18 May 2010

2011 Draft Order - top 15

Sort of an addendum to the previous post. Click on the jump and see how PECOTA predicts the 2011 draft order.

1. Baltimore Orioles
2. Houston Astros +6.9 games
3. Kansas City Royals +8.4
4. Pittsburgh Pirates +9.7
5. Chicago White Sox +11.1
Seattle Mariners
7. Milwaukee Brwers +11.2
8. Arizona Diamondbacks +11.6
9. Cleveland Indians +12.9
10. Chicago Cubs +13.3
11. LA Angels of A +13.5
12. New York Mets +14.9
13. Toronto Blue Jays +16.8
14. Atlanta Braves +17.2
15. Washington Nationals +17.5

2010 Season Wis Update: Week 7 or something

The lines are beginning to peter out now.

Depressing to be an O's fan.

13 May 2010

AL Not Embracing Any Smallball

Another simple graph today. I thought it might be interesting to look at how the prevalence of sacrifice hits have changed over the years. Conventional wisdom seems to state that there has been a great embrace of small ball . . . well, that does not seem to correlate to the incidence of sacrifice hits.

It would be interesting see what conditions these were hit under. I poked my nose through the rather basic classifications provided at Baseball Reference and found no real difference of bunting occurring during better scenarios (i.e. man on 2nd, no outs).

12 May 2010

Comparison of the Last Three Drafts

One of the problems with drafts is that it is always difficult to recognize how one year might different from the next. How does Bryce Harper compare to Stephen Strasburg? How does this year shape up with 2008? These are important questions to ask and devising some sort of answer helps us determine value by relating it to other experiences. Today's graphic does exactly that.

Stotle and I put our heads together and compared our notes over the past three years to determine our top 30 ranking for the past three drafts. The values placed on each player are the values they held on draft day or, in the case of the 2010 class, value they currently hold. This crosses out all of the 20/20 hindsight as he have all of our notes from these past three years. Also included in the table are valuations of each year's top 5 worth.

After the jump, the table, and some commentary.

From the table, you can see that the 2008 draft class had a number of elite talents (roughly the top ten of this rankings table). Not were considered in the class of Strasburg or Harper, but there was great value. It was the kind of draft that very much benefited teams outside of the first couple picks as a team would still be getting great talent, but at a slightly lower cost.

This was not the case last year where if you were outside of the first pick and were worried about Matzek's public stance on going to Oregon, you might cut your potential losses and draft a second tier talent. 2009 was a very top heavy draft. Strasburg's perceived value exceeds anything available in either the 2008 or 2010 drafts. The closer comparison is the 2010 draft, which appears to be 2009's weaker sister. Bryce Harper is a less valuable Stephen Strasburg. Jameson Taillon is a less valuable Tyler Matzek. 2010 though is clearly behind 2009 in talent in the first round. The 2009 season had a strong crop of second tier talent. This year not so much.

Be sure to click on the image below to make it larger.

The next draft posting will put this year's draft prospects' value against the accumulated value of those selected in the 2008 and 2009 draft.

11 May 2010

2010 Season Wins Update: Week 6

And here is our weekly record update. As you can see, all three projection systems were slightly depressed from the last week. Not as badly as the Astros though who have narrowed the Orioles projected first pick lead to six games.

After the jump, the somewhat unneeded playoff odds.

PECOTA odds: 0.003%
Camden Depot odds: 0.014%

09 May 2010

Beneath the Surface: Frederick Keys Update

I think the big story here in Frederick is LJ Hoes. After being drafted in the third round of the 2008 draft, Hoes made quite a statement in the GCL with a slash of 308/416/390. As an 18yo, the lack of power was forgiven with the contact rate and walk rate taken notice. Hoes was also being introduced to second base. Keith Law mentioned Hoes as a favorite to break into his top 100 prospect list in 2009. We saw him as the 10th best prospect in the organization.

In 2009, Hoes was challenged with much adversity. The Orioles, impressed with what they saw in short season ball and spring training, decided to challenge Hoes in the South Atlantic League. At 19, he was one of the youngest players in the league. Performance-wise, it was rather horrific. The year before he earned 30 walks over 191 plate appearances. In Delmarva, he managed 23 walks in 465 plate appearances. He also showed less power. His final slash was 260/299/318. His defense was poor, but was a definite improvement from the season before. During the summer, he also had to deal with losses in his family. It was a very difficult season for him. The loss of plate discipline concerned me enough to drop him from 10th to 17th in our organizational rankings. The developmental staff was impressed though and thought he deserved to be promoted to HiA Frederick for the 2010 season.

In 2010, Hoes has basically made many of us look like we made a hasty judgment. No one had given up on him, but perhaps we too quickly downgraded him. The needed gap power has yet to arrive, but everything else came back in his performance. He currently is sitting at 301/429/398. He is getting good contact on the ball and is working the count. He is on pace to cut his error rate by more than half and his range has appeared to expand (small sample size) by about 25% (which means that his placement and footwork is better). If he continues to do this well, I know I will be arguing with Stotle about putting Hoes in our top 5 next season. I believe these traits are real and with a little more age on him, I think he will see a slight increase in his gap power. I imagine the year after next, Hoes will be in the top 100.

More thoughts after the jump.


Brandon Cooney - 63.4%GB, 9.8%LD, 9.5 k/9, 2.62 FIP
Impressive relief candidate.


Xavier Avery - LF/CF - 309/369/418, 384babip
Swing improving with more line drives, great contact, promising.
Kyle Hudson - LF/CF - 240/363/269, 316babip
Great fielder, no arm, great eye, no bat, great speed, poor baserunning. Going to be difficult for him.
Joe Mahoney - 1B - 277/333/479, 319babip
SB are gone and power appears to be back, sleeper who has a chance to break out.
Greg Miclat - SS - 314/397/392, 364babip
Some fielding troubles, offensive numbers appear unsustainable.
Billy Rowell - 3B/DH - 328/415/503, 434babip
Beginning to be noticed again, but without position and some batted ball luck.
Ronnie Welty - RF - 247/333/495, 296babip
Batting average should rise, good defense, interesting prospect.

2009 AL FIP Divided into Tiers

The following is a simple graph of last year's starting pitchers grouped by innings and then subdivided into fifths.

A crude way to interpret the above graph is to view every 0.25 in FIP as equal to about 5 runs over the course of a season. In other words, if your fifth starter throws a 4.75 FIP instead of someone with a 5.25 FIP (league average 5th tier starter), your team should win one game more.

Nothing after the jump.

05 May 2010

Welcome Back, Koji

Koji Uehara is activated and Alberto Castillo is sent to Norfolk.

Yes, my skills with altering pictures are pretty horrific.

04 May 2010

Season Wins Update: Week 5

The sweep against the Red Sox has caused all of the prediction models to respond positively. For the PECOTA model, this reduces the Orioles 2011 Draft pick lead from 11.2 to 7.3 games. Based on how the season should shake out, I think that PECOTA will probably take us out of the number one position around June 20th.

Click picture to make larger.

After the jump, playoff odds.

PECOTA now is more pessimistic than Camden Depot.

PECOTA: 0.03% chance of making playoffs.
Camden Depot: 0.08% chance of making playoffs.

Regardless, no one should be making October plans.

03 May 2010

A month in and looking at the minors . . . Delmarva

Delmarva's roster was largely short on established positional talent, but pretty thick with high upside arms. The big story, as we expected it to be, has been how 2009 1st round draft pick Matt Hobgood would fare in his first season of full season professional baseball. He has been good with a glimpse of top 50 prospect greatness. In one game, he went seven innings while allowing only two singles and a walk to go along with six strikeouts. That was superb. His other starts have been somewhat inconsistent as he does not miss enough bats (6.0 k rate) and walks too many (3.5 bb rate), but this is, of course, only after 28.2 innings.

I figure he will show better as the year progresses and will be a top 100 prospect at the end of the year, but I doubt he will break the top 50. There just is not enough projection in his frame to anticipate any increase in speed, so his value is dependent upon him refining his repertoire and missing more bats as he progresses. Now, Zach Britton was able to take the same trajectory, but it is certainly something that should not be taken as a given. There is much to be happy about though as his four seamer has been solid (reaching 95mph in his last start) and his curveball has been generating a good deal of movement at times. The stats to date are solid too as his FIP is below 4 and he is getting >50% grounders and around 15% line drives. It is still early and we will know a lot more in another month or so.

After the jump, short notes on some notable arms and bats.


Jesse Beal - 53.1%GB, 14.8%LD, 6.0 k/9, 3.73 FIP
Good line, needs to further establish himself.
Ryan Berry - 56.5%GB, 12.0%LD, 7.8 k/9, 2.99 FIP
Excellent line, probably will be promoted mid-season.
Robert Bundy - 34.6%GB, 11.5%LD, 11.2 k/9, 5.76 FIP
In relief role, promising stuff, but is getting hit hard.
Jake Cowan - 51.2%GB, 20.9%LD, 8.2 k/9, 3.19 FIP
Polished pitcher for A ball, LD rate a concern at higher levels.
Randy Henry - 50.0%GB, 13.3%LD, 16.2 k/9, 2.29 FIP
In relief role, should eventually transfer to starter. Promising.


Brian Conley - RF - 362/470/594, 471babip
Towson product excelling in Delmarva, somewhat old for league.
Stephen Bumbry - CF - 304/360/449, 488babip
Quite athletic, good contact skills, plate discipline is woefully inadequate.
Justin Dalles - C - 370/452/630, 381babip
Seasoned has been abbreviated due to concussion, shown an excellent bat. Promising.
Tyler Kolodny - 1B/3B - 267/347/605, 309babip
Kolodny's bat is too advanced for this league, but he still strikes out too much.
Michael Ohlman - C/DH - 156/263/188, 200babip
One of the youngest players in A ball. Ohlman has struggled greatly.
Garabez Rosa - SS - 333/354/533, 387babip
Gap power, should stick at shortstop, needs to maintain his contact rate to succeed.
Tyler Townsend - 1B
Injuries have limited him to only three games.

01 May 2010

Early May 2010 Mock Draft

A reminder to folks reading this . . . very, very few teams have narrowed down their search enough to figure out what exactly it is that they want in the draft. Outside of Harper, I doubt there is much close to a sure thing in the draft.

1. Washington Nationals – Bryce Harper, C, CC of Southern Nevada
Harper's place at the top of the draft has been essentially cemented. He has met and exceeded expectations in JuCo. The only real concern with him is that he has a great deal of leverage as he can go back in the draft and get what he wants. The 2012 draft is the first that could have hard slotting in place. I'm beginning to think that 10MM is likely what it will take to sign him.

2. Pittsburgh Pirates – Drew Pomeranz, LHP, Ole Miss
Three names have been floated around at this position. Surely, the Pirates are evaluating more than those, but the names right now are Pomeranz, Machado, and McGuire. Pomeranz is a polished lefty who should progress through the minors rapidly. He will probably see the Majors by the end of 2012. Deck McGuire is probably a year behind Pomeranz, but both are rather polished and are as close to known commodities as you can get in the draft. Machado, a prep SS, is likely to need much more seasoning. Of the top 20 or so prospects at the beginning of the season, he has had the most helium with evaluators like Keith Law placing him as the second most talented player. He shows good power and has a good chance to stick at shortstop.

3. Baltimore Orioles – Jameson Taillon, RHP, The Woodlands HS (TX)
At this moment, only Taillon and Machado have been mentioned in connection with the Orioles' scouts. Joe Jordan is not one to telegraph his moves and the Orioles have surprised everyone during those five years with the exception of the Matusz selection. The main difference between the two is that Taillon might command 2-3MM more than Machado.

4. Kansas City Royals – Karsten Whitson, RHP, Chipley HS (FL)
Three names have been mentioned at this slot: Whitson, Jameson Taillon, and Yasmani Grandal. Grandal would not fit the typical Royal M.O. as they are keen to draft high potential players without regard to cost. If the Orioles pass on Taillon, there is no what he drops below this point. I placed Whitson here as he is a prep with a nice low to mid 90s fastball with a great deal of movement. He is a kind of prep arm that the Royals have been targeting lately.

5. Cleveland Indians – Deck McGuire, RHP, Georgia Tech
McGuire is the only name I have heard here. Indians typically do not blow the bank and they prefer dependable college talent.

6. Arizona Diamondbacks – Zack Cox, 3B, Arkansas
Arizona tends to keep on close to slot unless elite talent is available. Cox is not elite, but he has a good bat and a good chance to stick at third.

7. New York Mets – Chris Sale, LHP, Florida Gulf Coast
Mets are a team that strictly adheres to slot with respect to the whole draft. Overslot selections are reserved mainly for the later rounds. Sale is shaping up strong on many boards.

8. Houston Astros – Manny Machado, SS, Brito HS (FL)
I hesitate slightly putting Machado here because I think he will seek out an above slot bonus. The Astros and everyone Ed Wade has hired tend to put more resources in MLB level talent than in the draft. It makes me think something closer to slot would occur. If Cox gets this far, I think they nab him here.

9. San Diego Padres – Anthony Ranaudo, RHP, LSU
Padres typically go for athletic, high upside picks and Ranaudo does not exactly fit that bill. They are not shy about spending money on a player and Ranaudo might require some to sign with Boras as his agent. Before his elbow trouble, he was considered by a sizable portion of the community as the best college arm in the draft. He would be quite useful at PetCo.

10. Oakland Athletics – Bryce Brentz, OF, Middle Tennessee State
The A's also like athleticism and they like dependability. Brentz affords them both of those traits. I think if Machado falls here, they would snatch him up.

The rest...
11. Toronto Blue Jays – A.J. Cole, RHP, Oviedo HS (FL)
12. Cincinnati Reds – Dylan Covey, RHP, Maranatha HS (CA)
13. Chicago White Sox – Christian Colon, SS, Cal State Fullerton
14. Milwaukee Brewers – Yasmani Grandal, C, Miami
15. Texas Rangers – Brandon Workman, RHP, Texas
16. Chicago Cubs – Matt Harvey, RHP, Univ. of North Carolina
17. Tampa Bay Rays – Jesse Hahn, RHP, Virginia Tech
18. Los Angeles Angels – Brett Eibner, RHP, Arkansas
19. Houston Astros – Kaleb Cowart, RHP, Cook County HS (GA)
20. Boston Red Sox – Justin O’Conner, SS/C, Cowan HS (IN)
21. Minnesota Twins – Michael Choice, OF, UT Arlington
22. Texas Rangers – Kevin Gausman, RHP, Grandview HS (CO)
23. Florida Marlins – Josh Sale, OF, Bishop Blanchet HS (WA)
24. San Francisco Giants – Austin Wilson, OF, Harvard-Westlake HS (CA)
25. St. Louis Cardinals – Nick Castellanos, 3B, Archbishop McCarthy HS (FL)
26. Colorado Rockies – Alex Wimmers, RHP, Ohio State
27. Philadelphia Phillies – Aaron Sanchez, RHP, Barstow HS (CA)
28. Los Angeles Dodgers – James Paxton, LHP, Grand Prairie (Independent)
29. Los Angeles Angels – Micah Gibbs, C, LSU
30. Los Angeles Angels – Gary Brown, OF, California St. Univ. - Fullerton
31. Tampa Bay Rays – Asher Wojciechowski, RHP, The Citadel
32. New York Yankees – Stetson Allie, RHP, St. Edwards HS (OH)

29 April 2010

More from yesterday's Composite Draft Ranking . . .

I decided to crunch the numbers and determine different groupings. These groupings take into consideration which prospects are significantly different from each other based on these rankings. Prospects, of course, can appear in several groupings

Group A
Bryce Harper

Group B
Jameson Taillon
Drew Pomeranz
Karsten Whitson
Manny Machado

Group C
Karsten Whitson
Manny Machado
Deck McGuire
Anthony Ranaudo
Zach Cox
Dylan Covey
AJ Cole
Jesse Hahn
Chris Sale
Josh Sale
Aaron Sanchez

After the jump, the next class.

Group D
Anthony Renaudo
Zach Cox
Dylan Covey
AJ Cole
Brandon Workman
Bryce Brentz
Christian Colon
Austin Wilson
Matt Harvey
Jesse Hahn
Josh Sale
Yasmani Grandal
Chris Sale
Nick Castellanos
Kaleb Cowart
James Paxton
Stetson Allie
Aaron Sanchez

28 April 2010

2010 Composite MLB Draft Prospect Rankings: Late April Edition

The graph below (click on it to blow it up) is the mid-season composite top 50 ranking for the 2010 MLB draft. Included in the current composite scores are Keith Law's top 100, Nick James' PNR Scouting top 100, and PG Crosschecker's top 100. As both Law's and PG's are member only lists, I will not divulge the numbers behind these scores. The graphs are representations of the average + standard deviation.

After the jump, just a few observations on this list and how Keith Law's, Nick James's, and PG Crosschecker's differ.

Total number of players in the composite list: 144

Unique Players on Each List in the Top 50
Keith Law: Mel Rojas Jr. (18), Kellin Deglan (31), Dixon Anderson (49)
Nick James: Tyler Austin (45), Jared Lakind (48)
PG Crosschecker: Jarrett Parker (43), Austin Wood (49)

Players to Watch
Chris Sale - Keith Law is much further down on Sale than either James or PG. It will be interesting to see how each of these rankings change at draft time.
Aaron Sanchez - James values Sanchez much less than Law or PG.
Gary Brown - His rankings run the gamut from high (PG), middle (Law), and low (James).

27 April 2010

MLB Draft Value Trade Chart

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So, I was watching the NFL draft last Thursday and it got me to thinking about draft pick trade charts. As you probably know, Jimmy Johnson and the Cowboys used this in the late 80s and early 90s in order to make quick deals during the draft, ensuring them equal or greater value. A couple decades later, the system looks a bit simple due to how free agency and rookie slotting made the first round picks less valuable and later second through third round picks much more valuable. Throw in talent variance year by year and the concept still holds strong, but the chart itself is dated.

In baseball, there are no draft pick trades. It does seem though as if this will be included in the next bargaining agreement. I decided during the draft to look whether anyone had done such a thing as to create an actual draft board trade value chart for MLB. Sky Andrecheck almost did it while answering perhaps more interesting questions here. He mentions how the first few picks are much more valuable than the later ones, but does not put an actual value on them. That is probably the most prudent thing to do, but here . . . we are going to be a little irresponsible.

First things first: recreate the value chart by painstakingly redoing Andrecheck's work. What this graph illustrates is the power best fit line of players selected in the 1990-1999 draft and associated with their WAR during their first six years of MLB service.

As you can see from this chart and when you compare it to his previous one, these are somewhat comparable. There are not identical, but they are close enough. We may have some disagreement on what counted as the first six years of MLB tenure. I don't think the differences are all that significant.

Another thing to notice is just how exceptional the bust rate is with these picks. The formula on the chart shows the top pick in the draft being worth about 12.4 WAR over his first six years in the Majors. That is an average player. The fifteenth player selected has a WAR total of 2.4, which would be slightly above average if all of that was accomplished over a single season as opposed to six. Value drops quickly in the draft and risk becomes more and more apparent. For a savvy team, it may not be incredibly worthwhile to deal for anything outside of the first few selections. That is, unless you think your scouting department is better than everyone else's department.

After the jump, the quick and easy trade chart.

Round 1 Chart

Picks 31-300 Chart

So what could the Orioles get for their third overall pick?
In this scenario, we have the Orioles first round pick as being worth 510 points. They could match up with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. This deal would be equal, based on the chart:

3rd (510pts)
18th (172pts)
29th (129)
30th (126)
144th (50)
264th (33)

What this goes to show is just how valuable those first few picks in the draft actually are. They are so much more valuable that a straight up trade for specific draft picks probably would not be very common at the top of the draft, but certainly would be later on. If trades at the top of the draft would occur, then it would probably include established prospects in the minor leagues.

Next time, converting this all over to money so we can include prospects in the deals.

26 April 2010

More thoughts on Puerto Rico and Draft.

As some of you long timers may remember, I wrote a somewhat popular post back in the day comparing the decrease in MLB talent from Puerto Rico and how it may be similar to the decrease in American blacks in baseball. Today, I decided just to illustrate the decrease in MLB production from Puerto Rico. In the graph below, I included three countries who were strong in developing talent in the 1970s and 1980s. I used birth date to approximate how the 1990 inclusion affected each country and the prospects they produce. With that in mind, I would read 1973 and prior as before the draft. 1974-1978 as a transitional time where the infrastructure is still having an affect on prospects. Post 1978 should be seen as when the infrastructure has probably been significantly degraded and no longer much of an issue.

Click on the picture to make it larger and more legible.

After the jump, the raw numbers.

Years PR Ven DR
54-58 16 5 26
59-63 20 15 31
64-68 32 18 57
69-73 29 28 81
74-78 39 47 108
79-83 19 67 105