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 Post subject: Re: Piecoro Dishes on D Backs offseason on Keith Law's Podca
 Post Posted: Sat Mar 23, 2013 9:37 pm 
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levski wrote:
stu wrote:
dbackfanron wrote:
I'm thinking 83-85 at best.


Lev used to have a line about this: "The tyranny of low expectations" or something like that. This was an 86 win team with Upton at a 107 OPS+ and Kennedy below average. If they don't match 86 wins this season the seasonis a fail IMO (plus I lose a bet).


The soft bigotry of low expectations. And it's not my line, it's Dubya's.

http://archive.newsmax.com/archives/art ... 0923.shtml


Ah, that's it. Sorry no insult meant.

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 Post subject: Re: Piecoro Dishes on D Backs offseason on Keith Law's Podca
 Post Posted: Sat Mar 23, 2013 9:41 pm 
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levski wrote:
stu wrote:
shoewizard wrote:
Nick is always pretty fair and objective.


That would be enough to get him fired from the Dbacks.


Nick doesn't work for the Dbacks. He works for the AZ Republic. Big difference. AZ Republic used to have a small ownership part in the Dbacks but I believe they sold it a while ago, around the time Kendrick began consolidating power and kicked Jeff Moorad to the curb. So Nick can be as objective as he wants.

There's always the risk that the Dbacks may try to make Nick's work more difficult, but I don't see how they can do that without looking terrible. They cannot ban Nick from covering the team without incurring the wrath of BBWAA. And they cannot be preventing Nick from doing his job as a reporter.

Sure, Gibson can be grumpy to Nick, but who cares. I think he gets along with the players just fine.

Steve works for MLB, which is a different animal altogether. He cannot be critical to MLB, or to any of the teams, without probably risking his job. The Dbacks probably indirectly pay some part of his salary. You can easily see the difference in the writing. Not sure if he is required to wear Dbacks polo shirts.


Steve seems to cut loose a little more with the dry cynical wit on twitter. That medium was made for his "true self" ;)


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 Post subject: Re: Piecoro Dishes on D Backs offseason on Keith Law's Podca
 Post Posted: Sun Mar 24, 2013 6:00 am 
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Ok Stu, here is how I spent my Sunday. I hope you're happy !! :D

Please note where my brain, and the data took me may not correspond exactly to our previous discussion. So forgive me if it doesn't. Nothing is presented to either prove anyone else right or wrong about anything...(well, other than Kevin Towers of course. ;)

But hopefully you will find something useful here.

Methodology
First I put together an average of some WAR projections, as available on Fangraphs. For hitters I used Steamer, Oliver, and ZIPS. The simple reason is those are the systems that had WAR. (Bill James projections did not have WAR, and the "FANS" projections are too fanboyish, and tend to be high). Those WAR projections are Fangraphs WAR. They fed the projections into their system, and thats what it spit out. It would have been better if I had bWAR projections based on the same set of projections, especially for the pitchers, as the pitcher WAR is based on FIP/xFIP, and I have some reservations about that. But it is what it is.

For Pitchers I was only able to use Steamer and ZIPS, as Oliver did not have any WAR projections included.

For the hitters I pro rated all the WAR projections to 500 PA's, then got an average per 500 PA for each system and added them together, and then input my own playing time projections and pro rated to that to get the final projected WAR for the player and for team total. For pitchers I did more or less the same things, pro rating to 100 IP, then projecting IP, and pro rating the final pitcher WAR projections.

What I am ultimately comparing is projected postion player WAR and projected pitcher WAR, and the total of the two, to the last couple of seasons to get a sense of where this team as currently constructed stacks up to the last couple of versions of the team, at least at the "true talent" level,. My opinion of "Better or Worse" is more or less based on this. The way the data played out pretty much coincided with what I had from calculations I had in my head. But it was good to actually put it in a spreadsheet and see if it was true or not. Of course I had to make some subjective calls on who will actually play in the majors this year.

Before I start presenting Data, Some words on playing time projections:

Some say projecting playing time is a fools errand, and off course there is a ton of fluctuation due to unkowns about injury. In truth, projections are really only useful for looking at rate of production. BUT.....at the end of the day all the systems have to input playing time , and all the systems end up getting applied to some kind of simulation or standings projection. So you have to do it. You have to project playing time. And all too often this area is just not given enough attention by the forecasters because they feel the bang for the buck in their effort is just not there. Because it's just so volatile. But if you are going to use your system to project standings you have to at least try. It's an area where I have spent a lot of time and work in the past and I have some good systems that work if I have the time to execute properly. But today I took shortcuts, and am not as precise, but these will work.

For playing time projections I took a look at the last two season for the team, total PA's and total IP. A quick word about this too. Total team PA's and IP will fluctuate around a few factors. A team that wins a lot on the road will usually have a few more IP than the league avg as they are pitching in the bottom of the 9th a lot. Conversely, a team that has an average offense, but wins a lot at home thanks to a good bullpen will have fewer PA's, as they don't hit as often in the bottom of the 9th, and they don't blow 9th inning leads either so they don't play a lot of extra inning games. Of course an offense with a really high OBP will tend to have higher total PA's as they come to the plate more, especially if they pitch poorly at home and hit in the bottom of the 9th a lot. Got that ?

So I then broke it down by Catcher/Infield/Outfield/Pitchers, and then again by Starters, Reserves, and Pitchers.
Essentially you have to account for all playing time in those groupings within a pretty tight range of the last two years average.


Anyway.....here are some numbers to get us started.

Code:
Year            PA   Pos War   IP   P War ttl WAR
2012 Pos & P   6150   26.6   1434   21.0   47.6
2011 Pos & P   6096   29.9   1443   16.3   46.2
2yr. average   6123   28.3   1439   18.7   46.9
2013 Pos & P   6125   25.3   1440   18.8   44.1
Ovr/Und 2012  -25.0   -1.3    6.0   -2.2   -3.5
Ovr/Und 2011   29.0   -4.6   -3.0    2.5   -2.1
Ovr/Un 11-12    2.0   -3.0    1.5   0.2   -2.8


I'm gonna post this much here first, and then keep going in the next post, because the damn thing just timed out on and I lost a bunch of stuff....grrrrrrr.............

Please read the following two posts as well, as they are an extension of this post.


Last edited by shoewizard on Sun Mar 24, 2013 7:31 am, edited 3 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Piecoro Dishes on D Backs offseason on Keith Law's Podca
 Post Posted: Sun Mar 24, 2013 6:21 am 
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Ok, so what to we have here.

First you will see that I have shown the Positional WAR and Pitcher War and the total for 2012, 2011, the avg of the two, and then the 2013 projections for the same, and finally, an over under for the projections vs. each season and the average.

It's interesting to look at 2012 and 2011 details. The difference in those two season's positional WAR is almost all defense and baserunning. Both teams had a wRC+ of 95. But the 2011 team had 62 defensive Runs saved vs 24 for the 2012 team. The 2011 team's total was more than half due to Young, Parra and Upton. What a great outfield that was. For the pitching side, the 2012 team actually pitched better than the 2011 team as a group, but thanks to the difference in defense, the 2011 ERA- was 94 compared to 2012 ERA- 97. (Lower is better, opposite of ERA+).

In 2011 we had some really bad pitching performances and negative WAR put up by just a few guys in a few innings. In 2012 the position players were more extreme....more negative performance offsetting some really high levels of performance from a few guys.

At this point it's important to note something Dave Cameron said HERE

Quote:
The projected WAR totals here are higher than observed WAR totals because projections essentially put a lower bound on bad performances, with very few players projected for negative WAR. Because of injuries and the non-normal distribution of variance around a player’s true mean, it’s easier to underperform than overperform projections, and inevitably, there will be below replacement level performances in MLB next year. Because of this lower bound, the replacement level in this system is more like 39 wins, so adjust accordingly


I will try to get the spreadsheets posted here a little later, but I can tell you that there are no negative WAR numbers projected. Of course there are no outlier BIG WAR numbers projected either. Montero's 4.3 clocks in as the highest. But it's concerned that the overall projection is obviously lower than 2012, 2011, and the avg of both.

What this means is that the actual WAR is likely to be even a little lower than the projected WAR and that would make the negative shortfall in 2013 compared to 2012 and 2011 even greater than that showed in the table in the post above.

By the way, if you add the 39 wins total WAR for 2011-2012, you come up with numbers (85.2 & 86.6) strikingly close to the team's pythag, so the system is working it seems. Adding 39 to the projected 2013 WAR of 44 gives you 83 Wins. But the projected WAR is likely higher than what the actual WAR will be, as per Cameron, so 83 would seem like the upper band, and most likely this is still an 81 win team, give or take.

So the bottom line here is this team projects to be worse than 2012 and 2011 at the true talent and pythag level. In other words, Towers has been spinning his wheels. He made a lot of moves, but he most certainly did not improve the base talent level of this club, and he probably even knocked it back a bit. More on that in the NEXT post.


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 Post subject: Re: Piecoro Dishes on D Backs offseason on Keith Law's Podca
 Post Posted: Sun Mar 24, 2013 7:06 am 
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OK...so while I was doing this, I spent some extra time doing a "What If"

My what If's included:

1.) What if we never made the Parker-Cook-Cowgill for Cahill/Breslow trade.
2.) What if we never signed Jason Kubel
3.) What if we signed Jose Reyes
4.) What if we only only signed one of Bloomquist or McDonald last year. (for this exercise I chose McDonald to backup Reyes)
5.) What if we signed Matt Lindstrom
6.) What if we never made the Young/Pennington/Bell deal
7.) What if we never made the Hinske signing
8.) What if we never made the Bauer/Shaw/Albers-Gregorious-Sipp trade.
9.) What if we never sign Cody Ross
10.) What if we never made the Upton-Johnson/Prado-Delgado-Ahmed trade

What if I told you that if we do none of the above, we have a better and CHEAPER team...(slightly)

I would like to point out that NONE of the above is Monday morning quarterbacking. My first reaction to the parker-cahill trade and continues to be my main dislike of the trade is if we were going to trade pitching we needed to get back left side infield help, either 3b or ss.

It was clear from the get go that Kubel would give back his offense advantage over Parra on defense and baserunning.

I always advocated trying to sign Reyes prior to 2012....and I will show you guys how they could have afforded it.

Sign Reyes and you don't need to move Young for Pennington and only need one of Willie or McDonald.
Hinske of course would not have been signed in my "What if", and the Bauer and Upton trades don't happen, at least not as constructed.

So, with Miggy behind the plate, an infield of Goldy/Hill/Reyes/Johnson-Chavez platoon, OF of Parra/Young/Upton with Eaton, Pollock and Marte taking turns backing up, and McDonald and Kila Kaiihue as infield backups, you have a pretty dynamic lineup with a ton of upside, right ?

What about the Staff ? Well....Kennedy, Parker, Miley, McCarthy, Corbin, Skaggs, Bauer get most of the starts. Over the second half you might have Hudson back. The pen is still Putz, Hernandez, Ziegler, Cook, Collmenter, Lindstrom, Reynolds, , and plenty of options on the farm with big league experience like Shaw, Patterson, or move Corbin to the pen when you use either Skaggs or Bauer..(assuming everyone else healthy) and you still have potential guys to contribute in Chase Anderson, Charles Brewer, Eury De La Rosa,


So how do the projections for the "WHAT IF" team stack up against the actual team ?

Code:
           Pos War Pit War ttl War   Salary
What if TM   28.7   19.3   48.0   84.2
Actual TM    25.3   18.8   44.1   84.9
Difference    3.4    0.5    3.9   -0.7


Yeah....thats right...the What if team not only projects out 4 Wins better, but is 700,000 bucks cheaper !

Now that team DOES get expensive in 2014, as Reyes goes up 6 M and upton up 4 M, but CY might come off the books at that point if you don't pick up his option, and by then Eaton and Marte have more time under their belt to truly take over some of that Playing time.

Also....that team is exciting. Through all of this WAR projection stuff...the one thing you can't easily capture is the breakout upside. It goes back to Upton potentially having the Kemp/McCutchen like MVP quality season. Upton and Prado have a similar floor, and similar projection, but they don't have a similar ceiling. And a guy like Reyes in the mix really makes this thing shake.

Could they have done it ? We'll never know. But they could have afforded to offer exactly the same deal the Marlins did. It's hard to beat South Beach...I know...but the D Backs were coming off a 94 win season, a playoff appearance, and lots of talent and pitching in the fold. Throw that much cash at Reyes and he has to consider.


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 Post subject: Re: Piecoro Dishes on D Backs offseason on Keith Law's Podca
 Post Posted: Sun Mar 24, 2013 8:31 am 
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What happens with the "WHAT IF" projections if instead of Reyes the Dbacks sign Aramis Ramirez?


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 Post subject: Re: Piecoro Dishes on D Backs offseason on Keith Law's Podca
 Post Posted: Sun Mar 24, 2013 9:01 am 
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dbackfanron wrote:
What happens with the "WHAT IF" projections if instead of Reyes the Dbacks sign Aramis Ramirez?


They go down a little. The overal WAR projection drops from 48 to 46.7, and you save about 1 million bucks. But it's still about 2.6 WAR more then the current projection, so it certainly would be another way to go.

If you sign Ramirez, you then have to have Bloomquist and McDonald totaling close to 600 PA's at SS, and Owings and Harbin get a little more playing time. You probably never have Chris Johnson in that case either. But I still have them signing Eric Chavez, although thats questionable they would do that either if they have Ramirez. If they signed Ramirez, you probably still have Ryan Roberts around as bench guy..


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 Post subject: Re: Piecoro Dishes on D Backs offseason on Keith Law's Podca
 Post Posted: Sun Mar 24, 2013 1:03 pm 
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Shoe, nice work. Much more persuasive than my spit ball reasoning, but then the depth of my reasoning is probably more in line with Towers. I may be too optimistic, but I still would take the over on 81 wins.

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 Post subject: Re: Piecoro Dishes on D Backs offseason on Keith Law's Podca
 Post Posted: Sun Mar 24, 2013 4:09 pm 
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stu wrote:
Shoe, nice work. Much more persuasive than my spit ball reasoning, but then the depth of my reasoning is probably more in line with Towers. I may be too optimistic, but I still would take the over on 81 wins.


Yeah, I think that taking the over on 81 is a reasonable bet, but I'm not sure I would lay down money on that.

I'm not as optimistic about Hill repeating last year as you because of his dead pull profile. As a friend said to me, his spray chart is roughly from the left field line to 50 rows foul..... :lol: . At what point does he start getting the Matt Williams treatment with slider after slider low and away ?

I'm not all that worried about our high floor low ceiling offense. Although it's possible they could suck, I think it's likely they muddle along to a 95- 98 wRC+ and grit their way to 4+ runs a game.

I'm mostly concerned about the rotation. Miley's velocity is still down from last year. McCarthy just doesn't have the durability track record to count on for more than 20-25 starts. And between Corbin/Delgado/Skaggs are we going to get one good starter that performs well enough to make up for the pending collapse of Miley ?

If there is an "ugly" to this team, it's going to come from the rotation. If they all hit their projections, then over on 81 is a safe bet. I am just having a hard time gaining confidence they all hit their projections.

The more I look at the numbers, and the more spring training progresses, the more confirmation bias creeps in ;)

See what I wrote on Feb 13th HERE Not much has changed...and in fact performance of Miley, Delgado, and Skaggs has probably hardened by position.


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 Post subject: Re: Piecoro Dishes on D Backs offseason on Keith Law's Podca
 Post Posted: Sun Mar 24, 2013 9:40 pm 
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Either Reyes or JHamilton... Leave Kubel/Ross/Bell/Cahill out of the picture, and throw the same money at either of those exciting high talent/profile players. Win the division or not, I GUARANTEE the fans flock to the ballpark with an OF of CYoung/JUpton/JHamilton or the dynamic JReyes setting the table...

It's not the errors; it's the unforced errors. Literally doing nothing for 2 years was the better move. The Club would have been better off giving the GM job to the mop and bucket in the janitor's closet and letting JByrnes' system go to work.

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 Post subject: Re: Piecoro Dishes on D Backs offseason on Keith Law's Podca
 Post Posted: Wed Nov 29, 2017 6:11 pm 
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Since this is as close to a Nick Piecoro thread as I could find...

National Sports Media Association 2017 Arizona Sportswriter of Year finalists: Doug Haller, Kent Somers, Nick Piecoro, Jeff Metcalfe

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