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Postby Erboes » Thu Dec 11, 2003 3:30 pm

This is starting to give me a headache. I will answer your questions but from here on out I'd prefer to let this matter drop.

Blalock -- I went through every season since 1998 (minus any who have retired or are out of baseball. The totals of the seasons were well over a thousand, so I am pretty sure of this figure. I did, however, omit part time players who haven't had enough at bats to draw any conclusions from) and used the dollar values provided by the Forecaster (and the HQ site for '03) and discovered that 2/3's of the time hitters -- no matter what the age -- have their numbers fluctuate by + or - $5 or more the following seasons. Like LCBoy says, everyone knows this basic fact, right? I don't think so. If you give any fantasy baseball person a list of 100 hitters and asked them to project their numbers for next season, I'll bet you at least 2/3's of their projections would be about the same as the players prior seasons. If you doubt it look at all these mock drafts and see how closely it mirrors last season's numbers.

What I call this is nothing more than creating a rule of thumb. If you believe Blalock is unlikely to repeat last season's numbers, then the question is, will he do better or worse than last season's numbers. Like I explained in a prior post, I don't think he will judging by his minor league numbers. This is NOT a sure thing, but just a guess, which I think that is all he was asking for.

This differs from what I was doing with the "career year" and "bounce back" statistics. I only found 124 instances where players were coming off career years, which I simply defined as a +$5 value from about their norm. I'm sure this is not enough of a sample size to pass scientific muster, but I do think it is enough to create another rule of thumb. Of those 124, 108 (87%) had their values drop by at least $5 the following seasons, 8 (6.5%) improved by +5%, and 8 had their values remain about the same (within + or -$5) the following season.

I explained the "comeback" player statistics earlier, so please don't make me do it again. I found 106 total instances of them, with a 60%-16%-24% split. Again, it's a good rule of thumb I believe.

When I find time I will go through players first three seasons. I did not include them in the comeback and career year players above because I figured it takes three years for a player to create a norm. I'll look through these seasons and see if I can find any semblence of a pattern.

I did include all players' seasons except for those first three seasons, including players over 30. I mentioned Alou and Alomar amongst others earlier because every player reaches the end of the line eventually, like these two players seem to be, so that skews the "comeback" statistics. My only point was, when players are reaching the end of the road or have two injured seasons in a row (Dye and Griffey, for example), they will naturally not always bounce back. If you take these types of players out of the calculations (which I didn't), the players who actually do bounce back will be over 80%. I just posted this because I think that is where the 80% figure came from in earlier posts, which I was mistaken on. Nor have I broken these down to age groups. I do have a life you know. I can say with confidence, though, that the older you get the likelihood of you bouncing back after bad seasons decreases. There's nothing ground breaking about that though.

Look, here's the bottom line. How many times have you heard or said something similar to, "Man, my season was lost because of ______ (Fill in the blank). That shit hit 40 homers last season and only hit me 25 this year. Bastard"? Well, maybe we shouldn't be surprised by this stuff because it really is the norm. Or, how about this, "That idiot picked ______ in the tenth round and he hit 40 homers. No wonder he won the championship"?

I will go through the first three seasons of some of these players and see what I find, but I am using this logic when I said Hinske will have a better season than Blalock. We shall see who is right.
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Postby LCBOY » Thu Dec 11, 2003 4:24 pm

Erboes wrote: But why is it when someone brings up a varifiable claim such as this it gets attacked but when someone calls a player the next "George Brett" no one says a thing? I'm trying to bring as much objective thought to this very muddled process, that is all. "FAR from convincing"?


Erbos, I guess you didn't read my "George Brett" post carefully enough. I didn't say he was the "next" George Brett. I said he COULD be the next George Brett, if the Rangers are really, really, really, lucky. Perhaps I jumped the gun a bit but Blalock reminds me of Brett.

Here are Brett's numbers at age 21 and 22

Age 21: .282/.312/.363 129 hits, 49 R, 21 doubles, 5 triples, 2 HRs, 47 RBIs
Age 22: .308/.353/.456 195 hits, 84 R, 35 doubles, 13 triples, 11 HRs, 89 RBIs


Here are Blalock's stats:
Age 21: .211/.306/.327, 31 hits, 16 runs, 8 doubles, 0 triples, 3 HRs, 17 RBIs
Age 22: .300/.350/.522, 170 hits, 89 Runs, 29 doubles, 3 Triples, 29 HRs, 90 RBIs

Brett was better at age 21 but about even at age 22. So I checked Baseball-Reference.com to check Blalock's similarity score. I was suprised to find out that at age 22 he was most similar to Scott Rolen.

Scott Rolen at age 22:

age 22: .283/.377/.469 164 hits, 93 runs,45 doubles, 3 triples, 21 HRs, 92 RBIs

So I guess I'm more comfortable comparing Blalock with Rolen.

Erobos,
I was speaking in generalities about young players improving. That doesn't mean every young player improves. But the general trend is upward improvement. I do have some questions:

1) Why do you only go back five years, Why not ues ALL of baseball history. Player improvement has been studied for years, since at least the ealy 1980s

2) Why do you compare Blalock to outfielders and first baseman?


I pull out some of my old sabermetics book and find some of the studies. I'll post some of the stuff very soon...
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Postby ramble2 » Thu Dec 11, 2003 6:27 pm

Okay, it's a bit clearer now. I'm not sure why you dislike explaining this so much. Bold claims of proving or discovering some trend or phenomen demand strong evidence. It's not enough to just take someone at their word that they proved something.

I agree that one year's worth of statistics isn't the best indicator. 3-year averages tend to be better. Magglio Ordonez is a good example. He had a dropoff in '03 compared to '02, but was pretty much in line with his career numbers.

Regarding Blalock. Young player with good skills, showing improvement. Hits in a good park, with a good lineup around him. Will be entering his third year with a spot in the lineup, so will be getting even more comfortable in MLB. I'd say he has the tendency to keep improving and developing as a player, and that there is a good chance that this will translate into better numbers next year.

Hinske will also play better. He was hurt last year.
"The game has a cleanness. If you do a good job, the numbers say so. You don't have to ask anyone or play politics. You don't have to wait for the reviews." - Sandy Koufax
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Postby Erboes » Thu Dec 11, 2003 7:02 pm

All baseball history? Have you gone insane, man? I just looked at something for a few year that piqued my curiosity and that is enough for me. If you want to embark on such an endeavor, by all means, go ahead.

Why shouldn't I compare him to other positions?

We'll see about Blalock. I have no reason not to think he'll be a fine player for years to come, it's just next year that I have doubts about. Some players first three years go, +, ++, +++ (like Pujols). Others are +, -, ++. Others are -,+, -. It all depends on the player. Look at Burrell's: +,++, --, and last off-season we had the same "superstar" talk that we have with Blalock. Blalock started his career with a big double negative his rookie year and turned it around to a double plus last season. What will he do next season?

I will be doing further research on this, though, and will report my findings to this prostigious board for review.
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Postby ramble2 » Thu Dec 11, 2003 8:52 pm

Well, Erboes, I disagree about your assesment of Blalock for next year. I think he'll put up good numbers. I'm curious, though, what you think of Vernon Wells (another player I'm high on for the future).
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Postby Erboes » Thu Dec 11, 2003 9:39 pm

Well, Ramble, here are my projections for Wells for next season:

Avg: .295
HR's: 31
RBI's: 105
Runs: 104
SB's: 6

In short, I got him down for a slide. Again, this is not an indication for anything beyond next season. You asked for my projections for him and I gave them.
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Hank the Bank

Postby Peter_Gammons_Replacement » Fri Dec 12, 2003 1:58 am

Hank the Bank is an annual All-Star & Future Hall of Famer. For crying outloud, he's still just a KID and putting up these #'s.

He may never hit 40 HR's, but he's as solid of young hitter as you'll find in baseball. Expect a .300 average 20-25 HR's and near 100 RBI's year in, year out.

Only better 3B I see better in baseball are Chavez and Rolen -- and both their advantages lie on defense.
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