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They should have named it willie O' Bloomquist Average

I finally published another highly anticipated article on quantifying the "Little Things" at Driveline... Features my usual Mechian efficiency in getting to the point, but if you want to understand this spreadsheet I've linked here, you should at least take a look at it... That's right, Jose Guillen really did do something. That's what he's getting 3/36 for -- not getting on base, or playing defense, or being able to hit right-handed pitching, but doing the "Little Things." Royal #2 is shocking, but maybe not so much when you think about what this stat means. I actually did the Royals calculations a while before I started writing for Driveline, and it turned into this... which ended up a lot longer and more inconclusive than I had hoped, but maybe it will go somewhere. I hope that if you find it interesting, you'll discuss the conceptual side of things over there, although I'm willing to learn here, too. If nothing else, it prominently features a classic example from the late 70s-early 80s Royals dynasty. And just for the record: +0.43 -0.03 +0.06 Figure it out.

FanPost

CHONE/BtBS/d_f Quasi-Projection for the 2009 Royals BETA

Yup, it's the moment you've all been waiting for -- me to give away the dirty little secret that was going to net me a RR t-shirt next fall. Or not.  

Two Monkeys and a Whole Lot of Money: Marcel, Rally, and the 2009 Free Agent Position Players

I was going to do a whole FanPost with cute monkey pictures and more detailed analysis, but I have a backlog of stuff to bore you with, and this isn't my blog anyway. I figure people can discuss this on its own, and at the very least it might be a handy reference tool. Unless it sucks, in which case feel free to ignore it. In short, I constructed another Google Spreadsheet to give some estimated market values of free agent position players (with a few of my non-FA favorites mixed in for fun) for the 2008-2009 off-season, just in time for Winter Meetings. These are not my projections. They take the (intentionally) most basic offensive projections available -- Tom Tango's Marcel projections (named after the monkey from the first season of Friends [ugh]) and combine it with the defensive projections done by "Chone" Smith, aka the Rally Monkey. I don't get into the in and outs of Marcels (which is intended less as a "real" projection system than as a baseline for judging others, although it does surprisingly well with established players, considering its simplicity), nor of Chone's defensive projections (which have been discussed on this blog a bit already. Keep in mind that some of this stuff can seem pretty silly (Marcel doesn't understand park effects or injuries, for example, but I still think any monkey that can regress to league average is pretty impressive), but I didn't adjust anything because then I would have to adjust everything. This sort of thing is discussed a great deal on the intertubez, so I thought I'd put a lot of it together with "custom" salary estimation for each player based on $4.84 million per win above replacement (WAR) adding in $400,000 a year replacement cost. I have also included a generic salary chart. I make no great claim to originality here. I'm just taking other people's projections and combining it with stuff I've picked up by reading smart people (Tom Tango, MGL, Dave Cameron, and on and on) -- the story of my life. To borrow one of Tango's lines about this: teams who sign players for their market value (relative to whatever projection you have for the player, of course) aren't particularly smart or particularly dumb. They're just doing what any other team would do in signing for market value. The smart teams are the ones that manage to find players they can sign for less than the market value. So discuss away! Just to reiterate: I am not saying a couple of monkeys (Marcel and Rally) should be running the Royals. Some things can't be projected by simple computer programs. The monkeys would never have been able to see Gil Meche's past two years of performance coming. Then again, Marcel and Rally would never have given Jose Guillen 3/36, so maybe Dayton Moore should bring them on as consultants...

wOBA Positional Averages 2008

At the request of a party who shall remain anonymous, I have constructed a spreadsheet to give pseudo-Fangraphs-style positional wOBA averages by position for 2008 MLB, AL, and NL. I still think the best general model for such averages is something like this (see my related FanShot here), but it is interesting to see how closely the empirical data from last year matches up. I've even included a silly wOBA-fied version of baseball-reference's OPS+. Since I'm guessing Fangraphs' version of wOBA will become the most frequently cited, I've used a formula that I think they are using -- that is, one that excludes reached base on error (this makes sense for them, since I assume they are using the baseball databank data, which doesn't include that information). They also use custom linear weights for each year, which I don't use here. However, Tom Tango (the creator of wOBA) notes that the weights since 1956 don't stray all that far from the generic formula. I think Fangraphs is great, and is quickly becoming the best source for sabermetric data on the internet -- free or pay. Personally, I prefer that ROE be included in wOBA, since I do think it at least partially reflects player skill. Stat Corner does so (and they also have park-adjusted wOBA*). I would also prefer that both sites includes stolen bases and caught stealings in the formula (I don't think they do -- but correct me if I'm wrong). But they have their reasons. I have a sheet ready with SB/CSs and also one with ROEs if people are interested. Update: Thanks to the coment below, I now realize that Fangraphs does include SB/CS in their wOBA figures, and have corrected the spreadsheet.

FanPost

Projecting the Royals' 2009 Pitching With Bill James (Seriously, It's Just a Title)

Have you seen one of these guys?   Q: How can I tell the difference betweeen 'Spreadsheet Baseball' and 'Fun with Google Spreadsheets'? A: The first is posted (usually as a "Story") by one of...

Royals 2008 Secondary Averages and Power/Speed Numbers

While trying to be a good baseball stat nerd and teach myself MySQL, I have dug back into the archives for a couple of older stats created by Bill James: power/speed number and secondary average (SecA). While both stats have been largely superseded by other stats, and both face the problem [easily fixed, I believe, although I have not done so here]) of not including times caught stealing, they are both interesting ways (especially SecA, at the time) of expressing important dimensions of player skill not always reflected in more traditional counting and rate stats. The link above is to yet another Google Spreadsheet in which I've given the 2008 results for both SecA and power/speed number for the 2008 Royals for players with more than 75 ABs. The results probably aren't surprising, but interesting nonetheless. Secondary Average is supposed to reflect in a rate stat everything a player does besides batting average. The formula is (TB-H+BB+SB)/AB. Albert Pujols had a .5076 SecA this season. The Royals' all-time best single-season secondary average is .5096, by Bob Hamelin in 1994. Power/Speed Number is a combination rate/counting stat that is supposed to get at that "something" expressed in calling a player a "20-20" or "40-40" player. The formula is (2*HR*SB)/(HR+SB). As you can see, then, if a player has no home runs or no stolen bases, that player will automatically have a 0 for a P/S number. Grady Sizemore led that majors in 2008, with a power/speed number of 35.32. Hanley Ramirez was close behind with 33.97. It's not all a young man's game, though. Carlos Beltran comes in #4 (right behind Matt Holliday) with 25.96. It will come as no surprise to most of you that Beltran has three of the top four Royals Power-Speed seasons, with 31.8 in 2003, 31.7 in 2002, and 27.1 in 2001. Bo Jackson has number 3 with 28.7 in 1989, and also has #6 with 25.96 in 1988. The under-appreciated Amos Otis is #5 with 26.1 in 1978.

A Hoagy for a Meal, with a predictable side dish, an after-dinner mint, and an Ultimate Showdown

Nothing's more fun than a link to a spreadsheet! Weeell.... On the heels of crazy posts from everywhere and every angle on the Crisp-Ramirez trade, replete with the usual overheated rhetoric, anger, objective analysis, dubious appeals to authority, and demands to pledge allegiance Sluggerrr, I decided to take a break and do some actual work. Just kidding. Actually, I went back to a "project" I started a while back and then set aside for home brewing total player value. Other people do it better, but there is a certain joy from doing something oneself. It all started when I realized that UZR had Emil Brown as a good defender in 2005 and 2006. You can read how I used what stats where in notes to linked spread sheet. I used UZR for the most part because I had access to those stats. It would be nice to use Dewans, but only the leaders/trailers are posted publicly. For some 2007 players and all 2008, I had to go elsewhere for stats. This started out as a chance for me to try "total player stuff" and see how good or bad Emil Brown really was in 2005 andn 2006. In that connection, at one point I posted yesterday or the day before that Emil Brown had been better than Jose Guillen 3 of the last 4 years (2005-2008 is the time frame of this stuff), and thought it was true based on my original calculations. It turns out he was only better 2 of the last 4, though, after I included outfield arms and prorated positional adjustments and replacement levels. Still, the comparison is quite interesting... Check out those totals. This isn't "projective" on its own and isn't meant that way, although the stats could be, of course, used as part of a projection. Keep in mind that these stats are all gathered from elsewhere and combined as objectively as I could according to principles accepted by respected analysts. OF arms aren't available from THT for 2008 yet. You can disagree with stats (like the defensive stuff), but I did the best I could with what I could find out there for free. Also included: 2005-2008 comparisons of KCs current (as of this writing!) top 4 OFs, an enjoyable "after-dinner" mint for KC fans, and, of course, an Ultimate Showdown for entertainment. I hope you enjoy this little spreadsheeted march through recent history half as much as I (absurdly) did. Update: Here's what Tango says WAR/year generally indicates as far a player quality (although it's clear some GMs don't get it: 0 replacement level/out of the majors 1 bench player 2 average player (might be closer to 2.5 for Al position players) 3 above average player 4 very good player 5 great player 6 one of the best players in the league

FanPost

Projecting the Royals' 2009 Offense with Bill James (Not Really, Though)

Fangraphs recently added the 2009 Bill James Projections to their site. Cool stuff. I hope they also add the CHONE, Miner, Zips, and Marcels projections this year as they did last year. Royals...

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