Posts Tagged ‘MLB’

If you haven’t already heard the Toronto Blue Jays were unable to sign their top pick from the 2011 MLB Amateur draft Tyler Beede. The right handed starting pitcher will honour his committment and attend Vanderbilt in the fall. Alex Anthopoulos discussed that and other issues in the video below, I could listen to him all night, what a great baseball mind.

The past decade has seen some amazing baseball, some amazing performances and some amazing advances in the way we view and analyze the statistics that make the game so great.  I thought I would have some fun and do some top ten “WAR” (Wins Above Replacement) lists for hitters, pitchers and fielders.

I am pretty sure a lot of the following names won’t create many surprises but some might stick out a bit when you go ten deep.  Let’s start with the hitters, the most valuable players on most rosters as they have the ability to play and produce value to the club day in and day out if they can manage to stay reasonably healthy.

Top Ten Position Players from 2001 to 2010

*I included Fld (fielding runs) to see how much value a player derives from their defense and positional adjustment/value.

Albert Pujols 80.6 .331 .426 .624 .434 408 1230 62.4
Alex Rodriguez 70.7 .299 .394 .577 .413 424 1236 -1.4
Lance Berkman 53.4 .297 .412 .547 .405 302 1017 4.4
Ichiro Suzuki 50.7 .331 .376 .430 .354 90 383 SB 126.1
Chipper Jones 50.7 .308 .412 .536 .402 247 856 -23.1
Scott Rolen 50.1 .284 .367 .492 .368 195 826 117.1
Carlos Beltran 49.0 .283 .366 .509 .379 251 903 37.4
Derek Jeter 46.2 .310 .380 .445 .366 156 721 -59.4
Todd Helton 45.6 .321 .428 .539 .410 226 871 27.7
Chase Utley 44.3 .293 .380 .514 .388 177 650 84.3


Any surprises for you when you look at this group?  For me I am surprised to see Lance Berkman check in at number three and as you can see he has derived nearly all of his value with the bat, ditto A’Rod.  Ichiro Suzuki is on the other end of the spectrum, gaining value with speed and defense as well as a high batting average.  Scott Rolen is another guy who gets a lot of value from his stellar defense but his overall body of work is pretty impressive and an underrated guy over the past decade.

Derek Jeter got no help from his well documented poor fielding skills and though he is oft-injured Carlos Beltran has produced great value over the past ten seasons.  Todd Helton might have seen a lift from his home park of Coors Field but his overall body of work is also impressive and the most valuable second basemen over the past decade Chase Utley rounds out the top ten.

Top Ten Pitchers from 2001 to 2010

Roy Halladay 60.5 2066.1 156-72 3.05 3.18 6.9 1.6 0.7
CC Sabathia 49.6 2127.0 157-88 3.57 3.58 7.5 2.8 0.8
Roy Oswalt 47.6 2015.0 150-83 3.18 3.34 7.4 2.1 0.8
Randy Johnson 46.1 1636.2 124-71 3.44 3.22 10.0 2.2 1.0
Johan Santana 46.0 1822.2 131-66 2.94 3.31 8.9 2.3 0.9
Javier Vazquez 43.8 2102.2 127-117 4.07 3.81 8.2 2.3 1.2
Mark Buehrle 41.8 2220.0 144-109 3.84 4.15 5.0 2.0 1.0
Andy Pettitte 41.7 1806.1 140-83 3.80 3.57 7.0 2.5 0.8
Curt Schilling 40.9 1359.0 106-51 3.50 3.15 9.1 1.4 1.1
Mike Mussina 38.1 1553.0 123-72 3.88 3.50 7.4 1.8 0.9


Roy Halladay is a stud, plain and simple.  You already know my absolute love for “Doc” if you have read any of my past work, twitter posts or baseball rants but just look at his utter and sheer brilliance over the past decade.  Halladay easily outpaces CC Sabathia in overall WAR and has less innings pitched- that is incredible.  Roy Halladay would also rank as the third most valuable player (WAR) in ALL of baseball, including everyday players.

It was pretty amazing to see Randy Johnson’s name so high on this list given his age and lack of overall IPs but it does show just how dominant ‘The Big Unit’ was over his career, even in the latter stages.  Curt Schilling also finds himself in the top ten and he easily has the lowest total IPs on the list but just look at his K/9, BB/9 and FIP – the dude was a stud, bloody sock and all.

Top Ten Fielders from 2001-2010

*total UZR

Adrian Beltre 3B 125.0 1647 523 15.3 .728
Andruw Jones CF 119.1 1643 430 19.1 .852
Carl Crawford LF 116.2 1949 409 15.0 .783
Scott Rolen 3B 107.1 1486 402 14.7 .746
Ichiro Suzuki RF 98.7 1820 361 13.0 .793
Chase Utley 2B 80.1 1886 297 13.7 .843
Albert Pujols 1B 63.3 1267 446 7.5 .804
Joe Crede 3B 59.3 1174 326 10.8 .732
Ryan Zimmerman 3B 57.1 968 335 13.1 .718
Alfonso Soriano LF 56.2 951 212 13.6 .878


 Adrian Beltre is the Roy Halladay of fielding, he is consistent as they come and continues to be an above average fielder with the Texas Rangers.  Andruw Jones was a marvel in centre field for the Atlanta Braves for many years and his awesome work there still allows Jones to rank so highly even though his defensive skills were seriously eroding late in the decade (and he was playing left field).

If I would’ve used the Fielding Runs in the WAR calculation to see who got the most value from their glove not much would have changed in the rankings.  The top three would’ve been Andruw Jones, Ichiro Suzuki and Adrian Beltre.  Nice to see Albert Pujols on this list as it shows just how valuable a player he really is and why he will likely sign the biggest contract of all time in the coming offseason.

There you have it a small snapshot of the past decade in MLB baseball and some of the names that led the way in the batter’s box, pitcher’s mound and in the field. 

Can’t wait to do this again in 2021, any guesses as to who will be amongst the leaders in the three categories?  Given the way he has presumably turned his career around a full 180 degrees, maybe Jose Bautista?

While perusing the stats for the hitters on my DMB (Diamond Mind Baseball) keeper league roster I suffered what must have been a mild hallucination or some strange dream.   With a roster that features prominent sluggers like Justin Upton, Matt Holliday, Jorge Posada, Hanley Ramirez, Evan Longoria and Andre Ethier, I must have been in a daze when I sorted by wOBA and saw a strange four letter word at the top.

It read Huff, as in Aubrey Huff, who was apparently leading the way on this once proud roster filled with superstars at almost every position.  I panicked and quickly closed by internet browser, headed upstairs and tried to drift asleep, to no avail.  To confirm I had not gone crazy, I wandered back downstairs and fired up the computer and sorted my roster by wOBA and again – Huff, Aubrey (.408 wOBA).

Aubrey Huff was quietly signed in the off-season by the San Francisco Giants and was expected to compete for at-bats at first base and occasionally play the outfield.  He was coming off a pretty terrible season split between Baltimore and Detroit in which he slugged a career low .384 (ISO .144) and suffered the worst statistical season of his career (.297 wOBA).

Fast forward to 2010 and Huff has clearly been rejuvenated and it appears the Giants low key investment has paid pretty big dividends thus far.  In 96 games Huff has mashed NL pitching to the tune of 309/397/549 with 20 2Bs, 19 HRs 49 BBs and 45 Ks in 406 PAs – good for a .408 wOBA.  He has even chipped in 5 SBs (0 CS) and played multiple positions for the Giants (1.9 UZR at 1B, 4.4 UZR at LF).

In the “year of the pitcher” Huff has been a revelation at the plate, sporting a career high 12.1% BB rate and a strong 13.0% K rate while also knocking the cover off the ball for most of the season (.240 ISO).  Equally impressive is how he has handled hitting versus southpaws this year (314/390/539 – .402 wOBA). 

Take out a relatively rocky April (247/344/403 – .336 wOBA) and his line improves to (316 PAs 327/411/591 – 39 BBs, 33 Ks).

Huff will surely see a bit of regression for the rest of the season (ZIPS projects 284/354/483 the rest of the way) as Huff has been slightly aided by a 16.5% HR/FB ratio (career 13.9%) and has a bit of an oddity in his plate discipline statistics where his O-Contact% has spiked from 61.6% in 2009 to 75.2% in 2010 (60.6% career) probably partially helping to explain his slight drop in K% (2010 13.0%, career 14.4%).

Even with the expected slowdown Aubrey Huff has put together quite an impressive season.  Luckily enough I decided to give “Brennan” Huff one more season to prove himself, at the expense of letting Bill Hall go (we have deep rosters), now that would have been a tough decision to live with.  It’s a tight race between Huff and Brett Gardner for my surprise player of the 2010 season, and a race I never thought I would see.

BallHype: hype it up!

New Jays SS Yunel Escobar

My first reaction upon viewing the trade consummated by the Toronto Blue Jays and the Atlanta Braves was the Jays came out way ahead in the deal.  In fact, I couldn’t believe Yunel Escobar was dealt in the first place, and to the Blue Jays to boot.  After letting it settle and looking into the secondary pieces involved going both ways, my opinion was slightly more tempered as while it appears the Jays did well on paper as always “time will tell” if this trade makes much of a difference in the long run.

First off, when AA (Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos) stated Yunel was in the discussion for one of the top young SS in the game, he was not exaggerating as Escobar is legit, and has the numbers to back it up.  Although he is mired in his worst statistical season ever, if Escobar reaches his full potential this trade will look completely brilliant for the Jays.  Even if he just returns to his 2009 season level and stats, the Jays have a solid keeper at SS for a few years.

In 141 games last season the 28 year old shortstop racked up an impressive 4.3 WAR, 357 wOBA and had a solid defensive 1.6 UZR rating.  His triple slash line of 299/377/436 was nothing to sneeze at and it was coupled with 158 hits, 26 doubles and 14 homeruns.  Plate discipline is something of a foreign concept to most Blue Jays hitters but Escobar has shown signs of an improving eye in 2009 he only struck out at an 11.9% clip, and swung at pitches outside of the zone only 21% of the time. 

More encouraging is that as lousy as Escobar has been in 2010 for the Braves (and the only reason a player of his calibre was even available) is that his season appears to be an outlier in my opinion.  His BB% has risen from 9.4% to 12.3%, his K% has stayed the same, he has more BBs (37) than K’s (31), his BABIP isn’t terribly low, but at .270 is 46 points below his career average.  His batted ball profile looks nearly identical from year to year as he is hitting the same amount of groundballs (50%), line drives (18.4%) and fly balls (30.7%) but the big issue is the fly balls he is hitting are not leaving the ball park.

In 2009, 10.1% of Escobar’s fly balls went from homeruns, in 2010 a big fat ZERO – yes, you read that right.  Escobar has been better in the field by most defensive metrics in 2010 and is essentially the same hitter he has always been, but predicative factors have rendered him a tad on the unlucky side.  This is a classic case of buying a decent commodity at its lowest value all while selling Alex Gonzalez at his highest on his career year backed by marginal peripherals at best. 

The Jays had to move an interesting reliever in Tim Collins, and everybody is impressed with the 70+ strikeouts in 40+ IPs but unless goes on to have a Trevor Hoffman or Mariano Rivera type career his value is severely limited being merely a relief pitcher.  I agree he certainly would have been a fan favourite due to his limited stature and quirky delivery, but you can’t fault AA for pulling the trigger on this deal, the Jays gain six years on their starting shortstop and gain three years of team control through arbitration so they get a cost controlled dry run to determine if he is worth keeping.