Archive for the ‘Projectioning’ Category

bluejaysfireplace

Alex Anthopoulos has already pulled an impressive trick this winter, I think. His passivity on the player acquisition market maybe shouldn’t have been as stunning as we’ve made it– this is, after all, a GM who, we once lamented, spent an entire calendar year on the job while adding only seven non-relievers from outside the organization to his big league roster: J.A. Happ, Aaron Laffey, Jesse Chavez, Jeff Mathis, Ben Francisco, Yorvit Torrealba and Omar Vizquel– but beyond those sorts of fans who are going to bleat out horseshit regardless, just for the sake of hearing their own entitled, know-nothing voices, there seems to be an odd serenity he’s created.

The consternation and anger that welled up in the weeks following our pretending that the fucking Red Sox didn’t win the World Series seems to have abated, though certainly not in the way that last winter Anthopoulos re-energized the fan base with his splashy moves and ability to get Rogers to make gigantic financial commitments.

Our old friend the Tao of Stieb thinks that it’s apathy, but I’m not so sure. And if it is, what this book presupposes is, maybe it shouldn’t be.

Admittedly, things would be different if the top end of the pitching market had budged yet, but apart from the Tigers’ bizarre and disappointing move of Doug Fister, it really hasn’t. That leaves lots of room for Jays fans to fantasize about the club landing one of the remaining big targets, and while the worry in this city is always there that such daydreams are mostly built on total delusion, as I wrote last week, there remains plenty of reason to think that the Jays won’t stand pat.

In that piece I focussed on how the club ought to be able to make the money work, and how badly it is to their advantage to make a play now for a free agent. In essence: for all the words Alex Anthopoulos has spilled about not creating roster holes by dealing key big league pieces in order to fix positions elsewhere on the diamond, by shipping away what little upper-end pitching prospect depth he has (especially the ones with front-line potential, like Sanchez and Stroman) he’d simply be setting up similar holes on future rosters, which will likely have to be filled in expensively via the market anyway. So why not just spend now and keep the prospects?

Waiting out the market with that sort of a pursuit in mind wasn’t necessarily the only course of action the Jays could have taken this winter– we know this for a fact thanks to a rumour that arose during the Winter Meetings, suggesting a deal had fallen apart earlier in the winter, which would have moved Sergio Santos (and presumably more) in exchange for a starter– but it makes sense why the club may be stridently following such a path now. Not only would it enable them– as I argued in last week’s piece– to save their prospect capital, and mitigate potential future rotation woes, but precedent suggests that the longer they wait the more the prices for the free agents they covet may come down.

This year’s market may buck that trend, as it’s so late-developing due to the Masahiro Tanaka situation, but the advantages for the Jays are still adding up: many teams have already spent themselves out of the picture or filled their rotation through other means; many won’t touch guys who’ll cost them a draft pick, or already have and won’t want to blow their 2014 draft any further; and while it’s hardly a buyer’s market, Rakuten finally making the decision to post Tanaka has brightened the picture by adding to the available supply of top-end arms in a huge way.

It’s hardly a certainty that the club will be able to find a quality starter who’ll take their money, however. And it is perhaps with that in mind that the club has been subject to such paralysis when it comes to addressing their other areas of need. Maybe I’m being too hopeful and too quick to construct a narrative that conflicts with some of the things Alex Anthopoulos has openly said this winter– and, as with his stated preference for the trade market, that he has demonstrated time and again in the past that he truly thinks– but I tend to believe that he is actually intentionally holding all of his bullets. He’s holding money to make sure he has room in his budget to fit the free agent he’s aiming to go after, and he’s holding prospects (which could be used to make upgrades elsewhere– most glaringly at second base) to make sure he doesn’t deal away anything that could be used to net a top arm on the trade market, just in case he misses out.

The concept works in one sense because it insulates him better against missing on the kind of difference-making pitcher he so badly needs.

It works in another, though, because as desperately as it seems like he needs to make an addition, Anthopoulos can take the posture that he can stand pat a lot more confidently than I suspect a lot of fans realize. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me if he really did believe he could get away with doing nothing.

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trippingolney

“When I was around the Blue Jays — major, major questions about their bullpen,” said Buster Olney during a recent appearance on Boston’s WEEI. “I think the Red Sox are going to have a good bullpen, Yankees are going to have a good bullpen, Orioles, Rays are going to have good bullpens, and that’s a real problem for Toronto and that’s why I’m picking them fourth.”

Now, let’s be clear: this isn’t a prediction that I’d make. It certainly isn’t the sort of myopic reasoning I’d use if I were making a prediction– and, frankly, I don’t think the Jays have any more “major, major questions about their bullpen” than any other club does in any other season. Olney also picked the Orioles to finish first, earning hearty praise from Baltimore, in both the mainstream media, and the blogosphere, so… perhaps he’s simply trolling. But hoo boy, some Jays fans are positively aghast that anyone might dare think such things.

Parkes experienced some of this particular brand of insanity when, in a Ten Stray Thoughts On A Friday post back in February, he dared highlight numerous questions that surround this best-in-two-decades version of the Jays.

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Toronto Blue Jays Introduce R.A. Dickey

Yesterday Baseball Prospectus released their PECOTA projections, and it took a lot of Jays fans by surprise that, in the publicly available projected standings that I linked to in the Afternoon Snack, the club came up fourth in the American League East, behind not just the Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays, but the Boston Red Sox as well.

This seems slightly less odd when we see that they’re really actually neck-and-neck with the Rays and Sox, who are projected for just one win more than the Jays, but… it’s still maybe a little bit odd.

Granted, as I say every time I do these sorts of posts, I find that projections are, on the whole, pretty much entirely pointless– hardly anything worth going damn ape goof about– but still… I figure it might be worth taking a look through the PECOTA data (while, y’know, being careful not to give away too much of BP’s hard work) to see precisely why the Jays maybe don’t stack up quite as well as we’ve been hoping. (Hint: see the picture above.)

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F-I-R-E-I-N-C-A-I-R-O

I’ve already taken a look at the 2013 ZiPS and Bill James projections for the Jays, but this week I kind of wanted to take a different approach to looking at some of the numbers forecast for this year’s club, and rather than go back through what we’ve already half-assedly looked at, it seemed a good opportunity to look at what some of the other number-spitting systems are telling us. Fortunately, there are several still out there, including CAIRO, available as an Excel file at Replacement Level Yankees Weblog, and quite nicely updated, formatted, and composed by individual team at RotoChamp. We can see the Jays’ team RotoChamp page here.

Now, be warned: some of these projections seem awfully light [read: mostly too scary to contemplate seriously]. So… don’t get too alarmed. Especially since, as I seem to mention every time I begin a post about projections, they’re all kind of a bit pointless anyway. Or, at the very least, hardly to be taken as the gospel. On the other hand, as you’ll see, it’s not easy to make the case that they’re terribly off target. And besides, what the hell else are we going to talk about? Let’s see what the robots are saying, concluding today with part two: the the rotation. (Sorry about the trad stats).

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F-I-R-E-I-N-C-A-I-R-O!

I’ve already taken a look at the 2013 ZiPS and Bill James projections for the Jays, but today I kind of wanted to take a different approach to looking at some of the numbers forecast for this year’s club, and rather than go back through what we’ve already half-assedly looked at, it seemed a good opportunity to look at what some of the other number-spitting systems are telling us. Fortunately, there are several still out there, including CAIRO, available as an Excel file at Replacement Level Yankees Weblog, and quite nicely updated, formatted, and composed by individual team at RotoChamp. We can see the Jays’ team RotoChamp page here.

Now, be warned: some of these projections seem awfully light [read: mostly too scary to contemplate seriously]. So… don’t get too alarmed. Especially since, as I seem to mention every time I begin a post about projections, they’re all kind of a bit pointless anyway. Or, at the very least, hardly to be taken as the gospel. On the other hand, as you’ll see, it’s not easy to make the case that they’re terribly off target. Besides, what the hell else are we going to talk about? Let’s see what the robots are saying, beginning today with part one: the lineup. (Sorry about the trad stats).

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Over at FanGraphs they’ve started rolling out Dan Szymborski’s computer-based– and generally pessimistic-ish– ZiPS projections for this year, one team at a time. I can attest that this method helps build up the anticipation, because even though I generally find projections to be pretty seriously pointless, I’ve been kind of interested in seeing what ZiPS was going to say about the Jays– even though I had mostly been expecting a long, painful wait until the project made it around to us. Turns out, though, that we’re kinda hot shit! So it’s here already– among the first ten teams previewed– which I think doubly makes sense, seeing as we’ve already seen some changes to the projected lineups of teams already previewed, like Nationals (who’ve re-signed Adam Laroche), and the Rangers (who’ve added Lance Berkman and AJ Pierzynski), and it seems as though the Jays are pretty much set.

Of course, I don’t think they’re set with Emilio Bonifacio at second base, as Alex Anthopoulos has indicated that Maicer Izturis will more likely be the guy, but since they both project to a (rounded) WAR of 1, but that’s neither here nor there if you’re going to the trouble of scrutinizing the numbers in the image above.

I’m not entirely sure why you’d worry that much– these are just projections, after all– but if you want to make a quick and dirty comparison between clubs, it’s kinda fun.

Especially this year, since the Jays actually hold their own against some of the best clubs in the game.

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Well, well… it just so happens that today, as we’re all furiously rosterbating over the new pieces that the Jays have somewhat-miraculously added to the club, FanGraphs has added the brand new Bill James Handbook projections for 2013 to their player pages (courtesy Baseball Info Solutions).

So… uh… let’s have at it, shall we? And by “it” I, of course, mean, “a not-arbitrary but not wholly predictive look at what one might reasonably expect, production-wise, from a bunch of baseball players next season, being careful to remember that James’ numbers are usually a little bullish on hitters and that it’s ridiculous to put any stock in these numbers having anything resembling pinpoint accuracy.”

I also mean: not relievers,  because why?

Obviously the first players we’re going to want to take a look at are the ones heading to Toronto in the massive deal that was consummated yesterday, and– as of the time of this writing– has still yet to be made official. Now, seeing as I don’t really give much of a shit about projection systems, except as a larf, I have no idea if these would need to be adjusted for a move to the American League or the Jays’ cookie-cutter stadium layout. They probably would, right? Whatever…

The Newly Acquired

Jose Reyes: 39 SB, .295/.352/.434 (.339 wOBA). An ever-so-sleight improvement on his 4.5 win “down year” in 2012, but not quite the guy he used to be. I still completely love this trade, though.

Emilio Bonifacio: 45 SB, .275/.336/.350. (.304 wOBA). Closer to his injury-riddled 2012 that his three win 2011, but splitting the difference nicely enough.

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