Friday open thread – 12/21/18

The hot stove is in full effect and no division has been more active than the NL East. While the rebuilding Marlins continue trying to trade their catcher for three Hall of Famers and a team charter bus, the other four teams have jumped into the fray, making trades and signing free agents to improve their rosters. The Braves added Josh Donaldson and brought back Brian McCann, the Nationals replaced Gio Gonzalez with Patrick Corbin and brought in a new catching platoon, and the Phillies signed Andrew McCutcheon and traded for a shortstop upgrade in Jean Segura. The Phillies are reportedly all in on ttop tickets Bryce Harper and Manny Machado to anchor their lineup. The Nationals are focused on finding a new second baseman.  It’s anyone’s guess what the Braves will do next, but they clearly mean business. However it all shakes out, the NL East is poised for a dog fight in 2019.

20 comments for “Friday open thread – 12/21/18

  1. December 21, 2018 at 8:21 am

    The NL East can be a great division, year after year. The 3 “Big Market” Teams are evenly stacked to spend money. The Braves are a decently financed mid market team. The Nats, Mets and Phils seem to be fully financially engaged (Concurrently) for the first time in several years.

    It’s gonna be a great Season!

  2. TexasGusCC
    December 21, 2018 at 8:38 am

    It has been mentioned several times how much about McNeil’s success is sustainable. So, let’s look at some splits. The handedness numbers look normal:
    He hit .281 against lefties, and hit .345 against righties.

    But having looked at many players’ splits quite a bit this winter, the home/road splits seemed unusual: He hit .283 on the road and .388 at home, but we all know Citifield supresses offense.

    For example, Conforto hit .211 at home, .271 on the road. For his career, Conforto is .247 at home and .255 away.

    Nimmo: 2018: .237 at home, .288 on the road. Career: .262 at home and .265 on the road.

    How about Asdrubal Cabrera? 2018 at Citifield: .251, and .310 on the road during his Mets’ tenure. Also, Cabrera’s 2016 and 2017: .267 at Citi and .292 on the road.

    In fact, only Cespedes has done better average-wise at home every year he’s been on the Mets, and even that was by a very slight difference.

    So, if we put more emphasis on the roughly 4000 at bats we have looked at than McNeil’s roughly 200 at bats, McNeil should have a .110 point drop in his home numbers. That still is forecasting a .275 average overall next year for McNeil, but if Frazier can ever rediscover right field and stop thinking he needs 30+ HRs, Frazier can be a .270ish hitter with more power and a better glove. In fact, Brian thinks he can be Comeback Player of the year! Hysterical, right? Maybe not.

    Quite possibly McNeil biggest value may be in his flexibility defensively and his showing the other Mets players in 2018 that hitting the ball is a prerequisite to getting a hit.

  3. December 21, 2018 at 9:26 am

    The Biggest Variability in Projecting McNeill is his offensive stat line, which is almost entirely pinned to his BABIP. His .359 is 60 points above MLB average.

    I did a crude “regression to the mean” analysis at 300-330 BABIP— it’s entirely possible that he will continue to perform above league average BABIP because he has Less Shift Exposure, because he “uses” more of the field. The baseline “results” of a 300-330 BABIP against his 2018 stat line would land him at about 710-770 OPS, driven by 300-330 BABIP.

    There is a regression to be projected… of course, he could perform beyond any projection and establish his own elevated result as a higher baseline than we’d normally assume. He could also grow out more power and add walks that would offset reductions in BABIP.

    I like his versatility…and a stat line that begins at 710-720 OPS for a controlled and still growing player should make him a valued Widget going forward.

  4. December 21, 2018 at 10:33 am

    Was happy for Daniel Murphy that he landed in Colorado. I’m surprised he didn’t get either more dollars or more years but maybe the chance to play in a hitter’s park was just too much to pass up.

    • TexasGusCC
      December 21, 2018 at 10:56 am

      +1 on the signing.

      It’s good to be wanted and I think Murphy could probably hit in any park. The problem with analytics is they ignore the obvious: You need to hit to win. Very hard for me to believe that there were so many better second basemen to Murphy that no one can use him, even after we saw him make a successful return from surgery – although on this team I see him switching with Ian Desmond defensively. How many times did we see Murphy burn us good? If the glove work was so important, why wasn’t Omar Vizquel MVP? How come long-time butchers like Nelson Cruz still commanding $15MM? Poor Gump… he’s still in limbo…

      • Chris F
        December 21, 2018 at 7:46 pm

        Gump will land a spot on the Long Island Ducks or head to Japan. He’ll be ok!

        • TexasGusCC
          December 22, 2018 at 1:28 am

          You’re mean!

          Gump will be the all-star second baseman for the Washington Nationals. Get ready to feel his wrath.

    • MattyMets
      December 21, 2018 at 2:27 pm

      Am I the only one who had a nagging feeling that Muprh was gonna land in the Bronx? He made so much sense for them. They have a righty heavy lineup, the short porch in right and a hodge podge of first baseman. Hitting between Judge and Stanton he could have had a monster year for them. Instead, if he can stay healthy, he’ll do so for the Rockies, hitting between Areando and Story.

      • TexasGusCC
        December 21, 2018 at 4:43 pm

        They missed the boat Matt. He would have been rediculous.

      • Chris F
        December 21, 2018 at 7:50 pm

        The Yankees had their fill of multiyear aging players who stink or can’t get better. I didn’t see any chance Murphy would end up there.

        • December 21, 2018 at 9:09 pm

          So, you’re saying they learned their lesson after picking up Giancarlo Stanton and watching him drop 43 points of OPS+ last year and still having him thru 2027? Or was it Neil Walker and his 137-point OPS drop?

          All kidding aside – they just re-upped with Brett Gardner after watching him drop 88 points of OPS+

          • Chris F
            December 21, 2018 at 10:05 pm

            Gardner is a Yankee institution. Stanton will play as a yankee from 28 to say year 34 seasons. sure they will hate the Cano part of the deal, but at least they get his prime. not sure getting a broken murph at 34 to start.

        • TexasGusCC
          December 22, 2018 at 1:31 am

          Murphy stinks? Chris, did you bump your head?

          Murphy has been a top 10 player that got MVP votes both years before this one, and this one he still had an .800 OPS.

  5. Eraff
    December 21, 2018 at 11:23 am

    Advanced Stats Question/Comment:

    Baseball’s Pythagorean Formula— is this a result of a stack sum of all players “WAR” type stats? …generally, this is a question of anyalytics of Lineups on Paper.

    Baseball Offense is tremendously tied to specific sequences of events. Relative to teams who are gathering high impact Individuals, is there a analytic that addresses Sum Of The Parts calculations that account for such things as Strikeouts as an Impact on assumed lineup projections? For instance, the speculation that The Yankees might add Harper—- considering Sanchez, Harper, Judge, Stanton, That’s about 800 Strikeouts. There must be some impact to Runs scored as you add high strikeouts to multiple lineup slots….that’s my thought. My Guess is that You break the straight math because you interrupt many “scoring sequences” that are necessary, even in a very high HR Lineup.

    • TexasGusCC
      December 21, 2018 at 12:26 pm

      “The Pythagorean Theorem of Baseball is a creation of Bill James which relates the number of runs a team has scored and surrendered to its actual winning percentage, based on the idea that runs scored compared to runs allowed is a better indicator of a team’s (future) performance than a team’s actual winning percentage.”

      Right from Baseball Reference.

      • MattyMets
        December 21, 2018 at 2:33 pm

        Gus, that is precisely why the Mariners chose to rebuild. Their run differential told a different story than their record.

        Something I posted elsewhere, but I haven’t seen a response to, are two things that have my shorts in a knot:

        1- Harold Baines election to the HOF is a travesty. There have to be 50 players who’ve come up short who were far superior players. This sets a problematic precedent.
        2- Fangraphs has the Nats pegged at 91 wins?! They lost their two best hitters and have a gaping hole at the back of their rotation.

        • Mike Walczak
          December 21, 2018 at 3:38 pm

          Baines was a very good player, but not a Hall of Famer.

          Would you rather have Baines in his prime or Dwight Evan’s or Dave Parker ?

          • MattyMets
            December 21, 2018 at 10:53 pm

            Dwight Evans
            Dave Parker
            Dale Murphy
            Will Clark
            Carlos Delgado
            Keith Hernandez
            Don Mattingly
            Fred Mcgriff
            Many more. Baines holds no career records, never won an MVP, never hit 40 homers, never won a batting title. He was a good player who played a long time. Never regarded as among the best in the league at any point and was primarily a DH. I could go on. He had friends on the b.s, limited, secondary committee. Who’s next? Brian Giles? Shin Soo Choo?

            • TexasGusCC
              December 22, 2018 at 1:32 am

              Bartolo Colon. Long career….

  6. December 21, 2018 at 9:22 pm

    New podcast is up with Jon Springer

    This was the first day going live on the new platform. We had sound issues early, and this is a truncated version, one that cuts out the first few questions when we couldn’t hear Jon. But still worth checking out!

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