31 July 2012

What "Going for it" would mean...

EDIT -- One important note about 2012 in particular that I omitted from the summary below -- the first round of the playoffs after the play-in game will be 2-3 format, so the wild-card team will host the first two games of the series. That means if Baltimore were to make the playoffs and win the play-in game, they would be guaranteed two home games and the accompanying revenue. Doesn't greatly change the calculus, but an important distinction for 2012 nonetheless.

Throughout the 2012 season Jon and I have been dubious of Baltimore's chances to compete for a playoff spot this year.  On July 31st, the last pre-waiver day for trades, we remain dubious.  But, because trades are generally fun fodder for the blogosphere and message boards, and because it is an interesting exercise in any event, I decided to play Devil's advocate this morning and come up with my "all in" approach to the trade deadline.

In truth, I can see a real argument for the below moves, as I think there is something to the idea that Baltimore has played well above its head over these first 100 or so games and they should make use of the "free wins" they've grabbed thus far.  However, the moves I advocate below really only work as a package, and even then require further financial investment come the free agent signing period in November.

Finally, the two trade partners I have targeted, San Diego and Miami, have the leverage to demand fairly significant overpayment for their talent, and Baltimore prospects such as Nicky Delmonico (1b, Class A Delmarva), Xavier Avery (of, Triple-A Norfolk), and Eduardo Rodriguez (rhp, Class A Delmarva) do not have the trade value that many Orioles fans wish/think they have. That is nothing to say of the fall in value we have seen from projectable righty Parker Bridwell (rhp, Class A Delmarva), whose stock as taken a significant enough tumble so as not to even be included in the two discussed moves.

So, what does "going for it" look like?

2013 Draft Competitive Balance (1st pick following 2nd Rd)

Jake Arrieta (rhp, Triple-A Norfolk)
Jonathan Schoop (2b, Double-A Bowie)
Eduardo Rodriguez (rhp, Class A Delmarva)
Mike Wright (rhp, Double-A Bowie)

Josh Johnson (rhp, Miami Marlins)
Emilio Bonifacio (2b/of, Miami Marlins)

Nicky Delmonico (1b, Class A Delmarva)
Xavier Avery (of, Triple-A Norfolk)
Brian Matusz (lhp, Triple-A Norfolk)
2013 Draft Competitive Balance (4th pick following Supp-1st Rd)

Why it is necessary (and okay) to overpay
Josh Johnson is signed through 2013 and Chase Headley is signed through 2014. Emilio Bonifacio is under team control through 2014.  The bottom line is that neither Miami nor San Diego have to move these pieces now, as opposed to in the off-season or not at all.

As briefly mentioned above, making an aggressive move like this is an attempt to leverage the "free wins" Baltimore has grabbed this year -- loosely, the degree to which they have outperformed their talent and peripherals.  It is important to aggressively pursue the playoffs in 2012 particularly if you believe that as of July 31, 2012 Baltimore is in a better position to make the playoffs than they might be at any point next year based on true talent level, and taking into account off-season moves.

Finally, overpayment can be tolerable if you are dealing from redundancy or from pieces that are not essential for future success. More on this below.

What it means for 2012
Rotation - Johnson, Chen, Tillman, Britton, Gonzalez
It isn't the best rotation in the American League, but it does give Baltimore the big arm up top and bumps each of the other arms down the chain where their talent level fits more comfortably.  You lose minor league arms in Rodriguez, Wright, Arrieta and Matusz, but none of those are required contributors for 2012.

Order Bonifacio (2b), Markakis (rf), Headley (3b), Jones (cf) Davis (dh), Betemit/Reynolds (1b platoon), Hardy (ss) Wieters (c), Ford (lf)
Bonifacio gives you an on-base weapon and speed at the top of the order, while also providing much needed production at second base.  Additionally, he gives you versatility as a capable outfielder and middle-infielder.

Headley is a legit number three hitter on a first tier team and interjects a good overall bat between Markakis and Jones.  Again, it isn't the best in the American League, but it does represent the potential for a big improvement with a minimal number of moves.  If you haven't yet read Jon's piece on the potential upgrade provided by inserting a legit third baseman into the order and having Reynolds/Betemit split duties at first base, you should check it out here -- great work.

What it means for 2013-14
Rotation - Johnson, Chen, Hammel, Britton, Tillman
This is a solid rotation that could be further improved through trade or free agency.  My preference would be to invest heavily on the offensive side, relying on Johnson to lead the staff in 2013 and Dylan Bundy (rhp, Class A-Adv. Frederick) to contribute in some form in 2013 with Kevin Gausman (rhp, unassigned) following in early 2014.  Bobby Bundy (rhp, Double-A Bowie) could be ready to provide some value at some point next year once he has addressed the bone spurs that appear to have slowed his development some this year.

Order - Bonifacio (2b), Markakis (rf), Headley (3b), Jones (cf), Davis (dh), Betemit (1b), Hardy (ss), Wieters (c), Hoes (lf)
Again, this is a solid collection that could potentially be upgraded to top notch with a significant financial investment.  Since we are operating under the assumption that the Orioles have maintained fan interest throughout 2012 and seen an influx in season ticket money, you go big here.

Mike Napoli (c/1b) could rotate between first base and designated hitter, while giving Showalter an option behind the plate that allows him to actually rest Wieters as he should be rested (another discussion to be had...).  The Wieters/Napoli/Betemit/Davis combo would provide plenty of pop between catcher/first base/designated hitter.

The obvious "homerun" is to take the plunge and throw a truckload of money at Josh Hamilton (cf), shifting him over to left field.  Baltimore is currently committed to under $60 million for next year. Adding salaries for Johnson, Headley, Napoli and Hamilton could be a$50 million investment, meaning Baltimore has to be willing to spike their payroll in order to keep momentum moving forward.  This is a huge hurdle, but I think necessary if you are putting together a "go for it now" plan. The result is this lineup:

Betemit (2b), Markakis (rf), Headley (3b), Hamilton (lf), Jones (cf), Napoli (1b), Davis/Betemit (dh), Wieters (c), Hardy (ss)

Summary
This is a huge risk, both in potential future value traded and increased financial investment in payroll. All of that, and it is far from a guarantee that Baltimore will realize a playoff appearance in 2012 or 2013.

What this type of "all in" approach does is attempt to make use of a 2012 performance that has thus far been well beyond the Orioles' talent level without sacrificing the ability for the team to put together a competitive squad in 2013 and the further near term.   It should hold fan interest through end of season and attempts to build season ticket influx with a strong finish, the addition of known names such as Josh Johnson and Chase Headley, and signing of a couple more known names in Napoli and Hamilton.

I began this piece with a note that this was me playing Devil's advocate.  I continue to believe that this type of approach requires too much luck, as well as an aggressive off-season to sustain success, and further development of some stalled prospects in order to help the farm system bounce back.

The prudent course of action is probably a small move to try and hold the team together in 2012 as best as possible, while hoping for continued development from Machado and Schoop, as well as the brothers Bundy.  Gausman should be a nice addition, as well, and there is of course a chance that someone like Delmonico or Rodriguez ultimately develops into a legit above-average contributor.

2012 has been exciting in a lot of ways, as the Orioles have won more than they have lost and they continue to play meaningful games as we head into August.  At the same time, the minor league system has not had a good summer, while several AL East systems have taken steps forward.  The stark reality may be that, while this is not the right time for the Orioles to cash in prospects and push their chips into the center of the table, it may be the closest they come to a shot at a playoff spot before 2014, at which point, if everything breaks right, they will have Machado, Schoop, Gausman and the Bundys contributing.

Of course, Orioles fans are well aware of the dangers of counting on the cavalry...

27 July 2012

Midseason update: Top 25 Orioles Prospects (21- 25 and five to know)

The second part of our midseason update 25 double-feature rolls out below, covering prospects 21 through 25, plus five more to keep tabs on for the rest of the year and 2013 and one prospect that may be ready for a significant developmental change.  For a look at prospects 1 through 20 check out Part 1 (1 - 10) and Part 2 (11 - 20) of this series.  All ages listed are as of July 15, 2012:

21. John Ruettiger (of, Double-A Bowie) / Age: 22y10m / Prev. Rank: Unranked
We noted last fall that Ruettiger needed to adopt a "top of the order mentality" at the plate in order to carve-out a productive professional career. Thus far in 2012, he has done just that, seeing a big bump in his on-base production while maintaining is contact ability.  With a recent promotion to Double-A Bowie, Ruettiger is setting himself up for a chance to reach Triple-A Norfolk as soon as Hoes and Avery are vacated to either the 25-man roster or another organization.  Ruettiger still likely profiles best as an extra outfielder with a bottom-third bat, but if he continues to put together productive at bats, he could see a bump in his projection. His upside will always be limited by his utter lack of pop, so defense and getting on-base will need to be his calling cards.

22. Mike Belfiore (lhp, Double-A Bowie) / Age: 23y9m / Prev. Rank: N/A
Belfiore made the full conversion to relief work this year and has taken quickly to the role, carving-up the hitter friendly Cal League before being shipped to Baltimore in exchange for struggling Triple-A corner bat Josh Bell.  A closer at Boston College, the Diamondbacks looked to parlay his starter's build and solid 1-2 fastball-slider combo into a potential #4 arm, but the starter workload has proven to be too much for the lefty.  He currently sports a solid average change-up that can flash above-average and gives him the requisite weapon to work to both righties and lefties.  Given the state of the O's system, Belfiore could be a top 15 prospect if he continues to thrive at Bowie, and could break camp with the O's in 2013.

23. Tyler Townsend (1b, Double-A Bowie) / Age: 24y2m / Prev. Rank: 21
Townsend has yet to stay on the field for more than 72 games in a single season since starting his professional career in 2009, once again missing significant time this summer having logged just 170 plate appearances in 43 games.  The left-swinging first baseman can tantalize with solid pop (both 6'o'clock and in-game), but there's a fair amount of swing-and-miss to his game to go along with it.  Because he can't seem to stay on the field, it's tough to get an accurate gauge as to what Townsend's potential truly is.  He will turn 25 early next year, so Baltimore has little choice but to start pushing him up the ladder in hopes that they can realize some return on investment.

24. Zach Davies (rhp, Class A Delmarva) / Age: 19y5m / Prev. Rank: Unranked
Were it not for his lack of projection (both in physicality and in stuff), Davies would rank much higher on this list.  He is a pitchability arm with four workable offerings that could each be average after some maturation and refinement.  His fastball can come with some bore, but lacks plane or angle due to his compact frame and wingspan.  He shows aptitude for each of his secondaries considering age, but none project as a true swing-and-miss pitch at the upper levels.  The upside appears to be that of a #5 starter -- perhaps a #4 if everything breaks right.  More likely, he profiles as an up-and-down swing man capable of logging some innings out of the pen when needed, but lacking the stuff to turn over a line-up more than once.

25. Dan Klein (rhp, Double-A Bowie-DL) / Age: 23y11m / Prev. Rank: 10
In November we pointed out the issues with Baltimore's attempts to develop Klein as a starter, not the least of which is the fact that he had not surpassed 52 innings pitched in a season since he did so back in 2006 between his high school junior spring and summer.  After a SLAP tear in his labrum lead to a pre-mature end to his 2011 season, he lost his entire 2012 campaign after another shoulder procedure was deemed necessary this April.  He still checks-in on this list due to the fact that, when healthy, he is essentially Major League ready as a run-of-the-mill middle-relief arm.  At this point, however, the 24-year old will be happy to stay on the mound for six straight months at any level.

Five more to know:
Miguel Chalas (rhp, Class A Delmarva) / Age: 20y0m / Prev. Rank: Unranked
Baltimore continues to keep the undersized Chalas in a rotation in an effort to build up endurance and keep the door open for him as a starter.  His whippy arm and inconsistent path make repeatability an issue, particularly with his slurvy breaking ball.  A "young 20", there is time for improvement, though it remains a long shot that he'll stick as a starter for much longer.  He has been hittable in his first year of full season ball, and Baltimore may be best suited to shift him to the pen and let him air it out.

Jaime Esquivel (rhp, Class A-SS Aberdeen) / Age: 20y1m  / Prev. Rank: Unranked
Esquivel was sharp in 2011 between Rookie ball and Short-season Aberdeen, but an extended look at the patient college bats that flood the NY-Penn League post-draft has resulted in a lot of walks and a fair amount of hits.  Esquivel has the body of a starter, but a limited repertoire and, thus far, an inability to locate both in and out of the zone.  He remains an arm of interest, but (like many Orioles prospects this summer) has failed to take the next step forward thus far in 2012.  He will look to finish out 2012 on a high note and will likely tackle Class A Delmarva next year.

Henry Urrutia (of, unassigned) / Age:25y5m  / Prev. Rank: N/A
Urrutia has thus far been the "premier" Latin American signing for the O's under Dan Duquette's front office, agreeing earlier this month to a minor league contract and a $778,500 signing bonus -- an investment approximately equal to an early-2nd Rounder in the draft. According to Baseball America, Urrutia profiles as a corner outfielder defensively, but may lack the power generally expected out of that position. Already 25-years old, the former member of the Cuban national team will likely start his professional career in the States at Double-A Bowie. His progress in 2013 will be an interesting look into the current scouting philosophies of the organization on the international front -- the validity of which has fallen under heavy scrutiny over the past eight months after some dubious signings (and one very public cancelled signing). Hector Veloz (3b, Rookie GCL) / Age: 18y5m / Prev. Rank: Unranked Veloz was our DSL player of the year for Baltimore in 2011 and could have easily ranked in the top 25 portion of this series. He is working through the Gulf Coast League (Rookie League) and continues to make strides defensively at the hot corner. His ticket to the Bigs, however, remains his bat. Still capable of good pull-side power, Veloz needs to work on refining his overall approach in order to increase his square rate and cut down on the number of at bats he gives away. Veloz is years away from having his ultimate projection determined, but for now he remains one of the true "sleepers" in the system, capable of developing into a legit top 10 organizational talent. Aaron Wirsch (lhp, unassigned-DL) / Age: 21y8m / Prev. Rank: Unranked Wirsch logged just 10 innings last year before suffering a UCL tear in his pitching elbow and undergoing Tommy John surgery. A projectable lefty out of El Toro HS (Lake Forest, Calif.), Wirsch has already put on close to 25 or 30 pounds since signing with Baltimore. He is a true wild card, as the the former San Diego Torrero commit has yet to stay on the mound for any significant stretch of time. Baltimore will hope to see a fresh and rejuvinated arm come spring 2013, and at 21-years old come November, there is still time for Baltimore to run Wirsch out as a starter with a limited innings count in order to determine what they have here. Highly touted for his raw power as a first baseman back in high school, Baltimore also has the back-up option of working him out on the positional side if all else fails. Switch it up: Mychal Givens (rhp, Class A Delmarva) / Age: 22y2m / Prev. Rank: Unranked It is officially time for Baltimore to waive the white flag on the "Givens as an infielder" project. The former Plant HS (Tampa, Fla.) closer was able to hit the mid-90s as a prep arm, with the makings of a workable slider. Fall Instructionals and Winter Ball should be utilized to try the now-22-year old on the bump -- it may be the only hope the organization has at recovering some of the 2nd Round investment made. Midseason update: Top 25 Orioles Prospect Links 1 - 10 / 11 - 20 / 21 - 25 / vs The Depot Midseason udpated: Top 25 Orioles Prospects (11 - 20) We started off our midseason Top 25 update with Orioles prospects 1 through 10. Today we finish the list, starting with 11 through 20. This afternoon we'll post 21 through 25 and some other names to know. Here's the next ten; once again, all ages as of 7/15/2012: 11. Eduardo Rodriguez (rhp, Class A Delmarva) / Age: 19y3m / Prev. Rank: 14 Rodriguez has held his own as a 19-year old in full season ball and still has the potential to see a bump in his stuff as he continues to mature. That bump will be necessary if he's to grow into more than a back-end arm. He continues to search for consistency with his breaker, and his change-up remains a work-in-progress, but generally he has shown a solid degree of comfort with his three offerings. Working the strikezone well, he needs to see one of his pitches evolve into a put-away offering or he could prove to be more hittable as he progresses up the ladder. 12. Clayton Schrader (Double-A Bowie) / Age: 22y2m / Prev. Rank: 9 Schrader has not taken the next step forward in 2012, instead remaining the power relief arm we saw over the past two seasons. Currently struggling through his first taste of Double-A, Clay-Schray spent the first half of the season as an unhittable, albeit wild, weapon out of the pen for the Class A-Adv. Keys. The formula for future success remains the same -- find more consistency in his release and the walks will come down. For now, he remains a high-risk, solid-upside reliever. 13. Adrian Marin (ss/2b, complex ball) / Age: 18y4m / Prev. Rank: N/A Many area scouts viewed Marin as a good fit for college, with a chance to go a little higher in the draft after some refinement at the "U" in Coral Gables than he was expected to go in 2012 (4th or 5th Round. Baltimore saw Marin as pro-ready and popped him in the top o f the 3rd Round, making Marin's college/pro decision an easy one. In the infield he projects as a second baseman, though his limited physicality may push him to center field where his straight line foot speed, average arm and below-average power might play better. He has quick hands but some mechanical quirks that could take some time and instruction to smooth out. While his skillset doesn't project to an impact talent, he scores highly in make-up and coachability, giving Baltimore a malleable piece of clay to work with. 14. Lex Rutledge (lhp, complex ball) / Age: 21y0m / Prev. Rank: N/A Rutledge is similar in profile to Schrader, coming from the left side instead of the right. While he has experience starting in college, he has always been most effective as a reliever, where his fastball gains some "umph" in short bursts, sitting in the mid-90s. His breaker is a 1-to-7 curve that can be devastating as a chase pitch, but which he can struggle mightily to command. Like Kline, Rutledge will be an interesting project for Peterson & Co. to tackle, as mechanical tweaks will be required in order for him to find enough consistency to succeed at the upper-levels. His upside is that of a set-up man. 15. Christian Walker (1b, Class A-SS Aberdeen) / Age: 21y3m / Prev. Rank: N/A Walker is a divisive prospect for upper-tier evaluators, but was generally loved by area scouts who had the pleasure of watching him on a South Carolina team that came within a game of a College World Series three-peat during Walker's tenure at first base. We know Walker understands the strikezone well and is battle tested in the SEC. What we don't know is how well his power tool will develop once he makes the switch to wood and starts squaring off against advanced pro pitching. He should finish 2012 with Class A-SS Aberdeen and could jump to Class A-Adv. Frederick if he impresses during Fall Instructs and Minor League Camp. His limited offensive profile projects him as a tweener at first base, as there are few indications that there is significantly more raw power to coax from his bat. 16. Jason Esposito (3b, Class A Delmarva) / Age: 21y11m / Prev. Rank: 8 The raw physical tools for success remain present in Esposito, but unfortunately his historical struggles with wood bats have continued to manifest through his first pro season. Espo has the glove to develop into an everyday third baseman at the Major League level, but his bat remains an empty asset at this point. The best thing for Esposito would be to string together a solid final month and forget 2012 ever happened. Baltimore will need to utilize Fall Instructs to figure out what is broken and whether or not it can be fixed. 17. Glynn Davis (of, Class A Delmarva) / Age: 20y7m / Prev. Rank: 13 Davis remains a projectable talent, but 2012 hasn't seen him show much in the way of physical maturation, which is the biggest obstacle he'll need to overcome. He is a top tier runner, capable of developing into an above-average defensive center fielder in time, but needs to get stronger so as not to have the bat knocked out of his hands at Double-A, Triple-A and eventually in Baltimore. He has performed reasonably well in his first full season league, but has seen just 16 of his 88 hits go for extra-bases -- a slightly disappointing number considering his foot speed. 18. Michael Wright (rhp, Double-A Bowie) / Age: 22y6m / Prev. Rank: 15 Wright ranked as high as 14th on variations of this list, but ultimately settles in here due to his continuing profile as a middle-reliever with average stuff. He relies on a sinker/slider combo to produce groundballs, as he doesn't have a true swing-and-miss arsenal. Development of a dependable off-speed and more in-zone consistency with his fastball will spell the difference between Wright the #4 workhorse, and Wright the 7th inning guy. He is not far from Major League ready as a bullpen arm, and could get a taste early in 2013 if he shifts to relief. 19. Parker Bridwell (rhp, Class A Delmarva) / Age: 20y11m / Prev. Rank: 7 Bridwell's 2012 has been particularly disappointing, as the projectable righty was well situated to see an uptick in both stuff and results. Instead, Bridwell has struggled to stay consistent in his stride and arm action, resulting in the same disconcerting BB/9 and SO/9 rates he produced in Delmarva last summer. If things don't improve quickly, the former over-slot 9th Rounder will end the season a 21-year old still looking for his first taste of success in Class A. That would be a big blow to a system already thin on impact talent. 20. Roderick Bernadina (of, Class A-Adv. Frederick) / Age: 19y11m / Prev. Rank: 23 Bernadina held his own in Short-season Aberdeen against older competition and has now been jumped all the way up to Frederick. It's an aggressive move, but the soon-to-be twenty-year old has the strength to hit more advanced pitching and has improved his approach and mechanics at the plate in 2012, including shortening his swing path some. The power isn't manifesting in-game, yet, but he still projects to above-average playable pop if he can square enough balls. Bernadina remains a low probability talent, but there is potential here for a solid corner bat if things break right. UPDATE: Bernadina was sent down to Class A Delmarva today -- a reasonable assignment given age and track record. He should be expected to finish out the season at that level. Midseason update: Top 25 Orioles Prospect Links 1 - 10 / 11 - 20 / 21 - 25 / vs The Depot 25 July 2012 Wilson Betemit + Mark Reynolds = Albert Pujols Neither Wilson Betemit or Mark Reynolds is Albert Pujols. In no way can you make them into Albert Pujols, but it is possible to put them in the best position possible to make them April-through-July-2012 Albert Pujols. How? Betemit and Reynolds are really platoon players to varying degrees. Betemit is an extreme platoon player. His wOBA is split .358 against righties and .226 against lefties. Mark Reynolds carries a .287 wOBA against righties and a .390 wOBA against lefties. For those of you who may be unfamiliar with wOBA...think of a .330 mark as about average. If you platoon the two of them, shielding each other from their handed weaknesses, they wind up as a .366 wOBA first baseman. If you are someone who enjoys the basic slash line, it would be 284/365/490. Or if you are more old school: 42 doubles and 27 home runs over 700 plate appearances. How does that match up against other first basemen according to FanGraphs?  Rank Name Team wOBA 1 Joey Votto Reds .444 2 Edwin Encarnacion Blue Jays .415 3 Paul Konerko White Sox .395 4 Paul Goldschmidt Diamondbacks .390 5 Prince Fielder Tigers .376 6 Adam Dunn White Sox .363 7 Mark Teixeira Yankees .362 8 Albert Pujols Angels .354 9 Corey Hart Brewers .343 10 Adam LaRoche Nationals .341 With a .366 mark, you have the 6th best offensive 1B in baseball instead of having a .311 wOBA at 1B and a .322 mark at third to go along with atrocious defense. As I have them projected right now, Reynolds will have a 0.0 WAR for the remainder of the season at first. Meanwhile, Betemit will have a 0.5 WAR at third. A .366 mark would be worth 1.5 to 2 WAR depending on whether their defense is bad or just mediocre. The problem then becomes how to find a sufficient third baseman. The Phillies' Placido Polanco has been mentioned as a trade target. His .277 wOBA and good (not great) defensive puts him in line to pick up maybe 0.3 to 0.5 WAR the rest of the year. Maximizing Betemit and Reynolds with the addition of Polanco would be a good for a couple games. Bigger fish are out there though and if you believe the Orioles have been overachieving...then you want a bigger boat. The Padres' Chase Headley is a major target for several teams. He likely has about 2-3 WAR left in his season to earn. That would give the Orioles a bump of maybe 4 games with the 1B platoon. The problem with his acquisition is the sheer number of teams the Orioles would have to compete with in getting him in addition to the Orioles' hourglass farm system. What I mean by that is that the Orioles have two amazing prospects in Dylan Bundy and Manny Machado, they lack solid second tier prospects, and then there is a lot of third tier guys. Chase Headley simply will not go for third tier guys and teams buying low on Brian Matusz or Jake Arrieta. However, another team might just take a chance: the Marlins. Hanley Ramirez is having his second poor hitting year in a row. He also has about 36MM coming to him over the course of the 2013, 2014, and the remainder of the current season. It is a bit of an overpay when his worth is about league average or slightly below. In his current state, he is a slight improvement over Wilson Betemit at third base. His wOBA is just eight points higher at .330 and he rates as an average fielder where Betemit is rated as a poor fielder. Hanley is also only a couple seasons from being one of the best hitters in baseball. It seems that the baseline is livable and the potential is great. If the Orioles took on Hanley's entire salary to install him at third, the Marlins may bite for Arrieta, Schoop, and a low minors power arm. Maybe that is only a starting bid, I do not know. What I do know is that would put the Orioles in a position that is about 30 runs better than they currently are at. I don't know about you, but I would be pretty happy with the Orioles having Albert Pujols at first base and Hanley Ramirez at third base. 24 July 2012 You are what your record says you are? Many folks like to quote Bill Parcels' gem: You are what your record says you are. It is a simple phrase and one rings true. However, many question the truth of that statement. The following is a statistic known as the Pythagorean Expectation for Wins. [the graphic below is not appearing nicely for everyone: the formula is as follows: Win = (runs scored)^2 / ((runs scored^2)+(runs allowed)^2)] $\mathrm{Win} = \frac{\text{runs scored}^2}{\text{runs scored}^2 + \text{runs allowed}^2} = \frac{1}{1+(\text{runs allowed}/\text{runs scored})^2}$ The idea behind that formula is that runs scored and runs allowed are better indicators of talent than wins. A few days ago, I put forward data that shows that extra inning winning percentage does not indicate whether a team is good or not. Below is a simple graph comparing first half record, first half Pythagorean record, and first half 9 inning game record against second half record. The data set is 2011 AL teams. Just 14 data points. What we see here is that all three methods are not particularly great approaches to predicting future success in 2011. However, the Pythagorean record does tend to reflect second half performance a little better than the other two. It would probably be a good idea to repeat this for the past ten years and see whether these trends hold true. At this point, it appears there may be slightly better ways than wins to figure out who you are. 23 July 2012 Comparing the Depot's Draft Slots to the Actual Ones Awhile ago, I noted that the rule 4 draft had some issues. As part of my analysis of the draft, I developed a chart that could be used as a trade value resource. I assigned an 80% reduction in true value for the player. This reduction is in large part due to risk devaluing the player (not every player will reach the average value for a selection). Below is a comparison of what I would consider each slot is worth. I actually ran this assessment 300 picks deep in the draft. For this graphic above, I only displayed the first 100 picks, which basically show the primary similarities and differences between the projected slot and the actual slot. What we see is a rather tight relationship from about the 11th selection to the 60th selection. Our model suggests that picks in the front end of the draft are being undervalued as are picks after the 60th selection. Below are the actual values:  Pick Actual bWAR Predicted 1$7,200,000 $11,739,091 2$6,200,000 $7,747,800 3$5,200,000 $5,986,936 4$4,200,000 $5,047,809 5$3,500,000 $4,402,159 6$3,250,000 $3,991,291 7$3,000,000 $3,580,423 8$2,900,000 $3,286,945 9$2,800,000 $3,052,164 10$2,700,000 $2,934,773 11$2,625,000 $2,699,991 12$2,550,000 $2,582,600 13$2,475,000 $2,465,209 14$2,375,000 $2,347,818 15$2,250,000 $2,230,427 16$2,125,000 $2,171,732 17$2,000,000 $2,089,558 18$1,950,000 $2,019,124 19$1,900,000 $1,948,689 20$1,850,000 $1,889,994 21$1,825,000 $1,843,037 22$1,800,000 $1,784,342 23$1,775,000 $1,737,385 24$1,750,000 $1,690,429 25$1,725,000 $1,655,212 26$1,700,000 $1,619,995 27$1,675,000 $1,584,777 28$1,650,000 $1,549,560 29$1,625,000 $1,514,343 30$1,600,000 $1,479,125 31$1,575,000 $1,408,691 32$1,550,000 $1,408,691 33$1,525,000 $1,408,691 34$1,500,000 $1,408,691 35$1,467,400 $1,408,691 36$1,430,400 $1,291,300 37$1,394,300 $1,291,300 38$1,359,100 $1,291,300 39$1,324,800 $1,291,300 40$1,291,300 $1,291,300 41$1,258,700 $1,173,909 42$1,227,000 $1,173,909 43$1,196,000 $1,173,909 44$1,165,800 $1,173,909 45$1,136,400 $1,173,909 46$1,107,700 $1,173,909 47$1,079,700 $1,173,909 48$1,052,500 $1,173,909 49$1,025,900 $1,173,909 50$1,000,000 $1,173,909 51$984,700 $1,056,518 52$969,700 $1,056,518 53$954,800 $1,056,518 54$940,200 $1,056,518 55$925,900 $1,056,518 56$911,700 $997,823 57$897,800 $997,823 58$884,100 $997,823 59$870,600 $997,823 60$857,200 $997,823 61$844,100 $939,127 62$831,200 $939,127 63$818,500 $939,127 64$806,000 $939,127 65$793,700 $939,127 66$781,600 $939,127 67$769,600 $880,432 68$757,900 $880,432 69$746,300 $880,432 70$734,900 $880,432 71$723,600 $880,432 72$712,600 $880,432 73$701,700 $880,432 74$691,000 $880,432 75$680,400 $821,736 76$670,000 $821,736 77$659,800 $821,736 78$649,700 $821,736 79$639,700 $821,736 80$630,000 $821,736 81$620,300 $821,736 82$610,800 $821,736 83$601,500 $821,736 84$592,300 $821,736 85$583,300 $763,041 86$574,300 $763,041 87$565,600 $763,041 88$556,900 $763,041 89$548,400 $763,041 90$540,000 $763,041 91$531,800 $763,041 92$523,600 $763,041 93$515,600 $763,041 94$507,800 $763,041 95$500,000 $763,041 96$495,200 $704,345 97$490,400 $704,345 98$485,700 $704,345 99$481,100 $704,345 100$476,500 $704,345 101$471,900 $704,345 102$467,400 $704,345 103$462,900 $704,345 104$458,400 $704,345 105$454,000 $704,345 106$449,700 $704,345 107$445,400 $704,345 108$441,100 $704,345 109$436,800 $704,345 110$432,700 $645,650 111$428,500 $645,650 112$424,400 $645,650 113$420,300 $645,650 114$416,300 $645,650 115$412,300 $645,650 116$408,300 $645,650 117$404,400 $645,650 118$400,500 $645,650 119$396,700 $645,650 120$392,900 $645,650 121$389,100 $645,650 122$385,400 $645,650 123$381,700 $645,650 124$378,000 $645,650 125$374,400 $645,650 126$370,800 $645,650 127$367,200 $645,650 128$363,700 $586,955 129$360,200 $586,955 130$356,700 $586,955 131$353,300 $586,955 132$349,900 $586,955 133$346,600 $586,955 134$343,200 $586,955 135$340,000 $586,955 136$336,700 $586,955 137$333,500 $586,955 138$330,300 $586,955 139$327,100 $586,955 140$323,900 $586,955 141$320,800 $586,955 142$317,800 $586,955 143$314,700 $586,955 144$311,700 $586,955 145$308,700 $586,955 146$305,700 $586,955 147$302,800 $586,955 148$299,900 $586,955 149$297,000 $586,955 150$294,200 $528,259 151$291,300 $528,259 152$288,500 $528,259 153$285,800 $528,259 154$283,000 $528,259 155$280,300 $528,259 156$277,600 $528,259 157$275,000 $528,259 158$272,300 $528,259 159$269,700 $528,259 160$267,100 $528,259 161$264,500 $528,259 162$262,000 $528,259 163$259,500 $528,259 164$257,000 $528,259 165$254,500 $528,259 166$252,100 $528,259 167$249,700 $528,259 168$247,300 $528,259 169$244,900 $528,259 170$242,600 $504,781 171$240,200 $504,781 172$237,900 $504,781 173$235,600 $504,781 174$233,400 $504,781 175$231,100 $504,781 176$228,900 $504,781 177$226,700 $504,781 178$224,500 $504,781 179$222,400 $504,781 180$220,300 $504,781 181$218,100 $504,781 182$216,000 $504,781 183$214,000 $504,781 184$211,900 $481,303 185$209,900 $481,303 186$207,900 $481,303 187$205,900 $481,303 188$203,900 $481,303 189$201,900 $481,303 190$200,000 $481,303 191$198,100 $481,303 192$196,200 $481,303 193$194,300 $481,303 194$192,500 $481,303 195$190,600 $481,303 196$188,800 $481,303 197$187,000 $481,303 198$185,200 $481,303 199$183,500 $457,825 200$181,700 $457,825 201$180,000 $457,825 202$178,300 $457,825 203$176,600 $457,825 204$174,900 $457,825 205$173,200 $457,825 206$171,600 $457,825 207$169,900 $457,825 208$168,300 $457,825 209$166,700 $457,825 210$165,100 $457,825 211$163,500 $457,825 212$162,000 $457,825 213$160,400 $457,825 214$158,900 $457,825 215$157,400 $457,825 216$155,900 $434,346 217$154,400 $434,346 218$152,900 $434,346 219$151,400 $434,346 220$150,000 $434,346 221$149,700 $434,346 222$149,300 $434,346 223$149,000 $434,346 224$148,600 $434,346 225$148,300 $434,346 226$148,000 $434,346 227$147,600 $434,346 228$147,300 $434,346 229$147,000 $434,346 230$146,600 $434,346 231$146,300 $434,346 232$146,000 $434,346 233$145,600 $434,346 234$145,300 $434,346 235$145,000 $434,346 236$144,600 $434,346 237$144,300 $410,868 238$144,000 $410,868 239$143,600 $410,868 240$143,300 $410,868 241$143,000 $410,868 242$142,700 $410,868 243$142,300 $410,868 244$142,000 $410,868 245$141,700 $410,868 246$141,400 $410,868 247$141,000 $410,868 248$140,700 $410,868 249$140,400 $410,868 250$140,100 $410,868 251$139,800 $410,868 252$139,500 $410,868 253$139,100 $410,868 254$138,800 $410,868 255$138,500 $410,868 256$138,200 $410,868 257$137,900 $410,868 258$137,600 $410,868 259$137,200 $410,868 260$136,900 $387,390 261$136,600 $387,390 262$136,300 $387,390 263$136,000 $387,390 264$135,700 $387,390 265$135,400 $387,390 266$135,100 $387,390 267$134,800 $387,390 268$134,500 $387,390 269$134,200 $387,390 270$133,800 $387,390 271$133,500 $387,390 272$133,200 $387,390 273$132,900 $387,390 274$132,600 $387,390 275$132,300 $387,390 276$132,000 $387,390 277$131,700 $387,390 278$131,400 $387,390 279$131,100 $387,390 280$130,800 $387,390 281$130,500 $387,390 282$130,200 $387,390 283$129,900 $387,390 284$129,600 $387,390 285$129,300 $387,390 286$129,100 $387,390 287$128,800 $363,912 288$128,500 $363,912 289$128,200 $363,912 290$127,900 $363,912 291$127,600 $363,912 292$127,300 $363,912 293$127,000 $363,912 294$126,700 $363,912 295$126,400 $363,912 296$126,100 $363,912 297$125,900 $363,912 298$125,600 $363,912 299$125,300 $363,912 300$125,000 \$363,912
What does it all mean?  Eh, as expected, it appears that amateur talent is prevented from realizing their actual worth by Major League Baseball.  This is essentially the reason why the draft exists, so no big surprises.