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.









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.