Meet-up Wrap-up

Jeff · December 18, 2005 at 9:44 am · Filed Under General baseball, Mariners, Site information 

The book event with Baseball Prospectus’ Jonah Keri was last night, and was thoroughly enjoyable. It was good to see some folks again, and good to meet others for the first time.

— We heard about (and saw the table of contents for) the forthcoming BP book Baseball Between the Numbers, about which Jonah is enthused. If he’s excited about it, then so am I.

— Jonah brought photocopied handouts of the latest PECOTA projections for Jarrod Washburn. Unfortunately, he’s now facing federal charges for distribution of obscenity. [rimshot]

— I got a bunch of great post ideas from the attendees, including a summation of Bill Bavasi’s record so far and the role of “intangibles” in player evaluation.

— Guests Jon Paul Morosi of the P-I and Larry Stone of the Times listened in, no doubt preparing parallel features on myself and Jonah.

Due to the unexpected outburst of a Dixieland band, a brief softshoe did materialize. No karaoke, though. Many thanks to everyone who showed up.


17 Responses to “Meet-up Wrap-up”

  1. Southpaw on December 18th, 2005 10:44 am

    Is it possible to post those PECOTA numbers?

  2. zzyzx on December 18th, 2005 11:05 am

    Any chance of a pizza feed coming up?

  3. djw on December 18th, 2005 11:39 am

    What southpaw said. Apparently I’m not yet depressed enough.

  4. Jonah Keri on December 18th, 2005 11:48 am

    The PECOTA projection that I shared was compiled before Washburn signed with the M’s and was based on a neutral, National League park. I can tell you that his highest VORP for any season between 2006 and 2009 was about +12, meaning Washburn’s best season in the next four, according to PECOTA and assuming a neutral NL park, would be worth just over one win more than a replacement-level pitcher (Aaron Sele was almost exactly replacement level in 2005, to use a familiar example).

    What I said last night, though, was that Washburn at the very least now finds himself in the one park likely best suited to help him. As a left-handed, flyball pitcher, he’s got the spacious Safeco left-center field to help him. So I think he’ll beat his PECOTA projection rather handily, while still falling short of being worth $9 mil. a year for the next 4 seasons, on a strict marginal wins/marginal dollars basis.

    Honestly, one of the best ways for Washburn to earn at least a good chunk of his $38 million is for the M’s to reacquire Randy Winn, or at least find a good flycatcher in left field. Jacque Jones would be perfect. Chris Snelling would be nifty too. Ibanez in LF and Everett at DH…not so much.

    Thanks to those who attended–great turnout, fun discussion. Really enjoyed it, hope y’all did too. Jeff, as always, remains superawesome.

  5. Mr. Egaas on December 18th, 2005 11:52 am

    I’ll definitely try to make it next time. Sounds like fun.

    I’ll be the guy in the back wearing the A’s hat.

  6. wabbles on December 18th, 2005 12:28 pm

    Great event again, as usual. Sorry I had to cut out at about 7:30 p.m. but I inadvertently bought a ticket to the 8 p.m. performance of Handel’s Messiah instead of the 1 p.m. performance. That’ll learn me. Keep up the great work.

  7. Choska on December 18th, 2005 2:53 pm

    Nice insights, Jonah, into the value of a guy like Jacque Jones. Last year we suffered through a team that was built with no bench, and seemingly without a plan. Who can forget the emergency acquisition of Pat Borders, which was made necessary because Bavasi couldn’t find an adequate set of catchers amongst the crowd we auditioned last year. And who didn’t love watching the audition at SS when our big acquisition – Pokey Reese – couldn’t get out of spring training.

    This year we have the same pattern: an assembly of players who – collectively – will amount to nothing more than spare parts.

    – Washburn with Everett in left completely erases whatever value Washburn might bring.

    – Trading Reed for Arroyo, which forces Bloomie into center or right, completely erases whatever value Washburn and Arroyo might bring.

    – And our bench will be like last year’s – not a single decent option on the pine for spot starts, pinch hitting, or filling in when a start inevitably goes on the DL.

    The one distinguishing characteristic of Bavasi-built teams is that the whole is far less than the sum of its parts.

  8. ChrisK on December 18th, 2005 5:14 pm

    Jeff and Jonah – did you get the sense that Morosi or Stone are starting to understand the implications of this level of statistical analysis? And if so, would they ever incorporate it into their own work to help the casual fan understand this approach?

  9. DaveBP on December 18th, 2005 8:28 pm

    Thanks to both speakers for the informative discussion. Im new to USSMariner and was happy to meet one of the staff members. I’ll be back to this site often in the near future, seems like a great place to keep up with the M’s and the MLB all together. thanks again.

  10. Jim Thomsen on December 18th, 2005 9:34 pm

    Jeff, are you a USS Mariner “staff member”? If so, do you get dental with that? And should I send a union rep your way should you decide you’ll need to collectively bargain with management on a 2006 contract?

  11. ColanderOfDeath on December 18th, 2005 10:13 pm

    Next time invite Finnegan to come and give a defense of his elaborate but mysterious payroll metric and then you’ll really have a fun shindig.

  12. joran on December 18th, 2005 10:29 pm

    Washburn rules!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  13. JPWood on December 19th, 2005 7:12 am

    I’ll second ChrisK’s question, with a nice progress note: in an answer to an e-mail I wrote to Stone just one year ago about a question raised here, he replied “sorry, I don’t read blogs”.
    Nice catch guys. I wish I were closer.

  14. Revenant Edgar on December 19th, 2005 7:38 am

    I’ll be the guy in the back wearing the A’s hat.

    Just try, try! I dare you to get past the USSM bouncer.

  15. rcc on December 19th, 2005 1:06 pm

    I thoroughly enjoyed myself at the Saturday “event”…..and Jeff and Jonah were both great at answering questions, and keeping the conversation(s) flowing.

  16. Deanna on December 19th, 2005 1:35 pm

    So, as a vague tangent: for a baseball book club, which would be a better venue? Elliott Bay (for the proximity to Safeco, could meet before games in the summer) or Third Place (for more parking and better cafe)? I’m really going to try to get something rolling in the next few months, hopefully before Jonah’s “everything you wanted to know about baseball but were afraid to ask” book comes out.

    I figure enough of us read tons of baseball books (as evidenced by talking to some of you at Third Place), why not get together and swap some and discuss?

  17. Jonah Keri on December 19th, 2005 1:56 pm


    I can tell you that the tentative plan for Baseball Between The Numbers calls for the signing to be at Elliott Bay. Meanwhile if there is a BP06 signing, it’ll likely be at Third Place. This is basically because those books have 2 different publishers, each with existing relationships with those stores. I don’t how, if at all, that would affect a potential book club, but there you are.

    My WAG is Elliott Bay would get a better turnout, esp if linked to M’s games. Third Place is a little out of the way for many, which makes it doubly gratifying when there’s such a good turnout, on a cold Saturday night no less.