Thursday, July 24, 2014

Trade targets.

The Reds need a guy who gets on base. They have actually done a good job during this losing streak of cashing in the runners that DO get on base. Out of 47 runners, 12 have came around to score. That's acceptable. The problem is, only 47 runners in 6 games. That's less than 8 runners per game. You aren't going to score like that. So, I'm targeting guys with a high OBP first, everything else later.

Casey McGehee:

McGehee has a career .326 OBP. He started his career strong, slumped, then went to Japan for 2 years and came back as an on base machine. He's currently at .383. Not much power, but he can play first, second, and third, so would be a pretty good pickup due to being able to move around with all the injuries they have right now. The Marlins would probably be willing to flip him for a small level prospect. He's making 1.1 MIL this year but will probably go up a bit this offseason because it would be his third year of arbitration. The fact that he made the All Star team might discourage the Marlins to go to arbitration with him. (or sign him before that)

Dexter Fowler:

Can't field that well, but he wouldn't play CF for the Reds. Stick him in left and let him hit. He'd be under team control until after 2015 so this would be a move that would help in future years potentially. He might cost more than McGehee, but I'd be willing to move any prospects not named Stephenson or Winker for a guy that would help in 2015 as well, since that's probably when this current team's window closes for a bit, seeing as how all the pitchers are free agents after that and we ain't gonna be able to keep them all. I would totally take a guy with a .366 OBP.  A guy like that can play in my lineup any day. It's weird that you haven't heard his name in any rumors yet, because most people assumed the Astros acquired him just to flip him for more prospects as they rebuild. He's not going to be there when they get good again, so why not? He's been on the DL with an intercostal strain, but I'm assuming he would be back by the deadline.

Josh Willingham:

My least favorite of these guys...and probably the one most likely to be acquired, but he'd help. He can get on base, the batting average sucks, but he's got some pop. Not going to help defensively, but he's played some first base earlier in his career and could slide to left when Votto comes back. 35 years old, and a free agent after the season. Strictly a 2014 only rental.

Marlon Byrd:

I don't think this is likely, because Ruben Amaro is apparently thinks that trading veteran players for younger guys when your team is out of the race is something that you shouldn't do, even though it's worked for decades if done competently. He's not a great on base guy but he has good power, so I don't think it's that good of a fit anyway. Only problem is that he's owed 8 MIL for 2015, which isn't a big deal, but there's a vesting option that kicks in for 2016 for the same price if he 600 plate appearances in 2015 or a combined 1100 plate appearances in 2014 and 2015.

Monday, July 14, 2014

2014 Midseason PECOTA report....part 2...the pitchers.

If you've come this far, you know what I'm doing here, so enough with the explanations, let's get down with it.

Will be comparing ERA/FRA/K per 9 innings/and BB per 9 innings, with other things cherry picked if I find them interesting or valid.

Starting with:

Johnny Cueto:

Projection: 3.42/3.71/7.3/2.3
Currently:  2.03/3.53/8.8/2.2

Beating the projection in every category! He's been great. Now let's keep him healthy for the stretch. That strikeout rate is also a career high. I expect the ERA to creep up a bit, and probably wind up with a 2.60 or so by the end of the year....and that's quite ok. He's never been a big strikeout guy but that 8.8 k/9 is 15th among all pitchers with at least 100 innings pitched. A .220 BABIP is a little eye opening, but that's why I expect the ERA to tick up a bit, because I doubt he'll carry a .220 BABIP straight through.

Homer Bailey:

Projection: 3.62/3.94/7.9/2.4
Currently:  4.21/4.43/8.0/2.9

That ERA has been trending down for a while, and I think it'll wind up in the high 3s. That K rate is right on and the walk rate is close, half a walk per 9 isn't THAT much. He's gotten hurt by a .312 BABIP in a year where the league average is .299. Just dropping that down to average would help trememdously. He's typically around .290 in most seasons, so there's your discrepancy, when it seems like he should have better numbers than he does.

Mike Leake:

Projection: 4.16/4.52/6.3/2.0
Currently:  3.54/4.48/6.9/1.9

They nailed the FRA and the Walk rate. That strikeout rate is very surprising, and a career high, and by quite a bit. That is leading to his best season to date. I think this is pretty much his ceiling. I just don't think he has ACE stuff. He's a good midrotation guy and that's all, and that's ok. Gotta have those guys.

Alfredo Simon: (note...preseason PECOTA projected him as a reliever, because, shit, that's what he was supposed to be)

Projection: 4.22/4.59/7.3/2.9
Currently:  2.70/4.59/5.8/2.2

As I've written about before..I just don't think you can be a successful starter long term in today's game without striking out at least 6 batters per 9 innings. 5.8 is right there at the tipping point. I still feel like I'm waiting for the house of cards to collapse every time Simon pitches, but credit where it's due...he's pitched his nuts off so far.

Mat Latos:

Projection: 3.16/3.44/8.3/2.3
Currently:  2.79/4.90/5.4/1.6

Don't really know if you can draw anything from this...since it's only 39 innings of work. That strikeout rate is alarming..but coming back into form after an injury can take some time. He's not walking many, so that's mitigated some of the damage of a dangerously low K rate.

Tony Cingrani:

Projection:  3.81/4.14/9.7/3.3
Currently:    4.55/5.45/8.7/5.0

Very disappointing, and now injured at Louisville. I think his future may be in the bullpen. That secondary stuff just isn't coming along, and without it, teams figured out that he only had a fastball, and yes, it's hard to pick it up out of his hand, but if you see it enough they could hit it. And they did. Hard.

I'm only going to hit some of the bullpen guys and sum up the ones I miss at the end.

Aroldis Chapman:

Projection: 2.31/2.51/13.6/4.0
Currently:  2.20/2.50/18.0/3.1

18 strikeouts per 9! Fuck that..that's video game numbers.

Jonathan Broxton:

Projection: 3.17/3.45/10.1/3.1
Currently:  1.12/3.55/6.3/3.0

That's usually not enough strikeouts for a reliever. His ERA should probably be up there in the high 2s or low 3s based on his performance, because a .163 BABIP is oh so unsustainable.

Sam LeCure:

Projection: 3.49/3.79/8.4/3.1
Currently:  3.48/3.75/8.0/3.7

Other than a tick more walks, he is who we thought he was.

Logan Ondrusek

Projection:  3.72/4.05/7.1/3.2
Currently:    4.31/4.53/8.3/3.7

More strikeouts than before. (or projected, but also more walks too) He's very frustrating, because sometimes he looks like a world beater and times he looks like he should be throwing batting practice.

Manny Parra: (Lance Schenkel's favorite pitcher, lol)

Projection:  3.91/4.25/8.8/3.9
Currently:   3.96/4.88/9.7/4.3

I don't have much else to say. He was bad in Milwaukee, good last year, and mediocre now, which is what you would have expected.

JJ Hoover:

Projection:  3.73/4.05/8.8/3.5
Currently:   4.95/4.87/10.6/4.7

Still walking too many guys. The strikeout rate is nice, but the walk rate will need to come down if Hoover is going to keep his spot long term.

Sean Marshall, Jumbo Diaz, Nick Christiani, Curtis Partch, Carlos Contreras, and Trevor Bell have either been too injured or not been in the majors long enough to really analyse anything. I really like Contreras and Diaz's stuff though. There's something there, although I think the club might want Contreras to continue starting in the minors for his development.

Friday, July 4, 2014

The 2014 mid season batting PECOTA report and some other stupid Reds rambling.

I know. I know. It's not really mid season, because the Reds have played 84 games, so I'm three games late. Bite me. :)

For an explanation of PECOTA and some of the other terminology talked about in this post, please refer to last year's similar posts if you need some education. I haven't made that many posts because I'm a lazy sow, so they shouldn't be that hard to find. I will be referencing Baseball Prospectus' "True Average," or TAv, at times, and you can find the explanation for that RIGHT HERE. TAv is on the batting average scale, which means that, just like the batting average you grew up seeing, .300 is good, .260 is average or so, and .200 is bad. I find that it's a good stat to introduce to "newbies" of sabermetrics because it doesn't require a lot of thought like some other advanced stats. Everybody knows what a .300 hitter or .250 hitter is.

Here goes.

Starting with the catchers...damn, Devin Mesoraco has been frigging awesome so far, hasn't he?

Was projected for:

.242/.305/.394 with 14 HR and a .253 TAv. He's blowing that away. He currently sits:
.314/.380/.645 with 14 HR and a .388 TAv. Holy shit. He's already at his preseason projection for home runs, and let's not forget he was hurt early, twice. He only has 192 plate appearances. (For reference, Frazier leads the team in plate appearances with 354.) Basically, over a full season pace he'd be on pace to hit over 40 bombs, and nobody thought he was capable of that. I don't expect him to repeat this in the second half, and he doesn't have to to still be really good. Among players with at least 100 plate appearances, a .388 TAv leads all of baseball. For comparison, Giancarlo Stanton is at .364 and Mike Trout is at .362 in second and third. So, yeah, I don't think Devin is a better hitter than those two guys, but I'm excited about his future.

Branyan Pena has been pretty much what he's been his whole career, which is a serviceable backup. He's a nice player to have around, but he is what he is.

On to the much maligned Mr. Votto. We know the guy's not healthy. We can see it.  That quad is bothering him, and credit goes to him for managing to be fairly decent. But he's not having a typical awesome sauce Joey Votto year, and I don't expect him to be back to his regular self until next season after an off season of rest and rehab.

Was projected for:

.298/.412/.512 with a .331 TAv and a 5.7 WARP. Currently at:
.259/.398/.415 with a .313 TAv and 1.9 WARP, so on pace for 3.8 WARP, roughly.

That's a good season for most players, but Joey Votto isn't most players. It's a testament to just how much of a bad motherfucker that guy is that he's putting up OK numbers when he's obviously struggling with that leg.

Brandon Phillips....still good on defense. Offensively, meh. Not a huge fan of his production or his approach. Remember that post I made where I talked about how swinging more and making less contact isn't a great idea? Well, he's largely regressed back to his career norms, as I predicted might happen back in April. He still swings at too many bad pitches, but he always has. As he ages and his skill declines he won't be able to get away with that as much, and I'm not sure he's capable of completely changing his approach at the plate at his age. Old dog and new tricks and all that.  Oddly enough, looking at the pitch values on Fangraphs, he's been doing most of his damage on fastballs, and getting hurt on curves and changeups. Last year, is was the other way around. I don't really know what to make of that.

.264/.311/.404 with a .261 TAv. Currently at:
.266/.297/.394 with a .259 TAv.

That PECOTA system is pretty good sometimes, right? That's damn close, and it was last year too.

Zack Cozart. I touched on him in a previous post this season. (The 23 games post) and my opinion hasn't changed, although I will give him credit for being really really really good on defense this year. If your shortstop isn't going to hit, at least he needs to field well, and he is. Being that SS is the most important position on D, that's the one position that I don't get that upset about if a guy isn't hitting but he's contributing on D.

.254/.289/.393 with 14 HR. Currently at:
.230/.277/.305 with 2 HR.

Where'd the power go? At least before when he was offensively challenged he'd occasionally crack a homer or two, and that's no longer happening. His .214 TAv is tied for 23rd worst in all of baseball among all players with at least 100 plate appearances. His TAv projection was .246. Since his on base projection is close to his real OBP, I'd say that the lack of power is really hurting his TAv.

Todd Frazier is having a pretty damn good year. Man, with all the injuries and Votto's struggles, also injury related, where would this team be without Flava Fraz and Rocco? In the toilet, that's where. I think he should be in the All Star Game, and I hope he makes it. He won't get the fan vote, but hopefully he'll get in as a reserve because he deserves it. I never would have thought Todd Frazier would be in an All Star Game. I've always thought he was good, but not that good. So far this year I've been wrong.

.243/.311/.428 with a .270 TAv and 19 HR. Currently at:
.289/.356/.503 with a .321 TAv and 17 HR. (only two more to meet his full season projection!)

Yeah, so PECOTA missed on this one, and I think everyone else did too. If you had asked me before the season started what Frazier's season would look like, I'd probably give you numbers pretty close to what PECOTA spit out. Hey, it's not perfect because these are human beings and a computer program (which is what PECOTA basically is) isn't always going to catch every breakout season.

Ryan Ludwick has been pretty much what you would expect. Projected for a .260 TAv and he's at .275. He's been ok. I have nothing more to add.

Oh, Billy Billy Billy.

This kid's a revelation isn't he? We all knew he could run, but the bat's been a major surprise (and honestly, I think he may be a little bit over his head right now. I thought he would hit fairly well eventually, but not this soon. I guess I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop. Let's hope it doesn't.) Even if the bat does slump, his ELITE defense (and I'm not exaggerating, Fangraphs has his defensive metrics as the best centerfielder in the game, and I know that small samples of defensive data is often unreliable, but it passes the eye test too) means he will always be contributing value no matter what.

.244/.296/.332 with 71 steals and 15 caught stealing. .235 TAv. Currently at:
.279/.309/.400 with 35 steals and 12 caught stealing. .266 TAv.

Need to not get caught stealing as much. But, with that defensive value and baserunning, if he could bump that TAv up a tick, to say, .280-.285ish, and improve his SB rate, then we are looking at a potential All Star caliber MVP candidate type of a guy. I'm pretty excited to see how his career turns out. If the bat plays he's a superstar, if not he's Willy Taveras. Could go either way but I'm leaning towards "he's not Taveras." Thankfully. That guy blew a dick. (.210 TAv with the Reds in 2009. Yech. Good riddance. Although apparently Willy is still playing in the Mexican League, and doing pretty well for himself, on a team with former Royal Angel Berroa. Good for him.)

Jay Bruce has had a hard year to analyze. That damn injury bug again. He wasn't playing well before the knee surgery, but it was reported that his knee had been a little wonky for some time, so who knows how that effected his performance early on. He had a really good June at .300/.351/.540 so it seems like he's back on track, but his full line isn't going to look that great right now because of the bad start/injury.

.250/.325/.468 with a .283 TAv and 29 HR. Currently at:
.234/.321/.402 with a .269 TAv and 7 HR. (only on pace for 14, roughly. I expect him to wind up hitting 20-22 by the end of the year. For the record, I'm using the preseason PECOTA projections, but they revise those projections during the season as well, as guys miss time and guys under or over perform, sometimes those factors go into it, and they are projecting Bruce for 13 HR between now and the end of the season, which would put him at exactly 20, and I promise I just looked that up right when I said 20-22, not before, so me and the computer agree almost exactly here. Spooky.)

That's all for position players. I will do another post in the coming days where I will talk about the pitching side of things.