Just For Fun

Dave · December 4, 2008 at 7:47 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Marcel Projections for 2009:

Raul Ibanez: .277/.342/.461, .344 wOBA, +6.2 Runs Above Average Hitter Per 600 PA
Ken Griffey Jr: .248/.336/.434, .334 wOBA, +1.1 Runs Above Average Hitter Per 600 PA
Russ Branyan: .234/.327/.465, .338 wOBA, +3.1 Runs Above Average Hitter Per 600 PA

Branyan is the best defensive player of the three in that he’s the only one who should ever be allowed to wear a glove at any position. Offensively, they’re all pretty similar, especially since Branyan doesn’t have the clout to try to fight a platoon. They’re all below average players, with the pretty common skillset of decent-but-not-great-hitter-with-minimal-defensive-value.

The Mariners just replaced Ibanez’s bat in the line-up, and duplicated whatever you thought they might get from Griffey (for better or worse), for $1.4 million.

This is what we’ve been screaming about for years. Undervalued talent is very easy to find if you know what you’re doing.

Comments

52 Responses to “Just For Fun”

  1. terry on December 4th, 2008 8:07 am

    I agree with you in principle but here’s the thing-Branyan’s Marcels projection was built from a data set where he faced righties in about 90% of his PA’s.

    It’s not as likely that Branyan would match his Marcels projection (relative to Raul and Jr) if he indeed did get 600 PA’s next season given he’d have to face lefties a good deal more than he has the last three seasons.

  2. Dave on December 4th, 2008 8:20 am

    The fact that he’s willing to be platooned makes up for that.

  3. JLP on December 4th, 2008 8:34 am

    All arguments aside, it’s just a breath of fresh air that we’re finally seeing the M’s make these kind of moves.

  4. joser on December 4th, 2008 8:51 am

    But, but…. Griffey would get more butts in seats! For, like, a game! Maybe two!

    I guess it’s a measure of how slow a start this offseason has had (understandable, given the FO restructuring going on and the general lack of deals around baseball in general) that we’re spending this much time and energy talking about a part-time first baseman. And it’s a measure of how badly-run this team has been in the recent past that the cheap acquisition of such a player is such good news. Zduriencik must go to bed every night thanking Bavasi for setting the bar so low.

  5. diderot on December 4th, 2008 9:18 am

    Zduriencik must go to bed every night thanking Bavasi for setting the bar so low.

    I know you didn’t mean this too literally, but don’t you also believe Z must be thinking, ‘if Bavasi had only been half as bad as he was, my job now would be a lot easier’.

  6. Dave on December 4th, 2008 9:21 am

    If Bavasi had only been half as bad as he was, Zduriencik would probably still be the scouting director for the Brewers.

  7. diderot on December 4th, 2008 9:34 am

    Well then, thank the baseball gods for his full incompetence.

  8. RyMac79 on December 4th, 2008 9:40 am

    What about the comparison with Dunn and Burrell?
    How do those two project?

  9. Dave on December 4th, 2008 9:43 am

    They project as players the M’s should have no interest in.

  10. Jeff Sullivan on December 4th, 2008 10:01 am

    The M’s could sign someone like Juan Rivera or Ryan Langerhans for nothing and approximate whatever they’d get out of signing Dunn or Burrell to play a corner.

  11. scottiedawg on December 4th, 2008 10:28 am

    I’m all for signing players for minimal costs, but at what point do we need to acquire higher WAR players? A while back, Dave admitted that even though some players may be good deals (Betancourt was used as an example at the time), we can’t just stock an entire team with good deals. The idea being that a bunch of minimal WAR players at small contracts will look good as far as market value, but won’t actually put a winning team on the field.

  12. abender20 on December 4th, 2008 10:39 am

    True, but right now this team at the point where adding expensive offensive good WAR guys will overcome the tremendous elsewhere, especially if the expensive offensive good WAR guys play defense like Dunn.

  13. zacbaseball on December 4th, 2008 10:45 am

    The Mariners just replaced Ibanez’s bat in the line up with Russel Branyan? Thats the funniest thing I’ve heard in a while.

  14. Jeff Sullivan on December 4th, 2008 11:05 am

    Furcal would be a good higher WAR player to acquire if we were trying to win in 2009. Dave has already written about him a few times. Every good team needs star players. You just don’t want to end up forcing a Dunn-shaped peg into a Holliday-sized hole because you’re desperate.

    Seize the stars when they’re available. When they’re not, bide your time.

  15. diderot on December 4th, 2008 11:10 am

    The Mariners just replaced Ibanez’s bat in the line up with Russel Branyan? Thats the funniest thing I’ve heard in a while.

    No, Branyan replaces LaHair or Vidro. Take your pick.

  16. Steve T on December 4th, 2008 11:17 am

    I agree that we need to eventually add some higher-WAR players into the mix, and that it’s OK if we have to overpay for them a little. That’s the whole point of stocking up on bargains: it gives you the cash to spree a little when the right thing comes up. But I don’t see where Adam Dunn is that player. He’s Richie Sexson, right? Gah.

  17. joser on December 4th, 2008 11:52 am

    Of course they need to add higher-WAR players, but do you really want the M’s to be out in front setting the market (or possibly just overpaying)? I know we’re all a little impatient to get this turn-around going, but it’s early days yet. The winter meetings are next week, and that’s when things start happening. High-WAR players are intrinsically high-cost players. You don’t just pick them up because they happen to be available. That’s why the Brynan acquisition is such a good sign: like the other smart FOs in baseball they are picking up the low-cost/decent-return guys when they are available. Now we can hope to see the other side of that strategy: the carefully targeted acquisition of the high-cost high-return guys that they can afford precisely because the rest of the roster consists of good cheap deals.

    Zdurencik is in the kitchen cooking up a full 25 course meal. We’ve just sat down at the table and picked up a breadstick, and already people are asking “at what point do we get a real entrée?”

  18. Bernoulli on December 4th, 2008 12:27 pm

    Funny, I’m still not hungry after that undercooked Carlos Silva chicken parmigiana we ordered last time we were here.

  19. wabbles on December 4th, 2008 1:22 pm

    Exactly Steve T. The M’s aren’t one or two missing pieces away from a division title, that was last year. (hit laugh track) We’re about 23 missing pieces away. So the higher-WAR guys, if any, will come later. Heck, an entire roster of zero-WAR players undoubtedly would fare better than last year’s plane/train/spacecraft-wreck.

  20. JMHawkins on December 4th, 2008 1:27 pm

    To see Dave write that Griffey shouldn’t be allowed to wear a glove, and to know that he’s probably right, just makes me want to curse Father Time.

    I realize The Kid’s defense was probably a bit overrated in his prime, but still, what a long ways to fall.

    As far as high-WAR guys, I think really high-WAR guys (+4 or greater) are not readily available at 1B/DH, at least not within the M’s current budget, and medium WAR guys for those positions seem way overpriced compared to other positions (the lure of the long-ball). I agree the M’s will (eventually, maybe next year) need some +3s and +4s, but it’s probalby a good sign that they’re not looking for that from 1B/DH right now.

  21. Taylor H on December 4th, 2008 1:35 pm

    Russ Branyan just screams, “FAT!”

    *FAT meaning freely available talent.

  22. tangotiger on December 4th, 2008 1:43 pm

    Zdurencik is in the kitchen cooking up a full 25 course meal. We’ve just sat down at the table and picked up a breadstick, and already people are asking “at what point do we get a real entrée?”

    Funny, I’m still not hungry after that undercooked Carlos Silva chicken parmigiana we ordered last time we were here.

    I usually liken player acquisitions as hard assets, like a $1MM or $10MM or $100MM house with a small or large mortgage (or in some cases where the mortgage is greater than the value of the property). However, the imagery of players as food is sooo much better. Fantastic. Felix as an underpriced porterhouse steak, and Ichiro as a priced-just-right filet mignon sounds yummy.

  23. Doc on December 4th, 2008 1:56 pm

    mmmm steak

  24. zacbaseball on December 4th, 2008 2:06 pm

    No, Branyan replaces LaHair or Vidro. Take your pick.

    Hmm I believe it says Ibanez. He should have wrote Lahair or Vidro but it says Ibanez.

  25. Mike Snow on December 4th, 2008 2:13 pm

    mmmm steak

    Hey, since when did Silva start commenting here?

  26. gwangung on December 4th, 2008 2:20 pm

    As far as high-WAR guys, I think really high-WAR guys (+4 or greater) are not readily available at 1B/DH, at least not within the M’s current budget, and medium WAR guys for those positions seem way overpriced compared to other positions (the lure of the long-ball). I agree the M’s will (eventually, maybe next year) need some +3s and +4s, but it’s probalby a good sign that they’re not looking for that from 1B/DH right now.

    Seems to me that the best strategy to get those +4 WARs is to get them from the farm system. Sure, you can get them as free agents, but that’s the least cost effective way. Only way you’d want to do that is if you’re one step away, which we aren’t.

    I think patience is our best bet, as we accumulate talent. Let’s not think about those folks, unless we can get them on the cheap (via sharp scouting of under-valued talent).

  27. The Ancient Mariner on December 4th, 2008 3:25 pm

    No, zac, Branyan replaces LaHair or Vidro. Someone who can contribute with the glove in our large LF will replace Ibañez.

  28. Teej on December 4th, 2008 3:28 pm

    Hmm I believe it says Ibanez. He should have wrote Lahair or Vidro but it says Ibanez.

    Did you read the post? If you have any beef with the conclusion, your beef is with Marcel, not Dave. Ibanez simply isn’t projected to be more than a few runs better than Branyan next year.

  29. philosofool on December 4th, 2008 3:34 pm

    Wait, wait, wait…

    I want to point out the the best way to understand WAR is as the combination of the player’s offensive and defensive output. You don’t want to shell out for a guy who’s offensive out put is 4 wins when his defense is -3 wins.

    Nobody thinks you can stock a team with +1 WAR guys and be anything other than an easy win for the rest of the league. The good value in WAR right now comes from good defense.

    However, the point at which you start buying expensive free agents is the point at which they’re pushing you up from an 87 win team, not when you’re coming off a 61 win season.

  30. Steve T on December 4th, 2008 3:44 pm

    Well, we might be just one or two pieces away, if we can replace our garbage with free talent, and can find the right piece. But Adam Dunn is not that piece. If Adam Dunn was going to sign for a year, then sure, look at it. But he’s not. Anybody who signs Dunn is going to be thrilled in 2009 and pissed off in 2011 or 12.

  31. horatiosanzserif on December 4th, 2008 3:52 pm

    So … who platoons with Branyan? Morse? Cairo? It seems as though our current options would negate the gains Branyan provides on his own.

  32. Mike Snow on December 4th, 2008 4:01 pm

    Platooning with Cairo wouldn’t negate any gains, because Cairo starting only against lefties would actually get less playing time than he did as our semi-regular first baseman for half the year. Though I have high hopes that Cairo will not be back to waste a roster spot next year.

  33. wabbles on December 4th, 2008 4:02 pm

    Go back and reread. I believe it says we replaced Ibanez’s BAT IN THE LINEUP, not his position on the team overall, with Branyan.

  34. CMC_Stags on December 4th, 2008 4:03 pm

    Horatio-

    As I posted in the Dunn storey (sorry for the rosterbation on that one DMZ), I think that Morse – if healthy – is the ideal platoon partner for Branyan. They both can play 1st and kind of play 3rd. Morse has good career splits with a small sample againts LH pitching (.331/.387/.460 slash line in 137 PA).

    Cairo needs to go away as he’s old and has no future with the team. Morse at least has a chance to contribute the next few years.

  35. horatiosanzserif on December 4th, 2008 4:33 pm

    wabbles: Right, but Ibanez essentially was an everyday player last year — and our everyday bat in that place is a Branyan+? hybrid.

    As for Cairo: the Marcel projections have him at #826 out of #864 hitters in the league. Only Kory Casto ranks below him among 1Bs. Meanwhile, Branyan is #196, with Nelson at #195. Even if Cairo would only receive 20% of the potential first-basemen at-bats in the lineup, he’d be a drain and potentially push our 1B-bats slot way below league average. Which is to say, it’d look a lot like 2008. But Cairo’s no longer on the 40-man, right?

    As for Morse: So frustrating, given his limited sample size and extended ability to hurt himself. If only we had solid defensive stats on him.

  36. terry on December 4th, 2008 4:52 pm

    Should this version of the Ms have signed the 28 yo version of Edgar?

    I know its not a completely fair question.

  37. Evan on December 4th, 2008 5:06 pm

    Should this version of the Ms have signed the 28 yo version of Edgar?

    Entering his age 28 season or coming off his age 28 season?

    I vote yes either way, based on his minor-league track record.

    Plus, in his age 27 season he hit .302 /.397/ .433 in 487 AB, and in his age 28 season he hit .307/.405/ .452 in 544 AB, so he was already a really good major league hitter.

  38. fcb on December 4th, 2008 5:17 pm

    so the m’s brought in john wetteland as bullpen coach. interesting

  39. ML on December 4th, 2008 5:51 pm

    Speaking of undervalued, two words. Sign Randy. Let us reclaim a shred of the vast, undeveloped heritage that was due us after Refuse to Lose…

  40. qwerty on December 4th, 2008 6:24 pm

    I believe there’s talk of another 1B coming.
    Any chance Z would come home from Vegas with Brad Nelson and ?? for perhaps JJ?

    I’m also intrigued by Felix Pie and Edmonds of ChiCubs. Any chance Edmonds can be gotten cheaply?
    Pie’s moved down on some people’s lists, but I’ve liked him when I’ve seen him in limited play.

  41. DMZ on December 4th, 2008 6:25 pm

    Randy’s not going to sign here. You should give up that notion.

  42. JMHawkins on December 4th, 2008 6:45 pm

    The good value in WAR right now comes from good defense.

    Absolutely. Signing a good glove for LF would be a smart move. I also agree that the best place to get +3/+4 guys is out of the farm system, but let’s check the future forty…

    Nope, crickets for a couple of years. Lots of potential solid +2 regulars in the pipe though. I think the M’s will need to sign or trade for a legitmate star in the next couple of years to be a playoff contender. I just hope (and evidence seems to indicate I have reason to hope) they’ll sign real stars, and not overpay for a bunch of +1s and +2s like they did under Bavasi. (I’m assuming they’ve learned not to overpay for minus-1s and zeros…).

  43. Taylor H on December 4th, 2008 7:25 pm

    Randy’s not going to sign here. You should give up that notion.

    Let us dream.

  44. msb on December 4th, 2008 8:19 pm

    dreaaaaaaaam when I’m feeling blue …… dreaaaaaaaam that’s the thing to do

    so, how ’bout those RJ to the A’s rumors.

  45. Breadbaker on December 5th, 2008 2:17 am

    Edmonds is another one whose expiration date has passed. Though if we signed Adam Everett and Jim Edmonds, we might increase attendance from Snohomish County (j/k).

  46. gopilots70 on December 5th, 2008 5:01 am

    I have enjoyed reading this website for a long time though I often disagree. But today, when I saw the post that compared Raul, and Ken and Russell as similar players it astounded me. To list Raul as a below average player when people who have actually worked and succeeded in the business appear willing to give him two to three years at at least eight million a year makes it seem to me that you have fallen in love with some esoteric statistical analysis. Raul hits, drives in runs and has been at the top offensively for outfielders for three years. But this website appears to want to get rid of out best offensive players–Raul, Lopez, et al. and replace them with Branyon (who was a good sign) and Nelson and other insignificant but statistically “projectible” nothing. Keep Lopez, Keep Yuni, Keep Raul, Keep Beltre, Keep Ichiro, Play Vlad, Play Clement and address the weaknesses. Don’t blame the best players for the rest of the drivel

  47. Dave on December 5th, 2008 6:12 am

    To list Raul as a below average player when people who have actually worked and succeeded in the business appear willing to give him two to three years at at least eight million a year makes it seem to me that you have fallen in love with some esoteric statistical analysis.

    So, any player who MLB teams value with at least a 3 year year, $24 million contract has to be considered above average.

    Do you think Miguel Batista is above average? Jarrod Washburn? Carlos Silva? Kenji Johjima? Jose Guillen? Barry Zito?

    I’m pretty sure you’re going to say no, but those players all fit the criteria you just laid out. What’s the difference?

    Raul hits, drives in runs and has been at the top offensively for outfielders for three years.

    The top offensively of what? From 2006 to 2008, Ibanez ranks 36th in the majors in home runs and 48th in slugging percentage. Even if you just compare to outfielders, he ranks 14th and 23rd. Do you think home runs and slugging percentage are esoteric numbers?

    The myth of how good Ibanez is as a hitter has been advanced by the media, who are almost unanimously awful at player valuation. There’s literally nothing you could point to that would support the case that Ibanez is a “top offensive performer”. It’s just not true.

    But this website appears to want to get rid of out best offensive players–Raul, Lopez, et al. and replace them with Branyon (who was a good sign) and Nelson and other insignificant but statistically “projectible” nothing.

    Actually, this website wants this team to get better, and recognizes that defense is massively undervalued, and the quickest way for this team to put a quality product on the field would be to upgrade the defense, which starts by getting Raul out of left field.

    Keep Lopez, Keep Yuni, Keep Raul, Keep Beltre, Keep Ichiro, Play Vlad, Play Clement and address the weaknesses.

    If you keep Raul in left field, you are not addressing the weaknesses.

    Don’t blame the best players for the rest of the drivel.

    We’re not – the best players on this team are Beltre, Ichiro, and Felix. Ibanez is a marginal role player who simply isn’t as good as you think.

  48. The Ancient Mariner on December 5th, 2008 8:23 am

    wabbles: Wrong. Since Zduriencik has said that right now, Grand Branyan’s our starting 1B, that means that as of this point, he’s replaced Bryan LaHair’s bat in the lineup. Raúl’s bat, as of now, hasn’t been replaced.

  49. joser on December 5th, 2008 9:56 am

    Not to mention the long term value of Raul: even if they re-signed him for a couple of years, he’s unlikely to be here when the team next goes deep into the post-season, but the draft picks the team gets in compensation for him very well might be.

  50. joser on December 5th, 2008 10:52 am

    However, the imagery of players as food is sooo much better. Fantastic. Felix as an underpriced porterhouse steak, and Ichiro as a priced-just-right filet mignon sounds yummy.

    Starters are salads: occasionally you have one that can be a full meal in itself, but usually you have to follow it up with something else (and occasionally their dressing or something goes bad and ruins the rest of the meal, no how much the other dishes try to make up for it. Carlos Silva: bad mayonnaise). A great closer is a fine dessert; the setup men are the cheese course (several varieties, some of them goat or otherwise so stinky they can ruin what had, up to then, been a great meal). Swingmen are fruit: as a salad they can start the meal, or you can have them towards the end, just before dessert.

    And even the best dish goes bad eventually. You want to eat it, or throw it out, before it’s past its prime.

    …You know, if my only contribution to the advancement of sane and enjoyable baseball discussions is an alternative metaphor for describing rosters, I’ll die a happy man.

    Heck, for how much The BOOK has improved my understanding of baseball and thus increased my enjoyment of it, I’m just happy I could offer Tango some small amusement in return.

  51. gopilots70 on December 5th, 2008 11:37 pm

    Dave, actually I am quite flattered with your in-depth response to my ranting. I agree with you on most points, especially defense, but offensively you really reinforced my point…you wrote:From 2006 to 2008, Ibanez ranks 36th in the majors in home runs and 48th in slugging percentage. Even if you just compare to outfielders, he ranks 14th and 23rd. Do you think home runs and slugging percentage are esoteric numbers.
    In my mind, since there are 30 mlb teams and 90 starting outfielders that makes Raul the top offensive outfielder on more than half of the teams. Ranking 48th overall in slugging would place him as the 2nd or at worst 3rd best offensive player on every team. That is not below average, that makes him a top offensive player on nearly every team.

    Your point about the money referred to players that the M’s have signed or wanted to…I referenced people who have worked and succeeded in the business and that does not include Bill Bavasi. Thanks for your comment and the great site.

  52. The Ancient Mariner on December 6th, 2008 8:42 am

    Making him “the 2nd or at worst 3rd best offensive player on every team,” even if it were true (which it isn’t — that’s on an average team), when he’s also one of the least valuable players in the league with a glove on his hand, makes him a below-average player.

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