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Total Eclipse of the Park: Major League Edition

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Total Eclipse of the Park: Major League Edition

Postby WebHamster » Thu Jul 19, 2007 6:24 am

This thread contains comments on Matthew St-Germain's Article "Total Eclipse of the Park: Major League Edition", which was posted in the Cafe's Articles section on July 19, 2007. The full article can be read here.
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Re: Total Eclipse of the Park: Major League Edition

Postby Big Pimpin » Thu Jul 19, 2007 12:14 pm

Good read, but I disagree on a few points. I'm staying away from Gabbard. Not only is his track record not that good (look at his AAA stats from last year), but as soon as Schilling is back (soon) he's out of the rotation. He might be a decent pickup for a couple starts, but I don't think you'll get much more out of him than that. And I also disagree with your assessment of Adam Jones. He's a much better hitter this year than he was last year. He definitely has a bunch of Ks, but I'm not really worried about that. I don't think he'll hit .310 in the bigs this year or anything, but I would be surprised if he hit under .275. He could very well be the Mariner version of Pence. And in any case, he'll be a huge upgrade over Vidro (assuming they stick him in LF and move Ibanez to DH like they should) so he should stick in the lineup.

I say the odds are better that he hits like Pence than they are that he becomes worthless.
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Re: Total Eclipse of the Park: Major League Edition

Postby bloodface » Thu Jul 19, 2007 4:11 pm

Thanks for the replies, I love having these discussions.

I won't make a huge argument over Gabbard, because I specifically mentioned his value for your teams as that of a spot starter, but in order to make my argument more accessible, I'm going to put up some numbers to back my argument in the piece. I think you'll understand what I was talking about with adjustments. Yes, his 06 Pawtucket numbers weren't awesome, but his 07 Pawtucket numbers showed he adjusted, just like he'd done in every other advancement.

With regards to Adam Jones, what evidence are you using to support a .275+ BA? His track record says he won't hit greater than .250 in the bigs right now. The fact of the matter is that high BA's are directly correlated to a batters batting eye(k/b) and contact rate. Where he exists right now (EYE of .34, horrible, and ct% of 74.7, also terrible), in Triple-A with all his hits and home runs, is not good. He's feasting on substandard competition, however, the numbers that belie a very low major league batting average are clear as day right there on the paper. If he has terrible plate presence and patience in AAA, what makes you think it's going to get better with a move up in level?

His career K rate average is around 21%. Make no mistake, he's no Ryan Braun. When you are attempting to value these young players, instead of looking at what they bat in terms of average and home runs, look at how often they walk vs. strike out. Look at the percentage of their hits that are ground ball vs line-drive vs flyball. Look at the percentage of flyballs that they hit that turn into home runs. Look at the players contact rate. You calculate contact rate by doing the following: ((AB-K)/AB) Use 75% as your basement and 90% as your elite. Guys in the mid-80s are wonderful bets.

Adam Jones' contact rate at Tacoma this season? 74.7%

This does not portend well to the majors.

Jones' contact rate in the majors last year? 70.2%

He's a low-contact hitter. Pitchers at the major league level know what to do with these guys, and that is not throwing them anything they can drive. There's already some scouting on him from last year's call up, and with all the hype associated with him, I'm sure advanced scouting has already been done on him by contending teams. I'd advise against thinking you're going to get a whole lot of production out of him, even a .275 batting average.

To put Jones in comparison to Pence and Braun in regards of contact rate:

Pence (MLB) 2007 ct%: 81.1%
Pence (AAA) 2007 ct%: 83.5%
Pence (AA) 2006 ct%: 79.2%
Pence (A+) 2005 ct%: 75.5%
Pence (A) 2005 ct%: 82.5%

Braun (MLB) 2007 ct%: 77.3%
Braun (AAA) 2007 ct%: 90.6%
Braun (AA) 2006 ct%: 80.1%
Braun (A+) 2005 ct%: 77.6%
Braun (A) 2005 ct%: 85.4%

Jones (AAA) 2007 ct%: 74.7%
Jones (MLB) 2006 ct%: 70.2%
Jones (AAA) 2006 ct%: 79.5%
Jones (AA) 2005 ct%: 78.5%
Jones (A+) 2005 ct%: 76.4%
Jones (A) 2004 ct%: 75.7%

Jones has never cracked the 80% contact rate in his career, and you'll note, as he's progressed, his ct% got better, and then after his callup, it dropped significantly. While he's putting up better numbers at Tacoma this season, it's come at the expense of hit batting eye and thus contact rate. Notice before their jumps to the bigs, that both Pence and Braun were smashing the ball in AAA, to the tune of 83.5% and 90.6% contact rates. That 74.7% rate this season for Jones does not bode well once he faces much better pitching after a call up. Pence and Braun were able to adjust precisely because they could make contact with the ball, regardless of their low walk totals. Adam Jones cannot do that. His K rate is super high, meaning he's pretty much swinging for the fences every at bat. I don't know how you can't see this as a mixture for failure in the bigs, and it's likely a big reason he hasn't been called up yet.

I'm not saying his potential isn't great, it's just that, he probably will offer little to nothing in the second half of this season.
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Re: Total Eclipse of the Park: Major League Edition

Postby Big Pimpin » Thu Jul 19, 2007 8:41 pm

And yet I disagree. :-D

I guess I just don't take that much stock in the "indicators" any more. I've been burned so many times by paying attention to them that I've found them less important to watch. For instance, very few people thought Pence would continue to hit the way he hit in the minors and just watch him go. There are guys where the numbers just don't make sense. To put in some perspective...

Player       ct%    BA
Jones(AAA) 74.7% .312


Now look at some other hitters at the MLB level:

Player       ct%    BA
Soriano 78.7% .304
Wright 77.0% .297
Peralta 76.6% .286
Granderson 75.7% .296
Teahen 75.4% .284
Sizemore 74.7% .297
Duncan 70.9% .291
Upton 66.4% .332


All I want to show is that a low contact rate doesn't necessarily mean a low BA. I'm inclined to believe that with the talent Jones has and as hard as hits the ball (52 XBH in AAA) he's going to be fine. As I said, I've seen time after time that the numbers don't always add up. Anyway, no matter what the metrics say I'd still be very surprised if he hit under .275. I actually think he'll be a very solid contributer over the last couple months.

As far as why he hasn't been called up yet, he hadn't played in the corners at all, and he's been playing there over the past couple weeks. Additionally, the Mariner FO is consistently not that smart and worries about things like "chemistry" and "not breaking up a good thing." I can't help but think Vidro actually hitting over the past week or so is hurting the cause as well. But if they're smart and they want to win, they'll figure out soon enough that Jones would probably be the fourth or fifth best hitter on the team right now (after Ichiro, Guillen, Beltre, and maybe Johjima).

Anyway, I guess we shall see. B-)
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Re: Total Eclipse of the Park: Major League Edition

Postby bloodface » Thu Jul 19, 2007 9:23 pm

I would hope for comparison's sake you are using the contact rates from those players' first year or so, and not their contact rates from this season, because I would have a very easy answer for you. They all have been in the bigs for some time now, Adam Jones hasn't. In fact, all of these players you list would be exceptions to the rule. All the guys you list did not do good initially upon call up into the league. David Wright is the exception to all of the players you list. In his first season in the bigs had a 86% contact rate. Before his call up, at Triple-A, he had an 83% contact rate. That's 9% better than Adam Jones current rate.
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Re: Total Eclipse of the Park: Major League Edition

Postby bloodface » Thu Jul 19, 2007 10:14 pm

Youch!

Carpenter Out for Season
Joe Strauss, of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, reports St. Louis Cardinals SP Chris Carpenter (elbow) will undergo additional elbow surgery that will end his season and could cause him to miss a significant amount of the 2008 season. Details of the surgery have not been released, but according to sources involved, the surgery will replace the ligament in his elbow.
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Re: Total Eclipse of the Park: Major League Edition

Postby Big Pimpin » Fri Jul 20, 2007 10:02 am

bloodface wrote:I would hope for comparison's sake you are using the contact rates from those players' first year or so, and not their contact rates from this season, because I would have a very easy answer for you. They all have been in the bigs for some time now, Adam Jones hasn't. In fact, all of these players you list would be exceptions to the rule. All the guys you list did not do good initially upon call up into the league. David Wright is the exception to all of the players you list. In his first season in the bigs had a 86% contact rate. Before his call up, at Triple-A, he had an 83% contact rate. That's 9% better than Adam Jones current rate.


I'm just using contact rates from this year, and really I don't see why it matters. The only thing I wanted to show was that there are, like you said above, exceptions to the rule. Furthermore, while some of these guys struggled a bit (though a few of them didn't), they were sent down to work on what needed working on, came back up, and hit. Well shoot, I wonder who else did that? :-D

Anyway, I guess I'm saying that I'm not worried in the slightest. If I had to guess, I'd say that his contact rate falls somewhere in the 75-80% range once he's called up, as I said before I really don't think he'll hit under .275, and I certainly don't think he'll be a detriment to a fantasy team. With as hard as he hits the ball when he puts it in play, I'd take a chance on him in just about any format. And if the Jones owner in your league is down on him after reading this, I'd do what I can to trade for him. But that's just me. To each their own. B-)
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