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Wednesday, December 17, 2003
  New Site

the raindrops is now powered by Movable Type! Please update your links to http://theraindrops.weblogs.us Thanks.
 

Sunday, December 14, 2003
  Under Construction

The raindrops will probably have a new look pretty soon. Please bear with me as I attempt some changes in this space.
 

Thursday, December 11, 2003
  #25

Boy was I surprised when I saw the cover of this week's ESPN the magazine. None other than the Mets' new shortstop takes center stage, with the good ol' blue and orange design making it look like a custom Mets' edition. Gotta admit it made me happy for no apparent reason. If you missed the Matsui press conference, MLB.com provides a nice recap, as well as some video footage (includes Matsui hitting a double off Bartolo Colon). As Flushing Local points out, "Mets officials repeated yesterday that signing Matsui fit in their plan, though their payroll is expected to drop from $120 million a year ago to $90 million to $100 million on opening day" (Hermoso, NYT). I'm not terribly concerned about the drop in payroll, as this team probably doesn't deserve the additional investment in 2004, but I do want to keep an eye on the figures that are being thrown around at the moment. Its in the clubs and the media's best interest to keep fans uneducated about payroll matters, so they never really go to too much trouble to explain how a contract or trade could impact a teams' budget, and therefore baseball operations (think of the recent Billy Koch for Roger Cedeno or David Weathers rumors). It's frustrating, as a fan, to know its all about money, and yet not have the best information to understand and analyze the financial side of a team. Thanks to the work of people like Doug Pappas and sites like MLB Player Contracts, as well as the CBA, we have some tools and hints to try and make sense of it on our own. I'm always trying to learn more about the financial side of the game, and that's why I review money matters before analyzing a player, as well as keeping a payroll chart. Its also why I appreciate work like Derek Zumsteg's at U.S.S. Mariner trying to make sense of the Mariners' numbers. It may not seem like much, but teams throw these figures around when they want to justify raising ticket prices or not adding a player (contract) to make a playoff push, and guys like Zumsteg try to keep 'em honest. It aint easy work, and if there was a Zumsteg for every team, baseball's collective fandom would be better off for it. While your at the U.S.S. Mariner, don't forget to see what David Cameron has to say about various prospects over at the latest Baseball Prospectus chat. Kevin Czerwinski also does some "prospecting" by reporting on Victor Diaz's development in the Dominican Republic, as well as considering what Jim Duquette has on his plate going into the Winter Meetings. I wonder if he and Walt Jocketty will have any discussions? No really, what's the over/under before opening day? I found Mets Analyst via SaberMets. Stop by and be sure to read the "Dear Jim" letter. I've added comments because, well, its hard to disagree with this post, found via Baseball Musings.
 

Wednesday, December 10, 2003
  Jay Horowitz's Day

Not much doing as we await Matsui's big coming out party. According to NYT, the 3 year, $20.1 million contract Matsui signed "can earn an additional $1 million in incentives." Since most incentives are based on quantity as opposed to quality, Matsui will probably make about $7 million per season. Also, it looks like the jersey number matter is settled, with Reyes getting to keep #7. Once everyone has finished smiling and posing for the cameras, Jim Duquette will be off to the winter meetings in New Orleans, where he will be one of the few who can probably take on salary in 2004.
 

Tuesday, December 09, 2003
  Lastly

Thanks are in order for Dave from Baseball Graphs, who pointed out Baseball Direct Scoreboard by Stats Inc., which shows the NL average grounball/flyball rate was 1.29. The major league average was 1.23. Glavine is the only Mets starter who is above that number, and not by much. The rest of the staff is all flyball all the time, and would be better served with improved outfield defense, though I'm sure they don't mind having a pretty solid double play combo. Baseball Graphs also took a look at the Matsui contract, and attempts to defend the dollar amount by pointing out "Major League GM's paid $1 million for each incremental Win Share on the free market last year." Dave brings up a valid point, and he's done quite a bit of work during the off-season examining the relationship between production and paycheck, but even if the market were to deem this contract fair because of Matsui's projected win shares, you have to remember that the 9 or so win shares that would separate Kaz from the rest of the pack only translates into 3 wins for the Mets in 2004. I can understand a team that is on the fringes of contention paying top dollar for three extra wins, but for the Mets to pay to get to about 75 wins makes little sense. The article also points out Clay Davenport's recent assertion that Kaz Matsui most closely resembles Orlando Cabrera under his modified Japanese translation system, which will probably be explained in BP2004. If your looking for reactions to the Matsui signing from non-Mets blogs, stop by Some Calzone For Derek, who thinks the move is suspect, and retarded, among other things, as well as Al's Ramblings, who thinks the Mets are paying too much, and is "offended" by idea of Jose Reyes moving to make room for Kaz. I hope you can understand why Al's Ramblings is one of my favorite blogs out there. This ESPN acrticle states Matsui has a complete no-trade clause, and will receive his free agency after the contract. I was confused about this at first reading, since all players are stuck with their team for at least six years, if the team is ready to goto arbitration, but I guess the Mets have an agreement to non-tender him? I'll try to get more on this later. Also mentioned are some performance and awards bonuses. I don't have any details, but I'm sure the contract is closer to $7 million per if Matsui plays at least 150 games or thereabouts. Lastly, Vance Wilson, who was eligible for arbitration, signed for one-year $715,000. I'll have add it to the payroll chart later. Lastly, don't forget to stop by Bronx Banter, where Alex Belth interviews SI's Tom Verducci.
 

Monday, December 08, 2003
  Links

I somehow missed Dan Troy's review of the Mets system last week, be sure to check it out. Don't forget to stop by New York Fan Sites to read an interview with Mets prospect David Wright (reg. req.). Jeremy Heit pointed out Rob Neyer's take on Kaz Matsui at this blog, while Eric Mcerlain, over at Off Wing Opinion, reviews where all the Mets' bloggers stand on the new import. Thanks are in order for Roadblock Jones (#45) over at Baseball Primer for pointing out an interesting site, Mets by the Numbers, that thinks Matsui has the inside track on Reyes's #7.
 

  Helping the Asst. GMs

For everyone who loves that up the middle defense, chew on this: Tom Glavine 1.40 gb/fb in 2003 Al Leiter 0.99 Steve Trachsel 0.85 Jae Seo 0.94 These four pitched 54% of all innings for the Mets in 2003. The Mets starting pitching needs its defense like few others in the majors, and a look at the numbers above suggests an upgrade in the outfield will probably help more than in the infield. Overpaying for Mike Cameron's defense would probably help more than overpaying for Matsui, but hey, whats done is done. Tune in later this week as the Number 7 Saga unfolds at Shea. I'm sure all the Asst. GMs will have a say on this matter. I recall reading a 1.2 gb/fb rate is about average, but can't seem to find any documentation to support that number. If anyone has anything on average grounball/flyball rate, I would appreciate a link. Thanks.
 

  Retail

If I had to pick one projection system, PECOTA wins in a landslide, but since its not up yet, and 2004 Diamond Mind ZiPS projections are up, I'll use it to demonstrate some points. Here's what a few infielders project to do in 2004: Player A (age 28): 281/363/423 with 47/68 and 35xbh (9 hr) in 395 ab. Player B (age 24): 261/320/377 with 39/87 and 42xbh (8 hr) in 525 ab. Player C (age 33): 278/330/447 with 40/84 and 54xbh (18 hr) in 546 ab. Player D (age 22): 308/367/441 with 41/84 and 39xbh (12 hr) in 487 ab. Player E (age 28): 290/353/462 with 44/126 and 49xbh (16 hr) in 500 ab. Player D is the Mets very own Victor Diaz. Any player who projects, under any system, to put up an OPS above 800 in his age 22 season, should be something an organization values. With the signing of Matsui, Diaz is in no man's land. He now has to learn to play first base or the outfield, where his 800+ OPS is closer to league average than all-star. Player B is Danny Garcia, who falls behind Diaz on the depth chart, and could still turn into player A, Marco Scutaro, by the time he's 28. Speaking of beloved Marco, he projects to put up that line while making about $305,000. Player E, Kaz Matsui, will make more than 20 times that in 2004 for similar production. Player C is Rich Aurilla, who wasn't offered arbitration by the Giants, and is originally from New York, and could probably be had at second base for one season at $2.5 million. Matsui might come in and play well beyond those projections, but as of this moment, the Mets are greatly overpaying for production they once had in the system, still have in the system, or could easily add at a tenth of the cost of the Matsui contract. Its the same management that brought us the Stanton contract, and we all love that move right?
 

  Chasing that 75th win...

What's not to like about Kaz Matsui? Let me count the ways: 1.) The Mets have managed to turn one of their few strengths, a still developing and soon to be stud shortstop, into a player who has never played second base. Despite being the youngest player in each league the Mets sent him, Reyes constantly adjusted and developed, both in the field and with the bat, prompting mid-season promotions in both 2002 and 2003. He then turned 20! Reyes will now spend his prime developmental years (age 21-24) first learning a brand spanking new position, followed by relearning his old position once Matsui's contract is up. The Mets could have just cemented him at shortstop and then watched as he blossom into Jose Reyes. He's still going to be an awesome hitter, but why you'd want to throw obstacles in front of "the franchise" is something only Jim Duquette, Fred Wilpon, Jeff Wilpon, Bruce Wilpon, Al Leiter, and Tom Glavine can answer. 2.) Simply put, second base is a more physically demanding position and the chances for injury, as compared to shortstop, are much higher. Now, every time there's a potential groundball double play, I'll hold my breath as I hope Reyes doesn't get hurt trying to hold the bag instead of enjoying my very own shortstop prodigy make an amazing play. I guess the Mets feel this is a more exciting brand of baseball. 3.) Mike Piazza is still a catcher. Jose Reyes is a second basemen. Discuss. 4.) Hi! I'm Victor Diaz. I can hit. I may or may not be able to handle the keystone in the majors, but hey, Ronnie Belliard made it, why can't I? With the acquisition of Matsui, I'll probably be moved to the outfield, where I too will spend my prime developmental years learning a new position instead of just mashing the opposition's pitching. 5.) Hi! I'm Danny Garcia. I will now be labeled a backup at the tender age of 23. Now, regardless of what kind of numbers I put up, I will never be given a chance in this organization. No problem though, I heard Marco got picked up by the A's. Maybe the Jays will claim me a few years from now. All of the above for a *best case* 300/360/450 and declining for a non-contending team. If your new to the raindrops, check out my review of Kaz Matsui and Tadahito Iguchi from October. Feel free to review the park factors and field dimensions in the Iguchi article before getting all jazzed up about Matsui's "power and speed." Speed being 13/24 in stolen bases in 2003. Its moves like this that lead to sites like Hate the Mets. Speaking of other Mets' sites, stop by Flushing Local and ducks on the pond, two new blogs covering the Amazins. What's the over under for Mets blogs by opening day? Revised payroll chart:
Player200420052006Guarantee
Leiter10.0--10.0
Glavine10.513.5-24.0
Trachsel5.05.0-10.0
Weathers3.6--3.6
Stanton3.04.0-7.0
Piazza15.015.0-30.0
Floyd6.56.56.519.5
Cedeno5.05.0-10.0
Matsui6.76.76.720.1
TOTAL OWED65.355.713.2120.8
The nine above total $65.3 million in 2004, with $67.3 million going towards the cap. A minimum of $4.9 million is needed to complete the major league roster, which will bring the cap figure to $72.2 million. Throw in the $7.5 for pension and health, along with Mo's $4.25, and the Mets already have at least $84 million towards a $120.5 salary cap in 2004, while the actual payroll figure stands at about $75 million.
 

Friday, December 05, 2003
  Reality Check

How bad are the Mets as of this moment? Well, they finished 2003 dead last in the NL East with a 66-95 record. Their Pythagorean W-L, derived from the 642 runs they scored and 754 runs they allowed, say the Mets were closer to a 69-92 team. When your as bad as the Mets, and crazy enough to have illusions about contention in 2004, you celebrate these small victories. The catch is that the runs they scored and allowed have underlying calculations they're based on, and according to Clay Davenport's adjusted standings, the Mets should have scored 610 runs, and allowed 768, giving them a sparkling 64-98 record (rounding up for both). Nothing less than 158 runs, however acquired, are needed to close the run differential gap. And that only gets them to .500! Feel free to add another ten runs for each additional win you want over that all important 81 win number. That's right, Mr. Duquette needs to make up about 250(!) runs to reach 90 wins, which may or may not clinch the wild card. Its as easy as that folks. The Mets don't need more speed in the field or on the basepaths, they don't need more defense, they don't need a stud right fielder, and they certainly don't need a magical closer to win it all in 2004. What they need is a net gain of 250 runs just to play with the big boys. As if this isn't depressing enough, they already have quite a few commitments for 2004 and beyond (all figures in million dollars):
Player200420052006Guarantee
Leiter10.0--10.0
Glavine10.513.5-24.0
Trachsel5.05.0-10.0
Weathers3.6--3.6
Stanton3.04.0-7.0
Piazza15.015.0-30.0
Floyd6.56.56.519.5
Cedeno5.05.0-10.0
TOTAL OWED58.649.06.5114.1
If the table looks familiar, its because you saw it over at Doug Pappas's wonderful Business of Baseball blog when he looked at the long term commitments of the New York Yankees. The Mets are already on the hook for at least $63,785,000 in 2004, with the $58.6 the eight above are due, plus 17 spots at at least the major league minimum of $305,000. Of course they will have quite a few players make more than that, but I want to find out just how much the Mets have to work with, so I'll use salary extremes for now. Now, the 2004 salary cap for the non-Yankee universe is set at 120.5 million by the CBA, and all multi-year contracts are averaged, so the Mets have $65,785,000 towards the cap already. Throw in the $7,552,271 for pension and health, and the figure goes up to about $73.25 million. We can't forget whats due Mo Vaughn, even after insurance picks up 75% of his salary: another $4.25 million, bringing the grand total to at least $77.5 million. That leaves the front office with about $43 million to fill seventeen roster spots and make up at least 250 runs. Good freakin luck. If the Mets minor league system looked like the Yankees (barren), and their major league commitments projected to break even (run differential) before any acquisitions, I would say go for it all in 2004. The Mets, however, are no Yankees, and even a best case scenario for the eight players listed above would still leave them needing runs to reach .500. Also unlike the Yankees, the Mets actually have some useful pre-arbitration players at the major league level, along with some high upside guys about to enter the high minors. Furthermore, they have the third pick in each round of the amateur draft in 2004, which will give them seven of the top 200 picks next year. The Mets must hold on to those picks if they want to have a Jason Phillips or Jae Seo type of player to compliment the Jose Reyes, David Wright, Justin Huber, Scott Kazmir, and Aaron Heilman Mets of 2005 and beyond. We all know how much of a crapshoot the draft can be, and that is why the Mets have to stack the odds in their favor by holding on to their picks. I completely agree with Kevin Tower's thinking:

You've heard the old adage: 'take the guy with the highest ceiling.' But sometimes you never see that freaking ceiling. I'm a big believer in probability. If you give me a player with a 30% chance to be an All-Star, vs. an 80% to 90% shot to be a quality regular player, there's no doubt which way I'm going.
Probability indeed. Want two Jason Phillips or Ty Wigginton type guys for 2005 and beyond? Well, you stand a better chance to do it with seven of the top 200 picks as compared to five or six. While I'm on the topic, I think the Mets would be best served drafting polished college hitters with all those picks. They already have Seo, Heilman, Kazmir, Peterson, DiNardo, Musser, Yates, and Keppel for Rick Peterson to work with while we watch Leiter and Glavine turn gray, and if the Mets manage their resources properly (it would be a first), they can acquire starting pitching via free agency once they're ready to compete. Also, their high upside hitters: Reyes, Wright, and Huber are all on the right end of the defensive spectrum, which means they can go after hitters! with an exclaimation point, since their final destination at Shea will be the left end of the same spectrum. Its one thing to have a stockpile of 1B/LF types as your best hitting prospects, but the Mets have the rare oppurtunity of seeing their best hitters reach their peak years while playing the tough spots on the diamond. These kind of opportunties don't come around too often, and it's in the Mets best interest to start working towards a sustained run for 2005 and beyond. If it means a losing season in 2004, so be it. And for those of you harboring thoughts about contending in '04 (I'm looking at you Wilpon), feel free to explain to me how you plan on turning about $40 million and ten roster spots into a net gain of at least 200 runs this off season. While your at it, stop and consider what the moves you suggest will cost Mets teams in 2005 and beyond--there is always a cost--while they "chase that 75th win."
 
Thursday, December 04, 2003
  Young, cheap, good

11. Jason Phillips 2001 AA age 24: 293/365/464 with 31/25 and 32xbh (11 hr) in 317 ab. 2002 AAA age 25: 282/335/477 with 24/29 and 36xbh (13 hr) in 323 ab. .251 MjEQA. 2003 MLB age 26: 298/371/442 with 39/50 and 36xbh (11 hr) in 403 ab. .287 I'm a sucker for players who have more extra base hits than strikeouts, as Phillips did from 2000 to 2002 in the minors for the Mets. He proved he can control the zone and deserved a chance as he entered his prime years. When plans A thru G failed for the Mets at first base in 2003, they finally gave Phillips a shot on a regular basis during the last four months of the season. 2003 was probably the top of the mountain for Phillips, but I'm confident he can put up an OBP around .350 and SLG in the .400 area before hitting arbitration, not bad for a catcher playing half his games at Big Shea. Like Wigginton, Phillips will have his peak years while the Mets wait for someone who might have a higher upside, Justin Huber. 12. Jose Reyes 2001 A age 18: 307/340/472 with 18/71 and 42xbh (5 hr) in 407 ab. 2002 A+ age 19: 288/357/462 with 30/35 and 27xbh (6 hr) in 288 ab. 2002 AA age 19: 287/331/425 with 16/42 and 26xbh (2 hr) in 275 ab. 2003 AAA age 20: 269/333/356 with 15/25 and 10xbh (0 hr) in 160 ab. 2003 MLB age 20: 307/334/434 with 13/36 and 21xbh (5 hr) in 274 ab. Nineteen year olds don't go around putting up 800+ OPS in the Florida State League. Jose Reyes not only did in 2002, but he played a major league caliber shortstop and stole 31 bases as well. A year later he was booting simple grounders for a last place team in the big leagues, and had me wondering if he was being rushed to the majors. Reyes quickly adapted and showed he belonged. What makes me so optimistic about Reyes's future is not just the numbers he's put up so far, but just the way he looks on the diamond. Watching him in the field, or in the batter's box, or on the bases, his body language exudes confidence. He not only knows he belongs, he knows how good he is, and has a good time showing his stuff. I don't really care what his numbers are in 2004, because in the big picture, its just information Reyes will be processing about playing at the highest level. He has the talents and smarts to turn 600+ plate appearances in 2004 into all-star caliber production for 2005 and beyond, where the sky is the limit. Gun to my head, I say 290/335/440 in 2004. Years from now, when I look back at the 2003 season, the one image that will stick in my head is a double play turned by the Mets on August 17th. Its the top of the second, the Senator on the mound facing Jay "Mr. 0-2" Payton, with 6'2" 215 lb. Preston Wilson on first. Payton hit a roller to Scutaro, who flipped it to Reyes at second, who threw to Phillips at first to complete the double play. Mookie's son, who loves to play at 110% against the Mets, tried his best to break up the play at second, but Reyes would have none of it. In one motion, he ran towards the bag, received the throw from Scutaro, leaped over Wilson while throwing to first and got Payton by a mile. Phillips, expecting nothing on the throw, had already gone into his trademark stretch, and was probably as surprised as I was to hear the pop in his mitt as Reyes fired it in there on a line from second. I've seen quite a few infielders do amazing things turning two, but I can honestly say that I've never seen someone do what Reyes did that day as quickly and gracefully; He made it look ridiculously easy. I still can't get over how much he got on that throw--Reyes is not the kind of shortstop who shows off his arm when Mike Matheny hits a sharp grounder his way--he waits until he needs to use it, and I've never seen a throw that hard come from a player who just finished leaping over a big player as easily as he had. I'll spend more time in 2004 anticipating and appreciating moments like this from Reyes than worrying about his OBP. 13. Jae-Wong Seo 2001 age 24: 133.0 ip, 6.16 k/9, 3.96 k/bb, 0.61 hr/9 2002 age 25: 134.2 ip, 6.28 k/9, 4.09 k/bb, 1.00 hr/9 2003 age 26: 188.1 ip, 5.26 k/9, 2.39 k/bb, 0.86 hr/9 Seo missed all of 2000 after having surgery on his elbow. In 2001, his 24 starts were spread across high A, AA, and AAA. 2002 was all at Norfolk, except one relief appearance in AA, and one on the big club. 2003 was at the major league level. Lets hope we never again see a day when the Mets have a pitcher entering his age 26 season, after finishing two seasons in AA and AAA compiling a 4 to 1 strikeout to walk ratio, have his path to the major league rotation blocked by David F. Cone. Jae Seo, like Phillips, deserved a chance going into the season, and only got it once a few of the old men couldn't cut it. The strikeout rate isn't spectacular, but if he can inch his way to a 3 to 1 k/bb ratio while keeping the ball in the park, he'll do fine. He kills lefties, and a marginal improvement against righties in 2004 will ensure better than league average production at nearly the league minimum. I'm confident Seo can do it, though I don't know if he can top his 2003 innings total. Lets hope he comes close. Now that Peterson's on board, we won't be seeing any more 132 pitch outings from young pitchers already past their career high innings pitched in a game that means less than nothing. Seo has the most to gain if the Mets sign Mike Cameron.
 

Tuesday, November 25, 2003
  Pickin' Machine

Its bad enough I don't post when I say I am, but its even worse when during my procrastination, I fire off a suggestion at Bryan Smith's Wait Til Next Year blog, only to see him do ALOT of work and put together some impressive articles, and I still haven't covered the pickin machine, not to mention the Mets roster. In my defense, since when is it supposed to be in the 60s as we approach Thanksgiving?!? Gotta take advantage of those days when you can. Also, Joe McEwing is still on the 40 man, as is Mike Stanton, and if I were to start focusing on the Mets' negatives, I could put Gleeman to shame, post-length wise. I hope giving it a few days will either settle me down, or give the Mets the chance to do something positive (sign Fick). Of course, they just might compound their problems. Enough about my laziness. If you don't visit Wait Til Next Year on a regular basis, well...then the terrorists have already won. Excellent work by Bryan, and I'm sure I'll be using his recent posts as a reference throughout the off season. One of the most frustrating things about being a baseball fan is always hearing that its about money first (it is) and not having the proper resources to follow the money. We have more stats than we can handle when it comes to understanding the game on the field, and I think Bryan's work is a big first step towards doing likewise with the money. I hope he continues the work with updates throughout the off season (easy for me to say). Now, what was Billy Beane thinking when he gave Scott Hatteberg a two year, 4.65 million dollar contract extension this past season? Well, first, lets look at some numbers: 2002: 492 ab, 138 h, 15 hr, 68 bb, 56 so. 1.24 gb/fb ratio 2003: 541 ab, 137 h, 12 hr, 66 bb, 53 so. 1.34 In about 50 more plate appearances in 2003, Hatteberg struck out less, hit a couple less homeruns, and essentially had the same groundball/flyball ratio as 2002. Why am I focusing on these stats? Well, Hatteberg's batting average for balls in play in 2002 was .291. In 2003, that number fell to .259. I'm of the belief that a hitter has far less control over his BABIP, as opposed to his bb/so or p/PA numbers. Could it be that Hatteberg was just unlucky in 2003? I think so. Here's a look at Hatteberg's career BABIP numbers: 1997: .319 1998: .298 1999: .318 2000: .285 2001: .260 2002: .291 2003: .259 Career: .284 The A's picked up Hatteberg when he was most under valued, after the 2001 season, and signed him to an extension when the raw numbers didn't tell the whole story, in 2003. What would have Hatteberg's numbers looked like in 2003 if his BABIP was .284? My calculations say 275/364/416. Those numbers would have placed him at number five in On Base Percentage among American League first basemen in 2003. Only three of those first basemen had a significantly better GPA than Hatteberg: .340 Delgado .317 Giambi .289 Mientkiewicz ------ .275 Millar .271 Lee .269 Teixeira .268 Hatteberg (BABIP adjusted) .267 Conine .265 Olerud Of the second group, only Olerud played in as difficult a hitting environment as Hatteberg. The underlying numbers still show Hatteberg has what it takes to stay in the top half of American League first sackers. But that's only part of the equation when evaluating Hatteberg's contract. Apparently Hatteberg's skill set is easy to replace. I'm not so sure. Free Agents and possible non-tenders: Tony Clark, Ron Coomer, Wil Cordero, Julio Franco, Matt Franco, Andres Galarraga, Mark Grace, Eric Karros, Travis Lee, Dave McCarty, Fred McGriff, Rafael Palmeiro, J.T. Snow, Scott Spiezio, Robert Fick, Randall Simon, Daryle Ward, Jeremy Giambi, Doug Mientkiewicz, Brian Daubach. The players above are either not as good as Hatteberg, not as young as Hatteberg, or not projected to be as cheap as Hatteberg. For the A's to have considered some of the more interesting players listed--Fick, Mientkiewicz, Lee--they would have to wait until their respective teams either declined options or non-tendered them. To wait for other teams to decide on those players would have exposed Hatteberg to the open market, where the A's are no longer the only saber front office in town. What's 2 years/6 million to Theo and Co. in Boston to provide some Ortiz/Millar insurance in 2004? Maybe JP decides he can get some more pitching for Josh Phelps, and thinks Hatty is a nice fit for the Jays. Maybe the Orioles want to give him 5 years/25 million. I can have fun with the possible scenarios, but its something the A's have to seriously consider before leaving themselves unprotected. They already knew they were going to let Tejada walk, and knew they could only recoup so much of his offensive production in the off season. By having Hatteberg wrapped up, it allowed them to move early in the off season to make up some of Tejada's lost production in the lineup with Kielty. Also, the money netted in the Lilly/Kielty deal can be used to sign Durazo and Bradford, or to make another move, instead of trying to outbid others for the pickin' machine. Hatteberg is a good example of a team acquiring cost certainty, as opposed to whatever you acquire when you wrap up Jose Vizcaino and Brad Ausmus. In the big picture for the A's success cycle, Chavez will leave after 2004, followed by Hudson and Mulder in 2005, and Zito in 2006. The A's front office is confident about what to expect over Hatteberg's next 1100 plate appearances (.350+ OBP, 4.0+ p/PA), and felt $4.65 million was a fair price to pay. I agree. Its one thing to take a flyer on a full season of Graham Koonce if your a rebuilding team without your core already in place for a few more seasons, but the A's are not that team. In my opinion, Koonce and Grabowski are solid players for an organization to have, but they're not as good, and certainly not as safe a bet as Hatteberg. Thanks to Ameer for pointing out an entry at Julien's baseball blog, who looked into this contract back in August. How do you like that, he really is a pickin' machine!
 

Saturday, November 22, 2003
  Beane, Beane, the musical fruit...

From Gammons's November 9th column at ESPN:

What most of the clubs are discussing is moving payroll to create flexibility and allowing the market to settle -- with the Dec. 20th non-tenders a major factor in that market. So most of the deals discussed in Phoenix will be dollar, not necessarily talent-related.
I'm sure every front office type in Phoenix was busy telling Gammons that if their organization had just a little more payroll flexibility, they could really make a splash this off season. While I'm sure you'll find the same old "if we only had some wiggle room" company line in the coming weeks and months, the boys in Oakland actually went to the trouble of acquiring payroll flexibility. Putting aside what the recent Kielty/Lilly trade means between the lines for a moment, lets do what Billy and J.P. have to do, think in terms of money. Bobby Kielty made $325,000 in 2003, and won't make much more than that in 2004 as he finishes his servitude to major league baseball. Ted Lilly made $335,000 in 2003, and there are conflicting reports about his arbitration eligibility. Rob Neyer, in his most recent column, states the deal is payroll neutral, since neither player is eligible for arbitration. I also checked The Transaction Guy's list of arb. players, and could not find Lilly. I then went straight to the horse's mouth, the MLBPA CBA:
F. Salary Arbitration The following salary arbitration procedure shall be applicable: (1) Eligibility. The issue of a Player's salary may be submitted to final and binding arbitration by any Player or his Club, provided the other party to the arbitration consents thereto. Any Club, or any Player with a total of three or more years of Major League service, however accumulated, but with less than six years of Major League service, may submit the issue of the Player's salary to final and binding arbitration without the consent of the other party, subject to the provisions of paragraph (4) below. In addition, a Player with at least two but less than three years of Major League service shall be eligible for salary arbitration if: (a) he has accumulated at least 86 days of service during the immediately preceding season; and (b) he ranks in the top seventeen percent (17%) (rounded to the nearest whole number) in total service in the class of Players who have at least two but less than three years of Major League service, however accumulated, but with at least 86 days of service accumulated during the immediately preceding season. If two or more Players are tied in ranking, ties shall be broken consecutively based on the number of days of service accumulated in each of the immediately preceding seasons. If the Players remain tied, the final tie breaker will be by lot.
Its clear if a player has three full seasons of service time, like A.J Pierzynski or Alfonso Soriano, they're eligible. Working backwards with Lilly, he has the required 86 days of service in 2003. In fact, he has the whole season. He also has the entire 2002 season as major league service time (time spent on the DL counts). Also, he doesn't have any minor league stats for 2002, and he was already out of options at that point, so I'm 99 percent sure he gets credit for the whole season. In 2001, Lilly was called up on April 22nd, and spent the rest of the season with the Yankees, save a ten day stretch between August 21st and September 1st. Lilly missed the first three weeks, and a ten day stretch in the season, so he gets credit for almost five months in 2001. He also has a few days in 1999 and 2000, though its nothing significant. All in all, Lilly has two full years, and about another five months. He doesn't qualify at first glance, but he looks like a sure bet to make it via the 17% clause. This by the way, is why teams wait to bring up a Reyes or Harden until after June, so they can get one extra year before having to shell out the big bucks. Business as usual. I'm still waiting to see something "official" concerning Lilly's 2004 salary, but I'm sure the A's are confident in their methods, though they aren't always perfect, ie Jose Guillen's compensation estimate. As for how much Lilly will make in arbitration, I'd guess anywhere from $1.8 million to 2.4 million. Considering Kielty's meager earnings, the A's look to make anywhere from $1.5 to $2.0 million in this deal. As always, great work from the boys in Oakland. But wait, it gets better. Its one thing to make $1.5 million available for next year, ask Walt Jocketty, but its another thing altogether to do it while not losing out in terms of production on the field. The Cardinals have some extra money to work with, but didn't get much back in the form of Evan Rust and a player to be named later. If Rust some how finds himself making the major league minimum for the Redbirds in 2004, the net savings from the deal falls to $1.2 million. For this small chunk of change, 1.76% of the projected 2004 payroll (1.5/85.0), Jocketty has to replace Tino's 70 Runs Created, 11.5 VORP, 11 Win Shares, or leadership, take your pick, in the lineup. Oakland not only gained more relative payroll flexibility, 2.72% (1.5/55.0), but they did well not to lose as much on the field as the Cards did. Again, choose your metric: Lilly: 20.5 VORP, 10 Win Shares, 1.8 SNWAR Kielty: 4.9 VORP, 12 Win Shares, .270 EQA We already know how loaded the A's are with starting pitching, and how many young, cheap, outfielders the Blue Jays have, so its obvious both teams are dealing from a position of strength, and if an argument can be made in either side's favor on the merits of the talent they traded, then the nearly 3% relative payroll flexibility the A's also attained tips this deal in Beane's favor. He wanted money to work with, and he got it. Stop by tomorrow as I attempt to make sense of the Scott Hatteberg contract. Don't worry Mets fans, I'll go over the roster stuff on Monday. And if I'm missing something obvious about Lilly's 2004 salary, please leave your complaints here.
 
Friday, November 21, 2003
  Baseball America continues ranking the top ten prospects in each organization with the Mets today. Scott Kazmir comes out on top, and in case you missed it, John Sickel's also reviewed Kazmir after the season. The Baseball Cube has Doc's minor league numbers, if you want to compare.
 
Thursday, November 20, 2003
  Every attempt I make to do a quick write up on Jason Phillips turns into a very long rant on Mets management, and I've already promised to hold off on that topic until they do something stupid this off-season, like the Mariners with Ibanez. While I delay the Phillips commentary, consider reading up on the trials and tribulations of Hanse Cronje. I don't think any one link can do the whole affair justice, unless you follow cricket, but if and when Pete Rose is reinstated into baseball, I'll probably bore everyone with some thoughts on Cronje. Just remember, I warned you.
 
Tuesday, November 18, 2003
  No Loitering

10. Jeff Duncan 2001 A age 22: 217/322/346 with 46/97 and 27xbh (3 hr) in 318 ab. 2002 A age 23: 393/468/600 with 18/34 and 20xbh (4 hr) in 150 ab. 2002 A+ age 23: 343/472/451 with 24/15 and 7xbh (2 hr) in 102 ab. 2003 AA age 24: 288/376/406 with 36/59 and 20xbh (4 hr) in 278 ab. 2003 MLB age 24: 194/291/245 with 17/41 and 3xbh (1 hr) in 139 ab. -.314 MLVr. 94.10 AtR. A: Duncan steps into the box. He's 0 for 1 today. Duncan was out trying to bunt for a base hit in the first. John Doe winds up and...strike one, looking. Nice fastball on the outside corner. B: The Mets love Duncan's patience at the plate. Considering his speed, he could be the Mets leadoff hitter of the future. A: Its not everyday you see a young player with Duncan's batting eye. Doe's got the sign, comes to the plate and...on the inside corner, called strike two. B: Art Howe just loves Duncan's approach at the plate. He doesn't go after the pitcher's pitch, he waits for his pitch. A: And once he gets that pitch, watch out, Duncan's already got a homerun after being called up, I'm sure there's more of where that came from. The catcher sets up again on the inside half of the plate. The windup, and the pitch...strike three. Doe left that one over the heart of the plate, and the umpire punches Duncan out of there. B: He might be 0 for 2 today, but considering his youth, his speed and his exceptional bunting ability, you've gotta like his future. A: You sure do, the Mets are very high on this guy.
 

Monday, November 17, 2003
  12, if you count the one against Mussina

9. Ty Wigginton Wiggs won't be arbitration eligible until after the 2005 season. The AAA portions listed below were in Norfolk, a pitcher friendly park in the International League. 2001 AAA age 23: 250/325/377 with 27/66 bb/so and 19xbh (7 hr) in 260 ab. 2002 AAA age 24: 300/372/431 with 43/50 bb/so and 35xbh (6 hr) in 383 ab. 2002 MLB age 24: 302/357/526 with 8/19 bb/so and 14xbh (6 hr) in 116 ab. 2003 MLB age 25: 255/318/396 with 46/124 bb/so and 53xbh (11 hr) in 573 ab. -.024 MLVr. 94.41 AtR. Ty's position in the organization is directly related to David Wright, who projects to take the hot corner at Shea on a full time basis by the time Wigginton is ready to go to arbitration. In the mean time, Wiggs will enjoy his age 26 and 27 seasons with the Mets, and while he's not going to make any all-star teams, he's a good bet to put up an OPS around 750 for the next few seasons, with an outside chance of going Aaron Boone circa '99-'01 on us. Duquette would be well advised to find a left-handed bat to occasionally spell Wiggs against those nasty sliders. Mark Bellhorn, anyone?
 

Sunday, November 16, 2003
  Badges? We don't need any stinkin badges!

~Old baseball men. Steve Keane over at the Kranepool Society and Derek Zumsteg at the U.S.S. Mariner sum up my thoughts exactly. He can't be fired soon enough. ~From Peter Gammon's column at ESPN:

"We want to help ourselves by signing some free agents," said Mets GM Jim Duquette, "but we can't afford to give up draft choices in our rebuilding process."
Let's hope his fingers weren't crossed. ~According to Baseball-Reference, Big Shea now has a park factor of 99. Baseball-Reference uses a three year park factor, whereas Baseball Prospectus uses a five year sample. BPro rates Shea as a 95. Still a pitchers' park, but not as severe as a few seasons ago. ~I've added a few links to the sidebar: Ben Jacob's Universal Baseball Blog, Inc, which has an excellent post explaining why the A.J. Pierzynski trade is bad news for Rochester. Seth Speaks, where Seth Stohs recently expanded his excellent "Bang For the Buck" report. Also, Christian Ruzich, of The Cub Reporter fame, has started a new blog, The Transaction Guy. While your exploring the new links, be sure to stop by at Rich Lederer's Weekend Baseball BEAT, where he continues his off season interview series with Bronx Banter's Alex Belth, who knows a thing or two about Q&Aing. ~In this weeks New Yorker, the cartoon issue, I immediately thought of MLB owners when I saw the cartoon on page 94. I can't be the only one.
 
Saturday, November 15, 2003
  Cornelius

8. Cliff Floyd Floyd will make $6.5 million for the next three seasons ('04-'06). He has a limited no-trade clause which allows him to select ten teams after each season that he can't be traded to. The AtRs listed below have been adjusted for intentional walks. 2001 MLB age 28: 317/393/578 with 59/101 bb/so and 79xbh (31 hr) in 555ab. .355 MLVr. 87.93 AtR 2002 MLB age 29: 288/389/533 with 76/106 bb/so and 71xbh (28 hr) in 520ab. .285 MLVr. 93.35 2003 MLB age 30: 290/376/518 with 51/66 bb/so and 45xbh (18 hr) in 365ab. .273 MLVr. 105.07 If he's in the lineup, he'll rake. Of the three seasons remaining on Floyd's contract, we can reasonably expect him to have one season with at least 600 plate appearances, as well as one where he doesn't reach 400. Its what happens in the third year that will determine if Floyd is over or under 1500 plate appearances from '04-'06.
 

Friday, November 14, 2003
  You gotta read the label

7. Roger Cedeno JLo Cedeno still has $5 million coming his way in both 2004 and 2005. What should be expected? 2001 MLB age 26: 293/340/396 with 36/83 bb/so and 31xbh (6 hr) in 523ab. -.001 MLVr. 92.06 AtR 2002 MLB age 27: 260/319/346 with 42/92 bb/so and 28xbh (7 hr) in 511ab. -.079 MLVr. 93.16 2003 MLB age 28: 267/320/378 with 38/86 bb/so and 36xbh (7 hr) in 484ab. -.036 MLVr. 95.12 Can't hit. Can't run. Can't field. Your grandma could do a better job tracking fly balls. Best case scenario for the duration of the contract is replacement level production at the plate while being a liability in right and a headcase in general. For obvious reasons, I try not to get too involved with the trade rumors that swirl around this time of year, but I must admit I've been keeping a close eye on the Cedeno for Billy Koch story. Why would the White Sox want Cedeno? They already have 1B, DH, LF, and RF covered, and if ChiSox fans thought Carl Everett was a stretch in center, they're in for a big surprise. Do they need the payroll flexibility that bad? Koch is due $6.375 million in 2004, and the reports I hear say the two teams would split the difference between what's owed on the two contracts, $3.625. If I understand correctly, Williams is willing to take on Cedeno's $5 million in 2005 for an extra $3 million or so to work with in 2004. Sounds like a GM under the gun. The manager gets fired after a disappointing season, and the GM goes short-term high-risk for the following season. Sounds familiar. Duquette is working from a position of strength here, and can attach that $3 million to a string and see how far he can make Williams follow. As if just getting rid of Cedeno in this deal wasn't enough, the Mets would save about $1.8 million over the next two years, and get a guy with some interesting ideas about facial hair: 2001 MLB age 26: 69.1 ip, 7.14 k/9, 1.67 k/bb, 0.91 hr/9, -2.0 ARP 2002 MLB age 27: 93.2 ip, 8.94 k/9, 2.02 k/bb, 0.67 hr/9, 12.4 2003 MLB age 28: 53.0 ip, 7.13 k/9, 1.50 k/bb, 1.70 hr/9, -8.6 Billy Koch has a lot in common with Armando Benitez. They're both big and mean looking on the mound and can bring it with their fastballs. They're both susceptible to the long ball and both have successfully converted baseball's favorite counting stat into multi-million dollar contracts. Heck, the only difference between the two is that Koch doesn't have long dominating stretches between blown saves. His standout 2002 season was in a pitchers' park with Art Howe as manager and Rick Peterson as pitching coach, if that means anything. He was also pitching for a paycheck, which he will be doing again in 2004. The k/9 rate is still good, but your guess is as good as mine in regards to figuring out which Billy Koch will show up in 2004. How bout throwing him into the rotation? Its not as crazy as it sounds. Koch was the fourth overall pick in the 1996 amateur draft, after a dominating junior year at Clemson University. His teammate on the Tigers, Kris Benson, was the first pick in the same draft. Koch needed Tommy John surgery before seeing regular action as a pro: 1998 A+ age 23: 124.2 ip, 7.80 k/9, 2.63 k/bb, 0.58 hr/9 1999 AAA age 24: 25.0 ip, 7.92 k/9, 2.20 k/bb, 1.08 hr/9 The Blue Jays had an accomplished college starter who did well as a starter in the Florida State League, and was off to a solid start in the Syracuse rotation in '99. At this point they decided they needed a closer on the big club. Its bad enough he skipped Double-A and only had about 30 innings above A ball, but to take such a risk so he can accumulate saves?!! No wonder his slider and change leave so much to be desired. One more thing: 1999 1.94 gb/fb ratio 2000 1.63 2001 1.36 2002 1.29 2003 1.07 Could Koch have been a groundball pitcher as a starter? Was he a flyball pitcher who just needed a larger sample? Paging Rick Peterson. Closers are overrated, and the Mets won't have much to be closing in 2004. Considering the success they've had with Tyler Yates this year, I hope the Mets at least consider this aspect of Billy Koch's background if they're lucky enough to unload JLo on the ChiSox. By making Koch a starter, Heilman can get some more innings at Norfolk, or Duquette could entertain offers for Steve Trachsel. If the starting gig turns out more Danny Graves than Derek Lowe, Koch can go do whatever it is he does in the bullpen. Worst case scenario, Koch will keep the Mets from signing someone on the open market who will cost them their second round draft pick next year. Anytime your GM is dealing with Kenny Williams, your bound to get the better end of the deal, so I hope Duquette can see this thing through to the end. On a separate matter, I gotta admit I feel for all the Yankee fans out there. Hearing Nick Johnson in all these trade rumors must be hard to take. I hear Maalox helps.
 

Thursday, November 13, 2003
  Thank you for the time and courtesy

News and notes: ~I'm Radium! So says Score Bard's periodic table of bloggers. ~Jay Jaffe, at his wonderful blog, The Futility Infielder, reviewed the 2003 Yankees lineup using attrition rates in his Nov. 9th entry. The guys over at Barry Zito Forever did likewise with their beloved A's. Be sure to click on "comments," where someone went to the trouble of posting 2003 team AtRs. The Milwaukee AtRs were recently posted at Al's Ramblings, while Jeremy Heit figured out Paul Konerko's AtR splits. Great work by everyone. ~Attrition Rate is (was) a Baseball Primer Clutch Hit over the weekend, where tangotiger pointed out some work on the topic done a few months ago. All of it is very good reading. And while I'm on statistics, Eric McErlain, of Off Wing Opinion, recently posted an open letter to the Mets brass concerning the statistical analyst the Mets are searching for. Eric is campaigning for David Pinto of Baseball Musings, who, along with Tango, and some of the guys at Baseball Prospectus, is as good a choice as any. Here's an excerpt from an email I wrote to Eric:

I'm impressed with Duquette so far this offseaon, in regards to assembling the front office, and I'm more concerned with his attitude towards statistical analysis as opposed to the specific person he hires. I mean, what's the point of having a stat guy if you don't really believe, or even understand, what he brings to the table. The Peterson situation is a great sign though, not only did he get the best guy in the business, but he's already taken the necessary steps to implement his progressive techniques, as opposed to hiring him and letting him sit in the dugout. I hope he does likewise in regards to statistics.
And that's what I have to say about that. ~I've been absolutely blown away by the feedback I've received. I want to thank everyone for their enthusiasm, support, and encouragement. Until I make a breakthrough with p/PA or AtR, the raindrops will return to being a Mets blog, though I will slip in an attrition rate note or two every here and there. And since it was the topic (and confusion) of many emails I received, I want to quickly go over IBB in AtR. Using Vlad's 2003 stats: Simple AtR 1556 / [(394-130) + 5 + 4 + 0 + 18] = 5.35 APPA x 18 = 96.25 AtR Adjusting for IBB 22 of Vlad's 63 walks in 2003 were of the intentional variety. First, I took out 88 pitches, though the number could be less, considering the times a pitcher might have gone 1-0 or 2-0 before giving him a free pass, as well as taking away 22 plate appearances, and then recalculated p/PA: 3.298. I then roughly estimated what would have happened if he had taken those 22 plate appearances: 2 unintentional walks and 14 outs. After adding it back into his record, along with the 71 pitches I estimate he would have seen, you get: 467 PA, 1539 #PIT, 305 outs, 5.05 APPA, and 90.83 AtR. Andruw Jones's company aint lookin that bad anymore. I decided to not adjust for IBB in AtR to keep things simple. Until something useful comes out of AtR, I don't think its worth the trouble to make this adjustment. Here are a couple anyway: Rey Ordonez 2001 79.78 AtR 76.54 adjusted 2002 76.30 AtR 74.09 Barry Bonds 2000 119.97 AtR 115.46 adjusted 2001 139.20 AtR 131.69 2002 148.67 AtR 129.91 2003 147.65 AtR 131.24 ~Jim Duquette might or might not have nodded at Gregg Clifton at some point this week. Obviously, this follows. ~Lastly, and sadly, we lost one of the giants of Mets fandom this past weekend, when "Doris from Rego Park" lost her battle with cancer. Anyone who follows the Mets on WFAN is familiar with Doris, a knowledgeable and long time Mets fan. Many a night driving home from Shea, I've heard her astute commentary on the Amazins listening to the post game. First, we lose Bob Murphy and his Happy Recaps, now we lose Doris and her incessant coughs and unremitting love of the Mets. Summer sure will sound different in '04.
 
Tuesday, November 11, 2003
  2000 AtRs

n=240 Min: 77.55 25th: 92.86 Med: 100.79 75th: 108.40 Max: 138.55 138.55 J. Giambi, Oak 136.60 M. Ramirez, Cle 135.60 C. Delgado, Tor 128.42 J. Edmonds, StL 126.62 A. Rodriguez, Sea 124.38 T. Helton, Col 123.17 R. Becker, Det/Oak 122.96 J. Thome, Cle 122.29 B. Abreu, Phi 122.10 E. Alfonzo, NYM 121.71 F. Thomas, CWS 121.51 E. Martinez, Sea 120.75 L. Castillo, Fla 119.97 B. Bonds, SF 119.29 T. Glaus, Ana 119.28 J. Canseco, NYY/TB 119.05 S. Sosa, ChC 118.83 J. Vander Wal, Pit 118.30 R. Lankford, StL 118.22 T. Salmon, Ana 117.67 B. Giles, Pit 117.09 P. Burrell, Phi 116.79 J. Posada, NYY 116.31 F. Tatis, StL 115.83 G. Sheffield, LA 115.30 J. Bagwell, Hou 115.16 W. Clark, Bal/StL 115.03 R. Furcal, Atl 114.64 J. Frye, Bos/Col 113.96 D. Ortiz, Min 113.85 R. Henderson, Sea/NYM 113.77 J. Kendall, Pit 113.18 B. Higginson, Det 112.87 D. Hocking, Min 112.85 D. Jeter, NYY 112.71 T. Zeile, NYM 112.67 B. Anderson, Bal 112.54 M. Cameron, Sea 112.22 E. Burks, SF 111.64 M. Meluskey, Hou 111.51 J. Bell, Ari 111.46 J. Dye, KC 111.42 J. Kent, SF 111.16 T. Fryman, Cle 111.05 Q. Veras, Atl 110.85 R. Greer, Tex 110.77 J. Drew, StL 110.77 C. Johnson, Bal/CWS 110.76 K. Griffey Jr., Cin 110.74 D. Lee, Fla 110.46 B. Agbayani, NYM 110.32 G. Vaughn, TB 110.24 S. Rolen, Phi 109.72 R. Alomar, Cle 109.58 J. Snow, SF 109.45 D. Erstad, Ana 109.43 D. Justice, Cle/NYY 109.41 J. Burnitz, Mil 109.36 R. Hidalgo, Hou 108.49 R. White, ChC/Mon 108.38 M. Stairs, Oak 108.08 J. Olerud, Sea 107.72 G. Blum, Mon 107.69 M. Lawton, Min 107.55 C. Everett, Bos 107.28 R. Palmeiro, Tex 107.02 T. Nixon, Bos 106.98 R. Sexson, Cle/Mil 106.67 G. Colbrunn, Ari 106.31 J. Buhner, Sea 106.29 L. Berkman, Hou 106.18 M. Vaughn, Ana 106.17 M. Sweeney, KC 106.06 R. Velarde, Oak 105.90 C. Koskie, Min 105.79 K. Lofton, Cle 105.78 C. Biggio, Hou 105.77 M. Benard, SF 105.72 S. Green, LA 105.72 A. Beltre, LA 105.62 C. Hayes, Mil 105.48 B. Estalella, SF 105.39 C. Knoblauch, NYY 104.96 B. Ausmus, Det 104.85 S. Cox, TB 104.73 P. Nevin, SD 104.57 D. Segui, Cle/Tex 104.56 J. Cirillo, Col 104.50 F. McGriff, TB 104.49 O. Vizquel, Cle 104.45 L. Gonzalez, Ari 104.34 C. Floyd, Fla 104.33 R. Durham, CWS 104.25 M. McLemore, Sea 104.23 J. Offerman, Bos 104.15 D. Palmer, Det 104.11 D. Jackson, SD 103.78 D. Relaford, Phi/SD 103.59 M. Grace, ChC 103.28 D. Martinez, Tex/Tor/ChC/TB 103.03 B. Williams, NYY 102.97 T. Goodwin, LA/Col 102.96 R. Gutierrez, ChC 102.80 B. Huskey, Min/Col 102.75 R. Belliard, Mil 102.71 P. Konerko, CWS 102.68 M. Loretta, Mil 102.50 M. Lowell, Fla 102.25 L. Alicea, Tex 102.19 E. Chavez, Oak 102.00 C. Curtis, Tex 101.91 M. Mora, Bal/NYM 101.89 T. Lee, Phi/Ari 101.57 C. Stynes, Cin 101.31 D. DeShields, Bal 101.04 D. Bell, NYM 100.93 B. Boone, SD 100.89 J. Valentin, CWS 100.88 H. Rodriguez, ChC/Fla 100.83 S. Javier, Sea 100.77 J. Vidro, Mon 100.70 D. Buford, ChC 100.62 B. Daubach, Bos 100.58 A. Jones, Atl 100.43 M. Tejada, Oak 100.36 S. Casey, Cin 99.96 C. Jones, Atl 99.93 J. Hernandez, Mil 99.89 R. Klesko, SD 99.87 P. Wilson, Fla 99.47 B. Grieve, Oak 99.32 S. Stewart, Tor 99.32 J. Damon, KC 99.16 P. Reese, Cin 99.14 B. Spiers, Hou 99.08 J. Lugo, Hou 98.95 J. Hammonds, Col 98.84 M. Ordonez, CWS 98.77 M. Piazza, NYM 98.70 S. Finley, Ari 98.69 B. Larkin, Cin 98.21 G. Kapler, Tex 98.20 G. Jenkins, Mil 98.03 T. Long, Oak 98.01 R. Gant, Ana/Phi 98.01 C. Lee, CWS 97.84 D. Bell, Sea 97.63 R. Ledee, Cle/NYY/Tex 97.55 E. Young, ChC 97.53 R. Rivera, SD 97.32 D. Easley, Det 97.18 M. Alou, Hou 97.15 M. Grudzielanek, LA 97.07 M. Bordick, Bal/NYM 96.87 M. Lieberthal, Phi 96.84 L. Walker, Col 96.77 C. Febles, KC 96.51 D. Bichette, Bos/Cin 96.49 T. Martinez, NYY 96.42 J. Varitek, Bos 96.23 E. Karros, LA 96.17 K. Young, Pit 96.07 D. Miller, Ari 96.00 B. Mayne, Col 95.89 L. Stevens, Mon 95.80 A. Galarraga, Atl 95.72 R. Ventura, NYM 95.64 T. Hollandsworth, LA/Col 94.94 K. Stocker, Ana/TB 94.70 T. Batista, Tor 94.33 N. Garciaparra, Bos 94.25 R. Hernandez, Oak 94.25 W. Cordero, Cle/Pit 94.00 B. Mueller, SF 93.90 R. Aurilia, SF 93.74 P. Bergeron, Mon 93.19 M. Morandini, Tor/Phi 93.17 P. O'Neill, NYY 93.04 T. O'Leary, Bos 92.89 B. Surhoff, Bal/Atl 92.78 J. Encarnacion, Det 92.69 E. Renteria, StL 92.56 A. Gonzalez, Tor 92.51 A. Belle, Bal 92.46 J. Canizaro, Min 92.42 M. Quinn, KC 92.41 A. Cora, LA 92.22 R. Mondesi, Tor 91.96 J. Cruz, Tor 91.94 J. Gonzalez, Det 91.72 J. Conine, Bal 91.46 D. Fletcher, Tor 91.44 T. Womack, Ari 91.36 F. Vina, StL 91.17 H. Perry, CWS/TB 91.17 R. Sanders, Atl 90.86 W. Morris, Pit 90.39 J. Lopez, Atl 90.11 G. Williams, TB 90.05 A. Martin, Sea/SD 89.69 V. Guerrero, Mon 89.60 B. Fullmer, Tor 89.51 E. Owens, SD 89.47 M. Lamb, Tex 89.05 J. Girardi, ChC 88.86 J. Randa, KC 88.64 M. Lansing, Bos/Col 88.21 R. Clayton, Tex 88.15 M. Matheny, StL 88.07 M. Grissom, Mil 87.85 C. Singleton, CWS 87.82 B. Jordan, Atl 87.62 P. Meares, Pit 87.40 C. Paquette, StL 87.30 D. Bautista, Fla/Ari 87.19 S. Brosius, NYY 86.90 D. Glanville, Phi 86.79 L. Polonia, Det/NYY 86.68 J. Jones, Min 85.94 C. Guzman, Min 85.93 D. Young, Cin 85.83 M. Cairo, TB 85.40 A. Kennedy, Ana 85.28 M. Kotsay, Fla 85.26 N. Perez, Col 85.24 J. Payton, NYM 85.05 C. Beltran, KC 84.63 K. Jordan, Phi 83.28 T. Hunter, Min 83.25 S. Alomar Jr., Cle 83.21 I. Rodriguez, Tex 83.17 R. Coomer, Min 82.11 M. Williams, Ari 81.97 J. Flaherty, TB 81.16 O. Cabrera, Mon 80.87 G. Anderson, Ana 80.47 R. Sanchez, KC 78.65 B. Molina, Ana 77.96 A. Gonzalez, Fla 77.55 D. Cruz, Det  

  2001 AtRs

n=240 Min: 73.09 25th: 89.85 Med: 97.14 75th: 104.43 Max: 139.20 139.20 B. Bonds, SF 129.28 J. Giambi, Oak. Jason 124.88 J. Thome, Cle 124.44 E. Martinez, Sea 122.49 T. Helton, Col 121.96 J. Giambi, Oak. Jeremy 120.53 S. Sosa, ChC 120.00 J. Edmonds, StL 118.35 C. Delgado, Tor 118.22 R. Henderson, SD 117.15 L. Berkman, Hou 115.31 T. Nixon, Bos 114.82 B. Abreu, Phi 114.36 P. Nevin, SD 114.33 J. Bagwell, Hou 114.22 A. Pujols, StL 113.84 L. Walker, Col 113.60 J. Bell, Ari 113.29 R. Alomar, Cle 113.08 M. Ramirez, Bos 113.04 T. Zeile, NYM 112.73 A. Rodriguez, Tex 112.39 L. Gonzalez, Ari 112.29 B. Grieve, TB 111.78 M. McLemore, Sea 111.71 T. Salmon, Ana 111.21 R. Lankford, StL/SD 110.03 S. Rolen, Phi 109.97 T. Glaus, Ana 109.88 T. Clark, Det 109.23 J. Vander Wal, Pit/SF 109.22 D. Mientkiewicz, Min 109.04 F. Menechino, Oak 108.97 M. Cameron, Sea 108.00 B. Williams, NYY 107.72 F. Catalanotto, Tex 107.40 P. Burrell, Phi 107.38 J. Burnitz, Mil 107.38 K. Millar, Fla 107.24 R. Velarde, NYY/Tex 107.23 J. Valentin, CWS 107.21 E. Burks, Cle 107.14 R. Branyan, Cle 107.13 J. Drew, StL 107.07 L. Castillo, Fla 107.04 M. Lawton, Min/NYM 106.92 R. Palmeiro, Tex 106.81 B. Daubach, Bos 106.71 M. Stairs, ChC 106.67 B. Higginson, Det 106.52 G. Sheffield, LA 106.40 E. Alfonzo, NYM 106.30 J. Posada, NYY 105.91 C. Counsell, Ari 105.83 R. Durham, CWS 105.59 D. Jackson, SD 105.33 J. Dye, KC/Oak 105.06 T. Walker, Cin/Col 104.52 M. Grace, Ari 104.52 J. Olerud, Sea 104.40 D. DeShields, Bal/ChC 104.02 F. McGriff, ChC/TB 103.95 B. Giles, Pit 103.81 D. Justice, NYY 103.28 R. Fick, Det 103.28 R. Ventura, NYM 103.19 K. Griffey Jr., Cin 103.03 M. Kotsay, SD 102.66 M. McGwire, StL 102.48 R. Winn, TB 102.47 D. White, Mil 102.35 G. Kapler, Tex 102.30 C. Knoblauch, NYY 102.30 T. Fryman, Cle 102.27 D. Eckstein, Ana 102.22 D. Jeter, NYY 102.00 M. Piazza, NYM 102.00 D. Hocking, Min 101.99 R. Klesko, SD 101.79 J. Offerman, Bos 101.73 B. Boone, Sea 101.60 C. Koskie, Min 101.58 B. Anderson, Bal 101.39 R. Sexson, Mil 101.39 C. Jones, Atl 101.35 M. Ordonez, CWS 100.99 D. Lee, Fla 100.87 C. Beltran, KC 100.78 L. Stevens, Mon 100.74 E. Chavez, Oak 100.19 R. Mondesi, Tor 100.14 J. Kent, SF 99.98 J. Gonzalez, Cle 99.97 C. Guillen, Sea 99.96 M. Sweeney, KC 99.96 M. Loretta, Mil 99.80 A. Ramirez, Pit 99.65 G. Matthews Jr., ChC/Pit 99.63 S. Stewart, Tor 99.55 A. Rios, Pit/SF 99.55 D. Erstad, Ana 99.44 J. Damon, Oak 99.35 C. Biggio, Hou 99.33 K. Young, Pit 99.13 M. Mora, Bal 99.12 S. Green, LA 98.64 G. Blum, Mon 98.45 G. Vaughn, TB 98.18 R. Sanders, Ari 98.11 C. Murray, SF 97.74 A. Jones, Atl 97.73 J. Conine, Bal 97.59 J. Hernandez, Mil 97.57 B. Davis, SD 97.57 C. Everett, Bos 97.39 J. Cruz, Tor 97.38 R. White, ChC 97.27 J. Vidro, Mon 97.21 P. Lo Duca, LA 97.14 T. Lee, Phi 97.14 M. Tucker, ChC/Cin 97.08 S. Finley, Ari 96.90 S. Halter, Det 96.75 P. Konerko, CWS 96.44 P. Reese, Cin 96.37 J. Lugo, Hou 96.33 A. Boone, Cin 96.20 A. Beltre, LA 96.19 M. Lowell, Fla 96.11 A. Galarraga, Tex/SF 95.96 T. Batista, Bal/Tor 95.84 R. Aurilia, SF 95.81 T. Martinez, NYY 95.73 K. Caminiti, Tex/Atl 95.65 D. Miller, Ari 95.53 C. Johnson, Fla 95.44 R. Belliard, Mil 95.22 A. Kennedy, Ana 95.15 S. Cox, TB 95.15 R. Hidalgo, Hou 95.00 O. Vizquel, Cle 94.89 I. Suzuki, Sea 94.84 S. Brosius, NYY 94.71 R. Furcal, Atl 94.70 J. Kendall, Pit 94.65 G. Jenkins, Mil 94.64 T. Long, Oak 94.61 A. Soriano, NYY 94.50 M. Cordova, Cle 94.34 J. Hairston Jr., Bal 93.65 J. Cirillo, Col 93.46 E. Karros, LA 93.44 J. Rollins, Phi 93.33 R. Hernandez, Oak 93.05 T. Womack, Ari 92.77 L. Rivas, Min 92.76 B. Trammell, SD 92.48 J. Randa, KC 92.41 S. Casey, Cin 92.15 A. Gonzalez, Tor 92.06 R. Cedeno, Det 91.94 K. Lofton, Cle 91.91 M. Tejada, Oak 91.78 B. Mayne, KC/Col 91.71 D. Easley, Det 91.55 C. Floyd, Fla 91.51 M. Alou, Hou 91.27 L. Alicea, KC 91.20 M. Benard, SF 91.19 R. Martinez, SF 91.16 D. Wilson, Sea 90.89 R. Sierra, Tex 90.75 C. Lee, CWS 90.69 D. Bell, Sea 90.29 T. Shinjo, NYM 90.14 H. Blanco, Mil 90.06 M. Young, Tex 90.05 J. Jones, Min 89.90 R. Clayton, CWS 89.87 M. Grudzielanek, LA 89.80 B. Surhoff, Atl 89.77 C. Richard, Bal 89.73 M. Anderson, Phi 89.53 C. Singleton, CWS 89.33 J. LaRue, Cin 89.17 S. Spiezio, Ana 89.15 P. O'Neill, NYY 89.09 T. Hunter, Min 88.94 I. Rodriguez, Tex 88.92 C. Guzman, Min 88.63 A. Ochoa, Cin/Col 88.52 P. Bergeron, Mon 88.41 O. Cabrera, Mon 88.37 R. Coomer, ChC 88.28 E. Young, ChC 87.93 J. Encarnacion, Det 87.81 R. Gutierrez, ChC 87.77 E. Owens, Fla 87.74 E. Renteria, StL 87.69 J. Macias, Det 87.26 T. O'Leary, Bos 87.23 B. Jordan, Atl 86.93 D. Glanville, Phi 86.81 J. Lopez, Atl 86.77 M. Grissom, LA 86.77 D. Bichette, Bos 86.50 J. Pierre, Col 86.30 P. Wilson, Fla 86.09 B. Fullmer, Tor 85.96 M. Lansing, Bos 85.96 F. Vina, StL 85.85 M. Matheny, StL 85.69 A. Huff, TB 85.59 M. Williams, Ari 85.32 N. Perez, KC/Col 85.22 G. Anderson, Ana 85.00 A. Gonzalez, Fla 84.65 C. Stynes, Bos 84.59 C. Paquette, StL 84.45 D. Brown, KC 84.17 B. Ausmus, Hou 83.96 A. Cora, LA 83.83 A. Pierzynski, Min 83.83 C. Ripken Jr., Bal 83.83 V. Guerrero, Mon 83.80 J. Wilson, Pit 82.66 M. Quinn, KC 82.50 D. Young, Cin 82.16 J. Tyner, TB 81.93 D. Fletcher, Tor 81.88 E. Diaz, Cle 81.73 P. Polanco, StL 80.71 M. Barrett, Mon 79.78 R. Ordonez, NYM 79.05 B. Santiago, SF 78.44 S. Hillenbrand, Bos 77.82 D. Cruz, Det 77.37 J. Payton, NYM 76.75 V. Castilla, Hou/TB 73.09 R. Sanchez, KC/Atl
 

  2002 AtRs

n=240 Min: 69.28 25th: 90.68 Med: 98.27 75th: 105.44 Max: 148.67 148.67 B. Bonds, SF 135.49 J. Giambi, Oak/Phi. 143.11 with Philly. My kind of leadoff hitter. 129.27 J. Thome, Cle 127.28 J. Giambi, NYY 123.80 B. Abreu, Phi 123.11 A. Dunn, Cin 122.92 M. Ramirez, Bos 122.83 T. Helton, Col 119.18 J. Edmonds, StL 118.87 E. Martinez, Sea 118.12 B. Giles, Pit 117.21 B. Wilkerson, Mon 117.20 F. Thomas, CWS 117.17 S. Sosa, ChC 116.87 M. Bellhorn, ChC 116.51 S. Hatteberg, Oak. Posterchild 115.83 R. Palmeiro, Tex 115.61 A. Kearns, Cin 115.58 D. Lee, Fla 115.50 D. Justice, Oak 114.76 C. Delgado, Tor 114.11 J. Bagwell, Hou 113.77 P. Burrell, Phi 113.76 L. Gonzalez, Ari 113.03 E. Alfonzo, NYM 112.69 L. Berkman, Hou 111.71 T. Zeile, Col 111.57 J. Olerud, Sea 110.89 J. Spivey, Ari 110.48 R. Ventura, NYY 110.27 A. Rodriguez, Tex 110.24 C. Lee, CWS 110.22 M. McLemore, Sea. The Veteran. 110.22 M. Ellis, Oak 110.22 R. Durham, CWS/Oak 110.06 D. Ortiz, Min 108.74 G. Sheffield, Atl 108.26 B. Daubach, Bos 108.00 G. Blum, Hou 107.84 M. Sweeney, KC 107.76 N. Johnson, NYY 107.58 C. Koskie, Min 107.47 R. Branyan, Cle/Cin 107.41 E. Hinske, Tor 107.39 K. Millar, Fla 107.28 J. Posada, NYY 107.08 B. Williams, NYY 106.95 T. Salmon, Ana 106.92 J. Dye, Oak 106.68 C. Jones, Atl 106.56 T. Glaus, Ana 106.42 J. Hernandez, Mil 106.40 M. Cameron, Sea 106.20 J. Vidro, Mon 106.03 Q. McCracken, Ari 106.02 J. Damon, Bos 106.01 D. Mientkiewicz, Min 105.76 D. Jimenez, CWS/SD 105.73 P. Reese, Pit 105.55 S. Rolen, Phi/StL 105.40 T. Nixon, Bos 105.18 R. Ibanez, KC 105.05 J. Burnitz, NYM 104.96 M. Lamb, Tex 104.94 J. Snow, SF 104.92 A. Pujols, StL 104.86 C. Wilson, Pit 104.83 J. Franco, Atl 104.71 R. Winn, TB 104.71 L. Castillo, Fla 104.41 C. Beltran, KC 104.01 R. Klesko, SD 103.94 A. Jones, Atl 103.86 C. Counsell, Ari 103.67 K. Mench, Tex 103.66 R. Alomar, NYM 103.46 O. Vizquel, Cle 103.44 R. Vazquez, SD 103.31 J. Drew, StL 103.27 M. Mora, Bal 103.26 E. Burks, Cle 103.14 S. Finley, Ari 103.01 D. Jeter, NYY 103.01 K. Lofton, CWS/SF 103.00 B. Mueller, ChC/SF 102.98 C. Pena, Det/Oak 102.96 R. Sexson, Mil 102.95 J. Lugo, Hou 102.92 M. Vaughn, NYM 102.91 K. Young, Pit 102.60 E. Chavez, Oak 102.39 C. Everett, Tex 102.28 M. Tejada, Oak 101.81 C. Floyd, Bos/Mon/Fla 101.75 B. Grieve, TB 101.62 L. Walker, Col 100.99 A. Kennedy, Ana 100.95 R. Fick, Det 100.81 J. Sandberg, TB 100.60 M. Lowell, Fla 100.44 T. Batista, Bal 100.38 P. Nevin, SD 100.09 T. Fryman, Cle 100.05 R. Mackowiak, Pit 100.05 M. Ordonez, CWS 99.75 J. Randa, KC 99.63 C. Guillen, Sea 99.63 F. McGriff, ChC 99.19 D. Eckstein, Ana 99.14 D. Roberts, LA 99.05 D. Ward, Hou 99.03 C. Febles, KC 98.98 D. Bell, SF 98.63 M. Young, Tex 98.63 D. Berg, Tor 98.62 M. Piazza, NYM 98.57 M. Tucker, KC 98.47 P. Konerko, CWS 98.34 M. Lawton, Cle 98.28 T. Womack, Ari 98.26 G. Matthews Jr., Bal/NYM 98.09 M. Barrett, Mon 98.02 M. Bordick, Bal 97.84 J. Hairston Jr., Bal 97.84 M. Kotsay, SD 97.80 R. Hidalgo, Hou 97.47 J. Hammonds, Mil 97.38 J. Kendall, Pit 97.23 T. Walker, Cin 97.18 J. Valentin, CWS 97.09 P. Wilson, Fla 97.04 S. Stewart, Tor 96.89 I. Suzuki, Sea 96.61 B. Boone, Sea 96.27 A. Fox, Fla 96.22 B. Jordan, LA 96.20 J. Cruz, Tor 95.93 R. Furcal, Atl 95.91 B. Trammell, SD 95.78 R. Sanders, SF 95.02 S. Green, LA 95.00 F. Tatis, Mon 94.84 D. Mohr, Min 94.83 E. Marrero, StL 94.83 A. Huff, TB 94.81 J. Varitek, Bos 94.76 S. Cox, TB 94.61 B. Higginson, Det 94.60 T. Lee, Phi 94.56 S. Spiezio, Ana 94.53 J. Wilson, Pit 94.52 M. Cordova, Bal 94.38 J. Rollins, Phi 93.86 J. Jones, Min 93.84 S. Halter, Det 93.78 D. Wilson, Sea 93.66 J. Kent, SF 93.19 E. Karros, LA 93.16 R. Cedeno, NYM 93.01 L. Stevens, Cle/Mon 93.00 E. Renteria, StL 92.99 M. Grissom, LA 92.93 R. Hernandez, Oak 92.61 A. Boone, Cin 92.52 R. Mondesi, NYY/Tor 92.44 A. Soriano, NYY 92.40 T. Hollandsworth, Tex/Col 92.37 D. Relaford, Sea 92.25 A. Beltre, LA 92.23 T. Martinez, StL 91.82 P. Lo Duca, LA 91.77 A. Gonzalez, ChC 91.69 M. Lieberthal, Phi 91.66 M. Bradley, Cle 91.25 I. Rodriguez, Tex 91.02 C. Biggio, Hou 90.98 J. Conine, Bal 90.97 T. Hunter, Min 90.80 B. Mayne, KC 90.75 V. Guerrero, Mon 90.46 S. Hillenbrand, Bos 90.30 J. Vizcaino, Hou 90.15 T. Long, Oak 90.06 B. Fullmer, Ana 89.81 J. LaRue, Cin 89.59 H. Perry, Tex 88.99 J. Encarnacion, Cin/Fla 88.83 J. Gibbons, Bal 88.81 T. Shinjo, SF 88.68 O. Cabrera, Mon 88.52 R. Aurilia, SF 87.99 T. Perez, NYM 87.88 R. White, NYY 87.87 S. Casey, Cin 87.70 J. Uribe, Col 87.59 C. Gomez, TB 87.58 R. Gutierrez, Cle 87.49 E. Young, Mil 87.39 C. Singleton, Bal 87.09 W. Magee, Det 87.06 A. Ramirez, Pit 86.93 D. Erstad, Ana 86.71 J. Payton, NYM/Col 86.67 D. Glanville, Phi 86.24 M. Alou, ChC 86.19 J. Cirillo, Sea 85.90 R. Sierra, Sea 85.88 M. Matheny, StL 85.87 M. Anderson, Phi 85.53 E. Owens, Fla 85.33 B. Ausmus, Hou 85.00 A. Sanchez, Mil 84.92 J. Macias, Det/Mon 84.81 B. Larkin, Cin 84.79 V. Wells, Tor 84.57 R. Clayton, CWS 83.39 J. Lopez, Atl 83.35 J. Pierre, Col 83.34 B. Abernathy, TB 82.73 G. Gil, Bal 82.41 F. Vina, StL 82.32 C. Patterson, ChC 81.58 N. Garciaparra, Bos 80.70 M. Grudzielanek, LA 79.92 G. Anderson, Ana 79.66 B. Santiago, SF 79.35 P. Polanco, Phi/StL 79.02 C. Truby, Det/Mon 78.25 T. Hall, TB 77.67 R. Sanchez, Bos 77.03 A. Pierzynski, Min 76.39 C. Guzman, Min 76.30 R. Ordonez, NYM 75.12 D. Cruz, SD 73.27 N. Perez, KC 72.73 V. Castilla, Atl 72.26 B. Molina, Ana 71.02 B. Butler, Col 70.35 C. Izturis, LA 69.28 R. Simon, Det
 

Thursday, November 06, 2003
  Game of Attrition

What's better than a good at-bat? Sure a groundball double play at the right time feels priceless, and few things are as exciting as a double that rolls to the wall with a runner on first in a close game. Heck, some people get all worked up after seeing a player hit behind the runner. But me, I take a nice long at-bat every time. There's something about a leadoff hitter working the count full, and then fouling off a couple of two strike pitches on the black that sits well with me. Even if the end result is a grounder to second, or a lazy fly to center, you get the feeling that something important was accomplished, a small victory of sorts. If somehow the long at-bat is turned into a walk, or a single the opposite way, or anything that's not an out, well, its an instant rally, or at least that's the way it feels to me. So what if the leadoff man ends up stranded at third. If his at-bat took eight or nine pitches, and the subsequent hitters, three of which made outs, faced 15 or so additional pitches, well, at least you've made the pitcher work for that goose egg on the board. The thinking goes if a team is always working the count, they'll wear down the starter and get a chance to feast on either a tired pitcher or the middle relief corps. Sounds like a plan to me. How many times this season did it seem the Red Sox had Clemens closing in on 100 pitches before he was out of the fifth? Who can forget Paul O'Neill working Armando Benitez (like I need to mention time and place)? I have a special place in my heart for players, and teams, who always seem to have these good at-bats. Alright, so I like long at-bats, big deal, what baseball fan doesn't? Well, I started to associate this love of long at-bats with pitches per plate appearances (p/PA) a few years ago, soon after seeing the light of On Base Percentage and unlearning all that stuff McCarver poisoned my mind with on WWOR. Before looking at the actual stats, it seemed to me that players with the highest p/PA would draw the most walks, thus have the highest OBP, and therefore be the best hitters. How wrong I was. For every Rickey Henderson that makes perfect sense, there is a Rich Becker who makes you rethink the whole idea. Nevertheless, it still seemed important. I started to become obsessed with trying to find a "missing link" after reading about the importance the Oakland A's place on p/PA in Moneyball. Billy Beane would state, "Baseball is a game of attrition, and what's being attrited are pitchers' arms." So I went to work trying to get to the bottom of p/PA. A player who has a high p/PA must be helping his team score runs, right? Well, not necessarily. There isn't a strong correlation between p/PA and On Base Percentage or Slugging Percentage (especially Slugging Percentage). I kept, and still am, trying to find relationships with p/PA and any aspect of run scoring and/or hitter development, among other things. I've learned a few things, and am still working on others, but I haven't found anything terribly useful. However, I want to share something I call Attrition Rate (AtR?). I know Nate Silver uses this term in PECOTA, but I'm going to use it anyway. I've been calculating AtR for a while now, and was holding out on introducing it to a wider audience because at the moment its only interesting, as opposed to useful, and I was still hoping to find a better understanding and/or use of p/PA, or some p/PA derivative. I was prompted into action when I saw other people taking an interest in p/PA, as Al Bethke did in a recent post over at Al's Ramblings, where he presented two lineups he came up with using an unnamed stat (p/PA), and noted the 100+ pt difference in OPS:

The teams above were chosen solely on pitches per plate appearance. All of the guys on the "best" team took between 4.2 and 4.4 p/PA. The players on the "worst" team took between 3.1 and 3.5 p/PA. That's less than a pitch per PA difference. However, look at the glaring difference in OBP on these two teams. Players that take more pitches get on base at a much higher rate. They take more walks, and they see more mistakes to hit. I've never seen "proof" that taking pitches helps you score more runs (though it's difficult to argue that it helps tire the opposing team's starting pitcher), but taking a look at these two lineups, my theory that patience equals success appears to be an excellent starting point.
In this example, where Al is looking at the two extremes of p/PA, there is a stronger correlation between p/PA and OBP. But the relationship breaks down as soon as you move away from extreme players located outside the 15th and 85th percentile. As soon as I figure out a way to get my Excel charts onto the site, I'll post a graph that demonstrates this point, along with a few others. For now, trust me when I say you can't say anything much about what OBP or OPS any one player would have by looking at his p/PA (this applies to about 75% of the players in my data set, described below). David Pinto, at Baseball Musings, seems to agree:
I've watched this stat for a number of years. It's not a be all or an end all; there are good hitters who don't see that many pitches. There are poor hitters who are selective. But I think in general Al is correct that a lineup of selective hitters will do more damage, if for no other reason than they tire out the starter earlier.
Again, I agree, and I think Attrition Rates do a good job of quantifying just how much a hitter can tire out an opposing pitcher. The goal of AtR is to have an actual number to compare Brad Wilkerson's work the count method to Vladimir Guerrero's swing at everything approach. It makes no claims to identifying a more productive hitter or a higher run scoring philosophy. In two easy steps: 1. Calculate Adjusted Pitches per Plate Appearance (APPA): APPA = #Pitches / [(AB - H) + CS + SF + SH + GDP] Essentially, its the total number of pitches a hitter saw divided by outs you can attribute to him. It could be fine tuned with adjustments made for intentional walks and outs made on the basepaths not covered by caught stealing, but I want to keep it simple at this point. My thinking behind APPA is that if there is no strong correlation between p/PA and OBP, why not find a way to reward players who do both. I'm sure these are the guys that drive pitchers nuts. APPA tries to give a guy like Mark Ellis, who really works a pitcher (4.07 p/PA in 2003), without much of a payoff (.313 OBP), equal footing with a someone like Derek Jeter, who doesn't wear down the pitcher as much (3.72 p/PA), but isn't so quick to make an out (.393 OBP). Doing the 2003 calculations for these two yields: Derek Jeter 5.85 APPA Mark Ellis 5.77 2. Attrition Rate (AtR) What's the break even point for a starting pitcher, in terms of innings pitched? My understanding of a Quality Start requires six innings, and I think its a good standard. Sure you want more, but I think most pitchers would sign for 18 outs every time they go out there. And doesn't it seem like the first time a broadcaster mentions pitch count is when a starter is approaching this 18 out threshold? Attrition rate, AtR, is just APPA multiplied by 18. Derek Jeter 105.29 AtR Mark Ellis 103.86 A pitcher would need to throw 105 pitches to get through six innings against a lineup of nine 2003 vintage Derek Jeters. Pretty simple, huh? Again, it doesn't make any claims in regards to run scoring, but it does give you a number to attach to a player when you want to see how much he makes a pitcher work. The guys over at U.S.S. Mariner, when celebrating Edgar Martinez's return for 2004, could have added his AtR to the following line:
There are few things more entertaining in the game than watching Edgar work a pitcher into submission before lining an unhittable pitch into the alley for a double.
Submission is right. Edgar worked pitchers to the tune of a 125 AtR in 2003. Or Baseball Musing's David Pinto, in a recent post about Don Mattingly:
Mattingly is an example of a successful impatient hitter. For the years STATS kept the stat, 1988-1995, Mattingly saw only 3.34 pitches per plate appearance, a low number (the leaders are usually above four). Since the most important job of the Yankees hitting coach will be to teach Soriano to take a pitch, I'm not sure Don is the right man at the right time.
Mattingly's AtR from 1988-1995 is 89. Soriano sports a career 93 AtR. If I assume Mattingly saw 3.34 pitches per plate appearances from '82-'87, then his career AtR is 90. Considering Mattingly's (BB+SO)/PA before and after STATS kept p/PA numbers, its safe to say his '82-'87 numbers probably weren't too far from 3.34 p/PA (another graph I will post as soon as I get the details squared away). One thing I don't have for Mattingly is the league AtR to provide context. Thanks to ESPN's sortable statistics, I have a better idea of how Soriano compares to his peers. I took all players who had more than 350 plate appearances in any one season over the past four years (2000-2003) and threw their stats into a spreadsheet. I ran the numbers on the 960 qualifying players to find: p/PA n=960 Min: 2.72 25th: 3.56 Med: 3.75 75th: 3.93 Max: 4.52 n is the number of values in the sample, Min is the minimum value in the sample, Max is the maximum value in the sample, Median is the point at which half of the values are lower and half are larger. The 25th percentile is the point where 25% of the values are smaller and 75% are larger, and the 75th percentile is the point where 75% of the values are smaller, and 25% are larger. 50 percent of all qualifying players fell in the 3.56 to 3.93 p/PA range. OBP n=960 Min: .229 25th: .321 Med: .344 75th: .371 Max: .582 50 percent fell between .321 and .371 AtR n=960 Min: 69.28 25th: 91.37 Med: 98.63 75th: 106.01 Max: 148.67 Half of the players in the group fell between 91.37 AtR and 106.01 AtR. I was pleased to see the median was 98.63. Broadcasters are probably bringing up pitch counts at the 18 out threshold because that's usually when the starter is entering three digit territory. On a side note, if anyone has seen the movie Pi, you'll recall the main character would pause a moment before pressing return on the keyboard for that day's stock picks. I did something similar just before sorting the data set according to AtR, making a mental note of who I thought the high and low points would be (I only noted the players, not the season). Two for two, as God, I mean Barry Bonds, posted a 148.67 AtR in 2002, while none other than Randell Simon hacked his way to a 69.28 AtR, also in 2002. I plan on doing player to player comparisons, as well as team by team AtR breakdowns, and also track some players' AtRs through their careers, and a few other things in the next couple days. I'll also do a lengthy article in regards to recent Mets team and player AtRs. I'm also putting together an all-time team of sorts. I only have the p/PA stats on ESPN to work with, so its going to be mostly recent players. And if I get the graphs thing figured out, I'll probably spend some time with that, including some stuff on if AtR's inclusion in a modified Runs Created formula helps or hurts the bottom line. In the mean time, take a look at the following 2003 AtRs: n=240 Min: 74.61 25th: 92.48 Med: 98.50 75th: 105.71 Max: 147.65 147.65 B. Bonds, SF 126.58 N. Johnson, NYY. I guess this makes him AtR Jesus. 126.17 J. Giambi, NYY. 126.09 T. Helton, Col 124.56 E. Martinez, Sea 124.46 B. Abreu, Phi 122.75 M. Mora, Bal 122.49 F. Thomas, CWS. 122.04 C. Delgado, Tor 121.60 B. Wilkerson, Mon. How long before he's in Oakland? 118.31 A. Dunn, Cin 118.22 J. Thome, Phi 117.54 C. Koskie, Min 116.78 L. Berkman, Hou 116.20 M. Stairs, Pit 116.04 M. Ramirez, Bos 115.86 J. Snow, SF 115.65 J. Edmonds, StL 115.64 M. Bradley, Cle 114.73 S. Rolen, StL 113.97 A. Pujols, StL 113.76 K. Ginter, Mil 113.74 J. Posada, NYY. Gotta love Jorge. 113.45 J. Kendall, Pit 112.67 D. Lee, Fla 112.64 D. Ortiz, Bos 112.61 R. Palmeiro, Tex 112.46 J. Vander Wal, Mil 112.35 L. Walker, Col 111.94 T. Nixon, Bos 111.38 E. Durazo, Oak 111.20 L. Gonzalez, Ari 111.19 O. Palmeiro, StL 110.90 R. Durham, SF 110.32 J. Damon, Bos 110.30 G. Sheffield, Atl 109.72 A. Rodriguez, Tex. Above and beyond his peers again. 109.71 B. Mueller, Bos 109.71 C. Beltran, KC 109.48 S. Podsednik, Mil 109.45 D. Mientkiewicz, Min 109.39 R. Sexson, Mil. From now on, they're the Milkwaukee Yosters. 109.01 R. Belliard, Col 108.55 W. Cordero, Mon 108.53 J. Vidro, Mon 108.38 M. Loretta, SD 108.23 S. Sosa, ChC. Who forgot to tell him Cubs hang out around the 25th percentile? 107.73 T. Salmon, Ana 107.42 C. Jones, Atl 107.16 B. Giles, Pit/SD 106.80 A. Guiel, KC 106.77 B. Boone, Sea 106.73 B. Kielty, Min/Tor. I remember his great at-bat against Benitez. 106.69 R. Furcal, Atl 106.68 J. Cruz, SF. 106.59 J. Olerud, Sea. Steve Phillips replaced his attrition, but not his production. 106.52 R. Hidalgo, Hou 105.99 T. Glaus, Ana 105.97 C. Floyd, NYM 105.86 M. Byrd, Phi 105.67 D. Jimenez, CWS/Cin. Better than Alomar here as well. 105.60 M. Lawton, Cle 105.49 E. Hinske, Tor 105.29 D. Jeter, NYY 105.12 K. Millar, Bos 105.03 M. Sweeney, KC 104.95 R. Ibanez, KC 104.87 S. Hatteberg, Oak. 104.78 C. Guillen, Sea 104.72 R. Alomar, CWS/NYM. Refuses to wear out his own arm in the field. 104.45 S. Finley, Ari 104.39 S. Spencer, Cle/Tex 104.12 M. Cameron, Sea 104.07 C. Everett, CWS/Tex 104.01 R. Ventura, NYY/LA 103.90 M. Bordick, Tor 103.88 J. Randa, KC 103.86 M. Ellis, Oak 103.73 G. Jenkins, Mil 103.25 P. Burrell, Phi 103.24 E. Chavez, Oak 103.13 M. Lowell, Fla 102.84 M. Young, Tex 102.72 B. Williams, NYY 102.69 R. Fick, Atl. C'mon Duke, sign him. 102.67 J. Bagwell, Hou 102.61 J. Lugo, Hou/TB 102.57 J. Spivey, Ari 102.56 C. Stynes, Col 102.43 J. Varitek, Bos 102.36 M. Ensberg, Hou 102.29 L. Matos, Bal 102.00 L. Castillo, Fla 101.93 T. Lee, TB 101.73 B. Roberts, Bal 101.71 E. Byrnes, Oak 101.59 C. Wilson, Pit 101.50 R. Vazquez, SD 101.42 D. Young, Det 101.37 J. Valentin, CWS 101.27 M. Tejada, Oak. Billy Beane say if my AtR fall below 100 he send me to Mexico. 100.90 R. Klesko, SD 100.68 D. Roberts, LA 100.52 M. LeCroy, Min 100.16 G. Myers, Tor 100.06 S. Stewart, Min/Tor 99.84 M. Lieberthal, Phi 99.58 F. Catalanotto, Tor 99.55 R. Johnson, Tor 99.53 C. Woodward, Tor 99.48 J. Lopez, Atl 99.31 M. Teixeira, Tex 99.22 M. Ordonez, CWS 99.22 C. Johnson, Col 99.09 M. Giles, Atl 98.92 S. Green, LA 98.91 J. Phelps, Tor 98.90 W. Helms, Mil 98.58 J. Burnitz, LA/NYM. 106.38 with the Mets. 98.56 A. Kennedy, Ana 98.44 C. Pena, Det 98.42 H. Matsui, NYY 98.39 E. Renteria, StL 98.26 D. Eckstein, Ana 98.12 J. DaVanon, Ana 97.74 J. Conine, Bal/Fla 97.53 J. Phillips, NYM 97.38 R. Hernandez, Oak 97.34 C. Lee, CWS 96.95 B. Higginson, Det 96.87 J. LaRue, Cin 96.85 I. Rodriguez, Fla 96.62 R. Mondesi, NYY/Ari 96.56 C. Blake, Cle 96.54 D. Mohr, Min 96.51 D. Miller, ChC 96.50 M. Tucker, KC 96.25 V. Guerrero, Mon. It might be interesting to see how Vlad would do without IBB. 96.23 M. Anderson, TB 96.21 P. Wilson, Col 96.18 C. Biggio, Hou 96.03 O. Hudson, Tor 96.02 R. Sanders, Pit 95.97 H. Blalock, Tex 95.80 R. White, KC/SD 95.73 A. Everett, Hou 95.56 M. Grudzielanek, ChC 95.39 J. Hernandez, ChC/Pit/Col 95.35 M. Kotsay, SD 95.34 O. Cabrera, Mon 95.21 S. Casey, Cin 95.12 R. Cedeno, NYM. Do they make a defensive AtR, for wearing out your own pitchers? 95.10 A. Huff, TB 95.09 J. Guillen, Oak/Cin 95.06 R. Winn, Sea 94.91 B. Inge, Det 94.88 A. Berroa, KC 94.74 I. Suzuki, Sea 94.68 T. Walker, Bos 94.66 S. Burroughs, SD 94.61 J. Gerut, Cle 94.52 D. Rolls, TB 94.46 E. Munson, Det 94.41 T. Wigginton, NYM. Above 100 in April (I was keeping track), and declining from there. 94.38 M. Alou, ChC 94.36 J. Rollins, Phi. 94.18 A. Gonzalez, Fla 94.15 J. Kent, Hou 93.98 E. Young, Mil/SF 93.91 G. Matthews Jr., Bal/SD 93.52 E. Karros, ChC 93.41 A. Soriano, NYY. Have you seen Nomar yet? 93.37 M. Matheny, StL 93.27 B. Schneider, Mon 93.14 A. Beltre, LA 93.02 T. Martinez, StL 92.99 A. Ramirez, ChC/Pit 92.72 A. Cintron, Ari 92.58 B. Mayne, KC 92.49 B. Broussard, Cle 92.47 P. Lo Duca, LA 92.39 C. Monroe, Det 92.37 T. Long, Oak 91.89 A. Boone, NYY/Cin. 87.17 with Yankees. Can't even smell Ventura from here. 91.68 R. Clayton, Mil 91.37 A. Gonzalez, ChC 90.96 K. Lofton, ChC/Pit 90.88 B. Ausmus, Hou 90.87 A. Jones, Atl. Not surrounded by the best company. 90.77 B. Santiago, SF 90.68 J. Wilson, Pit 90.63 J. Pierre, Fla 90.57 S. Spiezio, Ana 90.48 J. Crede, CWS 90.27 J. Cabrera, LA 90.27 E. Alfonzo, SF. A few seasons removed from 120+ AtR. 90.21 T. Batista, Bal 90.15 J. Gibbons, Bal 90.13 B. Fordyce, Bal 90.00 P. Polanco, Phi 90.00 P. Konerko, CWS 89.75 X. Nady, SD 89.46 D. Relaford, KC 89.35 E. Chavez, Mon 89.12 R. Aurilia, SF 88.78 R. Calloway, Mon 88.54 R. Baldelli, TB. Lou loves me. 88.53 T. Hunter, Min 88.50 V. Wells, Tor 88.47 A. Cora, LA 88.03 J. Encarnacion, Fla 87.67 A. Pierzynski, Min 86.70 J. Payton, Col. I would have guessed even lower for Mr. 0-2. 86.61 J. Jones, Min 86.39 G. Anderson, Ana 86.19 S. Halter, Det 86.07 C. Crawford, TB 86.06 C. Guzman, Min 85.63 M. Grissom, SF. Brian Sabean's kind of player. 84.88 W. Morris, Det 84.72 C. Crisp, Cle 84.54 T. Perez, NYM. Who needs Matt Watson? 84.36 S. Hillenbrand, Bos/Ari 84.28 E. Perez, Mil 84.11 E. Diaz, Tex 84.00 T. Womack, ChC/Col/Ari 83.07 N. Garciaparra, Bos. What did you guess? 83.06 G. Blum, Hou 82.89 L. Rivas, Min 82.77 T. Hall, TB 82.12 K. Harvey, KC 81.46 R. Sanchez, Sea/NYM 81.08 A. Sanchez, Det/Mil 80.38 V. Castilla, Atl 79.81 B. Molina, Ana 79.73 R. Santiago, Det 79.67 R. Simon, ChC/Pit 77.75 B. Phillips, Cle 77.63 C. Izturis, LA 74.61 D. Cruz, Bal Keith Woolner's work on length of plate appearance: Pt. I and II Cory Schwartz's take on p/PA and OBP I'd love to hear your thoughts on AtR and appreciate any feedback you can offer. ***** Thanks are in order for David Pinto at Baseball Musings, who provided feedback, as well Dave from baseballgraphs.com for his help with the graphs.
 
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Attrition Rate (AtR)

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