29 September 2012

Who Gets the Credit for the 2012 Orioles?

Executive Vice-President of Baseball Operations Dan Duquette (there's a mouthful) is getting a lot of credit for building this Orioles team that ended the franchise's streak of 14 losing seasons and he does deserve some credit. But if we are to assume that the most important part of a team's success in the actual talent on the field, how much credit goes to his predecessors?

(Regardless of proper title, all heads of baseball operations for the Orioles will be referred to as a General Manager or GM going forward.)

I decided to find out. I took a list of every player who made an appearance for the Orioles in 2012 and assigned them to their GM of origin. This is a real oversimplification as it does not take into account coaching staffs or minor league development teams. Perhaps the new people Duquette brought to the organization had a big impact on the turnaround of Chris Tillman, for instance. But that's impossible to quantify.

I credited the GMs if the draft pick, the trade, the free agent signing or the waiver claim was made during their tenure. There are some minor exceptions dealing with mid-year regime changes or contract extensions. Brian Roberts, for example, would no longer be an Oriole if Andy MacPhail had not extended him through 2013. On the other hand, Nick Markakis was extended by MacPhail but he would have still been under team control in 2012 whether he was extended or not. So Roberts is credited to MacPhail  instead of Frank Wren (the GM who drafted him) but Markakis still falls under the Mike Flanagan/Jim Beattie regime that selected him in the 1st Round of the 2003 amateur draft.

If you want to see the individual transactions that brought the principle members of the Baltimore Orioles to town, go here. The below lists assign each player to a GM but does not detail how they got here.

Here are the player breakdowns starting with the most recent GM:

Dan Duquette 

Nate McLouth
Wilson Betemit
Nick Johnson
Bill Hall
Jim Thome
Steve Pearce
Lew Ford
Steve Tolleson
Luis Exposito
Taylor Teagarden
Ronny Paulino
Ryan Flaherty
Omar Quintanilla
Endy Chavez
Jason Hammel
Wei-Yin Chen
Darren O'Day
Joe Saunders
Miguel Gonzalez
Luis Ayala
Matt Lindstrom
Stuart Pomeranz
Dana Eveland
Randy Wolf
J.C. Romero
Miguel Socolovich

I'm giving Duquette credit for Darren O'Day even though the Orioles claimed him on November 2nd of last year and the Orioles did not introduce him as GM until November 8th. Andy MacPhail had been gone for almost a month but some of his staff were obviously making some of these decisions but since it falls closest to Duquette's start than MacPhail's departure, I'm giving it to him.

Andy MacPhail 

Adam Jones
J.J. Hardy
Chris Davis
Manny Machado
Mark Reynolds
LJ Hoes
Xavier Avery
Robert Andino
Chris Tillman
Pedro Strop
Troy Patton
Brian Matusz
Steve Johnson
Dylan Bundy
Zach Phillips
Jason Berken
Kevin Gregg

Mike Flanagan 

Matt Wieters
Joe Mahoney
Jake Arrieta
Zach Britton

Mike Flanagan gets credit for Matt Wieters because he drafted him shortly before he was removed from the job. Andy MacPhail took over in late June and signed Wieters but did not actually draft him.

Mike Flanagan/Jim Beattie 

Nick Markakis
Nolan Reimold

Flanagan and Beattie served as co-GMs for three seasons. I will split credit in terms of player value between Flanagan and Beattie since I don't know if either man had championed either player before they were drafted.

Syd Thrift

Jim Johnson

Jim Johnson is still under his original team control so Thrift gets some credit for drafting him way back in 2001.

Then I totaled up the fWAR (collected from Fangraphs.com) for each GM's associated players. Here's the breakdown:

fWAR by GM for 2012 Orioles

Not surprisingly, Andy MacPhail leads the field. He was, after all, GM for 4.5 of the 6 most recent seasons. It is a bit surprising that his players have delivered 44% more WAR than Dan Duquette's. His leaders are Adam Jones (4.6), J.J. Hardy (2.5), Chris Davis (1.7) and Chris Tillman (1.1). Brian Roberts (-1.1) and Tommy Hunter (-0.5) were the laggards.

Dan Duquette's most successful moves were with the pitching staff with Jason Hammel (2.9) and Wei-Yin Chen (2.1) leading the way. Joe Saunders and Miguel Gonzalez have both delivered 0.8 WAR in a relatively short amount of time and Nate McClouth has chipped in 1.5 WAR in just 49 games. Endy Chavez (-0.9), Omar Quintanilla (-0.4) and Ryan Flaherty (-0.4) dragged down the overall totals.

It's easy to forget the contributions of the late Mike Flanagan as a GM. Most of his WAR total is wrapped up in Matt Wieters (3.8) but he also had a hand in drafting Nick Markakis and Nolan Reimold. He also selected Jeremy Guthrie off of waivers from the Indians back in January 2007. Dan Duquette was able to flip  Guthrie for Jason Hammel, Matt Lindstrom and then Joe Saunders. But that is not accounted for in these totals.

Jim Beattie gets partial credit for Markakis and Reimold.

That echo from the past is Jim Johnson, who gains Syd Thrift a shoutout on this list.

It would be interesting to do this at the end of each year to see how the quickly (or slowly) Duquette's influence moves from a minority to a majority. But for this team in particular, the core of the team was assembled by MacPhail. Duquette deserves credit for deftly adding some low-cost pieces to the Oriole pitching staff and some cheap but useful hitters like Betemit and McLouth but this team is still MacPhail's.


brek said...

My first thought whenever I see an analysis done using WAR is "Hmmm... wonder what that other version of WAR thinks.."

So I did the calculations for MacPhail and Duquette using rWAR and found the general conclusion to be the same, but the disparity to not be as great. 15.1 WAR for Mac and 12.3 for Duq, for a difference of only 23%.

Scott said...

Don't forget that MacPhail hired Showalter too....

DempseysArmy said...

brek: Thanks for the other version! I tend to use fWAR by default but rWAR works too in certain cases.

Scott: Agreed. But with no concrete way to put a value on manager contribution, I stuck with the players on the field. But I do agree that Buck has had a positive impact in squeezing wins out of this team.

Anonymous said...

The reigning GM also gets some degree of credit for figuring out who to keep, too. Right?

Also, I second MacPhail hiring Showalter kudos.