MVP (remember his record-breaking streak of 59 consecutive scoreless innings).

He won the Cy Young handily (sweeping the 1st place votes), but he came in 6th in MVP voting. For some reason, though, there have been far fewer MVP awards for pitchers in the NL than AL. It hasn't happened in the NL since Bob Gibson in 1988.

In the AL, pitchers won the MVP in 1971 (Vida Blue), 1981 (Rollie Fingers), 1984 (Willie Hernandez), 1986 (Roger Clemens), 1992 (Dennis Eckersley), and was really close in 1999 (I-Rod barely over Pedro).


Friday, January 1, 2010

What if the Rookie of the Year award had started in 1944?


The Rookie of the Year didn't exist until 1947 (first winner was Jackie Robinson), and was only league-wide until 1949. Interestingly, there were no actual rules on who was a rookie from 1946-1956 (all up to their discretion), but there have been rules that have evolved since then.

I'll use the current rules in evaluating them: less than 130 at-bats, 50 innings or 45 days service in their career previous to the season in question.

Maybe it had something to do with WWII or maybe it was a fluke, but the rookie hitting performances in the AL from 1944-1946 were incredibly weak. Fortunately, the rookie pitching, especially in 1945 was extraordinary.

1944
NL: Ted Wilks (Cardinals) 17-4, 2.64
AL: Sid Jakucki (Browns) 13-9, 3.55

1945
NL : Ken Burkhart (Cardinals) 18-8, 2.90
AL: Dave Ferriss (Red Sox) 21-10, 2.96

1946
NL: Del Ennis (Phillies) .313, 17 HR, 73 RBI




  • This was a tough call because it was also Ralph Kiner's rookie year, and he had 23 HR, 81 RBI and a 247 BA.
AL: Bob Lemon (Indians): 4-5, 2.49

1947 - Actual ROY (League-Wide): Jackie Robinson (Brooklyn) .297, 29 steals, 12 HR
AL: Spec Shea (Yankees): 14-5, 3.07
Actual 1947 Runner Up Larry Jansen (NY Giants) 21-5, 3.16

1948 - Actual ROY (League-Wide): Alvin Dark (Braves): .322, 3 HR
AL: Gene Beardon (Indians): 20-7, 2.43 (Actual 1948 Runner Up)
 
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