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James Shields to KC?

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Re: James Shields to KC?

Postby mweir145 » Sun Sep 29, 2013 12:23 am

Skin Blues wrote:Meh. His xFIP jumped up half a run, SIERA went up 2/3 of a run, and he got lucky with his road HR/FB%.

Facing inferior competition (.744 opposition OPS in 2013 vs. .765 in 2012) in road parks that aren't complete HR-inflating bandboxes like all of those in the AL East has little to do with luck. As I mentioned repeatedly in this thread (and as Sarris referred to in his article), Shields' HR rate improvement was entirely predictable based on those factors.

I'm not surprised to see your new found faith in a single season's worth of ERA over the advanced statistics in light of the results, haha.

Straw man. I have no "new found faith in a single season's worth of ERA" over advanced stats for the purposes of evaluating pitchers. When I project Shields' 2014, for example, his peripherals will obviously carry far more weight than a result-based stat like ERA. The reason for ERA's particular citation in this instance, though, was your misguided claim that Shields would have a 4.10+ ERA in 2013 based on park factors/defense and my refutation to the contrary. In the end, Shields ended up having an ERA nearly a full run below that mark in 2013 (3.15). Perhaps the only thing more predictable about this entire saga than its outcome was that we've also now determined that you're completely incapable of admitting when you are wrong.
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Re: James Shields to KC?

Postby Skin Blues » Sun Sep 29, 2013 12:50 am

I didn't say I was right, his ERA was much lower than I predicted. You were right. Put that in your signature, write a new Dear Diary entry, or whatever you want. Have at it!
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Re: James Shields to KC?

Postby mweir145 » Sun Sep 29, 2013 1:43 am

Skin Blues wrote:I didn't say I was right, his ERA was much lower than I predicted. You were right. Put that in your signature, write a new Dear Diary entry, or whatever you want. Have at it!

Oh, I know. The rest is really superfluous.
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Re: James Shields to KC?

Postby OBPlover » Mon Sep 30, 2013 12:29 am

mweir145 wrote:
OBPlover wrote:It came as a surprise to me as it should to anyone else who took him. A pleasant surprise but that's baseball.

Perhaps if you had read this article last December (http://www.fangraphs.com/fantasy/james- ... d-divisio/) or any of my posts in this thread you wouldn't have been so surprised.

He was a disaster in Kauffman stadium (which hasn't been a pitcher's park in the past two years).

Calling what he did this year at home a disaster is laughable (3.92 FIP/3.98 xFIP), but if you believe that's the case, it surely would have been even more of a disaster in a home park that doesn't suppress HRs like Kauffman. The key for him in 2013, of course, was getting out of a division where he had to pitch frequently on the road in hitter's parks against top hitting teams (BOS, BAL, NY, TOR) to face teams like the White Sox and Twins.

His K/BB dropped and his BAA increased.

The K/BB drop was more than made up by the significant improvement in his HR rate (which has always been his only real weakness as a pitcher).

His ERA should have climbed this year but he got lucky. He's a good sell high in a keeper league.

Lucky? His FIP (3.47) was identical to what it was in 2012 and only .05 off of what it was in 2011 (3.42). His fWAR (4.5) was the best of his career yet (tied with 2011). He also led the AL in innings pitched (228.2) and made it now 7 straight years of 200+ IP (3rd in the majors in IP over that time).

Sell high if you want, but he hasn't given any good reason to doubt him yet (in fact, the HR issue that plagued him at the beginning of his career has only been improving since 2011). Shields is a picture of consistency. One of only a few pitchers in this sport you can say that about at the moment.


A whole lot of improbabilities contributed as a whole to help keep Shields' ERA down.

First, I noticed you were predicting improvement due to his increased number of starts against the Twins/White Sox. But you conveniently omitted the Tigers. The Tigers offense, though very good (thanks mostly to the beast they have batting third) was generally a big disappointment. Prince Fielder's OPS was 100 points lower than his career OPS. AJ was a bust. Perahlta got petco'd and Victor Martinez's first half was a disaster. Sooner or later though the Tigers are going to have more going for them than MC.

Don't get me wrong about the Twins and White Sox. The White Sox are awful. (And yours truly made the bold prediction that they would finish last). However, the level of futility from these clubs was based upon the Twins decent middle of the order Mauer-WIllingham-Morneau being even more injured and/or futile than expected. Combined with young Outfielders that were just terrible (I'm looking at you Hicks). This can not be expected to continue indefinitely. The White Sox were crap as Konerko just imploded and Dunn being terrible in the first half leading to trading away Rios for the rest of the year. The White Sox did after all, have the 4th best offense last year in Runs Scored.

Not to mention that the Royals DID have terrible defense last year by just about every metric.
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Re: James Shields to KC?

Postby mweir145 » Mon Sep 30, 2013 5:34 pm

OBPlover wrote:A whole lot of improbabilities contributed as a whole to help keep Shields' ERA down.

Except it mostly had to do with his HR/FB% declining leading to an improvement in his HR rate. This should have been no surprise considering Shields began facing weaker opposition more often in road parks that limited HRs much more than those in the AL East. As I mentioned repeatedly in this thread, this was a reasonably foreseeable effect of his move to KC.

First, I noticed you were predicting improvement due to his increased number of starts against the Twins/White Sox. But you conveniently omitted the Tigers. The Tigers offense, though very good (thanks mostly to the beast they have batting third) was generally a big disappointment. Prince Fielder's OPS was 100 points lower than his career OPS. AJ was a bust. Perahlta got petco'd and Victor Martinez's first half was a disaster. Sooner or later though the Tigers are going to have more going for them than MC.

Don't get me wrong about the Twins and White Sox. The White Sox are awful. (And yours truly made the bold prediction that they would finish last). However, the level of futility from these clubs was based upon the Twins decent middle of the order Mauer-WIllingham-Morneau being even more injured and/or futile than expected. Combined with young Outfielders that were just terrible (I'm looking at you Hicks). This can not be expected to continue indefinitely. The White Sox were crap as Konerko just imploded and Dunn being terrible in the first half leading to trading away Rios for the rest of the year. The White Sox did after all, have the 4th best offense last year in Runs Scored.

I didn't omit the Tigers or anybody else. James Shields had an average opposition OPS of .744 in 2013 (which takes into account all the batters he faced over the course of the season), a major dropoff from his level of competition in 2012 (.765 OPS). Factually, he simply faced weaker hitters this season (an expected result of his move considering the Central has weaker offenses than the East) and doing so benefited his results (also expected).

Not to mention that the Royals DID have terrible defense last year by just about every metric.

If you mean 2012 with that statement, that isn't true. They were about an average defensive team in 2012 (ranked 13th in DRS and 20th in UZR). The fact that they improved to become the best in the entire league in 2013 was a bit unexpected, but as I mentioned in this thread last December, the Royals did, in fact, project to be very good in this area going forward (and sure enough, they were).

mweir145 wrote:The only question remains team defense and how much that will hurt him. I believe you've completely overstated just how bad KC is in that area, though. They have three excellent defensive players in Gordon, Moustakas, and Cain that they didn't have just a few years ago (well Gordon was there, just playing a bad 3B), a SS in Escobar who looks like he could be fantastic defensively at the position, and a catcher who is arguably among the best in the game defensively already in Perez. This isn't a team with a bunch of butchers in the field, they project to be quite good in this area going forward. Will Shields miss Zobrist, Longoria, and Tampa's defensive schemes? Sure. But the rest of the advantages that he's going to gain should more than make up for it especially if KC's team defense is as good as it appears it could be.
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Re: James Shields to KC?

Postby OBPlover » Tue Oct 01, 2013 2:05 am

Except it mostly had to do with his HR/FB% declining leading to an improvement in his HR rate. This should have been no surprise considering Shields began facing weaker opposition more often in road parks that limited HRs much more than those in the AL East. As I mentioned repeatedly in this thread, this was a reasonably foreseeable effect of his move to KC.


his Hr/FB% was significantly higher in Kauffman stadium than it was on the road..contrary to your suggestion that Kauffman suppresses HRs. Anyways, even if his HR% declines, his K/BB dipped, leading to his WHIP increasing, which increases the probability that the decline in HRs allowed will be offset by allowing those HR's with more men on base.


I didn't omit the Tigers or anybody else. James Shields had an average opposition OPS of .744 in 2013 (which takes into account all the batters he faced over the course of the season), a major dropoff from his level of competition in 2012 (.765 OPS). Factually, he simply faced weaker hitters this season (an expected result of his move considering the Central has weaker offenses than the East) and doing so benefited his results (also expected).


There was definitely a dropoff in the quality of opposition, but as I pointed out this wasn't as expected as you suggest. Baltimore and Toronto actually had pretty mediocre offenses last year. Detroit and Cleveland were expected to improve offensively this year. Minnesota and Chicago fell faster than anyone could have anticipated.

If you mean 2012 with that statement, that isn't true. They were about an average defensive team in 2012 (ranked 13th in DRS and 20th in UZR). The fact that they improved to become the best in the entire league in 2013 was a bit unexpected, but as I mentioned in this thread last December, the Royals did, in fact, project to be very good in this area going forward (and sure enough, they were).


The Royals were 20th in UZR and the Rays were 6th. Expecting the difference in defense not to have an impact was unrealistic.
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Re: James Shields to KC?

Postby mweir145 » Tue Oct 01, 2013 6:25 pm

OBPlover wrote:his Hr/FB% was significantly higher in Kauffman stadium than it was on the road..contrary to your suggestion that Kauffman suppresses HRs.

While Kauffman may not suppress HRs more than his previous home in Tampa, it does suppress HRs more than many other parks. As I mentioned repeatedly in this thread, though, the key for Shields in 2013 was the difference between pitching regularly on the road in bandboxes like Camden Yards, Yankee Stadium, Rogers Centre, and Fenway and pitching regularly in the road parks in the AL Central.

Anyways, even if his HR% declines, his K/BB dipped, leading to his WHIP increasing, which increases the probability that the decline in HRs allowed will be offset by allowing those HR's with more men on base.

Despite whatever he may have lost from less strikeouts, the predictable HR% decline (due to weaker competition and less HR-prone offensive parks) proved to be the difference in keeping his ERA down and his FIP at the same level.

There was definitely a dropoff in the quality of opposition, but as I pointed out this wasn't as expected as you suggest. Baltimore and Toronto actually had pretty mediocre offenses last year. Detroit and Cleveland were expected to improve offensively this year.

It was pretty expected. The AL East projected to be the strongest division in baseball in 2013 (which it was) with the Red Sox and Jays improving themselves significantly offensively and the Orioles already having a very good young core in place and the AL Central projected to be quite poor as usual (which it also was, although the Indians did improve more than many thought).

Minnesota and Chicago fell faster than anyone could have anticipated.

Anyone apparently didn't include me. It wasn't too difficult to anticipate that a White Sox team that was tanking, whose best offensive players from 2012 included the 37 year old Paul Konerko, the ever-inconsistent Alex Rios, and a fast declining Adam Dunn, would be poor offensively. As far as the Twins went, they hadn't been particularly good offensively since 2010 when Justin Morneau and Jim Thome could still hit. Since then, it's basically been Joe Mauer and a bunch of crap (and it's not like they made any significant efforts in the offseason to rectify that situation). Their poor performance considering all those factors was no surprise either.

Certainly nobody would have or could have reasonably made the argument last March that the AL Central would be a better offensive division than the East.

The Royals were 20th in UZR and the Rays were 6th. Expecting the difference in defense not to have an impact was unrealistic.

If you read my post from December that I quoted, you'll note that I wrote that I expected a difference but that the difference would likely not be deleterious enough to make up for the benefits from ballpark and competition (due to the Royals actually having a very good defensive base in place and the potential for significant improvement in this area). As it turned out, I was as right on the mark in this regard as anything from last winter's thread. The Royals defense even improved enough to be a huge positive for Shields and not a dropoff at all from his days in Tampa. All the better for him (and me, I suppose, with my projection for him).

I'm not entirely sure why you continue to engage in an argument that you were never part of (and an argument that already essentially reached its expected conclusion when Shields turned in the great season that he did due to the predicted elements of weaker competition/ballpark factors/plus defense). But it is giving me a flashback of the good old days here at the Cafe, so I suppose I have to thank you for that.
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