Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

A winning season, in a sense.

Technically, the Giants had a winning season. 84-78. If you were to look at their Pythagorean record, comparing runs scored to runs allowed, they should have been 89-73, and the Dodgers should have been as well. But the Giants were five wins worse than their run differential would indicate and the Dodgers were three better, so the Giants go back home while the Dodgers enter the playoffs.

All in all, it's hard to complain as a Giants fan. From 2010-14, we won three of five World Series. And as someone who originally named this blog "Waiting For Rings" I initially decided the Giants wouldn't win another World Series until 2015. I was wrong... they won't win it this year, but they certainly beat my expectations with those three Series wins.

We had the usual. Great seasons by Buster Posey and Madison Bumgarner, and a potential Rookie of the Year in Matt Duffy. While it's hard to declare that having Joe Panik remain healthy during August and September would have changed our fortunes, especially since Kelby Tomlinson did an admirable job in his absence, it certainly stung a little to lose our All-Star second baseman.

Joe Panik's performance at second base this year is the best we've had since Jeff Kent back in 2002. I like Panik as a player. He isn't what traditional scouts would describe as a "tools" player, but he has a great batting eye, excellent contact skills, and enough power that pitchers can't ignore him as a threat.

I've always liked players with that sort of profile. I suppose the infatuation with contact/patience hitters began in 1996 when I watched Bill Mueller when I was 11. I didn't really understand baseball too much outside of playing Super Baseball Simulator 1,000 and Ken Griffey Jr. Presents, so when Bill Mueller was hitting .442 I wanted him to push his average up to .500.

Obviously, that was unrealistic but he still hit an excellent .330 that season. I haven't always been correct in my predictions. For example, I am Conor Gillaspie's biggest fan outside of his family and fiance and he did not meet my expectations this year. But I think next year he could make a comeback and put together a solid year at the plate.

It's been a frustrating year for Giants fans but we got to see some great talent. However, I'll be honest here. Some of the thrill is gone. I enjoyed going to games more in 1997 and 1998 when the Giants were a good team that still couldn't pull huge attendance numbers. This year, I'd like to see the Blue Jays win the World Series. Won't bet on it, but it's a hope I suppose.

Have a great afternoon and keep being baseballs.

Friday, January 20, 2012

My Yu Darvish Prediction

I think he's going to be great for the first two years. People will have trouble figuring him out early on, and he'll have a couple of stellar seasons and a ROTY/Cy Young candidate.

Then when people begin to figure him out, he'll probably have to adjust his delivery and will end up just being a solid mid-rotation starter. The first couple of years, he'll be worth his contract, but after that he'll become Randy "Woof" Wolf with too long of a contract.

Not that I don't like Randy Wolf... he's certainly been a better investment than Barry Zito. But if I were running a team, I wouldn't have placed that much money, or that many years, on someone who has never pitched in the MLB.

I mean, it's hard enough to calculate "MLE" but with entirely different leagues and a much smaller sample size of players (Japanese pitchers in MLB) you really can't decide that there is a set trend for them to follow.

Of course, this isn't just about giving an unknown commodity a 6-year contract. Pitchers in general shouldn't be getting really long contracts because of the risks of injury and BABIP fluke seasons that can fool those who aren't careful.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A Dated Blog Name

I started this blog about 5 years ago, "Waiting for Rings" referring to me waiting for the Giants to win a World Series. I declared at some point that they'd win one by 2015. I thought it'd be more likely to be 2015 than 2010, but fortunately, I was wrong.

I still want to update about the Giants, but this blog name stands out as an anachronism in this new time for Giants fans.

I'm known (not very well) as Conor Gillaspie's biggest fan-boy. I started his Facebook fan page and put a bit of money to advertise it to targeted groups, even. That being said, it's hard for me to separate my desire for Conor to succeed with the facts, so I am probably not the best person when it comes to analysis of his value in the major leagues.

I am sure that he'd out-hit Aubrey Huff. His MLE (Major League Equivalency) has improved each year in the minors. It went from .213/.268/.278 in 2009 (San Jose) to .234/.273/.332 in 2010 (Richmond) to .252/.328/.372 in 2011 (Fresno.)

The one concern that stands out to me for Gillaspie is how much he got caught stealing. He does seem to be a smart baserunner, with 8 triples in 2010 and 6 in 2011, but a 50% CS rate is far too high. He needs to either not attempt to steal as often or try to learn to read pitchers better.

I think Gillaspie is ready to be a positive contributor to the 2011 Giants. In a full season of starting, I'd see him with about 2.0 WAR (mostly offense and a token 0.1+ WAR for average defense) and a dark horse ROTY candidate. However, the Giants will probably use him as a backup for Sandoval and perhaps Huff/Belt/Melky, and he won't get more than 150 at-bats barring a serious injury.

Part of me wants him to spend 2012 in the minors for a better shot at getting ROTY consideration in a full-time role for 2013, but I think both Gillaspie and the Giants would benefit more from having him on the roster this season.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Conor Gillaspie: The next Jeff Cirilo?

Before I do any deeper analysis, my prediction is that Conor Gillapise will have stats similar to Jeff Cirilo’s, but with a higher OPS+ because Cirilo’s stats were “Coors”flated. For example, Bill Mueller’s career OPS is .797, and his career OPS+ is 109, meaning he is 9% better in terms of OPS than the average player. In terms of run production, Mueller was more than 9% better than the average player, because while his slugging of .425 was well within the margin of error of the slugging of an average player (.429.) his OBP of .373 is significantly superior to the average player.

Chart:

Mueller:

OBP+

OPS+

SLG+

110

109

99

Since OBP is more valuable for a team than SLG in general, I believe that the OPS+ should be weighting at the level that each stat, OBP and SLG, effects the game. Otherwise, OPS+ becomes misleading, as you could have a .300 OBP, .500 SLG guy and a .400/.400 guy both with an OPS+ of 110. Now, on to Jeff Cirlio. Cirilo is regarded as better player than Mueller and I believe this is only for one reason; he stayed healthy. Had Mueller stayed healthy after 2005, I imagine his numbers would practically mirror Cirillo’s, and right now he’d be a 39 year old pinch hitter and spot starter hitting .280 with no power. But sadly, even though he wants to play, there’s no magic operation to put cartilage in his knee. That is why I have chosen to live vicariously through Conor Gillaspie, or what I want him to be, at least.

On the surface, Cirilo and Mueller have nearly identical numbers. Cirilo’s batting average and slugging percentage his 5 points higher, and Mueller has six more points of OBP, giving him a one point advantage in OPS. Essentially, based just on those stats, these two players are the same. However, it is not quite that simple. Cirilo spent two years with the Rockies, putting up numbers better than most of his numbers in Milwaukee, but with a lower OPS+. Thus, the two years of Coorsflation make Cirilo and Mueller appear equal, when Mueller had the slightly better career of the two offensively. Defensively, Cirilo is better however, as overall in his career he gives teams 9.7 runs a year (projected for partial seasons) on defense. Mueller is average defensively, but this total is not quite accurate. He makes teams lose -0.1 runs on average per year, but if you count only from 1996-2000, before his first knee injury, teams averaged a gain of 2.24 runs a year. Thus, Mueller went from a slightly above average to slightly below average fielder in his career.

Now the question: Is Conor Gillaspie like these two players? Or is the next Wade Boggs? Or to be slightly pessimistic, is he Todd Walker? Or to be a typical Giants fan doomsayer, is he our Sean Burroguhs, a third baseman with absolutely no power? To start, we will take the age 21 season of each of these players and compare them We will also compare each of their stops (up to A+) so far, taking account for the ages of each player. I still suspect Cirilo or Mueller will be the best match, but I am open to any of the options. I will also compare college stats of all the players who went to college.

So far from my analysis, I observe that Jeff Cirilo played at class A at age 22 and hit .304 with 9 home runs. Conor Gillaspie, at age 21, hit .286 with 4 home runs. Cirilo walked more and showed a little more power, but Gillaspie is a year younger in a higher league. So far, it looks like the two players could be considered similar. Bill Mueller comparisons are yet to be made because Mueller did not play in the minors until age 22.

Overall, I believe my Gillaspie/Cirlio comparisons should be somewhat accurate.


Next week, I will have a more in-depth article.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Get ready for 2009!

I'm ready!
*anvil falls on my head*

Oh wait, this is not a comic or comedy.

My life is, but more on that later.

The Renteria signing smells bad. I call .260, 10 HR. I don't expect anything like .300. He'll hit like mediocrity. Short blog, but expect mediocrity and get excited if he hits .300.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

I aimed far too high.

When the season started, I thought I was being realistic by giving the Giants a .500 record. I thought the acquisition of Ryan Klesko would be a significant improvement over the Niekro/Sweeney fiasco of the last two years. I was wrong. More about the record than about Klesko, who has done decently for a first baseman, though his hitting is sub par for the position.

The Giants have gone from a consistent winner to a train wreck, and our moves this past offseason did nothing to help us. The Giants of 2005 and 2006 struggled due more to poor hitting than poor pitching. The 2005 Giants were a punchless lineup that had Pedro Feliz lead the team with 20 home runs. The 2006 Giants had Barry Bonds, but not quite the same Barry we remembered.

The 2007 Giants added Barry Zito. An above-average pitcher being paid an ace's wage. And we didn't even need him. Without Zito, we'd still have a solid pitching staff. At the start of the season we would have had Cain, Morris, Lowry, Lincecum, Ortiz/Sanchez/Corriea. Not bad at all. If we had spent Zito's salary on a hitter, we'd probably have hit... that magic .500 number.

This is what the Giants need to do to get back on track for the upcoming years.

Keep our pitching staff pretty much in-tact. Cain and Lincecum are the start of something scary, something 1997 Braves scary. Those two, plus some other decent arms will be enough for our pitching. Our pitching is pretty much good enough for the next few years.

Replace Klesko, Feliz, Aurillia, and yes, even Vizquel. And of course, replace Bonds. Barry won't be playing by the time the Giants are competitive again. Durham might not either.

The following positions need to be fixed immeidately:
First Base
Third Base

The following positions are a couple years away from needing a quick replacement:
Second Base
Shortstop
Left Field
Center Field

The following positions do not suck that much:

Right Field
Catcher

We need to rebuild completely for our 2015 world series run. 2015. Yep.