The Mariners Really Are Better, But How Much Better?

Dave · August 1, 2012 at 10:15 am · Filed Under Mariners 

With last night’s victory over the Blue Jays, the Mariners have now won six straight games and have improved their record to 49-57. That’s not great, but it’s better than the Marlins, Phillies, and Brewers have posted this year, and each of them went into the year thinking that they were going to win their division. That .462 winning percentage is a 36 point improvement over last year’s mark on this same date and a 96 point improvement over where they were on August 1st of 2010. If they maintain their pace over the final two months of the year, they’ll end the year with around 75 wins, a mark that is about what we expected from them heading into the season.

They also did something else last night — they pushed their run differential into positive territory, as they’ve now outscored their opponents 423-422 on the season. Again, comparing to the same date last year, the Mariners had been outscored by 63 runs, and they were 121 runs in the red at this point two years ago. So, yeah, there’s no question that this team is better than the last couple of years. Where has the improvement come from?

Maybe not where you might think. Yes, the offense has been much better on the road, but they’ve also been a lot worse at home, and using park adjusted numbers, the team’s wRC+ has only gone 78/79/83 over the last three years. How to deal with what Safeco is doing to offense as a whole this year makes analyzing the offensive improvement difficult, but Ackley’s regressed, Smoak hit his way to Tacoma (and hasn’t hit down there, either), and Montero has only hit lefties. The gains made from Seager and Saunders are part of the improvement, but that doesn’t really seem to be the reason this team is more competitive.

So, what about the pitching? There are some areas of improvement, as the team strikeout rate is way up (16% in 2010, 18% last year, 20% this year), but their home run rate is also up a bit and the walk rate is unchanged, so we’re not looking at a huge step forward from the pitching staff. Run prevention is improved (ERA- of 99 in 2010, 100 in 2011, 96 this year), but that looks to be mostly about defense (thank you, Brendan Ryan) and the timing of when they’ve allowed their hits. When you account for Safeco Field, the team’s pitching staff is really about average.

So, how has average pitching, still poor offense, and pretty good defense resulted in improvement? Because, to put it simply, the team underachieved the last couple of years. While the Mariners were bad, they weren’t as bad as their record showed. This is more along the lines of what you’d expect from a team with this kind of roster construction – they’re not good enough to contend, but they’re not horrible either.

It’s not the kind of improvement that should be making you jump and down with excitement for 2013. That would have required good years from the Smoak/Ackley/Montero trio and probably a bit more development from the big three pitching prospects on the farm. But, for the first time in a couple of years, the Mariners are putting a decent product on the field, they’ve stemmed the tide of attendance losses — attendance is actually up slightly at Safeco this year, in fact — and they got an answer to the question of what to do with Ichiro.

All in all, the season has been a bit of a mixed bag, and there have certainly been some high profile and frustrating individual failures, but the organization is showing signs of progress. Their upcoming road trip to the east coast is probably going to knock them down a few pegs, but the team is on course for a 75 win season with some promising improvement from some young players and further development of the farm system, which is basically all the team could have really hoped for this year. Not everything has gone as hoped, but enough has to make the Mariners worth watching. And that’s a nice change from August 1st of the last two years.


41 Responses to “The Mariners Really Are Better, But How Much Better?”

  1. nwade on August 1st, 2012 10:45 am

    Shouldn’t this also mean continued/enhanced scrutiny on our player-development system? I mean if the stats show we’re not improving because of our youngsters – despite all of the ones we’ve thrown at the problem – then doesn’t it throw a bigger spotlight on this issue?

  2. Klatz on August 1st, 2012 11:00 am

    The whole Safeco effect really makes analyzing the offense difficult. On the road, the offense is above-average with a wRC+ of 98, good enough for 10th place. At home they rank dead last with a wRC+ of 65.

    Lately they’ve been hitting better at home, wRC+ of 113. Is that because the environmental conditions have improved (i.e. its hotter) or because the opposing pitching has been bad?

  3. Dennisss on August 1st, 2012 11:02 am

    Well put, and I think it’s a good time to recognize that this team is not so terrible, despite the likely last-place finish. A +1 run differential in this division was beyond the reach of the organization the last couple of years.

    To me, the big difference watching the team now is that they can field, almost anyway, a team of nine credible starters as well as 5 decent starting pitchers. We don’t have to look at lineups night after night and think oh god Anthony Vasquez-Blake Beavan is pitching/Figgins-Smoak-Olivo-Kennedy-Liddi-Cust-Bradley-etc.etc. is playing tonight, and be embarrassed for our team.

  4. spuuky on August 1st, 2012 11:07 am

    This isn’t really relevant to anything, but if the Mariners win their next 56 GAMES IN A ROW (every game for the rest of the season) to finish on a 62-game winning streak, they would have 105 wins.

    11 less than the 2001 Mariners.

    Boy, that team was really something, wasn’t it?

  5. Dennisss on August 1st, 2012 11:10 am

    Although Beavan is pitching today, so maybe not the very best example, but there are some other possibilities when they get tired of him.

  6. Liam on August 1st, 2012 11:23 am

    Baseball Reference has our attendance down slightly this year.

  7. globalalpha on August 1st, 2012 11:40 am

    I’m not sure I buy this argument. Dave is saying, “the Mariners are better, but A hasn’t improved, and B hasn’t improved, so C must account for the improvement”. But he didn’t show any evidence of less underperformance causing improvement. In fact, pretty clear the Ms are still underperforming this year. The +1 run differential indicates a .500 record, so there’s still a lot f underperformance this year. And we’ve certainly underperformed relative to talent level this year, wouldn’t you say?

  8. marc w on August 1st, 2012 12:00 pm

    The K% change is interesting in that so much of it seems to be due to the bullpen. M’s relievers K% was 17% in 2010, 16.6% in 2011, and now 24.6% in 2012. Meanwhile, the starters’ K% is unchanged from last year, at just shy of 19%.

  9. Dave on August 1st, 2012 12:03 pm

    Just because a team has won fewer games than their pythag doesn’t mean they’ve underperformed. The team has actually overperformed in terms of RS/RA based on their batting lines for and against, so no, they’re not playing like a .500 team that’s gotten screwed out of a few wins. They’re playing like a 75 win team that has an inflated RS/RA total due to timely hitting/pitching.

    If pythag went away forever, we’d all be better off.

  10. eponymous coward on August 1st, 2012 12:12 pm

    Also, this team has less Noesi, Figgins, Smoak and Olivo than before, who were all various shades of below-replacement (only Olivo is getting any time out of all 4 of those players).

    The problem is that getting to a 75 win team is just the beginning. It’s building the consistent year-in, year-out winner that’s hard. Cases in point… well, Milwaukee (with all those Zduriencik prospects) or Cleveland (home of USSM fave Chris Antonetti).

    At this point, the offseason probably needs to be about upgrading opportunistically, with a RH platoon partner for Jaso, a decent bat to plug into the 1B/DH/RF/LF matrix, starting pitching being needs at present, without being dogmatic and FORCING those positions and ignoring other ways at improving the team. The FA market is kind of lame for a lot of stuff, so it feels like there will have to be trades.

  11. Mike Snow on August 1st, 2012 12:21 pm

    They’re playing like a 75 win team that has an inflated RS/RA total due to timely hitting/pitching.

    In related news, Kyle Seager leads the majors in 2-out RBIs.

  12. maqman on August 1st, 2012 12:25 pm

    This team is better than those of the past two seasons and it’s better than the numbers show. A lot of players are not playing up to their potential yet but they are getting there slowly, too slowly. Personally I do believe the local weather was a factor. The local weather does effect the air flow within the park which usually flows from left field toward the plate, the cold moist air flow does effect the flight of the balls off of the bats. We need the reverse effect of the Coors Field humidor to produce dry and lighter balls. (Or move the fences.)

  13. MrZDevotee on August 1st, 2012 12:33 pm

    I’m ever so slightly optimisitc… And YES Dave did show how less underperformance has improved the team… Via Seager and Saunders. Plus, if you believe, like I do, that Ackley, Montero and Smoak are all better than their current lines, then we’re actually– again this year– better than we’re playing as far as “foreseeing the future”.

    And addition by subtraction is on the way– when Olivo’s and Figgin’s horrendous-ness disappears, we’ll have (assumably) better numbers being put up, if even just average, by cheaper guys in the same roles… Win-win.

    As for pessimism based around the trade deadline, I don’t believe a team in our position improves often in the middle of the season. I heard Jack Z on the radio yesterday basically saying “any upgrade we wanted we would have had to overpay” and that the only teams contacting him about moving average or better talent, that weren’t contending, were really just looking to unload bad contracts– to which he said that “wouldn’t make sense for us to take on” (standing so as to hide Chone “Range Rover” Figgins leaking gas and oil all over the driveway with a blown head gasket– at $9 million a year).

    Another positive, I think, is the fact Z is through wasting time with “our awful guy for your awful guy” swaps… He seems to have learned from the Silva/Bradley affair, or we probably COULD have moved Figgins for a different albatross out there.

    The “we’re getting better, really” angle is simply that we’re playing like an almost average talent level team at the moment, which is what we currently are. Whereas, based on results, and whatever reasons whether apparent or not, we weren’t able to be even pull off average the past few seasons. With supposedly better, seasoned, veteran support on the roster.

    Z also said on the radio yesterday “We’re about what we thought we’d be… We came into the season with 13 guys with a year or less of major league experience on the 25 man…”

    That means the MAJORITY of our roster had rookie level experience as the season started. And their playing marginally better than the past few seasons’ teams.

    So, although the glass is murky and cracked, and fogged up from lousy weather, and you can’t see into it at the moment… if you COULD see inside you’d see we’re getting better at a half-full level.

  14. jwgrandsalami on August 1st, 2012 12:38 pm

    Stemmed the attendance decline? I’ve gotta disagree with that. The numbers might look a little better than last year but that’s because of the marquee interleague summer weekend series (Giants, Dodgers) on this year’s schedule and the weekend series against the Yankees and Red Sox (both in the last 30 days).

    There are no more “big” games coming up (unless you’re Dave Sims — he thinks all the games the M’s play are big) against marquee opponents, no more bobblehead nights. August opponents are Tampa, Minnesota, Cleveland and the Angels and September is always a ghost town at Safeco.

    Topping it all off, season ticket sales are now down in the range of 7,500 (about 1/4 of where they were in 2002). And while attendance isn’t higher when King Felix pitches, I think a lot of fans came to see Ichiro, so we could see further declines because of his departure.

    The M’s aren’t going to stem that attendance decline until they start winning again.

  15. Westside guy on August 1st, 2012 1:00 pm

    While I think the youth of the club does have relevance to the overall discussion, I must point out that, over the course of the season, the club’s overall performance has improved once several veterans’ starting roles were reduced or eliminated.

  16. marc w on August 1st, 2012 1:06 pm

    Just to clarify: removing the effects of sequencing or the timing of hits, if you project the M’s runs scored/runs allowed based solely on their batting and pitching lines, the M’s would have a record of 50-56. Project that out to 162 games and you get 76 wins, which is Dave’s point. By pythag, the M’s would be at 53-53, or 81 wins. The former method seems to work better as sequencing isn’t generally a skill (though teams with shutdown bullpens might disagree), and pythag can be skewed by blowouts…21-run wins in Arlington, for example.

  17. Westside guy on August 1st, 2012 1:10 pm

    USSMariner should do a post on sequencing, so we could see it mentioned on the ROOT broadcast afterward. 😀

    Actually while I was just trying to be funny… it might make a good educational post.

  18. make_dave_proud on August 1st, 2012 1:14 pm

    Just as Dave put it, this year’s team isn’t underachieving as much as the last two years. They’re basically playing up to their potential, or possibly playing over their potential in some cases.

    The only thing I would disagree with Dave on assessment is how bad the Ms were the past two years. They underachieved, but they were still awful and played closer to their ability than maybe projections suggested. Two years is quite sufficient sample size in my book, and (to quote a football coach) “you are what you are.”

    Nonetheless, the team is showing positive signs in the aggregate. Given how the team has been over the past 5 seasons, it’s a welcome departure from history.

  19. eponymous coward on August 1st, 2012 1:23 pm

    Of course, baseball attendance overall is up about 2K per game/team, so the reality is that ~even isn’t as much treading water as you’d like it to be.

    Also, great, we’ve now achieved after 4 years what Billy Beane does every year, with less money and resources from management- putting a team on the field that’s not a complete embarrassment. It’s certainly progress, certainly welcome, but this is a division where you don’t have weak competition that doesn’t know what they are doing, and the M’s have some more decisions to get right if they want to progress further:

    – The rotation behind Felix is full of one year FAs (Millwood, Iwakuma), or guys looking at big pay raises (Vargas), and prospects you probably shouldn’t be counting on for various reasons (Noesi, Hultzen, Beavan, and so on). What’s the correct path going forward?

    – Montero, Carp, Smoak and Thames are all in a class of “bats with various holes in their games who probably should be 1B/DHs”. None of them at this point is projecting as an All-Star (Montero’s probably the best of them). Who do you invest time in going forward?

    – There’s a real need to add OF/1B/DH depth, since of the group mentioned + Wells/Saunders/Guti, you don’t really have a very strongly above-average player out of ALL of them (Saunders might be the best player out of that group right now, but he’s not going to be going to any All-Star games based on 2012-level performance). If 4/9’s of your position players at the bat-heavy positions are all various shades of “meh, he’s at best OK, bat’s nothing special”, that places an impossible burden at CF/SS/2B/3B/C defensive-priority positions. It’s scary to think how long it’s been since the M’s produced a good hitter out of their system who contributed to the team for more than 5 nanoseconds (you have to go back a long ways). The fact that they are still dinking around with guys like Peguero (who don’t have any clue what the strike zone is) makes me think they haven’t quite got it yet.

    – What the hell happened to Ackley?

    – That ticking sound you’re hearing getting louder? It’s Felix’s contract coming up.

    – What exactly do you do with $10-20 million in an unimpressive FA market? Where’s 2013’s Cliff Lee?

    Progress in 2013 is going to entail getting some important decisions right. It’s not going to get easier.

  20. bookbook on August 1st, 2012 2:03 pm

    From here:

    Build an above average rotation out of Felix, Hultzen, Paxton, Walker, Ramirez, Vargas, etc.

    Build an above average core out of Zunino, Ackley, Seager, Franklin, Miller, Romero, etc

    Trade some of those above to get a Pence or Bourne level above average corner bat.

    Sign one or two overpriced superstar bats. It hurts, but ultimately will have to be an ingredient if we want to compete at the highest level. Especially since our intl signing potential super bats havent been thriving.

  21. DarkKnight1680 on August 1st, 2012 2:15 pm

    Still just sitting back and waiting for 2014. If nothing Bavasi-esque happens, I’m reasonably confident that things will work out well. Obviously not every prospect pans out, but it seems to me that the M’s have nice groups of players in which you only really need one to work out in each.

    Smoak, Carp, Catricala, Poythress – I think one of these 4 guys will show enough by 2014 to be a reasonable option at 1B. This is also one of the easiest holes to plug via FA so not too worried. Also a chance Montero moves here.

    Ackley, Seager, Ryan, Franklin, Miller, Triunfel, Catricala, Romero, F. Martinez – This is the rest of the infield. Seager is basically a lock at this point for either 2b or 3b. Ackley *should* come out of the slump, but there are enough guys here with production and/or upside that I’m reasonably happy to pencil in 3 of them in the infield in 2014. It could even be an area where the M’s could deal from a position of strength to bolster a position of weakness (OF).

    Montero, Jaso, Zunino – I love Jaso and would like to see him locked up if possible. I think Montero is imprioving as a catcher but by 2014 Zunino could be an above-average bat at C with solid->good defense. There is enough here to fill out the catcher rotation and very possibly the DH spot as well.

    Guti, Saunders, Wells, Thames, Robinson – This is where I get nervous. I dont have any faith in Peguero, Ford, Almonte, Dunigan et al to be even close to useful. The guy who could be something is Julio Morban but there is something that keeps him from playing every day. Still, maybe he’s close to available by 2014. In any case, this is an area where an upgrade could easily be had across the board, although I am a fan of Saunders at this time.

    Felix, Vargas, Ramirez, Furbush, Hultzen, Walker, Paxton, Carraway, Mitchell, Noesi, Maurer, Snow – I think they shoudl be able to find 4 quality guys to run out in 2014 from this bunch. A 5th starter can always be found cheap (Millwood etc). Pitchers get hurt but there are lots of guys in the pile, and Felix and Vargas are proven innings-eaters at this time.

    Pryor, Capps, Wilhelmsen, Kelley, Luetge, Moran, Laframboise, guys who don’t quite cut it from above list – still more than enough to stock a solid->great bullpen.

    Honestly, I’d just Stay The Course unless a top young OF prospect/player is available. There is enough talent in this organization right now, young and under team control, to reasonably hope for a bright not-too-distant future. I’m not on board 100% with GMZ’s moves thus far but I think in 2 years there’s a chance this team resembles the contending rays of recent years – homegrown talent by the bunches and wins to match.

  22. bookbook on August 1st, 2012 2:34 pm

    I admire your confidence. The OF and 1B players listed above need some reinforcements….

  23. Celadus on August 1st, 2012 3:02 pm

    Speaking of Pythagorean W-L:

    I was an experimental psych major for a while. Some experimental subjects produced bizarrely high or low scores, skewing the results. There was a procedure for throwing out a certain number of the high and low scores in order to increase the likelihood that predictions based on the data would be significant.

    Is that done with baseball Pythagorean W-L? Seems to me that throwing out the Mariner 21 runs along with a 0 would present a better picture of how the Mariners are actually doing.

    I have no idea what the proper number of discarded scores would be, only that it would increase as the season progressed.

    Probably be fairly easy to tinker with using previous seasons and could produce better results. Perhaps the Pythagoreans aren’t inherently shoddy as a predictor; couldn’t hurt to shuffle the parameters to see.

  24. msfanmike on August 1st, 2012 3:05 pm

    A better record than the Marlins and the Phillies … How can that be!?

    The Marlins and the Phillies had/have huge payrolls. The Marlins were one of the big buyers in this past seasons FA market. THIS JUST DOESN’T COMPUTE.

    Has someone alerted Geoff Baker of this phenomena?

  25. Dave on August 1st, 2012 3:06 pm

    There’s just no reason to stop at runs scored and runs allowed. You can just look at how a team does on a per plate appearance level, and that will give you an even better idea of their actual abilities. RS/RA is only half the story, and still includes a bunch of context. Why statheads got that far and decided to stop is beyond me.

  26. dang on August 1st, 2012 3:09 pm

    Eric Wedge has consistently under performed his pythagorean projection during his major league managerial career. Just wanted to point that out.

  27. 9inningknowitall on August 1st, 2012 3:13 pm

    The main thing I care about is that there is hope in the future. Zunino is not going to take long to move up to the Major league team. There are enough strong arms in the system to not worry too much about where the next starting pitchers will come from and the young guys do show potential. Montero hasn’t been great but this is his rookie season. Ackley has the talent to recover. Franklin still looks good at SS. Seager is good enough in his young career to stay at 3b. The outfield could use improvements but Saunders and Wells are at least a nice starting point.

    I hope Smoak improves but I wouldn’t bet on it. Carp is not going to get hot again in my opinion. Guti is great but hurt more than he is healthy. So there are spots that can be improved but at least as a mariner fan I can see the pieces starting to form together.

  28. just a fan on August 1st, 2012 3:17 pm

    It seems the offense is vastly improved over last year. Does the wRC+ take into account yearly park factors, or is it a multi-year park factor? Because just looking at the lineup, they got almost no production out of LF/CF/RF last year. 3B was worthless. C was worthless.

    Just seems they had a couple stretches of having two effective hitters last year, and they actually have a credible lineup this year. Maybe the wRC+ park factor can’t account for enough of Safeco’s 2012 variance.

  29. wabbles on August 1st, 2012 3:19 pm

    “Z also said on the radio yesterday “We’re about what we thought we’d be… We came into the season with 13 guys with a year or less of major league experience on the 25 man…””
    Isn’t that a refreshing change from the years of watching multiple veterans’ careers (Olerud, Edgar, Boone, Wilson, Johjima, Sexson, etc. etc.) fall off a cliff like a herd of lemmings (which doesn’t actually happen, by the way, Disney staged that)?

  30. Mariners35 on August 1st, 2012 3:24 pm

    Is there anyone in next year’s free agent class that is really going to be a good upgrade for the money? If we go on the premise that the Mariners will be willing to spend non-crazy-money on at least one or two solid players, and the further premise that Hamilton will likely go to some other team that overpays him…. I don’t see who’s left.

    Are there people in that list that would be a 1 – 2 WAR upgrade over what the M’s have right now, today, at 1b, corner OF or non-Felix starting pitching?

    Unless there are some FAs that will be reliable and significant upgrades, I think the major improvements this winter will be in trade. And that there should probably be a trade for at least one reliable 1B, one mid-rotation SP, and a ML corner outfielder good enough to play everyday and relegate Thames / Carp to 4th OF.

    Or in other words:

    – an outfield of Wells(LF), Saunders(CF), TradedFor(RF)
    – an infield of TradedFor2(1b), Ackley (2b), Ryan (SS), Seager (3b)
    – Montero/Jaso/Zunino catching
    – whoever wins bench jobs in the spring for OF/IF reserves (which unfortunately includes Smoak and Guti, likely Carp… with any or all of them available as a small part of a trade)
    – Felix, TradedFor3 (SP), Vargas, Hultzen, Paxton in the rotation
    – the now-excellent bullpen we pretty much have as of today.

    I’d also like to see the M’s avoid shopping specifically for a DH. DH should be used to get at-bats for the bench alone. Buying aging veterans to plug in as full-time DHs just seems to be a trap, with very few exceptions.

  31. leon0112 on August 1st, 2012 4:07 pm

    With regards to the free agent market, how much are the Mariners likely to have to spend? With Ichiro’s salary gone, surely they will have at least a little to spend.

  32. eponymous coward on August 1st, 2012 5:17 pm

    Unless there are some FAs that will be reliable and significant upgrades, I think the major improvements this winter will be in trade. And that there should probably be a trade for at least one reliable 1B, one mid-rotation SP, and a ML corner outfielder good enough to play everyday and relegate Thames / Carp to 4th OF.

    There is no way you’re going to get 3 MLB starting players in trades without having to cough up significant value (read: not busted prospects like Smoak).

    Yes, I know, Cliff Lee. Good luck replicating that one three times in one offseason (and let’s recall the second time we involved him in a trade- GMZ is not infallible like the Pope ex cathedra).

    There isn’t enough surplus value in the M’s farm system and 25 man roster to get 3 average to above average players without crippling the roster in other places. If there was, this wouldn’t be a ~75 win team. Now, if Ackley, Smoak and Saunders were all 3-5 WAR players this year, maybe you could think about trading to supplement around them, but at this point… the roster isn’t good enough yet.

  33. Westside guy on August 1st, 2012 5:38 pm

    More evidence that we probably need another outfielder comes from Baker:

    Guti still having headaches – not concussion related

    I know Geoff’s not a favorite here, but beat writers have an “in” that makes them valuable for non-opinion stuff like this. Anyway, it bears out Dave’s previously stated contention that Guti shouldn’t be seen as a full-time outfielder going forward – not without a backup plan in place, anyway.

  34. Johnny Slick on August 1st, 2012 5:46 pm

    What’s up with all the Montero pessimism? Okay, he’s brutal vs. righties and overall isn’t exactly Mike Trout, but if you ask me a 22 year old kid with a 101 OPS+ is not exactly a busted prospect. I think the team as a whole needs a new approach to hitting and that may retard Montero’s growth but he’s no Justin Smoak.

  35. Mariners35 on August 1st, 2012 6:02 pm

    There isn’t enough surplus value in the M’s farm system and 25 man roster to get 3 average to above average players without crippling the roster in other places.

    You don’t think some combination of Walker, Franklin, Smoak, Guti and possibly more minor guys on par with say Erasmo, could bring in at least one or two 2 – 3 WAR players?

  36. kenshabby on August 1st, 2012 6:51 pm

    2013 2014 or bust!

  37. henryv on August 1st, 2012 8:31 pm

    Is there a website that anyone knows of where you can see the distribution of runs scored per game by a team?

  38. vetted_coach on August 2nd, 2012 4:58 pm

    Please define a “2-3 WAR” player without leaning on a presumptive list of unnamed replacements. Name names, reference historical or speculative numbers (expressed in conventional pre-sabermetric baseball stats), articulate actual anecdotal narratives. Anything, please, but this tired, abstract, mythical, unreliable, and purely subjective anacronym.

  39. eponymous coward on August 2nd, 2012 7:44 pm

    You don’t think some combination of Walker, Franklin, Smoak, Guti and possibly more minor guys on par with say Erasmo, could bring in at least one or two 2 – 3 WAR players?

    Smoak’s a busted prospect until he actually demonstrates that he can hit again, Guti has shown no ability to stay in a lineup and is due ~$7 million next year. Their value is nearly negligible at this point, so they don’t actually add anything to a deal. So you’re basically talking about sucking out a bunch of our pitching prospect depth, and the only guy who remotely looks like a MLB starting SS in the system behind Brendan Ryan. Might that net us some decent players? Sure, if we’re willing to accept the short end of the age/salary stick. But minor league system isn’t all that deep. The AA team did pretty well this year, but the AAA team wasn’t good, and some of the A teams were kinda “meh”. The system isn’t overstocked with talent.

    Anything, please, but this tired, abstract, mythical, unreliable, and purely subjective anacronym.

    What is so hard to grasp about “average MLB starting player, when you account for hitting, baserunning and defense”? Or are we not allowed to use any statistical tools to evaluate players and give people shorthand ideas about player value without getting your express permission first? Is “2-3 WAR” any worse than “.300 batting average, 25 homers and 100 ribbies”?

  40. stevemotivateir on August 2nd, 2012 11:54 pm


    If you don’t see any value in WAR, you’re probably on the wrong site.

  41. bookbook on August 3rd, 2012 1:31 pm

    2-3 WAR player=slightly above average. Michael Young on offense might be one example, maybe a touch better for LF/1B kind of spots.

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