Table of Contents

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


No, I'm not talking about this job with the Pirates, though if I could program worth a lick I might have been tempted to apply. It's exactly the kind of thing I'm excited about in baseball research right now--the integration of scouting and more traditional sabermetrics.

Anyway, today I received an offer for a position that's pretty damn close to my dream job. It was the interview I went on last week, and referenced here and here. I'm very excited about it. I don't really want to get into details here, but I can assure you that it has absolutely nothing to do with baseball. :)

What this means for the blog is that I am likely to be very busy until June/Julyish or so, because I need to finish this here de-gree before I can start the new position in August. And while I was going to be busy over that stretch anyway, this thing serves as a big time motivator to get my stuff done.

I will continue to try to keep this blog active. But I do anticipate that my postings might become more intermittent, and perhaps a bit more like this kind of thing (which was pretty quick to put together), and less like this kind of thing (which was a major investment of time and thought). It probably also means that my historical Reds project will have to wait for now...just can't devote the neural pathways to it.

But we'll see--you never know how it will go, and I might get a few nights off here and there to work on this stuff. Hopefully the site will continue to be a place worth visiting. But if the quality declines a bit, you'll know why. :)

Oh, and I received my copy of the Hardball Times Season Preview today. It's much improved over last year's version, and I hope that you folks will check it out. It was a lot of fun being involved in putting it together again this year.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Josh Fogg

Today, the Reds signed 31-year old righthander Josh Fogg to a 1-year, $1 million contract. Fogg was originally a 3rd-round selection by the Chicago White Sox in the 1998 amateur draft out of the University of Florida. He had an impressive debut at 25 with the Pirates, but otherwise has had a fairly invisible career through mid-last year.

Then, Fogg made headlines in September and October by pitching during the Rockies' amazing postseason run, including the one-game playoff against the San Diego Padres for the wild card berth (which, unfortunately, turned out to be the best game of the playoffs). Fogg earned his nickname "Dragon Slayer" by besting several top pitchers in September, including Brandon Webb, Chris Young, and Derek Lowe, while also holding his own against Brad Penny. He also pitched an impressive Game 3 in the NLCS before losing Game 3 of the World Series in spectacular fashion.

Fogg turned down a $5 million contract offer by the Rockies this offseason thinking he could get more on the market, but ultimately settled for a $1 million deal with the Reds. As he put it, "the offseason didn't go like a lot of free agents planned." Apparently, teams are unwilling to shell out the cash for sub-Carlos Silva starters these days.

Recent Stats:
2005 28 PIT 169.3 4.5 2.8 1.4 40.8% 0.296 5.05 5.13 0.344 0.480 0.824 5.6 7.4 7.2
2006 29 COL 172.0 4.9 3.1 1.3 42.5% 0.313 5.49 5.03 0.356 0.504 0.860 5.1 23.7 20.5
2007 30 COL 165.7 5.1 3.2 1.2 40.0% 0.308 4.94 5.21 0.357 0.495 0.852 5.2 16.2 12.8
3years --- --- 507.0 4.8 3.1 1.3 41.1% 0.305 5.17 5.09 0.352 0.493 0.845 5.3 47.4 40.5
Fogg's numbers aren't particularly impressive. Below-average strikeouts, average walks, and above-average home runs allowed. He's largely a fly ball pitcher, though he isn't as extreme as some. Ultimately, though, a combination of high fly ball rates and low strikeout rates will result in lots of home runs allowed, which is reflected in his numbers (though remember he pitched in Coors the last few years). The only silver lining to all of this is that he's pitched almost exclusively as a starter for most of his we can ballpark that he might have turned in a 4.2ish ERA if he'd been in the bullpen the last three years. That's decent enough.

Josh Kalk's pitchf/x card on Fogg confirms that he's a soft-tosser (88 mph fastball), but that he also throws a sinker, slider, and change-up. Top comparables in terms of pitch types and action include Mark Redman, Claudio Vargas, and Phil Dumatrait. Here's a figure showing his pitches from Kalk's site:
Projections and value

Based on my RAR and FIPRuns estimates, both of which are park corrected, Fogg has averaged ~14-16 runs above replacement per season over the past several years. So, we can call him a ~+1.5 win pitcher over that time frame.

Projecting into next season, I'll subtract a half-win for aging and such, and assume he remains in the rotation. That puts him at +1 wins in 2008, which would value him at $4.4 million. Pretty nice pickup for just $1 million.

Of course, the groan from fans is likely to be that we now could potentially start the season with this rotation:


And meanwhile, Bailey, Cueto, Volquez, and Maloney could all start the season in AAA.

I tend to think that this will not happen. My guess is that Bailey will need to pitch badly in spring training to not make the club. Affeldt's chances of making the rotation may be reduced as long as Bill Bray is unable to pitch. I'm also thinking that Belisle's spot is a bit more tenuous now that Fogg is in the picture, as he's no longer the only guy around with experience in the back end of the rotation.

Overall, my personal ranking of the starting candidates prior to playing any spring training games is: Harang, Arroyo, Bailey, Belisle, Volquez, Fogg, Affeldt, Cueto, and Maloney. The latter two are placed where they are simply because they've thrown so few innings above AA. I also rank Volquez and Fogg very close to one another going into this season, though Volquez clearly has the higher upside. It's going to be interesting to see how this all plays out.

Even if it is the case that we do see the above rotation to start the year, I'm going to try not to freak out. That rotation won't last an entire season, and the young kids will almost certainly play their way back into the rotation once one or more of the older guys either get hurt or are proven ineffective. It's nice to have some depth. And who knows? Maybe one of Fogg or Affeldt will be a guy who can net an A-ball prospect come July if the Reds aren't in it.

Friday, February 15, 2008

My interview with J.C. Bradbury: stadiums, spring training, and the Reds' offseason

Dr. J.C. Bradbury is an Associate Professor at Kennesaw State University, and the author of The Baseball Economist: The Real Game Exposed, which will be out in paperback on February 26th, and will include updated 2007 player values for all MLB players. He also maintains an active blog at, and is the creator of PrOPS, a diagnostic hitting statistic that I often use here in my player profiles.

In light of some of the recent news surrounding the Reds, I asked Bradbury if he'd participate in a short e-mail interview, and he kindly agreed. Topics addressed include the public financing of baseball stadiums and spring training facilities, and his takes on the Reds' offseason activities.

Question: I've seen reports critiquing the use of public funds for MLB stadium projects. Hamilton county (through a half-cent sales tax increase) has invested an enormous amount of money into revitalizing the Riverfront area, which has included the construction of the Reds' and the Bengals' new stadiums. How do you view these sorts of stadium projects, from the perspective of economic return to the cities or counties that pay for them?

JCB: The economic return is zero. I have not seen a single study that shows a positive impact from such efforts. The state of the research is such that if an economist attempted to publish another economic impact study, that journal editor would reject the study for being redundant. Spending on sports replaces spending that would have happened anyway. The idea that these projects confer financial benefits is a myth. Any positive return to taxpayers is non-monetary.

And you don't need studies to understand this. I go to about five Braves games a year. It's been 10 years since the Braves started playing at Turner Field (which was the 1996 Olympic Stadium). The area surrounding the stadium is a dump. It's the type of place where at night, you run red lights just to get out of the area faster. There are no restaurants, bars, or shops. Those things are inside the stadium. The same is true for many stadiums around the country.

I have no problem with a community reaching a political decision that it will chose to raise taxes because its citizens value having a sports team. But, it really bothers me when people argue that these projects are beneficial. It is time to be honest and say, "if you want to pay $5 more in taxes a year, we can host a team or have a nicer stadium." As long as everyone agrees that this will cost money, not make it, I have no problem with government choosing to fund such projects.

Question: Sarasota county commissioners recently voted to contribute $17.6 million towards a $41 million renovation of their Florida spring training facility, Ed Smith Stadium. However, their delay in making this decision has resulted in the Reds entering an exclusive negotiation agreement with a Cactus League facility, which lasts through mid-April. Signs are that the Reds will be heading west. Again from the perspective of the cities/counties, to what degree do you think the economic benefits of building and maintaining a spring training facility for a team is worth the cost? Does the ability to attract vacationing fans make spring training facilities a more worthwhile investment?

JCB: It's not like Sarasota won't attract outsiders without spring training visitors. Florida is a nice place to be this time of year. I suspect that the hotels and restaurants will do about the same without the team. I can't imagine that the improvements in Sarasota's stadium will generate enough value in one month to justify nearly $18 million in public subsidies.

Question: Why do you think the Cactus league has been so successful in luring teams--even those not from the West Coast like the Indians and Cubs--away from their former Florida spring training homes?

JCB: I haven't looked at this, but my guess is that they have been able to offer newer and nicer facilities. I suspect that Florida residents know that the tourists will come, with or without baseball, which gives Cactus League hosts an advantage. Taxpayers in Arizona may be more willing to support public subsidies, because they aren't as certain as Florida taxpayers that visitors will come anyway.

Question: Switching gears a bit, the Reds' most significant free agent signing in a long time was the 4-year, $42 million deal they gave to Francisco Cordero this winter. What do you think of this signing?

JCB: This is an awful signing. It is a huge mistake to pay a player who plays so little so much money. Plus, it's a little too early for the Reds to be shopping for a closer. I think the club should have devoted Cordero's salary to improving other aspects of the team. I'm never a fan of paying a reliever big money. But, if you do so, you better anticipate that he's going to get the final out of the World Series.

Question: The Reds have also been involved in trade discussions for players like Erik Bedard and Danny Haren this winter. Both of those deals would have required the Reds to give up at least one, if not more of the Reds' Big Four prospects (Bruce, Votto, Bailey, and Cueto), and the Reds apparently opted not to go this route. How would you rate the relative value of top-tier prospects (~zero service time) compared to a established, still-young players like Bedard or Haren (3-4 years in MLB)?

JCB: I'm not sure. Bedard and Haren are both good with service time left, and to get pitchers like them, you have to give up a lot. Both the Mariners and the D-Backs surrendered a lot. Do you make such a deal? It's just so hard to say. If I am the Reds GM, I wait to see how the season is going. If things go well, then maybe I am willing to move some top prospects. Because, if things don't go well, you've paid a high price to acquire a pitcher that you don't need, and the prospects you do need are gone. This strategy is not without risk, but until the Reds show that they are ready to contend, I think it is unwise to give up too much of the future. So, I think the Reds have done the right thing.

Thanks once again to J.C. Bradbury for participating in this interview!

Phillips signed to long term deal?

Hal McCoy is reporting on his new blog that the Reds and Brandon Phillips have agreed to a long term contract extension. Terms were not available. We'll see... some of the long term deals that have been signed this offseason have been extremely good deals for the teams, but those usually have been for pre-arbitration eligible players (Tulowitzki, Granderson, etc).

Unfortunately, I'm leaving town for an interview first thing Saturday, and therefore might not have a chance to post an analysis until mid-next week on whatever the deal turns out to be. But I will do my best to break down the deal when I have a bit of time. In the meantime, here's a link to the post where I tried to analyze his arbitration case.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Baker is quantifiably good at managing?!

I'm still working my way through the 2008 Hardball Times Annual. I've seen a fair bit of attention around the internets on Tom Tango's With or Without You articles, which are very good and really cement the case on Derek Jeter's (lack of) fielding prowess. And I've seen criticism of Bill James' surprisingly substance-less article on clutch hitting, which I completely agree with.

One thing I haven't seen much on, however, is David Gassko's interesting attempt to quantify differences between managers. The effects of managers (and coaches) are often discussed by the public and in the media. See, for example, all the prognostications of the Dodgers' resurgence this year because of the arrival of Joe Torre. But the actual effects of managers are hard to quantify, because their performance is confounded with the performance of their players. As a result, few studies have done a good job of quantifying manager effect, and many of the ones that have done a good job often report fairly minimal effects.

In Gassko's article, he succeeds by keeping his focus narrow: all he tries to do is address the issue of whether some managers get their players to perform better than others. He does not address issues of strategy. He uses a fairly simple projection system to predict player performance each year (it includes an aging curve, park factors, league adjustments, past performance, etc). Next, he compares how players actually did, relative to their projections, to get a "runs above self" statistic for each player season. Finally, he sums up the runs above self statistics for all players playing for each manager in history. The result is a statistic that allows one to detect differences in manager performance.

Technical notes: Gassko does regress to the mean. He also confirmed that the performances within managers of players with last names in the first half of the alphabet were correlated to those in the last part of the alphabet, which indicates that there's some real signal present here and he's not just describing random variation...though as a side note, I'd much rather he just randomly split players within managers into two groups using a truely random process (e.g. rand() in excel). The alphabet-based split is a classic example of non-random sampling decisions that are intended to be random, and is something that's been discussed in several stat classes I've taken. Still, I'm sure that the answer would be the same either way, so it's a minor point.

One of the surprising findings was that Dusty Baker comes out as the 7th best manager of all time, in terms of his "skill" (or, historical tendency) to get players to play above their projections, with a rating of +1.65 wins per 162 games. In fact, while he's been nothing special with pitchers, Gassko reports that he has been the best manager of all time in terms of getting his hitters to perform above their projections. Derrick Lee may be helping him a bit, but not enough to vault him to the best of all time.

I know there's a lot of Dusty hate out there. I personally put myself into the category of "concerned," and I've written about my worries with respect to his record several times. But if there's one thing that I've heard time and time again from insiders about Dusty Baker, it's that players love to play for him, and that he gets the most out of what you give him. Gassko's study provides data that supports that contention.

Update: Commenter David (not to be confused with the study author David Gassko, or Dave from Louisville who also commented!) pointed out that part of Baker's excellence might be due to the fact that he presided over several of Barry Bonds' Ridiculous Years. David Gassko very kindly forwarded me a spreadsheet with all of Baker's players and their "runs above self" statistics so I could break this down.

I found that when removing Barry Bonds from the dataset, Baker's score dropped from +1.7 wins to +1.0 wins per 162 games (+2.7 hitters + -1.7 pitchers; I'm using a 50% regression to mean, which Gassko indicated is appropriate in this case). That would pull Baker off of the top-10 all time list, but still would rank him pretty darn high on the list, and would certainly be among the highest scores of currently-employed and living managers. I'd also point out, however, that it's really unfair to Baker to do this--we should pull the best hitter out of each manager's score to make this a fair comparison. If we did this, Baker would probably still fall in the overall rankings a bit (Barry was ridiculous, after all), but not as much as he does in this comparison.

If you're interested, here are the top-10 and bottom-10 seasons contributing to Baker's outstanding "skill" with hitters. You'll see that most of his "best" player seasons occurred in San Francisco, but many of his "worst" player seasons also occurred there. Interestingly, some guys show up on both lists. :)

Top 10 Baker hitter seasons in runs above self
year playerID nameLast nameFirst team adjRAS
2001 bondsba01 Bonds Barry SFN 80.55
2002 bondsba01 Bonds Barry SFN 63.69
2001 aurilri01 Aurilia Rich SFN 49.42
2000 kentje01 Kent Jeff SFN 44.08
2000 burksel01 Burks Ellis SFN 40.61
1999 burksel01 Burks Ellis SFN 36.92
2002 kentje01 Kent Jeff SFN 36.53
2005 leede02 Lee Derrek CHN 31.46
1999 maynebr01 Mayne Brent SFN 30.00
2002 bellda01 Bell David SFN 27.95

Bottom 10 Baker hitter seasons in runs above self:

year playerID nameLast nameFirst team adjRAS
1997 kentje01 Kent Jeff SFN -26.89
1996 aurilri01 Aurilia Rich SFN -21.70
2005 patteco01 Patterson Corey CHN -20.51
2004 leede02 Lee Derrek CHN -18.04
1996 benarma01 Benard Marvin SFN -17.35
1995 thompro01 Thompson Robby SFN -14.24
1997 wilkiri01 Wilkins Rick SFN -12.77
2004 martira03 Martinez Ramon CHN -12.76
2000 muellbi02 Mueller Bill SFN -12.01
2004 sosasa01 Sosa Sammy CHN -11.90

Thanks to David Gassko for not only conducting this interesting study, but also generously sharing his data upon request.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Craig Wilson

On Saturday, the Reds signed Craig Wilson to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training. Wilson, 31, was a second-round selection in the 1995 amateur draft by the Toronto Blue Jays. Wilson has been a controversial player throughout his career due his tendency to strike out. Nevertheless, his overall offensive production has been good over most of his career, as evidenced by his career OPS+ of 113.

Wilson is apparently going to get a look as a right-handed bat at first base, probably just in case Keppinger fails to hit next season. What can we expect from him? Well, here are his recent offensive stats:
2005 28 PIT 238 29% 13% 22% 0.379 0.264 0.387 0.421 0.157 0.808 0.525 5.9 12.9
2006 29 PIT/NYY 395 31% 7% 17% 0.329 0.251 0.314 0.446 0.195 0.760 0.175 4.6 8.4
2007 30 ATL 69 36% 12% 15% 0.281 0.172 0.304 0.259 0.087 0.563 0 2.9 -1.5
3yrs --- --- 702 31% 9% 18% 0.341 0.248 0.338 0.420 0.173 0.758 0.7 4.8 19.9

Wilson has posted successively poorer numbers every season since at least 2004, and arguably (just looking at rate stats) since 2003. Over the past three years, his strikeout numbers have steadily been rising, his line drives have been steadily falling, and predictably his batting average has steadily fallen. His walk rate also took a big hit in '06, which sapped a major part of his offensive value. At least his power still seems to be present, assuming that 2007 is just a case of small sample sizes.

Baseball Prospectus-types would probably point to him as a classic case of a guy with "old player skills" declining quickly. But who knows? If he can recapture something similar to his 2005 season this year (or, his 2006 season, but with walks), he could provide some nice offensive value for the Reds against left-handed pitching.


Wilson has played first base and the corner outfield slots over the past several seasons. His 2003-2007 UZR numbers put him at +4 runs/season at first base, -9 runs/season in right field, and -41 runs/season in left field. I'm guessing the latter is a sample size aberration, so I'll say ~+0.5 wins/season at first, and -1.0 wins/season in the corner outfield. In other words, he really should only be playing first base.

Projected Value

Overall, if we take his 3-year average offensive rates and extrapolate to a full season, he's about a +1.5 WAR hitter, a +0.5 wins fielder (at first base), and he gets a -1.0 win value penalty for being a first baseman. That puts him at ~1.0 WAR. If we subtract another 0.5 wins for where he is on the aging curve, that gives a fairly reasonable projection for him next year of ~0.5 wins above replacement. And that's in a full season of work.

I'd put pretty big error bars around that, however. If he can hit like he did '05, he could be a +1-1.5 WAR player. And, of course, he could be well below replacement. Certainly a fine guy to take a rider on, given that he costs nothing for the time being. We'll see what the Reds' scouts think of him in spring training.
Photo by the AP

Saturday, February 09, 2008

THT Season Preview 2008

I'm excited to announce that the The Hardball Times Season Preview has been published!

This past offseason, I was very pleased be re-invited to contribute the chapter on the Cincinnati Reds for the second edition of this book. In last year's book, my contribution was a 3-page summary of the Reds strengths and weaknesses, player movement, and likely results moving forward into the season. The result of my and the other authors' work was a very useful publication that I referred to time and time again throughout last season.

This year, we've done it one better--or, you could say, 900 better! In addition to a similar-format team essay, each writer was asked to put together comments on roughly 30 players on his/her team (~900 players altogether). My contributions include concise, yet detailed analysis of everyone from Brandon Phillips and Aaron Harang to Joey Votto and Johnny Cueto. As a sample, here are my comments on phenom prospect Jay Bruce:
The 2007 Baseball America and Sporting News Minor League Player of the Year skyrocketed through the minors last year, starting in A-ball and reaching (and dominating) AAA by the end of the season. As arguably the #1 prospect in the country, Bruce has achieved near-godlike status among Reds fans, and his arrival in Cincinnati--whenever it happens--may end up being the biggest event of the year. The Reds tend to handle their prospects conservatively, so it seems unlikely that Bruce will make the team out of spring training. Nevertheless, the trade of Josh Hamilton opens a major hole in center field, and Bruce has a way of advancing faster than the Reds seem to anticipate. No matter what, he seems like a lock to arrive by mid-season. When he does arrive, he may have some initial struggles, as some have voiced concerns about his ability to make consistent contact early on. But he's only 20 years old, he's got a lot of room to improve, and THT's projections indicate that he's already capable of putting up plus offensive numbers. It's going to be fun to watch this kid develop.
The combined efforts of myself and 29 other authors is a 240-page book containing team essays and comments on roughly 900 players written by the people who live and die with their teams every single day. Add to that an improved, sophisticated 3-year projection system by Gassko and Constancio, and you've got a heck of a resource to keep handy throughout the 2008 season.

David Gassko has posted a more detailed overview of the book here, as well as excerpts from one of the team chapters, so that you can get a good handle on what you're purchasing. I really do think that this may be the best season preview book on the market.

You will be able to find the book in your local fine bookstore soon. However, we'd really appreciate it if you would instead purchase it through our publisher, ACTA Sports, as THT receives almost no money from purchases through other venues. Thanks, happy reading, and feel free to discuss the book in the comments here if you wish!

Thursday, February 07, 2008

2008 Reds Spring Training Preview

I was graciously asked to contribute a short article for a new Spring Training 2008 website, which you can read here.

In the article, I (try to) forecast the Reds' starting lineup, rotation, and bullpen for opening day, and also break down the key battles we'll likely see in spring training. Feel free to comment on my takes either here, or at that website.

Brian, who also writes at (obligatory quip: how a Yankee fan can claim to be "depressed" is beyond me...), is organizing the Spring Training 2008 website. He is currently soliciting similar articles from bloggers for other teams. As I write this, at least for the NL Central, there are articles posted for the Cubs and Cardinals. I'm sure that we'll see articles for other teams soon.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Most valuable infielders - 2007 Reds minor leagues

In his most recent column, Dan Fox released a spreadsheet with 2007 minor league fielding stats for infielders (outfielders are still in revision--sorry, no Jay Bruce stats yet) using his Simple Fielding Runs (SFR) approach.

SFR may not be as precise as hit-location statistics like UZR or PMR, but because it can be calculated using play-by-play data, he can get data on players from leagues that are not "video scouted" by BIS or STATS Inc. Therefore, one of its most exciting uses lies in generating quality fielding statistics for minor league players! That's what I wanted to look at tonight.

Below is a table reporting total fielding value for each infielder (excluding pitchers and catchers) in the Reds' system last year. For each player, summed across all positions and teams. SFR is total +/- across all positions that a player played. PosAdj is a pro-rated (by playing time) position adjustment, which varies depending on position played (described here; shortstops get a boost while first basemen get a penalty because an average-fielding shortstop would be a very good defensive first baseman). FRAA is the total fielding value of the player, reported in as Fielding Runs Above Average. There was no adjustment for league, although there probably should be (I doubt the bar for fielding is as high in rookie-ball as it is in AA).

Name SFR PosAdj FRAA
Pedro Lopez 7.1 2.6 9.7
Justin Tordi 7.8 1.2 9.0
Jose Castro 3.4 3.8 7.3
Eric Eymann 3.4 3.5 6.9
Brandon Waring 5.5 0.5 6.0
Mark Bellhorn 4.4 0.8 5.2
Kevyn Feiner 4.8 0.2 5.0
Zachary Cozart 3.3 1.7 5.0
Neftali Soto 3.0 1.3 4.3
Jorge Cantu 4.4 -1.0 3.4
Todd Frazier 1.4 1.5 2.9
Angel Cabrera 1.7 0.8 2.5
Justin Turner 1.3 1.1 2.4
Jose Medina 2.1 0.1 2.2
Drew Anderson 1.3 0.7 2.0
Jose Gualdron 1.1 0.8 2.0
Dan Conway 0.1 1.8 1.9
Jeff Keppinger 1.3 0.0 1.4
Anderson Machado -0.9 2.0 1.1
Ryan Baker 0.9 0.2 1.1
Todd Waller 0.4 0.7 1.1
Jason Louwsma 3.1 -2.1 1.0
Earl Snyder 0.1 0.8 1.0
Chris Valaika -3.5 4.4 0.8
Jesse Gutierrez 3.1 -2.4 0.7
Paul Janish -4.4 4.9 0.5
Eli Rimes 0.3 -0.1 0.2
Petr Cech 0.0 0.2 0.2
Kyle Maunus 0.4 -0.3 0.1
Ryan Freel 0.1 0.0 0.1
Michael McKennon 3.9 -3.9 0.0
Luis Bolivar -1.1 0.9 -0.3
Mike Edwards -0.3 -0.1 -0.3
Gabriel Suarez -0.4 0.0 -0.4
Fulton Kendrick -0.6 0.2 -0.4
Juan Francisco -1.3 0.7 -0.6
Brett Bartles -0.7 0.0 -0.7
Jay Garthwaite -0.3 -0.6 -0.8
Radhames Moreta -1.6 0.6 -1.0
Paul Witt -1.3 0.2 -1.1
Jeremiah Piepkorn 1.3 -2.5 -1.2
Jeff Bannon -1.5 0.1 -1.3
Edwin Encarnacion -1.4 0.1 -1.4
Logan Parker 6.0 -7.5 -1.5
Billy Rojo -1.8 0.2 -1.6
David Scott -1.3 -0.8 -2.1
Raul Tablado -2.4 0.1 -2.2
Adam Rosales 4.4 -7.1 -2.7
Ramon Ramirez -2.0 -0.7 -2.7
Joey Votto 2.8 -5.9 -3.1
Aaron Herr -4.5 0.8 -3.7
Brodie Pullen -4.5 0.2 -4.3
Carlos Mendez -1.9 -3.5 -5.3
Michael Griffin -6.2 0.6 -5.7
Michael DeJesus -8.9 0.7 -8.1
Caonabo Cosme -8.1 -0.3 -8.4
Tonys Gutierrez -4.9 -5.5 -10.4
Enrique Cruz -16.4 1.8 -14.6

A few assorted comments:
  • The Reds' minor league infielders don't really seem to have any substantial defensive standouts, at least according to these numbers. Pedro Lopez, for example, ranked 121st among all minor league infielders. Granted, some of the higher-ranking players in this spreadsheet were playing in the Mexican league, which might have a rather weak level of competition. But there were guys in AAA posting 20+ FRAA. Kind of shocking how far from that any of the Reds were.
  • Pedro Lopez spent a substantial part of last season in the White Sox organization, and those numbers are included in the above totals. Therefore, Justin Tordi wins the award for most valuable Reds defensive infielder! Tordi, a 41st-round selection in '05, split time between second, third, and shortstop, for Billings, Dayton, and Sarasota last season. Unfortunately, he didn't hit much, posting a combined 0.215/0.282/0.294.
  • Brandon Waring accompanied his impressive offensive performance in Billings with a very good defensive performance at third base. I hadn't heard much about his fielding before, but these data indicate that he's pretty well-rounded. Also, keep in mind that his totals are essentially just a half-season's work. It'll be interesting to see how he does next year.
  • Paul Janish and Zachary Cozart have to been seen as having disappointing scores, as both of them are supposed to be defensive standouts. Janish, in particular, comes out really badly.
  • Nice to see Neftali Soto posting pretty respectable numbers. I haven't been keeping up--anyone hear if he's likely to play a full season in Dayton next year?
  • Nice to see Votto coming out as a tad above average at first base last year--though not enough to overcome the position penalty.
  • Chris Valaika and Todd Frazier, currently shortstops, are both expected to eventually move to another position. Frazier did ok last year, but Valaika's numbers indicate that he's already showing signs that a move would be appropriate.
  • Yikes about Enrique Cruz. 22 errors in 117 games doesn't help, but his range can't be good either.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Anybody ever been to Altoona?

I'm interviewing for a job that would involve living in a town that is relatively close to the Pirates' AA franchise in Altoona, PA. Just curious if anyone out there has been to that ballpark. :)