Also, I’d like to know why no one’s excited about my foul ball. This is important stuff here.
Hey, if you’re looking for a coach to pile on, may I suggest Lamar Johnson?
Dudes with over 200 ABs
Olerud: .268/.368/.385 (yeeech)
Davis: .245/.294/.399 (yeeesh)
McLemore: .230/.318/.316 (gag)
Cirillo .205/.281/.271 (am I the only person who remembers when everyone thought Johnson was so great because he was spending time working with Jeff and watching old video, and implying that no one had thought of that before?)
Now, there’s a way we can judge under/over performing. Baseball Prospectus’s PECOTA system goes through baseball history and finds comps based on a set of factors including age, and then projects the player’s performance forward based on what all those other guys did. What it comes up with is a forecast that includes both best and worst case seasons, and the weights them by probability. So we see something like
Derek Zumsteg C R
90% .200 .400 .400
80% .180 .380 .378
10% .000 .050 .000
and so on, where 90% of all Derek-seasons should fall below that 90% line. And only 10% of my Derek-seasons should be on that 10% line or below it.
By comparing what BP’s fine PECOTA projection system projected for these guys and seeing what they actually did, we can start to make some guesses about effectiveness of coaching, because the projections take into account young player growth and old player aging. It also will give credit for coaxing good seasons out of modest players (like Price does).
Okay, so where does that put them on the PECOTA forecasts (and I’m approximating here)
Ichiro: 50th percent (little low on OBP, little higher on SLG)
Edgar: 75th percentile
Boone: 75th percentile
Winn: 50th percentile
Guillen: 90th percentile… while he’s been healthy
Olerud: 20th percent (the power disappearance is hard to match)
Cameron: 40th percent
Wilson: 45th percent
Davis: 40th pecrent (another weird match: PECOTA saw him having less AVG, more OBP, less slugging generally)
McLemore: 25th percentile
Cirillo: 25th percentile
What do we have here, then? The Ageless Edgar again is defying all projections. I think Boone’s projection is thrown off by his weird career path, but I don’t know, maybe the PECOTA-tron 2000 sees that.
Seasons hugely better than expected: 3 (Edgar, Boone, Guillen)
Seasons close to projections: 3 (Ichiro, Winn, Wilson)
Slightly below: 2 (Davis, Cameron)
Collapse: 3 (Olerud, McLemore, Cirillo)
At best, that’s a wash. If you agree with me that Edgar is pretty much beyond the effects of coaching, it’s bad.
Compare this to the kind of consistent improvements Lee Elia got from his players, and… well, you see where I’m going with this. That Johnson’s name hasn’t been brought up in connection with the team’s offensive woes baffles me.
Even after the awful loss on Tuesday, we managed to take 2 out of 3. And Anaheim looks like they’ve officially rolled over, so hopefully this weekend can lead to a nice little winning streak.
Also, judging from our inbox, there are a lot of people jumping on the “Bryan Price is overrated” bandwagon, seemingly frustrated with his inability to fix Freddy Garcia. I think people are losing sight of exactly what Bryan Price has built here. Under his watch:
Joel Pineiro became a frontline starting pitcher despite a history of mediocrity in the minors. He has outperformed all his projections.
Gil Meche developed into a quality starting pitcher after not pitching in the majors for three years and getting torched in his Double-A rehab last year.
Ryan Franklin has gone from bit-part 4A reliever into a useful starting pitcher.
Julio Mateo has gone from a bit-part 4A reliever into one of the best relief pitchers in baseball.
Rafael Soriano has emerged from being a prospect with a good arm into being one of the three or four most dominating relievers in the game.
Shigetoshi Hasegawa has gone from a contact-king middle reliever into a run-stopping machine.
Price has not exactly been handed an all-star pitching staff, but he’s maximized the return of nearly everyone on the staff. Freddy Garcia is frustrating, yes, but to lay that blame at the feet of Bryan Price is to suggest that he’s a miracle worker. Nearly the entire pitching staff is overachieving, and that has been true since Price took over as pitching coach. Lest we forget the days of Stan Williams, let us remember that we have one of the best pitching coaches in the game.