Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Project Prospect Top 25 Pitching Prospects

For those of you interested, ProjectProspect.com recently released their list of the top 25 pitching prospects in baseball. It's a pretty good list, and well worth checking out. I'm not sure when they'll be releasing their top 100 or top 200 prospects list, but be on the look out for it in the coming months.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Brett Anderson's Place in History

I realize these types of posts may be somewhat annoying to people, but I just signed up for a 1 month subscription to baseball-reference.com, so I'm trying to get my moneys worth.

Anyways, I wanted to take a look at Brett Anderson's season stats as compared to historical performances and see if he's as good as I think he is. I ran a screen for players that at or before the age of 21 struck out at least 150 batters, while posting an ERA below 5.00. My search brought up a total of 60 instances, with 48 individual pitchers on the list (multiple players accomplished the feat multiple times). With such a large number of players to sort through, I decided I would shave down the list a bit more.

So, I then checked for the best K/BB ratios among the list, with Anderson's 2009 season coming in at number 8. Of course, there are a lot of other stats that should be considered when putting players into historical categories, but a solid K/BB ratio usually suggests that a pitcher is successful at an individual level regardless of his team's performance. I'm not going to draw any conclusions just yet, but I want to finish off by posting a simple chart comparing Anderson's strikeout and walk rates from this year with those posted by other pitchers in baseball history.

Not bad. Not bad at all.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Billy Butler and Pablo Sandoval: Headed for the Hall?

This past month, Billy Butler and Pablo Sandoval became the first players since Prince Fielder to top 70 extra base hits with 20 or more home runs in a season at the age of 23 or younger. It might seem like an arbitrary set of parameters to judge a player by, but it got me to thinking. Could either of these 2 young players be headed to greatness?

So, I checked to see how many times a 23 year old player had ever posted 70 total extra base hits with 20 or more home runs in a single season. A total of 71 instances came up, with 29 inactive or retired players and 19 active players accomplishing the feat (multiple players topped 70 extra base hits and 20 home runs before the age of 23 in multiple seasons).

Here's a list of the 19 active players included on the list.

And here are the inactive or retired players (obviously, I'm having trouble with font sizes).

Quite an impressive list of players. To put it all in perspective, I wanted to see how many of the retired players went on to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Of the 29 players that were eligible for the Hall of Fame, 17 have been inducted, which is a cool 58.6%. Not an overwhelming percentage, but if it's any indication for the future, we might be able to project that current players like Butler and Sandoval have roughly a 50:50 chance of making the Hall of Fame. While not definitive by any means, those are pretty good odds for any player, and very good company to be listed among.

Catching Up

I need to apologize for not posting in so long. The weather has been really nice lately, and school duties have been minimal the last 2 weeks, so I've been taking some time to go play a bit of golf and relax instead of crunching stats and chasing down overlooked prospects.

Though I haven't been writing much lately, I have been keeping up with the Wild Card races, as well as the Rookie of the Year races. Enough has been said about both, so I won't rehash either topic. I do want to make a few points about a handful of rookies from both leagues that might not be getting the attention they deserve:

  • Chris Coghlan is hitting .318 right now, which ties him with Ryan Braun for 5th in the league. His .387 OBP ties him with Pablo Sandoval for 15th in the N.L., and according to fangraphs.com Coghlan's 2009 stats are valued around $9.0 million. If he wins ROY, it will be well deserved, although I don't think he'll come out on top since voters usually gravitate toward more popular teams.
  • As far as I can tell, Garrett Jones' .955 mark leads all N.L. rookies in OPS. His 21 home runs and 44 total extra base hits tops Chris Coghlan's line despite the fact that Jones has received only 60% the number of at-bats. Fangraphs.com puts his performance at $11.0 for the year.
  • I have no idea who is going to win the A.L. Rookie of the Year, but I think voters should strongly consider Brett Anderson. His overall stats are less than impressive, but here are a few things about Anderson that may surprise even die-hard baseball fans. His K/BB rate is 17th in the majors, and 8th in the A.L. His FIP is 8th in the A.L., right behind C.C. Sabathia and Josh Beckett, and just ahead of John Lackey. Anderson's LD% is second in the majors, and his GB/FB rate is 5th in the A.L., right between Roy Halladay and Josh Beckett. According to fangraphs.com, Anderson's 2009 performance is valued at $17.2 million, good for 11th in the A.L., and so far I can't find a single player in either league with a more valuable stat line. While Rick Porcello has a better win loss record, his value is estimated at $7.7 million, and his other stats don't really compare to Anderson. Fellow ROY front runner Elvis Andrus has a 2009 value of $12.9 million. To me, this is a no-brainer. Anderson has essentially acheived the status of a #1 starter in his rookie season, at the ripe old age of 21.
  • I think my top pitching prospect heading into 2010 might be Jenrry Mejia.
  • The Braves almost pulled it off at the end there, but couldn't top the Rockies. I'll be really interested to see what Frank Wren does during the off-season. I'd like to see him trade one of his pitchers (Vazquez or Lowe?) and Kelly Johnson for one or two bats.

Ok, that's all for now.